Awaken Your Taste Buds: Mint Ginger Fruit Salad
This is a recipe that I came up with on my vacation, and something I strongly crave almost every morning now. The combination of fresh fruit and mint, ginger and lemon will awaken your taste buds and provide you with a nice energy boost for the day. Fresh mint is rich in essential vitamins and minerals (A, C, B12, thiamine, folic acid, manganese, copper, potassium, iron, zinc) and aids in headaches, digestion, cramps, colds, bloating, acne and is also related to optimal hormonal functioning. If you want to go wild and spice up this recipe even more, add a touch of super healthy cayenne to stimulate your metabolism and digestion.
Sliced fruit of your choice
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half a lime
1-2 tbs of grated fresh ginger
Handful of fresh mint
(Touch of cayenne – optional)
Make your favorite mix of fruits (orange, apple, pear, banana, cantaloupe, grapes etc.) and add some berries if you wish. Add all the above ingredients together and mix. Enjoy for breakfast with happy and positive thoughts for the new day!
Quick Healthy Breakfast: Mixed Berry Quinoa
It is well established that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gets your metabolism rocking, gives you energy to work, play, exercise and live! Beware though – studies have shown that BIG breakfasts can actually lead to weight gain. So, to help you navigate through all the helpful but seemingly conflicting advice, I am passing along one of my favorite breakfast recipes. Absolutely, you need to eat first thing in the morning, but make sure to keep to the principles of clean eating, portion control and most important – enjoy the food and make it YUMMY!
As you all know, being healthy and fit is a lifestyle. Eating good clean foods, exercising and being happy requires a commitment on your behalf. In order to be successful you must plan and prepare.
Join me in cooking this awesome breakfast. I will teach you how to prepare my Mixed Berry Breakfast Quinoa in just minutes with enough leftovers to eat for a few days. My method of food preparation allows for several servings of food – so it can easily be broken into portions, stored and used for several meals. This advanced meal planning technique helps you eat healthy in a jiffy! What’s more is, I live by the MANTRA – eat only those foods you find YUMMY! So all of my quick healthy meals are scrumptious!
RECIPE: BECKY’S MIXED BERRY QUINOA
1 Cup Dry Quinoa
2 Cups Water
1 Tbs Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 bag defrosted mixed berries No sugar added – but reserve the water from defrosting
Prepare Quinoa according to package instructions, adding Cinnamon and Vanilla
After Quinoa is fully cooked – remove from flame and add mixed berries and juice from defrosting; stir
Serve with Unsweetened Almond Milk or Soy Milk and Splenda or Stevia if that is your taste preference.
Morning Warm Up: Oatmeal Done Right
Yup, it’s still oatmeal weather these days. It’s chilly here in NYC and oatmeal can offer up a warming, filling breakfast option. But with it, there always seems to come a side order of questions…are these carbs ok to eat for breakfast? Why am I ready to eat my fist an hour after having a packet of instant oatmeal? Is the flavored, low-sugar stuff ok? Is it absolute diet-blasphemy to have a bit of brown sugar, milk, raisins, nuts etc?
Tips For Doing Oatmeal Right
1. Go For The Nutrient Rich. Yes, oats are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates, they’re high in fiber and they suck out cholesterol from the body. BUT consider the type of oats you’re eating. Instant oatmeal, while convenient, likely isn’t doing a stand-out job of satisfying you for much for much of the morning. The more dense the oat/grain, the more sated you are. So on a scale of most-filling to least-filling you’ve got steel cut oats at the top (you know, that Irish oatmeal that takes a million years to cook but is fantastic); old-fashioned rolled oats with a mere 5-7 minute cooking time; and the instant stuff, which is perfectly fine for an emergency or a quick breakfast, but likely isn’t as filling. Try making any version of oatmeal with all or part skim, low-fat, soy or almond milk and it’ll stick with you that much longer.
2. Ditch The Fake Stuff: Flavored, low-sugar stuff – too man-handled and processed = not as satisfying. Stick with the basic, plain oats and flavor it yourself. A teaspoon of brown sugar or maple syrup is a mere 16-20 calories, not too terrible and there are zero artificial sweeteners involved. Cinnamon’s a total of zero calories, so go for it.
3. Dress It Up: Back to question 2, it’s not blasphemy to add a sprinkling of condiments here and there and will surely make breakfast more interesting and allow you to get to lunch without starving yourself. Fresh fruits, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and event nuts (in small amounts) are great choices for adding a little extra zing to your morning bowl.
What’s my morning oatmeal routine?
I generally make 2 to 4 servings of old-fashioned rolled oats at one time to hold me throughout the week, reheat it and poof, breakfast is done. A 1/2 cup of dry old-fashioned and 1/4 cup of the steel cut is a serving. And if you refuse to sacrifice a moment of sleep in order to make breakfast, don’t worry – I refuse also. I set my oats with half water and half milk on medium heat and hit the shower. Done and done in about 7 minutes or so. My flavoring agents of choice at the moment include a mix of: golden raisins, chopped pecans, a drizzle of maple syrup and a dab of butter and a pinch of salt – yes, real butter, it’s only a smidge, and salt (the way my mom used to make it!). Toss in a few slices of banana or throw in diced apple while you’re cooking and you’ve got a killer, energy-packed morning meal. My extremely discerning brother more than deemed this concoction breakfast – worthy, so hopefully that gives it some additional backing.
