Tag Archives: lime

Raspberry Lime Fizz

I’m in Portland, Oregon right now, on a vacation my husband decided he wanted to take relatively late.  This wasn’t supposed to be the year for the big vacation because we enjoyed a Foodie’s Road Trip through New England last Fall which we loved, and are planning to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary late next spring.  Nevertheless, we are on vacation.

Once upon a time while talking in the wee hours of the night, I asked what one thing was not negotiable as we eased into the empty nest years of our lives together, and he responded, “Travel.”  And so that’s what we do whenever we can.  We certainly aren’t trailblazers, and that’s perfectly fine because we’re not out to impress anyone with our ventures.  We like to see what it’s like to venture somewhere we’ve never been — somewhere that isn’t too wild, or requires roughing it to any great degree.  Places where we can see how others live, go about an average day, and eat, of course.

We spent a few days in our beloved San Francisco ready to roll up our sleeves and find an apartment for our youngest who has spent the last two years in dorms and is now ready for something different.  Perhaps it was the seagull whose rather perfectly aimed droppings landed squarely on my head that gave us luck, but we were accepted for the first apartment we found.  Lease signed.  End of story, vacation begins.

Which leads me to Portland.  Why Portland?  Recently, I attended a food blogger’s conference in Seattle and was told by a food writer of some experience that the food is much better here.  I thought the comment interesting and decided that an impromptu vacation could include a place we’d never been — especially if the food is great.

We’ve enjoyed very clear, warm days since our arrival, and although I’ll discuss Portland more at another time, I’d say this Raspberry Lime Fizz is perfect for a warm day anywhere.  And if you’re one who is inclined to imbibe, I think it just may be perfect for a shot of your favorite liquor.

Straw, or even an umbrella optional.

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Pea Shoot Salad with Bacon & Lime

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen recipes for salads that call for pea shoots and I’ve just just flipped the page knowing I wouldn’t be able to find them without going out of my way.  Can you EVEN imagine life without pea shoots?  I mean, come ON!

Talk about spoiled.

If I have to go out of a five-mile radius of my home, fuhgeddaboutit. So when I get through the checkout and the clerk mechanically inquires about whether I was able to find everything I needed, I usually say yes, knowing that I’m the odd ball who buys all the strange produce, and they don’t really want to know why I can’t find fresh morels.

But when I saw the Crunchy Asian Salad with Honeyed Bacon in the March ’08 issue of Food & Wine, I decided I was on a mission.  I had to find some pea shoots.  That meant heading for Whole Foods first, since they’re the grocery store that usually has the specialty produce I need (usually…).

I headed straight for the produce section, and lo and behold, with little effort hunting, there they sat in little rectangular boxes:  the elusive pea shoots. They looked like radish sprouts with really long stems.  I glanced around for the price and never did find a tag so really don’t want to know what I spent for them.  I picked up a couple of packages and wheeled away, giddy that I’d be able to experiment with something that looks like the weeds I get in my garden after a good rain and a few days of grey skies.  Who knew I’d not need two whole boxes of those cute little greens that taste exactly like snow peas.  Nice.  Fresh.  Something my menfolk would call “feed.”

I knew the salad required Chinese five-spice powder as well, and I guess finding pea sprouts used up my good fortune, because Whole Foods had none.  It figures.  I decided it was only a minor setback and thought I’d find a recipe on line that would allow me to make my own.

Chinese five-spice is a combination of  five spices:  szechuan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel.  And if you’re someone who has a pantry like me  (I can talk about this at length later…) then making your own Chinese five-spice powder is something quite feasible.  Whether you can actually find what you need when you need it is another story entirely.  Except I didn’t have star anise which meant I had to improvise.

Regardless, this is my official entry to “Waiter, there’s something in my…” hosted by Andrew at Spittoon Extra

Pea Shoot Salad with Bacon & Lime

2 slices bacon
1 T. honey
1 T. real maple syrup
1 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
3 T olive oil
2 T fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
1 T Asian fish sauce
1 tsp. red chili paste
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 lb. snow peas
2 c. pea shoots
2 T torn basil leaves
2 c. spicy salad mix (purchased variety of spicy greens)
3 radishes, thinnly sliced

For the bacon:  Mix in a small bowl, the honey, maple syrup and soy sauce.  Brush onto bacon slices and place under the broiler in a pan that will allow the fat to drip away from the bacon.  Keep an eye on it, as it will burn easily.  Broil until crisp, then place on folded paper towels to cool.

