Recipe — Summer Mayonnaise Salad

Recipe — Summer Mayonnaise Salad

Hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend!

It’s been a while since I posted my last recipe but that doesn’t mean that I’m not cooking. There are so many recipes that I repeatedly prepare on a daily basis. Usually that includes homemade meals that are light and easy, using especially fresh seasoning from the local farmers market. Anyone can cook delicious food. What you need is patience, planning, and a  sharp knife. Start with simple recipes with only a few steps to follow, and then advance. You can replace a lot of the packaged and processed food with things you can make at home. You’ll find that cooking from scratch is better tasting and much more healthy provided you use fresh, non-GMO ingredients. By learning and preparing food yourself, you have control over which ingredients are been added to your food.

Most of the ingredients in this beginner type recipe are very simple. This salad I prepared often is easy, healthy, colorful, and well combined with many the nutrients you need. (I’m not a nutritionist, so you may want to reseach your particular nutritional needs yourself and make any necessary adjustments.)

This Brazilian style Summer salad can be served with or without any kind of meat you want. Below are photos with two suggestions that I served this past weekend.

Eat, enjoy and let me know how it tastes!

Summer Mayonnaise Salad with Salmon Fillet, and Bison Ribeye Steak

Ingredients: Serves 2 to 4

Time (for the salad): 45 minutes, plus chilling

  • 275g  (9.8 oz) approx. 2 organic carrots washed, peeled and chopped
  • 310g (11oz) approx. 2 red organic potatoes (cooked and diced)
  • 130g (4.7 oz) organic green beans (cut off the knobby ends, and sliced)
  • 2 organic brown eggs (hard-cooked, peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 cup red seedless organic bell pepper, washed, diced
  • 2 tbsp organic celery, washed and diced
  • 3 tbsp pitted black olives, sliced [I used Calamata pitted olives]
  • 3 tbsp canned organic sweet corn, drained
  • 2 tbsp fresh scallions, organic rinsed and finely sliced, (green part only)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, organic rinsed and finely chopped including stems
  • 2 tbsp organic red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red organic firm vine tomato, washed, seedless and diced
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise [ I used Hain Safflower Mayonnaise]
  • 2 tsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and fine white pepper to taste, for the salad (I used Himalayan Crystal Salt)
  • 0.495 lb salmon fillet (preferably wild caught)
  • 130g (6.2 oz) Langoustine lobster tails, fully cooked – peeled, and drained [to be add later on top of the salmon fillet]
  • 327g (0.72 lb) Bison Ribeye Steak, (boneless 1/2 inches thick, room temperature]

How to Prepare:

  1. Cut the potatoes in half and place them in a small pot, add enough cold water to cover the tops of the potatoes, along with adding 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. Turn the burner on high and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low or low, cover the pan with a lid, let cook for about 12 minutes. Check the potatoes with a knife to see if ready, then drain the potatoes in a colander to cooler.
  3. Set a steamer basket insert into a larger saucepan and fill with water to a level just below the steamer. Bring to a boil. Add green beans without the knobby ends, and steam for about 5 minutes. Once the beans have cooked, drain and refresh the green beans in ice cold water to stop cooking, the green beans should be crisp.
  4. Set another steamer basket insert into a large saucepan and fill with water to a level just below the steamer. Bring to a boil. Add washed and peeled carrots, and steam for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the carrots, cover the saucepan with a lid but don’t cover it completely, leave a small gap to allow some steam to vent, let steam to your desired degree of tenderness. Stick the knife into the carrots to check if they’re ready. Once the carrots are steamed, drain and let cooler off.
  5. In small saucepan place the two eggs with enough cool water to cover them. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, when the water has reached a boil, covered and cook for about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a colander, place under cool running water to stopping cooking.

Salad Preparation:

In a large glass bowl: add diced potatoes with the skin on, carrots, sliced green beans, red bell pepper, diced celery, sliced black olives, organic sweet corn, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, red onions, diced tomato, diced hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, extra-virgin olive oil, and finally some seasoning with salt and fine white pepper for taste. All ingredients should be well but gently mixed with a large spoon. Cover the salad bowl with plastic food wrap and refrigerate until mealtime.

Meanwhile: Rinse the salmon in cold water, while scraping off any scales and pulling out the bones (if any) one by one with a tweezer. Then pat and dry with paper towel.

