Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Pomegranate, Fuyu, & Pecan Salad

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Pomegranates are becoming one of my favorite holiday foods. They are super healthy – here’s a good article on some of their nutritional benefits – and every cyclist needs to pack as much nutrition into their diets as possible.

This is a twist on a salad a friend made for me recently.

Pomegranate, Fuyu Persimmon, & Pecan Salad

Pomegranate, Fuyu Persimmon, & Pecan Salad

Pomegranate, Persimmon, & Pecan Salad

1 large pomegranate
2 Fuyu persimmons
juice of 1 lemon
splash of Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of pecans, chopped

Combine all ingredients. Enjoy.

You’re welcome.

If you don’t have pure maple syrup, you could use honey or agave syrup. (But never use fake maple syrup. Yuck. Just yuck.) If you don’t have the TJ’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, you can use a little fresh-squeezed orange juice, or just a little more lemon juice. Oooh, Meyer lemon juice would also be fabulous.

If you’re not sure how to prepare this amazing fruit, here is a great article on how to cut and de-seed a pomegranate.

Happy Monday … off to work I go!

A Little Rain … A Little Party …

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Sunday we had quite the little storm. I grabbed a quick ride in the morning and then came home to cook for a housewarming party (finally!)

Sunday morning, October 30th, near Pena Adobe Park.

Sunday morning, October 30th, near Pena Adobe Park.

A few friends came over on Sunday for a housewarming party. We had a fabulous meal.

Lynda brought some yummy mushroom brie and crackers.

Lynda brought some yummy mushroom brie and crackers.

Herbed Chevre and Smoked Gouda.

Herbed Chevre and Smoked Gouda.

The Herbed Chevre is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to “dress up” a plain Chevre. Simply take your favorite plain Chevre cheese, let it come to room temperature. Mix in some chopped fresh herbs (dried will do in a pinch), a couple of splashes of good extra virgin olive oil, and mix until smooth.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Crimini Mushrooms

The Stuffed Mushrooms are quick and easy, too. Here’s the recipe. I modified the filling a little bit – the filling was simply light cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and a few grinds of Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend (paprika flakes, sea salt, garlic, basil).

One friend brought a beautiful Corn & Shrimp Chowder, which I heard was fabulous. It had bell peppers in it, so I couldn’t eat it. What’s funny is that the soup that I made had peas in it, so he couldn’t eat my chicken soup!

Marsh's Corn & Shrimp Chowder

Marsh’s Corn & Shrimp Chowder

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Another friend made Pork Tenderloins with a Bourbon-Maple-Molasses glaze that was fantastic.

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Rick’s Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Maple-Molasses glaze.

Of course there was salad …

Mixed Greens with Fresh Fuyu Persimmons, Pomegranate, Feta Cheese, and a light and refreshing Citrus Vinaigrette.

Mixed Greens with Fresh Fuyu Persimmons, Pomegranate, Feta Cheese, and a light and refreshing Citrus Vinaigrette.

… and what is a party without dessert?

Tartlets: Fresh Lemon Curd and Caramel, Macadamia & Chocolate Tartlets.

Tartlets: Fresh Lemon Curd and Caramel, Macadamia & Chocolate.

The Lemon Curd recipe can be found here. I used pre-made tartlet shells … a little “semi-homemade” time-saving trick. I also cheated a bit with the caramel. I used Trader Joe’s Flue de Sel Caramel Sauce. This is my go-to caramel sauce.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful day. If you get the chance, would you please ride a few miles for me today? I’ve got to run to work now.

Espresso Marinated Lamb … and leftovers

Friday, October 28th, 2016

I had a hankering for some lamb recently and found a reasonably priced cut at my favorite local store. I made a “rub” of instant espresso, fresh rosemary (from my garden!), and a little kosher salt. I covered both sides with the mixture and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a day (or two). Just before cooking it, I gave it a healthy sprinkling of fennel seeds then cooked it to perfection in a hot cast iron skillet. (Remember to let meat rest about 5-10 minutes before cutting it.)

