Oven Blasted Green Beans & Radishes

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Oven Roasted Radishes & Green Beans

Oven Roasted Radishes & Green Beans

I must say that eating surprising combinations of vegetables often translates to my ultimate dining experience.  I never cease to be amazed at how different cooks make and present vegetables – steamed, sauteed, roasted, broiled…and oven blasted.  Now I know many of you have likely cooked green beans, and perhaps some of you have cooked them in the oven on high heat with a simple olive oil, salt and pepper preparation.  But add radishes to kick this up a notch, then finish the dish with tender herbs fresh from your garden and you will experience a taste sensation.

For some reason I cannot explain, my children all love radishes.  Radishes are easy to grow in the garden and if you continue planting radish seeds at intervals, you’ll have these all summer long.  Every week at the farmers market I purchase a bunch or two of radishes.  These are most often eaten raw, dipped in salt and butter, or atop one of my world famous salads.  But this week I decided to cook radishes with the green beans. Another bonus with these colorful gems – it is hard to overcook radishes!

Veggies Before Blasting!

Veggies Before Blasting!

This is pretty simple.  And if you are as blown away as I seem to be with the taste here you’ll find yourself making this again and again before summer’s end.

Oven Blasted Green Beans & Radishes

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Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, wash and trim the ends but leave them whole.  Dry well.
  • 1 bunch of radishes, cleaned.  Cut each radish from the stem and then cut in half but reserve 2 radishes for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp high heat organic canola oil
  • 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 10 grinds of black pepper
Finishing Ingredients
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil  
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro-use stems and all, (substitute parsley if you are cilantro averse)
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped dill
  • 1 pinch dry chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Grated peel of ½ small lemon (do this on the microplane)
  • 2 radishes for garnish – reserved from bunch of radishes (sliced very thin horizontally)
Instructions

Preheat convection oven to 450 degrees.  If you don’t have a convection setting, preheat to 500.  Take out a jelly roll pan.

In a large bowl, toss the dry green beans and radishes with canola oil and salt.  Mix in the radishes and dump everything onto the cookie sheet, making sure there is just a single layer and that most of the beans don’t overlap each other or you will end up with steamed green beans.  

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the green beans have a bronze color in parts – much like caramelizing.  Place into a serving bowl, add everything listed under “finishing”.  Eat and enjoy, and don’t be surprised that your kids will love this!

 

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Seed Crusted Kefir Bread

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Simply Divine Seeded Kefir Bread

Simply Divine Seeded Kefir Bread

For no reason I can logically explain, I have been drinking plain, unsweetened kefir in the morning, topped with a few grinds of fresh nutmeg.  I saw this on a menu somewhere, and because I like tangy beverages, I tried it… and I liked it.  My “Greek Gods” plain kefir has 12 grams of protein per cup, is lactose free, gluten free, filled with Calcium, and has live cultures.  

How virtuous I feel drinking this for breakfast.

Yet as this week rolled around, I noticed my container of kefir was going to expire before I could finish it, and so I decided to use some of my creamy kefir to make a loaf of bread. I certainly couldn’t let it go to waste!

I have used buttermilk to produce a pretty good, barely sweet bread before.  And so I dug into my files, found my formula for this  and went to work.  Hmmm…since I was already changing things up with the substitution – I kept going. I knew that white whole wheat flour could easily be subbed for some of the white bread flour.  And I had a hankering to coat the top crust of this particular loaf with a dense variety of seeds.  Easy peasy.

If I’m making just one loaf of bread – I do it by hand – no processor, no mixer, just my own two hands.  Kneading bread is a sure fire way for me to get rid of any angst or excess energy, and I feel like Mother Earth when I make bread without machines.

I hit the mark  on this bread.  And don’t you just love the name I bestowed it?  If I said honey buttermilk bread, it sounds kind of “meh.”  But Seed Crusted Kefir Bread?  Come on, it’s a genius name (IMHO).  

Try this, even if you aren’t a regular bread baker.  It is easy, somewhat tangy from the kefir but slightly sweetened by the honey.  Your kitchen will smell like heaven on earth.  And what better vehicle for soft butter and homemade plum jam?

