Recipe of the Month: Preserved Moroccan Lemons

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 1-quart jar with a lid
  • 2 lbs. ORGANIC lemons (Meyer lemons are best – but regular lemons work also) (you will be eating the rinds)
  • ¼ – ½ cup unrefined sea salt or kosher salt

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Wash the lemons (yes, they are organic, but have been touched by many people).
  • Trim off the ends (don’t cut into the flesh).
  • Slice the lemons as if to quarter them, but DON’T cut all the way through. If you have large lemons you can cut them into 6 segments (star shaped). You just want them to open up- keep the base intact.
  • Put 1 Tablespoon of salt in the bottom of the jar.
  • Put 1 Tablespoon of salt in the center of the lemon, turn it, skin side up, into the bottom of the jar and tamp with a wooden spoon or the flat end of a large wooden knife to soften the lemon and release some of the juice.
  • Top that lemon with another tablespoon of salt and continue with the rest of the lemons (doing the exact same thing you did in the step above) until the jar is tightly packed and almost full.
  • Place one last tablespoon of salt on top of all the lemons.
  • At this point, you might need to juice a couple lemons. The brine should completely cover the lemons.If the brine doesn’t cover them they will develop mold. You can always discard that moldy lemon, but it is much easier to just make sure they are always covered with liquid.
  • Cover with the lid and let ferment for 4-6 weeks in a cool, dark place.
  • Gently shake the jar each day for the first week. When the lemons are ready to use they will look more translucent than when you started and the rinds will be very soft.
  • Technically you can keep them for a year – I like to put them in the fridge once I open the jar and start using them.
  • When you want to use a preserved lemon, rinse off the salt and pull off the pulp. Slice or mince the lemon peel. Yes, you are using the peel. I have known people to use the entire thing (after rinsing off the salt) for a more intense lemon flavor.

NOTES

Even though this is one of my very favorite seasonings to add to all sorts of recipes and I use it almost every day, I haven’ t mentioned it before because I hadn’t given you the directions to make your own preserved lemons.

It is a fantastic way to add interest and flavor to a multitude of dishes. (fish, potatoes, chicken, pasta, vegetables, desserts, etc.).

The options are limitless. Be creative!

Recipe of the Month: Avocado Egg Breakfast (for 2)

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 1 avocado halved, seed discarded
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 green onions sliced (including green part)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup of blackberries or fruit of your choice (1/4 cup for each person)
  • Toast (if desired)

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat oven to 350.
  • Flatten the bottom of the Avocado so it will rest on the baking dish or cookie sheet.
  • Set each half in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet.
  • Crack an egg and drop into the cavity formed by the seed (if your egg is large you may have to scoop out a little of the avocado.
  • You can eat it later, butter your toast with it, or put it into a small baking dish along with any extra egg.
  • Top it all with salt and pepper and the green onions.
  • Bake it in the oven until your egg reaches the doneness you prefer. If you like a hard yolk it will take a little longer. Just keep an eye on it.
  • Serve with toast and fruit.

NOTES

I have seen pictures of this breakfast for a long time and just wasn’t quite sure I wanted to try it.

I am so glad I did. It was amazing. My husband was a little skeptical when it started out, but ended up raving about it.

If you like things spicy you can always add a little sriracha hot sauce when serving. Actually, the condiments you want to add are totally up to you. Pretty much anything goes.

I had really large eggs so I put the extra egg white and avocado into a small ramekin and baked it at the same time.

Wild Rice Salad

Recipe of the Month: Wild Rice Salad

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 2 slices of red onion minced
  • 5 green onions sliced (including green part)
  • 3 stalks celery minced
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew pieces (toasted)
  • 1/3 cup raw pecans (toasted)
  • 3 Tablespoons Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook the rice according to directions on the package
  • Put the nuts in an iron skillet and toast on medium heat (stirring often) until just getting fragrant or turning slightly brown (be careful not to burn)
  • Mix vinegar and olive oil (I use a coffee cup and extra small whisk)
  • Combine rice and all other ingredients
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss
  • This salad can be eaten warm or chilled

NOTES

If you don’t have an iron skillet you can also toast the nuts in the oven at 350.

I was given a bottle of Alta Cucina Italia Balsamic Vinegar of Modena with Figs for Christmas. If you can find it I highly recommend it. It tastes a little sweet and is slightly thicker than plain vinegar.

If you want to serve something that is a little different and very tasty, then this is your salad!

FYI – wild rice really isn’t rice – it’s a seed!

