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Peachy suggestions for your summer table

May 28th, 2015 No Comments


Peaches, my favorite fruit, are back in season! And while I love to just devour them straight from the fridge, we should have a little patience and incorporate them into some dishes.  A few of my favorites along with other ideas below.  The best thing about peaches, they don’t need much!

  

  • Appetizer: served on toast with salty blue cheese
  • Salad: chopped with arugula, avocado, toasted sliced almonds, and a tangy dressing. Protein of your choice!
  • Dinner: Peach chutney over chicken (Recipe is from Cardamon Hill, AMAZING Indian in Atlanta)
  • Dinner: Grilled with grilled shrimp or PORK CHOP!
  • Dinner: Sautéed with my pork tenderloin
  • Side: Grilled or lightly sautéed with green beans, toss with slivered almonds and sherry vinegar (via bon appetite)
  • Dessert: Don’t fuss over cobbler or pie. Roast sliced peaches with butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, and agave. Served with cashew ice cream, sprinkle sea salt. Or with homemade whippedcream. My easy instructions for both here.

 

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Hands down the best yogurt on the shelf

September 11th, 2014 No Comments

Greek Pastures Yogurt

 

Flying through the Whole Foods in NYC, I did a 180 when I spotted my FAVORITE yogurt on the shelf.  “Greek Pastures” used to be “Atlanta Fresh” so to my knowledge it was only sold there.  Until now!!!! Thankfully when I got back to Los Angeles, my little cups of protein were also stocked up in my local Whole Foods.

Besides tasting like dessert, they’re a healthy choice for  snack:

  • Made in small batches from grass-fed cows
  • 130 calories + 15 g of Protein + 11g of sugar per cup
  • The fresh berries are stewed in just a touch of sugar so there’s no “syrup”

I mix in a little plain yogurt so it’s not so sweet and increases protein.  Raw almonds add crunch and good fat.

My favorite of the flavors is the mixed berry.  Port wine and cherries I’ll eat for dessert :)  Unfortunately they no longer seem to be making Vanilla or Plain or Low-Fat….Check out their website for more info and locations.

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Home-made whipped cream for summer fruit desserts

September 5th, 2013 1 Comment

Fruit cobbler

 

 

Now class, what’s my cobbler missing in this picture?  Nope, not ice cream.  Whipped cream!  Better for you and easier to make.

Whether you eat the delicious fruits of summer raw or roasted, a dollop of whipped cream completes the dish by cutting the sweetness.  And why not make it when it’s SOOOO easy?!

In this How-To video I share my two secrets to delicious whipped creme.

As for what you make to go underneath it, I love simply roasted fruits.  This summer I’ve been crazy for peaches so that’s usually what makes it into the pan.

Roasted Peaches

All you need to do to the fruit you’re roasting:

Coat with a little melted butter, sugar of your choice (I use sucanot), cinnamon, vanilla, and a squeeze of fresh lemon if you have it.  Put it into an oven set at 450 and wait until the fruit softens to your liking.  The smaller you cut the fruit, the quicker it will cook.  I cut mine in all different sizes so they have different textures.  (Above, before picture.)

If you want to make an official cobbler, like the one I have above, or a pot de chocolat, to go with your whipped cream, check out my recipes here. 

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A healthy alternative to raisins

May 16th, 2013 No Comments

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I have become a raw trail mix junkie.  It’s so easy to carry in my purse and always proves to be energizing when I need a little pick me up.  My favorite mixes have cashews, goji berries, and mulberries.  I’ve never really thought about mulberries before.  I mean, why would you?  They blend in with everything else that’s going on.

The other day it dawned on me that these funny looking little guys might be good on their own.  And since they’re not colorful or very sweet, they would be a healthier treat than raisins.  Wouldn’t you know I was right :)

Mulberry nutrition facts

Serving is 1/3 cup

Read here about all of vitamins and antioxidants that are packing into mulberries.  You can see they’re also surprisingly a source of iron.  Scientific studies have shown potential health effects against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections.