Before the Oven

Before the Oven

Seed Crusted Kefir Bread

Makes One Loaf

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Ingredients (can be doubled for 2 loaves)
  • 2 ½ tsp (or 1 package) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, cut into ¼ inch  cubes
  • 1 cup plain kefir
  • 2 Tbsp.peanut oil or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 ½ tsp  table salt
  • 1 egg beaten, room temp (USE HALF FOR THE BREAD and save the other half to top the bread)
  • 3-4 c flour total – 1 use 2 cups white bread flour and 1 cup white whole wheat, then add whatever regular bread flour I need-usually ½-¾ cup more
  • ¼ cup seeds (I mixed sesame, sunflower and chia seeds)
Instructions

In a small cup, add yeast to water and sugar until it proofs or foams a bit.

In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, combine kefir and butter and heat to room temperature, add oil, honey, salt, ½ egg and the proofed yeast.   

Place 2 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of white whole wheat flour in a mixing bowl, add all the liquid and stir to combine.  Keep adding bread flour one tablespoon at a time until it holds together and is able to be kneaded.  

Knead for five minutes on the counter, return to a buttered  bowl, cover with a dishcloth and let it rise for an hour at 85 degrees or so.  Punch down the bread, let it rest five minutes  and form into a loaf.  Place it into a 9 x 5 well buttered bread pan or make a free form loaf on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Cover and let it rise for about 25 minutes,  remove the cover and make three slashes on top of the dough.  Let it continue rising while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees-it should rise a total of 50-60 minutes..  

Once the oven has preheated and the bread is ready to bake (at least 50 minutes from when you formed the loaf) brush the top with the beaten egg/water mix, cover generously with seeds, and brush again with the egg/water mixture to keep the seeds from falling off.  I usually put the pan in my sink and sprinkle the seeds from above with my hands so they are evenly distributed and the seeds aren’t all over my counter..

Bake the bread mid oven at 350 for 32 minutes.  The bread will rise about 2-3 inches above the top edge of the pan.  Remove the bread pan from the oven, let it sit on a cooling rack for five minutes and gently shake the pan back and forth to release the bread from the pan onto the rack.  

Let it cool at least an hour before slicing.  Spread with butter and/or jam, and enjoy!

PS: I am thinking next time I’ll make a round, free form loaf without a bread pan so that the entire crust and sides can be coated with seeds.  A little more rustic, don’t you think?

 

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Whole Wheat Couscous & Lentil Salad

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Colorful Couscous & Lentil Salad

Colorful Couscous & Lentil Salad

Oh boy, this goes in the “one of my favorites” column – one hundred percent!  Long long ago in a faraway land, there was a new pasta carry out place in Seattle called “Pasta and Company”.  Soon after it’s inception, the owner Marcella  offered a cooking class and I was excited to be there since I loved the salads and pastas they produced.  And this combination blew me away.

I adopted it, changed a few things, figured out how to make it for a large, large group and it still rotates through my list of summer dishes I make quite frequently.  And I always make enough of this so we can enjoy it a few days after  all the guests have left – it’s the perfect leftover, or “Previously Served Food” as we call it in my house.

Whole wheat couscous, black lentils and veggies make this healthful in my world.  And the vegetables – peppers and cucumbers – remain crunchy and the dressing stays fresh and yummy.  Take this to any barbeque or potluck this summer and you’ll be a star.  Another bonus?  This holds up at room temperature if it is part of a buffet outdoors.

Whole Wheat Couscous and Lentil Salad

Serves 12 for a small group at home or up to 20  on a larger buffet with more choices

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Dressing Ingredients

(This seems like a lot, but it is the correct amount!)

  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 ½ Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 3 Tbsp fresh finely chopped oregano or 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ Tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. grainy mustard (I use the Maille brand)
Couscous Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
Lentil Ingredients
  • 1 cup black Beluga lentils or french green lentils
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 cups water to cover lentils
Additional Ingredients (to stir in at the end)
  • 1 large English cucumber, unpeeled and diced fine
  • 1 orange or red pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • ⅓ cup fresh chopped mint
Ingredients To Garnish
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 oz crumbled Feta, chopped
  • Black cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients – set aside.

Put water and oil in 3-quart saucepan over high heat and when it boils add the couscous, lower heat and cover –  cook on low for five minutes.  Remove the pan and uncover, use fork to eliminate clumps.

Add all the couscous to the dressing and let the dressed couscous cool.

Meanwhile, cook the  lentils uncovered with salted water and let them simmer until tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes.  Drain well, rinse with cold water until the water runs clear and drain well again.  When they cool off add the lentils to the couscous and dressing. Refrigerate if not eating right away.

