Showing posts with label barley corn salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barley corn salad. Show all posts

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Cat's Meow


Yesterday's winner for a copy of Diana Orgain's latest book, Motherhood is Murder, is Babs!

Babs, send me an email at avery (at) averyaames (dot) com with your snail mail, and Diana will pop your prize in the mail.


And now, for our Monday post:

I dared to go to Hollywood the other day. Famous for its sign, movie stars, Mann's Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Bowl.

I was afraid that the traffic would be bad. Afraid!!! You know, an hour to drive ten miles kind of thing.

We moved back to the Los Angeles area a year ago. We love Los Angeles and the opportunity to do so
many creative things. There are museums, theater, musical events. We love it. But, yes, the traffic is the oddest hours...and easy/swift at other times. Go figure!

Still, I braved it because I wanted to see a friend, and she works a half hour from Hollywood and lives a half hour north. It is convenient for her to meet halfway.

Well, surprise, surprise, the traffic was minimal. It took me 20 minutes. Parking was simple. And we went to a fun cocktail and raw bar restaurant called The Hungry Cat.

Charlotte's rescue Ragdoll cat, Rags, approves!

What a delight this restaurant was. Good lighting, good seating, a fabulous looking bar and raw bar. And the menu had such unique choices on it. My girlfriend and I each had a raw bar selection. I went with the Pacific Blue Shrimp, lightly marinated in a lemon spice oil. Yum! She did oysters on the half-shell. And then we split a salad.

The salad was so good that I tried to recreate it for this post. I didn't ask for the recipe, so this is "my" version. It was simple and simply delicious! Their recipe called for Pecorino cheese. What I had at home was a yummy Collier's Cheddar. I've used this wonderful cheese before in an MLK recipe. I believe the Hungry Cat recipe had some kind of nut in the dressing, perhaps crushed pine nuts. Or it could have been that the Pecorino had a decidedly nutty flavor. Whatever the reason...I decided to add sunflower seeds.

In a word...fabulous!

Lemon Avocado Salad

(enough for two to split)
Red lettuce
Butter lettuce
1/4 cup Collier's Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup egg whites (boiled eggs, yolks removed) diced
1/4 cup Avocado, (peel removed) diced

4 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Optional: 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds (or pine nuts, minced)

Stir the dressing ingredients together.

Lay the lettuce (untorn) on the plate.
Top with the chopped items and the dressing. It's best if you cut it and mix yourself, once served.

Simple, delicious, elegant. Serve with a baguette of bread and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

* * *

If you'd like to know more about The Long Quiche Goodbye and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the fan club to get in on the next contest...coming soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Beauty of Friendship

Oh, the beauty of friendship.

I just went on the most fabulous trip to North Carolina with fellow MLK authors Krista Davis, Riley Adams, and another pal Ellery Adams. We became such sweet friends...talking about mystery, writing, family.

I wanted to share a little tidbit of our trip. We were hosted by the fabulous Molly
Weston. Check out her blog: Meritorious Mysteries.

On Saturday between events at the Apex Library and the Page-Walker Arts and History Center , Molly, like the perfect hostess, invited us to her home. She didn't prepare a lavish meal. She didn't have to. She served a cheese platter (my favorite, as you know), and a delightful salad, all of which we could put together as we wished. Perfect.We were hungry, but not starved, and the two made a delicious dinner.
Thank you, Molly.

[Photo to right is Molly with Riley at Barnes and Noble.]

On to food!

There's nothing better than a beautiful salad to whet my appetite. An appetizer portion is so much fun, and putting one together might just satisfy the artist in you. And a wedge of blue cheese, a voila, it can taste extraordinary!



{Serves 4}

4 small artichokes, boiled to tender, halved

4 mushrooms, sliced

4 ounces blue cheese

8 slices cucumber

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

8 slices radicchio

4 green onions, tails shredded


Remove crusty leaves from artichokes and snip off the bottom.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Drop in the small artichokes. Boil for about 5-10 minutes. Prick with a fork. If fork slides out easily, they’re done. Rinse and slice.

Next, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan. Saute the artichokes and the sliced mushrooms until browned but still firm.

Arrange plates with pieces of raddichio. Rest the artichokes on the raddichio. Arrange the plate with mushrooms, cucumbers, and green onions. Dot the artichokes with blue cheese, and add a wedge to each plate.

Serve with a saucy Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy!

By the way...

If you want to get my quarterly newsletter and be a fan
of A Cheese Shop Mystery series, click this CONTACT LINK and sign up. There are newsy bits, cheese of the month, recipes, contests and more.

And if you haven't read The Long Quiche Goodbye and want to purchase a copy, click this booksellers link.

Say Cheese!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Barley, Red Pepper & Corn Salad

This is one of my favorite summer salads. It's great in the winter, too, but for some reason, it screams outdoor eating to me. Unlike some of its summer salad cousins, it's very healthy. The main ingredient is barley, a food that is woefully underrepresented in our diets. Cholesterol-free and lowfat, it supposedly aids in prevention of heart disease and diabetes. It's rich in fiber and minerals, too. You'd think we would eat more of it.

Aside from my personal fondness for the flavor and texture of this salad, it's pretty and colorful. Bring it to a gathering, and you won't find that 15 other people have brought it, too! For some reason, men seem to like it a lot, though as Julie would say, your mileage may vary on that! It's a nice change from the mayonnaise-dressed salads.

The original recipe came from an old Gourmet cookbook. Over the years, I've tried to improve on it, but this is one of those recipes that was nailed by the folks at Gourmet. I always go back to the original.

I have a dog who is allergic to grain and can't eat dog food, so barley (which is a grain but doesn't contain the thing that triggers grain allergies) is one of the foods that I cook for him every week. Consequently, I've cooked a lot of the stuff. I've discovered that the pearled barley in the bulk bins at my health food store is much nicer quality than the bagged barley at my regular grocery store. It expands more and has a better texture. I have not prepared this dish with hulled barley, which is supposed to be even better for us. I find hulled barley to be a bit like eating bark straight off the tree. Enough said about *that*!

Note also that I have tried making this with a variety of vinegars over the years, basically whatever I happened to have on hand. Stick to white wine vinegar. Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, herbed vinegars, and apple cider vinegar simply don't work. The flavor is not right.

Barley, Red Pepper and Corn Salad

1 cup barley
1 red bell pepper
1 bag frozen yellow corn
fresh parsley
2 tablespoons and one teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

1. Spread double paper towels on a counter or baking sheet and pour the frozen corn onto it. Spread out and allow to thaw. (No cooking!)

2. Rinse the dry barley and drain.

3.Bring salted water in a large pot to a boil. Slowly add the barley. Return to a boil and turn the heat down so it boils gently but doesn't boil over. (Watch out -- barley boils over rather easily.) Remove the foam by skimming it. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft but not mushy.

4. Meanwhile, slice the red pepper into bite-sized pieces and chop parsley.

5. Drain the cooked barley and rinse under cold water. Let stand until cool.

6. In a small mixing bowl, add salt and pepper to the vinegar. Add the olive oil slowly, whisking it to blend.

7. Combine the cool barley, thawed corn, and red pepper in a serving bowl. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over top and toss to coat.

8. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley just before serving.

Enjoy and have a delicious Memorial Day weekend!

Hurry! This is the last week to enter Julie's Contest!

Julie’s first book in The Manor House Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure (starred review in Publishers Weekly!), debuts June 1st!
To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!)
No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you
pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you
ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please
put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:

Independent Bookstore List: here

- Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!)
- Centuries & Sleuths (Julie's local mystery bookstore)

-Barnes & Noble