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Blog Archives

California Spring Mix Salad

Lamb is a delicious entree, but every meal should be balanced.  Keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak, this salad is in the same league as the flavors of pistachio crusted lamb.  Spring mix lettuce can seem a little extra pungent to some, so adding fruits and nuts helps to mellow out the greens.  August’s birthday dinner yesterday, and subsequent dessert, were very flavorful and therefore very memorable.  Some of her coworkers got to snag a few cupcakes today, but there were no leftovers of the lamb or this bright salad.

bday meal 030

Makes 2

4 cups of spring mix lettuce

8 thinly sliced strawberries

1/2 of one Granny Smith apple, sliced thin

1/4 cup of blue cheese crumbles

1/4 cup of chopped and toasted walnuts

3 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs. of fresh orange juice

1 1/2 tbs. of blackberry balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Finely minced shallots (optional)

To make the vinaigrette dressing, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.  Toss all ingredients in the dressing, and serve.

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Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce

Zach went to one of many organic markets in our area and came back with apples, which normally August would choose not to eat.  However, she ate all of the dessert served to her this evening, even with Fuji apples from Yakima.  This simple recipe with a scoop of Straus Family Creamery ice cream will surely delight all who try it.

Makes 8-10 servings

• For the apple crisp:

8 medium sized Fuji apples

1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar

1 cup of all-purpose flour plus 2 tbs.

1 cup of whole oats, not quick-cooking oats

3/4 cup of white sugar

2/3 cup of softened salted butter

2 tbs. of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon

2 tsp. of Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract, divided

1/2 tsp. of freshly grated nutmeg

peeled and cored

peeled and cored

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash, peel, and core apples.

chopped and mixed

chopped and mixed

Cut into about 1-inch pieces.  Stir together 2 tbs. of flour with white sugar in a large bowl, then toss in and combine with apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, only 1 tsp. of vanilla extract, and nutmeg.  Stir well until coated evenly.

crumble topping

crumble topping

Make sure the butter is at room temperature.  Combine all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with a Kitchenaid stand mixer until crumbly and about the size of small pebbles or peas.  It will take only a few minutes to mix, so try to avoid overmixing or else it will become tough in texture.

placed in baking dish

placed in baking dish

Layer and pack half of the apples in one of two Pyrex glass baking dishes sprayed with non-stick spray.

layer and press down

layer and press down

Lightly fill in the voided areas between the apples on top with the crumble mix.  Very gently pack in place, then add another layer of crumble.  Use your fingers to break and evenly distribute the crumble; the goal is not to pack down the second layer, but to build height and ridges.

fresh out of the oven

fresh out of the oven

Bake for 45-50 minutes on a sheet pan until crumble is golden brown.  The apples will be tender.

cooled

cooled

If you choose to let it cool before serving, don’t be surprised when it deflates.  We waited because we didn’t want the ice cream to melt within seconds.

• For the caramel sauce:

1 1/2 cups of Straus Family Creamery organic heavy cream

1 1/2 cups of white sugar

2/3 cup of water

1 tsp. of Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract

water and sugar

water and sugar

Combine water and sugar in a heavy, thick-bottom saucepan.  Heat on medium-high for 7-9 minutes until you achieve a medium to medium-dark amber color.

the color you want after 7-9 minutes

the color you want after 7-9 minutes

Do not stir during these 7-9 minutes.

slowly add and stir

slowly add and stir

Stirring constantly now, slowly add the heavy cream and vanilla extract.

just keep stirring

just keep stirring

Cook for 4-5 minutes until the hardened caramel is smooth and dissolved, and the sauce starts to thicken.

desired color when done

desired color when done

This is the finished sauce.  It will thicken more as it cools, but if you are going to transfer it to a glass bowl like Chef Zach did (see above), wait a bit so that you don’t shock the glass and crack it.  If you want an extra thick caramel sauce, you can put it in the refrigerator.

done and yum

done and yum

Layer apple crisp, vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce.  The Arakawa Pottery makes the dessert all the more pretty.  Locally sourced ingredients and dinnerware help us to honor Earth Day.

Spice Rub Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Honey Apple Compote, Tricolored Potatoes, and Asparagus

Potatoes can last a while in the fridge, so for dinner tonight Chef Zach used the ones he bought at the Zuckerman’s Farm booth in the farmers market outside the SF Chocolate Salon.  After lunch today we stopped by the Old Oakland Farmers Market and he got asparagus from Paoletti Farms of Linden.  A quick stop by a grocery store got us a pork tenderloin, two apples, and rosemary, and the rest was already in the kitchen.

Makes 2

• For the honey apple compote:

2 large Granny Smith apples

2 tbs. of Marshall’s Farm thistle honey

1 tbs. of butter

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

spicing up the apples

spicing up the apples

Core, peel, and dice the apples.  Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add all ingredients except honey and saute for 4-5 minutes until tender but not mushy and soft.  Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and toss with honey.  Cool in the refrigerator until serving.

• For the potatoes:

1/2 lb. of Zuckerman’s Farm tricolored potatoes (purple, red, and yellow)

8 peeled garlic cloves

1 tbs. of melted duck fat (substitute melted butter or olive oil)

1 tbs. of fresh, finely minced rosemary

2 tsp. of kosher salt

2 tsp. of onion powder

1/2 tsp. of ground white pepper

before stirring and roasting

before tossing and roasting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a medium-sized sauce pot, parboil the potatoes so that they are only half-way cooked.  Toss with all the other ingredients, transfer to a roasting dish, and bake for 30-35 minutes until tender and the skin is slightly crispy.

*Note: Chef Zach left the garlic cloves whole for two reasons: 1) No one likes tiny burnt chunks of used-to-be garlic, and 2) August loves buttery, roasted garlic cloves.

• For the asparagus:

1 lb. of fresh Paoletti Farms asparagus

In a stacking steamer pot, rice steamer, or vegetable steamer, steam asparagus for 4-6 minutes until desired tenderness.  If you overcook it, it will become mushy and stringy.

*Note: Optional is to toss in butter, salt, and pepper, but we eat ours plain.

• For the pork tenderloin seasoning rub:

1 tbs. of Old Bay seasoning

2 tsp. of onion powder

1 tsp. of smoked sea salt

1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper

• For the pork tenderloin preparation:

1 to 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin

1/2 tbs. of olive oil

Coat the meat with the seasoning rub, wrap with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

hot in the pan

hot in the pan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large saute pan, heat the oil over high heat.  Sear both sides of the pork loin for about 3 minutes each side.  Transfer to a roasting pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the internal temperature (which should reach 145 degrees F for medium doneness, so be careful not to overcook it).

Once removed from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

ready with a splash of balsamic vinegar

ready with a splash of balsamic vinegar