Thursday, December 19, 2013

Missing My South Africa!

It seems like life has really taken me away from my blog! I apologize to those of you that look forward to reading. But for now, I’m back for at least another one more! As some of you may know, I just to back from South Africa! What an amazing trip it was! Not only is it stunningly beautiful there in all different kinds of ways…not only did we see all kinds of animals, but the people truly made the trip special and I will hold a small place in my heart for South Africa always. That said, one thing I wasn’t too wild about was the food. Our accommodations were pretty much catering to a European clientele and for the most part it was just boring old fine dining! But I did manage to talk one of our lodges into making traditional African food. I believe the quote goes like this, “Melvin, I want to eat what your mother cooked you as a kid!”

So one evening we had a huge barbeque with South African food that you could find on Melvin’s mother’s table and holy smokes was it good! All of it. However, the best thing on my plate was African Peanut butter spinach! I don’t think it is any secret that I love peanut butter. I love it so much that I typically plop a spoonful of it in my chicken soup! Don’t judge! I just don’t happen to eat it too often. But this dish was so delicious and nostalgic that I just couldn't stomach replacing the peanut with almond butter! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Ingredients
3 plum tomatoes, diced
½ small onion, diced
1-5oz. box baby spinach
1-5oz. box baby kale
3.5 oz peanut butter
1-2 Tbsp Coconut oil
S&P

Directions
Heat sauté pan over medium-low heat and add coconut oil. Sauté onion until translucent. Add tomatoes until soft. Then slowly wilt spinach and kale into the pan stirring frequently. When the greens are completely wilted, add peanut butter and stir until evenly coated. You may need to add a smidge of water to keep it thin(ish). Stir in salt and pepper and serve piping hot!



This couldn't be simpler to make. And to me it is seriously delicious. Not just because of my sentimentality to the trip, but also because, DUH…peanut butter makes everything better! I encourage you to try this even if it sounds strange to you! But if you need me to send some pictures of giraffes to truly enjoy it, let me know!









Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Sauce Constructed BY me FOR me

Recently I've noticed that it seems like it might be winter. This is a devastating realization as my favorite season, autumn, has come and gone and I’m not sure I joined her! Additionally, I have a nagging feeling that we may have a blizzard at any moment. Huge sigh! That said, I’m reaching for a healthy dose of fall flavor. I’m not sure but I think I associate fall with cherries because of Thanksgiving. Cherry pie at Thanksgiving is one of my favorite things and honestly cherry anything pretty much makes me happy. Even cherry ring pop!

I had Mahi Mahi as protein so I decided to make a rustic cherry sauce to go with it as the highlight of the blog this week. I had previously picked up dried Thai chile peppers and was dying to try to cook with them for the first time! Hello delicious sauce! Kind of like me, a Spicy.Cherry.Sauce! Womp Womp

Cherry Sauce
1/3 C dried sour cherries, reconstituted in hot water
5 dried Thai chiles
10 oz black cherry spread
4-5 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced paper thin
Salt

First and foremost, use a black cherry spread that is sweetened with fruit juice and the only other ingredient is pectin. I found this fancy one while I was shopping in the South End. Whole Foods has its own brand though that is much cheaper and equally tasty. Melt down the cherry spread over medium-low heat then toss in chile peppers and sauté, stirring frequently. Let it cook down and soak up the heat a bit. Then toss in the reconstituted cherries and stir. After the sauce has thickened back up a little, toss in the mushrooms and sauté them, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms get soft. Stir in a pinch of salt at the end. Do not skip this, the heat won’t come through as well without it!



Spoon the sauce over a piece of simply seasoned (salt and pepper) mahi and a vegetable. I used asparagus that I simply sautéed in a pan. Thing is, you do not need extra seasoning on your plate because this sauce is bold, complex and delicious.






I’m not sure what it is about mushrooms and cherries that makes me think of autumn, but this was terrific. I mean really super! If I did it over, I’d probably try it with duck breast instead, however, this was fantastic and didn’t overpower the fish at all. If you try it with duck breast, tag me on Instagram @bigeatersmallbody and let me know how it was! And if you need a tip on how to cook that duck breast, comment on this or on the photo on Instagram!





