Asian Noodles

Every now and then my kids floor me. They taste something I think they will never like and end up loving it! Rose recently tasted an Asian noodle salad that I bought in the prepared food section at Whole Foods. She loved it! I try really hard not to give the girls store bought prepared foods. I really like knowing exactly what is in the food we are eating. I even go as far as making my own fish sticks and chicken nuggets because unfortunately that is what the girls eat.
I decided to create my own Asian Noodles for Rose’s lunch box. They came out sooooo yummy that I want to share the recipe! It is really easy. All of the dressing ingredients go into a jar. Shake and mix!

Rose’s Favorite Asian Noodles

My Rasp! I love my Rasp!


1lb box dry Linguini, cooked al dente
1/4 cup tamari (soy sauce)
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/8 cup grape seed oil (or other light oil-canola)
Juice of 1 lime (1/8 cup)
2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger (I used my rasp)
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (I used my rasp, again!)
3/4 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes
    (leave out if making for kids-unless they like spice!)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 bunch broccolini, blanched
1 cup shredded carrots

1.  Put all ingredients in glass jar with lid. Shake. Done!
2. You can add anything you want. Vegetables (snow peas, asparagus, red pepper strips)
    Nuts (peanuts, cashews) Meat (stir fried chicken, beef, pork) Sesame Seeds would be great!
   Cilantro! Go Wild!!!

They are good cold or room temp!

 

Enjoy!

 

Peach and Prosecco Sorbet

My daughter Rose (almost 7) is perfect! (OK I’m bias!) I really admire her! Rose is always happy! She loves art, music and dance. She cherishes her friends and adores her family! Everyone means the world to her! Rose is peaceful!  She is my flower girl, hippy chick! Rose floats through her life and enjoys every minute of every day! She will most definitely become a person who sees the glass as half full! Rose drew the picture below. It is an illustration of her sister Iris, who was drawing a picture while sitting at our dining room table.

My daughter Iris (4) is very different than Rose, but equally as wonderful! (Again, being very bias!)  Iris has a very adult sense of humor, knows exactly how to tease and knows how to be sarcastic!  Iris observes people and situations intensely and then forms an opinion which is either black or white. She is cautious and always becomes the leader of a group! She has better executive skills than her father and loves the challenge of mastering new tasks!
 Do these two completely different sisters get along? Hummmm…most of the time.  Nooooo, maybe just some of the time. Actually, the truth is they fight like WWE fighters!!! From the minute they get up in the morning until the second they fall asleep they screech, pinch, bite, slap, pull each others hair and throw things at each other ALL DAY LONG!!  I feel like I must be doing something wrong! It is exhausting to watch it, listen to it and try to referee it EVERYDAY!  I can’t take it anymore! If I told you that I scheduled an eye appointment just to get away from the girls for an hour of peace would you believe me??? Well, believe it!
What does this have to do with peach and prosecco sorbet? Well, my 43rd birthday is knocking at the door! Lately, I’ve noticed that my eyes seem tired and refuse to focus when I read. I have had to hold whatever I am reading out at arms length to try to make out the sentences.  Unfortunately, my arms aren’t long enough anymore.  I went to the eye doctor for the very first time! Yikes! That’s all I have to say! A few things I didn’t like:
1.  “these drops are going to sting and then your eye will go numb”    WHAT!!!!
2.  “just put your chin on here and don’t move” as a little blue neon light thing TOUCHES YOUR
       EYEBALL!!!!  YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!
3.  My eyes were so dialated that I couldn’t see the dashboard of the car on the way home! I figured by the time I made it home my eye sight would be clear! IT WASN’T! My eyes were so blurry that I couldn’t even tell if the meatloaf I made for dinner was cooked!
ANYWAY, the end of my long story is that I was so nervous from the day (between the girls fighting AND trying to focus my eyes) that I decided to open a very cold bottle of prosecco! While I was sipping my second tall glass,  I noticed a very out of focus bowl of fresh peaches on the counter. I took a bite of one and then a sip of prosecco! What a combination!
Peach and Prosecco Sorbet
 
