I recently attempted homemade hummus the first time and was so surprised at how easy it was to make! Thanks to @cookieandkate and all of her research, I really learned a lot. I started with her recipe for Best Hummus and modified to my taste. The first batch I used just chickpeas. My second batch was half chickpeas/half cannellini beans. Both versions were delicious!
FIRST, boil your chickpeas for 15-20mins with 1/2 tsp baking soda. You want the skins to start coming off and the chickpeas to be very tender.
SECOND, put 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 garlic clove in a food processor. Blend it up! This mixture can sit a minute while you get out 1/2 cup of tahini (I used Trader Joe's Organic Tahini). Add the tahini to the food processor and blend until really creamy, scraping down sides as needed. Next add 1tbsp of ice cold water. Continue blending until the mixture is pale, smooth and creamy.
FINALLY, add 1tsp of cumin, 1tsp lemon zest (optional) and the cooled chickpeas, Blend until super smooth and creamy, about a minute or two. Top with some more fresh cracked salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
After all the Holiday celebrations I'm definitely looking to lighten things up a bit! I ate so many salads when visiting Paris over the summer, that I learned a few tricks. My favorite new "trick" for making delicious salads... only dress the greens with a little olive oil, fresh cracked salt and pepper. Then add your toppings and maybe toss together!
These are the combinations pictured:
- Boiled Beets, Feta, Sliced Green Pear, Sunflower Seeds
- Sliced Raw Beets, Sliced Green Apple, Chopped Walnuts
- Chopped Cantaloupe, Halved Cherry Tomatoes, Quartered Hard Boiled Egg, Sliced Fresh Mozzarella, and one Slice of Jamon Iberico or Prosciutto
CRANBERRY SAUCE & CAMEMBERT BITES
STEP 1: Make a simple cranberry sauce: put a bag of cranberries, 1 1/2cup of water, 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice, 4-5 pitted dates, a little bit (1/4 cup?) of sugar, some orange zest and a little ground clove in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil; then lower the heat to medium (low)...you want to keep a soft boil going. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.
STEP 2: Prepare your crescent roll dough (any brand). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. You want the dough to be about 1/4" thick. Then cut into 2-3" squares. Spray your mini muffin tin, place each square into the muffin tin.
STEP 3: Cut small pieces of brie or camembert and put one piece into each piece of dough. Top with the cooled cranberry sauce.
STEP4: Bake at 350° for 15-20mins or until the dough is a little browned.
HUMMUS & PARSLEY SALAD
Put your favorite hummus in a medium sized bowl. Top with fresh parsley salad, taking a little out of the center to make the wreath shape. I topped with a few pomegranate seeds to make it more festive.
PARSLEY SALAD: basically tabouleh without the grain: chopped parsley, diced cucumber, diced shallot, diced tomato, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, s&p to taste.
ONE TIP: Don't make this parsley salad too "juicy". It will do your delicious thick hummus into soup! :-)
Preheat oven to 350°. Score zucchini (like you’re dicing an avocado) and
scoop out insides into a large bowl.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat some olive oil. Add zucchini and sauté until tender, 6
to 8 minutes, then pour in marinara.
Place hollowed zucchini on a large baking sheet. Spoon on sauce, then top with
mozzarella and mini pepperoni (optional). Bake until zucchini is tender and cheese is golden,about 15 minutes.
Garnish with basil.
4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise
homemade marinara sauce (diced tomatoes simmered with olive oil, salt, little minced garlic and oregano)
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1 c. mini pepperoni (optional)
Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways! ;-) Every year around Chanukah I think, eh,
I don't need to make any latkes this year...and then I do...and I remember just how delicious
they are! I've played with some variations, mixing in some shredded sweet potato or making
a mixture of shredded root vegetables, but nothing quite satisfies like the original simple
This year instead of variations on the actual latke, I decided to try some different toppings:
homemade apple sauce, homemade tatziki, and a piece of smoked salmon topped with a light and refreshing shaved brussel sprout salad. Rough recipes below...which do you prefer??
about 2 cups packed shredded white potato - i don't peel them, but I do drain them a little
1/4 cup grated onion - not drained
1/4 cup matzo meal (or matza ball mix, whatever is on hand)
2 tbsp avocado oil (or grapeseed oil) - more for frying
salt to taste
Mix it altogether and start frying. Place a spoonful in the pan, flatten to a pancake and let brown before flipping. I used a medium high heat and cooked about 3-5mins on each side.