Salud y'all!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Crepe-y Halloween

On my very first night ever in Boston, I ate at a Spanish Tapas place on Newbury Street called Tapeo. I absolutely loved this place! And subsequently took all visiting friends there for the next, oh 3 years?!?! I never go there anymore because apparently we’re on a quest in my house to never eat at the same place twice! I don’t really miss it, but I do miss one of the dishes there. It was a pimiento con camarones. (A roasted red pepper stuffed with shrimp). It had some delicious sauce, but not only do I not really remember what it was, I’m not sure I’d even have the ingredients to make it. However, I wanted to try something with a similar flavor. I've also really wanted to try to make crepes. I feel like making them is a skill that is grossly overlooked when you see them.

So here we go. French crepe meets Spanish tapa!


 Crepe Batter
6 eggs
2/3 cup whole milk
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Coconut spray

Mix first 4 ingredients very well. Spray a thin coat of coconut spray into a 10 inch NON STICK pan on medium-low heat. Drop just a tad under ¼ of a cup into your pan and swirl it around to cover the bottom. It’s going to look thin, it should, it’s a crepe. Cook for a few minutes longer than you think you should (3 min total)  then lift a corner with a spatula. If it’s browned, scoot the crepe to the far of one side, slide your spatula under and flip it! Then heat for another 3 minutes (or until  brown). You can stack them up as you go and heat them back up later.

****Important Note****
Stick with it. You will ruin a few. It will take some time to get the hang of it. I ruined 6 before I got it down.

 












Filling
1 lb large shrimp, diced in ¼” pieces
½ bunch asparagus, diced small
2 roasted red peppers, diced small
1-1.5 Tbsp garlic
Splash white wine
*I used sauvignon blanc
2 Tbsp butter
*I use Kerry Gold its grass fed and it’s Irish, kind of like me!
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
S&P

In a pan over medium-low heat, sauté butter, olive oil and garlic for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Then add asparagus and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until the pieces are just barely pink. Approximately 5 more minutes. Then throw in the wine and sauté for a minute or two. Toss in the roasted red peppers and mix until they are heated through as well. No more than a minute. Juice the lemon over the shrimp mix, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and start filling your crepes.

To do this, keep your heat low and spoon a smallish amount into the middle. Then wrap them like burritos. I garnished them with some shaved raw asparagus, fresh parsley and a plain ole green salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

It looks absolutely beautiful on a plate and it tasted awesome! You could even add an extra roasted red pepper as the bites with them were the best ones! This wasn't really even close to the dish from Tapeo, but I considered it a valiant victory over a food I've been afraid to try to make (the crepe) and it was sooo delicious. Another thing, this is an incredibly light dinner, so it would also make a terrific brunch or lunch!





Salud!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beets N Sweets

Alright, last week I said I’m not really a salad lover. And this week, I am going to blog another salad. Every single time I make a blanket statement like that, I end up doing something completely contrary to my previous statement. Must.Stop.Making.Generalizations.

Some of you know that I run the Relay For Life event in Peabody, MA. If you know anything about me or Peabody, you know that I am an A-Typical Somerville resident, who almost never crosses the river and that I only go to that part of the state for two reasons. First, my beloved Relayers. Second, my friends Steve and Brit. I had a lunch meeting with a volunteer last year and she asked me to pick up salads from this place in Danvers called Prime Roast Beef. I was seriously skeptical, but I did as I was asked. When I went to get them, I ordered myself what now stands as my favorite salad to date! I literally crave this thing every week. This little beauty is called “Beets and Sweets” and I always add steak tips.

So the problem is that I cannot schlep it to Danvers every week for salad. I drive a Prius, but an hour round trip for a salad is extreme! Well, this week I decided to make it myself. How hard could it be? Beets, sweet potatoes, goat cheese, pecans, steak tips, greens, balsamic dressing. Piece of cake! No….piece of steak! Ooooooh, I’ll be here all night folks!

