Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice Salad

Hatch chile and Lemon Rice Salad

Hatch chile and lemon rice salad 2 Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice SaladI’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 icon smile Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice Salad 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 Hatch Chile and Lemon Rice Salad

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 1 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
 
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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.

Fresh Fruit Cake

Summer Fruit Cake

Summer Fruit Cake 1 Fresh Fruit CakePeople who know me  probably would be shocked to hear this – I think – but I’m lazy. Yup – if there is an easy way to do something, I am all over it.

Especially in the summer. But with desserts like this Fresh Fruit Cake being lazy is, IMO a very good thing.  Juicy, sweet nectarines – if that’s what you have – or  juicy, sweet peaches or plums, or pluots or… well, pretty much any sweet, juicy fruit would work I think.  A simple butter based batter, and  a simple topping of dark brown sugar and candied ginger. Done. It’s pretty much a one bowl cake – ok, technically it’s two since you need one for the flour, baking powder and salt, but since you can wipe it out when you’re done and put it right back – so it doesn’t count, right?

Summer Fruit Cake 2 Fresh Fruit Cake

 

You can have it for dessert, with a little ice cream or cream fraiche or this Creme Fraiche Sorbet - if you’re not feeling lazy… that is.

Summer Fruit Cake 3 Fresh Fruit Cake

Or, have it for  breakfast – without the ice cream… because that might just be a little too decadent in the morning – even for me – but a little plain greek yogurt would be amiss here either!

 

So, pull out that mixing bowl and then take off for a lazy afternoon – you’ve earned it!

Fresh Fruit Cake
 
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Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. white rum (optional)
  • 2 ripe nectarines, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. apricot preserves
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and ¼ tsp. salt. In the bowl of a mixer,combine the butter and the sugar. Beat until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and rum, if using. Add the flour and mix just until the flour is fully incorporated. Spoon batter into prepared pan (it will be thick!) spreading evenly. Lay the nectarine slices side by side along the edge of the pan in a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the brown sugar and crystallized ginger. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until cake is cooked - give the pan a jiggle - if the batter still jiggles in the center cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Let cool. When cool, brush the nectarines with the apricot preserves.
  3. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or creme fraiche sorbet

 

 

 

Lemongrass Ginger Cooler

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 11.33.36 AM

Lemongrass Ginger cooler Lemongrass Ginger CoolerSweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami –  otherwise known as the 5 basic “tastes”  and the foundations of flavor.

Although it’s  technically not a “taste” I would add one more – “spicy” or “heat” – that tingly warmth that only a pepper can provide like the jalapeno in this Lemongrass Ginger Cooler.  Salsa, Kung Pao Chicken, Creole Shrimp and any of the myriad Indian curries just wouldn’t be the same without them – and we wouldn’t be as obsessed with them. Spicy or “hot”dishes hold a special fascination – and if you don’t believe me, take a stroll down the aisle of your local supermarket and check out the sheer number of “spicy” condiments!!!!

So, most of us  are all familiar with bell peppers, jalepeno’s and… if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, Hatch chiles… but what of the other 50 or so other types? The  Pequins, Tepins, guajillas and, Shishitos?

Do you ever look at a recipe that lists a pepper and pass it by because you had no idea what that pepper was or because you knew your market didn’t carry it and you had no idea what other pepper you could use?

Yup, I thought so….well, “been there, done that… read the book”.

And yes, I literally have just read “the book” – Melissa’s Produce’s  brand new book – “The Great Pepper Cookbook – the Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Cooking with Peppers” - and this is definitely the book that has been missing from my bookshelves for far too long. Of course, it has fabulous recipes – that goes without saying. But what really excites me about this book is this – it’s a “passport to understanding the most universal ingredient of the New World”.

