1.31.2011

Butternut Squash Soup...

& a Simple Salad!

I've been getting a lot of use out of my Immersion Blender. I just love it. So simple now to make wonderful thick soups without the use of fattening cream or burning myself to death by pouring hot mushy veggies into a blender 1 cup at a time! This recipe is great because I love how savory it turned out. I am not a fan of the Butternut Squash Soups of the world that taste like pumpkin pie. You won't find cinnamon or nutmeg in this version!

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

What you'll need:
2 tbs olive oil
1 large yellow onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 inch fresh ginger (peeled and minced)
1 butternut squash (skin peeled, seeded and cubed)
2 medium-large yellow potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 teaspoon dried sage (add more to taste)
2 tsp fresh chopped thyme (add more to taste or as garnish)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
About 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
(the goal is to have enough to cover the vegetables in your pot so it depends on pot size. You can just add water if you run out of stock but do mind your seasonings if that is the case!)


What you'll do:
Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add in onions and cook until softened- about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Cook another 5 minutes (don't let them burn!). Add squash, potatoes and herbs and a little salt and pepper to start. Cover the vegetables with the stock/water. Just until it covers the top veggies. Bring soup to a boil and let simmer for 30 minutes covered, or until the veggies are soft. Turn off heat. In meantime make the salad below. When soup has just cooled a bit (but still hot) blend the soup until it is a nice smooth consistency.

The Salad
So simple. Just finely shop cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Add to some chopped romaine. To get your protein add your favorite beans. I love butter beans! I used a lovely red wine vinaigrette to dress this one.

1.28.2011

I'm Still Here!

I haven't gone missing, just very busy. Traveled for work this week and have had a lot of school work and blog design work! Yippee! I will share my latest designs soon. If you are interested in a blog refresh see my rates here.

On this lonely (for me anyway) Friday I have some tasty pictures. It's my room service at The Standard in Los Angeles from my business trip. Not a fan of the hotel... mainly because it has carpet (gross) and Asian girls in underwear lying down in a glass cage above reception playing on laptops (GROSS)...but definitely a fan of this Seared Tuna Salad and their face cream! All of these things are unrelated in case you were wondering... pervs. Happy Weekend to all!


1.21.2011

Roasted Taco Salad

I'm excited to be posting a Taste & Create recipe today. It's a really fun website where you get a partner and create a dish from their website! I had the pleasure of picking a tasty option from Nicole's For the Love of Food site. She has great recipes and photos to boot. I love a great chef who can capture photos so well!

I chose to create her Roasted Taco Salad. I never thought to roast the ingredients but boy was that a smart move! It created such a rich fire roasted taste, especially in the tomatoes. This recipe is also great because you can give yourself a little freedom in the toppings! I've made my adaptations pink.



Roasted Taco Salad:


What you'll need:

2 pints cherry tomatoes
2 Onions, diced
1 Jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
4 Tomatillos, chopped
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon cumin
400 grams cooked Kidney Beans (or your favorite bean), drained
1 Cup hard Goat Cheese (or your favorite cheese)
2 Cups cooked Rice
1/2 an Avocado, chopped
2 Cups Lettuce, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Guacamole
Sour Cream




What you'll do:

Preheat oven to 218°C (425°F).

On a baking sheet, combine the cherry tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, tomatillos, and olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from baking sheet from oven and pour the drained beans on top of the vegetables and mix. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, cumin and then all the cheese – return to oven. Bake another 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Top your cooked rice off with a few spoon fulls of the bean and vegetable mixture, then layer on the rest of your toppings: avocado, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, cilantro and sour cream. Enjoy! Makes 4 servings.

1.18.2011

{Sniffle} {Sniffle}

Hi everyone! I've come down with either strep or the flu. Not sure which as I am going to the doctor after I write this post. Aches, fever, sore throat and the the beginnings of a cough. I didn't know what to write today at first, but then I remembered that whenever I am sick I like to use certain natural remedies to help ease the pain until I can see a Dr. Until I see one, I am not a fan of over the counter medicine so I like to follow these practices until I can be seen.

FEVER: Elderflower, Echinacea, Cinnamon and Thyme are great herbs to take a fever down. You can add these items to teas and soups. Sometimes the best remedy for me to ease the pains and chills of a fever is to sweat it out. Hot baths, bundling up, and even cooking that soup over a hot stove sweats it out for me. When you are sweating it out, a cold compress can help if you are just too hot!

SORE THROAT: I've never found a better remedy than spicy soup from a Thai restaurant. You know, the brothy one (Tom Yum) that comes with vegetables, noodles and shrimp? Mom's chicken soup is good too, but the add of super spicy peppers in this broth really kick it! And tea with honey and  lemon of course. Go for GREEN TEA when ill, and add extra fighting power too (like the herbs).

