Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Niagara Falls in Pics and Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese

The entire winter I had cribbed about snow and my desperate desire to be out in the warm sun. When Summer finally arrived (and it did arrived in a GRAND way), I was completely out of action. The only saving grace was our Niagara trip. 

We had a fabulous two day trip and created some priceless memories. Its difficult to put in words the true beauty and majesticness of Mother Nature in few words. At least for me. So I'll let the pics speak for themselves.




We would have loved to see it from the Canadian side, but our visa status didn't permit us. 






The US or Canada.? The moment we reached, it didn't really matter anymore.





We even caught a rainbow! Sid was thrilled.




Someday we would cross the bridge!






En route to the Falls. More pics on Facebook!


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Now for the salad, that I made the night before our trip. A super quick salad that even Sid ate. 



Err.. not actually though. He just picked the watermelon cubes and the almonds!

Sam was working late, I was busy packing and Sid was at his crankiest best. This was the probably the easiest and the quickest homemade meal I could fix -  Pork Chops and Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese.



When it comes to whip up instant meals with minimal efforts I always trust my arsenal of dry masalas/rubs. Cumin Powder or Coriander Powder; Paprika or Italian Seasonings; Herb de Provence or Kasoori Methi or simply McCormick Grill Mates or Shaan Seasonings, they have all been meal savers at some point or the other.
Just rub your meat or fish with a dry rub and bake, broil or pan sear it. Add a leafy scrumptious salad or a comforting soup and a delicious dinner is ready in minutes.



Since I was in a holiday mood and wanted a fancy meal, I sauteed some onion and mushroom with a little garlic, while the pork chops baked in the oven. Added a splash of white wine and cooked till the liquid evaporated and the mushroom and the onions were tender. Topped each pork chop with the mushroom-onion-wine reduction and my ordinary Pork chop dinner just became a fancy one!




This Summer, we had an watermelon overload.  Every week we used buy a giant watermelon from Costco and in five days it would be over. Watermelon was Sid's 'must have' after school snack and my after dinner treat. We were all addicted to this superbly sweet, hydrating and refreshing fruit. Still are. 

This summer Watermelon featured in cocktails, fruit punches, antipasti platter, dessert platter, on the grill and of course in our salads. Lil Sid is not too fond of salads. Name a 4 year old who is? Cucumbers are an exception though. He would gorge on them forever. But every time I make this Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese, it vanishes. At least the watermelon and the goat cheese does. 




The best part of this salad is that it does not require any dressing.
Not even lime/lemon juice.
Or an expensive extra virgin olive oil.
At least not for me. The creaminess of the goat cheese and the juiciness of the watermelon are enough for me. But if you are like the man of my house, who 'HAS' to drizzle something on a salad, a squirt of Balsamic Vinegar does the trick. My friend Sarani from Back to Basic, gifted me this Balsamic Vinegar spray, which comes in very handy when I need little quantity. 


Recipe Snapshot: Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese


Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 1 cup)

What I used:
Baby Arugula - 4 cups packed ( Baby Spinach can be substituted but not lettuce or spring mix)
Watermelon (cubed)  - 4 cups or more (as per taste)
Goat Cheese - one 4oz block, broken with fingers (Feta or blue cheese can be substituted)
Slivered almonds (or toasted walnuts) - a handful
Salt
Balsamic Vinegar - 4 tsp (optional)

What I did:
1. In four salad plates make a bed of the baby arugula.

2. Top with watermelon cubes

3. Strew the crumbled goat cheese and the almonds. Sprinkle a little salt.

4. If desired, spray or drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and enjoy the most refreshing salad ever.



Recipe Snapshot: Pork Chops with Mushroom-Onion-White Wine Reduction



Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 1 pc)

What I used:
What I used:
Pork Chops - 4 (A minimum of 1" center cut pork chops is desired. I however, used a much thinner cut)
McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic and Herbs - 3-4 tsp (1 tsp per chop)
McCormick Grill Mates Mesquite  - 3-4 tsp (1 tsp per chop)
(Any dry rub or seasoning of choice can be used)
Salt 
Pepper

Mushroom - 1 box (8 oz), washed and thinly sliced
Onion - 1 large, thinly sliced
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely minced
White Wine (or Chicken/ Veg Stock) -  ½ cup
Olive Oil -1 tbsp
Salt 

What I did:
1. Heat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and lightly grease it.

2. Wash and pat dry the chops.

3. Sprinkle salt, pepper, 'Roasted Garlic and Herbs' and the 'Mesquite' very liberally on the pork chops and let them sit for 10-15 mins. 

4. Bake it for approx 30 mins flipping it after 15 mins. Since my chops were thinner, I reduce the baking time to 20 mins.

5. While the Pork chops bake, in a wide skillet heat up some olive oil and saute the garlic till fragrant.

6. Add the sliced onions and the mushrooms. Add salt and saute till soft.

7. Deglaze with white wine. Chicken or veg stock or simply water can be used too.

8. Cook till the liquid is evaporated and the mushroom and the onions are tender.


9. Top each baked Pork Chops with the mushroom-onion-wine reduction and serve with the Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad.



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2 comments:

  1. very colorful and healthy salad indeed. Wonderfully prepared.
    Deepa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Deepa... I think you are the biggest fan of my 'Salads' and 'Soups'... :D

      Delete

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