Off The Shelf: May Magazines

Well, our month has not gone quite as planned so this will be a shorter review and it’s later than we intended (my fault completely!). It’s wonderful to see the spring and summer recipes featuring seasonal vegetables and fruits! Perhaps inspiration will once again return to kitchens everywhere.

FOOD NETWORK (Alaina)- This wasn’t my favorite issue of Food Network but still, they have so many recipes and so much variety. The Jumbo Maple Pecan Scone, Poppy Seed Potato Salad, Stawberry Blondies, and Sage Limeade were a few of the recipes that looked interesting and tasty! 

However, my kids are big fans of chocolate milk and it is definitely a treat. So, I decided to make the Salted Chocolate Milk. The homemade chocolate syrup could be used as a sauce for all kinds of desserts. This was rich and delicious! The salt was a wonderful addition that brought out the chocolate goodness. This totally made me feel like a kid again!

SALTED CHOCOLATE MILK
Print This Recipe

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups cold milk
Kosher salt

Make the chocolate syrup: Combine the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool completely.

Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup into each glass. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and a generous pinch of salt. Stir until the syrup and salt dissolve.

COOKING LIGHT – (Stephanie) I never know each month whether or not I’ll find many recipes I’m excited to try within the pages of Cooking Light. This month’s issue had several tasty sounding recipes. As I’m trying to learn to enjoy shrimp, I was pleased to find a couple new shrimp recipes: Shrimp Cobb Salad and Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli. There was also a section with assorted muffin recipes–Bacon-Cheddar Corn Muffins, Cherry-Wheat Germ Muffins, Tuscan Lemon Muffins, Pistachio-Chai Muffins–don’t those sound interesting and delicious? I also thought the Ancho Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Cream sounded yummy.

I decided to try the Strawberry-Avocado Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips. I love fresh salsas and the flavor combination in this one intrigued me. I enjoyed this, though unfortunately forgot to buy fresh cilantro and jalapenos, so I used dried instead. If you’re looking for a quick, seasonal snack, give this easy recipe a try.

STRAWBERRY-AVOCADO SALSA WITH CINNAMON TORTILLA CHIPS
(from Cooking Light, May 2011)
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2 teaspoon canola oil
6 6-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup finely chopped, peeled ripe avocado (about 2)
1 cup finely chopped strawberries
2 Tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeno
2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To prepare chips, brush oil evenly over one side of each tortilla. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over oil-coated sides of tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 12 wedges; arrange wedges in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes until crisp.

Combine avocado, strawberries, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt; stir gently to combine. Serve with chips. 12 servings.

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Appetizer: Avocado Salsa

This week we will be featuring five days of yummy recipes that are perfect for your next game night or even your Superbowl party on Sunday! We hope you enjoy our collection of snack ideas and even a delicious chili that’s easy to make for a crowd.

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I’m kicking off this week with a light, fresh, delicious and terrifically easy salsa recipe. This would be perfect with any sort of Mexican dish or as a dip with chips or pita, but also I think lovely over a mixed green salad.

I found this recipe in The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, a wonderful cookbook I received for Christmas. The other day I wanted to jazz up my lunch of flounder and rice, so I decided to mix up Avocado Salsa to top the rice. Not only is it lovely to look at, but the taste combination is perfect. Though I must admit, fresh cilantro would have been better than the dried. Ah well, you use what you have.

AVOCADO SALSA
(from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
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2 large avocado, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2-3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
pinch sea salt, or to taste

Place all ingredients into a small bowl and gently mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Market Fresh: Snow Peas

Snow peas are such a delicious, healthy, and wonderful vegetable. They are great raw on a veggie tray with or without dip and they are an excellent addition to stir-frys. Today I’m sharing three recipes for crunchy, yummy snow peas. They are all adapted from foodnetwork.com and they are all vegetarian and gluten-free. We really liked all three! Hope you enjoy!

SNOW PEA & AVOCADO SLAW
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10 oz. snow peas
2 ribs celery
1/3 c. toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Avocado, thinly sliced
1 Tb. fresh chives, chopped

Thinly slice snow peas lengthwise. Toss with thinly sliced celery ribs (add
the leaves, too) and toasted walnuts. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice to taste (I used equal parts of both), and
season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in a thinly sliced avocado and minced chives.

ORZO W/MUSHROOM, SNOW PEAS, & PINE NUTS
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2 tsp. olive oil
2 shallots minced
1 lb. assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 lb. of fresh snow peas, julienned
3/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1 lb. orzo, cooked according to box directions
1 Tb. of butter, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add shallots and saute. Add mushrooms and saute until brown. Add snow peas and cook for 1 minute. Add pine nuts. Add mixture to the orzo. Butter may be added, to taste. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

GLAZED SNOW PEAS
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2 Tb. butter
8 oz. snow peas
1 bunch scallions, chopped
pinch of sugar
1/4 c. water
salt to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snow peas, chopped scallions, a pinch of sugar and water. Cover and simmer 2 minutes, then uncover and boil until the water evaporates, 2 more minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Weekend Fare: Pasta & Salad

I’m not sure I would serve these dishes together but individually they are quite good. Citrus is delicious used in savory ways – it adds freshness and acidity.

This lemon pasta is very lemony. I used a lemon pasta which made it even more tart. We enjoyed it – I’ve given a couple of ideas of ways to make it more of a main dish at the bottom of the recipe.

LEMON CREAM PASTA
(adapted from Rachael Ray)

Salt
1 lb. pasta (spaghetti, fuseli – whatever you prefer – I used a lemon pasta)
3 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 lemons, zested and juiced
3/4 c, heavy cream
1 c. Parmesan Cheese, grated
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c. fresh basil, very thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and drop the spaghetti into the pot.

Heat a large deep skillet over low heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.

When the pasta has been cooking about 5 minutes, add lemon juice, a ladle of the cooking water from the pasta and the cream to the garlic and oil. Raise heat a bit to bring sauce to a bubble.

Drain pasta when it still has a good bite to it, al dente. Add lemon zest and half of the cheese to the cream sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste. Add pasta to pan and turn off heat. Toss the pasta with sauce a minute or 2, allowing it time to soak up the sauce.

Top the plates of pasta or platter with remaining cheese, parsley and basil.

*This would be excellent with broccoli and chicken added. Just reduce the amount of pasta to 1/2 lb. and cook 1 head of broccoli florets with the pasta. Drain and toss in sauce along with 1 – 1  1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken. Toss and serve.

My youngest son loved the avacado and grapefruit – even with the dijon dressing. We really like this salad – the original recipe does not call for it to be served on the lettuce but we much prefered it served over greens. Overall a delightful and unexpected combination of flavors. It’s a beautiful salad to serve as well.

GRAPEFRUIT AVOCADO SALAD
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

1 Tb. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. olive oil
4 ripe Hass avocados
2 lg. red grapefruits
1/2 lb. mixed greens or romaine hearts

Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.

Before serving, cut the avocados in 1/2, remove the seeds, and carefully peel off the skin. Cut each half into 8 slices. Toss the avocado slices in the vinaigrette to prevent them from turning brown. Use a large, sharp knife to slice the peel off the grapefruits (be sure to remove all the white pith), then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.

Arrange greens or lettuce on a large platter then top with the avocado and grapefruit slices. Spoon the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.