(Not laughing.. watch Anchorman to get the reference)
The Bump – think hip, chest, or fist, not baby… Belly’s way to check in, say ”Hi,” and let you know what we’re up to
San Diego put California on the map for me. There’s something about that town that just speaks to me - might be that it’s 72 and sunny 365! Yes the weather is constantly amazing, but there’s more. Great restaurants, amazing beaches, the people are all so nice and REAL. Neighborhood pockets offer something a little different which I love. It’s pretty simple to get around town either by car or even with public transport. Just avoid driving during rush hour!
So, when one of my regular client booked me for a two week stint, I was over the moon happy to kick it and live it up in one of my favorite places. My assistant and I ate at some pretty yummy places.
I usually like to stay in Little Italy, but decided to rent an Airbnb and check out two budding neighborhoods I didn't know much about. The first week home was Golden Hill and the Second North Park. I'm in love with both areas and can't wait to get back to check out more of the cute shops and restaurants in each.
Summer is officially in full swing and my diet has changed completely. Bye bye braises and heavy meals. It's all about summer eating, light is the name of the game. I'm a fan of the Love and Lemons cookbook.. Fresh, simple and delicious recipes that are sure to please. Perfectly light for summer but can also transition to fall and winter when paired with heartier dishes. You’ve got a winner of a cookbook here and one of my faves.
I hope you enjoy this monthly recipe feature and pick up some tips on how to serve it up with style.
Recipe feature from one of our favorite cookbooks!
Just a taste of whats to come with Food Style Cooking’s online tutorials
Grapefruit, Quinoa & Fennel Salad with Mint
A Recipe Story
This salad is refreshing year round, but mint should be growing rampant in your garden by now. Mojitos are delicious when you want to drink your calories. But, this recipes is simple to prepare, healthy and delicious.
When people ask me what I like to cook or what my favorite cuisine is; lately I’m all about simplicity and health. Also, I’m becoming quite the gardener so any chance I have to bring ingredients from the garden and onto my plate - is such a treat. If it’s good for you, easy to prepare and with an element of home grown, I’m in! Love and Lemons is beautiful cookbook full of good for you recipes that I trust you’ll enjoy as much as I do.
Getting It On
You can whip this recipe up in no time at all. I almost always have a glass container of quinoa on the ready in my fridge - it’s ideal to have on hand for savoury salads or your morning breakfast bowl. A majority of the recipe ingredients should already be stocked in your pantry or perhaps even growing in your garden, making your shopping list just a couple of items. Elements of this salad can be made ahead of time, making it an ideal side or starter salad when hosting. Adding final touches and assembly take minutes enabling you to entertain with style and ease - a big part of serving it up with style.
Here’s a short list of items I stock in my kitchen regularly… all found in this recipe!
Key Pantry/Kitchen Essentials|
- Olive Oil - No comment.. This should be a staple in your pantry too!
- Lemons - Alkaline all the time!
- White Wine Vinegar - Salad Staple, along with apple, red and balsamic.
- Local Honey - Not only sweet but a great natural remedy for allergies
- Quinoa - Super grain, in the cupboard like white on rice!
- Pine Nuts - In there with almonds and walnuts
- Pink Himalayan Salt - No comment..
- Black Pepper - No comment..
- Mixed Baby Greens - Baby Spinach and Mixed Greens always have a small box in the fridge.
So, with the majority of the recipe ingredients stocked in your pantry, that leaves feta cheese and grapefruit to pick up at the store - easy peasy!
1 small fennel bulb, white part, thinly sliced
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
1½ teaspoons (7 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon (2 mL) white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon (1 mL) honey
½ cup (125 mL) grapefruit segments
2 cups (500 mL) mixed salad greens
½ cup (125 mL) cooked quinoa
⅓ cup (75 mL) crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup (60 mL) pine nuts, toasted
Small handful of mint leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine the sliced fennel, watermelon radish, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, honey, grapefruit segments, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to combine, then add the salad greens, quinoa, feta, pine nuts, and mint. Toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main.
Serving It Up With Style
In this recipe you’ve got all the right colors, assorted shapes and textures for a beautiful dish. The trick is all in how your slice and dice those ingredients.
V Slicer— An essential kitchen gadget for slicing. Thick or thin the V slicer or Mandolin is quick and effective at getting the job done. In this recipe the radishes and fennel should be just a little thicker than construction paper or a business card. You’ll know you’re too think when you’re not shaving whole pieces.
Sexy Radishes — You can slice your radishes vertically - stem to tip, to show off the shape and figure of your radishes - for this profile keep an inch of the greens on the top and curly rat tail tips. To show off the tie die colours in the center, slice your radishes horizontaly. Just discard the tip and the butt or eat them yourself. Only use the perfect sliced rounds.
Fennels Best Angle. — Fennel looks best if sliced on an angle/side profile - Cut fennel in half. You can remove the majority of the core, but keep some to help keep it intact when slicing. Quarter the fennel and slice from the flat end for perfect shaved fennel.
Citrus Perfection. — Segmenting takes practice. After 5 or 6 trys you should get the technique down. It's all knife control when cutting the skin off. Its tricky to get all of the pith (the white stuff in between the meat and the rind) and skin off without taking off too much or any orange. Like anything practice makes perfect so try and try again. Here’s a video tutorial I found - Tutorial Video >Picking the Right Fruit. — The smoother the skin of the orange the less pith and more flesh there will be. Avoid any oranges with any soft spots and you can look at the nose where it was plucked to see if it's fresh or old and dried out looking.
Bring on the Fluff — Light fluffy quinoa berries are what you want for this recipe. If you’ve accidentally overcooked your quinoa and its mush, put it in a bowl and add it to your breakfast cereal in the morning. Make another batch for this recipe.
Say Cheese — The feta after it sits over time will almost melt and get a little soggy. Crumble the feta into various sized nuggets, have on the ready in a small bowl and add it just before serving.
The Perfect Tan — Toasted nuts are all about the perfect brown tan to enhance flavor. They’ll keep cooking one shade darker once they’ve been removed from the heat. Set your timer and use your nose. When you can smell them, it’s usually just a minute or two longer.
Firm Nuts — If you want to prep this salad the day before a party, toast nuts ahead of time but add them just before serving.
The Whole Leaf — Baby greens and mint leaves add a fresh light crunchy element to this salad. They are both delicate and will bruise and wilt over time. Toss in gently and add just before serving.
Dressed To Impress — The right balance of salad dressing is key in every salad. With this recipe you can add a quarter of the dressing to the quinoa and hartier ingredients ahead of time to allow the flavors soak in. Add the remaining dressing just before serving to keep greens and veggies crisp.
Serving It Up With Grace. — Serving it up with style is not only about presenting a beautiful plate, its about serving it up with effortless grace. Be organized. Prep ingredients ahead of time so you're not scrambling in the kitchen. Whip up this salad and impress your guests with its beauty but also your ability to entertain with style.
Wrap It up— Wrap your leftovers up in delicous red cabbage or radicchio for a healthy lunch time treat that will truly impress.* Add chicken for a extra protein or any fish - YUM!
The best things I've eaten, drank, watched, or come across this month!
San Diego Faves
Fresh Works – Nicole's most recent food styling creations
So much fun working with 72 and Sunny and team for the Coor's Memorial Day Project - Lets do it again soon!