Monday, September 28, 2009

Citrus Boiler Onions with Sweet Potato Garnish

An easy little side dish to tie together a heavy meal, adding a light flavor using a traditional veggie.

You will need:

Boiler onions
Small sweet potato
Clove of garlic
Fresh lime
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375f. In oven safe casserole dish with lid, add onions, olive oil and s/p. Cut lime in half and use a fork to juice on top of onions. Crush garlic and grate the sweet potato very finely. Add on top and bake until onions are soft. Keep in juice until served scooping out a bit to put on top.

Finished product garnished with twisted lime.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Neat Sites to Visit

Everyone should visit these sites, omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike! It will tell you how to get the 'stuff' our bodies need and what we illusion ourselves into thinking we are getting. Let me know what you think! There is also a link to Vegan Outreach and a blog by Jack Norris, both of which are amazing sites and provide free weekly enewsletters for those who want them.

Let's Change the Idea of A Salad, Shall We?

Who uses a recipe for a salad? I had never heard of such a thing until I was instructed to help my grandmother make the salad for dinner. She had set out already the spinach and asked me to finish cutting up the vegetables and add them in. So I set out for the refrigerator and grabbed the carrots, some onion, celery, purple cabbage and whatever else I could find. I am cutting up the carrots directly into the salad bowl, consisting of just spinach, when my grandmother walks over and hollers, "What are you doing?" Stunned, I asked her,"What?" She preceded to tell me that carrots don't belong in a spinach salad... Huh? I had ruined dinner. The recipe she has always used called for nothing but spinach, celery greens, fresh chives and button mushrooms. Ok, cool. So lets put in some orange, purple, yellow, red, and more green! I have been stung by that my whole life! Who limits their salads to recipes? Remember to never restrict yourself to a recipe. They are guidelines and idea engines. Measurements are sometimes important, but in salads and many other dishes, put everything you can in there. Nuts, veggies, fruit, spices, breads, rubber duckies. It doesn't matter. And, yes, salads can be a main course! You can put them on a sandwich, in a pasta, on the grill, in a soup. You can char the greens, toast the nuts, grill the fruits and veggies. Puree half of it for the dressing! I aim to show so many different types of salads so as to break the mold. Use your imagination and don't follow the rules unless you are driving.


How to Dry Herbs ~ As Promised

Drying herbs is a great way to have fun and save money. It is also a great way to know exactly where your food is coming from and what is in it, which is so important. Here are some simple instructions for drying herbs and as always, if you have questions please leave a comment or contact me and I would be glad to elaborate!

You, first, want to decide what type of herbs you are trying to dry. Are they wet herbs or dry herbs? Deciding what herbs are high or low moisture content (HMC or LMC) can be tricky but looking it up is very easy. This will decide on how you grow, dry and store the herbs when ready.

Some of the most commonly grown herbs:
HMC: basil, chives, mint and tarragon
LMC: bay, thyme, savory, marjoram, oregano and rosemary

Supplies: strong scissors, string (cotton ties well), hanger and clothespins, paper bags, open and vantalated space to hang for two weeks that will allow the herbs to not be damaged or soiled

Before you cut the herb from the plant, make sure to have all of your supplies gathered andready. The herbs should be hanging as soon as possible once cut.

When ready to dry cut from plant and remove the dead leaves. Make sure to remove spider webs, insects and drit, shake or lightly rinse patting dry with paper towle. Leave at least onve inch of stem at end of stalk. Bundle like herbs together and tie with string, being careful not to over bundle. For HMC herbs tie less together and hang farther apart. Larger bundles can be made form LMC herbs, but allow for each bundle to dry without touching another one. An ince or two is great spacing. Hang the herbs upside down and use excess string to tie to hangers or rack. Expect to hang for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, inspect carefully for mold, dust, etc. If moldy toss immideately. Store good herbs in intact stalks in air tight containers until you are ready to use, then strip the leaves you need and crush with your palms. DO NOT FORGET to lable and date your containers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Spice Cabinet

I consider a well rounded spice cabinet to be a crucial point when cooking. It is a must for a person to have a good idea of different flavors and combination of flavors and to not be afraid to use all different kinds of herbs and spices in foods. I plan my kitchen, not on what I am going to make that night for dinner, but to have all the supplies necessary to make a good, healthy dish based on my time constraints, number of people, and my
mood. Fresh ingredients are always the trick. I have to do a little more planning when it comes to those but at for the staples of rice, beans, flour, grains, canned and frozen, I am always prepared! And my spice cabinet is always there at my side!

