Chili Lime Shrimp Salad

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There is nothing like fresh shrimp, straight from the coast. It is hot here on North Carolina–not as hot as usual, but it is definitely summer. This salad is another in our summer series of foods that will help you stay cool and healthy in the hot weather. I love shrimp salads, but I don’t like a lot of mayonnaise on a hot day. This salad uses lime juice to keep the salad flavorful and interesting, but not heavy. I may try this again with some butterfly pasta and make a shrimp pasta salad version of this. Soooo yummy!

The original version of this recipe came from Gina’s Skinny Recipes (here). I added some fresh cucumber and some fresh corn to the mix (who doesn’t love shrimp and corn?) as well as some smoked paprika to the dressing. I also added more lime juice and left out the cilantro because I have not acquired a taste for it. All good! The version below is my version, but you could alter this to suit your own tastes!

Wondering where to buy your shrimp? Before you head out shopping check THIS past SOLE Food Kitchen post on why local shrimp is important!

Chili Lime Shrimp Salad (serves 4 as a main dish)

1 lb. shrimp
1 medium tomato, washed and chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
1 jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 cup fresh corn (about 1 ear)
1 avocado, peeled and diced
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 3 limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Peel and devein shrimp. Put shrimp in a deep sauté pan, cover with water and poach for 2-3 minutes, until shrimp is pink and opaque. Drain and let cool.
While shrimp is cooling, mix lime zest, juice, oil, paprika, salt and pepper together. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except avocado. Pour dressing over all and carefully stir the salad so all ingredients are coated with dressing.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Just prior to serving, add the avocado and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and correct if necessary.
Serve chilled.

Other shrimp dishes:

Pasta with Shrimp, Green Beans and Tomato

Roasted Broccoli and Shrimp

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms

Local Shrimp Pad Thai

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Week 16 Budget and Menu

Well, while I was gone last week, spring finally arrived in North Carolina! When I left, the trees just had little leaf buds and nothing was blooming. I came home to green, green, green and beautiful spring flowers everywhere!  What a glorious time of year!

In addition to all the flowers, our farmers markets are showing signs of spring as well. We have asparagus, strawberries, lettuce and onions! Yay!!! And our Produce Box deliveries start this week as well. Double yay! We are a bit over budget at $106.60 and interestingly, we are not eating much meat this week, but we are eating more seafood, which tends to bump our budget up a bit.

This week’s menu is taking advantage of our spring crops as well as the delicious salads we had in Paris last week. Now that we have reworked our menu for spring, I need to find time to rework my closet!

What’s fresh at your farmer’s market this week?

Budget [$106.60]

  • Rare Earth Farms (buttermilk, mozzarella, eggs): $14.28
  • Locals Seafood (shrimp): $10.00
  • The Produce Box (organic kale, organic cucumber, organic hothouse tomato, organic radish, organic pea tendrils): $22.00
  • Various farmers market vendors (asparagus, greenhouse tomato, strawberries, romaine lettuce): $19.00
  • Trader Joes (chicken thighs, mushrooms, salmon, lemon, frozen fruit, yogurt, Ezekiel bread):$41.32

Menu

  • Wednesday–Power Salad (kale, lettuce, tomato, avocado, pine nuts, egg)
  • Thursday–Slow cooker cashew chicken, rice
  • Friday–Pasta with shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms
  • Saturday–Salmon with veggie risotto and citrus beurre blanc
  • Sunday–Egg salad on toast
  • Monday–Tomato and cheese pizza, salad
  • Tuesday–Omelettes, salad

Salads, Oh La La!

Ok, since coming to Paris, I have eaten, well, a LOT. I have been trying to eat healthy (croissants are healthy, right?). But, really, I’m on va-ca-tion. If I want a macroon for breakfast, I’m eating it.
Still, I have found some lovely spring salad ideas that I plan on exporting back to North Carolina. The French may have duck confit and boeuf Bourgogne, but they can also rock some lettuce and fresh veggies. Yum! Here are two of my new favorites:

Salad Avec Chèvre Chaud

This salad was AMAZING! Spring field greens topped with small amounts of walnuts, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, chopped apricots, and roasted cherry tomatoes. The whole thing is topped with thin slices of prosciutto and two little toast triangles with warm, bacon wrapped goat cheese circles. The dressing was a very light vinaigrette. I had this at Le Preau in the Marais, and I will think of them when I make this at home!

