More canapes. . .Southwest Potato bites

Here is another easy summer canape that I prepared from some beautiful baby red potatoes that I got at the Laguna Hills farmers market.  You can make them ahead and refrigerate–just cover them lightly with plastic wrap so that the spreads do not dry out.

Southwest Potato Bites

24 baby potatoes, about 1″ round

1 large or 2 small red bell pepper (or 1 red bell and 1 red poblano to kick up the heat)

8 oz. sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

2 green onions, white and green parts minced

salt and pepper

olive oil

bunch chives

Steam potatoes until just tender but remove before peelings separate (about 30 minutes).  Set aside to cool.  Over a gas flame or in the oven, roast the red peppers until charred and peeling removes easily.   When slightly cooled, puree red peppers with a little olive oil until the texture is a creamy paste.  Salt to taste.  Combine sour cream or yogurt with minced green onions, and salt and pepper to taste.   Cut eat potato in half and scoop out a small portion to make a well in the center of each half.  Spread a thin layer of roasted red pepper paste on each half.  Put a dollop of sour cream mixture into each depression.  Garnish with chive tips.

This original recipe belongs to Rachael of localoranges.com.  Please do not reproduce without permission.

Mini Caprese Canapes

I hosted a going-away party this weekend and had a chance to put together some fun little canapes for my guests.  We are starting to see some the first of season heirloom tomatoes at the markets right now, and I found some delicious lemon basil at the Laguna Hills market on Friday.  I thought I would put together these seasonal ingredients into a little one-bite caprese salad.

Start with some round cherry tomatoes.  I used red, yellow and purple heirlooms.  Scoop out the seeds and pulp to make a little bowl–a grapefruit spoon works perfectly for this task.  Then lay one basil leaf in your tomato bowl.  Put in a piece of fresh mozzarella.  My market was out of the tini olovini balls, which I bet would fit perfectly, so I used the regular small-sized balls quartered.   Then add a dollop of olive-balsamic tapanade on top.   If you are in a hurry you can buy this prepared, but it is easy to make by processing about a cup of good kalmata olives (seed removed) with a clove of garlic and tablespoon each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.   The best thing about these little canapes?  You can make them up to a day ahead and keep them covered in the refrigerator without worrying about any ingredients getting soggy.

This original recipe belongs to Rachael of localoranges.com.  Please do not reproduce without permission.

E's Favorite Fusion Slaw

Usually less is more, but occasionally more is more flavor!   This quick slaw is the perfect sweet, sour, salty and spicy side dish to serve with any Chinese, Thai or Asian-inspired fusion cuisine.  Or, you can top it with grilled chicken or shrimp for a delicious stand-alone lunch.  The real reason I keep making it?  Even my salad-adverse toddler comes back for seconds.

The slaw:

1/2 head red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly

1/2 head green cabbage, cored and sliced thinly

1 bell pepper, diced (my favorite is orange, but yellow or red are great too)

3 green onions, chopped fine

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup (or more!) chopped peanuts (cashews work too)

The dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sriracha (or other Asian chili sauce)

juice of 1/2 lime

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated

Whisk together dressing ingredients.  Toss salad ingredients with dressing and serve.  This recipe makes about a cup of dressing, which makes the slaw very well-dressed, so if you use small cabbages or just want to cut back then start with half.  You can save the other half for a tasty dressing on your next Chinese Chicken salad.  Most of the ingredients except for the bell pepper should be available at OC farmers markets year-round.  If peppers are out of season, you can throw in grated carrot for a little color.

This original recipe belongs to Rachael of localoranges.com.  Please do not reproduce without permission.

Quick Dinner: Salmon with Fennel in White Wine Sauce

Salmon and fennel are a classic combination; however, their optimal seasons only overlap in the late spring and early fall.  This recipe showcases both ingredients at their best and can get a delicious gourmet dinner on the table in 30 minutes from start to finish.

Salmon with Fennel in White Wine Sauce

1 pound wild salmon fillets, pat dry

1 whole fresh fennel, white bulb sliced finely and fronds chopped

1 shallot, minced

6 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons fine white flour

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock

sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Melt 2 Tb butter in heavy skillet.  Saute shallots at low temperature until soft but not browned, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Add sliced fennel bulb and continue to cook on low until soft, about 2 minutes.  Remove shallots and fennel from skillet and set aside.  Add additional 2 Tb butter to skillet and heat to medium-hot.  Put salmon fillets in skillet skinless side down and cook until nicely seared, about 4 minutes.  Gently remove salmon fillets from skillet and set aside.  Set heat to low and add the white wine and stock , quickly whisking together to incorporate the brown bits.  Gently place the salmon into the liquid, skin side down, add the cooked shallots and fennel, and cover skillet.  Allow the fish to simmer in the liquid for about 5 minutes, or until just cooked through.  Remove cooked fish from pan, taking care not to tear the skin, and cover to keep warm.  Whisk the fine white flour into the wine mixture and turn heat to high, whisking, to thicken sauce to desired consistency.  If a thinner sauce is desired, you may omit the flour and just reduce the wine sauce over medium-high heat for a few minutes.  Once sauce has reached desired consistency, salt and pepper taste.

To serve, pour the fennel and white wine sauce over cooked linguine, mashed potatoes, polenta or rice.  Place salmon fillet on top and sprinkle the chopped fennel fronds over the dish.

This original recipe belongs to Rachael of localoranges.com.  Please do not reproduce without permission.