Recipes by Type

Salads

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

Carrying on a salad themed stretch I made this Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad for a perfect summer starter. After all it has been hot here in Baltimore, and when it is hot and humid I like to spend as little time in the kitchen for dinner preparation as possible. Yesterday it hit 92° and with high humidity felt like 110°! There is no relief in sight with more of the same or hotter today and tomorrow.
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However, this seems to be fine with my tomato crop as long as I remember to water it. We have gotten away with a milder summer so far and I’m very thankful for that. For you lucky folks in Texas you know about heat, and have been getting your share this summer. With this kind of heat I try and do what some people call “planned overs”, not leftovers. This method of food planning call for cooking some extra of whatever is called for the day before and using the next day to shorten prep time. In this case I cooked three extra ears of corn to use in this salad.
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I had some surprise “volunteer” cilantro to use in this salad as well as plenty of my home grown tomatoes from my garden. I also picked a cayenne pepper for the heat component and bought the avocados from my local Costco. I was all set to put together one of my favorite types of salad, a spicy one with corn.
stir gently

stir gently

I was introduced to Kastania Greek olive oil, a high end extra virgin blend from the southern province of Laconia, at a tasting on Friday in Kennett Square, PA. I liked it right away but the more I use it the better it tastes to me. It has a smooth, almost buttery taste that is perfect for this salad.  Using local Maryland Silver Queen corn this sweet and spicy salad is delicious.
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Next time you cook up a batch of corn-on-the-cob be sure to cook three extra and try this recipe out. I’m sure it will please even the most discriminating eaters. To make it a bit more special I’m giving away a bottle of Kastania extra virgin olive oil to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment on this post to be entered. If you comment on my Facebook page you will get an extra entry. Just go to www.Facebook.com/FastAndFuriousCook and leave a comment. I hope you all like this one as much as I do.

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

3 cups cooked corn

1 cup diced tomato

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley

1 firm avocado cut into bite sized pieces, see note

2-3 tablespoons chopped chives or onion

juice of one lime, about 1-2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 jalapeño minced, optional

salt to taste

In a 4 quart mixing bowl mix all ingredients except avocado.

Gently mix in avocado.

Add salt to taste and serve right away or chill for an hour or two.

Serves four to six.

Note:

If your avocado is too soft it breaks down a bit much but you can still use it if you stir it in very gently.

Spicy Asian Slaw

I love traveling for so many reasons. One of the big ones is learning about new foods and recipes. On our recent trip to South Passage Outfitters in Alaska I picked up some ideas for new recipes to test and post. We ate well and fished hard at the camp for the six days we spent there. I even got to cook the shrimp one night as a small guest chef appearance. Other than that I was just one of the happy customers at the communal table stuffing my face each meal with excellent food.I already posted the bean dip that I was inspired to create from that trip and now I have made up a tasty cabbage slaw.
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I have had Japanese rice vinegar in my pantry for a few years now ever since my mother-in-law brought it for a recipe she made. I have used it for soba noodle salads and some salad dressings but never with mayonnaise. This vinegar is not as harsh as most we Americans use and can be sweet rice or there is a lite version with less sugar and salt.
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Up in Alaska our hostess/cook, (Peggy) made a delicious cabbage slaw with the Marukan gourmet rice vinegar, and all of us loved it. She told me that particular vinegar is one of her favorite ingredients. The salad she made is simple, healthy, inexpensive and delicious. The next day we were just about to polish off the leftovers when we found out the float plane was coming early to pick us up and the mad scramble ensued. We had to get our gear down to the boat dock and our frozen fish boxed up quickly and missed out on the cabbage slaw.  I knew I had to re-create it when I got home since I was cheated out of a second helping.
pour and mix

pour and mix

I wanted to make my own version though. Hot peppers had to be part of the recipe and since I had beautiful fresh carrots from my garden they had to join the salad party too. For the hot stuff I added my Caribbean Red Habanero hot sauce and the results were great! Here was a fast and easy salad using one of my favorite vegetables, (cabbage) for hot summertime eating. With the heat of summer upon us I eat a salad of some sort or another most every day. Whether it is a main dish or a side dish, summer salads are a hit. I hope you give this one a try, with or without the hot sauce and see if you agree it’s one of the best out there. As always please help me out with your comments and share with friends and family.
All that's missing is a cold glass of sake.