For the salad:  On a serving platter, place the spicy greens.  Tear the basil and sprinkle it over the spicy greens.  Layer the pea shoots on top.  Slice the snow peas into pieces and sprinkle above the pea shoots.  Slice the radishes and quarter the slices.  Sprinkle those over the snow peas.  Slice the bacon into thin diagonal pieces and spread those on top.

For the dressing:  Mix the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, fish sauce and chili paste until well combined.  Drizzle over salad and serve more on the side if desired.

Notes:  Oh. My.  This is a really spectacular salad.  Even if you excluded the bacon, the dressing is very good, and the crispiness of the veggies, the spiciness….Mmmm…I loved it!  So did the menfolk, and I’m reminding you that one of them is not quite 16. I’m wondering about sauteed shrimp with this already.  For the Chinese five-spice powder, I left out the anise.  What’s my rationale?  Fennel is very close in flavor (to me…) so I added a bit more fennel.  Oh.  And some cardamom. In other words, experiment.  Or make sure you have Chinese five-spice powder in your pantry.

And just in case you don’t think adding bacon to this salad is enough, we had it with flat-iron steaks seared just right with some some Ichimi Togarashi. (Yes, it was in my pantry.)

Sugar Cookies with Cardamom & Lime

I started this post once already.  To be exact, I had almost completely finished it and was adding the very last photo.  And then it happened.  I noticed things slowing down a bit, then stalling, and although I tried to quickly save the post as a draft, it was too late.  My connection was lost, and so was my writing.

You do understand that this did not make me smile, yes?

And so I have waited a couple of days to try again because there’s nothing worse than having to write something all over again, is there?

Moving right along…

I recently learned that Victoria Magazine is back in publication.  Although I am quite excited by this, I’m also hesitant, in much the same way one might be if given the opportunity to do something wonderful all over again, and have it turn out less than expected, ruining lovely memories.  I had been a devoted subscriber of this remarkable magazine for years, and then former Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Lindemeyer left. The magazine changed, leaving those of us inspired by its beauty wondering what would happen.  It was still a pleasant magazine, but it just wasn’t the same.  Because my career had also taken a new direction that would eliminate much of the free time I had to lounge with magazines, I canceled my subscription.  In 2003, publication stopped.

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I gave all but one or two of my saved magazines to my mother, who loved them. I saved this one because of the cookies on the cover.  They’re amazing and I’ve made them many times over the years since I learned to pipe that lovely icing.  Unfortunately, I’m completely out of practice — or perhaps it’s patience, as my hand is not quite a steady as it once was.  But now that I’m back in the saddle, I’m ready for Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.  Cookies, anyone?

Ricki Arno’s Butter Cookies, published in the February 1998 edition of Victoria, are flavored with fresh lemon, no spice, and melt in your mouth.  They’ve inspired me to create my own recipe with flavors that are more in line with the colors on my Fall Leaves.  I couldn’t resist those beautiful cookie cutters when Martha Stewart came out with them.  Or the snowflakes, or the hearts.  I’m hopeless, but I love these cookies.Img_3530

Kelly’s Cardamom & Lime Sugar Cookies

Cookie Ingredients

1 c. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 c. extra fine sugar
1 lg. egg, slightly beaten
Grated zest from 2 limes, about 1 T
1/2 tsp. cardamom
2-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Icing Ingredients

2 c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
juice from 1 lime

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  This can be done by hand easily as well.  Beat in the egg and lime zest just until mixed.

In another bowl, sift flour and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring each time before adding more.  Beat until well combined.

Divide dough into two pieces, flattening each between two sheets of plastic wrap and then tightly wrapping before placing in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  This can be done ahead of time, and then left over night if you choose.

After chilling, unwrap flattened dough, but leave between the plastic sheets to roll (about 1/8-1/4″ thickness).  You can roll the dough on a cold, lightly floured surface, if you prefer.

Quickly stamp the dough with your chosen shapes, and if necessary, return to the fridge for about 10 minutes before removing the sheets to a baking sheet.

Baking sheets can be ungreased, lined with parchment, or silicone.  Bake for about 7 minutes just before the edges begin to show brown.  Watch them carefully.

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Remove from oven and let rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before placing them on rack to cool completely.

Decorate as desired using the icing above, or one of your own.  The cookies also taste excellent without icing, right from the oven.

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Notes: I learned to ice cookies through much trial and error and with guidance from Martha Stewart Living which had a great feature on it one year. (Here, let me dig through all my back issues to find it…NOT)  I was fascinated by the whole process and had to learn.  I use Wilton color, and pre-cut triangles of parchment that I shape and tape together.  I use piping tips and couplers, but also find a paper tip just as nice for this type of cookie.  I use a 5 tip for flooding, or a 2 tip if the icing is thin.  A 1-tip is for small dots and thin lines, but as the icing begins to harden, it can get stuck in the tip at times.

