Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Morning Mix Recipe: Pork Chops with Peanut Parsley Pesto

Morning Mix Recipe: Pork Chops with Peanut Parsley Pesto

Marinated Pork Chops with Peanut Parsley Pesto

Marinated Pork Chops with Peanut Parsley Pesto

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 Marinated Pork Chops with Peanut Parsley Pesto. Peanuts in pesto? You bet. Subbing for the usual pine nuts, this rich topping salutes Florida’s peanut farmers. Peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop grown in the United States with a farm value of more than $1 billion dollars, according to the Florida Peanut Producers Association. Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi grow the major proportion of all peanuts followed by Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Oklahoma. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Marinated Pork Chops with Peanut Parsley Pesto
Makes 4 Servings

Pork chops:
4 (6-ounce) boneless, center cut pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste
Peanut pesto:
2/3 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese

1. Combine the pork chops, garlic, oil, mustard and lime zest in a bowl; toss well to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour. Heat a grill pan on medium-high. Season chops with salt and pepper and place on pan. Cook, until well marked and cooked through, 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to serving plates and keep warm.
2. Combine the parsley, peanuts, basil, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Process until chopped, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil until combined. Add the cheese and pulse to combine.
3. To serve, top each pork chop with 2 tablespoons of the pesto.
Recipe note: Refrigerate remaining  pesto for up to 1 week. Serve it as a spread on low-carb bruschetta or toss with pasta.

SOURCE: Adapted from the Southern Peanut Growers

Clam Scampi a spring menu mainstay

Clam Scampi a spring menu mainstay

Florida Clam Scampi

Florida Clam Scampi

Shrimp scampi is a favorite go-to recipe for me. Try the same concept with fresh clams and it becomes a lighter, spring menu mainstay. This quick and easy recipe was developed by chef Justin Timineri, Florida’s culinary ambassador at the Fresh From Florida program. I adapted it slightly from his original recipe. Feel free to substitute parsley for the basil.

Florida Clam Scampi
Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 dozen Florida hard clams, rinsed
1 cup freshly julienned or chopped basil
Juice of 1 lemon or to taste (see note)
Coarse-ground sea salt to taste
Coarse-ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pint grape tomatoes, diced
8 ounces spinach fettuccine, cooked

1. Melt butter with oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, stir 1 minute. Add clams, stir 5 minutes.
2. Add parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and wine. Continue steaming, stirring occasionally, until clams open.
3. Stir in tomatoes and serve over fettuccine.
Recipe note: Zest the lemon for additional garnish if desired

SOURCE: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Rethink brunch with Portabella Benedict

Rethink brunch with Portabella Benedict

Portobella Eggs Benedict

Portabella Benedict

Florida mushrooms and farm fresh eggs are always in season. Portabella mushrooms substitute for English muffins in this Benedict recipe adding a nutritional boost to a brunch favorite. One medium large cap is a good source of the B vitamin riboflavin and the antioxidant selenium, according to the Mushroom Council. And each egg adds 6 grams of protein per serving.

Portabella Benedict
Yield: 12 (2-egg) servings

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
6 ounces fresh button mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces canned quartered artichokes, drained
4 ounces roasted red peppers, diced
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, plus more for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
12 portabella mushroom caps, stems removed
24 large eggs
3 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
Hollandaise sauce:
8-9 large egg yolks
6 ounces water
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
2 cups butter, softened
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. For the sauce, in a heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, water and lemon juice until blended. Cook over very low heat stirring constantly until yolk mixture bubbles at edges and reaches 160F. Slowly stir in butter until melted and heated through. Blend in salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm. Heat oil in large nonstick pan.
2. Stir sliced mushrooms, artichokes, roasted peppers, garlic and zest just until mushrooms become soft, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.
3. Heat oven to 400F. Place portabella mushroom caps (top side up) onto spray-coated baking sheets. Brush caps with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 10-12 minutes until caps are slightly soft; keep warm.
4. Poach eggs in simmering acidified (1 teaspoon vinegar per 2 cups water) water. Cook until whites are set (completely coagulated and firm) and the yolks begin to thicken (no longer runny, but not hard). Keep warm.
5. For each serving, portion two eggs onto one whole portabella on a serving plate. Top with sauce and artichoke mixture. Garnish with chopped chives and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

SOURCE: Adapted from the American Egg Board

Baja Fish Tacos with Watermelon Guacamole

Baja Fish Tacos with Watermelon Guacamole

WMFishTacos2Watermelon is in season in Florida from April through July. Choosing a whole watermelon is easy. Simply look the melon all over to make sure it is bruise-free and has no cuts or dents. On the underside there should be a creamy yellow spot where it sat on the ground to ripen in the sun. Then pick it up. The melon should have some heft and be heavy for its size.
I love to use watermelon in recipes from late spring to late summer. The juice is great for marinades, bastes and beverages. And the sweet interior adds crunch and flavor to salads, appetizers and desserts.
In today’s recipe for Baja Fish Tacos with Watermelon Guacamole the sweetness of the fruit balances out the heat of the jalapeno and sharpness of the garlic.