Screen Shot 2014 06 02 at 11.33.36 AM Lemongrass Ginger Cooler

By that I mean this book has a beautifully illustrated guide which explains “heat” – i.e. the Scoville scale and then goes on to describe individual peppers – where they are on the Scoville scale, their season (for fresh peppers), what other names they go by and… what other peppers you can subsitute with if you can’t find that particular pepper – or like me, you don’t plan far enough in advance so you can order them from Melissa’s !!!

I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve spent researching this very question for a variety of dishes…

Thank you Melissa’s Produce!!!!

So, now that I’ve convinced you to buy the book … or put it at the top of your list for Father’s Day, wedding showers, birthdays or… my personal favorite – instead of the usual bottle of wine hostess gift… what kind of recipes are in  the book?

Glad you asked!!

The answer course is just about anything you can think of… including this Lemongrass, Ginger Cooler which gets it’s kick from jalapenos! This past weekend I made up a batch of this to sip (ok, I did more than sip!) while I planted tomatoes and herbs in the garden. It’s incredibly refreshing and  would also make a terrific base for a cocktail!

Lemongrass Ginger Cooler
 
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You can add a little honey or agave nectar to sweeten this if desired. I also served it with a splash of lime juice as well!
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 cups water
  • 5 oz. fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 large stalk fresh lemongrass, trimmed, split and chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 lime (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard solids. Cool for an hour and serve over ice.

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska with angel food cake and sorbet

Baked alaska BC1 Baked AlaskaThere is no question about it… my pants are tighter than they were 4 months ago. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s in Italy and the Superbowl it has been one long food fest here at  The Table.

And Friday is Valentine’s Day….which generally means a nice dinner (at home!) a bit of bubbly and… dessert.  Which of course, is not helpful when one is trying ahem to lose those “oh so enjoyably gained” extra pounds. But all is not lost…(pardon the pun) at least when it comes to dessert because you can have your cake and eat it too without your pants getting tighter with this Baked Alaska (ok, done with the puns… promise!!!!)

Not exactly “au courant” –  Baked Alaska is a bit of an old fashioned dessert that you don’t see very often on restaurant menus – which I don’t really get since what’s not to like about ice cream, cake and creamy meringue that’s been caramelized oh so slightly????

I have no clue.

Baked Alaska BC2 Baked Alaska

Ah, but wasn’t I saying something about Baked Alaska and your pants not getting tighter?  If so… ummm what about that ice cream and cake??? Well,  you know me and my seeming inability to make a recipe as written – so of course I had to tinker with the traditional recipe a little – substituting angel food cake for the richer butter cake that is normally used and substituting  sorbet for the ice cream. And as for the meringue? Well, here is the real “secret” to this Baked Alaska and the reason it may not be as popular on  today’s restaurant menus –  meringues use raw egg whites and so can be rife with salmonella bacteria… not exactly  very romantic, is it?

Which is just another reason why I love  Safest Choice Eggs. Since Safest Choice Eggs are pasteurized in the shell,  so there is no risk in using them in desserts like Baked Alaska.

To find out how easy it is to make Baked Alaska, check out my recipe on the Safest Choice Website!

 

 

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette

Melissa's Squash

Roasted Delicata Arugula and Couscous Salad 2002 Edit Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette

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!

Melissas Squash Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette

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 2013 Edit Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette

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 300x294 Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette  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
 
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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.

 

Sausage Salsa Bowls

Sausage Salsa bowl

Sausage Salsa Bowl Sausage Salsa BowlsYou can tell the lazy, hazy days of summer are over when the morning conversation goes something like this “What’s for dinner tonight  Mom? I’ve got  practice this afternoon and then a study session at 6″ which is sometimes followed by “hey hon, we’ve got a meeting so I’ll be home around 7 -ish.”. Oh, and just about then you remember that you’ve got a committee meeting at 4 pm… and  dinner  preparation is supposed to happen exactly when??

Welcome to my world. Yours too??? Yeah, I thought so – seems just about everyone has a version of this story these days. While it’s tempting to just do take out, or re heat a frozen dinner, it’s just not practical -especially when your having this conversation 3 or 4 mights a week! Well, as they say a good offense is a good defense, which for me means stocking my pantry, fridge and freezer with things that make quick and easy meals… and if they are nutritious and can be re heated… bring it on!

