Thursday, February 23, 2017

Citrus, Shiitake, and Parsley, Lemon and Garlic Salt #fij challenge

Shiitake, Citrus and Parsley Lemon Garlic Salt
It’s month two of our year-long food preservation Mastery Challenge. Our mission for February is salt preserving. The purposes of this challenge is to focus on dry brining or curing. When I first glanced through the calendar of preserving skills I thought this process would be fairly detailed, something similar to canning. Once again I was pleasantly surprised. The process is incredibly easy and the variations are endless. What I found was that salt is like a blank canvas, you can add any flavor you chose and it will make foods incredibly delicious. I made three different salts; a citrus, a shiitake, and a parsley lemon garlic.

Citrus Salt
The first salt I made was one with a mixture of orange, grapefruit and lemon zest. After zesting the citrus; I added equal amounts of salt, rubbed it all together with my fingertips and then let everything air-dry overnight on a parchment covered sheet pan for two days.

Shiitake Salt
The next was a shiitake salt; which was earthy and savory and boosted the umami flavor of meat and eggs. Here I ground up dried shiitakes using a coffee grinder and added equal amounts of salt.

Parsley, Lemon and Garlic Salt
My third and last was a combination of parsley, lemon, garlic and salt. I chopped up one medium bunch of parsley, two cloves of garlic, zest from five lemons and three tablespoons of salt. Then I let everything air-dry on a piece of parchment paper for two days.

Verdict, all three were fantastic and easy to make. I can see myself going hog wild making one salt after another. The citrus salt I used on veggies and popcorn. The shiitake on eggs, meat and popcorn and the parsley salt I used on a tuna pasta salad and eggs. Loved them all, they will add a burst of flavor to any dish. Also these little salts make wonderful hostess gifts.

Many thanks to our host Marisa of Food In Jars for her wonderful leadership.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Lightened Up Version of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Rain is a rare event in the desert. Even with very small amounts of moisture the plants in the mountain preserves around our home quickly turn green. There is also a very distinctive smell. While the air smells amazingly fresh there is also the pungent odor of the creosote bush that is all over the valley. Baking and cooking also goes hand in hand with this happy occurrence. So after two full days of rain I decided to prepare a wonderful steaming pot of a chicken and sausage gumbo. Since Mardi Gras is right around the corner I thought I try a lightened up version of this traditional recipe. I’m happy to report that the flavor did not suffer in the least, in fact I think it might even be better.

Bayou Black Cajun Rub and Seasoning
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Sean Kolina the co-founder of Legion of Spice to do a product review. After checking out their website I realized what a good fit they were for my website as their products are 100% natural, gluten-free, non-GMO, soy free and made in the USA. What’s even more impressive is that they give back 10% of their profits to help the hungry and are currently working with a local anti-food waste company called Just Ripe.

Legion of Spice, Bayou Black
For my lightened up chicken and sausage gumbo recipe I used the Legion of Spice; Bayou Black Cajun Rub and Seasoning. They use 2 types of paprika, a 5 peppercorn mix, garlic, onions, cayenne, Aji Amarillo, cumin and Mediterranean Sea Salt. There are no fillers or anti-caking agents. As I opened the seasoning I could smell the amazing spice combination. This would also be great on certain fish, beef, eggs, potatoes and vegetables.

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of this product in exchange for a fair and honest review.

yield: 8-10print recipe

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

This lightened up version of chicken and sausage gumbo will brighten your darkest days. Serve with brown or white rice.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 1 hour and 20 MINStotal time: 1 hours and 40 mins


  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 ½ pounds skinless boneless organic chicken thighs
  • 12 ounces Natural Cajun style Andouille sausage, no nitrates, gluten-free, sliced ¼ inch
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons Bayou Black Seasoning
  • 14.5 ounces stewed tomatoes
  • 32-ounces low sodium, free range chicken broth
  • 12 ounces frozen okra, sliced into ¼ rounds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of parsley, minced for garnish


  1. Heat the oil over medium-heat in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Lightly season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pot and set aside. Add sausage and cook until browned, remove and set aside.
  2. Add flour and stir until smooth. Keep stirring on low-heat for about 5 to 6 minutes or/until mixture turns a medium dark brown color. Now add ¼ cup water, stir continuously.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot, cook until just tender about 8- 10 minutes.
  4. Now add back in the chicken, Bayou Black seasoning, canned tomatoes, chicken broth and okra, bring to a boil, let simmer about 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Now add sausage and simmer for 20 more minutes.
  6. When chicken has cooled shred and add back into pot.
  7. If too thick, thin soup with broth or water. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve over brown or white rice.
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Turkey and Avocado Aram Sandwiches

Turkey and Avocado Aram Sandwiches
An Aram sandwich is made from lavash which is Armenian cracker bread. Traditionally it is crisp with darkened bubbles. To soften, both sides are drizzled lightly with water and then wrapped in a damp towel for a couple of hours. Once softened, the bread is spread with whipped cream cheese, and layered with meat, tomatoes, avocados and greens. The sandwich is then cut into rounds like a pinwheel. For this recipe I used Clay Oven Baked Lavash bread from Trader Joes. It is soft and ideal for wraps and sandwiches, thus eliminating the softening step.