All that’s missing is a cold glass of sake.

Spicy Asian Slaw

1 pound green cabbage

3/4 cup shredded carrot

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3-4 tablespoons rice vinegar, depending on how thin you want the dressing

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin,optional

1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce, like Sri Racha etc.

Chop or shred the cabbage and blend with carrot in a 2 quart mixing bowl.

To make dressing blend mayonnaise with vinegar, cumin and hot sauce in a small bowl.

Pour dressing over cabbage and carrot and mix well until cabbage and carrot is well coated.

Serve right away or chill for an hour or two.

Serves 6-8

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

Summer is almost here and that means it is time to eat more salads. Last year I read a book on nutrition and dieting that pointed out it is widely agreed eating raw vegetables is a good step towards optimum health. That can be tough for many of us to do but I hope to make it a bit easier with this broccoli and cauliflower salad recipe. If you buy the broccoli and cauliflower already cut into florets and have a good Italian or Asian salad dressing in your fridge this won’t take more than ten minutes to make.
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Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables and I go through a pound per week at the least. In the summer I try to incorporate it in fresh salads more often. This time of year I’ll serve this salad on top of my home-grown salad greens for extra garden goodness. My greens are almost done for the summer with the exception of kale which is just now getting mature enough to pick. I’d suggest putting this broccoli salad on top of mixed baby greens, kale or a lettuce and herb blend.
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Next week I go to Alaska with my brother, sister and my wife for our annual fish gathering vacation. I know when we are up there it is almost impossible to get good fresh salad fixings, but we will make up for it by eating fresh caught salmon and halibut. I’ll try and get in another blog post before I leave but if I don’t then the next post will be about our Alaska trip. Until then, I wish good eating for you and good fishing for me.

 

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Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

2 cups fresh cauliflower cut in bite size florets

2 cups fresh broccoli cut in bite size florets*

1 carrot peeled and sliced julienne stye diagonally into 1/4 inch slices

1 small red,yellow or green bell pepper diced

1/2 cup prepared Italian salad dressing

In a large bowl mix the vegetables then add dressing and mix all ingredients well and refrigerate for 20 minutes or more.

Can be served immediately, but will have a better flavor if allowed some extra time to chill.

If giving it more than 30 minutes chill time it helps to stir it one more time to distribute the dressing that gravitates to the bottom.

Serves four.

 

Note: I like a jalapeño or some other hot pepper to spice this up.

I usually add some of the broccoli stems, but chop them first.

Alaska Salmon Recipe

Alaska has been a big part of my life ever since 1974 when I first set foot on Kodiak Island. I wasn’t sold at the beginning but that first step planted the seed. What really did it was moving to the Kenai Peninsula in 1984, and learning how to catch salmon.

a nice catch of red salmon from 2014

a nice catch of red salmon from 2014

Back then the Kenai Peninsula was a wonderland of all things wild. There were moose in our yard all year long nibbling on just about anything green. Wolves followed their ancient ways in the nearby mountains and hills. Salmon crowded the Kenai River in numbers that blew my mind, and the Cook Inlet waters yielded monster sized halibut and tasty cod for my freezer. I no longer call the Great Land my home but I manage to get back at every opportunity. Since 1995, when I moved to Colorado, I have hardly missed a fishing trip to that magical place.

 

If I had $5,000 – $10,000 to spare, I’d just go to one of the fishing lodges where they do everything for you except hook and reel in the fish, but the lottery did not smile on me this year so that trip will have to wait. For six days this summer my family and I will head up to Alaska for a week at a DIY fishing camp. We will pursue the mighty King Salmon, halibut, rockfish, and lingcod to bring back for a year’s worth of the best seafood you can imagine.

