Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shaved Asparagus and Bean Sprout Salad in a Lemon and Roasted Garlic Dressing



Ingredients: 

1 bunch of asparagus (about 2-3 cups of shaved asparagus) 
1 1/2 cups of bean sprouts 
1 large roasted garlic bulb
1 large lemon
Salt & Pepper 




Cut the bottom ends off of your asparagus.
Using a vegetable peeler shave asparagus into thin strips.



Add bean sprouts 

Remove roasted garlic from it's "shell" place into a seperate bowl. 

The garlic should easily be crushed (masticated) with a fork. 







I am OBSESSED with my garlic roaster by Petite Maison.


Take a large lemon and squeeze the juice over your garlic. 

If you are not using fresh lemons and instead opt for lemon juice use about 1/4 cup. 

Whisk together thoroughly.  

- Add the leftover oil from roasting the garlic (1/2 tsp  - 1 tsp) into the dressing-

Whisk again

Add lemon garlic dressing to the shaved asparagus and bean sprouts.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. 


Mix and enjoy! 


Ingredients: 

1 small bunch of asparagus (about 2-3 cups of shaved asparagus) 
1 1/2 cups of bean sprouts 
1 large roasted garlic bulb
1 large lemon
Salt & Pepper 


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fiddlehead Fern


I've been trying to eat more seasonally.
 So last week while perusing the produce aisle at Whole Foods I came across Fiddleheads and was immediately intrigued. 

I had seen them a few times before at specialty stores but I was not really sure what to do with them. 

A few google searches later I felt confident enough to buy a small bag of them. Which probably amounted to about 3 cups of fern heads. 

Fiddleheads are rich in omega-3 and omega-7 fatty acids and are rich in potassium. 

They have a very earthy taste, and remind me of a cross between asparagus and peas.  



Preparation of the actual fern heads is very important. They need to be thoroughly cleaned and boiled to assure the removal of any bacteria that are possibly on the ferns, as well as to remove their initial bitterness. 



While I waited for the water to reach a boil, I soaked the fiddleheads in cold water.



 Once the water reaches a rapid boil, add the fiddleheads and cook for 10-12 minutes. 



Be sure to stir them while they cook to assure that none of them stick to the sides of your pot. 


Once the time has passed, drain and discard the water. 

Warning; it will be brown. 

Don't panic like I did, that's apparently normal. 

 Reserve the steamy hot fiddleheads. 


Over medium head, add 1 tsp of truffle oil, 1/2 tsp of olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, fiddleheads  1/4 tsp of powdered ginger.

Cook for about 5 minutes



Recap: 
1) Rinse off the fiddleheads and then soak in a bowl of cold water while waiting for the pot to boil. 
2) When the water is at a rapid boil - parboil the fiddleheads for 10-12 minutes 
expect the water to change colors 
3) Drain the water, reserve the ferns on the side and pat dry 
4) Over medium heat, add 1 tsp of truffle oil, 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1/4 tsp of powdered ginger
5) Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep any of the ingredients from sticking to the pan

*6)- if you want to make the fiddleheads into a salad; after they have cooled, add 1 1/2 cups of halved cherry tomatos. 
Do NOT add any additional oil.
Salt and Pepper to taste 



Vegetarian Gluten-Free Stuffed Peppers





Every time I've eaten stuffed peppers, they have been filled to the gills with either an egg-breadcrumb batter or ground meat with rice. 

chaos of my cutting board
While filling, and definitely delicious I wanted to try to come up with a recipe that was less heavy,  but still satisfying. 

When cooking for myself, I try to avoid that feeling of deprivation, the "can't have this" and "can't have that."  That is the surest thing to make you crave exactly what you're not supposed to be having. 


Right before the peppers are popped into the oven
The key, at least in my opinion, to cooking and eating within whatever your restrictions is twofold; flavor and texture.

You need to identify what flavors you like and what textures you like before you can start providing yourself with alternatives. 

The most underutilized aspect of my pantry until recently was the spice cabinet. I was comfortable with the flavors that I always used and didn't really try anything too new unless it was called for in a recipe that I was using. 


