Cuban Pork Salad

Summer isn’t alway about the barbecue and beef, although that is not  bad thing. Today, however, pork rules.

 

  • 4 pork chops, (loin cut-no bone) 3/4 inch thick
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4 slices, fresh pineapple, 1/2 inch thick  (cored)
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and corn removed from husks
  • 5 oz. assorted baby greens (micro greens are best)
  • 1/4  small red onion, julienned
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil (use a non-stick spray for the grill please)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture and refrigerate.

Place the remaining mixture in a sealable plastic bag and let the pork chops marinate. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Preheat the bbq on medium heat. spray the grill grates. Remove the chops from the bag and do NOT pat dry. Discard the mixture. Grill the chops and pineapple over direct heat, turning once until the pineapple has cooked through and the temperature on the chops has reached 180 degrees. Remove, tent and let sit for about 3-4 minutes.

Place the greens on 4 plates, add the pineapple, black beans, corn and onion. Top with the chops (sliced on the diagonal).

Add the honey and olive oil to the marinage, whisking to incorporate well. Drizzle over the salad.
.

 

Mayonnaise – Basic And Flavoured

This is inexpensive to make and you can flavour to suit  your tastes and menus.

 

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp. fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Place the yolks in a food processor and add the mustard and juice. Pulse to incorporate fully. Keep motor running on slow and add the oil…slowly.

Season lightly with salt and pepper. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

note: if this separates after oil has been added, simply add another yolk and 1 tsp. lukewarm water in a clean bowl and add the broken mayonnaise, briskly whisking  constantly. Now add 1/4 cup more oil, whisking to incorporate.

 

Flavoured Mayonnaise

Tartar Sauce – after adding the vegetable oil, add 2 finely chopped baby gherkin pickles and 1 tbsp. minced onion.

Red-Pepper Mayonnaise: After adding the oil, add 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar) and 1 minced grlic clove.

Garlic Mayonnaise: After adding the mustard and lime juice, add 2 minced garlic cloves

 

This is really yummy.

Ricotta Pancakes With Yummy Apples

This yummy breakfast will make everyone happy-happy-happy. It is made with ricotta cheese and therefore, rather light

 

  • 1  2/3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup flour (sifted)
  • 1  1/2 tsp. baking powder (sifted)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • enough butter for pan

In a bowl combine the ricotta, egg yolks and milk.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold into the ricotta batter.

In a skillet melt butter and add 3 tbsp. of the batter. Cook until golden on each side. Repeat until all batter is used up. Keep warm.

 

Caramelized Apples

 

4 medium granny smith apples, unpeeled and sliced thinly

1/2 freshly squeezed lime juice

1  1/2 cups icing sugar (sifted)

3 tbsp. whipping cream

 

In a bowl toss the apples and lime juice. In a small saucepan, cook the sugar until caramelized and golden in colour. Add the apples and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Top the pancakes with the apples amd serve immediately.

I told you they were yummy.

Salmon and Arugula Tart

These make a lovely appetizer to serve company no matter the occasion. The salmon is used as a garnish and with the use of store bought puff pastry, it is a snap to prepare.

  • 1/2 lb. puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
  • 3 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juice only
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup homemade creme fraiche
  • 8 oz. cold smoked salmon, sliced thin

In a skillet on medium heat, melt the butter and add the leeks until softened. Add the arugula and cook for 3-4 minutes until just wilted and bright green in colour. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine the leek mixture with the creme fraiche, lime juice and season with the salt.

Roll out the puff pastry and cut into 4 squares and with a sharp knife, score (do not cut through) a line 1/4 inch into each square. With a fork, now poke the middle of the pastry and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Lay slices of the salmon on top and add a small dollop of creme fraiche on top.

Obviously the amounts used vary on the number of persons being served. Just judge accordingly. Remember, it is only an appetizer, not the whole meal. Serve with a lovely Chardonnay of your choice.

To make your own creme fraiche (far, far better than store bought) use 1/2 cup whipping cream – 1/2 cup buttermilk. Mix together and put in a sealable container and let sit on the counter for 2 days. Then place in the fridge until ready to serve. Will keep for a week.

Yummy.

Avocado and Pomegranate Salad

Now THIS is different. With the use of dark rum and fig balsamic vinegar, it is refreshing and really neat – both in ingredients and flavours.

 

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. fig balsamic vinegar
  • 1  1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. dark rum (in the salad, not you)
  • pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 oz. argula, washed and dried
  • 1 oz. cilantro leaves, washed and dried
  • 2 ripe avocados,  peeled and sliced, brushed with some lime juice  so they don’t turn brown.
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Use a  sharp knife to remove the skin and white pith from the oranges. Over a small bowl to catch the juices,  slice the oranges in 1/8 inch rounds.

In a small bowl combine 1 tbsp. of the orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and rum. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the arugula and cilantro, toss with about half of the dressing. Arrange the orange rounds and avocado slices on top of the greens, and lightly drizzle the remaining dressing over the orange slices. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the salad. Serve.

