June – Summer Detox Salad

June – Summer Detox Salad

Detox salads are all the rage on the internet and Pinterest. And with good reason. It is summer vacation time, yes? And who doesn’t need an occasional detox after too much summer fun. In fact these salads are a good idea anytime you need to boost your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. There are at least 3 servings of vegetables, plus protein, and fiber…all in a single bowl. Use whatever produce is in season, add some nuts, healthy fat as in avocado, and protein. For this salad I used fresh salmon since it is currently in season, but shrimp or chicken would also work. There is a detox salad for every season. This is a hearty lunch or dinner in a single bowl, you don’t need to be “detoxing” to enjoy it.

A big dose of Southern hospitality has driven me to this summer detox salad. I spent a week catching up with family. It was a week filled with love, wonderful conversation, great food, and celebration. I have two brand new beautiful grandnieces, so we have a lot to be grateful for. My extended family is getting bigger…

And so is my waist.

What did me in? If you are curious here are a few of the highlights:

Southern Biscuits and Plum Conserve

Southern Biscuits and Plum Conserve

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Pickles

Fried Pickles

And, of course, delicious wine.

French Rose

French Rose

So, detox salad for a few days seems like a very good idea. I don’t have a “real” recipe for this. It’s a variation of my “everything but the kitchen sink salad“, and a summer version of the “clean out the fridge soup” I make in the winter. Be creative. Use the freshest produce you can find at the store or farmer’s market. Feel free to substitute, the only rule is to use ingredients that are in season. If you can find organic produce, all the better. I harvested the first summer tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden, and added some wild arugula that has become a weed. For a sweet touch and some heft I added the first summer corn, then some sharpness from thinly sliced red onion, crunch from a small handful of nuts, and healthy fat from avocado.

The first garden tomatoes

The first garden tomatoes

Tomato, Cucumber, Red Pepper, and Onion

Tomato, Cucumber, Red Pepper, and Onion

Add some corn.

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

For protein I used salmon, but shrimp or chicken or even cubed feta would be a delicious substitute.

Cubed Salmon, Sauteed, and Drained

Cubed Salmon, Sauteed, and Drained

Let your creative juices run wild, I even tossed in a lonely apricot that needed to be eaten.

Summer Detox Salad

  • 3 tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled if necessary and cubed
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked – they would be delicious grilled, kernels cut from the cob
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound of fresh salmon, cubed and browned, then drained on paper towels
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 handfuls of fresh arugula, romaine, or baby spinach1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Small handful of toasted nuts – pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts or pecans

Dressing

Use a version of my basic vinaigrette, substituting lemon juice for the vinegar in the original recipe.

  • 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt to taste, a good pinch
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Mix the lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small jar. Shake well to blend. Add the olive oil and shake again to emulsify. The vinaigrette will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Or, for a dose of fermented food and probiotics, whirl a few tablespoons of fermented lemon pickle with some olive oil and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. A few parsley leaves added a touch of green.

Fermented Lemon Pickle

Fermented Lemon Pickle

Fermented Lemon Pickle, olive oil and mayonnaise

Fermented Lemon Pickle, olive oil and mayonnaise

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

IMG_4619

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

I am taking this to share with the partying group at Angie’s for Fiesta Friday. Come visit Fiesta Friday #125 by clicking on the link. This week’s co-hosts are Quinn @ dadwhats4dinner and Elaine @ Foodbod.

April – Fermented Lemon Pickle with Indian 5-Spices

April – Fermented Lemon Pickle with Indian 5-Spices

You will find recipes for fermenting vegetables (and sometimes fruit) in every culture. it is a way to preserve seasonal vegetables, increase their nutritional potency, and add a ton of flavor as well. In its simplest form, fermenting vegetables just involves submerging vegetables in salty liquid and leaving them alone to let the wild bacteria do its work.

Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Moroccan preserved lemons, Chinese pickles, Indian pickles, Japanese umeboshi are all examples of fermented vegetables and fruits. In his book, The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz explains that although you can call fermented vegetables pickled, all pickles are not fermented. The “Dill pickles” found in grocery stores are vegetables preserved in vinegar and are not fermented. It is important to know this difference as eating fermented foods has a lot of health benefits.  

Katz in his book observes correctly that Indian pickling is not an unified tradition – each state, each region, each sub-culture, and even each family has its prized pickling method.  Most will add heated mustard or sesame oil, but some may not.  Some will leave it out in the sun, but some will just leave it in a cool place inside.  Some will add lemon juice, some will not. But throughout India you will find fermented lemon pickle served with rice and yogurt. It is a pantry staple.