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The colors I chose for my leaves ended up differently than I’d intended, but that’s what makes this so interesting to me.  I play and experiment.  I usually start with one color and do all the cookies I expect to have that color on.  This time, I outlined first, creating the dike that would hold the thinner icing I’d spread inside, which has a tendency to flow over the edges or into the next section.  When I’m finished outlining, I can then thin the icing to use in the center as well.

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To make designs in the interiors, I flood, then while still wet, add other colors.  As it dries, the icing will be flat.  To add texture, I wait until the frosting is dry, then add detail on the top.

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It’s challenging for me to make just one design, but it’s actually more simple if you plan to do that.  You only have to mix a few colors, and it goes fairly quickly.  I get bored, and then impatient, so there ends up being several “styles” of cookies by the time I’m done.

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Great Meal for Summer Weather: Quinoa with Grilled Pork & Garlic Lime Vinaigrette

I know it’s sweltering across the country right now, and even though we’re enjoying a balmy 73 degrees right now (sorry, I can’t resist…I know.  It’s not very nice.  But I can’t stand the heat.  I melt in the heat.  I’m not comfortable at any temperature above 83.5 degrees.  It’s the only real think I truly like about where I live, since we don’t get snow, or pretty trees with colored leaves, or…)  Ahem.

As I was saying, it’s always great to have a few recipes around that you can put together semi-painlessly and with little or no cooking.  Or that can be made a bit ahead so the kitchen isn’t heating up when you least want it to.

Are you curious yet?  So no baking.  And no sweets.  I’m trying to cure a few of you of that.  You know…diversification.  Whatever. 

The July 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine has many, many lovely recipes in it.  I’m trying to break my habit of getting the magazine in the mail since it’s available on epicurious, I’ve grown to really enjoy reading it.  It will most likely be the only magazine I hang on to from my ‘zine addiction.  *sigh*  I just try and think of all the trees I’m helping to save.

Anyway, Gourmet has a section called "Gourmet Every Day:  Quick Kitchen."  I’m not one to seek out "quick" meals, because for me, that’s usually just throwing a few things together.  What’s the point of a recipe.  Also, a few times, the ones I’ve tried haven’t been all that great.  However…I’ve made the "Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce" twice in the last month (a TOTAL record for me) and recently tried the "Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa" to go with the pork.  Both recipes are featured in the "Quick Kitchen" section of the issue, and they were quickly tagged to be added to our recent vacation fare.  YUM.  Sorry the photos are few and a bit fuzzy.  I’m completely challenged when there are lots of people around, cooking, and trying to take photos.  It’s nerve wracking.  Plus, a bit strange, and I already give everyone enough to talk about.

This is a perfect meal to make when you are wanting to wow both meat eaters and vegetarians.  It’s fabulous.  I’ve noted my variations below each recipe.  The recipes are posted exactly as written and can be located at epicurious dot com.

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Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce


The vinaigrette is light, and would be excellent on chicken, shrimp, or a plain salad.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/3 c. olive oil
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
6 (12/-inch-thick) boneless pork chops

Directions

  1. Whisk together lime juice, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp. salt, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking well.  Whisk in cilantro.
  2. Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat.  Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper.  Oil grill rack, then grill pork chops, covered, turning over once, until just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes total.
  3. Serve drizzled with some vinaigrette, and with remainder on the side.

*If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, chops can be cooked in a hot lightly oiled large (2-burner) ridged grill pan over moderately high heat.

Notes

The first time I made these (no photos from that night — just the second time I made the chops), the chops were quite thick (1-1/2 inch) and were amazing.  The pork was lean, nicely grilled, and very moist.  The flavor was excellent.

I brushed on a small amount of the vinaigrette toward the end of the cooking time on both sides of the chops, then drizzled more over all before serving.

I also substituted basil for the cilantro the first time, because that’s what I had.  It was very good and I can’t say whether I enjoy the cilantro more, because each has its own flavor.

I added green onions or scallions to the vinaigrette.

I used two very large cloves of garlic for 3 chops.  We love garlic, and no, we don’t think this overpowers the taste. 

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Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa

If you haven’t tried quinoa (keen-wah), you should consider it.  It’s a
pleasant tasting grain that is very high in protein.  It cooks up much
the way pasta does, and has a very mild nutty flavor.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tsp. grated lime zest
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 T vegetable oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 c. quinoa
1 (14-15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 med. tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter oil, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
  3. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salter water (1 T salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve).
  4. Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat and remove lid.  Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.
  6. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed.
  7. Stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

I doubled this recipe since we were feeding about 10 and we had some left over for lunch the next day.

