Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Salad Days

Friday, January 18th, 2013

I love salads! Fruit salad, vegetable salad, grain salad – or a combination – the colors, the textures, the flavors….the possibilities are endless. Whether inspired by a display of local, in-season produce in the grocery store or leftover veggies in the refrigerator, tossed with a homemade dressing, topped with a special garnish….salads appeal to my creative side as a chef. The ingredients for this salad can all be combined in a bowl as a tossed salad, of course, but assembling them as a stacked salad makes a stunning first course for a dinner party and sets the stage for an elegant evening of gourmet dining.

Double Mango Stacked Fruit Salad

Double Mango Stacked Fruit Salad

an original recipe created by Chef Barb Crispin, A Gift of Thyme personal chef service

serves 2

1 cup mango, ripe, peeled and cubed

1 pear, chopped

1/2 cup chopped strawberries + 2 whole strawberries for garnish (optional)

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

1/4 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon salt

agave nectar to taste (honey or other sweetener may be substituted if preferred)

3 cups salad greens, chopped

1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used mint + a sprinkling of fennel fronds)

3″ salad ring or biscuit cutter

Place 3/4 of the mango in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add lime juice, oil, coriander, and salt. Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine remaining mango and chopped strawberries with 1 tablespoon of the pureed mango. Set aside. This will be the middle layer of your salad.

Toss 1/2 cup chopped greens with the fresh chopped herbs. Set aside. This is the top layer of the salad.

Combine the remaining salad greens with the chopped pears and 1/2 – 1 tablespoon pureed mango. This is the base of the salad.

Place the salad ring  in the center of the salad plate. Using the salad ring as a mold, fill it about half-way with the greens/pear mixture. The weight of the mango-strawberry layer will compress it. Add enough of the mango-strawberry mixture so that 2/3  – 3/4 of the ring is filled. Top with the layer of greens and herbs. The top of this  layer can be slightly above the top edge of the ring. Carefully slide the ring upwards. Repeat for the second salad.  Garnish the plates with strawberry fans if desired.

You will have extra pureed mango. It keeps well in the refrigerator (or can be frozen) and can be used on other salads, as a topping for ice cream, as a dip for fresh fruit, mixed with yogurt…


A Day Off

Monday, January 24th, 2011

A rare ‘day off’ means no clients scheduled for tomorrow, so instead of assembling recipes, making shopping lists, packing tools, and creating a prep plan for when I arrive at a client’s home, I can play! For me, that means testing recipes. Each new recipe has to be evaluated for adaptability to my service: is the prep too involved? can I leave the final cooking for the client to do? can this dish be stored for a day or two in the refrigerator, or can it be frozen? Most importantly – does it look and taste absolutely delicious?!?
A client recently gave me a recipe for Quinoa Taco Salad with a note: “What do you think?” It definitely had possibilities, so I took it home and played around with it. The final version prompted an enthusiastic “This is really good!” at our dinner table… and so I prepared it for my clients last week. Can’t wait to hear what they think!

A Gift of Thyme Quinoa Taco Salad

serves 4

Cook 1 cup quinoa according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat with cooking spray, then add l chopped large red onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until translucent and tender.  Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste), 1 dash cayenne, and 1/2 each red, yellow, and green bell pepper, chopped.  Saute another 2 minutes, then remove from heat.  Stir in 1 15-oz. can black beans, 3/4 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned – I used Muir Glen Fire-Roasted), and the juice of 1 lime.  Add cooked quinoa and 1 cup cilantro, chopped.  Toss til well mixed.  Season to taste.

Serve on a bed of shredded spinach or mixed greens and garnish with generous amounts of sharp Cheddar cheese, crumbled tortilla chips, and diced avocado.  Drizzle with salsa for extra zing.  We liked this served as a warm salad, but it does hold well in the refrigerator for several days, and can even be frozen if canned tomatoes are used.  Enjoy!