Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Grilled Mushroom Cobb Salad

Grilled Mushroom Cobb Salad

Grilled Mushroom Cobb Salad

Grilled Mushroom Cobb Salad

Grilled Mushroom Cobb Salad is a good-for-you meal choice for summer meals. Relatively few people are aware of the health benefits of mushrooms, according to a new national survey by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers. Mushrooms provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more. The United States is second only to China in global mushroom production, according to the study. In 2014-2015, the United States produced 862 million pounds of fresh mushrooms and 90 million pounds of processed mushrooms. The U.S. exported 105 million pounds of fresh mushrooms and 263 pounds of processed mushrooms that year. And Florida mushrooms are plentiful in every season.

Grilled Mushroom Cobb Salad
Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
1 large red bell pepper, cut in 2-inch pieces
4 portabella mushrooms, sliced
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup prepared vinaigrette salad dressing, or more to taste
4 hard boiled farm fresh eggs, coarsely chopped
4 ounces crumbled Florida goat cheese

1. Whisk oil, salt and pepper and brush mushroom strips and red peppers with mixture. Place red pepper pieces on a skewer and grill peppers and mushrooms, turning once, for about 10 minutes.
2. Toss lettuce with vinaigrette and arrange on a shallow platter. Arrange mushrooms, roasted peppers, eggs and blue cheese in four “stripes” across the bed of lettuce. Serve chilled.
Recipe note: Freshly mashed garlic can be added to the oil mixture.
SOURCE: Recipe adapted from The Mushroom Council

Morning Mix recipe: Rum-Lime Chicken

Rum-Lime Chicken

Rum-Lime Chicken

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 Rum-Lime Chicken. The sweet and tangy marinade enlivens the chicken with nuances of allspice, nutmeg and ginger. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix 105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Rum-Lime Chicken
Yield: 8 servings

1 package McCormick Grill Mates Island Woodfire Grill Marinade (see note)
1/2 cup Florida rum, such as Wicked Dolphin, divided
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons oil
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup diced mango
1/2 cup diced avocado
Chopped mint leaves to taste
Pineapple wedges

 

1. Mix marinade mix, 1/4 cup rum, brown sugar, lime juice and oil in small bowl. Place chicken in large sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.
2. Grill chicken over medium heat 6-7 minutes per side or until cooked through, turning occasionally. After 3 minutes place pineapple wedges on grill, brush with additional rum. Turn when grill marks appear. Brush with more rum and sear other side.
3. Combine mango, avocado and mint. Serve chicken topped with mixture
Recipe note: Make your own marinade mix by combining 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste). Combine with rum, brown sugar, lime juice and oil and use as directed.
Adapted from McCormick & Co.

Honey Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Honey Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Honey Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Honey Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Honey Bacon-Cheddar Scones is flavored with one of Florida’s golden ingredients. There are more than 300 unique types of honey available in the United States, each originating from a different floral source. In Florida, home cooks seek out local orange blossom, Tupelo, black mangrove,  Brazilian pepper, gallberry and wildflower honey.  Store all varieties at room temperature. If honey crystallizes, place the jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. For best results, use recipes developed for using honey. When you substitute honey for granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe.

Honey Bacon-Cheddar Scones
Yield: 8 servings

2 tablespoons local honey
4-5 bacon strips, cooked crisp and chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add the cold diced butter and using your fingertips or two knives, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Mix the heavy cream and honey.
3. Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the cream mixture into the well, and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Toss in crisp bacon and cheese.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough into a circle, about 3/4 of an inch thick, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Heat oven to 400F. Cut circle into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper with a spatula, leaving 1/2-inch space between each wedge. Brush the tops of the wedges lightly with the remaining heavy cream.
6. Bake 20-23 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheet. Serve warm.
SOURCE: NATIONAL HONEY BOARD

Quick & Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Quick & Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Quick & Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Quick & Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

A savory blend of cheddar, Monterey Jack and cream cheese gives this classic party dip a full, rich flavor. Serve with crisp crackers, crunchy vegetables, thinly sliced French bread or tortilla chips.

