Asian Cauliflower Lettuce Cups

These are so good, that I have made and devoured them for two weeks in a row.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic
1-inch knob fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (or sriracha)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 head of cauliflower separated into florets

Directions:
Toss 6-8 cups of cauliflower florets with some olive oil and roast on a pan at 450 degrees for about 30 mins. When it's done, toss enough sauce on the pan to get the cauliflower nice and saucy.
Load into butter lettuce cups and top with extra sauce, crushed peanuts and chives.

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Fig Salad with Baby Arugula, Goat Cheese and Walnuts

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I love fig season…and now is the time to enjoy them. Figs are great in salads and pair beautifully with soft cheeses like goat cheese as well as nuts like walnuts. The dressing for this salad is so delicious, that I will use it long after the season ends. Adjust the dressing and salad ingredients according the the amount of people you are serving.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 teaspoons minced shallots (1/2 tablespoon)

  • 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt or fine sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil

Fig Salad

  • 4 large fresh figs (or 8 small), I used Black Mission

  • 5 cups baby arugula (5 oz package)

  • 2 ounces goat cheese , crumbled

  • Instructions

    Toast the Walnuts

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread walnuts into a single layer on a small baking sheet. Roast for 5-10 minutes until fragrant and toasted, stirring halfway through. Let cool while you prepare the vinaigrette.

    Make the Vinaigrette

    • In a small bowl, stir together shallots, 1 tablespoon vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in walnut oil, whisking, until emulsified.

    • Taste the dressing. If you like it to have a more tart flavor, add an additional 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

    • Assemble the Fig Salad

      • Cut stems from figs and slice in quarters if large and in half if small.

      • Toss baby arugula with the toasted walnuts and half of the vinaigrette. Arrange figs on the top of the salad and lightly drizzle each with a little of the remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle the salad with crumbled goat cheese.

      • If desired, finish the salad with a few grinds of cracked black pepper and a few pinches of a medium-grind sea salt. Serve immediately.

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Skinny Chocolate Cheesecake Dip

This low calorie, low fat dip is the stuff dreams are made of. Dip in and enjoy!

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Ingredients

3/4 cup light whipped topping (like Cool Whip or So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip! Light)

1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup light/reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 packets no-calorie sweetener (like Truvia or Splenda)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Dash salt

2 tsp. mini (or chopped) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix until smooth and uniform. Stir in 1 tsp. chocolate chips.

Top with remaining 1 tsp. chocolate chips.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

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Capellini with Tomato and Peas

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Delicious and so easy to prepare. This recipe is a must have to pull out when you are in need of a pasta dish and you are short on time!

Ingredients:

1 pound capellini or other thin spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Directions:

Btring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, carrot, salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and a 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. Stir to melt the tomato paste and create a sauce. Stir in the oregano, thyme, parsley and peas. Gently fold in the pasta and the cheeses, adding the reserved pasta water if necessary. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

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Raspberry and Rhubarb Crostata

The beauty of a crostata, which is basically a pie baked on a baking sheet, is that it can be filled with almost any fruit. I love rhubarb for its ability to elevate the taste of the fruit with which it is paired. After tasting this crostata, I exclaimed, “I have outdone myself!” Both impressive looking and incredibly delicious, this is a hostess winner!

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Ingredients:

For the pastry:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, 1/2 inch diced
1/4 cup ice water

For The Filling:

1/4 cup cornstarch
4 cups (1/2 inch thick) sliced fresh rhubarb (1 1/4 pounds)
8 ounces fresh raspberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 large egg egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Turbinado or demerara sugar, such as Sugar In The Raw

For the pastry, place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter. Pulse until the butter is pea sized. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Continue to hit the pulse button until all the dough comes together. Remove, wrap and chill for at least one hour in refrigerator.

For the filling, place 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl, whisk in the cornstarch and set aside. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the rhubarb, raspberries, granulated sugar, orange zest and orange juice. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until cool.


Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.


Roll the pastry into am 11-12 inch circle on a lightly floured surface and transfer to the prepared pan. Pile the raspberry rhubarb mixture onto the pastry, leaving a 1 1/2 border all around. Fold the border up over the filling, pleating if necessary, and pressing lightly. Brush the pastry with the egg wash, sprinkle just the pastry with the turbinado sugar and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the filling is thickened and bubbly. Cool for 30 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Who got the last piece? ME!

Who got the last piece? ME!


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Green Gazpacho Soup

When Jeff and I spent the night in Paris this week, we had dinner at a great bistro called “Substance.” We both ordered the green gazpacho soup as an appetizer; after one spoonful, we looked up at each other and said “wow…this is delicious!” Quellel domage that I neglected to ask the chef for the recipe. Upon returning home to LA, I was determined to recreate it. I scoured the internet for recipes that I thought might be similar, and came up with this one from All Recipes that was a near match!