Hawaiian French Toast

Recipe of the Month: Hawaiian French Toast

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 2 pieces Brioche Bread sliced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cream
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 small banana sliced
  • ¼ c macadamia nuts
  • ¼ c shredded coconut
  • ½ pineapple diced
  • Maple syrup

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Melt the butter in a skillet (I like to use an iron skillet)
  • Whisk together the egg and cream
  • Dip the bread in the egg/cream mixture (both sides)
  • Fry in the skillet (medium high) till toasted on each side
  • Put the toast on a serving plate and top with
  • Maple syrup, banana slices, pineapple, coconut, and nuts

NOTES

  • To make it even more decadent, add a large dollop of whipped cream.
  • Serve with bacon or sausage and you have a perfect brunch.
  • You could even add a mimosa for those special occasions.
  • The amount of the condiments can be increased – it is totally up to you. If you love pineapple, by all means, add more pineapple.
Turkey Soup

Recipe of the Month: Turkey Soup

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 1 turkey carcass (leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas)
  • 4 carrots sliced
  • 1 small pablano chopped
  • 1 small red pepper chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 kalarabi (or turnip) peeled and chopped
  • 18 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz cannellini beans
  • Chicken stock (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Put the turkey carcass in a large pot, cover it with water, bring it to a boil and then lower to simmer and cover with lid. Let it cook for at least 4 hours adding more water (or chicken stock if you prefer) if needed.
  • Remove the carcass. Pick any meat off the bones and put it (the meat) back into the pot – discard the carcass.
  • Add all the other ingredients except the beans and simmer till they are soft – probably about another hour.
  • Add the beans.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook long enough to heat the beans – serve with a nice baguette and butter.
  • The spices that were on the turkey should have added some nice flavor to the soup. If you feel it needs something you can always add Italian seasoning and/or garlic.

NOTES

This is like a vegetable soup. You can add any vegetables you have or leftovers you want to get rid of. My brother- in- law always did this the day after Thanksgiving and I’ve always said I would do it too. This year I finally did. Great way to use up leftover turkey and turkey on the bone that might otherwise get thrown away.

Castillon Meatballs in Wine Sauce

Recipe of the Month: Castillon Meatballs in Wine Sauce

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 large apples peeled and shredded
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 3 med. Onions diced (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 t. salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups dry red wine
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 jars (6oz) tomato paste
  • 1 t. basil
  • ½ t. rosemary

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine beef, apples, eggs, 1 c. onion, s & p in a large bowl.
  • Mix well and shape into 1-inch meatballs
  • Heat oil in large skillet and brown the meatballs (half at a time, remove as browned)
  • Add remaining onion to skillet- cook stirring until golden
  • Stir in wine, water, tomato paste, basil, and rosemary
  • Add meatballs – bring to a boil
  • Cover and simmer 5 minutes
  • Remove from heat and serve over noodles
  • Can also be frozen – to heat afterwards – cover and bake at 400 for 30 minutes – uncover and bake 15 more minutes, stir and then remove after 5 minutes to serve

NOTES

I can’t remember where I first discovered this recipe, but I’ve been making it for over 30 years.

The flavor is very unique and everyone has loved them.

This year I made them ahead and froze to use for Christmas Eve dinner. When reheating, if I think they need a little more sauce I just add a cup of wine.

Recipe of the Month

Recipe of the Month: Mom’s Dumplings

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup broth

Ingredients for Easy Broth- (see notes for directions)

  • 1 large boneless organic chicken breast
  • 3 boxes Costco’s (Kirklands) Organic Chicken Broth
  • Optional – Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
  • Salt and pepper

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

Dumplings:

  • Mix flour, salt, and baking powder
  • Mix the eggs with the broth
  • Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix well
  • Put the dough on a floured surface and work (knead) like bread dough until it isn’t sticky
  • Roll out thin as noodles (not as thin as pie crust) and cut into squares
  • Drop the dumplings into boiling broth one at a time
  • Do not stir after they are dropped
  • Put a lid on the pot and let simmer for 20 minutes

NOTES

Obviously, the whole dish is chicken and dumplings. You can cook a whole chicken and make broth from scratch or take the easy way out like I did this time.

I put 3 boxes of Costco’s organic chicken broth in a soup pot and added one very large organic, boneless chicken breast. (I have never used their broth before, but will be buying it again – smells and tastes wonderful). Bring it to a boil and then simmer and cook until the breast is cooked. Bring the breast out of the liquid and break it up with a fork and then add it back to the broth. At this point – taste it and if desired add salt and pepper. If you like a stonger flavor you can add about a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillion, Roasted Chicken Base. (I try to keep a jar of that in the fridge all the time). When you have the flavor the way you want it – proceed with the dumplings.

