4/10/20

Quarantine Food Pescatarian Style


I hope each of you are home safe and healthy. For those of you that have someone you care about fighting the virus, my heart and prayers go out to you. 

I have been in quarantine for quite some time already. I self quarantined early because I had woken up one morning with a sore throat. Since I spend lots of time in the gym and spin classes around people and germs, I thought it best to stay in for a couple of weeks (Pre-Florida shutdown) so as not to expose anyone if I had contracted the virus.

Thankfully, whatever I had was mild and passed quickly. Still, for me, I have been home what seems like a year! Luckily for me, I had quite a bit of seafood in my freezer, fresh fruits and vegetables and many staples in my cabinet.  I have tried to avoid the traditional grocery as much as possible, choosing instead small farm to table stores with lots of fresh produce and trying not to go often.


Years ago I worked as a special diets cook for a health food store and deli. I loved coming up with creative ways to use what we had on hand. I guess I have carried that interest at home but I have always had easy access to numerous grocery and specialty stores for any additional ingredients I may need. 

I have found the quarantine a new challenge. It is my own version of "Chopped"! My focus has been to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables with key nutrients (Vitamin C for one) that would help keep my immune system functioning well. I also wanted to ensure it didn't become a junk food extravaganza. Since my workouts are more limited, I have tried to keep things a healthful balance from a caloric perspective as well

So far, it has been a fun challenge and I have found a few new recipes that I really like. I thought it would be interesting to share what I have been eating with you. Maybe it will give you some ideas or maybe you will just be curious what others are doing while in quarantine. In any case, below is my quarantine diet so far.  I know it looks like a  lot but this has been a loooooonnnggg quarantine!


 Breakfast

Cashew cheese with sun dried tomato, basil and siracha sauce with avocado or tomato slice on top.https://www.damyhealth.com/2012/08/raw-sundried-tomato-and-basil-cashew-cheese/

Cream cheese with chopped green olive and chopped walnuts on ½ English muffin

Red lobster style rolls with herb and cheddar (made from a mix) with Morningstar Farm vegetarian breakfast sausage topped with a little melted cheddar cheese

Smoothie- Chobani Liquid yogurt, frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries and cranberries for vitamin C), peanut butter or tahini, honey almond or vanilla extract cinnamon

Smoothie with Chobani plain yogurt, orange juice and fresh fruit

Cheerios with high protein milk, dried cherries and toasted walnuts or fresh strawberries and walnuts

Brunch

Baked Egg with Yellow tomato, olive oil, oregano and feta

Black beans with hatch red chile sauce, garlic and chopped onion on taco shell with mixed short grain brown rice, wild rice and wheat berries. Topped with hot and sweet jalapenos (from a vendor at the West Palm Beach Green Market) , avocado and cheddar cheese.

Zucchini stuffed with corn and cheese From the Victory Garden Cookbook 
Lunch
Grilled cheese on homemade piquant mustard bread
Homemade tomato soup made with fresh roma tomatoes https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=774054
Add stir fry mixed vegetables for Vegetable soup




Broccoli slaw, shrimp, hoisin sauce tortilla

Tuna salad with avocado and tomato slices

Tuna White Bean Salad with Herbs and Scallion


Romaine salad with homemade southwestern Caesar.

Beets

Mom’s simple Coleslaw- Carrot, Cabbage, Mayo, Lemon Juice, S&P

Kim’s famous Kale Salad- Chopped Kale with shredded carrot, slivered red pepper, raisins, sliced almonds and honey cider vinegar dressing
Mango and Strawberries

Trader Joes Thai Sweet Chili Vegie Burger topped with Sweet Chili Sauce
http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/2016/02/trader-joes-thai-sweet-chili-veggie.html

Quesadilla with Spinach, Cremini Mushroom, Avocado and mozzarella cheese

Dinner

Creole Fish Stew ( New Recipes From Moosewood) I used Spicy Bloody Mary mix instead of tomato juice and diced tomatoes with green chile's instead of regular diced tomatoes and skipped the tabasco.
https://tinyurl.com/yauaav9s

Baked Salmon with apricot preserves and garlic (powder)

Baked Salmon with dill, garlic (powder), fresh mint, lemon and feta

Baked Corvina with Ground Pistachios


Store bought Greek pizza from Fresh Market


Smoked salmon, cream cheese, onion and capers on toast with lemon squeeze

Beet tops with lemon and oil

Steamed mixed vegetables

Spinach and beet top salad with lentil, carrot, red pepper, tomato, walnuts, garden fresh mint, feta and lemon olive oil dressing

