Polynesian Adventure ~ Tuvalu Tuna, Samoan Tropical Salad, and ‘Otai

OtaiTonight I took a culinary trip to three different Polynesian island nations on this beautiful summer evening! I tried recipes from Tuvalu, Samoa, and Tonga.

All of the recipes were from an inspiring food blog I admire called Global Table Adventure. I discovered the blog when I read the author’s memoir in which she shared her journey to make the website. She went on a culinary voyage in her own kitchen, cooking a meal from every country in the world. (That is 195 countries!) Then she wrote about the recipes and her experiences making them, as well as facts about the countries from which they came. She also added beautiful photos of the food as well as the countries she featured. I have already tried a few of the recipes ranging from a chicken dish from Panama (Arroz con Pollo) to a breakfast dish from Israel (Shakshouka). I have learned about dishes I have never heard of before, and even countries that I wasn’t aware existed. The blog has helped to open up my corner of the world to the greater world, filled my wanderlust, and ignited my passion for cooking on days when I’m not feeling very enthusiastic about making dinner. It really is a wonderful website, and I hope you’ll check it out. 🙂 I plan to cook many more adventures from this collection of recipes.Tuvalu TunaOn tonight’s Polynesian adventure, the main course was called Tuvalu Tuna. Before perusing through the collection of recipes on Global Table Adventure, I wasn’t familiar with the island of Tuvalu. I learned that it is the smallest member of the Commonwealth of Nations. (Coincidentally, all of the nations featured in this meal are a part of the Commonwealth.) In fact, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Will and Kate) visited Tuvalu a few years back, and they experienced a little of the local food and dance. (If you need a smile, check out the second half of this video. 🙂 )

I lightened the dish a little from the original recipe by reducing the amount of oil to only 1 tablespoon, and using light coconut milk. I also served it with brown rice instead of white.

Tuvalu Tuna – Follow this recipe link to Global Table Adventure

I served the tuna dish with a simple salad from Samoa, which was the perfect accompaniment. It consisted of an unlikely combination of spinach, papaya, avocado, and cantaloupe, which worked together nicely.

Samoan Tropical Salad – Follow this recipe link to Global Table Adventure Polynesian AdventureI paired our dinner with a classic drink from Tonga called ‘Otai. I can’t think of anything that is more summery than watermelon, coconut, and lime blended together! (This was my second batch of ‘Otai, since it is that good!) I used a light coconut milk beverage like this, rather than a can of coconut milk. Serve in a tiki glass for the full Polynesian effect! I think this would also be lovely with a little rum to kick it up a bit. 😉

‘Otai – Follow this recipe link to Global Table AdventureOtai

A bright salad for a winter day ~ Kale and Citrus Salad

Kale and Orange SaladThis is a healthy, easy, and colorful salad to put together as a side dish to any meal. I love to make it at this time of the year, when citrus is in season. (Isn’t it cool that citrus fruit is at its peak in the middle of winter? It brightens up the darkest months. 🙂 ) Feel free to add any other favorite ingredients. I think grapefruit, avocado, beets, or pomegranate would go well. The sky is the limit! I kept mine simple this time around. It is a good, basic recipe to build on.

Kale and Citrus Salad

Serves 2

4 or 5 large stalks of kale, cut or torn into bite-size pieces (Discard tough center stems.)

1 orange, cut into supremes (For how-to, check out this link.)

Juice of the remaining portion of the orange (After supreming, squeeze the remaining portion of the orange over a liquid measuring cup to use all of its juice.)

Lemon juice, added to the orange juice so the total volume of the combined citrus juice equals ¼ cup

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the torn or chopped kale into a large bowl.

Slowly drizzle olive oil into the citrus juice mixture, whisking as you go until it is emulsified into a vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour as much of the vinaigrette over the kale as you would like. Rub the vinaigrette into each leaf, so every piece is well coated.

Top the greens with the orange supremes and enjoy!

Kale and Orange Salad

Happy 4th! ~ Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint


Happy Fourth of July everyone!

