Tag Archives: organic

Butterscotch Apple Pie

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Nothing says “holiday classic” like old-fashioned apple pie. I must admit, this was my second attempt ever at baking apple pie from scratch. Although it may seem intimidating, baking a pie is easy if you follow the instructions exactly. That’s the most important part of baking — so you can never skip a step.

This recipe, adapted from Gourmet Holiday, is the perfect accompaniment to any holiday dinner party.  The best part: it only takes 45 minutes of active time, so you can spend the majority of your evening entertaining and relaxing. Also, don’t forget to wear a cute apron (mine came all the way from Sardinia) so that flour doesn’t end up on your new holiday dress.

Butterscotch Apple Pie

Serves 8

You will need:

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 1/2 lb mixed tart and sweet apples (about 7), peeled, cut into 6 wedges and cored

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Double recipe All-Butter Pastry Dough

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits

1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbsp warm water

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Extra equipment:

small pumpkin or leaf-shape cookie cutters (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425° with a baking sheet placed on middle rack.

2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, then whisk in brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Gently toss apples with sugar mixture, lemon juice, and vanilla and let stand 5 to 15 minutes to macerate fruit.

3. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out remaining dough into a 13-inch round.

3. Transfer filling to shell. Dot with butter, then cover with pastry round. Trim edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang (reserve scraps). Press edges together to seal, then fold under. Lightly brush top crust with some of egg wash, then cut 3 (1-inch-long) vents.

4. Roll out dough scraps about 1/8 inch thick and cut out pumpkin or leaf shapes. Arrange decoratively on top of pie, pressing gently to help adhere. Lightly brush top crust and cutouts with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

5. Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes more. Cool to warm, 2 to 3 hours.

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Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

I’m going to be honest with you. I did not feel like cooking last night.

I just returned from a week-long business trip to Toronto, and spent the day playing catch up. Cooking was not in the cards for me; however, I still wanted to eat something healthy and delicious for dinner. I needed to satisfy my post-workout animal hunger (you’ve been there).

Since I made sure to go to the farmer’s market last weekend, I was fully stocked with fresh vegetables. So, I decided to whip together a farm fresh quinoa salad. This was one of the easiest salads I’ve ever made, requires little equipment, and virtually no clean-up. It’s yummy and completely guilt-free, and I’m obsessed. Naturally.

It’s a lazy person’s perfect post-workout feast. Enjoy!

Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

You will need:

1 cup cooked & cooled organic quinoa (according to directions on box)

1/2 pint organic quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 chopped english cucumber (no need to peel, makes it crunchier)

1/2 chopped ripe avocado

sprinkle of organic freeze dried corn kernels (like this)

1 large garlic clove, minced

chopped basil

extra virgin olive oil

aged balsamic vinegar (or any good quality vinegar)

sea salt to taste

1. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, basil and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar; drizzle to your liking. Season with sea salt to taste. Stir.

2. Slowly add the quinoa to the tomato mixture and stir. Keep adding until you achieve the right balance of quinoa to vegetables (aka eyeball it).

3. Top off with chopped avocado and sprinkle with freeze dried corn. Voila! Easy-peasy.

 

 

 

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Seasonal Gems: Watermelon & Plums

I always like to stress the importance of seasonal produce. There are so many great arguments for buying local, organic food as opposed to the alternative; but the most obvious is reflected in taste. Seasonal just tastes better.

I recently got together with friends for a potluck dinner; we each brought something to share. Watermelon has been in season all summer, so I already knew the main star of my dish. I settled on a salad with prawns, arugula, watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint.

My favorite part about the dish, besides the just-picked freshness, was the variety of textures. It also went along famously with my friend’s plum prosciutto bruschetta, also an in-season winner. The combination of the two make a really easy, simple, summer meal. Enjoy!

