Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

Refreshing agua frescas are popular in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The beverages are made from fruits blended with sugar and water to make a non-alcoholic drink. Because watermelon is naturally sweet, sugar is added to taste. This Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca is a salute to summer.

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

1 cup finely chopped watermelon
7 cups coarsely chopped watermelon
6 cups watermelon juice
1/2 cup sugar or to taste
2 large limes, one juiced, one thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint sprigs, plus additional for serving
Sparkling water as needed (optional)
Small watermelon wedges or pieces on skewers for garnish

1. Combine watermelon pieces and juice with sugar and lime juice in a large serving pitcher or container. Stir in lime slices and 1/4 cup mint sprigs. Let chill at least 30 minutes to let flavors meld.
2. Fill short glasses two-thirds full of watermelon mixture. Top off with sparkling water if desired. Garnish with watermelon wedges or skewers and mint.
Recipe note: Experiment with other fresh fruits to create your own agua frescas.  A splash of rum or vodka will make this drink a spirited adult cocktail.
Adapted from the National Watermelon Promotion Board

Morning Mix recipe: Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Morning Mix recipe: Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

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 Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. These treats are so good you’ll be licking your fingers for every last bit. Because you cut them into squares the treats are great to pack for a picnic, dinner at a friend’s, or a family road trip. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Makes 24 bars

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces cream cheese (1 1/2 packages), softened
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 cup fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13-by 9-inch baking pan
2. Soften 1/2 cup of the butter and combine it with 1/2 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until fluffy. Add 2 cups flour, the baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Beat until crumbly. Transfer crumbs to the baking pan and pat to make an even layer. Bake 10 minutes until the surface is dry but not browned; cool.
3. In the same mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice and almond extract until fluffy. Beat in the eggs until combined. When the baked crust has cooled, spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the top and bake 20 minutes until the cheesecake has set.
4. Stir together brown sugar, remaining 3/4 cup flour, the cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the brown sugar mixture. Work the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until uniform crumbs have formed. Stir in the almonds. When the cheesecake layer has baked, sprinkle the blueberries and crumb mixture over top and bake 20 minutes until the crumbs have browned.
5. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least 2 hours until the cheesecake is firm before cutting into 24 bars.

SOURCE: Developed by Emily Hobbs of Ozark, Mo., for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Prosciutto & Asiago Rice Cakes with Pesto Aioli

Prosciutto & Asiago Rice Cakes with Pesto Aioli

Prosciutto & Asiago Rice Cakes with Pesto Aioli

Prosciutto & Asiago Rice Cakes with Pesto Aioli

Rice is gluten-free and non-allergenic making it an ideal ingredient for appetizers you plan to serve to a diverse group of guests. You can substitute Arborio or brown rice for the medium grain white rice if desired. These easy cakes are great for brunches and any other party appetizers.

Prosciutto & Asiago Rice Cakes with Pesto Aioli
Yield: 20 servings

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cooked medium grain white rice
2/3 cup grated asiago cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves or other leafy herb such as flat-leaf parsley for garnish

1. Combine mayonnaise and pesto in small bowl; refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let flavors meld.
2. Mix rice, cheese, eggs, prosciutto and pepper. Shape into 20 patties, about 1 1/2-inches in diameter.
3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté half the patties 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown; remove from pan. Cook remaining patties, using additional oil, if needed.
4. Serve with pesto aioli sauce and garnish with fresh herbs.
Recipe note: This super easy side dish was developed by Bob Gadsby of Montana. His creation was among the winners in the 2007 “Rev Up Your Rice!” recipe contest. The patties can be made ahead and warmed in the oven or on the grill just before serving with the chilled aioli.

SOURCE: USA Rice Federation

Spring Vegetable Frittata

Spring Vegetable Frittata

Spring Vegetable Frittata

Spring Vegetable Frittata

Spring brunch menus are a great place to showcase garden fresh vegetables in omelets, quiches and frittatas. I am partial to frittatas, an Italian dish that is easier to make than the other two. There is no fancy flipping or crust to make. Simply saute some vegetables in season add eggs and finish off in the oven while you toss a salad to accompany. Now all that’s left are the mimosas. Cheers!

Spring Vegetable Frittata
Yield: 12 servings; 2 (12-inch) pies

12 large eggs
12 basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
4 cups yellow squash slices (1/4 inch thick)
4 cups zucchini slices (1/4 inch thick)
3 cups thinly sliced red bell peppers
3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup sliced green onions
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat broiler. Whisk eggs, basil, parsley, salt and pepper in bowl.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in each of two (12-inch) oven-proof nonstick pans. Stir into each pan half the garlic, yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add green onions; cook 3 minutes.
3. Pour half of the egg mixture into each pan. Cook eggs until set, about 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Sprinkle half of the goat cheese over each frittata. Broil 5 to 7 inches from heat until slightly puffed, golden, firm throughout, and thoroughly cooked, about 3 minutes.
5. Allow frittata to set 5 minutes before cutting each into 6 wedges. Serve immediately.

SOURCE: AMERICAN EGG BOARD

Sweet Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salsa

Sweet Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salsa

sweetcornsalsaforjuneThis fresh sweet corn, avocado and tomato salsa is a delicious and healthy way to freshen up a family dinner or spice up your next barbecue. It was originally posted on at FreshFromFlorida.com

Sweet Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salsa

4 ears corn, roasted and kernels removed from the cob
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/4 cup torn fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime, juiced or to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
Hot sauce to taste
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
2. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

SOURCE: FRESH FROM FLORIDA

Morning Mix recipe: Beef & Veggie Wraps

Morning Mix recipe: Beef & Veggie Wraps

Beef & Veggie Wraps

Beef & Veggie Wraps

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 Beef & Veggie Wraps. Who wants to cook when the heat is sweltering? Packing lean deli meats and fresh vegetables into whole-wheat wraps makes for a cool lunch or supper. Pair with chilled fresh fruit for a cool, quick and easy fuel stop. Mix up the vegetables with seasonal harvests. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Beef & Veggie Wraps
Yield: 4 servings

3/4 pound thinly sliced rare deli roast beef
4 (8 to 10-inch) whole-wheat tortilla
1 cup loosely-packed baby spinach leaves
1 cup grape tomato halves
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, trimmed seeded and cut into strips
1/2 of a small cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
White bean spread:
1 (15-1/2 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, minced
Coarse salt to taste

1. Combine beans, water, lemon juice, olive oil, white-wine vinegar, garlic and salt in food processor. Blend until smooth.
2. Spread each tortilla evenly with bean mixture leaving 1/4-inch border around edge.
3. Top hummus with equal amounts spinach and vegetables, or as desired. Top evenly with and beef slices. Roll up tightly.
Recipe notes: Arugula, mixed salad greens or thinly sliced Romaine can be substituted for the spinach leaves.

SOURCE: Cattlemen’s Beef Board, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Beef Checkoff

Tomato Caper Mediterranean Bruschetta

Tomato Caper Mediterranean Bruschetta

Tomato Caper Mediterranean Bruschetta

Tomato Caper Mediterranean Bruschetta

A blend of chopped tomatoes, Italian herbs, capers and crushed red pepper on toasted French bread slices makes a light and flavorful appetizer.

Tomato Caper Mediterranean Bruschetta
Makes 15 (2-slice) servings.

1 loaf French bread
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 cups finely chopped plum tomatoes
1/4 cup capers
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Slice bread on the diagonal into 30 (1/2-inch thick) slices. Brush with 1/4 cup of the oil. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack.
2. Mix remaining 1/4 cup oil, tomatoes, capers, vinegar and seasonings in medium bowl. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to blend. Serve tomato mixture on toasted bread slices.
Recipe note: Substitute fresh herbs to taste for the dried herbs.

SOURCE: MCCORMICK & CO.

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Peaches & Yogurt Sauce

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Peaches & Yogurt Sauce

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Peaches and Yogurt Sauce

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Peaches and Yogurt Sauce

Florida-grown peaches mature in April and May. This variety of low chill stone fruit was developed over decades by the University of Florida. Unlike other growing regions in the Southeast, Florida peaches do not  need as many cold days to produce sweet fruit. Today’s Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Peaches & Yogurt can be served as a starter or plated alongside grilled chicken as a side dish.

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Peaches & Yogurt Sauce
Yield: 4 appetizer servings

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons each: Freshly chopped chives and mint leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 pieces freshly sliced deli prosciutto (see note)
2 peaches, each cut into 8 wedges
16 large shrimp, tails left on, peeled, deveined
Olive oil for brushing

1. Combine the yogurt, chives and mint and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. Cut prosciutto slices in half. Wrap the peach wedges with prosciutto.
3. Thread a peach wedge, shrimp and then another peach wedge onto wood picks that have been soaked in water. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Brush the kebabs with olive oil and grill over a hot grill until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, turning once; about 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
4. Serve the kebabs with a dollop of the yogurt sauce.
Recipe note: You can omit the grilling and thread the kebabs with cooked, chilled shrimp as well. When I do this, I like to toss the shrimp in a simple bottled vinaigrette for additional flavor.

Inspired by Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma

Charred Corn Tacos with Radish-Zucchini Slaw

Charred Corn Tacos with Radish-Zucchini Slaw

Charred Corn Tacos with Radish-Zucchini Slaw

Charred Corn Tacos with Radish-Zucchini Slaw

This vegetarian (vegan if you lose the feta) recipe is crunchy, spicy and full of Florida farm fresh flavor.

Charred Corn Tacos with Radish-Zucchini Slaw

4 ears fresh sweet corn, husked and silk removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing corn
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, parsley and mint leaves
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon local honey, or to taste
1 cup radishes, trimmed and sliced into matchsticks
1 small zucchini, trimmed and sliced into matchsticks
1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (2-1/2 ounces) crumbled cotija or feta cheese
10 to 12 small (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
Lime wedges for serving

1. Brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Over a hot grill or an open gas-stove char the ears of corn until well-blackened but not completely burnt. Remove from heat; cool. With a large knife, shave off kernels into a bowl. Add cilantro, parsley and mint; set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine onion and lime juice; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in honey, radishes, zucchini, jalapeno and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
3. Heat the tortillas by wrapping the whole stack in foil and place in a warm 250F oven for 15 minutes. You can also warm them by coating a cast-iron skillet with thin layer of oil over high heat; warm each tortilla 30 seconds to 1 minute each side, until lightly blistered.
4. To make tacos, fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup corn. Top with cheese and radish-zucchini slaw. Serve with lime wedges.

SOURCE: Adapted from the Fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn Council

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce

Italian for “cooked cream,” panna cotta is a light, silky, eggless custard. It’s often served cold and accompanied with fruit. I like this recipe because it combines dairy and fresh Florida strawberries.

Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce
Serves: 8 (1/2 cup servings)

1/4 ounce package unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup very warm water
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups light sour cream
1 cup sliced strawberries for garnish
Mint sprigs for garnish
Sauce:
2 pounds strawberries, hulled
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. In a small bowl, mix the gelatin in warm water until dissolved. In a 2-quart saucepan, mix the half-and-half and sugar. Heat until bubbles form around the edge (do not boil). Remove from the heat. Beat in the gelatin and vanilla with a wire whisk until smooth. Place the sour cream in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the warm gelatin mixture until smooth. Pour into 8 (6 ounce) custard cups. Cover loosely. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely set.
2. For the sauce, place ingredients in saucepan over medium-high. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully pour into food processer and puree. You may need to do this in batches. Strain the mixture over a bowl, using a spatula to stir and press the fruit so that all of the liquid is forced through. Skim as much foam from surface. Pour sauce back into the same saucepan and boil 3 minutes over medium-high. Let the sauce to cool slightly before pouring into a small pitcher or jar. Refrigerate to completely chill sauce.
3. To serve, run the tip of a knife around the edge of each custard cup to loosen the panna cotta. Drizzle with the strawberry sauce and top with fresh berries and mint.
Recipe note: Change out the fruit sauce with blueberries, mango and any other fruit in season.

SOURCE: Adapted from Daisy brand sour cream