Mulberries are just sweet enough to satisfy my mid-day sugar craving and now you know why I don’t feel guilty about eating a handful!

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5 Tips for sugar detox – my article in JEZEBEL!

March 3rd, 2013 No Comments

Sugar article JEZEBEL March 2013

Click the image to enlarge!

After a 3 day juice cleanse, eating vegan 2 days before and after, and abstaining from bread, dairy, coffee, and sweets for the duration, I feel great! Apples taste as sweet a cake now.

I’m going to ride the clean eating, nothing processed, sugar-free wave a long as I can. Cutting out dairy is hard because I rely on yogurt for protein often….and I miss the taste of a cappuccino but thankfully not the caffeine. It was a pleasant surprise to discover I’m not addicted to caffeine. I will admit I splurged on wedding cake last night and it was DELICIOUS, but I don’t feel like I need more. The only thing processed I’ll ingest is in my wine glass. Unfortunately white wine tastes too sweet so I opt for red, a healthier choice anyway. A this point, one glass is enough to get me tipsy so I’ll be a cheap date for a while.

After practicing what I preach in the article regarding water, I’m also fully hydrated for the first time in my life. I can’t say it makes me feel any different overall, but the water is very filling and surprisingly satisfying after a meal.

More on the cleanse, sugar, and my new coffee substitute when I return.

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3 Easy and Impressive Desserts

November 29th, 2012 No Comments

With all of the holiday cooking, dessert can either be your favorite thing to prepare, something you have to throw together, or an afterthought.  These three recipes are super easy and fast so you don’t have to stress to impress.  They’re also easy to serve in small, individual portions.

Should you make the cobbler or chocolate in a large dish, try serving in a martini glass.  It’s unique, unexpected, and makes your efforts look grand!

Drop-Biscuit Fruit Cobbler

Adpated from Bon Appetit August 2012

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons and 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 6 cups of any berries you want
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

** Serves 6.  You can cut in half or thirds.

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter; using your fingertips, incorporate until only pea-size lumps remain. Gently mix in yogurt. Knead in bowl until a biscuit-like dough forms, 5–7 turns (over-mixing will make dough tough).

Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons flour, berries, juice, and zest in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Pour into an 8x8x2″ glass baking dish or divide among six 6-ounce ramekins. Tear biscuit topping into quarter-size crumbles; scatter over berries.

Bake cobbler until juices are thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and deep golden brown, 20–25 minutes for ramekins or 45–50 minutes for baking dish. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

Pot Du Chocolate

From my friend Alexandra

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups scalded light cream (Alex: I use heavy cream)
  • 2 egg yolks (Alex: I don’t use them)
  • 3 tblsps. cognac, rum or bourbon (Alex: I use less but up to the cook!)

** Serves 6.

Preparation

1.  Scald creme by heating until just below boiling.

2.  Put all ingredients in the blender and liquefy.  Small servings are best since it is quite rich.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

** This can be made several days in advance.

Optional – My Homemade Whipped Cream

I brought it with my dessert and we added it to hers.  I like how it cut the richness of the chocolate.

  • Heavy cream – 1/2 or whole small carton
  • Vanilla
  • Agave (keeps cream smooth unlike sugar)

1.  Put beaters and metal or glass bowl in freezer for at least 20 minutes.

2.  Beat cream until it starts to stiffen.

3.  Add a little vanilla, like 1/2 teaspoon.  Add a squirt of agave.  Beat and taste before peaks form.  Add more agave and vanilla to taste and beat until peaks form.  Do not over beat.  Lasts only two days.

 

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My friend Jenn via Cooking Light Magazine

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted almond butter (chunky or creamy)
  • 3/4 sucanat or 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 oz dark chocolate (bar of 70% cocoa or greater)
  • Parchment paper (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients.
  3. Chop up chocolate and stir it in.
  4. Make little dough balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet (or coat the sheet heavily with spray).
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.

