Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn Soups

On the Menu
  • Black Bean and Yams Soup
  • Spicy Rutabaga Soup 
  • Tomato Soup 

There isn't much that's more comforting on a chilly evening than a hot bowl of soup. Whether spooned from a pot for family and friends, or eaten with nothing more for company than a good book, it is one of the most satisfying meal.  So buckle down and enjoy one of our soups.

 Black Bean and Yams Soup
8 - 10 Servings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 medium onions, chopped  
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander 
1 teaspoon ground cumin  
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 quarts vegetable broth  
1 pound black beans, cooked  
2 medium yams, peeled and cut into medium dice 
2 teaspoons sea salt  
1 lime, sliced, thin

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot.
Add the onions and garlic and saute until onions brown slightly. 
Add  coriander, cumin, and pepper and mix thoroughly. 
Add the broth, beans, sweet potatoes and salt, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Remove 2 cups of beans, drain and set aside. 
Puree the remaining soup in batches in a blender or using an immersion blender.
Return the beans to the soup taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve with a slice of lime.

 Spicy Rutabaga Soup
8 Servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks,  chopped
1 1/2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and diced
4 cups water
2 large bay leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add rutabaga water, bay leaves and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until rutabaga is tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. 
Remove the bay leaves then add, paprika, pumpkin spice mix and chipotle pepper and stir to combine.
Allow soup to cool slightly, then purée in a blender or using an immersion blender until smooth.
Taste and season with more salt and white pepper as needed.

 The Best Tomato Soup Ever 
10 – 12 Servings

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup chopped onions
⅔ cup chopped garlic
1 quart vegetable broth
2 quarts crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons basil, dried
¼ teaspoons salt – dependent upon type of broth used
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup fresh chopped basil leaves

In a large stock pot, heat the oil and saute the onions for 2 minutes, add the garlic and saute another minute.
 Add the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, sugar, basil salt and pepper; cook 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Taste for season and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
Remove from heat, stir in the cream then puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
If pureeing using a food processor, return pureed soup to the pot then stir in the fresh basil.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Morning Smoothie - Tofu Tropical Smoothie

Smoothie Tip:  You don't need to add sugar to smoothies! Just add high sugar fruits likes apples, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, grape, etc.  A few dabs of maple syrup for flavor not sweetness is okay occasionally.

  Tofu Tropical Smoothie
2 Servings
2 cups diced frozen mango
1/2 cup pineapple, frozen 

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup silken tofu
1 lime, Juiced
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest

Combine mango, pineapple, milk, tofu, lime juice and lime zest in a blender; blend until smooth.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sunday Dinner October 19, 2014

On the Menu
Red Lobster’s Maple-Glazed Salmon
New Age Soul Food Style
Serves 4
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup maple cherry glaze
   Maple Cherry Glaze
2 cups Grade A pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup chopped dried cherries
Juice of ½ lemon

    Maple Cherry Glaze:
Combine syrup, soy sauce, orange juice and cherries in small sauce pot over medium heat.
Squeeze juice from half lemon in mixture and stir well.  Cook over medium low heat 20 – 30 minutes then remove from heat and let cool.
Once glaze has cooled, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Remove glaze from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before using on grilled fish or chicken.

Brush salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place salmon on grill and grill approximately 5 minutes, then carefully flip over.
Baste with maple cherry glaze, and continue to cook approximately 5 more minutes.
Place fillets on individual plates and top the other side with the maple cherry glaze.

This glaze can also be used on chicken, fish, shrimp, scallops, beef and pork 
Greens with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes
4 Servings
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 ¼ teaspoon sea salt divided
4 Roma tomatoes cut in fourths
3 large garlic cloves sliced
1 bunch collards, chiffonade
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
2 oranges, juiced [¾ cup]

In a wok or large sauce pan, heat oil, add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. 
Saute onions on medium high heat until onions are caramel in color, approximately 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium, add tomatoes and garlic and continue sautéing until all liquid from tomatoes is absorbed.
Add collards and remaining ingredients mix thoroughly then bring pan up to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes on low heat.
Jasmine Rice with Lima Beans and Dill
4 Servings
1 cup Jasmine brown rice
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup frozen baby lima beans, rinsed, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Rinse rice thoroughly with cold water and strain.
In a medium size pot, add rice, water and bay leaf; bring to a boil and let it boil uncovered for 7 minutes.
Drain rice through a wire mesh strainer reserving cooking liquid and bay leaf then set them both aside.
Return pot to the stove and heat, add the oil, thoroughly drained rice, bay leaf, lima beans, salt, onion and garlic.
Mix ingredients and let it cook approximately 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the reserved liquid; make sure it covers rice by at least 1 inch.  Add more water if necessary.
Bring pot up to a boil, stir then cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and let rice cook 35 minutes undisturbed.
After the 35 minutes has elapsed, remove pot from the heat and let it sit unopened for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove top and gently fold in the fresh dill.

 Asparagus and Arugula Spring Salad
6 - 8 Servings

1 pound slender asparagus, tough ends trimmed
10 ounces arugula
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
1 ½ ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
For the Vinaigrette Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Preheat oven to 400°F
Whisk the dressing ingredients in small bowl to blend, cover and refrigerate.
Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes and re-whisk before using.
Place asparagus spears on a baking sheet. Drizzle ¼ cup vinaigrette over and turn to coat, then spread in single layer.  
Roast asparagus until just crisp/tender, about 8 - 12 minutes, depending on size.
Cut asparagus in thirds on the bias.
Combine arugula, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes in large bowl.
Add remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Transfer salad to platter; add shaved cheese. 

