Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Grape and Strawberry Salad.

Well, isn't this festive!
I wanted something fruity and sweet and pretty and I came up with this.
I didn't bother measuring my ingredients.  There are no hard and fast rules here. Just make it!

For the dressing:
3-4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2-3 TB sour cream
1-2 TB sugar
drizzle vanilla
Mix all ingredients together.
You know, if you had some plain yogurt, that would work here too.
If you wanted to use brown sugar instead of white sugar, that's good too.

handful of pecans
handful of coconut

For the crunch:
1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced

I used grapes and sliced strawberries.  Red grapes would be pretty too.
Consider other fruits:  kiwi, apple, blueberry to name a few.
I use the grapes whole.  Don't bother slicing them because I think that would make this too watery.

Make the dressing, then add in the fruit, celery, nuts, and coconut.  Stir gently to coat everything.
For serving, I like to sprinkle a little turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) over top.  Gives it a sweet crunch.

This is a perfect dessert/snack for these hot summer days.



Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Hawthorne Lunch: Seared Sea Bass/Fried Tile Fish With A Fresh Peach Sauce And A Green Bean Salad


Lunch is lookin’ good today.
First, I’m making another variation on a green bean salad and then Mr. Hawthorne will be searing some sea bass fillets.  To accompany the fish, I have a fresh peach purée which compliments quite nicely.

To prepare the beans, trim the ends and break into 2 or 3 pieces each.
I’ve got about two cups worth of beans.  
Bring a quart of water to a boil and throw in a tablespoon of kosher salt.  I know it sounds like a lot, but it works.  The beans cook quicker and taste beanier.  Trust me on this.  Drop in the green beans and set the timer for 5 minutes.  Drain the beans, then immediately plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking and set the bright green color.  When the beans are cool, drain them, then add whatever salad fixings you like.
Here’s what I’m adding to my beans:  
(Adjust amounts according to your own tastes.)
2 TB roasted peanuts
1 TB chopped red onion
1 TB chopped cucumber
2 TB diced fresh mozzarella
1 TB chopped fresh mint 
1 TB chopped fresh basil
Combine all ingredients.

Make the dressing:
2 TB lemon juice
1 tsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Gray Poupon Dijon mustard (Do not substitute a generic brand.)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Asian sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup neutral flavored olive oil (I use Bertolli extra light olive oil.)
Combine first 6 ingredients, then slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly until you have a nice emulsion.

Pour dressing over bean salad and toss to coat.

Always taste test.  I’ve simply given you the guidelines.  Adjust anything you want.

For the peach purée:
1 peach, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 small cayenne pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 TB lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a processor and pulse several times to purée.
Stir in a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh mint.

I left the fish fillets up to Mr. Hawthorne.
I’m using sea bass (since that’s what Youngest Hawthorne brought home), but you could use any firm white fish here.
To season, Mr. H. sprinkled Old Bay seasoning and freshly ground pepper over each fillet. 
Lightly film your pan with oil and add a tablespoon or two of butter.  The oil lets you get a hot pan and the butter is for flavor.  Heat to  350° - 375° and then place your fillets in the hot oil/butter.  Sear about 2-3 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of your fillets.

Serve fillets on a pool of peach purée with the green beans on the side.

After the lovely sea bass, Youngest Hawthorne brought home some tile fish.  I still had the peach purée and decided to fry up the tile fish and serve it with the purée.