Asparagus and Comte Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing

DSC_0048This is a great spring salad.  Yes, in Arizona it is already Spring.

1 pound large asparagus spears
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon grated Meyer lemon rind
4 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
1  tablespoons chopped  dill
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup shaved Comte Cheese

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DSC_0048 2 Working with 1 spear at a time, shave asparagus into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, stopping short of tips. Combine asparagus ribbons, tips, onion, fennel, and 1 tablespoon fronds in a bowl.

DSC_0052Add a good shaved cheese on top of your ingredients.

DSC_0051Comte is the cheese I used but you could substitute any hard cheese.
DSC_0050 Combine olive oil, rind, juice, dill, 1/8 teaspoon salt, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring with a whisk.

DSC_0054Pour dressing over asparagus mixture. Toss gently to coat; refrigerate 10 minutes.

DSC_0057 Sprinkle salad evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon fennel fronds, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

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Slow Cooker Green Chile Pork Stew

DSC_0059My lovely neighbors brought back this wonderful Chipotle Garlic Oil from Central California.  It was a great addition to this Green Chile Stew.

Ingredients

Pork Loin
20 ounces of first picked summer corn
Salt to taste
1 Tablespoon Red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons Chipotle Garlic Oil
1/4 cup flour
1 White onion sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 ziploc bag
Cilantro
Sour Cream

DSC_0043I used a large Pork Loin only because I feed my neighbors.  You could easily make this recipe with 2 lbs.

DSC_0048Take your pork loin and cut it into large chunks then toss in a ziploc bag with the 1/4 cup flour and cumin  until coated.

DSC_0052Place your sliced onions and pork in a warm frying pan with your oil and brown on both sides.

DSC_0046Toss your corn and salsa verde and red pepper flakes directly into slow cooker. Then toss in your pork.  You will slow cook your ingredients for 3 to 4 hours depending on how tender you want your pork.  Add salt as you go, and that it.

DSC_0057Once its finished add some sour cream, and cilantro.  Super Simple and delicious.

Lemon Mousse with Strawberry Roses

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Mousse
8 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounce container light cool whip
1/3 cup lemon juice

DSC_0065Beat softened cream cheese and condensed milk in large bowl until smooth and creamy.Then fold in  your cool whip and lemon juice.  Once your mousse is made you can chill for a day or more.

Graham Cracker Crust
10 full sheets graham crackers
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon molasses

DSC_0069Mix melted butter, raw sugar and molasses until incorporated.

DSC_0070Break up 10 sheets of graham crackers.

DSC_0071Blend with butter and sugar mixture until it looks like wet sand.

DSC_0073I placed about 2 heaping tablespoons per canning lid. These are wide size canning lids.

DSC_0072Then I took the bottom of my measuring cup and pressed the crust into each lid making a small indent to place mousse.

DSC_0074This is how they should look going into the oven for 7 to 9 minutes at 350 degrees.  I placed foil over them so they wouldn’t burn.

DSC_0075Once they are baked they won’t look much different.  Now allow them to cool.

DSC_0068I used a large pastry bag to fill the lids but you could easily use a ziploc bag that was cut on the corner.

DSC_0001Then I began to cut the strawberries into flowers.  You will make four initial cuts towards the bottom of the strawberry.  With each cut you will push the sides out to open up into flower petals.

DSC_0006One the second row you will cut in between and above the first rows two sides.  You can see the diagonal cut here. If your strawberries are larger you can get three rows.  Mine were small so I was only able to cut two rows of petals.DSC_0018You want to leave your stem attached so your flowers don’t fall apart but remove the leaves and make candy melt leaves.  I didn’t have time to do anything fancy and just made some basic leaves.

DSC_0008Here’s the final results.  These will be perfect for our February 85 degree days here in Arizona.

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Plantable Paper Seed Hearts

DSC_0016My fathers favorite holiday was Valentine’s Day.  He always went out of his way to make it special for my mother and me.  Nearly a decade after he passed away I found out that his mom had passed away on Valentine’s Day during childbirth.  Both her and his baby sister were placed on ice  (over 3 months) until the ice melted in northern Minnesota. He was just 9 years old.   He never shared this sad event with me or sulked during Valentines Day.  Instead he made certain that the people he loved felt loved!

These hearts are so simple to make.  I hope you will give them a try, and when you see the flowers growing think of this story.

What you will need:

Construction paper
Blender
Water
Seeds
Cookie Cutter

DSC_0005Rip up some paper.

DSC_0006I tore up enough to loosely fill this blender then I added 2 cups of water.

DSC_0009I continued to add water until it was pulp like.

DSC_0010Then I laid out some cookie cutters on parchment paper.

DSC_0012I began scooping the pulp into the heart cookie cutters.

DSC_0011I used poppy seeds as we live in the SW and these will propagate easily.

DSC_0014Next I placed the seeds on top of the pulp and lifted the cutters off of the pulp.

DSC_0016 They didn’t stick at all. Then I simply waited for them to dry over the next couple of days on my kitchen counter.  You could place them outside and speed this process up but we have lost of wind here.

 

Dehydrated Orange Slices

DSC_0004A couple lifetimes ago I worked for Ron Popeil.  When I worked for him Dehydrators were all the rage. I can honestly say my dehydrator has lasted me over two decades.

Last week one of my neighbors dropped some orange slices by.  I honestly don’t know why I haven’t dried them out prior to this.   I decided to use regular and blood oranges to add some color.

DSC_0057First wash your oranges and then begin to slice them.  I first used our mandolin but felt it was doing more harm than good.  Then I simply started cutting them by hand. You can add spices if you would like.

DSC_0059Next I placed them on the drying racks and walked away for a few hours.  Around hour 4, I rotated my racks.

DSC_0062And continued to dehydrate the oranges.

DSC_0065They took around 10-12 hours.  It will depend on how juicy your oranges are and how thin you slice them. Your house will smell amazing after these have been drying out for a few hours.

DSC_0013You can eat them rind and all,  if you’re ok with the bitter rind.  I actually like orange rinds as they provide a ton of natural fiber.

They really are beautiful and quite helpful when it comes to snacking in the mommy pick-up line.  I also like to hang them in trees when we go on nature hikes for the birds.