Season the salmon on both sides with salt and fresh ground black pepper, (depending on taste  you can add other herbs as well). Coat with good extra-virgin olive oil or white wine, leave aside for couple of minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil and place salmon on it. Cook for about 9 to 15 minutes, also it depend on the thickness of the fish, bake until the fish is golden and crisp.

Use a wide spatula to transfer fillet to a serving plate to ensure that the fish does not fall apart when you remove it from the baking sheet.

Top salmon with langoustine lobster tails as follows… it’s easy to prepare: Just sauté the langoustine in a hot, non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil or butter, add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper, simmer for 1 to 2 minutes with two thin slices of lemon, or a squeeze of lemon, in medium heat. When done, immediately scoop up the langoustine with a spoon and top the salmon, and serve with chilled salad.

Summer Mayonnaise Salad with Salmon 2 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

How to Prepare the Steak: Only coat lightly with canola oil and sprinkle both sides with salt, fresh ground black pepper. Then immediately place the steak in the middle of a hot dry non-stick pan over medium-high heat until it begins to be seared to your liking.

Summer Mayonnaise Salad with Bison Ribeye Steak 3 - 2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Cook for about 20 minutes on both sides, flipping the steak with tongs. This is for medium-rare steak, if you prefer medium, cook a bit longer (relative to thickness).
Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto plate, with your chilled summer salad.

Summer Salad with Bison Ribeye Steak 4 -2015 photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Notes: 

  • This salad can be refrigerated for two to three days. If you’re using a homemade mayonnaise for this salad I recommend you don’t keep it this long.
  • I know there are too many mayonnaises out there. But I personally like the “Hain Safflower Mayonnaise” for many reasons: It’s the only one that includes ingredients not found in regular mayonnaise like: Safflower oil, Vitamin B, Cane Juice, Honey and it’s not made with genetically engineered ingredients. I’ve been using it for a very long time in many ways and it simply tastes delicious.
  • One of my favorite methods, for one because it’s less messy too, is baked or broiled fish. It’s one of the easiest and least time consuming approaches and results in buttery and juicy fish — delicious.
  • Also if you’re cooking multiple steaks, clean your pan/skillet very well. Because it needs to be free of oil and juice, clean, for the next steak. You won’t have any significant smoke if you follow these instructions. The steak can even be cooked inside a small apartment kitchen. In the above photo the Bison looks good because (a) it’s a good cut and soft, (b) before cooking I trimmed most of excess fat.
  • Also I used and recommend this Smoked Sea Salt which gives a very unique smoked flavor to your recipes.
  • The peeled langoustine lobster tails, fully cooked – is wild caught and packaged in a frozen, imported from Chile. I let the lobster drain inside the colander at room temperature. So when you sauté, the frozen water is already gone.
  • Also the salad can be made for more people just multiple the ingredients. If you want more flavor in this salad: add more black olives, and especially red onions. Because raw ingredients taste the best and make for healthy salads, sandwiches, and guacamoles.
  • Oooh – one more tip which may help when cooking the steak: I tied twine around the steak tightly, so the juice stays more concentrated inside the meat and cooks better when moist, giving that delicious juicy smoke flavor to the steak.

Recipe – Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

Recipe – Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

Good morning everyone! And happy Saturday to you all.♡

Today I would like to share this delicious muffin recipe. They are moist and fluffy, not overly sweet, with a very pleasant, fruity flavor and a with firm, almost golden crisp top. I used quinoa flour; if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it. You can’t get any healthier than eating these muffins. I tasted and tried couple of recipes before coming out with something I liked. Since quinoa has a delicate, nutty flavor, it may take some getting used to. After the second bite you’ll probably fall in love with the taste — it’s completely different, especially served warm with a cup of tea or coffee. Learn how to make a dozen, share and enjoy!

This is my treat for your weekend.

Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

Ingredients:
(Makes 12 muffins)

  • 1/2 cup organic unsalted softened butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups organic quinoa flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill) also it’s gluten free
  • 1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 2 large organic brown eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup organic low fat buttermilk at room temperature (shake very well before using)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon salt (according to taste; I used Kosher salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and crushed

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners. In a separate medium bowl sift quinoa flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, using a wire whisk cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add eggs and beat well adding quinoa flour mixture slowly and the buttermilk, beat until moistened then stir in the blueberries already crushed, mixing just until well combined with rubber spoon.
  3. Fill muffins cups 2/3 full with a spoon or ice-cream scoop it’s easier. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake at at 350° F (175° C) for 25-30 minutes. Or until the tops turn golden brown by inserting a toothpick in several locations. If the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are finished. If not, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, sprinkle a bit of powdered confectioners sugar.These muffins are best when served warm out of the oven. Especially accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee.

