Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice Salad

Hatch chile and Lemon Rice Salad

Hatch-chile-and-lemon-rice-salad-#2I’ve got a little “hatch chile fever” going on at the moment so hang in there. This should be the last hatch recipe for a while.. I think :-) This Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice salad has been on my mind for a while. Last winter when I had no fresh hatch chiles!!! and my frozen stash had dwindled to almost nothing, I was thinking about this salad. So I  made some notes and filed it away to await my new supply of hatch chiles.  So you see, I kinda had to make this salad – and it was sooo tasty I wanted to share it!!!

Hatch-chile-and-lemon-rice-salad-#3

I think you are really going to like this one –  it’s sweet, sour, crunchy and well,  punchy… there is a lot going on with this salad – chiles, bell peppers, zucchini, avocado and corn – which is just the way I like it.  If you’ve taken a peek at the recipe, don’t freak out and the long list of ingredients because this Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice Salad is really two different recipes. The first is for a Lemon Relish  – which btw, is terrific on fish and chicken so I’d make a double batch – use it with chicken or fish one night and use the rest in this salad for later in the week.

And since  fall has officially started and we are all returning to “the routine” anything I can “make once, eat twice” goes to the top of my list of things to make –  like this Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice Salad.

Hatch chile and Lemon Rice Salad

If you haven’t gotten your supply of  roasted Hatch Chiles yet, you still have time to head out to a chile roast in your area – here’s a handy list from Melissa’s Produce to help you find a “chile roast” near you!!!!

Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6 - 8 servings
Ingredients
  • For the relish:
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • 1 recipe lemon relish
  • 1 cup long grain rice, cooked
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano (mexican if possible)
  • 1 tsp. Tangin
  • 1 cup roasted hatch chiles, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1½ cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup diced, seeded yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • ¾ cup minced cilantro
Instructions
  1. For the relish - Remove the zest from the lemon and add to a small mixing bowl. Slice the lemon thinly and then remove the remaining peel. Chop the pulp and add pulp and any remaining juices. Add the remaining ingredienst and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. For the salad: Cook the rice and let cool. In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients except the avocado. Add the rice and the lemon relish. Stir to thoroughly combine. Fold in the cilantro and avocado and serve.

Apricot and Arugula Salad

Pickled Apricot and Arugula Salad

Pickled Apricot and Arugula SaladSchools out for summer!”… Oh, happy day!

I love teaching… and I’m always a little sad to see my students go… but I am also more than excited to have a little more free time to spend here at the Table…  and to make dishes like  this Apricot and Arugula Salad.

Cooking, reading, and a little more time to exercise… the true joys of summer in my book. But really the best thing about summer? Stone fruit.

Yup – apricots, peaches,plums, nectarines, apriplums and pluots – enough variety to keep me happily munching all summer long! And to kick things off, Melissa’s Produce sent me a gorgeous box filled with organic apricots, plum bites (cute little plums that you can eat in 1 or 2 bites) plumcots and … lychees! So I have been cooking and concocting up a storm – starting off with this refreshing and simple Apricot and Arugula Salad.

pickled apricot and arugula salad

 

Sweet and succulent apricots are lightly “pickled” along with some sliced shallots and scattered over some lightly dressed arugula and garnished with burrata, some freshly grated pepper and a little fleur de sel.  This is the kind of food I’ll be making all summer long – easy, uncomplicated and yet bursting with flavor.

With fruit this good, you can keep it simple – and isn’t that really what summer is about?

 

Apricot and Arugula Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
the burrata I used was on the smaller side - each ball was about 2½ inches in diameter. So, depending upon how large the balls are (or how much you love burrata!) cut them into ½ or ¼ sized pieces! Salt - I used Fleur de sel but you could use grey salt as well - for this salad you definitely want the "crunch factor" that a salt like Fleur de sel brings.
Serves: 4 side salads
Ingredients
  • 8 Melissa's Organic Apricots, pitted and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1½ Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 balls burrata cheese, each cut in half or quarters if large.
  • 1 Tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the apricots with the white balsamic vinegar and toss gently to coat. In another small bowl, combine the shallots with the white wine vinegar and toss to coat with a pinch of kosher salt.
  2. Wash and dry the arugula and add to a medium sized salad bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Combine the apricots and the shallots along with any remaining vinegar.
  4. Divide the arugula among 4 plates. Evenly divide the apricots and the shallots, drizzling any remaining vinegar over the arugula.
  5. Place a piece of burrata on each salad.
  6. Sprinkle each salad with the fleur de sel and with the freshly ground pepper.

