Minimal Effort, Maximum Impact: Buttery Herbed Rice

Minimal Effort, Maximum Impact: Buttery Herbed Rice

Buttery Herbed Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup white or brown rice (or cauli-rice), cooked according to package directions

2-3 tbsps butter

One large or two small shallots, minced if you have the patience, or a fine chop is acceptable

¼ cup total of any mix of chopped fresh herbs – parsley, chives, basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, etc, 1 tbsp if using dried

Salt

pepper

Method:

Cook rice according to package directions.  In a small saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until softened and translucent, 3-4 minute.  It is fine if they start to brown a bit on the edges. Remove from heat and stir in the herbs.  Stir this whole mixture into the rice and add salt and pepper to your liking.

So Fresh! So Clean! Mexican Bean and Fruit Salad

So Fresh! So Clean! Mexican Bean and Fruit Salad

Mexican Corn Bean and Fruit Salad

Serves 4-6 as a side

Ingredients:

1 small to medium english cucumber, cut into roughly ½ inch pieces

1 can black bean, well drained and rinsed

1 mango, or about 6 oz pre-cut, cut into roughly ½ inch pieces

6-8 oz pineapple, cut into roughly ½ inch pieces

2 cups corn (frozen and thawed is fine, even better if you can find the roasted sort)

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup grated cotija cheese

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt to taste

Method:  Mix it all.  Enjoy. Works well also as a salsa on top of fish or chicken, or just to scoop up with chips.

Shake off the Winter Doldrums With Spring On a Pizza

Shake off the Winter Doldrums With Spring On a Pizza

Welp, there it is. My first grass covered sneaker Saturday morning – the first of plenty. Cutting the grass is one of those chores that I not only don’t mind, but actually kind of enjoy, especially at the beginning of the season. I get so tired of the gray by the end of the winter. When all the green starts returning I kind of turn into this

(Just ignore the fact that these were taken in winter – dogs just get excited all the time – they don’t know any better.)

The spring air and the influx of color definitely give me an energy boost.

I feel the same way in the stores at this time of year. New green abundance shows up – asparagus, watercress, fiddleheads (here in the North East, anyway – idk about other parts of the country), artichokes, peas. So yum and inspiring! There are so many great ways to use these, in salads, pastas, dips, sandwiches. Today, though, calls for pizza. It’s a weekend afternoon, we’ve worked hard and now it is time for some tasty, healthy comforting spring on a plate. When you try this out, feel free to use your favorite pizza dough recipe,or alternative – cauli-crust, gluten free, etc – or use this one that I like. Hopefully you can eat it surrounded by green and flowers and with your grassy sneakered feet up.

Spring Fling Pizza

Serves 4

Ingredients:

½ pizza dough recipe

12 oz ricotta cheese

About 10 thin or 8 large stalks of asparagus, woody ends cut or snapped off, stalks shaved or cut thinly

1 ½ cups watercress

2-3 oz prosciutto

3 radishes, thinly sliced

1 scallion, sliced

Several tbsps chopped fresh dill

Olive oil

Pepper

Method:

Heat oven to 450.  Stretch and/or roll out the pizza dough into a circle or rectangle and place it onto a lined or oiled pan.  Brush some olive oil over the pizza then spread the ricotta over it. Crack some pepper all over the cheese.  Next, pile on the asparagus and watercress. Place the prosciutto around on top of the vegetables then sprinkle on the dill.  Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned in spots. Remove from the oven and scatter the radishes and scallion over the top before serving.

Note: I have written this in a way that is meant to work in any kitchen with any supplies.  If you have a pizza stone and peel or backyard pizza oven or some other perfect set up, then by all means use your best available method.  This pizza (as any, imho) would be delicious on the grill.

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

3 ½ – 4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

1 packet instant yeast or 2 ¼ tsp dry yeast

1 ½ c lukewarm water

Method:

In a bowl mix together 3 ½ cups of the flour, the salt, and the sugar.  Make a well in the center and pour in the oil and water and yeast. Gradually mix in the flour until all is incorporated.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes, using the rest of the flour if the dough is sticky. Place it into a lightly greased bowl to rise for about an hour.  

Cut dough into two equal parts.  Flatten and shape each into a roughly 10 inch round, or one large pizza, and top as you like.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes

Apples and Celery

Apples and Celery

Do you ever want something, but not really that thing, but kind of that thing, so you have to come up with a new thing? Like when it sounds good to be lounging on the beach in the warm sun with an over the top cocktail but it’s winter and vacation is months away so you sit under your strongest lamp with a rum and pineapple juice that has a crazy Lego thing cobbled together to approximate an umbrella? No? Just me? Ok, how about when you see an outfit combo that hits all your “THAT’S what I’m talking about” buttons but it comes with a price tag that hits your bank account’s “look away” alarms? You don’t give it up – you adjust and recreate. You take the spirit of the thing and drape it over your own interpretation. You work it for yourself. It was kind of like that when I came up with this recipe. I saw someone mention a smoothie with apples, lemon, celery, and parsley. That sounded intriguing, except for the smoothie part, so I tossed around the flavors until I hit on this non-chunky-liquid way to enjoy them. Bingo. Success. Those flavors, in the form I want. I am sure this salad would work well with your favorite fancy non-Lego-umbrella cocktail.

Apple Celery Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large apples, cored and thinly sliced

4 celery stalks, sliced (preferably on the diagonal)

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps whole grain mustard

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt

Pepper

Method:

Mix together the oil, mustard and lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Toss this with the apples, celery, and parsley. Taste to adjust salt and pepper.

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