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Have You Tried Speck?

20 Jun

It is a delicious smoked Prosciutto, worth seeking out! La Quercia is a very good American-made brand that is top quality. I especially like it wrapped around fresh Figs, alongside a Frittata. This one pictured below was made with roasted Sungold Tomatoes, some leftover grilled Potatoes, and fresh Asparagus cut into small slices. The clay dish that I used to bake it in was quite small so it was hard to arrange the Asparagus tips in a more appealing manner, so please forgive me for lack of better styling. I often shoot photos at the spur of the moment!

Serve with a glass of bubbles any time of day or night! Iron Horse sparkling wine from California’s Green Valley (near the Russian River) or a grower Champagne would be my recommendation…they are quite good values too. Bon Appetit!

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Mixed Berries With Orange Blossom Water

16 Jun

A little goes a long way…just a splash!

This is a super simple and light dessert, or enjoy with yoghurt for breakfast. Garnish with some sliced Almonds or a sprinkle of Granola.

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Food Revolution Day

17 May

Today is Food Revolution Day! May 17, 2013! I think it should become a National Holiday 🙂

Lots of good ideas and recipes here !

I’m supporting Food Revolution Day because I believe food education & cooking skills can help save lives.

Tiramisu Affogato

5 May

Here’s a super simple idea for a delicious dessert! No baking needed!

Buy some Tiramisu, take a small ice cream scoop and place 2-3 scoops in a pretty glass, pour a couple of Tablespoons of cold Coffee over it (leftover from the morning works perfectly fine!), and sprinkle with some grated Chocolate or Cocoa powder.

I love the Tiramusu from Viola Pastry Boutique and Café in Santa Rosa. Trader Joe’s also has one called Trader Giotto’s Tiramisu Torte that is frozen and costs about $7.

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It’s a tasty twist on having coffee and dessert all in one and can be assembled ahead (keep refrigerated until about 30 minutes before serving).

Buon Appetito!

Strawberry Basil Meyer Lemon Drop Martinis

13 Apr

Cocktail time! Muddle 2 strawberries and 1 big basil leaf, then add juice of 3 lemons and 4 oz of Vodka. Shake over ice and strain. Garnish with strawberry, zest and a small leaf of basil. Cheers!

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Foods High In Iron

16 Mar

You probably know about Liver, but what if you don’t like Liver? I found this infomation linked here from The Office of Dietary Supplements and thought you might find it interesting. Lentils are high on the list too. The list includes mature Soybeans, but honestly, when do you see a recipe using mature Soybeans!? It’s one of my frustrations with how nutrition is taught…it’s great to know about the basic elements of good nutrition (i.e. what are good or bad carbs or fats, sources of proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc.), but it’s important to know how to incorporate good nutrition into your diet. A more practical source, in my opinion, would be to list Edamame (immature boiled or steamed Soybeans) which have 2.5 mg per 100 mg serving (3.5 oz), and are most commonly found in Japanese restaurants (you can also find them in the freezer section and they’re delicious added to grain or green salads, especially if you use some Asian flavors, like Soy Sauce and Toasted Sesame Oil).

I happen to love Chicken Liver Pâté and get Organic Chicken Livers from Whole Foods. I usually have to ask for them at the butcher counter since they’re not always in the case, and they give me a 1/2 pint of frozen ones. I like this recipe from Jacques Pépin and Food & Wine since you simmer the Livers in water and avoid the splattering that often occurs when you sauté them. I like to cover the Pâté with a thin layer of Duck fat or Bacon fat. It’s nice to serve with some sauteed Apples or Pears, along with the toasts. It makes a great make-ahead appetizer for entertaining.

Here is another recipe from Lidia Bastianich for Bigoli (Pasta) with Chicken Livers.

For some Lentil recipes, here are some from Martha Stewart. I also like to make Lentil Salad (cook up some Petit Fench Green Lentils, then add some chopped Carrot, Celery, Shallot, Olive Oil, Red Wine or Sherry Vinegar, Salt & Pepper) and Red Lentil Hummus (cook up Red Lentils, then puree with a small clove of Garlic, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper…adding Roasted Red Peppers or Sundried Tomatoes will add even more good flavor and health benefits).

This week I’ll be finishing up a four-week nutrition class from Kitchen On Fire and it’s been very enlightening. Why don’t they teach this in school, in more detail, when we’re growing up? It’s so important! Unfortunately, I think many of us don’t learn what we need to know until some blood test tells us we’re deficient or too high in this or that, or some other medical issue comes up…Nutrition is complex and there are so many “diets” and misinformation, but ultimately, like my teacher said, everyone is unique and that means what is good for some, is not good for others. It’s defintely a learning process, but one that I think is quite worthwhile to give some time to study. For me, the fun part is making it taste good and staying creative 🙂

Super Bowl Snacks

27 Jan

Yesterday’s lunch at STAX Wine Bar in Morro Bay included a couple of dishes that made me think about Super Bowl snacks.

The first is a Grilled Portobello Mushroom Crostini with Arugula, homemade Basil Pesto and Parmesan Cheese.20130127-085320.jpg

The other dish was a Caprese salad with Tomato, fresh Mozzarella, Basil, Olive Oil and Salt/Pepper, served in a Martini glass with Crostini. I like the idea for a first course for a dinner party too, since it would be so easy to make ahead.

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The third idea is actually not from STAX–I saw it on Food52. Check out this link for a Nacho Cheese sauce that has nothing artificial in it. Yum!!!

I think my new fitness plan will have to wait until after the game!

Perfect Winter Meusli

11 Jan

I love my breakfast this morning and thought I just have to blog about it, right now! I recently discovered Jamie Oliver’s Perfect Winter Meusli. He is one of my favorite Chefs. I think his recipes are very approachable, even for not very experienced cooks. This is a perfect example. This Meusli is full of goodness and is so comforting. Super easy too and kid-friendly!

Check out the video here. Sorry I didn’t include a photo but by the time I thought about writing, my bowl was half gone and no longer photo worthy!

Happy New Year to all and thanks to all my followers from around the world. It was a great year and I hope to write and inspire much more in 2013.

And, don’t forget…there’s other content to see on Twitter @FoodOutsdTheBox so if you want, you can follow me there too!

Cookie Art – Part II

29 Dec

It has been an annual tradition to do a Cookie Swap at the office shortly before Christmas. Anyone who wishes to participate brings 2 dozen homemade Cookies.

They are laid out on a table and everyone walks around collecting all the various types, and by the time we’re done, we all go home with an amazing assortment! Best of all, when I’m asked “What’s for dessert?” I know I’ll be set for at least a few days!!

This year, I baked a classic Sugar Cookie and decided to try my hand at decorating. I used a few Pignoli Nuts (a.k.a. Pine Nuts, but I like how the Italians say it!) and designed them to look like a snowflake, then dusted with a bit of blue Sanding Sugar.

Other Cookies included Coconut Macaroons, a Chocolate, Pecan and Toffee covered Saltine Cracker “Bark”, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pistachio Shortbread and a Jam filled little pastry that was one of my favorites. The ones cut out in shapes of Raindeer, Candy Canes and Wreaths were also very special. I hope we’ll do it again next year!

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Duck Fat Breadcrumbs

29 Dec

I know this may not be all that healthy, but I just love this idea of using Duck fat to crisp up breadcrumbs. This dish was on the menu from Zazu Restaurant

Of course, using Duck fat to sauté potatoes is another delicious option!

Next time you cook up some Duck, I hope you’ll save some of the rendered fat and give it a try 🙂

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