Related Posts with Thumbnails

Thanksgiving for Summer's Bounty and Bikinis

>> 7/31/10

Looks like an overloaded plate of traditional holiday fare, but this one won't put you into a food coma on the sofa with your waistband crying for help.   Roast turkey, steamed beans, fresh cherries, cauliflower 'mashed potatoes.' and the biscuit (for show).   Whole Foods offers this crazy packaged, gluten-free, low-fat gravy that despite all the stuff it doesn't have, tastes great and has only 20 calories a serving.  Let me put gravy on everything!   
If you haven't had the famous South Beach Diet cauliflower 'mashed potatoes', we've provided an adaptation of the recipe below-our version is faster.  Anyone have other ways for slimproving  the traditional Thankgiving menu? 
Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"
4 c fresh cauliflower florets
1 T Earth Balance spread or butter
1 ounce fat-free half & half
S & P to taste
Rinse cauliflower and put still wet florets into microwavable bowl.  Cover bowl with *paper towel and microwave for 90 seconds.  Time will vary depending on how small the florets and the microwave.   Florets should be soft but not mushy.  When finished cooking, I like to flip over the bowl and let the florets drain onto the paper towel before mashing.  

Puree the first three ingredients in a food processor and add salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  
*I was advised by friend who works at the EPA, to microwave food in only glass containers and if you don't have a glass lid, use a paper towel.  The dangers of microwaving with plastic has been exaggerated, but I think better to be safe than sorry.  


Less Pasta, More Zucchini

>> 7/28/10

Use the zucchini ribbons we sliced for the salad to embellish your pasta serving. In this dish, we sauteed chopped garlic in EVO, tossed in chopped tomatoes (I take the extra minute to remove the seeds) to warm, fold in cooked pasta and sliced zucchini ribbons and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.  
Slice the zucchini into smooth ribbons.  Slice lengthwise to get julienned 'noodles.'
Zucchini on FoodistaZucchini


Lettuce Roll Lobster - West Coast Style

>> 7/24/10

The CSA farm service had delivered red bib lettuce, luscious tomatoes, and red onion; grilled lobster waited in the refrigerator to be reinvented; I was daydreaming about the Hamptons, and it was lunchtime.  With a little Food Madonna inspiration, a very nutrient-rich meal emerged.  

Lobster Rollin' on the West Coast 
1 c. cooked lobster meat
1 celery rib, chopped 
2 T red onion, chopped
2 T fresh tarragon, chopped
2 T fat free mayonnaise
1 t dijon mustard
juice from 1/2 large lemon
lettuce leaves
Combine lobster, celery, onion, and tarragon in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients before adding to the lobster mixture.  

Tip: mix all of the dressing ingredients before adding them to your main ingredients.  It's harder to adjust the flavors when it's all mixed together and worse, if your dressing doesn't turn out at all, you would have ruined your key components.  
Spoon the lobster mixture into lettuce leaves and serve with lemon wedges.  

Alternative:  If you want to have yours East Coast style, but still have it lower in calorie, take advice from the luminescent nutritionist Ellie Krieger and serve the lobster salad in whole wheat hotdog bun. 


Camp Care Package That's Not Campy

>> 7/22/10

I first learned about this clever company You Bars on Cooking Channel's, Foodcrafters program.  The foodcrafters at You Bar let us create our own health bars, cookies, trail mix and more by selecting from their nearly endless list of healthy ingredients.  The coolest part is they customize the packaging label.  My son received this trail mix I concocted (raisins, sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, granola, and chocolate candy) at his summer camp.  He's going to Secret Agent camp which, from the looks of the camp's photos, appears more like he is in Taliban training. They're labeled "Griffin's Spy Fuel."  Let's just hope when he's questioned by the Feds, they don't take away his snacks.
My daughter is at an art school named Innerspark, so she received,  "Kendall's Innersparks" cookies.  She said, and this I quote from a sometimes snarky 16 yearold, "they are really delicious."  She sent this photo:

These are not the cheapest treats, but they are healthy, fast and uniquely personalized.   Check 'em out!


Cheap Tail - Grilled Lobster

>> 7/20/10

I'm a sucker for fish and meats that are on sale, but that means I have to be flexible and simple with food prep.   I swear I picked up lobster tail as the "manager's" special at Ralph's for only $5.99 a tail.  Sure, it wasn't minutes-fresh from the ocean, but it smelled good when I boldly tore open a corner of the package at the store.   This is an opportune time to remind everyone to ask your fish monger or butcher to let you smell it before they wrap it.  I hate them and myself and the lady who's driving slowly in front of me when I need to make a return trip to the store.
Grillin' Lobster - the easy, healthy way.  Here's how:

Slice open hard shell and fan open to reveal the lobster meat.
Brush meat with lemon juice and olive oil mixture.

