salsa salad

April 20, 2013 § 12 Comments

As a final post of my juice cleanse I am putting up one more raw food idea.  This particular juice fast was different from any other cleanse I have experienced.  It was remarkably easy.  The detox symptoms were unusually mild.  My challenges were cravings, wanting to “crunch” and “chew” food, and a dull headache for a full day.  The spicy food craving was simple to resolve.  We just added chili’s and garlic to the juicer. Then this cheese craving came over me.  I love sheep cheese and I wanted a good pecorino!  Juicing for detox requires willpower, especially when you love to cook and eat!  Let us not underestimate the emotions we have attached to food.  I understand our need to acquire, prepare, smell, taste and chew food goes far beyond our basic demand of nourishment.   I recognize how eating is such a big part of my life.  However, after 8 days of fresh pressed homemade organic fruit and vegetable juice and 5 more days of rice, quinoa, nuts and raw produce, I feel rejuvenated, my mind is clear, and my jeans fit better!!  And, I am ready to start cooking again!

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Here is a simple spicy salad.  We call it “salsa salad” because it is the same ingredients we toss in the food processor when we make salsa (except we leave out the cucumbers when we make salsa).  This would be delicious served on rice.  We did not add any fat or seasonings.  I think some olive oil, salt and maybe a sprinkle of cumin and chili powder would be nice.

Salsa Salad

  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 large or 1 small jalapeño, chopped
  • handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss.

Lightly serves 2.

buon appetite.

quinoa

April 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

Yesterday I ate a whole tub of salsa from Whole Foods!  Without chips!  And shockingly it agreed with me.

During our juice fast we were preparing “salsa juices” throughout the week.  Usually we drink fruity juices.  But, for some reason on this particular juicing round we were craving something spicy and garlicky.  Our favorite juice was, what we like to call “salsa juice”.  Tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño and lime.

Now we are eating again and this meal is a very nice way to ease our system back into the swing of things.  The garlic, ginger, cilantro flavors are very subtle and clean.   I think this would be even better with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of salt.

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Subtle Quinoa

  •  2 cups cooked quinoa
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 red onion
  • thumb size piece of ginger
  • 2 scallions
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • sprinkling of shelled hemp seeds

While quinoa is cooking….

If you are not using a food processor finely chop all ingredients, otherwise place in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped.  Toss with quinoa and serve alone or topped with a little diced tomatoes, avocado and sprinkle with shelled hemp seeds.

Lightly serves 2.

buon appetite.

green beans

April 16, 2013 § 3 Comments

Green beans simply steamed, tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and salt makes an ideal side dish.  Or, you may spruce them up a little with caramelized shallots.  A perfect accompaniment.

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Here is a delicious green bean recipe for you.   Once a week a platter of steaming green beans is on our dinner table.  Green beans are the only “green” vegetable the young man of the house will eat.  As a young girl I loved them too.  Green beans are agreeable in texture and the natural nutty flavor makes them particularly kid friendly.  My mom called them string beans.  Back then I recall an unpleasant fibrous string along the edge of each bean.  The varietal we buy in the stores today are stringless.  They are available year round, with the peak of the season May through October.  To check for freshness make sure they are firm and snap when bent in half.   Pick up a pound of green beans and four shallots next time you are at the market and cook this recipe.  You will be happy you did.

What you will need:

  • I lb. green beans, stems pinched off
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • sea salt and pepper

Method:

Place green beans in a large skillet or large pot and fill with water to cover beans half way.  Cover and bring to a roaring boil.  Continue boiling for approximate 5 minutes until green beans are tender.  I carefully remove one and taste test it.  Cook according to your liking.  Some like them a little more firm.  I prefer them to be tender, yet slightly crisp….al dente.  Drain and return to pan.  Toss with 1 tablespoon butter until coated.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and add shallots.  Cover and turn heat down to medium low.  Cook until golden brown giving the pan a little shake now and then.  Cook approximately 15 minutes.

