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SamCyn’s Juicing Adventure: Day Four

07/26/2011 1 comment

It was really tough for me to get out of bed on the morning of day four.  Basically, way before Sam’s alarm went off at 5:30am, I had already been awake for quite some time.  Normally, I would get up at 5:30am to make some coffee for us both.  However, now that we’re on this program, there was no coffee to be made and in addition, I had the day off.  Hence, why get up, right?

Well, that was a big mistake, because in turn it just made me feel really sluggish.  It’s like the more my mind shouted, “get up”, my body replied, “oh, but the bed feels so good”.  Finally, at around 8:ish my mind won the battle and I got out of bed.  Now, when I was in my twenties, that was considered early, but now that I’m a lot a little older it’s considered way late.

I checked my tongue and the white fuzz is pretty much all gone (yipee!).  However, I just felt awful, I had no energy and my mind was in a fog.  I thought to myself, this sucks, I’ve got to do something. 

So I made myself juice # 6.

I liked this juice just as much as juice #5, if not a little better (despite the beet).

Once I had my glass of juice, I was ready for some exercise.  Thus, I went for a power-walk and did some Pilates when I got home.  Wow, that made me feel a whole lot better.  I no longer felt lethargic and I was awake, which enabled me to go about my day taking care of the things I needed to do.

For dinner I baked some eggplant with onions and garlic, which I sprinkled with a lemon-olive oil dressing and served it atop some arugula and spinach.

Though the pictures don’t do this meal any justice, I promise, it was really tasty.  Just the smell of the garlic and onions was driving us (me) crazy.  My goal was to get the eggplant a bit crisp and browned, but instead it came out soggy.  I’ll have to research on how to get this effect.  However, If any one of you know, please feel free to share :-).

In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired.  ~Author Unknown

Juice #6

Yields about 2 quarts

4 granny smith apples

1 beet

5-6 celery stalks

4 medium carrots

ginger (approx. thumb size portion)

To prepare:

Wash all veggies, cut apples in half, insert into your juicer.  Enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant and Onion

Yields approximately 2-3 servings

1 medium eggplant

4 garlic cloves

1 large red onion

Lemon-Olive Oil Dressing

1 1/2 lemons, juiced (next time I’ll use just one)

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Approx. 4-6  basil leaves, finely chopped

Approx 4-6  parsley stalks, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

To prepare:

Preheat oven to  400 °

Peel skin from eggplant and slice into medium-thin pieces.  Slice garlic and onion into large chunks.   Spread on a two-quart baking dish, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and sprinkle over ingredients.  Bake for about 10 minutes, then at 500 ° (I was trying to get it brown and crisp) for about 5 minutes.

Serve over some fresh spinach and arugula, sprinkled with any leftover dressing.  Enjoy!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am journaling and sharing this experience just to make myself accountable.  I am not a doctor, or a professional in the field of nutrition.  Therefore, I DO NOT, I REPEAT, I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE TO FOLLOW WHAT I’M DOING.  If you’re interested in fasting, detoxing, juicing, etc., please consult your doctor.

Thank you!

SamCyn’s Juicing Adventure: Day Three

07/25/2011 1 comment

When I woke up on day three, I was feeling pretty good.  I had energy, despite not eating for over two days (60 hours as of 8:00am) and just like the morning before, my tongue had the white fuzz, which proves the process is working.

I did have a slight headache, so for breakfast (and lunch) I made juice #5.  I gotta say, I’m liking this juice the best.

This blend of fruits and veggies makes a great combination and the little kick you get from the ginger is a perfect eye-opener.

After breakfast, Sam and I went for a walk on the beach, and let me tell you, it was glorious.

(This is an old photo of us, but on the same beach)

We walked along the shore and let the waves crash on our feet, as our leg muscles got a workout.  The best part was when it started to drizzle on us…what a great feeling it was to have the raindrops cool us off, as they fell on our skin.  Each time we do this (which is not often enough) it reminds us why and how lucky we are to live near the beach.

Another thing that I’m reminded of on this journey, is how grateful I am for what we have.  The fact that I can say I haven’t eaten in over two days, all because of a choice and not because I have no other alternative, is truly a blessing.

As of the night before, Sam has asked when would I be eating something.  Despite the fact that I’m not passing out, or having any major issues (thank God), it would make him feel a lot more comfortable if I ate.   Therefore, I promised him I would eat a salad when we went over to my mother’s.

