My nephew and his wife are going to have a baby, a GIRL baby. My sister Robin, is beside herself with joy and anticipation, having had three boys of her own and two boy grandchildren so far. She asked me to cater a luncheon to celebrate the "mom to be". We wanted to do a refreshing, bright, summer salad so I reached back into my tried and true, favorite salad recipes (from Alchemy, way back when, and Wren Café) and came across this one! I know some of you will remember it well. Tangy, a bit spicy and really refreshing with fresh mint and cilantro...it's perfect for a summer party of any kind.
'Open Sesame' Thai Salad
1 red bell pepper, quartered and sliced thinly
1/2 small red cabbage, quartered and sliced thinly
1 Napa cabbage, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly
1/4 c cilantro, chopped coarsely
12 mint leaves, stacked, rolled tightly and sliced thinly across into a chiffonade or simply chopped
4 green onions, sliced thinly
3 carrots, julienned on a mandoline or sliced thinly
1-2 c mung bean sprouts
1 c celery, sliced thinly across the stalk (optional)
1 pkg Maifun rice noodles (place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, allowing them to sit and soften for 10 minutes, drain and set aside)
8 c mixed baby lettuces for a base
1# poached or roasted chicken torn into strips or chunked (or tofu cut into chunks)
1/2 c roasted, salted peanuts, chopped coarsely for garnish
Prepare all veggies and herbs and toss together in a bowl. To assemble, place greens on a plate, top with rice noodles and a handful of the veggie mix. Add the torn chicken breast or tofu chunks in and around the veggies, Ladle 1 oz of dressing over the entire salad and top with chopped peanuts. Garnish with extra mint or cilantro if you like. Serves 8.
1/4 c garlic, chopped finely (I drop through the feed tube of a food processor)
1/4 c fresh ginger, peeled & chopped finely (I drop through the feed tube of a food processor)
2 t dried chile flakes
2 c rice wine vinegar
3/4 c sugar
3 oz sesame oil
1/4 c olive oil
2 t salt
Mix everything together, stirring to combine. Makes about 3 1/2 cups. This is more than you will need for the 8 salads but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks and would make a great marinade for chicken or pork and a great dipping sauce for potstickers or spring rolls.
Like a lot of folks on Memorial Day Weekend, I am going to a barbecue. Yippee! The official start of summer has finally arrived. I was asked to bring a dish to share and wanted it to be a bit different (and of course, EASY!). Caprese salad is traditionally made with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella but since the tomatoes aren't even close to being ready, I decided to sub in watermelon. The addition of the arugula gives the salad some peppery spice and the vinaigrette lends a tart, sweetness. I think it will be the perfect accompaniment to barbecue, whatever is on the grill! Don't forget to remember and give thanks to all of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. We are blessed to be here.
1 small watermelon, quartered, rind removed and squared off into 2" x 2" pieces,
then cut into 1/2" slices
1 bunch of baby arugula
1 container of fresh mozzarella balls (ovalini size) sliced into 1/4" slices
basil, torn into small pieces (optional)
Arrange the watermelon slices on a platter, putting a slice of mozzarella in between. Take a few sprigs of arugula and tuck in between the cheese and the melon. Garnish with edible flowers if you have. You can make ahead to this point, cover and chill until ready to serve, Drizzle the vinaigrette on at the last minute.
Lemon + Basil Olive Oil Vinaigrette
1 t honey
1 T white balsamic vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of sea salt
3 T basil infused Marisolio (or other) olive oil
Whisk the honey, vinegar, lemon juice and salt together in a small bowl. Slowly add the oil to emulsify.
I was driving through the valley earlier this week and stopped at my favorite roadside stand. They had those beautiful strawberries that I have written about before but they also had beautiful fresh apricots. I LOVE dried apricots but I have never been much of a fresh apricot fan. I bought some anyway... for inspiration. One of my 'go to' dishes in my catering menu selections is a grilled, skewered chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto and arugula. It is colorful and so flavorful. I got to thinking...what about using pork tenderloin in place of the chicken and adding fresh apricots to this tasty scheme? This is what happened!
Grilled Pork Tenderloin wrapped in Prosciutto + Arugula + Fresh Apricots
1.5# pork tenderloin, silver skin removed and cut into 1" chunks, about 21 pieces
6 slices of prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise in half
a bunch of baby arugula
6 fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
2 T olive oil
salt + pepper
Glaze (optional but really adds a bit of sweet and spice)
1/4 cup apricot jam
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 T white wine, orange juice or water
Soak eight 12" wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes, or use metal ones. Drizzle the pork with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper and toss to coat. Pick up a piece of pork, grab some arugula (a few sprigs) and hold them together while you wrap with the prosciutto, slide onto a skewer to secure. Next, skewer a piece of apricot. Continue until all pieces of pork have been wrapped, adding the apricot in between. Grill over a medium hot fire for 10-12 minutes (5-6 minutes per side) until charred, brushing on each side with the glaze (if using).
I'm excited to be going to visit my mother this Sunday and spend some quality time with her. I'm not a big fan of eating out on Mother's Day, the restaurants are unusually stressed and the experience can be expensive and mediocre at best. I'm going to make a simple but delicious Quiche Lorraine and eat at her home instead. We might even go on a picnic...even if it's just to the back yard. This quiche, along with some fruit and a simple salad is the perfect brunch or lunch dish for this Sunday or anytime. Happy Mother's Day everyone!