Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Quinoa is a delicately flavored grain that was a staple in the ancient Incas' diet. One of the world's true super foods, quinoa is a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. Quinoa is also a great source of fiber and iron. Quinoa is an especially awesome for vegetarians and vegans who are concerned about getting enough protein in their diets. Although I think of quinoa as a chewy or nutty grain, similar to rice or couscous, it is actually a seed of a leafy plant, related to spinach and Swiss chard. It is rich in flavor and makes a wonderful side dish or meal as the weather heats up and you are looking for innovative treats to delight your family and friends.

Aileen’s Awesome Quinoa Salad

2 cups quinoa

4 cups vegetable stock

2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large bunch chives, chopped

1/2-cup young mung bean sprouts

1/2 cup raw pine nuts

1/3 cup olive oil or walnut oil

1 lime or Meyer lemon juiced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch sea salt

Bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, chop tomatoes and chives. Mix dressing. Remove quinoa from heat. Allow to cool. Fluff quinoa and add vegetables and pine nuts. Gently mix dressing into quinoa mixture. Serve cold or warm. Serves 6.

Quinoa Risotto
1-cup quinoa
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-cup vegetable broth
1-cup milk
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Rinse and drain quinoa three times, using a fine mesh strainer to remove the bitter outer coating. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring constantly. Add garlic and quinoa and continue stirring a minute or two. Stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is tender, stirring occasionally, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Add cheese and let stand a few minutes, so risotto can thicken.
Chicken and Quinoa salad

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
Salt to taste
1-cup pine nuts, toasted
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 1/2 cups green and red grapes, quartered

Bring water to a boil. Stir quinoa and a pinch of salt into water. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until quinoa is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Uncover and let cool. Whisk vinegar and oil. Add chicken, grapes, pine nuts and quinoa. Toss well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Black Bean and Lime Quinoa

Juice and zest from 3 limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-tablespoon vegetable oil
1-cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together lime zest and juice, oils salt, pepper in a large bowl. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (, uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Curried Quinoa

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2-cup raisins
2 large tomatoes
4 carrots, grated
1-cup sweet peas
1 green bell pepper
4 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-teaspoon cumin
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Kosher Salt

In a good sized pot, sauté quinoa kernels in a little bit of olive oil about 4 minutes, then pour in water, cover, and let boil about 15 minutes until absorbed. Cut up veggies while you wait. When water absorbed, fluff with a fork and add spices and all veggies except for shredded carrots and cilantro. After stirring a good 30 seconds on heat, remove, dish into bowls, and garnish with carrot and cilantro.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's Hot!

As the days heat up sometimes the thought of cooking or eating for that matter is the last thing we want to do. What a great opportunity to go into the fridge and grab a bunch of fresh veggies and make a big salad. This time of year whenever I grill chicken, fish, steak or veggies I always grill extra to have for salads. Walk around an open-air market for inspiration and enjoy a meal on the cooler, lighter side.

Citrus Rice Salad
4 cups water
2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2-cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
30 cherry tomatoes, halved
7 small Persian cucumbers, diced
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
16 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Bring 4 cups water, rice, and salt to boil in heavy medium saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Uncover saucepan and cook rice over very low heat until dry, about 5 minutes. Transfer rice to large bowl and cool to room temperature.
Whisk orange juice and next 6 ingredients in small bowl to blend.
Add halved tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, mint, and feta to rice in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to blend. (Can be made 8 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and toss before serving.)

Orzo Salad With Heirloom Tomatoes And Goat Cheese
8 ounces orzo
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
5-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2-cup olive oil
1 1/4 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup sliced pitted oil-cured olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Sautee 1/2 of the orzo in a little olive oil until golden brown. Cook all of the orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Transfer to medium bowl; cool.
Whisk vinegar and lemon juice in small bowl; gradually whisk in oil. Pour dressing over orzo. Mix in remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grilled Zucchini and Crookneck Squash Salad

6 large zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise
6 large yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, halved lengthwise
1/2-cup olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place zucchini and crookneck squash on large baking sheet; brush all over with 3 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and cool.
Cut vegetables diagonally into 1-inch-wide pieces. Place in large bowl. Add basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and balsamic vinegar and remaining oil and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Crunchy Green Salad with Creamy Guacamole Dressing

2 Heads Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1 bunch watercress, leaves picked
1-cup pipitoes
1 large ripe avocado
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-4 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1/4-cup canola oil

Halve the avocado and remove pit. Scoop out flesh into a food processor. Add mustard, lemon juice, zest Tabasco. Salt and pepper to taste and blend until smooth. With the motor running pour in the oil in a steady stream. Allow it to become rich and creamy about one minute. In a large bowl add the lettuce, watercress and pipitoes. Toss with the dressing and serve.