As soon as we walked in, the smell of garlic and spices from the chicken and beans wafted all throughout my mom’s place.

MMMMMMMMMM! Can you say T-O-R-T-U-R-E?

I’ve got to pat myself on the back, because as good as it smelled and yes, I was hungry.  I stuck to my juicing/fruits and veggies only commitment, and ate the awesome salad I made, while everyone else feasted on roasted chicken with rice and beans (and salad).

Normally, we would have had some type of dessert.  I certainly would have made something like this carrot-pineapple cake.

Instead, we talked about healthy eating (amongst other things), and the future cake that my mom’s friend would like me to bake for her (I was flattered).  Honestly, as delicious as it would have been to end the meal with a piece of cake.  I didn’t miss it.  My prayer and goal is to be able to resist these types of desserts on a daily basis and just enjoy them (a small portion) on occasion.

When we got home I unwinded with a cup of sleepytime tea, Sam had an apple and then we happily went to sleep.

Sugar is a type of bodily fuel, yes, but your body runs about as well on it as a car would. – V.L. Allineare

Juice #5

Yields approximately 2 quarts

4 apples

5-6 medium carrots

ginger (approx. thumb size)

1/2 a papaya

To prepare:

Wash all fruits and veggies, peel skin from papaya and cut in pieces, cut up apples, insert into your juicer.  Enjoy!

Day Three Salad

No measurements, I just tossed in the following into a large salad bowl:

arugula

1 cucumber

mixed greens

2 Haas avocados

1/4 red onion

spinach

2 tomatoes

I drizzled just a little bit of olive oil on my plate, did not add any salt or pepper and it was delicious.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am journaling and sharing this experience just to make myself accountable.  I am not a doctor, or a professional in the field of nutrition.  Therefore, I DO NOT, I REPEAT, I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE TO FOLLOW WHAT I’M DOING.  If you’re interested in fasting, detoxing, juicing, etc., please consult your doctor.

Thank you!

Mushroom Risotto – GCC: Menu 21

02/22/2011 6 comments

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always heard that risotto is a difficult dish to make.  Needless to say, I was both excited and a little apprehensive about making this week’s Mushroom Risotto, but definitely up for the challenge. 

Risotto is a class of Italian dishes of rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based; many kinds include parmesan cheese, butter, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.

As you may already know Sam L-O-V-E-S mushrooms and was really, really looking forward to this dish.  So there’s no way, I could let this one slide (not that I wanted to).

Ironically part of my “difficulties” was not so much in cooking the risotto, as it was in posting about it.

First and foremost, I was entertaining 17 guests over the weekend and though it crossed my mind to include the risotto as part of the menu, due to the “attention” that’s required in making this dish, I didn’t think it would have been such a wise choice for a risotto novice like myself.

Secondly, despite leaving work a little early to cook the risotto, it was too late to photograph the finished product in natural light.  I figured, no big deal, there’s enough left over (to make risotto cakes, yum) that I can shoot pictures in the morning before going to work and post from the office (hopefully none of my colleagues are reading this ;-)).

Sounds like a good plan, right?

It would have been perfect, if I had not forgotten the cable that connects my camera to the office computer (DUH!).

The one thing I can say about making risotto (at least in my one humble experience) is that it’s a high maintenance dish that demands love & nurturing and can be therapeutic in the making.  

Because it requires constant stirring for approximately 25-30 minutes, it’s not something you want to make if you are either impatient or in a rush.  So make sure you’ve got some good music playing and if you happen to be alone, don’t need to go to the bathroom :-).

I started out by reconstituting a package of dried wild mushrooms and reserving the stock for the risotto.  Then I cooked the wild mushrooms, along with white mushrooms in butter with salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.

 

Sautéed an onion and a few garlic cloves in olive oil & butter for about 5 minutes, added the rice and cooked for another few minutes.

Then the loving began….

I poured a ladle of hot chicken/mushroom stock to the rice and stirred until absorbed.  This process was repeated every 2 – 3 minutes, until I was able to see the rice had a creamy consistency and upon tasting, the texture was soft, yet al dente (about 30 minutes).   

Stirred in the mushrooms and parmigiano-reggiano, removed from heat, sprinkled on some fresh parsley and served. 

This was just DIVINE! This dish is sophisticated, yet comforting. The creaminess of the rice combined with the earthy, buttery mushroom flavor, blended with the sharpness of the parmigiano-reggiano makes you fall in love. 