ACHES AND PAINS: Chamomile and Ginger tea is a great remedy for aches and pains. They have a soothing quality that really eases the typical aches we get when a flu creeps up!

CONGESTION: Sometimes when we think we are feeling better that is just when congestion rears its ugly head. believe it or not, all of that mucus is your body's way of getting rid of the toxins! So, in my mind medicines that make you stop creating the mucus are preventing you from ridding the toxins. Maybe... or that's just my conspiracy theorist mind at work! Neti pots really do the trick when battling music in your nose. It's scary to think about, but it really does work!

{photo here}

Other great foods to add to your meals when you are sick are: lots of garlic, ginger, onions, herbs (like thyme and sage), hot peppers, honey, lemons and fresh fruits.

Some supplements: Go for supplements like Zinc and Vitamin D when fighting off an illness. Also remember to EAT your vitamins. Zinc look to tofu, chicken, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils and nuts. Vitamin D go for salmon, tuna, milk (but if congested try to stay away from dairy!) and if adventurous have a tablespoon of code liver oil!

Be well everyone and always see a Dr. These are not tips to avoid the Dr, but rather helpful hints for when you can't get to one just yet.

1.12.2011

Salmon, Friend or Foe? That depends...


I love Salmon... but, we have to be careful these days when it comes to what type of Salmon we buy! Farm raised Salmon is FRIGHTENING! Per Prevention Magazine, take a look at it's deadly weapons:

The problem: Nature didn't intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus."You could eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer," says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. "It's that bad."Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks.There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

Opt for Wild Salmon, and most canned salmon, believe it or not, is Wild Alaskan and SO Cheap... I didn't make a recipe with canned salmon, but this version of broiled salmon and veggie ragut will make you feel healthy and satisfied!

Wild Salmon with Veggie & Bean Ragut
{adapted from Ellie Krieger}

 Ingredients:
2 tbs olive oil (1 for salmon, 1 for ragu)
1 small-medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large zucchini, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
1 15oz can chickpeas OR butter beans
(I've made this 2x and like the butter beans)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
1 tsp salt, extra for lightly seasoning fish
1 tsp black pepper, extra for lightly seasoning fish
4 6oz skinless salmon fillets (I had the skin on... YUM!)

Directions:
Heat half the oil in a skillet. Add in onion and let sweat for about 3 minutes. Add carrot, zucchini, and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes or until veggies get a little tender. Add tomato paste and stir so all veggies are coated. Add chicken broth and beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer covered for about 10 minutes. The liquid will thicken. Add more tomato paste for a thicker combination! Take off heat and add basil leaves (reserve a few ribbons for the salmon). Set ragu aside and keep warm with cover on or on very low heat.

For the Salmon: Preheat broiler for just a minute or two. Brush each side of salmon with a little olive oil, and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Place fish under broiler and cook 8-10 minutes per inch thickness. Be sure to turn the salmon over half way through so both sides get crisp!

Serve your salmon over the ragu and top with extra basil. Amazing! Broiling salmon or any fish makes it so crispy and succulent!

1.11.2011

Exciting News!

Folks, my blog design shop is OPEN for business!
Do you need a new header, a button to share, sidebar details,  fonts or consulting? If so, then I'm your gal! I've just opened up shop and would love to design for you. My prices are the best in blogtown, and you'll be featured in my shop... spared no expense!

Here's the pricing:

(a la carte)
background ($5.00)
custom header ($15.00)
custom button ($5.00)
text grab box for button ($3.00)
3 column layout ($5.00)
blog list redesign ($4.00)
custom post title font: ($5.00)
font styling for whole blog: ($3.00)
signature for each post ($5.00)

*Whole enchilada for $45.00!
(which includes installation!)
Currently this is only open to Blogger users but a la carte is open to Wordpress!

Now THAT'S a deal!
Previous Work:
{Klaw: Inspired pretty much got the enchilada!}





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PAY via PAYPAL here:







1.07.2011

{not}Homeless Voice Over Artist

I was going to post an awesome recipe for Salmon.... but it will have to wait!

I know I'm not the only person writing about this man, Mr. Ted Williams (not the athlete)... but WOW. Just last year (or last week rather) he was homeless in Ohio. Now he's a professional announcer! You can't write this shit. You can't. Amazing! Believe people. Believe in yourselves no matter what happens to you. Pray. Meditate. Do Something. You can make it! If you don't know what I am talking about then you need to crawl out of that sand you've been buried under for the past few days! Just kidding! It's only the first week in January and whatever Cinderella, or fella, story happens later on this year is going to have to be BIG to top this one!!

