Monthly Archives: July 2012

Not Just Any Waffles

One of my favorite things about weekends growing up was the smell of Sunday morning breakfast. My parents, who are responsible for what I like to call my “food crazy”, were kind enough to make waffles or pancakes on Sundays and it was something my sister and I always anticipated with so much excitement.

This past Sunday was just one of those mornings that warranted a special homemade breakfast. For no reason in particular, I got the urge to make some waffles; but not just any waffles. I decided to turn up the heat on my child hood favorite and make this recipe: Pancetta and Cinnamon Waffles. I topped off my super delicious Sunday waffles with maple syrup and organic fresh peach slices. The combination of textures from the toasted walnuts, savory pancetta, and sweet peaches knocked this one out of the park. Sunday could turn into a very dangerous day of the week. ‘Til next weekend!

 

 

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Perfect Parfait

Parfait is French for “perfect” and, also, a type of frozen dessert. I couldn’t help myself but declare this dessert perfect twice, complete with coconut sorbet (non-dairy), fresh peaches, blackberries and crushed pistachio… so good it tastes sinful, but without the guilt. C’est parfait.

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Anytime Three-Cheese Bruschetta with Prosciutto, Roasted Garlic Onion Jam & Basil

This bruschetta recipe is simple, customizable and great for entertaining or anytime you feel like a fancy snack. I like to create a cheese platter with three types of cheeses and tasty accoutrements like prosciutto, onion jam and basil – this way, guests can build their own bruschetta to their liking.

Anytime Three-Cheese Bruschetta with Prosciutto, Onion Jam & Basil

You will need:

1 sweet baguette

Meyer lemon flavored olive oil (or any olive oil of your preference)

1 package good prosciutto, cut into small pieces

Fresh Mozzarella cheese

Goat gouda cheese

Triple-cream brie cheese

1 jar Roasted Garlic Onion Jam

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Slice baguette into thin, diagonally cut slices and arrange on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until brown and crunchy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Slice three types of cheeses (the ones suggested above taste best with basil) into small, equal sized pieces and arrange on cutting board to serve.

3. Create basil chiffonade, which is a technique used to cut basil into thin, ribbon-like strips. Take about 5-10 basil leaves and pile on top of each other. Then, fold leaves in half, and press down on cutting board. Chop folded basil so that little ribbon strips are formed. Add to the cutting board with cheese.

4. Use about 3 tbsp of onion jam and serve with basil and cheese. Arrange prosciutto on cutting board and serve with the toasted baguette.

5. Arrange in the following order: baguette, onion jam, cheese, prosciutto – and top with basil. Enjoy!

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Weekday Health Spot: The Plant Cafe

My greatest joy — exploring restaurants — is also my greatest weakness, and makes my wallet unhappy.

Since I like to eat healthy during the week, I try to cook at home (saves money, too); which leaves  room to dine about town during the weekend. However, I definitely have those weak moments where I crave a restaurant rendez-vous, so I like to have a strategy:

1. No sit down service. If you plan to eat out, you can avoid a more costly bill by eating at smaller cafes. These types of restaurants usually have fast, healthier options like soups and salads, which are perfect during the week.

2. Organic produce from local farmers. Wherever you go, try to make sure the restaurant has organic produce and local farmers/suppliers. There seems to be an unexplainable correlation between tasty, fresh food and local sources — you really can’t go wrong on this one.

3. Walk instead of alternate transportation. If you are lucky enough to live within a 5-10 minute walking distance to decent restaurants, make sure to take advantage of this exercise opportunity.

If you follow my strategy, then it’s OK to eat out during the week. I am a huge advocate of The Plant Cafe Organic, which falls nicely into the three rules listed above. It’s fast, economical, and the produce is local and organic. Not to mention, it’s absolutely delicious.  You can bet this place is part of my weekly rotation.

Sweet Potato Soup with Sunflower Seeds

Dino Kale Salad with Quinoa, Carrots, Roasted Almonds, Cucumber, Avocado & Sesame Seeds

Spicy Red & Green Juice: beets, carrot, celery, apple and ginger

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The Vegan Rainbow

While I love the idea of shunning all animal based products – I just can’t give up meat (I’ve tried and failed). That’s not to say I don’t have vegan phases now and again, usually catalyzed by a new cookbook.

Cookbooks are like shoes – you can never have too many (as long as you actually use them).I recently started stalking Pure Vegan every time I wandered into Chronicle Books. The bright cover photo was so memorable that I had to make the recipe – naturally the book found its way home with me last weekend.

Rainbow Carrot, Tomato and Three-Bean Salad

You will need:

1 bunch rainbow carrots (decided to add at the last minute, for more texture and sweet flavor)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 shallots, thinly sliced

One 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained

One 15-ounce can butter beans, drained

1 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1/2 cup Wendy’s Vinaigrette (below)

Freshly ground pepper

1 lemon, cut into wedges

1. Preheat Oven to 375°

2. For cherry tomatoes less than 1/2 inch in diameter, leave them whole; cut larger ones in half. Put the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet cut-side up and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bake for 40 minutes, until the tops begin to slightly char. Set aside to cool.

