Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

gazpacho

I wanted to make a gazpacho that was thirst quenching, nutritious and refreshing, so I married some juicy heirloom tomatoes, seedless watermelon, with the traditional bell peppers and cucumbers. All of which have a high water content, making it unnecessary to add tomato juice. This recipe was pretty simple even though the list of ingredients seems a bit daunting. As long as you have the right measuring tools it’s quite simple to make. Optional: make a big batch and store in the fridge for up to five days.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of diced heirloom tomatoes + 2 tbsp for garnish
  • 1 ½ cups of diced cucumbers – seeded and peeled + 2 tbsp for garnish
  • 1 ½ cups of diced red pepper – seeded + 2 tbsp for garnish
  • 1 cup of diced onions
  • 2 cups of chopped watermelon – seeded + 2 tbsp diced for garnish
  • 1 cup of croutons
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp for drizzle on garnish
  • 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Chill the soup for minimum 4 hours but can be stored in the fridge over night. Mix all the reserve garnish (tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, and watermelon) with olive and salt. Place a tbsp onto each serving. Serve with a cool cocktail, perhaps a watermelon margarita or mojito.

Whipped Ricotta Flatbread with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Zan's recipe Flatbread whipped RicottaHere is a fun appetizer I created using some (store bought) pizza dough, ricotta, and some veggies. It’s not too heavy and you can make a little extra whipped ricotta as a dipping sauce.

Ingredients:

For the Whipped Ricotta

  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 Tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 8 small cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the Flatbread

  • 1 ball of pizza dough
  • flour for dusting surface and pizza spatula
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sliced zucchini (with cheese slicer)
  • 5 Roma tomatoes (sliced same thickness as zucchini)
  • 8 leaves of basil (sliced into strips)

Directions for Whipped Ricotta:

Place ricotta, rosemary, roasted garlic, salt, and goat cheese crumbles into the blender, blend on low speed, and slowly add in the olive oil until you reach a smooth consistency.

Directions for Flatbread:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees or grill. (I normally cook pizza on a pizza stone.) Roll out the pizza dough on a smooth floured surface, stretching on the edge of a counter then tossing in the air, as my husband normally does, (getting flour all over the place) until the pizza dough is evenly thinned out. You can leave the edges thicker (similar to regular pizza), which can be used for dipping into the sauce. Place 1/2 – 1 cup of whipped ricotta onto the center and spread to within one inch of the edges. Sprinkle with salt. Add the tomatoes and zucchini. Place onto the pizza stone and cook until the edges brown, and the center is cooked – approximately 5-10 minutes. Remove flatbread and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with the basil. Serve the extra whipped ricotta on the side. Slice into 3″ pieces and serve. Enjoy!!! Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Endive with Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Pears

I was slacking off in the kitchen for a while, and I can tell my husband was really looking for something new in our culinary lives, so I whipped up his favorite type of greens (or rather yellow ;-). Endives! I personally think they are a little bitter, so I added some balsamic reduction, a little sweetness to balance it. In addition, the stinky gorgonzola “paired” really well with the sweet pears. And for a little crunch, I added in the chopped walnuts. This is a super easy and simple appetizer to make, as long as you’ve made the balsamic reduction ahead of time. (Click here for that recipe). Enjoy!

Zan's recipe for Endives with Gorgonzola, pear and walnut

This only took a couple of minutes to throw together. Using the Endive as the serving utensil, you can scoop up the ingredients for a single bite, without the double-dipping.

Ingredients: (for 2 servings)

  • 1 head of endives (10-12 leaves)
  • 2 tbsp gorgonzola
  • 1 tbsp goat cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 bosc pear (cubed)
  • a drizzle of balsamic reduction

Mix all above ingredients in a bowl, except for the endives. Place the endive leaves on a plate, and add the mixture into the center, then drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

Paleo Turkey Lettuce Wraps (AKA Turkey Larb)

Turkey Lettuce wraps

Here is a great light Thai inspired dish that I have made numerous times! And falls into the Paleo category. I have been trying to find other alternative recipes  to red meat (beef), and honestly after watching “CowSpiracy” I have been avoiding red meat about 95% of the time. That movie was such an eye-opener! Surprisingly, Leonardo DiCaprio was the executive producer. Anyway, hope you enjoy this simple light recipe, it was inspired by a recipe I found in Women’s Health Magazine back in 2012.

