Avocado Salad with Corn and Tomatoes –Fresh and Delicious

DSCN0190 DSCN0195 DSCN0194 DSCN0199It’ s June so let’s break out all the delicious summer food. This is a most perfect summer salad and it is a vegetarian delight . It is totally vegan. I am not a vegan but totally love this salad with all it’s fresh flavors . I had 2 beautiful ripe avocados on hand and all the ingredients for this yummy salad.  I had some fresh corn so I just brought the water to a boil threw it in and when it turned yellow took it out and threw it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.   Of course I love  jalapenos , use your own discretion and this would be amazing without as well but it was kick ass with them.  You can make the salad ahead and let juices meld but don’t add the avocados till you’re ready to serve.  You can give them a little squeeze of fresh lime juice so they won’t turn brown so fast.  I like to serve salad at room temperature, you just don’t get the flavors when it’s too cold. It will keep in fridge for a few days, but you’ll have to take out the leftover avocado since it will turn brown. I cut this salad in 1/2 for the 2 of us. This easily will serve 6 as a side. By the way Joel took a bite but too much healthy stuff going on in here for his liking, although he’s gotten better he’s not quite up to this yet, it’s OK because there was more for me with leftovers.

I was inspired for this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Guacamole Salad. The corn was my idea.

Ingredients:

2 cobs of fresh corn ( cook and then shuck corn off the cob) if no fresh corn available use frozen . I use frozen when I have to and 1 small bag is usually sufficient. The frozen corn will defrost very quickly so just take it out and when you mix in with other ingredients it will start to completely thaw by the time you’re ready to serve. You want to serve at room temperature anyway.

1 pint grape tomatoes , halved

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced into small pieces ( app. 1/2 “)

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup small diced red onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded ( app. 2 small jalapenos) use at your own discretion . Remove Seeds

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( 2 limes)

1/4 cup good olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into small cubes.

Directions:

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper. Pour over the vegetables. Toss well. In the meanwhile cook the corn , bring water to a boil throw in for a few minutes to turn bright yellow, then I throw in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking and lock in flavor and color. Then remove corn from cob. I let the salad sit for about an hour before adding avocados into the salad. Just fold avocados into the salad when you’re ready to serve. Check for seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Happy Memorial Day Blackberry Cobbler

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping

before cobbler gets baked , with biscuit topping


finished product - Yum

finished product – Yum

photo (3)

Memorial Day 2019 is almost upon us and the weather here in NY is supposed to be beautiful and we can enjoy a wonderful 3 day weekend. This particular holiday is always celebrated on the last Monday of May to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military.  So let’s spend some time this weekend to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for this wonderful country of ours.  

It’s a most perfect time to pick up some of these beautiful blackberries and what better time than to make this delicious cobbler. Go grab some of these black beauties and make this cobbler this weekend and look like a professional baker! Absolutely the most delicious and served alongside some Vanilla Ice Cream this is just perfection on a plate. This is really easy and I promise that it will get rave reviews.

Enjoy the unofficial start of the summer season! We finally made it.

Ingredients:

1 pound or about 3 1/2 – 4 cups blackberries , cleaned , rinsed and dried

1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar, I use regular granulated sugar for cobbler inside and on top I use turbinado sugar. 1/2 cup granulated sugar for inside cobbler and 1/4 cup turbinado

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole milk or you can use low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup boiling water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl I place the clean blackberries that I’ve washed and dried. I sprinkle them with the arrowroot and lemon juice and mix gently  Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, I sift the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk and butter. Stir until just combined, don’t over stir, it shouldn’t be smooth. Then by the moundful drop dough onto blackberries. I spread around a little bit but don’t completely cover the top of berries. ( see photo) the dough will spread a little once it’s baked.

Pour boiling water over the dough and fruit before you bake it. Sprinkle top with 1/4 turbinado sugar or regular sugar. Raw sugar or turbinado sugar makes it a little crunchier topping. I prefer it to regular sugar for a topping.

