Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ooodles of Zoodles

I can’t even tell you how many of my friends have insisted that I buy a zucchini noodle “zoodle” making machine. A whole ton of my friends here are Paleo and hopefully reading my blog week to week. Those friends that are Paleo have insisted that I try this since I love eating spaghetti squash. So, I’m an old school TV show watcher and whole idea of that machine reminds me of a hilarious Cosby Show episode where Cliff is watching infomercials….”Just $19.99! $19.99!” Anyway, I am a big supporter of the As Seen on TV stuff (come by and check out my Turbie Twist), but I just can’t seem to get down for a machine that does something my mandolin can do. So I’m all like, “Yeah, I’ll just make the zoodles on the mandolin, NBD!” And then I nearly slice my hand off doing so. But however you cut your zoodles, do try this recipe. I’m no Italian, but I’ll basically put bacon on anything. So buckle up for this delicious one!

5 zucchinis
12 oz bay scallops
¾ lb bacon, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp  bacon grease
½ egg, whisked
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
S& lots of fresh P

On your zoodle machine or on your mandolin, slice zucchini into spaghetti sized noodles. Then place them on a cooling rack over a baking pan. Sprinkle liberally with salt and let drain for 30 minutes. You’ll notice the water colleting on the zoodles as well as dripping down. After about 30 minutes, wrap handfuls of them in paper towel and get mas much of the moisture off them as possible. When you unwrap them, you’ll notice they are not firm anymore, but more like cooked spaghetti. It’s amazing!

Drain the scallops, wrap them in paper towel as well and press them to get all the water out. Then season with dried basil. Let sit until last minute.

Dice the bacon before you cook it. Then brown over medium-high heat until crispy. Drain, but save the excess bacon grease. In a pan over medium heat sauté garlic with bacon grease stirring constantly. Just for a couple minutes, you don’t want to burn the garlic. Add zoodles to pan and sauté for 3 minutes. In a separate pan over medium-high heat melt coconut oil and add scallops. Cook for a minute or two per side. Meanwhile, turn off the heat from the zoodles and stir in the egg. Mix in the bacon bits and scallops. Stir well to get everything mixed together. Garnish with lots of fresh pepper and fresh parsley.

I think this could easily serve 4 people if you served it as more of a smaller side portion with a fresh salad. The crunch and salt of the bacon was perfect with the richness of the egg. It’s a tiny bit on the rich side, but I’m Big Eater Small Body, so I ate a lot! I’d suggest making a lot and eating until you’re done! Maybe I am Italian! 

It was super fun to twirl them on my fork too! It's the little things!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Weekly Consumption Approved

I am a crazed burger eater. Ask my husband. I legit suggest Boston Burger Company nearly every single time he asks if I want to go out to eat! In fact, I’ve spent substantial time coming up with ways to justify it. My first justification was post tabata class when I started taking it last year. I’ve told numerous friends that I’m sure I was burning 1200-1500 calories each time I took the class, so obviously as my post tabata, Friday night meal, I deserved a burger! I’ll add that I never eat the bun, so there’s that but I’m not sure that counts for much when, during my busy season at work, I’ve rationalized eating at BBC once a week. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Incidentally, I always get a Hot Mess, no bun, medium rare! You should check this out it is dangerous! Did I mention I love danger?

Anyway!!! As a burger lover, I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to try cooking a new and healthy version that I could perhaps justify eating once a week! What I came up with after some bouncing ideas of Josh and really thinking hard about what I know about food, flavors, and texture was an absolute slam dunk success!

It was a shrimp burger! Please proceed without fear!

Basil Mayo
½ cup paleo mayo (Recipe on yesterday’s blog)
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Mix and refrigerate overnight

Pickled Red Onion
½ red onion, sliced very thin
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup water
Pinch of salt

Mix ingredients and refrigerate overnight.

Shrimp Burger
1 lb raw shrimp (41/50 count), processed in the food processor
10 raw shrimp (21/25 count), cut into quarters
2 egg yolks
2.5 tsp fresh oregano, chopped thin
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1-2 tsp Coconut oil

Process the first pound of shrimp in a food processor until it’s no longer lumpy. You’ll need to pulse the processor a few times to mix them around so it doesn’t get to mushy. Cut the larger shrimps into quarters. Then mix all of the above ingredients except the coconut oil into a bowl. Patty the shrimp mixture out into 5 patties. Then put in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes so the mix firms back up but doesn’t cool all the way to fridge temperature. Finally, warm the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes on the first side or until brown. Then flip the burger and cook another few minutes until cooked through and brown on both sides. To test the doneness of the burger you can press on top. If it’s firm and springs back, it’s done!

Garnish the burger with fresh tomato, basil mayo and pickled onions. I tried to wrap it in iceberg lettuce, which was great really because the crunch is exactly what you need. But apparently I need a trip to NorCal to learn how to wrap a burger in lettuce! It was kind of a mess. Next time I’ll use a knife and fork. Who really cares the method in which you get it in your mouth anyway!

