Carrot, Avocado and Orange Salad

Recipe 12 of 103

Avocado…Yes

Oranges…Yes

Carrots…..Meh

My history with carrots starts when my skin turned orange at the wee age of 18 months, after being fed too much carrot juice when my Mom received a juicer for Christmas. Thinking I had jaundice she took me to the doctor, he said slow down on the carrot juice. Simple mistake. Simple remedy. The next carrot drama was the shredded carrot salad with raisins. Why was this every where in the 70’s?  Most of you know raisins and me do  not get along, so this salad would never make it in my world. Maybe its the raisins fault carrots flew off my radar? As I grew older I made my peace with carrots, but sadly most carrots today taste like crap unless you get them from a friends garden or a good local organic market. I have found that roasting carrots makes them sweeter and more tolerable,  so I was thrilled to see in this recipe that were going to be roasted.

The textures and flavors in this salad are surprisingly compatible. The cumin, coriander and garlic roasted carrots become as soft and luscious as the avocado and the oranges pair well with all the players.

Here is what you will need

Preheat oven to 400°

4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

maldon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 1/2 teaspoons pequin chilies crumbled

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons

30 or so baby/young carrots, scrubbed with an inch of tops left on or scrub 10 regular sized carrots and cut into small sticks about the size of your index finger

3 oranges, try to get valencia oranges, they are lovely right now

3 ripe haas avocados or try the fuerte avocado they are amazing!

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

a handful of small cilantro sprigs

dryroastStart by toasting the spices in a small saute pan over medium high heat, careful not to burn them. When you start smelling their aroma, they’re done. Set aside and let cool.toastyspices

Add the spices to a mortar and pestle and grind until it resembles a corse powder, reserve in large mixing bowl. garlicrushWipe out the mortar and pestle, add the garlic and salt together and smash until it resembles a paste. dressingAdd the chilies, garlic and olive oil to the mixing bowl with the ground spices. Mix well. Toss the prepped carrots in the dressing and coat well while adding 3 healthy pinches of salt as you toss. Place carrots in a baking dish so they’ll all settle in a single layer. Scrap out all the spiced oil from the bowl and drip it over the carrots. Pour 1/4 cup of water into an open area of the pan so you don’t wash off all the lovely spiced oil, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.rawdoneafter the first 15 minutes, remove foil and continue to cook another 15-20 minutes. You want the carrots soft like the texture of an avocado but not falling apart. Let them cool a bit.segmentTime to segment the oranges, the above picture is a little visual on how to do this. Does it make sense? If not watch this, it takes practice so don’t get too discouraged on your first try, keep at it. Segment your oranges over a bowl and keep the juiceavosNow ready your avocados, slice in long pieces, add the lemon juice, the orange juice from the segmented oranges and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large mixing bowl.tossitToss the roasted carrots with the avocados, coating with the juices and the spicy mixture on the carrots, add the oranges and toss gently, careful not too break up the avocado too much. saladoneStack all the items together and top with cilantro leaves. Enjoy the color, texture and spicy kick this salad has to offer. Avocados and oranges are in full swing here in So Cal, get out to a farmers market and make this happen, you won’t regret it.

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Beet and Smoked Trout Salad

Recipe 11 of 103

April describes this dish as being full of contrasts. The beets are warm and sweet, the smokey trout is salty, flaky and tender, then the creme fraiche joins in to refresh your palate.

Here is what you will need

serves 4

3 to 4 bunches of baby beets (20-25) washed well

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing

2 tablespoons nice thick good balsamic vinegar

maldon sea salt

6 or so skin on garlic cloves

6 or so thyme sprigs

1 pound whole smoked trout or packaged smoked trout

5 tablespoons creme fraiche

1/4 cup chopped chives

4 to 5 tablespoons Lemon Olive Dressing

Clean your beets really well, no need to peel them just scrub them really good. Leave an inch or so of the stems on for pretty rustic presentation and roots too. Pre heat oven to 400°

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Put the cleaned beets in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Put them in a baking dish, make sure to scrap all the oil from the bowl and pour over the beets, add the sprigs of thyme and the skin on garlic gloves.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Carefully pour a 1/2 cup of water into the baking dish be sure not wash off all the seasoning. Cover with foil and bake for about 50 minutes. Check every once in a while to make sure there is still water in the dish. After 50 minutes remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until all the water is gone and the skins of the beets are blistery. When they’ve cooled, taste and add more salt if needed. roastedbeetsRemove the beets from baking dish into a mixing bowl, leaving the thyme and garlic behind. If you need a quick snack at this point, smash that garlic on to a piece of toast. YUM…ok back at it. Drizzle the dressing over the beets and set aside.smtroutI was lucky enough to find a whole smoked trout at  whole foods  whole paycheck, I went for this option because I know how to remove all the pin bones. If you’re not comfortable with this process buy it packaged, much easier. Here is a visual on removing the skin and bones from my cute little trouttrout1Easy right?