*Slice tomatoes and avocados as thin as possible as this will make it easier to roll up. Hummus could be substituted for the cream cheese and any other variety of meat, cheeses or veggies. Also, tortillas would work well in place of the lavash.

To prepare:

Spread the cream cheese evenly across the lavash.

Evenly place 6 slices of turkey (per bread),

1/2 of the tomatoes and 1/2 of the avocado on top of the cream cheese. Then scatter the arugula.

Starting on the short side from the bottom of the sheet, gently roll the lavash into a roll.

Slice into 6 pieces. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Last Minute Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cashew Truffles

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Truffles
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! The last few weeks have gone by in a blur, life has been busy. I awoke this morning only to realize that there was not anything sweet to share with my Valentine. So after checking a few websites and my pantry I decided upon these Dark Chocolate Strawberry cashew Truffles. These little gems are sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup and are quick and easy to put together.

Raw cashews are soaked in water which helps soften them. When processed in a food processor the texture becomes creamy. In this recipe cashews are blended together with frozen strawberries, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Then the berry mixture is formed into bite-sized balls and placed in the freezer. After the berry rounds are frozen they are then rolled into melted chocolate and topped with a few sprinkles of Maldon salt. White chocolate would be delicious here as well.

This recipe has been adapted from The Nourished

yield: Makes approx. 24print recipe

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Truffles

Here is a quick and easy recipe guaranteed to satisfy your Valentine’s sweet tooth.


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries, rough chop
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • Maldon sea salt flakes for topping (optional)


  1. Soak cashews 2 hours in cold water. (longer for a more creamy texture).
  2. In a food processor add cashews, frozen strawberries, maple syrup, vanilla and pulse until combined. Quickly roll into balls. (I used a teaspoon measuring spoon for consistency). Immediately place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  3. In a medium sized microwaveable bowl; break chocolate into pieces, add coconut oil. Microwave 20 seconds and then remove bowl and stir, repeat until melted.
  4. Roll berry rounds into chocolate sauce and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Add a few bits of salt if using. Return to freezer until chocolate in hard, about 30 minutes.
  5. Best kept in freezer in an airtight container. Makes approx. 24
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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mini Crab Cakes #Sunday Supper

Mini Crab Cakes
Entertaining guests is easy if you keep the menu simple and stick to the plan. That being said; it’s hard for me to stick to the plan. My biggest worry is not having enough for everyone to eat. Normally I serve 2 to 3 appetizers before the meal. To help me decide what appetizers to serve I consider what the main dish will be first. Then I make a list of foods that will complement the meal. From there I choose “small bites” that I can make or buy beforehand. It’s as easy as that. For a dinner party; “What’s Cooking America” recommends 6 appetizers per person.

Today’s recipe is Mini Crab Cakes with tartar sauce and fresh lemon slices. I kept the ingredients minimal because I wanted the crab flavor to shine through. The crab cakes were made the day before. I cooked them in batches in canola oil before my guests arrived and then kept them in the oven on warm for 30 minutes before serving. A squeeze of lemon juice and a dill tartar sauce added a delightful tangy flavor. These mini crab cakes were moist, delicious and full of crab meat.

This week the host of the #SundaySupper Movement group is Wendy Hammond; of the, thank you Wendy! Today’s event is all about fancy appetizers.

*Preparation tip* After making patties, chill for a least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before frying, (this step will help hold crab mixture together).

yield: Makes approx. 10 to 11 crab patties about 2 ½ inches around.print recipe

Mini Crab Cakes #Sunday Supper

Mini Crab Cakes with tartar and fresh lemon slices make a delicious and sophisticated starter.
prep time: 24 hour and 20 MINScook time: 12 MINStotal time: 24 hours and 32 mins


  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 scallions (sliced thinly)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
  • 1 to 1/14 cups of panko
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Prepared or homemade tartar sauce
  • Hot sauce