MR Additions to make bigger cookies: 1 tspn maple syrup, 1/2 over-ripe banana, mashed.  Stir in until smooth in batter.  These will spread so place only 6 on a sheet and decrease baking time to 9-10 min.

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Who says “No!” to homemade banana bread?

November 8th, 2012 No Comments

No one I know!

Now that it’s cold outside, banana bread is especially delicious to cuddle up with.

My problem in baking the bread has always been the middle; I could never get it cooked through without drying out the edges.  Finally, last week, I got it right with this recipe. I did use the chocolate chips, although next time I’ll leave them out or sub them for raisins.  I used sprouted whole wheat flour from whole foods (it’s course, you’ll see it) and doubled the bananas.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Bon Appetit February 2000

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped, toasted (just throw them in the oven as it preheats)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I doubled this)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips and walnuts in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.
Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of nut mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter over. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture. Cover with remaining batter. Run knife through batter in zigzag pattern.
Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool.

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REAL pumpkin pie for your holiday celebrations

November 1st, 2012 No Comments

By now you probably know I don’t like to eat or use canned/processed foods (and that my food photography sucks).  This has always been what’s held me back from making pumpkin pie.  That, and Aunt Judy makes her “famous” one at Thanksgiving.  But I never asked for her recipe because she uses canned pumpkin puree.

This year, with a request to make the classic, I decided to do it right, from real pumpkin to pie, from flour to crust, from cream to whipped creme.

Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar-Walnut Topping

Bon Appetit November 2009 via Epicurious

Servings:  I made one small pie and 4 ramekins.  It’s supposed to be one deep dish pie, but I like to spread the sweets amongst friends :)

Ingredients

Walnut Topping

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar (many reviewers said to use 1/2 cup, I used 3/4 cup to make up for lack of sweetness in fresh pumpkin)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin OR fresh roasted pumpkin (you need about 4 small ones)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (I used 1/2 creme, 1/2 2% milk)
Martha Stewart’s Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour (I use stone ground wheat) spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
My Whipped Creme
  • heavy whipping creme
  • agave syrup
  • vanilla

Preparation

For crust
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt.  Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles course meal.  Add water and pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed.  If needed you can add up to 2 more tablespoons of water, but no more than that.  On a work surface, knead dough and until it comes together.  Flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least one hour.  (MR NOTE: I divide dough into two discs and leave one in the freezer to use at a later date.  OR I freeze one and then just use the rest to press directly into the pie pan, without freezing.)
Position oven rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F.  To prebake the crust, place it on a piece of wax/parchment paper and expand it with your knuckles.  Martha then suggests to lift the paper to wrap the dough around a rolling pin to flatten.  I take pieces and press it into the pan with my fingers.  Mostly because I don’t have a rolling pin.  It actually works and creates a crumbly crust.

Line pan with crust and then line with  nonstick foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Gently remove foil and beans.  Cool crust completely on a rack. Maintain oven temperature.

For filling

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut open four small pumpkins, remove seeds, roast cut side down at 450 until the flesh is soft.  About an hour and a half.  Let pumpkin cool and then scoop out flesh from skin.  Put into a food processor, turn on high, and then add water or milk slowly.  I added a teaspoon of butter as well.

Whisk brown sugar, eggs, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in medium bowl. Add pumpkin and cream and whisk until well blended and smooth.

Pour filling into crust. Bake pie until filling is firm, covering crust with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle topping evenly over top of pie. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; continue to bake pie until filling is set and slightly puffed in center, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Tent with foil and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

For walnut topping

Combine all ingredients. Using on/ off turns, blend to fine crumbs.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

For whipped creme:

Put beaters and glass or metal bowl in freezer for 20 minutes.
Pour at least 1 cup heavy whipping creme into the chilled bowl.  Beat electric mixer on high until creme starts to stiffen.  Add about a teaspoon of agave and blend.  Add about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and blend.  Taste and add agave or vanilla if needed.  Blend until creme peaks but is not stiff.  DO NOT OVER-BEAT.
Lasts only 2 days.
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