Sweet Spot: Valentine’s Day Recipes
Cold Weather Comfort: Rose, Meyer Lemon And Almond Yogurt Cake
Umm…if you asked me where the first month of 2013 has gone, I’d probably look back at you with a massive blank stare. Things always seem a bit crazier in January & February, running at warp speed, and this year’s no exception. I’ve been head down and hands full planning for Nourish Kitchen + Table’s spring launch – from choosing paint colors and slabs of marble (exciting) to dealing with the city’s lovely system of bureaucracy and red tape (not so exciting and semi-infuriating). Things with the shop are indeed ramping up so stay tuned for developments. That said, I’m still finding time to get into the kitchen and unwind with my trusty apron. Now that Bon Appetit’s famed Food Lover’s Cleanse is over and done (at least until next year), I’ve dipped back into the bread basket…just a little. Ok, so this recipe has more to do with quick breads and invokes a nice, “lower-gluten” balance of almond flour and all-purpose flour. There must be something about me and January and quick breads/tea cakes because I think I had a crush on them this time last year. Well, they’re back and this one is pretty stellar not to be too boastful. Given that January is officially citrus month, it was only fitting that lemon be a stand-out element in the recipe along with rosewater and almonds. Low-fat Greek yogurt pulls this pretty little lady together and nods to the yogurt cakes my mom used to make when we were little. Light and lower in fat, they definitely didn’t last very long in my house. Here’s to freezing cold weather and a good cuppa tea and a lil’ slice to warm you up.
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter
zest of 1 meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
7 ounces 2% greek yogurt (Fage)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp rosewater (Kalustyans.com or specialty stores)
1/4 cup edible dried rose petals (Kalustyans.com)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1 tbsp rosewater simple syrup for drizzling over top
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift flours and whisk in baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup and 1 tbsp sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time. Add in lemon zest, yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts and rosewater. Slowly incorporate flour mixture until well-blended. Gently fold in dried rose petals.
Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and line pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan and top with almond slices and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick or tester comes out clean. Drizzle with rosewater simple syrup if desired.
*Rosewater Simple Syrup – simmer 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 2 to 3 tsp rosewater until sugar dissolves completely. Store remaining syrup up to 2 weeks.
A Winter White Brunch
Holiday Flavor: 3 Recipes To Cheer
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed (cut the sprouts in half if they’re medium to large or leave whole if they’re small)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt.
3. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the leaves are browned. Shake the pan to keep the sprouts from sticking about halfway through.
4. In a small saucepan, simmer the balsamic vinegar with the honey for about 5 minutes to reduce a little. Pour the reduction over the pecans and stir to coat. Toss the glazed pecans with the sprouts.
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
In a bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar. Mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. You can also use a food processor to mix the dough, pulsing on and off for about 2 minutes.
Mix in the egg and then the yolk, allowing each to be incorporated before adding the next. In two additions, add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Turn out the dough onto a clean lightly floured work surface. Divide it in half, shape into flattened disks, and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using.)
Poached pear topping:
3 ripe red D’Anjou pears, peeled and left whole
3 cups water
1 cup white wine
Place pears in a large pot with water and wine and simmer at a medium-low heat. Poach for about 20 to 25 minutes until soft.
Allow pears to cool, stem and slice thinly
Spiced caramel sauce:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 whole clove
- 5 cardamom pods
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
Put granulated sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and crumble brown sugar over. Melt sugars, undisturbed, over moderate heat until granulated sugar is mostly melted. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until a deep golden caramel. Carefully pour in cream (**note that the mixture will bubble up and caramel will harden slightly**) and stir in clove, cardamom pods, fennel, peppercorns, and cinnamon sticks. Simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved and sauce is reduced to about 1‚ cups, about 10 minutes. Pour sauce through a sieve into a 2-cup measure and cool to just warm.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Roll out one disc of dough onto a 12″ tart pan with removable bottom. Fork a few holes in the crust and spoon a thin layer of the caramel sauce onto the dough. Arrange the pear slices, fanning them in a circle as in the photo. Drizzle additional caramel over top of the pears. Bake the tart for about 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Garnish with a few fresh cranberries or crushed almonds.
Homemade Granola Bars: Pure Goodness
With the weather getting colder, what better time to settle in and do a little baking? Our favorite Stiletto Chef, Candice Kumai, put together this homemade granola bar recipe, and, having sampled them myself, I can tell you they are PURE goodness! You will see by the ingredients that clearly they are good for you, and take my word, they are absolutely delicious. With sweet cranberries, hearty almonds and just the right balance of flavors, they are great for breakfast on the go, or a treat with your afternoon coffee. And, with the holidays here they also are the perfect treat to put in a pretty little bag or box and pass off to someone you love. Candice gave me a little sample bag a few months bag, and I would not mind another for the holidays (hint hint!).
