nav-left cat-right
cat-right

Strawberry, Feta and Bacon Salad...

Strawberry, Feta and Bacon Salad

The other day my Aunt Ellen sent me photos of some beautiful strawberry tarts she had made. Just seeing pictures of them was enough to get my taste buds going. Sadly the distance between Kent and Toronto is too great and I was denied a taste. She mentioned having an abundance of leftover strawberries and was unsure as to what to do with them. Immediate thoughts turned to smoothies, ice cream and jam – but surely there are other ways to use strawberries? A quick search uncovered this recipe for Strawberry and Arugala Salad.

I happened to have some spare strawberries so thought I’d give this salad a try myself. I wasn’t able to get a hold of prosciutto so used smoked, back bacon from the local butchers. For the salad leaves I opted for baby spinach, lamb’s lettuce and red chard with slivers of beetroot. It was amazing and definitely my kind of salad. The combination of sweet, juicy strawberries with salty bacon and creamy feta is to die for. This is the perfect summertime dish.

Here is the original recipe with my changes in paranthesis.

Strawberry And Arugula Salad With Crispy Prosciutto

Ingredients

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons honey (I used Canadian maple syrup)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/3 cup sliced red onion (I used shallots)

Olive oil cooking spray (I don’t use cooking spray)

4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces) (I used 4 slices of smoked back bacon)

6 cups baby arugula (about 5 ounces) (I used about half this amount of salad)

2 ounces goat cheese or feta, crumbled (I used feta)

Directions

Whisk together first 5 ingredients (through to the black pepper) in a large serving bowl.

Add berries and red onion; let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly coat a seasoned cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan with cooking spray, and heat over moderately high heat.

Add prosciutto in one layer, and cook, turning, about 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate to cool; crumble and reserve.

(What I did for the above step was to cook the back bacon, removing it from the heat once it was cooked through. I then trimmed the rind off the side in one long strip, putting it back into the pan, on a high heat, to help crisp it up – it curls up nicely too! I sliced the back bacon into bite-sized pieces and returned in to the pan for a further 5 minutes once the rind had crisped up slightly.)

Place the baby arugula in a large serving bowl with the cheese; add the strawberries, red onion, and balsamic dressing, and toss gently until just coated. (I added the bacon pieces at this stage and tossed everything together. I reserved the curly rind for a garnish at the end.)

Divide the salad among 4 serving plates, and top evenly with the cooked prosciutto.

(This made enough salad for my husband and I to have a lovely dinner with NO leftovers!)

Enjoy!

Red Bean Veggie Burgers: Everything A Veggie Burge...

Veggie Bean Burgers

Every so often I get a craving for a really well made veggie burger. Unfortunately my experience in ordering such a thing from restaurants has usually resulted in bitter disappointment and regret at not ordering the steak. The reason being is that most of the restaurant style veggie burgers I have had have either been:

• Greasy heavily processed lumps that sit unhappily in my stomach for days.

• Dry overcooked burgers that resemble month old cow pats and taste like saw dust.

This never made sense to me. When you think of all the wonderful vegetables, fresh herbs and spices at our disposal why do so many restaurants struggle to make a decent vegetable burger! Surely it can’t be that difficult?

Luckily for me my best friend Jessica is a Kitchen Witch and Gardener Extraordinaire. I am always in awe of what she grows in her garden and what she effortlessly whips up in the kitchen. A few months ago she sent me a recipe for red bean veggie burgers which she adapted from the well known and much loved cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I have now made her version of this recipe a few times and it just keeps on getting better and better. This is exactly what I have been searching for in a well made vegetable burger.

These are great to make on a Sunday and I am in the habit of making extra and freezing them for the week. They can be taken out in the morning for an easy dinner that night and they also make for a tasty filling lunch. All that’s needed is a bit of reheating which I tend to do in the oven. I serve them with cheese and pickles OR with hummus, red peppers and garden salad. Delicious!

I have reprinted her recipe exactly as she sent it to me. Here it is:

 

Jessica’s version of Red Bean Veggie Burgers  (we usually double/triple the recipe and freeze some)

Heat in a large skillet on medium heat:
2 teaspoons olive oil

Add and cook, stirring until softened:
1/2 cup chopped onions • 2 minced garlic cloves

Add and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes:
2 cups grated courgette (and/or carrots)
1 tsp chili powder • 1 tsp ground cumin

Soften Veggies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile mash in a large bowl:
3 cups cooked kidney beans • 2 Tbs mustard
2 Tbs catsup (ketchup) • 2 Tbs Worcestershire or soy sauce

Mash Kidney Beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add the vegetable mixture to the mashed beans and mix in:
1.5 cups oats
Various garden herbs (parsley, thyme, chives, etc.)

Herbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(We used Chives, Parsley and Chervil)

Mix it all together

Blend Together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season to taste with salt and pepper

Wet hands and shape resulting gooey goodness into
patties.

Fry the patties in oil over medium heat, or place
on cookie sheet and broil for 5-8 minutes on each side.

Frying yields a crispier patty, while broiling gives a
drier, less oily one.

You can also bake them in the oven
at 400F (200C or Gas Mark 6)

ready for the oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These burgers freeze well and can be reheated
on the stove top, in the oven, or on the grill.

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites, 1996

 

My cookbook wish list

Thanks to both my sister and my friend Jessica I have been able to tick a few books off my cookbook wish list!
As I posted last week my sister gave me the new cookbook from Fresh – REFRESH which is such a wonderful book. This week I will be trying out Susur Lee’s Smoothie.

Jessica brought a huge smile to my face when just a few days before Christmas a lovely parcel arrived with 2 wonderful books nestled inside. One of them was another top priority book on my list The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking For Health. I am not sure what my first recipe will be from this book but I am sorely tempted to try the Baked Sweet Potatoes Stuffed Three Ways.

These books will keep me busy for some time as they really all packed full of lots of exciting recipes to try. I hope you will keep checking back in to see what I make and hopefully to try some of these recipes for yourself!