Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Bagel" Salad with a Lemon Dill Vinaigrette

During yesterday’s snow storm I was going a little stir crazy.
Ok, maybe more than a bit crazy, but then my friend suggested we do a late day Soul Cycle class as the snow was abating which turned out to be a majorly delicious life decision. 

There is something wonderful about leaving a Soul class completely exhausted, drenched but grinning, and feeling like you can do anything.
Endorphins = Everything. 

 I got home and was hungry but not starving. Then after about fifteen minutes I started craving a bagel, which really means I needed some thing savory. 
I didn’t feel like completely erasing all my hard work, so,  I decided to throw together a “bagel salad.” 

A Bagel salad is essentially everything I like on my bagel... minus the cream cheese... and the bagel.  I know it sounds like I'm gypping myself but I promise you it's the perfect substitute. 
Quick, salty, refreshing, and not too heavy this salad completely hits the spot.

Vinaigrette Recipe
Your acid to fat ratio for this dressing is 1/4 acid (lemon juice) to 3/4 fat (olive oil).

Lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)
 Olive oil 
1/4 tsp dill 
1/4 tsp crushed garlic 
1/2 tsp honey 

Whisk the ingredients together vigorously. Reserve on the side. 
This recipe really just needs a touch of dressing and you will definitely have more dressing than you need. Reserve the rest of the dressing for later and use it on your salads throughout the week. 

Salad Base

1 cucumber 
1 oz smoked salmon 
1 radish cut thinly 
1/2 tsp chopped chives 
1/4 tsp black sesame seeds 

Peel the cucumber and remove its seeds. Slice the cucumber into long strips lengthwise before chopping into bite sized pieces. Do the same to the smoked salmon.
Thoroughly wash and then thinly slice the radish. 

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. 

Drizzle some dressing on the side of your bowl, mix into the rest of the ingredients. Start with a small amount of dressing and build to your taste. The idea is that the ingredients are coated but not sopping in the vinaigrette. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Roasted Chicken Breast with Mardi Gras Veggies: Fat Tuesday, Skinny Eats

Belated Happy Mardi Gras! 

Several of my friends use this period after Mardi Gras as a de facto diet, "giving up" many of the delicious indulgences in an effort to be summer ready. I am equally guilty of this and thus have been trying to clean up my act and my diet at the same time.

One of my absolute favorite dishes my grandmother makes is her roasted red peppers, which she usually serves with her extra thin fried chicken cutlets. 
Just of the thought of them has my tummy grumbling. 

[Crazily enough the store didn't have red peppers so I used the green ones. They definitely were less sweet than my grandmother's and so in the future I highly recommend sticking with the red.]

I wanted to see if I could replicate my grandmother's peppers and serve them with a leaner choice of protein. I had some of the boys over for dinner, as well as one of their beautiful girlfriends who brought the most delicious pastries and one of the most competitive games of Jenga... we had a blast!

Grandma's cutlets while delicious pieces of perfection are not exactly diet friendly. 
As an alternative I roasted chicken breasts in chicken stock with parsley at 325 for about an hour. Halfway through I rotated the chicken on top to keep all of the chicken moist.

Thoroughly wash your peppers and remove any labels or stickers. Place your peppers on a baking sheet.

Since the peppers are going to be broiled, thus exposed to an open flame, make sure there is no paper on the peppers.

Set your oven to broil, rotate the peppers until all the skin is charred.

Check to make sure all sides of the pepper are charred. 
This one needed a little more time.

Once all the peppers are thoroughly charred, place all the peppers in a paper bag and allow them to cool. 

Once cooled, tear open the bag. 
I found that the bag absorbs a lot of the moisture during the cooling process and for the sake of easy clean up I always leave the "paper bag dumpling" in a bowl. 

The skin should peel off easily, use a knife to remove any stubborn skin, the seeds and the top of the peppers. 

Slice the peppers into slivers, and add to a large mixing bowl with garlic, salt, and olive oil. 
Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature until you are ready to serve. 

For the seven peppers I roasted, I used 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/2 cup of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic. 

I also served the several other vegetable sides with the chicken. 

Roasted Eggplant with cubed butternut squash, and onions. 

Fresh tomato salad.

Sautéed dandelion greens with eggplant and spicy red pepper. 

The boys came to dinner armed with flowers and wine. 
I have the sweetest brothers in the world. 

My favorites from one of my favorites.

We also had one brother join us via Facetime. 
His perfect attendance record remains technically intact. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sibling Dinner: Coconut Beef Noodle 'Stewp'

For last night's sibling dinner I made a curry coconut beef noodle "stewp."
Not quite a stew, not quite a soup. 

Before preparing the broth, mix the meat in the following marinade and allow it to sit for at least half an hour.

Beef with Marinade: 
- 3 lbs. stew meat
- 2 tbsp. cilantro
- Lime juice (1 lime)
- 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp. lemongrass paste 
- Generous amount of salt

Mix thoroughly and reserve on the side at room temperature while you prepare the broth.
Don't skimp on the salt during this step-
the salt helps to tenderize the beef.

Because I was pretty generous with the salt during this step, I didn't add any additional salt to the broth. So be sure to use your discretion when seasoning later.

