Meatless Monday: August Chopped Salad

John Besh.

Yes, please! 

Not to be confused with John Tesh – the American media icon and musician. Though I didn’t go to August on my recent trip to New Orleans, I am going to post a recipe from this restaurant as a way to set my intention to go there on my next trip to the Big Easy. Plus, after a weekend of milk punch, beignets and charbroiled oysters, I need a salad tonight!

August Chopped Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound prepared beet salad or cooked beets

18 baby carrots, halved lengthwise

1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 pound marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

One 1-pound fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1/2 seedless cucumber—peeled, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

3 ounces pea shoots

2 tablespoons chopped dill

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the dressing to a small bowl and toss with the beets.

2. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cook the carrots for 5 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 8 minutes. Drain and add to the carrots; pat dry.

3. Add the carrots and potatoes to the dressing in the large bowl. Add the artichokes, fennel, radishes, cucumber, pea shoots and dill. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to plates, scatter the beets on top and serve.

Clothing at a Grocery Store?

Arriving at Whole Foods the other day I noticed that a rack of clothing was obviously placed to encourage people to look.  I was lured in by the 30% sign on plain black, gray and white tank tops.  I didn’t recognize the label but that didn’t stop me from at least taking a look at the rack.

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Tank tops and shirts in general are tough for me.  Most of the time because of “the girls” my shirts are too short and if they are button up shirts, they gape open just begging people to look at my bra.  I often go up a size but then deal with a fit that is entirely too baggy.  I have lamented my body type and style woes before but never in a blog post.

 

I understand that not everyone is as curvy as I am.  I get that extra room for the girls on my is good but someone with a less endowed top half would look strange with extra billowing material in what should be a tailored shirt.

I’m not sure how to remedy the situation but I will say that “Threads 4 Thought” has great tank tops and IMG_0655other shirts.  In addition, they have clothing for men!  So, while not all of my clothing challenges have been solved by this line, I am happy to have a resource for some great tanks and tees.

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Meatless Monday: Parsnip and Kale Gratin

When your six year old blurts out: “Mom, I need more parsnips in my life!”  You giggle a little bit and patIMG_0576 yourself on the back.  After receiving a “spiralizer” from my sister Mindy for Christmas one year, I have been trying incorporate more spiraled vegetables into our meals.  I found a cookbook that has several recipes that are outstanding.

As I was thumbing through this adorable cookbook, I knew I had to make this for Chase.  When he likes something, he is quite vocal about it.  The cookbook is called: “Inspiralized” by Ali Malfucci.  I picked mine up at Williams-Sonoma but you can also pick it up at your local book store or on Amazon.

The recipe was delicious.  It is not your average cream sauce filled gratin, which Ryan appreciated.  Both boys loved the recipe and Ryan said it was a hit!  In

My gratin.

My gratin.

addition, though I have been successful at using my spiralizer for other vegetables, the parsnips were a bit tough.  So, I augmented the recipe a bit by slicing the parsnips into thin slices and sautéing them with the garlic.  I then removed the parsnips and garlic and wilted the kale on its own after adding a bit more EVOO.  I then proceeded with step 3 below.

Parsnip and Kale Gratin

Ingredients:

Cooking spray

4 large parsnips, peeled

1 Tbsp EVOO

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

6 packed cups chopped kale

2 1/2 tsp fresh thyme

salt and pepper

3 cups shredded Gouda cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Coat a 6×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Slice the parsnips halfway, lengthwise, being careful not to cut farther down than the center.  Spiralize using blade A.
  2. Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add the kale and 2 tsp of the thyme, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 3 to 5 minutes or until the kale is cooke through and wilted.
  3. Layer 1/4 of the parsnip noodles into the baking dish and top with 1/3 of the kale.  Top with another 1/4 of the parsnip noodles, then 1 cup of the Gouda, and season with 1/4 tsp thyme.  Add the kale again, then the parsnip noodles, the thyme and Gouda.  Repeat once more, ending with the Gouda.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the noodles are al dente.