102716-espresso-marinated-lamb-1

Espresso Marinated Lamb

It was a fairly small piece, but lamb can be quite rich, so a little goes a long way. Dinner tonight was steamed spinach and about half of the lamb. Oh, it was so good.

Hmm … what to do with leftover lamb … here’s an idea… 

Salad Greens, Espresso & Rosemary Marinated Lamb, Pomegranate, Fuyu Persimmon, Walnuts, Pecans, Dried Cranberry, Feta Cheese … and a splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Glaze.

Salad Greens, Espresso & Rosemary Marinated Lamb, Pomegranate, Fuyu Persimmon, Walnuts, Pecans, Dried Cranberry, Feta Cheese ... and a splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Glaze. Oh, my!

Lunch is all packed for tomorrow!

Don’t you wish you could join me? Yes, you do.

Asian-Style Spicy Chicken Salad

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

This is terrific after a warm day bike ride and with a few short cuts can be very simple to make.

Spicy Asian-Style Chicken Salad

Marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts in a 50/50 mixture of teriyaki sauce and chile garlic paste. Add just a splash of white wine or a squeeze of lemon (or lime) juice. Normally I would marinate these just overnight, but these marinated for a couple of days and the result was fabulously flavorful and tender chicken. Cook the chicken in a skillet, or grill it, or bake it in the oven …  your choice.

I picked up a pre-made mix of cabbage, carrots, cashews, etc., on my most recent Costco trip. It was one of those “complete” salad mixes and had an Asian sesame dressing. I used only half of the dressing and I thought it was perfectly dressed. All of it would have been way too much for my taste. I’ll save the second packet of dressing to marinate some chicken or fish another day.

To assemble, put the salad in the bottom of a serving bowl, top with the cooked chicken, and garnish with a few extra cashews.

Could this be any easier? Not much!

I’m not sure what happened to the warm sunshine we had this morning, but it’s suddenly cold, breezy, and overcast. Could it be that rain is on the way?! We sure need it!

Cioppino Party

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Last night I had some friends over for dinner. After the holidays, we’re all feeling a bit, dare I say, overindulged? However, last night was the final “holiday” party for 2014. It just had to wait until 2015 due to everyone’s schedules. So a light and healthy meal with just a touch of decadence was in order.

We had a few appetizers, the usual fresh vegetable platter, some cheese and crackers, and one experimental recipe – Roasted Crimini Mushrooms with Herbed Goat Cheese and a Balsamic Vinegar Glaze.

Roasted Crimini Mushrooms

Fresh Veggies

For the entree, I made Cioppino, mostly based on this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. I made just a few modifications, but tried to follow her recipe as closely as possible because I’ve never made Cioppino before.

Cioppino

3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tomato paste
28 ounces of chopped fresh Roma tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dry white white
2 cups oyster broth
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 pounds mixed seafood: mussels, shrimp, scallops, calamari
1 1/2 pounds wild caught fresh swordfish, cut into chunks

Mis en place: assemble and prepare all of your ingredients.

In a large pot (at least 5.5 quarts), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, and shallots; saute about 8-10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, wine, broths, water, and bay leaf. Stir to combine well. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to gently simmer for about 30 minutes. This will allow the flavors to blend.

Add the mixed seafood, cover and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Add the fish, stir gently, and cook another 5-10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with a good, crusty bread. This recipe makes six generous portions.

Cioppino - light, yet rich and satisfying, this Cioppino will make you want to head back for seconds.

We served a 2011 Luna Canto, which paired nicely and stood up to the spicy kick of this Cioppino.

For dessert, I made a “Paleo” Apple Crisp that I know you’ll want to try.

 

 

Greens, Green Apple, Chevre, Spicy Pecans, & Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Back by popular demand …

Greens, Green Apple, Chevre, Spicy Pecans, Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Southern California … San Diego

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

My trip included San Diego and Holtville, two distinctly different places.

