Sunday, January 30, 2011

Series of Broken Eggs...

Happy Sunday! Well I haven't posted in a few days because I really haven't been cooking since my health kick began... All I have really made was the veggie soup I posted earlier this month. I have lost 4 lbs already, yippeee - that wasn't my goal though I just wanted to be healthier, losing weight is just an added plus (I have also been running about 3 miles a day - it all helps) This week, I will still be sticking to healthy food (except Super Bowl Sunday - there will be nothing healthy to eat that day :) but I will be making something different, I have that soup coming out of my ears!
I am instead posting a series of photos I recently took, the top photo is what I call digital art. I have been using this technique for a few years - in most cases it is abstract but in this one and due to the title of this post you know it's eggs. I will be back later this week with more recipes so stay tuned!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Homemade Bagels

I made these bagels this weekend and even though they were delicious, I needed to make a few adjustments. Now that I have, they are nice and crispy/crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside...YUM!! I used to make these for breakfast while I was running the B&B but it was so long ago, I felt like I was making them for the first time. So even if you are a first time baker this recipe is really not difficult, most of the time spent is waiting for the dough to rise. I always say nothing is better than your own homemade baked breads but of course you can get great bagels at certain deli's these days, I just think it's fun.

3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkg.)
1 cup milk
4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP sugar
1 egg, separated
1 1/2 tsp salt
(optional) poppy seeds, sesame seeds, coarse salt, dried onion

1. Bring the milk to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and sugar until melted and dissolved.
2. Pour the milk mixture into a large bowl and cool until tepid
3. Add the yeast to the milk mixture and stir until dissolved, set aside for 10 minutes or until frothy
4.Beat the egg white and salt into the yeast mixture, then gradually add the flour.
5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 15 minutes
6. Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl; cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size
7. Divide the dough into 24 pieces; make a ball and using your index and forefinger poke through the center to make the hole.
8. Leave the rings on a floured surface until they start to rise, about 10 minutes
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, place bagels a few at a time in the boiling water and cook for 20 seconds or until they puff up. (Do not overcook of they will fall apart) Remove using a slotted spoon to a greased baking sheet
10. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tsp water and brush over the bagels. If you like, you can now sprinkle with toppings mentioned above.
11. Bake in a preheated 400º oven for about 20 minutes or until brown and crisp.

24 Bagels

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Soft & Delicious Dinner Rolls

I have been in the baking mode lately, and I had all but given up on making SOFT dinner rolls. I decided to dust off my previous attempts, adjust a few things and I actually got soft dinner rolls....yay!!! Most people are afraid of baking - so am I - but in a matter of a week I have made a GREAT pizza dough, these soft dinner rolls and bagels. I will post those next, they are so easy. I was always so afraid to have to boil dough before placing in the oven but thankfully it worked out - quite a successful day for me, can't say the same for my Bears & Jets (football play-offs) :(

1 envelope Active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup scalding hot milk
1 egg –lightly beaten
4 1/2 cups of sifted all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of melted butter for brushing rolls

1. Sprinkle the yeast over very warm water in a large bowl. Stir until yeast dissolves.
2. Add sugar, the 1/4 cup butter and salt to hot milk and stir until the sugar dissolves and butter is melted. Cool mixture to 105 to 115 degrees.
3. Add milk mixture to yeast, then beat in egg. Beat in 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time to form soft dough.
4. Knead the dough lightly for 5 minutes, working in the remaining flour (use if for flouring your cloth and hands).
5. Place dough in a warm buttered bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hrs.
6. Punch dough down and knead 4 to 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Dough will be sticky, but use as little flour as possible
7. Pinch off small chunks of dough and shape into round rolls. Place in even rows, not quite touching, in a well-buttered 13x9x2 pan.
8.Cover rolls and let rise in warm place until doubled, 30-45min.
9. Brush tops of rolls generously with melted butter, then bake in a 375′ oven for 18-20minutes or until nicely browned.

24 rolls

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Simple Squash

Not all of my recipes are complicated, take this squash, it can be done in 10 minutes or less and it is delicious! I always have some type of squash at home to use as a last minute veggie, they last a lot longer than most vegetables. One of my favorite food combinations is sweet & savory and this squash is exactly that.