Blueberry Quinoa Muffins close up by Rhônya Holman

* Notes:

  • In place of blueberries you can use raspberries, blackberries, banana, figs, apricot, strawberries.
  • I like muffins with firm, golden almost crisp tops, fluffy and moist inside. And I don’t like super sweet either, so I prefer the fruity flavor. It’s healthier especially because it’s made with quinoa flour. It is a good source of fiber and contains all eight essential amino acids. Easily digestible and gluten-free, Quinoa has a delicate, nutty flavor and is versatile for baking and friendly to your heart.
  • You can make these muffins with low fat milk instead of buttermilk. I went through 4 batches of baking with various ingredients: once with figs, once with dried cranberries and twice with fresh blueberries using just 1/2 cup buttermilk. That didn’t turn out well. So you definitely needed 1 cup either buttermilk or milk if you want moist muffins especially when using dried fruits.
  • also used vanilla extract in my first muffins; it didn’t make any difference.
  • It’s important to allow the butter to rest at room temperature at least 1 hour before combining it with sugar and eggs. It’s the first thing that I do before the preparation.
  • Baking tips: All ovens bake differently. Always double check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer before baking. Check your baking goods at minimum baking time by inserting a toothpick in several locations. If the toothpick comes out clean, your baking goods are finished. If not, bake for additional 5 minutes and check again. It’s important to resist opening the oven door to check how it looks.
  • I guess that’s the simplest and healthy muffins that I’ve ever eaten without spending too much e.g. in a French bakery.

Recipe – Chicken Breast Salad with Black Grapes

Recipe – Chicken Breast Salad with Black Grapes

Greetings!

I hope you all are having a beautiful summer. It’s getting hotter in California with beautiful shining days and palm trees dancing with the cool breezes. So eating light is very important to keep you energized. Just as important is to keep hydrated by drinking fresh natural juices, smoothies, and water; also eating fruit can be key to looking and feeling great during the summer months. Also, don’t forget to protect your skin, applying daily sunscreen lotion…

I’m always experimenting and playing with ingredients trying and tasting other possibilities to bring out new flavors. Today I would like to share this super, healthy, lightly summery recipe I created. The flavors and textures of this chicken salad are delicious and includes most if not all of the nutrients your body needs. It’s great for brunch, lunch, dinner, picnics. You can eat it on top of your favorite lettuces, croissants, sandwiches with crusty French bread, stuffed in pita bread, or spread on crackers. The salad is best served fresh, although it can be refrigerated in a tightly covered container for up to 24 hours.

Enjoy the recipe and let me know how you like it. Any exciting plans for this summer?

Chicken Breast Salad with Black Grapes

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless, free range chicken breast That’s roughly one large chicken breast
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (or water infused with fresh or dried herbs or chopped vegetables, fruit juice, light coconut, white wine – pretty much choose any of these methods to cook the breast
  • 1 large celery stalk, finely diced (exactly 1/4 cup diced)
  • 3 scallions finely chopped mixing white and green parts – exactly 3 tbsp or substitute for onion if you prefer
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil [I used a fruity Italian olive oil]
  • 1/2 cup firmly, ripe, plump, seedless black grapes, well washed and quartered
    • Make sure you give them a good rinse in the sink, before cutting them, because little bugs or spiders like to cuddle up between the grapes.
  • 2 tbsp green seedless olives finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro with stems
  • 1/4 cup raw sliced almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste [I used a fine pink Himalayan salt]

How to Prepare:

Place chicken breast in sauce pan large enough to fit the breast comfortably. Add 1 cup of chicken broth to completely cover the chicken. If desired, add any other ingredients for flavoring. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat; reduce heat, cover pan leaving a crack for the steam to escape and simmer until the chicken is no longer pink. (Usually it takes about 9 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the piece or until the chicken reaches 170°F.) Once the chicken is fully cooked, leave it to cool and dice into small cubes. Once cool, stir the chicken breast in a large bowl with celery, scallions, grapes, olives, cilantro, Greek yogurt and olive oil, seasoning it with salt and pepper to add flavor. All ingredients should be well mixed with a large spoon.

