Monday, June 21, 2010

Vegetable Curry... and a lesson in cooking

I love curry, love. My husband...not so much (talking about the curry). So sometimes I'll treat myself to lunch and have curry by myself. Recently I was watching Giada DeLaurentiis on the Food Network and she was making Thai food for her husband and Vegetable Curry was on the menu. I thought awesome, if Giada whom is a Italian girl/chef can make curry for her husband maybe this Italian cosmo hippie chef (me) may have found a curry recipe to make for my husband. So it goes that a couple days ahead of time I'm prepping Billy that I want him to have a open mind, all the other things that I have made him that he thought he wouldn't like he ended up liking, go figure. So it was the opening day for Farmer's Market. It was cold and rainy and perfect for something warm like curry. I made the curry and was so excited, and guess what? Billy liked the it, but for me not so much. What happened you ask? I'm not really sure, but if you've had curry you know a good curry. This was a great easy recipe and it got my husband to have an open mind to curry. When ever I made something awesome my husband will say "babe this is so good, what did you put in this?" and my reply is always "I put my finger in it!", so maybe I forgot to stick my finger in it. Next time.
Lesson: When your new to cooking or an old pro sometimes you make a dish and it just doesn't turn out. If I make a dish that doesn't turn out, I'm bummed. But that's the motivation to try again. So don't give up and keep trying those recipes, practice makes us better.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I follow the blog Elana's Pantry, I like to browse through her recipes from time to time and came across this one for Carrot Cake Muffins. The kicker is that Elana's blog is a gluten free blog, so these little gems are made with almond flour which is very high in protein and a great alternative to flour. They were easy which I love about her treat recipes. Anyways these were delicious and fast to make. Instead of writing out the recipe I'm going to direct you to her blog @ and search for Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Enjoy!

Broccoli Romaine Salad

This recipe is one that my husband request all the time, I came up with it a few summers ago and it makes a great lunch. Sometimes I add shrimp to it, but you could also make this into a dinner item and add grilled chicken or grilled fish.

-Salad- serves 6 lunch containers or a large side dish for dinner or a get together
1 head of red or green leaf romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1 bunch of red or green kale, stemmed, rinsed and chopped
2 c. broccoli
2 c. whole wheat pasta shells
1 c. sliced almonds
*grated Parmesan, optional
1 head of roasted garlic (bake a whole bulb of garlic with the top cut off drizzled with a little olive oil and some salt, wrapped in tin foil in the oven for 40-45 minutes @ 400 degrees)
1/2-3/4c. veganaise
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. ground mustard
2 tsp. anchovy paste, or anchovies packed in oil (if you don't have it don't worry about it)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
1. Divide the lettuce and the kale into the containers (if making for lunch) or in big bowl if making for dinner.
2. Cook the pasta according to the directions in salted water, in the last few minutes add the broccoli and cook the rest of the time. (Maybe 2-3 minutes at the most). Drain ,rinse under cool water, and set to the side. When cooled completely divide the pasta and the broccoli between the lunch containers or the big bowl.
3. Next divide the almonds between the containers, or add to the bowl. This would be the time to add the Parmesan if using maybe 1 T. per container or about 1/2 c. if making it in the big bowl for dinner or get together.
4. Salt and pepper each container or bowl just a little.
5. For the dressing: all of those ingredients go into the food processor or blender, blend until well mixed and then divide between six little containers. If making for dinner or get together I would wait and dress the salad just before you serve it. Enjoy!
I make this at the beginning of the week and it's good till Friday.

Broccoli Chop Salad

This is what I made for my lunch this week, it's light fresh and taste amazing. This recipe makes alot so make it the beginning of the week for something quick out of the fridge or make it for your next get together. P.S. My picture isn't the best but don't judge this book by it's cover, try it you'll love it.

