Roasted Oatmeal “Streusel”

Roasted Oatmeal "Streusel"

Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with Roasted Oatmeal “Streusel” 

There are those of us who try to eat oatmeal everyday for its heart-healthy benefits. And truthfully, that oatmeal routine can get quite boring. But here, old dull oatmeal becomes an inviting way to begin an awesome day. The idea for this “streusel” comes from energy-packed breakfast bars. It’s kind of like a deconstructed breakfast bar on top of yogurt. And roasted oatmeal is a nice change from the “wet” version.

By the way, do you think having to eat bacon everyday could get boring too? Hmmm…

Good morning! How do you take your coffee?

Good morning! Please join me for breakfast. How do you take your coffee?

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Cheers To A Healthy 2014: Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Gravy

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Gravy
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Gravy: Two Ways

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Gravy
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Gravy: Two Ways

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier in 2014? Think you have to give up pasta and creamy sauces?

Here’s a technique that produces a super-satisfying pasta dish that’s lower in calories and saturated fats, higher in fiber, and spiked with vegetables. Pureed cauliflower is the base for a thick smooth sauce where roasted garlic adds rich mellow flavor. Pair whole-wheat pasta with an equal amount of your favorite vegetables, then toss with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Gravy. Interested in gluten-free or low-carb? Simply leave out the pasta altogether, and try this luxurious cauliflower gravy ladled over veggies.

Say good-bye artery-clogging Fettuccine Alfredo and calorie-laden Macaroni & Cheese, and say hello to their svelte cousin…

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Gravy Recipe

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Spinach & Chickpeas in a Bengali Mustard Sauce

Spinach & Chickpeas in a Bengali Mustard Sauce

Several months ago I came across a recipe for “Salmon in Bengali Mustard Sauce” in Saveur magazine. I’ve made it over and over with different fish and various vegetables. The preparation is simple and the flavor combination is stellar. My modified spinach version makes a fabulous vegan entree spooned on top of basmati rice – or a fragrant vegetable side dish to fish, meat, or chicken.

Spinach & Chickpeas in a Bengali Mustard Sauce Recipe

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A Pasta Made Exclusively from Black Beans?

black bean spaghetti, heirloom tomato, garlic, basil

black bean pasta
heirloom tomato, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, olive oil

The noodles are marketed as “Organic Black Bean Spaghetti Shape” but the shape is actually closer to a cross between linguini and capellini. A long flat skinny noodle. The flavor is definitely reminiscent of beans, and the tooth is chewy in a pleasant way.

I was not expecting to be impressed, but it turns out that this pasta substitute is actually good. Really good. Love the creamy black color, al dente texture, mild sweet bean-y flavor, and earthy aroma. I think my gluten-free friends will be extra happy at our next Italian-themed dinner party…

black bean pasta recipe

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Calabacitas with Hatch Chiles

Calabacitas with Hatch Chiles

Calabacitas with Hatch Chiles

Grilled Yellow Squash, Roasted Hatch New Mexico Chiles
White Corn, Onion, Oregano, Cumin

Growers say that the intense sunlight and cool nights in this valley result in a uniquely flavored chile. They have been roasting up a storm in Hatch, New Mexico. And we are fortunate that our local Bristol Farms carries this fresh crop of Hatch chiles. Unlike other chiles, those grown in Hatch, New Mexico are only available for about 6 weeks each year during the months of August and September, and only as long as the fresh chile supply holds out.

My adaptation of the traditional New Mexico side dish calabacitas comes from my favorite New Mexico blogger, MJ of MJ’s Kitchen. Her Southern and Southwestern dishes are second to none and she is an expert on chiles!

Since we are sadly at the tail end of the Hatch season this year you’ve got to hurry to make calabacitas with fresh Hatch chiles. Luckily Anaheim, New Mexico, poblano chiles or even frozen Hatch chiles can be substituted in this recipe. But try remember to look for Hatch chiles next growing season, their flavor is really extraordinary…

Calabacitas with Hatch Chiles

Calabacitas with Hatch Chiles Recipe

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Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Palate Pleaser: Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary

Fresh ripe California Black Mission Figs are frozen overnight then run through my trusty vintage Champion Juicer. The result is pure fig, but you would swear it is gelato. The texture is extraordinarily creamy and custardy. I add a whisper of rose water to add to the mystery. Then the frozen fig is topped with salty marcona almonds, fresh piney rosemary, sweet rose crystals and a slice of fresh California Kadota fig. Petite glasses of this palate pleaser are presented on a platter lined with fresh fig leaves and rose petals.

Frozen Fig with Rose, Almond, Rosemary Recipe

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A Rejuvenating Chicken Soup for Summer’s Sweltering Days

Samgyetang - Korean Stuffed Chicken Soup with Ginseng
Samgyetang 삼계탕

A Rejuvenating Korean Soup
Whole Chicken Stuffed with Sweet Rice, Pine Nuts, and Garlic

In a Broth Simmered with Ginseng, Ginger, Red Dates, and Gingko Nuts

At first it might seem counter-intuitive to serve a pot of hot steaming soup on summer’s most sweltering days. But if one considers the ingredients in samgyetang, the popular Korean ginseng chicken soup, the choice starts to make sense.

Ginseng’s properties are said to be rejuvenating and revitalizing, a booster for the libido as well as the immune system. Hot soup is said to help regulate body temperature in oppressively hot weather. The energy promoting quality of ginseng plus the soup’s rich nutrients help to regain the loss of stamina on super sultry days.

Medicinal attributes aside, I instantly fell in love with this soup. I adore the presentation, where a whole chicken fits snugly into a pot surrounded with mysterious-looking vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Sweet short-grain rice with pine nuts and garlic cooks inside the chicken, a technique I had never seen before.

After an hour of simmering, an intriguing chicken soup is served in its own pot. The sweetness of the jujubes, the earthy slightly-bitter ginseng, and the glutinous rice produce a uniquely flavored somewhat cloudy soup. Diners can place pieces of chicken, rice, and all the accompaniments into their own bowls, then ladle the hot broth over the top. Salt, pepper, and scallions are served on the side so each diner may season the soup to his liking.

Samgyetang – Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup Recipe

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healthy & light: zucchini “pappardelle” with avocado “cream”

healthy & light: zucchini "pappardelle" with avocado "cream"

healthy & light: zucchini “pappardelle” with avocado “cream”

In preparation for my kitchen remodel next month, I was speaking with one of the designers at the kitchen showroom …I wanted to show her the remodel of my bar area from last summer so I pulled up my blog post titled “Construction Dinner.” In addition to photos of my bar remodel, the post also contains a recipe for Orecchiette with Warm Avocado Cream. While interested in the bar, she was also intrigued by the avocado cream. She loved avocado but was trying to keep carbs to a minimum. So I suggested to try it with zucchini instead of pasta. If I was suggesting she try my recipe, I thought that I had better test it myself first!

Stephanie – definitely try it with the zucchini!

zucchini “pappardelle” with avocado “cream” recipe

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cold soba noodles with eggplant and mango

ottolenghi soba noodle with eggplant and mango

cold soba noodles with eggplant and mango
red onion, basil, cilantro
garlic chile lime dressing, peanut and lime garnish

This is Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s dish. He says, “It is the refreshing nature of the cold buckwheat noodles, the sweet sharpness of the dressing and the muskiness of the mango that make it so pleasing.” Hard to argue with that.

I made a few minor changes, including grilling the eggplant instead of frying in sunflower oil. And I added peanuts. The photo of this dish in his book Plenty looks like a mess, a delicious mess. Initially I plated it in the Taste With The Eyes style, but it looked too fussy, so I dumped the whole lot onto another platter, to mess it up, just like Ottolenghi. Not only did I think the noodle dish was spectacular, but I learned a lesson in plating too. Sometimes disheveled is better.

cold soba noodles with eggplant and mango recipe

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Hello? Summer calling…

 summer salad, corn, tomato couscous, basil lemon dressing
Hello Summer Salad

Israeli Couscous, Corn, Heirloom Tomato, Zucchini, Jalapeño
Chunky Lemon Basil Dressing, Chervil

I forget how much I like Israeli couscous. It’s airy, toasty, and kind of fun. Perfect for summer. This roasted pasta is shaped like little balls and popular with kids in Israel where it’s called ptitim, we know it here as Israeli couscous. It makes a pasta salad that’s light and not too pasta-y. Vegetables are the star, but the couscous makes it into a meal. A beautiful colorful healthy meal for a hot summer day…

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