Category Archives: Apps

Roasted cabbage

med105471_0410_cabbage_wedge_vertWanna pig out on cabbage?  No, really!  Why not?  It is loaded with nutrients that will help your body clear out toxins, give you great energy, and keep the good bacteria in your GUT healthy and happy.

Once you taste this roasted cabbage you are going to want more, I promise.  IT ROCKS!  You can eat this as a side dish or as your main course.  PLUS, you can play with the seasoning so you have exactly what you are in the mood to eat.

Roasted Cabbage

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons avocado oil or toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • any herbs, spice, seasoning that you like!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice head of cabbage into thin pieces.  Brush both sides with avocado oil.   Season with your favorite spices and herbs, salt, and pepper, etc.  Carefully flip after 7-10 minutes and cook until your reach a cook texture for you ~15 minutes of total cook time is usually good.

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Roasted brussels sprouts unplugged

 

Roasted brussels sprouts

The one vegetable I couldn’t get my hubby to eat was brussels sprouts.  No matter how hard I tried, he refused!  Then I went to Costa Rica and left him alone for 4 weeks…I bet you can already guess his new favorite vegetable.  Thats right, brussels sprouts.  To be more precise, roasted brussels sprouts with loads of garlic!  When I asked what inspired him to purchase brussels sprouts at the store, he said he was buying every other vegetable available, so why not give the dreaded sprout another try?  Yep, it brings happy tears to my eyes to know that when he had the option he choose loads of vegetables (even one that he didn’t think he liked!) over the trashy junk he could have easily purchased to fill his belly while I was away (french fries, tator tots, chips, etc.), HE CHOSE VEGGIES!   So below is the recipe that he made many times during that long month and what changed his mind about this super veg!
Before I share the recipe, I am going to quickly talk about the health benefits of eating this super fab veg!  Brussels sprouts are from the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards and kohlrabi.  They are a cruciferous vegetable with lots of fiber, so be prepared for a little extra gas production.  They are high in vitamins A and C–a couple of our favorite antioxidants!  It also provides high levels of indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane which boost DNA repair in cells and may block the growth of cancer cells.  Sound like something you should be eating?  Give this recipe a try!   The roasted sprouts are not just healthful, they are delicious!  I have already made them 5 times in the short time I have been home.  They are so good, I even made them as an hors d’oeuvres for a happy hour I hosted last week and they were a HIT!

Roasted brussels sprouts unplugged

  • 1 # stemless brussels sprouts, cleaned
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • sprinkle of salt
  • dash of crushed black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 t powdered dried onion (or more)
  • 1/4 t sweet spanish paprika
  • 1 T Avocado oil (or a good cooking oil)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Throw all ingredients in a ziplock bag.  Shake to coat the sprouts with the oil, garlic and dry ingredients.

Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Stir once or twice to be sure all sides are nicely browned.

Eat and enjoy!

 

Deconstructed Nachos

I know I promised you some of my favorite recipes from my stay at Anamaya Resort in Montezuma, and they will come.  Today though, I am sharing a recipe from my week with my hubby in Ojochal, Costa Rica.  Ojochal is a beautiful, small village on the Pacific coast, known for its  unspoiled beaches AND fabulous restaurants!  Once we were settled into our house, we conducted an extensive (ok, maybe about 10 minutes!) google search to narrow down our dining choices to only the very best-of-the-best, for our short week-long visit.  Through our search, we discovered a small, quaint place, Adelante, for a casual afternoon snack and drink.  It had a cool, comfortable atmosphere, with a great deck, a good beer list, and really spectacular and relatively healthful munchies.

Their deconstructed nachos were absolutely phenomenal and the presentation was simple and so stylish!  A couple of nights ago I decided to give them a try here at home.  Great idea!  They were so easy and we loved every bite.
Yes, they are just nachos, so you can use whatever toppings you like.  We prefer a meatless, minimal cheese nacho so that is exactly what I made.  What makes these nachos really special is the presentation, so make them fit your style!  Here is a picture of what I created.  Do you like my style??