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Buttermilk Balsamic

1 bunch asparagus
1 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 eggplant
1 red pepper, seeded
2 ears corn
1 small jicama, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch arugula
1 head romaine
Salt and pepper

Lightly coat asparagus, zucchini, squash, eggplant, pepper and corn with olive oil.. Heat cast iron grill pan over high heat. Grill vegetables until tender. Toss arugula and romaine leaves with jicama and Tomatoes. With buttermilk balsamic dressing e in a bowl. Arrange on platter and top with grilled vegetables. You can top with ground pepper, shaved Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.

Buttermilk Balsamic Dressing

3 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup Balsamic
1-cup olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients until well mixed. Let Stand for one hour.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are We There Yet?

It is that busy time of the year again, when families are wrapping up the school year and planning for vacations. Some might think that putting a family in a car and driving for days sounds like nightmare, but for me summer would not be complete without a road trip. I have teamed up with my good friends and fellow moms Suzanne Davis and Mellanie Bradfield to offer some tips to make the experience more joyful. They are the owners of, A Children’s Travel Store. They are dedicated to providing engaging, comforting and portable toys, games and other products to make travel for children (and those around them) enjoyable, educational and enlightening. Some of the most amazing toys, games and books that they have discovered can easily fit into a back seat bag and be used for all travel even if it is just to soccer practice! My daughter is just nuts over the “Road Trip Activity Journal.” This keeps her busy for hours with great puzzles, word games, and challenges, and we always have it in the car. “Bug Checkers” is an adorable magnetic checker game with bees and ladybugs that can be played in the car or taken to a picnic. . “Road Trip Trivia” and “Rubber Neckers” are hysterical games to involve just the kids giving time for a bit of adult conversation or can be played with everyone in the car for hours of laughs. As far as food goes I try to pack things that are familiar and healthy, as finding non-junk food on the road can be challenging. I pack tons of fruit, veggies, string cheese, pretzels, trail mix and lots of water and green tea. Fried chicken travels great and kids just love this recipe. You can add a bit of cayenne pepper or Old Bay seasoning to spice it up a bit. When Emma was a toddler we invented her party pasta because she only wanted to eat mandarin oranges, olives and sweet bells. (A name I concocted because she wouldn’t dream of eating anything pepper!) The apple cake is a favorite that travels well and is a sweet treat that will offset the snow cones and cotton candy! So grab your coolers and grab your games, shut off the portable DVD player and have a relaxing, road trip adventure.

Basic Fried Chicken

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
6 drumsticks
6 chicken breast halves with skin and ribs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups (about) canola oil

Mix buttermilk, 2teaspoons salt, and pepper in large bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove chicken from refrigerator. Line 2 baking sheets with paper towels. Mix flour and 3/4-teaspoon salt in shallow dish.
Add enough canola oil to 12-inch skillet to reach depth of 1/2 inch. Heat over medium-high heat to 375°F. Remove 6 chicken pieces from buttermilk mixture. Dip in flour mixture and turn to coat; shake off excess. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook until brown, about 12 minutes. Turn chicken over. Cook uncovered until cooked through, about 5 minutes for breasts and 10 minutes for legs and thighs; transfer to paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Emma’s Party Pasta

1 lb. pasta shells, cooked & drained
One 11-oz. can mandarin oranges
3 green onions, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1-pint cherry tomatoes
Juice of 4 lemons
1-cup olive oil
5 shakes green Tabasco
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped

Mix dressing in a bowl with wire whisk. Pour over all ingredients and marinate overnight.

Apple Cake

3 Tablespoons shortening
1 cup Brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour
3 cups diced apples
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix shortening and sugar until well blended; add egg and mix well. Add dry ingredients and stir. Then add the apples, vanilla and nuts and mix until well blended. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350° F. for 40 to 50 minutes.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Peachy Keen

I get so excited every time I am in the produce section of a market. The beautiful, succulent, sweet and juicy peaches are in perfect season. You have White, Jefferson, Dixieland, June Gold and the adorable doughnut peaches. They ripen at all times during the summer so they are abundantly available. We eat them all summer long alone or in fruit salads, wrapped in pancetta even in chicken salad!
The BBQ sauce is heavenly with just a touch of heat from the green Tabasco. Super with grilled steak, salmon, chicken and even tofu. The peach pecan chicken is simple and all the flavors and textures go so nicely together. I created this deep-dish peach cobble during the Olympics when they were in Georgia and have requests for it still! Peaches and cream are such a natural that making ice cream seems inevitable. So enjoy this amazing fruit. We know that from a fruit standpoint summer is officially here.