If adding on top of lettuce, make sure lettuce has been well washed and dried completely. Then drizzle with raw sliced almonds and then add the chicken salad on top and serve.

Chicken Breast Salad with Black Grapes by Rhônya holman

*Notes:

  • In this recipe I used a variety of organic baby lettuces containing red and green Romaine, red and green oak leaf, red leaf, Lollo Rosa, Tango, organic Mizuma, organic red and green chard, organic baby spinach, organic arugula, organic Frisée, organic Radicchio, and organic onion sprouts.
  • Also my recipes are usually cooked with homemade broths. I keep a variety of containers with different flavors, frozen and labeled, ready to be used.
  • When the chicken is done, retain the broth to add to other meals that require it.
  • Lastly, the more patience that is applied in the preparation of the ingredients, such as finely chopping certain ingredients, the more well-blended and enjoyable the flavor will be.

– Photos by me

Recipe — Taro Root Soup

Recipe — Taro Root Soup

 

Hi all! 

I’m starting the new post of the year with this delicious recipe. Like I mentioned before last year I was working on new projects and experimenting with a lot of new things and letting my imagination flow. One of these things is cooking, mixing things up, taking notes of what is good or not, find the exact combination of the best flavors, so that food can taste yummy, smell good, look beautiful and be healthy at the same time. I will share my favorite dishes – many of which are family recipes collected over the years. Some may be unique too, things that I grew up eating that you never thought could be possible. All the recipes are easy to follow, without too many steps. They’ve all been tried and tested in my home. The dishes will be fused with a variety of international cuisines from Latin American, Italian, French and who knows. I always shop at the local farmers market as I like to visit and support the farmers just as much as to hear and check about current organic growing practices.

So you must be wondering why I decided to write about food? Simple. I’ve always liked to eat good food, though in small portions, ever since childhood. My mother cooked with Portuguese olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, and a lot of vegetables and cheese — yes she usually added cheese on almost everything. And she likes to eat banana with warm milk before going to bed.

Since I’ve been in the US more than a decade, I’ve worked gained experience in the most exclusive and cool restaurants and then as chefs’ assistant for private homes. I hosted a variety of events including weddings and fashion shows, and organized and set up parties  in New York. Now I live in California and I have a company working as a designer, creating jewelry and home decor — that’s just a little about me.

Below is the recipe of a delicious, simple and nutritious soup high in vitamin C and vitamin B. The taro roots are also rich in fiber (great for the digestive system) and anti-oxindants while offering no cholesterol. Enjoy!!

Taro Root Soup with Coconut Milk

Ingredients: Servers 2

  • 1.87 lb. organic taro roots
  • 1-1/2 cups light organic coconut milk
  • 5 – 6 water cups
  • 3 tablespoons organic white onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 organic garlic cloves, peeled and minced with garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter or vegetarian margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste,  preferably Kosher
  • White ground pepper, to taste

How to Prepare

  1. Peel the taro roots, then cut in half and wash.
  2. Bring a large soup pot with 5 water cups, lightly salted, to boil, all together with the taro roots. Leave a crack for the steam to escape, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are soft.
  3. Take off the heat, and transfer the taro root mixture into a regular blender or use an immersion blender. Puree with turmeric powder until very smooth.
  4. In another large soup pot, melt butter with chopped onions and garlic over medium-low heat until it begins to soften and turn translucent not browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Then pour the taro root puree and light organic coconut milk into the pot with the molten butter and season with kosher salt and a pinch of white pepper. Let simmer gently and stir with a heat-resistant rubber spoon until it is lightly thickened for 5 to 10 minutes. If it’s too thick, add a little more water until the consistency is that of a soft creme.
  6. Pour into bowls and serve hot. Garnish with your favorite greens. For this recipe I used chive leaves for freshness.
  7. Taste the soup and add more spices or salt if you like.


* Notes: You can make this soup with organic less-sodium vegetable broth, instead of water.

I like how the coconut milk combines perfectly with the tarot roots and adds a very pleasant and smooth flavor. A touch of turmeric powder will change the color of the soup while adding a few exotic notes. You can eat with crackers, bread,  biscuits or other side dish. Also this soup lives an incredible aroma in the air after it’s done.