Sunday, April 29, 2012

Greek Inspired Fiddlehead Fern Salad

I grew up in rural Connecticut where the floor of the lush woods is covered with healthful vegetation untouched by chemicals or pesticides.  My parents planted garden both floral and vegetable in the very fertile soil; if you plant it-it will grow.  My father would go hunting and fishing with the neighborhood fellow and would bring back interesting and new things for us to try.  One time he actually brought back a squirrel, for some reason that's not nearly as odd as, my mother actually cooked it up for dinner. 

No worries this post is not about wild woodland creatures big or small.  It's about Fiddlehead ferns my dad would bring home every now and again.  They must have been good if I'm making them all these decades later. 

A Fiddle-head is the little curlicue sprout before it blossoms into a fancy fern frond.  Fiddleheads taste like asparagus and have a crisp crunch to them and are a vibrant green.  They are full of antioxidants too. Check out Nutrition Facts for Fiddleheads.

Through the use of Twitter I contacted @wegmans the moderator for Wegman's Food Markets.  I requested that fiddleheads be delivered to the produce department of the store in my town.  Spring is the peak season for these so time was of the essence.  In a  matter of a couple of weeks they were able to get a good amount in stock for me. Thanks @wegmans and Mark, the Produce Manager!

First we have to clean and blanch these fiddleheads.  Cleaning and precooking fiddleheads is a crucial step because they could contain microbes.  Oh stop it! There's no need to feel squeamish! This is food the way it was meant to be fresh from mother earth.

With a paring knife remove the stem end of each fiddlehead then rinse them in a colander under cold water.

Okay let's get cookin'.  Here's what I used:

1 lb Fiddleheads
2-3T Salt
1C Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 small Red Onion, sliced
1/2 C Kalamata Olives, pitted and halved
1/4 C Feta Cheese

1/4 C Olive Oil
2 T Fresh Lemon Juice
1T Dijon Mustard
1 cloves garlic. minced
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t dried oregano
ground black pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil then add 2-3 T of salt.  Cook the fiddleheads in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, them remove with strainer and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Drain once cooled. 

See don't they look better now?!? I told you not to worry.....

Meanwhile combine Olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, oregano and pepper in a large screw top container or shaker with tight lid.  Shake to mix.

In a mixing bowl place tomatoes, olives, onions, half of the feta cheese, Greek dressing and fiddleheads.  Mix to combine.  Place mixed salad into serving dish and top garnish with remaining feta cheese. Enjoy!

I hope you try this. Fiddleheads are very tasty and healthful!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Orange Mango Carrot Popsicles

Orange Mango Carrot Popsicles

Break out the juice machine and make delicious, refreshing, and all natural Popsicle.  Even those picky eaters that shun veggies won't know the carrots are what make these icy pops so sweet and healthy.  One of that many things I love about these treats is their vibrant orange color and the fact they are 100% All Natural!! No coloring, preservatives or additive :D

The trick to a good popsicle is to not add water.  So don't try to take a short cut by using store bought orange juice of any kind.

Here's what I used:
2/3 C Carrot juice (1lb bag)
1- 4lb Bag of Navel Oranges juiced
2 Mangoes
1/2 C Light Agave Nectar (optional)

Listen, these measurements are really by preference.  You add as much or as little of each as you feel you'd like.  The first batch of these I made the family wasn't too keen on the carrot flavor.  Well that's not completely accurate, my niece Audrey who can't stand veggies loved these Popsicle and she knew there was carrot in them.  My sister wanted them to be even sweeter even though the carrots and mangoes are very sweet hence the addition of the agave nectar.  So, it really does depend on your own personal pallet.

I love these Groovy Popsicle molds from Tovolo.  They're big and the grooves make them fun! Plus the handle has a little cup that catches the drips.  Wash and dry your molds and secure them in their stand. 

 Wash carrots and run them through the juicer.  I love my Jack LaLanne Power Juicer because it runs so quietly and the motor doesn't get bogged down when I add the fruit/vegetables.  Plus clean up truly is a breeze and it is not all that expensive. 



 Juice some more!

Juice the oranges.  I'm thinking about ordering an electric orange juicer from  What do you think?  Do you have one? How often do you use it?  I think I would drink more fresh orange juice if I had one. 

This recipe was originally going to be just orange and carrot, but I found these gorgeously ripened mangoes in the fruit bowl so I may as well throw them in! Select the ripest mangoes you can find they should have an even dark pinkish color on both sides and be soft to the touch but not mushy.  Wash them and dry them with a clean towel.

Using a sharp knife very carefully cut around the large stone inside by cutting straight down both sides of the mango. 
Score the mango slices in a crisscross pattern then flip the slices inside out.  Simply cut the square sections off and place in the blender.

Once you have the mango cubes in the blender add Orange juice, Carrot Juice and agave nectar.  Blend until smooth.  This should be enough liquid to fill at least a dozen standard size Popsicle molds, if not add a bit more orange juice.