In fact, I think I’ve just given Sam another reason to love me ;-). 

The love and nurturing required is soooo worth it…certainly one to be shared with family and close friends.  

Ladies and Gentlemen…this concludes this week’s Edible Adventure.

“When you make a risotto you should be in perfect harmony with yourself. You shouldn’t be nervous or angry. It’s a ritual that is going to give you so much pleasure later that it’s worth spending fifteen or twenty minutes over a hot stove stirring very slowly. It can be like seducing a woman. She doesn’t know you, and you need to work things out with her slowly—meeting, flirting, getting to know each other, and wanting each other. That’s what a good risotto is all about. It’s the dish of romance. If you rush it’s never good.” –Pino Luongo
 

Mushroom Risotto

Adapted by The Kitchen Bible Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or water, kept simmering
  • 4 tbsp butter, diced
  • 1lb (450g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Gradually add the stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly, waiting until it is absorbed before adding more. Continue in this manner for 25 minutes or until the rice is barely tender and has a creamy consistency, adding water if the stock has run out.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have browned and the liquid evaporates.

4. Stir the mushrooms into the rice and turn off remove from the heat. Stir in the cheese and serve immediately.

Scallop & Pesto Crostini – GCC: Menu 20

02/14/2011 3 comments

As I perused the Illustrated Kitchen Bible cookbook looking for recipes to choose for this month’s Gutsy Cooks Club, the Scallop & Pesto Crostini immediately caught my attention.

Scallops, one of my favorite in seafood (particularly sea scallops), paired with basil pesto and a sun-dried tomato paste? Hmm, I thought this sounds yummy, don’t you think?

Not only is this dish simple to make, it’s great as an appetizer or light dinner with a salad.

Typically the scallops and pesto are served on toasted slices of Italian bread, such as Ciabatta.

However, my Sammy was busy working on our future herb & vegetable garden (he’s such a good guy), got hungry and ate half of the Ciabatta that I was supposed to use for not only this dish, but for the french toast I was LATE in making for breakfast…You can’t blame the guy, can you?

Therefore, I pan-fried some polenta until crispy, made my own basil pesto and sun-dried tomato paste.  Cooked the scallops in olive oil, with some lemon and salt & pepper and in no time we had these.

These are a winner for us both…though we liked it on the polenta, next time we’ll have it on Ciabatta.

“Scallops are expensive, so they should be treated with some class. But then, I suppose that every creature that gives his life for our table should be treated with class.”  Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)

Ingredients

  • 12 slices Italian bread, such as ciabatta, about ¾ in (2cm) thick
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp store-bought pesto
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Directions

Prepare ahead

Step 1 can be done in advance.

1. Preheat the broiler and position the broiler rack about 6in (15cm) from the source of heat. Broil the bread slices in the broiler until toasted golden on both sides. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic clove. Brush the garlic side of each slice with about 2 tsp olive oil.

2. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the scallops, sprinkle with the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and tender; keep hot.

3. Spread one half of each toasted bread slice with pesto and the other half with tomato paste.

4. Cut each scallop in half horizontally and put 1 scallop half on top of each crostini. Grind black pepper over the top. Serve hot, garnished with basil leaves.

Potato & Parmesan Cakes – GCC Menu#16

01/18/2011 4 comments

Out of the three choices we had for the Gutsy Cooks Club menu #16, the Potato & Parmesan Cakes were the most appealing.

Okay…that’s a lie.

The Profiteroles were also appealing, but lack of time (and a bit of laziness & intimidation) got the best of us :-).

The Potato & Parmesan Cakes were simple enough to make, but a bit on the bland side as far as ingredients went, so after boiling and mashing (I don’t own a potato ricer) the potatoes, I elected to add a few of the following extras: 

  • Onion & garlic (finely chopped)
  • Fresh parsley & oregano
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Virgin olive oil

After mixing the potatoes, parmesan, egg yolk, salt and pepper and above mentioned additions, I made little cakes and placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Baked at 450° until they had this beautiful golden brown color, approximately 25 minutes.

Sam and I thought they were really tasty!

We liked the crispness without having to fry them and adding the red pepper flakes offered a nice little kick.  We also like the diversity of these potato cakes and how they can be used as a backdrop to a whole range of ingredients. 