Suasage Salsa Bowl 2 Sausage Salsa Bowls

So, when  Farmer John contacted me and offered to let me try their brand new Hot Louisiana Brand Chicken Smoked Sausage I was more than excited to try it. Pre cooked chicken sausage is one of my “quick dinner” mainstays and I’m always looking for new kinds to try. Needless to say the Farmer John Louisiana Brand Chicken Smoked Sausage did not disappoint – both my DH and my son loved it – which is saying something since my DH tends to like spicier food than our son C. So, yes, the sausage has a bit of a kick, but, in my “humble opinion” I think it’s just right –  enough for those who like a bit of a kick and not enough to scare off those who don’t like “spicy stuff” – yes I am talking to you Mr. C!!! So, what can you make with it? Well, there isn’t room for me to list everything I can think  of to make with this sausage – but things like this Barley Sausage Skillet, Quick and Easy Cassoulet and Cider Braisesausage and cabbage come to mind. But since I’ve “been there and done that” I wanted to try something new that’s been rattling around in my brain for a while… a Sausage Salsa Bowl! Made from some of my quick dinner must have’s” this dish was a breeze to make – I timed it at 20 minutes start to finish and I only got 1 pot dirty!  I have to admit I was pretty pleased with myself. And the family? Well, DH just asked if “we could please have those Sausage Salsa bowl things this week”…

Sausage Salad Bowl 3 Sausage Salsa Bowls

Sausage Salsa Bowls
 
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I used a mild salsa but if you like things spicier, use a medium or hot salsa! This dish also re heats very well - if making ahead, cool the sausage and rice mixture, cover and refrigerate.
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 links Farmer John Louisiana Style Chicken Sausage, sliced
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into ½ inch dice
  • ½ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup quick cooking brown rice
  • 1¼ cups low sodium chicken stock
  • ¾ cup fresh salsa, drained
  • 1 - 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized lidded pan, heat the 1 tsp. of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cooked for 2 - 3 minutes. Turn sausage over and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes.
  2. Add the zucchini and corn and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until the vegetables are slightly caramelized. Sprinkle with cumin. Add the rice and stir. Pour in the chicken stock and the salsa and stir. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Divide between 4 bowls/plates and garnish with green onions, cilantro and lime wedges.

 

Mango Coconut Mousse

Mango Mousse

Mango Coconut Mousse Mango Coconut MousseHappy Labor Day Weekend! For most of us, Labor Day signals the end of summer – those last few days of sunshine and heat. Except of course, if you live in Southern California where it  seems that summer is just getting started. So while the rest of you are happily contemplating the return of soups, stews and casseroles we are still eating mountains of salads and cooking everything possible outside on the grill… yup, that’s Southern California for ya… always a step ahead – not!

Mango Coconut Mousse BC2 Mango Coconut Mousse

And while the markets and stores are still full of summer produce, my “seasonal clock” is ready for something else. And although my head is dreaming of pumpkin bars, ooey gooey cakes and rich, decadent ice creams, the truth of the matter is it’s just too hot for these luscious desserts. So, to satisfy my need for something a bit creamy and a bit rich tasting I decided to make a Mango Coconut Mousse. The idea has been rolling around my head for a while and I finally decided to give it a go.  In case you missed it, using coconut milk as a substitute for whipped cream is all the rage and I’ve been intrigued to try it – and yes, it does whip up very similar to whipped cream – a little heavier and definitely has a coconut flavor. If you like coconut, then this is the perfect dessert for you – if you aren’t a fan, just substitute whipped cream for the whipped coconut cream! Either way, it’s a terrific dessert to  not only “bridge the gap” between the end of summer and full blown fall but also a fabulous dessert for any asian inspired meal!

