Monday, December 31, 2012

Crazy Sexy Kale & The Sicilian

Crazy Sexy Salad pg. 159
The Sicilian pg. 85
Crazy Sexy Kale
Today is the halfway mark in my Crazy Sexy Kitchen journey!  75 recipes!! Virtual high fives please! I hope you have been enjoying it as much as I have. 

Happy New Year!! Today is about starting the year out with a delicious healthy bang.  I know you made that age old resolution, "I am going to eat better." Just admit it, whether you said aloud or not.  This isn't just about eating healthier, but eating foods that taste great too!  So join me by starting January 1st off clean and green. 

First is the Crazy Sexy Kale salad.  Not only will your belly thank you for this, but your soul will love you for taking such great care of yourself.  The avocado and cayenne pepper make this salad a home run.  Here is what you need to get sexy with kale.

Not only is it tasty, but it is beautiful too!

Next up is The Sicilian juice.  After a night of partying this sucker is going to replenish all the cells in your body.  You will have an extra bounce in your step from the jalapeno in the juice.  I guarantee you will be running outside to shout Happy New Year!  So drink up baby.
I thought this picture was funny.
Thank you for going on the Crazy Sexy Kitchen journey with me.  Cheers to the next 75 recipes!  Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Truffled Edamame Dumplings

Truffled Edamame Dumplings with Shallot Broth pg. 147
Basic Asian Marinade pg. 226
Truffled Edamame Dumplings
It is the last day of 2012!  Have you made any resolutions?  Me, I always try to make a few.  Not that I always keep them. I vowed to do yoga everyday last year.  Promising myself to become limber enough to touch my toes, but I traded yoga in for running.  I decided a firm butt was more important!  Here are my 2013 resolutions:
Run 5 miles without walking.  I can do it, right!  I am only at 3 miles...
Travel some place new with my hubby. Hmmm, I can't wait to see where it will be...
Laugh until I cry. (Without being tickled!)
Take my kids on an adventure. (or 2 or 3)
Finish cooking my way through Crazy Sexy Kitchen!

Truffled Edamame Dumplings with Shallot Broth are the last in a trio of delicious appetizers to serve at your party tonight.  This one will take a bit of planning to make.  You have to soak some cashews in preparation.  Not to mention finding vegan potsticker shells proved to be a bit of a challenge.  Whole Foods didn't have them, but a local Asian supermarket did.  The broth can be made first and set aside.  It doesn't take too long to make.  Here is what you will need for the broth.
Shallot Broth Ingredients
After you make the filling you will need to set up a work station to fill the dumplings.  I found I had a tendency to overfill the dumplings at first, but once I got the hang of it they came together.  Here is what you will need for the filling, and a peak at the work station I created.
Dumpling Ingredients
Once the dumplings are browned you are to steam them.  Make sure you brown them enough, otherwise I think the dumplings taste doughy.  When Steaming the dumplings Chef Sarno suggests putting some sort of leafy vegetable down in the steamer to prevent them from sticking to the pan. I used romaine.
I also made an Asian Marinade to dip the dumplings in as well as the Shallot Broth.  This marinade is delicious. ( Not that the Shallot one isn't.)  The Asian one is spicy and really addicting.  When I make this recipe again I will probably skip the Shallot Broth and just make the Asian Marinade. The spice was just so good!  Although, my kids liked the Shallot Broth, so I guess I am stuck making both. Here is what you will need to add a little kick to your dumplings.
Asian Marinade Ingredient
This recipe was a success with the family.  I would totally recommend getting your family or friends to help you make them. Someone to stuff the dumplings, another to fry, while another is in charge of steaming.  Lastly, everyone eat them!  They are awesome!

Now tell me one of your New Year's resolutions.  Leave me a comment and tell me what you plan to on doing in 2013.  I would love to hear it!  Have a safe and Happy New Year! 

