Potato Salad with Vinaigrette

This is a recipe for a light potato salad with a vinaigrette.  As much as I love the classic potato salad with loads of mayonnaise and mustard, sometimes a lighter version of the classic works better with your menu.  The green beans add a nice touch and if you want to get really crazy you can add chopped bacon.

Recipe ( Serves 8 )

1 Pound Red Potatoes

1 Pound Fingerling Poatoes

2 Small Idaho Potatoes or One Large

1/2 Pound Green Beans

2 tablespoons stone ground mustard

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 shallot

Salt and Pepper

Cook each type of potato separately, as they are all different sizes.  For each type of potato, take a large stock pot, place potatoes inside and cover with water by at least 6 inches.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt.  Bring water to boil and then let potatoes simmer until tender.  Drain the potatoes into a colander and immediately place colander (with potatoes in it) back into the stock pot, cover with a clean kitchen towel or cloth napkin to let potatoes steam.

To cook the green beans.  Place green beans into heavily salted boiling water and remove when tender, but still crisp, place green beans into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.

For the vinaigrette- Chop shallot finely and place in bowl with vinegar.  Whisk in the mustard and when smooth slowly whisk in the olive oil.

While potatoes are still warm place into large bowl with drained green beans.  Add vinaigrette (you may not want to add all of it) and toss all ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Feel free to add more olive oil or vinegar if desired.

Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

Warm Olives and Nuts

Whenever I have people over for dinner, I like to have a little something start.  For one it is a nice little treat, and it helps if you are not able to get your meal out right on time.  This takes no longer than five minutes and goes great with champagne.

You can use any type of olive,  I like Kalamata, Nicoise and Sevillano.  For four people I would use one cup of olives.  Mix the olives with one cup of almonds and toss with 1/4 cup olive oil.   Season with salt and pepper.  I use a smoked paprika salt which makes it a little spicy.   If I am really lucky I get to use Griffin Farm savory as another flavorful garnish.

Place the olives and almonds in a heavy bottom pan and heat for a few minutes on stove until olives and almonds are warmed.  Serve with champagne or a campari cocktail for a perfect start to any meal.

40th Anniversary Party

Heirloom was very happy to be part of a wonderful party celebrating an even more wonderful couple on their 40th wedding anniversary.  While in other parts of the country the temperatures are cooling down, here in California we often experience the height of our summer temperatures in September.  The hostess decided to serve an all cool or room temperature menu to help with the high temperatures.  The menu would also work served warm and could be adapted as a lunch menu for colder months.  On the menu was:

Tuna Tartare on Cucumber Rounds

Goat Cheese Prosciutto and Herb Bruschetta

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Organic Fruit Salad with Mint

Tomato Buratta and Basil Salad

Potato Salad with Green Beans

Quinoa and Cucumber Salad

Beef Tenderloin with Herb Pesto

Poached Salmon with Dill and Creme Fraiche

Berry and Lemon Curd Tarts

Chocolate Hazelnut and Meringue Cakes

Kale Salad

If you have hopped on the bandwagon and become a Kale fanatic here is salad recipe to help keep kale in your weekly repertoire of meals.  The avocado helps to coat the kale and the parmesan adds one more superfood for you to enjoy!

Ingredients: (Seves Four Smaller Portions)

One Bunch Kale

1 avocado

2 garlic cloves

3 green onions

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper To Taste

Sesame Seeds (optional)

Recipe:

Clean and slice kale.  Remove ribs and stem from kale and slice into thin strips.

Chop Garlic into very small dice.  Slice Green Onions.

Juice lemon and whisk in olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

In large bowl, add Kale, Garlic, Green Onions, Dressing and Sliced Avocado.  Toss gently and season to taste.  Top with parmesan cheese and sesame seeds if desired.

 

Summer Scallops

Scallops are perfect for any summer party.  Serve one for a nice starter to your meal, or serve more than one as light main course.

When heading to your local fishmonger for scallops you will may encounter many different varieties and sizes coming from locations all over the world.  Right now in San Diego we are getting a lot of beautiful scallops from Guerrero Negro in central Baja California. These scallops usually weigh in at about 8-10 scallops per pound, but I prefer the ones that are not too big because they work well for searing and slicing thin. When shopping for scallops look for fresh, moist looking white flesh that is intact without breaks or areas that look dried out or mis-colored. A fresh scallop should have a sweet shellfish type smell and should not smell of ammonia or any other strong odor. Ask your fishmonger for the freshest they have because you are going to be eating them raw ( even if you are searing your scallops, if you tell your fishmonger you will be using it for sushi he may be more inclined to give you a fresher cut). Quickly and lightly rinse your scallops before cooking and pat them dry with a clean towel.

