May is a great time to enjoy the warm weather and outside entertaining. Also a great time to try fresh vegetable soups (lettuce or carrot), delicious crunchy salads using fennel, parsley, asparagus, and interesting dishes with mushrooms. Rhubarb is a vegetable, but often cooked, sweetened and sometimes combined with other fruits. When growing up in New Zealand it was quite a popular dessert and the health benefits of rhubarb include an array of antioxidants. Rhubarb also has loads of fiber, lots of Vitamin K, reduces fever and will cleanse the body!
PAN-ROASTED MUSHROOMS WITH BAKED EGGS
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes. Serves: 2
2 tbsp grape seed oil (or olive oil)
2 tbsp salted butter (New Zealand or Irish)
*6 cups mixed sliced mushrooms of your choice–stems removed, sliced, washed, and dried
½ tsp Himalaya Pink Salt (or sea salt)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup Ricotta cheese
**2 large fresh eggs
Garnish: 1 tbsp finely chopped green onions or chives
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place rack in the middle of the oven. In a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat; heat a little of the oil and butter until it sizzles. Cook mushrooms in small batches enough to cover bottom of pan. Stir until cooked and crispy, move to warmed dish. Repeat until all mushrooms are cooked. Return all to large frying pan and stir in Ricotta cheese. Divide mushroom mixture into two shallow individual baking dishes. Make an indentation in each dish of mushrooms and crack an egg into each hole; season with salt and pepper.
Place baking dishes in oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until egg whites are set and the yolks still runny. Garnish.
* Note – e.g. oyster, cremini, shitake and button mushrooms
** Note – 2 indentations for two eggs
Tip: Mushrooms are cooked in small un-crowded batches so they will not “sweat”
ROMAINE, CELERY, AND PARMESAN SALAD
Prep time: 15 minutes. Serves: 2
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp Himalaya pink salt or sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 stalks of celery (from the heart), thinly sliced crosswise
¾ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
12 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into bite size pieces
3 oz piece of Parmesan cheese
In a large salad bowl, combine the olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper: set aside.
Add the celery, lettuce, and parsley to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine, then arrange on a platter. Using a grater, vegetable peeler or a paring knife, shave the cheese to make thin sheets and layer them over the celery. Serve immediately
STEWED RHUBARB AND RED BERRIES
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes. Cooling time: 30 minutes. Serves: 2
2 lb fresh rhubarb cut in ¾ inch chunks (about 7 cups)
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup water
1 pint fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
½ pint fresh or frozen raspberries
2 oranges freshly squeezed (about 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp orange liquer (optional)
Garnish: Plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream
Place the rhubarb in a large saucepan; add the sugar, salt, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is tender and starts to fall apart. Remove from the heat, stir in the strawberries, raspberries, lemon juice, orange, juice and orange liqueur; allow to cool. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold with a dollop of plain yogurt or (if being naughty) a scoop of ice cream.