Being a tourist - taking photos from the airport shuttle.

The weather looked promising when I first arrived in San Diego, but it clouded up pretty quickly. It was much cooler than I had anticipated and I found myself wishing that I had packed a UC Davis sweatshirt. Thankfully, I at least brought a jacket.

I arrived one day ahead of the rest of my group. I was hoping to meet up with a friend and ride in San Diego, but my friend was sick and the weather was not great for cycling anyway, so I hung around the hotel and worked. Our group stayed at the Town & Country Resort & Conference Center. I wandered around the property, which has a very confusing layout, but it was interesting and had lots of character.

There were roses of just about every color.

Mustardy Gold

Pink & White

Peach

There were also lavender, white, different shades of red, pink, peach, purple, a wonderful collection of roses. Some of the blooms were huge. Sadly, my feeble little travel camera just did not capture the rich palette of hues.

My favorite part of the property was the variety of decorative plants and flowers.

Pots of flowers ...

... everywhere you looked ...

... bright and cheery.

Lush greenery

Hens & chicks?

Soothing fountains

After I got checked in and wandered around a little to stretch my legs from the flight, I logged on to the Internet for a bit of work. Then I treated myself to a spa pedicure. I should do this more often – that felt amazing.

Back to the room to work a bit more, then wander around to find some dinner. Every staff member I asked said that I had to try their “fancy” restaurant, Trellises Garden Grille. It was good, but apparently I have a different view of “fancy.” Details. “Fancy” restaurants pay attention to details.

Skirt Steak Salad

Malbec

“Fancy” restaurants pay attention to details like putting the dressing on the side when requested. I am not a huge dressing fan, so I always ask for it on the side. My salad came slathered with dressing, but I just did not want to hassle with sending it back. I know if I had, they would have corrected it and I am confident that my server would have been quite pleasant about it, but I just did not want to deal with it at the time. Overall the salad was good – the greens were fresh, the meat was well seasoned and cooked to my liking (on the rare side). The dressing was good, but there was just way too much of it for my tastes. If you like lots of dressing, you would love this salad.

“Fancy” restaurants would notice that splash of wine on the bottom of the glass and wipe it off before serving it. I promise these will be the only negative observations I will share about the food on this trip. It’s just that these are pet peeves for me.

After a leisurely dinner, I wandered around the property a little more. It was quite pleasant and I wish my little camera had been able to capture the lighting; it was lovely.

In the morning I worked out in the gym facility. I was so thankful to have this so that I could log a few March Madness miles. After a nice workout, I cleaned up and went to the Terrace Cafe and Deli for a healthy breakfast – oatmeal, fresh fruit, and a spot of coffee. The fruit was delightful and the service was efficient and friendly.

Terrace Cafe

Fresh Fruit

Back to my room for a few more hours of work.

On the shuttle ride from the hotel, I struck up a conversation with a woman who was also traveling from Northern California. I overheard her tell the shuttle driver that she was “here with the University,” so naturally I assumed she meant my University – UC Davis. So we chatted. It turns out that she is faculty at National University, not UC Davis. She gave me a few suggestions of things to try to do in San Diego. She recommended checking out the Fashion Valley Mall, located just over “the river” from my hotel.

Around lunchtime, I ventured out to explore the mall. Wow. It really was a beautiful mall. We don’t have a mall in Davis – you have to travel to Sacramento, Roseville, Fairfield, or one of the other neighboring cities for a mall. We have some decent malls within a reasonable driving distance, but it’s been a long time since I have been to a “fancy” mall like this. Wow!

I indulged in a little retail therapy and wandered in and out of a few shops. I will tell you all about my foodie exploration at True Food Kitchen. This was hands down the best meal I had on my trip. It deserves a post all of its own.

So, after a leisurely lunch, I wandered back to the hotel to get a little more work done and to prepare for our evening event.

We had a terrific event. It was exciting to meet prospective students and their families. We met some incredible students and look forward to seeing them in Fall 2014!

After the event, I went out for dinner with two of my colleagues to A Taste of Thai in San Diego.

Grilled Salmon Salad

Noodle Dish

Pad Thai

These pictures do not even begin to do this food justice. It was wonderful!

Breakfast

Wednesday morning I worked out again and then had breakfast with one of my colleagues.

I had seen a Boudin Bakery at the mall, so I had my heart set on breakfast at Boudin. Around 8am, we walked over to find that Boudin didn’t open until 9am! What?! A bakery with bankers hours?

So, off to Starbucks we went. I got the Greek Yogurt with Honey Parfait and a banana. This would make a great mid-ride snack.

The weather was off and on cloudy, cool, breezy. It threatened rain, but didn’t until after we were on the road to our next destination.

Storm's a blowing in!

Ominous dark clouds!!

Finally - sun as we leave.

And so begins the next leg of our journey – to Holtville, California.

 

 

 

 

The Luck Of The Irish

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We had a terrific weekend for cycling in Davis – loads of sunshine and warm temperatures, and just a bit o’breeze. The 2014 Napa Valley Tour de Cure is just 7 weeks away, so it’s time to start getting some longer rides in. March Madness is in full swing and I’m now about 2/3 of the way to my goal.

Saturday 80 miles, Davis, Winters, Vacaville, Winters, Davis. We rolled out to Winters on Road 29, out to Vacaville through English Hills and Gibson Canyon, then back to Winters via Pleasants Valley Road, and to Davis by way of Putah Creek Road and the Russell Bike Trail. That was about 68 miles, but I also did about a 12 mile warm up loop.

It was absolutely gorgeous out there, but I did not take a single picture. We got a little bit of a late start and I didn’t want to risk not getting back before dark.

We had a nice rest stop at Steady Eddy’s on our homestretch.

By the time we got home, we were pretty hungry. We had started talking dinner while we were still on the road. Salmon. Asparagus. Salad. That sounded like an awesome plan.

Wild King Salmon.

Roasted Asparagus.

Salad.

Never send me to the store to buy salmon when I am this hungry. I came back with enough salmon to feed an army. Though I bought only two filets, they were huge. As hungry as we were, we could eat only one! We nibbled on the leftovers throughout the day yesterday. For dinner last night, I simply crumbled the last bit on top of a light green salad. It was amazing.

Roasted Avocado

I was craving avocado, but none of my avocados were ripe. At $2.49 each at my local market, there was no way I was going to buy one. I have grilled avocados before, so I wondered about roasting one. It was interesting. Simply cut it in half, remove the pit, drizzle with a little avocado (or olive) oil, season with a little salt, and roast until softened.

This avocado was a little dark on the inside to begin with, so this is not the best photo, but it was very interesting and an idea I’ll try again.

Sunday 44.1 miles, Davis, Winters, Davis … easy spin, recovery ride. It’s a really good thing I didn’t venture further than that …

I stopped at Steady Eddy’s for water and a quick stretch and rest. As I was doing my usual Facebook check in there was a loud BANG! That all too familiar sound of a bike tire exploding just as a large group of cyclists was leaving. They checked their bikes, no flats. Then they started looking at everyone else’s bike to see who the lucky one was. They kept looking at my bike and futzing with it. I walked over to see what was going on and asked why they were looking at my bike, but then they found the exploded tire. Mystery solved. They left happy quite it wasn’t one of theirs.

Oh, dear ... not good.

I stayed a few more minutes, then saw the “lucky” cyclist. I was heading out, but wanted to let him know there’s a bike shop just down the block who could fix him up if he needed it. He wasn’t feeling so lucky.