1 small squash (choose your favorite, acorn or butternut squash are both good choices.)
2 TBSP brown sugar
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Cut the squash in half and take out the seeds
2. Prick with a fork or knife a few times throughout
3. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 1/2 cup water on the bottom, cover
4. Cook on high for 4 minutes
5. Remove from microwave, add 1 TBSP brown sugar in each hole and rub flesh with olive oil
6. Salt & Pepper to taste and return to the microwave
7. Cook on high an additional 4 minutes
8. Carefully remove from microwave and spread a small amount of the brown sugar 'syrup' all around

Tip: This is easy to double, just adjust your microwave time

Servings 1

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Perfect Pizza Crust

I think I got it or at least as good as it's going to get without getting a brick oven installed at home. This crust is the best I have made, crispy on the outside with a bit of chewy in the thin middle. I am a purist when it comes to pizza, just the basics, my favorite is Margherita (tomato sauce, a bit of cheese and basil) but you can go crazy and add your favorite toppings. This recipe is really just for the crust, to complete the pizza add your tomato sauce, cheese and toppings. I made 2 batches of this recipe and froze half with the works to see how it will turn out once cooked... I will let you all know. I thought it would be great to have a homemade pizza right out of the freezer when you are in the mood, which I am quite often - I probably don't even have to freeze it but since I am being healthy I have to ration my guilty pleasures :)

2 tsp active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees F
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup warm water.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt.
3. Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of water.
4. Mix until the entire mixture forms a ball.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
6. Knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes. The dough should be smooth and firm.
7. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a cool spot for about 2 hours.
8. Divide the dough into 2 balls.
9. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
10. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 1 hour. (At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 6 months).
11. Preheat oven to 500º F. Lightly oil cookie sheet with extra-virgin olive oil. Roll out dough ball, on a lightly floured surface - to the shape desired
12. Carefully transfer dough to cookie sheet
13. Add sauce, cheese and toppings.
14. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes, or until crust is cooked and cheese is bubbling

Servings: 2 (large) personal sized pizzas

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mushroom 'Carpaccio'

I first had this salad at The Melting Pot years ago and I loved it so much that I naturally tried to copy it. It is very simple, using just the most basic and fresh ingredients that result in a burst of delicious flavors. If you are looking for a fast, different and delicious salad give this one a try. You can also serve on a bed of baby romaine lettuce.

12 oz button mushrooms, sliced thin
4 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP lemon juice, fresh
2 TBSP fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shaved

1. Add the lemon juice to a small bowl; whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Add salt to taste
2. Cover the bottom of a salad plate with a layer of mushrooms
3. Add freshly ground pepper
4. Top with parmesan shavings
5. Sprinkle parsley over mushrooms
6. Drizzle with dressing

Servings 2

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cucumber Raita (Indian Yogurt Sauce)

Raita is a cool, salty yogurt dip used as a condiment to temper the heat in spicy dishes. I ordered raita in India because I knew the main dish was going to be spicy, like most food there, and it turned out the raita was just as spicy.... I am not sure if that was common or if the waiters were having fun with me :) I did have it many times after that and it was cool and refreshing, by the end of my trip I was ordering raita and plain rice as my meal, mixed together yum! The raita compliments any spicy dish so give it a try, it is great with curries!

1 cup yogurt, plain and drained
1 cup cucumber, seeded, diced and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP fresh mint, finely chopped

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well
2. Refrigerate 1 hour to allow flavors to blend

Tip #1: To drain the yogurt, line a sieve with paper coffee filters pour in about 2 cups of yogurt, place over a bowl, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Tip #2: To drain the cucumber, after diced place in a colander and sprinkle with salt; let sit 30 minutes. Using a paper towel squeeze out excess water.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken & Veggie Soup

I can't seem to get enough of this soup! I have made it 3 times already this year. Since I have been in 'healthy' mode I have found this soup to be the most satisfying. For a starch I have made it with potatoes, yuca, and noodles but by far my favorite is brown rice, you can add your favorite. This is also great with homemade broth but I didn't have time so I just used store bought broth - it was delicious! Not cooking the chicken in the soup makes it less greasy, which is an added plus. It is my birthday this week so I will be going out for PIZZA!!!! Good thing I have been having plenty of this healthy soup... it's time to be a little bad :)

