Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yellow Squash Fettuccine & Peach Sorbet

Yellow Squash Fettuccine with Creamy Pine Nut Alfredo pg. 204
Jasmine Peach Sorbet pg. 270
I think if you asked ten people which is healthier a vegan meal or a non-vegan meal, they would almost all say the vegan meal was healthier. In many cases, I probably think vegan foods would be the correct answer. How about a vegan fettuccine vs a non-vegan fettuccine?
The vegan meal I made tonight Yellow Squash Fettuccine with Creamy Pine Nut Alfredo was  quite delicious. It had lots of nutritious ingredients.  You could easily eat an entire bowl.  The recipe says it serves 2.   The problem in my eyes is the recipe calls for 1 and 3/4 cups of pine nuts.  1 cup of pine nuts equates to a little over 900 calories! That's a lot of nuts!
You would think, no pasta and no cream, equals low-calorie.  This recipe would not be the case.  This fettuccine like any fettuccine dish is an indulgence.  Which is fine, but it is just something to think about as you eat it.  Just because something is vegan doesn't mean it is always going to be super healthy and low-calorie.  I did find that you can get away with much less of the pine nut Alfredo sauce which helps the recipe be a bit healthier.   The fresh basil was delightful in it.

Next up I made Jasmine Peach Sorbet.
The recipe calls for fresh peaches which are obviously not in season and no where to be found.  So I opted for frozen.
It worked out terrific, and I didn't have to touch the fuzzy peel that sends shivers down my back. The jasmine offered a wonderful uniqueness to the sorbet.  By using the frozen peaches the mixture started out as an awesome smoothie when blended together.  I went ahead and poured the mixture in the ice cream maker to make the sorbet.  Even though I really just wanted to stick a straw in and drink it. 

My ice cream maker doesn't work all that great, so I usually have to put my final product in the freezer for a little while to complete my frozen treat.  Here's the kicker, my freezer broke!  It seriously stopped working.  It couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time.  So luckily my kind neighbor let me trade some space in her freezer for a box of Girl Scout cookies.  (My daughter is a Girl Scout.)
The sorbet was really great, and so super easy to whip together.   This is a great healthy option for a sweet treat.  If you are eating dessert, this is guilt free all the way yet jam packed full of flavor.  My daughter and I loved it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Iron Machine

Iron Machine pg. 84

I got a comment on yesterday's post that caught my eye.  An anonymous person informed me that my Chard looked a lot like Collard Greens.  All I could think of was oh s--t! Here I thought  I really knew my vegetables, boy was I wrong.  I was bragging that I could find myself in any produce section of the grocery store and cook anything.  Not!  Well not if I can't get the dang veggie right.  Duh!  I immediately Googled pictures of Chard and Collard Greens.  Turns out I picked up the wrong leafy veggie. Oops!  So today I went back to Whole Foods and got Chard, and yet again I made Sauteed Chard (Well truth be told my husband made it for me!).   This time we ate Chard!
If you blindfolded me and fed me Chard or Collard Greens I don't think I could tell the difference! They tasted really similar. To that anonymous commenter, thank you for showing me the way to Chard!  It just goes to show you I am never done learning! I wonder who Mr. or Mrs. anonymous was?  I am so curious? 

Now that we got that cleared up I have something very exciting to share with you.  I found Burdock Root!  The produce guy at Whole Foods came through for me.  Yeah!
It is huge.  This one was cut in half.  I made my very last juice, The Iron Machine.
I wish I could say I saved the best for last, but I would be lying.  This juice tasted way too earthy for me. Actually describing it as earthy is me being kind.  It tasted like dirt.  Before you ask me if I washed everything really good, the answer is yes!  OK I said it, sorry Chef Sarno I hate bad mouthing your recipe,  99.9 percent of your recipes have been really awesome.  I wish I could say after all that effort to get that dumb root that it was worth it, but for me it just wasn't.  Let me know if you liked it? If you can stomach the juice your body will be really happy because it is full of iron.  Give it a try.  Be brave!  Good luck finding Burdock Root... Seriously good luck!

Monday, February 25, 2013

True Crunchy & Sauteed Chard

The True Crunchy pg. 170
Sauteed Chard pg. 209
The True Crunchy
Today I went to my daughter's middle school.  I walked into a class full of teens.  I have to admit I was a little terrified.  You see I have this reoccurring nightmare from time to time.  It is me having to redo my whole middle school experience.  Except, when I was in middle school it was called Junior High.  Not sure at what point they changed the name? Do you know why they did?  The kids were totally sweet, and I have so much respect for my daughter's teachers.  They are working with a very tough crowd.  Granted they can be so loving, but you also know they could give you a roll of the eyes in the blink of a second. I didn't want to embarrass my daughter.  (The pressure!)  OK, I know this has nothing to do with food, but I just had to share. I consider it therapeutic for me;) So thanks! I was truly shocked how nervous it made me.  I just didn't expect it. 