To Cook The Scallops:

Melt olive oil in cast iron or heavy bottom pan

Sear scallops on each side until golden brown (season each side with salt and pepper)

If the scallops are thick, you can slice into thin circles and fan out

While scallops are tricky to cook, they are always better under cooked, you do not want them to have a rubber like consistency, or have them be too dry

To Make The Sauce: (Serves Four)

Take 2 cups white and wine and reduce by half

Whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter slowly

Add 2 tablespoons of cream

Pour Over Scallops

For Garnish add fresh herbs such as parsley cilantro or basil, or as in the picture above you can garnish with  julienned carrots and celery root with a touch of sage flowers.

 

 

 

Raspberry Magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone loves chocolate covered strawberries, but if you have ever tried to dip a raspberry into chocolate you’ve probably had a nervous break down.  It is possible, but the size and the squishiness of the raspberry doesn’t make it very easy.  My sister Dominique made these magical little treats the other night and I just want to share them with the world.  Yes, I am that excited.

It’s simple take a raspberry and fill it with your choice of chocolate chip.  Trader Joe’s has an amazing selection of belgian chocolate chips ranging from white to dark.

Thanks Dominique!

Weekday Birthday Party

Sometimes your birthdays are magical and they fall on a Saturday and everyone you know is free and your favorite restaurant can take your large party, and then other times your birthday falls on a weekday and people have work and have work week obligations. Here are some ideas for making that weekday birthday just as special as if landed on the weekend.

It was my wonderful friend Alexandra’s birthday yesterday so I wanted to put something special but laid back to match her personality.  We invited her close friends over and snacked on her favorite treats including cheeses, cruditee and homemade ice cream with chocolate meringues.

 

Put together a cheese platter with seasonal fruits and crunchy crackers.  Arrange all the food on platters and leave out on a coffee table for everyone to serve themselves.  I put out a big green salad and made sure to leave the salad dressing in a large creamer so guests could dress the salad themselves.  Since all the guests had busy work week schedules and were arriving at different times it made it so the salad did not get soggy.

 

 

I set up a serve yourself bar with lots of beer, wine, champagne, cocktail supplies, and plenty of non alcoholic options.  The bar was set up right before the entry way to the patio where the party took place.

Fresh Flowers always make the atmosphere seem more special.  Even if its just the flowers from your yard and the bougainvillea that perfectly falls from your neighbors fence allowing you to cut it.

 

We made special “Alexandra” cocktails with Titos Vodka and Sparkling Fruit Juice.  Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and it taste great and could not possibly be any easier.

Athena Event

Heirloom Hosted another Athena Event last week and as always we were so happy to be a part of it.  Athena held this event for over 100 women (and a few stray men) in the bioscience field.  The room was filled with extremely smart doctors, research scientists and french macaroons.  All the women who attend Athena events are fabulous so Heirloom made sure to make equally fabulous foods for them to snack on while discussing cures for cancers, and other smart important woman scientist things.

On the menu was:

Artisan Cheeses with Organic Fruits, Nuts and Crackers, Black Olive Tarts, Belgian Endive with Crab and Avocado Salad, Cornbread Croutons with Black Bean Puree, Avocado and Citrus Bruschetta, Organic Cruditee Platter, French Cinnamon and Apricot Macaroons, and Chocolate Hazelnut Cakes.

Enjoy The Pictures!

Summer Salmon

Salmon fits perfectly into any summer menu.  It can be a great alternative to the standard hamburger at any summer barbecue.  Serve salmon with roasted vegetables and organic greens for a healthy summer meal.

This is my moms recipe and it is flawless!

For every four people use 1 pound salmon (smaller portions) 

Use wild salmon if available

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Place salmon (with skin) onto baking sheet

Season with Salt and Pepper (about 1.5 teaspoons of each for pound) 

Sprinkle Lemon Juice onto Salmon (1 small lemon per pound, can add more after cooking)

Bake in oven for 20 minutes

Serve the salmon whole on a large  platter with fresh herbs or garnish with lemon slices