Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Morning Mix Recipe: Sesame Orange Asparagus

Morning Mix Recipe: Sesame Orange Asparagus

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The more the merrier in Heather’s Florida Kitchen! That’s why I have teamed with the fabulous folks over at Orlando’s WOMX Mix 105.1 to offer the morning show’s Recipe of the Week. Today’s recipe is: Sesame Orange Asparagus, an excellent side dish for spring picnics. The orange juice and garnish give this a nice Florida twist.

Asparagus supplies a wide array of nutrients. It is considered a good source of folic acid, potassium, fiber, thiamin and vitamin B6. The vegetable is also a rich source of rutin, a compound that strengthens capillary walls.

Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Sesame Orange Asparagus
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound fresh asparagus, sliced diagonally in 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons grated carrots
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Orange slices for garnish

1. Cook asparagus covered in a small amount of boiling water for 5-to-7 minutes. Drain water.

2. Heat olive oil in skillet. Add grated carrot and sesame seeds. Cook to toast sesame seeds 2-3 minutes. Add orange juice and sesame oil. Bring to boil and immediately reduce to simmer. Stir in asparagus, tossing to coat and heat through. Serve garnished with orange slices.

Florida blueberries ripe for picking

Florida blueberries ripe for picking

This year’s Florida blueberry crop is as sweet as ever. In recipes, these small gems pack a wallop of flavor. I love them muddled in mojitos, plopped onto pancake batter bubbling on the griddle or simply tossed in a refreshing salad.

If you are looking for a blueberry you-pick location check out the Florida Blueberry Growers Association’s website. At the store or in the field, look for blueberries that are firm, dry, plump and smooth-skinned. They should have a silvery surface bloom and no leaves or stems. The natural shimmery silver coating is a protectant. Blueberries must be ripe when purchased because, unlike some fruits, they do not continue to ripen after harvesting. Don’t worry about the size of the berries because with this fruit, size isn’t an indicator of maturity. The color of the blueberry is an indicator of its maturity, and it should be a deep purple-blue to blue-black. Reddish berries aren’t ripe, but you can still use them in cooking.

Here are three recipes that showcase this year’s harvest.

BC-1C-22- BLUEBERRY SHRIMP SALAD2Blueberry-Shrimp Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
12 ounces (about 20) cooked medium-size shelled, deveined Florida shrimp
6 cups mixed salad greens
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/3 cup edamame, cooked and cooled
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

1. In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and red pepper. Remove 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to a large salad bowl; add shrimp and toss; let stand 5 minutes.

2. Add salad greens and blueberries; toss with shrimp.

3. Place salad on plates; top each serving with walnuts, edamame and cheese. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Blueberry-Ginger Sauce
Yield: 6 (1/2-cup) portions

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons peeled, freshly-grated ginger
4 cups fresh blueberries

1. In a small pan over high heat, stir 2/3 cup water, sugar and fresh ginger; bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Stir in half the blueberries; continue to cook and stir until they begin to burst, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining blueberries. Allow to cool; may be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Serve over waffles, frozen yogurt, or lemon sorbet.

BC-IC-26-BLUEBERRY POLENTA CAKE2Blueberry Polenta Cake
Yield: 8 servings

1 cup cake flour (or 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose four)
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind, packed
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment or wax paper and spray the surface with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, oil, egg, yogurt, lemon juice and rind; fold in flour mixture until just combined, then fold in blueberries.

4. Transfer to prepared pan; bake until cake springs back when gently pressed in the center, about 35 minutes. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

5. With a knife, loosen edges before inverting cake onto a cake plate to cool to room temperature. Just before serving, sift powdered sugar over the top.

Preserving Florida berries in homemade wine syrup

Flipping through cookbooks for spring menu inspirations I discovered author Kevin West’s Cab-Berry Syrup in “Saving the Seasons: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving.” The sweet concoction is a great way to use mixed small berries from a day of you-pick harvesting or to put leftover fruit from party platters to goo2SIMI CAB berry syrup IMG_4811 - Version 2 (1) (2)d use.
West infused the liquid with Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. But you could use any full-bodied red wine and get a similar result. This syrup is an ideal pour to dress up a soft and buttery pound cake or stack of fluffy pancakes. In addition, the syrup makes a great gift from the kitchen.

Cab-Berry Syrup
Yields 7 cups

2 pounds mixed blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries (a total of 6 cups, lightly pressed)
4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 bottle Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

1. Rinse the berries and drain well. Place in a large saucepan with the sugar, and crush with a potato masher. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Add the wine, and stir to combine. Store in the refrigerator for two hours, or as long as overnight.

2. Strain the wine-fruit puree through a fine-mesh sieve, capturing the syrup in a bowl. Press the pulp with the back of a wooden spoon to extract all the liquids. (Bonus: Save the leftover pulp to eat with yogurt or whipped cream, or use it for a cobbler or a berry crisp.) Strain the syrup through a double-layer of damp cheesecloth to remove all the seeds.

3. Bring the finished syrup to a boil. Ladle into prepared sanitized bottles. Seal the bottles and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Recipe note: “Saving the Seasons: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving.” is Penguin Random House publication.

Leftover eggs: Meals in the making

Oh, My! The egg hunt is over. The chocolate bunnies are missing body parts. And you’ve got a bowl of pastel-hued hard-boiled eggs left over in the refrigerator. Congratulations! That means you have most of the work done to complete a few nutritious meals this week. Pour yourself another mimosa — you know you want one — and shell those eggs. We have meals to plan.

OS-mccormickeggs

Image courtesy: McCormick & Co.