Later, when I got home I made a couple different dishes from CSK. Not sure why I chose them both for today except that I simply just felt like it! First up was was The True Crunchy.  It is a really light salad.  It doesn't even have any oil in it.  Talk about low calorie.  The kalamata olives give you the illusion of oil being in there.  I couldn't find all the various sprouts the recipe called for, but went ahead and just purchased what Whole Foods had to offer.  I already had Mung Bean Sprouts and added Broccoli Sprouts.  It was really quite good, and I am not a huge lover of sprouts.  I would totally make it again.
Next up is Sauteed Chard.  Chard isn't a veggie that I ever bought until my CSK adventures began.  It is easy to cook almost like spinach.  It is kind of bitter in my opinion.  The Nutritional Yeast is what made the recipe stand out.  It gave it that yummy cheesy taste that makes most things better. A big  bunch of chard cooks way down into a pretty small bowl, so keep that in mind.  I think one bunch works for 4 people if taking small servings.
Sauteed Chard
I really love being exposed to so many new veggies.  It is cool to look in the veggie section of the grocery store, and feel confident that I could make something tasty with most any veggie.  It is a good feeling, and has made me a much more confident cook!  I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and trying a new veggie.  It just might be your fav!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crazy Sexy Veggie Quesadilla

Crazy Sexy Veggie  Quesadilla pg. 137
Today I did a massive grocery shopping trip.  I have a big list of to-dos for Crazy Sexy Kitchen.  I would love to be on to my last 10 recipes come next week. My birthday is next week, and it would be so cool to give myself the gift of completing CSK.  Not sure if I can finish that many recipes between now and then?  I also have a baby shower to throw next week, so it will be a tough one! Before I count down my last 10, I still have 9 recipes to make.

I have been in search of burdock root for my last juice recipe.  I am wondering if I am going to have to offer the guys at Whole Foods a bribe in exchange for that darn root! They have promised me Tuesday, so we will see.  As I looked for ingredients for various upcoming dishes, I couldn't help snickering to myself about the Crazy Sexy Veggie Quesadilla recipe.  I admit I was being a little snarky.  I was thinking why do we need another quesadilla recipe in the world?  It really seems like a no brainer thing to make.
I stand corrected with this recipe.  You do need this one.  It is so yummy.  Quesadilla's can really be quite heavy and unhealthy.  If they are not vegan then they are usually loaded with cheese.  This recipe has a coarse puree of veggies and beans as its base.  It is so delish and flavorful. Then, you grill some mushrooms (remembering not to crowd the mushrooms ;)!) and add some crisp red bell pepper. Your mouth will begin to water as you prepare it. 
This made an awesome lunch, but you could easily have this for dinner as well.  It is a kid friendly meal.  I would maybe use a little less jalapeno in the kid's version.  We had some fresh salsa with our quesadillas.
It was so simple, and one of my favorites.   Pretty funny how wrong I was when I started this recipe.  All I can say is "awesome!"  

PS Check out this link on Kris Carr's website:
  Two Crazy Sexy Grads Share B-School Results - 
It is all about growing your business or potential business!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Asian Stir-Raw with Miso Ginger Sauce

Asian Stir-Raw with Miso Ginger Sauce pg. 187
It's the weekend! I am so happy for it.  Granted no Pink concert this weekend, but my pesky cold that I had last week has finally gone away.  This weekend is devoted to beautifying as if I was going to attend the Oscars.  It started today with my nails.
Later a little waxing.  Ouch and TMI I know! Now my hair.  Anyone who really knows me knows the rocky relationship I have with my hair.  Even my mother refers to my curls as ugly curls not so much because it is curly, but because the curls have such a mind of their own!  What mother says that? I know, sad but true. (She has the same kind of hair, so I don't take it too personally.) I am a curly girl, and have actually made great strides to come to peace with it in the past year.  I think the key has been just letting it grow and grow.