Either way, this was one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever cooked/blogged! It was silly healthy since my mayo is basically a superfood! But the flavors were spot on together. Don’t leave out a component! Even if you THINK you don’t like one of them! I swear this will impress all of your toughest critics!

Salud burger buddies!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You Say Aioli, I Say Mayo

My whole life I’ve been a mayonnaise eater. My dad is too, so I guess it’s in my DNA. I basically put it on everything. And for all those non-mayo eaters out there, ask yourself this. Do you eat aioli? Yeah? Well, if ya do, you’re my husband. And you’re also being tricked into believing there is a difference. At some point, I believe restaurateurs and chefs all over the world decided to dupe their non-mayo eating public by fancying it up and calling it aioli! So there you have it! Time to reevaluate your eating habits? Am I talking to you?
That said; I’m not a fan of all the crap that is put into commercial mayo. Is this stuff necessary for something so simple? And please, do not disillusion yourself into believing that vegan or soy or non mayo mayo is healthy. This is false. Anything you are purchasing in your grocery store that is, or is claiming to be, mayo has a bunch of stuff in it that you do not need!
Some time ago, I decided to make my own and found that it a) couldn’t be easier b) taste great c) is better for you, maybe even good for you! I actually got this recipe base from The Meanest Momma. But her way with the lemon and cayenne wasn’t working for me so I adapted it a tiny bit to make it taste the way I wanted. It took a little finagling and several failures, but this is the best way to make it…well, in my opinion. I’ll let you form your own!
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp Dijon mustard, room temperature
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, room temperature
~1 cup Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil
Pinch of salt
Put the egg, mustard, and vinegar into a standard 2 cup measuring cup. Let them sit together without mixing for a few minutes. Then add the oil until it reaches just barely under the 1 cup line.
It is particularly important to use extra light tasting olive oil. First of all, if it is super yummy olive oil, use it in your salad not to make mayo! Additionally, the really olive rich stuff gives it a strange taste and what I’m trying to do is recreate the mayo I love with healthy ingredients!
Once you’ve added the olive oil, blend on high with a hand blender for about 3 minutes. You’ll want to move it in an up and down motion as well as around to get everything blended well. You’ll notice it start to firm up, but keep mixing for another minute or so after it does. Then stir in a pinch of salt and refrigerate (best if chilled overnight or longer).
The next day it will be creamy and delicious! It’ll be aioli! I use this stuff for a host of things, tuna salad, base for cole slaw dressing, on French fries and you will too! Just call it aioli if you have to!
Check the blog tomorrow for a super tasty way to eat this recipe!!!!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

A CBC Recreation

One of the things that Josh and I missed most about Kentucky when we first moved to Somerville was the accessibility to outdoor dining. Because there are so many months that you can eat outside there, most of the restaurants patios. So one night many years ago, Josh and I went on a search for something casual that had outdoor seating. We decided to try the Cambridge Brewing Company in Kendall Square. I like the beer there but we haven’t been back in a long time as there are so many other options for great food in the Cambridge/Somerville area plus you can get the beer in other restaurants. However, there was one dish there that I regularly crave. It was a curried mussels dish. I don’t remember the description on the menu but I do remember the flavor, so a couple weeks ago I decided to take a stab at guessing what was in it and recreate it at home. It was pretty easy to do once I sat down and thought about the flavor and texture. Here’s what I came up with!


4lbs mussels
1 can coconut milk
1 cup canned pineapple, diced
Juice from the canned pineapple
1 cup tomatoes, diced
¼ onion, grated
½ cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp salt

Mix all of the ingredients above with the exception of the mussels in a dutch oven. It should be fairly thin, not like a curry sauce at an Indian or Thai restaurant. Bring it to a boil stirring constantly. Then bring the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for approximately 20 minutes stirring occasionally. This will get the curry and pineapple well married. Separate the sauce into two dutch ovens. Then turn the heat back up on both pots, put the half the mussels in each pot, and cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes then stir them bringing the mussels on the bottom to the top and vice versa. You want to cook them only until the mussels open. Do NOT cook them any longer because they will over cook and there is nothing worse than over cooked seafood. You’ll need to keep an eye on them to make sure. If you don’t have 2 dutch ovens, you can always cook them in two batches.

I’ll give you a couple quick tips on the mussels. 1) They need to be alive when you cook them. To check this, firmly tap open mussels on the side of a bowl. If the mussel closes up, they’re fine. If they don’t, toss them. 2) I usually then give them a good rinse and remove any beards. The beards are the hairy looking part that sticks out the side. A firm pull with a back and forth motion will get that out. You do not want to eat this, so check every mussel when you rinse them.

This hit the spot exactly. It’s a little sweet and a little spicy and overall just very delicious. I like to break one of the shells in two and use one side as a kind of spoon that way I get the broth, the mussel and some of the fruit in one bite. It’s a bit messy this way, but it’s totally worth it!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Seems crazy to me that it took me 6 years to try it, but I know it won’t be that long before I make it again!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Another Crappy Stir Fry....Kidding! Kiiiiiiidding!

