No April Fool’s here! Just good food! My cousin posted the most delicious looking salad on Instagram last week and I was beyond jealous. Most of my family lives in Ireland, so with the time difference they are posting delicious looking lunches and dinners right when I wake up. Since checking Instagram is (shamefully) the first thing I do every morning, I get to start drooling over planning delicious meals right away. Luckily my cousin also mentioned the name of the restaurant in her picture and I was easily able to stalk the menu and find out more about this delicious meal. I read the description and was almost instantly in love.
Prosciutto, Pear & Parmesan Salad
Prosciutto ham, fresh rocket, toasted pine nuts,
sliced juicy pear and grated aged parmesan
with a strawberry and balsamic dressing.
I had everything on hand and set about making this bad boy right away. I took a few liberties of my own (NO pine nuts here! Yuck!) and had to imagine what the dressing might be like, but the end result was beyond anything I could have imagined. I think this the perfect type of salad for this time of year. There is a great combination of sweet winter and spring fruits, which are amazing with the salty prosciutto and the toasted almonds add a perfect crunch. And the very best part! It took less than ten minutes to put together!
Apart from switching disgusting pine nuts for almonds, I had to guess what kind of dressing was used. Personally, I am not a fan of oily or sweet vinaigrettes, so when I came across this recipe from Whole Foods, I thought it would be perfect! I added some chia seeds to the dressing for some extra nutritional value. This dressing is best made with strawberries that have been sliced for a bit (so they can get kind of sweet and syrupy in their natural juice) or strawberries that are over ripe (like the day before you might have to toss them). Strawberries like that will be the juiciest and sweetest, which will cut the need for added sweeteners or oil.
I made these in an attempt to use up some summer fruits that were rapidly approaching their use or lose stage. There are endless summer fruit combinations you can use, so go wild. I think strawberries and peaches go together amazingly, but I could imagine raspberries, blueberries, pluots, apricots and all sorts of other fruits working perfectly.
These pancakes are perfect for brunch! If I was making these for a weekend brunch, I would definitely add a glug of bourbon to the pan when you add in the peaches, just to give it an extra decadent, boozy, brunchy feel.
I will say, I had a hard time getting these pancakes to cook through, hence the crispy looking edges. I think I was being slightly impatient with heating my pan (there really is only so long a girl can wait for breakfast after spin class…), so I had to sacrifice give a few utter failures to my official tasters (aka the pups). The crispy edges did not have a burnt flavor, which was lucky, just a different texture.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, oil and milk until smooth.
Stir in all the remaining ingredients, except for the strawberries, and mix until smooth.
Gently fold the strawberries into the mixture until all are incorporated.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add a small knob of butter (about 1/2 teaspoon) until quite hot. Pour a ladleful of pancake batter onto the pan and cook. Reduce the temperature to medium at this stage, you don't want crunchy pancakes! Once little bubbles begin to appear in the top of the pancake, it is ready to flip. Cook it until the pancake is firm through.
Transfer to a warmed plate/oven. Repeat with remaining pancake mixture, re-buttering the pan every couple of pancakes.
In the same pan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar.
Add peaches and nutmeg. Cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and peaches are warmed through and coated, 2 to 5 minutes.
Put the pancakes onto the serving plates, top with peaches and serve immediately.
I will fully confess this salad was made out of desperation. I got a little overzealous at Costco and bought a 5 pound bag of baby spinach. It was $3.79, seemed like such a great idea at the time. Do you know how much baby spinach is in a 5 pound bag of baby spinach? FIVE pounds. Do you know how hard it is to come up with new ideas to use up 5 pounds of baby spinach? Real hard. There are only so many green smoothies and sautéed spinach one can consume. I have gotten to the point I just google spinach and any other random ingredients I can think of and hope something worthwhile comes up. I’ve been hitting a lot of duds, but I really lucked out with this one.
I personally don’t like super oily vinaigrettes (or oily anything), so I tend to skimp on that. I just couldn’t get a taste I liked with just the limes for acidity, so I added in a bit of white wine vinegar to try to get the flavors to blend a bit better. Perfect fix. I added the feta at the last-minute (an other Costco purchase that needs to be used… I need to stop doing this to myself). I think it gave the salad a tangy bite that worked really well with the other flavors.
I also have to admit I am totally embarrassed by the fact that I took the time to cut the strawberries into hearts. Who does that? It’s a cheesy cute idea for a Valentine’s Day salad if you have the need for such a thing. This salad is definitely tasty enough to share.
When I was in Tokyo a couple months ago I got to drink a lot of sake. A lot of really good sake to be more precise. It was wonderful. Fast froward, I was in the grocery store here the other week and saw a display of sake bottles. I went over to investigate and once I saw the price, I knew I had to buy a bottle. $2.79 for a bottle of sake. I figured, I survived drinking Transylvanian moonshine and Burmese rum, how bad can something approved for sale in the state of California actually be? Worst case scenario, I end up with organ failure and possibly blind, best case, it might be decent enough to use in a cocktail, and somewhere in the middle, I decided at the least I now have a bottle of lighter fluid/paint stripper/weed killer all for the low, low price of $2.79. It seemed like a bit of a risk, but I’m crazy stupid enough to take it. Luckily it worked out in my favor. I really enjoy sake because, generally speaking, it’s very light and refreshing. Those qualities make it perfect for a summertime cocktail.