I made the most summery thing I could think of to celebrate this summer holiday today: A watermelon and cantaloupe salad tossed with mint and lemonade. A recipe inspired me from Giada DeLaurentis, but over the years, I have tweaked it to be the way I like it :). This is the streamlined version that is super easy to make anytime.

Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint

1 bunch fresh mint

¼ cup lemonade (you may not need the full ¼ cup)

2 cups watermelon balls, from about half a watermelon

2 cups cantaloupe balls, from about 1 cantaloupe

In a blender, combine the mint and as much lemonade as you need for the mixture to become completely blended. (Up to ¼ cup.)

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon and the cantaloupe balls. Add the mint/lemonade mixture and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl (or half a watermelon rind) and serve.

I also printed some very sweet little Fourth of July decorations from my favorite DIY site at the Elli blog. The patriotic decorations can be found here. So cute!


Merry Christmas ~ Belgian Endive and Frisée Salad with Fennel, Asian Pear and Spiced Walnuts in a Walnut Vinaigrette

Amid several heavy Christmas dishes, I made a light and festive salad that was inspired by a recipe from Domaine Chandon. The different elements really came together to make a delicious combination. It was very easy to assemble, but it felt a little special. That’s my idea of the perfect Christmas dish :).

I used walnuts instead of pecans to go with the walnut vinaigrette. I also replaced the butter in the nut recipe with Earth Balance, one of my exciting new culinary discoveries of the year :).

Belgian Endive and Frisée Salad with Fennel, Asian Pear and Spiced Walnuts in a Walnut Vinaigrette

Adapted from the Domaine Chandon Cookbook: Recipes from Étoile Restaurant

Spiced Walnuts

2 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons brown sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

2 cups walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a small saucepan, melt the Earth Balance over low heat. Stir in the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Add the walnuts, stirring to coat well. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until toasty brown, about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent sticking or burning. Remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


2 tbsp walnut oil

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp Champagne vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 small shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Belgian endives

1 head frisée lettuce, cored and coarsely chopped

1 fennel bulb, core and stalks removed, cut into thin rounds

1 Asian pear, cored and cut into matchsticks about 1/4 in thick

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup spiced walnuts (recipe above)

In a large salad bowl, combine the walnut oil, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, and garlic. Whisk until the vinaigrette thickens and all the ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Add the endives, frisée, fennel, and pear to the bowl. Toss gently until evenly coated with the vinaigrette. If desired, season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among 4 salad plates and garnish with the walnuts. Serve at once.

Serves 4 with leftovers.

Merry Christmas!

Lots to be thankful for ~ Roasted Pheasant with Chestnuts, Wild Rice and Fennel, Frisée Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnut and Cranberry Crostini and a Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrated a little early with family this year, so Rob and I had a quiet and cozy Thanksgiving for two on the actual holiday. I decided to shake things up a bit since we had the traditional turkey and sweet potatoes and all of that last week. For our own little celebration, we had Roasted Pheasant with Chestnuts, Wild Rice and Fennel, Frisée Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnut and Cranberry Crostini and a Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting. If you would like to try something off the beaten path for your holidays, we both thought all three were exceptional! The recipes were twists on the traditional fare, so it still felt like Thanksgiving, but it was fun to try a few new things.

The frisée salad was a festive little starter for our meal. I have to admit, I am not a big cranberry sauce fan, and so the addition of dried cranberries on the crostini was my version of “cranberry sauce.” 😉 I used quite a bit less blue cheese than the original recipe called for, and I was actually able to find a reduced fat cheese by Stella that had a very full flavor. I also used a baguette instead of ciabatta since I liked the size better, and it has fewer holes to let the goodies fall through ;). I made the whole recipe for the crostini, so as to have leftovers as snacks in the coming days.


Frisée Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Cranberry Crostini

Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine

24 ½ or ¼ inch-thick slices of a French baguette, depending on your preference

3 tablespoons walnut oil, divided

1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1/4 cup reduced fat blue cheese, crumbled

5 tablespoons minced shallots, divided

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 bunch of frisée lettuce

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange bread slices on baking sheet. Brush bread slices on top side with 2 tablespoons walnut oil. Bake until crisp, about 5 minutes.