- Equal parts bone broth and coconut milk. 
(In my case that was 32 oz. of each)
- 2 cups of diced onions 
- 2 cups julienned carrots/spiralized carrots [you can use the carrot noodles that they sell in Whole Foods as an alternative]
- 3 tbsp. curry powder 
- 2 tsp. cilantro
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
- 3 drops fish sauce
- 2 tsp. safflower oil 

At the very last moment you will need:
- Thin rice noodles 

Caramelize the onions in the oil before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add the rest of the broth's ingredients.

Allow the broth to come to a simmer while you sear the beef in a separate pan.
Add the meat to the broth. 

Cook at a simmer over medium-low heat for one hour. 

Right before serving add the rice noodles (they only need about 3 minutes to cook). 

I served the "stewp" with several garnishes so the boys could customize each bowl according to their  taste. 

Bean sprouts 
Napa cabbage with soy sauce and eggs
Avocado slices

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Inside a Christmas Tree - Rolf's NYC

I love Christmas time. 

It's magic. 

If you love Christmas, you need to go to Rolf's now. 

My friend and I have been talking about going to Rolf's for years. 
So, thanks to her excellent planning skills, we were able to snag a table for dinner with a reservation made in October. 
That's right, October. 

Be warned, if you decide to risk coming sans reservation, the earlier you get there the better. The line is easily 40 people deep at all times. 

Holiday 'spirits' flow readily, naughty and nice are indistinguishable, mistletoe all around, what's not to love? 

 Rolf's keeps the decorations up well into the spring, so if you find yourself a little too frozen to wait out the line, I'll see you there in 2017 to explore with a little more elbow room.

P.S. Let's be honest Santa, I really did try this year... 
could my coal at least come a little, I don't know, sparkly? 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Turkey Day Detox

Stir-Fried Cauliflower

It's that time of year, the turkey's been gobbled, guests stuffed to capacity  have enjoyed the cornucopia of holiday goodies pre and post turkey-time naps.  Leftovers everywhere have gotten the "Ross Geller" special; heading full speed into my Christmas-crazy, tinsel time merry-mania... my full body transition into Buddy the Elf is almost complete, and now is exactly when I feel the need to lighten up my meals.
This usually means that my fridge is greener than my Christmas tree and my diet is predominantly vegetables.  So, when I had a craving for Chinese food instead of ordering fried rice I decided to make some cauliflower stir-fry with whatever I had on hand. 

1 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
1 Head small of Cauliflower, finely chopped (about 4 cups)
1 Maitake mushroom
1 medium sweet white onion chopped
1 cup of chopped celery and carrot
1 cup napa cabbage
2 eggs scrambled
2 tbsp soy sauce 
1 tsp fish sauce 
Salt & Pepper to taste 

[ Optional* a drizzle of chili oil or Sriracha right before you dig in]

Heat 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. 
Once the oil is hot add your finely chopped cauliflower to the pan and cook for a few minutes stirring until it develops a bit of color. 
Remove the cauliflower and reserve for later.

Lower the heat to medium-low, add chopped celery, carrots, and chopped white onions until the onions begin to look translucent. 

Chop your Napa cabbage and Maitake mushroom add to your pan. 

After about 2-3 minutes push your vegetables to the side and add your scrambled egg to the pan. Once the eggs are cooked add your cauliflower back into the pan with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tsp of fish sauce. 

Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Turkey Day Tablescape

 Thanksgiving this year was a little smaller than normal... kidding, kinda.  
In order to give the table a dynamic look without over cluttering it, the decision was made to alternate china patterns, and keep any additional adornments fairly simple. 

Once the food was on the table- photos were definitely not top of mind. 

Even dogs take turkey naps
Home is where the hearth is... see what I did there ;-) 

I am exceptionally thankful to be surrounded by such amazing, brave, and loving family and friends. Knowing you has changed me for the better and I am proud to know each and every one of you.  


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Maple Pumpkin Pie with Rosemary Chestnut Crumble Topping

In keeping with the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and wanting to make something for my Grandmother's birthday I decided to try to incorporate chestnuts, a traditional Italian ingredient that my grandmother loves, with pumpkin pie. The challenge was my Grandmother has a bit of a sweet tooth so I wanted to make sure that I balanced a sweet dessert with a savory element, hence the rosemary.  

 I tried foregoing a pie crust, not a great idea.
While I was happy with the flavor of the pie, the consistency was a little difficult to serve.
I see pie crusts in my future when I make this again. 

1 1/2 cans of Pumpkin 
2 large eggs 
1 cup of heavy cream
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp. nutmeg 

1 cup of chopped roasted chestnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick of butter (melted) 
1 cup of  unseasoned Panko (gluten free or regular) crumbs 
2 tbsp. chopped Rosemary
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg 
1/8 tsp. salt

Take a small bowl, add 1/4 cup of the melted butter and the chopped rosemary, allow the butter to infuse for 5 minutes. 

Add the chopped chestnuts to a pan, with the rosemary infused butte. 

Cook over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes stirring thoroughly.

Turn off the heat (be sure to remove the pan from the burner) add all the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly, the topping should have a consistency similar to sand. 

Reserve for later. 

Preheat the oven to 350° F 

Mix the pie ingredients thoroughly making sure there are no lumps. 

Pour mixture into your baking dish/pie crust. 

Bake in the oven at 350° F for 60-70 minutes. 15 minutes before the pie is done cooking remove the pie from the oven and add the crumble topping. 

Let the pie cool thoroughly before serving.