Baja Fish Tacos with Watermelon Guacamole
Makes 12 to 16 tacos

3 avocados, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons diced jalapeno pepper, or to taste
1/3 cup freshly-chopped cilantro leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 1/2 cups diced watermelon
Sea salt to taste
Cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds fresh Florida fish (snapper and pompano are in season now)
Chili powder
12 to 16 corn tortillas
3 to 4 cups freshly shredded green cabbage or a commercial mix
1 /2 to 1 cup salsa (optional)
Jalapeno slices to taste
1 cup diced watermelon for garnish
Pepper sauce to taste

1. For the guacamole, mash avocado and feta leaving a few pieces of the avocado for texture. Fold in lime juice, diced jalapeno, cilantro, garlic and onion. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend. Add watermelon and salt just before serving. (If you add it now, the watermelon juice will dilute the avocado mash.)
2. For the fish, heat oven 350F. Lightly coat a baking pan sheet with cooking spray. Place fish on sheet and sprinkle with chili powder and salt to taste. Bake 12-20 minutes (depending on size and thickness of fish). Remove from oven and cut into pieces; keep warm.
3. Heat tortillas on a grill. Top each with a few pieces of fish, cabbage mixture, watermelon guacamole, salsa, jalapeno slices and a few pieces of diced watermelon. Pass the pepper sauce at the table.

Adapted from the Watermelon Board

Morning Mix Recipe: Spicy Corn, Chicken & Avocado Salad

Morning Mix Recipe: Spicy Corn, Chicken & Avocado Salad

Spicy Roasted Corn, Chicken & Avocado Salad

Spicy Roasted Corn, Chicken & Avocado Salad

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 Spicy Roasted Corn, Chicken & Avocado Salad. This easy salad adds a few fresh ingredients and a quick homemade dressing to liven up that store-bought rotisserie or leftover chicken. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Spicy Roasted Corn, Chicken & Avocado Salad
Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
Sea salt to taste
4 ears fresh sweet corn, husk and silk removed
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly sliced or shaved radishes
2 fully ripened Hass avocados, halved, pitted and peeled (yes, I know that’s not a Florida avocado, but our season doesn’t kick in again until June)
4 cups mixed salad greens in bite-sized pieces
Spicy salad dressing:
1/2 cup bottled vinaigrette dressing
1 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄8 teaspoon each: ground cumin and ground cayenne pepper

1. Whisk 1 teaspoon chili powder, ground cumin and cayenne pepper into 1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing; set aside. Preheat broiler to high.
2. In a small cup, combine lime juice, 1 teaspoon chili powder and salt. Brush corn ears with the seasoning mixture; place on a broiler pan. Broil 6 inches from heat source until lightly browned; turn and continue broiling until barely cooked, a total of 7-10 minutes. Cool.
3. Combine, chicken, tomatoes and radishes. Cut each avocado into slices then cut slices in half crosswise; add to chicken mixture. Add 1/4 cup pf the dressing; toss gently.
4. Cut two or three 1/4-inch slices from each corn ear; set aside. Cut remaining corn kernels from the cobs, by holding the ear upright in a shallow bowl so the kernels don’t scatter.
5. Divide salad greens among 4 dinner plates. Top with the chicken mixture then corn kernels. Garnish with reserved corn rounds. Serve with additional dressing.

ADAPTED FROM THE SWEET CORN COUNCIL

Crab & Mushroom Cakes with Chipotle Aioli

Crab & Mushroom Cakes with Chipotle Aioli

Crab & Mushroom Cakes with Chipotle Aioli

Crab & Mushroom Cakes with Chipotle Aioli

Florida mushrooms are in season year-round. Low in calories and high in nutrients — including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D — mushrooms add a meaty element to many recipes. Here is a twist on the traditional crab cake for your next party.

Crab & Mushroom Cakes with Chipotle Aioli
Yield: 24 cakes

1 1/3 cups brown rice
1/2 cup Great Northern or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 large portabella mushroom, gills removed and finely chopped
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 ounces button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg, beaten
4 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 ounces refrigerated crabmeat, cleaned and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 vegetable oil
Chipotle aioli:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1. For the aioli, place all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan. Add rice, turn heat down and simmer 30-40 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
3. Place drained beans in a large bowl. Mash thoroughly using the back of a fork or potato masher; set aside.
4. Heat butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add onion and jalapeno. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring. Add portabella, cremini and button mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are almost dry. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and, when cooled to room temperature, fold mixture into the mashed beans.
5. Stir egg, mayonnaise, warm cooked rice, cheese, lemon juice, cilantro and cayenne into mashed beans. Fold in shiitake mushrooms, crab and scallions (mixture will be sticky). Portion into 24 mounds by packing mixture into 1/4 cup measure or small ice cream scoop, arranging in a single layer on a baking sheet. Use a flat-bottomed mug or large glass to flatten each mound into a 2- to 3-inch patty. Sprinkle with half of the panko crumbs, pressing in lightly. Use a spatula to carefully turn each patty. Sprinkle with remaining panko.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a nonstick 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook patties 5-8 minutes or until browned on both sides, adding oil as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.
7. Serve cakes topped with 1 teaspoon of chipotle aioli.

