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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Raspberry, Avocado and Mango Salad

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 ripe mango, diced
1 small ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup chopped raw hazelnuts or sliced raw almonds

1.)  Dressing: Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender until combined.

2.)  Combine greens, mango, avocado and onion in a large bowl.

3.)  Pour the dressing on top and gently toss to coat.

4.)  Divide the salad among 5 salad plates. Top each with the remaining raspberries and sprinkle with nuts.

Serves 5.

How To: Homemade Beef Stock

I want to share my recipe for beef stock.  It is something so simple to have on hand for an array of recipes.  We purchased a quarter of a cow for the first time a few months back.  With it, we were given all the leftover bones wrapped up and have had them in the freezer.  I decided to use up these soup bones on a day off from work to make a very flavorful stock.  If you've never made stock before, I highly recommend giving it a try.  It makes your house smell WONDERFUL!  By the end of the day of simmering, Dave came home and said he could smell the tantalizing aroma all the way down at the front door of our a apartment BUILDING!  That was alllll the way down the hall from our place.

Making any homemade stock takes a long time, but most of the preparation is hands off, and the results are so worth it!!  I find it especially rewarding with beef stock because the store-bought varieties are either way too salty or have no flavor.  Even when buying organic stock, salt is a big issue, and so is the cost!  Homemade is a great way to save a TON of money and control what is put into it.  So, when you have a day or weekend to spend at home, give this a try and freeze until needed for your favorite recipes. To make the stock last many months, you can freeze it in bags, containers or even ice cube trays (to add just a little to sauces).

Beef Stock Ingredients

6 pounds beef soup bones from grass fed beef 2 large onions, organic
4 large carrots, organic
1/2 cup water, filtered
4 stalks celery, including leaves, organic
1/2 cup chopped parsnip (optional if you can tolerate), organic
1/2 cup cubed potato (optional if you can tolerate), organic
8 whole black peppercorns, organic
6 sprigs fresh parsley, organic
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, organic
14 cups water, filtered
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).  Slice onions.  Chop scrubbed celery and carrots into 1 or 2-inch chunks.  In a large shallow roasting pan place soup bones, onion, and carrots.  Bake, uncovered, about 60 minutes or until the bones are well browned, turning occasionally. This process is very important to beef stock (versus chicken stock).  It produces browning (the Maillard reaction) which produces the rich flavor of the stock.  Roasting also releases fat.  A little beef fat is good, especially when it's rich in Omega-3's from grass fed beef, but even then too much ruins the taste of things.

  2. Drain off fat.  Place the browned bones, onion, and carrots in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.  Pour 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan and rinse. Pour this liquid into soup pot.  Add celery, tomato, parsnips, potato parings, peppercorns, parsley, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and garlic.  Add the 14 cups water.

  3. Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 5-8 hours depending on how concentrated you want the flavor.  Strain stock (we used unbleached cheese cloth as it's the most natural way to strain.  You can also use a strainer or seive).  Usually you discard meat, vegetables, and seasonings.  I picked out the meat pieces and used them in a soup the next day.  You'll definitely want to use fresh veggies though.

  4. To clarify stock for clear soup: In order to remove solid flecks that are too small to be strained out with cheesecloth, combine 1/4 cup cold water, 1 egg white, and 1 crushed eggshell. Add to strained stock. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Strain again through a sieve lined with cheesecloth.  You'll be good to go!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Wouldn't you agree that summer demands that you eat watermelon?  Enjoying watermelon slices saturated with sweetness on a heat-drenched summer day -- YES!  Its juicy nature and bright color make it a natural HIT to any outdoor barbecue.  I thought of this recipe while grilling up peaches and plums on the grill one night for dessert.  I thought to myself "What would watermelon taste like thrown on the grill?"  After a quick Google on the subject, I found people do it!  I gave it a try -- so worth it!  Watermelon caramelizes ever so slightly when it's briefly grilled-- who knew?   This recipe will serve about 8, a great appetizer to your next outdoor dinner party!

8   slices organic watermelon (seeds removed)
2   tbsp olive oil
2   bunches watercress, trimmed
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint
2   tbsp balsamic vinegar
1   cup crumbled goat cheese
1   lemon
     Salt and pepper

1.)  Heat grill. Brush watermelon slices with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill watermelon 1-2 minutes on each side.

2.)  In medium bowl toss watercress and mint with vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

3.)  To assemble, sprinkle each grilled watermelon slice with goat cheese. Top with watercress mixture.  Squeeze each dish with a bit of lemon juice to taste.  Serve immediately.

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