Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Avocado, Tomato and Kale Sprout Sandwich


We fought the flu and the flu won. Just starting to get back on my feet again. Yesterday was my first day out and about. Being not quite myself I shortly realized that I was finding fault with everything. The city bus that passed was dirty, people were driving crazy and the parking lot where I shopped needed the garbage dumped. Normally I do not believe or think this way and when I realized it I laughed out loud, clearly not quite one hundred percent. This got me to thinking how it must feel to feel bad all the time, obviously I do not have the fortitude.

Check out the sandwich that helped me and hopefully will help you feel healthier, one of my favorites.

For 2 people

Ingredients:

4 slices of your favorite bread (I used whole wheat)
1 large avocado
1 large handful sprouts (I used kale sprouts from whole foods)
1 small tomato (sliced horizontal)

Other great toppings to add:

Sliced cheese, red onion, any type of lettuce, sprouts, chickpeas, cucumbers.

To prepare:

Scoop and mash avocado, divide into fourths, spread onto each slice of bread, add sprouts and tomato. Lightly press 2 sides together, cut into half. Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Cauliflower Dinner Drama

I was not sure what to name this cauliflower post as the two of us have had a few ups and downs. Growing up in southern California we did not eat a lot of this particular veggie…. Not sure why but this is what I can remember. My mom’s homegrown and hand-made pickled beets and applesauce. We had a garden and an apple tree when I was a kid. The applesauce was amazing and the pickled beets were okay. Forward to this day now it’s the other way around. Both still are wonderful , but today it is all about the cauliflower.



I first prepared the mash. I love potatoes, love them. But after the uhmm shall we say the slightly over indulgent holidays, I wanted to slim down a few pounds. And since everyone has been talking up this particular mash for a years now I decided to break down and prepare them.

I spruced these up with a little cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic. They were light and surprisingly so full of flavor. I have made them twice since then and how not looked back. This morning I had them with a soft boiled egg and kale sprouts, obviously I’m addicted. By the way these were a winner in my book. 

The second dish I prepared was the cauliflower steaks, easy right, very simple. I cut them into slices (steaks) and drizzled them with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sumac. So simple and delicious, no reason to change a thing here.

The first year I started blogging was in 2010 and at that time was not brave enough to tell anyone (that took a couple of years) that I even had a blog. I prepared a stove-top version. This recipe has turned out to be the most reviewed recipe on my site, Stove-Top Carmelized Cauliflower with Chive Onions

Since I was on a roll I bought again more cauliflower and decided on the grand finale. Manicotti shells stuffed with ricotta cheese, roasted butternut squash, roasted cremini mushrooms and steamed kale. The sauce was a cauliflower sauce. I spent the most time preparing this dish only to scoop out a slice for each of us and throw the rest away. Visually a horrible concept.

Cauliflower drama…….

For the cauliflower mash:

Ingredients:

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets (remember they are all different sizes in this recipe you kind of have to wing it).
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium clove garlic (grated)
2 tablespoons cream cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Steam florets until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

In a medium sized heavy skillet warm olive oil, add garlic, stir about one to two minutes, remove from stove-top.

Transfer cauliflower, garlic, cream cheese and Parmesan cheese to food processor, blend until veggies are creamy, taste, season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

For the roasted cauliflower steaks:

Preheat oven to 400 °

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch sumac
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower lengthwise, including the stalk, into 3/4-inch slices and place on a large baking sheet. Brush olive oil and sprinkle sumac, salt and pepper.
Roast for 25 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned in places and the stems are easily pierced with a fork.

Cauliflower is at its best from December through March in the southwest and plentiful in our local markets.

* Had to re-publish this post, forgot the recipes the first time.*


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Big Game Day Stuffed Artichokes with Soppressata and Cheese #Sunday Supper


Super Bowl is as much about the game as it is about the food. I guess that’s why the day seems more like a holiday. Over the year’s we have celebrated in many ways but the one thing that has never changed is that it is a day all about food. My favorite times have been when we had potlucks and everyone brings their own big game day specialty.

This year I am serving a semi-healthy appetizer of Artichokes that have been stuffed with soppressata and then baked with provolone cheese. By stuffed I mean between the leaves and then in the hollowed out middle. Soppressata is a sweet dried Italian sausage that has tons of flavor. A flavor that my husband grew up with. I was surprised at how filling these were but delighted that there was some of that delicious stuffing in every bite.