*if you are preparing in advance which is what I did today. Prepare up till the boiling water and sugar part. Refrigerate for up to 2 days , bring to room temperature then pour boiling water and top with sugar and bake. I baked for app. 45 minutes till dough gets browned and crackly looking and blackberries are bubbling. ( see photos)

Happy Cooking and Happy Memorial Day from my kitchen to yours.

Baked Chicken Caprese

After 2 weeks of being out of my kitchen and constantly eating out it was time for a homemade meal. Don’t get me wrong I love to eat out as much as the next one but sometimes we all just yearn for a home cooked meal eaten at home. I sort of threw this together and I have to say this meal came out delicious. I served over zucchini noodles (zoodles) and some sliced roasted fingerling potatoes. Feel free to use pasta and since the sauce is so delicate and light I would use an angel hair type of pasta.

This was a lightened up version of a Chicken Parmigiana and it satisfied my yen for Chicken Parmigiana but much lighter than the usual fare.

Enjoy!

Please follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

3-4 Chicken Breasts — I used 4 Thinly sliced Chicken Breasts

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3/4 Teaspoon dried Basil

3/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 -2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes– I used Campari Tomatoes and sliced in 1/2 I preferred a larger tomato here since they really break down and make a sauce from the heat . If you can’t find Campari Tomatoesuse 2 pints of grape tomatoes and slice in half.

1/3 cup Red Onion — diced

3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 – 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella– if you’d like you can also use Fresh Mozzarella –sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place Chicken Breasts in a large baking dish or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with Olive Oil, basil, oregano, garlic powder , salt and pepper

Place halved tomatoes and diced red onion all around the chicken

Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar

Bake for 18-29-0 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts. I did app. 18 minutes

After chicken is cooked through (peek at it with a little slice )sprinkle with the cheese

Set oven to broil and place baking pan on the top rack. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted .

I served with Zucchini noodles and roasted fingerling potatoes.

Delicious!!!

Farro Salad

I made this last night combining my recipe which is on my blog “Summer Salad-Farm Fresh Farro” and Charlie Bird’s Famous Farro Salad. My blog post was from a few years ago long before I ever saw Charlie Birds version.  Please feel free to add veggies at your own discretion. It’s a loose recipe but this is what I did. This would make a great addition to any BBQ and perfect for Fathers Day 2019 or anytime.

Special thanks to Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad @nytimes cooking site by Melissa Clark

cooking@nytimes.com – one of the best cooking sites I know

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

1 cup Farro

1 cup apple cider

2 cups of water

2 teaspoons kosher salt, and more to your own liking

2 bay leaves

8 Tablespoons extra -virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice- I used 1 large lemon

app. 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan Cheese , I used a vegetable peeler but I do know you can buy Parmesan Cheese shaved this way ( time and mess saver)

app. 1/2 cup shelled Pistachios–I used salted pistachios and chopped them myself. You can use raw pistachios but they’re a tad tasteless.

app. 2 cups Arugula

app. 1 cup torn Basil Leaves

app. 1 cup Mint leaves-cut up into smaller pieces

2 large radishes sliced thinly or rough chopped

Directions:

Farro:

In a medium saucepan, bring farro,  apple cider, dash of kosher salt , 2 bay leaves and 2 cups of water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If farro is cooked but there is still water I put in a colander/strainer and leave it till it cools down. If on the other hand the water evaporates before the farro is done, you’ll have to add a little more water. You can always strain it so no worries–but don’t overcook. Let farro cool down and discard the 2 bay leaves.

Salad:

In a salad bowl (large enough to fold in arugula and mix) whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, I use a wire whisk, it’s an amazing kitchen tool. Add the cooled down farro, parmesan cheese and chopped pistachio nuts, mix well.

This salad base will sit for a few hours at room temperature. I made it that afternoon for that evening and never put it in fridge. Salad is always best at room temperature so if you do refrigerate, just bring to room temperature before serving.

