new potato saladI love listening to people talk about the things that make them happy, that get them bubbly and excited. I was in a dressing room the other day and there was a mom and two sisters having so much fun trying on clothes. Briefly eavesdropping on their cute comments and playfulness brings back memories of getting ready for nights out with my friends, and shopping trips with my sisters. It can be such a sweet, organic happiness. I love it when people ooze and gush over their music, art, family, sport or travel. The BEST is listening to my dude when he wakes up hungry, he has a way of talking about food like it is  a living object, sometimes a little sexual, often times like oxygen he needs to breathe. This is pure. His determination to make the perfect BLT, french toast or mac’ and cheese is impressive.

I have never been a huge fan of potato salad, most likely because of my dislike of mayonnaise, but when I woke up craving potato salad the other morning I was determined to make one that would satisfy my needs. I stumbled on this recipe, and made it mine, that uses the tanginess of sour cream and fresh herbs for the flavor.

So here’s my simple potato salad recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds small red-skinned new potatoes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, including the green onion greens
  • 1 heaping Tbsp of minced fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional: bacon, hard-boiled eggs

1 Place potatoes, skin on, in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan. Cover with an inch of cold water. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until they are easily pierced with a fork. Strain the potatoes in cold water, set them aside to cool.

2 In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, green onions, dill, cider vinegar, salt, and black pepper. The dressing should be strongly flavored (the potatoes will need it!).

3 Cut the cooled potatoes in half lengthwise. Toss with the dressing. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving, to allow the potatoes to absorb some of the dressing. I think this is best made a day ahead of time to fully allow the ingredients to “murgulate” (this is Evan’s word he uses to describe the process of blending and merging flavors).

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crispy kale.jpg

People and places can inspire me just as much as the ingredients themselves, and then there is my instinct that does not rely on logic or knowledge. This can also be called our mood, or our cravings. However after spending a magical week celebrating dear friends and their tying of the knot in Zihuatanejo, Mexico it definitely made sense that my body was craving leafy greens. I love Mexican cuisine, fancy, street or fusion. I also love all things cheese related. My dream job would be to create cheese plates all day long. Last night the idea of a quesadilla, taco, nacho or sope was obviously not front of mind. My sweet, food loving boyfriend offered to take me to a nice dinner, but all I wanted to do was snuggle up and enjoy a mellow night-in together. Neither of us were feeling very ambitious to cook, and I was so grateful he had snagged kale and salmon at the Downtown Farmer’s Market. This recipe can be made in one baking dish, which also leaves less dishes and more time to share stories from the past week.

Remove the ribs from the kale and break into bite size pieces. Rinse to clean.

Make the dressing for both the salmon and the kale:

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons liquid aminos
1 tablespoon siracha

In a jar with a lid add the ingredients and shake until they are emulsified. Place the kale to one side of a baking sheet and drizzle with 2/3 of the mixture and toss. Put the salmon filet on the other side of the pan with the skin side down, pour remaining dressing on the fish. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and check on the fish, you want it to be cooked through but overcooking can leave your fish dry quickly. I made the lazy version of rice with one of the Seeds of Change organic brown rice and quinoa pouches, 90 seconds in the microwave and done! Our meal tasted decadent, flavorful and my body was left nourished.

white-quinoa11Bananas_white_background

My attempts to eat a healthy breakfast are often cyclical and depend on my ability to be organized and think ahead. Sounds easy enough, but somehow not at the top of my priorities of the mundane day-to-day activities. I found this recipe on Monday, made a big batch on Monday night and I have been loving it every morning. I have been adding a little honey, cinnamon and sliced bananas and it makes breakfast easy and healthy. Simple = more sleep.

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • cups quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, salt, and 1½ cups water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and liquid is evaporated, 20–25 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

I had to share because this has really been starting my days off right and it’s super flavorful and filling.

watermelon 2

salad duo makes a meal

basil. watermelon. peach. balsamic.

citrus dressing. garlic prawns. green salad.


I have this compulsion to invite people over and feed them. I am not the most organized hostess and I actually do not even like that word. “Hostess”. It makes me think of forced seating arrangements and jell-o molds. I prefer casual, organic get togethers that occur in nature. Someone caught fish, let’s cook it. I have a plethora of zucchini, let’s eat it. Sometimes I just invite random people that I love over and try new recipes. This week I was inspired by my basil plant I have managed to keep alive in this tropical heat wave, and my dearest friend and her new dietary restrictions. I used 1/2 the case of white peaches I picked up last weekend, watermelon spears (from Trader Joes), fresh chiffonade basil and a little balsamic for the first salad. I sprinkled some black pepper on it as well. It was savory enough for dinner, but could have easily been dessert possibly with added blueberries.