Due to the quality of steak tips that I buy (thank you Matt Napoli, see previous blog re: “crack tips”), I actually enjoyed my salad better than Prime’s! Ha! I win! You can pick up these steak tips “original” flavor at Pemberton Market, Idylwilde Farm, Mann Orchards or directly from them. I’m sure you can get it other places but these are in towns I’m regularly in. DOMS

Salad
1/3 sweet potato, cooked, cooled and cut in chunks
1 medium beet, cooked, cooled and cut in chunks
¼ cup pecans, chopped
2-3 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese
2 cups mixed greens
4-6 steak tips

Dressing
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ to 1/3 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper

Basically stack the ingredients in a bowl. You’ll want to grill your steak tips for just a couple minutes on screaming high heat to get a crust, but keep them medium rare. Bake your potato in the microwave for 8 minutes. Cooking beets is easy too. Boil them, skin on until you can pierce through with a fork. Then wrap in paper towel and twist lightly. The skin will separate easily. This couldn’t be easier and it’s really not a salad…it’s a steak and potato.



This salad, if that’s what you want to call it, was so pretty, I texted it to two friends….here are their responses…..





















Please try this yourself, you won’t be disappointed!!! I think my friends deserve this salad for their terrific responses. Maybe I’ll make it for them! 


Salud!



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Salad Guessing Game

I am not a salad eater. I really just don’t super love salads and especially not as a main meal. Don’t get me wrong, I eat one for lunch between 3 and 4 days a week. But I really just do it because it’s a quick thing to pack up and take to work and it’s always going to be healthy. I mean, unless you coat it in ranch dressing, which I don’t. But really, if I’m being honest, I’m more of a bacon girl! That said, I had plans for a quick and easy dinner of grilled chicken and a brussell sprout salad last week. Unfortunately it didn’t make it to my plate for dinner. However, before Josh and I ventured out for an entire day of drinking on Saturday, I decided it was probably a good idea to eat something healthy beforehand. It’s all about balance, right?

I Instagramed (is that a verb?) and Facebooked a pic of the fantastic and uber healthy salad on Saturday at which point my food friends started guessing what was in it! So friends, today I unveil my super simple but very healthy salad from Saturday. I know the suspense has been killing you and I’m very sorry for the long wait! But as my father told me anytime he handed me a bottle of ketchup as a kid, “Good things come to those who wait!”

Roasted hazelnuts have been my new
obsession,they are soooo yummy!
Salad
20 or so brussell sprouts
½ a 5oz box Olivia’s Organics Baby Kale, roughly chopped
1 ½ cup roasted hazelnuts
1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan

Dressing
Juice of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp dried basil
Olive oil
S&P

I decided on this lemony dressing based on a drink I once had on a night out with Gregory, Jon, Marc and Pam. I omitted the tequila but hey, if you want some tequila in your salad dressing, MORE POWER TO YA!

Directions

Cut stems off brussell sprouts and put them in your food processor using the slice blade. Toss together thoroughly with the rest of the salad ingredients. For the dressing, put lemon juice and basil in a shaker or mixing bowl. Add olive oil, tasting as you go. You want the dressing to be acidic but not as thin as lemon juice is. I can’t tell you how much this is because it’s going to depend on the size of your lemons and also how acidic you can handle. But keep a bite, it helps with the cheese. When you've got the acidity right (remember, it just needs to taste good to you, there is no right or wrong answer here) add salt and pepper. Now toss a little bit in at a time until your salad is well coated, but not weighed down. You won't use all of the dressing, but the good news is you'll have some for another salad later! Toss a few extra hazelnuts on top for presentation and serve with just about anything you like.

*Advice from a salad professional* My friend Becca makes legit the best salads in the world! They are maybe my exception to the I Don’t Like Salad rule! And her advice is always mix in the dressing to the whole salad! Don’t put it on top per portion! And in my limited experience, she is right on the money! I listen to Becca, you should too!




Not only is this salad the ultimate of superfoods (kale, Brussels, nuts, paaaahlease!) but it will also keep your friends guessing if you post pictures of it on Facebook!