1 ½ lbs peaches, blanched and pureed
1 1/4  cup sugar
½ cup water
¾ cup Prosecco
      1.  Bring sugar and water to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes and set aside to cool.
      2.    Cut an “x” into the bottom of each peach. Bring a large pot of water to boil and
           carefully drop in the peaches. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to ice
           water bath. Peel the peaches; halve them and remove the pits. Transfer the
           peaches to a food processor and coarsely puree. Pour into a medium bowl.
3.    Add simple syrup (sugar water mixture) to peach puree in the food processor. Blend well.
4.    Stir in Prosecco. Pour into bowl or large measuring cup and chill in fridge.
5.    Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
      ***This recipe can be made without an ice cream maker. Proceed up to step 4, but instead of chilling in fridge pour into shallow covered glass dish. Freeze until just firm about 2 hours. Once frozen take out and break it up and put in bowl of food processor. Process until completely smooth.***
BTW can’t see these instructions without my new reading glasses!
 

Steak!

A few weeks ago I was asked to make Osso Bucco for a dinner party. I was waiting for my meat purveyor to pack up my veal shank order, when I glanced down into their retail case.  I gotta gander at the MOST amazing looking cowboy steaks. They were almost 2 inches thick! My mouth was watering right there in their shop! I have been dreaming about that steak ever since and yesterday was the day I gave in to my steak craving! I didn’t have time to go back to get one of those amazing cowboy steaks, but I did stop by our local meat shop and found these great looking boneless rib eyes.

 

Sometimes, the pure flavor of the steak, no frills, is all I need from my meat. However, every now and then I like a sauce and yesterday I happened to have some fresh herbs. Chimichurri is filled with fresh herb flavor, and a little bite from vinegar and chili flakes.  A perfect way to use fresh parsley and cilantro, which is already going nuts in local herb gardens, thanks to all of the mild weather we have had around here.

Last night I was dipping everything into the chimichurri before the steak was finished. French fries that I had made for the kids, crusty bread that was lying around and even a cheese stick yesterday afternoon!  It is a great condiment along side grilled fish, pork or chicken. But I think the tang is exactly the right bite to cut through the richness of beef. Look at all that wonderful fat! I am not a tenderloin fan. Not enough flavor for me. I need a steak with lots of marble!

Right now life is crazy. The girls are down to their last few days of school and our schedules are filled with end of the year picnics and celebrations. The reality of summer vacation is hitting me hard. I needed a treat! Plus, what better way to kick off summer vacation then a nice, big, FAT steak? 
Chimichurri Sauce
 
1 cup parsley (can use stems)
1 1/2 cups cilantro (can use stems)
2 tbsp. fresh oregano
1 cloves fresh garlic
2 tbsp. chopped red onion
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
 
1. Put parsley, cilantro, oregano, garlic, red onion, red pepper flakes and salt into bowl of food processor or blender. Blend until very finely chopped (but NOT blended as fine as a pesto sauce-you want to be able to see some texture!)
 
2. Add vinegar and olive oil and give a quick pulse to incorporate. THAT’S IT! EASY!!

Lemon Laced Ricotta Pancakes

 

Rose likes them plain with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Iris likes them with maple syrup. 

 

Note-My mother tasted the pancakes and thought they were wonderful, but she doesn’t like flavored pancakes. She asked if the lemon could be taken out. Yes! If the lemon doesn’t appeal to you take it out! If orange suits you better, make it orange zest! You could even take out the vanilla and just have a plain ricotta pancake! You choose!
 
Lemon Laced Ricotta Pancakes
makes 12-15 pancakes-serves 4

 

 

1 ¾   cups Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Flour
1/3-cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4-teaspoon salt
1/3-cup buttermilk 
1/2-teaspoon vanilla
Zest of one lemon
Canola oil
Powdered sugar, maple syrup and/or berries
1.    In bowl mix together ricotta, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
2.  Mix in buttermilk, vanilla and zest
3.  Over LOW flame heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a skillet (I used my grandmother’s well seasoned iron skillet) Working in batches, adding more oil when needed, add ¼ cup of batter to form pancakes. Cook until puffed and golden on each side (approx. 4 minutes on each side). Serve hot! 

