Watermelon and Feta Salad with Fresh Mint

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

6 cups (1-inch) diced seedless watermelon (approximately a 3 pound watermelon)

3 small Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and diced medium (1¾ cups)

2 teaspoons roughly chopped lemon zest (zested on a microplane and chopped)

1 pint (25-30) cherry tomatoes, halved (preferably assorted colors)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

¾ cups crumbled sheep’s milk feta cheese

Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Flaky sea salt, to taste (preferably Maldon or Jacobsen sea salt)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Place watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, basil and mint in a large mixing bowl. Very gently fold to combine (you don’t want the tomatoes to leach their juice) with a large spoon.

 

Arrange on plates. Sprinkle feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over each plate. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Grilled Mahi-mahi with Spicy Ginger Mango Salsa

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Grilled Mahi-mahi with Spicy Ginger Mango Salsa

Yields: 4 servings

Spicy Ginger Mango Salsa:
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and small diced
1 small chili pepper (habanero, jalapeño, or serrano), de-veined, seeded, and diced small
¼ cup small diced red onion
1½ teaspoons fresh ginger juice*
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small orange, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* For ginger juice: finely chop or peel and grate 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, squeeze with your fingers, capture the juice and discard the flesh.

Stir to combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Mahi-mahi:
2 pounds fresh Mahi-mahi
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
Kosher salt, for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in olive oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Pat the Mahi-mahi dry and then rub both sides with the olive oil and lightly season with thyme, salt and pepper.

Place fish on the pre-heated grill and cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until the flesh just begins to flake apart and becomes opaque in color. (You can double check simply by cutting into one.) Once cooked to your liking, remove from the grill.

Serve with a spoonful of the spicy mango ginger salsa.

Note: as with all seafood, check with Seafood Watch to ensure you are purchasing sustainable seafood.

Apple and Carrot Coleslaw

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Apple and Carrot Coleslaw

Yield: 6 servings

 

Coleslaw:

1 small head red cabbage, core discarded, quartered and sliced thinly (1/8-inch thick) on a mandoline (6 cups)

4 medium carrots, peeled and grated (2 cups)

2 medium apples (Pink Lady, Gala, Empire, or Fuji) unpeeled, sliced into French fry strips on a mandoline (3 cups)

½ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Vinaigrette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

2½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

 

Combine the cabbage, carrots, apples, and parsley in a large bowl.

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Add approximately two-thirds of the vinaigrette to the cabbage mixture, toss to coat, and season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more vinaigrette if needed. Taste again (yes, again).

Note: if you do not have a mandoline, this is a great opportunity to practice your knife skills!

Orange Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

fennel spoon

Yield: 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot, diced small (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the orange used in the vinaigrette)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

 

Salad:

2 large oranges

3 small fennel bulbs (buy fennel bulbs with stalks and fronds still attached)

¼ cup picked fennel fronds (from the fennel bulbs)

 

Cut the ends off the orange. Next, cut the peel and pith off the orange. Then, segment the orange by cutting between the membranes. Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette. Set aside segmented orange pieces for the salad.

Cut off the bottom and the stalks of the fennel. Sit the fennel upright and cut in half lengthwise. Lay each half flat on a cutting board and very thinly slice the fennel widthwise. You should have about 3 cups of thinly sliced fennel.

Combine all ingredients (orange segments, fennel, fronds) plus the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and toss to mix.

Works well as a side salad or as the perfect bed for a piece of salmon, white fish or piece of chicken.

 

Classic Basil Pesto

Pesto never goes out of style and it’s application is wide and varied. Add it to pasta or roasted vegetables. Slather it on chicken or use it as a pizza sauce. And the best part? You can make large batches, while the basil is overflowing in the summer, and freeze it for later use. Hooray for pesto!

