Showing posts with label Condiments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Condiments. Show all posts

Saturday, July 14, 2012

White Beans and Tuna Salad

I hope you are all enjoying your summer months...hopefully not suffering the horrible heat wave. For us, in South Florida, we've gone through some scorching temperatures, and when the humidity level hits the 100%...don't even try to stay dry, and comfortable in your best attire...because the minute you step outside from your air conditioned comfortable homes, you will be drenched with 'sweat'...within minutes. The best thing do do is just dress comfortably in your shorts and T-shirts...although, that may not apply if you're going someplace that requires appropriate dress code!
A couple weeks ago, I happen to notice a favorite easy and light salad on a food blogger friend's blog... that I have not made for a while....and immediately wanted to make it, so the perfect opportunity was, while my family vacationed in Italy, to have a light and easy lunch, just for myself...I did even find a can of the lovely Italian tuna in olive oil, and the cannelini beans.The vegetables, I purchased at our favorite local produce market!
Isn't it nice to just grab a recipe from a fellow food blogger, who happens to inspire you with their creation?...actually, this simple salad does not really need a recipe, but if you would like to follow the recipe, I have a great suggestion for you!

On the left side of this page, is the photo of the refreshing and light salad, that my new food blogger friend, Anna shared on her blog...@ Una Semplice Passione...meaning: A Simple Passion!...doesn't the title sound romantic?
I was so happy to find this lost and forgotten simple, yet so healthy and delicious salad.

The only difference was, in addition to Anna's recipe, was that I just had to have my favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette...this time with fresh snipped dill added to the balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil! Enjoy it with a couple pieces of nice crusty bread, and you got yourself a fabulous light lunch!

Do check out the fabulous  Una Semplice Passione ...and say hello to Anna, and let her know I sent you!

FEAST your eyes...people! Who says, you can't eat healthy foods?...Just look at this other creation of mine, that I made from all the veggies and fresh fruits in season: Preparation may take a little time, but it's so well worth it
I call this creation of mine:...PAPAYA, KIWI SALSA....just happen to make it up. Nothing exotic, no spicy additions, but you can add your favorite hot chilli or jalapeno peppers to it.

All it is: Diced papaya...cucumbers, peeled, pulp scooped out cut in half, and slice into moon onion diced, kiwi peeled, cut in half and diced, and a good squeeze of fresh lime over it, sea salt, freshly ground pepper...and the most important herb...chopped cilantro! If you don't like cilantro, you can use chopped parsley, or basil; your preference. You can use dill, too, of course. You do not need olive oil, or any other oils...leave it natural, and let it marinade for about 20 minutes before serving
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vegan Avocado-Tomato Toasts...for #greenslove

Not too long ago, my 5 year old grandson Luca, asked me what my favorite color is...and I answered "green." He immediately answered back, "no, you can't have that for your favorite color; that's my favorite color!"...well, I just laughed about that, which he did not think it was funny, and told him...then we must have the same "likes"...since he would translate "taste" if I would have said that, to FOOD!

"Green is the color of nature, fertility, life. Grass green is the most restful color. Green symbolizes self-respect and well being. Green is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe color, if you don't know what color to use anywhere use green.

Green is favored by well balanced people. Green symbolizes the master healer and the life force. It often symbolizes money. It was believed green was healing for the eyes. Egyptians wore green eyeliner. Green eye shades are still used. You should eat raw green foods for good health. Friday is the day of green. Green jade is a sacred stone of Asia."

Oh, yes...FOOD...who would want to turn down glorious fresh, and green vegetables, especially when you have a "hum drum" just everyday kind of dish, wouldn't a nice bright green salad brighten up a dreary, or otherwise too rich of a dish, yearning for something fresh, and green? That's my kind of dish, anytime. a nice dish of fresh baby green spinach salad with red onions, sliced mushrooms and topped with a simple red wine vinaigrette...a side of fresh cucumber salad with cherry tomatoes, and a simple extra virgin olive oil, and fresh lime topping, or fresh green beans, steamed to perfection, still crunchy and to preserve the bright green color, just rinse it in cold water and throw some ice cubes on it!