Ingredients:

Stuffing

1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic (grated)
1/3 cup parsley (chopped)
½ cup soppressata (minced)
¾ cup provolone (grated)
¼ cup olive oil

Artichokes

2 medium-large artichokes
2 lemons, 1 cup in half, the other in fourths.
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 °

To prepare:

Prepare stuffing:

Toss together the panko, Parmesan cheese, garlic, parlsey, soppressata and provolone cheese in a middle sized bowl, drizzle olive oil over mixture and mix lightly, set aside.

To trim the artichokes:

Cut off stem from the bottom, try to make bottom as even as possible (here you want the artichoke to sit upright as straight as possible). Cut off top 1/3 of artichoke and then trim all remaining leaves with scissors or tip of knife, (so there is no sharp edges). Rub lemon that has been cut in half on each cut side. Next remove leaves in the middle (they are a slight purplish color) and enough of the yellow ones to remove the choke, (the fuzzy middle). Use a spoon to scoop out fuzz but not remove the artichoke heart (middle), which is the best part. Squeeze more lemon juice into the cavity. This will help with the artichoke not turning so brown.


Spoon stuffing into the middle and then a little on each leaf if as much as possible. Place stuffed artichokes in a roasting pan; pour in the water and olive oil. Wrap tightly with foil.


Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until leaves are tender, remove from oven.

When ready to serve place pan in oven uncovered and broil on high about 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

This week’s #SundaySupper has been hosted by T.R. Crumbley of Gluten Free Crumbley


Appetizers and Sides
Main Dishes
Desserts and Drinks

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cottage Cooking Club Month Of January Three Recipes


We are now in our twenty-first month of the “Cottage Cooking Club”; a group of international blogger's that post our thoughts and experiences on the recipes that we have prepared from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookbook, "River Cottage Veg". Our group is meant to be a project aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking, and is and has been inspired by our dedicated leader Andrea of the The Kitchen Lioness. Every month Andrea picks one recipe from each of the ten chapters. We then pick and choose which one or ones we want to blog about in a single post. Our motto for the month of January was to “start the new year off with incorporating even more veggies into our cooking”!


For the first recipe I prepared the winter kale and potato curry. First garlic, ginger and a green chili was pounded together to create a paste for extra flavor, onions were sautéed and then a wonderful blend of spices, garam masala, mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric and cardamom were added, indeed a great combination to create great flavor. Potatoes and chard stalks were added and then the leaves. Yogurt and tomato paste were mixed together and added at the end, then the dish was finished with cilantro. What a satisfying and hearty meal this made, easy enough for a week-night meal.


For the second recipe I prepared the curried red lentil soup. I have made other lentil soups, a few very similar to this. I almost forgot how beautiful red lentils can be, until they have been cooked as you can see by the above picture. My soup was a little thin so I simmered longer than the recipe required until the liquid became the right consistency. I added a little more lemon juice than the recommended amount and was very pleased. Garnished soup with cilantro, very delicious!


Now for the third and last dish. This was a sweet pie that is filled with Swiss chard, raisins soaked in apple brandy and apples. It is bound together by two eggs and then pine nuts are added. The dough is sweetened by the addition of confectioners’ sugar and works surprisingly well with the filling. The directions have us baking this in a spring form pan. At this point I was unsure of how to prepare the pan so I cut a piece of parchment to cover the bottom. For me this was a fairly time consuming recipe but one that I will be preparing again. Verdict, another winner!

Recipes adapted from the River Cottage Veg, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. First recipe; from the chapter "Comfort Food and Feast" Winter kale and potato curry (page 24). Second dish from the chapter "Hefty Soups” Curried red lentil soup” (page 166). And last but not least; From the chapter "Side Dishes" Tourte de blettes (page 398).

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the LYL post for January on the CCC website, by clicking clicking here.

Just a note to everyone On 1st May, 2016, Andrea will continue our cooking adventure together - with two books from the same author. One is called "River Cottage Every Day" and the other one is called "Love Your Leftovers". Please join us for another new adventure! I can’t wait!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Romaine Salad with Prosciutto Crisps and Soft Boiled Eggs


Last Sunday we started our hike as soon as the sun came up. We walked about 4 miles. It’s fun to see quail scuttling about running for cover. There always seems to be one that runs in a different direction, perhaps to throw us humans off their path. Once in a blue moon we will see a couple of coyotes, they are amazing in that they are so adaptable. Here they are in a large mountain preserve flourishing in the middle of a big city. If you look closely in the above picture you will see a jackrabbit, check out it's long ears. There is something very special about mornings in the desert.