Quick & Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip
Yield: 3 cups

1 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can artichokes in water, drained
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (about 1 cup spinach after water is removed)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese mix (in two portions)
Sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1. In food processor or blender, combine sour cream and cream cheese and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add artichokes, spinach and garlic. Process or chop until well combined, scraping sides of the work bowl or blender jar as needed.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine artichoke mixture, lemon juice, half the grated cheese and salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a 1-quart microwave-proof baking dish and spread smoothly.
3. Cover with a paper towel and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges. Remove bowl (it will be hot) and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. Microwave on high for 1 minute, until cheese is melted.
Recipe note: To prepare in the oven, preheat oven to 400F. Add final sprinkling of cheese to top of dip and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly.

Fried Pecan Okra

Fried Pecan Okra

Fried Pecan Okra (Photo by: Beth Dreiling Hontzas)

Fried Pecan Okra (Photo by: Beth Dreiling Hontzas)

Okra is a staple of Southern cuisine. The vegetable is well-suited for Florida’s hot, humid summers, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences. I clipped this recipe for Fried Pecan Okra from Southern Living magazine in 2007. It’s about as uptown as I will go with okra. Full disclaimer: I am a fried okra snob. If you promise home cooking, the proof is always in the okra. It will tell on you every time. The vegetable pieces should always include the pointed end pieces and the crowns. And the drab green chunks should never be suffocated in poorly fitting commercial breading. If it drapes like a bad jacket just back away from the table.

Fried Pecan Okra
Yield: 6-8 appetizer servings

1 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose baking mix
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen whole okra, thawed
Peanut oil for frying

1. Heat oven to 350F. Place pecans in an even layer in a shallow pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally.
2. Process pecans, baking mix, and next 2 ingredients in a food processor until pecans are finely ground. Place pecan mixture in a large bowl. Add okra, tossing to coat. Gently press pecan mixture into okra.
3. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet; heat to 350F. Fry okra, in batches, turning once, 5 to 6 minutes or until golden; drain on paper towels.
Recipe note: For testing, we used Bisquick Original All-Purpose Baking Mix. A 16-ounce package of frozen cut okra, thawed, can be substituted for the whole okra. This preparation first published in
SOURCE: Southern Living, March 2007.

Creamy Peanut Butter & Banana Pops

Creamy Peanut Butter & Banana Pops

 

Creamy Peanut Butter & Banana Pops

Creamy Peanut Butter & Banana Pops

Creamy Peanut Butter & Banana Pops are cool treats kids will enjoy making. Add mini chocolate morsels and crushed peanuts to the blended mixture if desired. Dipping the top in melted chocolate and rolling in crushed peanuts would take this frozen dessert over the top.

Creamy Peanut Butter & Banana Pops
Yield: 12 servings

4-6 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
12 ounces frozen whipped dessert topping
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
2. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until firm.
SOURCE: peanutbutterlovers.com

Baked Tomato-Artichoke Casserole

Baked Tomato-Artichoke Casserole

Baked Artichoke Casserole

Baked Tomato-Artichoke Casserole

While 99 percent of America’s artichokes are grown in California, a University of Florida scientist has seen some success growing them in Florida and funded by a federal grant he will continue field trials next winter. Shinsuke Agehara, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences, thinks he can grow artichokes here in the Sunshine State despite the crop’s need for a cool environment. My fingers are crossed for this researcher’s success. In California, artichokes are available year-round. Today’s recipe for Baked Tomato-Artichoke Casserole was adapted from the California Artichoke Advisory Board.

