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Pink and green — everything’s Lilly

7 May

We’ve already droned on about our favorite preppy fruit salad here, but that won’t stop our Lilly Pulitzer-esque obsesssions to make even our food pink and green.

Although Lilly has some lovely party books that we’ve missed out on, we were lucky enough to snag a silk re-issue of a pink and orange shift. We can’t wait to slip it on, mix something cool and nibble one of these salads with friends.

SEAFOOD AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH LIME VINAIGRETTE
Recipe from “EsSentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Holidays,” by Lilly Pulitzer and Jay Mulvaney.
Substitute or add mussels, grilled diced swordfish or cooked calamari to the salad. The acids in the lime vinaigrette will help keep the avocados from turning brown, so you can make the salad a few hours ahead.

1 cup dry white wine
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
1 pound large (21 to 25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined.
1 pound lobster or crabmeat
2 ripe Florida (or 3 Haas) avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise into halves
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 large head green leaf lettuce, separated into individual leaves, washed and dried

Boil 2 quarts of water with first five ingredients, then add scallops and shrimp, cooking 3 minutes. Remove to bowl, cover and refrigerate two hours. Combine lobster or crabmeat and remaining ingredients in large bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 cup lime vinaigrette and toss gently. Serve over lettuce leaves, with remaining lime vinaigrette.

LIME VINAIGRETTE

Grated zest of 2 limes
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic glove, crushed and peeled
1 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
In medium bowl, whisk together lime zest, juice and garlic. Gradually whisk in olive oil and shallot. Season with salt and pepper.
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SEAFOOD AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH LIME VINAIGRETTE
1 pound large cooked shrimp
1 avocado, in large dice
1 cup fresh corn
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup honey
1 garlic clove, pressed or chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine the shrimp, avocado, corn, cilantro and onion in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, honey, garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil and whisk until well combined.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss to combine. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.
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BABY SPINACH, GRAPEFRUIT AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice for 10 minutes or until reduced by one-third.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Pour cooled juice into a medium non-reactive bowl. Whisk in 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/4 tsp pepper. Stream in 1/4 cup olive oil and whisk until incorporated.
Toss into salad of baby spinach, cubed avocado, supremed pink grapefruit.

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GRILLED GRAPEFRUIT AND ROSEMARY SHRIMP
1/4 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
8-10 rosemary sprigs with straight stems
1 pound (26-30 per pound) shrimp

In a bowl, combine grapefruit juice, orange juice, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
Pull most of the leaves from each rosemary stem, leaving about 2 inches at the top of the sprig (look like mini Lilly palm trees, lol). Mince enough rosemary leaves to make 1 teaspoon and add to bowl. Save extra leaves for other uses.
Add shrimp to bowl and mix. Let stand at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours.
While waiting for shrimp to marinate, put rosemary stems in a bowl and cover with water.
Drain shrimp, discard marinade. Form 1 shrimp into a C shape and push thick end of Rosemary sprig through fat section, then through tail end of the shrimp. Continue skewering shrimp with remaining rosemary, distributing shrimp equally among the sprigs.
Lay skewered shrimp on a BBQ grill over very hot coals or very high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 1 or 2 seconds), close lid on gas grill. Turn shrimp as needed to cook evenly until they are opaque but still moist looking in center of thickest part (cut to test), about 4 minutes.

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PALM BEACH SALAD
2 cups diced avocado
lemon juice
1 cup chopped celery
24 boiled, cleaned shrimp
1 T green onions
1 cup chili sauce/mayonnaise/sour cream Shrimp Louis-style homemade dressing
6 slices crumbled bacon

Sprinkle avocado w/lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients except bacon, and mix. Chill. Serve on lettuce and garnish w/bacon.

Palm Springs eternal

8 Apr

Sometimes when we’re lounging peacefully poolside at our Palm Springs getaway — eyes closed, water gently lapping beneath the breezy palms — we imagine the wonderful boozy row between Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra in their nearby home. You remember: the one where Gardner launched a Champagne bottle at Sinatra but missed, resulting in the famous cracked sink in the master bathroom. All that ruckus because Gardner blew a gasket after hearing about Sinatra’s dalliances with Lana Turner.

.

Ah, Palm Springs. Stars — among them Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Gene Autry, Bob Hope, Liza Minnelli, Liberace, Arnold Palmer and Dinah Shore — flocked to glamourous gin mills in the California desert in the 1940s and ’50s for respite from the harried life of Hollywood.

These days, Palm Springs is the most artificial place on the planet. Imported palm trees and faded Hollywood stardust now give way to leathery, overfed Canadian retirees and a booming epicenter of the gay universe. (Love The Follies!)

Foodwise, desert cuisine is hard to fathom. Orange, lemon and grapefruit trees abound as do California staples of dates and avocados, and hearts of palm (wrong trees, but still Palm Springsy).

