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Greens on Greens  April 20, 2015

Spring has finally sprung!  I may be living in perpetual summer now, but fresh organic vegetables are always consistent markers of the current season, even here in Southern California.  One of my all-time favorite veggies are peas.  Their starchy goodness is a great green addition to any dish, whether served on the side or playing a starring role as they do here in my Greens on Greens salad.  I was able to find some fresh English Peas which I easily de-podded myself, but the frozen ones will do the trick just as well.  

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Greens:

- Butter Lettuce

- Asparagus (blanched and cut to 1in. pieces)

- Peas (blanched)

- Flat Leaf Parsley (aka Italian Parsley)

Dressing:

- 1/4 cup White Balsamic Vinegar

- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

- Zest of 1/2 a Lemon

- Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

*Note:  To blanch the Peas and Asparagus cook them until they're just tender (el dente) and throw them in an ice bath.  This stops the cooking process cooling the peas and leaving the Asparagus tender but still crisp when you bite into it.  

 

 

Stone Fruits!  August 4, 2014

It's stone fruit season!  That glorious time of year when a Peach tastes like a Peach, nectarines are abundant, and Sugar Plums exist outside of The Nutcracker.  There are lots of great ways to use up these delicious natural candies!  The most obvious is in pies and tarts, but there are so many savory options, interesting pairings, and out of the box preparations as well.  A grilled Peach is a game changer, and pairing these lovelies with meats and fish will add a splash of summer to your plate.  One of my recent mishaps in the kitchen led me to the recipe below (don't you find that mishaps are the best opportunity for creativity, especially in the kitchen?).  These Apricot Tartines are easy, healthy, and provide my favorite combination of salty & sweet.  Enjoy!

Stone Fruit from the Union Square Farmer's Market

Stone Fruit from the Union Square Farmer's Market

What you'll need:

- some fresh whole wheat or other hearty bread of your choice, sliced about 1/2" thick

- 1/4 cup olive oil

-  about 2 lbs of organic Apricots (they're easy to find this time of year)

- 1 green and 1 yellow zucchini thinly sliced with a mandolin  

- Kosher salt

- fresh thyme

Start by pitting and dicing the Apricots.  Place them in a small pot and turn the heat on low.  You don't need to add anything, just let them simmer and break down until you have a nice compote.  Then set aside and let cool for 10 minutes.  

Coat the bottom of of a non-stick pan with olive oil.  Let it get hot enough to where you feel the heat rising from the pan.  Then toast the break on each side for about 2 minutes.

Spread your compote onto the toast, layer green and yellow zucchini slices on top, sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh thyme leaves, et voila! Munch and enjoy!

Inspiration Station: GTA April 7, 2014

One of my favorite spots in LA sits on busy Abbot Kinney in Venice.  It's also one of the few places that opens early and since my husband and I are usually still on NY time we like to start the day there and take advantage of their many delicious eats.  Gjelina Take Away (or GTA as it's known) is basically everything I love in a meal...it's always fresh, thoughtful, and simple but unique.  I crave this avocado toast, in fact my mouth is watering just writing about it.  The soft avocado is perfectly balanced by the crunch of the radish and the lemon juice gives it just enough acid to make your tongue do a happy dance...  During our last trip there I had it three days in a row and when I got home to NY I rushed out to recreate it in my kitchen.  It's become a breakfast staple. 

Avocado Toast

What you'll need:

- some fresh whole wheat or other hearty bread of your choice, sliced about 1/2" thick

-  1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced

- 2-3 fresh radishes, cut into matchsticks 

- 1/2 a lemon's juice

- cilantro for garnish

- sesame seeds

Toast the bread and add the sliced avocado.  Add the radish on top and squeeze the lemon (use fresh lemon, it makes a difference).  Then sprinkle some sesame seeds and add a few sprigs of cilantro.  Et viola! 

 

Turkey & Kale Soup February 24, 2014

It’s still quite chilly in New York and nothing sounds better that a hearty, warm, bowl of soup!  This recipe comes courtesy of Giada (my Kitchen Soul Sister and fellow yogi) and makes 4-6 servings.  I like to make a big pot and eat it for lunch the next day or two.  I also used the leftover ground turkey to make turkey meatballs the next night, yum! Enjoy!

My bowl, basking in the sunshine.

My bowl, basking in the sunshine.

What you’ll need:

-       2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

-       5 to 6 large shallots, copped

-       3 medium carrots, cut into ½ in pieces

-       1 large red bell pepper

-       8 oz. ground white turkey meat, broken into small chunks

-       1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence

-       4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed

-       1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice, drained

-       1 cup cooked brown rice

-       1 small bunch kale, coarsely chopped (about 4 packed cups)

-       1 teaspoon Kosher salt

-       ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

-       ¼ cup copped fresh flat leaf parsley

-       ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

 

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrots and bell pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown and soften slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the ground turkey and stir until the meat turns white and begins to color very slightly around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Add the Herbes de Provence and stir, 1 minute.

4. Add 4 cups broth, tomatoes and rice.  Bring to a boil.

5. Stir in the kale and season with ¾ teaspoon salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low.

6. Cover and simmer until the veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.

7. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. 

Ladle into a bowl, sprinkle with parmesan and parsley, and enjoy!

 

 

Winter Greens January 27, 2014

 

This time of year always leaves me craving green vegetables, but the thought of consuming a chilly salad in the heart of winter is not usually appealing.  Not to mention, many of my go to greens aren’t even in season.  This recipe satisfies my need for green, but is hearty enough to keep me feeling cozy at dinnertime.  Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

-       Mixed greens (if you can, find a few varieties of organic greenhouse lettuces)

-       ½ lb. green beans

-       4-8 red and golden beets trimmed, peeled, cut into quarters (depending on size, organic are usually much smaller, but pack more taste!)