Meet Ted Williams



On the Today Show





Reunited with his Mother... sigh



Some awesome folks that I work with over at Nutmeg Post got to meet and work with him  yesterday. Of course, I was just there THE DAY BEFORE! Bad timing... but I hope to hire Ted Williams in the near future! Friend Nutmeg on Facebook and hear Ted in the booth!

And here is one of his first gigs!



Have a great weekend everyone!

1.06.2011

Happy Appetizers!

For New Years, we like to just nosh on goodies all night instead of that AND a dinner. 
Maybe just dinner would have been healthier but the diet starts New Years DAY!

Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tartine
(perfect for a party)

 
What you'll need:
1 package puff pastry
2 large onions
2 tablespoons butter
4-5 ounces goat cheese
assorted herbs (about 1/2 cup basil, oregano, rosemary)
1 tablespoon truffle oil, extra for brushing (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove minced (if you want)
2 splashes balsamic vinegar

What you'll do:
Preheat oven to 350
Slice the onions in thin strips or rings. Heat pan and add oil. Add in onions and garlic. Add butter. Stir a bit to let the butter coat the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Turn pot on a low simmer so that the onions do not not burn. Cook onions until they get super brown. Don't stir the onions too much because they won't brown. When they are pretty browned (about 20 minutes) add vinegar to let some of the burnt spots on the pan lift up and coat the onions. Take off heat and remove from pan. Roll out pastry dough on a board so that it is a large rectangle. Place onions in middle, then goat cheese. Coat with truffle oil and herbs. Brush some oil on the edges. Fold the top and bottom in, then sides over each other to form an enclosed loaf of goodness. Brush with more oil and sprinkle with herbs, sea salt and pepper. Bake in oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the pastry gets super golden brown! Remember SUPER or that dough in the middle is still raw.

Pair this pastry with assorted olives, gherkins, cheeses, 
and fruits like green apples and red grapes!


What are your favorite party snacks?

1.05.2011

Chaos and Classicism at the Guggenheim

A recent visit at the Guggenheim proved to be extra special. With it's new exhibit Chaos and Classicism, art enthusiasts are in for a real treat. The exhibit tells the story of art in France, Italy and Germany during 1918-1936. Artists include: Balthus, Giorgio de Chirico, Jean Cocteau, Otto Dix, Hannah Höch, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Pablo Picasso, and August Sander. Here is a taste:

 
The walk home...


The exhibit closes on January 9th so hurry up! It's pretty amazing to see how art evolved through out the period between World War I and II. You can really grasp the advantages it had, disadvantages of course, and yes, the chaos! And don't feel bad for yourself if you think the audio tour is a bit unorganized... because it is! Not sure how they can improve it but a first step would be to not make the patron search for the descriptions every time... with some not even existing at all!

1.04.2011

Perfect Sides

These Parmesan Mashed Potatoes and Classic German Red Cabbage are the perfect pairs to any meat dish! I served them alongside my healthy and savory Turkey Meatloaf!

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
(serves 4-6)



What you'll need:
4 large red potatoes
1 smashed garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped chives, more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped parsley, more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

What you'll do:
Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover the potatoes with water... about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain water and remove bay leaf. you can leave the garlic in though if you want. Return potatoes to pot (heat off) begin to mash with a potato masher. Add in milk, sour cream, cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Continue to mash until potatoes are creamy. You can even use a hand blender but be careful to not blend too much or the mixture will get gummy! Serve with a little extra herbs and sour cream on top if desired.

Classic German Red Cabbage:
(serves 5-7)

What you'll need:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 head red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 green apples, sliced thin
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion, sliced in thin rings
  • 1cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (or 1/2 if you like things sweeter)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or 6 whole peppercorns)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (or 1 whole clove)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (or 1 whole allspice bud)
  • *cornstarch will thicken this but I didn't use it... if you want to thicken it, dissolve 2 teaspoons cornstarch in 2 teaspoons cold water and then add to mixture a minutes before cooking is complete!

What you'll do:

  1. Place butter, cabbage, apples, and sugar into a large pot. Pour in the vinegar and water, and season with salt, pepper, clove, allspice, bay leaf.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cabbage is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the whole spices and bay leaf if you used them!

1.03.2011

Turkey Meat Loaf Comfort!

For the first weekend of 2011, I figured something comforting for dinner on January 1st was necessary. Forget the fact that it would sop up any craziness from the night before, but settling into a New Year with comforting, yet healthy, food makes all the difference!

Turkey Meatloaf
 (makes 1 large loaf, great for leftovers)


Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup 
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 fresh herbs: parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc. Mix and match in your favorites!
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, herbs, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high or in a large-medium loaf pan. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees.F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to15 minutes before slicing. 

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will share the mashed potato and red cabbage recipes!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!


{recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger}