CANTALOUPE/BERRY SALAD

Decided to take advantage of the peak of cantaloupe season  (June/August) by making a salad. It was the perfect time to use the nifty gadget, melon baller on my cantaloupe. It turned out some super-sweet balls. They made my taste buds salivate with delight. Balanced out my sweet cantaloupe with some of my favorite berries, blueberries.

These fiber and antioxidant berries were just what my melon needed. With the tart and sweet taste, they gave a fine balance to my summer salad. With a squeeze of fresh lemon and an input of finely chopped mint, my cantaloupe, and berry salad came to a refreshing and mouth-watering finish.

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I ITALIANISED MY MEAL! #FARRO SALAD/SALMON STEAK

Didn’t think twice to pair the two. It was a match made in culinary heaven. Needed to use my wholesome grains that Mother Nature gifted yours truly. Made enough farro salad the previous day. This included sautéed onions, zucchini, mini bell peppers and garlic.

FARRO SALAD
FARRO SALAD

My taste-buds were on high alert. I couldn’t wait to partake of my protein/fiber salad made from Italian pearled farro. Decided to pair same with a seafood treat and went with a favorite of mine, salmon steak. It was a tad thick, so, I made a slit  and kept the skin on.

Seared my omega fatty acid dish in a drizzle of olive oil and set aside. Then finely chopped onions were added to skillet along with chopped olives. Because I know that seafood loves acid, a generous squeeze of lime and thinly chopped lime slices and a pat of butter were added.

Returned salmon to the skillet to absorb all the delicious flavors within and to spoon on the citrus/butter sauce. Topped salmon steak with extra chopped olives and lime and garnished same with finely chopped parsley I had on hand.

FARRO SALAD AND SEARED SALMON STEAK
FARRO SALAD AND SEARED SALMON STEAK

One thing I know is that I will be revisiting this Italian treat. And, that’s for sure.

 

 

FARRO ALL THE WAY!! #PROTEIN/FIBER GALORE!

Once again, I jumped overboard. I hit the Mediterranean  coast. There, I discovered a grain that has been around for many centuries. It’s hearty and quite satisfying. Moreover, it’s loaded with an abundance of protein and fibers. Any meal that can fill me up, count me in!

I didn’t have to travel to that part of the world. Thanks to my neighborhood supermarket, I was able to fetch an atypical whole grain that has been around for eons. It’s called farro. Because of the removal of the husk, this particular version (Italian) takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes to cook and yet still holds a crunchy bite.

The beauty about farro is that it can be had either savory or sweet/hot or cold. It has a rice-like appearance and will take on any flavor that is cooked with it.  Thus, I decided to substitute my morning’s oatmeal for this ancient grain. And oh, my palate was super-excited.

I made sure to cook the sufficient grains from the previous night to do double-duty: breakfast (hot cereal)  and dinner(salad).

  • Brought 2 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt.
  • Rinsed 1 cup of farro under cold water and added to boiling water.
  • Stirred and allowed same to cook under low to medium heat until all the water was absorbed.

    COOKED FARRO
    COOKED FARRO

FOR BREAKFAST:

  • Added a splash of whole milk to cereal along with a splash of vanilla and sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Sweetened with brown sugar to taste.
  • Topped cereal with fresh blueberries and strawberries.

    HOT FARRO WITH FRESH BERRIES
    HOT FARRO WITH FRESH BERRIES

FOR SALAD:

  • Sauteed mini bell peppers, onions, chopped zucchini, crushed garlic and chopped tomatoes in a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Added to cooked farro and  folded and combined all ingredients.
    FARRO SALAD
    FARRO SALAD

    Salad can be consumed warm or at room temperature. The addition of any choice protein: seafood, poultry or meat would be a great accompaniment.

 

 

 

 

BIG LOVE!! #FRUIT FEST

As the summer temperatures and humidity skyrocket on the outskirts, my palate takes a nose-dive with my food choices. I’m less likely to cook heavy meals. I crave the light and easy.

Moreover, I tend to increase the amount of fruits in my daily dietary plan. Thanks to my neighborhood farmer’s market, I’m able to access relatively inexpensive fruits that are locally grown.

WATERMELON BALLS WITH CHERRY
WATERMELON BALLS WITH CHERRY

These wholesome foods help to replenish what I lost via perspiration and otherwise during the sizzling days.  Fruits are loaded with nutrients like fibers, vitamins, potassium and others which are beneficial to the body.

You could say, these fruits and I have a great kinship.

NATURE’S BOUNTY #ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

I can’t complain. The autumn (Fall) season has emerged in my kitchen in a huge way. It has doled out  some of earth’s finest in the form of root vegetables. Thus, I treated them one of the favorite ways I like. I decided to roast them. Roasting is perfect for these veggies as it brings out the nutty and natural sugar within. Moreover, I know that these vegetables are filled with nutrients that are beneficial for the body.

So, it was with glee that I grabbed my baking sheet  and embarked on a culinary process. Some of the veggies that were included were:

  • Fennel
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
ROOT VEGETABLES FOR ROASTING
ROOT VEGETABLES FOR ROASTING

Vegetables were drizzled with canola oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper. Then, for extra flavor of spices, I added a sprinkle of paprika and cinnamon to carrots and sweet potatoes. These were placed in a heated oven of 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Then then were given an additional 10 minutes at 420 degrees.