Peach Barbecue Sauce

9 Peaches, pitted and chopped
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
1-cup canola oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch ginger, minced
5 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
5 shakes Tabasco
1 teaspoons pepper
2 cups brown sugar
2-tablespoon cornstarch

Puree peaches .Mix cornstarch with a little water. Combine all ingredients in large saucepan and heat to low boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with anything you would use a traditional BBQ Sauce.

Peach Pecan Chicken
5 large Peaches, peeled and pitted and mashed
1 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
1-teaspoon cinnamon
1/8-cup sugar
6 shakes green Tabasco
1/2-cup flour
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup pecans, finely minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 chicken breasts, boned, skinned, split in half and slightly flattened

In a large skillet, combine the peaches, white wine, cinnamon, sugar and green Tabasco. Stir gently over medium heat until the peaches are tender and heated through. The sauce will reduce slightly and thicken. Set aside and keep warm. Place the flour on a flat plate, the egg in a large bowl and the chopped pecans on a flat plate. In a large skillet, heat the oil until hot. Dip chicken into flour and shake off any excess. Then dip into egg and finally into chopped pecans. Sauté 3 minutes on each side until cooked. Put onto dinner plate and top with peach sauce.

Deep Dish Peach Cobbler

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 cup shortening, chilled
1/2-teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons ice water

Place flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry bender or two knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring it in with a fork. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it at least 1 hour.

10 cups peeled, pitted, and sliced fresh peaches
Juice of one large lemon
1/2-cup sugar
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-teaspoon ground ginger
1/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375F. When the dough has chilled, divide it in half. Wrap 1 half in plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator. Roll out the other half on a floured board and fit it into the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan.
Very gently toss peaches in the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and flour and toss again with a spatula or wooden spoon to blend. Spoon the filling on top of the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining pastry on a floured board. Wet your fingertips with water and moisten exposed edges of the bottom crust. Place the top crust over the peach filing and crimp or flute the edges together. Cut several steam vents in the top crust. Bake the cobbler for about 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, and serve.

Peach Ice Cream

1-quart milk plus 1 cup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small can evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pint whipping cream
1-cup sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla flavoring
3 cups mashed peaches mixed with 3/4 cups sugar and juice of 1 lemon.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Place into your electric ice-cream maker following manufactures instructions. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wild Eggs

It is always a treat for me to visit my friends, The Dimopoulos family. They have 6 of the most adorable chickens. Lucy and Charlotte are Aracaunas from the jungles of Peru and lay blue and ivory eggs. Zankou and Sunny are Rhode Island Reds and lay brown eggs. Rounding out the hen house are Fracky and Rufus who are Barred Rocks. They each are such individual characters and a blast to watch. Mostly this spring they are going crazy laying eggs and I always seem to leave with a basket. My daughter loves the vivid orange yolks and requests them sunny side up with 3 pieces of buttered sourdough toast. I like to make an omelet with a mixture of all of the fresh veggies I have on hand. I make the classic egg sauces like Bernaise, Hollandaise and Mayonnaise. If you do not have a friend with chickens you can get them at the open-air markets. Fresh eggs and good friends are a great way to enjoy the spring.

Egg Drop Soup
6 cups chicken stock
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 green onions, minced
1 cup green peas
1/2-teaspoon white pepper
1-tablespoon soy sauce
A few drops of sesame oil

In a wok or saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil. Add the white pepper, soy sauce, peas and the sesame oil. Cook for about another minute. Very slowly pour in the eggs in a steady stream. To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. To make thin streams or ribbons, gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form. Garnish with green onion and serve. Serves 6.

Curried egg salad
1/4-cup mayonnaise
1-teaspoon curry powder
1/8-teaspoon celery salt
4 shakes of Tabasco
1-teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
1 mango, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped

In a bowl stir together the mayonnaise, the curry powder, the celery salt, the Tabasco, the cumin, the mustard, the lemon juice. Stir in the eggs, the celery, mango and scallions Season the salad with salt and pepper.

Smoked salmon and egg salad

6 hard-boiled large eggs
1 shallot finely chopped
2 teaspoons tarragon, finely chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed and finely chopped
1/2-cup mayonnaise
1/4 lb smoked salmon, coarsely chopped

Mash eggs coarsely with a fork, then stir in shallot, tarragon, capers, smoked salmon, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste. (Great served on a toasted bagel.)

Fettuccine Salad with Eggs and Heirloom Tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 sun- dried tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
10 large basil leaves
Pinch of crushed red pepper

Place in blender and puree until smooth and fluffy.

12 ounces Spinach Fettuccine, cooked and well drained
4 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 Persian cucumbers, sliced and halved
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Gently toss in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until evenly coated.

8 hard boiled eggs, peeled and wedged
Gently toss in eggs and serve.