Transfer green beans to a serving dish, top with shallots and a sprinkling of sea salt and pepper.

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serves 4

buon appetite.

oven roasted beets

April 11, 2013 § 10 Comments

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I have a delicious beet recipe for you today.  When I first started cooking beets I thought you had to peel, slice, then boil them in a covered pot until tender. Very time consuming and not exactly easy, especially peeling them.  Then I learned the “real” method for cooking beets.  Poke a few times with a fork, wrap in foil and roast.  When using this method, the flavor is held in the beet and not dissolved in the boiling water.  The skins peel easily after roasting.  It is wonderful how the whole plant, root and all is edible.  We enjoy adding the greens to a salad, or steam/sauté them as you would a bunch of chard.  I have had guests around my table who never liked beets until trying them roasted.  For a simple way to eat beets you may bake, peel, slice, then drizzle olive oil over them and  a little sprinkling of sea salt.  This is wonderful in a salad or served as a warm side dish.  Or, consider adding a little goat cheese and nuts.  Very delicious.

What you will need:

  • 3 medium-large size beets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup walnuts or pecans-toasted
  • 2-3 ounces chavrie goat cheese
  • salt
  • foil

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Preheat oven to 450°.  Using a fork, poke several holes in each beet and wrap with foil.  Place in oven on a baking tray.  Set timer and bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, toast your nuts of choice by placing in a non-stick skillet on medium high heat.  Occasionally move the nuts around by shaking the skillet and/or using a spatula until toasted, approximately 10 minutes.

When beets are ready, use a fork to test their tenderness,  Make sure the fork pierces the beet easily.  Unwrap them and allow them to cool just enough to handle.  Using a paring knife, peel each beet.  Slice them in your desired shape and place in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a little salt, top with chavrie and toasted nuts.

Serves 4, as a side dish.

buon appetite.

spring greens – dandelions.

April 9, 2013 § 4 Comments

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Dandelion greens are a bit controversial around here.  I guess it takes an acquired palette to enjoy them.  I really enjoy them, others, maybe not.  Dandelion greens are bitter.  Every time I eat them I feel I am eating something really good for me.  I noticed these purple stemmed dandelion greens at the market the other day.  I was already inspired because I had just discovered a lovely blog, irenasdots, and found this recipe.  I thought I should cook them according to Irena’s recipe. Once I brought the greens home I realized I forgot potatoes!  Rather than run back out to the market I decided to use another method.  The first time I had dandelion greens was in San Francisco and this is how it was prepared.  Simply steamed, with a lemony garlic dressing.  I do plan on revisiting the idea of the recipe with potatoes and boiled eggs…

What you will need:

  • large bunch of dandelion greens, rinsed well
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt

Prepare lemon dressing. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

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Place 1/8 cup water and dandelions greens in a large skillet.  Cover and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.  Drain.  Transfer to a serving dish.

Drizzle lemon dressing on top and serve.

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bitterly serves 4

buon appetite.

carrot soup w/carrot top pesto

April 6, 2013 § 7 Comments

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The other day I had a huge bunch of carrots and being the soup person I am I went looking for a carrot soup recipe.  I’m not a fan of curry or ginger in my carrot soup and up to then I really didn’t have it any other way.  My usual “go to” soup recipe involves sautéing onion in olive oil, adding whatever vegetable I’m using, chicken broth and boiling for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Sometimes I use a hand blender to make it smooth, sometimes not.  I decided to keep it simple and just do the “go to” method.

I remembered reading, at some point, the green tops of the carrots are edible.  Well, I love pesto in my soup.  I used the green tops to make a simple, garlicky pesto and topped the soup off with toasted pecans.  Simply delicious.

