Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cookies Galore!!!

Last night, we had our annual Christmas party. It was a great time and the dessert table was a hit. I included the Monster Cookies, Tipsy Turtle Bark, Red Velvet Peppermint Whoopie Pies, and Sugar Cut-Outs that I did last year. (You will also find, in that link, the tried-and-true favorites like Tomato Soup, Truffled Beef Sandwiches, and Rosemary Almonds). Every year, I throw out the cookies that weren't total successes and add in some new ones. I'm happy to report that this year's cookies were all pretty darn good, so I wanted to share them with YOU! I hope that you will make and enjoy these cookies and then cleanse with me in the New Year!!

Strawberry Shortbread, Adapted from Christmas Cookies Magazine, 2007

Prep: 45 min, Bake 12 min per batch, Freeze 1 hr

2 T strawberry preserves
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Strawberry Glaze:

1 T strawberry preserves
2 cups powdered sugar
1(+) Tablespoon milk

Coarse sugar (optional)...I used pink

1. Snip any large pieces of fruit in the strawberry preserves. Beat butter, strawberry preserves, and almond extract in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Transfer butter mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap; shape mixture into a 6-inch log. Wrap and freeze for 1-2 hrs or until firm.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter mixture, breaking or cutting log if necessary to fit in bowl. Cut butter mixture into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture starts to cling together. Knead dough until smooth; form dough into a ball.

NOTE: Here is where I started to have trouble with this recipe--my dough wouldn't hold together so instead of trying to force it, I just patted the mixture I had into a pan (I used 8x8 which made for pretty thick cookies...might do a rectangular pan next time), baked and then while soft, cut them into little Christmas-shaped cookies. You could also just cut into squares or triangles.

3. (This is the rest of the recipe which I did not follow, see note above). Divide dough in half. Roll each portion of dough to a 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out dough rounds with a scalloped 1 1/2-2-inch cookie cutter. Place cutouts 1 inch apart in ungreased cookie sheets.

4. Bake in a preheated oven for 12-16 minutes or until edges start to brown. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely. Spread tops of cookies with Strawberry glaze; if desired, sprinkle with course sugar. Let stand until set. Makes about fifty-four 2-inch cookies or seventy-six 1 1/2-inch cookies.

Strawberry Glaze

Microwave 1 T strawberry preserves in a medium microwave-safe bowl on 50 percent power for 3-0 seconds or until melted; snip any large pieces in the preserves. Stir in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon milk using a wire whisk. Stir in enough additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make a smooth glaze of spreading consistency. Makes about 2/3 cup.

To store: Place cookies in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Rosemary Shortbread, Adapted from Rustic Kitchen Blog

Note: If herbs in desserts is new for you, I really encourage you to try this recipe. It is unbelievably good.

Makes 16 triangles

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling (I put pink Himalayan salt in the cookies and sprinkled with kosher salt)
1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat to 325 degrees. Stir together butter, sugar, and salt, then stir in rosemary. Mix in half the flour, then add remaining flour and combine. Press into an 8-inch square pan and the sprinkle with a little extra rosemary and course salt. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately cut into triangles. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Raspberry Lemon Thumbprint Cookies, Adapted from Emeril Lagasse on

Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 20 min, Serves 4 dozen (more like 3)

1/2 c raspberry jam or jelly
1 Tablespoon Chambord or kirsch (I left this out because I didn't have any but I would use)
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter at room temp
2/3 c sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put down parchment or Silpat on baking sheets. In a small bowl, combine the jam and Chambord. Stir to combine. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Pinch off dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Use your floured index finger to create depressions in the center of each ball. Fill each indentation with nearly 1/2 teaspoon of the jam mixture. (I put the jam in the microwave for 20 seconds which made them a lot easier to fill). Bake until golden brown, about 20 min.

Transfer to wire racks to cook completely.

M&M Pretzel Bundles, a good one for kids...

Melt 1 3/4 cup chocolate (I used half Dove and half semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips) over a double-broiler or at half-power in microwave. Stir in broken pretzel sticks (about half a large bag). Put Tablepoon-sized clumps on parchment paper and top with some red and green M&Ms.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Balls, from Christmas Cookies Magazine, 2007

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweeted cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped

1. Toast pecans in a 325 oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool and chop. Leave the oven on.

2. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium high to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and vanilla until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and pecans.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

4. Combine remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar, remaining 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon mixture in a small bowl. Roll cooled cookies in mixture. Makes 48.

