YOU ARE BROWSING

This salad was developed by one of the best chefs in the world Chef Bernie Kantak in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’ve put my own twist on it, but kept the same spirit. Mixing the salad at the table sets the perfect scene.

Dressing:

1/4 cup basil pesto

1/2 shallot, roughly chopped

1/2 cup aioli (see note)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Best Salad Ever
Best Salad Ever

Salad:

1/3 cup cooked Israeli couscous

2 ounces chopped arugula

1/3 cup diced roma tomatoes

1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup diced smoked salmon

1 tablespoon crumbled Asiago or Feta cheese

1 tablespoon toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

2 tablespoons dried black currants

For the dressing:  Combine pesto, shallot and aioli in a food processor; blend thoroughly. With motor running, add buttermilk. Add pepper and lemon juice; blend to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: Aioli is like garlicky mayonnaise. Look for it in gourmet food stores, or make your own by blending together 1 to 2 finely minced garlic cloves, 1/3 cup olive oil and  1/4 cup mayonnaise.

For the salad:  Combine the cheese, pepitas, and currants together to make trail mix and set aside. Combine tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar and set aside. Start arranging ingredients in separate rows on a large platter or bowl. Begin with salmon, following by a row of arugula, then couscous, trail mix, sweet corn, and last a row of the tomatoes. Toss salad at the table, using about half of the batch of dressing. (Refrigerate remaining dressing up to three days.)

Blueberry Woodfired Figs

This dish pretty much combines all of my favorite things in one yummy bite: figs, blueberries, soft cheese, Balsalmic glaze, and woodfire. Yes, please! The woodfire provides a smokiness to the sweetness of the dish. The Balsalmic makes the flavor deep and rich. Basically, this is a perfect appetizer in my universe.

The Chaumes cheese comes from France and is a semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese with a creamy, smooth, springy and supple texture. Basically, it is good… really good. And on top of a fig with blueberries and Balsalmic… it is heaven. Try it… trust me.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup frozen blueberries (I prefer the small, sweet Maine blueberries.)

4 brown turkey figs, sliced in half

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons Honey

8 slices Chaumes cheese

1 tablespoon Grana Padano parmesan, grated

Yuzu Glaze

8 ounces Yuzu sauce

2 ounces Balsalmic vineagar

3 finger-length strips sliced Valencia orange rinds

2 quarter sized slices of fresh ginger

Instructions:

Coat the bottom of a small oven safe skillet with olive oil, then place blueberries in the skillet. Position fig halves in the blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup and honey. Roast in 500-degree oven for 5-7 minutes until blueberries burst.

To make the Yuzu Glaze, combine yuzu sauce, balsamic, orange rinds, and fresh ginger in small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half.

Remove pan from oven and place cheese slices on each fig half, then sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the pan. Set the oven to broil and place rack 6-8 inches from the top.  Put pan back in oven and broil for 45 seconds to 1 minute until cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven and drizzle yuzu glaze over figs.

I enjoy shrimp cocktail in the summer as a light, refreshing meal. I especially like to spice up my shrimp cocktail with the flavors of Mexico. Instead of using tomato juice as the base, what about using a bloody mary mix? When I discovered The Bloody Buddy ready-to-drink bloody mary WITH vodka already in it… I just KNEW I had to make shrimp cocktail with it. I started with a black bean salsa that I make (recipe given to me by my sister Corey) then added the shrimp and bloody mary. It was great! One to drink and one to eat.

2 cups Key West pink shrimp, poached

1 tablespoon freeze dried cilantro

1 12-ounce can black beans, drained

1 cup canned corn

1 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 firm avocado, diced

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and chopped

1 12-ounce bottle of Bloody Buddy RTD cocktail WITH vodka (or make a bloody mary for yourself and one for the food)

Instructions:

Chop the shrimp into large, bite-sized pieces. Mix together all ingredients. Let sit in refrigerator for 20 minutes to combine the flavors. Serve in a frozen schooner beer mug.

Note: This dish contains alcohol.

If you haven’t heard of Bloody Buddy, here’s the description from their website: Texas first and only ready to drink bloody mary. The Bloody Buddy™ is a chili pepper infused vodka and homemade bloody mary mix combined in one convenient bottle. Everything is made at our distillery in Dripping Springs, Texas with love. We are preservative free, non GMO and all natural. The Bloody Buddy is a spicy & fresh bloody mary for any occasion. Just shake and pour over ice.

This poke recipe is so light and fresh and easy. The key to the dish is getting very, very high quality and super fresh tuna. Without that, this dish is nothing. The essential oils really add a grand amount of flavor that you can’t get from any other source. Be sure to use food-grade high quality essential oils (like those from Young Living). Read the labels on the essential oil bottles. If they say “not for internal consumption”, believe them. This probably means there’s something in them they aren’t telling you — not all and only essential oil.

1 pound ahi tuna, large diced in ¼ to ½ inch cubes

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 drops orange essential oil

1 Meyer lemon rind, finely minced

1 tablespoon Black sesame seeds

 One pinch Tabasco powder or ¼ teaspoon tabasco sauce

Combine sesame oil, orange oil and tuna. Marinate for 30 minutes. Before serving, add lemon rind, tabasco, and sesame seeds and stir. Drizzle with ponzu sance and garnish with lemon rind and mint leaves.

Ponzu sauce

3 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced

2 pinches Black lava salt

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup Yuzu sauce

1 teaspoon Black sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients and stir well.

Garnish

1 Meyer lemon rind, finely zested

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely sliced (Chiffonade)

Combine lemon rind and mint in ice water and hold for garnish.

I love figs because the sweet, light flavor and delicate texture lends itself to a nonassuming addition to all sorts of dishes from appetizers to desserts and everything in between. So whatever you plan to make, there’s a type of fig for every application. I love figs when they are in season. We used to have the most awesome fig tree that would produce a month’s worth of fresh, homegrown figs. Because the birds like figs too, we’d have to get up early to pick the ripe ones every morning. In fact, at times we would pick the one that were almost-ripe just to keep the birds from getting them. Having so many figs, we’d make fig preserves, and fig appetizers, and fig desserts, and fig sauces, and fig everything we could think of.

I created this dish to be the-most-perfect-dish, combining all of the things I love into one little cast iron skillet – cheese, balsamic vinegar, and figs in season in the wood-fired oven. Oh and blueberries… how can I forget those luscious little bombs! The cheese in this receipe is called Chaumes – it’s a French cows milk cheese, similar to Brie but a little firmer, that’s slightly aged for a couple of weeks. The flavor of the cheese is complex with a slightly nutty aftertaste. The blueberry, honey, and balsamic create a deep, rich flavor to bring the figs and cheese together for a wonderfully delicious one-bite appetizer.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup frozen blueberries

4 brown turkey figs, sliced in half

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons Honey

8 slices Chaumes cheese

1 tablespoon Grana Padano parmesan, grated

Yuzu Glaze

8 ounces Yuzu sauce

2 ounces Balsalmic vineagar

3 finger-length strips sliced Valencia orange rinds

2 quarter sized slices of fresh ginger

Coat the bottom of a small oven safe skillet with olive oil, then place blueberries in the skillet. Position fig halves in the blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup and honey. Roast in 500-degree oven for 5-7 minutes until blueberries burst.

To make the Yuzu Glaze, combine yuzu sauce, balsamic, orange rinds, and fresh ginger in small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half.

Remove pan from oven and place cheese slices on each fig half, then sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the pan. Set the oven to broil and place rack 6-8 inches from the top.  Put pan back in oven and broil for 45 seconds to 1 minute until cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven and drizzle yuzu glaze over figs.