Friday, December 4, 2009

Mother of the Year

Last night I decided to make my Lime Buttered Salmon. I love eating my salmon with brussel sprouts so that's exactly what I did. In fact, I love making brussel sprouts with just about everything. It has become my favorite side vegi, and my kids too. Yep, that's right. I remember the first time I served it to them, the look in their eyes were like, "ya right mom, your kidding me right?!". After a little bribing they finally tried them and loved them! I knew they would. (and yes, for a moment I did feel like Mother of the Year). The reason for this is because they are not steamed but instead roasted. So long are the days of steamed brussel sprouts that have a nasty bitter taste to them. And hello roasted perfection.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1lb brussel sprouts
1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
garlic powder or 1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
1/2 lemon

Half the brussel sprouts and place in a bowl. Mix sprouts with olive oil then lay them evenly on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook for 10 minutes, stir and then sprinkle with galic. Place back in oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until tender and leaves start to brown.

Remove from oven and squeeze lemon over the top. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting Saucy

  As I have promised, here is my favorite hollandaise sauce recipe. Recently, I just discovered the succulent egg's benedict. I never ordered it before because it is traditionally served with a english muffin and canadian bacon. I was at the Chuck Wagon here in Corona, CA (my favorite breakfast joint) and I decided to try it with some of my substitutions. I ordered it with a grilled tomato and over hashbrowm potatoes. It was great! So now I like to experiment in restaurants and at home. I'm able to cook this at home because I found a fabulous recipe for the hollandaise sauce from no other then, well, you guessed it, Julia Childs! It was in her "My Life in France" book as one of her "top secret" recipes. I now serve it drizzled on my almond chicken and I love to drizzle it over vegetables if I'm looking to "class up" a dish. Sky's the limit with this sauce so get creative!

Hollandaise Sauce:
for vegetables, fish, eggs, and where a delicately-flavored sauce is desired

2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) of natural butter
2 organic egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt; ground pepper
dash of cayenne

Lay a cloth (damp preferred) on a flat surface and place on it a small bowl.  (Cloth keeps the bowl from sliding about).

Place the egg yolks in the bowl and whisk until yolks become thick and sticky (about 1 minute). Beat in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne (1/2 minute).

Place butter over moderate heat to melt, then raise heat and bring to the boil. Boil is reached just when the butter begans to crackle loudly, indicating it's water content has started to evaporate. Immediately remove from heat at this point so it does not brown. Holding butter pan in left hand, wire whisk in right hand, pour the boiling butter in a thin stream of droplets onto the egg yolks, beating so all the butter is being continously absorbed. The hot butter cooks and thickens the yolks as they absorb it. For most purposes, sauce should have enough body to hold its shape as a mass in spoon. Taste for seasoning. Add more lemon juice if necessary. And most importantly, enjoy!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Real Vegetarian Dish

This dish has become a fast favorite of mine for many reasons. The first, obviously, is that it tastes great. I love stir-fry dishes but usually never eat them because they either contain soy sauce, sugar or in most cases both. This paticular recipe calls for hoisin sauce which contains, you guessed it, sugar (and vinegar). So what I did was I made a peanut sauce to subtitute the hoisin. Yummy! It was fantastic! It's a little more work but if you make it ahead of time, then your fine. I use any extra peanut sauce for salads and rice dishes. I like to make this dish as a main course because it is a little too time consuming for me to just be a side dish. I added a whole other 8 ounces of extra firm tofu in the mix (or you can just keep it on the side for extra protein) and serve it over brown rice.

Green-Packed Stir Fry with Fresh Herbs

Sesame oil
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into slices 1 inch long and as thick as a pencil
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 green onion, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 small red chiles, chopped
1/2 bunch thin asparagus (about 1/2 pound), trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch slices
1 generous handful of cashews or peanuts, coarsely chopped
4 generous handfuls of spinach leaves, stemmed
Grated zest and juice of 1 organic lime
2 tablespoons of peanut sauce (see * below for ingredients)
1 small handful fresh basil, slivered
1 small handful fresh mint, slivered
Fine-grain sea salt

When you have all of your ingredients prepped, arrange them within arm's reach of the stove. Heat a small splash of sesame oil in a wok or large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add tofu and cook for a couple of minutes, unitl the tofu is golden. Remove from the pan. (You can also cook the tofu in a dry nonstick or well seasoned pan.)