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What you will need:

  • 1.5 lb. carrots with tops
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 quart broth, chicken or vegetable
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped

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Method

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot, add onion and a little salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until soft.   Remove carrot tops, peel carrots (optional) and roughly chop and add to pot.  Stir until carrots are well coated with onions, add broth and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

While carrots are cooking, either finely chop carrot tops or use a food processor and whizz until fine.  Add the minced garlic, remainder of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

Place 1/3 cup pecans in a non-stick skillet on medium high heat.  Occasionally move the pecans around with a spatula until toasted, approximately 10 minutes.

Purée soup in a blender, working in batches, until smooth.  Or use a hand blender directly in the soup pot.

Ladle into bowls and top with carrot-top pesto and toasted pecans.

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serves 4.

buon appetite.

spring soup deux (potage aux primeurs)

April 3, 2013 § 7 Comments

I posted a spring soup a few weeks ago.  Here is a second spring soup choice.

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I stumbled across the most beautiful site today.  Manger.  All I could think was, stunning, charming, romantic, gorgeous.   A recipe for a spring soup (potage aux primeurs) caught my eye and I knew right then I had to make it…tonight. I decided I wanted to experience the soup exactly how she created it.  I would not go astray from her recipe.  I went to the market and gathered all the ingredients.  Sadly, fresh fava beans were not available, so, I had to omit them.  Unswerving,  I drove home looking forward to preparing what I thought will be a perfect soup with fresh, in season vegetables.

This soup and the spring soup I featured a few weeks ago are very similar.   Particularly adding the whisked egg, to thicken, at the end.  I thought  the Manger soup was easier to put together and I especially loved the turnips. Turnip are so much lighter than potatoes. This soup brought such contentment.  Very clean and fresh.  This perfect soup is sincerely flawless.

I did add one ingredient.  Fresh pea sprouts.  I had them on hand from the other night and it was quite nice.

Thank you Manger for your recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 leeks,  white part only, cut in julienne strips
  • 1 cup green peas (preferably fresh peas, but frozen are fine too)
  • 1 cup fava beans (shelled)
  • 1 large carrot, cut in julienne strips
  • 2 turnips, diced finely
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • A handful of celery leaves, chopped
  • A handful of parsley, chopped (to be sprinkled on soup when served)
  • Salt and black pepper, for seasoning
  • 4 egg yolks

Croutons

  • Half a stale baguette/ small country bread
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 garlic clove

Slice stale bread into small cubes.  Place in a bowl, add the ground garlic, salt and drizzle with olive oil.  Mix well.  Place on a baking tray (lined with parchment paper) and place in pre-heated 350° oven.

For the soup
Wash all vegetables, slice and chop according to ingredients list.  In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil and add all the vegetables.  Turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl, add a few tablespoons of  the soup to blend.  Take soup off the heat and add the egg yolks, making sure to whisk continuously to avoid any egg curdling.

Spoon soup into bowls, season with salt and pepper to your taste, sprinkle a few parsley leaves and croutons.  Serve immediately.

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Serves 4

buon appetite.

this potato soup will hug you…be comforted.

April 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

I thought twice about posting a potato soup today.  I mean, after all…it is spring.  Well, it is cloudy.  It is 50° outside. I decided to post it anyway.

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I am fond of tradition.  And I love family recipes. So, years ago I called my mom-in-law and asked her what my guy’s favorite birthday dinner was when he was growing up.   She said he always asked for potato soup.  She dug around and found the recipe and here it is!   It is nice to top it off with some crispy bacon and chives.  I topped this particular one with crispy sage leaves.  (Heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet and cook whole sages leaves on both sides, using tongs to turn, until crispy. Salt them a little.)