I used Trader Joe’s "Harvest Grains Blend" which is a mix of Israeli Style Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo Beans, and Red Quinoa.  I had it at home and wanted to try it, so this recipe seemed perfect.

Don’t get hung up on the steaming part.  Save some of the liquid drained from the quinoa and use that to steam it after you place the sieve over it.  I used a clean terry kitchen towel and tucked in the edges.  Then I set the lid on the whole contraption.  Just be careful not to set the towel on fire.  No, I didn’t set the towel on fire.  Sheesh!

The rest is food history.  I totally believe this is another recipe that could easily mix well with grilled veggies.  YUM.  Or, grill the limes and then squeeze the juice.  Seriously YUM.

To finish it off, you need one deck or patio, an umbrella, a cool glass of chardonnay (okay, so what do I know about wine other than I like to drink it?), an evening, and great friends.  Ahhhhhhhh…….

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Refreshing Arugula & Mango Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

It’s always nice to get away a bit and join the world out there, and this past weekend, we attended my niece’s graduation from college.  Even though it was a time to celebrate her and her accomplishments, we were able to get in a bit of time on our own and doing what we like best — relaxing, eating, a bit of breathing here, and a bit of shopping there.  With respect to the shopping, I treated myself to a little cookbook that I couldn’t pass up called, Retro Happy Hour by Linda Everett.  I’m a sucker for the ’50’s graphics and the recipes look perfect for those get togethers we happen into with friends on Fridays.  I’ll have to let you know what I find out when I dive into this one, but not yet!  It’s Monday, right?

One of the issues with any little soiree away from home is that I feel like I’ve ingested bricks when I return.  So salad is always in order.  And although any salad will do, I’ve been playing around with a different kind of salad lately — one with a southwest twist.  I can’t remember if it was in April or May’s O magazine, but there was a fairly simple piece on salads.  I liked the way a grid was used to show how different flavors, ingredients, and dressings could be mixed and matched to conjure up a particular twist for a Mediterranean, Southwest, or Middle Eastern type of salad.  I probably haven’t gotten that exactly correct, but hopefully, the idea carries.  That being said, I also figured you guys needed a break after that cake porn I posted before I left!  So I’m redeeming myself, okay?  Thanks for visiting while I was away…

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Arugula with Mango and Cumin Lime Dressing

Dressing

juice of 4 key limes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 roasted jalapeno, minced
1 tsp honey
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8-1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

  1. Roast jalapeno over the burner of a stove, under the broiler, or on a grill.  Let cool, and remove all blackened skin.  Slice off top to discard, and cut along length to open.  Retain seeds and membrane if more heat is desired.  Otherwise, remove all seeds and membranes before mincing.
  2. Into a small bowl large enough to insert a whisk, squeeze the limes, removing any seeds from juice.
  3. Mince and add garlic, then minced jalapeno.
  4. Add honey and stir to mix ingredients.
  5. With a whip, gradually add olive oil in a steady stream, creating an emulsion.
  6. Taste to adjust seasonings or acidity.

In this dressing, adjustments can be made for a variety of reasons — to make it sweeter, taste more like limes, spicer.  It’s really all up to your preference and depending on what will go into the salad.  Have fun experimenting.


Salad

3-4 c. arugula or any salad green mix that is stronger than lettuce
1/4 c. cilantro roughly chopped
1/4  red onion, sliced
1/2 mango, cubed
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/2-inch slice of jicama, cut into matchsticks
1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
3 T. pinones (pine nuts), browned

  1. Rinse and dry arugula.  Place in a large, wide serving bowl or platter.
  2. In a cast iron skillet or heavy sauce pan, place the pinones heat over a med high flame until browned, shaking from time to time so they don’t burn.  Remove from pan to cool.
  3. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the arugula.
  4. Spread jicama matchsticks over greens
  5. Drop mango and avocado cubes evenly over top.
  6. Sprinkle red onion slices across.
  7. Add feta and finish with the toasted pinones.

Before serving, add desired amount of dressing, toss, and plate.  Goes very well with grilled chicken, fish, or beef.  Or, skip the protein and add a chunk of crusty grilled bread.  Funny, I can’t say I’m a big fan of mangoes, and I don’t often use jicama because it’s a bit tough to cut (call me lazy), but I do love an interesting mix of sweetness and tartness in my salad from time to time.  The peppery arugula which I have come to love alone or mixed with other greens, and the crunchiness of the pinones and jicama help to make this quite the enjoyable combo.    Looks gorgeous, tastes great.   Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

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