This fermented lemon pickle is definitely out of my usual comfort zone, but it was so intriguing. I love the mix of spices, and I just happened to have them all on hand having recently visited the Oaktown Spice Shop. I thought, why not? Go for it! I’m posting  the recipe, even though it has to cure for another month, because there are many of us right now with a glut of Meyer lemons, you may want to try it.

I found this recipe on the blog hungry tigress. There are two parts to the blog, tigress in a pickle and tigress in a jam. Check out this blog for wonderful recipes on preserving, pickling and fermenting. I made the recipe exactly how it was written on her blog, you can read the original here.

Meyer Lemon Pickle with Indian 5-Spices

makes 1/2 gallon or two quart jars

Ingredients

  • 13 organic Meyer lemons, washed and wiped dry
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • scant 1/2 cup fine sea salt
  • scant 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cayenne powder or ground chili of choice
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida powder

Method

  1. Wash and wipe the lemons with a dry cloth. Slice 12 of them in quarters lengthwise, slice each quarter through its width into three pieces. Remove the seeds as you go. Put the lemons into a large bowl and try to catch as much juice as possible, adding it to the bowl as you go.
  2. In a heavy dry skillet toast the 5 whole spices on medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally. As soon as you smell a wonderful aroma and the fenugreek seeds have turned a shade darker, they are ready. If you are using the asafoetida powder, add it the last few seconds before turning everything out onto a plate to cool.IMG_4333
  3. Once cool, grind them in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add them to the lemons along with the salt, sugar, cayenne, and turmeric. Stir until all is combined.
  4. Scoop all into a immaculately dry half gallon (or into two quart jars) glass jar with a tight fitting lid. The recipe warns that the jar and all utensils that touch the pickle must be dry because even a little water could lead to spoilage of the lemons.
  5. Place the jar in a sunny windowsill. Give the jar a shake every day or so, or keep in right side up one day and upside down the next.
  6. Every few days open the cap, carefully, as there will be fermentation going on inside and it will sizzle a bit when you open the lid. The pickle should be done in about 3 weeks, taste it to see if the flavor and texture is to your liking. You want some firmness to remain.
  7. Store in the refrigerator and it will easily last for a year or more. Be sure to use a clean dry spoon each time.
    Meyer Lemon Fermented Pickle with Indian 5-Spices

    Meyer Lemon Fermented Pickle with Indian 5-Spices

    I love this pickle with plain brown rice or another grain, with a dollop of yogurt on the side to cut the heat. But, my husband prefers it whirled in a blender with some mayonnaise. It it a wonderful sauce for roasted vegetables, fish, or chicken. It also makes a wonderful salad dressing, whirled to a smooth consistency in a food processor (I use my mini one) and thinned with a little olive oil.

Fermented Lemon Pickle, olive oil and mayonnaise

Fermented Lemon Pickle, olive oil and mayonnaise

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

June – 45 Minute Roast Chicken

June – 45 Minute Roast Chicken

Do you say “it cannot be done”? 45 minutes! Really!? I say it can…by using a small trick. I read this tip in the NY Times Wednesday food section. They intended for it to be used to roast a chicken on your grill like an oven and I originally planned making this recipe as written.  It was the weekend we were moving back into our vacation cabin and I, frankly, ran out of steam after unpacking all day. But, I had already purchased and seasoned the chicken. We were hungry, but lacked the energy to light the BBQ. Consequently I roasted it in the oven as if it were an oven, which it obviously was.

If you roast chickens frequently you will immediately recognize the problem of roasting one perfectly. If you truss the chicken into a neat little package, the area between the thigh and the breast is often undercooked (and still has red juices) when the breast is ready. Many folks are completely turned off by those pink juices and it often means an undercooked thigh, which is my favorite part.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this trick before, it seems so obvious in retrospect.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of chile powder
  • Freshly grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 whole chicken, patted dry
  • Extra virgin olive oil as needed

Utensils

  • Heavy duty 12″ heat proof frying pan or skillet, preferably cast iron

Method

  1. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, chile powder, and lemon zest. Rub the chicken inside and out with the mix. Place the chicken on a rack over a baking pan and refrigerate (uncovered) for 4 hours to overnight.
  2. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly rub the heavy skillet with oil and place it in the oven to heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Here it is: Use a sharp knife to cut the skin connecting the legs from the rest of the body. Use your hands (you can cover them with paper towels if you are squeamish) to splay the thighs open until you feel the joint pop.
  4. Rub the chicken with olive oil. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven (it will be very hot), and place the chicken breast side down in the hot skillet. Return it to the oven and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the breast is seared and easily releases from the pan.
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully turn the chicken breast side up using tongs and a spatula. I am always reminded of Julia Child at this point. Remember the episode when she drops the chicken on the floor, picks it up and places it back on the plate? So funny!
  6. Return the skillet to the oven and continue cooking for another 25-35 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
  7. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

By splaying the legs you will find that the thighs and breast cook at the same rate. The heat has a chance to get into the joint.