3. Remove green stems from carrots, and scrub under cold water to remove dirt. Dry with paper towels, and then chop into 2″ diagonal slices. Toss in a large bowl with 1/4 cup parsley, olive oil and salt to season. Put the carrots on a second rimmed baking shit and bake for 40 minutes, or until slightly browned. Set aside to cool.

4. Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain, then immediately plunge the beans into the ice-water bath to stop the cooking process and set the beautiful green color of the beans. When cooled, drain the beans and spread them on a clean kitchen towel to dry.

5. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and saute until they begin to caramelize, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remove from heat.

6. In a large mixing bowl or salad bowl, combine the green beans, kidney beans, butter beans, and parsley, then add the shallots and tomatoes, including any juices in their pans. Stir gently to combine, then drizzle the vinaigrette over everything. Toss gently until everything is coated.

7. Season with pepper, then taste and adjust the seasoning if you like. Squeeze the lemon wedges over the salad just before serving.

Wendy’s Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon Vegan worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

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Veggie Dumplings with Garlic Soy Vinaigrette

love dumplings (or pot-stickers), but was intimidated by the task of homemade dough.

I recently revealed five essential kitchen gadgets for the home chef, including the food processor (I will always stress the importance of having one): a miracle tool that allows you to create restaurant quality food at home (including dough). With the touch of a button, complex tasks are made easy.

This recipe was, of course, inspired by my mother – who gave me the food processor that I obsess over today. The process was simple, albeit slightly time consuming; it was a successful effort in the kitchen and I would do it again and again.

Veggie Dumplings with Ginger Soy Vinaigrette

You will need

For the dumpling dough (makes 26 to 30 dumplings):

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 cup boiling water

1/4 cup cold water

For the filling (makes two different types of dumplings):

Ginger/Eggplant/Red Pepper/Shallot/Garlic

1/2 cup minced ginger

2 cups chopped eggplant

1 cup diced red pepper

1 cup minced shallot

1/2 cup minced garlic

Leek/Mushroom/Carrot/Garlic

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup minced garlic

1 cup chopped leeks

1 cup chopped carrots

For Garnish/Sauté:

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup chopped green onion

2 cups white bean sprouts

Step 1: Make the Filling Ginger/Eggplant/Red Pepper/Shallot/Garlic

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed saute pan on medium heat; drizzle olive oil in pan. Add shallots and cook until translucent; about 4-5 minutes

2. Add red pepper and cook until soft; another 5 minutes

3. Add eggplant and ginger; cook until flavors combine and eggplant is soft and cooked all the way through. Season with salt + pepper. Set aside

Make the Filling Leek/Mushroom/Carrot/Garlic

1. Heat the same heavy-bottomed saute pan on medium heat; drizzle olive oil in pan. Add leeks and cook until translucent; about 4-5 minutes

2. Add the carrots; cook another 5-7 minutes and add mushrooms and garlic. Deglaze the pan with some white wine (pour in a half cup; stir…it will scrape up all the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan) Season with salt + pepper. Cook another 5 minutes and set aside

Step 2: Make Dough and Prepare for Filling

1. Insert steel blade in food processor; place flour and sesame oil in food processor bowl. With machine running, add boiling water. Add 1/4 cup cold water, processing until ball of dough is formed

2. Place dough in bowl. cover with a damp towel. Let stand 15 minutes
3. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surfce. cut cricles wiht a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter
4. place 3/4 teaspoon mixture on each circle. fold circle in half; pinch edges to seal. Repeat process until you have desired amount of raw, filled and sealed dumplings
Step 3: Cook the Dumplings (par-boil and fry)
 1. Using a heavy-bottomed large sauce pan, bring salted water to a boil. Gently lower in raw dumplings, and par-boil for about 3 minutes. This helps cook in the insides without overcooking the skins (you will fry them so they are crispy). Remove par-boiled dumplings and set aside on paper towels to drain
2. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet until hot. Add green onions and cook another minute. Place half of the dumplings in the pan, cook covered over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until bottoms are crispy and tops are soft. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon; repeat with remaining dumplings
3. Serve with bean sprouts, cilantro, and garlic-soy-vinaigrette. Soy delicious!
Garlic-Soy-Vinaigrette
1. Place 3 cloves of garlic, 6 tbsp soy sauce and 4 tbsp rice vinegar in food processor and blend until smooth
 

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New Traditions

Somehow, it’s Friday already. Celebrating a holiday during the middle of the week is pretty bizarre — it feels like two mini weeks sandwiched in between three weekends. I’m not sure why I’m complaining.

I spent Tuesday of this week at a brand-spanking-new bar, in the tenderloin (so take a cab), called Tradition. The occasion was a birthday celebration; the location couldn’t be more perfect to kick off an American holiday.

The bar is one of Bourbon & Branch‘s spinoffs, as it’s casual but maintains its strong reputation for serving classic, well-made cocktails. The dark wood finishing, lofty ceilings and suspender-outfitted hipster staff give the place a Brooklyn vibe. Overall, it’s a pretty cool spot and worth visiting at least once.

We started off with scorpion bowls, which were among an array of tropical cocktails. The best thing about Tradition: the menu has something for everyone, with different themed traditional bar menus on each page. Make sure to reserve a booth to get the maximum experience. Happy Weekend!

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