One last thing, Chef Sarno tweeted me that this was his favorite recipe in Crazy Sexy Kitchen!  So listen to the man, make these Dumplings and start 2013 with a bang.  You will love it too!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Crostini with Artichoke Puree, Garlicky Mushrooms, & Horseradish

Crostini with Artichoke Puree, Garlicky Mushrooms, and Horseradish pg. 144
Crostini with Artichoke Puree, Garlicky Mushrooms, & Horseradish
Here is another amazing appetizer to serve at your New Year's Eve bash.  Chef Sarno said in Crazy Sexy Kitchen that he has been making this dish on New Year's Eve for over a decade! Once you taste these Costini's you will totally get why he has made it his tradition.  I couldn't stop eating them as I was shooting the pictures for the blog.  I would consider doubling up on the recipe because 12 Crostini's won't be enough.  Go buy these ingredients because your guests will love you for it.

I had never purchased horseradish root before.  Yet again I had to ask my peeps at Whole Foods to help me out.  (It is the huge thing in the ingredient picture above.) To prepare it you just peel away the skin of the root like you would with ginger and grate away.  It wasn't spicy like the horseradish sauce you get in a jar, but it gave you a hint of that flavor.  My kids loved these Crostini's.  I would suggest making the Artichoke Puree earlier in the day to save a step when your guests arrive.  The mushrooms take only minutes to prepare.  That way you will spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating the New Year!

The Garlicky Mushrooms were a dish I had made before, and was excited to make again because they are yummy.  Here is a link for the ingredients.

So did you think of a signature cocktail to go with all your tasty appetizers for New Year's?  Maybe you need more inspiration?  Here is another one of my favorites.
It was created by Rick Bayless from the Frontera Grill in Chicago.

Summer Margarita
1/2 of an 8-ounce (6-inch-long) cucumber peeled and juiced
3/4 cup good-quality blanco tequila (They use Milagro blanco for this margarita at the restaurant. We  use Patron.)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup simple syrup
Cucumber slices for garnish
*Serve in a martini glass with sugar and dried cilantro on rim
It is refreshingly dangerous!  You can't have just one.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cucumber Cups

Cucumber Cups with Olive Tapenade pg. 141
Cucumber Cups with Olive Tapenade
Over the next few days I am going to make several awesome appetizers that you can serve at your New Year's Eve party.  Today we will start with the Cucumber Cups with Olive Tapenade.  Here is what you will need to get the party started as "Pink" would say. (Love her!)
My new zester courtesy of my BFF!!
These were a piece of cake to make.  You can prepare the Tapenade Cups ahead of time and pull them out of the refrigerator when your guests arrive.
Now you just need to invent your signature New Year's Eve cocktail...

Here is one of my favorites: The Burning Mandarin
one part cranberry
one part OJ
one part fresh lemon juice
simple syrup
shot of Absolute Mandarin
muddle a couple slices of a green serrano chile
shake it all up with some ice and pour (straining out the ice)
garnish with a sugar rimmed martini glass and a slice of serrano
*chill martini glass in freezer for added wow!
It is zesty!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pastrami-Spiced Young Carrots

Pastrami-Spiced Young Carrots with a White Bean Sauerkraut Puree pg. 223
Pastrami-Spiced Carrots
Was Santa good to you?  He was great to me.  The day was really nice, but can I just say I am glad it is over.  Is that horrible?  I love seeing the kids' joy as they open their gifts.  Heck, I love getting gifts.  Each year I try to scale back a bit, and make the holiday less commercialized, but still end up over spending.  The funniest thing, in hindsight, was the reaction my daughter gave me when making cookies for Santa.

Here I am really learning how to cook.  Making amazing things daily, yet I thought I could get away with buying pre-cut ready to bake sugar cookies.  The cookies actually were already decorated as well. I didn't realize that when I bought them. I swear! Seriously.  I feel you judging me. I warned you I wasn't a very good cook before I started this cooking project.  I bought pre-made frosting as well. I know, go ahead and roll your eyes I deserve it.  I figured it would expedite the whole process.  The kids could decorate cookies and all would be beautiful in my house.