To store: Place cookies in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temp for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen, before serving.

Coconut Candy Bars AKA Homemade Almond Joys, from Christmas Cookies Magazine 2007, also known as The Bars Suzanne will Live to Regret because She Can't Stop Eating Them They're So Good

2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted*
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 c butter, melted
1 14-oz package flaked coconut
1 14-oz can (1 1/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk
18 oz dark chocolate pieces, melted**

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, place graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of the almonds, and the brown sugar in a food procesor. Cover and process until almonds are finely chopped. Add butter; cover and pulse with four or five on-off turns or until mixture is well combined. Press crumb mixture on bottom of an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12 min.

2. Combine coconut and sweetened condensed milk in a medium bowl. Spread mixture evenly over crust. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup almonds evenly over coconut layer. Bake for 10 min.

3. Spread melted chocolate evenly over top of baked mixture. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. (If desired, chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set). Cut into bars. Makes 36.

Note*- To toast nuts, spread them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes or until nuts are slightly golden brown, stirring once or twice.

Note**-To melt dark chocolate pieces, place chocolate pieces in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 3 minutes or until mixture is melted and smooth, stirring once or twice.

To Store: Place bars in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Printable version here.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

You may have noticed I've not been the-most-attentive blogger out there the last few months. Please allow me to explain myself. My husband and I moved into a new home, I am developing a cleanse for a yoga company, I am in a Yoga Therapy Certification Program through Loyola Marymount University, and I am still working teaching yoga. So though I love to blog, it kind of took a back seat for a while. The good news is that I've been cultivating lots of juicy morsels of yoga knowledge, recipes, tips, and tricks for all of you.

Speaking of tricks, Happy Halloween!!!!! I love Halloween. I'm all decked out right now waiting for my very first Trick or Treaters with my 'Rats Nest' hair and snake-infested legs.
In fact, I even made these for the occasion:

To get this recipe, follow this link.

And though I love Halloween, I do not love spiders. Not at all. Not even a little tiny bit. There was a really big nasty one with a red body and black hairy legs (are you getting the creeps even reading this?! Cause I'm getting them writing it....but I digress...) and my husband told me that I couldn't kill any spiders against our newly-painted 'Clunch' (off white) I was fretting about what to do when Jason, our interior designer's delivery man, showed up. Jason's my new hero. He shot the poor guy with water and then stepped on him.

(Side note: I'm sorry to all the spider-saviors I offend by killing them. Maybe some day I'll be a good enough yogini to rescue the dreadful things, but I am IN NO WAY there yet. Namaste.)

So, I thought that I should give Hero-Jason a treat and offered to bake him some cookies. He said he liked Chocolate Chip the best. I asked him, "Crispy or Chewy?" He likes chewy. (Really, do people exist who truly like the crunchy better? And not just to say they do like people say they really love the smell of patchouli?) So, I made these from Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March 2003 issue. They are perfect. I wouldn't change a thing. Enjoy!

Chewy Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Yields about 9 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies (I use the small ice cream scoop and it's perfect)

10 3/4 oz (1 1/3 C) unsalted butter, cold
1 1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs, cold
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
17 oz (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Arrange oven racks in the upper and middle positions of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar, starting on low speed and gradually working your way up to high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes once you reach high speed. Scrape the bowl and beater. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on low until blended. Beat on high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add this to the butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just blended; the dough will be stiff. Stir in the chocolate chips. (I cheat here and do it all on low in the mixer)

Drop rounded measuring teaspoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto two ungreased baking sheets. (Silpats or parchment works well). Refrigerate any unused dough. Bake until the bottoms are golden grown, 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through for even results. Remove the sheets from the oven, let sit for 3-5 minutes, and then transfer the cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool completely before baking the remaining dough.

Printable version here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Gazpacho originated out of the area of Andalusia. It was a 'liquid soup' made up of old bread, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and garlic. Now, I love me some bread, but if you're not going to really bite into it and taste its yeasty goodness, I do not see the point in putting it in a soup. So, I have left the bread out of this version. I really like the chunks but if you don't, then just puree all the ingredients in batches. Gazpacho is great for summer eating when heavy food just sounds disgusting, and it's also great for dieting. It's truly delicious and super low in calories. The only fat is a little bit of heart-healthy olive oil and avocado, both of which you could leave out if you are eating fat-free (which I don't suggest unless you have been told to eat that way by your doctor. Healthy fats are actually crucial to healthy bodies!) This will make a lot of soup, so it's great to have it in the fridge to just grab for an easy lunch, snack, or dinner. Enjoy!