1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup onion, sliced
3 cups carrots, sliced 1" pieces
1/2 cup brown rice (raw- not pre-cooked or par-boiled)
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 sprig each of parsley and cilantro (leave whole, you will remove when done)
1 cup fresh peas
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1. Heal the oil in a large pot, add onion and sauté until translucent
2. Add next six ingredients and cook about 5 minutes, stirring
3. Add broth and sprigs of parsley and cilantro; bring to a boil
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
5. Add peas, adjust seasoning and simmer and additional 5-10 minutes or until brown rice is done
6. Add the chicken heat through and serve

Tip: I serve this with sliced limes, finely chopped cilantro and garlic toast.
Optional Additions: 1 TBSP sliced fresh ginger, 1 cup fresh mushrooms, 1 cup thawed, chopped and drained frozen spinach, 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes. Any one of these can be added in Step 2

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Coffee Coffee Cake

Well here's another sweet....this turned out better than expected, I tried something a little different from my usual coffee cake - I made a center filling with instant espresso and powdered sugar - YUM!. At some point I am going to have to stop saying I 'hate' sweets because apparently I don't. I haven't posted too many but enough to make me think I just might like them a little.....

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tsp instant coffee (espresso)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Topping - In small mixing bowl, combine topping ingredients. Blend with fork until crumbly; set aside.
2. Filling - Combine center ingredients well; set aside
3. Cake - Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
4. In a medium bowl, beat together beaten egg, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter.
5. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture and mix well.
6. Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan.
7. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the top
8. Pour in the rest of the batter
9. Sprinkle topping crumb mixture evenly over batter.
10. Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Servings 6

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is this a sandwich??

Warning: This blog is also about my encounters with food... good and BAD!
How can you go sooo-oooo wrong with a sandwich?? Well I found out the hard way, let me elaborate. Don't you just hate it when you order something and it's just not what you expected at all, well this has happened to me more times than I can count maybe that is why I like to cook so much and make things from scratch. That delightful 'sandwich' in the picture was actually being sold. I bought it in India a while back, can you believe they really sell something like that? I will not go into too much detail but that was not mayo...ugh! Bad bread, 1 cucumber, a tomato peel and a 'special' white sauce.
I was so offended that the next day (with only a few words of Hindi under my belt) I returned to the place and demanded my money back. The guy tried to say it was a mistake and that not all of his 'sandwiches' were like that so I naturally asked him to open up one from a stack behind him to prove it and he refused.... I got my money back, all 25 rupees - about 50 cents but it was the point, yay!
Before leaving, to never return to his 'establishment' I asked him what that white crap was and even he didn't know, he just said he bought barrels of it.... yuck. So if you ever think that you can't go wrong with a sandwich - think again! I had the taste of that white goop in my mouth for hours and as you can see I only had one bite.
They also have yet to master the art of good sandwich bread, it had the texture of a mix of sand and cardboard. I will say that a 'sandwich' isn't exactly what Indians eat so they have no idea how it should be... so my advice is to stick to what you know.
I normally wouldn't go and ask for my money back or be so uptight but this sandwich ordeal came one day after I found a roach in my veg fried rice and almost ate it (that is another fun story!) so let's just say I had had enough and my poor 'sandwich' guy was at the receiving end.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Rice

It's rice again...I know in the US eating leftovers all mixed in with rice and two fried eggs on top is not very common. In Colombia it is so popular that even restaurants serve the so called 'calentado', in that case I sure hope they don't actually use everybody's leftovers - that would be quite unsanitary and well gross! The only required ingredient is rice then you cut everything else you have meat, chicken, potatoes, veggies, basically any leftovers cut into small equal pieces. I usually add soy sauce but you can add your favorite sauce maybe teriyaki, Thai chili, a spicy blend even steak sauce.
The downfall of this is that you will never be able to duplicate it since it is unlikely you will have the same exact leftovers in the future. It is kind of like a latin fried rice.

