August 31, 2011

Watermelon Licuado

A licuado, from the Spanish term for liquefied, is a fresh fruit beverage made from blended fruit, milk or water and occasionally ice. Though licuados are served throughout Latin America, they are especially popular in Mexico, where they are one of many fruit based beverages. Any kind of fresh fruit or fruits can be used in to make licuados, depending upon availability and personal preference. Sweeteners, such as honey or sugar, are frequently added to licuados, though they are not always necessary due to the inherent sweetness of the fruit itself. Licuados are a refreshing addition to a hot summer day and a lovely alternative to other chilled beverages.

4 c watermelon, seeds removed and cut into chunks

2-4 c water

1 lime, thinly sliced

1. Place watermelon chunks in blender. Blend until watermelon is a thick liquid, stirring well so that all watermelon has been blended.

2. Place 2 cups water in a large beverage container, at least 8 cups in size. Pour in blended watermelon and thoroughly stir to combine. Add additional water if desired, up to 4 cups. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

3. Garnish with sliced lime and serve chilled. Maybe be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Serves 3-4

August 27, 2011

Roasted Okra

Okra, also referred to as lady's fingers or gumbo, is the seedpod of a flowering plant in the mallow family from the old world. Popular in Asian and African cuisines, okra made its way to the Americas on slave ships from Africa during the 17th century and has since been a staple of Southern cuisine. Mucilage, produced by most plants and microorganisms, is the mucus surrounding the seeds within the okra pod, which becomes especially thick with cooking. Different methods of cooking can be used to reduce the thickness of the mucus including leaving pods whole, using acidic ingredients, cooking quickly and roasting, which is a deliciously simple way to prepare okra. Roast okra can be eaten with hummus and baba ghanoush or served along side braised pork or chicken and of course collard greens.

½ lb okra

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss okra with olive oil until well coated.

2. Spread okra out on a large baking sheet and place in oven. Roast until tender and golden brown, 10-15 minutes.

3. Once tender, remove okra from oven and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve roast okra warm, room temperature or chilled.

Serves 3-4

August 22, 2011

Coleslaw with Rice Vinaigrette

The term coleslaw comes from the Dutch term for cabbage salad, koolsalade. Domesticated cabbage originated as a wild mustard plant, which grew along the Mediterranean seacoast. Cabbage is a great addition to any diet because it is high in vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber, among other nutritional properties. Coleslaws have become one of the more popular salads in American cuisine, but all too often they are drenched with creamy dressings, which can detract from both the flavor of the vegetables and their general appeal. Vinaigrettes make a lovely dressing for coleslaw, as cabbage and vinegar compliment each other and the colors and flavors of the vegetables are still able to shine. Coleslaws are a delicious addition to any number menus including Mexican, Thai, Mediterranean and American. Smashed new potatoes or purple potato salad are both delicious with coleslaw.

Any variety of cabbage may be used.

1 small head cabbage, quartered and thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, trimmed and grated

¼ red bell pepper, finely diced

1 small white onion, finely diced

¼ c peas

¼ c almonds, sliced and toasted

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

2 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Toss cabbage, carrot, red bell pepper, onion peas and almonds together in a medium mixing bowl.

2. In a small bowl, combine parsley, vinegar and brown sugar. Continue stirring or set aside until sugar has dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, add olive oil and stir to combine.

3. Pour dressing over prepared vegetables and thoroughly toss to combine. Place coleslaw in fridge and marinate coleslaw at least one hour.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves 3-4

August 17, 2011


Gazpacho is a Spanish tomato based raw vegetable soup eaten during the warm part of the year and typically served room temperature or chilled. Originating in Andalusia, Spain, gazpacho is likely based on a Muslim or Roman peasant soup consisting of bread, garlic, olive oil and water, to which the Spanish later incorporated vegetables from the new world including tomatoes and peppers. Gazpacho is eaten throughout Spain, Portugal, and Central American, yet the soup itself varies a great deal depending upon both ingredients used and the texture and consistency created. Gazpacho is delicious with leek galette and white wine sangria.

Most any lighter bread will work.