TWO TIPS: Let each pancake set a minute or two before touching. No need to shuffle them around too much...this way they are more likely to stay together.
Quarter your favorite kind of apples, remove the seeds/stems and put them in a pot with some water...that's it! This time I used macintosh, macoun and one red delicious for color. I put them in a pot with a few inches of water, brought them to a boil and let it all simmer for somewhere between 30mins to 1 hour. Basically just cook the apples until they are easy to mash. You can mash them up and keep the skins in for a chunky, hearty sauce, or you can put them through a food mill for the classic texture.
ONE NOTE: an apple or two with some nice red skin will add a lovely hue to your finished sauce.
It's easier than you think!
0% Fage Yogurt
peeled and grated cucumber (with juices)
fresh minced garlic
I used one 8oz container of yogurt mixed with a couple tbsps of grated cucumber, a dash of lemon juice, one tsp of fresh minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix together and set aside to allow the flavors to come together.
BRUSSEL SPROUT SALAD
This is a very simple salad. I shredded a bunch of brussel sprouts and tossed with some chopped walnuts, green apple, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Add fresh cracked salt and pepper to taste and let marinate.
(Serve with a slice of nice, not too salty, Nova/Smoked Salmon)
A friend requested a post of pretty avocado toast… SO, here it is! Keeping it simple with a splash of fresh lemon juice, fresh cracked himalayan pink salt and some cayenne pepper. I mash these ingredients together and spread it on some crunchy toasted Ezekiel Bread. To make the toast “pretty”, I top it with some nice slices of avocado, lemon zest and minced pickled radishes. It tastes delicious...but does it look pretty?? Whad'ya think?!
Ceviche is so simple and so fresh. Though it is great any time of year (if you ask me), its just perfect on a hot summer day with light/crisp white wine.
For those of you not familiar with this delicacy, ceviche is simply citrus cured fish. I usually use fresh lime juice with a splash of fresh lemon juice, but that’s just my preference. I’m sure you can play around with different citrus. Let me know how it turns out! Ok, so back to this recipe. I really don’t know which “style” ceviche this is considered, so lets just call it the light and tasty one. I typically use white fishes (fluke, flounder, sea bass, porgy and scallops even work well) which again, is just my preference. Here are the ingredients, adjust to suit your palette, but remember, you do need enough citrus to “cook” the fish.
fresh fish fillet
fresh squeezed lime juice
fresh squeezed lemon juice
minced red onion
halved grape tomatoes (and/or minced yellow, orange bell pepper)
thin sliced scallion (or cilantro or parsley)
This time I used fluke, probably around 1/4lb fillet for a light lunch. I juiced one lime and used just enough to cover the fish, covered the bowl with seran wrap and put it in the fridge to cook/marinate. The fish is done when it is white (if using a white fish) all the way through. I recommend marinating the fish for at least 8 hours or as long as 24 hours. I combined all of the ingredients about 20 minutes before it was time to serve. Mix and match the veggies and herbs, but keep it simple so the fish remains the star of the show!
Inspiration can be found anywhere or from anyone, you never know! I recently made a trip to my favorite hair salon to get myself a new ‘do. My hair stylist, Christine, and I will often chat while she is working her magic. We have touched on many topics, but will almost always spend some time chatting about travel and food… two of our favorite things. This time I mentioned I saw one of her posts featuring a delicious looking fresh tuna salad... which I found out she made for her family that weekend. It looked amazing. Her and I both feel the same way about the Mediterranean diet and how we belong there…you know in the Mediterranean climate with all of the fresh fish and produce ;-) Anyways, Christine’s photo and our chat completely inspired me to create my own version of this dish.
Luckily, Seatuck Fish Company at the Union Square Farmers Market often has tuna. I bought about 1/4lb, maybe a little more. ...I really just picked a smaller piece that looked pretty. I also picked up some fennel, yellow & red grape tomatoes and a red onion.
