Main Dish · Recipes · Salad · Vegetarian

Meatless Monday

This chopped vegetable salad is delicious.  It’s from Wolfgang Puck’s book: Live, Love, Eat!, with a few adjustments.  I love the combination of the vegetables, the crunch of the carrots, celery and green beans, and the creaminess of the avocado makes me happy.

The Environmental Working Group has challenged us to go meatless one day everyweek.  We don’t have to be vegetarian to eat healthier, but we can make a lasting impact on our health and our planet by making even small changes in our diet.

Chino Chopped-Vegetable Salad

Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cut diced frozen artichoke hearts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced green beans
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced radicchio
  • Fresh corn kernels, from 2 cobs
  • 1 diced celery
  • 1 cup small cherry or grape or pear tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Hass avocado
  • grated parmesan cheese, to taste
  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
To prepare the vinagrette: In a small bowl , combine the mustard and vinegar.  Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
To prepare the salad:  In a small saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the diced artichoke hearts, season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 3 minutes.  Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Blanch the carrots and green beans for 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside.
Combine artichokes, green beans, celery, carrots, radicchio and red onion.
Add the tomatoes and avocado.
Add the parmesan cheese.
Toss with some of the vinaigrette to coat.  Season to taste.  Toss the greens with the vinaigrette.
Divide the greens among 4 plates.  Mound the chopped vegetables on top and serve.
Who’s driving Sunshine’s car?
Pearl can’t watch.  Okay, maybe she can, but only out of one eye.
Appetizers and Snacks · Bacon · Chocolate · Cocktails · Dessert · Main Dish · Recipes · Salad

Pig Fest

Pig Fest 2011.  That’s right.  Sorry my vegetarian friends, this is not for you.  We had pig cocktails, pig appetizers, pig wrapped in pig and pig for dessert.  Laura even made bacon vodka.  It was quite a glorious feast.  We kind of felt like, well, pigs at the end of the night.

This is our Candied Bacon martini.  The candied bacon made a great stir stick.  We forgot the apple slice called for in the recipe, but it was still good.     We found this recipe in the Los Angeles Times.

Candied Bacon Martini

Candied Bacon:

  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Candied Bacon Martinis:

  • 6 ounces premium vodka
  • 4 ounces Applejack brandy
  • 2 ounces amaretto liqueur
  • 2 ounces maple syrup
  • 4 thin slices tart apple
  • 2 slices candied bacon, halved crosswise

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Dredge the bacon on both sides in the brown sugar and arrange slices so they do not touch on the baking sheet.  Bake until bacon is richly caramelized, 15 to 25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool and allow excess fat to drain.  In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, brandy, amaretto and maple syrup with ice.  Shake until combined and chilled.  Strain into 4 martini glasses and garnish with apple slice and candied bacon.

Laura made her bacon jam.  It was awesome with a little crumbled blue cheese as a bruschetta.

Donna made the most amazing prosciutto wrapped salmon and scallops.   Oh man were they good.  We couldn’t take a picture fast enough to get the whole platter.  Sunshine said they were the best scallops ever.  The salmon was really good too!  Here is her recipe:

Salmon Kebabs with Parsley Vinaigrette

  • 5 tablespoons good-quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar, such as Kimberley
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinned King or Coho salmon fillet (1″ thick), cut into 1 1/2″ chunks (or sea scallops!)
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Donna used prosciutto)
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.  Set aside.
Heat grill to high (450° to 550°).
In a large bowl, combine remaining oil with 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Toss with salmon or scallops to coat.
Set out 3 rows of salmon chunks on a work surface.  Unroll pancetta slices into strips and wrap strips once or twice around salmon, weaving long pieces between chunks.  Skewer each row of salmon with chunks slightly separated.
Oil grate using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels.  Set kebabs on grate and grill, covered, turning once until fish is barely cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Remove salmon and scallops from skewers and arrange on a platter.  Stir parsley into the dressing, spoon on top of the salmon and scallops.  Serve warm with crusty bread for dunking.

Pig wrapped pig.  We served it with a refreshing arugula salad.  This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentis.  I’ve adjusted the cooking time according to the new chart on the National Pork Board website.