Place tails flesh side down on medium, lightly oiled grill.
Cook for about 4 minutes and turn over.
Brush more lemon juice and OO on the grilled meat and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Don't overcook.  The shells will be pink and the meat will not be translucent. 
Serve in the shells or remove the meat, slice, and serve.  Feel free to go the butter dunking route, but I don't think it's necessary.
Serve with lemon wedges.  I added grilled vegetables that my sister-in-law sent home with me after her Fourth of July party.  Yeah, they held up.  I uncooled them in the microwave for 90 seconds to bring them to room temperature.

Grilled Lobster Part 2:  Lobster Roll West Coast Style.


Staging Leftovers for Revival

>> 7/18/10

I plated last night's leftovers on one stage in hope of a third performance - lemon chicken with peanut sauce, farm-fresh tomatoes and green grapes.  If it looks like a meal, smells like a meal, it must be a meal - right? Will my husband reach for this, instead of chips?  Anyone have good ideas for making your real food leftovers more desirable in the fridge?


Panzanella Salad - Guilt-free Party Dish

>> 7/16/10

Panzanella is an Italian 'bread salad.'  When everyone at the party is loading up on liquored cocktails and bbq'd meats with lacquered sweet sauces, this brilliant salad is a welcome dish to take away some of the guilt.   It's easy to prepare, holds up on the buffet line, and provides great leftovers.  I made this for Fourth of July and ate versions of it for two days.  It was even better after the vegetables and bread had time to soak up the dressing. 

Panzanella Salad (adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties)
Red Onion
Red Pepper
Yellow Pepper
3 T capers
1/2 c Basil chopped
s&p to taste
Italian bread or french baquette
olive oil
Chop vegetables into 1" chunks and combine.  Mix in capers, basil.  Add seasonings and adjust to taste.
Slice bread into 1" cubes.  I cut up about three cups total, but others prefer more bread to make it a true bread salad.  You will be making fresh croutons. Ina suggests heating olive oil and some salt in a pan and then toasting the cubes.  I like grilling the bread with a light brush of olive oil.  
1 t garlic - minced
1/2 t dijon mustard
3 T light vinegar (white wine, champagne, etc.)
1/2 c olive oil
s&p to taste

Combine the first three ingredients.  While whisking, add in the olive oil in steady stream to incorporate it into the vinegar mixture.  Add s&p to taste.
Pour vinaigrette over salad.  Add bread in about 1/2 hour before serving and toss well.


Steak Salad

>> 7/13/10

The American Heart Association definition of a "portion" of meat is a 4 oz serving-about the size of a deck of cards. On my kids plates with a side of veggies and a slab of crunchy whole grain baguette a single portion of steak looks ample. On my plate it simply looks sad and lonely. To "beef" it up, I slice the portion thin and make steak salad. Romaine leaves with a light coat of home made dressing, slices of steak and blue cheese crumbled on top. One meal (steak) done two ways for kids and parents.

At this point you're saying "A cardiologist, eating Steak?!?!?!" Wasn't steak banned in the 70's?? Truthfully, much grocery store steak is high in saturated fat-the building block for that lousy LDL cholesterol. We look for grass fed steak. Cows fed grass-their natural real food-have higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids which are actually found in grass itself. Small portions, and the right cow=healthy real food.


Zucchini Squash Salad

>> 7/12/10

There once was a vegetable that had a green color,
with seeds in the middle of its corehead.
When it was good it was very, very good
but when it was bad it was horrid.
This a very, very good way to eat zucchini.  It's raw and splashed with lemon juice, so you don't have that bitter or mushy business to deal with.  This summer vegetable is low in calories and filled with nutrients.  I modified this recipe from Eating Local, The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers which I bought to help me find something new to do with favorite vegetables and to learn what to do with the new items.
1. Slice zucchini with my preferred vegetable peeler  (or mandaline for you sassy types)
2. Add: 
    lemon juice
    s&p to taste 
    toasted pine nuts (they called for toasted sliced     almonds)
    torn lettuce (I didn't have arugula per the recipe)
    fresh basil
    garlic (I forgot to add and it was delish)
    shaved parmesan (leave off if you're vegetarian) 
I made a double batch - lunch and dinner today. 

Zucchini Ribbons Part 2 
Zucchini on FoodistaZucchini


Swag Bars - Crunch 'em if you've got 'em

>> 7/9/10

I should rename this bar Health Nut for my sister Leslie who gave me this recipe and whose  cholesterol and waist measure 24 and 23 respectively.   Kids devour these bars which are a healthier alternative to snacking than chips or sweets.  You can make them in no time and keep them for weeks by freezing, refrigerating or storing them in your pantry.  They're as easy as pie without all the pie.  We've provided options for ingredients.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (no baking)
36 protein and fiber packed snack bars

Swag Bars

1 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter - (I like Smart Balance or try Soy Nut Butter)
1/4 c. sugar plus 1/4 c. Splenda (or 3/4 c. sugar)
1/4 c. agave nectar plus 1/2 c. light corn syrup (or 3/4 c. corn syrup)
1 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
5 ounces whole-grain flaked cereal ( I use Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes)

1.  Combine first three ingredients in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat for 4 minutes.  Stir constantly.
2.  Chop peanuts in small food processor*.  Add to mixture.
3.  Grind cereal in food processor and add to mixture.
4.  Press mixture into a 13x9 pan that's been coated with cooking spray.

