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Archive for the ‘Vegetables & Side Dishes’ Category

Photo by David Bishop

dbishop.net

Pesto Rosso is traditionally a Sicilian dish. I changed it up a bit for simplicity and my own personal taste . It is usually made with ground almonds. I love the rich, savory, buttery flavor and texture of pine nuts, which balance the bright sweet sun dried tomatoes and the fragrant fresh basil. I like leaving them whole for the tooth feel and the extra pop of flavor released by chewing whole pine nuts. Toasting the pine nuts in olive oil brings out their nuttiness and is augmented by the Pecorino Romano. The spicy crushed red pepper adds just enough piquancy to balance the dish perfectly. I tried this dish on a friend of mine who usually doesn’t like sun dried tomatoes. He loved it, saying it is one of the best things I have ever made.

 

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 2 cups Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Pine Nuts
  • ½ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots, coarsely diced
  • 20 or so Basil Leaves, torn by hand
  • Tiny basil leaves for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
  • ½ LB. Semolina Penne Pasta, Dried
  • 1 gallon Water, boiling
  • ½ cup Sea Salt

Directions:

  1. Saute the shallots in 2 TBS. of olive oil until they are soft but not browned
  2. Place the shallots in a food processor with the sun dried tomatoes, another 1 TBS. of olive oil (more if needed) and black and red pepper
  3. Run the processor until the mixture is homogenous but still has some texture
  4. Empty the mixture into a large mixing bowl
  5. Toast the pine nuts in the same pan used for the shallots in 1TBS. of olive oil
  6. Mix the basil in with the Pesto Rosso , ½ cup of the cheese and the toasted pine nuts
  7. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions, ~ 8 minutes
  8. Mix the pasta into the bowl of pesto, tossing well
  9. Garnish with more cheese and the tiny basil leaves as desired
  10. Serve with your favorite white or red wine

Also visit my Food News Column on the Huffington Post and my professional site marilinda.com

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Photo by David Bishop

http://dbishop.net/

Avocados and oranges make a great pairing in a salad. The avocado is rich and creamy, while the juicy, sweet and tart orange tantalizes the taste buds. Lay them on a bed of the slightly bitter, yet velvety textured, tender magenta colored radicchio lettuce and the wild peppery baby arugula greens, add a squeeze of fresh zesty lime, and a drizzle of fruity olive oil for a melodious experience of sight & savoring. Complete the ensemble with sprigs of aromatic cilantro, freshly ground floral scented pink peppercorns and crunchy flake sea salt crystals and voila…a dreamy luncheon or dinner time side meal.

In this recipe I used Cara Cara Oranges (http://www.sunkist.com/products/cara-cara-oranges.aspx ), because of their uniquely fragrant sweet exotic flavor with undertones of cranberry and a pink orange hue. They augment the avocado in color, flavor and texture. The fruit blend coordinates perfectly with the multicolored and textured mix of lettuces.

Ingredients: Makes 4-6 individual salads

  • 1 head of radicchio
  • 2 cups of baby arugula
  • 1 avocado, sliced and peeled and dipped into lime juice to prevent browning
  • 1 Cara Cara Orange, or any orange you choose, peeled with a knife, sliced into rounds then halved
  • 1 lime, half of it juiced, the other half sectioned into wedges.
  • ½ cup of freshly washed and dried cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup of high quality fruity olive oil
  • Freshly ground pink peppercorns
  • Liberal sprinklings of flaked sea salt

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the lettuces
  2. Portion the lettuces into 4 to 6 parts
  3. Slice and peel the avocado, dipping them into the lime juice to prevent browning
  4. With a knife, peel and slice the oranges into cross sections than cut them into half moons
  5. Arrange the lettuces onto each individual plate
  6. Artfully arrange the avocado and orange slices onto the lettuces
  7. Liberally add the cilantro leaves as garnish to the salads
  8. Grind pink peppercorns onto each salad
  9. Generously sprinkle each with flake sea salt, or other salt of your choice
  10. Add a slice of lime to each plate

Enjoy your amazingly beautiful and delicious salad by yourself or with your friends and loved ones.