Instead, my daughter could not hold back her disgust for the situation.  I was the loser mom who couldn't whip up homemade anything.  To top it off, my BFF who is in town totally backed my daughter up.  I felt pretty bad about myself while it was all taking place.  In the end, cookie decorating was still fun.  Santa got his cookies.  All was well in our house.  Me, I can laugh about it now.  Lesson learned no more store bought cookies, and maybe delegate better next year!  See for yourself, no permanent damage done...
One thing nobody could complain about was the veggie I made for Christmas dinner.  I was asked to bring a veggie side dish to my brother's house.  The Pastrami-Spiced Carrots sounded interesting, so I made them.  Here is what you will need to make them.
I love fresh dill.  My husband is Russian.  His grandma uses dill in everything, and I think it is delicious.  The carrots are covered with steak seasoning and baked.  The dill is blended into a dip with the beans, sauerkraut and a few spices.  I put the baked carrots on a bed of arugula with the dip on top.  The combo was very good.  It was almost like a salad.  Granted maybe I put too much arugula on my plate, but I like it that way! 
I am approaching the halfway mark on Crazy Sexy Kitchen, probably by New Years!  What was I thinking cooking my way through a cookbook?  Crazy me...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nut Milk & Cookies for Santa

Nut Milk pg. 93
Homemade Nut Milk
Santa will be here before we know it, so we have decided to leave him some Nut Milk and cookies.  I am sure Santa is feeling quite full from all the regular milk he consumed over the night.  He is sure to be quite delighted with homemade Nut Milk.  We added a little vanilla and cinnamon to his.  Hopefully you enjoy it Santa, and in case you want to know what the basic ingredients are here you go.  It is pretty simple to make.  Just remember to soak those nuts overnight before you plan to make it.
We strained the Nut Milk through a cheesecloth because that is what the recipe called for.  Although, I think it might offer a bit more pow if we left it with the nut pulp. Otherwise it was very light on taste.  Maybe next year Santa!
 To everyone have a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fennel & Fruits Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette

Fennel & Fruit Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette pg. 162 & pg. 239
Aztec Spirit pg. 96
Fennel & Fruits Salad
Sorry for being MIA for the last 2 days.  I had guests in the house, and was putting the final touches on Christmas.  My BFF and her husband are in town still, and my sister-in-law from Maui is here with her adorable kiddos as well.  The house has been bustling.  Lastly, my daughter's puppy Lily (the toy poodle) ate something bad and was so sick.  She is doing much better thank goodness!

I have the perfect salad if you have promised to bring a dish to someone's Christmas dinner, or if you need a recipe that is sure to please. I made a Fennel & Fruits Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette.  This is the best salad and dressing.  It is sure to knock the socks off of everyone!  The dressing has 3 different fresh herbs in it, plus crushed mandarin slices.  Can you say, "Yum!"  I only added 2 tablespoons of the flax oil versus 3 the recipe calls for.  Here is what you will need for the Champagne Vinaigrette.
Champagne Vinaigrette
I suggest doubling the salad portion of the recipe.  Everyone really loved it and it went fast.  You will have plenty of dressing to cover the extra salad.  The combo of fennel and green apple over the arugula was just delicious.  Here is what you will need to compliment your Christmas dinner.