Right before serving (or up to an hour prior) stir in the vegetables and herbs to coat them.  Garnish as you desire (see my list of garnishes I use) and eat up!

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Chef Laura’s Summer Salad

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Beautiful Zucchini, Leek, Mint & Lemon Salad

Beautiful Zucchini, Leek, Mint & Lemon Salad

I’m going to be honest here.  The real title of this should be “Zucchini Carpaccio with Leeks, Mint and Lemon.”  However, I knew the minute many of you read “Zucchini” you’d click to the next recipe and wouldn’t even bother reading this.  ME TOO, ME TOO!!  Zucchini is close to the bottom of the list when it comes to vegetables I enjoy eating and preparing.   And yet, believe me when I say that this is one of the easiest, least expensive, most refreshing vegetable salads you can make and eat and enjoy.  Plus – for those of you with an overabundance of zucchini sprouting in your gardens – it’s another great recipe to manage all that squash!

It’s a long, long story of how I learned to make  this unlikely dish..unlikely because I am a “do it in 10 minutes no frills or fussing around” type of cook.  This dish can be done in ten minutes or less, yet it requires using a mandoline to slice the zucchini really thin and then one must arrange the paper thin slices oh so carefully on a platter.  Not hard, just a little more precision than I am used to.  In Yiddish there is a word, Potchkey, which is hard to translate but really means “something that takes a lot of frivolous effort.”  At least that is what the word means to me. And this word came to mind when I was delicately placing the thin strips of zucchini just so.

But I digress…  Get yourself a couple of young fresh zucchini, a lemon, a leek, salt, pepper, good olive oil, fresh mint and get to it.  And when someone asks you to bring a dish for a summer party, and you are short on time, bring this!  I’ve made it three times in the past few weeks and I’m not done.

Chef Laura’s Summer Salad

Serves 8-10

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Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested then juiced
  • 1 leek, white part cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves (¼-⅓  cup of leaves) – slightly minced
Instructions

Using a mandolin or very sharp chef’s knife, slice zucchini into very thin rounds.

Slice the leek in half lengthwise and clean out the dirt if there is any there.  Dry it well. Then slice thinly.

Overlap the zucchini slices in one layer on a large platter.  Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Sprinkle leeks atop the zucchini and drizzle the olive oil, using a drop on each zucchini slice – hardly any.  Evenly spread the lemon zest.   Squeeze the lemon juice on top of the zucchini an hour before you want to serve this.  Let the platter sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.  When ready to serve, sprinkle the mint leaves over everything and serve.  Note: if you make this ahead, pop it in the fridge so the vegetables don’t wilt.

This would also be good if you make zucchini noodles or ribbons and just stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Not as pretty but yummy nevertheless.

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Summer Anchovy Salad Dressing

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Addictive Anchovy Salad Dressing

Addictive Anchovy Salad Dressing

Seattle has had a “real” summer this year, so  I am out of control with my salads experimentation.  With this heat, I yearn for a crunchy, salty, garlicky, hearty salad almost daily.  Oh, and homemade croutons speak to me as well.

For at least the past three weeks, I’ve been mixing large batches of this salad dressing, then coating salad greens – mostly red baby romaine…which, ahem, I grow on my rooftop. And then comes the creativity… depending on the day it could be a few leftover veggies such as fresh roasted corn, green beans, cherry tomatoes  or carrots, I usually throw in some toasted nuts and pumpkins seeds, sometimes I add a sliced hard boiled egg or some shredded chicken or fish or steak, there’s almost always a handful of fresh herbs and …voila.  It takes about one tablespoon of this dressing to coat a pretty hefty amount of salad greens and additional items.  I don’t like my salads overdressed so I add more dressing if it tastes too dry to me. But less is more.

I found this previously published New York Times recipe and then adopted it to my tastebuds.  As printed, I was supposed to crush the anchovy and slowly whisk in olive oil, etc etc.  But Ms. Impatient here just put every ingredient into a tall straight container, then  buzzed it to emulsify with my handy dandy hand blender.  It comes out rather thick like dijon mustard and it keeps in the fridge for a week at least.

