Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Broccoli and Corn Salad with Toasted Nori Dressing

Broccoli and Corn Salad with Toasted Nori Dressing

Broccoli and Corn Salad with Toasted Nori Dressing (Photo courtesy Dandy Foods; & Duda Farm Fresh Foods)

Broccoli and Corn Salad with Toasted Nori Dressing (Photo courtesy Dandy Foods; & Duda Farm Fresh Foods)

Broccoli and Corn Salad with Toasted Nori Dressing is a great find from DudaFresh.com. Duda has been growing produce for nearly 100 years with deep roots in Central Florida. In 1953 Duda officially launched the Dandy brand of celery and in 1979 the company expanded their fields beyond Florida and even the United States to offer celery, citrus, radishes, sweet corn, lettuce and more.

Broccoli and Corn Salad with Toasted Nori Dressing
Yield: 4 servings

Toasted nori dressing:
2 sheets nori, toasted
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 piece pickled ginger, finely chopped
Salad:
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
4 cobs Dandy brand sweet corn
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup watercress leaves or baby arugula
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1. For the dressing, in a blender, pulse the nori, vinegar, canola oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, sesame oil, sugar and pickled ginger until smooth.
2. For the salad, preheat the grill to medium heat. Grease the grill grate well.
3. Season the broccoli and corn with salt and pepper. Grill corn cobs for 15 to 18 minutes or until grill-marked and tender; let cool. Grill the broccoli for 6 to 8 minutes or until grill-marked and tender. When cool enough to handle, remove the kernels from cobs. Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces.
4. Toss broccoli and corn with dressing; add watercress, carrot and red onion, tossing gently. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Recipe tip: To toast nori, place on a baking sheet and broil for about 30 seconds or until very crisp.
SOURCE: Duda Farm Fresh Foods

Florida Orange Juice Teriyaki Marinade

Florida Orange Juice Teriyaki Marinade

Photo courtesy Florida Department of Citrus

Photo courtesy Florida Department of Citrus

Florida Orange Juice Teriyaki Marinade is a farmer recipe from FloridaCitrus.org. Marty McKenna, a third generation Florida citrus grower, has been involved in the Florida Citrus industry all his life. Carrying on the family business with his brother, wife Karen, and children, McKenna produces quality oranges that are used to make Florida orange juice millions of families enjoy every day. McKenna is past Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission and President/Owner of McKenna & Associates Citrus, a citrus caretaking and consulting operation in Polk, Highlands and Hardee.
“We love this marinade over salmon, pork and chicken,” says Karen McKenna.

Florida Orange Juice Teriyaki Marinade
Yield: 1 1/4 cups

1/2 cup freshly squeezed Florida orange juice
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (see note)
1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly minced garlic
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, or powdered ginger to taste (fresh is best)
1 pinch cayenne pepper or dash of Florida datil pepper sauce (optional)

1. In a large glass bowl, whisk all of the ingredients until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Pour the marinade mixture over salmon, beef, pork, or chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for a minimum of 6 to 24 hours, depending on the protein. Discard the marinade after using.

Recipe notes:

  • If making ahead, bottle the marinade in glass jars and store in the refrigerator for later use.
  • Create your own packaging on the bottle and give the marinade as a gift from the kitchen.
  • Dark brown sugar can be used in place of light brown sugar if using for beef or pork. Dark brown sugar will add a deeper, more caramel-like flavor to the marinade.
  • Double the recipe and bring 1 1/4 cups to a boil, then simmer until slightly thickened and use as a sauce for the cooked fish or meat.

SOURCE: Florida Department of Citrus

Homemade Steak Seasoning

Homemade Steak Seasoning

Homemade Steak Seasoning (Photo courtesy Florida Crystals)

Homemade Steak Seasoning (Photo courtesy Florida Crystals)

Homemade Steak Seasoning is a great host gift for friends who love to grill or roast meats. The spice blend from Florida Crystals has a sweet, smoky flavor with nice notes of pepper and garlic.

Homemade Steak Seasoning
Yield: 8 ounces or 1 jar of spice mix

1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 cup Florida Crystals Organic Brown Raw Cane Sugar

1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients with a whisk.
2. Pour mixture into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid to store until ready to use.
SOURCE: Adapted from Florida Crystals

Chicken Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew

Chicken Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew

Chicken Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew (Photo courtesy National Chicken Council and ChickenRoost.com)

Chicken Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew (Photo courtesy National Chicken Council and ChickenRoost.com)

Chicken Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew is a hearty one bowl winter meal. Green beans or asparagus tips can be added to the mix as well. The recipe was developed for the National Chicken Council and ChickenRoost.com.