What you will need for this dish:

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 1 onion, any color
  • little olive oil
  • 3 celery stocks
  • cube of butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • powered mustard
  • 2 cups milk
  • steak sauce (like A-1)
  • 6 oz. cheddar cheese
  • salt / pepper
  • small handful of parsley
  • crispy bacon…optional
  • chives…optional
  • sage leaves….optional

grandma’s potato soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, any color,  diced
  • 1/2 cup celery,  diced
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons steak sauce
  • 6 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • small handful of parsley, chopped fine
  • salt / pepper

In a large pot heat the olive oil over med high heat and cook the onions and celery until softened.  Add the potatoes and mix together coating the potatoes well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Add the boiling water, increase to high heat and bring back to a boil.  Lower heat to a slow boil and continue to cook 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Whisk in the flour until smooth and thick.  Stir in the mustard and add the milk continuing to whisk until a smooth sauce forms.  Stir in the steak sauce.

When potatoes are tender pour the buttery sauce into the soup pot and stir well.  Add cheddar cheese and parsley, stir until cheese is melted.  Serve topped with your choice of crispy bacon, chives or crispy sage leaves. (or all three!)

Generously serves 4.

buon appetite!

watercress and radicchio salad

March 31, 2013 § 8 Comments

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This colorful salad is a delight to put on the table.  I love the slight bitterness of the radicchio and using a crushed garlic clove in the dressing, then removing it upon serving is a nice way of giving a subtle garlic flavor without overwhelming.  Sometimes I plan my meals taking color into consideration. I always make sure our plates have plenty of green.  And then sometimes I even think to add red, purple, yellow and orange!  It’s a fun way to arrange the plate and perhaps put something on the table you wouldn’t normally serve at dinnertime. Like, a bowl of strawberries along side grilled carrots and asparagus.  Or roasted beets along side peeled mandarins and steamed green beans.

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 bunches watercress, trimmed, washed and spun dry
  • 2 small heads of radicchio, shredded washed and spun dry
  • bunch of chives, chopped
  • freshly shaved parmesan
  • salt and pepper

In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard,  parsley and garlic.  Remove the whole crushed garlic and toss the watercress, radicchio, chives and dressing in a large salad bowl until well coated. Top with shaved parmesan and serve.

Serves 4

buon appetite

croutons…for soups and salads!

March 30, 2013 § 2 Comments

The young man of the house is running track right now.  His already sizable appetite has increased and trying to work out the weeks “school lunch” options creates a head scratcher.  With that in mind, we buy a nice crusty loaf of rustic bread for his sandwiches.  We are very fortunate to have some astounding commercial bread bakers in Seattle. And since we never seem to finish the full loaf by the end of the week I freeze what is left to use later.  I grind it for recipes calling for fine breadcrumbs, dip it in milky eggs for french toast and make croutons for soups and salads.  I love these croutons because they have a crispy edge while still a bit chewy on the inside.  I use whatever fresh herbs I have on hand.  Since I have thyme, rosemary and oregano growing in my yard I normally use all three.  I always make extra because they seem to disappear out of the skillet before they make it to the salad bowl!

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What you will need

  •  4 slices of firm, good rustic bread
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • salt

Stack your bread and slice into bite size, irregular shaped cubes. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook garlic and herbs together until fragrant, making sure not to brown your garlic. Add the bread to the skillet and coat well with oil and herbs.  If your bread seems dry after soaking up the oil you may need to add a little more.  Continue cooking on medium heat, moving around with a spatula, until bread is toasted and browned.  Salt to taste.  Remove from heat and cool prior to tossing with salad.

Try your croutons with this…

caesar salad

This is a very simple caesar salad.  This recipe omits the anchovies.  However, if you prefer, use two anchovies and smash them into the dressing to create a paste like consistency.  I realize some take issue with using raw eggs.  If you would prefer not to use the raw yolk I have read a substitution of 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise will work fine.

What you will need:

  •  1 head romaine, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan

Slice one clove of garlic in half, completely rub the inside of your wooden salad bowl with the garlic halves.  Place the garlic, salt (and anchovies, if using) in the bowl and mash into a paste. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.

Add the romaine, croutons and 1/2 of the parmesan cheese to the bowl and toss well.  Serve right away topped with additional freshly grated parmesan.

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Serves 4

buon appetite!

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