Pomegranate Orange Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

5 large pomegranates, seeded
5 large oranges, peeled and trimmed into segments
1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
5 green onions, ends trimmed thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
3-4 tablespoons fresh jalapeno chili minced, seeded
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

Break pomegranate into large chunks. Immerse chunks in a bowl of water and break apart to release seeds. Discard membrane and skin. Drain seeds; pat dry.

Cut orange segments into chunks and place in mixing bowl. Add pomegranate seeds, and the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Serve or cover and chill until the next day.

Serve with grilled fish or with tortilla chips.

Yield: 12 servings

Traditional Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is the beef version of Shepherds Pie which is traditionally made with lamb. This is classic comfort food from the United Kingdom.

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 medium carrots, diced
1 lb. beef mince*
1 can (10 oz.) chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1 1/4 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (fines herbes or blend of your choosing)
1 tablespoon Bisto (if you like thicker gravy)
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the topping
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons milk

* Ask your butcher to grind the beef using a thick blade, if possible. You can easily grind a piece of round steak or chuck using a home meat grinder with a thick blade. If all else fails, use a good quality ground beef.

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the oil (or butter) in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook over a medium heat until soft. Add the mince and cook to brown.

Add the tomatoes, purée, beef stock, mixed herbs and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. If you like a thicker gravy, add a tablespoon of Bisto at this time and cook for another minute or so.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain and mash with the mustard, butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the mince mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish.  Top with the mashed potatoes and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

VARIATIONS

  • The potato topping can be replaced by a mix of potatoes and parsnips or celery root for a delicious variation.
  • Add 1 cup frozen peas after meat mixture has simmered.
  • Add 1 cup of grated aged cheddar cheese to the pototo topping — not traditional, but very good!
  • Instead of using one large casserole, divide into four portions and place in ovensafe casserole dishes. These can be covered and frozen for easy make-ahead meals.

Traditional Honey Glazed Ham

Traditional Sliced Honey Glazed Ham

Traditional Honey Glazed Ham

If you love a juicy ham with a crunchy, sweet crust, this is your go-to recipe. For best results, be sure to order a quality smoked bone-in ham from Corralitos Market and Sausage Company. Allow about 2 hours and 25 minutes for prep and cooking, and an additional 20 minutes for resting time.

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Garlic Flan Tarts

This recipe was adapted from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, The Flavor of California: Fresh Vegetarian Cuisine from the Golden State, by Marlena Spieler. Don’t be shocked by the amount of garlic — the garlic cloves will soften and become very sweet and mellow. Serve individual tarts on a bed of lightly dressed greens. It makes an impressive first course or light lunch entrée.

INGREDIENTS:

Pastry for lining 6-8 individual tart pans, par-baked*
30 large garlic cloves, peeled, and dried ends removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable (or chicken broth if not vegetarian)
1 tablespoon of fresh sage, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
Freshly ground white pepper and salt to taste
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whipping cream
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat and add the flour, stirring and cooking the roux until lightly golden. Add the vegetable or chicken stock slowly, whisking constantly until the sauce starts to thicken. Reduce heat and add the garlic cloves and cook until the garlic is tender and the sauce is reduced by nearly half (about 10 minutes). Add the sage or thyme and white pepper. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs with cream, Parmesan cheese, and chopped garlic. Whisk egg mixture in the cooked garlic sauce until well combined. Pour the custard into the tart shells. Bake until the custard has set, about 15-20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool.

Tarts are best served at room temperature.

Makes 6-8 small tarts, depending on tart pan size.

* Line small tart pans (such as white ceramic dishes that hold about 1/2 cup of filling) with a homemade Pâte Brisée pastry or store-bought piecrust and bake until very lightly browned in a hot oven.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers on white wooden tableINGREDIENTS:

6-8 medium bell peppers, any color
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional olive oil
1 cup white rice
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
1 cup chopped, peeled fresh tomatoes
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup warm water for pan

METHOD:

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan. Add onions and garlic and sauté on low heat until softened. Stir in rice, mint, dill, and tomatoes; continue cooking, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Add water, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, stir and allow rice mixture sit for at least 10 minutes. Rice should be almost completely cooked.

Meanwhile, cut off the tops of peppers (reserve tops) and remove seeds and membranes. Place the peppers in a baking pan so that they fit snuggly in the pan.

Fill each pepper with rice filling mixture, almost to the top. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of warm water over the top of each filled pepper. Replace pepper tops and brush sides and tops of filled peppers with olive oil. Add 1/2 cup of warm water to bottom of the pan.

Bake at 375°F for 1 1/2 hours.* Rice will be soft and tops of peppers just slightly charred.

*Yellow and orange bell peppers are more mature and are a bit thicker-skinned than green peppers. If using peppers other than green, they may need an additional 15 minutes cooking time.

VARIATIONS:
Add 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese, if desired.
Add 1/2 lb. cooked ground meat (lamb, beef or turkey); this addition will increase the amount of filling and will fill 8 bell peppers.

Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust

Tomato_tart-1

If you haven’t discovered the spectacular, intense flavor of organically grown, dry-farmed tomatoes, now is the time to give them a try! These tomatoes are a late summer favorite and available at the Aptos Farmers Market in mid August. The buttery herb-flavored crust of this tart is the perfect foil for the melted and slightly salty mozzarella and the sweet tomatoes. Serve with a lightly dressed spinach or mixed baby greens.