Typically I will simply season/sear my tuna: fresh cracked salt and pepper on both sides right before cooking and just a minute or two of cook time on all sides leaving it very rare in the center. For this dish however, it is better the tuna is cooked to a medium rare…light pink in the center.
Here is a rough recipe to get you started!
fresh tuna steak
splash of balsamic vinegar
fresh squeezed lemon juice
optional (but recommended) garnish: chopped fennel frond; lemon zest
Cook the tuna to a medium rare, set aside to cool and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Prep your veggies: thinly slice some fennel and red onion; halve some yellow and red grape tomatoes, halve some kalamata olives (or green olives).
Flake the cooled tuna, mix with the veggies and top with a generous amount of olive oil, splash of balsamic and some fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
Season with fresh cracked salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Even on a rainy day...can't keep me away! Some photos from a recent trip to the market. Hope they inspire you to get to your local market too ;-)
My mom would make bean salad often in the spring and summer. This salad is definitely a picnic staple for me. The only “problem” was we never had access to fresh wax beans (aka white string beans). We always prepared this salad with canned green beans, canned wax beans, canned red kidney beans and fresh sliced vidalia onion. This version is delicious… However, I’ve now started making bean salad during that wonderful time of year when green string beans AND white string beans are both available at farmers’ markets! Using fresh beans requires just two additional steps: snapping the ends of the beans and blanching the beans. Otherwise I prepare the salad as I normally would.
MOM’S BEAN SALAD:
1 can cut green beans
1 can cut wax beans
1 can red kidney beans
½ vidalia onion, thinly sliced
FRESH BEAN SALAD:
½ lb each white and green string beans
1 can red kidney beans
½ vidalia or red onion, thinly sliced
equal amounts (roughly ½ cup)
mild oil (canola, grapeseed, veggie)
(NOTE: I have since modified the dressing using a little less than ¼ cup sugar and about ¼ cup oil. Both versions of this salad have been enjoyed by all.)
HARD BOILED EGGS & SEARED ASPARAGUS
Just wanted to pass along one of my latest lean and clean snack ideas! It’s very light and satisfying: 1-2 hard boiled eggs with 2-3 spears of seared asparagus.
EGGS: I swear by the boil and turn off the heat method for hard boiled eggs. Basically place the eggs (gently) in a pot. Fill the pot with enough water to just cover the eggs. Turn the heat to high. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the burner and let the covered pot sit for 10 full minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Run the eggs under cold water to help ease the peeling. Season with fresh cracked pepper.
ASPARAGUS: Trim the bottoms of the asparagus. Toss them with olive, some granulated garlic and sear on a medium-high heat. Give them a quick cook leaving the spears crisp and slightly browned.
This dish speaks for itself!
For the Fish
Preheat your oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the flounder fillets "skin side" down. Sprinkle with a little panko, grated pecorino, some lemon zest and just a dash of fresh cracked pink himalayan salt & pepper. Top it off with a drizzle of olive oil.
Bake for 10-15 mins. I took it out at 12 mins...so keep an eye on it!
For the Salad
I chose to combine frisée and radicchio. They both hold up well and have a bright and refreshing flavor. Toss your chopped lettuces with a little olive oil, lemon juice salt & pepper.
Let "marinate" while the fish cooks. You can obviously play around with the dressing, but do keep it on the lighter side.
Once the fish is cooked, plate immediately and top with the salad. Enjoy!
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups chopped rhubarb (1/2" thick slices)
a little under 1/3 c flour
1/4 c sugar (if you like sweet pies, add up to 1 cup)
1 tbsp butter, to dot throughout the filling
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water (for glaze)
I used Oronoque Orchards Organic Deep Dish frozen pie shells...and I'm not ashamed about this! :-)
Bake at 425° for 15 mins. Reduce heat to 375° and continue to bake for 30-45 mins, or until the pie is golden and the juices are bubbling.
Let cool completely on a wire rack…let the juices gel.
...because how can you not make tomato, mozzarella and basil salad when you just got some fresh sungold cherry tomatoes at the farmers' market. Made for a perfect lunch!
sungold cherry tomatoes, halved
red grape tomatoes, halved
mini bocconcini balls
good quality olive oil
fresh cracked pink himalayan salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients to your taste. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can marinate. Buon Appetito!