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp organic canola oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 3 small shallots, diced
  • 1 piece of lemongrass (4″ long) minced
  • 1 Thai or Serrano chili, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb of 99% fat-free ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp of sriracha (optional for a bit more “kick”)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 head of organic butter lettuce

Directions:

  • In a bowl, whisk lime juice, lemon juice, fish sauce, and honey.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, shallots, lemongrass, and chili. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add turkey to skillet and Siracha. Season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently and making sure turkey does not stay in large chunks. Cook until meat and vegetables are cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Add dressing to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add mint and season with salt and pepper.
  • Spoon turkey mixture onto lettuce leaves and serve.

Thai lettuce wrap ingredients

Mare Chiaro – “Clear Sea” Salad – Arugula, Tuna and bean salad

arugula-bean-saladLast year, while dining at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Boulder, Pizzeria Locale, we ordered their Mare Chiaro (“Clear Sea”) salad. But unfortunately, it is no longer on the menu, so I surprised my family, and tried to recreate it at home. This salad is a great combination of bitter, sweet and salty. I purchase this incredibly authentic Italian jarred Tuna, which is the belly cut of tuna in oil giving it a rich tuna flavor with a little added salt. The dressing is one that I have made for my arugula bean crostini. I used the Eden organic brand cannellini beans (white kidney beans) as they pack them in bisphenol-A (BPA) free can linings.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 can of organic Cannellini Beans (or white kidney beans)
  • 1 jar of Tuna Ventresca
  • ½ cup sliced Parmesan Cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl, stirring so the sugar dissolves. Then Slowly whisk in the olive oil, ensuring it doesn’t separate. Split the dressing in half.  Add in arugula to one large bowl lightly toss. Add the beans, tuna and parmesan into the second bowl of dressing and toss. Add some salt and pepper to the bean and tuna mixture. Place a bunch of arugula on to each plate, then add 2 heaping tablespoons of the tuna and bean mixture. For decoration you can also add one slice of the parmesan on top of the tuna mixture.

Spicy Tuna Poke

tuna-poke-main

I love being in the kitchen with my son! He is able to identify missing ingredients, textures and even color in a dish. We made this Spicy Tuna Poke together, taking inspiration from several recipes on the internet, and made our own alterations in order to improve taste and texture, customizing it to our (his) liking. 😉

Tuna Poke Ingredients: 

  • ½ lb diced ahi or maguro
  • 3 tb minced red or sweet onion
  • 2 tb tobiko (flying fish roe) plus more for use as a topping
  • ⅓ cup mayo (Hellmans or Best Foods)
  • 1 tb sugar or honey (for paleo)
  • 2 tb shoyu
  • 3 tb Sriracha (or more to taste)
  • 1 diced red chili-pepper (optional)
  • 1 tb sesame oil
  • 2 stalks scallions minced – green parts only
  • 1 large pealed and julienned cucumber

Directions for tuna:

– Combine mayo, sugar shoyu, and Sriracha
– Gently mix together tuna, onions, chillies and green onions
– Add mayo mixture and tobiko, mix gently
– Add sesame oil, taste an adjust flavoring

As you can tell, I had some fun with my food and plated on a bed of finely diced cucumber. I used a Spam musubi mold to get the shape.

Sushi rice cakes

  • 1 cup cooked sushi rice
  • 1 cup organic canola oil

Use round or square mold to create 1-½” thick layer of rice. Place oil in small sauce pan heat on high. Place molded cooked rice, into oil with a slotted spoon. Cook approximately 2 minutes, then turn over to cook other side. Should be a little browned on both sides, and crunchy. Place cucumber on a plate, add the crunchy rice patty and add the Spicy Tuna Poke. Top with 1 tsp of tobiko. Add a few slices of green onion and Voilá. Some other options are to add some diced avocado and cucumber into the tuna mixture. Be sure to mix gently as you do not want to squish the avocados. tuna-poke-2

