a sweet corn and lentil salad to round out the summer!

sweet summer corn salad

sweet summer corn salad with lentils

once again, i feel summer slipping out of our grips before we’ve even had time to truly welcome and enjoy it. this summer in particular seems to have blown by so fast it’s hard to believe it was ever here! this may have something to do with the fact that mr. sun chose not to grace us with [his} lovely warm presence as often as [he] typically does in sunny san diego! well, there’s still hope. summer has always been my favorite season-i’m just that much happier in the heat, soft sand on my feet, warm sun on my skin, sweet fruit in my mouth, the smell of the grill in the air, watching the children run free and the sun set over the ocean (it never gets old)! there’s the smell of peaches in the air, windows wide open, curtains blowing in the breeze, picnics, late nights, the best tomatoes ever, the occasional spoon (or two) of ice cream, did i mention the tomatoes?

La Jolla sunsets

one of those sunsets…

when it’s warm out, we tend to eat a little later, and a little lighter. often, if we find the time, we pack our dinners to eat at the beach. when i found sweet organic corn at the market (not so easy to find these days) a few days ago, i decided to make a light and easy salad for our beach dinner. i added small lentils as a good source of flavor and protein, and fresh lemon juice to round out the favors. the resulting (more than a simple) salad was a big hit. we’ll probably have it one more time before we officially bid summer goodbye-it’s only a few days past mid-August after all!

corn cut off the cob

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birthday dinner: steak with tarragon shallot sauce, home made fries(!!), hk’s oyster mushrooms, and roasted asparagus!

it was a certain some one special’s birthday recently right after he had returned from a big journey, so we decided to have a nice meal at home-the birthday boy chose the menu: organic grass fed new york steaks (he claimed we hadn’t had any steak recently-which was technically true) served with a heavenly (and rather rich) tarragon sauce (le relais de l’entrecote secret sauce wannabe), hand cut home made french fries which tasted much better than they looked, quickly stir fried oyster mushrooms with dijon mustard (his recipe from the bachelor days), and finally- roasted asparagus. we ate well that night. happy-happy!

ingredients for the (entrecote wannabe) sauce:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch tarragon
  • 1 shallot
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt, cracked pepper
  • 2 tbs creme fraiche or sour cream * see creme fraiche recipe below*
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • a splash of good wine (optional)

pulse together-tarragon leaves (no stems), 1 small shallot (or 1/2 large), garlic, a touch of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

melt 1-2 tsp butter in a sauce pan and add the herb mixture to the pot on med/high heat, stirring constantly for about 2-3 minutes

reduce the heat and add either a nice squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of wine (not too much), 1 tbs good french dijon mustard, mix well, then and 2 tbs creme fraiche (or sour cream), stirring for a minute or two on med/low heat before removing from from the stove. add the juices from your steak (or deglaze the pan with a splash of wine) to the warm sauce and mix well prior to serving. i marinate my steaks (grass fed) in a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and some rosemary or thyme-sea salt is added once the steak is in the frying pan or lately always on the grill.

*creme fraiche*: in case you ever need some and can’t find it at the store (it happens), you can make creme fraiche at home- combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a container (glass). cover and let it stand at room temperature for a minimum of 8 hours and up to 24, or until the mixture is very thick. stir well, cover, and refrigerate.

for the oyster mushrooms a l’hk:
oyster mushrooms (a good amount-keeping in mind they shrink drastically)

  • 1 heaping tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, cracked pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • a small bunch flat leaf parsley or fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

add the olive oil to a frying pan on high heat, then add the mushrooms to the pan as soon as the oil is just hot, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste, and stir fry until just tender-
combine the mustard and lemon juice, mix well, then add to the hot pan of stir fried mushrooms, stirring well,  stir fry for just another minute or two until the liquid is absorbed.

top with fresh herbs and freshly ground pepper. serve.

for the grilled asparagus:
remove the hard stems of the asparagus, lay them on a sheet pan, add a touch of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper, make sure they are all coated well, then bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. done.

for the fries…they didn’t look so good, so i’m not sure i should be sharing my fabulous technique (haha), but they were delicious:

  • about 10 medium organic yellow potatoes (you can peel them if you prefer)
  • safflower oil & extra virgin olive oil (i used half of each)-enough to fill up to half of your pot.
  • sea salt to taste
  • cut the potatoes into evenly thin slices and soak them in cold water for about 20-30 minutes, then remove and pat them dry (completely).

heat the oil to about 325 degrees, then carefully add the potatoes, and fry them until golden brown. remove carefully with a slotted spatula and place on a few paper towels to drain the extra oil. sprinkle with sea salt and serve right away. obviously i could use some tips on making better looking fries, so any comments/recommendations would be greatly appreciated (although i don’t foresee making fries again any time soon)!

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