Mix walnuts, cheese, 4 tablespoons shallots, and dried cranberries in medium bowl. Sprinkle mixture on toasts. Bake until cheese melts, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine frisée, 1 tablespoon shallots, 1 tablespoon walnut oil, and vinegar in bowl. Serve with crostini on top of the frisée.

For the pheasant dish, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I did omit the butter when called for and used olive oil instead. I also needed to cook the pheasant longer than 40 minutes to get the breast meat to 160 degrees. If you haven’t ever had pheasant before (like we hadn’t) it has a very mild taste, but it is definitely not chicken or turkey. It was less gamey than I expected. A nice refreshing change from our usual poultry choices :). The sizes of the pheasants were also perfect for two with leftovers. I used two little 2 lb birds. (If you are in the Seattle area, Don and Joe’s Meats in Pike Place Market carries pheasant along with many other specialty meats. It’s a fun place to visit if you are looking for a little culinary adventure!)


Roasted Pheasant with Chestnuts, Wild Rice and Fennel

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

2 cups fresh chestnuts

3/4 cup wild rice

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

2 pheasants (about 2 pounds each)

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

6 shallots, 2 minced and 4 slivered lengthwise

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

2 fennel bulbs (about 8 ounces each), sliced thinly crosswise

1 cup homemade chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. With a sharp knife, make two crosscut gashes on flat side of chestnuts. Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off skins and set aside.

Rinse rice well. In a medium saucepan, combine with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover loosely, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Rinse pheasant, and pat dry. Combine rosemary, garlic, minced shallots, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub cavity with mixture. Season outside with salt and pepper. Tie pheasant’s legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck wings under breast.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon oil in a roasting pan over medium heat. Brown bird evenly on all sides, about 15 minutes. Place breast side up; transfer to oven. Cook for about 40 more minutes, basting often, until legs are a little loose when you shake them.

Meanwhile, pour 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet. Add slivered shallots, and cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer shallots to a bowl.

Pour another 1 teaspoon oil in skillet. Add fennel slices, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Pour remaining tablespoon oil in skillet. Add chestnuts; cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced to a glaze, about 10 minutes. Add remaining stock; simmer until again reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add rice, shallots, fennel, and 1 cup water to skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add chestnuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with pheasant.

For dessert, we had a pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese frosting. I reduced the sugar from the original recipe and I made a simple Neufchatel frosting for the middle instead of the traditional full fat cream cheese filling. The presentation was quite beautiful, but I must say, it looks harder to make than it actually was. My favorite kind of recipe! 😉


Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Cook’s Country magazine

cup cake flour, sifted

teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

large eggs

cup sugar

cup canned pumpkin puree

16 ounces Neufchatel, room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for garnish

For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet and line with greased parchment paper. Whisk flour, spice, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs and sugar until pale yellow and thick, 6 to 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and mix on low until incorporated. Fold in flour mixture until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until cake is firm and springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Before cooling, run knife around edge of cake to loosen, and turn out onto clean sheet of parchment paper that has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off parchment attached to cake and discard. Roll cake and fresh parchment into log and cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the Filling: Place the room temperature Neufchatel cheese in a food processor, and blend with ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar until smooth.

To Assemble: Gently unroll cake and spread with frosting, leaving 1-inch border at edges. Re-roll cake snugly, leaving parchment behind. Wrap cake firmly in plastic wrap and chill completely, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Remove plastic, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Birthday Celebration ~ Carrot and Hearts of Palm Salad with Kumquats, Cumin Seeds, and Tangerine-Curry Vinaigrette

Happy birthday to my hubby!