Add another splash of oil to te wok and, as soon as it's hot, add the garlic, green onions, ginger, chiles, and asparagus. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the nuts and spinach and stir for another minute, or unitl the spinach wilts and collapses. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the peanut sauce. Cook for another minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and stir in the mint and basil. Season with enough salt to make the flavors pop, starting with a few generous pinches. This Serves 2 (generously) as a main dish, 4 as a side. Enjoy!

*Peanut Sauce

1/3 cup natural smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup of canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons of water

Smooth everything together in a small saucepan and heat thoroughly on low heat.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sea of Love-Wild Salmon

The Wild Salmon season may be winding down but if your lucky you can get some fresh/frozen any time of year, like we do in Southern California. Beautiful Wild Salmon, with all of it's nutritional properties and yummy goodness is on my list of one of the best foods, EVER!  There are so many ways to prepare it and so many other foods that compliment it that it will never go out of style. I want to share with you my families favorite salmon recipe. My kids love it. And I have to tell you (and please feel free to comment below if you feel the same way) that it just feels so good to prepare some of the worlds healthiest foods and have your kids tell you that they love it. I don't know about you but I just don't feel right when I give my kids crap to eat. In the back of my mind I know it's not right and the guilty feelings I get on top of it make it quite clear: NO SHIT FOOD. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those freaky moms that throws away the candy bags after an exhausting night of trick-or-treating or one of those moms that doesn't let the kids out all together. Not even close. I just like to monitor the amount of junk they put in there bodies and cook them as much good food as I can with love, and a clear conscience.

This is a recipe I found in my Healthy Foods cookbook. It is elegant enough to make for entertaining guests and easy enough to make any day of the week. My version came out like this:

Salmon with Butter Lime Sauce:

4 portions of wild salmon, skin on
4 pieces of parchment paper
3 organic limes
4 teaspoons of peeled ginger, minced
1/2 stick of natural unsalted butter
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon of Liquid Amino Acids
1 large shallot, minced
Sea salt

Cut the butter in 8 equal pieces and return to the refridgerator until firm.

Using a zester, zest the peel of 1 lime, set aside. Squeeze the juice from the lime and set aside. Cut the second lime in 8 thin slices. Cut the third lime lengthwise into 8 wedges.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange the parchment pieces on a work surface and lay a piece of salmon in the center of each. Sprinkle each piece of fish with salt and pepper to taste, then with 1 teaspoon of the ginger. Divide the lime zest among the fish. Place 2 lime slices on top of each fish piece.

Wrap each piece of fish in the paper and seal the ends under the bottom. Bake the fish until it is translucent at the thickest part: plan on slightly less than 10 minutes for each inch of thickness. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. (The fish will continue to cool out of the oven until it is opaque.)

While the fish cools, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the shallot, lime juice and amino acids. Bring to a boil and boil until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about five minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time, waiting unitl each piece is fully absorbed into the sauce before adding the next piece. Pour the sauce into a warmed small pitcher.

As soon as the sauce is done, place a packet of the fish on each individual plate and garnish with 2 lime wedges. Diners slit open the packets, remove the cooked lime slices, and spoon some of the sauce over the fish. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pig Out! Herbivore Style.....

This recipe is an updated version of my Warm Nutty Salad that I posted last year. I have been making it for lunch almost every single day since then, if you can believe it. It's true, I'm addicted. But it's the healthiest habit I've ever had! Even when I'm not able to eat it at lunch, I'll try to make sure I have it for dinner. It's that good in my eyes. As a matter of fact, it's become quite popular over the past year with my family and friends. Everyone close to me demands it when they come over and many make it themselves. If your wondering what makes this salad so special I can tell you it's a combination of many things. I need to take a picture and post it this weekend so you can see how beautiful it is. Every component I've added is super healthy for you. And it's hearty and filling. Darling, this is no ordinary salad.