The list goes on-and-on, and I'm not even mentioning the health benefits of the GREENS. We can probably all hear our mothers saying: "eat your vegetables!" boring as it seemed in our childhood days, we all benefited from that in our, may I remind you to EAT YOUR VEGETABLES?...It's so good for you...the fresher, the greener; the better!
I was so inspired by this healthy, simple, and totally delicious vegan open-face sandwich, and after a short trip to my local Whole Foods market I got some specialty items, and a few organic vegetables. I wanted to make a salad with avocado, and organic sprouts, organic tomatoes, but instead, I decided to try this sandwich from the fresh ingredients only because I bought a loaf of their amazing San Francisco Sourdough bread...get this; a whole entire beautiful round loaf of bread for only $3.99. I could not have baked a better loaf of sourdough bread myself. So here's the recipe!

Linking to: #greenslove @ cake duchess
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherines Corner

Vegan Avocado-Tomato Toasts
inspired, and adapted from:

4 slices Rustic bread toasted
2 avocados peeled and sliced
1 ripe tomato cut into slices
(I used 2 slices, saved the rest for salad)
a handful of organic sprouts
(I used organic clover sprouts)
1 lime cut into wedges
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzle

Top toasted bread with avocado slices, some sprouts
salt and pepper and squeeze with some lime, and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on it, lightly. Top with the tomato slice and some more salt and pepper, and drizzle some additional extra virgin olive oil on it, and top it with some extra sprouts. Have some extra slices, or wedges of lime!
This is a very satisfying sandwich, high in high in calories, carbs, protein, low in cholesterol, and and you get the "good" fats; also, I did the math with my WW calculator, and it came to a high point: 12

note: not to worry for the high point of a single slice of a very healthy and delicious sandwich, it is very filling, highly satisfying, and is a well accepted Weight Watchers choice,  from my vegan choice addition!

...and now, click over to some more interesting facts, and #greenslove photos...and for the winner of the LENOX candy dish giveaway!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oven Roasted Tomato Crostini...and with Rigatoni

When you have a beautiful loaf of homemade bread, and red ripe tomatoes, what could be better, than a "fresh bruschetta topped" or an Oven Roasted (fresh) Tomato Crostini? ...knowing that you have the best extra virgin olive oil, and chopped garlic, and have a batch of fresh basil, you're all set! You don't even need to waste electricity to roast them in your big oven. Your handy toaster oven will do the job for you!
This past week has not been a very successful one, as far as cooking, or baking from my Weight Watchers cookbook...simply, because of last weekend which was the NFL Super Bowl weekend! Missed my WW meeting, didn't keep track of my points, only knowing by now, how much points each item has, that I eat. For instance, one crostini with the roasted tomato topping is 5 points, which is not a lot, but having 2 of these, you're up to 10 points, granted it's very, delicious, and a satisfying snack, but I literally had this for lunch, which was OK. The worst part of the weekend, was, the Super Bowl Sunday, not because I ate too's what I ate. BBQ ribs, twice baked potato, pasta with clams, and for dessert, a slice of Tiramisu! That means, the next following days, I gained back 2 lbs. so now, I'm 3 lbs away from my goal of the 10 lbs loss...sad, but true! Although I hit the gym again...just have to get back to my routine, and stay with the program.
"Kill two birds with one stone" Roasted Tomato Crostini, and Roasted Tomato Rigatoni

Oven Roasted Tomato Crostini
my own recipe

4 to 6 medium ripe tomatoes, or
6 to 8 ripe Roma tomatoes
halved, and cut into quarters
salt and pepper to taste
dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme
2 to 4Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
chopped garlic (optional)

(I didn't add the chopped garlic when roasting tomatoes, I added it to the crostini. You can add it when roasting tomatoes)

Line a small baking pan with aluminum foil, (dull side up)
Place your tomato pieces, and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and spices, and drizzle the extra virgin olive oil on them. Bake in a 375 F. degree oven, for about 45 minutes.

(I used a toaster oven, so simple, and less space used, easier clean-up, and saves electricity)

This is how they will look like after 45 minutes. Almost all of the oil soaked up, just the perfect texture, and incredible sweet flavor. Not using the garlic while you roast them gives them the true sweet flavor. Garlic tends to overpower them while roasting. Use garlic afterwards, if you like, according to taste!

All you do afterwards is, set the tomatoes in a dish with a rim, or in a small bowl, add a little more extra virgin olive oil, adjust seasoning. You can add fresh chopped herbs at this time, and a touch of balsamic vinegar if you like.