I actually froze half of the dumplings after I cut them into squares. (The liquid had boiled down and I had more than enough dumplings for 2 people.  To do that – lay the cut dumplings out on a cookie sheet (not touching). When they are frozen put them into a zip loc bag or freezer container.

I have checked other dumpling recipes and none were like this one. This one has never failed to make light, wonderful dumplings. I can still see my son making them with his grandmother years ago. Enjoy!

Recipe of the Month: The Best Banana Nut Bread

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 2 really over ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups organic maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 c walnuts (chopped into large chunks)
  • 3/4 of a large dark (Belgian) chocolate bar broken into pieces (I got mine at Trader Joes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Prepare a loaf pan, I use coconut oil instead of butter and sprinkle with flour.
  • Pour baking soda into buttermilk. Set aside.
  • In a bowl with electric mixer -mix together coconut oil and maple syrup.
  • Add the eggs and mix well.
  • Add salt, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour, mix.
  • Add butter milk and vanilla and beat.
  • Mix in banana and walnuts.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

NOTES

Once again – the recipe was so good, I just had to share.

Buttermilk is not something I keep in the house. But I do keep a powdered buttermilk by Saco that you can get at the grocery store. You simply mix the powder with milk and it turns to buttermilk.

My bananas were totally black on the outside but I was determined to not throw them away. Not sure if they made the difference, but it really was the best banana bread ever!

It will seem like it should be thicker (probably because I used maple syrup instead of sugar) but it turns out just fine.

I love the crunch of nuts in my baked products (I love nuts) so I always chop them into large pieces.

I think the spices also helped with the flavors. You can adjust them if you’d like more or less.

The chocolate bar was just one I happened to have in the house. You could use chocolate chips.

I always try to use everything organic. The bananas were not organic. They don’t need to be.

This is my new go to recipe for Banana Nut Bread. I hope you like it as much as I did.

Recipe of the Month: Blueberry & Red Bell Pepper Salsa

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (discard seeds)
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Rinse blueberries and pour onto cutting board.
  • Give them a rough chop. You will miss some berries giving you a nice mixture of whole and chopped.
  • Put them in a large bowl.
  • Add chopped cilantro, jalapeno, red onion, red bell pepper, salt, and lemon juice.
  • Stir until combined.

NOTES

This salsa is great with chips, but I served it with grilled salmon and it was awesome. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Fig and Lemon Pizza

Recipe of the Month: Fig and Lemon Pizza

Recipe of the MonthINGREDIENTS

  • 1 handful of radish sprouts
  • 1 pizza crust (I get mine at whole foods and divide it because I like thin crust – bake time is for thin crust)
  • 1 organic lemon sliced really thin
  • 6 figs sliced
  • 1 cup gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 grated garlic cloves
  • 1 ¼ cups organic corn meal

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  • Grate the garlic and put it in a small bowl with the olive oil.
  • Slice the lemons and figs.
  • Heat the pizza stone in the oven on 450 for 5 minutes.
  • Put 1 cup of corn meal on the counter and roll out the pizza dough (or toss it if you are that good).
  • Carefully take the pizza stone out of the oven and spread ¼ cup corn meal on the stone (to keep dough from sticking).
  • Put the rolled-out dough on the stone.
  • Using a pastry brush – brush the dough with the olive oil/garlic mixture.
  • Place the sliced figs and lemons around the pizza.
  • Sprinkle the radish sprouts around the pizza.
  • Sprinkle the gorgonzola evenly over the pizza.
  • Top with the mozzarella.
  • Sprinkle the pizza with the parmesan cheese.
  • Put it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until it is starting to brown and the crust is crispy (this timing is for a thin crust pizza and may vary depending on your oven).

NOTES

We have friends over for Pizza and Shark Tank on Friday nights. To avoid having the same thing each week I decided to venture out with my choice of ingredients. This pizza may sound a little adventurous to you, but my friends said it was one of their favorites. I get my pizza dough ready made from whole foods and divide it in half because I like really thin crust pizza.  The second half gets frozen.  The sprouts are from one of my health partners – Skolex.  They are at a farmer’s market near me in the summer.  I usually buy a variety of sprouts from them. They also sell kits to grow them at home (great for winter months).