4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 c stale bread, roughly chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped

1 medium red or orange bell pepper, trimmed and roughly chopped

1 tbsp fresh parsley

1 tbsp fresh basil

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 small yellow or red onion, trimmed and roughly chopped

salt and pepper

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

1. Thoroughly combine bread and olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Set aside for 2 hours.

2. Place onion, cucumber, bell pepper, garlic and herbs into a food processor and pulse or lightly blend until finely chopped. Add tomato and continue to process until everything is finely chopped.

3. Add bread and process until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve gazpacho room temperature or chilled, topped with balsamic vinegar and olive oil to taste.

Serves 3-4

August 11, 2011

Orange Sesame Carrots

Carrots are native to Southwestern Asia, where the greatest diversity of wild carrots are still found, and have been cultivated for thousands of years to increase sweetness and reduce woody bitterness common to wild carrots. Carrots were originally grown for their leaves and seeds, similar to their relatives such as fennel, cumin, dill and parsley. Carotene, metabolized by humans into vitamin A, is responsible for the brilliant orange color of most carrots and can turn skin orange if eaten in massive quantities. Carrots are a great addition to any number of different dishes, but are also delicious as the main ingredient. Orange sesame carrots go well with blue potatoes and stuffed vegetables.

6 medium carrots, trimmed and thinly sliced into rounds

¼ red bell pepper, finely diced

6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

1 orange, juiced

1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped

½ tsp ginger, freshly grated

½ tsp toasted sesame oil

salt and pepper

1. Combine carrots, scallions and red bell pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix toasted sesame seeds, orange juice, garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame seed oil. Pour dressing over the carrot mixture and stir to combine.

3. Place salad in the fridge and marinate for at least one hour before serving.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves 3-4

August 6, 2011

Braised Collard Greens

Collard greens can be found in cuisines around the world and are a long-standing staple of the cuisine in the southern States. Collard greens are a non-head forming cruciferous vegetable, so a member of the Brassica family originating as a wild cabbage in Asia. The term collard comes from the Middle English term colewort or headless cabbage. Providing numerous nutrients, collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber, as well as providing support for the body's detoxification, antioxidant and inflammatory systems. Collard greens are a versatile, milder dark green and though they are delicious prepared any number of ways, braised with bacon and onions might be my favorite. Braised collard greens taste delicious with pumpkin purée, braised lentils and smashed potatoes.

1 bunch collard greens, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 medium red onion, finely sliced

2 strips bacon, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick, two inches


salt and pepper

1. Place bacon in a Dutch oven or similar style pan over medium heat. Cook bacon until golden brown, stirring continually to prevent sticking, about 5 minutes.

2. Thoroughly wash sliced collard greens and add to bacon along with cinnamon stick. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and braise greens until tender. Braise greens until tender, 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent sticking, add slight amounts of water to maintain braising moisture for greens.

3. Once greens are tender, fold in onion and garlic and greens remove from heat.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Serves 3-4

August 2, 2011

Rustic Peach Berry Tart

Peaches are such a classic summer fruit and so fitting for an early August dessert. Both the botanical term persica and the word peach derive from an early belief in Europe that peaches originated in Persia. Originally domesticated in China thousands of years ago, peaches, a member of the rose family, made their way to Persia and the Mediterranean along the Silk Road. Domesticated peaches are classified as either clingstone, flesh clinging to the stone, or freestone, flesh free of the stone. Berries are a lovely compliment peaches and taste delicious on the shortbread like crust of this peach berry tart.

Any berry may be used in addition to or in place of strawberries.

1 ¼ c flour

2 tbsp sugar

5 tbsp butter

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

¼ tsp salt

2 peaches, pitted and sliced into ½ inch pieces

½ c strawberries, trimmed and quartered

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp brown sugar

½ tsp corn starch

2 tbsp butter, softened

1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium-mixing bowl. Add the butter and gently combine well with the flour mixture. Add the egg and milk; gently combine until the dough holds together. Press the dough evenly into a pie pan and place the crust into the fridge for about ½ an hour.

2. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine peaches and strawberries in medium mixing bowl. Add the cinnamon, brown sugar and cornstarch and combine well.

3. When the oven is preheated, remove the crust from the fridge and spread fruit evenly over the dough. Dot the softened butter over the fruit. Place the tart in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

4. Remove pie from oven. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Makes ones 9" tart