Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mom's Chicken and Mushrooms Over Greens

My mom and I recently discovered a shared affinity for combining fresh, crunchy salad greens with warm, cooked foods. There is something about the texture combination and contrast that is very satisfying. This is a quick dish that she came up during our last visit. It was a huge hit.

Begin by mixing together the following marinade:
1 tbsp olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 minced clove garlic, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, dash of brown sugar plus a little sriracha or tobasco sauce to taste.

Use about half the marinade to cover 2 large chicken breasts. Bake at 350 until cooked through (give or take 25 minutes).
While the chicken is baking, quickly stir fry 1 chopped onion in 1 tbsp olive oil, then in a medium bowl, mix with 1-2 cups chopped mushrooms and the rest of your marinade.
In a medium sauce pan, add sliced chicken and the marinated veggies. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes over med-high flame. (There should already be sufficient enough juices to prevent any sticking and/or burning).
Create a generous bed of fresh leafy greens and herbs, then add the cooked chicken and mushrooms. Top with ample grated Parmesan cheese and honey-mustard vinaigrette (or dressing of your choice).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cauliflower and Green Olive White Pizza

This recipe was adapted from an old favorite cookbook of my uncle John's, Biba's Italian Kitchen. I took Biba's superb Cauliflower and Green Olive Salad recipe, spread it over a gluten free pizza crust then topped it with shredded cheese.. The result: a quick & healthy gourmet-style pizza!

Cauliflower and Green Olive Salad:
1 small head cauliflower (chopped, leaves + stems removed)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 large clove garlic, minced
10-15 pitted green olives, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by boiling cauliflower for about 20 minutes in salted water. While cauliflower is boiling, chop up the parsley, green olives and garlic. Drain cooked cauliflower, then toss with the other ingredients.

Now add the olive oil and red wine vinegar and toss again. Add salt and pepper to adjust the taste.

Preheat oven at 375. Place a pre-made gluten free pizza crust on an air-bake pan. Brush the crust with olive oil and cover with ample grated Parmesan cheese. Now add your prepared salad and top with shredded cheese of your preference.

 Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Carrot Raisin Salad with Pineapple and Maple Agave.

I've been recently obsessed with a simple, delicious Carrot Raisin salad made by my local food coop. Now that I am at last settling into my new home, I've found time to try to make my own version! I tailored it just a tiny bit, using a non-vegan mayo and a drizzle of maple agave which really gives it an interesting little pop.
This is officially the first dish I have created in my new, beautiful kitchen, by the way!
Enjoy (Vasya, was, of course, a good helper).

Begin by grating 3 large peeled carrots (or 6 smaller ones). In a large bowl, mix together grated carrots with 2/3 cups raisins and 1 packed cup well drained, crushed pineapple (roughly one 20oz tin).
Now mix together 1/3 cup lite mayo, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp celery seed and salt and pepper to taste. Grind or chop up 1/2 cup walnuts and set aside.

Mix the dressing in with the carrots, then gently fold in the walnuts using hands. Now, add a generous drizzle of maple agave to the top and stir again.
Refrigerate the salad overnight and serve cold.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Zucchini and Ricotta Pancakes

We had some extra ricotta and a large zucchini laying around the house that we did not want to go to waste! With some web-searching I happened upon this simple and lovely recipe. Adapted from Scandi-Home. 

Begin by whisking together in a large bowl: 1 large egg + 3 whites, 1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup 1% milk and 1/2 tsp olive oil. 

Grate 1 large zucchini and set aside. Now, in a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup chickpea flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Add grated zucchini to wet ingredients and mix well, then mix in the dry ingredients. Season the batter with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan, then spoon in medium sized dollops of batter. 

Cook on each side for a few minutes, until lightly browned then set aside on a plate.

Serve warm pancakes with sweet berry jam of choice. We used a lovely strawberry spread- made for a delightful sweet and savory dinner.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Rosemary

I owe this superb recipe to my partner in crime, Mr. Jacob Mashak. The recipe style (slightly edited by yours truly) and photography courtesy of Mr. Mashak. These are very flavorful and work as a wonderful side dish. I recommend these even to those who do not like Brussels sprouts!

Begin with one good sized stock of Brussels sprouts. Trim and halve the sprouts (or, keep them whole if they are small).

Mix together: a good pinch of good salt, several turns of the gains-of-paradise grinder (the one with the small, brown seeds, not the black peppercorns), a healthy pinch of salt, a bit of savory and a palm of rosemary, ground through the fingers.

Pour a little bit of olive oil in the glass bowl, then add your sprouts and spices. Stir well, then add some apple cider vinegar and balsamic, and stir again. Let sit for a while, stirring occasionally. Place face up on baking sheet, and drizzle some the remaining liquid onto them.

Broil (low) for 45-50 minutes (chips take FAR less time, watch them like a hawk), re-drizzling them about 2 more times.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Whole Wheat Almond Banana Bread with Coffee Cake Topping

I adapted this gorgeous recipe from the lovely Kate. I added some personal touches to make it my own..  As with most recipes I chose, the preparation is easy as can be, and only one mixing bowl is needed. The bread is the perfect mix of healthy and utterly scrumptious, perfect as a take along snack or an energizing grab and go breakfast.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup homemade applesauce with 1/2 cup honey (local is best!) 
In a smaller bowl,  mash well 2-3 very ripe bananas, then add them to the honey-sweetened applesauce and mix well.
Now add the following ingredients and mix until combined:
2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour plus 1/2 cup high fiber hot cereal ( I used Bob's Red Mill), 7-8 smashed toasted almonds.
Once mixed, add 1 tsp baking soda to 1/4 cup boiling water, stir quickly then add to the mixture and whisk until fully integrated.
Pour batter into a greased bunt cake pan or a 9 x 5 bread loaf pan. Now sprinkle a simple cinnamon and brown sugar topping over the batter.
Bake at 325 for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Transfer bread to a plate or wire rack and allow to cool for about 20 minutes prior to slicing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wild Blueberry Cherry Bran Muffins

A simple, healthy bran muffin recipe that can be made a little differently each time. In my latest version, I added a combination of dried wild blueberries and dried cherries. Currants, raisins, fresh blueberries or raspberries.... whatever strikes your fancy!