Baked Tomato-Artichoke Casserole
Yield: 4 servings

2 medium artichokes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
2 medium sweet onions, sliced thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly chopped oregano, plus more for garnish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
6 ounces mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, sliced

1. Bend back outer petals of each artichoke until they snap off easily near the base; edible portions of petals should remain on the artichoke’s bottom. Continue to snap off and discard thick petals until central core of pale green petals is reached. Trim brown end of stem and cut off top 2 inches of artichokes; discard. Pare outer dark-green surface layer from bottoms. Cut out center petals and fuzzy centers. Slice artichoke bottoms about 1/4-inch thick. Toss with lemon juice to prevent discoloration; set aside.
2. Sauté onions in oil 5-8 minutes or until tender. Spoon evenly into 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. Arrange tomato, artichoke and cheese slices on top of the onions, overlapping slightly in the center of the dish.
3. Cover dish with lid or foil. Bake at 375F for 40 minutes. Garnish with freshly chopped oregano and serve.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Roast uses a loin roast from the area of the pig between the shoulder and the beginning of the leg. It is sold either bone-in or deboned. For this recipe look for a deboned roast. A loin roast is often confused with tenderloin. Despite the name similarity, they are not one in the same. A loin roast is typically sold in pieces weighing between two to four pounds (the tenderloin is a smaller, long cut that usually weighs about a pound). The term roast simply refers to a large cut of pork. Loin roasts are delicious when rubbed with a spice mixture.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast
Yield: 8 servings

2 to 3 pound boneless top loin pork roast
2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, divided
Coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
Freshly chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish
Lime wedges for garnish

1. Place the pork roast in a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl, whisk Chinese Five Spice, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper,  salt and black pepper. Rub the mixture over the pork roast (including the bottom). Pour 1 cup of water around the side of the pork roast. Try not to pour it over top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
3. When there is about 20 minutes of cooking time left, prepare your glaze. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water until dissolved. In a large saucepan, add 1/2 cup of the remaining cold water, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and then stir in the cornstarch. Continue to stir until the glaze has thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the liquid. Generously brush the pork with the glaze while the pork is still hot. Serve the remaining glaze on the side. Serve the pork with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley and lime wedges.
SOURCE: porkbeinspired.com and Justine Sulia of the Cooking and Beer blog

Grilled Chicken & Avocado Salad

Grilled Chicken & Avocado Salad

Grilled Chicken & Avocado Salad

Grilled Chicken & Avocado Salad

Florida avocados add a cooling element to any summer supper. The fruit are thought to have originated in Mexico and Central and South America. Avocado trees were first planted in Florida in 1833 and then in California in 1856. California now accounts for the majority of U.S. avocado production, followed by Florida and Hawaii. This recipe for Grilled Chicken & Avocado Salad is great way enjoy this Fresh From Florida ingredient.

Grilled Chicken & Avocado Salad
Yield: 2 servings

1 chicken breast, deboned
3 tablespoons freshly grated lemon juice, about 2 lemons
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
6 Roma tomatoes
1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 sprigs fresh parsley or parsley, finely chopped
2 large Florida avocados, peeled and sliced in wedges
Romaine lettuce leaves
Coarse salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Red wine vinegar to taste

1. Combine 3 tablespoons of grated lemon peel, garlic, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rub mixture liberally over chicken breasts. Grill, turning as meat browns. When juices run clear, remove chicken from grill. Place on plate and cover with foil. Let sit 5 minutes, then slice.
2. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and finely chopped fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. For the avocado salad. Top romaine with fresh avocado wedges. Season avocado with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and wine vinegar.
4. Place salad on plate next to grilled chicken slices. Top chicken with tomato mixture.

Morning Mix recipe: Summer Tortellini Soup

Morning Mix recipe: Summer Tortellini Soup

Summer Bean & Tortellini Soup

Summer Tortellini Soup

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 Summer Tortellini Soup, a modern take on pasta e fagioli. It’s perfect any time of year for lunch, a starter, or a side, but we love the dish as a light supper when the temperature outside soars. Every Thursday, you can find more recipes exclusively for Mix 105.1’s Morning Mix here and at the radio station’s website.

Summer Tortellini Soup
Yield: 4 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
15-ounce can low-sodium white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup freshly chopped tomatoes
2 cups stemmed and shredded fresh collard greens
6 ounces fresh cheese tortellini
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

1. Heat oil in large saucepan set over medium heat; cook onion, carrot, celery, sage and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Stir in broth; bring to boil. Add beans and tomatoes; bring to simmer; simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add collard greens and tortellini; simmer for about 5 minutes or until tortellini are cooked and greens are tender.

SOURCE: Pasta Fits at pastafits.org