Today was a nice warm Spring day here in the Bay Area, so I thought a watermelon salad would be nice for dinner. I love watermelon and feta, although I did consider using grilled Halloumi cheese instead, but went with feta since it is a lot more economical, but I may try it next time with the Halloumi. Next was some protein to make it a complete meal in my husband’s eyes, started with chicken, but switched to shrimp to make all family members happy as my son currently is not loving chicken. I also think the salad would be good with some cherry tomatoes, but alas, my market only had small tomatoes that were a very under-ripe light red color, so I left them out. But if you have access to good vine-ripened tomatoes, include them. Enjoy with a glass of cold Rosé from Provence!
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a Tablespoon more for the shrimp)
2 Tablespoons raw pinenuts
1 garlic clove, minced
freshly ground black pepper
About 4 cups cubed watermelon (about 1/2 small seedless watermelon)
1 large head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
About 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade mint (cut in fine shreds)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium bowl mix 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Add the raw shrimp and let soak for 15 minutes to 1 hour in the refrigerator.
While the shrimp brines, whisk in a small bowl, the vinegar, miso, and honey. Gradually whisk in the oil. Set aside.
Roast the pine nuts for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
Remove Shrimp from brine and drain completely. Coat shrimp with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and pepper. Grill or Broil shrimp for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
Place about a cup of torn lettuce on each plate. Add cut watermelon, grilled shrimp, a sprinkle of feta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and pour some dressing over the salad. Garnish with chopped mint. Enjoy!
Hello Spring! Here in the SF Bay Area it finally feels like spring. The weather has been wacky, felt more like fall than spring recently, but the last two days have been beautiful and warm (ok, less warm today…but I made this yesterday) so I decided to make a salad with fresh bing cherries, tomatoes, avocados and pistachios. It turned out to be a really nice and substantial salad for dinner.
Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti and parmesan dishes using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.
1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 large spaghetti squash
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
6 oz. bag of fresh organic spinach, chopped
1 cup (approx.) shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom. Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
Rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are softened.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti.
Turn the oven on to Broil.
Microwave the spinach for one minute and press out the excess water. Divide up the spinach and parmesan in half and add to each squash half. Add about 1/2 cup of sauce and mix into the squash. Top with a little more sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Place squash under broiler and cook until cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.
Depending on the size of the squash and your appetite either cut each half again so they are in quarters or serve as is. Enjoy!
You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!
Make it dairy-free: My daughter does not eat cheese, so I made hers without the parmesan and mozzarella and it was still very delicious.
It is autumn and that means pomegranate time! I love pomegranates but I hate getting the arils (seeds) out of them. I pretty much have avoided them unless I was willing to shell out the cash to buy the arils in a package. Then to be honest they are often slimy and not so great. But lo and behold I discovered recently that cutting open a pomegranate doesn’t have to look like something was butchered in my kitchen! I can’t believe I didn’t know this until a couple of weeks ago–how did I miss this? This would have saved my children and myself a lot of anxiety every autumn when they wanted my to buy whole pomegranates and I would try my best to avoid it or get really crazy with bibs and aprons and tons of paper towels to contain the flying red juice. Sorry kids! Click here for detailed instructions on how to accomplish this feat and keep your hands their natural color.
I got this recipe idea from the wonderful chef my husband hired for my birthday recently. She made this incredible little appetizer of crostini, grilled Haloumi cheese and pomegranate seeds. The flavors were so incredible and so autumn-like! So today I was trying to come up with an interesting salad with pomegranate seeds and then I thought about the warmed Haloumi cheese and voilà, this is what I came up with. Hope you all like it as much as we did!
Vibrant pomegranate, fennel, tomato, baby lettuce and Haloumi salad is full of wonderful autumn flavors .
Credit: adapted from Haloumi, Pomegranate and Rocket Salad on Taste.com.au
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
180 grams Haloumi Cheese, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
12 ounces of mixed baby lettuces
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, reserve some fronds for garnish
1 pomegranate, seeded (see this page for excellent instructions)
Mix first four ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to emulsify it. Set dressing aside.
Place the greens and fennel slices in a large serving bowl.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pine nuts to the dry pan and toast for a few minutes. Careful they burn fast! Remove pine nuts and set aside.
Add a little cooking spray to pan and heat up again. Add the Haloumi slices and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until slightly browned. Remove from pan and place on top of salad.
Heat up the tomato halves in the hot pan for just a couple of minutes, adding a little salt and pepper and spread them on top of the Haloumi on the salad. Add the pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts and serve with the dressing on the side (or toss if you prefer).
Pretty warm day here in the Bay Area. I decided I would make crab cakes Crab Cakes and a tomato, corn and avocado salad. This was based on what looked fresh at the grocery store today. Just a quick salad that I threw together, no actual recipe, but I tried to capture it the best I could in the recipe below. Enjoy!
Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata
1 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters depending on size
1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
1 tablespoon lime juice (approx)
2 ears of fresh corn, cooked and sliced off the cobb
2 tablespoons ricotta salata cheese, very small dice
freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Combine the tomatoes, avocado with lime juice, corn and ricotta in a medium bowl. Try to add the corn while it is still hot or warm, it warms up the rest of the salad and makes the flavor more intense. Mix well.
Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and olive oil and mix well.
So easy and so delicious! I got the recipe from Feed Me Phoebe and I have made it several times. The first couple of times I used Great Northern beans instead of Garbanzo beans and I have also used marinated artichokes instead of water-packed artichokes, but I think it is healthier with the water-packed artichokes. I have also added a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach in the past, which I would have done today, but I am out of spinach! The hummus is great any of these ways. Below is the basic recipe, pretty much unchanged from Phoebe Lapine’s recipe.
Wow, ten days have passed since I last posted a recipe! My daughter was home for spring break and she was bored so she decided she would do a lot of the cooking, so Helpful! But she doesn’t follow recipes or want to participate in my blogging project, so I haven’t had much to post. Thank you again Melissa Clark and New York Times Cooking for this recipe! This is a very healthy and hearty vegetarian soup that can be bulked up further with lentils, grains or sausage (no longer vegetarian then) if one desires. We decided we just wanted a warm vegetarian soup that wasn’t too heavy, so we left it as is except we added a can of chopped tomatoes and some broth to the recipe.
1 1/2 lb mixed mushrooms such as shiitake, cremini, oyster, etc. medium dice
½ lb shallots, finely diced
fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped (use a little less if dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
one 14.5 oz can chopped peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
4 cups water
1 cup of low-sodium vegetable broth
5 ounces baby spinach
fresh lime juice, to taste (I cut one lime and served the wedges with the soup so people could squeeze in as much as they wanted at the table)
plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread out chopped mushrooms and shallots on a large lightly oiled sheet pan. Sprinkle vegetables with a little salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes and then stir. Roast for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have substantially shrunk and most of the liquid has evaporated. You can alternatively do this in the pot you are going to make your soup in by sautéing the vegetables.
Heat a large pot over medium heat, add a little olive oil to just barely coat bottom of pot, after that is heated add the mushrooms and shallot mixture, tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice. If you like a little more spice, add a little more of all spices as I did. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in can of tomatoes including the liquid, 4 cups of water and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook gently for at least 20 minutes. I simmered for over an hour because I had the extra time. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted, 1-2 minutes.
Using a blender or food processor, coarsely purée 1/2 of the soup and add back to unprocessed soup. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve in bowls with a squeeze of fresh lime, sprinkle of thyme and an optional dollop of yogurt. Enjoy!