Archives for the month of: November, 2013

Photo Nov 25, 4 33 51 PMPhoto Nov 25, 4 04 53 PM

I had my first taste of persimmons about a month ago. To me they have always just been a bright colored fruit for centerpieces. I should have done my research. I bit into an unripe persimmon and instantly was like, “is this a joke?” I think this is a trick fruit. It was so chalky and my mouth felt like I had bit into a handful of Advil. Never again. Of course I was determined to make this beautiful fruit delicious too, so I tried this little recipe from A Cozy Kitchen and fell in love.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
Salt
Pepper
2 persimmons (1 pound)
1/2 fennel bulb
Small handful Italian parsley
5 slices prosciutto

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and juice from 1/2 lemon. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Using a mandolin (or a very sharp knife), cut the persimmons into 1/4-inch thick slices. Next, shave the fennel bulb so they’re nearly paper thin but not quite. Roughly mince the Italian parsley; set aside.

3. To a medium bowl, add the persimmons and a teaspoon or two (you can eyeball this measurement) of the dressing. Rub the persimmons with the dressing so they’re evenly coated. Arrange the persimmons on a plate in a circular pattern, overlapping them. To make the persimmon “cones,” slice a slit in the persimmons, starting from the center and cutting outward. Take the two cut-ends and overlap them, creating a cone-like shape. Atop the fanned out persimmons, arrange the persimmon cones in a circle. I am not a details person, so this was a little out of my comfort zone. Precision is definitely not my thing, but I did my best to arrange the perfectly ripe persimmons artistically.

4. To the same medium bowl, toss together the shaved fennel, Italian parsley and remaining dressing. Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper according to taste. Transfer the shaved fennel to the center of the persimmon “cones.” Place the shaved lardo (or prosciutto, if using) on top of the fanned out persimmons.

Enjoy!

Photo Nov 25, 4 34 10 PM

ps. there is something about walking out of a grocery store with mostly all greens/fruit, with the tall fennel coming out of the top of my Daylight bag that puts a little extra pep in my step

Photo Nov 22, 2 48 58 PM

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I am definitely in hibernation mode with the time change and just want to get cozy. I made this dish earlier in the week and despite my general dislike of meals planned around chicken it was tasty and we could have happily had it two nights in a row. I had the itch to get in the kitchen so I came up with this remarkably easy and healthy little dish. I am pretty sure anyone can throw this together, leaving plenty of time to snuggle up and get comfy.

As always this truly was inspired by my mother sneaking veggies to our meals. I added Heirloom Spinach, from the local farm Church Bros in Salinas, as well as mini zucchinis to the traditional Mexican inspired ingredients. The spinach did manage to turn the turkey slightly purple but it was unnoticeable once the casserole was assembled.

Photo Nov 12, 5 31 37 PM

Ingredients
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 diced yellow onion
6 sliced mini zucchinis
1/2 pound spinach or substitute for kale or other greens
1 diced jalapeño (omit if you don’t like it spicy)
1/2 envelope of taco seasoning
2/3 cup frozen corn (the only kind I use is the roasted corn from Trader Joe’s, so much flavor)
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (you can use reduced fat if you prefer)

Garnishes
Avocado
Non-fat sour cream
Scallions
Black olives

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the onions and zucchini and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the greens and cook down. Stir in the taco seasoning, 2/3 cup water, and the corn. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes, then stir in the black beans.

3. Lay 4 tortillas on the bottom of the pan, and spoon half of the meat mixture on top. Cover with 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Top with 4 more tortillas and the remaining meat mixture. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese over the top.

4. Bake the casserole until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Slice and serve, topped with scallions and sour cream.

Photo Nov 12, 5 31 07 PM

(slightly purple, but it turned out yummy)

My attempts at a pretty radish and fennel salad are coming, I’m happily getting my mandolin slicer in the mail on Friday, so we will see what I can create.

e0618e7d2a222af2_Cubed-Butternut-Squash.preview

It officially feels like Fall in Santa Cruz. The mornings are chilly and I turned the heat on in the evenings for the first time since Spring. The weather calls for hearty soups and stews, celebrating the flavors of the season. Instead I chose this recipe to share, mainly because I had made a soup earlier in the week (white bean and kale) that the boyfriend and I have been living on since then and I cannot possibly swallow another bowl of hearty goodness. Secondly, because I’m picking up a sample of organic root veggies I want to showcase next week. Oh, and I got not one, not two, but THREE high fives during dinner. This kind of enthusiasm over a simple healthy dish, keeps a smile on my face. I was inspired by my favorite, go-to food blog http://www.smittenkitchen.com

For the Bowl
1 cup dried rice or another cooking grain of your choice
1 package pre-cubed butternut squash
2 broccoli crowns
8-10 white mushrooms (sliced)
1 small package firm tofu
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt (I like the pink Himala Salt)
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

For the miso-ginger dressing
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 small garlic gloves, minced
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot pepper sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oilPhoto Nov 06, 7 22 28 PM

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook grain according to instructions. I like to use Better than Buillon and a tiny bit of butter.

Cut broccoli into bite size florets. Slice mushrooms. Cut tofu into bite size pieces as well. (my mother will still tell me to cut something into bite size pieces, when I’m being her sous chef, I think it’s a pretty accurate and obvious description of how food should be cut)

Coat one baking tray with a thin slick of olive oil, I cover mine with aluminum foil. Layer sweet potatoes on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until slightly bubbly and the aroma is filling the room. Flip and toss chunks around, then add broccoli, tofu and mushrooms to the tray, season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes, until broccoli is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is fully bronzed and tender. Toss chunks around one more time if it looks like they’re cooking unevenly.

In a small skillet, toast black and white sesame seeds until fragrant. I love sesame seeds. I also love poppy seeds. I love the added texture.

While vegetables roast, prepare sesame-miso dressing: Combine everything in a blender and run until smooth.

Scoop rice in each bowl, top with veggies, dressing and sesame seeds. Keep the extra dressing handy in a bowl at the table.

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Photo Nov 06, 6 38 25 PM

I’m a cucumber freak, I put cucumbers in everything I can, including my guacamole and my cocktails. So, I served the Miso Bowls with sliced cucumber and baby carrots like my mom probably packed in my school lunches. While not entirely sophisticated, it rounded out the meal for us, and provided a way for the boyfriend to consume more ginger laden miso sauce by dipping the veggies in the leftovers.