3 heirloom tomatoes (about 2 lbs), diced
1 seedless cucumber (the long kind that comes wrapped in plastic), diced
2 red/yellow/orange bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chunked
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper
16 oz. tomato juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons good-quality olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. In a blender, add half the tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, all the onion, both garlic cloves, parsley, basil, jalapeno pepper, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, and a healthy pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Blend until smooth. Pour into large bowl.

2. Add the remaining tomato, pepper, and cucumber to the pureed soup. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add lemon if desired. Garnish with diced avocado. Easy!!!

Makes 6 servings.

Printable version here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Bars

I just love recipes with stories attached. And maybe this is New-Age-California-Yogi-Speak getting to my head, but I sincerely believe that when food is cooked with love and a loving intention, the food is better. That's why I was so touched when our friends in New York served these lemon bars which have such meaning and significance in their lives. Sparing you the details of their family history for the sake of their privacy, these bars were made in a poignant gesture of love and comfort in unimaginably difficult circumstances. Now, they are made in celebration of family togetherness and joy. I was humbled when they agreed to share the recipe with me so that I could bake these little morsels of citrusy love for the Eat My Blog charity bake sale that is happening today at Tender Greens in West Hollywood, CA. I made a couple little tweaks to the recipe--I just love the combination of lemon and blueberries (and blueberries are fantastic right now), so I added those and because I love the tartness of lemony desserts, I reduced the sugar slightly and added some lemon zest. I hope that you will go to the bake sale to support the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank today!!! Or if you do not live in L.A., perhaps you'll make these goodies for a friend who's going through a hard time or just for your family to tell them you love them. A Votre Sante!!!

Lemon Blueberry Squares

2 sticks butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cup flour plus 4 Tablespoons flour
4 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
5 Tablespoons lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
1 cup blueberries, dusted with flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Blend butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add salt, two cups flour, and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Press into a 9X13 greased pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, mix the eggs, sugar, 4 Tablespoons flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Fold in blueberries. Pour over baked crust.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges are light brown. Let cool 1 hour.

5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy! (These freeze well, too!)

Printable version here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Babycakes Brownies

First of all, I ask your forgiveness for being so MIA as of late. I was on a cleanse developed by Kirsten McCormick, my friend and owner of Running with Forks. for 21 days and was cooking very simply as my choices were so restricted. The cleanse required that I give up all animal products (Vegan), all sources of gluten, and of course, sugar, alcohol, and sweeteners. I felt really great afterward and realized how little animal protein I actually need! The weekend after my cleanse, I had to go back to my hometown for a funeral and my husband's family and I all had dinner together--we opened bottles of wine and kept 'topping off.'

I would not recommend this.

I had a massive hangover the next day as I had just re-toxed my recently de-toxed liver. Poor liver. Poor me! I felt horrible. Anyway, my stomach hurt and so I told myself that I could eat crackers and bread until the stomach pain went away. Well, it kept on keeping on! 5 days later, my stomach still hurt until I realized (duh!) that I was making it hurt by eating wheat! I am not sure if I have wheat intolerance, gluten intolerance, or just a sensitivity to one of these things, but as soon as I stopped eating that stuff, I felt better.

The interesting thing is that I have never had issues with wheat....that I knew of! It wasn't until I went off gluten (found in wheat products and some other grains) that my body kind of just tightened up. I lost some bloat that I had thought was just 'normal.' I had a similar experience with milk. After three weeks of not drinking milk, I became lactose-intolerant which I think is really a good thing. There exists lots of evidence that suggests adult humans should not be drinking milk at all.

So, now I find myself in a place where I am finding new and interesting ways to eat delicious foods without dairy or gluten! Hence I picked up this cookbook, Babycakes. If you live in New York or Los Angeles, you may have heard of this bakery. They bake only Vegan, Gluten-Free, and mostly Sugar-Free products. If you're thinking, "Nasty," I can assure you I was with you 100%. But the remarkable thing about this bakery is that their cupcakes were rated #1 in LA ABOVE traditional bakeries!

These are the Brownies from this cookbook. I ate three (quality control....just a sacrifice I have to make for my readers!) but I'd recommend one or two if you can stand it--they're rich!