Enjoy and Salud!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sticky Maple Bacon Balls On Request

Well, I think it’s officially time to call me Big Eater Lazy Blogger! With work transitions and focusing on my workouts, blogging and creative cooking has gotten a bit scarce. But I come today with a food that was suggested by a friend. We all know that I didn’t declare myself a foodie until after I grew and developed my obsession with pork. And by default this makes me a bacon eater, ok ok I’m obsessed with bacon. Knowing that about me, my pal Hannah pretty regularly tags me in bacon photos, recipes and comments through social media. In the past, it hasn’t been clear as to whether it’s because she wants me to cook her bacon goodies, but a few weeks ago, it was more of a “Hey can you cook this for us!” type of tag. What was this delicious goodie? Maple Bacon Sausage Balls. Well friends, that’s the end of the story! Haha, not really but it certainly could be. So with this planned I decided to host a BESB Breakfast for Dinner! I let my guests know what the intentions were and a few days later, Marcy shows up at the gym with some VT Maple Syrup! Awesome! Funny thing was, I had traveled to Montreal the previous weekend and grabbed some syrup myself in VT, I mean, because where else would you get it?

It's kind of hard to see here, but there's
 a definite color differenc
e
The evening before my dinner, I decided I needed to figure out just exactly what I was working with. So I poured each syrup into a shot glass. Marcy’s was a Grade A from Bixby Farms and mine was a Grade B from Eaton’s Sugarhouse. Well the color in itself was a huge contrast and that’s when I realized maple was a little like wine, so Josh and I had a tasting! It was so interesting. The color of the Grade B was darker than the A. Additionally, the Grade B had a more concentrated sugar and caramel flavor. However, when we tasted them side by side the Grade A was much better. It had a tree flavor that was so cool! Now, my disclaimer is that I’m a southern girl and I may or may not have grown up on the kind made mostly of corn syrup! But it was truly amazing to me just how well you could taste the tree in the syrup Marcy brought me! So obviously that’s what I was going to use. Additionally, Bixby only processes pure maple syrup in their facility and so it made it 100% safe for my girl Jackie, who cannot eat Gluten.


Here’s what I came up with, I hope you enjoy it as much we did!

STICKY MAPLE BACON BALLS

Serves 6 (If that’s too many, just freeze them for a quick breakfast or dinner later)

Ingredients

2lbs ground pork
2lbs bacon, chopped
½ onion, minced
2 Tbsp allspice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried fennel seed
1/3 cup maple syrup
Salt and Pepper

Directions

Mix all ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Roll into golf ball size balls. Bake at 350 degrees for a 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven) and flip halfway through.



We also had a frittata and sweet potato parsnip cakes

Monday, September 23, 2013

Food Memories

It has taken me a loooong time to get comfortable in my new kitchen. But as I sit here listening to music and waiting for my squash to finish and grill to heat up, I can say my heart is back in it and I am feeeeeling the joy of cooking that I grew up with. I don’t know if anyone will ever watch me cook the way I watched my grandma, aunt and mom, but if they did, they wouldn’t just see it…they would feel it. In my southern family, you cook for people to show them that you love them. Be sure that if I’ve ever cooked for you, it was with that sentiment as well.

So as I got my groove back, I realized that I was experiencing two of my favorite childhood things; the smell of celery, onion and sage cooking together and snappin’ beans. I have literal days of memory snapping beans and despite the chore as a kid, I still love doing it!

At the farmers’ market two weeks ago, I picked up some winter squash. They were beautiful and I love mashing squash up with curry. However, there was also some seriously gorgeous sage so I decided I would combine the two. Little did I know I’d be recreating my grandma’s Thanksgiving stuffing only sans the bread! But the flavor was spot on and it reminded me of many Thanksgivings of my childhood.

Squash
2 winter squashes
*It really doesn’t matter which kind although I’d stay away from butternut
1 celery stalk, finely diced
¼ onion, finely diced
2-3 Tbsp fresh sage, finely diced
2 Tbsp butter
olive oil
s&p

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour (until soft). In the meantime, sauté celery and onions in butter with just a pinch of the fresh sage until the veggies are soft. Spoon out the squash in a bowl, add onions and celery and fresh sage. Smash it until it is smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.