I couldn’t help myself; had a serving of summer’s favorites (loose grilled corn). I made extra during the summer and stored same in freezer. I did a rapid defrost in the microwave oven and added same to a quick pan-roast of small bell peppers and onions.

SMALL SWEET BELL PEPPERS IN SKILLET
SMALL SWEET BELL PEPPERS IN SKILLET
BELL PEPPERS, ONIONS AND LEFT-OVER GRILLED CORN
BELL PEPPERS, ONIONS AND LEFT-OVER GRILLED CORN

These were added to the oven roasted root vegetables. Each bite of the carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes was smooth and sweet. The corn still kept the sweet/crispness and the fennel had a beautiful licorice taste that went very well with all the other veggies.

OVEN AND PAN-ROASTED VEGETABLES
OVEN AND PAN-ROASTED VEGETABLES

All these roasted vegetables will be used a side dish for upcoming entrees.

ODD COMPANIONS? #SAUTEED CABBAGE/KALE WITH HARD-BOILED EGGS

It’s not often that I pair these food items. However, my palate was in a strange mood; so I rolled with the ‘punches’. Moreover, I just wanted to use up some left-over sautéed cabbage and kale I had cooked a couple of days ago. There was no way I was going toss. After all, that would be hard-earned money down the drain.

Like always, I often cook a little extra. My dear mom used to say, “cook an extra dumpling”. And so, I did (well, not dumpling, but cabbage and kale in this case). I was in a chopping mood; thus, I allowed my knife to do the talking. And talked it did and produced extra cabbage on my cutting board.

In a hot skillet, a drizzle of olive oil was placed. Finely finely chopped onions were softened and a clove of crushed garlic added. I made sure to season along with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Cabbage and kale were added to mix and quickly wilted down. Close to the end of cooking time, a mixture of honey was combined along with red wine vinegar. This was then tossed over warm veggie platter.

To top it off, I paired same with hard-boiled eggs. I haven’t eaten hard-boiled eggs for quite sometime. I love the way they keep me satiated for an extended time. They provide such a powerhouse of protein in the diet. Therefore, sometimes, I like to boil same and grab and go and sometimes chop and add to salads.

Eggs were placed in a stock pot with enough tap water to cover same. These were brought to a boil under medium heat for three minutes. Then, they were covered with lid for another ten minutes. Water was then drained and eggs were run under cold tap water and peeled and sliced. With a sprinkle of black pepper and finely chopped parsley, dish was ready to be devoured.

ONE OF THE JOY’S OF SUMMER #CANTALOUPE AND MINT SALAD

As summer makes its merry and torrid way out, I thought I would pay homage in my way. And, what better way to do so than with one of summer’s favorite melons, cantaloupe. This musky-flavored fruit generally ripens close to the beginning of April and peaks in August. I was happy to secure one that was on sale for $2.50. Frankly, I knew the price could have been better; but, I went with it.

Based on studies, cantaloupes are rich in vitamins (A, K, B-6), calcium, magnesium,  potassium, beta-carotene, a great abundance of antioxidants and other nutrients that are excellent for the body.

Most times, I make smoothies with my cantaloupe; however, I decided to make my melon baller do the ‘talking’.

Melon baller used to scoop cantaloupe
Melon baller used to scoop cantaloupe

I decided to make a cantaloupe and mint salad along with thinly sliced ginger root. Melon was scooped in bowl. Then, thinly sliced ginger root pieces were added. A simple syrup was created consisting of a piece of crushed ginger root and a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of honey. After cooling, a squeeze of lime juice was added; then drizzled over scooped cantaloupe and ginger root.

Finely chopped fresh mint was then added and gently folded in. Fruit salad was then chilled in refrigerator and served.

VINE-RIPE TOMATOES AND TARRAGON SALAD

The marketplace is still loaded with one of summer’s favorites, vine ripe tomatoes. As a result, I took advantage of the influx by purchasing a few. Based on studies, tomatoes are best stored outside the refrigerator at room temperature so as allow all the flavors to mature.  Thus, I practice same and use these sweet and juicy specimens in my dishes.

One way that I like to use them is to make a refreshing tomato salad. However, I took it up to a notch by adding the distinctive taste of the bitter/sweet tarragon. Brought home a bunch a few days ago and so far, I’ve used it in fish and chicken dishes. I was very satisfied with the results.

Tarragon is also excellent with tomatoes. Thus, I didn’t hesitate to pair the two. I roughly chopped tomatoes and added a pinch of salt and black pepper, splash of red wine vinegar, drizzle of olive oil, a touch of honey and of course, finely chopped tarragon. This herb brought my tomatoes to another beautiful level. I was over the moon.

FRUIT SALAD PLATE AND A MELON SHOT TO START MY DAY

Over the week-end, I took time out to celebrate the milestones in two of my friends’ lives. And with any celebration, we can’t help it, we often go a tad overboard. And, that’s what occurred over the week-end. I indulged in some amazing dishes that were appealing to my palate and I. Also, I had quite a few cocktails that sent me ‘over the moon’ and back. Note to self, “don’t mix my drinks!”. Oh, I was super happy.

Well guys, I’m back to “justmeandmypot”, where I try to keep a balance. And today, I’ve decided to bring some redemption to yours truly. As a result, I made a refreshing cocktail consisting of watermelon, ginger root and lemon. I’ve also created an assorted fruit salad to provide the beneficial fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that my dear body needs.

Guys, my colon and entire body will be singing a redemption song throughout the day.