Sunday, June 27, 2010

Portabella Parmagiana

This meal was the result of trying to avoid meat, using up 'less than fresh' veggies in the fridge, and a craving for Italian food. Sometimes restrictions breed creativity. Here's my creative and delicious solution...

· Portabella mushroom
· tomato sauce (in a jar is just fine)
· Italian bread crumbs
· Italian blended shredded cheese
· fresh basil leaves for garnish

· saute Portabella mushroom in a pan over medium heat with a little drizzle of olive oil and chicken stock to keep it moist while cooking (if going for truly vegetarian-you could use wnater here, instead)
· sprinkle mushroom with garlic powder, salt and pepper
· preheat the oven to 350°
· toast and mix bread crumbs in a pan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of butter and juice of 1/2 a lemon
· once the Portabella mushroom is cooked, place it on a basking sheet upside down and press the bread crumb mixture into the under side of the mushroom
· top with tomato sauce
· sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake in the oven until cheese is melted (about 8-10 minutes)
· garnish with fresh basil leaves

Voila! A yummy meatless meal. I will definitley be making this again real soon!

Fava Beans with Whole Wheat Pasta

Ever since hearing the quote from Silence of the Lambs, fava beans had never really seemed that appetizing to me. You know the one... "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." Hearing it use to send chills up my spine, but now that I am a big girl, horror movies don't seem to bother me as much. And, I am not in favor of passing judgement against any fruit or vegetable unless I have tried it and not liked it. That doesn't happen very often, though.

I don't think I would have seeked out fava beans at the grocery store, they just happened to be fresh at the farmers market. Buying what is fresh is always better even if it is an item that I am not familiar with. It gives me the chance to learn and try something new.

Preparation: I boiled the whole wheat pasta and made a quick sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, freshly grated Pecorino cheese, freshly ground pepper, and kosher salt. It was a simple and yummy pasta dish. I will say that prepping the fava beans was a little more work than I though it would be, but well worth it. You first have to remove all of the beans from the pods and then blanch the pods to soften for easy removal of the outer shell. Once you remove the beans from the outer shell you then have to boil for about 3-5 minutes to cook the fava beans.

top picture: from oswego tea

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Back in April, JJ and I took a road trip to Oklahoma City to visit his dad. Along with visiting the Oklahoma City bombing site and touring the famous Bricktown, we also took a little detour to grab lunch at a place called Pops with JJ's pop. It is located off Route 66 in Arcadia, OK. This is a tourist destination to say the least. The place was packed with people and its shelves packed with over 500 different types of sodas. Originally a gas station, this pit stop was turned into an ultra modern must-see restaurant, shake shop, gift shop, and convenience store. The landmark outside is a 66 ft. sculptural soda bottle and straw that can hardly be missed. The futuristic glass building is unique with shelves lined with a rainbow of bottled sodas.

We shopped around a little before grabbing a bite to eat. You could build your own six pack and so we did. I opted for more fruity sodas; pineapple soda, pink grapefruit, and a sugar free Jones soda. JJ went for the more crafted rootbeers and cream sodas. We were like kids in a candy shop. We waited about 45 minutes for seat and I will say the food wasn't anything to write home about- just normal diner food, not bad, just not memorable. We took our select sodas back with us to Kansas City and it took me forever to break them open. I think there might still be one in the fridge...just waiting to quench my thirst after a sweltering summer day.

If you are ever on Route 66, stop in at Pops for a pop with your pop!
What a great memory. Happy Father's Day, Sid!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fruit Addict Salad

There is not a day in my life that goes by without a piece of fruit. It is a regular part of my diet. I blame my mom for eating too much fruit while pregnant with me. Seriously, when it comes to fruit, there is no discrimination. I love it all!

After recently purchasing a giant papaya at the farmers market, I decided to make a fruit salad for breakfast. Needing a little protein in the mix, I sprinkled a few raw almonds for crunch. A drizzle of honey over the top made this fruit salad a sweet dessert for breakfast. The fruit salad included papaya, strawberries, mango and a banana. What a beautiful and healthy way to start the day. Bright colors make me happy and so does nature's candy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Muffins Made With Love

When the weather warms up, I look for any excuse to throw berries into a dish. Wanting to cook breakfast for my honey, I looked through the pantry to see what I could find. Way at the top of the shelf was a container of organic cornmeal mix I had bought with my Williams-Sonoma gift card a while back. Sometimes breaking out something you were saving for a special occasion makes it a special occasion. It was a Sunday morning and heart shaped berry corn muffins was the occasion! I just followed the directions on the container and added in blackerberries and blueberries to the batter. They basically made themselves...I will say that the berries added a lovely sweetness to the salty cornmeal mix and they turned out perfect.

If you do not have the organic cornmeal mix on hand, here's a quick and easy recipe for berry cornmeal muffins (heart shaped tin- optional)

· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 3/4 cup cornmeal
· 2 to 2 tbsp. sugar
· 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
· 3/4 tsp. salt
· 2 beaten eggs
· 1 cup milk
· 1/4 cup cooking oil or melted butter
· 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
· 1/4 cup fresh blackberries

(makes 12 muffins)
· preheat oven to 400°
· in a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside
· grease a muffin tin
· in a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil
· add egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir until moistened
· fold in berries being careful not to break them
· pour batter into muffin tin only filling each cup 2/3 full
· bake for approx. 15 minutes and check with toothpick to make sure they are cooked through
· serve warm and with love

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Lately, I have had an obsession with beets. I am not sure if its the earthy flavor I love or the fact that my hands get dyed a lovely fuchsia while preparing them. Coming out of a 2 to 3 month vegetarian phase, I had a craving for this amazing root vegetable. I was discussing this with a friend and she mentioned that my body was craving the iron. Isn't that amazing?...that our bodies crave certain foods because we are lacking in that particular nutrient? What about when I crave Cheetos? What is my body telling me, then?

Beets were never part of my regular diet. Sure, I had eaten them on a salad here or there while dining out, but had never prepared them myself at home before. There are two ways that I have been preparing them lately; boiling until nice and tender or roasting them in the oven to make them nice and sweet.

Beet Salad (above)
· boiled beets
· strawberries
· sliced green onions
· mixed greens
· feta cheese
· dressing: good balsamic vinegar and olive oil

There's nothing like discovering a new fruit or vegetable that is in season to experiment with in the kitchen. I hope this encourages you to get out of your normal culinary routine and try something different. Happy hunting!