Simple Avocado citrus salad

My friend dropped off 10 avocados from her father-in-laws avocado farm-lucky!  I love avocado but I simply had too much and was gaucamoled out.  I made a really “light” dressing of lime and a teaspoon of honey on top of a bed of sliced tomatoes and avocados and some chopped cilantro. This is a refreshing and filling side dish or perfect for  lunch.  I now am the proud owner of an avocado tree, but it will take years to yield many avocados.

For two servings:

2 Haas avocados sliced or cubed, depending on your preference

2 tomatoes sliced.

handful of cilantro chopped or cut with scissors

1 lime squeezed into small bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon or more of honey and 2 tablespoons oil of your preference.  Mix and drizzle over avocado and tomatoes!

Add salt ( sel de cali- citrus blend, cilantro red pepper, or chardonnay) Voila, ready to eat.

simple avocado salad

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Grilled Pork Chop with Sel de Cali

We no longer can use our grill at our apartment due to California law and fires,  so this meal is an ode to the grill.  I accompanied the Grilled pork chop with a mushroom ragu, a side of steamed spinach and grilled red and yellow peppers.

For the pork chop I used some of my Cabernet Sel de Cali, a special wine infused salt from California, infused with California Cabernet and dried in the California sun.

For the mushroom ragu I used about one tablespoon of unsalted butter and sautéed some shallots.  Just as the shallots were tender I added a splash of Marsala cooking wine.  I then added a mix of mushrooms:  cremini, portabella and shiitake, any mix will do.  I wished I had oyster mushrooms or other kinds.   I cooked it until tender.  I grilled the peppers that were drenched in olive oil, Sel de Cali and pepper while the pork chop was cooking.  It turned out to be a nice end of the grill meal.

Pork chop with mushroom ragu

Veggie melange with sauteed radishes

I received my farm fresh to you box at my door.  It was filled with yummy vegetables including organic celery, Nantes carrots, fennel and some radishes of all sorts of different colors.  I decided to do a quick saute and it ended up delicious.  I used a bit of olive oil and chopped up garlic and shallots to start.  I then added my finely chopped carrots, celery, fennel and then some radishes.  In the end I seasoned with some of my Sel De Cali, the chardonnay infused salt and a few sprigs of rosemary.  I can’t remember what the main protein was for this meal, but I’m sure it was either steak, chicken or pork chops!  It was the first time I added radishes to a saute and it turned out delicious!

English: Easter egg radishes, just harvested
English: Easter egg radishes, just harvested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the start of crocking

Butternut and acorn squash soup

English: Cucurbita pepo (acorn squash). Locati...
English: Cucurbita pepo (acorn squash). Location: Maui, Foodland Pukalani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Onions on a neutral, mostly white background
Onions on a neutral, mostly white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided that I would eat my still life, autumn display.  I had made a butternut squash soup before and an acorn squash soup, but never did I put the two together.  I started out with about 3 tablespoons or so of butter and melted it into a pot, I added 1 sliced, sweet onion with about 4 fresh sage leaves.  I let it cook for about 5 minutes or more because it was so tough cutting up my acorn squash and butternut squash.  I would advise cutting them up in cubes prior to cooking the onions.  I then added the cut up squash.  I let it cook for about 3 or 4 minutes with the onions.  Then I added about 4-5 glasses of water and two bouillon cubes.  I let it cook for a while till the squash was tender.  It was too thick, so I added more water, each time letting it cook together well.  This soup can be thick or thin depending on taste.  I like it in between.  I used the hand blender to mix it all up.  I cooked it some more.  I saw many recipes that added heavy cream, yogurt, or even cream cheese.  I had none of the above, but I did add about 1/3 cup milk, or one big pour.   It added to the creamy-ness and made the soup silky smooth.  It was delicious.  At the end add a bit of nutmeg.  I served this in my Japanese Ramen bowls which made it look nice, but the photo doesn’t do it justice.  The lighting was bad and we didn’t eat till 10pm.  My husband came home super late from work.  I served this with some french bread. I buy the – french small french baguette from trader joes.  I put them right in the freezer.  When I want them, I just heat the oven up to 350 and pop the frozen par-baked bread in for about 10 minutes. It turns out great.  No preservatives and the closest thing to fresh baguette I get in Rancho Palos Verdes.  This dinner is very inexpensive, filling and yummy.  Enjoy.