The second salad I needed to avoid some of my salad staples (nuts, cheese). For the base of the salad I used:

Organic mixed greens

Hericot verts

Mixed medley cherry tomatoes

English cucumber

Avocado

The dressing/marinade:

Orange juice

Fresh lime juice

Organic honey

Olive oil

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing, pour half of it in a plastic bag with the prawns, 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic and some parsley. Let it sit for about a half hour. Saute in a pan over medium heat until cooked through and pink. Use the remaining marinade as a dressing.

I served gluten-free garlic bread and grilled corn as well, and we had some amazing halibut to add to the spread as well. We ate family style and managed to eat it all, which just makes clean up easier. I am grateful for nights like this, with conversation and delicious food. Old friends meeting new friends. Finish the evening with a stroll with a view and give thanks, this is the good life.

baby romanesco

quick and delicious silky romanesco soup

A botanical dilemma, this gorgeous edible has caused much confusion about its true parentage. Sometimes called Romanesco broccoli and sometimes called Romanesco cauliflower in North America, the French call it Romanesco cabbage while the Italians refer to it as broccolo Romanesco.

Having a dense texture reminiscent to cauliflower, baby broccoli Romanesco has a crunchier bite. I substituted Romanesco for a  www.smittenkitchen.com recipe that called for cauliflower and was happy with this healthy dinner for girls night.

Eating is so much more than preparing and cooking food: it’s about giving, friendship, beauty, warmth, color, experience, fragrance, simplicity and of course company.

Serves 4 to 6

8 heads baby romanesco
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart low-sodium chicken stock or veggie stock
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the leaves and thick core from the romanesco, coarsely chop, and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the romanesco and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the romanesco is very soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup, or puree in small batches in a blender and return it to the pot.

Add the Parmesan and stir until smooth.

Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Now play with glitter with all your best friends because glitter makes everything better, and we were making Valentine’s Day cards for our loved ones. You should probably go make a card for your mom, sister, brother, nephew or niece, grandparents and best friends right now.

Photo Jan 20, 4 53 58 PM

Everyone needs an excuse to stray from their current habits and onto a new path. For many that means taking a vacation, joining the gym, making more time for themselves and meditating on life, but most commonly we focus on what we are putting into our bodies. January is the time, more than ever it seems, when we choose to start the year off with a clean slate and a new diet. I was introduced to Arbonne products by a dear friend in December and chose January 5th as my start date to do the 30 day cleanse. I have always wanted to try an elimination diet before, hoping to cure the symptoms related to the eczema I have been suffering from for many years. Connecting my skin condition to one of these toxins: alcohol, caffeine, soy, dairy, gluten, whey, refined sugar, vinegar, corn or artificial flavors would provide me with some relief. In addition, while I eat healthy, I have a tendency to eat whatever I want which isn’t always kind to my waist line. I wanted to feel great all the time, with a clear head, a consistent good night’s sleep and energy that came from fueling my body with clean foods. I knew making the change in my habits would provide me the basis to make better food decisions into my future.

If you are interested in the cleanse or have any questions please feel free to comment.

The Arbonne cleanse allows for one meal per day, which should be mostly greens with some protein, healthy grains and healthy fat. Tonight I cooked blackened Tilapia in coconut oil, wilted Tuscan kale with sesame seeds, and quinoa with garlic and scallions.

Start by putting a kettle on to boil. Place two handfuls of kale per person in a colander.

Chop scallions and garlic. Heat small sauce pan with a bit of coconut oil and cook scallions and garlic until fragrant. Add quinoa and water (or broth) and cook according to instructions. Once there is about 5 minutes left you can start the fish.

Blackened Fish:

Rinse your fillet. Season one side of the fish with cayenne pepper, covering the fish generously. I added a little salt and pepper as well. Let a bit of coconut oil heat on a non-stick pan at medium/high heat. Place the fish seasoned side down and let cook almost all the way through (about 5 minutes) flip the fish and finish until cooked through. This can be prepared with similar fish, such as cod.

When the kettle comes to a boil, slowly pour over the kale and add lemon and salt and pepper for flavor.

Plate your dish, adding any other veggies you like on top of the quinoa (i.e. mushrooms, cucumber, tomato)

The whole meal takes 20 minutes, tastes delicious and doesn’t leave you feeling hungry.

chantrelles

chanterelle + white wine + shallots + risotto

I went chanterelle mushroom hunting for the first time this week. It was amazing to be outside in the woods, everywhere you looked you saw beauty, unfortunately everywhere we looked we did not find any quality chanterelles. Next time. It was still a lovely day, in good spirits and luckily I was able to procure some excellent chanterelles from our mushroom vendor. These golden looking, golden tasting mushrooms also happen to be golden priced. While I am not hesitant to spend my money on high end, quality ingredients it is oh so much nicer to enjoy the perks of my profession.