 If you are using agave now would be the time to add it.  Start with 1/2 C then add more if desired.

Fill your molds and freeze for at least 4 hours. Be sure to leave a 1/4-1/2 inch of head space room at the top of each mold.  This is going to be one Yummy Summer!!!

Orange Mango and Carrot Popsicles
Makem', Tastem' and Let me know what you think! :D

I used these products for this recipe and encourage you to do the same.  (P.S. The Juiceman is on my wishlist. ;) )
, , , ,

What are some of your favorite fruit/veggie sweet treat combinations?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cool cucumber and avocado smoothie

It is going to be such a hot summer this year. The only problem I have with that is I can't realistically sit around sipping mojitoes all day ( or can I?). hmmm....

For now I'll enjoy this quick and simple Cool cucumber and avocado smoothie. 

You'll need:
1 ripe hass avocado peeled, pit removed and chopped
1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 C non-fat milk
1T lemon juice
Throw it all in a blender. Blend. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tomato Basil Sea Scallop Croustini with Sriracha Chili Sauce

Tomato Basil Sea Scallop Croustini with Sriracha Chili Sauce
Tomato Basil Sea Scallop Croustini with Sriracha Chili Sauce
With a crunchy toasted croustini and tomato basil bed upon which these succulent scallops sit these appetizers are like a party in your mouth.  Serve these as a pass around at a cocktail party or as a small plate for lunch or snack. 

I just couldn't pass up these fresh plumb all natural scallops.  A pound of these yielded 15-18 pieces and were $16.99 per lb.  So, I got a half pound which came out to be eight scallops.  I asked the fish monger to hand me the container so I could smell them and sure enough they smell sweet and just like the ocean.  Not fishy at all.

Here's what I used to make these Tomato Basil Sea Scallop Croustini with Sriracha Chili Sauce

8 Sea Scallops
French Baguette sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
5 small vine ripened tomatoes (ping pong or golf ball size)
Fresh Basil leaves
2T Unsalted Butter
1/4 C Mayonaise
1T Sriracha Chili Sauce
1T Lemon fresh juice
1T Ketchup
1T Oilive oil
1 garlic clove
S&P to taste

Rinse your scallops with cold running water then lay on a plate lined with paper towel and pat them dry.

Lightly sprinkle scallops with kosher salt.

I decided to use a cast iron skillet over a non-stick pan because I wanted to get a really good browning and canalization on these scallops quickly.  A non-stick pan would have required a longer cooking time and you never want to over cook a scallop. 

Melt the butter over medium high heat.  Place the scallops in butter and cook for 2 -3 minutes. 

Turn each scallop over and continue to cook for another two-three minutes.  While scallops are cooking tilt the pan and spoon the hot browning butter over the tops.  Once the scallops are finished cooking remove them from the pan and place on a plate with a clean towel to drain. 

The grocer's bread department usually carries baguettes already sliced into rounds, but if you can't find those then grab a whole baguettes and slice it into 1/4 inch rounds.  Place 16 rounds on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil.  Place under the oven broiler and keep an eye on them.  Toast until golden but not burnt.

While the baguette rounds are still hot take a clove of garlic and rub each piece of bread.  The more you scrub the rounds with the garlic the more flavor it will impart. 

Slice your small  tomatoes into 16 slices or enough slices for each baguette round you have. Please note these are not cherry tomatoes they are just very small tomatoes about the size of ping pong or golf balls.

Pluck 16 Medium sized leaves from your fresh basil plant or package.  DO NOT use dried basil!

In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, lemon juice, ketchup.  Place a dollop on each garlic toasted round.

Lay each scallop on its side and slice in half creating two pieces each with a seared caramelized top.  I wish I had photographed this step, but I'm sure you can figure it out.  If not let me know in the comments.  

Tomato Basil Sea Scallop Croustini with Sriracha Chili Sauce

Create you layers.  Croustini, sriracha sauce, then lay down a basil leaf, top that with a tomato slice and lastly sit a scallop half on top.  Serve and Enjoy!!!

Tomato Basil Sea Scallop Croustini with Sriracha Chili Sauce

Tomato Basil Sea Scallop Croustini with Sriracha Chili Sauce

These snacks are so good! I hope you have a chance to try making them for yourself.  If you do please let me know how they came out.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Roasted Lamb and Mint Jelly Sliders

I hope everyone had a Blessed and Joyous Easter! Easter church service is one of my favorite times of the year and one of the most tearful.  I am so thankful to Jesus for his sacrifice for me.  imagine standing in Mary's shoes. 

Well I made some really quick and tasty Roasted Lamb and Mint Jelly Sliders for dinner tonight from the left overs from yesterday.  

Just a quick note: I roasted a 7 lb bone-in Leg of Lamb to perfection.  Here's how.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a paring knife make one inch incisions and insert a sliver of garlic do this all over the top side of the roast (about 10 times). Place lamb fat side up in a roasting pan.  In a small bowl mix 4T Olive oil, 2T Kosher salt, 2 T each of dried Rosemary, Sage & Thyme and 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper.  Rub mix all over the top of the lamb.   Roast lamb at 400 for 30 minutes then reduce to 350 degrees and roast for 1.5 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest for 20-25 minutes temp should rise to 165 degrees. Serve with your favorite sides.

Make gravy with drippings!  In a sauce pan over medium heat whisk 2T flours into 1/4 cup of drippings whisk until smooth, then stir in remaining drippings up to 1 1/2 cups.  Season to taste.  Note: If your lamb doesn't produce enough dripping then use beef broth to make up the difference. 

For the sliders:
Leftover lamb sliced into bite size pieces
Leftover gravy
One medium onion sliced
1 Cup (4oz) Gouda cheese shredded
8 Fresh or Frozen Dinner Rolls
1T Mint Jelly
2T Mayonnaise

 Bake dinner rolls, grate cheese, saute onion and warm leftover lamb and gravy. 

Next, mix the mayo and jelly together ( I know it sounds wired but it makes assembly so much easier).

Split a roll in half, smear with the mayo-mint sauce.  Stack on heated lamb, sauteed onion, cheese and then gravy. Replace the top of the roll and Enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

French Bread Breakfast Tart

I usually like to eat the standard American breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast in some form or another.  With that said I also like a mobile breakfast that can be eaten on the go.  So, check out this open face egg and cheese French Bread Breakfast Tart.  Easy, very tasty and can be picked up and eaten in one hand.  The French Bread is just about as awnry as I am first thing in the morning.  Granted, on the weekends 'first thing in the morning' is not until about 10am so this holds me until lunch quite well.

Ingredients I used:

1- Pillsbury French Bread refrigerated roll
4-large egg
1 1/2 C shredded Gouda cheese
1 C slices of Ham-rolled then sliced into ribbons
4 T chopped chives
Dash of dried Basil, Rosemary, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray then line with parchment paper.

Chop, shred and slice your ingredients.  I used Gouda because I really like the mild aged flavor and the creamy texture when it's melted.

Carefully unroll the french bread roll, look for the seam and pry the roll apart.  Then divide it into four rectangles.  I use a pizza cutter.  Spread the dough with your fingers until it is about 1/4 inch thick and as large a rectangle as you can get it.  

Okay now! Build a nest for your egg.  Sprinkle the dough with a pinch of dried basil, rosemary salt and pepper.  Divide the pile of cheese into for and mound and spread it on top of the dough.  Follow that with the ham and then the chive.  You want to make sure there is a well in the center.  That's where your egg will nest.

Crack an egg and drop it into the center of all your ingredients. Oh pardon the interruption, you may have noticed the orange juice in the background? That was made by the hands of my niece Kayleigh.  She is learning to cook and decided to add to the menu.  Thank you very much Kayleigh for your valued input.  <3

Now,  fold edges of dough up 1 inch over filling, making pleats and pressing dough firmly..  Work quickly otherwise the egg white will try to make a run for it. 

Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20-25 minutes until the bread is golden and the egg white is set. 

This is better than anything you can get at McGolden King. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mango Ginger Habanero Drummette Lollipops

Mango Ginger Habanero Chicken Drummette Lollipops
Mango Ginger Habanero Drummette Lollipops

The retailer I work for was so gracious to bump our employee discount up to 20% this weekend,(seriously?).  Anyway it's better than nothing.  Being a lover of all things housewares and gourmet food related I am actually quite pleased to be in charge of that department.  I get to see all the new products before anyone else and can ferret them away before they are gone. Teehee!!!

One of the things I found was a bottle of Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce.  I love flirting with the heat of the Habanero it is so darn hot, but also has a good flavor.  I despise hot just for the sake of being hot.  As you know the Habanero was once the Worlds's hottest pepper known to man.  Go Trinidad!!!

I enjoy chicken wings, but hate the mess of eating them.  Turning them into lollipops eliminates that icky sticky mess.

Here's a quick and super easy, nearly lazy, snack I made today before heading off to work....

You'll need:
1 small package of chicken wing drummettes.  (1.21lbs)
1/4 C Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce

and perhaps a glass of milk....
In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat reduce 1/4 C of the Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce to a syrupy consistency, about 10 mins.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grab the thin end of the drummette firmly, then carefully cut through the skin surrounding the bone, using a sawing motion and turning it around. Don’t try to force it, let the knife do the work.  Once the skin is cut all around, use your knife to scrape down the meat from the bone. Cut through the silver skin. Push the meat down to the other end.  At this point you can either turn it inside out or leave the skin on the outside.  I prefer the skin on the outside so it can crisp up.

Season with salt and pepper and place on  baking sheet with a rack.  This will allow some of the fat to leave, and promote even roasting.

Roast your drummette lollipops at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  

Remove and en-robe your roasted chicken wing drummettes in the Mango Ginger Habanero syrup.   Serve with a glass of milk. Enjoy!!!

  These are so good!

Habanero Eating Contest anyone!?!

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Deborah :D
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