Sunday, November 18, 2012

Recommended Reading

Top picks of books for the foodies in the family:

This is a must read for any aspiring chefs. Bourdain writes like he talks and his attitude is definitely reflected in this book. He gives the reader a look at what really goes on behind the scenes of a gourmet restaurant.

I just finished reading this book. I have to admit I had tears rolling down my face during parts of it.  Grant Achatz is a brilliant, game changing Chef. This guy is tough as nails and in my book, superhuman. Truly an inspiring book of someone with passion and dedication.

If you know someone that is dealing with a illness, please go buy this book and give it to them. Kris Carr, who is also the author of "Crazy, Sexy, Cancer", empowers her audience and gives them the tools to use food in a healthy way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Quinoa Pilaf

My diet is almost exclusively plant-based. I will eat meat from time to time, so I like to consider myself a semi-vegetarian. Eating mostly plants is a personal choice for me. I find it easier to digest veggies and grains then a huge piece of steak. When I started eating more fruit and veg, I noticed my energy increased. I wasn't stopping at Starbucks every couple of hours to fill up on caffeine and sugar just to have my blood sugar crash in thirty minutes. I realize that everyone's body needs protein, however protein doesn't always have to be in the form of meat. A little grain called Quinoa has a nice helping of protein in it. I particularly like this grain because it helps stabilize my blood sugar and I can eat a lot of it since it is low in calories. Even if you decide to just have one vegetarian meal a week, you are doing your body an enormous favor. Try it and you might just become a VIP (Vegan Intriguing Person).

Fall Quinoa Pilaf

1 cup Quinoa cooked according to the directions on package
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup toasted almonds
juice of 2 Meyer lemons
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine parsley, green onion, pomegranate seeds and dried figs. Add Quinoa in once it has cooled off after cooking it. In a small bowl combine lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. Drizzle over pilaf. Garnish with toasted almonds.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom gravy

 Ahh.....yes. The TV dinner redo. Full disclosure - My past experience with this dish was courtesy of Miss Swanson. The only reason I was probably warming this TV dinner up at all was to dig into the dessert. I like to think as an adult my palate is more refined. I prefer homemade comfort food as opposed to popping my dinner into the microwave and listening for the peep, peep, peep. If you have never had this homemade before, you are in for a treat. It does bring back childhood memories and I'm assuming it reheats well if you have leftovers. That is a big "IF".

*This recipe was adapted from Simple Quintessential Cuisine

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom gravy

1 1/2lbs ground beef
1 large onion (mince 1/3 and slice the rest)
5 finely minced garlic cloves
3 eggs
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp steak seasoning 
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp pepper 
4 C beef broth
2 C sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 C dry red wine 

3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil


In a medium sauce pan bring beef broth to a slow simmer and add mushrooms; the purpose being to draw out the mushroom flavor into the broth.  While that’s occurring place a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil and butter.

 In a large mixing bowl, mix together beef, minced onion, 1 tablespoon of the minced garlic, steak seasoing, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
 Form the beef mixture into large patties and then place into the pan.  Sear the patties well on both sides and then remove from the pan and place into a large casserole.

In the same pan add another 1 ½  tablespoons of butter and olive oil and then add sliced onions and remaining garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  

 Add in the flour, stirring for an additional minute, then pour in the red wine while you continue to stir.  Next pour in the mushroom broth continuing to stir until thickened. 

Pour sauce over the patties.  Cover the casserole with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Huevos Rancheros

 When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Mexico, I pretty much ate this everyday. The hotel that we stayed at was not all inclusive, but did include this on their complimentary breakfast menu. It was delicious! Even though this is a favorite for me, I've never made it at home. I've substituted the standard lard laden refried beans for healthier refried black beans. I don't feel so bad when eating this dish since I can count the egg and beans as protein. The avocado also provides some healthy fat. 

Huevos Rancheros

4 corn tortillas
canola oil for frying
1 can black beans, drained
1 teaspoon cumin
1 fresh or pickled jalapeno, seeds removed
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 eggs
2 avocados, sliced
pico de gallo or salsa
sour cream and cilantro for garnish

Heat canola oil in a skillet on medium heat. Place corn tortilla in skillet and fry until edges start to turn brown. Using tongs, flip tortilla and fry on the other side. Remove tortilla and place on a plate covered with a paper towel. 

In a food processor or blender combine 1 can black beans, cumin and jalapeno. Puree until smooth. In a skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter on low to medium heat. Add pureed beans. Whisk in whipping cream.

In a non stick pan cook egg sunny side up. If you do not have a non stick pan add butter to pan before cooking egg.

Assembly by spreading refried black beans onto the fried corn tortilla. Add cooked egg. Garnish with sliced avocado, pico or salsa and sour cream.


*Serves 4 -  one per person *

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pico de Gallo

I tend to think of "pico" as having fresh tomatoes and hot sauce or picante as a cooked salsa using fire roasted or cooked tomatoes. At some Mexican restaurants in San Antonio, you will be offered both with your meal. When I saw some beautiful cherry tomatoes at a farmer's market, I knew exactly what to do with them. Make pico, of course! This is one of those sauces that gets better the longer it sits in the fridge.

Pico de Gallo

2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed, stems removed, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, washed and finely chopped
juice of half of a medium size lime
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients into a bowl. 
*OR add ingredients into a food processor and puree until chunky*

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mixed Green Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Lately I've been on a Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Sugar Free meal plan. Diet is such an ugly word. I'm doing this more for health reasons and not to lose wight. Hey, if I happen to drop some pounds that is great. There are so many "detox" diets out there. The problem in my opinion is that if you detox for two weeks and then go back to eating pizza and hamburgers you are not really accomplishing anything. Eating healthy has to be a lifestyle change. It is time consuming and can be expensive. If you do not eat all the veggies in your fridge within a week then mostly likely they will go bad. Processed food last longer, is easy and cheap. The bad thing is processed food is not living food. It is not full of vitamins and minerals. I have to be honest, I cheat on my meal plan. Sometimes I want to have a burger or a slice of pie. If I cheat, it better be good, like an Angus burger or a pizza cooked on a wood burning stove. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox.

Mixed Green Salad:

I head of red leaf lettuce, washed and shredded
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 avocado, sliced

Lemon Tahini Dressing:

1 tablespoon tahini
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil

 Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle over the salad. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grilled Edamame with Sea Salt

I'll never turn down a bowl of Edamame. In fact, I can make a whole bowl of it disappear pretty darn fast at a sushi restaurant. There is something about grilling it that takes it to a sublime level. It brings out a smokey and earthiness flavor in the beans. I grilled my mine on a stove top grill. If you decided to try this on a traditional grill, I highly suggest that you use a veggie basket. You don't want all your lovely edamame to end up on the bottom of your grill. 

Grilled Edamame:
1 package of edamame 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Cook edamame according to the directions on the package. Add edamame to a bowl and pour in the olive oil. Toss beans until they are completely covered in the oil. On a stove top grill, cook until grill marks appear, turning several times. Sprinkle with sea salt when you are ready to serve.