I cook stir fry every once in a blue moon. The reason? Because it’s quick and simple. Well, I say simple, but I don’t actually mean it. Yes, sautéing vegetables and protein is easy. However, the truth is, I think it’s extraordinarily difficult to get the sauce right. Especially if you’re not drowning it in sugar! Healthy stir fry that taste really good is tough. I don’t care who you are, this is fact. So typically I resign myself to a cheat day and get it from someone who knows what they’re doing.

But when our family was in during Christmas, we bought a veggie tray so that we’d have cut up veggies to snack on.  We had leftovers from our second tray that was soon going to be a wilted mess, so I needed to use up the veggies. I decided to make another crappy stir fry. Only….this time it wasn’t crappy! It was actually really yummy and while it contained ingredients I don’t typically include in my diet, it was still healthy and I ate it guilt free! The veggie tray, incidentally, is from Whole Foods. This sounds trivial; however, it is so important. In a typical veggie tray you get broccoli, celery, carrots and tomatoes. Sound right? In the Whole Foods one you get cukes, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, peppers of all colors, zucchini and summer squash. This is the holy grail of veggie trays!


Stir Fry:
2 chicken breast, cut into thin strips
Sliced peppers
Zucchini, sliced into thin strips
Summer squash strips, cut into thin strips
Broccoli florets
Snap peas
Scallions, sliced
1 Tbsp Coconut oil

¼ cup peanut butter
*make the ingredients are just peanuts, no extra sugar, salt, fat, etc.
2 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
¼ plus a little extra cayenne pepper
2 splashes fish sauce

First, I did not indicate the amount of veggies you need. I fill up a medium bowl for two people. But if you like more veggies, go ahead! Don’t add the scallions to the bowl for sautéing. Mix up your peanut butter sauce first. Then combine everything from the sauce list except the fish sauce in a bowl. It should be thin(ish). Be sure to taste it…never know, might want more cayenne! Keep it to the side for later.

Melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is good and hot, add the chicken. Now let it sit. Do not stir it. Just let it cook. Your brain will tell you to move it, but don’t. After about 4 minutes, stir it. This gets one side caramelized. When the chicken is cooked through, take it out and cover it with aluminum foil. Then add a touch more coconut oil to the pan, sauté your veggies for a couple minutes. You don’t want them soggy, so not too long. I’d say 5 minutes or so. Add the chicken back to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Then splash a couple splashes of fish sauce over the stir fry. Do not go overboard. Stir and cook some until some of it cooks down. Not long…a minute or two. Then add the peanut butter sauce. Stir to evenly coat and garnish with sliced scallions.

I loved this for a couple reasons. A) I love peanutbutter. I don’t think this is a secret. B) It’s spicy! Although you can tone it down if you like, but I may make fun of you! C) It’s quick. If you use a WF veggie tray, you can bang this whole thing out in like half hour! The not chopping vegetables is key!

Welllllp Hannah, I hope you like this and thanks for requesting that I blog it!

Salud to all those who hate making stir fry too!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jingle Bell Brunch

Right after they postponed the Jingle Bell Run in Somerville, my work/running posse and I decided that if we couldn’t run then drink together, we’d just pot luck brunch and drink together. Easy solution to what was a total bummer in addition to the mound of wet heavy snow we received that pushed the race back a week! Lucky for me everyone had already planned on being in Somerville, so I suggested my house as a venue knowing I wouldn’t want to go into the city! The only one with a contingency was Ellen who didn’t want to come if I was making super health wheat grass kind of food! I assured her it wouldn’t be wheat grass but couldn’t promise anything on the healthy part. It should be noted that I met Ellen my first week at work and I happened to be in the middle of a 21 Day Cleanse so I continually catch jokes at the office about my eating habits!

So my goal for the afternoon was to make something healthy that everyone would love and I think I succeeded, but I think Gia in particular liked it more than the rest of my crew! Although who would know after numerous bottles of champagne?.....don’t ask about the dance party in my living room….well party might be a stretch, mostly it was Matt and I! It was a seriously wonderful day with some of my most favorite people in the world!

1-1.5 sweet potato, shredded
20 eggs, mixed
½ roasted chicken meat, diced
1 ½ red bell pepper, diced
1 8oz container sliced baby bello mushrooms
2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground pepper
Coconut oil

Shred the sweet potatoes in your food processor. Wrap them all with a couple layers of paper towel and squeeze. Unwrap and replace with more paper towel then let sit for an hour or more. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In the meantime, dice up the chicken and peppers, toss them together with the mushrooms. Then whisk up your eggs with thyme, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. After your potatoes have dried out some, spray the bottom of a 9x13” glass baking pan with coconut oil then press down a layer of shredded potato on the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake just the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until they start turning brown and crisp. Put the chicken, mushroom, and pepper mixture in the pan on top of the potatoes, then pour the eggs over top. The eggs should just cover the chicken mixture. Bake for a little over an hour, but check it by touching the top. If it’s firm and there’s no liquid on top, it’s done!

Best served with mimosa and your pals!