Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mango Shrimp Salad with Avocado

I'm eating the leftovers as we speak and it is so delicious, you guys! This blog hasn't been updated in a while since I was on vacation in Portugal and southern Spain. Every thing I ate was insane and I am so in tapas mode. I will probably spend the next several weeks, if not months, copying all of the things I loved there and the first up is this wonderful salad. I something very similar at a tapas bar in Cordoba and let me tell you that the better quality shrimps there make a huge difference. This was made with whole foods wild caught pink frozen shrimp and it just wasn't the same. That being said, it's still a refreshing summer salad and the perfect thing to eat on a hot day.

Mango Shrimp Salad with Avocado
12 - 15 shrimp depending on size (the fresher the better!), cooked and sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 mango, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 scallion, diced (white and green parts)
1/2 of one small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste, I used a pinch of pepper and a generous 3 tablespoons of salt
slices of 1/4 of an avocado, as garnish

Cook the shrimp and leave in the fridge to chill. Combine all ingredients except avocado in a bowl and mix. Add avocado to the top and sprinkle with a touch more salt. Enjoy!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Coconut Cream Pudding

Vegan and gluten free potluck dish - a serious challenge. I wanted to use seasonal ingredients from my local farmer's market making it even trickier, but I came up with a riff on the classic Vanilla Wafer Banana Pudding that is vegan, gluten, free, low in sugar, and truly delicious. The Tupperware came back completely empty, which is always a great sign of a successful dish! If you like the idea but want to add some crunch, consider a layer of graham cracker or nuts on top.

Strawberry Rhubarb Coconut Cream Pudding
1 pound strawberries, sliced
5 large stalks of rhubarb, roughly chopped (approximately 1 inch cubes)
3 cans coconut milk, refrigerated over night (do not used reduced fat)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 bananas

Start the rhubarb puree first (this can be made the day before)
Pour rhubarb pieces into sauce pan on medium heat with 4 tablespoons of sugar and the cup of water. Gently stir as the stems breakdown eventually turning into an applesauce like consistency. Allow it to cool and then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

 While the rhubarb puree is cooling, slice the pound of strawberries and set aside. These beauties were acquired at the farmer's market a few hours before prep and the flavor was unreal, no sugar needed. If you're strawberries are slightly tart, consider a sprinkling of sugar over the top before assembling.

Coconut Cream: Remove the cans of coconut milk from the fridge without overly shaking or turning over (this will keep the coconut cream separate from the milk. After removing the lid, the thick creamy bit should be easy to scoop out of the can. Add this to your blender first along with both bananas, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk to think the mixture slightly. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and free of any banana chunks.

Remove the rhubarb puree from the fridge and begin layering with all ingredients handy. Start with a layer of strawberries on the bottom, then a layer of coconut cream, a layer of rhubarb puree (which ends up being more blobs, that's ok!), another layer of all three with sparser strawberries on top so some Jackson Pollack style swirls of rhubarb puree visible on top that I thought made for a pretty presentation. The longer it sits, the more the rhubarb mixes in with the coconut cream, which isn't at all a bad thing. It's very runny and has to be served in cups as more of a mixed up pudding, but it's a real crowd pleaser that is as healthy as a dessert gets.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Leftover Chicken Tortilla Soup

As you can tell from the recipes on this blog, I eat a primarily vegetarian diet. It is a choice I make for both my health and the good of the environment, and try to keep the exceptions few and far between. There are several local farmers that sell their sustainably raised meat at my farmers market and once in a while I will indulge. This indulgence usually involves buying a whole chicken and enjoying a week's worth of meals for two, since meat works best in small portions that serve as the principle flavor source. A whole chicken was purchased a few weeks ago and after following Thomas Keller's killer roasted chicken recipe, my boyfriend and I sat down to a delicious roasted chicken dinner on a Sunday. Then the fun really begins working with the leftovers all week. He made a great mexican rice and beans dish and I used the rest to make my favorite tortilla soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (serves 4)

2 tablespoons coconut oil (can use olive oil instead)
1 cup roasted chicken (use whatever bits are left!)
1 small onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced with seeds removed
1 green pepper, diced
1 jar of tomatoes (can or box works too)
1 cup cooked rice
3/4 cup corn (I used frozen, organic / non-gmo, obvs)
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) salt
5 cups water
1 teaspoon chili pepper (optional)
1 avocado for garnish, sliced
Tortilla chips for garnish (optional)

Begin by sauteing the onions in the coconut oil for 2 minutes, then add celery, jalapeno, and green pepper with a tablespoon of salt and stir for another 2 minutes, or until vegetables have all started to soften. Add the chicken bits and don't be afraid of including the skin and continue to saute another 5 minutes before adding the tomato and water with the remaining 4 tablespoons of salt and chili pepper if including it. Let all ingredients simmer for 20 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in cooked rice. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sliced avocados and tortilla chips, if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Easy Comfort Food - Baked Potato with Cheese and Broccoli

It looks as casual as it is! Sometimes spring doesn't come on schedule and you find yourself looking around your kitchen in late April and wanting nothing but warm and creamy treats. I like to keep this within caloric control and include some vegetables with this simple baked potato with cheese sauce and broccoli. It takes very little effort and is just the soul warming comfort you want on a rainy day.

Baked Potato with Cheese and Broccoli (serves 2)
2 russet potatoes
2 heads of broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Cheese Sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of onion - chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1.5 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash potatoes and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with tablespoon of olive oil on each potato and a pinch of salt each. Place in the oven for 45 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, prep broccoli  and mince garlic. Add to a sauce pan with 1 cup of water and let steam with a pinch of salt and pepper. Grab another sauce pan and add the butter and sautee the onions until translucent  before adding cheese. After the cheese is melted, add flour and stir until thick.
Split potatoes and place broccoli within each mid-section before pouring over a generous helping of cheese sauce. Enjoy!