Cabbage Mushroom Stroganoff with Onion, Smoked Paprika ( I preferred sweet Paprika) and Sour cream (I substitute yogurt). Mollie Katzen recipe.
https://www.tangledupinfood.com/mushroom-stroganoff-with-cabbage-noodles

Patagonian Scallops in Garlic Cream sauce on Pasta


Carrot (grated) salad with yogurt, toasted chopped walnuts, tangerine segments and raisins

Asparagus roasted with olive oil and Mrs Dash

Steamed Asparagus with lemon and butter
  
Butternut squash, sundried tomato, mozzarella and goat cheese quesadilla https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/butternut-squash-sun-dried-tomato-and-goat-cheese-quesadillas


Celery Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/celery_blue_cheese_and_hazelnut_salad/

Butternut Squash Risotto- Martha Stewart


Cedar Planked Salmon with Orange and Ginger
and Hickory Maple Cedar Planked Salmon
https://cedarbaygrilling.com/products/cedar-planked-portion-ca/?portfolioCats=36

Barley Stuffed Peppers
https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/barley-stuffed-peppers-56390145

End of the Season fresh stone crab (from Cod and Capers Seafood Market https://www.facebook.com/codandcapers/) with Joe's Mustard Sauce




















Snacks

Grapes, Pineapple, Mango, Cantaloupe, Bananas, Pixie tangerines, Grapefruit, Blueberries, Strawberries
Coffee Ice Cream with Kahlua Spritz
Dry roasted peanuts
Toasted walnuts
Plantain chips
Mozzarella cheese sticks
Nachos


Liquids

Water...lots of it
Coffee..lots of it too!
Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
Hot Spiced Apple Cider
Espresso with Grand Marnier 
Ice Tea
White Wine
Red Wine
Traditional Margarita, Strawberry Margarita, Elderflower Margarita (happy hour Quaranitas)
Used the best tequila I have ever tried. It is really meant for sipping but it's what I had on hand.


Baileys (In my Sunday morning coffee) 

I visited local farms twice. They load a box of fresh vegetables in my trunk and a bag of fresh fruit. For 20 dollars I have received on my first farm visit: two cantaloupe, one honeydew melon, two pints of blueberries, lots of peppers (green, Hungarian, poblano and more), zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, eggplant, corn and wonderful yellow and red tomatoes.

The second time (the last kept me fed for a few weeks) I bought the "salad box"  romaine, multicolored peppers, cucumber and the "fruit box" with a pineapple, apples, oranges, limes and lemons. It wasn't as good or fun as the first box as this was a produce dealer, not a farm, but the pineapple was delicious!

 I keep some of the produce and give some away. It is my way of eating healthy while also helping others.  One of these days we will look back on this and find some silver linings. In the meantime, 
stay safe, exercise daily and eat well!




2/16/15

Edamame Hummus Crostini

I know it has been some time since my last post. I recently was hired by a weight management company to work as a weight loss coach. In that I had to travel for training and work with others to get the center up and running as well as assist with business development. 

On top of my personal training work, recruiting, my personal life had come to a standstill.  I have only been cooking on the few days I have had off, IF I had the energy.



Excited to have a 2 day weekend, my first order was to get my home in order and to make some room in my freezer. I also wanted to eat as my diet has been less than interesting lately. Most of the time my lunch has been a small can of tuna and some crackers eaten in my car while making recruiting calls.

I had a bag of edamame in the freezer, so I decided to make some edamame hummus. Having perused the internet for recipes, I managed to combine them into a recipe that turned out pretty darn tasty.  Admittedly, I was surprised. I wasn’t really sure edamame and hummus were a good match. It is!

I had planned on eating the hummus with some vegies and some Naan bread. Once made, I used the slices of ciabatta bread I had in the fridge, instead and some avocado slices to make edamame crostini. I didn’t have it for lunch. I also didn’t have if for a snack or for dinner. I had it for breakfast! What a great, healthy way to start the day.

With St. Patrick ’s Day coming up, you might want to save the recipe and have it with some green tea (or green beer I suppose) to celebrate. Of course, it is really too good to wait that long for.  Maybe that will be your second batch.

I hope you will try this. Enjoy.

