May 15, 2015

Raw Beet Salad

Raw Beet and Quinoa Salad


I don't know how it happens but sometimes a little extra sneaks up on me. OK, that's a lie. I know how it happens. Pretzel bread, raspberry pie, creamy curried pasta and my enjoyment of them have left me with a bit more around my waist. Not a big deal in the whole scheme of my life these days, but an irritation when my pants are tight and the zipper won't stay up because my stomach is fighting for a little more room. So I increase my running and consumption of things like this, a raw beet salad.

Grated raw beets are delicious. Sweet and crunchy, they're as good as cooked but quicker. Add grated carrots, red cabbage, salted sunflower seeds and crispy quinoa and you have a mostly raw salad that makes you feel so healthy and is complete with vegetables, fiber and protein. It holds well too so it's great to pack up for lunch the next day. I like balsamic vinaigrette, but scratch ranch or something Asian inspired would be good too. I love that I can use my box grater for all of it — such a useful, uncomplicated piece of kitchen equipment. Take care to grate your beets on a non wooden surface because they will stain.

Raw Beet Salad
serves 2

2 beets
2 carrots
1/4 head red cabbage
1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds
1 cup cooked and crisped quinoa
A few handfuls of baby kale or other greens

Trim, peel and grate beets and carrots using largest holes on box grater. Do the same with the cabbage. Arrange with seeds and quinoa on a bed of greens and serve with balsamic vinaigrette or other dressing you like.

May 12, 2015

See you later, toast.




My husband Mike has cancer. Nasty MF @#$%&! esophageal cancer. Are you clear on what the initials MF stand for? Not My Favorite. Not Mon Frere. The other one. The one that feels so good to say. So appropriate. It deserves it for doing it's nasty work inside his body before announcing itself via a little fatigue, pain and weight loss. Clever bastard.

April 15, 2015

Mustard greens and other discoveries


Re. mustard greens—I don't like them. This was hard for me to admit since I usually love bitter greens (arugula, dandelion) but these beauties are too strong and mustardy. I tried them raw. I tried them sauteed Asian-style then I gave up. I want to like this health-packed food. Anyone have ideas?



April 8, 2015

Pasta with Cauliflower, Ricotta and Spiced Oil




I found the bones of this recipe in a People magazine, one I felt lucky to get my grubby paws on in a doctor's waiting room. I've been spending more time in various medical offices around town —a story for another post. But I will say that most of these places have the saddest assortment of reading materials. They should stock the most outrageous celebrity rags and travel magazines to help people get their minds off whatever worry sent them there in the first place. 

April 1, 2015

Spring on the salad!




This weekend I'll attend Passover dinner on Saturday and Easter brunch on Sunday. My family is Catholic so Passover is relatively new for us, a gift, if you will, from my mother's Bronx born and raised Jewish husband, Marty. He loves a good opera and a good sandwich (quite possibly in equal measure), celebrates Christmas with us enthusiastically (especially the tree) and makes handmade wooden toys for all the grandkids. He is without Midwestern reserve and often blurts out what's on his mind. Scared us a little at first until we got a gander at his heart—which is huge and hangs off his sleeve for all to see. So on Saturday we'll all put on the little pita bread hats and take turns reading from worn booklets reciting passages from the Torah that Marty explains to us, eat the matzo, the bitter herbs and all the rest. The kids groan when I tell them we're going to Passover dinner at Grandma and Papoo's but it always ends up being a good time with plenty of laughter and tasty food. We're always glad we went.


March 13, 2015

Roasted Pepper Crostini and a Rant





I've been blogging for a few years now and it's an impulse I can't fully explain. My stock answer is that blogging is a creative outlet, which is true. Taking pictures, writing and cooking are relaxing and an opportunity for expression. Connecting with others in the food blogging community has been nice too and there are many compelling blogs with creative food and photos and narratives written by people who have thought-provoking, informative or funny things to say.

March 8, 2015

Oops!

Here are my latest duds. Or at least the ones I took pictures of...




Crispy Meat Accessories in honor of fashion week—not a bad idea just not enough of an idea. Good snacking though and the dogs were appreciative. 

February 17, 2015

Grapefruit Cookies

Grapefruit Cookies


Grapefruit Cookies
My kids have always been crazy about those sugar cookies at Target. You know the ones. They're big, soft, thickly iced with bright colored frosting and have a list of ingredients as long as the Apple Agreement I reflexively hit "Agree" to but have never read. They contain sugar, flour, margarine and all kinds of artificial flavorings and colorings. Yuck. I mean, yum! Yum! They're good. I get it. But maybe I can make something just as good, better or at least a respectable stand-in that includes ingredients I could find at any natural food store or co-op. 

February 10, 2015

Cardamom Cayenne Cashew Caramel Corn


Cardamom Cayenne Cashew Caramel Corn


I'm trying to cram in a years' worth of movie viewing this month in preparation for the Oscar's in a few weeks. Saw and loved Birdman (best soundtrack by a set of drums plus I'm kind of mesmerized by Michael Keaton's mouth...that sounds weird, right?), sincerely appreciated Boyhood and thought Grand Budapest Hotel was a fun romp. Three down, five to go. I'll never make it. But it's OK—I'll still watch the ceremonies with friends, drink champagne, eat good food and root for my favorite performances, speeches and dresses in the comfort of my family room. It's a tradition. 

I usually provide popcorn for my guests and have been playing around with this variation—a sweet and spicy caramel corn. Cardamom, which is a mellow cousin of the ginger family, is one of my favorite spices for sweet things—so warm and flavorful. It's kind of luxe to use cashews instead of peanuts but it fits the fancy Oscar theme, so why not? Next time I think I'll throw in dried cherries to provide a little chew and two more 'C's' for my title— Chewy Cherry Cardamom Cayenne Cashew Caramel Corn!

February 5, 2015

Chard Salad with Crackling Bread Croutons

Chard Salad with Crackling Bread Croutons




Did you hear? Harper Lee has a new book coming out, Go Set a Watchmana book she wrote before To Kill a Mockingbird. This has prompted me to do two things I've never done before. One is preorder a book and the second is to make crackling bread, or at least a version of crackling bread using bacon bits and bacon fat in place of the usual pork cracklings and fat. 

January 28, 2015

Quick Roti — Or how carbs can cure the blues...

Quick Roti

I learned an expensive lesson last weekend. We hosted a post-holiday Holiday Party for my husbands office crew of about 60 people and, knowing I had a busy week, decided to cater it. We planned a Spanish wine tasting and tapas theme because a good friend of ours is a wine writer/purveyor and he suggested it and was willing to secure all the wine. For the tapas I looked around at local caterers and settled on one that had been in business for a long time and had a good reputation. The owner was very confident, asked a minimum of questions, sent me a sample menu and we were off.

January 17, 2015

Tahini Roasted Broccoli



Tahini Roasted Broccoli




I've been roasting broccoli and cauliflower for years and it's always a winner. Put a little brown on vegetables and they really shine. But I'm always on the hunt for a twist and came across a few recipes that drizzle roasted vegetables with a tahini dressing after they come out of the oven. Tahini is a middle eastern sesame seed paste that frequently co-stars with chickpeas in the blockbuster known as hummus.

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