Summer Anchovy Salad Dressing

Makes ~ 1 ½ cups
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Ingredients
  • 2 ounces jar of  anchovy fillets
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 Tbsp roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red-wine vinegar
  • 10 grinds of fresh black pepper
Instructions

Have everything at room temperature before you start. Then just all ingredients into a tall narrow container and use a hand blender to mix well. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

To serve: I use some type of firm lettuce such as baby romaine – sometimes I’ll add in arugula if I have it.  The salad is good as a simple one with just fresh toasted croutons (dice bread into ½ inch pieces and drizzle with a little olive oil, then bake five minutes at 350).  And some fresh grated imported parmesan cheese is divine too.

In the picture you see, I chopped my baby romaine with some tomato, sunflower sprouts, pumpkin seeds, leftover steak, corn and croutons. YUM YUM!

Then you’ll want to make more, I guarantee it.  This is also a marvelous vegetable dip if any remains after you start in with your salads. Don’t forget to use it as a condiment for any sandwiches you envision as well.

 

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Summer Savory Corn Pudding

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Comforting Corn Pudding with Colorful Tomatoes

Comforting Corn Pudding with Colorful Tomatoes

I love brunch in the summer – more specifically, Sunday morning gatherings with friends or family.   Most of the invitations I receive or brunches that I host become potluck events – easy, casual ways to entertain.  Unlike many people, I never sign up for bringing fruit, or coffee, or orange juice or bagels (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).  I suppose I figure, because cooking is easy and joyful for me – why not make something homemade. And I tend to make food that presents as more hearty, a little eggy, often a savory dish.  One of my “go to” recipes  has been Spinach or broccoli frittata. This summer, however, I have a new fave.  I’ve been buying fresh sweet corn to grill, to put into salads or soups and this week I remembered an old recipe in my files for a corn “pudding.”

Some recipes require a lot of chopping, sauteeing, baking, what have you.  This little gem requires nothing.  Nisht.  Nada.  Just get the ingredients, stir them together and VOILA.  It’s not the most healthful thing in the world, but it’s quick and fresh tasting.

Let me report that this savory dish flew off the buffet I just brought it to … fortunately I had made a second pan full.  Everyone wanted the recipe…and so I present to you SUMMER SAVORY CORN PUDDING.  It could just as well be a dinner item, and leftovers reheat beautifully.  Make it while there is fresh, succulent sweet corn at the market.  And because it is a bit drab in the old appearance department (golden yellowish brown), slice some ripe tomatoes to serve along side or include other side dishes with pretty colors.

Corn Pudding in My Favorite Dish

Corn Pudding in My Favorite Dish

I try to use an oval, ceramic dish to bake my corn pudding – like the one pictured.  I find it much more appealing than preparing it in a clear glass pyrex container. It’s like night and day really.

Summer Savory Corn Pudding

Serves 10

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Ingredients
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears)  or leftover grilled corn kernels
  • 1-15 oz can cream corn* (see “PPS” note at the bottom)
Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 and put the rack mid oven.  Spray an 9 x 12 baking dish.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl to blend, stir in dry ingredients but DO NOT add the  THE CANNED AND FRESH CORN until the end.  Whisk to blend, adding both types of corn last.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

PS: I have been known to make this in the winter months using frozen corn kernels, defrosted and drained on paper towels.  It is still a wonderful thing but not as tasty as when you make it from sweet corn just cut off the cob.

PPS:  It kind of grosses me out to be using creamed corn from a can!  I never, ever use canned vegetables and I’m including the creamed corn here as an option for you.  However, next time I am going to measure out 1 ½ additional cups of fresh corn, puree it slightly  then add ½ cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken it slightly.

 

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Summer Breakfast Bowl for Champions

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Bountiful Breakfast Bowl

Bountiful Breakfast Bowl

“Breakfast of champions.” A phrase that was blasted on the television and radio all the time when I was a young girl. Of course, this referred to Wheaties breakfast cereal.  And I later remembered  that Breakfast of Champions is the title of a book written by Kurt Vonnegut (I’ve read the book but my breakfast creation isn’t named after that).

We are experiencing a very warm, sunny June in Seattle so I’ve been gravitating toward room temperature or colder foods, yet I really need a filling, healthful breakfast.  I’m not a jump-out-of-bed-put-something-in-my-mouth kind of girl in the morning.  Oh no.  Within an hour of opening my eyes (6am or so), I do require my one and only latte of the day – madewith my home machine, of course.  I then grab some fruit or toast, I exercise and then sit down and eat a proper breakfast around 10am.