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Meatless Monday: Broccoli Rabe Pesto Bruschetta

We had a housewarming party last weekend.  Among other appetizers, I made the recipe below and served it with fresh bread.  It was a hit.  It tastes so indulgent but it really is quite delicious!  I got quite creative with the menu.  We have a multicultural group of friends so I wanted to offer lots of options but not violate any of the dietary restrictions that our guests may have had.  This dish is not dairy or nut free but it is delicious!  As with the other recipes for the party, it came from Food and Wine.com

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw, shelled pistachios (5 ounces)
1 pound broccoli rabe, thick stems discarded
2 garlic cloves
2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pistachios in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Squeeze dry, then transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios with the garlic until coarsely chopped. Add the parsley and broccoli rabe and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until incorporated. Stir in the Pecorino, season with salt and pepper and serve.
  4. SERVE WITH
    Ciabatta toasts or mix in with pasta and EVOO

Meatless Monday: Healthy Mac and Cheese

IMG_0397I love mac and cheese.  My kids love mac and cheese.  I have posted mac and cheese recipes before.  One that is a crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike.  Plus, it hides carrots in the most wonderful way.  In addition, because I love all things green chile here is a green chile mac and cheese recipe too.

I am going out on a limb to make and try this one.  I have posted recipes from this site before and have had great luck with them.  As you can see from the ingredients in the picture, there is no cheese or dairy of any kind in it.  The Clean Blog posted this one not too long ago and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  I am hoping that the boys love it.  If not, I know what I’m having for lunch for the next few days!

Healthy Mac and Cheese

Not too thrilled about the three pans I had to use but hopefully the taste will be worth it.

Not too thrilled about the three pans I had to use but hopefully the taste will be worth it.

Ingredients:

1 (8 ounce) box quinoa elbows (or your favorite Clean-approved pasta)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, sliced thin

1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves, roughly chopped

1 cup chopped finely chopped butternut squash

2 cups cashew or almond milk

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon dulse flakes

2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Stir in the elbows and cook until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water until completely cooled.
  3. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat then add the onions. Saute until golden brown, stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes.  Once the onions are ready, stir in the kale, cover and steam until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, peel the butternut squash then combine the butternut and milk in a small pot and cook until tender then transfer to a blender and blend until creamy.
  5. Place the elbows in a bowl then combine with the kale mixture, dulse, and nutritional yeast.  Add enough of the butternut cream to coat all the ingredients well.
  6. Scoop out the mixture into a 9×9 pan then place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then place under the broiler to lightly brown.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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Meatless Monday: Spring Vegetable Soup with Tarragon

So, the 4th Ave Street Fair happened yesterday and after a lunch of grilled corn, trip-tip sandwich, lemonade, and funnel IMG_0380cakes, I need a light dinner that will reset my body.  As you know, each month, I pull out my copies of Food and Wine and flip through them for recipes.  I found this one this morning and thought it was the perfect solution to my problem of food overload.  I haven’t made it yet, so I’ll add a picture tonight.

 

Spring Vegetable Soup with Tarragon

INGREDIENTS

7 cups water
10 small red potatoes, quartered
2 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large leek, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths, or frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot, combine the water with the red potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and leek. Bring to a boil. Add the salt and simmer over moderately low heat for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the green beans and simmer until tender, 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and tarragon. Season with pepper and serve.
    NOTES
    One Serving 163 cal, 0.5 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 36 gm carb, 6.8 gm fiber.

SUGGESTED PAIRING
Crisp Chardonnay, such as one from Carneros in Northern California.

 

Meatless Monday: Easter Weekend Sweets

We had a busy weekend.  From NCAA basketball (Poor IU lost) and birthday parties to Easter Egg Hunt Brunches and Family dinners, by Sunday morning, I was ready for a little bit of a sweet indulgence.  I woke up a little earlier than usual to ensure that we had plenty of time to get all dressed up for the day’s activities.

For scones, normally, I stick to one scone recipe.  It is delicious but it is more of a winter recipe in my opinion containing dried cranberries, orange zest and pecans. (reply below if you want that recipe)  I wanted something that said: FRESH!  I found it in the recipe below.  It will knock your socks off!

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“It’s a BUNDT!”