Farmers' Markets are a bustlin...Go Go Go!!
pictured below (top to bottom, left to right): ramps, breakfast radishes, fiddelhead ferns, lilacs, rhubarb,
sungoldherry tomatoes, apple blossoms
Cauliflower is so versatile, light and tasty! I've been experiment with a few different recipes. Here is my take on a cauliflower soup...and I think it came out pretty good! I finished off my serving with a little truffle oil. This added a little decadence to this light soup.
half a head of cauliflower, chopped
1 large garlic clove, sliced
½ white onion, diced
optional: truffle salt, truffle oil
Steam the cauliflower until tender, not too mushy. Sauté the sliced onion in a little olive oil on a medium heat for a few minutes. Add the garlic. Continue to sauté until fragrant. Put everything in a blender. Add water or your favorite vegetable stock until desired consistency (not too thick!) Season with fresh cracked pepper and himalayan pink salt. Return the cauliflower mixture to the pot and simmer the for 15-20 minutes, I added some truffle salt to my portion and topped it off with a little truffle oil for good measure. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley (or chive, or scallions) to add some color and more fresh flavors. DELICIOUS!
This is a quick easy side. You can easily make it an entrée with the addition of salad or your favorite protein.
1 package Frozen spinach
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 8oz container greek yogurt
1 tbsp butter
fresh cracked salt & pepper to taste
top with grated pecorino romano (about 1 tbsp)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix it all together and place in a prepared casserole dish (sprayed with non stick or greased with olive oil). Bake until everything is melted together.
EGG WHITE OMELETTE WITH FRESH SLICED AVOCADO
One of my go to, feel good, fresh start meals (though good anytime of day) :
Egg white omelette with fresh diced scallion, a little sharp cheddar cheese and a side of perfectly ripe avocado sprinkled with cayenne & fresh lemon juice
PRODUCT ALERT: Trader Joes Organic New Zealand Cheddar cheese (blue label) never disappoints. They sell it in a brick or sliced, I usually buy the brick.
MUSSELS WITH WITH WINE & GARLIC
When the weather gets sunny/warm and I start smelling those fresh spring breezes, I crave seafood like crazy! Lucky for me, I have a fish stand at the farmers market and they're back for the season. They provide great quality fish and their shellfish is always cleaned very well.
This is such a simple delicious dish, I hope you give it a go.
MUSSELS & SCALLOPS WITH WHITE WINE AND GARLIC
fresh, cleaned mussels, white wine (preferably something on the dryer side that you enjoy),
2-3 cloves of sliced garlic, sliced onion, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp butter
optional: add a little fresh diced tomato near the end of the cooking time.
Heat the butter and olive oil on a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic and continue to sautée until just fragrant (a few minutes). At this point I add my wine, 1/2 - 1 cup and bring to a boil. Add the cleaned, drained mussels, stir to combine and cover. Give the pot a good shake now and again to avoid burning the ones on the bottom. Cook until all mussels are opened. Top with fresh chopped parsley and serve with good quality baguette to soak up all of the delicious juices!!
So...this happened... I just finished a 3 day juice/soup cleanse the other day. JUS by Julie is run out of Brooklyn which was one of the reasons I decided to go with her company. It's always nice to keep it local! Let me first say that all of the juices and soups I had were delicious (honest)! Everything tasted fresh made. You could tell you were eating quality food with no additives.
The cleanse itself is very easy to follow. Information on what to do before, during and after is provided in their pamphlet, as well what to do if you really must have other foods during the cleanse (i.e. recommending eating raw/steamed green veggies or egg whites). My one big issue with the juices, included in my package, was that they were all pretty sweet... therefore having a fair amount of sugar in each one. When added up, it's quite a bit of sugar intake for one day. I think I was just expecting more of a mix. Meaning most juices being vegetable forward (less sugar) and a couple sweet treats along the way. Though I was uncomfortable with the amount of sugar, I still wanted to give this cleanse a try.
The hardest part for me ended up not really having to meal plan or prep food. I didn't realize how much a part of my life food prep, farmers markets and cooking were, until I had to spend just 3 days without! ha Be sure to drink lots of water during the cleanse, more than you normally would. I found the one day I was slacking on water, I would get abdominal cramping. So be sure to drink up! Overall this cleanse isn't too "tortuous" because you have the addition of satiating, tasty soups as well as the juices.
