Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Super Spring Sides with Sweet Onions

Here in Georgia, strawberry season is winding down, and its Vidalia onion time here in Georgia! We love our Vidalia's here, but did you know that sweet onions are grown all over the world? Ours in Georgia are called Vidalia onions, Texas claims "Texas Sweets", Washington state grows "Walla Walla Sweets" and Hawaii, Bermuda and France all grow sweet onions.

Three easy sides dishes featuring Vidalia onions are below, recipes that can carry you from spring all the way through summer. All three can be made ahead of time, and are great for dinner, picnics and potlucks.

Roasted Green Beans WITH Vidalia ONION VINAIGRETTE
This vinaigrette is yummy with lots of different vegetables, I LOVE it with spring asparagus too.

6 TB Olive Oil, divided
1 Large Vidalia Onion, chopped
1 Tsp Honey
1 Tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tb Sherry Vinegar
2 LBs Green Beans
Chopped Parsley or Tarragon, for garnish
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Step One
Preheat the oven to 400F. To make the vinaigrette, sauté the onion with 1 TB of the oil and the honey until it is golden and tender - about 20 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and pepper, set aside. Stir the the mustard and vinegar together in a bowl. Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, add the sautéed onion, season with salt and pepper.

Step Three
Spray or drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil. Place the sheet pan in the oven to heat while you prep the green beans. Drizzle the beans with remaining 1 TB of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss on the sheet pan. Slide the beans into the oven and roast for about 10 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove the beans from the sheet pan. Place on a platter, drizzle with the dressing, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Sweet Onion Potato Salad
Can you say "picnic"? This is a super salad to take to the lake, the park or just out back. No mayo means not as much worry about spoilage, plus if you make it the night before, it soaks up all the yummy dressing.

3 LB Fingerling Potatoes
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TB Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Sea Salt
2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 TB Dill Weed
½ Cup Chopped Dill Pickles
¼ Cup Capers
½ Cup Chopped Green Olives, with Pimentos
½ Cup Minced Celery
½  Cup Minced Sweet, (Vidalia) Onion

Step One
Wash and quarter the potatoes.  Put them in a stockpot, cover with water and sprinkle with sea salt. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, about 20 – 25  minutes.

Step Two
Blend the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and then gently toss with the potatoes.  Chill before serving.

Vidalia Dip
This recipe comes from my mother. She loved to wow her guests with it, (it tastes THAT good), as soon as Vidalia onion season rolled around. I've taken it and made it just a little better for us, by cutting down on the sugar and yogurt.

2 Cups Water
½  Cup White Vinegar
¼  Cup Honey
4 Cups Thinly Sliced Vidalia Onions
½ Cup Light Olive Oil or Canola Oil Mayonnaise
½ Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 Tsp Celery Seed
1 Dash Hot Sauce
1 Dash *Worcestershire Sauce
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

Step One In a saucepan on high heat, bring the water, sugar and vinegar to a rolling boil. Put the onions in a large bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over them. Place in the refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight. The next day, drain the liquid from the onions and add the mayonnaise, celery seed, hot sauce, Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SHAKE Up Your Strawberries!

Aromatic Strawberries lined up in the Market

I’ve been home from Europe for a week now, ahhhhhhh…. Loved going from the ALPS to Alsace. Love traveling and sharing my love for wine, food and culture with others – but its great to be home, too!

One of my favorite parts of traveling, (other than the delicious wine, yummy food, interesting people AND fabulous locations), is going to farmer’s markets. This trip was a circle tour of the Lake Constance area of Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Alsace and the Black Forest. If you’ve followed me on Facebook you’ve seen some of my pictures – it was a breathtaking beautiful and delicious week.

On a early morning walk I spied strawberries waiting outside a cafe.

The markets I visited in Europe were SO gorgeous – bursting with foods so full of flavor, color and variety that a visit was truly an epicurean experience. Strawberries were one of the spring fruits that filled the markets. Not just any old grocery store berry – but strawberries so packed with aroma that my nose led me to the stands that featured them.

The recipes below are inspired by the berries and other veggies filling the European markets.  I was so thrilled to return and find that strawberries are in season here in Georgia, too! But instead of the same old shortcake, shake up your strawberries by using them in these quick, interesting and healthy recipes.

You can see these recipes on my Strawberry Segment on Atlanta and Company, Tuesday morning in the noon hour!

Strawberry and Asparagus Salad
2 Cups Strawberries, Stemmed
1⁄4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 TB Dijon Mustard
1⁄2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Black Pepper and Sea Salt to Taste
3 Cups Quinoa, Prepared
12 Asparagus Spears, Roasted and Chopped
2 Ripe Avocados, Chopped
1⁄4 Cup Chopped Basil, Chiffonade
4 Cups Baby Arugula
1⁄2 Cup Chopped Toasted Almonds

Step One To make the dressing, roast the strawberries on a aluminum foil lined sheet tray, sprayed with nonstick spray - 10 minutes in a 400F oven. Remove from the oven and let cool briefly. Coarsely Chop.

Step Two Whisk the juice, mustard & oil together. Add the strawberries. Season with salt & pepper.

Step Three To make the salad, gently combine the quinoa, asparagus, avocados and basil together.

Step Four Spoon the quinoa over a bed of arugula, and drizzle with dressing as desired. Top with almonds and basil.

Strawberry Balsamic Salsa Topping Seven Minute Salmon
2 Cups Strawberries chopped
Zest of 1 Large Orange
3 TB Orange Juice
1⁄2 Cup Chopped Parsley
1 TB Balsamic Vinegar
2 TB Olive Oil
Black Pepper and Sea Salt to Taste 
2 TB Minced Red Onions

To make the salsa, whisk together the strawberries, orange juice, parsley, vinegar and olive oil. Taste for salt and pepper.

Seven Minute Salmon

2 Salmon Steaks, skin removed (4 to 6 oz)
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Drizzle the salmon and season with salt and pepper. Slide into a preheated 400F oven fro seven minutes. Check to see if the fish is done – if not – slide it back into the oven and check it after 2 more minutes.