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette

Melissa's Squash

Roasted Delicata, Arugula and Couscous Salad

Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s all about the pumpkin… pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars…. and of course, who could forget “pumpkin juice”?  But there is far more to winter squash than just pumpkin – and I am not just talking about table decorations! Yup, there is a whole world of delicious, nutritious winter squashes … and lots of delicious ways to use them. So, when Melissa’s Produce sent these beautiful squashes I knew exactly what I wanted to make first –  this Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette!

Melissa's Squash

I know, I get it … pumpkin is so… well, easy. You grab a can, can opener and viola, you’ve got ready to use pumpkin! But as my mom used to say “if it’s worth having it’s worth working for”. But believe it or not, many of these winter squashes are much easier to prepare than you might think! Like Delicata squash… just wash, slice and bake or roast – takes no more time than slice and bake cookies. Honestly.   Which makes  Roasted Delicata Squash almost as easy to make  as opening a can of pumpkin! It’s delicious on it’s own a a side dish but since I’m a fan of mixing squash with other things,   I love it in this  Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette. I’ve been “noshing” on this for lunch the last few days – but  it would be delicious served alongside a simple roasted chicken or pork tenderloin.. and definitely alongside that Thanksgiving Turkey!

Roasted Delicata, Arugula and Couscous Salad

And speaking of Thanksgiving ….check out these  new, beautiful baskets from Melissa’s Produce! I am a huge fan of these baskets – they make a terrific hostess gift. Going somewhere else for Thanksgiving? Well,  I can pretty much  guarantee that any host/hostess would be thrilled with one of these baskets… and with all the holidays coming up, these baskets are the ideal gift for anyone on your list who doesn’t need or want more “stuff”!! Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 9.44.48 AM  If you are looking for other ways to use Delicata squash, here  are some other great recipes from some of my favorite bloggers!

Roasted Squash Blossom Casserole from My Man’s Belly

Autumn Apple, Quinoa and Butternut Squash Salad from She’s Cookin

Stuffed Delicata Squash from Make Mine Lemon

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The couscous I used has orzo, baby garbanzo beans and quinoa in it - if you don't have access to a Trader Joes, you can easily use plain Israeli couscous for this salad. For the pecans, I used the sweet and spicy pecans from Trader Joe's - but toasted pecans or candied pecans would be delicious!
Serves: 4 - 6 servings
Ingredients
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tbsp. apple butter
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. curry powder
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Salad:
  • 2 medium delicata squash
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ½ cup Trader Joe's Harvest Blend couscous OR Israeli couscous, cooked and drained.
  • ½ dried cherries
  • ½ cup spicy or candied pecans
Instructions
  1. Directions for the Vinaigrette: Combine the apple butter, vinegar and curry powder and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Pre heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Flip the squash over (cut side down) and slice into ½ inch thick slices. Place slices on the sheet pan and brush with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast squash in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes. Using a spatula, turn squash slices over and roast for another 7 - 8 minutes or until the squash is browned and tender. Remove pan from the oven and cool.
  4. In a large salad bowl, combine the couscous and the arugula. Pour the vinaigrette over and toss. Divide salad among 4 plates and garnish with the squash, cherries and pecans.

 

Fried Egg and Frisee Salad

Poached-Egg-and-Frisee-Salad

Poached-Egg-and-Frisee-Salad-#4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Are you feeling lucky?”

For years, I’d always think about this quote from Dirty Harry when thinking about serving some of my favorite egg based dishes like this Poached Egg and Frisee salad to friends and family. Although I love the oozy goodness of poached, fried eggs I didn’t love the risk involved– and as someone who works in the food industry I am all too aware of the risks of salmonella – and as we have seen recently in the news, Salmonella is still a concern.  Organic, free range, conventional, etc., etc. it doesn’t matter – undercooked eggs have the potential of carrying Salmonella. Is a bummer – and meant that I pretty much scrapped poached, fried, eggs and raw meringues from my “friends and family” menus.

