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Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette

 

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Semantically Ambrosia is a powerful word, the food or drink of the immortals, Greek goodess, sweet luscious juicy fruits, sweet honey smells, something that will bring  youth, pleasure, and health. In my crazy fantasy food world I imagine Homer, Penelope, Aphrodite, and Sappho and their ambrosia offerings of sweet and incredible nectars.  But the enchanted elixir got shattered when I Googled “ambrosia salad” and the record sounded broken. To my surprise his ambrosia salad it is an abominable concoction from the 50’s. Where all the Greek Gods must of been under the marshmallow influence, along with cans of syrupy fruits like cherries red no.5, pineapple chunks of yellow no.5 undistinguished cubes of fruit matter, bright green grapes and that fluffy component all tied up into a sweet coma. That’s what I call fulminating love…(Pepé Le Pew style hehhee)

Being lost in translation and trying to rescue the origins of the word,  this salad came to my mind. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “no wimpy salads” and a lot of encouragement to try and thrive while you feed not only your body, but the enticing act of eating consciously present and awake.

Althoug, I can not promise all of this matters in just one salad, I will assure you that this is not a wimpy one. In fact it does have the Ambrosia elements, fruits, smells textures, sweet, salty, acidic, juicy, creamy, crunchy all the components that make a salad a memorable meal, and the kind of salad you will crave the next day and perhaps the next weekend too. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, grapefruit segments, cucumbers, salty, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy nutty and meaty walnuts, all carefully combined and drizzled with a simple three ingredient Dijon-honey -grapefruit juice vinaigrette.  Needless to say the salad is healthy, energetic, nutritious, beautiful  and delicious.

This Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette  is what you need to welcome Spring and feel like a greek goddess, Enjoy!

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_Yes,-more-please!_greek-goddess-salad

For the recipe you will need…

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Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Tomato-Spinach-Soup-'caprese-style'-ingredients ~Yes, more please!ingredientsIs it Spring time yet?!!!…Well the thermometer is still going up and down like mad in Austin. And since yesterday was on the chilly side, I was craving tomato soup. I know I have to wait at least one more season to get great tomatoes at the farmers market. In the meantime what do you do when it seems only greens are in season?

So I had to improvise. I had two routes:
1. Try buy the best tomatoes I could find at the supermarket, roast them and enhance them…the problem with this solution, (even if it sounds the most viable route) is when you are truly committed to getting fresh organic produce you go to the supermarket and often the tomatoes look good but since your can’t sample them you get a lot of variation in flavor and sweetness. In my experience and in my opinion they often look better than they taste when out of season.

2. The short easy route: to buy a can of roasted organic tomatoes…
Well, sometimes you just have to use a salvation can when tomatoes are not in season and your frozen tomatoes are gone! If I know something for sure it is that I will learn how to can tomatoes for this coming season… fortunately there are plenty of options in canned tomatoes: from organic, no salt added, and no preservatives, (and in the case of Muir Glen, among others, no BPA’s if that concerns you , check this product list)  I find these canned options to have a more consistent quality if I can’t get them in season.

So I bought a can of tomatoes to satisfy my tomato soup craving. And here’s where I put my twist on things. I enhanced it with some dried herbs,sun-dried tomatoes, and aromatics. The result was scrumptious. It was good ‘ol tomato soup to warm us up on these strange cold March days. I added dried basil, a pinch of thyme, garlic, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes, plus a little Balsamic vinegar to balance the soup’s sweetness. I also added some sautéed spinach and mozzarella Ciliegine (cherry size mozzarella balls) as toppings before broiling in the oven. It turned out amazingly good. It reminded me of a caprese salad in soup form!.. I hope you like it as much as we did! And stay warm!

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Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Serves 4

1 can (28 0z.) Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I used Muir Glen organic) this is a must! the fire roasted tomatoes give all the flavor to the soup.
3-4 cups water or vegetable stock …start with 3, then add more to desired consistency.
2-3 glugs extra virgin olive oil
5-7 Sun dried tomatoes, chopped.
2 small shallots finely chopped
1 medium garlic clove thinly sliced
½ teaspoon dry basil
1 good pinch dry thyme
1 large bay leaf
½ teaspoon celery salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Toppings:

6-8 hand fulls of spinach
1 shallot
Extra virgin olive oil to saute
Salt and black pepper to taste.

Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine
(if you can not find the Ciliegine, you can cut the mozzarella into small cubes)

Preparation:

1. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, warm up the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the chopped shallots, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, bay leaf saute for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the dry basil, thyme salt and black pepper, saute for another minute.
3. Add the can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium.
4. Add the water, stir until well incorporated, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low, simmer for 6-8 minutes. With an immersion blender puree the soup. ( I love this gadget in the kitchen, it is so practical and easy to puree your soup on the same pot!)

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-sautee-base-for-soup
5. Once its pureed, add the Balsamic vinegar, taste, adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Bring to slow simmer, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and keep it warm.
6. Quick Saute the spinach in a skillet over medium -high heat, heat up some olive oil, add shallots, garlic and saute for 15 seconds then add the spinach and toss until they are partially wilted, and coated with the hot oil, add salt and pepper. Set a side.

