Quince-Apple Mermelada Tartlets

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Quince, “the golden apples of the sun,” have long symbolized fertility, abundance, and wealth. The trees grow best in a Mediterranean climate and can produce for decades. Given their hardy nature, it’s no surprise that quince trees flourish at Tres Estrellas.

Look for pale-gold quince in fall. Even when ripe, the fruit will be rock-hard and very tart. Mexicans eat raw quince thinly sliced, with a squeeze of lime and some salt. It is even better slowly cooked with apple and spices until it reaches the pale-pink sweetness of mermelada.

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

    • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    • 2 green apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice
    • 1 quince, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
    • 1 cup organic apple juice
    • One 2-inch cinnamon stick
    • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
    • 6 tartlet bases
    • Whipped cream

Directions:

1. In a medium pan, heat the oil and sauté the apples and quince for 5 minutes.

2. Add the cranberries and nutmeg, and cook a few minutes more to soften.

3. Add the apple juice, cinnamon stick, and syrup. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring often, until the liquid evaporates, about 25 minutes.

4. Remove the cinnamon stick, put half of the mixture into the bowl a food processor, and puree. Stir the pureed mixture back into the remaining fruit.

5. Top each tartlet base with a dollop of mermelada and some whipped cream. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftover mermelada.

 Variations

※ Make with firm green apples alone, and cook only until tender and all the liquid has evaporated—about 15 minutes.

※ Sprinkle the tartlets with cinnamon,  or chopped nuts, such as pistachios or almonds.

Tartlet Bases

Serves 12

Crust Ingredients:

      • 1 cup rolled oats or low-fat granola
      • ½ cup sliced almonds
      • ⅛ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
      • Zest of 1 orange
      • 1 egg white
      • ½ cup agave syrup or maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the oats, almonds, nutmeg, and orange zest 10 times to break up the oats and nuts. Add the egg white and ¼ cup of the agave syrup and pulse a few more times to make the dough stick together. You will still see whole bits of oat and almond.

3. Lightly oil a baking sheet, or line with a nonstick silicone mat. Set a 3 ½ -inch round cookie cutter or tart ring onto the pan. Scoop one slightly rounded tablespoon of dough into the ring. Hold the ring with one hand and carefully tamp the dough down with the back of a dampened spoon, pressing the dough to the edges of the ring to make a clean edge, then lift off the ring. Repeat until you have 12 tartlets.

4. Bake the tartlets until crisp and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately run a thin spatula beneath each tartlet to loosen from the pan. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. You will only need six tartlet bases for this recipe. Reserve the rest for another use.

Enjoy!

Oyster Mushroom Paella

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Recipe by Executive Chef Denise Roa (inspired by Georgeanne Brennan.)

Serves 12 (or halve recipe to serve 6)/ 1½ hours

Celebrate the garden’s colorful bounty without making a trip to the local seafood purveyor. Poblana peppers give this a Mexican flair.

Instructions:

  •  1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 cup chopped poblano peppers (no seeds, 1-inch pieces)
  • 9 artichoke hearts cut in half
  • 2 cups chopped oyster mushrooms (1-inch pieces)
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tsp. saffron
  • 2 cups sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cups quartered zucchini (bite-size pieces)
  • 3 cups faro
  • 7 cups vegetable broth (+1 cup additional)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup shelled fava beans or other seasonal beans
  • 10 green olives
  • ½ cup roasted red pepper, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

 Directions:

1. Heat 15-inch-diameter paella pan. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to hot pan. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add fennel and sauté 1 minute. Add peppers and sauté 3 minutes. Add artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and garlic, sautéing 2-3 minutes.

2. Deglaze with ½ cup white wine. Add saffron. Stir in sundried tomatoes, zucchini, and faro.

3. Add veggie broth and bring to a simmer. Taste and season with salt. Stir occasionally, and add more liquid if necessary. (Faro can be stirred more often then rice as it is a hearty grain.)

4. Cook for 30 minutes until liquid is almost evaporated. Stir in fava beans, olives, and roasted red peppers. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes until Faro is tender and doubled in size.

Enjoy!

Orange Saffron Pine-Nut Bread

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Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon Spanish saffron threads
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
  • Zest of 2 large oranges
  • 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

 Directions:

1. Soak the saffron threads in 1/2 cup of the water for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the remaining 3 1/2 cups of water and the yeast. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir the syrup, orange zest, saffron, melted butter, and salt into the yeast until thoroughly combined. Add the wheat flour and mix until smooth.