Poached-Egg-and-Frisee-Salad-#2

 

But I no longer have to … and neither do you thanks to safest choice eggs. A few years ago I came across  “Safest Choice Eggs”, the first pasteurized in shell egg on the market. To say that I was ecstatic is a wee bit of an understatement.  All those wonderful dishes that I’d scrapped from my menus – like this Fried Egg and Frisee Salad, Baked Alaska, Chocolate Mousse, and Shirred Eggs could now be back on the menu!!!

So what exactly are Safest Choice Eggs? They are regular eggs that, through Safest Choice’s patented process, are pasteurized within their shells – which effectively kills all the bacteria without cooking the egg.

 

As my inner geek says “is that cool, or what?”

Poached-Egg-and-Frisee-Salad-#3

 

I’ve been using Safest Choice eggs for several years now and I absolutely love them – they cook up beautifully and are perfect for any dish that uses eggs and especially those dishes where the eggs aren’t fully  cooked – like this Fried Egg and Frisee Salad.

Speaking of salad, I’ve been enjoying this one as of late – fall hasn’t quite arrived here in So Cal but my craving for heartier foods has and this Fried Egg and Frisee salad definitely  satisfies my hunger for heartier foods!

This is sponsored post by Safest Choice Eggs – however, as always all opinions are entirely my own!

 

 

Fried Egg and Frisee Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • Fried Egg and Frisee Salad
  • 1 head frisee
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup diced pancetta
  • 4 Safest Choice Eggs
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • Dressing:
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. anchovy paste
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. herbs de provence
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: Combine the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Add the Dijon mustard,anchovy paste and herbs de provence. Whisk. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking the mixture. Add the pepper and whisk to incorporate. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Set dressing aside.
  2. For the Salad: Wash and dry the greens and tear into bite sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a small, non- stick skillet, cook the pancetta until it is brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Place on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, crack each Safest choice egg into a small bowl. When the water is boiling, stir the water with a long handled spoon rapidly. Slide an egg from the bowl into the water and reduce the heat so that the water is simmering. Cook until the white solidifies – this should take about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the egg from the water and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
  5. To assemble the salad: Toss the greens with the dressing and divide among four plates. Sprinkle the reserved pancetta on top and top each salad with an egg. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
  6. Notes: Both the dressing and the eggs can be made a day ahead. To serve, heat a shallow pan of water until the water is simmering. Gently lower the eggs into the water to re heat – about 2 minutes total. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and drain on a paper towel and proceed with the recipe.

Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes

Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes

Hatch Chile Pesto PotatoesThey’re coming!!!!!!  The date is now circled on my calendar and I am counting down the days.  You see, my “stash” is almost gone… I feel a little (ok, a lot) like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory with his Wonka bar… I’ve been doling out miserly bits in order to stretch my supply out as long as possible.

So, what exactly am I talking about??? HATCH CHILES!!!! Thanks (or not!) to Melissa’s Produce, I was introduced to these amazing chiles a couple of years ago…. and well, my life has just not been the same since.  After laying in what I thought was a sufficient supply, I was down to one baggie… ONE!!

But as always, Melissa’s Produce came to the rescue!!! I recently attended the launch party for Melissa’s new book – The Hatch Chile Cookbook!!!! Not ONLY did I get to feast on Hatch chiles (ahem… it seems some people are better at planning ahead than I am!!) , get my very own copy of the book,  but I also received a “care package ” to tide me over until the chiles arrived – a fabulous bag of roasted, peeled and frozen Hatch Chiles!!!

Hatch Chile Cookbook

Be still my beating heart. Crisis averted.

Hatch Chile Pesto

Well, the bag is now over half gone… I’ve been putting them into casseroles, eggs, salads and into this Hatch Chile Pesto. Yup, pesto… and according to one taster, it was “the best pesto they’d ever had!!! I don’t know if I’d go that far but I have to tell you it was amazingly good!! So good in fact that I was sneaking small spoonfuls and getting a bit carried away by adding it to sandwiches (divine with roasted chicken), thinning it out for salad dressing (which was a hit with the guys) and tossing it with roasted potatoes!