Voila! Again, you gave a spectacular presentation to the lowly salad and came away looking like a rock star. Good for you.

Yummy.

 

Cosmopolitan Degree

This will make everyone who sips this, think you are really an excellent bartender and smart to boot.

 

  • 4 parts Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 parts cranberry juice
  • 1 part Cassis liqueur

Pour all the ingredients in a shaker filled with crushed ice and really shake well.

Strain into well-chilled martini glasses and garnish a fresh fig wedge.

Wait for it…….all the oohs and ahhs will warm your heart for sure.

Scallops With Lime Butter

These are so delicious, it will probably become your favourite way to serve scalops (aside from the mango salsa on another post).

  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only)
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold and cut in small cubes
  • 12 scallops

In a small saucepan, reduce the lime juice to almost evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla seeds.

Whisk in the butter pieces, making sure each piece has melted before adding another. Return to the heat for a moment if it becomes too thick. The sauce should be smooth as silk and pourable. Set aside in a warm spot.

Preheat the barbecue. Brush the scallops with the seasoned butter and grill for 90 seconds on each side. Should be cooked through but soft inside.

Serve with a salad, glass of Pinot Grigio

Coconut Key Lime Pie

In the last couple of months, I found I much preferred the taste of lime over lemon…I don’t know why! This is the “easy way” to make the pie.

You can use a store bought graham pie crust but the real flavour comes from the homemade kind because I always use a pinch of cinnamon in the crust. Your choice.

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, coconut milk, lime juice and egg yolks until completely smooth. (you can use your mixer for this for a really smooth texture).

Pour this into the crust and bake until set but still a little wobbly in the center (about 35-40 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool down for about 2 hours, then refrigerate over night. (covered).

In a large bowl in your mixer, beat the cream and sugar on high until stiff peaks form. To serve this pie, slice into wedges, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

I told you it was “easy of pie” and I wasn’t kidding. Make it…enjoy….everyone will want seconds.

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I know. Yesterday I posted a chocolate cake martini….well? This is the perfect companion.

 

  • 1 chocolate cracker crust (store bought is great)
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 + cup whipping cream
  • 1 oz. Chocolate Raspberry port

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With your mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and gradually add in the condensed milk, beating until smooth. Add the egg, lime juice and vanilla. Again, mixing well.

Arrange the raspberries on bottom of the crust. Add more if needed to cover. Slowly pour the cheese mixture over the fruit.

Bake 33-35 minutes until center is almost set. Turn off the heat and leave  in the oven to cool down.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and whipping together. Pour in the port and continue stirring until it thickens. Remove from the heat.

Top the cheesecake with the chocolate glaze and cool for 24 hours. Garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream if you wish.

Serve with the chocolate cake martini…Whew! What a dessert.

 

** Don’t forget to place a pan with water in the bottom of the oven, while baking the cheesecake. It prevents cracking.

Broccoli With Creamy Lime Sauce

Have to keep eating our greens and this is a nicer way to bribe the kids. Right? Of course…..

 

  • 1 bunch broccoli, well trimmed and cut into small stalks
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream (but of course)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice (fresh, if possible)
  • 1 tsp. grated lime peel

Cook broccoli in boiling water or steamer until tender-crisp. Drain well and keep warm.

To make the sauce, melt the butter and gradually stir in the cream. Bring this to a boil, stirring constantly and allow to boil gently for about 5 minutes to reduce the cream.

Stir in a small amount of cream to the egg yolk. Now return the egg mixture to the saucepan. Stir in the salt, pepper and lime juice. Cook, stirring constantly for about 2 – 2  1/2 minutes over very low heat.

Pour over the broccoli.

Now I ask you…..did everyone lick their plate? Of course, you won’t tell.

Strong Winds Martini

Haven’t posted a good martini for awhile. Sorry, been busy baking. Here is one you will like. Makes a pretty drink.

 

  • 4 parts Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1 part Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 part Mango Nectar
  • 1 part lime juice

Pour all ingredients in a shaker filled with cracked ice and shake well. Strain into chilled martini glasses.

NOW, using the back of a spoon inserted into the martini glass side, slowly drizzle Cranberry Juice concentrate to create layers.( Like a Pousse Cafe, except it is a martini.)

Now that sounds so good, I am going now to make one for me. Enjoy!

Crab Dip For The Big Game

No matter what the big game is for, football, soccer, hockey etc. when everyone gathers around the television, be sure you are prepared with the chips, dips, crackers, chili, buns, beer, beer and oh, yeah, beer.

This is one dip that will not be left behind and it is served hot.

 

  • 1 lb. large lump crabmeat, (make sure no shells remain)
  • 1 cup Jalapeno Jack Cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup good Parmesan cheese
  • 4 roasted garlic cloves, broken up
  • 3 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • lots of crackers

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Chop the crabmeat coarsely.  Mix all the ingredients in a prepared casserole dish until thoroughly mixed and stir in the crab.  Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot.

The cheers will not be for a goal scored. No siree! It will be for rhe crab dip.