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I am so lucky to be able to afford and tolerate the rigors of a fishing vacation in Alaska year after year. It’s a lot of physical work to captain an 18 foot skiff in the open ocean or rivers in Alaska, and I’m not quite as strong as I used to be. Strength is important when fighting a 50 pound salmon or a halibut weighing over 200 pounds!

 

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I hope we are spared the six foot seas on this trip, tough. If you have never been in an 18 foot skiff in rough Alaskan seas, you are missing some serious adrenaline! My brother and I barely made it around Danger Point near Angoon, Alaska on our last self-guided fishing adventure back in 2002.

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This year, I expect to shoot hundreds of pictures and have my brother video parts of the trip. Watch for postings about this wilderness paradise of the Inside Passage, either on this blog or in travel media.

While I wait for the first fresh Alaskan Salmon to hit the local stores, canned salmon is a good thing to have in the pantry.  Pure Alaska Salmon Company is as good as anything I have tried and it’s ultra-convenient to pop open a can for salmon cakes of salmon salad sandwiches. Pure Alaska’s salmon is processed just hours after being caught, and provides a lot of flavor and nutrition. It tastes as good as the last of my catch from last year, now frozen for ten months. athttp://www.purealaskasalmon.com/our-story-pure-alaska-salmon-company.

If you try their salmon, please let me know if you agree this is the best canned salmon out there, and please share this salmon salad recipe with friends and family. If you have not left a comment to enter last week’s post on Aztec Turkey you can still get in as the drawing is tonight for the box of hot pepper goodies from Melissa’s Produce!

mix it up, then chill if you have the time

mix it up, then chill if you have the time

Canned Salmon Salad

1 7.5 oz. can of red salmon, or 8 oz. fresh cooked salmon

1/4 cup chopped celery

2-3 tablespoon diced dill pickles

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon Spike seasoning salt

1 minced jalapeño, optional

In a 2 quart mixing bowl break up salmon into flakes, and remove bones if desired -I leave them in when using canned salmon.

In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, Spike, and jalapeño.

Pour over salmon.

Add celery and dill pickles.

Mix well and chill for an hour if you have the time to do so.

Serve over salad greens, on bread with some lettuce, or wrapped in a tortilla with salad greens.

Serves two but is easily doubled.

 

Even though Pure Alaska Salmon Company gifted me some of their canned salmon my opinions are my own.

Lentil Vegetable Salad

In late March, I attended the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) meeting in Washington DC. While the theme was “Happy Birthday” to founding member Chef Jaques Pepin, the DC host team assembled a great list of local sponsors, tours, and three days of panels, seminars and workshops. Attendees went home with bags and minds full of goodies, information, and ideas.

Part of the eighty cake display.

Part of the eighty cake display.

 

The National Geographic presentation, derived from the National Geographic’s Food 2014 issue, gave me much food for thought. The image that sticks in my mind is an illustration of the amount of food an American family of four wastes each year. The piles of veggies behind the family and the meats in front forming a parade of waste is truly shocking, and disturbing. The article states that on average a typical American family of four tosses out 1,160 pounds of vegetables, dairy products, and meats in just a year!

Robert and Chef Tom at the  Melissa's table.

Robert and Chef Tom at the Melissa’s table.

 

This has to stop.

 

 

Modern American refrigerators are large, and some of the food we buy gets lost and goes bad by the time we rediscover it deep in the bins and shelves. A quick twice a week survey of every bin and shelf in our fridges could cut out plenty of waste. Making a grocery list and sticking to it helps cut out overbuying, and waste as well.

 

 

Using leftovers efficiently and creatively helps eliminate waste. A common restaurant term is “cream of walk-in soup” – a soup made from scavenging the walk-in cooler for vegetables and other foods that need to be used before they go bad.