We celebrated the day with a little culinary adventure :). I went to DomaineChandon.com for some out of the ordinary ideas to inspire us. We decided on a menu of Carrot and Hearts of Palm Salad with Kumquats, Cumin Seeds, and Tangerine-Curry Vinaigrette for the first course and Roasted Quail with Israeli Couscous, Black Mission Figs, and Bacon Vinaigrette as the main course. We paired the meal with Chandon Blood Orange Mimosas and one of Rob’s favorite wines by Columbia Winery called Otis Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Everything was delicious! It truly felt like a gourmet meal at home inspired by the chef from Etoile.

The carrot salad was so unique and a surprising flavor combination that I would highly recommend! I would have never imagined cumin, kumquats, carrots and curry could meld together so nicely. If you’d like a salad that is very much off the beaten path, I hope you’ll give this a try! It would be great for the upcoming holidays, as well. If you can find purple and pink carrots, it is even more special :).

Carrot and Hearts of Palm Salad with Kumquats, Cumin Seeds, and Tangerine-Curry Vinaigrette

From DomaineChandon.com

1 tbsp cumin seeds

10 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips or ribbons about 2 in/5 cm long (about 4 cups/570 g)

1 can (14 oz/400 g) hearts of palm, rinsed, drained, and cut into thin strips or ribbons about 2 in/5 cm long

6 kumquats, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut crosswise into thin slices

3 tbsp finely diced red onion

1/3 cup/10 g minced fresh cilantro/fresh coriander, plus sprigs for garnish

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup/60 ml fresh tangerine juice or orange juice

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp curry powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small frying pan over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, hearts of palm, kumquats, red onion, minced cilantro/coriander, and cumin seeds. Toss gently to mix.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, tangerine juice, vinegar, mustard, and curry powder until the dressing thickens and all the ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss thoroughly to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among salad plates, garnish with the cilantro sprigs, and serve at once.

Wedding Anniversary, Part 2 ~ Curried Apple Salad with Mizuna, Sprouts and Prosciutto

The first course of our anniversary dinner was a curried apple salad with mizuna, sprouts and prosciutto. It blends Asian, Indian and Italian ingredients, but we thought it really worked well together. We love trying new things, and this is something I would never have thought to combine on my own. That’s why I love the creativity of the etoile chef! It keeps things fresh and new. If you’d like to try something a little off the beaten path, I would highly recommend it!

I based this salad on Domaine Chandon’s Heirloom Apple With Curry And Ginger Prosciutto Salad. For my own spin, I used less olive oil for the dressing and less salt for the apples. I also used a little more mizuna and prosciutto and a little less ginger as a matter of preference.

Curried Apple Salad with Mizuna, Sprouts and Prosciutto

2 ripe apples, cut into 1/4 inch half-moon slices

1 teaspoon madras curry powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together except for the apples. Then toss the apples with the dressing until well coated. Set aside.

1/2 oz ginger (peeled and sliced into paper thin matchsticks)

4 ounces mung bean sprouts

8 slices of prosciutto

8 large basil leaves (cut into thin strips)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Generous handful of mizuna leaves

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

Salt to taste

Combine the olive oil, vinegar and salt in a large bowl, and whisk well. Toss the remaining ingredients, except for the prosciutto, into the vinaigrette.

To assemble, place the mizuna mixture on two individual salad plates. (I splayed it out so the pretty leaves all faced the edge of the plate.) Bunch up 4 pieces of prosciutto for each plate, and place them among the leaves. Then top it all with the apple slices.

Serves 2.

Celebrating an August Anniversary ~ Tomato, Basil and Pasta Salad and Peach and Basil Crumbles

Every summer on this day, we have a special Dungeness crab dinner. It’s one of the little anniversaries that we celebrate, and the choice of crab for dinner has turned into a tradition. To us, it’s the perfect Northwest meal on a warm summer evening. (For instructions on how to cook the crab, visit my Fourth of July post.)

To go with our crab, I tried my take on the recipe that graces the cover of Martha Stewart Living magazine this month. I did make a few changes to make it a little healthier and to make it a little more economical. I reduced the amount of olive oil and pasta and I increased the amount of tomatoes and basil. I also used fresh red summer tomatoes instead of the heirloom variety as she did. I couldn’t find the fancy pasta she used at my local Italian market, so I used campanelle. They look like cute little flowers. Any short pasta will work for this dish, however.