I grabbed some bone in pork chops from Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm, seasoned them with Borsari and grilled for 5 minutes a side. Done and Done.

Served the pork and squash with roasted brussel sprouts and beans. You know the drill, 425 degrees for 18 minutes. Always perfect!




In a moment I was back in Terre Haute, Indiana at Thanksgiving with my family. Funny how food can be so important to your memories. I hope you’ll try this and pack it away as something you share with your friends and family!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Very Sparty Salad

In the great state of Kentucky, it is the middle of March Sadness. Well, in most people's houses, but not so much in my dad's house. In my dad's house, Tom Izzo may take my father's beloved Spartans to a national championship. I grew up in a divided home. My dad is a Michigan State fan to his soul and my mother always cheered for Michigan. Although I sometimes wonder if she just did that to get his goat. Either way, it was a home divided and game days were a sight. So when I decided to attend the University Of Kentucky, I am sure eyes rolled with regard to sports. Yet another family division. If we're being fair, Kentucky is the obvious better choice of teams to cheer for. I mean, caaahm aaahhhn! Big Blue Nation or Die! I don't feel strongly about this, hahaha! Anyway, my father's allegiance definitely translated in me a certain respect for a team, perhaps the only team in the NCAA, that trains for the tournament all year long. Year in and year out this team gets its butt kicked all over the place. I'm not saying they always lose, we know that's not true. But they kick, scratch and fight their way through their season and their unmatched difficult schedule. Izzo has no interest in making the season a cake walk for these poor kids. But they always show up to the tournament and this year, they just might win. So since my beloved Cats aren't in the tournament, I've been taking bribes at work for which team I cheer for. We have a Cuse fan, a Kansas fan and a State fan. The choice here isn't really a competition, but I do respect all of the teams represented in my office and love the friendly competition it brings come tournament time. It is always fun to be around folks with a similar passion for basketball! Anyway, I was cooking over the weekend and decided I had the ingredients to make a very Sparty Salad that my dad would love!

Here's the breakdown:

Vinaigrette
Easy Peasy Product
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
*I used cabernet vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
pepper

Salad
1 bunch green asparagus
1 bunch white asparagus
12 oz country ham, diced
*If you don't have country ham, which unless you're in the south, you dont....use serrano ham or prosciutto
1 6 oz package ArtiHearts grilled artichoke hearts
*or 6 oz of your own grilled artichoke hearts

Cut the woody stems off the asparagus and then cut the spears into thirds. Then divide up the artichoke hearts with your hands. Mix everything together. Food process the sun dried tomatoes and mix with the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients. Toss together some of the dressing with the salad and voila! A very Sparty green and white salad that any State fan would love!


























Go State!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Try It Again

I hate salmon. I mean, no, I hate cooked salmon. Cooked salmon is like this year's UK basketball team. You want to love it because you know it's good for you, but ya just hate it! How someone's most favorite piece of sashimi can be someone's most hated fish when it's cooked is totally beyond me, but there you go. I am a freak of nature. The truth as I know it is that salmon changes almost completely once its cooked. So you can imagine we don't eat it in my house...ever. However, because of a great tip that Dave's Fresh Pasta has day boat fresh fish on Thursdays, combined with the fact that Josh likes it, added to the fact that it is seriously good for you, I decided to give it another whirl. Incidentally, did you know how good it actually is for you?

Due to the high amounts of Omega-3 fat and Vitamin D, salmon is great in preventing inflammation, improving cognitive function, preventing cancer. It also improves eye and , skin, hair and cardiovascular health. It is also high in Vitamin B12, protein and is moderately low in calories.

Here's what my little brain produced!

