Monday, May 25, 2015

Savoring the Seasons: Avocado and Pineapple Salad

Cool summer salads like this one makes me want to throw open the patio doors, fire up the grill and let the Florida summer months begin! In spite of knowing, I will regret this comment in August when the swamp heat arrives (laugh).

This is a cool summer salad. The fresh flavors, highlights the season and keeps you out of the kitchen and out doing the things you enjoy. Paired with roasted pork? Shut the FRONT DOOR!

There are just a few key ingredients fresh pineapple, avocado and thinly sliced red onion drizzled with a light fresh squeezed citrus vinaigrette-that's it!



Avocado and Pineapple Salad
Serves 10
Recipe from Fine Cooking


Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced crosswise
1 habanero chili, seedd and finely chopped
1 large Florida avocado, or  medium Hass avocados, sliced 1/4-inch thick lengthwise, then cut crosswise into halves or thirds
1 small pineapple (about 2-1/2 lb.), peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

Directions:
Whisk the oil, lime and orange juices, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the onion and habanero and toss,  Set aside at least 10 minutes and up to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, shingle the pineapple and avocado on very large flat platter or 2 smaller platters.  Using a fork, scoop  the onion slices out of the vinaigrette and scatter them over the avocado and pineapple.  Drizzle the remainng vinaigrette over the entire platter.

Season with a little salt and serve within 1 hour.

Enjoy!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Casual and Comforting: Farfalle Pasta with Arugula

My boys consider meals that do not include a chunk of meat a snack.  Since our teenager appears to be eating less meals with us these days, I am beginning to shift the focus to easy to prepare "empty nesters" meals.  It won't be too much longer, and it will be just my husband and myself at home. Gone will be the days of trying to find meals to pack in the most carbs, protein and calories into my very active teenage son.  His parents surely do not have a physical need for such food combinations. The attention is shifting to lighter, plant based meal options (eye roll from husband at the mere sound of "plant based").

This easy to prepare pasta dish focuses on flavor packed ingredients such as sun dried tomatoes, arugula, and kalamata olives. Walnuts and beans are added for a good source of healthy proteins, and  the dish finishes off with a generous grating of sharp Asiago cheese.

If you are looking for a good "go to" satisfying casual meal then add this recipe to your file.



Farfalle Pasta with Arugula
Serves 6
Recipe from New Leaf Market

Ingredients:
12-ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
5-ounces arugula
1/4 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives
1 cup canned great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, zest and juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded

Directions:
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles until al dente, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large pot.  Sauté the garlic for 1 minute and add the cooked pasta, sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.  Add arugula and wilt for a few minutes, then add the olives, beans, lemon zest and juice and the remaining butter and stir well.  Remove from heat and season with salt and black pepper.  Stir in Asiago cheese and serve.

Enjoy!