Ladies and Gentlemen…this concludes this week’s Edible Adventure. 

“Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food, For wisdom and guidance, for all these are good, but don’t forget the potatoes.”  John Tyler Pettee, ‘Prayer and Potatoes’

Spinach Blue Cheese Pesto

01/13/2011 2 comments

I’ve got a lot of favorite foods! One of them being Pesto.  

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese). The name is the contracted past participle of the Genoese word pestâ (Italian: pestare) which means “to pound, to crush” in reference to the sauce’s crushed herbs and garlic. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word pestle.

What I love most besides the delightful taste of fresh ingredients, is the diversity of this sauce.   Pesto can be topped on meats, fish, pasta, potatoes, baguette slices…you get the picture, right? 

I’ve made basil pesto numerous times, but lately I’ve been wanting to try a different variation. Hence, last night I made a Spinach Blue Cheese Pesto.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this stuff is GOOD!

It was a symphony of flavors, with each ingredient randomly playing a solo act…one moment blue cheese, the next garlic, then walnuts, then spinach.  Sam just kept spooning it out of the food processor, I was afraid it wouldn’t make it to the dinner table.

Spinach Blue Cheese Pesto

I don’t measure when I cook freestyle.  Thus, the measurements below are approximate.

  • 9 oz. bag of fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Combine the spinach with the walnuts in a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the garlic and pulse a few more times.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is on.  Once you have poured all of the olive oil, stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the blue cheese and pulse again until blended.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over anything your heart desires.  We had it on chicken, but look forward to having it on grilled steak.

If you try this at home, please let me know your thoughts. Enjoy!

    “There was a Young Lady of Greenwich,
    Whose garments were border’d with Spinach;
    But a large spotty Calf,
           bit her shawl quite in half,
    Which alarmed that Young Lady of Greenwich.”

Edward Lear, English artist, writer; known for his ‘literary nonsense’ & limericks  (1812-1888)

Pizza Four Seasons – GCC Menu #15

01/10/2011 6 comments

I L-O-V-E Pizza!  Next to ice cream, it is by far one of my favorite foods.  Crispy crust, melted cheese, sauce, herbs, veggies, meats, etc….YUM!

I think I could live on pizza and ice cream alone…

Did I say ALONE?? I meant along with my Sammy of course ;-).

Needless to say, I was more than excited to make this week’s Gutsy Cook’s Club Menu # 15 chosen by Stephanie, the Pizza Four Seasons, which I had never tasted before.

In Italy the birthplace of pizza, one of their most popular is the Pizza Four Seasons aka Quattro Stagioni, which represents the four seasons in its use of ingredients as toppings: Artichokes for Spring, Olives for Summer, Mushrooms for Autumn and Prosciutto for Winter. 

Now, doesn’t that just sound delicious?

The recipe from the Illustrated Kitchen Bible had a different variation, in which it uses pepperoni in lieu of prosciutto.  Why you would want to use an alternative to prosciutto is beyond me, but I decided to play along (after all, my Sammy loves pepperoni). 

The first step was to make the pizza dough.  

  • Combine bread flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour) with instant yeast, salt, water & olive oil.  Knead until smooth and elastic.

  • Roll the dough into a ball, place in lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly w/plastic wrap.  Let stand in a warm place until doubled in size.

  • Per the recipe, divide in four 8″ rounds.  Instead, I divided the dough in half and created one 16″ round and saved the other for later use.

I incorporated a few of the following extra steps before adding the toppings:

  • Brushed a mix of olive oil, melted butter and red wine on the center and edges of the dough and sprinkled with some pecorino cheese, sea salt and oregano. 
  • To help ensure a crispy crust, I baked the dough in a 400° oven on a preheated pizza stone (or you can use a pizza tray with holes) for approximately 10 – 12 minutes.

Top with crushed tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and add the following in four sections:

  • Artichokes w/Kalamata olives.
  • Roasted red peppers with anchovy fillets.  As you can see, I used green and yellow and NO anchovy.
  • Pepperoni with capers (no capers used on mine).
  • Baby Bella mushrooms in place of white mushrooms.

Drizzle some olive oil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the edges of the dough are golden brown and serve hot.

Of course we liked the pizza…. Next time we’ll make it with prosciutto.  

Ladies and Gentlemen…this concludes this week’s Edible Adventure. 

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.”
Jack Brooks (song writer) ‘That’s Amore’