-Broccoli Chop Salad- serves 6-8

2 heaping c. fresh broccoli
2 heaping c. fresh cauliflower
1 heaping c. fresh peas (FM) you could use frozen
1 c. chopped celery
2 medium granny smith apples, cored and diced
1/4 c. - 1/2 c. diced purple onion (depending on how much you like)
2/3 c. raw sunflower seeds

optional ingredients:

1/4 c.- 1/2 c. blue cheese or Gorgonzola
1/2 c. raisins, dried cranberries or tart dried cherries
crispy bacon (I didn't add the optional ingredients and for the bacon I use something called Organic Smoky Tempeh 'tem-pay' Strips. Tempeh is an Indonesian word meaning tender cooked legumes, this one is made with organic soybeans and organic brown rice. I know what your thinking but you fry it up like bacon and in this dish you can't tell the difference. It's also good in place of bacon on a BLT)

1. Usually I use all the ingredients raw but this time I decided to blanch the broccoli, cauliflower and peas one at a time for maybe one minute each and then quickly dropped them into a ice cold water mixture in the sink. You decide.
2. Whether your using the veggies raw or blanched chop the broccoli and the cauliflower into rough bite size pieces and toss into a big bowl.
3. Next add the peas, then the chopped apples, celery and purple onion. Toss all together lightly.
4. If using the optional ingredients add them now, wait to toss with the dressing.

1 c. mayo, (I use veganaise...LOVE it! I've never tried this but you could add plain yogurt)
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. agave
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all together in a bowl with a whisk or fork.
2. Pour half over the veggie mixture and toss lightly, add the rest of the dressing and the sunflower seeds. Toss to coat. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving, good for 4-5 days. Enjoy.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Spinach Arugula Salad

Sunday night, part of me wants to get take out and part of me wants to make something in my own kitchen. Lucky for mine and Billy's taste buds we made something amazing in our own kitchen. I had so many fresh ingredients from the Farmer's Market I whipped this little gem of a dinner together. I have to give credit where credit is due so this salad recipe came from one of my client's ,Charlie. Every time she comes for a haircut all we do is talk about food, so thanks Charlie for the great idea and we'll be making that salad again this week.

-Wild Mushroom Ravioli- serves 2-3

1 package fresh Wild Mushroom Ravioli (I think Cucina Fresca, I find it at Whole Foods or Liberty Heights Fresh Market)
1 1/4 c. baby shitake mushrooms, chopped (FM)
2 T butter or olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped (FM)
2 spring onions, chopped (FM) also called green onions or scallions
1 heaping T. fresh chopped parsley
1 heaping T. fresh basil (FM)
zest of one lemon, juice of half lemon
1. Cook the ravioli according to the directions.
2. While the ravioli is cooking start by placing a medium saute pan over medium heat. Place the butter or olive oil in the pan to warm when ready add the mushrooms, garlic and onion and begin to saute. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
3. When the ravioli is done drain and set to the side.
4. Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic just until the mushrooms brown. When done turn off heat add to the pan the ravioli, parsley, basil, zest and juice f lemon. Toss lightly and serve promptly. Enjoy!

-Spinach Arugula Salad- serves 2

Juice of one lemon
1 fresh garlic clove, minced (FM)
1 T. olive oil
1/4 of a medium purple onion, chopped
1 fennel head, sliced very thin (if your new to fennel maybe only use half and I grated mine on the grater)
2-3 c. fresh spinach (FM) just eye ball the amounts (FM)
2 c. fresh arugula (FM)
handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 c. grated Romano cheese, you could use Parmesan as well

1. Start with a large bowl, in the bottom of the bowl add the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and the cheese. Whisk all together.
2. Add the two lettuces, onion and fennel to the bowl and toss well. Divide between two bowls and top with the cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
FM- Farmer's Market