And this is what I have become hooked on this summer.   The cereal falls somewhere between muesli and a breakfast bowl.  As an aside, I like having milk, cheese and yogurt daily to help my little bones stay strong and healthy.  Of course I love fruit, nuts and seeds too. So this breakfast bowl speaks to me much more than, say, a smoothie.  I have opted out of the smoothie rage.  Call me crazy or difficult, but I like texture in my food.  It keeps my hunger at bay for hours.

And boy, when I have this “meal in one” – I stay full and satisfied for a long, long time.

Also of note, the yogurt I use, Ellenos, is whole milk yogurt.  It’s from a relatively new company in Seattle and I am absolutely smitten with it, and really — I prefer it to ice cream any day.  If you live anywhere near Seattle, I implore you to find this product and give it a try.

Meal in One Breakfast Bowl

Makes enough for 4 breakfast bowls

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Oatmeal Ingredients
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups milk (you can use juice or almond milk if you don’t do dairy)
  • 1 organic apple, cored and grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions

Combine the above and let it sit in the refrigerator at least an hour or overnight.  This keeps well for up to five days. Remove 1/4th of this for each bowl of goodness.

Topping Ingredient Options

After taking my serving of soaked oats and plopping it in the bowl I use the following as toppings:

  • Berries (here you see blueberries, but strawberries or blackberries or raspberries are all perfect)
  • Some type of toasted chopped nuts (I love pecans)
  • Toasted seeds (I often use sunflower or pumpkin or chia seeds or a combo)
  • Unsweetened, shredded coconut flakes
  • Cubed mango or banana or apricots or peaches other seasonal fruit you love
  • Ellenos yogurt

Let your imagination go wild!

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Don’t Throw Away Those Beet Greens!!

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Beet Greens & Pan Asian Dressing

Beet Greens & Pan Asian Dressing

Often if I purchase beets or carrots or turnips or radishes or fennel at the farmers market, I feel like snapping off the greens and making my bag less unwieldy.  Thankfully, I recently stopped this bad habit when it comes to beets since I started buying them every single week and began using the delicate greens as well as the colorful roots. They are truly the best cooked greens I make, even more so than kale, and they turn out more tender.

Beautiful Beet Greens

Beautiful Beet Greens

Here is how you do it, folks:

Cut the greens away from the beetroot and wash the greens well in a sinkful of warmish water.  Remove the greens and dry them a bit but leave some water clinging to the leaves.

Put the greens in a large stock pot, but don’t add additional water.   Cover and cook over medium heat for five minutes but be careful tso hey don’t scorch.  Add a bit of water if necessary if they are dry and not tender yet.  They cook down a lot, much like fresh spinach

When the greens are soft to the bite, remove from the pot with tongs, drain  and put into a soup bowl.  I then add the same dressing I always have on hand for my Asian-inspired salads and veggies, just enough to give the greens flavor.  You could add anything, reallly.  Butter?  Lemon juice?  Lime juice?  Mustard dressing?  Whatever you feel like on a particular day.

Marilyn’s Pan Asian Dressing

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Ingredients
  • ½ cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (I tasted and added a titch more)
  • ½  Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
Instructions

Whisk all ingredients well. You can add garlic, ginger, ground sesame seeds…just about anything.  This  dressing is pretty thin and watery so be careful not to over dress. After you coat your greens, sprinkle with white and black sesame seeds and eat.

One large bunch of greens feeds two eaters in my house.  They are also good topped with a poached egg or with some soft ricotta cheese.

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Trendy Beet Arugula Salad

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Beautiful Beet & Arugula Salad

Beautiful Beet & Arugula Salad

As many of you “foodie” people know – there’s always a new food trend either heating up or dying down. The clothing you see in stores certainly evolves and particular looks come and go:  bell bottoms, flowy tops, neon colors.  And what you see in grocery markets and on menus is no exception.  Right now – beets, pistachio nuts, ricotta  and arugula are in the spotlight. I cannot remember finding fresh beets or arugula (I didn’t even know what that was) on menus decades ago, but at this point in time if you peruse restaurant offerings here in Seattle, you’d be hard pressed not to find these ingredients featured in some type of dish. I hardly refer to myself as trendy … but I gotta say – I love my beets and arugula!

The salad I created here is a copycat from a place in Ballard, Washington where I ate the other night: Percy’s, a creole/southern restaurant.  It was LOUD and too noisy for me, and the bar was filled on a Monday night with oodles and scads of adorable young people.  My friend and I guessed that we were at least 30 years older than anyone else there.  And I’m not that old!! Thankfully, this restaurant had the most delicious food.

