Avocado Salad

Buttery avocado, zesty lime, the warm earthiness of cumin, and refreshing cilantro combine in this fresh salad, pairing nicely with spicy foods.

Avocado SaladAvocado Salad

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Avocado, diced
1 Tomato, chopped
3 Green Onions, finely chopped (include the green tops)
1 Green Chili, chopped
5-10 Sprigs of Cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp Cumin
Juice from 1 Lime
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Salt to taste

Avocado Salad Avocado
Method:

In a bowl, mix the following ingredients: Green Onion, Green Chili, Tomato, Cilantro, Cumin, and Black Pepper, Then add in the lime juice and salt and mix again. Finally, gently add the diced avocado being careful not to mash it. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Spaghetti in a Caper Cream Sauce with Parmigiano

A rich, homestyle creation that will have you coming back again and again.
Think comfort food—Italian style.
Creamy bèchamel, a hint of toasted nutmeg, nutty Parmigiano Reggiano, and a salty-acidic bite of caper.
Buon Appetito!
Spaghetti in Caper Cream Sauce
Spaghetti in a Caper Cream Sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
3-4 Tbs. butter
1-2 teaspoons flour
4 Tbs. capers
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 lb Spaghetti noodles
Dash of hot pepper (fresh or flakes)
Dash of nutmeg
Freshly grated black pepper and salt to taste

Preparation:

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. Once melted, add the flour, stir until combined to make a roux, and simmer until it becomes sandy in color. In a separate saucepan warm the milk but don’t allow it to boil. Once the milk is warmed begin slowly adding it to the roux, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, continuously stirring. Next, add the dash of nutmeg, and the cheese, continue stirring until the cheese melts.  If the sauce becomes too thick, just add more milk. The trick is to constantly stir! Once combined add in the capers, black pepper and salt to taste.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil, add a generous amount of salt and cook the pasta until al dente. Once the pasta is cooked add it to the Caper Cream Sauce and gently toss until combined. Add a generous amount of freshly grated black pepper, garnish with hot pepper and olive oil if desired and serve.

 

 

 

Dates Decked Out with Blue Cheese, Pomegranate, Walnut & Mint

Looking for an easy, appetizer that says, gourmet?
Try this date dish out on your guests this Christmas.
Elegant, bite sized, and delicious they are sure to send guest rockin’ around the Christmas tree!
Stuffed Dates
Dates Decked Out with Blue Cheese, Pomegranate, Walnut & Mint
Serves 8-10
Ingredients:

1/2 cup good blue cheese (stinky cheese, not your thing? Try goat’s cheese instead!)
Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
1 Tbs. chopped walnuts
Leaves of fresh mint for garnish
Balsamic Cream for garnish (recipe or purchase)
24 pitted dates

Preparation:

Gently remove the pits from the dates, making sure to only cut a small slit through one side of the date, carefully pushing out the pit.
Be sure to open the date a bit to make room for the filling. Next, using the end of a tiny spoon, fill each date with blue cheese.
Then top each date with a pomegranate seed or two and the walnut, pushed into the center. Arrange the stuffed dates onto a serving tray, drizzle with the balsamic cream and garnish with fresh mint.  Serve at room temperature.

Stuffed Collard Greens with Quinoa and Legumes

Roll into the New Year with a healthy twist on the traditional cabbage roll!
Let the economical collard green shine in the limelight as it’s typically downplayed by its similar leaf, kale. Although kale bodes more popular, collards are nutritionally up to par. Both greens are exceptionally rich in vitamins A, C, and K, along with beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and potassium. Collards are infamous in the Southern United States and are typically served with a salted or preserved meat.
Plated

However, these stuffed collard leaves are full of protein and flavor sans the meat. Quinoa is the perfect grain to use because it’s a complete protein (unlike most grains) and adds a nice, fluffy texture.

Stuff

COLLARDS STUFFED WITH QUINOA AND LEGUMES TOPPED WITH FIERY ROASTED TOMATOES

Ingredients

• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 can red beans
• 2 onions, * (1 finely diced) the other (finely sliced)
• 1 tomato, finely sliced
• 2 Hungarian wax peppers, diced
• 2 ribs celery, diced
• 5-6 cremini or portobello mushrooms, sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
• 1 tsp. olive oil
• 1/2 tsp. thyme
• 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
• salt and pepper to taste
• 10 leaves of collard greens

Instructions

Begin by cooking the quinoa, typically 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. Boil the water, add quinoa and simmer until quinoa fluffs about 10 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil then add the onion and a generous pinch of salt, saute, stirring regularly, until it begins to brown. Next, add the Hungarian pepper and celery and cook, adding a little water if it starts to dry out, until the vegetables are tender. Add the mushrooms and the garlic and cook for another minute.

While the vegetables are cooking put the fire roasted tomatoes into a small mixing bowl. When the vegetables are done remove 3/4 cup of the vegetables from the skillet and add them to the fire-roasted tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Now add the cooked quinoa to the skillet, along with the beans including 1/4 of the bean-liquid and the seasonings. Bring to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly and adding additional liquid if it starts to dry out. Remove from heat.

In the meantime prepare the collard greens, bring a large pot of water to boil. Wash the collard leaves and cut off the stems level with the bottom of the leaves. The secret to perfect cabbage/collard rolls is to trim the tough, central stem, so turn the leaves with the coarse side up, and holding a very sharp knife parallel to the leaf, trim off part of the thickened central rib.

In two batches of 5, place the collard leaves into the boiling water, gently submerge them and boil for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse in cool water. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Assemblage

Prepare a casserole dish with olive oil and layer the thinly sliced onion and tomato to the bottom of the pan. Then, spoon half of the fiery roasted tomato mixture on top.
Have your cooked collard greens ready, lay them out trimmed side up and stem closest to you on a flat surface.
CollardsFor small leaves use 2 tablespoons of the quinoa and legume mixture and for larger leaves use 3 tablespoons and place about a quarter of the way from the bottom:

StuffFold the bottom up and over the filling, then fold in the side edges over the middle and roll up tightly into a package:

Roll-Up

Place each roll into the casserole dish:

Layer_Pan

Spoon the remaining tomato mixture over the rolls, and cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Buon Appètit:

Fire_Roasted_Tomato_Sauce