 

Longer Days Lighter Ways

Back in September, on a Sunday afternoon, Big Daddy took the girls for a ride. They came back with Daisy, an eight week old golden retriever. Big Daddy was more excited than the girls! He had plans! The dog was going to take the place of a health club.  He was going to get up at the crack of dawn to walk his new pup. He said all of the walking would melt the pounds away!

 

Well, Big Daddy was right about the pounds melting off! Off of ME! The crack of dawn wasn’t all that it is cracked up to be! It was too cold and too early for B.D.. Daisy on the other hand wanted to go out every four hours. The cold and dark didn’t make her roll back over and go to sleep!  Well, thanks to Daisy and all of her energy I lost 9 pounds in the first month of having her around!
Not only have I had to adjusting to having a dog around, but to Iris, going to school three full days a week.  For the first time since August 2005 (the month Rose was born), I can actually focus a little on MYSELF! I have time and energy to do things like…put make up on, comb my hair and floss my teeth. Most importantly, I have had more time to work on getting rid of the “muddle in the middle” which has prevented me from getting into a bathing suit for the past six summers!
 Although Daisy jump-started my weight loss it was just the beginning. I have been trying to curb my bad eating habits (like… eating on the run and finishing off what the girls leave on their dinner plates). In addition, I have been giving a lot of thought to calories: how many go into my mouth during the day, how to cut them, how to cut them without cutting flavor and richness, and how to break them up throughout the day so I won’t start eating the curtains. It’s was astonishing to see how many empty calories were going into my mouth when I started keeping track.
 I love take-out Indian food, but I cringe when I think about what must go into the Chicken Tikka Masala to make it taste so damn good! The chef doesn’t care about how many calories and grams of fat I’m eating!  They just want the food to taste amazing. When you cook at home you know exactly what you’re eating. I know it is hard after a long day to muster up the energy to cook a healthy meal.  The chicken curry recipe below is not only delicious, it is quick, made in one skillet AND it is approximately 450 calories per serving. That’s not too bad. How can you NOT try it! The clock is going forward this weekend, the days are getting longer and swimsuit season is right around the corner!

 

Curried Chicken and Rice
serves 4
1 whole breast of chicken bone & skin, cut into three pieces (you can have butcher do this) or six   
   chicken thighs with bone and skin
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaping teaspoon ground turmeric
1 heaping teaspoon whole coriander seed or ground coriander
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup basmati rice
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 oven proof skillet with lid (if you don’t have lid you can you tin foil)
 
1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In an oven proof skillet heat olive oil and saute the chicken until browned 
    on all sides. Set aside.
 
3. Add onion, ginger and garlic and saute until golden brown.
4. Add spices cook for a minute or so and then add stock, orange juice and
    rice.
5. Bury chicken back into rice stock mixture
6. Cover and place in oven for 20 min. If liquid is almost all evaporated take
    it out and let it sit. You can check to make sure rice is tender. Do not over
    cook! You want it to be moist!
7. Stir in raisins and nuts
 

2012 Black Eyed Pea Soup

Holiday season over! Christmas tree history! Wrapping paper and decorations pushed back into the closet! It’s time to get back to work. The fall was busy. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I decided to take a breath, dedicate more time to the girls, and not take any orders.  I really wanted the girls to enjoy the lead up to Christmas this year. I wanted to enjoy it myself. It’s the time between the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and Christmas morning that they really enjoy the most. Going to holiday concerts, braving the crowds in shopping malls, getting to see the holiday lights around town and decorating the tree, is what they remember, and talk about with their friends, when they get back to school. So, I put work on hold, and went full steam ahead making Christmas 2011 the merriest yet! We made cookies, drove 45 minutes to a cut your own tree farm, and took the Acela train to NYC. We stood in lines, visited with Santa, went to American Girl and Dylan’s candy shop, managed to squeak in Disney on Ice and celebrated Iris’ fourth birthday! 

