Summer Corn and Tomato Salad

2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (or the equivalent canned or fresh)
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Japanese Quinoa Salad

Salad days
Salad days (Photo credit: elisabet.s)

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 pkg (340)g firm tofu, drained and diced [or 1 cup cooked chicken breasts, diced, or 1 can salmon or tuna, drained], optional
2 cups coleslaw mix
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 small package sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 can (8 oz /227ml ) sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, optional
1 tbsp dried parsley
Dressing:
½ c. Asian Sesame Salad Dressing or Renee’s Gourmet Japanese Ginger Dressing

Rinse quinoa in colander thoroughly with cold, running water. In medium saucepan, combine quinoa and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cool slightly. In large bowl, combine quinoa with remaining salad ingredients and dressing. Makes 6 large servings.

Tropical Almond Smoothie

Using frozen fruit in smoothies results in a creamy texture and look without the addition of dairy.

3/4 c. chopped fresh or frozen pineapple

1 frozen banana

1/2 c. to 3/4 c. orange juice (to preferred thickness)

1 T. honey

1/4 c. sliced almonds

Blend together until smooth.  Makes approximately two 8 ounce, servings.

Strawberry Shortcake

Yum!

Anyone that knows me well, knows I love strawberries.  I brought this to a potluck a few weeks ago and it was well-received.

This strawberry shortcake recipe has been adapted from a strawberry dessert recipe known since the early 1900’s.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 quart fresh strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Strawberries:

Prepare strawberries an hour or two before serving. Rinse the strawberries under cold water; drain well. Slice the strawberries in halves; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar; cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Shortcake:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Set rack at center level.

Use a large bowl to combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix thoroughly.  Cut butter into small pieces and work in with a pastry blender.  Make a well in the center. Stir in milk. Mix just until dough is moist. Let dough stand for a minute. Divide the dough amongst 8 muffin cups, sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Test with a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the biscuits. If it comes out with dough clinging to it, lower the heat to 350° and bake about 5 more minutes.  Remove from the oven. Let cool a bit, and then pop the shortcakes out of their individual holders and plate.

For the whipping cream, I highly recommend a whipping cream dispenser like the one shown here:  http://www.isinorthamerica.com/consumer/products/creative-whip/en/    it saves time and energy.  You simply pour the whipping cream into the canister and it whips it as it dispenses it.

Top each biscuit with strawberries and whipped cream.  Serves 8.

Cajun Rub

1-1/8 cups sweet paprika
1/4 cup cayenne pepper
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon celery seed
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

Combine in a jar or spice containers with tight-fitting lids.  If desired, grind in blender or food processor to produce a more powdery consistency. Great on fish, chicken, pasta,  baked potatoes, popcorn. Makes about 2 cups.

Taco Tuesday – Taco Seasoning Mix

It is usually quick and easy to make your own spice blends and meat rubs for the BBQ etc.  I’ll be posting some of my recipes for the same over the next little while.  Try to find bulk bins of the spices used to make the blends and rubs as it may save on the cost.

2 teaspoons instant minced onion

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon instant minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed, dried red pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried, minced onion

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until evenly distributed. Spoon mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Label. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within 6 months. Makes 1 package (about 2 tablespoons). To make taco filling, brown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease. Add 1/2 cup water and and the Taco Seasoning. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.Makes filling for 8 to 10 tacos. Serve with the usual taco accompaniments.