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Assemble your beets, smoked fish and top with creme fraiche and chopped chives on a large platter or for individual servings. If you’re not down with smoked fish just enjoy the beets and the dressing, maybe add some goat cheese instead of fish. You could use any smoked fish you like for this also. April’s method for baking the beets was great, worked really well and yielded perfectly cooked beets with flavor.

Chopped Chicken Liver on Toast

Recipe 8 of 103

This one is for my Mom, she loves chicken livers. This is from the chapter called “nibbles” April serves this at the Spotted Pig in NY, it’s a staple on her menu. I will admit I hated liver growing up, my mom tried her best to get me to like it, but I wasn’t having it. Later in my life I fell in love with pate, so liver and me have since made friends. This dish is so easy and delicious.livertoast1

Here is what you will need

serves 4

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1 large clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons madeira

2 tablespoons port

1/2 pound chicken livers (get good livers, Mary’s organic air chilled are divine! can be purchased at whole foods paycheck ) trimmed and separated into lobes

maldon salt

small handful of parsley leaves

crusty thick bread for the toasts

shallotsgarlicChop the shallots and slice the garlic like thissautesgHeat a saute pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, when its nice and hot add the shallots, saute for a minute or so then add the garlic, cook until shallots and garlic are softened but not too browned.addhoochDeglaze the pan with the Port and Madeira, be careful the alcohol may start to flame up. Quickly remove from heat, stir all the bits off the bottom of the pan and pour into a small bowl and set aside.

liverThis is not a very appetizing picture, but I wanted you to see the lobes. Pat the livers dry with a paper towel gently. fryliverWhen the pan is good and hot, add the livers in a single layer, cook on one side until golden about 1-2 minutes, flip them over and cook for another minute or so, add a teaspoon of salt at this pointfryliver2They should be bouncy and slightly pink in the centers, do not over cook them. Turn off the heat and add the shallot, garlic, alcohol mixturefryliver3Scrape up all the sticky bits on the bottom of the pan, transfer to a bowl and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the livers, add more salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and mash it up, leaving some big chunks and some creamy parts too. Let cool to room temp.addparsleyServe on any kind of toasty crunchy bread you likelivertoast2So GOOD and so good for you! Liver cooked right is delicate, earthy, rich, packed with iron and delicious. Try it. Don’t be ninny.

Sausage Stuffed Onions

Recipe 7 of 103

I like sausage and I like onions, so this recipe seemed to make sense. redonionsApril requests that you use her fresh sausage recipe but as I struggle to source the proper meats for this project I opted for store-bought for this recipe. Ideally you’ll want to get a spicy italian pork sausage.

Here is what you will need

pre heat oven to 400°

4 medium red onions ( about 8 ounces each) peeled. stem ends trimmed, root ends trimmed but left intact

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

maldon salt

1 head garlic

small handful of fresh thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon leaves

1/2 cup fresh italian sausage (remove from casings)

1 cup heavy cream

Ready your onions, rub them all with olive oil and saltonionprep1Arrange them in a single layer in oven safe casserole or stock pot. Peel the outermost layers of the garlic, so the cloves are exposed. Add garlic, sprigs of thyme and 1/3 cup of water to potonionprep2

Cover and bake in oven for about an hour, until onions are softened. You should be able to insert a knife in the center of the onion easily. Remove onions to a baking sheet and let them cool enough to handle, keep oven on.onionsoftWhen the onions are cool enough to handle use a small spoon to remove the centers of the onions. Don’t remove too much and or too little. Stuff the onions with the uncooked sausage, set aside.onionstuffed

Keep the centers of the onions adding them back to the pot the onions cooked inonioncenters

Squeeze the soft garlic cloves from the whole head of garlic and add to the onion centers, as well as the cream, teaspoon of salt and thyme leaves. As you see here I spaced out and added more sprigs, avoid this and you won’t have to fish out the stems later after they’ve cooked. Bring the mixture to a boilonionjizzAdd the stuffed onions to the boiling mixture, liquid should come half way up the onions, adjust as needed by adding a bit more water or removing some of the liquid.onionsimmerReturn to oven uncovered, bake for about 40 minutes, basting every 10-15 minutes.bastingCheck seasoning, add salt if needed. April says to bring the pot to the table and dig in. I felt like the broth was screaming for some kind of grain so I cooked up some farro. oniondoneThe broth is amazing, the onion to sausage ratio was a bit off for me, I would like more sausage less onion. Onions overwhelm this dish, so if you’re not a big fan of them you might pass on this one. The spicier the sausage the better to balance the sweet of the onions. The broth is the star for me, I dropped my immersion blender in the pot after removing the stuffed onions and ended up with a silky, rich soup to die for.