Chicken Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew
Yield: 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds chicken thigh meat, boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup red lentils
1 (12-ounce) bag spinach, cleaned and chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
6 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream

1. In a stock pot, heat oil on medium. Add chicken and seasi with salt and cayenne pepper. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown all sides of meat.
2. Add garlic, ginger, and onion. Saute for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add dried spices (cumin, mustard, coriander, and cinnamon) and brown sugar and stir until well combined.
3. Add broth and tomatoes with juice; bring mixture to a boil. Add the carrots and potatoes. Return mixture to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add lentils, cover, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
4. Using a fork, check to be sure vegetables are soft. When soft, add chopped spinach, stirring to combine just until spinach is wilted. Add the 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro.
5. Serve in soup bowls garnished with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and topped with additional chopped cilantro to taste.

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars have a wonderful, light crackle on the top and the insides are soft and sweet. These are my favorite non-chocolate dessert ever and a must for the holidays. I think I have saved the best for last in this holiday series of 12 great bars that go great with tall glass of cold milk. I first made these in Mrs. Pert’s Home Economics class in grade school in Indianapolis.  You can dust them with powdered sugar if desired, but it’s really not needed.

Apricot Walnut Bars
Yield: About 48 servings

1 1/3 cups (6-ounce package) dried apricots
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cup baking mix, such a Bisquick or Jiffy
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup baking mix, such a Bisquick or Jiffy
1 teaspoon spiced rum
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Place the apricots in a 2-quart saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered. Drain. Cool completely. Chop and reserve. (Using kitchen shears makes this step a breeze.)
2. Heat oven to 350F.  Line a 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by 1-inch baking pan lengthwise with nonstick aluminum foil, letting just a bit hang over the edges.
3. Mix the butter and granulated sugar and 2 1/2 cups of the baking mix until crumbly. A pastry blender or two knives are tried and true tools for this, but I have found careful pulses in the work bowl of a food processor work just as well. Pour into the foil-lined baking pan, patting down evenly over the bottom. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Beat brown sugar and eggs. Stir in apricots, 2/3 cup baking mix, rum, and nuts. Spread over the baked layer. Bake 30 minutes. Remove pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
5. Using the foil “handles,” lift the bars from the baking pan and place on a cutting board. Remove foil and cut into bars.

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars are thin treats bursting with flavor. You can substitute pecans for walnuts if desired. Be sure to use a good-quality cocoa powder for best flavor. I used Ghirardelli for this recipe. For the frosting, add the milk a tablespoon at a time. I like the consistency that the entire amount gave the mixture, but you might prefer a thicker frosting.

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars
Yield: About 4 dozen bars

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup regular flavored wheat germ
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, divided
Cocoa cream frosting:
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons whole milk

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan lengthwise with nonstick aluminum foil, letting a little bit hang over the edges.
2. Combine the flour, wheat germ, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine.
3. In a mixing bowl, blend the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Stir in 1 cup of the nuts. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Bake 15-20 minutes. Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. For the cocoa cream frosting, with an electric mixer blend the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the cocoa, vanilla, and milk.
5. Lift the bars from the baking pan with the foil “handles” and place on a cutting board. Peel away the foil. Spread the cocoa cream frosting over the top and scatter the remaining walnuts over the top. Cut into bars and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge was my mother’s signature treat and she always made it for special occasions. And peanut butter fudge is still is my sister’s favorite family recipe. It is such an easy go-to for gifts from the kitchen, treats for Santa, or just a sweet indulgence you give yourself. Store the fudge in the refrigerator or the freezer until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Yield: 3 pounds

3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup evaporated milk (see Recipe Note)
1 2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Festive colored sugar for garnish (optional)

1. Line a 13-by-9-inch pan lengthwise with nonstick aluminum foil, letting a bit hang over the edges.
2. Combine sugar, butter and milk in large saucepan, stirring constantly on medium heat, until mixture comes to a soft boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Add the peanut butter. Stir until well blended. Add the marshmallow creme and pure vanilla extract. Beat until well blended. Spread in baking pan. Cool completely in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Lift the fudge from the pan using the foil “handles.” Place on a cutting board and carefully peel away the foil. Cut into small squares or bars. Top with colored sugar if desired.
Recipe Note: Evaporated milk is regular unsweetened milk with approximately 60 percent of the water content removed. Be sure to check the label of the can. Sweetened condensed milk looks very similar.

