Thursday, July 31, 2008

Get your five a day

It seems like this summer we are getting scared out of eating our fruits and veggies. First tomatoes, now they are wondering about cilantro. Even with a salmonella outbreak threat it seems that the demand for fresh produce is steady and sure. According to Vincent Garcia of J&B Ramos Farms “ I believe the problem has passed. At this time of year, people are buying California-grown, and we have had no problems.” The FDA is also checking jalapeƱos and Serrano’s but again I think if we shop locally and wash our produce well under cold running water we will be o.k. You should refrigerate cut, peeled or cooked tomatoes within a couple of hours or discard them. Don’t buy bruised or damaged tomatoes. Throw out ones that look spoiled. I love to shop at the open-air market and toss together lots of different veggies for a quick summertime meal. Here are some of my favorites Play with the great delights you find and feel free to change them around to make them your own.

Curried Lobster And Mango Salad
2 mangos, cubed
3 tablespoons fresh limejuice
1-inch ginger, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 Mangos, cubed
1/2-cup fresh cilantro leaves
White pepper
2 pounds cooked lobster tail meat, chopped

Place first 4 ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in chives and shallots. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

In a large bowl toss together bell pepper, celery, mangos and cilantro. Add lobster. Drizzle some dressing over and toss lightly. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Orzo Salad With Heirloom Tomatoes And Feta
8 ounces orzo
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2-cup olive oil
1-¼ 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 feta 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.

Mix Summer Greens and Maple Syrup Vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
6-tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup Olive Oil
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
6 cups summer greens
Toss all lettuces together. Lightly toss with dressing.
20 grapes, halved
6 ozs Gorgonzola
Arrange lettuces on platter. Place grapes prettily on top and sprinkle with Gorgonzola and fresh ground pepper.

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.

Shrimp and Berry Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
1 basket black berries
1-basket raspberries
1/4-cup pine nuts
2 firm-ripe avocados
1-teaspoon fresh limejuice
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cups each baby spinach and arugula (or your favorite mix of greens)

Quarter avocados lengthwise, then pit and peel. Cut length wise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Drizzle with limejuice and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare barbeque or stovetop grill (medium-high heat). Pour 1/4 cup dressing into small bowl. Reserve remainder for salad. Brush shrimp with dressing from small bowl and grill until opaque in center, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.
In a large serving toss together spinach, arugula, berries and pine nuts and dress lightly. Arrange avocados and shrimp on top of salad and serve.

Citrus Vinaigrette

1/4-cup fresh orange juice
Juice of one lime
1/4 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
6 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3/4-cup canola oil

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients with salt and pepper to taste.

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