2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup any leftover chicken, meat, chorizo or pork, diced
1 cup of any leftover vegetables, diced if needed
4 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

1. In a large frying pan over medium heat add the olive oil, onion and celery; sauté until onion is translucent
2. Add the remaining ingredients until heated through

Tip: I sometimes have this with 2 fried eggs on top
You can use frozen peas, corn or mixed vegetables

Servings 4

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kitchen Tips and Tricks...Part 1

Below is a list of very helpful kitchen tips I have learned throughout the years. Some we all know about but I bet there will be one or two that will be helpful. I will periodically post kitchen tips and tricks, let me know if these were helpful?

1. Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

2. Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake batter onto the hot griddle - perfect shaped pancakes.

3. To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

4. To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.

5. To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature & roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

6. To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stovetop-skillet will be much easier to clean.

7. When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness.

8. To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh-if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

9. Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

10. Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mini Meat Loaves

These little meat loaves are sweet, savory, moist and delicious. The topping is ketchup, tomato and pineapple pieces, it goes really well with the savory meat. You can also make this as one big loaf, just adjust the time.

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup pineapple, finely diced

1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Grease a cookie sheet
3. Fill a 1 cup glass (ramekin or pyrex) with the mixture to form a mold, overturn on the cookie sheet; Continue with remaining meat
4. Bake in a 350º oven for 25 minutes; remove from the oven
5. Combine the remaining ketchup, tomato and pineapple; spoon over the meat loaves evenly
6. Bake 15 minutes longer. Let stand 5 minutes

Servings 6

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eggs in Cream

Even though I am now being healthy I just couldn't resist these eggs in cream. Hey I can't be good all of the time, and I am exercising again so it helps. I love eggs but with high cholesterol I only have them once in a while. Of course as of late I think 'they' have decided eggs are a good source of protein and not so bad for you if you have high cholesterol.... so I choose to believe 'them' :) Sometimes I have these eggs for lunch or dinner, to make them more of a meal include a few strips of bacon or 1-2 breakfast sausages or maybe you can throw in an extra egg.

dab of butter
1/3 cup cream
1 egg
dash red peper flakes
seasoned salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 slice buttered toast
bacon or sausages (optional)

1. In a small skillet ( 2-3 inches wide) melt the butter over medium to high heat
2. Add the cream first then the egg on top
3. Cover and cook until desired donenss
4. Sprinkle with desired amount of red pepper flakes, seasoned salt and pepper

Servings 1

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Clay Baker Country Chicken

This is the easiest and juiciest chicken I have ever made, it comes out great every time using my Romertopf clay baker. They are easily found and affordable in most kitchen gadget stores. It is not only for chicken though you can make fish, meatloaf, roast beef, baked apples and even a great bread loaf. Best of all the chicken is very healthy which is my main goal nowadays.

3 lb whole chicken
1 yellow onion
1/2 a lime
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups of your favorite vegetables (potatoes, onions, carrots, tomato)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Completely submerge your clay baker for 15 minutes in water
2. Wash the chicken and rub the inside with salt and pepper.
3. Place the onion, lime and parsley in the cavity of the chicken; tie the legs together
4. Place in bottom of pot and brush with butter, season with thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper
5. Add wine and vegetables all around
6. Cover pot and place in a cold oven. Bake at 450º for about 85 minutes
7. For crispier skin remove the top and broil for 3-5 minutes

Servings 4

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Salmon Coulibiac

We had this for New Year's Eve also a treat. I am not a huge fan of salmon but in this dish it all comes together great. It is best to do all of the prepping the day before and put it together 2 hours before baking. This is a russian fish pie packed with salmon, rice, hard-boiled eggs and mushrooms wrapped in puff pastry.

1/4 cup rice, cooked
3 eggs, hard bolied and finely chopped
3 TBSP butter
1/2 cup scallions, finely sliced
1/4 cup shallots, finely sliced
12 oz mushrooms, finely diced
2 TBSP lemon juice
4 cups salmon, cooked
1 1/2 lb puff pastry
2 1/2 TBSP fresh dill, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup yogurt, plain

1. Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the scallions, cook 4 minutes or until soft; season to taste and set aside
2. Melt the remaining butter and ad the shallots, cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, lemon juice, salt & pepper and cook until the mushrooms are dry.
3. Cut the pasrty in half on a lightly floured surface; roll out one half to a 1/8 inch-thick rectangle. Transfer to a cookie sheet and trim to about 9x14 inches
4. Wrap and chill the trimmings
5. Leaving a 1 inch border on all sides, spread the rice in the center of the pastry
6. Sprinkle with 1/2 TBSP dill, then the salmon, salt and pepper, mushroom mixture, chopped eggs and scallions in separate layers
7. Beat the remaining egg and brush over the border.
8. Roll the remaining pastry to 18x12 inches and place over the filling, press the edges together to seal then trim neatly and brush top with egg
9. Roll out the reserved trimmings into strips to decorate the pie. Lay them on as a lattice
10. Place pie in the refrigerator for 15 minutes
11. Preheat oven to 400º Beat the egg yolk and brush over the pie. Make 3 small holes down the center of thepie using a skewer
12. Bake for 30 minutes, until crisp and golden
13. Stir the remaing dill into the yogurt and serve alongside the coulibiac

Servings 8

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Authentic Spanish Paella

We had this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was a real treat. It has a lot of steps so it's not something you will make often but for a special occasion it is the perfect meal. It helps if you can make the broth a day ahead. The authentic way to make paella is outdoors but this one has been adjusted to make at home. Paella is best prepared over an open fire, charcoal BBQ or gas paella burner. The reason for this is so that the heat is evenly distributed and because the heat should gradually decrease as you are cooking it. If you prepare paella often, you may want to invest in a Paella Burner & Adjustable Tripod Stand, designed specifically for cooking paella outside. They usually come with two ring burners and allow adjusting each ring separately. These burners connect to a propane tank via a hose and regulator. (see photo below)


2 TBSP olive oil
12 cups chicken or fish broth
1 cup white wine
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
handful each of parsley and cilantro
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
6-8 whole black peppercorns
2 stalks green onion
1 onion, quartered
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 tsp cumin
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 TBSP saffron threads, crushed
splash tabasco sauce

1. Add all of the ingredients to a large soup pot
2. Boil for 30 minutes (it should be pretty salty)
3. Cool, sieve and refrigerate

Sofrito (you will need 4 cups total)
3 medium onions
8 plum tomatoes with seeds and skin, cut in half
1/4 cup pimentos

1. Place onions in a cuisinart and process until finely diced.
2. Add the tomatoes and pimentos, process until everything is diced; set aside


1/4 cup olive oil
10-12 cups broth (remove from refrigerator a few hours before using)
4 cups sofrito
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
8 cups arborio rice
2 lbs. shrimp, shelled, deveined, lightly salt & peppered
3 lobster tails, shelled, sliced, lightly salt & peppered
2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into small chunks, lightly salt & peppered
1 1/2 lbs. pork loin, cut into small chunks, lightly salt & peppered
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
1 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
fresh asparagus tips (for decoration)
pimentos, sliced into strips (for decoration)
green olives (for decoration)

1. Place the broth in a large soup pot and heat through, lower heat but don't allow to cool
2. In an 18 inch large skillet heat the olive oil, almost covering the bottom (this might seem like a lot but it's not)
3. Add pork and sauté until no longer pink
4. Add chicken and sauté until no longer pink; Add the garlic
5. Add sofrito and cook about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent
6. Add the rice and stir well
7. Start adding the broth slowly, stirring in between until you have added 10 cups (save remainder in case you need more later)
8. Continue simmering, add the peas, artichoke hearts, asparagus, pimentos and olives
9. Cover with foil and lower temperature to low for 10 minutes.
10. Do not uncover just shake the skillet from side to side to prevent sticking
11. Leave an additional 10 minutes, uncover if too dry add a bit more broth
12. Add the shrimp and lobster (do not stir in just place on top of the rice), cover and leave another 10 minutes or until seafood is done (when it turns opaque)
13. Take off heat and let rest for 10 minutes, covered

Servings 12

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Drink to your Health!