Spices I keep on hand: *I grow

kosher salt
whole black pepper
*lemon balm

top: garlic, clove, cardamom, black pepper, anise
middle: lavender blooms
bottom: basil plant

Do It at Home; Save Money, Flavor and Nutritional Value!

I cannot stress enough my belief in the importance of fresh ingredients! Not only does it add to the taste and beauty of a dish, but if cooked properly, it adds greatly to the nutritional benefit as well.

Grow a little herb garden in the summer and bring it indoors for the winter, or learn how to dry the herbs and save them for the winter. It is a fun process and can be a fun activity for kids and adults alike. Seasonings for foods, and herbs and spices for teas can be preserved and used whenever you like and can save a bundle when faced with the grocery store.

Can or freeze veggies and fruits in the summer and fall months to allow for easy and nutritious meals in the winter! This will not only allow you to eat and feed friends and family with food that you know is good, but will allow you to support your farmers markets and groceries by purchasing produce that is in season and prevent purchasing out of season produce which is more likely to be loaded with pesticides and much older than 'fresh produce' stickers lead us to believe.

I will post instructions explaining the drying process for herbs and spices, along with a list of good ones ( the staples so to speak ) soon. As well as instructions for canning and my family's recipe for "Goop-it". A 'tomato based / garden leftover/ this is going to go bad before I can use it' recipe that I grew up on. It can be used for soup or the base for a lot of wonderful dishes!

A good resource to elaborate on this and more is to go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation and learn how to can or dry or freeze anything you can imagine! Here is their link:

Blueberry and Celery Salad

This is a summer favorite!

You will need:

~ Celery, chopped

~White Onions, sliced

~Purple cabbage, chopped

~Carrot, chopped

~Fresh Blueberries

~Balsamic vinegar/ olive oil


Mix all and chill. Serve with toasted pita and hummous for a great lunch!

Zucchini with Beans

This is a neat one I came up with attempting to make a meal out of random things in another persons' kitchen, in a time crunch. It got a ten out of ten with the eaters! It is neat because you can use any type of bean and completely change the flavor. Lentils and Navy beans were my family's favorite. Wild rice can bee added or substituted for a complex protein combo or for a change!

You will need:
~one whole Zucchini, thinly sliced bite sized pieces
~half cup onion, chopped
~garlic ( fresh if possible), salt, black pepper, basil ( fresh if possible), all to taste
~1.5 cups cooked lentils or navy beans
~medium tomato, bite sized pieces
~olive oil
~~Parmigiana cheese (if vegan~ seasoned bread crumbs are wonderful!), liberally to taste

In pan, saute onions, zucchini, and tomato. Add seasonings. Add beans and cook until hot. Mix in parm. or bread crumbs and keep on heat until it is lightly browned. Serve with salad or on crackers!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun Salad with Black Olives

Fun salad to make when you don't have a lot of time but you do have some random ingredients!

You will need:
~Black olives
~Baby spinach
~Home made vinaigrette or favorite dressing

Slice veggies into bite sized pieces, add olives whole or cut. Toss with dressing and serve!

Sandwich featured in picture:

A silly little sandwich I made with fake chicken strips and stale hot dog buns.

~ Toasted hoagie
~ Red pepper
~ Sweet potato
~ Onion
~ Chicken strips, I use vegan 'chicken' strips
~ s/p, olive oil

Cut potato into thin strips almost like thick fries, place in microwaveable bowl with a little little water in the bottom and microwave until soft. Or steam until soft using any technique you chose. In a pan, saute onion, peppers and chicken strips in a little olive oil. Add potato asap. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until browning on each side of chicken and veggies are soft. Toast hoagie open faced, fill with veggie mix and serve warm.

Baked Beans with Apple

After an evening of experimentation and heavy ingredients... This came forth!

You will need:

1 cup kidney beans

1 cup navy beans
*canned or boiled. If canned, drain before adding to heat.

1 medium white onion

1/4 apple, chopped

Tbl. Agave Nectar

4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

salt to taste

extra virgin olive oil


In sauce pan or deep skillet, slice onion into long strips, add olive oil and heat on low. Add beans, salt and garlic. Let sit with onions on bottom and beans on top. Do not mix. Wait until beans are warm and add the Agave. Stir. Add apple and stir. Wait until heated all the way through.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hello there!

This site is designed to broaden the ideas of cooking and hold at bay the ingredients which destroy the art of eating. Eating is living. Just like breathing, smiling, experiencing etc. Too many things are wrong with the picture of food. Why we need it, what it is used for, how we get it, why we like it, how it is prepared... I could go on and on. I am creating a place for questions, research, comments and best of all recipes I have devised to, in a very appropriate term, 'tortilla' my findings and share it with you! There is food here for everyone, so enjoy health!