Is your mouth watering like mine??

Deconstructed Nachos

Servings:  as many as you like!

  • corn tortillas, use a pizza cutter to cut into 4 pieces/tortilla
  • sea salt
  • pam cooking spray or oil
  • cheese of your choice.  I used shredded cheddar mix (very minimal) on these, but I think a thin slice of pepper jack, goat, or a high quality mozzarella would be great!
  • cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into thin slices
  • black olives, cut in half
  • ripe avocado
  • ripe mango, cut into very thin and small slices
  • salsa
  • lime, cut into wedges
  • jalapeno, thinly sliced (not pictured)
  • cilantro, chopped (not pictured)

Preheat the oven to around 400 degrees F.  Use convection if your oven has that feature.

Slice your tortillas into quarters, place them on a cookie sheet.  Spray them with cooking spray or use a brush to add a very light oil to the top.  Sprinkle with a light dusting of finely ground (powdered) sea salt.  Bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes in my oven).  You may need to turn the cookie sheet to make sure the pieces are cooking evenly.  When they are just starting to brown pull them out of the oven and add the cheese.  Bake for another 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the chips are nice and crispy.

While the tortillas are cooking prep the other toppings.  Cut the tomatoes and jalapenos into thin slices and mangoes into thin and small pieces.  Dice the onion.  Slice the olives in half and fill them with your favorite salsa.

Make the guacamole according to your favorite recipe.  I like my guac very simple.  Here is what I usually do:  mash the avocado with a big squeeze of lime, a generous sprinkle of sea salt, chipotle pepper flakes, and cumin.  Add diced red onion.  Mix well.

Build the nachos!  Take a look at my picture to build like I did.  I had two different nachos.   1.  guac, tomato, olive 2.  guac, mango.  I wish I would have had fresh jalapenos and cilantro to add to the festive dish, but no such luck!  Instead, I sprinkled a mix of ground chipotle pepper and cumin over the top and garnished the plate with a lime.  I served them with fresh salsa and a big mug of Matilda!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

FRESH Spring Rolls

I struggle with multiple course meals.  Primarily because I don’t think ALL of that food is really necessary–plus, I really want to be ’empty belly’ HUNGRY when the main course arrives.  Crazy?  I say SMART!  So when you join us here at 488 for dinner you might find some nuts or veggies out to kick off the night, but it is unlikely that you will find a heavy, fat-filled, calorie-wasting appetizer.  There are a few exceptions to that rule–and this isn’t one of them!  These rolls are ridiculously easy and SUPER LIGHT — and I think they are a great way to kick off a good eastern meal or as a healthful snack.  The true beauty of this one (besides the fact that that they taste soooo good) is that they are LOW, LOW, LOW in calories, loaded with vitamins and fiber, and cool, FRESH flavor!

If you have been to Saigon 39 in KC you will get the idea of how these puppies taste.  Soft, yet crunchy; sweet, yet salty; simple, yet complex with intense, herbal flavors in every bite!!  Saigon’s are probably the best I have ever had and what I set out to make last night.  Sadly, I haven’t had one of their spring rolls since we moved, but my memory does not fail me on the way the textures, flavors, and smells come together perfectly to create this gem.  So, give my FRESH spring rolls a try and let me know how you think they compare to your favorite!

Spring Rolls

Servings:  2-3

  • 4 pieces rice paper
  • 1 c spring mix
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 c mint, chopped
  • 12 pieces of medium size shrimp, boiled
  • 2 oz dry rice noodles, cooked al dente (3-5 minutes in a salted boil), and drained.  Allow to cool to room temperature

Peanut hoisen sauce

  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 1 T hoisin sauce
  • splash of low sodium soy sauce
  • squirt of chili sauce (sriracha)
  • 1/4 t ginger, minced
  • Water, enough to make the sauce thin enough to dip the roll into easily