Marinated Tomato, Basil and Pasta Salad

(Serves about 4)

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 lbs ripe summer tomatoes cut into ½ inch wedges

½ cup torn fresh basil

1 ½ tablespoons rinsed capers

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus more for the top

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

4 oz dried short pasta (I used campanelle. Martha used croxetti.)

Heat the garlic and olive oil in a saucepan over low heat until the garlic is lightly golden brown. (About 10 minutes). Strain the garlic, and reserve both the garlic chips and the oil. Let cool.

Combine the tomatoes, ¼ cup basil, capers, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and salt to taste in a large bowl. Pour the cooled oil and garlic chips over the top and mix. Marinate for about 30 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, and add the warm pasta to the tomato bowl. Toss gently with pepper to taste. Top with the remaining ¼ cup of basil and a sprinkling of lemon zest. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

For dessert, I made one of our summer favorites….Peach and basil crumbles. The original recipe was also from MarthaStewart.com. I used frozen peaches for convenience, which also allows this recipe to be enjoyed year round. To make it a wee bit healthier, I used less sugar and substituted the butter for all natural Earth Balance “buttery” sticks. My new favorite culinary discovery. 🙂

Peach and Basil Crumbles

(Makes 2)

Filling ~

Frozen sliced peaches, thawed (The equivalent of 2 whole peaches)

1/2 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced into thin strips

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Pinch of salt

Topping ~

1 oz chopped unsalted almonds

1/8 cup packed light-brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 tablespoons cold Earth Balance, cut into 6 pieces

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. To make the filling, simply mix all of the filling ingredients in a small bowl.

For the topping, combine all of the topping ingredients, rubbing the Earth Balance with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly.

Divide the filling between two small baking dishes, and sprinkle the topping evenly over them. Transfer to a baking sheet, and bake until they are bubbling and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

We served this summer meal with a bottle of Chateau Ste. Michelle Midsummer’s White. It was perfect for a midsummer’s celebration! Light and refreshing. It’s a blend of Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli and Riesling.

Merry Christmas ~ Three Kings Salad

One of our favorite salads for Christmas is called a Three Kings Salad. It fuses a colorful group of three of the season’s best and tastiest :). I was inspired by the original recipe, which can be found at MyRecipes.com, but I added and omitted ingredients to our taste. It is forgiving, so use whatever you like. If you like less orange or more onion, that’s fine. Make it yours :). Honestly, we kind of changed one of the “kings” from red onion to pomegranate seeds. I only used a tiny bit of onion for garnish, since neither Rob nor I are big raw onion fans, and I used a ton of pomegranate seeds since we love them! Is there anything more festive than roasted beets and pomegranate seeds? I don’t know what it is about those two, but it just feels like a holiday to me! Both take a wee bit of work to prepare, so they feel like food for a special occasion.

Three Kings Salad

4 seedless oranges

3 or 4 beets…One big bunch

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more to drizzle over the beets

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

1/4 cup thinly slivered red onion

Pomegranate seeds from ½ of the fruit

Preheat your oven to 375. Trim the beets of their greens, drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap tightly in tin foil. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes (depending on the size of your beets) or until they can be pierced with a fork. Let them cool. Preferably with some sort of thin disposable gloves so you don’t dye your fingers, peel the outside and cut into wedges.

Peel and section oranges over a bowl with a knife so none of the pith or membrane remains. Squeeze the extra juice into the bowl when finished. Set the orange sections aside and reserve about 2 tablespoons of the juice.

Combine the reserved 2 tablespoons of orange juice, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk well.

Divide the beets, oranges, pomegranate seeds and onion evenly among 4-6 salad plates, depending on the size salad you would like to serve. Drizzle with as much of the vinaigrette as you like.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Celebrate Farmer’s Markets ~ Cantaloupe and Spring Green Salad

Now that the weather is getting warmer, farmer’s markets are in full swing again. I love to try the different foods they carry that I can’t find everywhere. Plus I’m helping to support local farmers, which is a big added bonus. Last week I bought homemade raspberry vinegar and I tried a cut of goat meat. We’ve never tried goat before and would have to say we really enjoyed it! It’s a little culinary adventure right in our backyard. I can’t wait to see what I can find next week.