tuna mixed-ingredients2 mixed-ingredients

Crostini with Arugula, Cannellini Beans, and Chicken

crostini with beans and chicken

If you are looking for a healthy protein appetizer for the holidays, here is a fun little crostini with some lemon dressed arugula, cannellini beans (white kidney beans), organic chicken breast and slices of parmesan cheese. I actually mainly use organic ingredients for most of my dishes, including this one. I used the Eden organic brand beans as they pack them in bisphenol-A (BPA) free can linings. I also found a great canned organic chicken breast by Valley Fresh Organic White Chicken Breast or you can also use the breast from a baked chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tsp of sugar or ½ tsp of raw honey for the Paleo fans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 can of organic Cannellini Beans (or white kidney beans)
  • 1 can (12.5 oz.) of organic chicken breast
  • ½ cup sliced Parmesan Cheese
  • 16 crostini (Make sure they are not too thick)

Mix the first 4 ingredients into a large bowl. Split the dressing in half.  Add in arugula to one bowl lightly toss. Add the beans, chicken and parmesan into the second bowl of dressing and toss. Add some salt and pepper to the bean and chicken mixture. Place a pinch of the arugula onto the crostini, then add a heaping tablespoon of the chicken and bean mixture. For decoration you can also add one slice of the parmesan on top of the chicken. If your crostinis are too thick or hard, I tried spooning some of the dressing on them before stacking ingredients, as it softens up the bread a little. (Be sure to account for additional dressing if you do this). Test it out to see what works best for you before you serve this to your guests.

Roast Beef and Arugula Wraps

arugula-beef-parm

For all the Paleo lovers out there…here is a great little wrap for you!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • pinch of sugar or ½ tsp of raw honey for the Paleo fans
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 thinly sliced roast beef (8 oz.) halved crosswise
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 oz. of Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon, sugar (or honey) salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Arrange roast beef on a work surface. Add arugula to dressing and toss. Taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper. Divide arugula among the beef slices with a few leaves extending beyond edges of the roast beef. top with shaved parm cheese and roll into cylinders and serve.

Zucchini hummus with a kick

Zucchini hummus

I have always loved hummus, but sometimes the chick peas or garbanzo beans can get a bit filling. So I looked around to see what else would pair well with tahini and found a great zucchini recipe. I have made some alterations to the one I found, as I thought it needed more tahini, added parsley and less cumin. So here are the ingredients:

  • 3 medium zucchinis
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1- 16 oz. jar of tahini (I prefer organic)
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 ½ tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper or add to taste

In a food processor with an “S-blade”, blend the zucchini, parsley, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cumin until smooth and creamy. Add in the cayenne slowly and taste to make sure it meats your preferred level of heat. Store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This can be served with crackers or carrots sticks. Also great as a spread on a grilled chicken sandwich.

Gravlax – Swedish Dill Cured Salmon

gravlax

This is one of the few recipes my mom brought with her from Sweden. The name actually comes from the way salmon was prepared back in the old viking days. The Salmon back then with all the spices were buried in a “grave”, for curing. It is simple to prepare. It basically takes care of itself for 3-4 days.

Ingredients:

  • Two 1.5 lb. filets of salmon with skin on preferably mid-section – need to match when placed together (skin side out)
  • ½ cup (organic) sugar
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or cracked) larger chunks
  • 1 tsp ground white peppercorns
  • 3 cups of chopped dill with stems (to make a thick blanket on all sides)

Directions:

Mix sugar, salt and pepper. Rinse and pat dry the salmon filets. On a piece of tinfoil, thick blanket of dill the same size of the salmon, then you sprinkle liberally ⅓ of the salt/sugar mixture. Place first piece of salmon, with skin down. Then cover with the top of the salmon with ⅓ dill and sprinkle liberally with another ⅓ of the salt/sugar mixture. Place then next salmon filet, on top with skin to the outside. Place last ⅓ of dill and last ⅓ of the salt/sugar mixture on top of the skin of the 2nd piece. Cover with another piece of tinfoil, and seal the edges of the foil loosely so it has some air to breathe (since it’s not quite dead yet…still needs to be buried ;-). Place salmon in a plastic bag. Next place the bagged salmon in a shallow dish and add a heavy weight on top, you can use an iron skillet or flat stone if you have access to one. Place salmon with weight in the fridge for 4 days, turning over salmon once a day. When slicing the salmon be sure to slice against the grain in super thin slices.

Sauce:

Coming soon – I have to get some help from my mom on this, that has never written it down.