Quick Roast Chicken

Quick Roast Chicken

No Pink!

No Pink!

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #124, I think the group will appreciate the tip. I have the honor of co-hosting this week with Lindy @ Love in the Kitchen. Click on the Fiesta Friday link to view all the rest of the party food.

 

June – Bacon Wrapped Carrots

June – Bacon Wrapped Carrots

Roasted oversized vegetables seem to be all the rage these days. I’ve seen roasted carrots and cauliflower and others at the center of a restaurant meal. When I saw this recipe on a Pinterest browse, I had to try it. Do you do that? Pinterest browsing is my favorite “3 am and cannot sleep activity”. Unfortunately the recipe I tried didn’t turn out too well, I have a few tips I will share that might save you the same failure.

  1. Different colored carrots cook at different rates. The orange ones cook the fastest but the darker or lighter ones seem to be woodier (is that a word), and take longer.
  2. Use thinly sliced bacon otherwise it won’t crisp.
  3. Start with a lower oven temperature until the carrots are cooked (they are quite large), then brush with maple syrup and turn up the heat up to crisp everything.

And there you have it. They were delicious warm as a side dish with cold meat, cheese and a salad.

Bacon Wrapped Carrots

Bacon Wrapped Carrots

Ingredients

  • Thinly sliced bacon, depending on the size of the carrots you may need to slices for each carrot
  • Large carrots
  • 2-3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

Method

  1. Wash and peel the carrots, trim the ends
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Wrap the bacon around each carrot slice and place on a baking tray, bacon ends down where possible.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes or until the carrots (mine were quite large) are almost done. You may need to remove some if they are different colors, the bright red and white ones took an extra 5 minutes.
  5. Brush the carrots and bacon with the maple syrup and turn the heat up to 425 degrees F.
  6. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the carrots are beginning to caramelize.
    Roast Large Carrots

    Roast Large Carrots

    That is all there is to it.

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #124, we should all eat more veggies…don’t you think? I have the honor of co-hosting this week with Lindy @ Love in the Kitchen. Click on the Fiesta Friday link to view all the rest of the party food.

June – In My Kitchen

June – In My Kitchen

Welcome to In My Kitchen, a fascinating peak into kitchens around the world that is hosted each month by Maureen of the Orgasmic Chef.

My big news is the new kitchen in our vacation cabin. We spent a year in the planning and it is finally complete. Here are some before and after pictures.

Before - Fridge and stove wall

Before – Fridge and stove wall

After - Fridge and Range Wall

After – Fridge and Range Wall

Before - kitchen with door into pantry

Before – kitchen with door into pantry – the pantry door has been moved around the corner to create more room on the kitchen wall.

After - New Fridge

After – New Fridge – the old fridge was so close to the light switch that it turned off the kitchen lights each time you opened the freezer.

Before - Kitchen Island

Before – Kitchen Island

After - Edge of New Island and Sink

After – Edge of New Island and Sink

The new wood floor really brightens up the space. In fact the entire room looks bigger.

There are a few tiny details to finish but we moved most things back in a couple of weeks ago.

My primary kitchen is in Oakland, and I am pleased to finally have some time to spend there. That is especially true as the summer season begins with all its lovely produce.

Coconut Water

Coconut Water

In my kitchen I have coconut water. For drinking sometimes, but even better as a replacement for chicken broth or water. It adds a subtle coconut flavor to recipes and doesn’t overwhelm the other ingredients. Try it when cooking rice, especially jasmine rice. Or use it in a vegetable soup like spring carrot soup or this autumn butternut squash soup. I haven’t tried it yet but next I want to test the coconut water with a chicken curry.

In my kitchen I have the first of the vine ripened tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and fresh basil which is scenting my kitchen. That smell is the essence of summer to me.

Vine ripened tomatoes and basil

Vine ripened tomatoes and basil

In my kitchen I have zucchini flowers, another treasure from the farmer’s market. I will use them in a summer risotto and a zucchini flower frittata.

Zucchini flowers

Zucchini flowers

In my kitchen I have asparagus, the seasons are overlapping to my benefit. We roasted these on the grill using a recipe from The Frugal Hausfrau.

Asparagus

Asparagus

Lastly, in my kitchen I have sweet peas, the first from my garden. Actually they are everywhere in the house, not just the kitchen. They are one of my favorite flowers as they remind me of my English grandmother, she grew an entire fence of them at her bungalow in Teddington. It is a very fond memory.

Sweet peas

Sweet peas