We also had a family dinner to go to on Sunday night and I was in charge of the appetizer and the dessert.  For the dessert, I got help from the amazing cheese monger at Whole Foods who pointed me in the direction of a triple creme brie called St. Angel.  She said that if butter were a cheese, this would be it.  It was a hit.  In addition, I chose a beautiful mild manchego called: Cordobes, which she told me to pair with a date walnut wedge, which was delicious.  For the dessert, I found a beautiful bundt cake recipe that I had never tried.  It is very art deco in design.  Plus, I always think of the scene in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when John Corbitt’s mother brings a bundt to the Portokalos family party.  This “BUNDT” is special.  I think even the most hard to please in-law would be impressed with this cake.  It is a show stopper.  Filled with molasses and Porter, it has complex flavors and it’s beautiful.  I hope you enjoy it!

Sugared Lemon-Rosemary Scones

Ingredients:

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flourIMG_0317 (I used half APF and half whole wheat pastry flour)
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the 1/3 cup of sugar, the rosemary, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some pea-size pieces of butter still visible. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup of cream until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead just until it comes together. Gently roll the dough into a 14-inch log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
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Chase photo bombing my attempt at food styling

2. Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the log into 8 rounds and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush the scones with cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until the scones are golden. Let cool slightly before serving.

MAKE AHEAD
The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight.

 

Porter Bundt Cake with Whiskey-Caramel Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

CAKE
1 1/2 cups porter
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
SAUCE
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whiskey

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

MAKE THE CAKE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, whisk 1 cup of the porter with the IMG_0331molasses and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda and let cool completely.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk the maple syrup with the remaining 1/2 cup of porter and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, butter a 10-inch Bundt pan and dust with flour; shake off the excess. In a large bowl, whisk the 3 cups of flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cocoa nibs. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the 1/2 sticks of butter with the brown and granulated sugars at medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until just incorporated. At low speed, beat in the cooled porter-molasses mixture, then gradually beat in the dry ingredients.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in the center
    Chase, showing his love for this cake and tank tops.

    Chase, showing his love for this cake and tank tops.

    of the oven for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes. Invert the warm cake onto a rack and brush with the cooled porter-syrup mixture.

MAKE THE SAUCE

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and whiskey. Cook over low heat for 1 minute. Let cool slightly.
  2. Cut the cake into wedges and serve, passing the warm whiskey caramel at the table.

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Down, But Not Out

I don’t like to fail.

But, who does?

I didn’t get into law school for the Fall Term.  I hate admitting it but there it is.

Before you start saying: “Oh, Quin, I’m

It arrived in a thin envelope...

It arrived in a thin envelope…

so sorry!  They don’t know what they’re missing!”  I kind of expected a rejection letter.  My LSAT score was no where near the median score they accept.  Even though all of my other credentials are stellar, I cannot delude myself into thinking that I am so exceptional that the admissions committee would completely overlook an LSAT score that was well below their standards.

So, after a couple of days of self deprecation, I signed up for a different test prep course and will try again in September.  I have immense self doubt, but I hope that with additional focus and preparation it will pass.  I also saw a quotation that sums up my feelings right now:

“It is the curse of the competent not to be called upon.”

Robert Priest (Poet-Songwriter)

I know that I will be a great law student and one day a great lawyer.  Though I have never excelled at standardized tests, I cannot give up now.  The skills that are tested can be learned and perfected and that is what intend to do.

I’m beyond the sadness of rejection and will commit myself to excellence, for this is my path.   A long term goal is simply that.  I am prepared to work hard to achieve my goal.  Thank goodness I have the confidence of my wonderful husband.  He believes in me and was completely positive about my decision to try again!

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Captain and Poopsie Go to Scottsdale

As you know Captain likes to go mountain biking.  Poopsie likes mountain biking too but only because Captain is often

Our standard cuteness

Our standard cuteness

her savior (see Captain and Poopsie Go on a Mountain Bike Ride).  Last weekend, Captain decided to torture himself by riding in a mountain bike race just outside of Scottsdale.  Poopsie had visions of fine dining, luxurious accomodations, and spa treatments while Captain went out to the desert to prove his manhood.  It kind of worked out like that.