4. Stir in the pine nuts and most of the all-purpose flour, reserving 1 cup. The dough should be a little sticky. Flour the countertop with some of the remaining flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour to the surface as needed to make the dough manageable. You may not use all the flour, or you may need a little more. The final dough should feel moist and a little tacky, but not sticky or wet.

5. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Turn over once to coat, and cover with a barely damp tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

6. Punch down the dough. Divide into 2 equal portions. Spread or roll each portion into a rectangle and pinch the edges together.

7. Place each loaf in an oiled loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the loaves have doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

8. Bake in a preheated 375-degree F oven for one hour, or until the tops are browned and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Enjoy!

Jicama Slaw with Pink Grapefruit

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Beneath its rough skin, jicama is pearly white, mildly sweet, and addictively juicy and crunchy, especially with a squeeze of lime. Slice it into elegant julienne and mix it with red cabbage and shredded carrots from the garden. The last of winter’s limes and grapefruit sparkle in the exotic citrus-based dressing. Use this recipe to inspire sea­sonal variations throughout the year—our Chef often substitutes cucumbers or zucchini in summer and small kohlrabis in fall. In class, she uses this recipe to teach knife technique and how to cut fine shreds (julienne.)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • ½ small jicama
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled
  • ½ small head red cabbage, cored
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ tablespoons smooth peanut butter or other nut butter
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Zest of ½ lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 pink grapefruits
  • 6 lettuce or red cabbage leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. With a sharp knife, mandolin, or box grater, cut the jicama, carrots, and red cabbage into fine shreds and place in a 2-quart bowl.

2. In a blender, combine the lime juice, oil, ginger, peanut butter, coconut milk, water, lemon zest, and white pepper. Add the dressing to the shredded vegetables and toss to combine. Cover and chill.

3. Cut away all the peel and white pith from the grapefruit. Then cut alongside each of the membranes to release the grapefruit segments, catching as much of the juice as you can, and add it to the slaw.

4. Serve the slaw mounded on a lettuce leaf and surrounded by a few grapefruit segments. Top the salad with a cilantro sprig.

Variations

※ Substitute napa cabbage, bok choy, or any green that appeals to you, for jicama.

※ Chop ¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts and mix into the salad.

※ Wash, stem, and chop the leaves from 6 sprigs of cilantro or 2 sprigs of basil and stir into the salad just before serving.

Enjoy!

Glazed Roasted Salmon En Croûte

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This beautiful, phyllo-wrapped Wellington looks impressive, but it is quick and remarkably easy to make. Sliced, it reveals layers of pink salmon, sautéed spinach, and rice, speckled with sweet peppers. Jesús prefers the taste and color of wild trolled salmon, which also contains more healthy omega-3 fats.

Serves 6 to 8

For a larger group, double the recipe and make two this size—it’s easier to handle than one large one. Use a serrated knife to cut 1-inch slices, or serve it buffet style.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more to spray the phyllo
  • ⅓ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup finely diced white onion
  • 6 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice, wild rice, or whole-wheat couscous
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions
  • 2-pound salmon filet, skinless (preferably a center piece)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • Lemon Zest Aioli
  • Lemon wedges
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Cook the bell pepper, garlic, and white onion until slightly softened. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted.

3. Stir in the rice, green onions, dill, lemon juice, and salt. Taste for seasoning—it should be strongly seasoned. Set aside to cool.

4. Unfold the phyllo sheets. Lay 1 sheet out on a baking sheet or cutting board and spray the dough lightly with oil. Next, lay 2 sheets over the first one, slightly overlapping the sheets to make a 14 × 18-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with olive oil. Repeat 4 more times. (To prevent drying, always keep the phyllo dough covered with a dry kitchen towel when not in use.)

5. Run your fingers over the salmon and remove any small bones you feel. Trim away any dark flesh or fat along the thin (belly) edge. Season well on both sides with salt and pepper.

6. Drizzle the syrup over the salmon, sprinkle lightly with salt, and place the salmon, skin-side (gray marks) up, in the center of the phyllo sheets. Spoon the spinach mixture on top of the salmon and pat into an even layer.

7. Fold the short sides of the phyllo over the salmon, then firmly fold the other two sides in to make a neat, firm package. Flip the package over onto a lightly oiled baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes until crisp and golden-brown and the internal temperature measures 150 degrees F.

8. Let the salmon rest for at least 15 minutes. Then, using a sharp, serrated knife, slice the salmon into 1-inch slices and serve with the aioli, lemon wedges, and a few capers on the side.

Variations

※ Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs, such as dill or tarragon, between the layers of phyllo.

※ Add ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the rice mixture.

※ Serve with Roasted Root Vegetables