Mango Coconut Mousse
 
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The texture of this mousse will not be as light as one made with whipped cream since the coconut cream is denser. You made need to "play" with it a bit to get the right ratio of mango curd to coconut cream - and by "right" ratio I mean the one that tastes the best to you. After folding in the coconut cream taste the mixture and add more coconut cream if desired.
Serves: 4 - 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 large ripe mango (about 1 cup of flesh)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 - 14 oz. can full fat coconut milk OR ½ cup whipping cream.
  • 2- 3 Tbsp. sugar
Instructions
  1. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk if usingPeel and cut mango into small chunks. Combine mango with lime juice and sugar and puree. Strain mixture and combine in a heat safe bowl with the egg yolks. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer and place the bowl of mango and egg yolks on top. Stir until the mixture thickens - about 4 - 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter a bit at a time. Cover and refrigerate until cold.
  2. Open the chilled can of coconut milk. Remove the solidified coconut cream, leaving the thin, watery juice behind (save to use in smoothies or just to drink!). Place the cream in the bowl of a mixer and mix on medium speed. Slowly sprinkle in 2 Tbsp. sugar. Increase the speed to high and continue to whip until the cream is fluffy. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Remove the mango curd from the refrigerator and measure out about a cup and fold in about ½ cup of the coconut cream. Taste, adding more coconut cream if desired. (I like about ⅓ coconut cream to ⅔ mango curd but it really is up to you!). Spoon into small bowls or glasses and chill. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Asian Pickled Shrimp

Asian Pickled Shrimp

Asian Pickled Shrimp BC1 Asian Pickled ShrimpFood memories are funny…. there are a number of foods that I honestly couldn’t tell you when I first tried them. It isn’t that they weren’t tasty, but for some reason I have no clear recollection of trying them.

Not so however, with shrimp. That I remember clearly. My parents had taken me out for a “fancy” dinner … and for the first time the waiter actually  handed me a menu!!  Gingerly, I opened it and started reading it.. or rather tried to read it since I couldn’t pronounce half the things on it and had no idea what they were! There were no hamburgers or steak in sight… and my heart sank. My mom, seeing my reaction, looked over and pointed.. “I think you’d  like the Shrimp Scampi. ” The what???

Despite living within a mile of the beach and having fish once or twice a week, I’d never had shrimp – but if my Mom  said I’d like it, well who was I to argue??? So, I politely told the waiter that is what I’d like (and fervently hoped it was true!).  Well, my mom was wrong… I didn’t just like it, I loved it!!!

Asian Pickled Shrimp BC2 Asian Pickled Shrimp

And so began my love affair with all things shrimp and with foods from different “cultures”. Like pickled shrimp.  A staple of southern entertaining, I only discovered  this dish when I was in my thirties… and was instantly smitten.  (and yes, if you are from Southern California the South is definitely a different “culture”!)  The  traditional recipe is made with cider vinegar, lemons, onions and various herbs and spices and is  has become one of my all time favorite recipes… (and if you are looking for a great traditional recipe, my friend Lana of Never Enough Thyme has a a fabulous one!).

Although this Asian Pickled Shrimp is not “traditional” I think it’s a very fitting dish for celebrating the 4th of July. Just as this country is a blend of different cultures and traditions, so is this Asian Pickled Shrimp.

So Happy Birthday America… Let Freedom Ring!

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Safe Fourth of July!

Asian Pickled Shrimp
 
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Fish sauce can be found in Vietnamese markets and in many asians markets. The two brands that I like (and yes, there is a difference amoung brands) are Three Crabs (has a drawing of 3 crabs on the label) and Flying Lion.
Serves: 4 - 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. 31- 40 count cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 shallots, skinned and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1½ limes, juiced
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 - 1 inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1½ tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into rings
  • 5 cilantro sprigs
Instructions
  1. Combine everything except the shrimp in a large measuring cup and stir to combine, Place shrimp in a lidded container (I find a 1 quart canning jar works great) and pour the pickling mixture over the shrimp, making sure the shrimp are covered completely. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight.
  2. To serve, remove the shrimp from the picking mixture and mound on a platter - garnish with cilantro, lime slices, sliced shallots and jalapeno slices if desired.
  3. Shrimp can be made up to two days ahead.
Notes
Fish sauce can be found in many Asian grocery stores or in some well stocked grocery stores.

Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries

Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries

Yogurt Cheese Tart BC1 Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh BerriesSummer has arrived!!! Backyard barbeques, dinners alfresco, showers and parties… All of which require… the perfect summer dessert. And I have the perfect summer dessert for you – a creamy, luscious Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries.  A fancy tart is “the perfect summer dessert??” R-i-i-i-g-h-t. Seriously though, I think it’s the perfect summer dessert – it’s got a “no roll” crust and a filling that has only 5 ingredients which you probably already have in your fridge! Although it’s delicious on it’s own, I like it topped with berries, but it would be good with almost any fruit you happen to have around – peaches, apricots, nectarines or plums would all be delicious too.

“It’s “all good” as they say.

But if you’re lactose intolerant  you’re probably thinking “but not “good” for me.

But I have news for you… in fact it’s great news- you probably can enjoy this tart even if you are lactose intolerant

And yes, it includes “dairy”.

And no, I have not lost my mind.

Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries BC2 Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries

 

As I talked about in my Roasted Strawberry Sherbet post, there is a lot of confusion about lactose intolerance – and one of the “biggies” is that people who are lactose intolerant can’t have dairy.

But the truth of the matter is, most people who are lactose intolerant can have some dairy .

Let me say that again. Most people who are lactose intolerant can have dairy! Even those who are lactose intolerant do produce lactase – the enzyme required to break down lactose. The problem of course is that they don’t produce as much sufficient amounts to digest unlimited amounts of dairy.  So, the “trick” is choosing what kind of dairy and what quantity can be tolerated. I can tell you from personal experience that it is more “art” than “science” – everyone is different and it does take some trial and error to find what works best. With my son “C” I started him off very slowly and started him with dairy products that contain small amounts of lactose such as aged hard cheeses and yogurt which contains live and active cultures that actually help with the digestion of lactose! I also didn’t give him dairy on an empty stomach – I generally would give him something with dairy later in the meal or for dessert –like this Cheesecake Tart with Fresh Berries.  This Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries is a great choice to start introducing dairy since it’s made with Lebne (aka yogurt cheese). Due to the active cultures in yogurt, even those who are lactose intolerant generally can have yogurt. So, what is Lebne or “yogurt cheese”? It’s just Greek style plain yogurt that has been drained. You can buy Lebne in Middle Eastern markets or in some larger grocery stores or you can make your own from plain Greek yogurt (as I did for this tart).

Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries BC3 Yogurt Cheese Tart with Fresh Berries

 

This post was written while participating in my partnership with the National Dairy Council but as always, the opinions expressed are my own.

If you’d like to learn more about lactose intolerance and how to introduce dairy into your diet, the  National Dairy Council is a great place to start! Also, this Newsletter from the National Dairy Council has some great information specifically dealing with lactose intolerance.

Cheesecake Tart with Fresh Berries
 
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The filling is adapted from Alice Medrich's book Pure Dessert.
Serves: 6 - 8 servings
Ingredients
  • Pate Sable Crust
  • Filling:
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ cups lebne or drained, greek yogurt
  • Berries:
  • ½ pint fresh blackberries or blueberries
  • ½ pint raspberries or strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. Chambord Liqueur (optional)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the crust as per the instructions. Let cool.
  2. Pre heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. Add the lebne and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Fill the tart shell with the lebni mixture and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the edges are set but the interior is still a bit jiggly. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. For the berries: Combine the berries with 2 - 4 Tbsp. sugar (depending on how sweet they are). and add 2 tsp. Chambord. Toss to combine.
  5. To serve, cut slices of the tart and top with the berry mixture.