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars are a great way to take advantage of Florida’s strawberry season. It’s our winter gift to the world.

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

1 (16.5-ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats, divided
2 (8-ounce) packages low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 cups chopped fresh Florida strawberries
Crumble topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks chilled salted butter, cut into pieces

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick foil, letting 1 inch of the lining hang over the sides.
2. Press the cookie dough into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just golden brown. Do not overbake. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. While still warm, press 1 cup of the oats into the bottom of the cookie crust.
3. With a mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and eggs. Spread over the bottom of the cooled cookie crust. Top with chopped strawberries (see Recipe Notes).
4. For the crumble topping, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup light-brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and cinnamon. Cut 1 1/2 sticks chilled butter into pieces. With your hands (see Recipe Notes), work in the butter pieces, until loose clumps form. Scatter the mixture over the top of the berries. You do not have to completely cover the fruit (see Recipe Notes). Bake 30-35 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Using the foil or parchment “handles,” lift bars from pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars.
Recipe notes:

  • The oats on top of the baked cookie crust help form a barrier to any liquid that exudes from the berries. Also, it’s best to let the chopped berries rest in a strainer or on paper towels for at least 15 minutes before adding in Step 3.
  • I keep plastic food service gloves in the kitchen at all times for mixing foods by hand. Your hands are one of your best tools in the kitchen. And the gloves help make sure you work with food safety in mind. You can buy the gloves in supermarkets and restaurant supply stores.
  • Any extra crumble mixture can be toasted separately at 350F for 15 minutes. Store in a freezer quality plastic bag and use as a topping for ice cream.
  • Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon  Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze will fill your kitchen with the scents of the season while they bake. You can cut them into short strips, squares, diamond or triangles. The topping is a cross between a frosting and a glaze. It melts into the warm-from-the oven bars giving them a nice sheen. Poking the baked gingerbread with the tines of a fork or picks to let some of the topping seep into the bars.

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze
    Yield: About 48 squares

    10 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, plus more for the sides of the pan
    2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus a bit more for dusting pan
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1/4 cup molasses
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
    Lemon buttercream glaze:
    1/3 cup salted butter
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup milk, or more to achieve a thin, pourable consistency
    Garnish:
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan lengthwise with nonstick foil or parchment paper, letting foil or paper hang about an inch over the ends. Butter the exposed sides of the pan and lightly dust with flour.
    2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to blend.
    3. In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy and smooth. With the mixer running, add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in the molasses. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the the bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and pecans, beating until just incorporated. Spread evenly in the baking pan. Bake until golden brown and a pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
    4. For the glaze, beat butter and lemon juice until completely incorporated. Gradually beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time. With mixer on low, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. The glaze should be pourable. Poke the baked gingerbread with the tines of a fork or picks. Drizzle the lemon buttercream mixture generously over the top of the warm gingerbread bars. (Reserve any extra lemon buttercream mixture for another use.)
    5. Let glazed gingerbread cool completely in pan on a rack. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
    6. Using the foil or parchment paper “handles,” lift the gingerbread out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Peel away the foil or paper. Top with fresh lemon zest, cut into bars and serve.

    Pecan Pie Bars

    Pecan Pie Bars

    Pecan Pie Bars

    Pecan Pie Bars are everything we love about a classic fall and winter pie but simply reimagined into bite-size indulgences. I like to add a small amount of fresh orange zest to the crust mixture. It adds a subtle flavor note and a wisp of a favorite seasonal aroma. Like other bars, these are best served after a thorough chilling. (And they freeze well too.) If left out at room temperature too long, the filling does get sticky. At parties, serve a dozen on a chilled glass platter and replenish as needed with additional bars stored in the refrigerator.

    Pecan Pie Bars
    Yield: 48 bars

    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup salted butter, softened
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon fresh orange zest
    1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
    Filling:
    1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup
    2/3 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
    4 large eggs
    6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons spiced rum
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
    Garnish:
    Freshly whipped cream (optional)

    1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil lengthwise, letting about an inch of foil hang over the handles.
    2. In a mixing bowl, beat 1 3/4 cups flour, butter, sugar, and orange zest, scraping often, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in finely chopped pecans. Press mixture into foil-lined baking pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until edges are golden. Let cool 5 minutes.
    3. With a spatula, mix corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, flour, rum, and salt. Stir in the nuts. Spread over the crust.
    4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set and knife inserted at least 1-inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Lift bars from the pan by the foil “handles” and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars. Serve immediately with a small dot of freshly whipped cream.
    Recipe note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. If stacking, use parchment paper or nonstick foil between layers.