  1. Whisk the mayo, scallions, egg, mustard, lemon juice and old bay seasoning in a medium-sized bowl. Add crab and stir to incorporate (be careful not to break up the chunks of crab). Add in 1 cup of the panko and gently stir, if mixture is too loose add in another ¼ cup of the panko. The mixture should be firm enough to form into patties.
  2. Now form into small patties. Mine were roughly 2 ½ inches around. (I used a ¼ inch measuring cup for uniformity
  3. Chill for a least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before frying, (this step will help hold crab mixture together).
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat add canola oil. When oil is hot add the crab cakes, 4 to 5 at a time. Do not over crowd skillet. Cook the crab cakes for approx. 3 minutes on each side, turn carefully, until crisp and golden.
  5. Serve immediately. Garnish with lemon slices and your choice of tartar and hot sauce. Enjoy!
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Finger Foods

Hors d'oeuvres




Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement. Reply To: 02-12-17 Fancy Appetizer Recipes Preview HTML Notify me of follow-up replies via email Submit Search Forums Search for: Upcoming Events 03-12-17 Healthy Green

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Roasted Whole Harukei Turnips and Greens

Roasted Whole Harukei Turnips and Greens
Harukei turnips are a small, white, mild Asian variety that we are able to purchase from our local farmers market. They show up early in the season and remind me more of a radish than a turnip. When eaten raw, the flavor is sweet and the texture is crisp and tender. For this reason they make a great addition to salads and slaws. When roasted; the bulbs are sweet and juicy and the greens which are the biggest part of the veggie become wilty and equally delicious; an added bonus.

Harukei Turnips
Like many I jumped on the roasted veggie bandwagon long ago. I love the way these simple roots transform and caramelize in the oven. The interiors become soft and taste sweet like candy. Typically turnips have had a bad rep because of their complex flavor. But like all hard vegetables when prepared correctly they taste magical. In this recipe the turnips are painstakingly washed, (there is a lot of grit in the stems), halved, and cooked in a cast iron skillet a few minutes on the stove-top and then 15 minutes in a very hot oven. They are served with a slight drizzle of vinegar and olive oil. Whole roasted turnips are humble and delicious!
yield: 2 to 3print recipe

Roasted Whole Harukei Turnips and Greens

Enjoy these Roasted Whole Harukei Turnips and Greens, a real treat for the cooler months.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 40 mins


  • 1 bunch turnips (approx. 6 to 8)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon salt or another flaky sea salt (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Soak in water bath for 15 minutes or so and then rinse turnips and greens thoroughly. Again under running water, with a vegetable brush carefully clean stems, (this is where the dirt will hide). Drain and pat dry with clean kitchen or paper towels.
  3. Preheat a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, add oil and then place turnips cut side down in one layer. Cook until sides are just turning brown. Move greens around until moistened with oil and once again place turnips cut-side down. Sprinkle with half the salt. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on size, longer if necessary), turn greens halfway so they don’t dry out and burn.
  4. Remove from oven, sprinkle on salt, vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy!
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Redbor Kale and Smoked Salmon Salad

Redbor Kale and Smoked Salmon Salad
What a great game last night, we left the party early only to see that the Patriots resurrected themselves by the time we walked in our front door. Whew! Anyway now that is over. Hope your Monday is going great. I’ve made this Kale and smoked salmon salad twice now, both times with Redbor kale and I am smitten.

Redbor Kale
Redbor is my new favorite variety of kale. The color alone is a purplish red or if you like magenta. Even better is the fact that this kale is a wonderful source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber. The leaves may be sautéed, steamed or eaten raw. When raw the flavor is similar to cabbage. The texture is crisp and fibrous, even more so than the common green variety. For this reason, after rinsing I cut the leaves into very small ribbons. Next the ribbons are “massaged” with lemon juice and then allowed to sit on the counter for an hour or so before the rest of the salad is put together. After some time you will notice the color and texture changes. The flavor will become more mellow as well. You will find that only half of the dressing will be needed to finish the salad.

Interesting to note: A decade ago this vegetable would have only served as a decoration on the side of a buffet. Enjoy!

yield: 3 to 4print recipe

Redbor Kale and Smoked Salmon Salad

Enjoy this beautiful and nutrient-rich salad that is loaded with hot smoked salmon and avocado.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 20 mins


  • 1 head purple (redbor) kale, ribs removed, rinsed, dried and then cut into ¼ to 1/8 inch ribbons
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (divided)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces hot smoked salmon, (flake with a fork)
  • 1 Hass avocado sliced
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Place kale in serving bowl, add ¼ cup lemon juice and knead with your finger-tips. Almost like your massaging them together. Let sit together on the counter for at least 60 minutes while the lemon tenderizes the leaves.
  2. In the meantime; whisk together the rest of the lemon juice, garlic and olive oil; set aside.
  3. When ready, toss in the panko, Parmesan cheese, salmon and avocado. Add dressing (I only used half) then salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.
Created using The Recipes Generator