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Salad Marche

This market salad was delicious and nourishing on a cold, windy, rainy Paris afternoon. I had this at the restaurant Le Week End, just off the Champs-Élysée, which sounded like a place no decent food would present itself. We were all incredibly surprised. Romaine lettuce with a light vinaigrette was topped with a thin slice of cheese and a thin slice of prosciutto. The salad was surrounded by a stack of thinly sliced tomato, toast with a small chunk of Brie, a fried egg and some fried potato slices. No need for dessert or anything else. Just this salad and a glass of wine. I can totally do this at home and maybe sub asparagus for the potatoes. Yummy, yum, yum!

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Honey Ginger Carrots

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You can eat like royalty and travel the world. Really. Eat your carrots.

Once upon a time, carrots came in a range of beautiful colors and a great range of sizes. Tasty, crunchy and beautiful, carrots were prized for their crisp, fresh flavor and unusual colors. Yellow carrots like the ones above were first recorded in Turkey as far back as the 1st century. Purple carrots have been documented in the Middle East since 900 B.C. and were bred for Dutch royalty through the 1500s. White carrots were a staple in Europe and are the only carrot to originate in Europe. Who needs bad airplane food and the TSA when you can travel around the world by eating carrots?

So why do we find mostly orange carrots? Orange carrots are a Dutch hybrid of white, yellow and wild carrots. At some point, our market-based food industry decided we needed carrots that were consistent in size and shape as well as easy to ship. Hybrid orange carrots were developed to meet this need and voila! We have orange carrots. At some later bizarre point in history, food manufacturers realized they could shave down perfectly good carrots into nubs and call them baby carrots, although they are not baby at all. We are so weird.

For more carrot information, you can go the the Carrot Museum webpage (seriously).

I’m glad some of our farmers and groceries have started investing in colorful, flavorful heirloom varieties of carrots. Only a few of our organic farmer’s market vendors sell these, and they usually sell out pretty quickly, so I’m hoping more of our farmers will join in and plant these lovely varieties. Old variety carrots tend to be thinner and more fragile than their grocery store cousins, but they pack great flavor and are lovely on a plate.

This recipe pairs carrots with two of their flavor bffs–fresh ginger and raw honey. This is an easy recipe and experimental, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Honey and thyme would probably make a good combination as well. You can use any carrots–they don’t have to be heirloom or fancy varieties. But because carrots are root vegetables, I do try to buy organic whenever possible (many pesticide-treated root vegetables are also treated with bud inhibitors to keep them from sprouting).

Get your spring carrot fix, travel the world and boost your health as well!

Honey Ginger Carrots (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. organic carrots
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 Tbsp. raw, local honey
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Wash and peel the carrots. Trim the tops. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut the halves into 2″-3″ pieces. Put cut pieces into a medium bowl.
  3. Toss carrots with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour carrots onto baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes (check on them often to make sure they don’t char).
  5. In a sauté pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat at medium.
  6. Add ginger and stir. Cook 1 minute.
  7. Remove the carrots from the oven and add to the pan. Toss well. Add honey and toss all together until carrots are coated with honey glaze.
  8. Check for seasoning and correct if needed. Serve immediately.

Creamy, Deviled Eggs

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Pretty eggs on a bed of carrot greens and sprinkled with chopped chives. Happy spring!

There is nothing quite like deviled eggs in the springtime. I absolutely love them. Their light, fresh taste is a wonderful antidote to all the heavy, warming foods of winter. And as far as recipes go, you can’t get much easier–just simmer, peel, mix and stuff. And if you have leftovers (you won’t)? Mash ’em all together and voila! Egg salad.