Warmed Tahini Salad:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 handfuls of organic spring mix
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon whole roasted flax seed
1 small clove of raw garlic
1/2 avocado
1/4 red onion, chopped
small handful of raw unsalted sunflower seeds
small handful of grape/cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons of raw tahini
1/2 brown rice tortilla, optional

Heat olive oil over medium/low heat in a small fry pan and add onion and sunflower seeds. Cook until onions are soft and seeds are lightly toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes.

 Meanwhile add avocado to your bowl (pasta bowl or plate works the best) and add lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Mash with a fork.

 Add the spring mix to the avocado and chop. Then add the peppers, tomatoes and flax seeds. Squeeze any additional lemon juice on the top.

When the onion mixture is done, turn down heat to a simmer and add garlic and tahini. Warm tahini for about 30 seconds or so and then pour mixture over the salad. Mix everything well and salt to taste. I love to eat it wilth a brown rice tortilla that I heat up in the same pan as the onion mixture for a extra boost in flavor. This serves 1. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Soup for the Body and Soul

  Aesthetically, this soup is very appealing and tastes so fresh and smooth that my fam bam requests it on a weekly basis. Substitutions for the green vegi's are easy so you can eat this any time of year. And that's actually what I've been focusing on this past month. Seasonal foods. It just makes so much sense. As the seasons unfold, old favorites recur and new opportunities present themselves.And, for the most part , there's no need for the foods to have traveled from the other side of the world. In the winter, there are almost as many delicious possibilities as there are in the summer. Eating locally gives a more organic approach to life and cooking. It's fun too. I love going to the farmers market!

Columbian Chicken Soup:

Cooked short-grain brown rice
1 whole skinless chicken breast on the bone (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup sliced scallions (about 3)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 shucked ears of corn, each cut into 6 rounds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cilantro
8 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound white potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 pound thick asparagus cut into 1-inch lengths (try greenbeans or quartered roasted brussel sprouts if asparagus isn't your thing)
1 Hass avocado, diced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon drained small capers (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine the chicken, scallions, garlic, corn, cumin and 1/2 cup of cilantro with the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer the broth over moderately high heat unitl the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool.

Strain the broth and return it to the saucepan. Return the corn to the broth and discard the remaining solids. Bring the broth to a broil. Add the potatoes  and simmer over moderately high heat until nearly tender, about 8 minutes. While the potatoes simmer, grab the chicken and began to pull the meat off the bones and shred. Add the asparagus and simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and season the soup with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with avaocado, yogurt, capers, brown rice and remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro. So yummy! Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Detoxing is NOT for Wimps

It's been a while since I've blogged. A year and a half to be exact. Shortly after my last blog I completed my detox. What detox you may ask? Well, it was a crazy 2 1/2 months of ridding my body of all the impurities and toxins that have built up over the past 15 years of my life. A life of eating pretty much nothing but bean and cheese red burritos with secret sauce and sausage biscuits with cheese. Not to mention daily alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and hazy drug filled weekends. My lifestyle caught up with me and my body said no more. I listened to what my body was saying and decided that it was time to return it to it's natural state. After weeks of researching I came across a website, . The website scared the shit out of me, to say the least! I prepared myself, family and pantry for this little venture we'd be on. The first two weeks were the worst. Nightmares. Insomnia. I was literally scared to fall asleep. That was the worst of it and as time went on things got better. I had a clearer head and my ailments soon disappeared. I was happy and empowered. I lost a total of 25 pounds and was down to 115 pds. For obvious reasons I stopped there.

Today I still live and eat by the principles of that diet and I have maintained my weight by eating the foods and drinks I want when I'm on vacation or at a special occasion and by following the diet closely the rest of the time. To break it down, it's basically a yeast free, sugar free, fermented free, caffeine free, gluten free (most of the time) and additive free diet. Fresh, whole, natural foods. Food has seriously never tasted so good! I follow a less restricted diet now that includes potatoes, whole grain flours, yeast-free tortillas and corn. I was off the wagon for the summer but now I'm back on thanks to Brian. He swore off drinking for a month and is on his 16th day. Im so proud of him, he inspires me everyday! So I thought this would be a perfect time to strengthen the good ol' immune system right around flu season.