Today should be “Garden Friday” where I show you how I somehow managed to make it another 7 days without killing the green things growing in my backyard. But it’s raining outside. Like, “you shoulda’ built that ark” raining. So instead of showing you our first zucchini, or telling you about my peach tree dropping all but 6 fruit [sob], and that the beast Juliet tomato plant is loaded with almost-ready-to-pick tomatoes… I’ll just show you what I did with my recent kale overload.
I made salad.
I have introduced you to my favorite salad before. And this is its one-course-dinner cousin.
It’s what happens when strawberry season meets I-can’t-believe-I-went-30-days-without-goat-cheese meets holy-crap-I-planted-way-too-much-Kale. So like nearly everything else on my menu, it meets the requisite 2 parts desperation.
The salad is a perfect host for the beautiful strawberries that are coming out of the markets (and my backyard) right now. And the strawberries-goat cheese combo?
Nearly as perfect as chocolate and peanut butter.
Because I had leftover chicken in the fridge, I used that to top the salads for a quick, light dinner. Or, for you Honey Boo Boo watchers, a “multimeal”
Don’t have two pots full of kale on your back patio? Use spinach instead! And don’t forget, this is a “cold salad” – the quinoa has to be cooked and cooled before so it doesn’t turn your kale into a bowl full of sad, wimpy greens.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese
Fresh strawberries, kale, quinoa, and goat cheese come together for a perfectly light spring or summer dinner. Just add leftover chicken to make it a little heartier.
For the salad
2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa (from 1 cup uncooked)
3 oz kale, chopped (about half a bag or clam shell)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
Leftover grilled chicken, optional (I used this wet rub)
For the dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp spicy brown or dijon mustard (I use Creole)
1/3 cup olive oil
In a large bowl, add the chopped greens, cold quinoa (it must be cold so it doesn't wilt the salad), crumbled goat cheese, and strawberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallot, and mustard.
Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Before serving, toss the dressing with the salad and serve topped with sliced chicken.
Leftovers will keep a couple of days covered in the fridge.
Crammed into the busting-at-the-seams bottom drawer of my freezer is a collection of leftover bowls filled with… leftovers. There’s chili and chicken stock. And something that’s either more chili or possibly a meaty marinara sauce (I’ll find out for sure tomorrow – please let it be chili!).
And then there’s the bowl of strawberry puree. Thankfully the contents are frozen because that bowl was sideways. (I strongly adore organized spaces and strongly dislike the process of organizing them.)
The strawberry puree was leftover from making strawberry cupcakes for The Little’s birthday party last month. And while I would have loved to have used the fresh strawberries that we picked last week…
Last week, we took my visiting spring breaker niece and nephews to a local farm to pick strawberries. I had big plans for those strawberries (read: margaritas). And so did the kids (read: total, complete annihilation).
Over 6lb of strawberries and there were less than a dozen left 24 hours later – and 3 of those shouldn’t count because they were put back into the basket with bite marks on them. (Gross.) Apparently, there are no such things as leftovers when growing kids are involved. They were bottomless pits with loads of aggression and the cutest East Texas accents which became less cute every time I had to put them in timeout for trying to drown each other in the pool.
Kids these days, right?
I had my eye on Tide & Thyme’s Strawberry Margarita recipe and gave it a little bit of a makeover to use the leftover puree, fresh orange juice, and the leftover homemade margarita mix that I always keep in the fridge for “emergencies.”
Or to celebrate the send-off of those visiting bottomless pits.
The resulting margarita is beautiful, refreshing, and fruity with plenty of strawberry goodness. Go ahead and save yourself the trouble – make a double batch. If you’re anything like me, you won’t have to worry about leftovers this time.
A margarita worthy of spring and summer, made with fresh strawberries, orange juice, and a homemade margarita mix.
3 oz tequila
3 oz fresh orange juice (from about 2 navel oranges)
It’s spring here in Texas, weather-wise if not quite calendar-wise yet. With all this beautiful weather comes a flood of fresh produce that no longer requires considering a second mortgage, unlike that sad-looking, coffee stirrer-thin asparagus for $5/lb that was out barely a month ago.
Strawberries are abundant, wonderful, and on sale everywhere right now. But since some of my favorite strawberry recipes involve flour and sugar – two things that I’m trying to avoid right now – we decided to try to be a little more creative and focus on more on non-baked-good alternatives.
Enter Strawberry-Avocado Salsa, stage right.
The salsa is simply a tomato-less twist on pico de gallo… with strawberries. And avocado. And orange and lemon juices in place of lime. But other than that, you know, it’s exactly the same kind of wonderful that goes great with fish and chicken and chips and tortillas.
We whipped up a batch for a tortilla- and chip-less (but not margarita-less!) taco night on the patio – and it was pretty perfect. There’s a lot going on with the salsa: heat from the pepper, the sweetness from the strawberries, the richness of the avocado, and the acidity from the citrus. And all that goes on top of smokey, grilled salmon filet.
A white fish would work pretty perfectly, too. And so would chicken. A tortilla might make it even better… as would a side of tortilla chips to handle the leftover salsa.
Salmon with Strawberry Avocado Salsa
Smokey grilled fish topped with a sweet-meets-heat salsa of strawberries and avocado.
For the marinade:
Juice and zest of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1 lime
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Small handful of cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil (plus extra for oiling grill grates)
4 salmon filets (~6 oz each)
For the salsa:
1/2 pint of strawberries, hulled and diced
1 large avocado, diced
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded (or not) and diced
Small handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt
Heat your grill/grill pan to medium-high and oil your grill grates to prevent the fish from sticking. (You can also do this under the broiler if it's too cold out.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients and then transfer to a shallow dish.
Place the fish skin-side up in the marinade and let sit for 10 minutes. (If you're using a skinless fish flip after 5 minutes; if using chicken, try to let it marinate for as long as possible.)
Transfer the fish to the grill, skin-side down and cook for ~10-12 minutes (4-6 under the broiler), until the thickest part of the fish is opaque.
While the fish is cooking, stir together the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl.
Serve the fish, seasoned with additional salt & pepper, topped with a generous scoop of salsa.