The one drawback to the cookbook is that you will have to purchase a bunch of ingredients that you can either find at Whole Foods or you will have to order online and are a bit pricey but for me, it's totally worth it. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Babycakes Brownies

1 Cup Garbanzo-Fava Bean Flour
1/4 Cup Potato Starch
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for tins
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water or coffee (I used coffee)
1 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease three 12-cup mini muffin tins with oil.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, potato starch, arrowroot, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the 1/2 cup oil, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Using a melon baller, scoop the batter into each prepared mini-muffin cup. Bake the brownies on the center rack for 10 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees after 5 minutes. The finished brownie will have a firm edge with a soft center and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

Let the brownies stand in the pans for 10 minutes; they are best served warm. To maintain freshness, leave the brownies in the tins until ready to serve. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Printable version here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sole with Asparagus and Morels

I have been eating very clean lately as I am doing a cleanse that I am helping to develop with yogaposer, the an amazing yoga teacher training company that has hired me as the Director of Nutrition. I feel great and I can't wait until the day that I can share the not-yet-fully-developed cleanse with all of you! The only drawback of eating super healthy is that meals can get a little boring, but they don't have to! This meal was totally 'gourmet' and incredibly healthy, too. Sole is a low-toxicity fish, so it's a great choice when you're trying to rid the body of metals, etc.

1 cup fresh or 1 package dried morels
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed (break one to see where to cut)
4-6 sole filets
1 lemon, zested and cut in half
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. If using dried morels, boil water and pour over the mushrooms. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes. (Meanwhile, heat up a large saucepan with water). Scoop the morels out of the soaking liquid after that time, rinse, and pat dry. (They're like little sponges so make sure to dry them off well). Chop roughly.

3. When water is boiling, add asparagus. (Tip: Keep the rubber band around the bunch. It's totally safe and makes it easier to take the asparagus out). Take out after 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Dry each piece of fish. Sprinkle with lemon zest, salt ,and pepper. Add 4 or 5 stalks asparagus and starting with the thicker end, roll the fish around the asparagus. Put seam-side down in a baking dish. Repeat with all the fish. Sprinkle mushrooms and thyme over the fish. Drizzle with olive oil, and add a small pinch of salt and pepper.

5. Put the baking dish in the oven. Bake fish for 7-8 minutes, or until opaque and fish pushes back slightly when touched.

Serve with sauteed spinach and whole-grain pasta. Sprinkle all over with lemon juice.

Serves 2.

Printable version here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Best Tuna Fish Salad

Lunch in a rut? Gussy up your tuna fish with this amazing combo of flavors. You'll never go back to the old way.

1 can tuna fish (dolphin-safe, albacore), thoroughly drained
6 kalamata olives (pitted), chopped
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
1 stalk celery, cleaned and diced
1 Tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise*
1/2 apple (Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or Fiji are best), chopped
2 Cups mixed greens
lemon juice
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sunflower seeds (optional)

1. In a bowl, mix tuna fish, olives, cranberries, celery, and mayonnaise.

2. In another bowl, toss greens lightly with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper sparingly. Plate.

3. Mound tuna fish over greens. Top with sliced apple and sunflower seeds, if using.

Serve 1.

*If you do not eat mayonnaise, a Tablespoon (or less) of good-quality extra virgin olive oil will also work beautifully.

Printable version here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Banana Leaf-Steamed Salmon with Citrus Pesto

I kinda hate bananas. I can't really explain it. Can't stand the smell...even hate banana Runts.

Banana leaves, however, have no banana-ish flavor and are great for steaming fish. For some reason, steaming a piece of fish inside a banana leaf seals in moisture and flavor. It's like magic. If you can't find banana leaves, don't worry about it at all. You can steam inside parchment paper just as easily.

I don't like bananas but I do like pesto! I have this very distinct memory of going to see the most recent Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly and even though I loved that movie, having to keep reminding myself to stop thinking about possible pesto combinations and to just watch the movie! (This is what goes on inside the mind of a food blogger, I suppose).

I came up with this pesto for fish because I do not like the combination of cheese and seafood, in general. This has a lot of flavor and only uses one Tablespoon of olive oil for the whole batch. You'll have lots left over, which you could use with chicken or pork, or you could add some more vinegar and olive oil to it and make it into a really fantastic and interesting vinaigrette.