Marinade

2 Tbsp. fish oil
1/2 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. spicy sesame oil
1" fresh ginger, minced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp honey
pepper

Fish

3 salmon fillets
1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil

Sauce

left over marinade 
honey
1-2 Tbsp. almond butter
cayenne pepper

Put all the marinade ingredients into a ziploc bag and mix up thoroughly. Put salmon in the bag skin up so that the fleshy part is in direct contact with the marinade. Marinate for several hours. Remove from the marinade and dry off skin side of the salmon really well. You want it super dry. Heat coconut oil on high then add salmon to the pan skin down. Then turn the heat down to medium. Cook on that side until the fish is almost cooked all the way through. You'll see this happen by the color change. Then flip over for just a minute or two to brown the other side. Reserve the left over marinade and put in a small saucepan. Heat over medium with a little extra honey, almond butter and a dash of cayenne pepper. Stir until it thickens. Spoon over fish.



I served this with bok choy, leek and mushroom stir fry. So here's the verdict. The sauce was amazing! But I still don't like cooked salmon. Josh, on the other hand, loved it. So what have I learned? Stick with sashimi. For all you salmon lovers, I'm sure you'll love this too. If you hate cooked salmon like I do, try this recipe with  fish you like!

Salud!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Getting Wingy Wit It!!

When I was poor and in college, my friend Jason and I used to go out for half price tall boy beers and half price buffalo wings liiiike every week. We could pretty much get bombed and full for 10 bucks a piece! It was pretty glorious especially in hind sight living in a state where drink specials are illegal. Don't even get me started on this particular subject. Anyway, I believe these nights are where my buffalo chicken obsession began. I could legit happily eat them several times a week. However, those little spicy beauts will make you fat really quick. And in fact, they did! Did I mention I used to be a little pork chop? However, I do not think one should have to give up flavors they love. I think adapting them is the way to go. So that's what I did with this recipe. I seriously enjoyed it and because I thinned out the blue cheese dressing, I also suffered from a little heat induced sweat. Which I hear burns more calories, so rock on!

Here's the breakdown:

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 cups mixed greens
1/2 yellow pepper, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1/4 english cucumber, sliced
1 crown broccoli
julienned zucchini
*I got this from the salad bar at Whole Foods to make my life easier
Franks Red Hot
*I put that sh*t on everything
1/4-1/2 cup grass fed blue cheese crumbles
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp coconut oil
pepper

Mix up all the veggies into 2 bowls. Sauté chicken in coconut oil over medium-high heat. Let me give you a great tip incase you aren't already doing this.....melt your oil then put the chicken in and let it sit. I mean really let it sit. Like 2 minutes after you think you should move it around, then do it. I just think the chicken tastes better when you let it get brown and it also sticks less to the pan at that point. So anyway, cook your chicken through and set to the side. Toss with the Franks. For the dressing, I wanted to thin down the blue cheese dressing, not get rid of it. It's one of my favorite parts of eating buffalo chicken! So instead of making it creamy, I made a blue cheese vinaigrette. Cut down some of that dairy and unnecessary fat. So start with the blue cheese in a container that has a tight lid. Then add the vinegar and pepper. Put the lid on and shake the bejesus out of it. It will look milky at this point but still have some chunks. Then add half the olive oil and shake again. Then taste it. If it's too acidic add more little by little tasting it along the way. When it's just to your liking, toss the veggies with the dressing and then place the buffalo chicken on top of your salad. 






This absolutely fixed the need for spicy and blue. It is a terrific alternative to the less healthy alternative and it has exactly the same flavor plus some. You won't even miss those greasy old wings!

Salud!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

RoseBerry Mahi Skewers

So this weekend in my house we decided that the chore....I mean joy, of cooking should be shared a little more evenly. Don't get me wrong, I adore cooking! You know this. I love my job, but given the opportunity to build an amazing professional kitchen and join the cast of Travel or Food Network, I'd be done and done! Of course I'd still volunteer for my beloved American Cancer Society. But all this said, I'm still waiting on that call from Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay so for now, I work. And when I say work, I mean things are ramping the heck up and my hours are nutso! So again, as much as I love cooking, doing it every night is getting to be much too taxing!

So Josh and I sat down to make a menu for the week knowing we were sharing the cooking and I got a chance to really think up something I've not made or eaten. And with the added bonus of only having to come up with 3 meals for the week instead of 6, I was really able to think! What I came up with was creative, colorful and just plain delish albeit a little labor intensive....a little. Don't be skurred!

Here's the breakdown:

2 mahi mahi fillets
3/4 pint raspberry
1 Tbsp fig balsamic vinegar
*regular balsamic would be just fine, I didn't have any
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
bamboo skewers

Put the raspberries in a bowl with the vinegar. Let it sit overnight. Then either in a food processor or with an immersion blender (hand blender) blend that up. Add the oil and blend again. Then stir in the rosemary and honey. You may want to quickly warm the honey in the microwave to loosen it up. Cut the mahi into chunks and put in the mixture in a gallon size Ziploc bag. Leave for a few hours. In meantime soak the skewers in water to keep them from burning. Skewer the fish and grill on each side for 3 minutes a side. Put the excess marinade in a sauce pan and heat until it thickens up. Serve poured on or beside the fish.

I served this with a similarly flavored and colored veggie that I was myself pretty skeptical about, but it was bomb!

Here's the breakdown:

4 small red beets, cooked and diced moderately small
2 zucchini, diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, chopped fine
*I used the food processor for this
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
Radicchio cups

Melt the coconut oil over medium low heat and add rosemary. Infuse the oil slowly. When it gets fragrant (2 min or so) add the zucchini and crank up the heat. Toss it around initially then leave it alone for a few minutes to brown slightly. Then toss it again and repeat. In a separate pan, sauté the beets slightly to get them hot, but not to brown. Put all of this in a bowl with the almonds and toss gently so as not to dye the zucchini red! I served it in a radicchio cup for looks! But it's great either way. The almonds really really change the consistency and the flavors marry well!

We loved both and Josh hates beets....or that's what he keeps telling me anyway even though he mowed them down this week!

Enjoy and salud!




Thursday, February 14, 2013

All the Veggies to the Pool!!!

I am getting old. Or busy. Or tired. Or all of the above. My conversation with Josh post dinner went like this:
Me "I feel like my blog posts used to be witty and funny. Now they're not"
Josh "Why, blogging too much?"
Me "No I think it's too much of everything else! What did you say about dinner tonight?"
Josh "That the onions were really good?"
Me "No, I think it had something to do with the number 12. I remember thinking I wanted to quote you"
Josh Looking Puzzled

Holy shish kebab! Can someone follow me around with a voice recorder?

AAAAANNNYYYY WAAAAAAY!

Some time ago we had a small group discussion at the gym about veggie lasagna. Some use whole wheat noodles some not, some meat, some not. It wasn't until this week that I realized I've never blogged my veggie lasagna. It's always a little bit different, but this one pretty much killed it. I think it's because I decided to use less, but more complex cheese. In the past I've used shredded mozzarella. But I'm trying to use grass fed dairy and less of it. Because why cut up and cook so many veggies if you're going to drown it in boring cheese? I say no!

Here's the breakdown:

2 summer squash, sliced and grilled
1-5oz container baby kale, sautéed
1 red onion, sliced and grilled
3 roasted yellow peppers, jarred
2 zucchini, sliced and grilled
3 portobello mushroom caps, sliced and sautéed
1 container crimini mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
1 container shitake mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
1 lb ground turkey breast, browned
Spaghetti sauce
*I use my own recipe, stored in lunch meat containers and it took almost 2 containers
5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 container shredded parmesan
*The good stuff, naaaaht Kraft shredded in a bag
dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic powder
chopped fresh basil

Cook all the vegetation as prescribed above. After you brown the ground turkey breast, mix it in with the spaghetti sauce and simmer until warm. Then start layering it all up. I went in this order: summer squash, kale, onion, 1/2 the parmesan, roasted yellow pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, 1/2 goat cheese, meat marinara sauce, rest of the parmesan and goat cheeses, dried herbs. Then bake uncovered in a 350 degrees oven for 35 minutes. Turn the heat up to 450 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Top off with chopped fresh basil and serve.










I had hoped to have tons of leftovers to take to the gym and share with some of my posse, but Josh and I destroyed most of it at dinner and I'll be eating it for lunch and that'll be all she wrote! Hope you enjoy it too!




Salud!