Anyway, we shared this starter salad, which turned out to be so tasty  that I couldn’t wait to come home and make it for dinner.

Trendy Beet Arugula Salad

Serves 4

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Salad Ingredients
  • Fresh roasted, peeled beets – I used eight average-sized ones
  • 4 cups fresh baby arugula
  • 1 ½ cups shelled and coarsely chopped pistachios
  • ¼ English cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta salata cheese
  • Lots of fresh ground pepper to taste
Dressing Ingredients
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
Instructions

Prepare your beets by following my instructions here.

Prepare English cucumber batons by halving the cucumbers, removing seeds and slicing into 1 ½ inch x ¼ inch pieces with the skin still on.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together, and use about one tablespoon to coat the cucumber batons for 20 minutes, then drain the batons and add the liquid to the dressing you’ve made.

When you’re ready to serve, toss the arugula and cucumbers with the rest of the dressing.  For each plated serving, heap one cup of the dressed arugula and cucumber, sprinkle with slices of beets, pistachios, and dollop with the ricotta. Top with ground pepper and serve.

I made this alongside very simple, oven blasted fresh salmon and it was a meal from the gods.  Truly.

Salad & Salmon - Nothing Better!

Salad & Salmon – Nothing Better!

I also tried this with feta to replace ricotta – and it had more zing.  It changed the whole thing so decide if you prefer a different cheese.

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Mediterranean Halibut

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Mouth-Watering Mediterranean Halibut

Mouth-Watering Mediterranean Halibut

OK, I confess: this recipe incorporates the type of flavors and cooking techniques I love best.  Mediterranean saltiness and herbs, one tray cooking in the toaster oven (or conventional oven), beautiful colors to gaze upon, whole, seasonal foods … what could be better?  Honestly, the texture of this dish is just sublime … the limes turn almost sweet and soft, the onions retain a bit of body and crunch but not a raw-onion taste and the then there’s the creaminess from the feta … heaven.  Oh yes, I forgot to say that halibut is one of my all-time favorite fishes to eat so in my mind – enduring all the rainy, gray days here in the Pacific Northwest is worth it just to be able to buy the freshest, bestest seafood.

My Fave Feta

My Fave Feta

Halibut tends to be a little bland so I almost always start with a salt/sugar brine.  However, in this case, the feta and olives add enough saltiness and flavor that brining is unnecessary.   Since this fish tends to be expensive, either make it for special occasions or use another type of firm white fish – even lingcod would be fine.  But Halibut is the “fish de resistance!”

Even More Beautiful Before It Goes Into The Oven!

Even More Beautiful Before It Goes Into The Oven!

I often make this in the summer months when I have lots of fresh herbs growing on the deck.  It is saucy – almost like a fish stew – and I usually serve it over toasted, cooked quinoa pilaf or black rice, and accompany it with crusty fresh bread.  Along with a simple salad you’ll hum your way through the meal.

Mediterranean Halibut

Serves 4

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Ingredients
  • A smear of soft butter for your pan
  • 1 ½ pounds of halibut filet, cut into 4 equal portions
  • 1 white onion, sliced thin into semi circles
  • 3 large organic limes, seeded and sliced the same thickness as the onion
  • 16 small assorted, colorful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 12 sprigs of herbs – either choose dill, cilantro, tarragon, or oregano or a mix
  • ½ cup mixed brined olives, green and black (WITHOUT pits)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 20 grinds of fresh black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup dry vermouth
Ingredients to Garnish
  • ¼ cup of whole sprigs of fresh dill, cilantro, tarragon or whatever is growing in your garden
  • ¼ cup chopped feta
Instructions

Preheat oven or toaster oven with rack in the center to 425 degrees.  Butter a casserole dish that will easily hold the fish filets.

Begin by putting a layer of onions on the bottom, then top with the sliced lime.  Place the fish filets on top of this and scatter tomatoes, herbs and olives around the dish.  Top each filet with drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika.

Pour vermouth around the sides of the dish.

Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked to your liking.

Divide fish and veggies and all the olives etc into four shallow soup dishes and divide the liquid too.  Top each serving with sprigs of fresh herbs and a sprinkle of chopped feta cheese.

Lick your lips!

 

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