Vinaigrette sauce

  • 1 T + 1 t fish sauce
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/2 t + chili sauce (sriracha)
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 t anchovy paste
  • 1/8 t ginger, minced
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c water

Soften the rice paper according to it’s package label.  Place on a moist cutting board.  Line 3-4 shrimp in the middle of the paper.  Add 1/4 c spring mix, 1/8 c cilantro, and a big pinch of mint on top of the shrimp–distributed evenly so you get some of each in every bite.  Roll the spring roll

Make the sauces by mixing the designated ingredients in small bowls.   Serve with the spring rolls.  The sauces flavors will be more pronounced if you mix them 1-2 hours ahead of time and let them sit at room temperature until serving.

 

 

 

 

Arugula and avocado salad

Hydroponic Arugula

Betcha you didn’t know that I am an organic, hydroponic gardener!  Ok, stop it!  Do not go THERE–I love the show Weeds, but am not getting into THAT line of work!  I only grow arugula (spinach is coming soon) in my nutrient dense Jacuzzi tub!

Arugula is hands down my favorite green and we eat plenty of it here at the casa–which is why we decided to grow it year round in the storage room!  I can educate you on starting your own hydroponic garden later if you are interested, but this post is dedicated to the unbelievable salad I made for the first time last night.

The hot, very nutty, and just slightly bitter flavors of this Mediterranean green make it so much more interesting than regular lettuce.  Plus, it is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, folate, calcium, iron, and it surprisingly provides a high level of protein (about 25% of its content is protein!)!  On top of that (hee, hee), it has been considered an aphrodisiac since Roman times!   Sound good??  Then get out your cutting board and start chopping!  This one will only take a few minutes to prep and will make your tummy (and significant other?) very, very happy!

Green and gorgeous!

Arugula and avocado salad

Servings:  2 large, 4 small

  • 4 c arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into rounds
  • 1 champagne mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 large lime
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • dash of chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 t agave nectar (or more, to taste)
  • 1-2 T chopped cilantro (more to garnish, as desired)

Mix together the EVOO, agave nectar, cilantro, salt, pepper, hot pepper and 2 T lime juice and let sit.  Stir occasionally to keep from separating.

Place the arugula, onion, and mango in a large bowl and add 1 T of lime juice, put a lid on the bowl and shake (if you don’t have a lid, just stir it well) to coat the vegetables with the lime juice.  Add the dressing and repeat the stir/shake.  Plate the salad and add the sliced avocado to the top.  Sprinkle with a little more lime juice and the cilantro garnish and serve.

 

 

 

 

Corn flatbread

Adding the butter

I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to make naan…honestly, it pains me to think about it!  How?  Why?  What??  UGH!!  It doesn’t matter…I am over you naan!!  But, the success that I had making tortillas, has made me a little stubborn and cocky so I thought I would try one last time for something similar to naan, but a little more forgiving.

This is it!  Not only is it easy, it is CRAZY good!  When I made it last week, I had a very hard time not cowing (yes, not chowing) down the entire stack before the curry was served!  I did save enough to sop up every last bit of the burmese chicken booyah, and it was soooo good!  Anyway, I would imagine this flatbread would work in just about every situation requiring a side bread or even when serving sandwiches.  I can even see making yummy breakfast burritos with this savory bread!  Anyway, have fun with it, be creative, and ENJOY!

Corn flatbread, perfectly brown!

Corn flatbread

Servings:  9

  • 2 c yellow corn flour
  • 1/2 c AP flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 1/4″ pieces of fresh ginger
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1/2 c red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-1 1/4 c warm water
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • PAM cooking spray, butter flavored

In a medium bowl, combine the flours and salt.  Chop the ginger and jalapeno in the food processor until finely chopped, but not pureed.  Add to the flour mix along with the onion and cilantro.

Drizzle the warm water over the flour mix 1 T at a time stirring as you go until the mix forms a nice ball.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead until soft (about 1-2 minutes).

