Sunday, March 21, 2010

Summer Corn Salad

I know, its not summer yet.....only the second day of spring but it sure feels like a summer day today! This salad is my adaptation from a number of recipes and I constantly change it around depending on my mood and ingredient availability.

Juice of one lime
1 t lime zest
2 T vegetable oil
1 t honey
1 t kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper - generous amount
1/2 t either ground chili powder or ground cumin
2 cups of white corn (either taken from the cob or canned/frozen-defrosted)*
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 small tomato, diced
1 avocado, small diced
1/4 of a red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Generous handful of chopped fresh cilantro

In large bowl whisk together juice of lime, zest, oil, honey, salt, pepper and chili/or cumin powder. Stir in remaining ingredients and cover and refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to blend. Adjust seasonings to taste.

I like to serve this room-temperature.

Serves 8.

*If using fresh corn cook prior to removing kernels. Today I used frozen white corn and popped two cups in the microwave with a little bit of water and then let it cool down.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Cream Sauce

These two recipes are oldies but goodies from the Silver Palate New Basics cookbook.

Corned Beef
1 corned beef (5-6 pounds)
2 onions, studded with 3 whole cloves (onions can be halved or quartered)
4 carrots, peeled and halved
2 ribs celery, halved
4 sprigs Italian parsley

1 green cabbage (about 3 pounds), cut into 6 wedges (See *Note below)
12 small red new potatoes
6 small leeks (white part and 2 inches of green), well rinsed (See *Note below)
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 1/2-inch lengths
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
4 T. chopped Italian parsley

Place corned beef in large kettle or dutch oven. Add the onions, halved carrots, celery, and parsley sprigs (use seasoning packet if provided with your corned beef). Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 3/4 to 3 hours, turning beef over in broth every 30 minutes. DO NOT allow water to boil again; keeping at low simmer will ensure tenderness. When it is very tender, remove it from kettle and keep warm.

Strain the broth and return it to the kettle. Add the cabbage, potatoes, leeks, cut-up carrots, salt and pepper, and 2 T. of the chopped parsley. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 30 minutes.

Arrange beef on warmed serving plater, and surround it with the cooked vegetables. Ladle broth over beef and vegetables, and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. chopped parsley. Optional - serve with Horseradish Cream Sauce (below).

*Note: Keeping the core in the cabbage wedges will help hold them together while cooking. Remove the core before serving. After thoroughly washing, leeks can be tied together with kitchen twine/string; remove for serving.

My Notes:
The corned beef was just under 3 lbs. This time I did not add the celery (forgot!).

Horseradish Cream Sauce
This makes 2 cups of sauce. The recipe can easily be halved or quartered, as needed.

3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup prepared horseradish, drained
2 T. Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Whip cream in bowl until it forms soft peaks. Combine mayonnaise, horseradish, and mustard in another bowl. Fold in whipped cream. Add sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well, and transfer to serving bowl.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Signs of Springtime..........Shad

Around early to mid-March each year shad arrives in our area. These shad migrate up from Florida and enter the Delaware Bay, where they are caught in fresh waters. Unfortunately the shad population has been decreasing due to over fishing. The season lasts just about six weeks and during this time we love to eat shad. I prepare it very simply, just baked seasoned with lemon, garlic, black pepper and Hungarian paprika. Shad is part of the herring family and is considered a flavorful fish, yet it is quite mild and adapts to the seasonings used in preparing the dish. More than likely, we will have shad at least five more times prior to the end of the short and wonderful season!

The annual Shad Festival, held in Lambertville, NJ is next month. Hope to attend!
and some more tidbits on shad:

Baked Shad

1 1/2 lbs. of shad fillets (I had three nice size pieces)
2 T of unsalted butter
4 cloves of minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
Hungarian paprika
3 T of fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in small saucepan and add lemon juice and garlic. Place shad on parchment lined baking sheet. Baste with melted butter mixture and sprinkle generously with pepper and paprika. Bake 15 minutes.

I served this with sauteed asparagus....just sauteed fresh asparagus in EVOO with some added slivers of fresh garlic. And, we had Buttermilk Coleslaw with Cilantro and Green Onions (recipe to follow). This dinner screamed SPRING!

Shad prior to going into preheated oven:

After baking:

All plated:

Buttermilk Coleslaw with Green Onions and Cilantro
This recipe is from the July 2002 issue of Cooks Illustrated. I found this recipe on a food forum from a fellow foodie friend and blogger.

If you are planning to serve the coleslaw immediately, rinse the salted cabbage in a large bowl of ice water, drain it in a colander, pick out any ice cubes, then pat the cabbage dry before dressing.

Serves 4
1 pound cabbage (about 1/2 medium head), red or green, shredded fine (6 cups)
table salt
1 medium carrot , shredded on box grater
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 scallions , sliced thin
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Toss shredded cabbage and 1 teaspoon salt in colander or large mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Let stand until cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Rinse cabbage under cold running water. Press, but do not squeeze, to drain; pat dry with paper towels. Place wilted cabbage and carrot in large bowl.

2. Stir buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, shallot, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, scallions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper together in small bowl. Pour dressing over cabbage and toss to combine; refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Coleslaw can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

My Notes
I usually use bagged cole slaw and tonight I ended up using bagged angel hair cole slaw. I planned on adding the shredded carrot only to realize that a rabbit or two must've attacked our veggie bin in the fridge, so this is made without carrots. The plate of food would have been more colorful had some orange color been added. I never add the sugar and ALWAYS add additional fresh cilantro.