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
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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: Cherries

Cherries are perhaps one of my very favorite fruits. I like them sweet or tart and I am hard-pressed to pass up a piece of cherry pie or a jar of preserves. The flavor and texture of this wonderful fruit amaze me every summer. I’m content enough to just sit with a bowl of cherries and eat them by themselves but I wanted to share some different uses for them. And yes, there is a cherry salsa – I thought it only fitting after the yummy blueberry salsa Heather posted a couple of weeks ago! My two-year-old gobbled it down though we all liked it!

I found and adapted these recipes from a couple of cherry grower websites. They were all delicious and showcase cherries in some different ways. It was fun using them in a couple of more savory dishes and the honeydew and cherry salad was very refreshing! Hope you enjoy!

CHERRY ROMAINE SALAD w/SMOKED TURKEY
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1 head Romaine lettuce, medium-chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup diced green onion or chives
1 can (11-ounce) mandarin oranges
1 cup smoked turkey, diced
2/3 cup sweet cherries, washed, pitted and halved (I used Ranier)
balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)
Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to tasteToss all salad ingredients together except cherries in a large bowl.Whisk all Balsamic Vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad, reserving 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette, and toss salad. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over cherries and toss to coat. Arrange salad on individual plates and sprinkle with cherries.Serves 4

MINTY CHERRY & HONEYDEW SALAD
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1/4 honeydew melon, seeds and skin removed, and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup minced fresh mint plus mint sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons light honey
1 1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries
lemon juice
juice of 2 limes

Put the cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and minced fresh mint in a bowl and turn several times. Put the honey in a bowl with the lemon juice and stir until the honey dissolves, a minute or two. Pour this over the melons and turn several times. Add the cherries, turning them in as well. Pour the lime juice over all, garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

Serves 6

FRESH CHERRY SALSA
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1 cup pitted fresh sweet cherries (I used a combination of bing & ranier cherries)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped green peppers
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash bottled hot pepper sauce

Chop cherries in food processor or manually. Combine all ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 2 servings.

Market Fresh: Blueberries

How I love blueberries! They are one of the chief delights of summer, a time when we can enjoy them fresh rather than frozen. 

Some years we’ve been able to go and pick our own. Most years I buy them on sale and freeze them in quart bags, ready to pop into muffins, pancakes, cobblers, and occasionally a blueberry pie (one of my very favorites!). Blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup and butter soaking in is a golden memory of childhood summers at Grandma’s house.

I do like to enjoy blueberries fresh: eaten straight from the bush, bucket, or plastic shell; dropped into a fruit salad with seasonal melons, sprinkled on morning cereal or oatmeal, and enjoyed for dessert with whipped cream. But, blueberries do gain a different level of delicious-ness when cooked, so be sure to buy enough berries for many different dishes.

I was intrigued to find this recipe for Blueberry Salsa and felt compelled to try it. The result: terrific! The sweetness of the blueberries, mixed with cilantro, lemon juice and red peppers, melded nicely with the salty tortilla chips.

BLUEBERRY SALSA
(Southern Living, Summer 2010)
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2  cups  chopped fresh blueberries
1  cup  whole fresh blueberries
1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice
3  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
2  seeded and minced jalapeño peppers
1/3  cup  diced red bell pepper
1/4  cup  chopped onion
1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt

Coarsely chop 2 cups fresh blueberries. Stir together chopped fresh blueberries, 1 cup whole blueberries, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 2 seeded and minced jalapeño peppers, 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped onion, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 3 cups.

    BLUEBERRY SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE AND PECANS
    (The Cooks Next Door)
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    10-12 oz. mixed greens and spinach (or just one of these)
    1 pint fresh blueberries
    3/4 cup toasted pecans
    3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

    Dressing (adapted from Country Living):
    3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/4 cup olive oil

    Make Dressing: combine lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, add the oils one at a time in a steady stream. Remove garlic and serve (or store refrigerated up to 1 week).

    Make salad: toss together the greens and blueberries. Just before serving add the pecans and blue cheese. Toss with dressing and serve.

    These amounts feed 8-12 but can easily be halved.