Spinach and Arugula Salad with Strawberries

Spinach & Arugula Salad

This salad is so deliciously healthy and tastes wonderful! You have the peppery taste of the arugula, the sweetness of the strawberries, the slightly acidic and rich flavor of the balsamic vinegar and the crunchiness of the toasty pecans. With summer just around corner, in my case is it already here in the desert, this salad makes a great accompaniment to chicken and fish for a light summer supper!

Spinach & Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 4 cups organic baby spinach
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. To toast the pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, place nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 3 minutes, until lightly golden.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss strawberries with a tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Using a small bowl, whisk together, the remaining balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, season to taste.
  4. Add to the strawberries, the spinach, arugula, vinaigrette and toasted pecan pieces. Toss together and serve. 4 servings.

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Organic Strawberry Shortcake

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It’s springtime, which means that the best strawberries are in season! I was craving one of my favorite desserts, strawberry shortcake, which I have not eaten in a long time. To my husband, who grew up in New Jersey, strawberry shortcake means eating strawberries, whipped cream and angel food cake. To me, who grew up in California, it means eating strawberries, whipped cream and a sweet biscuit. My mother used to make the shortcake using Bisquick, which I don’t use, so I needed to find another recipe. My internet search led me to a very delicious Cook’s Illustrated recipe, Rich and Tender Shortcakes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream, published May 1, 1997.

I didn’t make any changes to their recipe. Furthermore, I was able to use all organic ingredients, except for the salt and baking powder. The biscuit was tender on the inside and crispy on the outside with the right amount of buttery sweetness. Add rich whipped cream and juicy sweet strawberries and you have the perfect dessert! Best of all, my husband loved it!

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Ingredients for Filling:

  • 3 pints fresh organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons (or less) organic granulated sugar

Ingredients for Shortcake:

  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour + more for working surface and biscuit cutter
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons organic granulated sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) organic butter, frozen
  • 1 organic egg, beaten
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon organic half-and-half
  • 1 organic egg white, lightly beaten

Ingredients for Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon organic granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Prepare strawberries in advance by hulling, slicing and adding sugar. Sugar helps to bring out the juices of the strawberries, but I prefer to add a minimal amount. Set aside and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Using the large holes of a grater, grate the butter into dry ingredients. Toss the butter into the flour using a fork. With a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the flour, until the mixture is the size of peas.
  4. Mix beaten egg and half-and-half together and then add it to the flour mixture. Using a fork, mix until large clumps form. Then on a floured working surface, lightly knead dough, until it comes together.
  5. Pat dough into 9″ x 6″ rectangle, ¾” thick. Using a floured 2¾” biscuit cutter, make 6 biscuits. Brush them lightly with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and put into oven on the middle rack. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. In a medium chilled glass bowl, add heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Beat until you get soft peaks.
  7. Cut biscuit in half, add strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream on the bottom half. Top with the other half. Repeat 5 more times. Serves 6.

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Chocolate Strawberries

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would write about the easiest dessert to make! I only use two ingredients, strawberries and a high quality dark bittersweet chocolate, Valrhona with 71% cacao. Many years ago, I would mix in heavy cream, use a double boiler and a candy thermometer, but not any more! I probably will make foodies cringe when I say I use the microwave! All I can say, there is nothing better than sweet, juicy strawberries dipped into wonderful and delicious bittersweet chocolate!!!

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Ingredients:

  • 12 Strawberries (the bigger the better)
  • 3-4 ounces Dark Bittersweet Chocolate

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Directions:

  1. Wash and carefully dry the strawberries.
  2. Using a small bowl, break chocolate into small pieces and melt in microwave. I start off heating chocolate in 30 second increments, then gradually lessen the time as the chocolate gets soft and melts. You want to heat the chocolate just enough to melt it.
  3. Dip strawberries into chocolate and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours until chocolate gets hard. For best results, serve the same day you make them. Enjoy!

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