Grape Watermelon Salad

Watermelon and Grape Salad

 

This is a simple summer salad. I added 1 cup of chopped watermelon chunks and 1/2 cup of green grapes cut in half. I tossed in 2 tbsp of crumbled feta cheese, 12 tsp of mango nectar and a pinch of sumac. This has a lovely blend of sweet from the fruit, salt richness from the feta and high tart notes from the sumac. It takes 2 to 3 minutes to make and serves one.

Figs & Caramelized Onions with Pork Loin Chop

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This was a revelation. Certainly pork loves fruit, but I think it’s soul mate might be figs. This was a super simple recipe. I made some rice separately to serve with the pork and sauce. To make the rest, I heated a skillet to medium, adding some olive oil and put the loin chop on to fry. Meanwhile I cut up 1/2 of a yellow onion, sliced up 6 green figs and cut a lemon in half.

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Even the mise en place looks delicious.

 

After the loin chop was cooked on one side, I flipped it over and added the onions in the other half of the skillet. I let them cook until caramelized. Then I added the figs and 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg. Nutmeg is a delicious spice with fish, pork and beef. You need to use enough so it adds a bit of heat. I also added some salt and pepper. I let the figs and onions cook until the pork was done. I removed the pork and let it rest while I squeezed the lemon juice into the sauce and let it simmer a bit.

This was delicious, sweet, tangy and a bit spicy thanks to the nutmeg. This makes enough sauce for two servings. This was delicious with the rice, and could be made with just olive oil, no meat drippings for a vegan alternative.

 

 

Fruit & Chevre Salad with Sumac Dressing

Fruit with Chevre Salad with Sumac dressing

 

This is made with a super simple fruit dressing that adds just a bit of depth to the sweetness of the fruit. I stirred 1/2 teaspoon of buckwheat honey into the juice of 1 fresh squeezed lemon. I heated it in the microwave just a bit to help it dissolve. Buckwheat honey is earthier and significantly less sweet that most honey. It has a malty flavor and is very thick and dark. After dissolving all the honey in the lemon juice, I added 1/3 tsp of sumac, a tart Middle Eastern spice that adds some pungency to the dressing.

I then cut up some figs, half a nectarine and about 1 oz of chevre, mixed them together with the dressing and served. Out of this world! The fruit alone is delicious, with the cheese, it fabulous and with the cheese, fruit and dressing, it’s amazing.

Chickpea Chop Salad

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So this makes a big salad, closer to a dozen servings than a single one, but it needs to marinate and gets better with time, so that’s okay.

Chop one yellow onion. Mince three cloves of garlic and salt the minced garlic to bring out a mellower, sweeter flavor. Let it sit for 10 minutes with the salt before mixing with the onion in a large storage bowl. It will get nice and juicy and blend in better. Chop 3 carrots and 4 celery into small pieces about the size of a chickpea. Add 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (2 cans rinsed and strained). Add 1 cup of chopped parsley. Mix well.

For the dressing, mix 2 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP of tahini, 1/2 tsp of thyme, 1/4 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of oregano. Stir well so tahini breaks down completely into the olive oil. Squeeze the juice of 1 fresh lemon and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. You want it to be intense because it will dress the entire salad. You might need to add 1 TBSP or so of cold water, depending on how thick your tahini is. Mix the dressing well, pour into the bowl of veggies and stir. Cover and shake and marinate overnight.

This is a delicious mix of mellow and bright flavors, some heat from the garlic, sweetness from the carrots, tang from the onions and lemon, earthiness from the celery and cumin and all held together by the chickpeas. There’s lots of crunch and chewy toothsomeness.  It’s better every time you serve it.

Dragon’s Breath Sweet & Sour Pork

S&S Pork

 

This is significantly tastier than dragon’s breath, but it will add a touch of fire to your day. I was hankering for some sweet and sour pork, but I also had some parboiled rutabaga left over from salad fixings and some pitted cherries left from a chutney I had made and it occurred to me that they could work in a sweet and sour pork. They would add compatible flavors, at least. However, there was nothing at least about this dish. It was by far the most delicious sweet and sour pork I have ever made.

So, to start it off. I chopped half an onion and minced an inch of ginger and 1 serrano chile. I sautéed them in olive oil on a medium low heat with some salt and pepper. Meanwhile I chopped up 1/2 a red pepper. I had cleaned and cut up the pineapple yesterday, so it was in a container in the fridge. I parboiled rutabagas for salad 2 days ago and they were also in the fridge in a container. I added a pork loin chop (about 6 ounces) and let it cook with the onions, ginger and chile and added some salt and pepper. When it was browned on one side, I added the red pepper. I let cook for about 5 minutes and added 1/4 cup cherries and 1/4 cup of pineapple chunks and 1/4 cup of rutabaga and season with salt and pepper. I let them cook until warm. Then I added 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of white vinegar and stirred. Added salt and pepper to taste.

Please note that when you add salt and pepper at ever step of cooking, you are adding much less at one time. Seasoning step by step means you will avoid over or under seasoning.

I served over plain rice. This had all that sweet and sour pungency of the traditional dish, but the rutabaga and cherries added an earthiness and umami that made it simply out of this world. Frankly, it would taste delicious without the pork for a vegetarian entree.