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.

Advertisements

Lemon Olive Oil Dressing

Recipe 10 of 103

The perfect simple salad dressing. The simplest combination of ingredients, the bright acidity of the lemon and green grassiness of the olive oil, seasoned well with sea salt and pepper. April talks about using this dressing on grilled fish and boiled potatoes. I could slather it on so much more…..
lemonolive1

Basically you put everything in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake like crazy. Done

Here is what you will need

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste

1 cup really good extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons maldon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Add olive oil to an old jar that still has a lid that fits nice a snug, you know have one some where. lemonolive2Add the lemon juicelemonolive3add black pepper and saltlemonolive4Apply lid and shake like crazy – taste – add more lemon or salt to your taste. easy eh? Keep this handy for the next blog post…..Beet and Smoked Trout Salad

Fennel-Lemon Marmalade

Recipe 1 of 103

James brought these home for me…Meyer Lemons…lots of them. mlemonsI thought to myself…what to do with all these beautiful fragrant luscious lemons. At the time I was reading a girl and her pig, I received the book and the lemons on the same day. These two simple happenings brought me to this project.

Fennel Lemon Marmalade

What you will need.

7 to 8 large thick skinned lemons – wash well

5 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons fennel pollen (find on line or at whole paycheck aka whole foods)

Assemble your clean lemons in a large pot of water, enough water to cover them while they bob around. Cover the lemons with a plate to keep the submerged. I used my deviled egg plate, worked perfectly. boilemon2

Boil for about an hour, you want them soft but not bursting. Check water as the hour goes to see if it needs replenishing. With a blunt knife, check to see if you can easily pierce them, if so they’re good to go. Reserve 1 1/4 cup of the water. Take them out and let them cool until you can handle them comfortably. Cut them in half, they should look like this. Sorry this photo is blurry.pulp2Scoop out all the flesh into a bowl. pulpCut the rinds into flat pieces and scrape off the white pith.pith2This is the point where I realized the thick skinned lemons would be much easier to work with. The meyer lemon skin is so thin and dainty, it really was like doing surgery, trying not to rip the rind to shreds. More on the final result with meyer lemons later. This step takes awhile be patient – make sure to remove the pith…… pith = bitter. Here is an after shotpith3Julienne the rinds thinly like thisjuliennePlace your expertly sliced rinds in a pale pink Le Creuset ( jk, I know not everyone is lucky enough to own this beautiful piece of cookware, I still squeal with girly glee every time I use it, thanks Jennay ) or a 4 qt sauce pot with reserved water from the boiling of the lemons. Grab a chinois/strainer, you will need a medium mesh chinois/strainer, do not use a fine mesh, you won’t get enough of the pulp through. strainPush the pulp against the side of the chinois to get as much pulp through as possible. You want very little left in the strainer, like this.strain2The sauce pot should have the lemon rinds, reserved lemon water from boiling 1 1/4 cups and all the pulp you could muscle through your chinois. Stir in 5 1/2 cups of sugar (if using   meyer lemons do 5 cups of sugar) over a high heat, when the mixture begins to simmer, set your heat for a low simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, the mixture will darken as it cooks. Starting out like thiscolor1its getting close to donecolor2

to test if the mixture is done, spoon a small amount on to a plate, let it cool. If its sticky and gel like its done, if its loose and runny keep cooking a bit longer.testwhen you nail the consistency, stir in the fennel pollen and let cool. At this point you could process them in jars and they’d keep for up to a year. If you’re going that route I would double the recipe.color3

This recipe will yield about 5 cups. It will keep in the fridge for a month. Slather all over toast and or scones. Add it to your next cheese plate instead of fig jam. The longer it sits the more bloomy it becomes and you can really taste the fennel pollen. I used it as a layer in some shortcakes with fresh strawberries on top. OMG it was so good. I have gifted a few friends with this lovely marmalade, hopefully they’ll comment and share their thoughts on it. This was my first adventure into Marmalade, there are several different methods on making it, I found April’s easy and the outcome was divine. I’ve made it with both meyer lemons and regular thick skinned lemons. The flavor is much sweeter and mild with meyer lemons, both were great tasting, if you want more of a tart twang use the regular lemons.

Try it and let me what you think.

Thai Sweet Sticky Rice

You know it –  Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango – at your favorite Thai place- warm, coconut, sweet & the sharp tang from the Mangos YUM!!!! I intended to use Mango, but I couldn’t find any ripe enough – don’t stress on the mango, try soft fruits with sweet and tart flavors – sliced peaches, kiwi fruit, pears, strawberries, raspberries – whatever you like best.The process for this rice is not quick, but the rewards are so worth it. First off the rice.You will need to find long grain Thai jasmine rice or glutinous rice – the above is the brand I found at a huge asian market in San Diego. Ask for help if you can’t find it, tell them you’re making sticky rice, you’ll get hooked up with the right stuff. Next how to cook this magical rice.This is the traditional pot and basket used for sticky rice – most Asian markets will have these and they are super cheap – the set cost me under $10. If you don’t want to get all silly like me and buy more stuff that you have to store in a kitchen that is packed out already – this will live in my garage which I’m slowly taking over with kitchen gear – poor Jim – you can use a pasta cooker/steamer basket. If you use the pasta pot – line the steamer basket with dried corn husks – the ones you use for tamales – oil the husks a bit so they don’t stick to the steamer insert. You MUST soak the rice over night, the quick boil method does not work on this rice.Rinse 2 cups of rice 3-4 times until the water starts to appear clear. Fill a bowl with cold water add rinsed rice and soak overnight, minimum of 6 hours. After the soaking you should be able to break the rice easily between your fingers.