Divide the dough into 9 balls.  Cover the balls with a damp towel and let rest until you are ready to cook them.

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium/low and coat with PAM cooking spray.

Press out the balls into flat circles about the size of a small tortilla.  Carefully lift them to avoid tearing, place them one at a time in the skillet and cook until slightly browned on both sides.  Using a butter brush add a light brush of the melted butter to each piece.  Continue until all are cooked to your liking.  Serve warm and enjoy!

 

Ode to summer onion tarts

Globes of smelly goodness

The garden is growing extremely well so far this season–quick break to knock on wood–and I just pulled the last of the onions.  WOW, there were soooo many globes of smelly goodness!  I love all varieties of onions…green, yellow, red!  Don’t even get me started on shallots.  The sweetness that evolves with cooking astounds me and their nutritional value does too!  These babies are full of fiber, phyto compounds for cancer protection, B & C vitamins, and trace minerals.  I am feeling better just thinking about them!

I was feeling especially creative last night, so I decided to make tarts with a few of them!  I put Andy in charge of slicing up the onions, sorry honey (hee  hee).  He smartly put on my onion goggles (thank you Niki) and made quick work of the task–wish I had that picture to share!

We decided to try several different combinations of ingredients to add some variety to our evening with onions.  What a great plan–holy cow were they good!  We tried onion/mushroom/pancetta, onion/mushroom/pancetta/egg, onion/mushroom, and  onion/mushroom/egg.  Go figure that our favorite was the least complex–onion/mushroom.

I used a muffin tin to cook the tarts and it worked beautifully. The puff pastry was a gorgeous golden brown and the layers of carmelized onion were just beautiful.  These tasty tarts would make great hors d’oeuvres at your next party.  Serve either of the egg combos at breakfast with some fresh fruit and your family will be bragging on you all week long!

Caramelized onions

Ode to summer onion tarts

Servings:  6-8 large cupcake size tarts

  • 1 box pepperidge farm puff pastry
  • 3 large onions of varying color, sliced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1-2 T EVOO
  • Butter flavor PAM cooking spray
  • 2-3 eggs, scrambled (optional)
  • 1 c finely chopped mushrooms
  • 2-3 pieces of crispy, cooked pancetta or bacon (optional)
  • 2 t fresh thyme
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c freshly grated parmasean cheese
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes (mandatory)
  • Splash of agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large saute pan saute the sliced onion in the evoo over low/medium heat.  Add the salt and agave nectar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are nice and soft and carmelized to a golden brown.

If using bacon or pancetta, cook it until it is nice and crispy in a medium skillet, and then set the meat aside.  Using the same pan with the bacon grease, saute the mushrooms with the chipotle pepper flakes until nice and soft.  If not using meat, just throw some EVOO and pepper flakes into a skillet and saute until soft.

Make sure your puff pastry is thawed.  Using a round cookie cutter (or something similar) cut 3 pieces for every muffin whole you want to fill with the tart.  You will build the tarts in layers–kinda like a lasagna.

Generously coat the muffin tin with PAM butter spray.  Place a piece of puff pastry at the bottom of each muffin whole.  Add a thin layer of mushrooms, onions, and meat (if using) on top of the pastry.  If using egg, add a drizzle on top.  If not, just add the cheese and freshly ground pepper.  Repeat the next layer starting with the pastry circle.  Top the last layer with a pastry circle and then use an onion or sprinkles of pepper or thyme (or all three) to make a pretty garnish.  Give each pastry a quick spray of PAM and then bake for about 40 minutes–or until they are golden brown.  Allow the pastries to cool for at least 5 minutes before lifting them out gently with a fork.

The puffier one on the left is made with egg. On the right is just onions and mushrooms.

 


 

 

Flour tortillas!

Flour tortillas

I can’t tell you how much fun I have scouring the web looking for inspirations for my blog.  A few months ago I ran across the most kick a** site – hilahcooking.com .  This gal has it going on!  She swears and often consumes adult beverages while whipping up easy and affordable dishes and cocktails!  She is an absolute riot and the creator of this adapted recipe!  Make sure you check out her site!