SOURCE: MUSHROOM COUNCIL

Orange Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Orange Glazed Turkey Meatballs

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Photo courtesy Florida Department of Citrus

Oranges are inside and out in this quick and easy appetizer. Diced citrus helps keep the meat mixture moist and fresh squeezed juice adds a sweet touch to the glaze. Leafy herbs add color and an herbal essence to the presentation.

Orange Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Yield: 7 servings

1 pound ground turkey
1 cup whole rolled oats
1 large orange, peeled, seeded and diced
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste for glaze
Datil pepper sauce to taste (optional)
2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano and rosemary for garnish

1. Mix turkey, oats, diced orange, egg, Italian seasoning, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and hot sauce; mix well. Roll mixture into 28 walnut-sized balls. Place meatballs in large, nonstick skillet over medium heat; cover and cook, turning occasionally until browned on all sides. Meatballs should be cooked through with no pink remaining in the center.
2. Whisk orange juice, vinegar, tomato paste, cornstarch,  remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add mixture to the cooked meatballs in skillet; continue cooking and stir gently until sauce becomes clear and coats meatballs, about 5 minutes. Serve meatballs on picks garnished with fresh herbs.

SOURCE: Adapted from the Florida Department of Citrus

Mini carrot cupcakes big on flavor

Mini carrot cupcakes big on flavor

Photo by Con Poulos for Food Network Magazine

Photo by Con Poulos for Food Network Magazine

April and May are prime harvest months for Florida carrots. If you buy carrots with green tops still attached, remove them before storing in a plastic bag. I found these baby carrot cupcakes on the Food Network Magazine blog. I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my taste. That’s the great thing about a good batter: You can easily add your own flavor profile. The candied carrot strands garnish add a touch of whimsy and elegance.

Mini Carrot Cupcakes
Yield: 48

Topping:
1 medium carrot
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon spiced rum
Frosting:
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon spiced rum

1. For the topping, peel ribbons from the carrot with a vegetable peeler, then slice the ribbons lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strands (you’ll need about 48). Preheat the oven to 250F. Bring the granulated sugar and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the carrot strands and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Arrange the strands in squiggles on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until dry, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely.
2. For the cupcakes, raise the oven temperature to 350F. Line two 24-cup mini-muffin pans with paper liners. Put the flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Whisk the grated carrots, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, eggs and rum in a large bowl until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Divide among the mini-muffin cups, filling each three-quarters of the way. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans to cool completely.
3. For the frosting, Beat the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese and butter with a mixer until fluffy. Beat in the orange juice and rum. Pipe or spread on the cupcakes. Top with the candied carrots.

Morning Mix Recipe: Breakfast on the Go

Morning Mix Recipe: Breakfast on the Go

Breakfast on the Go

Breakfast on the Go

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 Breakfast on the Go.  I love this recipe from the Florida Dairy farmers. The dish is quick and easy and offers a nutritious morning bite for busy households. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Breakfast on the Go
Yield 12 servings

10 large eggs
4 ounces 1 percent or whole milk
2 cups shredded low fat Colby or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely diced celery
3 cups coarsely chopped spinach
1/4 cup diced bell peppers (red, yellow or green)

1. Heat oven to 350F.
2. In a bowl, whisk eggs with milk. Pour egg mixture into greased muffin tins filling about 2/3 of the way up the sides. Add the cheese and veggies to each tin of eggs.
3. Bake 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Pesto Potato Salad trifecta of flavor

Pesto Potato Salad trifecta of flavor

Pesto Potato SaladMore than 20,000 acres of potatoes are grown in the Hastings area north of Central Florida. That’s more than 60 percent of Florida’s acreage, where potato production has an annual value of production of $180 million, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In addition, there are more than 100 varieties of potatoes sold throughout the United States. Florida home gardeners often harvest small red or creamer potatoes like the ones called for in this recipe. In addition to potatoes, this dish combines three key flavors: Fresh Florida basil, sweet corn and garlic.

Roasted Pesto Potato Salad
8 servings

3 pounds medium-size red potatoes
Olive oil
Coarse seas salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup white or golden balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh sweet corn kernels

1. Heat oven to 450F. Quarter potatoes and place on a large roasting pan in a single layer. Toss with just enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven; place potatoes in a large bowl to cool completely.
2. Whisk vinegar, oil and garlic. Pour over potatoes and toss lightly to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Just before serving, toss with corn, Parmesan cheese and basil, then sprinkle with pine nuts.