Fill the basket with the soaked rice and rinse several times. Place the basket over the pot with boiling water. Cover the rice with a pie pan or a lid that will fit down in the basket – as close to the rice as you can.

Steam for 15 minutes – the rice will form a ball as you move it around the basketflip the ball to the other side – steam 15 minutes more – flip again – steam 15 minutes more -check the rice as you flip – it should be soft – you cannot over cook this rice but it can be undercooked and thats no good. Once the rice is done it can hang over the boiling water and stay hot while you prepare the syrups.

Syrup#1 – sauce syrup – in a small sauce pot combine 2 cups coconut cream/milk combo fresh or canned -1/2 cup sugar – 4 Tablespoons Palm Sugar or brown sugar – couple drops of almond or orange extract added at the end of cooking.Palm Sugar is sold in – you guessed it – Asian markets. While you’re there buying your cool new rice steamer, which is also a really neat hat, buy the palm sugar.It comes in these little hard rounds, you ‘ll need to chop them up a bit so they melt nicely. Cook the syrup on a low heat for about 10 minutes, don’t let it boil- you want to see steam but no boil – add the extract at the end of cooking. Keep warm and set aside. When the rice is done and still very hot, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the warm syrup #1Mix really well with a wooden spoon -the mixture will be soupy – cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix again and let sit for 10 more minutes until all the syrup is absorbed.While the rice is resting and absorbing the yummy syrup #1, start making

Syrup # 2 –  topping syrup – 1 cup coconut cream -1/4 cup sugar -1 teaspoon salt – couple of drops of almond or orange extract added at the end of cooking. Combine all ingredients except the extract, cook on low/medium heat  no boil for about 10 minutes until thickened, add extract and keep warm if serving right away. Both of the syrups can be made ahead of time – cool completely and keep in fridge for up to a week. 

Time to shape the rice/syrup #1 combo – take a wooden spoon and shape with your hands or use a ring mold. Run your hands in cold water to prevent the rice from sticking to everything, if using a ring mold oil the inside for easy release.You can shape all the rice in single portions – try cool shapes for fun presentation wrap with plastic keep in fridge for up to a week– to reheat the individual portions heat in microwave for 30-60 seconds depending on your microwave powerTo serve, place warmed rice portion a plate – ladle a small amount of warmed syrup #2 over the top – place fruit on top or to the side – ladle a bit more syrup over the fruit. The combo is amazing, the salty sweet coconut of syrup #2 is the prefect balance for the sweet sticky coconut rice and the tart sweet fruit.

Wow this was a long post!! It seems like a lot to do, but it went really quickly and its an awesome make ahead dessert that will WOW all the Thai food fans in your life. As always I get all my Thai knowledge from Su Mei Yu, if you’d like to go further with Thai food get her books, especially her first book Cracking the Coconut, which I hear is out of print – makes no sense at all to me, its seriously like my food bible.

I will be teaching Thai cooking classes this summer at Laguna Culinary Arts, this dessert will be part of my July 9th class – check out the schedule here and sign up!

Hope you enjoy- any questions let me know- Cheers- Sarah

Summer Corn Salad

Fresh Summer Corn – Peppery Arugula – Sharp Tangy Red Onion

I found this salad at Whole Paycheck aka Whole Foods in their deli section. I had it once and set to work on making it myself. It’s very easy with a simple light dressing so it doesn’t take away from all the lovely flavors that the ingredients provide.

What you’ll need: 4-6 ears of fresh summer corn (about 4 cups), 2 cups Arugula, half red onion julienned. Dressing- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil or canola, salt & pepper to taste. Adjust any of these items to fit your taste.

Cook the corn in salty boiling water for 6 minutes, make sure there is enough room in your pot so the corn can move about.Slice/julienne the red onion and wash/dry the arugula- place these in a mixing bowl – when the corn is done take a knife and remove the corn from the cob. There is no tidy way to do this, I’ve tried all the tricks, it’s still a mess.

Add the corn to the bowl with the red onion and arugula

Ideally the corn is still hot and it wilts the arugula. Mix for a bit so the hot corn gets everything warm and smelling good. Now for the dressing, mix the rice wine vinegar, oil and season to taste.

Dress the salad mixing really well, serve right away as a room temp side dish or chill and serve as a cold crispy salad. Add 1 cup cooked brown rice to this for a more substantial side dish or yummy lunch at the office.

This is a great dish, try it! – If you can’t get fresh corn, frozen will work just fine – at some point please make it with fresh, you’ll be happy you did. Enjoy!