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon

Roast

  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 1/2 pound center cut boneless pork loin roast
  • 12 slices (1 pound) bacon

Salad

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups (5 ounces)  baby arugula
Place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°.
In a small bowl, mix the mustards, honey, garlic and rosemary until smooth.  Spread the mustard mixture evenly over the pork.
Starting at one end, wrap a piece of bacon around the pork roast.  Wrap slice of bacon around the roast, making sure to slightly overlap the first piece.  Continue with the remaining bacon until the roast is fully wrapped.  Using 6 to 8 pieces of kitchen twine, tied at regular intervals around the roast, secure the bacon in place.
Place the pork in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and roast for 1 hour.  Cover the pan loosely with foil and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 145°.  Remove from the oven.  Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.  Remove twine and slice into 1/4″ thick slices.
For the salad:  While the pork is resting, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the arugula on a large platter and drizzle with dressing.  Lay pork slices on top and serve.

Chocolate covered bacon.  Okay, this was not for me.  But Laura liked it.  She’s kind of like Mikey.  Remember him?  The Life cereal kid?  Give it to Laura, she’ll eat anything.

Now this was good.  Really good.  INSANELY good.  It’s the maple-pecan sundaes with candied bacon.  I made the vanilla ice cream with the last of the Tahitian vanilla.

What’s so funny, Stephanie?

Donna!  You look like you’re up to something.

Manly men tending the fire and talking about manly things, like fire.

Classic Laura.

Paige barks a lot.  The only way to get her to shut up is to pick her up.  So we bought this contraption.  God bless Steven for wearing it.  Of course it didn’t work, so we gave her some Benadryl.  Of course that didn’t work, so we’ve resorted to on-line training with the Dog Whisperer.  And I have some shocking news.  Mom, you might want to sit down for this one.  Paige is an ANIMAL.  And then she’s a DOG.  She is not our child in a furry coat.

What’s next?  I think maybe a retirement party.  Not what you think though.  I’ve got a Mexican dress that I’ve had for way too long.  It’s been my go to dress for every party.  So, one last hurrah for my mexi-party dress, and then I’ll retire it.  Anyone who has something they’ve worn to death and need to retire is welcome.  Send Sunshine your pictures dressed in your oldies but not so goodies and he’ll make us a slide show for the party:)

Appetizers and Snacks · Recipes · Salad · Vegetarian

watermarc beets

We had a tasty dinner at Watermarc recently.  Mom and Dad took us for Joey and Sunshine’s birthdays.  I shared a beet platter with Dad that tasted as good as it looked.  I’ve been getting beets galore in our CSA box, so I thought I would give them a try.  Here is my version…

Watermarc Beets

  • Baby beets
  • French feta
  • Micro greens
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Finely minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400º.  Season beets with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap them in foil.  Cook until they are tender when pierced with a fork.  Timing will depend on size.  It can take anywhere from 40 minutes to just over an hour.   Let cool and peel.

To make the dressing: mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice.  Mix in a little bit of mustard, salt and pepper.  Add shallots and mix to combine.

Toss the beets in the dressing, set on the platter.  Toss the micro greens with the dressing and create mounds on the platter.  Cube the feta and place on the platter.  Season to taste.

Can’t wait for the tomatoes!

Figs are coming too..

Paige can be a sweatheart.

She got a new kennel.  She’s getting used to it.  And then one day I’m hoping we will be able to sleep through the night!!!!

It looks like prison, but then again you can consider it to be her private suite.

Main Dish · Recipes · Salad · Vegetarian

biggest loser and sweet beets

I love beets.  I also love how I’ve lost 10 pounds since the beginning of this year!

Gretchen organized a biggest loser competition at work and it’s been great.  Treats around the office are healthier than they used to be.  And everyone is working out at lunch time.  There is a $200.00 pot for the biggest loser.  I want that pot.

So that explains all of my light and lovely posts.  I want to eat great food, period.  And this is great food in my book.  It’s big on flavor, so a little goes a long way.  We had this for dinner, along with Sunshine’s famous swai and broccoli.  Swai is a farmed catfish.  It’s considered a “best choice” by Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch because it is farmed in a more ecologically responsible manner.  And since it’s farmed, it’s inexpensive.

Roasted Beets with Pistachios and Stilton Blue Cheese

  • beets
  • handful of pistachios
  • crumbled Stilton blue, or any blue cheese you happen to like
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°.  Wrap the beets in foil with a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast until fork tender, about an hour.  Allow to cool, rub off the skins and slice into wedges.  To make the vinaigrette: whisk olive oil, lemon juice and mustard together.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the beets in the vinaigrette, top with pistachios and crumbled blue cheese.