I ended up sticking with all my HIIT and weights classes for the 3 days, mainly to counter the sugar/carbs consumed, but also because I love my classes! Because of this, I ended up being pretty hungry in the evenings. A couple stalks of celery or sliced cucumber paired with lots of water curbed my hunger until morning though :-)
Once I finished the cleanse, I did notice a flatter belly as well as a little more energy in the morning, which is always nice! This was a good challenge for me in many ways, but overall I don't think I'd do another one. But if you're interested in cleansing, I would definitely check out JUS by Julie’s customizable cleanses. This way you can pick all of the juices according to your taste and preference!
This time I only used baby bella mushrooms, but I highly recommend adding in some king oyster and/or white button mushrooms as well. Sauté the minced mushrooms on a medium-high heat with a little extra virgin olive oil. Once they are less "watery", mix in the rest of the ingredients: fresh diced red tomato, sliced garlic, minced shallots, a dash of vegan worcestershire sauce and a splash of water. Cook at a simmer for 30-45 minutes. The longer it simmers the better. If it gets too dry, you can add a little (like a tbsp or so) water. And as always season with fresh cracked salt and pepper to taste.
To keep this meal a bit lighter, I served the sauce over raw zucchini noodles and a little whole wheat spaghetti. I keep the zucchini noodles raw because i prefer a little crunch. The heat from the pasta and sauce will cook them enough.
***And if you happen to have basil olive oil on hand....I recommend a little drizzle along with some extra fresh cracked pink himalayan salt.***
SEARED FLUKE & GREEN TOMATO SANDWICH
Instead of bread I prepared some baked green tomatoes. It worked out beautiful! Definitely a knife and fork kind of sandwich, but highly recommended. I simply prepped my sliced green tomatoes as I would my eggplant for eggplant parmesan. Dredge in white whole wheat flour, shake off the excess, dip in almond milk/egg mixture, coat with panko. place on parchment lined baking sheet. I baked them in a preheated 425º oven and kept an eye on them until golden brown and crispy.
First things first, set your oven on preheat to 425º.
Then get prepping all of the fall veggies you just picked up at your farmers market! I cut up some carrots, butternut squash and purple cauliflower this time. Chop all of your vegetables, drizzle with a little olive oil, toss and lay evenly on a lightly oiled baking sheet/dish. Cook until tender... somewhere between 25-45 minutes, depending on the vegetable and the size of your chop. Toss the vegetables a couple times throughout the cooking time.
I'm still seeing tomatoes at my farmers' market so I'm taking full advantage! Recently picked up a few varieties of smaller tomatoes and decided to try an oven roast. They came out delicious.
I added them to pastas, salads and just ate them plain as a snack. Thank you Smitten Kitchen for the idea!
I kept my version very simple.
Preheat your oven to 250º. Toss the tomatoes with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Place in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. The cooking will vary depending on your tomatoes and oven. My oven is a bit off, so my cooking time ended up around 3-4 hours.
Don't forget to save some tomatoes for a light salad with some extra virgin olive oil, basil and a little salt and pepper!
Thanks to Alton Brown we can all always count on making perfect rice!! If you have the time this is my all time favorite way to make rice now. I use brown jasmine or brown basmati rice. It comes out perfect every time. The best part, our home will smell like delicious toasting rice!
BAKED BROWN RICE (slightly tweaked from Alton's Baked Brown Rice recipe)
brown rice of your choice (I use Trader Joe's Brown Jasmine Rice)
1 tbsp butter or olive oil (I omit this ingredient)
1 tsp fresh cracked salt (I omit this ingredient)
aluminum foil (Alton calls for heavy-duty, I just use two sheets of regular)
Preheat oven to 375
Measure out ingredients based on your package stovetop cooking instructions.
Trader Joe's Brown Jasmine Rice calls for:
2 cups water
1 cup rice
Place the rice into an 8" square glass baking dish.
Bring the water (butter/olive oil and salt if using) to a boil in a small pot.
Once the water comes to a rolling boil, pour it over the rice, stir to combine and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, remove from the oven, fluff the rice (scraping the bottom) and enjoy