Tomato & Avocado Egg Salad
6 servings

6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 avocados, cubed
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Spinach or lettuce leaves of choice
Dressing:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste

1. Mix dressing ingredients in small bowl. Set aside.
2. Reserve and refrigerate 6 center egg slices for garnish. Chop remaining eggs.
3. Combine chopped eggs, avocados, tomato, onion and parsley in large bowl; toss gently to mix. Add dressing; stir gently just until ingredients are evenly coated with dressing.
4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve on spinach leaves, garnished with reserved egg slices.

Bacon & Egg Salad
4 servings

6 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
6 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 Roma tomato, sliced
4 croissants, split and lightly toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. To cook the bacon, line a baking sheet with parchment, overlapping each side 1 to 2 inches. Put the bacon on the parchment and bake until crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels and let cool.
3. Crumble the bacon into a bowl. Gently mix in the eggs, mayonnaise, chives, mustard and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Build sandwiches with avocados and tomatoes on toasted croissants.

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of Jeff Mauro The Food Network

Simple Egg Salad Sandwich
4 sandwiches

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
8 slices rustic wheat bread
4 butter lettuce leaves

1. Chop eggs.
2. Mix mayonnaise, lime juice, mustard, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Stir in chopped eggs, celery and green onions. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour to overnight to blend flavors.
3. Serve on wheat bread with lettuce leaves. (more…)

Any way you slice it, a nicely glazed ham demands center stage at the holiday table

The centerpiece Easter ham has earned its time-honored holiday position probably because it’s so easy to prepare on a day often filled with egg hunts, church services and festive gatherings. Glazes are an easy way to add your favorite flavor profiles to the smoky, savory flavor of pork. Buy a pre-cut spiral ham and skip the ubiquitous brown-sugar coating that comes with many of these products. With a little creativity you will discover a wealth of no-fuss flavor options probably already in your kitchen.

Jams and jellies seasoned with frseh herbs create a flavorful finish for holiday hams.

Jams and jellies seasoned with frseh herbs create a flavorful finish for holiday hams.

Fruit spreads, mustards, chutneys and syrups seasoned with fresh herbs, rum or bourbon create instant glazes. Because you want the liquid to adhere to the meat, explore the other sticky options in the kitchen cupboard — pepper jellies, molasses, honey and the like. When buying a ham, allow 1/4 to 1/3 pound per serving of boneless ham, 1/3 to 1/2 pound of meat per serving of partially boned ham (commonly sold as “whole bone-in” ham), and 3/4 to 1 pound of meat per serving of ham with large bone. Roasting is the preferred method for cooking. Check the label to see whether the ham is fully cooked or marked “cook before eating.” Fully cooked hams can be eaten as is or warmed in the oven. The rest must be roasted until a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 155F.

THE BASICS
Mix and match. Before you heat the ham, or while it is in its initial stages of heating, mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Thoroughly mix the glaze before applying for easy spreading or let sit for a thicker textured glaze that can be poured on the ham.
Score big. Use a serrated knife and score the ham in a diagonal pattern, creating thin cuts that will allow the glaze to seep deep into the ham creating rich, full flavor in every bite.
Brush up. It’s best to add the glaze at the end of cooking, in the last 30 to 45 minutes, to keep it from burning. Use a pastry brush to generously apply the glaze and return ham to the oven. Repeat the process occasionally until the entire glaze has been used.
On the side. Hams also can be baked without a glaze and then served with a sauce or chutney on the side.

10 GREAT GLAZES

  1. Apricot. In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. Stir in 2/3 cup apricot nectar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.
  2. Mustard. In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 teaspoons dry, white wine. Brush ham with glaze during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
  3. Maple-bourbon. In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons maple-flavored syrup, 2 tablespoons bourbon, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard.
  4. Cola. Combine 6 ounces cola, 2 tablespoons mustard, 1 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Baste ham with glaze mixture during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  5. Root beer. In medium saucepan, whisk 1 cup room-temperature root beer, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup ketchup and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered until mixture reduces in half (about 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Brush half of mixture on ham prior to baking. Brush remaining sauce over ham just as it comes out of the oven. Makes about 1 1/3 cups glaze.
  6. Cherry. Mix 1 can cherry pie filling, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a saucepan. Heat the mixture until warmed through.
  7. Mixed fruit. Soak 1 cup dried apricots in rum 1 hour. Blend in 2 cups apple cider, 1 cup red delicious diced apples, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. After the ham has cooked for 1 to 11/2 hours, add the fruit mixture to roasting pan. Baste the ham with juices during remaining cooking time.
  8. Maple-pepper. Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon mustard and 3 whole cloves in a saucepan. Add 1 cup maple syrup, stir and cook slowly until mixture is thick and clear.
  9. Pineapple-raisin. Saute 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter until just tender. Add 3 ounces of undiluted frozen pineapple-orange or pineapple juice concentrate (half of 6-ounce can), 1 1/4 cups water, 3/4 cup golden raisins, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard. Mix 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar and 4 teaspoons cornstarch. Add vinegar mixture to the raisin mixture. Cook and stir until the glaze is nicely thickened and slightly bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
  10. Cranberry-mango. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup thawed frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 cup mashed mangos, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Pour over chops or ham. Cook until thick and heated through, 4 minutes.

BAKED HAM WITH HONEY GLAZE

Yield: 22 servings.

10-14 pound spiral-sliced, fully cooked smoked ham
1 cup honey
6 ounces orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apricot jam
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Heat oven to 325 F. Place ham on rack in roasting pan.

2. Stir remaining ingredients in bowl; set aside.

3. Bake ham 30 minutes; pour glaze on top. Bake until ham is heated through, total of 2 1/2 hours, 15-18 minutes per pound.

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