5 tbls of butter

1 onion sliced or chopped

1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 butternut squash, same as above

2 bouillon cubes-chicken or vegetable

1/3 cup milk

4-5 sage leaves or dried sage

pinch of nutmeg and salt

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...
Cucurbita moschata ‘Butternut’. Original description: Courges butternut (Cucurbita moschata) Photo JH Mora, septembre 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Snazzy fruit salad

Lime fruits and leaves, Dole Street, Honolulu
Lime fruits and leaves, Dole Street, Honolulu (Photo credit: Joel Abroad)

Mango, манго - дары тропиков

With just a title, fruit salad, I would over look it.  I am not a fan of fruit salad and don’t find it so exciting. I’m more of a sinful desert eater.  Anything with lots of butter, cream or chocolate is perfect for me.  But after going to the fish market and seeing there was no tuna, the mango I would have used to make my cilantro mango salsa would go to waste if I didn’t use it up.  So I decided to turn my mango into desert.  I could have just sprinkled some coarse sugar on it and grilled it, that would have been tasty, but instead I decided to make a salad.

I cut up the deliciously ripe mango, tossed in a few strawberries that were left over from making chocolate covered strawberries for a friend.  I also found a piece of watermelon that I was sure had gone bad in the fridge.  It has just been there over a week and it was time to do my weekly fridge cleaning.  Anyway, the melon was still nice, firm and sweet.  I added some fresh squeezed lime juice of one lime and sliced some fresh ginger as thin as possible.  I let it sit for two hours not really on purpose, just for the meer fact that my husband worked super late that night and came home later than expected.

I think the time it  marinated  was the key to my snazzy tasting fruit salad. The tartness of the lime and the spiciness of the ginger really soaked into the fruit.  It was great and far from boring.  I think it could be even more snazzy  with a bit of liquor , white wine or champagne.  Put it in a martini glass and garnish with a mint piece.  YUM a type of grown-up desert soup.

ingredients:

1 lime

6 strawberries slivered

1 inch of ginger cut into thin slices

1 cup watermelon

1 big, ripe mango

watermelon
watermelon (Photo credit: imagelane)

ceviche

chili peppers
chili peppers (Photo credit: marzbars)

I love ceviche.  I had the real deal 10-years ago when I went to visit my sister in Peru.  We traveled all over sampling some of the most amazing Peruvian dishes, but for me, Ceviche is my favorite.  I had never tried making it until today.  Inspired by the Peruvian restaurant and my local fish monger, I decided to try it out when I was buying my weekly fish.   The fish guy told me to try his frozen tilapia. I’m a purest and didn’t feel like buying frozen fish, why after all, I was in fresh-fish heaven?  However, he convinced me by saying, “It makes for a wonderful ceviche”  I bought four filets for about $5 dollars.  I went home thawed out the fish and started squeezing my bags of lemons and limes.  I know you can use one or the other (lemons or limes), but this was my first and I wanted it “cooked.”  I was on a time constraint so the only thing I did was cover my fish completely with lemon and lime juice and put it in the fridge.  I let it sit for a few hours, the time to get my son, bring him to an afterschool event and then back.  So my ceviche was done in several stages.  So, three hours later……  I chopped up some fresh hot peppers– I had bought a little medly of peppers and I can’t remember all the names of each, but in general any spicey pepper will do.  Some were super spicy and others more mild.  I also chopped up a big bunch of cilantro. I really love the fresh taste of cilantro, so I probably added more than the average Peruvian would add.  Next I cut up half a red onion in the thinnest slivers possible with a chefs knife.  A mandolin would have been perfect, but I don’t have one.  I also added 4 half of garlic cloves for flavor.  Lots of Sel de Cali– the chardonnay version, a bit of fresh, ground pepper and I put it all in the bowl with my fish and back into the fridge to “cook” some more.  Just before serving, maybe 2 hours later, I boiled a sweet potato to go on the side.  Generally this dish is served with big corn and a sweet potato.  I didn’t have big Peruvian corn, so we settled for the lovely orange-colored potato.  I have to say, it was delicious.  We had enough to feed several people.  I had used all 4 filets.  Next time I think I will use two filets, if it’s a main course for two people.  This dish would also be a great party appetizer.  It could be served on a tortilla, on a lettuce wrap, or just alone in little individual ramekins.  Now that I’ve made it the possibilities are endless if I am to entertain.   Just make sure you keep the ceviche cold, nobody likes a warm ceviche.

