“Pretty Beet Salad”

Several years ago a friend took me to a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in San Francisco called Postrio. They offered a tasting menu with a simply stated “beet salad” as the second course.  I went ahead and ordered it no real expectations.

When it came to my table, I almost gasped.  There were small little yellow and purple beets interspersed with edible flowers, little colorful smears of still unidentified “deliciousness” of all shapes and colors, along with little pieces of cheese.

“The plate honestly looked like some kind of masterpiece.”

Postrio did such an amazing job, it is still the most impressive food plating I’ve seen anytime, anywhere!

Here is my amateur attempt at trying to recreate this Postrio beet plate:

I love beet salad, but for years I was completely intimidated to even think of cooking them.  I only started incorporating beets into my recipes a few years ago but now they’re a part of my favorite “make ahead” salads to keep in the fridge.

The bright purple hue of the beets should alert you to the fact these things are filled with anti-oxidants and lots of good things for the body. By serving the salad with a delicious orange-olive oil dressing you totally “power up” the nutritional value and profile as well. 

My version of the “Pretty Beet Salad” is really easy, super healthy,  stores in the fridge well, and can be thrown together in a very short period of time.  If you haven’t worked with beets before I highly recommend using latex gloves with a good apron, because they are messy and can turn your hand and clothes purple real fast. I used purple beets but you can use golden beets as well.  Mix it up and play around with this dish. Have some fun calibrating it to your own tastes.

This recipe  is small and only for 2 people because I typically just cook for my boyfriend and I.  Plus, due to the mess, I prefer working only with a few beets at a time!


“I LOVED beet salad when I was going through chemo therapy. The beets with the bright orange flavors from the dressing and the zest, really knocked out the yucky chemo taste.”

Ingredients:

  • 4 beets
  • 1/4 of a red onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 ounce goat cheese, zest of 1 half of an orange, edible flowers
  • Orange vinaigrette recipe, recipe follows

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash and dry the beets and trim off the ends
  3. Take a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold in half and use to line a baking dish
  4. Put the beets in the middle, drizzle with the olive oil, water and season with salt and pepper
  5. Bake in the oven until beets are tender and you can easily pierce with a knife, approx. 1 hour or so
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool
  7. When cool enough to handle, gently peel off the skin and slice into julienne pieces (or to your preference)
  8. Chill in fridge until you are ready to make the salad!
  9. When ready to serve, lightly toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of the bright orange vinaigrette or just plain olive oil and diced red onions
  10. Plate one serving of the beets  and sprinkle with optional goat cheese, orange zest or edible flowers
  11. Drizzle with any additional dressing, serve and enjoy!


sig

Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf

I first made this pilaf with chef Rebecca Katz , author of the “Cancer Fighting Kitchen”, during a cooking class  of hers I attended last February at the Draegers Cooking School.  The photo above  was taken at that class. The pilaf was served with orange citrus chicken and kale with sweet potato.

I was only recently introduced to quinoa a few years ago,  and this is my favorite  recipe.  Quinoa is a really great source of protein, as that  it is a “complete” protein, containing all the essential amino acids we need to get through our diet.

I love Middle Eastern and Northern Africa flavor profiles, and they  work especially well with quinoa. This dish would be a great side to my North African Lamb Chops recipe.  The cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and turmeric spices take me back to the first time I ever tried Moroccan food when I was young.

I make this all the time, because its fast, easy, and a great snack to make ahead and keep in the fridge. I used carrots, fennel and yellow crook neck squash in this particular preparation, as that those were the veggies I had on hand today, but this recipe tastes especially good with toasted almond slices, onions and raisins.  To really brighten up the final product, I squeezed half a lemon on it and sprinkled a little fresh mint. Chef Rebecca was kind enough to give me permission to to reprint this recipe in full.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Thanks Rebecca!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallots finely diced
  • 1 medium size fennel bulb
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup dry organic quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 3/4 cups of filtered water or vegetable stock
  • sea salt to taste
  • Optional: 1 yellow crook neck squash
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of fresh chopped mint or parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and then add the shallot, fennel, carrot, and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally with a spoon for about 3 minutes until the vegetables start to sweat.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and cardamom, then stir in vegetable stock or filtered water, a pinch of salt and bring to a boil
  3. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
  4. If you decided on using the crook neck squash: saute the squash in olive oil over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes until tender.  Set aside until quinoa is done cooking
  5. Remove quinoa from heat and fluff with a fork, then add the optional squash and parsley or mint
  6. Do a quick taste and if you want, add a quick squeeze of lemon juice to add some acid or “amp” up the flavor
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Will stay fresh stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days
  • Nutrition Per Serving:  Calories: 270; Fat: 10 grams; Carbohydrates: 39 grams, Protein: 8 grams


sig

Organic Grass Fed Filet with Bourbon Cherry Sauce

Who  would have guessed that this “decadent” sounding “Steak House” or even “Spa Cuisine” dish could actually be “somewhat” low cal,  fairly low fat and easily fit into a dieter’s weight loss program?  Still don’t believe me?  Well, it’s true!  I made this dish for my friend who had a stroke and had to go on a weight loss diet , and who was insistent about not losing any flavor in her dishes. I wanted to show her that good taste and good health can go hand in hand.