Captain and Poopsie had to meet with their insurance agent…no need to bore you with those details.  As Captain and Poopsie were heading toward their hotel, Poopsie kept a watch on the traffic and then noticed that Captain took a wrong turn right before we got to the La Quinta at Shea and the 101.  Instead of staying at a perfectly acceptable modest hotel for our getaway weekend, Captain took Poopsie to The Fairmont Princess!  Poopsie was once again smitten with her knight in shining armor!  Poopsie had been there several years ago for a work conference and knew what she was in for.

My amazing view on the race

My amazing view of the race course

The weekend turned out to be one of the most wonderful Captain and Poopsie have had in a long time!  Dinner in Scottsdale was delightful at The Upton.  Captain and Poopsie dined with friends from residency Evan and Melanie Freedman.  Melanie is a firecracker who runs Udderly Hot Mama.  Her company makes the cutest darn nursing tops you can find on the market.  Poopsie still wears hers regularly!  See my review from a couple of years ago.  Evan is the yin to her yang with a quick wit but a calm way about him.  They are dear to us and we always have a blast together!

Fast forward to 5 am the next morning.  Captain presents Poopsie with coffee (always a knight in shining armor) and they get ready and head out to the race site.  Captain is ready to ride and Poopsie is ready to help out

Captain finishing the race!

Captain finishing the race!

the race organizers in anyway possible.  Poopsie meets a delightful Brazilian lady named Solita whose husband (a Tucson native) is riding in the race.  Wit, one of the race organizers drops each of us at our spots and provides us with bright green reflective vests and big red flags.  Poopsie has been charged with stopping traffic (like that’s hard!  I do that every day!) and waving riders across the road to continue on their trail.  It was a lovely morning.

After the race, Captain and Poopsie headed back to the hotel, ate lunch

ordered several boat drinks and basked in the sun late into the afternoon.  It was

heavenly.  After a quick nap, Captain and Poopsie prepared themselves for a magnificent dinner at Toro at the TPC in Scottsdale.  Check out the rum selection!  Jeff and Amber joined us for drinks and dessert before they headed back to Tucson.  Our dessert was a great ending to a delicious dinner…it was called La Bomba: a chocolate bowl filled with cookie crumbles, 3 types of ice cream, edible flowers and berries.  Our waiter put down what I can only call a “splat mat” on our table and held the bowl high over the table.  He

This is a fraction of the large and delicious selection of rums available at Toro

This is a fraction of the large and delicious selection of rums available at Toro

then dropped it and the whole thing exploded on to the mat.  He then drizzled not one, but three sauces over the explosion (caramel, raspberry and white chocolate).  It was divine!

Captain awoke the next day with breakfast already planned at a neat little cafe called Snooze.  It was a fun place with a full menu of delicious foods and spiked breakfast cocktails…after all the run the night before, Poopsie decided to abstain. I know, its a first!

Big kudos to my Captain!  I love you so much!

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Meatless Monday: Simple Avocado and Romaine Salad

Problem: you have no salad dressing and you want a salad. No need to worry. If you have a lemon, some olive oil and salt and pepper, you have salad dressing.  Sometimes I feel like every cooking endeavor must be complex to be good…wrong!

I was thumbing through a March 2008 issue of food and wine and found the recipe for “Easy BBQ Shrimp” and saw the salad pictured next to it and thought: “I want to eat that tonight!”  So, I made it and it was delightful.  I did in fact make the shrimp and served it with the salad but this is more about salad ideas not main dishes. Here are two more simple salad ideas to try:

1) Salad greens, evoo, rice wine vinegar, cracked black pepper, salt

2) salad greens, thinly sliced fennel, dried cherries, toasted nuts of your choice, evoo, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. 

As a side note, Ryan and I determined that the sauce for the shrimp would be a perfect wing sauce.

Simple Avocado and Romaine Salad

Ingredients:

Juice of one lemon

EVOO

Salt

2 romaine hearts, rinsed and cut intobite size pieces

3 radishes, thinly sliced

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 has avocados, sliced 

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice. Add the avocados, romaine, fennel and radishes, season with salt and toss to coat. 

  

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