The raspberry vinegar made its way into a recipe based on one I found in a cookbook called Giada’s Kitchen. It’s a recipe that includes ingredients you can find at farmer’s markets right now.

Cantaloupe and Spring Green Salad


¼ cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons raspberry vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


1 cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cups spring greens, such as baby romaine or arugula

Whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette together in a small bowl and toss with the salad. Enjoy!

Memorial Day ~ Lime Marinated Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Tomato, Mint and Watercress Salad and Lemon Blini with Raspberry Sorbet

Cheers and thank you to all of the members of our military, past and present!

I attended one of my favorite Williams-Sonoma technique classes this weekend, which featured recipes for Memorial Day. They are free cooking classes held almost every Sunday before the store opens, and you get to taste the creations after they are made. I would highly recommend checking them out! I had a whole Memorial Day menu already figured out, but the samples were so tasty at the class that I changed my mind. We had lime marinated pork tenderloin medallions over a tomato, mint and watercress salad and lemon blini with raspberry sorbet. A very summery menu to kick off the unofficial start of summer! 🙂 This is my take on the recipes I learned. As usual, I tried to make them a tad healthier. For example, I used less salt in the marinade, quite a bit less olive oil for the dressing and more veggies than called for. In the dessert, I used skim milk instead of whole.


Lime Marinated Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Tomato, Mint and Watercress Salad

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of any excess fat

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 1/2 tablespoons light olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Small garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons finely minced onion

2 oz chicken stock

1 oz red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 oz extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups cubed tomatoes (bite size)

2 cups watercress

2 tablespoons fresh mint

2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds

Cut the pork into uniform medallions, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and place in a baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk the coriander, cumin, lime zest and juice, olive oil, salt, garlic and onion. Pour the marinade over the pork, mix well so every piece is coated, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 375

Preheat an oven proof grill pan over medium heat. Remove the pork from the marinade, and reserve the remaining marinade. Grill the pork on the preheated pan, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven, and finish cooking for about 6 minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the pork to a platter to rest under a tent of tin foil. Add the remaining marinade, stock, vinegar, and honey to the pan and simmer together until it is reduced by one third on the stovetop. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil.

Mix the tomatoes, watercress, mint and almonds in a large bowl. Toss the warm dressing into the salad and serve with the pork on top.

Serves 2

Lemon Blini with Raspberry Sorbet

1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese

1/2 cup skim milk

1 full egg (separated) and 1 egg white

2 tablespoons sugar

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

Two pinches of salt

Store bought raspberry sorbet

In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta, milk, egg yolk, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until the mixture is smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt over the ricotta mix and stir until everything is combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. Add one more pinch of salt to this, and continue whisking until you have soft peaks.

Fold 1/3 of the egg whites with a spatula into the ricotta mix, and then gently fold the remainder of the whites in.

Preheat a pan over medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. 1 tablespoon at a time, drop the mixture onto the preheated pan. (This will make each blin about 3 inches in diameter.) Make sure not to crowd the pan. Cook about 2 minutes per side, until golden on the outside and cooked through.

Serve with small melon ball sized scoops of raspberry sorbet for a nice compliment to the mildly sweet lemony pancakes.

Serves 2, with leftovers

By the way, I’d like to note that I’m normally not a huge watercress fan. I find it too peppery and strong for my taste. But this dressing mellows out the flavor, so I actually enjoyed it! I think I’ll be eating more of this vegetable in the future with this new recipe. I’d recommend trying it if you find you steer away from peppery greens like I do.

I should also mention these aren’t technically blini, which are made of buckwheat flour and often served with caviar. But these are sweet little dessert pancakes along the same lines as that classic. Whatever you call them, I hope you enjoy!