 Russian Tea
25 Servings

5 cups water
1 ½ cups sugar 1 orange rind [skin of 1 orange] 8 whole cloves
8 cups boiling water
1 lemon, juiced
4 oranges, juiced
4 tea bags

In a large pot, add 5 cups of water, stir in the sugar, 1 orange rind and cloves. Boil together for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, cover and set aside.
In another pot, pour in 8 cups of water, lemon juice and orange juice; bring to a boil than add the tea bags and remove pot from the heat; let bags steep for 5 minutes.
Combine pots, stir and strain.
Keep hot until ready to serve. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Top 3 Meats Consumed in the US

ON The Menu
# 1 Chicken:
 For the first time in over a hundred years, we eat more chicken than beef. The rise of chicken can be attributed to its versatility; it's easy to cook and cheaper then beef. Chicken is also a white meat, which many people characterize as leaner than red meat. Red meat is claimed to be linked to higher cancer and heart disease risks.
So eat more chicken!

# 2 Beef: 
Beef consumption has been declining for the past decade, as consumers become more health conscious and choose leaner meats and vegetarian options. Red meat has been linked to heart disease and diabetes but it's still the 2nd most consumed meat in the US

# 3 Pork:  In spite of the religious restrictions and over all controversy of pork, it is number 3 on the list of meats most consumed in the US.

Engagement Chicken
1 [4 to 5 pound] roasting chicken
4 lemons - divided
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Fresh herbs [4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs and 8 thyme sprigs]

Method Note:  You do not want to pierce the chicken with a fork or other sharp objects, this will cause valuable juices to escape. 

Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water and remove all of the gook between the bones, etc.
Let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Juice 2 lemons and whisk together with the wine, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic.
In a medium roasting pan, line the bottom with the fresh herbs then place the chicken breast-side down in the pan and pour the marinade all over the chicken, both inside and out.
Prick the remaining 2 lemon with a fork in 3 – 4 places to release the juices and then place them inside the chicken.
Cover, refrigerate and let chicken marinate  2 – 3 hours.
Remove chicken from the refrigerator and let pan come to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the chicken in the oven uncovered and lower the temperature to 350°F, and roast for 15 minutes.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons turn the chicken breast-side up and return it to the oven and roast for 1½ hrs., [~ 15 minutes per pound] and chicken is golden brown.
For safety purposes and the best results use a meat thermometer.  After cooking chicken for the estimated period [~ 15 minutes per pound], insert thermometer in the thigh joint and if the internal temperature is 165 degrees, it’s done [leave thermometer in chicken until ready to carve].
Using tongs or two wooden spoons, transfer chicken to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes before piercing with a fork or carving.
Strain the juice from the roasting pan into a sauce pan, discard the herbs, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until juice is reduced by ⅓.
Now here’s the secret: Pour the juice on top of the sliced chicken—this is the “marry me juice.” Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon
2 Servings
2 – 6 ounce filet Mignon steaks (1 inch thick)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup mixed peppercorns
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
Wash steaks and place them in a pint size zip lock bag.  Pour in the red wine vinegar and let steaks marinade overnight in the vinegar, turn bag a few times to make sure steaks are well covered.
Set steaks on counter to gradually warm to room temp while preparing other ingredients.
If you have, use a coffee grinder to crack the peppercorns, or place peppercorns in a plastic bag and use the back of a heavy pan to crack them.
Mix together the coarsely cracked peppercorns, granulated garlic and onion.
Remove steaks from plastic bag and blot off the excess vinegar with a paper towel.
Roll steaks in the peppercorn mixture and mash mixture into steaks until all sides are coated.
Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add steaks to hot dry skillet and cook according to schedule listed below. Transfer to platter.
Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Juices will redistribute and steak will continue cooking during this time.

Cooking time for 1” Steaks:                                            
Rare - 5 minutes on first side and 3 minutes on second side 
Medium - 6 minutes on first side and 4 minutes on second side
Well - 8 minutes on first side and 6 minutes on second side
Garlic Ginger Pork Loin Roast
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

3 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onion
Juice of 1 large lime or orange (about ¼ cup)
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons spicy mustard or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 ½ - 3 pounds boneless pork loin roast

Note To ensure that your meat is done use a thermometer and cook to the recommended temperature.

In a large, zip lock bag; add garlic, onion, lime juice, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ginger, salt and pepper and squish the bag around to combine the marinade ingredients.
Add the pork loin and turn the bag over and over so the roast is covered with the marinade, squeeze out all the air and seal.
Refrigerate overnight.
Remove roast from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature in the bag before cooking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the roast in the pan.
Bake roast, uncovered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes or use a thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
Once roast is done, remove it from the oven and cover with foil.
Let roast rest 30 minutes before slicing.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Morning Smoothie - Green Fruity Smoothie

Smoothie Tip: To save time, prep the ingredients when you have time and store them in freezer bags.  Green leafy vegetables and herbs don't have to be chopped.  I freeze my greens/herbs including lettuce whole (stems included), they break very easy once frozen.
I just make sure I use the lettuce and other leafy items within 3 months.

Green Fruity Smoothie
2 Servings
1 cup coconut water
2 cups spinach or baby kale
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 golden delicious apple, seeded, sliced
1 pear, seeded, sliced
1/2 cup strawberries, frozen
1/2 cup mangoes, frozen

Combine coconut water, spinach, avocado and pear in a blender and process until liquified.
Add the frozen strawberries and mangoes and process until smooth and creamy.