Friday, July 20, 2012

Eat Like a Greek - Salad That IS!

What's not to like about a crispy, crunchy green salad filled with fresh summer tomatoes, herbs, olives and feta? Plus, you'll feel great about serving a salad full of the potent anti-inflammatory quercetin from the capers and red onions. You can even ramp up the salad's antioxidant power by replacing some of the romaine with napa cabbage! It's from the cruciferous veggie family, so you get the same crunch with  more reward. (I love sliding in veggies that give you more nutrition without substantially changing the flavor, don't you?)

If you want to make the salad the night before you serve it, just prep the ingredients, and package them separately for the fridge. Well, everything except  the tomatoes ahead of time - cold kills tomato flavor.-
So, here's my favorite Feta Salad recipe. Easy to make, fast to serve and enjoyed by almost everyone. Make it dinner by topping it with fish or chicken from the grill. Serve some crusty whole wheat bread or grilled pita. And dinner is served! Oh - and wine? I'd choose a light Pinot Grigio or un-oaked California Chardonnay to accompany your green and healthy feast!

Fresh Greek Salad with Feta, Oregano and Mint

Greek salad, or horiatiki, is a rough country salad of juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, sliced red onions, capers, crumbly feta cheese and plump Kalamata olives.

3 Ripe tomatoes cut into chunks
1 Red onion, thinly sliced, soaked in salted ice water for 30 minutes
1 European seedless cucumber, cut into bite-size chunks
2 TB Capers
1 Cup Kalamata black olives, chopped
1 Head Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 TB Red Wine Vinegar
1 TB Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tsp dried oregano, crushed in palm of your hand
½ Tsp each Coarse salt and black pepper
1 Cup Crumbled Greek feta
¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Oregano and Mint
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Step One Combine the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, capers, olives and romaine in a large bowl.

Step Two Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper in a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously to combine and pour over salad. Add the cheese and herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let the salad marinate until ready to serve.

You'll need to know how to chop Napa Cabbage - check out this video to help you!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sangria for Real Sangria Lovers!

What to drink at a hot summer party? Well, a big pitcher of cold, refreshing sangria of course! Thanks Elizabeth for reminding me that it's sangria time. Here's my easy, foolproof sangria recipe that will "stand up" not only to the heat, but any kind of appetizer as well. Not too sweet, not a fruit cocktail but a simply delicious wine cocktail over lots of cool bracing ice.

2 Large Oranges
2 Lemons
2 Limes
2 Cups of Cointreau or other Orange Liquour
2 Bottles of Inexpensive Red or White Wine
Step One
Cut your Oranges, Lemons and Limes into thin slices (cut your orange in half so it will fit in a glass) Place your fruit in 2 zippy bags.
Step Two
Use Cointreau (first choice, but soooo expensive) to cover the fruit. Place in the freezer for 1-2 days. The fruit will not freeze completely because of the alcohol in the liquor, but it will turn into slush.
Step Three
Place your wine in the fridge to get it really cold. When ready to serve, pour the wine in a big pitcher, put in the contents of your frozen bags, and stir-stir-stir. Then sift a little powdered sugar over it to taste. (Tasting is the secret here – don’t make it too sweet!) To enjoy, use a large wine glass with lots of ice. As you pour, slosh in a little fruit as well!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cherries, Cherries and More Cherries!

Don’t you love my cherry pitter – its one of my kitchen “power tools”! It makes pitting cherries SO quick and easy. So, I guess you can tell that I adore cherries. During the season, I eat them any way I can – but most often right out of hand. Wash the bag, dump in a bowl, and repeat. I do eat them everywhere with abandon, although I did blush when my husband found several cherry pits on my car’s floorboard…. Can you believe he couldn’t imagine that I could drive and shift while eating a bowl of cherries? Silly guy!

I incorporate cherries in every recipe I can, and this is one of my favorites that I use to top chicken, fish and scoop up with any kind of chip.

Cilantro Citrus Chicken 
with Fresh Cherry Salsa
The Chicken
¾  Cup Chopped Cilantro
2 Large Shallots Chopped
¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
¼ Cup Olive Oil
1 LB Chicken Breasts, Boneless and Skinless

Step One Combine the Cilantro, Shallots, Lime Juice and Oil in a Zippy Bag. Cut the Chicken Breasts horizontally into thin slices. Add the chicken and place in the fridge for an hour to marinate while you make the salsa.

Step Two Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill outside, or on a grill pan until done. Serve with the cherry salsa.

Fresh Cherry Salsa
1 Cup Chopped Cilantro
2 Large Shallots, Chopped
Juice of 4 Large Limes
2 Jalapenos, Ribbed and Chopped
2 LBs Cherries, Pitted and Coarsely Chopped
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside while you grill the chicken, or place in the
fridge overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Loaded with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, cherries are much more than just sweet  - they're a powerful, bite-size health boost Cherries contain anthocyanins - the red pigment in berries. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants under active research for a variety of potential health benefits.