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
3 cups loosely-packed basil leaves
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 orange, half zested, both sides juiced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for salmon
salt and pepper
2 6-0z. pieces wild salmon
2 banana leaves (or two sheets of parchment paper 1-ft each in length)
1/2 lb. green beans or haricot verts

1. Combine walnuts, basil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, Tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse to desired texture.

2. Prepare steamer. If you don't own an electric steamer, put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil (you will need a steaming basket and a lid).

3. Prepare the salmon. Place each salmon filet in the middle of the banana leaf or parchment.

4.Drizzle sparingly with olive oil, generously salt and pepper. Fold one side of the leaf (closest to you) over the salmon. Fold both sides (on either side of the filet) in, like a burrito. Then flip the salmon filet one or two times until it resembles a little package.

5. Place 'banana leaf packages' in the steamer and steam for 8-15 minutes depending on thickness. (Usually fish needs 10 minutes per inch of thickness.)

6. Steam green beans after you have taken the salmon packets out, for 4 minutes.

7. Serve the salmon in the banana leaf, unwrapped with a dollop of pesto, alongside the green beans.

Serves 2.

Printable version here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicken-Apple Burgers

Some days, the cooking mood just strikes me. I said to my husband this morning, "I want to go to the farmer's market and then the grocery store and then just cook all day." He said, "OK," being the accomadating and wonderful guy that he is. And cook all day I did. First, I made a white chicken stock. Then I made a brown chicken stock using the white chicken stock (a tip I picked up from Tom Colicchio's book Think Like a Chef.) Then onto some homemade granola, and finally to my dinner, these chicken-apple burgers.

All of the recipes on this site are original unless specified otherwise. It is the reason that sometimes there is a week or even a two-week lapse between recipe posts. I have to not only have time, come up with a recipe, and try it-- but I have to like it so much that I put my Haute Health seal of approval on it so that my readers will never try one of my recipes and think, "Well, that was so-so." Of course our tastes might differ, but for me to post a recipe, I have to think, "YES. This is a good one."

A couple weeks ago, I tried a butterflied turkey breast, stuffed with blanched asparagus, lemon rind, and goat cheese. Sounds good, right? Yeahhhh....not so much.

Anyway, the point of this story is that when I tried this out tonight, I did a little dance around the kitchen after my first taste. And then after my first burger, I had another one. They're that good.

Note: I use 1 Tablespoon of butter to cook 4 turkey burgers, so I still qualify this as an 'angelic' recipe. If you are really watching your saturated fat, though, you can use just olive oil or even just cooking spray.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
2 stalks celery, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc (could use chicken stock here)
1 lb. ground chicken
1 container fat-free plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 whole wheat buns (optional)

1. In a nonstick skillet, heat teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, apple, and celery. Sweat for 3-4 four minutes, stirring often. Add wine (or broth) and reduce heat to medium-low until wine is evaporated and mixture is soft. Scrape contents onto a small plate and let cool completely.

2. Combine chicken, yogurt, and cooled apple mixture. Stir until combined. Score with fingers into four equal sections. Wipe out pan with paper towel and return to skillet. Turn on stove to medium-high heat and add butter and teaspoon oil. Working quickly, make four patties. Salt and pepper one side and then add that side to the skillet. Salt and pepper the other side in the skillet. When one side is browned, flip carefully (they will be loose). Turn heat to medium-low and cover to finish cooking, 5-7 minutes or until juices run clear.

Serve on whole wheat buns or over lettuce, as shown in the picture above.

Serves 4.


Printable version here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Red Snapper with Suzy's Sorta-Gremolata

When I hear the word "Snapper," I think about camp. In 6th grade, I was at a girl scout camp in Wisconsin where there was all sorts of wild life all around, especially in the summertime. Every day, the girls and I would pass this big turtle and look at it. We were told that it was a snapper and not to get too close. Well, one day after a courage-inducing meal of pancakes or something, the bravest girl in our troupe, Nicole, took a stick and gingerly approached the turtle. It tolerated her waving and poking of the stick for a while, and just as we were about to be convinced that it was not, indeed, a snapper, that big-ass turtle lurched viciously in her direction. You can imagine the screaming that ensued. I'm sure all canine ears within a 2-mile radius perked up a little. We all hauled it back to the campsite. I probably dug into a secret stash of Samoas, knowing myself at that age. (Fat kids tend to go one or two ways: Stay fat or get into fitness....but I digress...). I will never again hear the word snapper without thinking of that day and our near-death experience at Camp Singing Hills.