Edamame Hummus

Yield: 1 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 garlic clove, peeled
Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1/8 cup tahini (stir well before measuring) More if needed.
1 tbsp extra virgin cold pressed Greek olive oil
2-4 tbsp water,as needed
1/4 to 1/2 pink sea salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp each ground cumin and smoked paprika
Dash cayenne pepper
Olive oil for drizzle

For crostini:
Ciabatta bread slices
Avocado slices
Smoked salt, optional

1. Rinse the edamame and place in a microwave safe bowl with about 1/8 cup of water. Cover with a paper towel. Microwave 4-6 minutes, until just cooked.
2. With the motor running on a food processor, drop in 1 garlic clove to mince. Scrape down bowl.
3. Next, add edamame to the processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the side of the bowl as necessary.
4. Add in the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil  and process again until smooth. Add water to get it to your preferred consistency (soft but not runny) Add the salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Pulse to combine.

5. Remove hummus to a lidded bowl. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

9/21/14

Know your passion

 
I didn’t start out as a “Foodie”.  In fact, I paid no attention to cooking until I was in my mid-teens. I mentioned this in a previous post, but what started this lifelong interest began with a pineapple upside down cake.
I was about 15 if I recall. Kevin was my “heart throb”.  As teenage relationships go, we started our relationship when I was 13 with a ring from a Cracker Jack box. I can still recall the green ring around my finger it left.
 
In any case, Kevin loved pineapple upside down cake.  Being the adventurous type (not), I  wanted to make him one for his birthday.  Armed with a package of Betty Crocker (or was it Duncan Hines?...Who is Duncan Hines anyway?) pineapple upside down cake mix and an older brother that was happy to teach me how to break an egg. I baked my first cake.
 
Kevin never did eat the cake. He went  AWOL for a year….but that is another story.  Somehow in spite of my lack of knowledge, I managed to hook him and we moved in together when we were in college.
 
Hamburger Helper was my friend along with several recipes from my grandmother (take a little bit of this and a little bit of that) and some from my mom.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Well that wasn't enough for me so I started cutting out recipes and I haven’t stopped since.  I have been cutting them out for 40 years now.
Have I cooked them all? Not a chance. So why do I do it? As I grow the collection, I often ask myself that same question.
I have a healthy imagination and thinking about food nurtures my creative side. Food isn’t just about taste. It includes all our senses, touch, sight, sound (snap crackle pop) smell all come together to form our taste preferences.
So how do you know your passion? Well, all I have to do is look around my home to figure that out. Years ago a guy I was dating came over and said “Sheila, Sheila, Sheila what is it you want to do in life?”
He looked around my place and commented, “you want to be the best darn cook ever!”   Of course
he missed the closet full of fitness books and exercise equipment. Now that would really have confused him!
 
What is your passion?
This is what my passion looks like to me:

These are recipes I have cooked
These I haven't yet tried.







Just a few of my magazines
And books
and more books
and then there are the recipes on my computer...
 
 
 

 

 

8/28/14

Healthy White Bean Burgers

Being a pescatarian, I have found that I often get into eating phases. Sometimes my meals are more focused on seafood and then I change back to a more traditional vegetarian focus. Rarely I go the vegan route but for me that is experimental.

More recently, I have been in my vegetarian phase. Over the summer, I was grilling a lot, spending time with friends at the pool. Now that everyone is busy, I began making portabella burgers on the stove. I love, love, love them but it was time for a change.

Perusing the internet, I found a recipe in the NY Times for White Bean Burgers. The recipe was developed by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Martha Rose Shulman. I have a number of her cookbooks. She assisted Dean Ornish in developing the diet plan to reverse heart disease so her recipes are oriented toward optimum health.

White kidney beans (and other beans) are high in dietary fiber, both  soluble and insoluble. A 1-cup serving of kidney beans, cooked, meets roughly 45 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake for fiber. Beans are also an excellent source of folate. 

As always, I have made changes to the original recipe to suit my taste. Since I am a single girl these changes included reducing the serving size. You can go to the original recipe if you prefer to make more http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/health/nutrition/12recipehealth.html?_r=0 .

The burgers turned out great. I highly recommend you form them and refrigerate them so they hold together better on the stove. A good wide spatula will help you turn the burgers without them breaking apart. I found they stayed together pretty well though.

I mention tomato slices as a condiment. Since my basil is growing leaps and bounds and tomatoes are at their best, I used the slices I had in the fridge which were marinated with basil leaves, slivers of garlic and a little balsamic vinegar. Regular slices work fine too.

As for the basic recipe, you can experiment with different combinations to see what best suits your taste.  Other options I thought of would be using dill, lemon pepper and feta or cilantro, jalapeno, cumin topped with low fat cheddar. Another topping might be sautéed onions, mushrooms and low fat swiss. 

I hope you will try these. 

White Bean Burgers
These should be cooked on a flat griddle or pan; don’t try to grill them on a barbecue.