Asparagus with Parmesan Custard and Prosciutto

Recipe 5 of 103
She had me at custard….sweet or savory I love custard. Creamy, silky, decadent custard, throw in some salty prosciutto, crispy asparagus on grilled bread. done 🙂

You can make the custard a day or two ahead, or make a ton and always have it in your fridge for a quick bite of lusciousness. Here is what you will need for the custard. This recipe will serve 4 for lunch or 8 for small bitescustard13/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup whole milk

2 spring garlic gloves or 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 ounce freshly grated parmesan buy good parmesan reggiano and grate it yourself

1/2 teaspoon maldon salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

Preheat oven to 325˚

Combine the milk and cream, pour half into a small sauce pot, add garlic, parmesan and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, take off heat and blend until smooth. I used an immersion blender for this step, right in the pan, you could just whisk it or get your blender out, do what works for you. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolk, whole egg and the remaining cold cream/milk mixture.hotcold Carefully whisk the hot into the cold, very slowly drizzle the hot mixture from the sauce pot into cold mixture in the mixing bowl, whisking vigorously so you don’t scramble your eggs. When both are combined pour into two 1 cup custard gratins or one 2 cup gratin, what ever you have will work. Ready a bain-marie aka water bath for baking, get some water boiling. Set a kitchen towel in a large baking casserole, place filled gratins in casserole and fill with boiling water about half way up the gratins like this.bainmarieThe kitchen towel prevents the gratins from vibrating and causing bubbles in the custard. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until custard has set, edges should be firm and the middle a bit wobbly. bakecustardLet the custards cool in the bain-marie, they will continue to set up. At this point you can keep these covered in fridge for a day or two.

On to the next step, here is what you will need.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

16 asparagus spears, the thickness of a pencil, woody bottoms discarded

maldon salt

10 to 12 small tender basil leaves

1/2 a lemon (optional)

6-8 this slices of prosciutto

grilled rustic bread or baguette

parmesan custard

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan, get it smoking hot, add asparagus and quickly toss to sear on all sides, sprinkle with maldon salt. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, make sure not to over cook the asparagus, you want it to have a little crunch left in it.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny – check out my cool tattoo designed by my amazingly talented husband

Add basil leaves, making sure they get some time in the oil to crisp up.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

When the basil has crisped up a bit, rest on top of the asparagus so it doesn’t wilt away to nothing.  Slice up the bread of your choice and either grill or toast it.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Now its time to assemble this lovely little snack. I like the custard to be more room temp then super cold. Spread a spoonful of custard on your grilled bread, top with asparagus, prosciutto and basil.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Enjoy! All these elements together make for an amazing bite. The custard is so rich and decadent. The cheesy garlicky flavor is addictive, I will admit to snagging spoonfuls from the fridge several times a day while researching this post. Its all April’s fault! Thanks to Jenny for the food porn pics and thanks to April for introducing me to a new love, Parmesan Custard. 

Guest Blogger #1 Texas Egg Rolls by Doreen

There is a cool story about these tasty Texas Egg Rolls. Doreen used to be a rep I worked with in my previous career, part of her job was to wine and dine us…..hehehehe. We had a favorite place for lunch and we’d always order Texas Egg Rolls, it was our thing. She loved them so much she set out to make them herself. Doreen is now the professional  Texas Egg Roll maker for all the parties we go to, if Doreen is there…. she’ll walk in the door with these yummy morsels and they don’t last long. I was thrilled she decided to share this recipe with us here on Spry on Food.

Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese, room temp

1 cup shredded Mexican style (Cheddar/Jack) cheese

3 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

8 egg roll wrappers

1 jar hot pepper jelly

1 egg

oil for frying

Directions

Combine the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and diced jalapenos with a mixer.  Chill the cheese mixture for at least 30 minutes.  You can also make ahead and chill up to 24 hours.

Divide the cheese mixture into 8 even pieces.  With your hands, roll each piece into a log shape and set on plate.  When you have rolled all 8 you’re ready to roll in the wrappers.

Beat the egg in a small bowl.  This will be used to  glue the egg roll wrapper closed.

Lay a wrapper on the counter with 1 corner pointing toward you.  Place the cheese log near that corner.  Wrap the corner around the cheese and roll the whole thing up until the cheese log is level with the 2 sided corner.

At this point fold both side corners to the center.  Continue to roll up until almost to the final corner.  Use your finger to paint on some of the beaten egg on that corner.  Finish rolling to seal the corner to the roll.

In a deep fryer or dutch oven heat your oil to 375 degrees.  While your oil is getting hot, put your hot pepper jelly in small sauce pan over low heat to warm.  Keep an eye on the jelly.  You’re not trying to cook it, just soften it, so it’s more of a liquid form.

When the oil reaches 375, gently slip a few of the egg rolls in the oil.  Fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the wrapper is golden brown.  When they are done, lift them out with a slotted spoon or spatula and place them on a paper towel lined plate or platter.

Repeat with remaining egg rolls.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Cut in half or serve whole with the hot pepper jelly.

Recipe & Photos by Doreen

Big thanks to Doreen for not only being the first to respond to me plea for guest bloggers but for bringing us this special snack. Make these! You will LOVE them I promise.