Bonus recipe! Here is a little pick me up to get you through the next couple days, The Aztec Spirit.  It has 2 shots of espresso in it.  Hello energy boost!  Sometimes this time of year you just need a little zing to keep you going.  This will do the trick.  Plus, you get a handful of kale minus the stems to keep your belly happy.  The added spice from the cayenne pepper made this smoothie pretty awesome.  Here is what you will need to put an extra spring in your step.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  My kids are bouncing off the walls with anticipation.  Before Santa comes to your house check out this website. My sister-in-law introduced me to this really cute Santa  site.  You plug in some general things about your child and Santa sends them a personalized message.  It is pretty great!  If you have a kid wavering on his/her beliefs on a the whole Santa situation this will be sure to give them faith!  Here is the site:
Do it even for an adult.  It has naughty and nice options!  You will love it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Super Simple Wok Veggies

Recipe 64
Super Simple Wok Veggies pg. 179
Super Simple Wok Veggies
Kris Carr did her second online dinner last night.  (Not sure why I wasn't invited?)  She had one of her personal doctors to dinner, Dr. Bock.  He is the kind of doctor you would want treating you if you had an illness.  He seems to not just treat symptoms with medication, but tries to figure out what external things in your environment might be making you sick.  He believes in eating healthy, of course.  I thought it was interesting that he wasn't a vegan, but also liked that people who don't want to be vegan have options.   Dr. Bock believes dairy and wheat are huge contributing factors that cause issues in our body.  He suggested taking omega 3's, and having your Vitamin D levels checked. The most important thing he said we can do for ourselves is to love and laugh!  I am sure Kris will have the chat on her website next week if you didn't catch it.  I will post a link if or when it is up.

I am totally fascinated by a doctor that thinks outside the box.  So many doctors are so quick to just write a prescription and send you on your way.  I was diagnosed many years ago with Premature Ovarian Failure.  This is my "shit pickle" as Kris Carr would call it.  This is one of the factors that pushed me to start to live a cleaner lifestyle.  POF (Premature Ovarian Failure) basically means my body stopped producing estrogen.  Which really sucked and it  made me feel like crap!  So the thought that food could cure me was really appealing.

Truth is, I have a long way to go in terms of eating clean.  I eat sugar,  wheat and occasionally even eat meat.   Even so, I do my best to eat healthy.  I strive to educate myself on what is good for me, and I am feeling better and better everyday.  Many of us have health problems, or unfortunately someday will have problems.  This is one of the reasons I love Kris Carr.  She gets it, and we can learn from all the leg work she has done.

Now on to today's recipe.  Lets just take a moment to appreciate that I made a hot meal! Yah!  Today I made Super Simple Wok Veggies.  I served it with a little rice.  It was really easy to make.  Not too much chopping, and once the rice was done dinner was practically ready. The veggies only took minutes to cook.  Here is what you will need to get a healthy dinner on the table in a jiffy.

The awesome thing about a stir-fry is you can really add whatever you want.  Their is no wrong combo.  So open up your crisper drawer and go for it.  I added some chile sauce to mine. I am happy this recipe was so good & healthy because I didn't get a chance to run today.  There is always tomorrow, right?  I can do it...   

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Gardener

The Gardener pg. 87
The Gardner
I mentioned last week I went to Las Vegas to see my BFF who was traveling through from London to San Francisco.  Well, tonight she is here at my house.  Actually she came earlier today.  I mentioned she is preggers with her first baby.  So today we went to one of those 3D ultrasound places.  Very cool stuff!  She got a 90% that she is having a little girl.  My kids were so thrilled to see the ultrasound.  The baby is only 13 weeks, but you could see it moving all around.  It was awesome.  

Well, because my friend and her husband are in town, and staying at my house I only made a juice today.  Between the house guests, Christmas and the normal day to day I am feeling more unmotivated to cook.  Which isn't great when I am trying to cook my way through a cookbook.  Luckily CSK has plenty of juices for these lazy days.

I found myself a little scared to try yet another juice recipe.  This was The Gardener. The combo just sounded weird.  Check it out:

See what I mean!  How could all that taste good?  The thought of radishes in the juice really threw me off.  The thing is, it did taste great!  It was sweet and the slight taste of orange was refreshing.  I enjoyed it.  To consume that much kale or carrots in one sitting would be crazy, but drinking it was super easy.

I saved some of the juice for my husband to try when he got home.  He liked it too! So 2 thumbs up! Whoo Hoo!