You Will Need:

3 cups bran cereal
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey or agave
1/2 cup apple sauce (homemade is best!)
2 cups buttermilk
2 egg whites
1/2 cup dried or fresh fruits of choice


In a large bowl, combine bran and dried fruits. Now pour 1 cup boiling hot water over the cereal and set aside to fully absorb and soften the mixture.

In a smaller bowl, mix very well all of the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

Once the cereal has softened, mix in all liquid ingredients: buttermilk, eggs, applesauce, and honey/agave.
Now add dry ingredients to wet and mix thoroughly. Generously spoon the mixture into pre-greased muffin tins, sprinkle with a few oats and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spinach and Feta No-Crust Quiche

This quiche has been a long time favorite of mine. It is inspired from a recipe in a wonderful old family cook book, titled 'Bakey Lane Soup Bowl', purchased many years ago by my grandparents at a little restaurant in Middlebury, VT.

In a large bowl, mix together 3 eggs + 3 egg whites into 1 pound of ricotta cheese. I prefer to use my hands to fully blend the two together.

In a pot, boil 14 oz of fresh, chopped spinach. Make sure to drain the spinach VERY well, then add it to your egg and ricotta mix. Blend thoroughly.

Chop up a medley of your favorite veggies. I used: 
3 white mushrooms, 1 large green bell pepper, 1 small onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 head fresh broccoli and 1 medium sized zucchini.

Now, stir fry the veggies in 2 tbsp olive oil until just cooked and softened.

Add cooked veggies to the spinach mixture, then add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese. Stir all ingredients together well and pour into a greased pie plate. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until edges of quiche are slightly browned and knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Asian Inspired Salad with Marbled Tea Eggs

This is a simple salad recipe I came up with recently. It is refreshing and delicious, but requires a few steps.
Begin by making traditional Chinese tea eggs. You will need: 
4-5 whole eggs, 8 bags of black tea, 3 tbsp Chinese 5-spice, and 1/4 cup soy sauce.
Add enough water to a medium saucepan to plunge your eggs into. Now add all ingredients to the water and bring to a roaring boil. 

When the eggs have hard-boiled, remove from saucepan then crumble the shells by carefully rolling them around on all sides. Return the eggs to the tea sauce, reduce flame and let simmer for at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare a colorful medley of choice for your salad. I used purple cabbage, red bell pepper, carrot, onion, garlic, apple and toasted, ground almonds.

Once the tea eggs have cooked, remove them from the pan and carefully peel the shells way  (take care not to leave any broken shells behind). The eggs will have a gorgeous marbled look. Slice to your liking.

In a separate bowl, stir together a simple ginger-honey-soy dressing:
1/4 cup honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp ginger paste,  1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil.

Over a bed of mixed greens, add your medley of veggies, nuts and fruits and the sliced tea eggs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with dressing on the side.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Orange Couscous

I came upon a version of this lovely recipe in a macrobiotics book a few years ago (this version is not truly macro but it is truly delicious!) This simple dish has become a go-to favorite. It is incredibly quick and easy to make and the result is elegant!

You will need:

1 cup whole-wheat couscous
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup light olive oil
4 1/2 teaspoons Umeboshi Plum Vinegar
2 pinches pink Hawaiian Sea salt  
8 dried apricots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dried currants or raisins
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 medium-sized onion, finely diced 
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts ( I sometimes sub with slivered almonds)


Measure couscous and put aside in a medium-sized bowl. 
In a pot, combine water, orange juice, oil, 4 teaspoons of the vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil then add the dried fruit and ginger. Let simmer for about 1 minute. Pour this liquid mixture over the dry couscous. After a quick stir, cover the concoction with a plate to hold in the heat.
The couscous will absorb the liquid in about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile,  using a smaller pot, bring about a cup of water to a boil and drop in the diced red onion. Let it boil for 20 seconds. Take the onion out with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and put aside. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the umeboshi vinegar to the onion and mix. 
When the couscous is ready, fluff it with a fork, and then add the onion and pine nuts.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yiayia's Aubergine with Tomato and Garlic

My Cypriot grandmother has always cooked the most amazing health conscious and delicious dishes. One of my favorites has always been a very simple aubergine and tomato dish.
 Start with 2 medium sized aubergines, 8 ripe tomatoes (of your choice) and  about 10 cloves of garlic (the more garlic the better!)
 Slice the aubergine to make 1/2 inch strips, then rub with salt on all sides and set aside to cure. Meanwhile, puree the tomatoes using a blender or food mill.
Mince approximately half of the garlic and thinly slice the rest.
 Cover the bottom of a large cooking pot with olive oil, then add the pureed tomatoes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then add 1/2 cup chopped parsley and the chopped garlic.
 Now add the aubergines and the sliced garlic to the sauce (try to insert garlic in between the pieces) Add a little water to fully cover the mixture. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until aubergines are soft and liquid has cooked down.
Serve and enjoy with rice pilaf, and a dollop of plain Greek yoghurt!