plum…crazy?!

stonefruit "salsa" is colorful and refreshing!

stonefruit “salsa” is colorful and refreshing!

hello friends and family,

i think you will all agree that summer is the season for simple, healthy recipes and impromptu gatherings.  taking full advantage of the vibrant seasonal fruits and vegetables and the warmer light-filled evenings lend themselves to many memorable meals shared with those we love.

we experienced one such evening last week.  our dear friends and neighbors of over a dozen years, the rick/destiny irons family, invited us over to their “temporary” beach house for a cocktail party and barbecue.  (they are in the final stages of a major remodel of their own home.)  in addition to the ubiquitous cheese, olive and wine offerings, we wanted to share a colorful dish from our garden.  for me, the fun and rewarding aspect of growing a prolific edible garden is “creating” something with the ripest produce we are harvesting that particular day or week.  as we are still blessed with juicy, sweet/tart, ripe santa rosa plums, we decided they would be the focus of our dish.  now the question begged:  plum tart, pickled plums and red onions, plum compote, plum gelato or simply a bowl of fragrant plums as an offering?

my daughter, domenica, and i came up with something using many of our favorite flavors, including the plums and limes from our garden.  here’s another “suggestion”, not so much a recipe of how to enjoy summertime stone fruit.

A SALSA OF SORTS…

ingredients:  2 cups firm/ripe santa rosa plums, seeded and chopped; 1/4 cup finely diced red onion; 1/4 cup finely diced yellow or orange bell pepper; 1 jalapeño or serano chile, tiny dice (membranes and seeds removed for less heat); 1 large firm/ripe avocado, diced; 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice.  mix fruit, onion, peppers and chile together, gently fold in chopped avocado, lime juice and salt/pepper to taste.

not many ingredients!  definitely quick and healthy! immensely flavorful!  try it yourself with:  grilled pork tenderloin, roasted/herbed tofu, over chicken enchiladas with a tomatillo salsa, as a side to seared scallops, a topping for grilled fish tacos, or simply as a salsa with some hearty chips.

that evening we shared many stories, laughs and memories.  over the course of the cocktail hour the plum “salsa” disappeared and was touted as a successful “creation”.

it’s always wonderful to grow, harvest and enjoy fresh produce, but even better than that is sharing the bounty with people whose company you cherish.  enjoy those impromptu summer gatherings and keep the ingredients simple, seasonal and refreshing…

elena

p.s.  next post:  four varieties of cherry tomatoes…my favorite!


halloumi cheese stacks with grilled lemons, arugula and heirloom tomato

halloumi stacks…the cheese you can grill!

halloumi cheese stacks with grilled lemons, arugula and heirloom tomato
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Recipe type: vegetarian salad or appetizer
Author: elena
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 2-4
such a contrast! the salty grilled halloumi cheese and caramelized lemons…add some greens and heirloom tomato slices for a filling salad
Ingredients
  • 1 package halloumi cheese (sheep’s milk/no rennet – vegetarian)
  • lemon infused olive oil or EVOO (for brushing)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate or traditional dark balsamic (i use baker & olive pomegranate balsamic)
  • freshly ground blackpepper
  • 1 medium ripe/firm heirloom tomato (preferably red or orange) sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups rinsed and dried baby arugula
  • 1 medium eureka lemon – sliced 1/4 inch thick

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eggplant and herbed goat cheese roulade

goat cheese rolled into grilled eggplant for an impressive presentation

eggplant and herbed goat cheese roulade
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Recipe type: vegetarian sidedish
Author: elena
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 3 to 6
herbed goat cheese rolled into grilled eggplant…impressive yet easy!
Ingredients
  • 1 medium globe eggplant, firm and unbruised
  • 1 3 oz pkg plain goat cheese
  • olive oil for brushing on eggplant
  • low sodium soy sauce (or tamari) for brushing on eggplant
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground blackpepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced rosemary or thyme or a combination
  • fresh herb sprigs for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. put goat cheese log into small bowl to bring to room temperature
  2. heat grill or grill pan to medium high
  3. slice off both ends of eggplant; discard ends
  4. slice eggplant vertically into 1/2 inch slices; lay flat on plate
  5. brush both sides eggplant with olive oil
  6. brush both sides eggplant with soy sauce (or tamari if gluten intolerant)
  7. sprinkle lightly with freshly ground blackpepper
  8. grill eggplant approx. 4 min per side or until tender and cooked through and grill marks appear (do not overcook or eggplant will become brittle)
  9. cool slightly
  10. while eggplant is grilling add chopped herbs and 1/8 teaspoon salt to goat cheese and mix with a fork to make a paste
  11. with a small spatula apply a thin 1/4 inch layer of the goat cheese to entire slice of eggplant
  12. starting with shorter end, roll up evenly and secure with toothpick
  13. continue until all slices are rolled up (approx. 6 rollups)
  14. serve at room temperature or slightly reheated in a warm oven

caprese salad on a stick…

so many flavors in one bite!

caprese salad on a stick…
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Recipe type: appetizer
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 24
the perfect appetizer for any occasion…drizzle with a good balsamic vinaigrette, if desired, and watch the mini capreses disappear!
Ingredients
  • 24 small fresh mozzarella balls in water (generally 1 container)
  • 24 ripe/firm cherry tomatoes (variety of colors preferable)
  • 48 small basil leaves stemmed (or 24 large leaves cut in half)
  • 48 wooden toothpicks
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette to drizzle over when serving
  • note: i make a simple vinaigrette to drizzle over as follows,
  • 1 tablespoon baker & olive traditional dark balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. cut the mozzarella balls in half with a sharp knife
  2. cut the cherry tomatoes in half with a sharp knife
  3. gently take one tomato half and lace onto toothpick (cut side facing in)
  4. skewer a basil leaf onto toothpick
  5. finish with a half ball of fresh mozzarella (cut side facing in)
  6. to make the balsamic vinaigrette put vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small jar
  7. shake to mix and add EVOO very slowly, shake again to emulsify
  8. drizzle the skewers with balsamic vinaigrette JUST before serving…
  9. enjoy!

apricot/goat cheese appetizer

delicious and easy to make appetizer!

apricot/goat cheese appetizer

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Recipe type: easy and healthy appetizer
Author: elena
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 12
sweet dried apricots paired with tangy goat cheese are a great and healthy combo. adding a bit of finely chopped basil and dry roasted unsalted pistachio to each bite adds another layer of flavor, texture and visual appeal…
Ingredients
  • 24 dried apricots (bulk section/preferably turkish)
  • 1 small log plain goat cheese
  • 24 dry roasted unsalted pistachios (bulk section or TRADER JOES)
  • 4-5 washed, dried and finely chopped basil leaves; plus more for garnish if using
Instructions
  1. unwrap goat cheese and put into medium bowl at room temperature (approx. 30 min) to soften
  2. very finely chop basil leaves;
  3. mix chopped basil into softened goat cheese with a fork;
  4. with clean/dry hands roll a small ball of goat cheese and place on top of each apricot;
  5. press a dry roasted unsalted pistachio into the goat cheese;
  6. garnish with extra basil leaves if desired.
  7. enjoy!