I have never made risotto, I was always nervous to make it because of the dreaded mushy consistency it often becomes, and I shied away from this Italian style dish. It sounded like the perfect pairing and I know my man loves it, so it was just the right thing to try out for date night.

3 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp. butter
2 minced, peeled shallots
4 cups cleaned small chanterelles
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low to maintain simmer.

2. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a medium deep pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add small chanterelles and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.

3. Melt 2 tbsp. additional butter in same pot over medium heat, add short-grain rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the hot stock and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is almost absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is tender but firm to the bite and mixture is creamy but not soupy, about 25 minutes. Add chanterelles just before last addition of stock. Stir in parmigiano-reggiano, adjust seasonings, and serve immediately.

We also baked chicken with white wine, spices, and parmesan to serve with our risotto as well as a simple baby kale and pomegranate seed salad. A perfect rustic meal.

fish stew best

cod + shrimp + couscous + basil + serrano

I was looking forward to cooking dinner for my witty and pretty friend April. We both wanted something healthy, but I didn’t want to serve something boring. The spice and the flavor from this dish gave it the kick needed to make this worthy of our girls night in.

This was inspired from a Jamie Oliver recipe that was featured on the goop.com magazine.

1 cup quick-cook couscous

olive oil

2 lemons

sea salt and freshly ground

2 cloves of garlic

1 fresh serrano

a bunch of fresh basil

I teaspoon whole cumin seeds

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 x 6-ounce white fish fillets, skin off and bones removed

¾ pound large shrimp, raw, peeled

1 x 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes

2 handfuls of fresh or frozen peas, fava beans, or green beans (or use a mixture)

1. Cook the couscous according to directions. I used pearled couscous for a hearty texture.

2. Get a large saucepan on a medium heat. Peel and finely slice your garlic. Finely slice your chili. Pick the basil leaves off the stalks. Put the smaller ones to one side and roughly chop the larger ones. Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the garlic, chili, basil, cumin seeds, and cinnamon. Give it all a stir and put the fish fillets on top. Scatter over the shrimp. Add the canned tomatoes and the peas and beans. Squeeze in the juice from the two remaining lemon halves. Put a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

3. By the time the fish is cooked, the couscous should have sucked up all the water and be ready to serve. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl and give it a stir with a fork to help it fluff up. Top with the fish, vegetables, and juices from the pan, sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves, and pour a glass of wine and enjoy!

arbonne smoothie

baby kale + almond milk + banana + almond butter + arbonne protein powder

I am both excited and nervous to be doing the 30 day Arbonne cleanse in January. This is not a deprivation diet, and I am already happily starting my days off with this simple shake. It fills me up, gets me going and gives me energy. My NutriBullet makes this the easiest meal of the day, hands down. I will keep you posted with some of the healthy meals come January.

1 cup almond milk

1/2 banana (I keep them in the freezer, but you can use fresh)

1 tablespoon almond butter

Baby kale (or spinach, or mustard greens, chard, etc)

2 scoops Arbonne Vanilla (or chocolate) Protein powder

1 scoop Arbonne Fiber Boost

*You can add ice too, I prefer without

I’m looking forward to starting the new year with a healthy mind and body, energized and refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

baby leeks

Beef. Barley. Baby leek soup.

This recipe was directly inspired from www.smittenkitchen.com as I was doing an internet search for uses for the (two week availability) baby leeks I had a sample of from Coke Farm. We also happened to be in the middle of the storm we had been so desperately needing, as schools were closed and people were staying home from work, so I was so happy when she gave me this simple soup recipe. This may be the easiest soup I have ever made. It smells delicious slowly cooking while we watched the storm.

1. Trim two big, meaty short ribs and put them on the bottom of your soup pot.

2. Add 1/2 cup of barley, three big cloves of garlic shopped up, two chopped onions, and three leeks cut lengthwise and then into segments–use both the white and the green parts. I added crimini mushrooms, you could add any other vegetables you might like. Grind in a little black pepper.

3. Add about eight cups of filtered water or beef stock ( I like the way beef stock makes the dish rich) and let it simmer on the back burner for at least three hours while you go about your business.

4. Before serving, skim off the fat, take the meat off the bones, chop it and put it back in the soup.

Now invite all your friends that are playing hooky from work too, serve with some crusty bread, maybe a little whiskey for added warmth and you have yourself a storm party. You might even be warm enough to go play in the puddles and the mud.