A few hours later when we returned home I rummaged around the fridge looking for something to prepare. I really didn’t feel like a full on breakfast and that is how this salad came about. Romaine is one of my favorite lettuces, I love that the leaves are long and firm, almost scoop like and tuff enough to hold it’s own. Here I crisped up some prosciutto and soft boiled a couple of eggs. The salad was topped with kale sprouts and drizzled with a goddess dressing that I had made the day before. The saltiness of the bacon and the soft eggs complimented the romaine wonderfully and the dressing tastes very similar to “Annie’s Natural Goddess Dressing”.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Salad:

½ head romaine (washed, cut into ribbons)
4 slices prosciutto (place slices in a pre-heated skillet, turning slices from one side to another until crisp)(chop into pieces)
2 soft boiled eggs
Handful of kale sprouts (any kind will do)

Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup tahini
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water (more if needed to thin)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 to 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon parsley (chopped)
1 teaspoon chives (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste


To boil eggs:

Place eggs in pot of cold water on high heat until water starts to boil, remove from heat, set timer for 4 minutes, remove pan; place eggs in a bowl of ice cubes and water, after a minute or two they are ready to peel.

To make dressing:

Combine all ingredients into a food processor, blend until well combined. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

Place lettuce, prosciutto and eggs into serving bowl/bowls, drizzle with dressing, garnish with sprouts. Enjoy!



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Super Foods Every Day


It’s the beginning of a new year and many of us are trying to clean up our diets and focus on healthy foods. So when I saw Sue Quinn’s book on “Super Foods Every Day” I could not resist. Her book begins by discussing exactly what a superfood is and notes that some food manufactures have exploited the facts. She then devised her own rating system adding foods that are high in vitamins, phytochemicals and other nutrients that are associated with good health. The book’s chapters start off with breakfast and end with sweet treats. Each recipe notes the nutrient information, time to prepare and amount of servings. The ingredients themselves are simple and fresh and loaded with tons of flavor.


When I first received the book I was a little surprised as it was so small, but then again sometimes the best things in life come in small packages. Since I live in the southwest and we have fresh citrus at our disposal I started off with the Spiced Citrus recipe located in the last chapter. Grapefruit and orange segments were drizzled with the juice from the fruit, sugar, butter and allspice that was reduced to a syrup and topped with topped with cinnamon and honey spiced yogurt and pecans. Both my husband and I thought it was the most delicious and satisfying sweet treat we have ever had. This cookbook is a keeper and will be kept front and center in my kitchen. You will not be disappointed.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pear-Hazelnut Oat Muffins


Have you ever dreamed of owning your own restaurant? I have….it would be a breakfast and lunch place. Opening early in the morning and closing late in the afternoon. Mornings are my favorite time of the day, there is something about the quiet and I tend to do my best work. All pastries and baked goods would be made daily. There would also be seasonal soups and salads. All items would be made from local and wholesome ingredients.

One of the baked items on the menu would be these Pear-Hazelnut Oat Muffins. The pears are shredded and then added into a cardamom, nutmeg scented batter and then hazelnuts are coarsely chopped; one half into the batter, the other half on top. To me the combination of pears and cardamom is a match made in heaven. These baked up beautifully and tasted even better the next day. To rewarm, place in a 200º oven and serve with a small pat of butter. Talk about a wonderful way to start the day….

This recipe has been ever so slightly adapted from Megan Gordon’s cookbook “Whole-Grain Mornings”.

Ingredients:

½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup oat bran
1cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 or 3 firm pears (peeled and shredded with box grater)
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted) I zapped in microwave twice, each time 30 seconds each)
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs (beaten)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup roasted unsalted hazelnuts (divided)


Preheat oven to 425º

Prepare muffin pan with liners, or grease individual cups and top of pan to prevent sticking.

In a medium size bowl, add the rolled oats and oat bran, both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg and salt, whisk together.

In a small bowl microwave butter 30 seconds at a time, (I only had to do this twice). Set aside.

In another medium size bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and shredded pears, set aside.


Whisk sugar into butter and pour into buttermilk mixture. Combine, then fold in flour and one half cup of the hazelnuts. Mix until just combined.


Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups, then sprinkle the rest of the hazelnuts on top.

Place muffins in the oven and then immediately decrease oven temperature to 375. Bake 25 to 27 minutes. Muffins are done when tops are golden brown and top of the muffin springs back lightly when touched.


Here is a link to Megan’s Nutty Millet Breakfast Cookies that I made a few years ago. These were outstanding as well.