INGREDIENTS:

For the dough:
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 cloves garlic
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
4-5 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:
8 ounces low-moisture, high quality whole milk mozzarella, sliced
About 1 lb. flavorful, ripe dry farmed tomatoes, sliced*
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced into fine ribbons (chiffonade)
2 tablespoons Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered (optional)
Additional shredded basil leaves, garnish (optional)

* If using tomatoes other than dry farmed, slice the top off the tomato, and gently squeeze it to remove excess juice and seeds, then slice

METHOD:

To make the dough, combine the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process using several short pulses, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until garlic and basil are finely minced. Add the flour and salt to the bowl. Pulse briefly to combine.

Add butter chunks and pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with some pea sized bits.

Add 3 tablespoons of the water and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add 1 more tablespoon and process for several seconds to see if the dough forms a ball. If not, add the remaining tablespoon of water and process until a ball of dough forms.

Remove the dough, flatten into a 5-inch disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to assemble the tart, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Transfer chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a 12-inch circle. Gently transfer the dough to 9-inch round tart pan and ease it into the pan. Press dough evenly around the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough as needed.

Lay a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper loosely over the tart dough and fill the center with baking beads. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil or parchment and baking beads. Return the tart shell to the oven to bake for 5 minutes more. Remove from the oven.

Lower oven temperature to 375°F.

Layer the bottom of the tart shell with the sliced mozzarella. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the cheese in a single even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Top lightly with freshly grated Parmesan and finely sliced basil leaves. Arrange Kalamata olive pieces evenly over top, if using.

Bake 15 minutes, then rotate tart 180° and wick off any excess moisture that has collected on top with a paper towel, if necessary. Continue baking another 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in places. Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Garnish with a few shreds of fresh basil leaves, if desired.

SOURCE: Adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop

 

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Colorful red, gold, yellow, and burgundy cherry tomatoes are a summer staple at the farmers markets. Many also enjoy growing these luscious little bites in their own backyard gardens. After picking, don’t refrigerate tomatoes. Leave tomatoes out at room temperature. A few more days of ripening deepens their flavor and helps to concentrate their natural sweetness. Keep cherry tomatoes on hand for salads, salsas, and snacking.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups small cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more to taste)
Salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon red chile flakes (plus more to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (less, if using dried — but fresh is preferable)
1 pound fresh pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
Freshly ground pepper
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

METHOD:

Heat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, place the cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, generous pinch of salt, sugar and toss to coat the tomatoes well. Line a rimmed half sheet baking with a sheet of parchment paper. Pour the tomatoes onto the baking sheet in an even layer, place pan in the oven, and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to collapse and their skins begin to char. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let them cool slightly. Carefully lift the paper and pour the tomatoes and roasting juices back into the mixing bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red chile flakes and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the roasted tomatoes, accumulated juices, and oregano to the skillet. Using a large spoon, break up the tomatoes and cook until they are heated through.

When the water is boiling, add a scant tablespoon of salt, drop in the pasta, and stir. Cook the pasta until al dente. Remove and reserve some of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Add the cooked pasta and about 1 tablespoon of the reserved cooking water to the tomato sauce. Stir and toss to thoroughly coat the spaghetti. Add a tablespoon or so of the remaining pasta water if the sauce is too dry or thick; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Turn the pasta into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

VARIATION:
Add 1/2 pound of small peeled shrimp into the skillet with the tomatoes, cook and stir for about 2 minutes, then add two generous handfuls of baby arugula and stir just until arugula begins to wilt.

Seared Salmon with Rhubarb-Ginger Marmalade

This showstopper main course looks like it takes a lot more effort to prepare than it does! The slightly sweet, tangy sauce is sublime with salmon.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 lb. rhubarb, stalks only, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
4 ounces pea shoots or watercress

METHOD:

Combine water, sugar, ginger, allspice and vanilla bean and seeds in a large saucepan. Add the rhubarb and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and has a jam-like consistency, about 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a nonstick skillet with oil over medium high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes, depending on fillet thickness.

To serve, spoon one-fourth of the rhubarb sauce onto each plate. Top with the salmon and lightly scatter pea shoots or watercress over salmon.

YIELD: Serves 4

Green Garlic Pesto

What is green garlic? Green garlic shoots are the immature garlic “thinnings” from garlic plantings that farmers begin to remove in March and are plentiful at the farmers market through most of the spring. Green garlic resembles an overgrown scallion or green onion. Stir Green Garlic Pesto into hot pasta (linquine works great for this dish), or use as a spread for crostini or sandwich. Add a tablespoon or two to your favorite hummus or stir it into vinaigrette for extra-garlicky punch.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 pound green garlic, trimmed, rinsed, dried, and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup pistachios or almonds, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly shredded Pecorino cheese
Additional salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

METHOD:

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and add chopped green garlic and sea salt and cook until soft, about three minutes. Remove from heat and allow garlic to cool to room temperature.

Place cooked green garlic into bowl of food processor and pulse it until the mixture is smooth. With the motor running, slowly stream in the extra virgin oil. Add nuts and cheese and pulse to blend. Taste for seasoning; add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 3/4 cup.

Chicken Divan Crêpes

Crêpes are a French classic and are delicious for Sunday brunch or served for dinner with a salad.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups dairy sour cream
1 1/2 lbs broccoli florets, cooked and drained
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
12 cooked crêpes

METHOD:

Over medium heat, melt butter in small saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook until roux is bubbly. Add broth and Worcestershire sauce; cook, whisking until thickened. Add 2 cups cheese and stir until cheese melts.

Place sour cream into medium bowl heat-proof bowl. Gradually add hot cheese sauce, stirring constantly. Set aside.

In large shallow baking dish, place cooked broccoli and cooked chicken on each crêpe. Spoon 1 tablespoon sauce over each. Fold crêpes over. Pour remaining sauce over all. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese. Cover and heat in 350º F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

VIDEO: How to Make Crêpes