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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chop Chop Salad in a Jar

Note: This is part of the Traveling Picnic episode were we featured three ethnic inspired lunches (French, Asian & Italian). I separated the recipes out individually to provide you with a better search option.

This is an Italian inspired lunch in the form of a salad - it's like an antipasto in a jar. Travels very well but because it has meat and cheese,  it should be kept in a cooler. For dessert, pick up some fresh fruit from a roadside stand, dip it in some cool and creamy mascarpone cheese and you have a fabulous roadside lunch. For a little extra zip, try drizzling the balsamic vinegar on the mascarpone before dipping fruit into it. Delizioso!

Serves 2       
Prep time: 20 minutes     
Cook time: zero

1 romaine heart, washed, dried and chopped
½ pint cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
10-20 pitted Kalamata olives, rough chopped
10 basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons or torn
1/3 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into small dice
1/3 lb. salami, cut into small dice

2 tsp. Diamond Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1/3 cup Lucini Balsamic vinegar
¾ to 1 cup California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil

Layer the salad ingredients in a large Mason jar. In a small jar that has a lid, add the salt, garlic (if using) and vinegar. Close jar and shake to dissolve salt. Add ¾ cup of olive oil, close jar and shake well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. You may add additional oil and shake if you like your vinaigrette less piquant.

Pack the vinaigrette separately from the salad. Five to ten minutes before eating, dress the salad. You should start by using a third of the dressing and adding more to taste. You can dress the salad in the jar and give it a few good shakes, or toss the salad in a bowl to serve. Refrigerate and save any remaining dressing for your next salad.

Encores: Chop Chop salad is like an antipasto plate chopped up and made into a salad. It lends itself well to improvisation. If you have some leftover chicken, ham or steak, chop it up and add it to the salad in addition to or instead of the salami. You can experiment with the cheese as well. Substitute feta, chicken and rosemary in place of the fresh mozzarella, salami and basil and you will have a totally different and delicious salad. You may also add additional fresh or pickled vegetables that you have on hand.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice Salmon Breakfast

This weekend, the store where I work is having an incredible sale on wild Bristol Bay Sockeye salmon-$7.99 lb cut and wrapped! Incredible. Needless to say, I cleaned out my little freezer and bought one. I'm thinking I'll buy two more, maybe three. This Sockeye is soo delicious and fresh, you barely need to do any preparation.  I simply drizzled it with good olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and pepper and baked it at 325' for about 15-20 minutes. When it is done to your liking (and I prefer mine a little more rare in the middle) squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and boom! Done, divine and delicious.  I refrigerated what I didn't devour last night and made this beautiful breakfast to celebrate the Solstice. I prefer a savory breakfast and this was quick and easy and so satisfying. In five minutes I had breakfast: a bowl of baby arugula, half an avocado diced,  a hunk of salmon, two forkfuls of raw sauerkraut, half a lemon squeezed over the top, a drizzle of that good olive oil, sesame seeds and for the grand finale Jacobsen salt. To round it off, a lovely smattering of fresh picked raspberries from Sauvie Island from my friend Els. Try it, what a lovely way to begin your day with a healthy bowl of Superfoods!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sweet Oregon Strawberry Tarts

Nothing is sweeter or more delicious than Oregon ruby red strawberries. The only downside to these little gems is their season is so short. When they come on, DON'T DILLY DALLY!

So that you will be ready for them, my friend and guest Gretchen from Portland's Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry, and I created a wonderfully simple tart recipe to wet your appetite for the fast approaching strawberry season.

Fresh Oregon Strawberry Tarts

Individual Strawberry Ricotta Tarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes 
Cooking Time: less than 10 minutes

Tart Shell Dough
1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp Diamond Kosher salt
4 ounces (1/2 stick) cold unsalted Tillamook butter cut into cubes
2 Tbls heavy cream
1 egg yolk


Place dry ingredients in a medium bowl. With fingers, pastry blender or mixer, work the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. In a small bowl, whisk cream and yolk together and add to dry mixture. Work gently until just comes together and then form it into a disk. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired shape for tart shells.  We made circles about 3 inches in diameter and then froze them. When you are ready to bake the shells, preheat the oven to 350’ degrees. Place a muffin pan upside down on a baking sheet and place a circle of frozen dough on the top of each muffin mold. As it bakes it will hang over the edge to form a cup. Place in the preheated oven and bake 4 minutes. Check for doneness and bake approximately 4 to 6 more minutes. The shells are done when crisp, golden brown and shaped into a cup. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before carefully removing them and letting fully cool. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to fill them.  

2 cups whole milk Sargento ricotta cheese
1 tsp. orange zest
2 Tbls. honey or sugar

In a small bowl, mix until combined. Taste and adjust with sweetener.  You can make this ahead and store covered in the refrigerator.

Just before serving hull and halve 2 pints strawberries and toss with
1 Tbls. orange juice
2-4 Tbls. honey
about 15 torn leaves of mint (or basil)

To assemble: Place tart shells on a plate, fill halfway with ricotta mixture and top with berries. Serve and enjoy!

Combinations to experiment with:
  • Sweetened whipped cream and berries or halved cherries
  • Honey Greek yogurt and peaches, nectarines or apricots with honey and toasted nuts
  • Lemon curd and blueberries
  • Ice cream and fruit
  • Coconut pudding, sliced banana, chocolate or caramel sauce