 

A website like recipekey.com can help the home cook use what they have on hand. You enter what you have and the site shows recipes using those ingredients by percentage. With tools like these you can use instead of lose foods to spoilage in your fridge and pantry.

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As an example, the other day I had a few spears of asparagus, a nice bit of fresh cilantro, lemons, broccoli stems, celery, and some Melissa’s fire roasted red bell peppers in my fridge. There were some lentils in the pantry from Melissa’s Produce, so I decided a lentil vegetable salad was in the works. After a bit of chopping and mixing I had a great looking healthful salad for lunch. Without the lemon, and adding vegetable stock it could have been made as a soup. As for the amount of each ingredient you can vary the amount of broccoli, asparagus, bell pepper and celery significantly and still come up with a great tasting salad. This is a use-your-leftovers type of salad so feel free to experiment, and substitute ingredients as needed.

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Lentil Asparagus Salad

 

1 1/2 to 2 Cups cooked lentils*

2-4 broccoli stems, peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch pieces

1 Cup chopped fresh cilantro*

1-2 stalks of celery, about ½ cup sliced thin

1/2 to 1 Cup chopped fresh red bell pepper, or fire roasted

½ pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths

1/4 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons chopped green onions, optional

1 jalapeño chopped, optional

salt to taste

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In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except lemon and oil.

In a small bowl whisk oil and lemon juice together for ten-seconds or so, and pour over the salad.

Mix salad with spoon or toss with hands to incorporate the dressing. Ready to serve right away or refrigerate for 2-8 hours.

Serves 4 to 6.

 

*Red beans may be substituted for lentils

*Parsley may be substituted for cilantro.

 

Even though Melissa’s Produce gifted me some of their products to try my opinions are my own.

Asian Broccoli Salad

Last local broccoli of the year

Even though it is soup season there is still time to check out this Asian broccoli salad recipe. Since my Maryland gardening adventure began three years ago I’ve become much more knowledgeable about the growing seasons for vegetables. Before my gardening education  I didn’t realize how well broccoli grew in the fall. It thrives in the cooler weather and lack of bugs. If the weather is cool enough, broccoli planted in August and September grows fast and full. Big thick crowns of this healthy vegetable flourish in cold weather and can even withstand a bit a frost without damage.

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The weather forecasters are really loving this big winter storm coming down on the bulk of the US earlier than usual. Almost everyone has heard of winter storm Astro by now. It has dumped up to sixteen inches of snow in parts of Minnesota and is just getting started. While us lucky folks in Maryland won’t get that type of winter weather, it is going to bring a hard freeze. Therefore it is time to get out to your local veggie farms and buy the last of the fresh broccoli, cauliflower, kale and other fall vegetables before it turns into frozen veggies!

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I went off to Wilbur’s Farm yesterday in Kingsville, MD, just up the road from my home to buy what was left of their fresh veggies. I bought great looking broccoli that was just cut, and a sack full of various peppers. Knowing that it will be many months before I can buy fresh locally grown vegetables I made it a priority to get what I could before the big freeze comes on Thursday and Friday nights.

Mix it up

Mix it up

With the broccoli and peppers safely  back home in my kitchen I knew what I wanted to do with them. If you have not made a home made broccoli and bell pepper salad with an Asian vinaigrette you are missing out on one tasty salad. I usually make my own dressing but I had a bottle of Annie’s shitake vinaigrette salad dressing and put it to work. This is one of the easiest and healthiest salads out there. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes to make, and can be eaten right away or chilled for 1-4 hours for optimum flavor. So before we get all the way into soup and hot foods season I hope you try this simple and delicious recipe. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already, and please share this with friends and family.

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Asian Broccoli and Bell Pepper Salad

2 cups of broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces

1 1/2 cups red bell pepper diced large, about the size of a nickel

1/3-1/2 cup Annies shitake vinaigrette salad dressing, see note

1/4 to 1/2 cup thin sliced red onion

1-3 jalapeños sliced thin, optional

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Serve right away or chill up to four hours for best flavor. Roasted seaweed goes well with this as an edible garnish. Try the wasabi flavored seaweed for some added spice!

Serves six to eight

Note:

Try an Italian vinaigrette salad dressing for a nice variation and grate some parmesan cheese into it if you like.

Cauliflower goes well with this too. Try adding a cup of bite sized florets and reduce the broccoli to one cup.

Two Bean Corn n Tomato Salad

As a chef I love the explosion of specialty food shops over the last twenty years. Within that explosion are oil and vinegar  shops scattered throughout the US. Back in 1999 my wife and I went to Austria on vacation and visited Vienna for a couple of days. At an open air market we had a good conversation with a local who was working the vinegar shop at the market and educated us on the old world’s vinegars. She related that she had lived in the US for a few years and most Americans don’t have a clue about quality vinegar. She sold me two different types of high quality vinegars that I experimented with for happily over a year.

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Now days us foodies are so lucky to be able to find oil and vinegar shops in abundance. My wife and I took a day trip to Bethesda last week and discovered Secolari Atrisan oils and vinegars. The big difference between them and others is they are not a franchise. The owner and his wife take trips to California where all of their olive oils come from. They hand pick anything that goes in their store, but before it goes on the shelf they both have to agree it is worthy. If one of them doesn’t like the selection, out it goes. Tasting is free and encouraged in their shop and I tasted many vinegars and a few oils.

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I came home with a Blackberry Vinegar and an Ancho Pepper Vinegar to play with. Since I had just gone to my favorite local farm in Kingsville yesterday and bought five pounds of green beans and six ears of bi-colored corn I knew what I was going to do. I cooked up the corn and ate three for dinner reserving the rest for a salad the next day. I steamed the green beans the next morning and chilled them in ice water. Now the stage was set for a perfect summer salad. I picked basil and jalapeño peppers from my garden and put it all together in the recipe below.

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Here’s the important point I want to make. If you plan ahead and cook extra items you are already cooking for dinner then the next day’s food preparation can be a breeze. By cooking the corn and beans the night before you have part of the makings of this salad for the next day and it will take less than ten minutes to make the salad. This is a fast, easy, and healthy salad that just about anyone can make so give it a try and see what you think. Please share with friends and family and leave a comment on this recipe.

time to eat

time to eat

Two Bean Salad with fresh Corn and Tomato

 

1 cup green beans, see note

1 1/2 cup cooked corn cut from the cob

1 can kidney beans, see note

3 sliced jalapeños, about 1/3 cup, or use diced green bell peppers

1 medium sized fresh tomato diced

1/2 cup sliced fresh basil, about 1/2 package

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, see note

salt to taste, about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon

 

To make this easy plan ahead and have steamed green beans the night before and cook extra, but take the beans for your salad out of the pot and chill in ice water then drain and refrigerate over night.

For the corn it’s pretty much the same thing. You cook an extra two ears and chill it in ice water. Cut it off the cob and refrigerate over night.

 

Rinse and drain kidney beans and put in a medium-large bowl.

Dice tomato and add to mixing bowl.

Slice jalapeños or dice bell peppers and add to bowl.

Dice tomato and add to bowl.

Add oil, vinegar and salt and mix gently.

If serving soon add basil otherwise wait until just before serving to add basil. They helps basil retain its green color instead of turning black.

 

Note:

Fresh or frozen green beans will work.

Chill your can of kidney beans the night before.

I used Secolari’s, (an oil and vinegar shop in Bethesda, MD) Ancho Pepper vinegar, but white wine or champagne vinegar will work also.

 

 

 

Summer Joy

Summer provides us with so many lasting memories, and as a kid I couldn’t wait for school to be over and blissful summer to arrive. I loved many things about summer growing up in Lakewood,Colorado. It was a time for games like “kick-the-can, hide-n-seek, kickball in the street, and baseball at the nearby school yard. We also loved the pool four blocks from home and my brother and I went there often to beat the heat.

today's harvest

today’s harvest

The family camping trips into the majestic Rocky Mountains were a highlight each year. We would usually camp out and eat fresh caught trout cooked in a cast iron skillet over a campfire for dinner with pork and beans. When It got dark my brother and I would lay out on a picnic table or the ground if no picnic table was available and stare at the billions of stars one could see back in the 1960’s way up in the Colorado mountains. It was paradise on earth.

eleven ounces

 

 

Back in Lakewood in a corner of our yard was a plot about ten feet wide by fifteen feet long for a veggie patch. I was the unofficial veggie gardener of the family taught by my grandfather and my dad on the art of growing one’s own food. I started young, about at tens years of age if memory serves me right, and I loved it! I grew radishes, carrots, green beans, corn, and beets. I would eat it all but not the beets.

eleven ounces of beets

eleven ounces of beets

It took another two decades before I would willingly eat the red monsters of the dirt. They were grown for my parents to enjoy, not us kids. Better late than never though as I have learned to not only like them, I love beets. I cook the beets greens in garlic infused olive oil with or without sliced mushrooms. I cook and eat the beets hot or make a variety of summer salads with them all through the season. Plain cooked, chilled and sliced beets are a colorful accompaniment to a green salad, or just by themselves with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar as a side dish.

 

salad time

salad time

 

Today I share with you a recipe using the first Chioggia Beets of the year from my garden. This heirloom beet named after a fishing village in Italy has a lovely candy striped inside and a soft red outside color pattern. They are more like a golden beet in taste then a typical Detroit Red Beet. This recipe can be used with whatever beets you have available, but best with golden beets if you can find them. So give it a try and have a great summer and a safe Fourth of July!

Golden Beet Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

12 ounces fresh beets
3 tablespoons thin sliced fresh basil leaves (chiffonade sliced)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil, or walnut oil

Wash and trim beets and remove green tops.
Put beets in a pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. If your beets are global size it will take about 10-12 minutes to cook after they come to a boil. If bigger they will take 15-17 minutes to cook.
Cool beets in cold running water for 3 minutes.
Drain and trim any hair like roots, or peel if you wish.
Cut into bite sized pieces and tops with oil, basil and vinegar .
Chill for a half and hour or more and enjoy.
Serves four.

Note:
I like to start by putting my mixing bowl in the fridge to expedite the chilling process.
Cut up grapefruit sections are a nice addition to this salad.
I usually don’t peel organic beets.

Fast and Easy Avocado and Salsa Salad

Avocado and Salsa Salad

 

3 simple ingredients

3 simple ingredients

In the world of fast, and healthy recipes this original salad I made up is one of my favorites. It takes no more than five minutes to prepare and it tastes great. You can use almost any store bought tomato salsa or home made like I do to make this salad. I think a salsa that has a fair amount of tomato juice in it works best, but if you are using something like Pace picante that is a bit thicker just squeeze some fresh lime on the greens before topping them with the avocado tomato mix.

It can be a meal or just a salad starter for lunch or dinner. Add jalapeños for a kick, or even olives. Let your imagination play around with this one. You could snap peas, broccoli, or shredded cabbage in it also.

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The recipe is a simple as it gets:

one ripe avocado, cut into one inch cubes

1/3 cup salsa

about two cups of your favorite greens

 

ready to mix

ready to mix

Mix the cut up avocado with the salsa in a mixing bowl and spoon it over your greens.

I love avocados so much I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate them in my diet.

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This weeks giveaway is a beautiful solid cherry cutting/serving board that I bought in Fairhope, Alabama while there visiting my Aunt. It’s so nice I’m having a hard time parting with it, but someone will win it just for taking the time to comment on this post. Could it be you?

cherry wood cutting board up for grabs

cherry wood cutting board up for grabs

 

Soups and Salads

In Praise of Soup

It is definitely soup season. With the appearance of real winter this year as opposed to the last two mild winters we have had in Maryland I am willing to bet soup consumption is up here and in most North American households. The great thing about soup is it does well as a starter, a snack or a meal.

I have been on a soup theme for a couple of months now with post like the lamb and dried mushroom stew recipe I developed,(http://www.fastandfuriouscook.com/lamb-mushroom-stew/), Navajo Stew from the Moosewood Cookbook, (http://www.fastandfuriouscook.com/cold-weather-special/0) , and back in October I developed a Beef and Mushroom Chile recipe for my friends at Phillip’s Mushrooms in Kennett Square,PA,(http://www.fastandfuriouscook.com/soup-season/). All three of these are good choices for an entree type soup.

Lets take a look at some other great soup attributes. I suspect I’m not the only one that packs a lunch for a spouse that goes off to work Monday through Friday? My wife loves having a thermos of hot soup for lunch from the previous night’s leftovers,or freshly made that morning. There are several types of thermos bottles out there that will keep soup hot for hours if preheated properly. When your loved one opens up the thermos at work or school that day at lunch time out comes that wonderful aroma of home made soup. A much healthier and tastier way to eat at work, school or play.

Versatility is another great attribute of soup. You can tweak most recipes to your liking. If you want sausage, go ahead and add it t a bean soup, or Italian style tomato soup. If you want a cream soup but want to make it Vegan, just use coconut milk instead of cows milk. Vegetables are great in soups and you can find a soup recipe for just about any vegetable.

Soups can be very healthy too! Since we are coming out of the holiday season where many of us have eaten a fair amount of not-so-healthy foods it’s a good time to put healthy soups on the menu a couple times a week. Most bean soups are very healthy. Vegetable soups without cream are some of the best soups you can eat. One of my very favorite soups is my own concoction called Italian Tomato Soup,(http://www.fastandfuriouscook.com/italian-tomato-soup/0 a soup I posted back in November of 2012 just after launching my blog. This soup has the heartiness of a stew, and the health qualities of a bean or vegetable soup all in one pot. It’s a Vegan soup that can be changed for meat eaters by adding pork or lamb sausage to it, and it cooks in under one hour start to finish!

 

Soups are ethnic food. Take a Cuban black bean soup, of Chinese hot sour soup for example. Many cultures have their special soups. I love a good bowl of French onion soup when I visit France. When I used to cook in restaurants Portuguese fisherman soup, of French bouillabaisse was one of my favorites. to make and eat. I guess American’s have their chili to represent them on the ethnic soup stage as our best known original soup. Without chili I think the saltine cracker would disappear.

Soups pair very well with salads, and sandwiches for lunch, and many restaurants serving lunch offer such combinations on the menu. Even in the winter I like a soup and salad combo at lunchtime occasionally. Recently I developed a new salad dressing using cranberries in a vinaigrette style dressing. It’s quick, easy and delicious. It could be used on green salad or on chicken salad too. This would pair well with my mushroom chowder(http://www.fastandfuriouscook.com/392/) or my butternut squash and curry soup. So give this a try while fresh and frozen cranberries are still available, and let me know what you think.

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Cranberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

1/2 cup fresh cranberries, or thawed frozen cranberries

1-2 fresh lemons juiced, about 3 tablespoons

1/2 cup walnut oil, or canola oil

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

optional, a dash of Bragg’s Aminos, or soy sauce

optional, 1 to 1/2 package of stevia, or 1 teaspoon of agave

the ingredients

the ingredients

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with an immersion blender, or use a tabletop blender until cranberries are pureed. Makes about 18-20 1 tablespoon size servings.

 

ready for the immersion blender

ready for the immersion blender

Note:

Walnut oil works very well with this recipe, but it is more expensive than canola.

 

I like this dressing without the sweetener best.

 

This would work well with a variety of salads like green, chicken, pasta, or bean salad. Have fun experimenting.

 

Fresh cranberries freeze exceptionally well without any extra work. Just pop them into the freezer in the bag or plastic package they came in. I have used one year old cranberries from my freezer that had no freezer burn, or other bad taste.

 

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