Strawberry and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint

Nathan Lyon Strawberry Canteloupe

Strawberry and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

½ cantaloupe, seeded, rind removed, and sliced into 1-inch sections

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tablespoons of balsamic OR white wine vinegar*

15 medium-sized fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

1. Gently toss the cantaloupe, strawberries, vinegar of choice*, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl.

2. Add the feta and chopped mint to the bowl just prior to serving and toss.

*Note: If you prefer the flavor of the strawberries to pop, go with a nice balsamic. If you’re more of a cantaloupe person, go with the white wine vinegar. Both work great.

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Sparkling Rosé-White Sangría with Grand Marnier and Fresh Mint

Countdown to July 4th…

Why not make a dash to your local farmers market to grab some summer fruit and whip up this delicious beverage?

Sangria

Sparkling Rosé-White Sangría with Grand Marnier and Fresh Mint

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

 

1 medium peach, pit removed and diced small

1 medium nectarine, pit removed and small diced small

1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 plum, pit removed and small diced small

1 pint red raspberries

Large fresh mint leaves, to taste

½ vanilla bean, seeds and pod: slice down the length of the pod, spread open, and scrape out the flesh by pressing with a butter knife

½ cup Grand Marnier

1 bottle Viognier white wine, chilled

1 bottle sparkling rosé wine, chilled

 

Combine the peach, nectarine, strawberries, plum, raspberries, mint, vanilla seeds and pod, Grand Mariner and Viognier in a large container.

If time permits, refrigerate for a few hours to allow the fruit to chill.

Pour into a pitcher or punch bowl, then just before serving, add the bottle of sparkling rosé.

Strawberry Tomato Gazpacho

It’s summer which means tomatoes and strawberries are starting to overflow farmers market stands (among other delicious fruits). Summer also means plenty of potlucks, parties and, of course, delicious July 4th celebrations.

Super Sous and I have come up with the perfect dish for your summer events (whether that means dinner for 2 or 20!). It’s not only easy to make, refreshing and cooling, it’s another in our series of Drought Friendly Recipes, which makes it a win-win!

It’s also quite a stunner and… no oven needed.

Strawberry Gazpacho - Strawberries

Hulled Strawberries

Strawberry Gazpacho - Tomatoes

Ripe Red and Yellow Tomatoes

Strawberry Gazpacho - Overhead

Strawberry Tomato Gazpacho

Yield: 6 cups

 

2 pounds strawberries, hulled

1 pound ripe red tomatoes, quartered

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced large

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, divided

½ teaspoon red wine vinegar

6 drops chipotle Tabasco sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste

2 small shallots, peeled and diced small

4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 pound yellow tomatoes, diced small

30 small fresh basil leaves, plus more to taste

18 basil flowers, optional

 

Add the strawberries, tomatoes, red bell pepper, 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, red wine vinegar, chipotle Tabasco, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to a blender.

Beginning with the slowest speed, blend until a smooth consistency is achieved. Strain through a fine mesh colander into a bowl, pressing the liquid against the mesh with the back of a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Stir to combine the diced shallot and the balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Let rest, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir in the 2 remaining teaspoons grapeseed oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and the diced yellow tomato.

When ready to serve, remove the soup from the refrigerator and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon the soup into bowls, top with a spoonful of the shallot/yellow tomato vinaigrette and garnish with basil leaves and flowers.

Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint

This could not be easier to make and it’s perfect for a quick dessert, snack or potluck/party dish. Now, let’s put those summer fruits to good use, shall we?!

Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint

 

Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

 

4-ounces blueberries

8-ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered

12-ounces peaches, pitted and diced small

8-ounces plums or pluots, pitted and diced small

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and gently mix with a rubber spatula or spoon.

Let sit 5 minutes, stir once more and serve.

 

 

Strawberry Creme Fraiche Cobbler Ice Cream

Do you like strawberries, ice cream or cobbler? If you answered YES! to any of these, then I highly recommend you click on these delicious photos below to get my recipe for Strawberry Creme Fraiche Cobbler Ice Cream asap! Today’s blog posting is a collaboration between myself, Super Sous and the highly talented and brilliant Drew Bailey Scott, owner of DBS: Culinary-Minded Marketing and her blog DBS Obsessed. Thanks for spreading the recipe love, DBS!