Ingredients for 'stuffing':
1 1/2 cups of chopped shitake mushrooms
2 baby eggplants grated
 1 large Vidalia onion chopped
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste



For the filling I started with a base of chopped shitake mushrooms. Then I shredded two small eggplants and two chopped garlic cloves.








Mix together with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper. 
We will call this the "dry base" going forward. 

Mix and spread out on a baking dish. 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. 

 Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for 3-5 minutes. 




While the base of your stuffing is baking/cooling. Prepare your sweet peppers by removing the tops and seeds. You can use peppers of any shape/ size. I had some bell peppers in the fridge I wanted to use, but I also had a package of the sweet peppers pictured below.


Once your peppers are cleaned and set aside, begin to prepare the moist base for your stuffing. 

Mix together the diced tomatos (about 2 cups)  and chopped green chili peppers (about 1/2 cup) together in a separate bowl. 

 Chop up the second 1/2 cup of cilantro and add to the mixture. 
Mix thoroughly. 


Mix the stuffing base into the tomato-chili mixture a little bit at a time. I like to keep them separate for as long as possible because I don't want the base of our mixture to become too soggy.

The ratio in the small bowl should be one (1) part tomato-chili mixture to two (2) parts dry base. 



Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes.











Whatever leftovers I had from the stuffing and the tomato base, I basked with some chicken breasts. 








Thursday, May 9, 2013

April Showers, Bring May Flowers; Tulip Chicken Salad in a Lime Vinaigrette

I recently bought myself this amazing cookbook Cooking with Flowers by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets (you can order it from Amazon here). I was really inspired after reading her Prologue aptly titled, 'Why Eat Flowers?' to try and incorporate some of her ideas into my own cooking. 

-Some people may be VERY allergic to flowers, so make sure you have NO reaction (rash, itchiness, sneezing) to contact with them before ingesting. If you have any concerns whatsoever consult a physician before adding flowers into your diet. If you have ingested ANYTHING and your throat begins to itch, you develop a rash or you are having a hard time breathing consult a doctor IMMEDIATELY- 


 I have always struggled to cook small quantities of food, but I've been making a concerted effort to make smaller quantities of food, especially given my restrictions are not shared throughout the household. 

 The following recipe is appropriate for an individual serving. If you want to make this for more people simply multiply the recipe times the number of individuals you intend on feeding. 


Ingredients:

Salad
1 cup of chopped/sliced red cabbage depending on how you like it
2/3 cup of cherry tomatoes cut into halves
1/2 cup shredded chicken breast
Petals from 1 large tulip (6 large petals) or 2 smaller ones (approximately 12 petals)  
1 tablespoon of shredded fresh basil
1-2 sprigs of lemon thyme

Vinaigrette
3 teaspoons of fresh lime juice, 
which is approximately equivalent to the juice of 2 fresh squeezed limes
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 tsp paprika 
1/4 tsp coriander 
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Our garden is currently teeming with late blooming tulips. I felt comfortable using the petals of these flowers  in the salad because I know they've not been treated with pesticides or fungicides that are toxic when ingested. Bacher cautions over and over again in her book to not use flowers that come from the grocery store or any other place, like a roadside, where they could have been treated with chemicals or absorbed pollutants. Know what you're eating. 

Tulips have a flavor that is similar to a cross between a sweet pea and a cucumber. That's the only way I can think to describe it. Apparently, each variety of tulip differs in flavor from the others and some of them can have more of a bite than others.

Wash your petals. 
Then, wash them again. 

The last thing you want is some creepy-crawly in your food. 

Stack your petals, gently roll them into a tube and slice horizontally across to get thin strips. 



Cut and or shred your red cabbage. Add to your tulip petals. 




Add your tomatoes to your mixing bowl along with the chicken, basil and thyme. 


Stir and set aside. 



In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients for your vinaigrette. 
Add the lime juice, mixing thoroughly. 
Add the olive oil. 

Mix thoroughly into your salad and enjoy.






Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Butternut Squash "Fries"


So on this new restricted diet you're only allowed to consume certain things and after a while the cravings for all the sugary and savory goodnesses that you are no longer able to be eat subside and you don't really miss them. 

No seriously I swear it's true. 

But last week I had suffered through about three different meals where the person I was out with had french fries, and pretzels and all manner of snickysnacks, which are a no-no.
So, I asked my food-guru what I was able to have as a treat when I was seriously craving something salty with a crunch. She gave me some parameters to work within and this is what I came up with. 

The key to this recipe is cooking the butternut squash on parchment paper. Not exactly sure why, but it always seems to come out better when the squash is baked in a pan lined with parchment paper. 

Ingredients:

1 cup of cut butternut squash 
- try to keep the pieces as uniform as possible to keep them cooking at the same rate- 
1 tbsp. olive oil 
1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
1/4 tsp. Italian herbs mix
1/2 tsp. black truffle oil
Sea salt & pepper to taste 




Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Cut your squash into pieces. 

Mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, truffle oil, and italian herbs mix in a bowl. 

Add your cut butternut squash and coat it thoroughly with the mixture. 

Spread out your butternut squash on a parchment paper lined roasting pan. 

Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. 

Roast in the oven for 15-17 minutes. 

If you want a little more crunch, let it cook for up to 20-23 minutes but be careful to watch it to prevent it from burning. 

Eat and enjoy! 

Remember this portion size is intended to be an individual snack per person. If you intend to make this for a group, then  simply multiply the recipe, times the number of individuals you will be serving. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Baked Shrimp in my Poppy Ginger Dressing


Ingredients: 
- 14 oz. package of precooked shrimp

- 1 tsp. chives
- 1 tsp. chopped ginger
 - 1/2 tsp. of Mustard Pommery or any other whole-grain mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Poppy Seeds 
- 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Dark Chili Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Paprika 
- 1/4 tsp. Black Yruffle Oil 
- 2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar  
- Sea Salt to taste 
(I use a sea salt grinder and turned it 5 times) 



Prior to cooking, make sure your shrimp is completely defrosted. 
If you are pressed for time, place your shrimp into a colander and run cold water over it for about a half an hour to quickly defrost shrimp taken from the freezer. 


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix your dry ingredients (chives, poppy seeds, chili powder, black pepper, salt and paprika)  with the mustard and ginger in a bowl.

Then add the truffle oil and the apple cider vinegar. 

Mix well.  


Take your defrosted shrimp and add it to your dressing being sure to thoroughly coat the shrimp. 

If you want to intensify the flavors, you can prepare this ahead of time and allow the shrimp to marinate in the dressing in the refrigerator before cooking. 

Take a piece of parchment paper and line your baking dish. 

Spread out the shrimp on the parchment paper.


Cook for 5-7 minutes. 

Be careful not to over cook the shrimp since it is already pre-cooked you don't want to have it become rubbery. 


I served mine over my mediterranean cole slaw recipe with some roasted asparagus. 

This dressing is also delicious on grilled chicken or shrimp kebabs. If you'd like it to be spicy, simply add 1/4 tsp. of hot pepper flakes to the dressing. 

If you intend to use this recipe for a marinade I would suggest you double the recipe. 

My Mediterranean Coleslaw Recipe




Ingredients: 

- 1/2 Red Cabbage 
- 2 Cucumbers peeled, seeds removed and cubed
- 2 tsp. chopped ginger
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed 
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. cumin 
- 1/2 tsp. paprika 
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
 - Sea Salt & Pepper to taste 
- 1/3 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar 



Cut up your cabbage into bite sized pieces. 



Peel your cucumbers, cut off the ends and slice it in two. Take a spoon and run it down the center of each of the halves to remove the seeds. Cut the cucumber into slices and then cube them. 
Place into a bowl together.



Mix the rest of the ingredients into the apple cider vinegar to make your dressing. Be sure to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients to avoid clumping.  

Pour the dressing over the cabbage and the cucumber. 

Mix well & enjoy.