Friut Salad

So my recipes and meals tend to change with the season due to whats available and what the weather is doing. Since it's getting warm we are feeling like something a little lighter, we won't forget about our hot cereal and chiliquiles we'll just put those recipes on the shelf until it gets cold again. I was able to get strawberries and fresh mint at the Farmer's Market, the rest I got at Whole Food's. I'm sure in a few weeks there will be more fruit available, so just use what you like or what you can get you hands on.
-Fruit Salad- serves 2
Small pint strawberries, cut to your liking (FM)
2 apples, diced
2 banana's, sliced
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 pint raspberries
2-4 T. fresh mint (FM)
4 tsp. pumpkin seeds
4 T. unsweetened coconut
2 c. plain organic yogurt
1 c. granola (I used a pumpkin flax granola)
1. Cut up all the fruit and mint except the banana's and raspberries. Place this mixture into two bowls.
2. Add the sliced banana's to each bowl, divide the remaining ingredients (pumpkin seeds, coconut, and yogurt) between the bowls. Finish them off the the granola and raspberries. Enjoy
FM- Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market 2010

Wow what a difference a week makes, these photo's are from June 12 the opening of the Farmer's Market. The weather was cold and rainy but that didn't stop any of us from getting there early to show our support. I came home with fresh spinach and chard, as well as strawberries and asparagus. We were in and out pretty quick because of the weather, but is was so great to be back at the park and great to see all those great faces again.
First picture: In the center of the park where you can get food, coffee and treats there is also live music. I don't know the name of this band but there a couple of young folksy guys, they sound great.
Second picture: At this booth in the center of the park you can get smoothies, the cool this is that this guy peddling is actually powering the blender to make the smoothies!
Third picture: Do I need to explain? How stinkin cute is this dog in a raincoat?!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Soup

So know one wants to talk about the stomach flu or food poisoning but I'm suffering from one of them. I think last night was the first time I had eatin since Monday morning and I went for my cure all soup. I make this soup at least once a week, I make it when it's cold outside, I make it when I have had way to much fun the night before and I most certainly make it when I'm not feeling well. I also call this soup Ramen Soup for Adults, which I made on Channel 2's cooking segment "Monday Mom's". It just makes me feel good on the inside, it's easy and you can add whatever you have in the kitchen. It's a grown up version of Top Ramen and it's good for the whole family. Enjoy!

P.S. I'm going to give you the broth recipe which always stays the same and can be doubled over and over to feed everyone, and then I'll share some things you can add to it to fit your needs and desires.

-Ramen Soup- makes 1 generous serving or 2 moderate servings

2 c. veggie broth
1-2 c. water
2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
1 inch ginger, peeled and cut in half
2 T. liquid amino's
2 T. mirin
1- 2 tsp. sesame oil
2, 1 inch pieces kombu (sea vegetable, so good for you)
2 tsp. miso paste (dissolved with some warm broth and added to the soup at the very end)
fresh lemon or fresh lime juice


sesame seeds
hot rooster sauce
quinoa (pre-cooked according to directions)
sauted crimini or baby shitake mushrooms
carrots, broccoli, bell peppers
diced avocado
noodles of course (I like somen noodles) you could also use tofu noodles or soba noodles

1. Start with a medium soup pot over medium heat add the vegetable broth, water, garlic, ginger, and kombu (if using carrots, mushrooms and bell peppers, saute them in the pot first to soften them then remove and reserve to add later). Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. When the twenty minutes is up fish out the garlic, smash the garlic and add it back to the soup. Add the cooked veggies if using them, also this is a good time to add the edamame. Also add the liquid amino's and mirin and simmer another 10 minutes. Before serving remove the ginger and kombu. This is where you would add the dissolve miso paste into the soup, make sure the heat on the oven is turned off. The heat kills all the good stuff in miso.
3. Garnish the soup with sesame oil and fresh lemon or lime juice. Oh and of course some hot sauce, I like this soup spicy. (if your having stomach issues, omit the hot sauce)

Tip: If using noodles I cook them separate and put to the side. When I'm ready to serve I divide the noodles between the serving bowls and top with warm broth filled with veggies. Lately I've been using quinoa instead of noodles and I've been adding diced avocado. Make it your own, have fun.

Kombu benefits: Increases digestibility, reduces blood cholesterol and hypertension. Kombu is high in iodine, calcium and potassium as well as vitamin A and C. (Next time you make a pot of beans, chili or lentil soup add a piece of kombu for these added benefits.)
Miso: Is high in B12 and protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. Some experts suggest miso is a good source of Lactobacillus acidophilus (good for healthy gut).