I was ready for it to end and satisfied when it did. As Rose made her way to bed Christmas night, she looked at Big Daddy and told him it was the “best Christmas ever”! Her declaration made all the craziness worth it! Feeling extremely content I was ready to ring in 2012. The year ended focusing on family, friends and cheer.
Before the break something peeked my interest.  Caught my attention.  I feel re-energized and very excited to find out where it is going to lead.  Today it has led to this really great soup. My grandfather loved making soup with beans and greens.

 He would have loved this one. Here is the recipe!

Note: I never soak my beans. I add them to the pot while frying the vegetables and then let them cook in with the stock. It takes about 45- 1 hour before they are tender. You can soak them ahead of time if you would like and cut down on the amount of cooking time. The jalopeno peppers and red pepper flakes give the soup a nice bite. If you don’t like spice then leave them out. 

 
Black Eyed Pea Soup
makes 4-6 servings

2 cups dried black-eyed peas

1 smoked ham hock

1⁄3 cup olive oil

 

1 cup finely chopped cooked ham
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 10oz can Ro-Tel© tomatoes chunky with green chilies
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño (seeds removed)
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
8 cups of chicken stock
1 lb. collard greens, ribs removed, 

   leaves roughly chopped
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground 
black pepper, to taste
5 cups cooked long-grain white rice
Chopped fresh scallions for garnish
Spring of fresh cilantro

 


1.    In a soup pot, heat oil and sauté onions, garlic, bay leaf, carrots, ham and ham hock until tender and translucent. 3-5 minutes

 

2.   Add beans, bay leaf, jalapeño and red pepper flakes. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
3.   Add Ro-Tel© tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1  hours or until beans are tender. 
4.   Add lime juice and collards. Simmer for 15 minutes.
5.   Season with salt and pepper.
6.   Serve over white rice. Garnish with scallions and cilantro


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Chicken Fricassee a Quick One Skillet Weeknight Meal

My mother has been making a lot of great one skillet meals for dinner. She just looks in the fridge pulls out whatever meat and vegetables she has and sautes them without any seasonings, except a little salt and pepper. I walked into her kitchen the other night and it smelled so good. She was “frying” (as she calls it) in a little olive oil, chunks of pork tenderloin, strips of poblano peppers and summer squash. It was DELICIOUS! She had some bread on the side. Last night she sauteed thin pieces of sirloin, fresh spinach and mushrooms. Again, it was great.  It made me start thinking about how easy it is to cook something, healthy, without all the bells and whistles, in a jiffy, and have it taste amazing.
My chicken fricassee is a quick, one skillet meal that is perfect for a weeknight dinner, but could also be served to guest on the weekend!

Here is the recipe:


Chicken Fricassee
serves 4


4 pieces of chicken with bone and skin (thighs, breasts, drumsticks-your choice!)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 spanish onion, peeled and cut into one inch chunks
1 large carrot or 2 small, cut into 1 inch chunks (I used 2 cups of baby carrots)
2 cups of new potatoes, cut in half if small or quarters if large
1 cup chicken stock (you can use water)
1 28oz can italian peeled tomatoes, crushed with your hands as you add them to skillet
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons smoked spanish paprika (you can substitute with regular paprika)
1 bay leaf
1 cup pitted green olives with pimentos
1/2 cup currants or raisins
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish


1.  Heat oil in skillet until very hot but not smoking. Add chicken pieces skin side down. Don’t touch! If you try to turn too early, skin will stick to skillet, so just leave it alone! Cook for 5 minutes skin side down and check to see if skin is golden brown. Turn and cook for 5 minutes on the other side. Take chicken out of skillet and set aside.

2. Add the onions, carrots and potatoes to skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, cumin, paprika, bay leaf and stock. Let it come to a boil and add chicken pieces back into skillet. Try to bury the chicken under the sauce. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. (you could stop at this point, refrigerate and keep for another night-heat on low flame until simmering then go on to next step)

3. Add olives and currants, cover and cook 5 more minutes until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Serve.

Easy Peasy!

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