Anyway, I turned to her when thinking about making my own tortillas.  She has a video showing and hilariously describing how best to make these puppies!  Her recipe is super simple, so I went for it!  We don’t usually have cow’s milk here at the casa, so I have made them with coconut and goat’s milk and both worked perfectly!  I must warn you though–once you have had a taste of these awesome tortillas, you won’t have the stomach to go back to the ‘bagged in plastic, tastes like plastic’ grocery store version!

Don’t forget to use these when you make your own tortilla chips!

Flour tortillas!

Makes 10-12

  • 2 c bread or AP flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/4 t baking powder
  • 2 T vegetable oil (I use grapeseed)
  • 3/4 c room temperature goat, 2 %,  or plain soy milk

Sift together the dry ingredients.  In a separate container, add the wet ingredients.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix together.

On a clean counter top knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.  I don’t have to flour my countertop, but throw some flour down if your are afraid of the dough sticking.  Place the kneaded ball back in your bowl and cover with a cool, damp towel for 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium/medium-high.  You want it nice and hot, but not smokin!

Divide the dough into 10 small pieces. Using a circular rolling motion with the palm of your hand against the countertop, roll them into small balls.  Let the balls rest under the damp towel for 10 minutes.  Again, flour your countertop if sticking is an issue.  Flatten a ball with your hand and then use a rolling pin to flatten it to a paper-thin thickness.  Carefully lift the tortilla off of the countertop and put in your heated pan.  I take my hand and twirl the sphere to brown nice and evenly.  Flip it over after it achieves the doneness that you desire.  Once finished start another one and keep going until you have cooked them all!  Try not to gobble too many of them down before you are finished!

 

HOT candied nutz

I use these awesome nuts on my salads, as a snack, in breading for fish, in rice–the gourmet utility is almost endless!  The smoky heat from the pepper works so well with the sweet and earthy flavors of the nuts.  I usually do pecans, but black walnuts and almonds rock too!  They store very well, so be sure to make a BIG batch the next time your oven is warm!

HOT candied nutz

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place nuts in a small baking dish.  Cover with honey or agave nectar and sprinkle with Ground Chipotle Pepper (we use a LOT, but be careful this stuff is very hot!).  Bake for 8-10 minutes (or until golden brown).  Be careful not to burn the nuts!

Mexi-Black Beans

Oh, how I just love mexican food!  However, I have had to adapt many of the classic dishes to accomodate our preference for limiting (no, I didn’t say eliminating!) meat and dairy in our diets.  What this means is that I often turn to beans to provide us with a complete protein (rice/beans) and much needed iron.  Sadly, though, until recently I wasn’t exactly LOCO about beans.  Which is why I started playing around to see what could be done to make them more appealing.  I quickly discovered that  two simple additions and a squirt of lime juice can make monumental changes in the flavor!  So pour yourself a big margarita and get ready to whip together a leaner and meaner mexican feast– you can start by swapping out some of the meat and greasy cheese with these tasty Mexi-black beans!!  Two seriously cool facts about mexi-black beans is 1.   how versatile they are–I use them at breakfast in egg burritos and even as an appetizer with a squeeze of lime over the top and multi-grain chips and 2.  they are packed full of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and fiber (hello beano!).  Heck, if you are really feeling crazy buy a bag of dried beans and give the home made version a shot.  They are super simple and make a good choice even better because YOU have control over the level of sodium added!

Mexi-black beans

Servings:  3

  • 1 14 oz can of black beans
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • squirt of lime juice
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes (or more!)

In a small sauce pan cook the ingredients over low until they start to break down, become aromatic, and thicken up a little.  This is usually when I take them off of the heat and serve them, but if you leave them cook for 20 or so more minutes they will almost completely break down and thicken to a refried bean consistency, which might be desirable depending upon how you are using them!