1 can  white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1-2  large garlic cloves (to taste), green shoots removed, minced
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbl finely chopped parsley
½ (or more if you prefer)  tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (optional)
1/8 cup panko bread crumbs (I like the seasoned crumbs)
1 egg, beaten
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Dash Himalayan pink salt
Small ciabatta buns or wholegrain hamburger buns

Condiments of your choice:
Vine ripe tomato slices, Avocado sliced or mashed, Roasted and sliced green chile (hatch), thin slices of reduced fat cheddar or swiss cheese, sautéed mushroom slices,  tzatziki (http://preview.tinyurl.com/m5pn5xq) or sriracha mayonnaise (mix 2 parts low fat mayonnaise with 1 part sriracha sauce or to taste), pickles.

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium-size skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, the garlic and the grated carrot, and continue to cook for another minute or two, until fragrant and the carrot has softened slightly. Remove from the heat.

2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, puree the beans with the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the onion mixture, the parsley, rosemary and thyme , the bread crumbs and the egg. Season to taste. Shape into patties, ½- to ¾-inch thick. Set on a parchment-covered baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy skillet or on a griddle over medium heat and brown the patties for 4 minutes on each side, being very careful when you turn them over. An offset spatula works well for this. Serve on whole grain buns, with tzatziki or sriracha mayonnaise and the condiments of your choice.

Yield: 3-4 patties depending on the size. I make mine small

Advance preparation: You can make the patties up to a day ahead; cover and refrigerate.

My apologies for not providing a photo. I was too hungry to wait for a photo shoot! :)

8/2/14

Grits, not just for southerners anymore.




I grew up in the South and being a Southern girl (y’all), I love grits.  Nutritionally, grits are not a power house, but most grits you buy today have been fortified to increase the B Vitamins and Iron. They are a natural source of selenium. One cup of yellow grits has about 150 calories and 3-4 grams of protein.

Typically if you order grits in a restaurant they are made in the traditional way, with water.I don’t love grits with water. First, I like to have some protein at breakfast. Second, grits made with water are just….flavorless. I do love grits made with milk. The milk adds a creaminess and mouth appeal and protein too.

One thing I learned from my mother was to treat the grits like risotto, adding  the milk in stages. It makes for a wonderful creamy texture.

Southern chefs favor the organically grown, stone ground heirloom grits from Anson Mills in Columbia, SC.  I have not tried them as yet, but I suspect they are the “premium” grits to buy and eat. Emeril,  Thomas Keller and Tom Colicchio are all fans.

The grits from Anson Mills http://www.ansonmills.com/products/8 must be soaked overnight and cooked for up to 90 minutes. I would love to try Anson Mills grits. I can almost taste the difference in my imagination.

Sadly, I have given in to poor old instant grits due to time constraints. I also may shortcut the stove top cooking by using the microwave.  In that, I feel I really need to trump up the flavor to make them palatable.

Milk is always the base I use for my grits but I branch out from there as my moods change.  Shrimp and Grits to me are more of a dinnertime food (breakfast for dinner) so I don’t make them in the morning.

These are some of the ways I have varied my morning grits. When cooking grits, I add:

Shredded cheddar cheese, roasted chopped green chiles and chopped tomato for New Mexican Style

Pieces of goat cheese and Herbs de Provence for French style grits

Feta cheese and sometimes chopped Kalamata olives for Greek grits

Italian is Parmesan and fresh chopped basil

This week I went to a Parmesan Cutting event at Scardello’s Cheese shop http://scardellocheese.com/.  I brought home a round of Cypress Grove Purple Haze Goat Cheese   http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/our-cheese/fresh-chevre/purple-haze.html#.U9xiY-OJGRM  It is goat cheese with fennel pollen and lavender. I added some to my morning grits. Deeeelicious!

Other ideas I have thought of or seen online but have not tried are:
Mascarpone and grits
Black bean and cheddar cheese grits topped with avocado chunks
Goat cheese and garlic grits (thanks Bobby Flay!)
Corn and green chile grits
Fried grits (from cold leftover grits…thank you Mom!)

I am not a meat eater but you can also make your grits with some  ham, green pepper, tomato, mushrooms and cheese, like a country omelet without the egg.
Hmmm and now that I am thinking about it, what about meat ball, marinara sauce and grits for dinner?

So you see, grits are not just for Southerners anymore. They are for those of us with a great imagination and the love of variety in our foods.  I hope you will experiment with your own ideas and make the most of your morning grits. I would love to hear about your favorites.