Bestia’s Farro Salad with Cauliflower and Avocado Cream

Today’s 5 star secret recipe comes from Bestia, a trendy Italian restaurant in Los Angeles.  This acclaimed husband and wife team highlights creative seasonal fare.  One of the amazing dishes from the menu is the farro salad with cauliflower and avocado cream.

Chef Menashe finely shaves the the cauliflower and tosses it with a bright avocado purée. He takes the shavings and uses them to cover a mound of farro studded with toasted pine nuts, onion, chopped fresh herbs and a drizzle of red wine vinaigrette. And he finishes the salad with pickled Fresno chiles, mint leaves and shaved Montasio cheese.

Enjoy!

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Bestia’s Farro Salad with Cauliflower and Avocado Cream

PICKLED FRESNO CHILES:

8 Fresno chiles, seeds removed, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, toss the sliced chiles with the sugar and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil, cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, or until the chiles have reached the desired flavor. This makes a generous 1 ½ cups pickled chiles, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

RED WINE VINAIGRETTE:

1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the shallot and red wine vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, then drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to combine. This makes about ¾ cup vinaigrette, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The vinaigrette will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week; whisk before using.

AVOCADO PURÉE:

1 avocado
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon fish sauce, preferably Red Boat brand
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, very finely grated
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a blender jar, combine the avocado, oil, vinegar, pine nuts, fish sauce, salt, parsley and lemon juice and purée until smooth. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until consistency is smooth. This makes about 1 ½ cups avocado purée, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 2 days.

FARRO:

2 cups farro
1 rib celery, cut in half
1 small carrot, cut in half
3 fresh bay leaves or 1 dry
1 Fresno chile, halved lengthwise
½ yellow onion, quartered
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium saucepot, combine the farro, celery, carrot, bay leaves, Fresno chile, onion, salt and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, skimming off any foam that forms, for 30 to 40 minutes or until the farro is cooked but still has a firm, chewy texture. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes before straining.

Line a sheet tray with parchment and spread the strained farro out into an even layer and, using tongs, pick out all of the vegetables and aromatics and discard. Drizzle the farro with the olive oil and toss. This makes about 6 cups farro which will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.

FARRO SALAD WITH CAULIFLOWER AND AVOCADO CREAM:

2 cups prepared farro
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
¼ cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons rough-chopped parsley
Prepared red wine vinaigrette
12 whole mint leaves
16 slices of prepared pickled Fresno chile
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cauliflower, thinly shaved with a mandolin
1 ounce Montasio cheese (or Parmigiano or Capra Sarda), shaved
Prepared Avocado cream

In a bowl, combine the farro, pine nuts, diced red onion, chopped mint and parsley and drizzle with red wine vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper, and toss until ingredients are all incorporated. Do not over mix. Place on a plate.

In a separate bowl, combine the shaved cauliflower and avocado purée and season to taste. Make sure the cauliflower is completely covered with the purée.

Pile the cauliflower on top of the plated farro and garnish with the whole mint leaves, pickled Fresno chile and shaved cheese.

Serves 4

Source: LA Times

Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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Gulfstream’s Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

Today’s 5 star secret recipe comes from Gulfstream in Newport Beach, California.  At Gulfstream they serve up the freshest seafood and mouth watering home-cooked favorites in a modern, marine-themed space.  They make outstanding crab cakes.

Generous in size and with only a thin coating of crisp breadcrumbs, Gulfstream uses one-quarter pound of lump crabmeat in the making of each cake, flavoring the mixture with a sprinkling of homemade blackening spice and binding with just a little egg and mayonnaise. Each tender crab cake is served over a rich, whole-grain mustard sauce.

Enjoy!

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Gulfstream’s Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

Blackening spice mix:
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3/8 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, oregano, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and sugar. This makes about 1 tablespoon spice mix, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the mix will keep, sealed in an airtight container at cool room temperature, for weeks.

Mustard sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon flour
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup whole grain mustard, such as Pommery

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, whisking often, until golden and just beginning to smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the wine, bring to a boil and when just thick, 30 seconds to 1 minute, whisk in the broth. Bring to a boil and cook until thick enough to coat a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is again thick enough to coat a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in mustard, season with salt to taste, cover and keep warm. This makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce.

Crab cakes:
1 egg
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
½ teaspoon Prepared blackening spice mix
Kosher salt
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
2 tablespoons oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons fine, plain breadcrumbs, divided
Prepared mustard sauce
Parsley, for garnish

In a small bowl, beat the egg just to blend. Remove 2 tablespoons of the egg. Reserve the remaining egg for another use.

In another bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of beaten egg, mayonnaise, parsley, blackening spice and a pinch of salt. Fold in the crabmeat just until coated, taking care not to break it up too much. Divide the crab mixture into 4 equal portions.

Place a 3-inch ring mold or biscuit cutter on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pack one portion of the crab mixture tightly into the mold. Smooth the top and carefully remove the ring mold. Repeat with the remaining 3 portions. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large, ovenproof, nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Working with 2 crab cakes, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of breadcrumbs over each and carefully place, crumb side down, in the skillet. Cook, occasionally swirling the fat in the pan, until the bottom sides of the crab cakes are deep, golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of breadcrumbs over the top sides of each crab cake, then very carefully turn over (you may need to use 2 spatulas as cakes will be very delicate). Cook until breadcrumbs are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Use paper towels to wipe out the skillet and repeat with remaining oil, butter, crab cakes and breadcrumbs.

When the second batch of crab cakes is done, wipe the skillet clean, return the crab cakes from the plate to the skillet and transfer to oven and heat until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve crab cakes over mustard sauce topped with parsley.

Serves 4

Source: LA Times

Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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Mary Mac’s Tea Room Tomato Pie

Today’s 5 star secret recipe comes from Mary Mac’s Tea Room.  This 1945-era institution draws locals & tourists for Southern comfort food in a homey space.  Mary Mac’s tomato pie is a delicious dish that combines tomatoes, onions and cheese with a crispy Ritz cracker topping.

Enjoy!

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Mary Mac’s Tea Room Tomato Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sweet onions (thinly sliced)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 box of Ritz crackers
2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Butter for greasing

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with olive oil or butter.

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the salt and pepper to taste, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Crush 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers by hand or in a food processor.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the cracker crumbs for the topping.

Place half of the remaining cracker crumbs in the bottom of the baking dish and pour 1 can of the diced tomatoes, with juice, over the cracker crumbs.

Layer half of the the sautéed onions on top of the tomatoes, and repeat the layering process using the rest of the tomatoes and onions.

Sprinkle the remaining half of the cracker crumbs over the tomato mixture.

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, and basil.

Spread the mixture over the layers and sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup cracker crumbs on top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Source: Recipe Secrets Forum

Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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Rumplemayer’s Hot Chocolate

Today’s 5 star secret recipe comes from the now-closed New York restaurant Rumplemayer’s.  This restaurant was well known for its hot chocolate and pastries.

With the temperatures starting to drop, now is the perfect time to enjoy this rich, sweet and smooth beverage.  It calls for real semisweet chocolate so there’s none of the chalky aftertaste hot cocoa often leaves behind. A dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if you wish, take it over the top.

Enjoy!

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Rumplemayer’s Hot Chocolate

4 cups milk
6 tablespoons sugar
7 ounces semisweet chocolate,chopped
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Ground cinnamon, for garnish (optional)

Combine the milk, sugar and chocolate in a large saucepan. Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture comes to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Ladle the hot chocolate into 4 mugs, top with whipped cream and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Source: LA Times

Until Next Time… Be Well!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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