Just before serving, fold in the arugula, herbs, radishes and taste for salt. If not salty enough sprinkle a little flaky sea salt or kosher salt. You’ll thank me for this recipe.IMG_1779IMG_1780

Sheet Pan Shrimp with Asparagus and Potatoes

IMG_4193

This dinner was just delicious.  I used under 8 size shrimp. What this means is that there were about 8 to a pound , so rather large and the cooking times were perfect for them. You will probably have to adjust your cooking time depending on the size of your shrimp. Obviously the larger shrimp took a little longer to cook. I will give you a range of time for anywhere from under 16 to under 8. Timing will vary depending on your oven and the size of the shrimp you use.  The potatoes and asparagus times will remain pretty much the same. I just love cooking on one sheet in the oven! This recipe is a keeper and one I will re-visit often and maybe use different veggies, since I am the only one who ate the asparagus anyway.

Ingredients:

1 pound large shrimp ( anywhere from 8 – 16 count) is perfect – thawed, peeled and de-veined and leave the tails on

Extra – Virgin Olive Oil

3 cloves of garlic-minced

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes if you hate the spice you can omit it

2 Lemons, 1 for zest and juice of, the other 1 thinly sliced

1 lb. Asparagus-trimmed

1 lb. Fingerling Potatoes–halved lengthwise

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper–read directions for amounts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a large rimmed baking sheet for easy clean up

Place the shrimp in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil . Add in minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to coat and set aside.

In another mixing bowl , toss the sliced potatoes with 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Season generously with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper. Transfer Potatoes to the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast potatoes for anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes, or until they are almost tender.

While potatoes are roasting, toss asparagus with 1/2 Tbsp.of Olive Oil and season with Salt and Pepper,  Set aside

Now add 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice to bowl of shrimp and toss to coat. Season Shrimp pretty generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

After 20 minutes or so remove potatoes from the oven and add asparagus and lemon slices to baking sheet. Continue to roast potatoes and asparagus for another 10 minutes,  potatoes should be tender by now , pierce a potatoe with a fork to check for tenderness. If potatoes still need time you can leave them in for a few more minutes. Using a slotted spoon add shrimp to baking sheet and put back in the oven. Roast for another 10 minutes or until shrimp are pink-opaque and firm to touch. My shrimp took about 12 more minutes, this time will depend on your shrimp. I checked after 5 minutes and using tongs turned them over and continued cooking for another 7 more minutes.

When I removed from oven I sprinkled with lemon zest. Perfection on a plate!

*one added tip– after my shrimp is peeled and de-veined and before I am about to cook I always wrap my shrimp in some paper towels to dry them off. It helps with the oil and spices sticking to shrimp.

 

 

 

Lobster Cobb Salad and Honey Lime Vinaigrette

This is a delicious, tart salad dressing.  The flavors are perfect together it’s the perfect combination of tart and sweet. I served this lobster salad with baby greens, beets, lobster, corn, chopped eggs, tomatoes,  bacon (on the side) and, of course, avocado.  I bought the lobster (already cooked) You can purchase at your local fish store and specialty stores.  I cooked and  cut up beets, made some hard-boiled eggs and cut up tomatoes along with other ingredients.  I will put all the other ingredients in little bowls and let everyone choose what they like . I set up a make your own salad bar. So those who are vegetarian pick their ingredients and everyone is happy.

This is a wonderful addition to any brunch/lunch– Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and a wonderful cold entree salad as well for dinner.

Happy Mother’s Day from my kitchen to yours.

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (1 small lime)

1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt (approx. 1/4 teaspoon, maybe a bit more)

freshly ground black pepper

*you may want to double .  This will make approx. 1/2 cup salad dressing

Directions:

Whisk the vinegar, honey and lime juice together in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Salad:

You can feel free to add and subtract ingredients:

I use any type of greens –usually Romaine and a dark green mixture of greens

I used corn, beets, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocados, and bacon. Sometimes I use shredded cheese or blue cheese (even though I really don’t like blue cheese at all) and black or green olives cut up are delicious in here as well. And feel free to substitute chicken for the lobster and add and subtract whatever you’d like.