I’m on the lookout for a vintage deviled egg plate– they go against all my rules of the kitchen (no fussy equipment, no single purpose dish ware), but they are so cute that I have trouble resisting them. Usually the price acts as a deterrent all by itself!

I made these eggs for Easter supper. Sans a cute egg plate, I used carrot greens from fresh carrots to create a bed for my eggs so they wouldn’t slide off the tray. It would be a sad, sad Easter indeed to spend my morning cleaning up splattered egg remains. My solution turned out well and the greens looked pretty with the eggs, so maybe that will become a thing now. Or maybe I’ll just get a deviled egg plate.

Now, here’s the thing about deviled eggs, especially in the South. Everyone and their mama has a special way to make them. Paprika or without, pickles or without, celery or without, and don’t get me started on mayonnaise (I’m a Duke’s girl myself). So, with that in mind, this is MY recipe for deviled eggs, but if your mama or memaw has a cherished recipe, use that. Hers will always be better than anything you read on a blog.

I like my eggs simple and very creamy. I don’t add veggies for crunch, I don’t like pickle juice and I go light on the salt. I do, however, make an occasional exception for a bit of curry and a sprinkle of chives works, too. I like to pipe my filling into the shells, because I think it looks pretty, but spooning it in works just as well and tastes the same.

This is a recipe where eggs are the star, so now is the time to pay up and buy fresh, farm eggs from pasture raised chickens.

Creamy, Deviled Eggs (makes 24 egg halves)

  • 1 dozen eggs, preferably from a known farmer who lets chickens be chickens
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Garnish: paprika, chopped chives, crumbled bacon
  1. Put eggs in a large stock pot. Very carefully fill the pot with cold water to cover the eggs plus 1″.
  2. Heat the pot over medium high heat until water comes almost to a boil (do not boil!).
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer eggs for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove eggs from hot water to a colander. Put colander in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  5. To peel eggs: place the colander in a clean sink and let cold water run over eggs. One at a time, take an egg and gently tap it on the counter all around the surface of the egg. Holding the egg under the running water, gently peel the shell away from the egg white. The goal is to have a pretty egg white, but they will still taste good if some of the white peels away.
  6. Reserve peeled eggs in a large bowl.
  7. When all eggs are peeled, use a sharp paring knife to cut each egg in half lengthwise. Pop the yolks out and add them to a medium mixing bowl. Carefully put the egg whites on a prepared serving plate or deviled egg plate and set aside.
  8. To the yolks in the bowl, add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, the mustard, vinegar and salt. Mix well, breaking up any large pieces of yolk. If the mixture is too dry, add mayonnaise until you have the desired consistency. Taste and correct for seasoning.
  9. Spoon filling into egg white halves or put filling in a piping bag and use a large star tip to pipe filling into egg halves.
  10. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, chopped chives, crumbled bacon or whatever makes you happy.
  11. Keep chilled until ready to eat. Serve cold.

Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Eggs

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Look out, Easter Bunny! These raw vegan eggs are delicious and healthy!

There’s something pretty magic about the chocolate/peanut butter combination. One of my favorite Easter treats is the peanut butter egg–creamy peanut butter covered with milk chocolate. Looking at the ingredients list of those babies is enough to make me back off and look for an alternative. I didn’t find anything that looked all that appealing until I saw THIS recipe from The Lunch Box Bunch, a great vegan blog and recipe site. The site has ideas for making cute bunnies, but I wasn’t feeling that creative. So, I made eggs (or something approximating eggs) for a special Easter treat. Yummy, raw peanut butter enhanced with healthy ingredients and covered in a raw chocolate ganache. Stay home, Easter Bunny ’cause I got my treat!

My version of the original recipe uses a thick, very rich chocolate ganache (based on THIS recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen), but the original uses a lighter chocolate coating that lets the peanut butter be the star. Either way, you’re in for something pretty darn amazing. To make this vegan (but not raw), use regular coconut powder, peanut butter and unsweeted cocoa.

Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Eggs (makes 6 eggs)

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 4 Tbps. raw, organic coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp. creamy, salted raw, organic peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. melted organic cocount oil

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/4 cup organic maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  1. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Use a fork (or your very clean fingers) to work the ingredients together and make a somewhat sticky, soft dough.
  2. Put the peanut butter filling in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove dough from freezer and scoop by generous tablespoon. Shape each tablespoon into an egg and put each egg onto a parchment lined plate. Put eggs into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
  4. While eggs are chillin’ in the fridge, combine all ganache ingredients in a small food processor and blend for about 5 seconds. If ganache is too thick to dip eggs, microwave for about 5 seconds or put the bowl in a larger bowl of very hot water.
  5. Remove eggs from refrigerator and add eggs, one at a time, to the ganache. I used a fork to toss each egg to coat and then return the egg to the parchment lined plate.
  6. Put eggs back in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Serve!
  7. Store eggs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Raw Honey-Almond Butter Truffles

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Pinterest is an amazing thing, isn’t it? I can start looking at garden ideas and POOF! an hour is completely gone. If I spent as much time making the things I pin as I do looking for new things to pin, my yard would be pretty incredible. While Pinterest seems to be a collector area for canned soup and crock pot recipes, I’ve also found some pretty delicious raw recipes there as well. Like these honey-almond butter truffles from Raw Food Recipes. These are very sweet and really make the most of the beautiful flavor of raw honey. They remind me in a way of lovely honey Greek cookies I used to buy at a local Greek festival. Raw honey (or at least local honey) has an amazing, lovely flavor that processed honey loses. Not sure if it’s the processing or the time it spends on the shelf, but if you have local honey available, buy it!

This is another recipe using coconut flour. Coconut flour is gluten free, vegan and has all the vitamins and trace minerals of coconut without the fat. I find it makes a wonderful addition to raw desserts. It gives some of the texture of flour, but it is very light. What a great new discovery!

I followed the instructions and coated these in raw cacao powder, but if I made them again, I’d roll them in coconut instead. I don’t think the chocolate adds anything, personally, and I’m one who LOVES chocolate. You can experiment and find what works for you. Chopped pistachios might be great…or ground, toasted flax seeds…or cinnamon…or…

Honey-Almond Butter Truffles (makes 12 2″ truffles)

  • 1/2 cup raw, organic coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter (you can make this in your food processor)
  • 3 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 Tbps. ground flax seed (you can buy flax seeds and grind them in your coffee maker or food processor)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw cacao, raw unsulphered coconut or chopped raw almonds (for topping)
  1. Add first four ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and combine well using your very clean hands or a wooden spoon (I find using my hands a lot easier). Combine until you have a soft, sticky dough.
  2. Roll dough into a log about 2″ in diamter. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces.
  3. Roll each piece into a ball. Put topping (cacao or coconut, etc) into a small bowl.
  4. Roll each ball in the topping to coat.
  5. Put truffles in a storage container and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  6. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Steak and Blue Cheese Stuffed Portabellos

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I am continuing my exploration of stuffed portabello mushroom caps as entrees. We had more traditional “pizzas” a couple of weeks ago with the mushroom caps as the crust, and they were so good! I started thinking of more possibilities for this stuffed portabello dish. After investigating what we still have in our reserves, I discovered a small, pasture-raised steak in our freezer as well as some leftover crumbled blue cheese. Hmmmmm… Another food combination made in foodie heaven.

This recipe makes the most of that wonderful steak and blue cheese flavor combination. This time, I broiled the caps before assembling the dish and that helped to really cook the mushrooms and soften them. You could also grill them instead of broiling. Our little 6 oz. steak from Farmhand Foods was perfect for two people. Next time, I might try this with some caramelized onions for even more deliciousness!

One wonderful aspect of this dish is it makes the most of a small amount of meat. If you serve these caps with broccoli or another veggie on the side, you have a great veggie-rich meal with just a little meat. Great way to extend a budget and lessen your food carbon footprint!