I am starting the year off with a bang of health but don't worry I will be back to my regular recipes which will undeniably be healthier since all the festivities are over. I will continue to exercise though, I have to offset all of this food. I went on my first run in a long time yesterday and I could barely get out of bed today. I didn't realize I was so out of shape....
I am posting two drinks that I have most days. One is just plain good, the other is a really simple way to start your day on a good and healthy note. Okay I think this completes my health benefits section for a while, tomorrow I will be back with real food. I am hanging up my Doctor's hat ;)

Drink #1
Ginger, Honey, Lemon Tea

I first had this little concoction while I was in India. There is no true recipe just adjust to your own taste. I make my favorite tea (green or black) add a few squirts of lemon, a squeeze of honey and a few slices of ginger. It's a great remedy to soothe the stomach and we all know how good tea is for us.
To make sure I always have ginger available, I pickle it and keep it in the refrigerator.
Buy a big piece of ginger, using the back of a small spoon peel it and slice into ovals. Fill a glass jar with equal parts water and plain vinegar (just eyeball it, it doesn't have to be perfect) then add the sliced ginger. This is a great way to always have ginger on hand even for cooking, it retains it's flavor and will not taste vinegary.

Drink #2
Water, Lemon, Maple Syrup and Cayenne Pepper

Make it a part of your daily routine to start every morning with a mug of warm water, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The detox drink is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids that help in improving your overall health.
Benefits: due to excessive intake of processed and junk food, very little nutrients enter into our bodies. Hence, our bodies have to really work hard to get rid of these low nutritional valued food. Also, ingestion of numerous chemicals and toxins in the body while breathing keep getting built up over the years.
This lemon cayenne pepper drink increases the body's metabolic rate and improves the flow of stomach secretion that helps to sooth the digestive tract and remove toxins from the body. Regular intake of the detox drink boosts your energy levels and helps in weight loss. I sometimes omit the maple syrup and it seems to work just fine too.

2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon (don't use concentrates and drink mixes as they contain preservatives)
2 tbsp organic or natural maple syrup
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, as per taste
8 oz. fresh water
Mix the above mentioned ingredients and enjoy either hot or cold.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Papaya Fast***

Okay all this eating has got to stop..... I am taking a break for the next 2 days. I am going to post some great cleaning 'fasts' and a drink you should have every morning.. I like to do a papaya and water fast at least once a month, it is really good for you... not only do you give your body a much needed rest, papaya has many health benefits. It cleans the stomach and studies have shown that papaya alone eaten for 2 to 3 days has a highly beneficial tonic effect upon the stomach and intestines. The papaya is an amazingly rich source of the proteolytic enzymes. These are the chemicals that enable the digestion of protein. It is a fruit high in fiber which lowers cholesterol levels.
It can also:
• Revitalize the human body and maintain energy and vitality.
• Encourages the renewal of muscle tissue.
• Supports cardiovascular system.
• Boosts up the immune system.
• Helps with the digestive system, by breaking down the proteins and supporting production of digestive enzymes.
• Prevents the cataract formation.
• Due to high vitamin A, it lowers the risk of emphysema in smokers and passive smokers.
• Alleviates inflammation.
• Helps with the nausea and constipation.

So once you are cleared by a doc give this a try. Just slice up a papaya drench it in lime juice and enjoy the benefits. I eat it throughout the day with lots of water and I always feel great the next day.

***If you have any health issues or concerns please speak to your doctor before beginning any fast. I am not a doctor!***

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Artichoke Stuffed with Brie

This is not one of the best photos but I was in such a hurry to eat that I am glad I took at least one photo. These artichokes are the perfect blend of tart, savory and cheesy! We had the artichokes as an appetizer on New Year's Eve this year and they were the perfect match for a special occasion.

6 large Artichokes
12 ounces brie
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
2 cups white wine
1 cup butter
1/3 cup whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut off the top and bottom of the artichoke. Cook it in boiling water for 10-15 minutes until the bottom is easy to pierce with a fork.
2. Run artichoke under cold water to stop the cooking process.
3. When cool enough to handle, cut the inner choke away from the heart.
4. Cut the brie into 1/2" chunks. Place the brie into the artichoke and throughout the leaves.
5. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until the brie is melted (approximately 10 minutes).
6. To make the mustard sauce, combine Shallots and white wine in a saucepan over high heat. Slowly add the butter and remove from heat. Then add mustard, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to the mixture.
7. Drizzle the sauce over the artichokes and serve.

Servings 6