When I serve for brunch I put all the ingredients in separate little bowls and let everyone choose their favorite ingredients. Dressing on the side–of course.

I made it like this just for us for dinner without all the sides. this was the only picture I had since I forgot to photograph it when I made it the last time. For just 2 or 4 people you can do it like this in a large bowl.

Veggie Frittata for Mothers Day

This frittata is a delicious addition to any brunch and oh so perfect for Mother’s Day.  This is pretty delicious and a crowd pleaser. There is some prep involved so I cut up all the veggies the night before and leave them in little baggies in the fridge. I was ready to go the next day. Enjoy your Mothers Day from our house to yours.

Veggie Frittata

1 small zucchini , 1 inch diced (app)

1 red bell  pepper, seeded and diced (1 -2 ” diced)

1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced ( 1- 2″ diced)

1 red onion ( 1 – 2″ diced)

1/3 cup good olive oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 cloves)

12 extra large eggs (let them sit out at room temperature)

1 cup half and half

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green ( app. 3 scallions)

1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the zucchini, peppers, and onion on a sheet pan.( you want all the veggies the same size so they all cook evenly and at the same time) Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and toss well. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, give it a toss, and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven down Rome and Thanksgiving 053DSCN2293IMG_1999IMG_1438DSCN2950DSCN3141to 350 degrees.  This can be done one day ahead and leave in a container in the fridge till you’re ready to use.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half , Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

In a 10″ ovenproof sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the scallions over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the roasted veggies to the pan and toss with the scallions. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and cook for 2 minutes over medium=low heat without stirring. Transfer the pan the oven and bake the frittata for 20 – 30 minutes, until it is puffed up and set in the center. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the Gruyere and bake for another 4 minutes or until the cheese is just melted.  Put the pan right on the table and cut wedges and serve hot! Enjoy and Happy Holidays.Featured Image -- 7127

Happy Cinco de Mayo–Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili

This is a good way to celebrate  Cinco de Mayo!!! Super easy recipe and will cook in the slow cooker on high in 6 hours! So set it and forget it.

Slow cookers make for perfect cooking all year round. Nothing better than setting it and forgetting it! Making life easier and less clean up after dinner. I bought all my ingredients yesterday and went to Soul Cycle this morning , came home and by 10 am this was cooking in the slow cooker. I actually put it to high cook for 6 hours and I am sitting here smelling all this deliciousness . I happened to have a package of Taco Seasoning Mix in the house so I used it along with cumin and chili powder. I used dark meat and white meat chicken, you can use whichever chicken you’d like. Just set it and forget it and come home to this delicious meal of chicken . If you don’t own a slow cooker this may be a good time to buy one!

follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi and have a happy Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion , chopped

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained-you don’t have to rinse the organic beans. If you already have them in the house and they’re not organic just rinse them with water and drain.

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained -you don’t have to rinse the organic beans–same instructions as above

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

10 oz. package frozen corn kernels

2 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chilies –available in the Mexican Food aisle in the supermarket

4 oz. can chopped green chili peppers, chopped–also available in the Mexican Food aisle

1 packet Taco Seasoning- *if you don’t like using Taco Seasoning see note below

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2-1 Tbsp. chili powder

Kosher Salt to taste–if using the package of Taco Seasoning you may not need extra salt , wait till 6 hours of cooking are over and taste for salt . I sprinkled a little bit at the end of seasoning to taste.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts and I added 6 small skinless , boneless chicken thighs and if you cannot find boneless don’t worry because the meat will fall off the bones and you can remove all the bones from the chili before serving.

I don’t know the nutrition information but I have to believe that this is a fairly low-fat , low caloric way to go. I added the dark meat so maybe not as light as you can make it. Enjoy!