In a mixing glass, muddle strawberry, lime juice, and simple syrup in the bottom of a tall glass until the strawberry is completely dissolved. Add mint leaves and gently tap 5 times with muddler. (Do not over-muddle mint or it will taste bitter and muddy.)
Fill glass with ice and add sake. Stir until the fully incorporated. Pour unstrained into serving glass, top with seltzer and garnish with a sprig of mint and a strawberry.
Perhaps your Cinco had a bit to much drinko involved with it. These should help alleviate some of the problems you are facing today. These drinks are actually good any day, especially when it’s hot out. And the are super easy to make. Aguas frescas are really popular Latin American drinks, but there are some variations from country to country. Living in Southern California, I am most familiar with the Mexican variety. You can find them served at pretty much an taqueria you go to and even most of the ‘fancier’ Mexican restaurants will have some version of their own. There are even bottled aguas frescas, but trust me, you are better off sticking to the fresh stuff. Aguas frescas are traditionally just fruit purée, water and a bit of sugar. I find that most of the restaurants add way too much sugar. If you get fresh, in season fruit, I think that’s usually sweet enough on it’s own. I also like to make mine with sparkling water to give them a little more of a refreshing feel.
Strawberry Aguas Frescas
1 pound strawberries, hulled
juice of two limes
water, sparkling or flat, of choice (I used La Croix Coconut)
Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor. Push purée through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds.
Pour purée into a large pitcher and add lime juice. Stir together. Top with water and stir (lightly if using sparkling water) to mix.
Serve and enjoy!
Pineapple-Mango Aguas Frescas
1 fresh pineapple, cored and sliced
2 fresh mangoes, chopped
juice of two limes
water, sparkling or flat, of choice (I used La Croix Lime)
generous dash of cayenne pepper (optional for when you are feeling a bit crazy).
Blend the pineapple, mangoes and lime juice (and cayenne pepper if using) together.
Pour into a large pitcher. Top with water and stir (lightly if using sparkling water) to mix.
This a delightful little concoction I came up with over the weekend. It was light, fruity and perfect for an 80/27 degree Easter day. I really liked the fruit combination I used ( strawberries, raspberries, and mandarins), but you can use absolutely any fresh fruit you have on hand. My only suggestion would be to let it sit a little bit before serving. The first glass I had was only so-so, but the second glass was a million times better. It definitely improved as the flavors had some time to mix together.
2 750 ml. bottles of champagne/sparkling wine/cava
1/2 cup amaretto
1/2 cup orange liqueur/triple sec/cointreau
fresh fruit (I used sliced strawberries, raspberries, and mandarins)
Pour the amaretto and orange liqueur into a large pitcher, add fruit and top with champagne. Let sit about 15 minutes before serving.
So this is what started my whole strawberry craze. My friend Amy (hi Amy!) posted on my Facebook about how delicious strawberries and balsamic are. True story. It’s a delicious combination. I remember making a strawberry balsamic dessert in high school and I felt super grown-up and sophisticated. That phase didn’t last long. Amy’s comment made me really crave some kind of strawberry balsamic combination, but I wanted to try something a little different.
These popsicles are super refreshing and so easy to make. I definitely plan on making these a lot over the summer. Next time though, I would change a few things. I would probably either cut back on the sugar or up the balsamic a bit.The strawberries were definitely sweet enough on their own and didn’t need a whole 1/4. The vinegar flavor was there, but I would have preferred it to stand out a little more. And the freshly ground pepper… I love pepper, but every now and again I would find myself biting into what I thought was a little strawberry chunk only to be (rudely) surprised by pepper. Definitely make sure your pepper is finely ground.
2 cups sliced, hulled strawberries (from about 1 pound berries)
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the strawberries and sugar in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture is finely chopped and juicy but still chunky; you don’t want a smooth purée. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the balsamic vinegar and a few grinds of pepper.
Spoon the mixture into ice pop molds and insert sticks. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.
To unmold the pops, run hot water over the outsides of the molds for a few seconds, then gently pull the sticks.
In my never-ending quest to use up six pounds of strawberries, I have been forced to make the berry an acceptable addition to every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, nothing is off-limits when it comes to strawberries.
I made this delicious salad for lunch and I loved it. The strawberries and goat cheese were sweet and tangy and contrasted each other perfectly. I am kind of obsessed with the vinaigrette I made to go with the salad. I don’t give any exact measurements below for the dressing, mainly because I like mine to be really vinegar-y and that might not be everyone’s thing. Just use whatever ratio sounds best to you.
Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Crispy Shallots
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 large handfuls baby spinach
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 ounces goat cheese
Roasted garlic vinaigrette (recipe below)
In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the sliced shallots and toss to coat with oil. Allow shallots to cook on medium-high until they start to soften and get a bit of color. Turn heat to low and stir ever 5-8 minutes until they are golden and crispy. Remove pan from heat and allow shallots to cool and drain on paper towels.
Divide spinach between two plates, top with strawberries, goat cheese, shallots and vinaigrette.
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
2 heads roasted garlic
white wine or champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a food processor, add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, along with the mustard. Blend until smooth.