Fine dining in PS, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage commonly means tony seafood dishes and glamourous steak houses dripping with bernaise. The desert dining of days gone by included midnight suppers at the Chi Chi Lounge, with orders of Welsh Rarebit and barbecued spareribs to soak up all that gin. Four-inch steaks, an obsession with zombies and Polynesian delights courtesy Don the Beachcomber.

To our imagination, Palm Springs cuisine means cool, citrusy salads to beat the heat. And we like them effortless and light, so we can lounge poolside sans pooch hanging over our Lilly Pulitzer tankini. Cold shrimp and lean chicken add the perfect touch of protein for swimming a few laps between belts. It is Frank’s world, after all. We just live in it.

UPDATE: Coconut Date Rolls are a perfect poolside snack with a fruit tray or on top of your salad.
1 lb. pitted dates
1 cup slivered almonds, roasted
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes (reserve some for rolling)
Blend the dates, almonds & coconut in a food processor until a paste is formed. Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the paste in the dried coconut and form into 1-2 inch balls. Top with a slivered almond! Makes about 25 little rolls.

PALM SPRINGS FRUITY CHICKEN SALAD
1/2 cup pitted dates
2 large oranges
1 small pineapple
2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halved, cooked and cooled
1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp grated orange peel
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped candied ginger
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh mint
1/8 tsp salt
dash cayenne pepper

Make dressing by whisking together all ingredients until well combined. Slice dates. Slice peel and pith from oranges. Slice oranges crosswise into 1/4 inch rounds. Quarter and peel pineapple. Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange oranges, kiwifruit, and pineapple on 4 salad plates.
Tear chicken into strips. Toss with dates and Orange Mint Yogurt Dressing. Divide mixture into 4 portions and arrange evenly on each serving plate. Garnish with mint sprigs.

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SUNNY PALM SPRINGS SALAD
A salad made with hearts of palm, avocado, grapefruit, and tomato.

1 grapefruit or tangelo or oranges
1 avocados
2 tomatoes, Roma type
1 can (398 mL size) hearts of palm
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
ground pepper to taste
salt to taste

Using a sharp knife, supreme grapefruit over a bowl to catch juices.
Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, reserving shell to serve from. Cut the avocados into bite-size pieces, then add them to the bowl. Cut the tomatoes into bite-size pieces, discarding the seeds. Add the pieces to the bowl. Drain the hearts of palm, cut them into small rounds, then add them to the bowl.
Pour the oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper into a shaker to emulsify. Toss well and serve.
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PALM SPRINGS SHADE SALAD
Chopped salad of crab, pineapple, avocado, green onion, grape tomato in a soya/sesame/siracha mayo.

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MILLIONAIRE’S SALAD

14 oz. can artichoke hearts, quartered
14 oz. can hearts of palm, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
14 oz. olive salad
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, quartered
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
Drain artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, olives and pimentos. Add mushrooms. Combine other ingredients. Mix with vegetables. Allow to stand in refrigerator overnight. Serves 6 to 8.
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Margarita Shrimp and Scallops
Recipe courtesy Dave Fogelman
Marinade:

4 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons gold tequilla
1 tablespoon orange flavored liqueur (recommended: Triple Sec)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 (U-15) shrimp and 6 very large sea scallops, cut in 1/2 or 12 smaller sea scallops
12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
Salsa:

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 medium mango, peeled and flesh diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 scallions, green part only, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon diced Vidalia onion
10 mint leaves, chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon mirin
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions
Pink salt, for garnish

First preheat the grill to medium.

Add all the marinade ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the shrimp and scallops and set the bowl aside. Next, add all the salsa ingredients to a serving bowl and mix well.

Remove the shrimp and scallops from the marinade. Put a scallop in the “U” (curved part of the shrimp) of the shrimp and skewer, first through the scallop and then through the shrimp. Arrange the skewers on the hot grill and cook approximately 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on 1 side, then turn and grill for 2 1/2 minutes on the other side. When done, remove the skewers from the grill to a serving dish. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pink salt. Serve with the salsa and enjoy!

Not so crabby now

27 Dec

It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without this molten pleasure: photo-3

It’s a secret weapon at our family cocktail gathering. Not much to look at, (as you can tell!) so you’d better have a worthy vessel to serve it from. Perhaps it’s time for a Le Creuset mini cocotte or two?

UPDATE! Thanks to a generous and thoughtful friend who gave us this for Christmas, we now have a delightful tiny crock to serve in. Many thanks.

Something about seafood, silver serving dishes and cocktail forks makes us very happy. We adore our Christmas Eve ritual: a seemingly endless buffet of hors’ d’oeuvres and wine, followed by a sit down dinner with sherried French onion soup, good greens with chevre, pecans and pomegranate gems, and, of course, our newest favourite: la buche de Noel.

IMPERIAL CRAB DIP
Chevre
1/2 pack MacLaren’s Imperial Sharp Cold Pack Cheddar Cheese 250g
1 can crab meat (picked over)
2-3 minced garlic cloves
2 minced green onions
1 tsp dijon
2 tbsp mayo or cream cheese to loosen
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Blend ingredients and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbling. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon just before serving.