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Archive for April, 2009

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All good vacations must come to an end, I’m afraid. But we had such a wonderful time, are well rested and very well fed and hydrated, and now are well prepared to re-face the daily grind again.

NOT! Why is it so hard to re-adjust after vacation? It’s nearly impossible to jump back in to your daily motions again, try that I may. But jump back in I must, or how else will I pay for this vacation? And the next one?

This recipe, from a friend of mine, was a real soother. In fact, while eating, it actually transported me to a higher plane of awareness of all things tasty and yummy! We had this a couple of days ago – the temperature was in the 90s, and this salad fills the bill on warm days. You can have a lot of jiggle room with the ingredients – choose the berries of your choice (mine were raspberries and blackberries, but strawberries and/or blueberries would also work just fine). The original recipe called for blood oranges, but I couldn’t find any in the market, so navels did just fine. I added avocado, but not a necessity, unless you love them and must have them. My friend crumbles cheese on top, but I left that out, needless to say.

There are no set proportions or limits – only go where you imagination will take you. Enjoy!

Fruity salad

1 bag of springy green leaved lettuce (or any kind you like)

handful of dried cranberries

handful of candied pecans

handful of grape tomatoes

1 avocado, diced

3 seedless oranges, peeled and sliced

raspberries

blackberries

On your salad plate or serving bowl, start with a bed of greens, continue assembling the ingredients on top in you own decorative way. Just before serving, add your favorite salad dressing, or this orange vinaigrette:

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

cracked black pepper

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Ciao!

ciao

I’m leaving for vacation. Will try to blog here with some interesting food photos while I’m gone. Cin cin!

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Another recipe from a friend. So easy to make with an immersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), and a great first course. Very pretty colors, too.

Carrot ginger soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3″ piece of ginger root, minced

8 large carrots, diced

1 quart broth (chicken or veggie – you choose)

1 – 1 1/2 cups orange juice

Saute onions, garlic, and ginger in olive oil in large pot over low heat. Heat until softened and starting to caramelize – about 10 minutes. Put in the carrots and saute for 5 minutes to bring out the sugars. Add enough broth to cover the carrots and simmer til the carrots are tender.

Remove from heat, add a little more broth and use your immersion blender to puree until smooth (you can also do this in your blender or food processor). Add orange juice and rest of broth until you get the thickness consistency you desire. Makes 4 servings.

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A friend of mine recommended this NYT recipe, and it couldn’t have been more wonderful. The flavors are deep, and you can make it as spicy (or not) as you like. Enjoy!

Coconut curry chicken noodle soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon minced lemon grass (I had none – I thought soup did fine without it)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dark red chili paste (I used 1/4 teaspoon – just the right amount of heat for me!)

3/4 pound boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces

3 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (I used 1/3 can – to cut back on fat and calories)

1/2 cup half and half (I did not use)

4 cups chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon sugar, more to taste

12 kaffir lime leaves or curry leaves (I had none – totally optional)

8 ounces dried thin rice noodles or other Asian noodles do fine

salt to taste

1 cup bean sprouts

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 scallions, cut into thin rings

2 shallots, thinly sliced and sauteed until browned

Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and lemon grass and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and chili paste and stir until fragrant. Raise heat, add chicken and stir fry one minute. Add curry powder and paprika and stir to coat. Then add coconut milk, chicken stock, turmeric, fish sauce, sugar and lime or curry leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook rice noodles in boiling water according to package directions. Rinse and drain.

Taste broth and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar. Divide noodles into large soup bowls. Bring broth to a boil, then ladle over noodles. Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions and fried shallots. Makes 4 main course servings.

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boypastaa

Pasta is good for you – just check out all the great recipes at this week’s edition, being hosted by the creator and host extraordinaire of Presto Pasta Nights, Ruth of Once Upon A Feast. Please bring your bib, and your appetite.

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Inspired by Giada de Laurentiis here, I decided to try this recipe (with a few modifications) cuz it sounded so good. I subbed ground turkey for the chicken, and used soy parmesan instead of the real thing. I’ve never used rosemary in any Italian red sauce recipes, and I really liked the flavor it imparted. Now to me, this dish looked like pasta with meat sauce, but I like the name turkey ragu better! Enjoy!

Linguine with turkey ragu

Marinara Sauce:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 32-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

2 bay leaves

ragu:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground turkey

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2/3 cup dry white wine

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

4 cups Marinara sauce (see above)

1 pound linguine

1/2 cup grated soy parmesan

To make the sauce: In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.

To make the ragu: In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the turkey, season with salt and pepper and cook until the juices evaporate and the chicken is golden. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the rosemary and mix well. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer gently until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente. Drain.

I served this dish by plating a generous portion of pasta, then slathering on some ragu and dusting with some soy parmesan. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

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No joke, this recipe comes from a restaurant in Mexico, and was published in the Times in 1991. While I think there are much better tofu cheesecake recipes out there, I really liked this. It’s totally vegan, and has a nice citrus-y taste, not overpowering, just very complimentary. The texture is light, bordering on chiffon, but only just bordering. This cheesecake is very liquid-y when you pour it into the pan. You may not believe it will ever set, but it does. Perfectly. Enjoy this cake – no guilt, all good.

Tofu cheesecake (modified only slightly from the original)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3-4 tablespoons margarine

nonstick spray

1 1/4 cups pineapple juice

1 1/2 tablespoons agar-agar

1 pound soft tofu

5 1/2 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon candied ginger, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9″ pie plate or springform pan with nonstick spray.

In food processor, mix graham cracker crumbs and margarine until a fine crumb is formed. Press cracker mixture onto the bottom of the pie pan until surface is smooth and even. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool.

Heat the pineapple juice to a near boil. Stir in the agar-agar gradually and simmer until it is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, combine all the other ingredients with the pineapple juice mixture and blend one minute. Pour into the baked crust. Refrigerate 3-4 hours. Makes 8 servings.

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