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Classic Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

 

2 ¼ packed cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (2 teaspoons)

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, not pre-grated

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a food processor, process to combine, the basil, ¼ cup oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ¼ cup oil, and the cheese. Process until the desired texture is achieved, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. For the record, I add about ½ teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of pepper. No need to rush; taste as you go. Take your time and enjoy.

Note: Care for a nuttier flavor in your pesto? Try using toasted pine nuts.

 

Herb Grilled Rockfish with Lemon Garlic Potatoes

Memorial Day is coming, so fire up that grill because this is one heck of a recipe and it’s using one of my favorite sustainable seafoods – rockfish! The resurgence of (West Coast) rockfish is the ultimate success story when it comes to sustainable seafood. You can read all about how local government and conservation groups brought this fishery back to life so we can now enjoy this delicious fish! Use Seafood Watch  (download the app on your smartphone) to locate the best choice for rockfish at your local grocery store / fish market and grill away! (P.S. You can watch me cook this on TV in a spot I did with Seattle Refined to educate people about the Seafood Watch App)

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Herb Grilled Rockfish with Lemon Garlic Potatoes

Yields: 4 servings

 

Lemon Garlic Potatoes:

1½ pounds peewee or small fingerling potatoes

6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

7 sprigs fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

5 ¼-inch slices of lemon (reserve leftover lemon for grilling)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the grill

 

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in olive oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss to combine. Place potatoes in the center of a large sheet of aluminum foil. Create a well sealed pouch ensuring that the potatoes are laying flat and not stacked on top of each other so they all cook evenly.

Place on the grill and cook for 20 minutes, shaking the bag every 5 minutes.

Remove from grill and open pouch carefully (hot!). Use a fork to test potatoes for doneness (fork should pierce through the potato easily). Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

 

Rockfish:

1½ pounds rockfish, pin bones removed, cut into 4 equal sized pieces

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the lemons

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons), grated on a Microplane, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh Italian parlsey leaves, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped finely

2 lemons (plus the remaining lemon from the potato recipe), halved

 

Pat the rockfish dry (all sides). Next, coat the rockfish with olive oil (all sides), then season both sides with salt and pepper. Finally, season the fish (all sides) with the lemon zest and chopped herbs.

Rub the flesh side of the lemons with enough olive oil to coat.

With the grill on medium-high, place the lemons, flesh side down on the grill. Cook for approximately 4 minutes (this will time out perfectly while cooking the rockfish).

Place the rockfish on the grill. Cook until the edges of the fish begin to turn opaque, approximately 2 minutes. Flip rockfish and continue cooking for 1½ to 2 minutes, until fish just begins to flake at the thickest point.

Remove fish and lemons from the grill.

To serve, evenly divide the potatoes onto plates, top with the grilled rockfish and add a grilled lemon half to each plate.

Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

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Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

(Serve for breakfast, snack, cheese plate or dessert!)

Yield: 1  9-inch pie

Unsalted butter, to prepare the pie pan
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated on a Microplane
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup finely chopped Medjool dates, pits removed
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 cup raw brazil nuts, chopped roughly
3 large eggs

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Butter a 9-inch pie pan, then dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder, zest and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the dates, milk, nuts and eggs and mix very well using a wooden spoon. Get in there with some elbow grease, and really stir until well combined. It’ll be thick and chunky, but that’s a good thing.

Pour the date batter into the prepared pie pan and or use the back of the wooden spoon to level off the batter.

Place the pie pan on a sheet pan and transfer to the oven.

Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is light to golden brown and the center springs back when pressed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Once cool enough to handle, remove from the pie pan, slice (using a bread knife) and serve with a slathering of honey butter.

Honey Butter:

1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), softened
2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

Mix the butter and honey in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine and my new online cooking course with Clean Eating Magazine, “Clean Cooking & Nutrition: The World’s Healthiest Proteins & Advanced Vegetable Prep” will be starting on April 3! It’s gonna be so. much. fun! Check out the course trailer/preview to see for yourself!