Strawberry Creme Fraiche Ice Cream Cone

Strawberry Cobbler Ice Cream Close

 

Strawberry Kale Salad

In California, we are spoiled. Not only do we have kale year round, but we have strawberries as well. So, it seems only natural to pair the two: beautiful green, slightly bitter kale with bright sweet vibrant strawberries. So, here’s my take on it. One caveat: how you cut your kale will greatly affect the flavor of this dish. Some people massage their kale with a little olive oil and salt to relax the tough leaves and remove some of that bitterness. Although this does work, for this salad, I like creating a light, fluffy (yes, fluffy) texture from the curly kale I use. How do you achieve such fluffiness, you may ask? Chiffonade your kale. Remove the stems, stack the leaves, roll them tightly into a cigar shape and slice ever – so – thinly. The taste and texture turn out remarkable.

This is what I’m talking about – super thin/chiffonade – it may take a few more minutes in prep time, but once you try your kale salads this way, you’ll never do otherwise!

Kale Chiffonade

 

And here’s the salad of the hour:

Strawberry Kale Salad Overhead

 

 

Strawberry Kale Salad

 

 

Strawberry Kale Salad

 

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot, peeled and diced small

1 ½ tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid or medium bowl, combine the shallot and vinegars. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine, or, whisk to combine the ingredients if using a bowl.

 

Salad:

1 bunch curly kale, stems discarded, leaves stacked, rolled and sliced finely (chiffonade)

½ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup roughly chopped pitted deglet noor dates

8 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly

2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a large bowl, mix the kale, almonds and dates. Add the vinaigrette and mix to combine. Add the strawberries and cheese. Fold gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

 

Spring is in the Air

Flowers are blooming, peaches will soon be here, herbs are growing like weeds, farmers markets are overflowing with fresh produce and all around town the smell of roses, honeysuckle, and jasmine fills the air. Not to mention the thought of grilling and barbecuing is on everyone’s minds. In fact, Super-sous and I went to a barbecue get-together last night at a friend’s house and will be grilling again tonight as well.

Being on the road for that past 3 weeks,  the thing that we have missed the most, undoubtedly, is the Hollywood Farmers Market, which takes place every Sunday from 8am to 1pm. Ever since we got back to L.A. last week we have been dreaming of, talking about and planning our Sunday at the market. Juicy strawberries, bunches of fresh kale, farm fresh eggs, pounds of sweet oranges, crisp asparagus… so much to enjoy in the few days before we take off again (for another 3 weeks of filming for my new show).

Last night, at our friend’s barbecue get-together and over a delicious raw kale salad (with delicious crisp apples and shaved almonds) that the hostess Julie made, we all got into a discussion about organic versus non-organic foods, local versus imported foods and the importance of asking questions to your local farmers when shopping at the farmers market. There are such markets in L.A. called uncertified farmers markets where (amongst local farmers) there are vendors selling produce from other countries (e.g. mangoes from Mexico). Also, not every farmers market sells organic produce. It is usually a mix. Another thing to add to the mix: many farmers follow organic farming practices, however cannot afford the certification process to be labelled organic. So, again, ask your local farmer questions about the produce they are selling, where they farm, etc. If you don’t get a clear answer, move on!

Today, Super-sous and I went to a small farmers market to get our fix with a few fruits and vegetables before our outing to the Hollywood market on Sunday. She wanted to buy organic strawberries, so I asked a farmer selling $5 baskets if their product was organic or not. Their response was, “no pesticides.” Super-sous and I looked at each other curiously. No pesticides? Well, organic or not, pesticides must be used for farming if you want to yield any produce (and therefore make a profit). Next question, “what exactly do you spray with?” His response, “we don’t spray with anything.” No spraying? No pesticides? It just didn’t make sense. Needless to say, we did not buy the strawberries. We would rather wait it out, knowing that non-organic strawberries take on some serious chemicals to be able to make it to the consumer. (Hence the reason it is at the top of Sunday’s list.)

Spring is in the air. The weekend is well underway and farmers markets around the country are popping up, opening for the season, and growing exponentially. So, my Latte loving friends, grab your shopping bags – I think I see an artichoke and some lemons with your name on it. Because when is the last time you had grilled artichokes brushed with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice squeezed on top? Might I say, if you don’t have one in your hand right now, it’s probably been too long.

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