Esalen Greens with Orange-Ginger Sauce

Pinch me. I think I was dreaming. This past week I was in the most beautiful place on Earth.  I had the good fortune of assisting with a cooking class at Esalen in Big Sur, CA, for five days.  I had fully intended to write from my perch, but there was no internet service so, alas, I was ‘forced’ to kick back and become a sponge. Click to continue reading »

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Cilantro Goat Cheese

There are tons of deals to be had on tomatoes at the farmers’ markets, even heirloom varieties.  I recently purchased a box for $1/lb. because the fruit was either blemished or going a little soft.  That’s a savings of up to $10!  The flavor was intensely sweet and juicy, but with enough acid for balance. And some were just perfect for slicing…which is how we used them last night.

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Figalicious!

‘Tis the season for figs and so many are now available at the farmers market – Black Mission, Kadota, Brown Turkey, Adriatic and Strawberry (in photo) just to name a few.  Figs are easy to eat on the go and provide a wonderful dose of fiber and manganese, which helps fight free-radicals.  Figs are also good for the heart as an excellent source of phytosterols which can block cholesterol, and from potassium which helps control blood pressure.

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End-of-Summer One-Dish-Wonder

I am still craving fresh, sweet corn (and from the looks of it…Indian Summer is in the forecast!) and through my friend Steve at Rancho Gordo, I found a recipe which combines another favorite food – beans.  Tomatoes are finally in their prime, and put them all together for a wonderful side dish (to ribs) or along with a salad as a main course.  For the health benefits, you get lots of fiber (beans and corn), vitamin C (tomatoes) and antioxidants from the garlic.  All in, this dish costs about $1.25 per serving!

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Go With What Ya’ Got

There’s a great segment on Martha Stewart Radio called “Use It Up.”  It’s part of the Everyday Food hour where host Sandy Gluck asks callers what they have in excess and offers ways to create recipes around it.  During the week I find this particularly helpful when we’re short on time and have to rely on what’s already in stock.  With farmers’ markets in season, I tend to have something on-hand which is fresh, but that doesn’t mean my culinary creativity keeps in step.  So in our house it’s called “go with what ya’ got.”

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Corn and Zuke Frittata

I think almost every grower I buy from at the farmers’ market has an abundance of zucchini right now.  So, hey, being a team player…I give.  But today the real star is corn.  Sweet and in its prime, corn makes a wonderful addition to everything – from chowder and pasta, to salads and frittata.  Of course, just eating it right off the cob is the pure essence of summer, especially with a dab of herb butter. Click to continue reading »

White Beans with Pancetta and Zucchini

Some dishes are appropriate year round.  And in that camp, I would include beans.  Beans are one of the best plant sources of protein on the planet, not to mention low on the calorie index.  They are super high in fiber, which is great for reducing cholesterol and regulating blood sugar.  And…they are loaded with antioxidants, in some cases more than blueberries!

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Cauliflower "Couscous"

This is a WOW dish from chef class.  Cauliflower made as ‘couscous’ with fresh herbs from the garden.  It’s a great substitute for any grain, or simply as a fun accompaniment to fish, chicken or pork.  Cauliflower is a brain food – not only because it looks like one – but because it contains Omega 3s.  It’s also high in B vitamins which combat stress, and the sleep-promoting tryptophan.  With only 29 calories per cup, its ideal for anyone wanting to maintain weight control…and so tasty, too!

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Summer is Sprouting

Everything around us is bursting with energy and color.  Are you?  If there is hesitation in that answer, I have a healthful hint that will put a little ‘spring’ in your step.

You’ve probably noticed that sprouts aren’t just for granola crunchers from the old days when so called ‘health food’ tasted like cardboard.  (I should invite them over to persuade them otherwise, and why is poor granola picked on?  That is a staple around here…) ANYway, the process to grow your own sprouts is SO easy, SO healthy and SO economical.  It just takes a few minutes and maybe one trip to the health food store. Click to continue reading »

Curry Confetti Rice

For our midterms in chef class, we were given a bag of mystery ingredients and tasked to produce magic with one dish in ninety minutes. (Note to self: withdraw any requests to be on “Iron Chef.”)  Actually, there’s another show on the Food Network called “Chopped which challenges chefs to do something similar in much less time.  They compete amongst each other and whoever doesn’t pass muster with the judges, goes on the ‘chopping block.’  Thankfully, we all ‘made the grade’ and produced some pretty tasty dishes… Click to continue reading »