Crunch Time!

*instead of processor, seal ingredients in a ziploc bag and crush peanuts and cereal separately with rolling pin or bottle.


It's a Supper Present, Jimmy.

>> 7/6/10

"I made you your own block of omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce your young blood pressure and help prevent blood clots in your tiny veins.  Underneath I've hidden a bundled gift full of vitamins A & C, beta-carotene, soluble fibers, magnesium and folic acid. You can thank me when you live to be 110."
One of my best meals ever, was at Commander's Palace in New Orleans. Filet of Sole en Papiotte with a Buerre Blanc Sauce (fish w/ butter sauce in parchment paper - to the rest of us).   I urge all of you to buy yourself a roll of parchment paper, if you haven't already.  Bake cookies and rolls on parchment to prevent burning, but even better, bake fish or poultry in a parchment wrap to keep it sinfully moist and to avoid washing dirty pans!
I found fresh halibut on sale - when does that ever happen? - and knew Griffin, my protein-averse-in-a-veggie-rut son, would complain.   This presentation did the trick - I told him it was Seafood Surprise.  He ate red peppers and zucchini with the halibut and I only had to use one teaspoon of butter.  And, he got a free facial steambath.

Halibut en Papiotte or Seafood Surprise
Fish - halibut, salmon, etc. (for God's sake, buy it on sale) Julienne slice carrots, red peppers, onions and zucchini.  Note: I leave out the center seed portion of the zucchini for cooking because it tends to get mushy.  Use vegetables you have on-hand making sure to pre-saute tougher vegetables before baking.
Saute carrots, onions and red peppers until slightly tender - you can do this on the weekend and save time.  Do not saute the zucchini before baking, again with the mushy factor.

Tear off a large piece of parchment paper and fold it in half.   Add a serving of vegetables including the raw, julienned zucchini to one side of parchment close to the fold.  Dollop 1/2 t. butter on top with s&p to taste (this is not the Standard & Poors).   Layer on a serving a of fish and another 1/2 t. of butter and s&p.  I added grated ginger (
Bowling for Taste) to the top. Yum.

Wipe a thin layer of butter around the 3 edges of parchment and fold the other half of paper over the food and adhere to the butter edges.    Roll up the edges to form a pouch.
Bake at 350ยบ for 15 minutes.
Open the pouches at the table for dramatic effect. 

Take a bow and throw kisses to the audience.


Bowling for Taste

>> 7/2/10

Despite looking like a bowl of table scraps for the dog, these are fresh seasonings.   

After hearing “this tastes like cereal before anything good has been added to it,” I searched for ways to punch up flavor without having to douse everything in ketchup, syrup, and chocolate sprinkles.  I’ll admit that like Grandma Leona, I save everything that has cost me time shopping and chopping, especially those things that give me taste options.  In this bowl: limes, ginger, the tiniest capsule of Thai chili paste from a carryout meal, garlic, a shallot, the blue plastic contains leftover mole (Mexican sauce not the furry, blind rodent) sauce, a two-inch piece of lemongrass, a snack bag of olives from last week’s Greek food (mezze) platter.  Oh God, I'm a candidate for the "Hoarders" reality show. I've been known to take an extra container of cilantro from Baja Fresh for future meals - I figure it's their loss leader to my business.  The bowl goes in the produce drawer of the refrigerator until something green needs a lift.

My theory is that the higher the nutritional value of the food, the more leeway I have in seasonings.  For instance, don’t mind adding a tinge of sugar or agave syrup to salad dressing because I know it helps encourage salad eating.  But, French Toast might only get cinnamon (except for when it gets maple syrup) – I can’t fight the French.   The best thing about the go-to bowl is that it makes my meal prep fast and nimble.  I don't have to run out to the store for the missing ingredient and my food doesn't have to taste the flavor-void cereal.  


Possibilities Waiting to be Created

Possibilities Waiting to be Created
Santa Monica Farmers Market

Crunch Time

Gives any well-intentioned cook, completely possible ways to get more real, fresh food onto the table without being shackled to a recipe or breaking the bank or getting an uprising from finicky eaters.
We are big on quick food prep - Chop Therapy - to make real food into fast food and we use what we term flavor savors that give a flavor punch to foods instead of using preservatives or processed ingredients.
We love getting the whole family involved in the food preparation effort. We also use some momgenutity for presenting real food in our homes so it stands a chance against the marketing assault of the Happy Meal.
Please share your ideas and share our posts with anyone you know who might want more real food in their meals.

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