Sweet Potato Soufflé
3 cups mashed sweet potato

1-cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2-teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup half and half

Combine all ingredients and pour into a well-buttered soufflé dish.
Mix together 1-cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
 and 1/2 stick of butter and crumble over the soufflé. Bake 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Chocolate Souffle
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup half and half (or milk)
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanillia
Combine the chocolate,half and half and all but two tablespoons of sugarin the top of a doube broiler over simmering water. Cook stirring constantly until chocolate and sugar ar melted.remove from heat, add vanillia and let cool for 15 minutes. Whisk egg yolks one at a time into the chocolate mixture until blended.Beat egg whites with an elertic mixer until stiff.Add remaining sugar and beat until blended.Using the whisk add 1/3 of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and whisk until blended. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the chocolate. Butter 6 individual souffle dish covering the entire inside surface nd rim.( a great souffle spills overthe dish!) Sprinkel with sugar.Fill each souffel dish to the rim and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven dust with powered sugar and serve imeadatly with fresh whipped ceam.

Really Odd Fruits

When I first came to L.A. the most exotic fruits I knew of were passion fruit and mangos. It is always a joy for me to wander around the market with a produce expert and learn of new fruits to play with. Some new things can be rather intimidating like the cactus pear. I picked it up in puzzlement and the produce man took it from me and showed me how to cut it and gave me a taste right there. Just cut the top and bottom off and then make a single slice from top to bottom and peel back the thick purple or pale green skin to reveal the luscious fuchsia or yellow fruit. Star fruit gets its name because when it is sliced it looks like a star. Gaining popularity this sweet fruit is both a pleasure to eat as well as adding beauty to a presentation. Quince is a fruit that has been in favor for many centuries. The fruit, being dedicated to Venus, was regarded as the symbol of Love and Happines.Quinces sent as presents, or shared by a newly married couple, were tokens of love. They can be used in any recipes as pears or apples. The are inedible in there raw form and they must be cooked to bring out the sweet aromatic flavor. So play with these slightly odd fruits in salads, salsa with meats and fish and bring some newness to your meals.

Pomegranate and Quince Chicken Salad

4 Poached or Grilled Chicken Breasts
1-cup pomegranate juice
1/2-cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4-cup olive oil
6 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup pomegranate, seeds
1/2-cup poached quince* see pound cake recipe to poach quince*

In a small saucepot reduce pomegranate juice by 1/2 until syrupy.
Allow pomegranate juice to cool and place in a stainless steel bowl.
Whisk in rice vinegar, lemon juice Slowly add in olive oil. Adjust seasoning. In a bowl mix greens, pomegranate seeds and vanilla poached quince. Toss with a little vinaigrette. Place salad in the center of a large plate. Slice Chicken breasts and arrange on top. Drizzle a little vinaigrette around and serve.

Quince Pound Cake

* 2 medium quinces
2 cups water
3/4-cup sugar
1/2-cup honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2-teaspoon cinnamon

1 3/4 cups flour
1/4-teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2-cup heavy cream
1-teaspoon vanilla

Peel, quarter, and core quinces. Cut quarters crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan bring quince, water, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, 2 1/2 hours (quince will be deep pinkish orange). Drain quince in a large sieve and transfer to paper towels. Pat quince dry and cool. Chill quince, covered, at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan with bakers joy.
Into a bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until combined well. Add yolk and whole eggs, 1 at a time, to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Beat in half of flour mixture and all of cream until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and vanilla, beating until just combined. Fold quince slices into batter until combined well and spread batter evenly in pan. Bake cake in middle of oven 1 1/4 hours, or until a tester comes out clean, and cool in pan on a rack 20 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.

Grilled Salmon and Star Fruit Salad
1 1/2 pounds Salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
2 star fruit, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
8 cups torn mixed baby greens
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 green onions, sliced
1/2-cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 cups olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

In a small jar mix together balsamic, Dijon, garlic, thyme and oil. Shake well.
Arrange the salmon on a lightly oiled grilling tray or broiler pan. Place 1/4 cup of the dressing in a small bowl. Brush some dressing over the fish. Grill or broil, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Turn the fish and arrange the star fruit alongside it on the grilling tray. Brush the fish and star fruit lightly with the dressing. Return to the grill. Cook for 3 to 6 minutes longer, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Combine the lettuce and cucumber in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining dressing and toss to coat well. Divide the salad evenly among 4 dinner plates. Place 1 piece of salmon on the center of each salad. Arrange the star fruit slices around each salad plate. Sprinkle with green onions.

Shrimp and Cactus Pear Cocktail

2 lbs. Shrimp, steamed
3 cactus pears, chopped
1 large red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cucumber
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
1 sprig parsley, chopped
Pinch salt and pepper
Juice of 3 limes
4 tablespoons canola oil

Ever so gently toss all ingredients. Chill overnight. Great served in an over sized martini or margarita glass.