I wonder if red snappers have that same sneaky face, like a decrepit mean ancient person. Ah, I don't really care. I quite like how the fish tastes, and I buy it in cute little filets that look nothing like a fish. Or a turtle, for that matter.

Anyways, this is your dish if you have 15 minutes to make a delicious and easy meal for dinner. It takes less time than a frozen pizza. Do yourself right and try this for dinner this week. Then eat as many Samoas as you like.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 large handful walnut halves/pieces, chopped
1 heaping Tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon-juice after zesting)
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
4 red snapper filets
salt and pepper
olive oil
4 cups arugula

1. Preheat broiler.

2. In a nonstick pan, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and walnuts, and toast, stirring continuously, until light brown. Take off heat and put the walnut-breadcrumb mixture in a small bowl. Add the lemon zest, parsley, basil, and cranberries. Stir. Set aside.

3. Wipe out pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and put back over flame. Turn heat to medium-high. Salt and pepper the fish and add to the skillet. (May need to do this in two batches). Cook on one side for 2 minutes, flip. Cook for another minute or two depending on thickness of fish, then pile the breadcrumb mixture on the fish and transfer to the oven. DO NOT LEAVE! Breadcrumbs burn quickly, so watch with the oven door ajar. You want the breadcrumbs to toast to a nice deep brown but not to burn. (Less than a minute). Remove pan from oven and set aside.

4. Drizzle the lemon juice over the arugula and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Add a small pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, toss, and distribute among plates. Plate the fish carefully (you might need two spatulas for this).


Serves 4.

Printable version here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Zucchini-Mint Soup

I love to cut zucchini. I could cut zucchini all day. No, this is not a euphamism. Have you ever tried it? It's so fun. OK, so I might be kind of a food dork, but something about the way the knife goes through this vegetable just makes me very happy. The contrast of the dark green skin to the milky white flesh....OK, I'm gonna stop right there. This is getting weird. I just like it. Don't judge me.

So, anyways, I'm always happy when this vegetable comes into season. Though it's pretty much always available, I prefer to buy things in season because 1) it's 'greener' as it hasn't been flown in from some South American country; 2) it's more delicious because it's fresh; and 3)it's good to support local farmers when we can. Plus we went to our favorite local restaurant, Piccolo, the other night and had a really delicious zucchini soup for an appetizer and I wanted it again. But of course I have to put my Suzy twist on it--healthier and more interesting (if I can swing it)! This soup is almost fat-free. It uses one Tablespoon of olive oil (the heathy kind) for the whole pot which will make four good-sized servings of soup. Then I added mint and lemon to really liven it up. It will just taste better, not necessarily minty. I asked my husband, "Can you taste the secret ingredient?" "," he replied. "Are you sure? It's in there..." but, alas, he was already lost in whatever TV show I was forcing him to watch (probably Biggest Loser. I love that show soooooo much). I didn't press the issue but believe me, it's in there and it adds something. That 'je ne sais quoi,' if you will. Je ne said what? Exactly.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium zucchini, rinsed and roughly chopped
2-3 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
1 heaping Tablespoon mint leaves, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
a few shots Tabasco (optional)
salt and pepper

1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and onion. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sautee until soft and, about 10 minutes. Stir often. (Do not burn the garlic or you will have to start over.)

2. Add zucchini and sautee until they start to get soft and slightly brown, 5 minutes or so. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

3. Add chicken broth to cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 15 minutes or until zucchini is very soft.

4. Turn off heat, add mint, and blend using immersion blender. (If you don't have one, you can use a blender but do in many batches as hot soup will expand in the blender.) When thoroughly blended, add the lemon juice and adjust salt to taste. (I found it needed a couple more pinches of will know when it's properly salted because the soup will sort of come alive but not taste 'salty'.) Add tobasco to taste, stir.

Serves 4.

Printable version here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pineapple Stuffed Chicken Breast

It's March 2nd. The holidays are a couple months behind us now, and I have been noticing more and more of my friends becoming homesick during this long stretch between family visits. Though we surely do not miss the stress of shopping, wrapping, decorating, entertaining, and all the rest that the holiday season requires, we do miss that warm fuzzy feeling of holiday time. At least I do...(If you're reading this, Mom or Mom-in-law, hugs...)