 

Watermelon Salad

*serves 4 as a side

1 small seedless watermelon, sliced into chunks

10 cooked prawns

1/2 package arugula

1 english cucumber, peeled and sliced into chunks

10 mint leaves, chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more if you love it)

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt + pepper to taste

1. Combine watermelon, cucumber, prawns, and mint. Add olive oil (drizzle to your liking) and toss. Add arugula, and lightly toss. Sprinkle feta on top, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Plum Prosciutto Bruschetta

8 slices of fresh, rustic bread; toasted

Humboldt Fog goat cheese

1 package prosciutto

4 organic plums; sliced and pits removed

arugula to garnish

1. Layer the following ingredients to create easy, instant bruschetta: goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula and plums. Serve.

 

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Tropical Prawn Salad with Mango, Avocado & Charred Corn

This recipe was the product of a long day. You would think since I write all day at work, the last thing I would want to do is come home and write about food. It’s quite the opposite; I couldn’t wait to channel my energy from the day into a random, new and fun dish.

I love this summery salad because of it’s bright colors and fresh bite. The snappy prawns along with sweet mango, creamy avocado and crispy corn make this salad an everyday must. The best part about this salad: the corn component makes it hearty enough for dinner (but light enough so you feel great).

Tropical Prawn Salad with Mango, Avocado & Charred Corn

Serves 2

.5 lb fresh, peeled and deveined prawns

2 tbsp organic tamari sauce

1 mango, peeled and sliced into chunks

1 whole avocado, sliced into chunks

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

2 ears of corn, husks removed

2 cups butter lettuce, washed and sliced

2 limes

2 cloves of garlic

extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly cracked pepper to taste

1. Wash the shrimp with cold water, and pat dry with a paper towel. Place in a bowl with tamari, a squeeze of lime juice, and a few dashes of pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan, over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp and saute until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side (you will notice a dark pink color and a little crispiness). Set aside, but do not wash the pan.

3. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, and add the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, and place the two whole ears of corn in the pan. After about 4 minutes, turn the heat down, and turn the corn over. You will notice a brown charr color on one side of the corn. Cook another 2 minutes, and set aside to cool.

4. Once corn is cool, cut off the cob. Combine corn, charred scallions (yes, even the crispy ones from the pan), butter lettuce, chopped mango, and shrimp in a bowl. Toss.

5. To make the dressing, combine lime juice (about 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper and blend until combined.

6. Add avocado to the salad, and drizzle dressing on top. Enjoy alongside a crisp Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white and so great with food). Happy Friday! This is what I’m doing…stoked for the weekend.

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Addicting Double Lemon Chicken

I rarely make chicken breast because the cooking process is so easy, and never considered it to be a “wow that’s so good” kind of meal. I ‘m notorious for making overly complex recipes, just because I like a challenge in the kitchen (the more steps, the better!) In my honest opinion, chicken breast is pretty vanilla.

I felt this way up until I discovered Double Lemon Chicken Breasts from Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic; this recipe is particularly addicting. The in-season, sweet tomatoes combined with the tart chicken provides the perfect balance for your taste buds. Just try not to go back for seconds (go for it – it’s low-carb).This chicken breast recipe is perfect for any occasion. Serve it hot or cold, for dinner with friends or a picnic on the beach. It goes with pretty much everything. I’ve fallen back in love with boring, old chicken.

Double Lemon Chicken Breasts with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa 

For the Tomato Basil Salsa-

1 pint fresh organic cherry tomatoes, quartered (use a pairing knife)

7 large basil leaves, thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch of sea salt

freshly cracked pepper to taste

For the Lemon Chicken-

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

8 skinless boneless chicken breast filets, pounded until 1/2 inch thick

Grapeseed or canola oil

2 or 3 lemons, halved

1. To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

2. To prepare the chicken, combine the flour, lemon zest, and salt and pepper on a flat dinner plate. Using a fork, mix together until thoroughly combined.

3. Wash the chicken breasts and pat them dry. Dredge each fillet in the flour mixture, making sure to coat both sides. Set aside.

4. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the grapeseed oil, using just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken fillets in batches, cooking each side until lightly golden (about 2 minutes per side). Before removing the chicken from the pan, squeeze generous amounts of lemon juice over each piece. Serve topped with the basil salsa.

I could honestly eat this more than once per week; it’s hard to get sick of. Enjoy!

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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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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.

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