The great thing about this dish, is although it sounds complicated, its really easy, even for the novice chef.  This dish serves 2 to 4 depending on number of servings.  I always ONLY use Marin Organic Stemple Creek Farms for my grass fed steaks.  I do not feel this is a healthy dish unless made with 100 % grass fed steaks, which are grass “finished”.  Not “corn finished” like a lot of the “grass fed” cows are in the last week before slaughter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried bing cherries or any other variety found usually in the bulk section (I got these from Draeger’s in San Mateo)
  • 1/2 cup of Jim Bean or any other kind of bourbon
  • (4) 6 ounce fillets
  • Olive oil or I prefer grape seed (higher smoking point) oil to grease the pan
  • 2 to 3 cups (depending on the number of steaks) of low sodium beef broth (like in the box at Whole Foods or your your local grocery)

Directions:

  1. Bring filets out of fridge and let come close to room temperature
  2. Soak the Berries in the Jim Bean for about 10 to 20 minutes
  3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper
  4. Heat grill pan over medium high heat ( pre heatoven to 400 just in case extra cooking needs to be done)
  5. When grill is hot, put the oil on, and saute the fillet for 3 minutes on each side until nice grill marks use thermometer to check for internal temp, I prefer medium rare which is about 135 to 140 max.
  6. If necessary, transfer oven proof tray and cook in oven until final doneness
  7. De-glaze the grill pan with the soaked cherries, use wooden or heat proof rubber spoon, and move cherries around quickly over heat, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  8. De-glaze again with the Beef stock and reduce by at least 1/2 to 3/4’s.
  9. Divide cherries and sauce over the steaks

Approximate nutrition information for each 6 ounce steak: 500 calories, 35 carbs, 18 grams of fat 150 cholesterol



sig

Fresh Heirloom Tomato “Carpaccio”

I love Heirloom tomatoes.  Whenever I see them coming back into the Farmer’s markets, I get really excited.  Today I’ll introduce a really easy “Tomato Carpaccio”.

This is  a fun, simple little snack that also has an air of sophistication to it.  It can be whipped up in just minutes. It tastes great, is low in calories, and packs a big punch in nutrition.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 yellow to yellow orange fresh Heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 chopped finely red onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Optional  1/4 organic goat cheese or feta
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Organic  Olive Oil oil for drizzling
  • Optional reduced  balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Cut the tomatoes thin with a sharp knife or mandolin and lay out on serving plate
  2. Begin by evenly distributing the red onions over the tops of the tomatoes, followed by the fresh chopped basil.
  3. Sprinkle on the goat or feta cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts, then drizzle with just a small amount of olive oil.  You can serve like this, or serve with the balsamic reduction.
  4. For the optional balsamic reduction, which I really do recommend. Take 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, and heat it over the stove in a small saucepan and let it cook down to about 1/2 of that, or aprox 1/4 cup.  Then drizzle the reduced balsamic over the entire plate and then serve.



sig

Super Quick Asian Noodle Super Veggie Soup

I make a variation of this recipe all the time.  This particular recipe is an exact replica of what I made when I came home last Sunday night to my boyfriend with a raging “Man Cold”.  He loves the “Chicken Magic Mineral Broth” and swears its “medicinal”.   So I defrosted some of my stock (but you can use any store bought chicken broth or stock) and added some veggies and pre cooked organic buckwheat soba noodles I had on hand.  If I make this again I will cook dry buckwheat soba noodles separately and then add right before serving

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups (aprox) of homemade chicken stock or store bought (if vegetarian use vegetable stock)
  • 1 6 oz package of pre cooked organic buckwheat soba noodles (purchased from Whole Foods)
  • 12 ounces of Shitake mushrooms (but you can use cremini, white, or any asian mushrooms)
  • 6 green onions, the whites and part of the greens chopped into small pieces (see photo below)
  • 6 ounces of bean sprouts
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Heat stock or broth over medium high heat, do not let it get to a boil, low simmer o.k
  • Add the mushrooms and let them cook through and heat in the stock.
  • Add the pre-cooked buckwheat soba noodles and allow to warm up and seperate within the liquid.  If you decide to use dry noodles cook them separately in salted water and then add to stock or broth.
  • Add green onions and bean spouts right before ladling into bowl
  • Salt to taste
  • Serve and Enjoy!

This soup is naturally low in fat and calories, and high in nutrient density!