*handful of fresh cilantro – chopped if you would like

Directions:

Combine drained beans, onion, chili peppers, corn , tomato sauce, diced tomato, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and mix well.

Nestle the chicken in to completely cover and cook either on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours. I did it on high for 6 hours.

App. 1/2 hour before the cooking was over I thought I would shred the chicken, when I opened the slow cooker and started to stir the chicken it all just fell apart on its own!!! This was so amazing how I didn’t even have to do that. I guess it cooked so long that it just fell apart! This was just perfect and tasted so delicious! If that is not your experience and you only cook for 4 hours you may want to shred the chicken yourself about 1/2 hour before finished. But mine really did shred itself as I stirred it with a wooden spoon.

Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite chili toppings! I also serve with soft corn tortillas. You can use crunchy taco shells or whatever you’d like, this is totally optional. And some avocado never hurt anyone!

Yum!!!

*to make your own seasoning follow this

1 1/2 Tbsp. Cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Onion Powder

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Roast Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing – Weeknight Salad

DSCN0069photoI was in the mood for something light for dinner and wanted to make a dressing with buttermilk and mustard. I picked up a roast chicken because I was very pressed for time, but didn’t want to eat a plain roast chicken from the market. I grabbed some beautiful romaine, but I know this would be perfectly awesome with kale,  Joel is not big on kale and prefers romaine. Next time I make this I am using chopped kale, preferably baby kale. In any event I used romaine, took the skin off the chicken and shredded it with my hands. Just used romaine, tomatoes, chicken and dressing. Next time out I add avocado for sure, doubt Joel will eat it but I am putting in avocado. This is an awesome lunchtime salad and so easy to pull together for a light dinner meal and mix in whatever other veggies you’d like.  Dressing is killer and only 3 Tablespoons of Buttermilk! This is also awesome if you have leftover chicken and don’t know what to do with it. The inspiration for this salad and dressing comes from a blog I follow,  124 Park. Part of being a part of the blog culture I am exposed to some really wonderful blogs , I just wish I had the time to read all of them.

This dressing should be good for at least 4 servings. Feel free to double it.

Ingredients:

Buttermilk Dressing:

1 clove garlic

1 egg yolk ( let egg sit out at room temperature) just not really cold

3 tablespoons of buttermilk ( lowfat is fine)

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/4  teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill (you can always add more salt if you would like)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

*feel free to double

Combine all ingredients except for olive oil in the blender including salt and pepper . Keeping blender on , add olive oil from the top in a slow stream until well incorporated.

Put salad greens, avocado , chicken and any other vegetables you’d like in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix salad adding dressing as needed.

Easy Israeli Salad

I finally calmed down after the Holidays and needed to return to some clean fresh eating. Even though I really do love all the Passover food it’s nice to return to some lighter fare.

I actually served this on my Seder Table and it so delicious along side any meat dish . I particularly love it over grilled chicken or fried chicken cutlets.

Whatever and whenever you decide to serve this it will be most wonderful.

Just a word about making ahead… I chopped and diced all the vegetables and put in a bowl and put in the fridge. I juiced my lemon and had it set aside. Right before serving I added olive oil and lemon juice stirred it up well and tasted for salt and pepper.

If you add oil and lemon juice too soon it will be very soggy and I don’t like it that way at all. So just have it all ready to serve and add dressing right before.

Ingredients;

this is what I used feel free to substitute whatever you’d like. ( Canned Chick Peas are also delicious in this) Olives, Scallions, Feta Cheese, whatever you feel like.

1 Large Seedless Cucumber or remove the seeds from a seeded one or just keep the seeds if you don’t care

1 box grape tomatoes halved

1 yellow pepper, diced or an orange one. I used orange and yellow about 1/2 and 1/2

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley , chopped

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil– I used 3 but you can start with 2 add the salt and pepper and add for more flavor after

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and chopped parsley and mix thoroughly to coat.

Season with Salt and Pepper to your liking. Serve cold or at room temperature. I like it cold but it’s delicious either way.