- Vanessa Alfano
Homemade Granola Bars:
Chef Candice Kumai
Screw the pre-packaged, nasty, chemical-laden junk-ola! Make your own granola bars and package them up as adorable treats as well. These are a major score for ass-kissing with the boss too. It works.
2 cups of oats
3/4 cup of almonds or cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened dry coconut
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
¼ cup of flax seed
2 cups of chopped dried fruit (cranberries, chopped apricots, pineapple currants, cherries, your choice! )
1/2 cup of honey.. sometimes I add a little maple syrup too
1 cup of unsalted crunchy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1) Spray or butter a 9 by 9-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Spread the oats, almonds/ nuts onto a sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in coconut and sesame, flax and toast it for another 2 minutes.
3) In the meantime, combine the honey, peanut butter, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until everything combined.
4) Once the oat mixture is toasted, remove it from the oven and immediately add it into the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and mix all in to coat evenly.
5) Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish
6) Let the tray cool off and cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Quinoa Mint & Cranberry Salad: Delish & Nutrish.
Looking for a no fail recipe to add a little something special to your next meal? Ready to step outside the stuffing box and add a protein packed side dish that will really have your guests talking this Thanksgiving? Our favorite fashionable foodie, Candice Kumai, is bringing a little extra flavor to tables everywhere with this delicious Mint & Cranberry Quinoa Salad!
Sexy Mint and Cranberry Quinoa Salad
By: Miss Candice Kumai
Pronounced KEEN-Wah, this “sexy food” is always on my plate and at my dinner parties without any hesitation. Quinoa is definitely my wingman to staying fab, healthy and sexy! Quinoa is a grain-like seed that contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein, meaning it’s a great source of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa can also help the body absorb more nutrients with the help from its natural minerals, potassium and manganese
Super Easy Sexy Mint and Cranberry Quinoa Salad Recipe
4 Cups cooked Quinoa, approx 2 cups uncooked. (Follow directions on box or for every cup of quinoa boil with 1 ½ cups water)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 T olive oil
3 T Balsamic Vinegar
¼ C feta cheese ** Adds great flavor and seasoning with its creamy salty texture, you can definitely try Chevre (goats milk cheese, if you’re lactose intolerant) or
¼ C Fresh Mint leaves ** Excellent cooling herb to have on hand for great salads and refreshing summer teas!
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ bunch radish, thinly sliced
1/2 C dried cranberries, optional (but so so deelish and sexy)
1- In a large mixing or serving bowl, add in the 4 cups cooked quinoa. Fluff with a fork, add in the oil and Balsamic vinegar, sea salt.
2- Finish with the feta cheese crumbles, mint leaves, red onion and radish. Toss well and season to taste!
Super Easy 5 minute meal! For more flavor when cooking quinoa, add part chicken stock instead of water. Even apple juice or orange juice can add a vibrant pop of flavor to those tasty little seeds. Absolutely dee-lish my friend! You can add any protein any vegetable any cheese or herb you would like. This meal works great for any side dish for fabu dinner party, date night or packed up for lunch the next day at work! Throw and go darlin’, hells yea!
BRANDIED PLUM TART :: SOMETHING SWEET FOR FALL
I got on a dessert fix a few weeks back and was dying to try out some new creations just as the last of late summer/early fall’s damson plums hit the farmers market (and after reading a very enticing plum crostata recipe by Melissa Clark in the NY Times. Fruit-centric desserts are generally my favorites as they balance out something indulgent with something fresh and light. The crust featured here is my absolute stand-by for tarts, pies and crostatas…an adaptation of Karen DeMasco’s almond sable recipe from her award-winning cookbook, The Craft of Baking. And the best thing is that the recipe makes two full crusts, so you can stick one in the freezer and have it ready to go when needed. It’ll hold up about a month or so.
Stayed for more posts this week, including plum desserts part deux (as pictured) and an excerpt from my interview with Joel Salatin, the famed farmer of Polyface Farms talking about his new book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal.
BRANDIED PLUM TART with a Hint of Rosemary
Serves :: makes 4 tartlets or 1 tart
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
*extra egg yolk and sanding sugar to brush over crust before baking
about 4 cups of pitted and halved damson or Italian plums
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk flours and salt together in a mixing bowl.
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth in a mixer using a paddle attachment. Mix in the egg and then the egg yolk. Slowly add the flour mixture, about half the quantity at one time. Mix on a medium-high speed until dough forms.
Place dough on a floured surface and shape into two equal balls or discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour if not overnight. Freeze one or both if desired for up to a month.
Take one disc and either divide into 4 mini-tarts or 1 regular tart and use a rolling pin to shape into an even circle, about 1/2 inch thick.
Mix plums, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla and rosemary together. Place filling onto center of crust(s) leaving an inch or two on the outer edges. Fold edges over fruit to give a rustic look.
Simmer brandy and sugar over low-medium heat until reduced by nearly half. Drizzle glaze lightly over plums.
Brush crust with extra egg yolk and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown (tartlets may take less time).