Sunshine’s  Famous Swai

  • Swai
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Lemon Juice

Preheat the grill.  Season the swai with Old Bay Seasoning and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Sunshine creates a foil boat and places the swai inside.  Cook over high heat for 6 minutes with the grill lid closed.  That’s it folks.

The wonder drug.  Our pooches decided 3:30AM is an appropriate hour to get the day started.  Not anymore… the vet suggested we give Molly and Paige a half  of a Benadryl, and now we get to sleep until 5:00AM.  It’s a whole new world.  See how happy Sunshine looks?

The culprits.

Healthy · Recipes · Salad · Vegetarian

asparagus and zucchini crudi

Sibley made this for us a while ago.  It was so delicious…I HAD to have the recipe!  After she sent it to me I realized I already had it in my  Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites cookbook.  I’ve flipped through that book at least a million times…it just took Sibley for me to see it.  It takes just minutes to prepare because there is nothing to cook!

Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ounce shaved parmigiano-reggiano

Using a vegetable peeler, shave zucchini into long strips.  Trim hard stem ends of asparagus, slice in half lengthwise, and then into 2″ long pieces.

Mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to combine, and then drizzle over vegetables.  Garnish with shaved parmigiano-reggiano.

Healthy · Recipes · Salad · Vegetarian

fantastic broccoli salad

Check it out.  I had a similar salad at Haute Cakes Cafe a few days ago.  It was so delicious…I couldn’t wait to try my own version with the broccoli bounty from our garden.   I used raspberry vinegar to dress this fantastic broccoli salad, but you could use cider vinegar just as easily.  I also used the blood orange olive oil Melissa sent us from B.R. Cohn, thanks Melissa!  I’ll make it for you the next time you come over….The Bachelor on Monday perhaps?

Fantastic Broccoli Salad

  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of grapes, halved
  • Handful of slivered almonds
  • Handful of walnut pieces
  • Small amount of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Good splash of raspberry or cider vinegar
  • Drizzle of good olive oil, the blood orange olive is really tasty, but not absolutely necessary
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the broccoli into small florets, chop the tender stem ends.  Reserve the rest of the stems for soup.  Add to a large stock pot with a small amount of water and pinch of salt.  Steam for a few minutes until crisp tender and bright green.

Add the blueberries, grape halves, slivered almonds and walnut pieces.  Toss with vinegar and olive oil.  Gently fold in the goat cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I made a little soup with the stems.

I’ve never grown broccoli before.  I’ve got to come up with a recipe for the leaves…hmmm.

So pretty!  It was a little frosty outside when I took this picture.

Healthy · Main Dish · Recipes · Salad · Side Dish

dinner for less than a trillion calories

FINALLY!  Dinner for less than a trillion calories.  This after Chik made us ride 7.5 miles on our bikes.  That’s a lot for people who don’t ride bikes.  My legs felt like they were going to fall off.  I felt very righteous after our ride…and Sunshine kept going on about how Monday is the beginning of his week to be good and healthy…so, I guess I was inspired, or he shamed me into making this dinner.  Either way, it is delicious.

Red cabbage slaw with smokey blue cheese

  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • good splash of cider vinegar
  • drizzle of good olive oil
  • 2 ounces of smokey blue cheese

Grilled chicken thighs with ancho chili rub

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Yukon gold mashed potatoes

  • 1 pound baby yukon gold potatoes
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the slaw: shred cabbage and carrots and combine in a bowl.  Add cider vinegar, olive oil and smokey blue cheese.  Refrigerate.

For the grilled chicken: combine chili powder, cumin and salt.  Season chicken.  Grill for 4 minutes over medium heat.  Turn chicken and grill for 3 minutes longer.

For the mashed potatoes:  Cut potatoes into 1″ pieces and steam until fork tender.  Mash with olive oil, add steaming water as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Turley has moved on from eating my shoes to spying on the neighbors.

Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says:  Hi Slop!
I’ve been waiting for you to cook something that would pair well with my favorite white wine find this year – a 2008 Chilean Chardonnay from Errazuriz.
The Chardonnay , called Wild Ferment, features a complex, multi-layered nose that combines mineral notes with expressive tropical fruit aromas. This fresh and elegant white has just the right amount of toasted notes from oak ageing to cut through the ancho chili on the chicken and compliment the smokey blue cheese in the cabbage side dish at the same time. No need to open two different wines for this meal! I love the bright acidity that balances the lush and creamy texture that leads to a long, lingering, and pleasing finish.
How about an invite for this one?!?

Okay Greg…you’ve got it.  Come over anytime….but don’t forget the wine!!!  Love ya…Slop