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Ingredients:

2 cups diced honeydew melon

  • 1 English (seedless) cucumber, peeled and diced

  • 1 small onion, diced

 

  • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and chopped

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
    (adjust amount based on your desired level of spiciness)

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Blend honeydew melon, cucumber, onion, avocado, jalapeno pepper, garlic, white balsamic vinegar, lime juice, salt, and black pepper in a blender or food processor, until smooth.

Adjust seasonings if desired and chill before serving.

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Grilled Summer Salad with Cashew Dressing

This is a summer salad that will be on repeat all season. Easy to prepare, it is delicious with or without the chicken.

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Ingredients:

Cashew Dressing:

1/4 cup cashew butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Grade A maple syrup
1 medium clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
A few grinds of pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper


1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
(vegan option: blanched green beans)
Olive oil for brushing chicken, peaches and corn
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 medium size firm but ripe peaches, pitted and quartered
3 ears of corn husked and silks removed
6-7 ounces lettuce of choice, either Romaine, Butter or mixed greens
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
1/3 cup sweet and spicy pecans or candied pecans, such as Trader Joe’s prepared pecans.

Directions:

Prepare the dressing: Place 1/4 cup of water and all the ingredients in a high powered blender or hand held food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing will thicken as it sits, especially overnight.
Lightly brush the chicken with oil, salt and paprika and either grill on the BBQ over medium to medium high heat
OR
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a heated frying pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness.
Alternatively, you can use a precooked rotisserie chicken or cooked, cold leftover chicken.
Brush the peaches and corn with oil and grill on BBQ or in a cast iron grill pan for a minute or two on each side so that they have light grill marks. Then slice the peaches crosswise into thirds or fourths ad cut the corn kernels off the cob.
Slice the chicken crosswise into 1/2 inch slices or as desired.
Place the greens in a bowl. Add the corn, and drizzle the dressing lightly to coat and toss.
Arrange on a platter and top with the peaches, avocado and pecans. Drizzle with additional dressing and serve.

Serves 6

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Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Spinach (cheese optional)

This is a new twist on a family pasta favorite that I have been making with penne pasta since my kids were little. I updated it by adding wilted spinach and artisinal pasta, for a more grown up appeal.

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Ingredients:

salt and pepper
1 pound short pasta of your choice. I found this one at Trader Joe’s
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
1 bag or bunch of spinach washed and trimmed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan or DF cheese plus more for serving

Directions:

1) In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 13-`15 minutes
Drain
2) Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring until just golden, about 1 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano and crushed red pepper (if using), 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the tomato juices run..about 3 minutes.
3) Add the cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of parmesan or DF cheese to the skillet and toss to combine.
4) Transfer to a large serving bowl and toss in the spinach until the leaves are wilted.
Add more cheese to taste.
5) Serve immediately.

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Arugula Salad with Nectarines and Fresh Mozzarella

Here is the perfect summer salad…a variation on the classic Caprese but with all the sweetness of the season.

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Ingredients:

10 ounces of arugula ( I use the boxed or bagged organic baby leaves)
1/4 cup aged white balsamic vinegar (the thick and syrupy kind) or traditional aged kind, plus more to finish
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to finish
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 large firm but ripe nectarines
2 balls fresh mozzarella (packed in water) cut into 8 wedges) or small mozzarella balls packed in water.
Vegan/DF option: sliced avocado

Directions:

1) Place the arugula in a large bowl and drizzle with the 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and the olive oil. Toss to coat. Arrange the arugula on a platter and sprinkle with a few pinches of the sea salt.
2. Tuck the nectarine wedges into the arugula, evenly spacing them throughout the platter. Do the same thing with the mozzarella.
3) Drizzle the entire salad with equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with several pinches of the sea salt and add the freshly ground pepper to your liking.
4) Taste for seasoning. Using enough salt is key to bringing out the sweetness of the nectarines, so don’t be afraid to add another pinch.

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Summer Fruit Cobbler

This is my absolute favorite dessert! It takes absolutely no time to make and is so delicious that you will have it on repeat forever! This dessert can be made vegan and gluten free by substituting gluten free flour for regular flour, and non dairy margarine like Nature’s Balance, for butter. You can also substitute coconut sugar for brown sugar. No matter how you prepare it, the taste is superbly delicious!

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Ingredients:

  1. Whatever different fruits you like:
    I used blueberries, cherries, strawberries, pineapple and mango
    (about 5-6 cups for a 9X11 inch pan)
    1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
    1 cup flour or gluten free flour
    1 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    1/2 cup melted butter or dairy free margarine
    1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F

Chop bigger fruit into bite sized pieces, pit the cherries, and mix together the different fruits.

Mix the dry ingredients in bowl, then stir in melted butter and honey.

Cover the bottom of the baking pan with the fruit and sprinkle the cobbler topping over.

Bake in oven for 15 minutes. If the topping gets too brown, tent it with foil and bake until the fruit begins to bubble (about 10 minutes more).

Serve hot or cold, with or without vanilla ice cream!

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