-       olive oil

-       salt & pepper to taste

 

For the dressing:

-       1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

-       ¼ cup White balsamic vinegar

-       1 ½  tbsp. olive oil

-       salt & peper to taste

-       1 tsp. sugar

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and prepare a backing sheet with parchment or foil. (less mess!)

2. Place the beets in parchment/foil pouches with olive oil and salt & pepper.

3. Toss the green beans with olive oil and salt & pepper and spread evenly on baking sheet.

4.  Roast the beans and beets in the oven until the beans are slightly browned and the beets are soft to a fork. The roasting time for the beets may be a bit longer than the beans depending on their size.

5. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

6. Allow veggies to cool for several minutes, then place on top of the greens.

7. Drizzle with dressing just before serving. 

 

 

Oats for Life November 15, 2013 

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of oatmeal.  In my house, it’s a breakfast staple and I prefer it to eggs any day.  I’m even planning an “Oatmeal Bar” for a post-Thanksgiving-morning-after meal with my family so everyone can choose their own toppings!  It also happens to be equally nutritious and delicious.  It’s been shown to lower cholesterol, enhance your immune system, stabilize blood pressure, pack an antioxidant punch, and “get things movin” in the morning (if ya know what I mean).  Top that with some seasonal fruits and nuts and you’ve got yourself a breakfast of champions.  I use water or almond milk to keep things dairy free and add a little vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors. Pictured above is a Fig & Walnut version with a bit of local honey drizzled on top (don’t you just love a good drizzle?).  Cheers to Oats!

 

My Favorite Smoothie 

This is my favorite smoothie recipe!  If you're like me, you're not a fan of the powders and potions added to the usual smoothie, but you still like it thick and juicy!  I use half an avocado to add some creaminess (and good fat!), bananas because they are delicious, frozen organic berries to keep things cool, spinach and/or kale, and a splash of OJ to help with the slurp factor.  Knock yourself out and enjoy! 

Green Beans!  September 18, 2013

I’m always interested in ways to elevate vegetables to the centerpiece of a meal as opposed to their usual side dish status.  This Green Bean and Red Rice Salad is the perfect balance of refreshing and savory and is all together totally satisfying.  Best of all, it's quick and easy!

The recipe was taken from The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier (of chocolateandzucchini.com) and the star of the show, the beans, were courtesy of the Blue Hill Farmers Market (one of my favorite places on earth).  Feel free to play around with the ingredients, as I did! I needed to use up some radishes!

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What you’ll need to serve 6:

2 pounds green beans, trimmed

3 tablespoons all-natural unsweetened almond butter

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of fine sea salt

3 cups cooked red rice (or brown, or wild) cooled

2/3 cup almonds, toasted

1 cup flat leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

 

1. Steam the green beans, tightly covered, until just cooked through but not limp. Set aside to cool (or run cold tap water over them to stop the cooking, as I did).

2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt.

3. Add the cooked beans and turn them gently in the dressing to coat.  Stir in the rice. Salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Just before serving,  add the toasted almonds and chopped parsley, sprinkle with black pepper and toss to combine.

5. Enjoy! 

 

Advendtures in Sabih  July 7, 2013

After a recent trip to London brought me to Yotam Ottolenghi's delicious resto in Islington, I decided it was time to tackle one of the many yummy dishes in his book "Jerusalem."   My Israeli husband has a love for all things Sabih, so I figured it was a good place to start.  It was developed by Iraqi Jews settling in the 1950s in the city of Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.  Made with eggplant, tomato, cucumber, green onion, parsley, tahini...and a little amba or s'chug if you're feeling adventurous (or spicy!)...this rainbow of a plate is as delicious and nutritious as it looks.

My Adventure started with a trip to our local Israeli market on St. Marks Place for some fresh pita, amba, s'chug, and tahini.  Everything else (and sometimes even these items) can be found at your local grocery store.  If you don't have access to a good pita, fresh bread works just as well!   

What you'll need:
 2 large eggplants
 
About 1 1/4 cup sunflower oil
 
4 slices rustic white bread, toasted (or pita)
 
4 free-range eggs, hard-boiled and cut into 1cm-thick slices
 
Salt and black pepper

For the salad
2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice
2 mini cucumbers, cut into 1cm dice
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1½ tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp lemon juice
1½ tbsp olive oil

Optional:  Tahini, humus, amba, s'chug (though I highly recommend them all!)

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off strips of eggplant skin from top to bottom, so they end up like a zebra, with alternating black-and-white stripes. Cut both eggplants widthways into 1 in. thick slices.

Heat the sunflower oil in a wide pan. Carefully – the oil spits – fry the eggplant in batches until nice and dark, turning once, for six to eight minutes; add oil if needed as you cook the batches. When done, the eggplant should be completely tender in the centre. Remove from the pan, leave to drain on kitchen paper, then sprinkle with salt.

Make the salad by mixing the tomato, cucumber, spring onion, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. (*tip: I make this salad all throughout the summer so I always have these ingredients handy. It's so, so easy and is a great healthy side for any meal.)

To serve, place a slice of bread on each plate. Spoon a tablespoon of tahini sauce over each, then arrange overlapping slices of eggplant on top. Drizzle over some more tahini, without completely covering the aubergines. Season each egg slice, and lay on top of the aubergine. Drizzle more tahini on top and spoon over as much s'chug as you like – be careful, it's hot! Serve the salad on the side; spoon a little on top of each sabih, too, if you like.