Well, the luck of the Irish was with me because another cyclist happened to be there when all of the commotion happened and he stopped to tell me that on his way in he noticed this …

I am profoundly grateful that he pointed this out to me. I don’t think this tire would have made it home.

Funny. As I was leaving for my ride, I realized that I did not have my debit card with me, but I didn’t want to turn around and get it. “I’ll be fine! It’s just a quick ride.” I thought. So off I rode with just $39 in my pocket.

The Best Bike Shop in Winters!

So I walked my bike down to Mike’s Velo City Bike Shop in Winters. A while back I had to replace a tire mid-ride and it cost me more than $100. Now wishing I had turned around to get my debit card, I thought I might have to walk my bike home 20+ miles to Davis.

The luck of the Irish was with me. Mike’s Velo City Bike Shop fixed me up with a used tire and got me back on the road for $15.75. I was so, so thankful! I love this bike shop. They’ve helped me out before with minor mid-ride adjustments, flat tires, and other basics like this. I took my Trek in there for a full tune-up a while back and they did an awesome job.

So, a HUGE shout out to Mike’s Velo City Bike Shop in Winters!

Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Heart Healthier Christmas Menu

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Here’s a very basic outline of what to expect … I’ll have to do a full post later with recipes and photos. The menu will be along these lines, but I’m going to have to sort of “wing it” a little on some things:

Smoked Wild Salmon with Organic Light Cream Cheese on Rye Toasts
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cherry-Port Sauce
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Yams
Baby Kale Salad with Granny Smith Apples, Candied Pecans, and Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette
Low-Fat & Low-Sugar Orange Curd with Fresh Blackberries

The curd turned out a bit looser than I had hoped, but it will work nicely as a sauce for the big beautiful fresh blackberries I found this week at the store. I don’t think this curd would work well in a tart, though, because it’s not quite thick enough. Perhaps next time I’ll try 1/2 whole eggs and 1/2 egg whites, and I need to play a bit more with the Monk Fruit. I guess I could also use some corn starch, but that seems like cheating, but we’ll see. I think this recipe has promise, but it’s not just right yet.

I also wanted to make meringues to serve with this, but there is just so much going on right now that I did not have time to do so.

I will have limited Internet access over the next few days, so it may be the weekend before I get a chance to post any pictures or follow-up.

Merry Christmas! May your hearts be filled with the joy and warmth of the season, and your bellies be nourished by delicious and wholesome food!

 

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Start your holidays with a super healthy green smoothie!

Baby Kale, Kiwi, Banana, Mango, Oats, Whey Protein

 

This year’s menu is going to be a little different – a little heart-healthier and lighter – but it will still be festive and delicious!

Pork Tenderloin with a Port-Cherry Sauce
Roasted Yams
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Baby Greens Salad with Organic Apples, Spicy Candied Pecans,  & Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Dessert may be a low-sugar & low-fat orange curd with blackberries. That is, IF my curd sets. I used half sugar & half Monk Fruit. I used one whole egg and replaced the other with egg whites (the ready-to-use kind you get in a carton). The juice of 1 1/2 Cara Cara oranges and one lemon, plus the zest … it tastes OK, we’ll see how it sets when it cools. I’m not 100% sure about the taste of the Monk Fruit yet. I need to play with this a bit more. I tried using 100% Monk Fruit in the last batch of curd I made and it was dreadful. We’ll see how it is with 1/2 sugar & 1/2 Monk Fruit.

If the curd does not set, I’ll have to figure out a way to use it as a sauce for something.

Here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’ll have limited Internet access, but will do my best to get a few posts in here and there.

Please be SAFE – remember – NO drinking and driving!

P.S. Santa brought me a very cool new helmet! A Rudy Project Technically Cool and super comfy green/blue helmet – it’s like the one that one of the cycling teams wears that every time I see it I say, “I have to find one of those!” And, it will go great with the Ireland jersey Santa brought me last year!

Thanks, Santa! You’re the BEST! I’m looking forward to riding with you again soon!!