One of my most favorite things to do is get my hair colored, trimmed and conditioned.  (Ahhhh it is pure bliss.) It is the little things in life.  So come Sunday I will be Oscar ready as I sit on my couch and watch The Academy Awards.  Love it! (It's actually completely coincidence that I am getting all my beauty stuff done the same weekend as The Oscars or maybe it is just fate!)
In my fantasy, if I was walking the red carpet, I might eat Asian Stir-Raw.  It is a light meal that will fill your belly in a totally healthy and tasty way.  No bloat here.  The veggies are coated with a  yummy tangy sauce.  The sauce makes this like no other stir-fry I have ever had. My husband loved it. I would have probably loved it too, but stir-fry meals are generally not my fav.  Don't judge, I am just being honest;) The things that will make this stir-raw stand out are the fresh cilantro and basil on top of it.  Cilantro makes everything taste better.
It's a veggie rainbow!
I heated my stir-raw up into a stir-fry for a few minutes in my wok because it was dinner and I wanted something warm to eat.  Honestly, I don't know how people only eat raw.  That is a big commitment. If it had been midday I might have eaten it raw.  I said Maybe!
This Miso Ginger Sauce was awesome.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Any predictions or favorites for best picture?  I am rooting for Argo!

FYI, 19 more recipes to go...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Red Thai Coconut Soup & Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Red Thai Coconut Soup pg. 129
Semi-Dried Tomatoes pg. 213

Today I made one of the recipes that had me scared from the time I saw it.  It has a weird ingredient in it, as well as it is served cold.  One of my biggest pet peeves in a recipe is when you have to search high and low for some strange ingredient.  Have you ever heard of kaffir lime leaves?  Me either!
I went to Whole Foods and asked the produce guy if they ever get them in? He practically laughed at me.  He even said maybe just go to a nursery and pick some leaves off a tree. Turns out my husband found them at a little Indian grocery store about 15 minutes from our house.  The soup calls for the tiniest bit of this leaf, and really I am not sure it makes that much difference?  The soup itself was flavorful, but I don't think I would make it again.  I am not really into cold soups.  I think if I was served a little cup  at a restaurant I would have liked it.  Maybe if you are serving it as a small starter, but I wouldn't want a big bowl.  That is just me though, so here are the ingredients in case you are feeling adventurous.
I have a little game for you.  Can you find the ingredient that should not be in this picture?  I made a boo boo when I pulled out what I needed.  Answer at the end of the post!  I know exciting stuff here! Do you get a prize you ask?  Hmmmm, no but I will tell you how smart and amazing you are:)

Next up is Semi-Dried Tomatoes.  These were a cinch to make, and the finished product was really pretty.
 Just a few spices and these tomatoes come alive.  I loved the fennel. Here are the ingredients.
The prep is interesting because you have to make slits in the bottom of the tomatoes as you prepare to get the skin off them.
When I first tried these I kinda thought, just good, but then I put them in my arugula salad and thought they were great!
The tomatoes just break open and really become the dressing on the salad.  All the herbs are so delish on the arugula.  I added some lemon juice and olive oil to the salad.  I would probably just take the stems off if I wasn't worried about presentation.

So did you find the ingredient that shouldn't be in the picture? Answer: Shallots (The recipe called for an option of scallions.)

You are so smart and amazing!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tartlets with Sorbet & Lavender Syrup

Tartlets with Clementine Sorbet & Lavender Syrup pg. 261

As I made tartlets with Lavender Syrup today a few things were going through my head.  The first is every time I say Tartlet I keep thinking of an episode of the sitcom Friends.  Here is a little bit of the video...
Do you remember that episode? 

Next it's that movie It's Complicated with Meryl Streep.  She talks about always making lavender ice cream when she couldn't sleep.  I had never heard of eating anything with lavender in it until that movie.  Well except for now because although I didn't make lavender ice cream, I did make lavender syrup. 
Lavender is actually awesome to eat!  This dessert was amazing.  The tartlets were absolutely perfect.  Now I have one tiny confession to make before I go any further with this post.  Please forgive me because I have sinned... I didn't make the sorbet today.  I am sorry!  I actually made this sorbet months ago twice.  I have proof: I didn't like it either way, so I decided to instead go to Whole Foods and buy some vegan Blood Orange Sorbet to go with my tartlets and lavender syrup. 

Now that I have gotten that off my chest I will lavish you with all kinds of pictures so you will hopefully forgive me:) Here is what you will need to make tartlets and lavender syrup.  I didn't use lavender flowers but the leaves of the plant.  That is what they had fresh at Whole Foods.  You could use dried flowers instead if you like.  I just figured when I saw the package of lavender leaves in  the fresh spice section that it was time to make this recipe.

All you need is one tartlet tin, and some cellophane to make the tartlets.  Use a food processor to blend the ingredients.  Then press two tablespoon balls into the lined tartlet pan.  You will freeze the tartlets to set.  They are sooooo yummy.  You could eat them alone as a cookie if you didn't want to do the sorbet or syrup.
Although the cookies are scrumptious. I  will be making this dessert with the sorbet and syrup the next time I want to seriously impress my dinner guests.