Also visit my professional web site at marilinda.com and my Food News column at the Huffington Post

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Asparagus with Shallots and Lemon

 Photo by David Bishop

http://www.dbishop.net/

I have loved asparagus since I was a small child. My mother served it often with butter and salt & pepper. In my adult years, upon discovering shallots and the wonders of fresh lemon juice and zest , I have been making my recipe for Asparagus with Shallots and Lemon for many years. The first time I took a plate of this dish to a neighborhood buffet dinner party, the plate was emptied immediately. People were asking me for the recipe because they loved it so much. I went back home and made another platter of it to bring back to the party. Mine was the only vegetable dish, aside from a green salad, the others being popular heavy meat, cheese and starch foods. I was delighted with my recipe’s reception.

Asparagus, with it’s delicate flavor and tender succulent flesh, has been prized as a delicacy since ancient times, especially in Ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, and was and still is known for its cleansing and healing properties.  Asparagus has often appeared in high brow recipes such as Asparagus alla Hollandaise, though in modern times has become ubiquitous in food markets and is easily procured at modest means. It is a pantheon of health foods with high fiber and nutrients, and has a low calorie count of 36 calories per cup. It can be useful both as cure and preventative for disease.

According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, “Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence. It leads nearly all produce items in the wide array of nutrients it supplies in significant amounts for a healthy diet.” (http://www.asparagus.org/maab/nutrition.html). Wikipedia sites that “Studies have shown that people who have died from Alzheimer’s Disease have extremely low to no levels of folate”, folate being one of the important nutrients in asparagus, among many others. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus)

Other experts agree that asparagus is high in antioxidants and amino acids, has little fat and high protein, is low in sodium and is a diuretic. Furthermore, it is also a great source for: calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacine, glutathione, (http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/superhero-antioxidants-pt-1, http://www.amazing-glutathione.com/what-foods-have-glutathione. html, http://www.effectsofglutathione.com/), iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium, and chromium, “a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus) This last tidbit is especially useful for diabetics.

Asparagus is especially known to cleanse the liver and kidneys  It is also found to help cure gout by dissolving uric acid in the the extremities, and help in bowel evacuation. Water from cooking asparagus is considered to alleviate facial blemishes.

There is much scientific research on the matter of how asparagus makes your pee odorous. After having read them all I still believe that it is it’s property of cleansing the liver and kidneys that causes the phenomenon. Asparagus simply makes your pee smell because it releases the accumulated toxins from your body.

I share with you here my recipe for Asparagus with Shallots and Lemon.

Recipe serves 4 as a side dish: 54 calories per serving

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, about 8 ounces or 2 cups, 72 calories
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced, 1.75 – 2 ounces, 14-16 calories
  • I lemon, zested and juiced, zest is 3 calories per Tablespoon, juice is 8- 10 calories for 1.75 ounces. I used a Meyers lemon for the rich color and sweeter taste.
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil, 120 calories
  • Flake sea salt and ground black pepper to taste, as a finish
  • 2 quarts of boiling sea salted water (about 1/8 cup all purpose sea salt)
  • 2 quarts of ice water in a large bowl
  1. Trim the pale woody ends off the stalks of the washed asparagus. (You can use the ends to make vegetable stock later with trimmings of other vegetables)
  2. Boil the asparagus tips until they are just about tender to the teeth. (I bite the largest cut end of one to check)
  3. Remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place into the ice bath to preserve the bright green color. Drain and dry them thoroughly just before the finished cooking process.
  4. In a skillet amply sized to accommodate all of the asparagus single file, saute the shallots in the olive oil on medium low heat until slightly golden brown.
  5. Add into the skillet the drained and dried asparagus and stir to coat them with the oil and shallots.
  6. Add into the skillet the lemon juice and half of the lemon zest and continue to cook for a few minutes, tossing all the while. The juices and oil will emulsify to form a glaze.
  7. Remove everything to a plate with tongs and season with flaked sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  8. Garnish with the rest of the lemon zest.

Serve and enjoy as a side dish with your favorite entree and whole grain, or add to a salad.

Also visit my professional website at  www.marilinda.com and my food column on the Huffingon post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marilinda-hodgdon/

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