Steak and Blue Cheese Stuffed Portabellos (makes 2 servings)

  • 4 portabello mushroom caps
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 6 oz. steak
  • 1 organic, red bell pepper, trimmed and seeded
  • 4 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher or sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  1. Heat your broiler or grill to high.
  2. Brush the mushroom caps with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Put the caps (top side up) on a broiler pan lined with foil. Cut the bell pepper into strips and add to the broiler pan. If using a grill, put the strips on kabob skewers.
  4. Broil or grill the vegetables until tender and a bit charred (I broiled mine for 5 minutes).
  5. Remove vegetables from heat and reserve on a plate.
  6. Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Grill or broil to rare or medium rare. Remove steak from heat and let rest 5 minutes.
  7. Slice steak thin and reserve. Chop bell peppers.
  8. Put caps (stem side up) on the broiler pan. Top with steak slices, bell pepper pieces and blue cheese.
  9. Broil “pizzas” on high for 3 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

Anasazi Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

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Aren’t these beans beautiful? I fell in love with their beautiful color and pattern and thought I would give them a try. Anasazi beans are an heirloom variety bean that maintains great texture and flavor throughout some long cooking times. Sadly, they don’t keep their lovely color when cooked, but their flavor made up for it.

Beans are pretty miraculous as a food product. In addition to being chock full of protein, they are low in fat, high in fiber, and incredibly affordable. Cooking a big pot of beans also makes the most of a small amount of meat. I used locally produced, smoked bacon from pasture-raised hogs when cooking these beans. Totally yum. And I caramelized one onion in the bacon grease. Even more yum.

I don’t know why I haven’t made beans more in the past. They are so good and so filling. All it took was a pretty little bean to get my attention!

You could easily eliminate the bacon and caramelize the onions in olive oil for a vegan dish.

Anasazi Beans with Bacon and Caramelized Onions (makes about 8 servings)

  • 1 lb. dried Anasazi beans or other organic, non-GMO bean
  • 4 strips pasture-raised, pasture fed, smoked bacon
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 cup cooked rice per person (optional)
  1. Rinse beans well and soak in water to cover + 3″ overnight.
  2. Drain beans and set aside.
  3. In a saute pan, cook bacon until barely crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve 2 Tbsp. of bacon fat in the pan.
  4. Heat the pan to medium and add the sliced onions. Cook over medium for about 45 minutes or until caramelized.
  5. Add bacon, onions and beans to the bowl of a slow cooker. Add water to cover + 2″. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are tender. Serve in bowls as-is or serve over rice.

HINT: If you have the time, cook these beans and then store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. They are best when reheated.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

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You need this soup.

Are you sitting somewhere looking out a window staring in disbelief at white snow, thinking “what in the world???”. You need this soup.

Are you wondering what lowlife bribed the groundhog to convincingly tell us all a boldface lie about spring? You need this soup.

Are you wondering why the heck people believe a rodent about seasonal change, but refuse to believe science about global warming? Well, then you need to come sit with me…’cause I like you…and we’ll have this soup.

This recipe came from a great vegan food blog called the Lunch Box Bunch. It is so very, very good. Slightly sweet, spicy and rich. A great winter soup that is also vegan and gluten free (yes, really!). And once you have a baked sweet potato, it takes about 10 minutes to make. Easy, delicious, healthy and quick. What’s not to love? Except that snow outside…and that damn groundhog…

You can get the original soup recipe HERE. I changed it up a bit, using coconut milk instead of vegetable broth/soy milk and one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I love those things) instead of chili powder. Also finished with a squeeze of lime and some home baked chipotle lime tortilla strips. Next time, I might try adding curry to get some turmeric in that soup! YUUUUUUMMMMMM. My version is below.

Check out the Lunch Box Bunch blog (and Twitter feed) for more great, healthy, vegan recipes!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup (2 servings)

1 large, organic sweet potato
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 lime

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap sweet potato in foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove pulp from sweet potato when cool enough to handle.
Combine sweet potato pulp, coconut milk and chili pepper in a sauce pan. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Add juice from half the lime and stir.
Heat through, then ladle into serving bowls. Squeeze remaining lime half of lime into serving bowls. Top with crispy tortilla strips, avocado chunks, lime zest or roasted pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.

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