For most of us, the holidays are associated with certain types of foods. I know that I can count on my mother-in-law's homemade ravioli and rich, warm sticky toffee pudding cake for Christmas Eve. For Christmas morning, it's Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries. Then for Christmas dinner, my mother's perfectly cooked beef filet, spinach gratin, macaroni and cheese, and for dessert, a trifle of raspberries, pound cake, creme anglaise, toffee, and chocolate. Ohhh, yeeeeaaahhhhh. Of course, we cannot eat this way year-round. We really shouldn't ever eat this way, but, hey, you gotta live, right!?

I know for a lot of people, a big, juicy ham tiled with slices of pineapple and decorated with cherries and cloves ring in the holidays. There is something so heart-warming to think of the cook of the house pulling a plump, pineapple-y ham out of the oven. The salt of the ham plays cheerfully with the sweetness of the pineapple. The juicy crackle of the skin gives way to the tender meat underneath.

So, I created this dish as an homage to the holiday ham...lightened up for pre-swimsuit season and sped up for weeknight practicality. I hope that you will eat this and get a moment of the warm fuzzies. Enjoy!

2 1-inch thick rings pineapple, cut in half
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
fresh pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices prosciutto
1 Tablespoon canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and teaspoon canola oil. Place pineapple in an oven-proof dish and pour vinegar mixture over. Toss to coat.

2. When oven is preheated, roast pineapple for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool completely. (Can be made a day ahead up to this point).

3. Make a pocket in each chicken breast by slicing horizontally through the middle, making sure not to cut all the way through. When pineapple is cooled, stuff each chicken breast with a pineapple slice (cut pineapple lengthwise if needed).

4. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breast, then wrap each breast with a slice of prosciutto.

Put an oven-proof sautee pan over medium-high heat with the remaining canola oil. When oil is hot, put chicken breasts in the pan and do not move them. When the prosciutto is crisp, it will release from the pan. At this point, flip the chicken breasts over and put entire pan into the oven.

5. Roast the chicken breasts until cooked through, about 10 minutes. (Juices will run clear).

Serve alongside steamed green beans for a "holiday" meal any day of the week.

Printable version here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Game Day Apple Bars

There are the 'fruit dessert' people and the 'chocolate dessert' people of the world. Perhaps I am from an alternate universe because I really, truly am both. Maybe I just love dessert...that must be it.

But everyone will bring brownies to the Superbowl party. So, if you're like me, bring these and you'll have both fruit and chocolate sugary goodness. You'll impress all your friends and they'll love you forever. No, really. Especially if you serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.

These bars are really easy to make and if for some strange reason they don't all get eaten, they make a nice little breakfast treat. Enjoy!

2 packages graham crackers
4 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 8-0z package cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/8" slices

2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons cold butter
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 Tablespoons slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a food processor, pulverize graham crackers until finely ground. Dump contents into a bowl and mix in the melted butter. It should resemble wet sand. Pack the mixture into a 8X8-inch pan, pressing to compact. Bake for 10 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the topping. With your fingers, scrunch all the ingredients together until the butter has incorporated all of the flour and sugars but is still crumbly. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

4. Meanwhile, wash out the food processor and reassemble. Put in the cream cheese and turn on till soft. Add the sugar and process till combined. Add the egg and process until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and process another 5 seconds or so.

5. In rows, lay apple slices slightly overlapping like shingles to cover the graham cracker crust. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the apples. Take the topping out of the fridge and sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture.

6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cream cheese is set and is golden brown.

Makes 12 bars.

Printable version here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Portobello-Buffalo Burgers

Oh give me a meat...
That is healthy to eat...
That's as 'green' as it's lean on my plate...
Where seldom's injested
Corn or some drug not tested
And after, I don't gain no weight.

Ok, guys. But seriously. I am so glad that Oprah did her special today on the movie Food, Inc. and interviewed Michael Pollen, author of Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. If you haven't watched the movie or read the books, the point is this: We need to start paying attention to what we are eating, what we are putting into our bodies, and where it is coming from. Michael's major point is that we can start 'casting our votes' on what we want in our grocery stores (and eventually, over time, drive prices down) by buying smarter choices. It's especially important to buy meat and dairy from organic farms...and even better, from local farmers at your farmer's market if available. Buffalo is a great choice for burger or taco night because it tastes just like beef, is very lean, and is typically raised in more favorable conditions than most of the beef available at supermarkets. Look for labels like "Certified Organic,"" Raised with No Antibiotics" (or something to that affect), and "Hormone-Free."