 




sig

Creamy Lowfat Roasted Cauliflower Fennel Soup

I came up with this soup idea after having made roasted cauliflower and fennel  during a snowstorm in Tahoe, and thought “This would taste even better by a fire as a piping hot bowl of soup”.  It ended up being one of the first times I had ever made a soup “from the hip” that actually tasted great the first time.  Its so easy to make, yet tastes like it must be really complex.  You don’t need any fancy equipment or ingredients that are hard to find or use.  I found these ingredients all at my really basic local Raley’s in Tahoe the first time I made it.  If you want to keep it vegetarian, just use vegetable broth/stock  and don’t use the cream or milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1  2 lb (approx) Cauliflower  cut down to 1 inch size pieces
  • 2 medium sized fennel bulbs, ends cut off and quartered
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 32 ounce box of nonfat organic free range chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 peeled minced cloves of garlic
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of organic half and half or whole milk if you want a creamy flavor

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the cauliflower and fennel with olive oil and salt, and spread on foil lined oiled cookie sheet
  2. Roast aprox 2o -25 minutes, watching closely that the vegetables do not brown more than a light color.  Remove  from oven
  3. In a soup pot, saute the garlic and onion in the pan with olive oil over medium heat about 5 minutes until just soft, but not browned
  4. Toss in the cauliflower and fennel in the pot and coat with olive oil, add some more salt and heat
  5. Take the broth (and water if you need a bit extra) and pour until it just covers the veggies in the pot
  6. Bring to a low simmer for just about 10 to 12 minutes until a knife can pierce through the cauliflower easily
  7. Remove from burner, and add to blender, and puree in small batches.  Return the pureed mixture to the soup pot
  8. Reheat over medium low to medium heat, and for a more creamier soup, add the organic half and half or milk.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste

Notes:

  • Serves 4
  • Approx calories (without cream): 115 per serving, 6 g of healthy fat, 6 g of protein
  • Feel free to adjust this recipe to your own tastes by using more cauliflower, adjust the amount of cream or milk (you don’t have to use any) and try different spices  or topped with chopped parsley or fennel fronds.  Sometimes I drizzle a little white truffle oil to add a little sophistication.  Stores well up to 3 days.  This soup is naturally low in calories, and even with the addition of the organic cream or milk.

 

 

 



sig

Organic Apple Ginger Tea


My boyfriend and I are fighting a flu or cold today and I just made a big batch of this. I found this little gem of a recipe through the nutritionist, Cheryl V Mitchell, who taught with me at Cooking Matters. The best part about this is it’s simplicity to make. This drink is super healthy, non fat, low in calories, yet naturally sweet in taste through the apples. Fresh ginger is really good for upset tummies or good for nausea. This is also a fun tasty little drink to have around in cold, rainy or snowy weather. In Tahoe we almost always have a big pot of this going on the stove all day long while siting next to a crackling fire while watching the snow fall. The scent of the warm apples, ginger and cinnamon fill the house and I’ve had guests ask “what kind of scented candle is this?”

I make this in a big pot over the stove or in a large slow cooker, and bring to a simmer, but then turn down and keep on low heat the rest of the time. With this recipe, as with all my recipes, please adjust the ingredients to fit your own specific tastes

Ingredients:

  • 5 to 8 Apples quartered with skins left on (how “apple” you want the tea to taste is up to you)
  • 1 big knob of fresh ginger (I like a real large knob, I love the ginger flavor and spicy flavor it gives)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 to 12 cups of filtered water
  • Optional: Stevia or Organic honey to added additional sweetness after your ready to drink
  • Optional: ground nutmeg to taste

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker or a large pot
  2. Cover with the filtered water
  3. Bring to a high simmer, reduce heat to medium or medium low, and allow flavors to infuse for at least an hour
  4. I used a ladle to scoop out the “tea” into my cups
  5. You can also add extra water once, over the ingredients if the pot starts running low on liquid
  6. Enjoy!

*** This recipe kindly shared with me by Cheryl V Mitchell of The Diabetes Bootcamp

 



sig

Indian Saffron Rice

I used brown basmati rice I get at Trader Joes. Brown rice is a lot healthier, and I personally think it tastes better than white rice anyways. I am head over heels for saffron as well, and use it in a lot of my cooking, not only Indian food. Saffron has many health benefits, including aiding digesting and being a natural anti inflammatory. I will be writing a blog post touting all the little known health benefits and history of saffron on here in the near future. This is a very simple recipe to use as a quick side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron ground or powdered
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon organic butter
  • 1 cup uncooked brown (or white) basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly
  2. Steep the saffron in 1/2 cup of hot water
  3. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in rice and salt. Add rice and stir until butter has coated all the rice
  4. Quickly pour in 1 1/2 cups of water , along with the 1/ cup of saffron water and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, if using brown rice set timer for 40 minutes, if white, 20 minutes
  6. And end of cooking time fluff with fork and cover until ready to use

* See finished photo in my last post: Healthy Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Vindaloo Recipe

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


sig