I know what you are thinking – ” we know you love Hatch Chiles Nancy, but isn’t this going a bit too far??” Nope. Not even close. One of the best kept “secrets” about Hatch chiles is that you can only use them all kinds of dishes – like Hatch Chile Pesto! One of the things I love about Melissa’s Hatch Chile cookbook is that it explores all kinds of delicious uses for Hatch Chiles… everything from Flash Fried Pizza Nibbles to Chicken Lettuce Wraps and even S’Mores!!

In a little over two weeks, Melissa’s will be celebrating with Chile roastings and as soon as I have the schedule I will be posting it here at the Table!

The wait is almost over!!!

Hatch Chile Pesto Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 - 6 servings
Ingredients
  • Pesto
  • 2 cups, packed, fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cups, packed, fresh italian parsley leaves
  • 2 scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 - 3 roasted, peeled Hatch Chiles
  • Juice of 1 - 2 limes
  • 2 Tbsp. corn oil
  • ¼ cup roasted, salted pepitas
  • 2- 3 Tbsp. grated parmesan
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 lb. Melissa's small dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. corn oil
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes and cut in halves. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Put the potatoes on the pan and toss with the 1 Tbsp. corn oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper or Tajin. Place potatoes in the oven and roast for 20 - 30 minutes or until tender and golden brown.
  2. For the pesto combine the cilantro, parsley, scallions, garlic, 2 Hatch chiles, juice of 1 lime, corn oil and pepitas in the bowl of a food processor. Process until a chunky paste is formed. Taste. Depending upon the heat of the chiles (and your own tastes) you can add another chile is the pesto is not spicy enough. Add more lime juice if desired. Add the parmesan and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. If the pesto is too thick, you can thin it with a little water. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate. You can store the pesto for 2 - 3 days in the refrigerator.
  3. Toss ½ of the pesto with the warm potatoes and serve.

 

Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese VinaigretteYesterday was the “official” start of the grilling season (ok, maybe nobody else thinks so, but in my book THAT is when it starts!). In my house, that means 3 or 4 nights a week dinner will be something off the grill… with the appropriate sides, of course… which for me generally means salad – like this  Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette.  Winter, spring, summer, fall… it doesn’t matter there is almost always salad somewhere in the day – and many times more than once. I freely admit it, I am a “salad junky”!

But during the summer, I like my salads to be a little lighter… just some  greens, a nice “accent” vegetable and a zippy vinaigrette. Tossed altogether in a bowl and I am a happy camper. This Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette hits all those points – crisp romaine, some lightly pickled red onions (even if you don’t like onions on your salad, trust me, you will like these!!) and a zesty blue cheese vinaigrette. All I need is a nice piece of grilled fish or a steak…  and dinner is served  at Chez Buchanan! (Ok, a potato or some grilled bread wouldn’t be amiss here either… not to mention, ahem a nice glass of wine!).

Now, you might not have noticed it, but “I’s got some new props” in my photo!! I recently participated in  the Food Blogger Prop Swap, hosted by Alyssa of www.EverydayMaven.com and Faith of www.AnEdibleMosaic.com, I sent a box of props to a food blogger and received a box in return!” Seriously, how cool is that???

Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

It was a blast… not only picking out some props to send but getting a fabulous collection of new props like this gorgeous pink plate and napkin  from Anne of “From my sweet heart” a drool worthy dessert blog ( her Snickerdoodle Cheesecake is on my “must make” list!!).

And wait till you see what other “goodies” I got…. my food has never looked this  good… Thanks Anne!!!

Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Yes, I know, you don't "like" anchovy paste. But trust me, you won't taste it ! The anchovy paste is critical in this vinaigrette - it adds a depth of flavor that is what makes this dressing so good. The onions need to marinate for about 15 minutes so if you've made the vinaigrette ahead of time (which you absolutely can!) just start on the onions and let them marinate while you get the rest of your meal organized!
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced into a paste
  • 2 tsp. blue cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ red onion,peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed with leaves separated
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large salad bowl, combine the sliced red onion and 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar. Season with salt and toss. Set aside. While onions are marinating, make the vinaigrette. In a medium sized bowl, combine the 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, anchovy paste, worcestershire sauce, garlic and 2 tsp. blue cheese. Whisk together until cheese is incorporated (you may have some small lumps remaining and that's ok!). Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and season to taste with fresh ground pepper and salt.
  2. In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine with the marinated onion slices. Drizzle ½ of the dressing on and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing if desired. Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese on top. Serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Beets and Siracha Dressing

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.07.10 AM

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Siracha DressingJust when I thought it couldn’t get any better… Melissas Produce went and introduced NEW produce collections. The newest additions are – Organic Purification Boxes! Melissas graciously sent me the Organic Purification Box B to play with… and play I did!  Overflowing with grape tomatoes, leaf lettuce, spinach, romaine, beets, sweet potato, cucumber, ginger, garlic, apple, kiwi and orange, these  boxes  are a  bonanza for juicing – or  in my  case,  for making salads – like this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Beets and Siracha dressing.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 11.07.10 AM

 

If you are like  me, you can’t always make it to your weekly farmer’s market,. Well, Melissas has solved that problem –  the “market” can come to you!!! Filled with beautiful, fresh and nutritious vegetables these Organic Purification boxes area a terrific and easy way to add more vegetables to your diet. So what can you do with Melissa’s Organic Purification Boxes? The possibilities are almost endless as I discovered when I started making a list of everything I could make with all the ingredients in the box!

Looking for some ideas? Well, here are some delicious ways to use those veggies! The tomatoes and Romaine would be perfect in this Romaine Salad with Hatch Chiles (making use of those Melissa’s Hatch chiles you roasted and froze from last season). The kiwi would be terrific in this Strawberry and Kiwifruit Pavlova and the beets and sweet potatoes? This  Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Beets and Siracha dressing is just the thing. Tender roasted sweet potatoes and beets combined with an orange siracha dressing, the salad is sweet, spicy and  chock full of vitamin A and C, fiber, iron and calcium.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Siracha Vinaigrette

Like Melissa’s other fabulous produce boxes, these Organic Purification boxes are available for $25.00 and include delivery within Southern California (if you live outside So Cal you can still order the boxes however the delivery cost will be higher due to shipping). I think this would make a terrific Mother’s Day gift, or a gift for a recent graduate… or even better,  order these for yourself – truly one of the  best “gifts”  you can give yourself and your family – fresh, delicious and nutritious produce!

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Beets and Siracha Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The beet and sweet potato can be roasted 1 day ahead. For the best flavor, make the dressing shortly before serving.
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Melissas Organic Beet
  • 1 Melissas Organic Sweet Potato
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 1 Melissas Organic Orange, juiced
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tsp. Siracha sauce
  • ¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the stems from the beets and wrap in aluminum foil and place on a sheet pan. Roast the beets in the oven for approximately 40 - 50 minutes or until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Cool.. When cool, peel and cut into slices.
  2. Spray a sheet pan lightly with cooking spray. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1 inch chunks. Place on the sheet pan and toss with 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Roast the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender and lightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine the orange juice and the siracha sauce. Whisk to combine. Drizzle in the siracha sauce and whisk. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the beets and sweet potatoes between 2 salad plates. Drizzle with the siracha dressing and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the goat cheese and cilantro. Serve

 

Avocado, Tomato and Poached Egg Salad

Avocado, Tomato and Egg Salad

“”From good people come good things”.

 

Avocado, Tomato and  Poached Egg SaladYes, they do. Like the beautiful avocados in this Avocado, Tomato and Poached Egg Salad that  was  inspired by my trip to the Pinkerton’s avocado ranch.  Last weekend I joined about 14 other food bloggers on a tour of Dan and Susan Pinkerton’s avocado ranch with the California Avocado Commission to learn about California Avocados.

Pinkerton Avocado Ranch

Viewing some of the Pinkerton avocado groves!

We started the tour with a fabulous brunch featuring…you guessed it, lots and lots of  avocados!

Avocados

Aren’t they just gorgeous??

Over brunch Dan and Susan gave us an introduction to the art of  growing avocados as well as the  story of how they started their ranch back in the 1960’s. Dan spoke about soil evaluation, USDA certifications, leaf scorching and harvesting and Susan spoke about helping Dan survey the rocky hills surrounding their ranch for the first batch of avocado seedlings they planted.  With smiles and laughter, they talked about growing their ranch, about  fires and rain and drought, about good harvests and not so good ones.  Clearly, growing avocados is not for the faint of heart – for the Pinkerton’s though, it is about love – and a deep passion for growing the highest quality California avocados.

Dan Pinkerton

Dan Pinkerton explaining the “daily avocado report”!

After brunch we headed to the groves for an opportunity to learn more about avocados… and to try our hand at picking them. After 4 or 5 tries I decided that being an avocado harvester was not in my future – it is much harder than it looks!

avocado picking

The goal is to get that little avocado in that bag and then pull the line to cut the stem. Definitely harder than it looks!

After numerous photo ops and numerous questions we were on our way to Mission Produce where the avocados are cleaned, sorted, packed and shipped. Dave Fausset, Sales Manager for Mission Produce, took our group on a tour of the packing facility. Once the avocados arrive from the groves, they are washed and chilled down in order to preserve the quality that growers like the Pinkerton’s work so hard to achieve.   Once washed the avocados are sorted and packed…and now for a little secret. Have you ever wondered how it’s possible to find a perfectly ripe avocado for guacamole or for this Avocado, Tomato and Poached Egg Salad?

Avocado, Tomato and Poached Egg Salad

The “secret” is the “ripening” room – where avocados are kept for a few days to ripen before being shipped. So, you no longer have to plan days in advance to enjoy a California avocado – and considering how good they are, who doesn’t need a little instant gratification?

Like the Pinkerton’s, Mission Produce is just as obsessed with providing the highest quality California avocados. During our tour, I was struck by how immaculate the packing facility was and the care that was taken to insure the safety and quality of every avocado shipped to consumers. So, the question is “why buy a California avocado”? For me, the answer is easy. California avocados are grown and harvested under the highest quality and safety standards which makes these avocados not only delicious but easy to peel and eat so I know I am getting a terrific value for my money. But there is another reason. As my husband and I drove home from the tour and I told him about all I had seen and learned he looked at me and said ” From good people come good things”.. and California Avocados are definitely a “good thing”.

Want to see what some of the other bloggers had to say? Check out the blogs  from some of my fellow tour mates!

Shockingly Delicious - California Avocado Season Begins Now

The Jolly Tomato – Real Food: Avocados from grove to grocery

Want a little more avocado inspiration?? Follow my Avocado love board on Pinterest!

Avocado, Tomato and Poached Egg Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This method for cooking poached eggs is a little unusual but is foolproof! By "soaking" the eggs in a little vinegar it helps to firm up the whites so that when you poach the egg you get a nice oval shape with very few strings. You can poach the eggs up to a day in advance. Once cool, cover and refrigerate the eggs and then gently rewarm in a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water.
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 California avocados
  • 2 large heirloom or other large tomato
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup vinegar (optional)
  • 1½ Tbsp. sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground white pepper
  • Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. piment de espelette or smoked paprika
  • micro greens or chopped parsley (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine the sherry wine vinegar and the olive oil. Season with a little salt and white pepper. Set aside. Thinly slice the tomatoes and set aside, blotting with a paper towel to absorb excess juice.
  2. Peel and pit the avocados and thinly slice and gently rinse with COLD water to prevent discoloration. Set aside.
  3. Fill a large saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. If using the "vinegar method" place 2 tablespoons of vinegar in each of 4 small bowls and crack an egg into each bowl. When the water is boiling, use a choptick or a large spoon stir the water rapidly, creating a well in the center. Carefully slip the egg into the center and continue to stir. Cook egg for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove egg with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
  4. On 4 plates, assemble a few slices of tomato, a few slices of avocado, evenly dividing all the slices between 4 plates. Give the sherry vinegar/olive oil mixture a quick whisk to combine and drizzle over each plate. Sprinkle the fleur de sel or sea salt and the piment de espelette or smoked paprika on top of each each each and over the tomatoes and avocados. Garnish with micro greens or chopped parsley if desired. Serve!
Notes
If you are concerned about undercooked eggs, use [Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs
http://http://www.safeeggs.com] which are fully pasteurized so there is no concern about food borne illness!

 

 

 

 

 

Farro Salad with Tangerines and Dried Blueberries

Shasta-Gold-Tangerines-#3
farro, tangerines, dried blueberries, salad, easy

Farro Salad with Tangerines and Dried Blueberries

Welcome to Citruspalooza – my own little celebration of all things citrus! As you know, citrus is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Given my love affair not only with citrus but with citrus based cocktails, I started things off with an  Orange Blossom Cocktail  – the perfect antidote to this  cold and wintry weather. In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I decided to get you off to a good start with this  Farro Salad with Tangerines and Dried Blueberries. Speaking of starting, last week at this time I was on the road to the Central Valley of California with Melissa’s Produce to visit some of the growers that work with Melissas .These folks are growing some seriously gorgeous citrus… especially tangerines… and although  these tangerines are cute, these aren’t the “cuties” you find in the market!

Shasta-Gold-Tangerines-#3

No, these tangerines are something entirely different… in fact, Melissa’s is carrying a  new variety that is just hitting the markets now.. but you’ll have to wait until Wednesday for that one.. and trust me it is not only worth waiting for, but finding in your local market… but more on that on Wednesday!

And now, on with the citrus tour!

Bright and early on Tuesday morning,  we headed out  for the  Phillips Ranch, home of Melissa’s Shasta Gold Tangerines. As we walked among the trees, Doug Phillips, owner of Phillips Ranch tutored us on tangerines and what makes Melissa’s Shasta Gold Tangerines so special. Larger than most tangerines, the Shasta is prized  not only  for it’s gorgeous color and fragrance, but for it’s perfect balance of sweet and tart. Walking among the trees, we got down to the hard work of “research” – picking and peeling a few (ahem) tangerines. They were, in a word, extraordinary… with a  clean, deep tangerine flavor that is beautifully  balanced  between sweet and tart. Melissa’s Shasta Gold tangerines are, as Doug Phillips puts it “good eating fruit”.. but don’t stop there! That clean, bright tangerine flavor pairs wonderfully with all kinds of food – like this   Farro Salad with Tangerines and Blueberries.. or in a Tangerine Gimlet… or paired with some sliced Melissa’s Steamed Beets and a light vinaigrette.. the possibilities are truly endless. The only challenge is making sure that you buy enough!!!

Disclaimer: Melissa’s Produce provided transportation, lodging and meals for this trip. However, all opinions are strictly my own!!

Melissas-Shasta-Gold-Tangerines-#2

Melissas-Shasta-Gold-Tangerines

Farro Salad with Tangerines and Dried Blueberries
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This salad can be made a day ahead. Keep refrigerated and bring to room temperature before serving.
Serves: 4 - 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Melissas dried farro
  • 4 Melissas Shasta Gold Tangerines
  • ½ cup Melissas Dried Blueberries
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ½ cup sliced fresh mint
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 12 mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Dressing:
  • ¾ cup fresh squeezed Melissas Shasta Gold Tangerines ( about 2 tangerines)
  • 2 tsp. orange blossom honey
  • ¾ tsp. garam masala
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. For Dressing: Place tangerine juice in a small saucepan and boil until juice is reduced by half. Cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cooled tangerine juice and honey. Whisk to combine. Add the garam masala, pepper and salt. Whisk until salt has dissolved. Whisk in the olive oil. Set dressing aside. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead - cover and refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using).
  3. For Salad:
  4. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Season water with salt. Add the farro and continue to boil for 16 - 18 minutes or until farro is cooked through (farro should be chewy but not hard). Drain farro and rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.
  5. Over a small bowl, peel and section two of the tangerines. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl combine the farro, tangerine sections, dried blueberries, parsley and mint. Drizzle the dressing over and toss to combine. Divide salad among bowls and garnish with pistachios and mint leaves if using.