OK, blah blah blah. Are your eyes glazing over, Foodies?! Well, let me tell you--this burger may be healthy and is also incredibly delicious. My husband was licking the spatula! It has a tender texture and is packed with flavor from sauteed mushrooms, shallot, and garlic in the meat. If you're serving this with the Roasted Tomatoes, make sure to start them early! If desired, a little shaving of parmesan cheese gives this a nice tangy kick. (not shown)

1 portobello mushroom, gills scraped off, and chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lb to 1 1/2 lb ground buffalo (use extra-lean beef if you can't find buffalo, aka bison)
salt and pepper
olive oil spray
4 buns, if desired

1. In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sautee for 5 minutes, or until translucent and tender. Add portabello and cook until brown on edges and shrunken in size, another 5 minutes or so. Transfer to a food processor and puree. Remove lid and let cool completely.

2. When mushroom mixture is cool, add to the buffalo and mix gently with hands. Using your hands, score an X in the meat to measure four equal sections. Form each section into a patty.

3. Heat same skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. When pan is hot, add patties and let cook 5 minutes. Flip and cook to desired doneness.

4. Serve on buns with roasted tomatoes.

Serves 4.

Printable version here.

Note to Jean: A Fish Lake Favorite. :)

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Have you ever abstained from sugar for a few days? Try it--you'll notice the natural sweetness in vegetables like never before. Slow-roasting tomatoes brings the sweetness to a whole new level--these wrinkly and salty jewels are like little bombs of melty candy. They do take a little time, but there is next to no prep work. I served them tonight over portabello-buffalo burgers (instead of sugar-packed ketchup), but they would also be delicious stuffed in a chicken breast, in an omelette, or chopped and mixed with brown rice or quinoa as a show-stopping side dish.

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch italian seasoning
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

2. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil then sprinkle with italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Lay on a lined baking sheet.

3. Roast in the oven for one and a half hours. (1 1/2)

Printable version here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chicken, Bean, and Artichoke Chili

Today is the 1-Year Anniversary of the first blog post on Sex and the Souffle, the original food blog which is now a part of Haute Health. It was a Grilled Vegetable Chili, so today I've decided to give you a chili recipe that is a little more polished, attractive, and appealing...much like the blogs themselves! Enjoy!!!

2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. dark chicken meat, ground
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
A few grinds of fresh nutmeg (or about 1/8 teaspoon)
salt and pepper.
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped roughly
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup tomatillo salsa
1 cup beer
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup creme fraiche or low-fat sour cream (optional)

1. Put a large saucepan over medium heat and add oil. When oil is hot, add onions, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and cook for two minutes, stirring often.

2. Add garlic, cook for one minute, stirring often.

3. Add the chicken, cumin, oregano, nutmeg, another pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the garbanzo beans, cannelini beans, and artichoke hearts. Stir. Add chicken broth, salsa, and beer. Stir together and add one last pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir.

5. Bring to a boil. When the broth is boiling, reduce heat to low, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Test for seasoning. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with chopped cilantro and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Serves 4.

Printable version here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Healthy Minestrone

Happy New Year! If eating healthy is part of your New Years Resolution list, try making this soup this week. It's filling and delicious so it doesn't feel like diet food, but it's super healthy, loaded with vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. One of my most favorite meals is soup and salad--especially for dinner, when you really don't need a large meal. Try a bowl of this with a nice side salad. Pretty soon, you'll forget why you were eating all those burgers, fries, and pizza when eating this way makes you feel so good. New Year, New You!

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 leeks, washed well and sliced into half moons (use only tender parts)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tablespoon MSG-free chicken bouillon
1/2 Tablespoon dry Italian seasoning, rubbed in palm to release oils
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Put a large pot over medium heat. Add oil and let heat for about 30 seconds. Add shallot, leeks, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir occasionally, cooking until shallots are translucent and leeks are limp. Add garlic, stirring occasionally, for about 30 seconds. (Make sure the garlic doesn't brown--if it starts to, just jump to the next step.)

2. Add carrots and cook for 1 minutes. Add the celery and green beans, cook for 30 seconds. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the broth, the bouillon, and the Italian seasoning. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the broth has reached a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and add beans. Let simmer 10 minutes. Add the macaroni and simmer until pasta is al dente (look at pasta packaging for time amounts). Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

3. (Optional) With a microplane or fine grater, grate a little bit of parmesan cheese over the hot soup. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.

Printable version here.