Tilapia filet

10-15 limes or/and lemons

3 hot peppers chopped fine

1/2 red onion thinly sliced

4 halved garlic cloves

1 bunch of cilantro roughly chopped

Sel de Cali- Chardonnay kind

1 sweet potato or yam

Lobster and shrimp ceviche

(Ceviche de pulpo, as known and prepared in th...

Ceviche

Salmon with herbs

salmonI love salmon!  And I love super fresh Salmon from my fish monger.  I call it the freshest seafood in southbay. I’m seriously lucky to have this wonderful fish available when I want.  Luckily, my friend was with me and wanted salmon as well because we had to buy the whole fish.  That’s what you get when you shop at a warehouse .  The big debate was how we wanted it split.  She wanted a filet with the skin off, I wanted a steak, but said fine for the filet, yet in the end, I had to have the skin off, too. I didn’t want Tony to do too much work, it was already a favor for him to clean the fish for us.   This decision dictated my preparations for dinner.  I had planned to grill it on the BBQ, but instead would bake it.  We each had enough for 7 -8 people each. So I guess you could say one big Salmon would have fed 16 people!  And it only cost about 24 dollars for the whole fish!!!

I peeked at recipes online for inspiration and decided to make an herb incrusted salmon in the oven.  I took what I had growing on the balcony.  I grabbed a bunch of fresh Italian oregano and some Thai basil.  I chopped it up and added some Chardonnay Salt from Sel de Cali and placed the salmon on a bed of thinly sliced and de-seeded lemons.  I baked the salmon for about 15 minutes at 350F.  In the meantime I steamed some asparagus that I bought from Jacques produce stand.  I set up the rice medley in the rice cooker.  Yet, something was missing, I needed color so I cut up some delicious tomatoes that I also purchased from the veggie stand.  I made a really simple tomato salad.  I used a few scallions and then just finished it off with Sel de Cali, the Cabernet one.  It was simple but added a deliciously fresh element to our dinner.  Yum.  We actually enjoyed it in front of the TV, which isn’t ideal fro great dinner conversations, but it was late.

salmon, asparagus, rice medleytomatoes

Mexican Red Snapper and clams

How delicious.  I finally used my fish stock that I made and froze a few weeks back.

I steamed my clams in the fish stock with a bunch of chopped shallots that Paul had accidentally chopped when making Boeuf Bourgignon, when the recipe he was using asked for whole shallots, so I had pre-chopped shallots.  Yay.  I have to say that you should soak your clams in fresh water, a bit of salt and a spoon of polenta or some type of grainy flour, if you have.  Soak for at least one hour to make sure the clams purge all the sand out.  There is nothing worse than chewing on sand.   Once I got my clams situated, I stuffed a gorgeous red snapper with a big bunch of parsley and sliced lemons.  I dusted the fish with lovely Sel de Cali and then popped it in the oven for about 20 mins at 350 degrees.  Since the fish was large, I fileted it once cooked.  I didn’t do the best job presenting my meal. I think it lacks color for sure, but I was hungry.  Had it been for guests I would have added a small bed of parsley with lemon slices and something red, like a little cut out red pepper flower or something to accent my Sel de Cali.