Flash-sauteed-spinach~-Yes,-more-please!
7. Using oven friendly soup bowls, scoop 2-3 ladles of tomato soup, add some of the sauteed spinach and top with the mozzarella buccatinis.
8. Place bowls onto a baking sheet and broil the soups for about 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly crust. Be careful to watch them so they don’t burn.

Tomato-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-assambling-the-soup-

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-broil-your-soup

9. Serve with some toasted ciabatta or crusty bread slices and rub some garlic on the bread for extra flavor… Enjoy!

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-rub-garlic-on-toastTomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-toasty,-melty,-Yes,-more-please!Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-Yes,-more-please! Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Music Pairing: Frank Sinatra,  “Fly me to the moon”

https://youtu.be/mhZ2X9znPxM

Tomatoe-Spinach-Soup-Caprese-style-Yes,more-please!

 

Caprese Tomato Spinach Soup

Course Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 28oz can Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes, I used Muir Glen organic) this is a must! the fire roasted tomatoes give all the flavor to the soup.
  • 3-4 cups water or vegetable stock, start with 3, then add more to desired consistency.
  • 2 glugs extra virgin olive oil
  • 5-7 Sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil, if fresh use about 5-6 leaves
  • 1 good pinch dry thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic Vinegar

Toppings:

  • 6-8 handfulls fresh spinach
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil to sautee the spinach
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine, or frsh mozzarella cut into small cubes

Instructions

  1. 1. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, warm up the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the chopped shallots, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, bay leaf saute for 3-4 minutes.

    2. Add the dry basil, thyme salt and black pepper, saute for another minute.

    3. Add the can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium.

    4. Add the water, stir until well incorporated, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low, simmer for 6-8 minutes. With an immersion blender puree the soup. ( I love this gadget in the kitchen, it is so practical and easy to puree your soup on the same pot!)

    5. Once its pureed, add the Balsamic vinegar, taste, adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Bring to slow simmer, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and keep it warm.

    6. Quick Saute the spinach in a skillet over medium -high heat, heat up some olive oil, add shallots, garlic and saute for 15 seconds then add the spinach and toss until they are partially wilted, and coated with the hot oil, add salt and pepper. Set a side.

    7. Using oven friendly soup bowls, scoop 2-3 ladles of tomato soup, add some of the sauteed spinach and top with the mozzarella buccatinis.

    8. Place bowls onto a baking sheet and broil the soups for about 4-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly crust. Be careful to watch them so they don’t burn. 

    Serve with some toasted ciabatta or crusty bread slices and rub some garlic on the bread for extra flavor… Enjoy!

 

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Warm Acorn Squash Salad

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad_ingredients

Full winter here in Austin! Yeah!!! I love cold weather and with it the delicious and comforting warm salads.
This scrumptious Warm Acorn Squash Salad is a great dish to keep up with the winter calories. If you know what I mean… I’m saving calories to spend them at Christmas… hehehe

Imagine a roasted wedge of acorn squash, topped with baby spinach watercress, green apples, toasted nuts, creamy goat cheese drizzled with a slightly warm lime-ginger-ancho chilli vinaigrette… super easy, and comforting. This recipe will make you crave salad in the winter.

So, keep warm and I hope you fall in love with this easy and healthy dinner. Enjoy

Acorn-Squash-warm-salad~Yes,-more-please!

Warm Acorn Squash Salad

Serves 4

1 acorn squash cut in 4 pieces
4 cups spinach
2 cups watercress
1 granny smith apple cut in long match sticks or similar.
¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
¼ cup salted toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
4-6 oz goat cheese

For the warm vinaigrette:

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Agave nectar
1 teaspoon ancho chilli powder
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
The zest and juice of one lime
½ teaspoon salt

Preparation:

1. Place the 4 acorn squash segments in a baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil, salt and pepper, Roast at 450F for about 25-30 minutes, checking half way thru, rotate the pan. And bake until fork tender.

Acorn-squash-warm-salad_roasted-acorn 2. In a salad bowl combine, the spinach, watercress, cut apples, toasted pecans, toasted pumpkin seeds.

Acor-Squash-warm-salad_match-sticks-apples

3.To make the vinaigrette:
Slightly warm the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (warm to the touch). Add agave nectar, ancho chili, ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, whisk until well combined. Or place all this ingredients into a small clean glass jar and shake. The warm oil will marry the flavors and develop the aromas, as well to cozy up your greens.

Acorn-squash-warm-salad_making-the-dressing

4. Once the Acorn squash is roasted, toss the salad with some of the dressing, and top each acorn squash wedge with the salad.
5. Crumble some goat cheese and drizzle a little more of the vinaigrette.Enjoy!

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad_dressing-up-the-salad!

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad~Yes,-more-please!-delish

Acorn-Squash-Warm-Salad_above-your-expectations!

Warm Acorn Squash Salad…warm up!~

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