The meal was really delicious and thanks to my fresh fish shop, inexpensive.  I don’t know what I would do without the San Pedro fish warehouse.  It’s truly the best fish in South Bay!  I would have payed 4x’s as much for this fresh fish.  In the end, it just cost 7 dollars paying the extra $1 to get it cleaned.  I made the mistake of cleaning it myself before and I just didn’t want scales all over the tiny apartment kitchen again!  I had scales everywhere, even in my hair!  Yulk.  But onto better more appetising thoughts, this meal was great!  So good that my husband wanted us to save the stock and have clams the following night, too!  Super YUM

Fish stock

I bought a great red snapper at the Seafood warehouse in San Pedro and my friend bought a huge fish, I can’t remember the type, but she had the man filet it.  He asked if we wanted the discarded parts, I decided to take them home and make a fish stock.  I added just about everything appropriate I had in my fridge.  I filled a large pot of water, added some chopped up fennel, coarsely chopped onions, chopped baby carrots, normal carrots are fine, I just didn’t have any.  I also added a few celery stocks with their leaves, a few, about 4-5 bay leaves, about 1 tablespoon pepper corns and a large scoop of salt.  I added my Sel de Cali, giving it a bit wine infused sea salt flavor.  I let the stock simmer for about 1.5 hours.  I strained and transfered the stock to Tupperware and once cooled, I put them in the freezer for future use.  I have to say, this stock was the easiest and tastiest stock I’ve had.  It really makes a huge difference making it yourself, however, man did it smell fishy.  The apartment smelled fishy and my hands were fishy, but nothing like a few candles and some lemon juice for my hands, the smell was gone.  I later used these stocks for a simple steamed clam recipe, so simple, just put the stock and steam the clams!  I also used it for my seafood stew.  I hope you enjoy.

Seafood Stew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely Seafood Stew

2 live crabs
10 shrimp with tail
8 scallops
1 quart Fish Stock
1 shallot
2 celery stalks
2 ripe, plum tomatoes-peeled
a few red pepper flakes
1 big glass of dry white wine

My fish stock that I previously made was fully thawed.

Chop the shallots and celery and saute for about 5 minutes in a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the scallops and sear about 2 mins per side.  Remove scallops and put them aside for later. Add the white wine to the celery shallot mixture, about a big glass. Let some of the wine evaporate a bit and then add  the fish stock. Start a big pot of boiling water to cook the crabs.  Once the water is boiling add salt, pepper corns and red pepper flakes to give a bit of flavor to the crabs. Carefully place the live crab into the boiling water and let cook for about 10 mins. once cooked add them to the fish stock mixture. Peel and chop a tomato and add to the pot. Add the shrimp and cook for about 5 mins.  Lastly add the clams and previously cooked scallops.  You will be ready to eat in about 4 minutes.  Just make sure all clam shells are open which is a good indication that your meal is ready to eat.   A big YUM!   It was truly delicious. I do wish I had fennel though, next time.

I went to my fabulous Fish stop to stock up on yummy seafood. I love going to this warehouse. I feel like I’m on a hunt. I never really know what the fisherman will have, yet whatever it is, it’s always fresh and delicious. Today I decided I would use up my fish stock to make a seafood stew. I got 2 huge crabs and 2 lbs of clams for nothing. My friend got a gorgeous Mahi Mahi, the lady at the shop told my friend’s 4-year old, “Mahi Mahi is so great they had to name it twice.” I just love it on the docks of San Pedro. The nice, friendly Mexican guy working on cleaning the fish gave the little girl the fish spine to give to the seals off the dock. We went out with our fish guts and got swarmed by over 30 hungry Pelicans. She tossed the fish remains in the water and sure enough, over 15 Lion Seals came swimming. It was the coolest thing, so pure. So pure that I was scared of all these animals rushing towards us. We weren’t in a safe-aquarium environment, we were in the wild, in a way. The pelicans were at my feet. I got over the fright then grabbed my two angry crabs and fresh clams. I got home and put them right away in the fridge. I placed the clams in a bowl of salt water with about a tablespoon of polenta, apparently it helps purge the clams of any sand. I perused different recipes for seafood stew and other types. Most all required fennel. I didn’t have any. I used a bit of celery instead.