I also added some to cooked rigatoni pasta, with some of my leftover chickpeas, and shaved Parmigiana cheese!
It was the best topping for a simple, healthy and delicious pasta, I could think of at the moment:DDD
Points value for the pasta: 7 points

For the Crostini:

Chop  a few cloves of garlic, place them in a small ramekin, add about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to it, and you have a nice garlic spread. Spread some of that lightly on a nice thin slice of crusty bread, spoon some of the roasted tomatoes on, and on a 350 F aluminum foil lined baking sheet, bake for about 10-12 minutes. Roll about 3 fresh basil leaves, and cut them into thin slices (chiffonade) ...scatter them on top, just before serving. You can also add shaved Parmigiana on the crostini, as well.
Do not add the basil when baking the crostini, or it will darken or burn!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Smoky Chipotle Hummus

I am in one of those unprepared mode...not mood, but I suppose that would also label it as such! I have not been photographing anything I have made since last week. The only thing that inspired me to actually photograph, is just one shot of the Chipotle Hummus that so inspired me by Alisha's hummus that she made!
@ The Ardent Epicure.

She made this most amazing Cilantro Hummus with Chipotle Oil Drizzle... that I could just not resist! She has such an amazing vegetarian blog, with all the gorgeous exotic fruits, and vegetables and legumes she uses to prepare delicious and healthy dishes, and appetizers.

I did not have fresh cilantro on hand, but I did have dry cilantro, which was not my first choice, but it did the trick, and it was actually a vibrant green color, because I keep my dry herbs in my freezer, and they last a long time, and stay fresh and that makes my foods taste a lot better.

So as you see, this is the beautiful dry chipotle peppers that I used. They were purchased at my local produce market, and, the price is very inexpensive. All you have to do is to put them into boiling water, and simmer them on med. low temperature, until they get soft, so you can put them in the food processor. Use some of the liquid from the water as well to make your sauce the proper consistency.

The recipe I used is something I found online, that I adapted from was on> All
Linking my Smoky Chipotle Hummus, to: Full Plate Thursday, 10-20-11
@ Miz Helen's Country Cottage!

The change I made in the Smoky Chipotle Hummus recipe, was that instead of canned chipotle, I used the homemade sauce to combine it with the recipe. I also omitted the canned roasted tomatoes, and the sundried tomatoes, as well.I didn't have fresh cilantro, so I had to use 1 teaspoon dry cilantro. Extra virgin olive oil was drizzle on the top, making a well around the center, to hold the oil, for easier scooping, and dipping. Serve with toasted pita wedges. Quite a change from the ordinary plain hummus!

Here's a helpful hint, how to dry fresh cilantro, a question asked by Laurie @ how my time flys.
As a rule, I freeze my dry herbs, and spices. They have a much longer life in the freezer, and every time I use them, they are always fresh, and potent, and not lose their aroma and strength. Even if you don't want to freeze them, at least refrigerate them, and you will get the same results. The only two seasonings that I don't freeze or refrigerate is the salt and pepper, which is always kept at room temperature!

How to dry fresh Cilantro

Cilantro, which originated in Greece, has been grown as an herb for thousands of years. Today, this annual is used in cuisine in countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. "Cilantro" is generally used to refer to the leaves of this plant. The seeds of the plant are usually called "coriander."

Growing Cilantro
You can buy cilantro as small plants from your local nursery and transplant them into the ground or into containers. These plants like the weather to be cool and sunny. Therefore, plant them where they can catch their rays during the morning and afternoon hours. Like us, these plants shouldn't be exposed to the sun during the mid-day hours.
If you want to plant your cilantro from seeds, you will need to do some groundwork before the seeds hit the soil. First, you have to crush each seed's husk a little. Then, the seeds should be soaked for one to two days before you plant them.
Plant seeds every six weeks or so during the growing season as cilantro is not a long lived plant.

How to Dry Fresh Cilantro: Leaves
Yes, you can buy dried cilantro at the store. Have you ever tried it? Dried cilantro has lost most of the attributes that makes cilantro "cilantro." While home dried leaves might be an improvement, these dried leaves will still leave much to be desired.
Your best bet is to wash the cilantro and remove most of the stems. Pat them dry with a towel and freeze individually on a cookie sheet. After the leaves are frozen, put them in freezer bags and place them back in your freezer until you need them.

How to Dry Fresh Cilantro: Coriander
When the seeds on the flower heads of your cilantro plant are starting to turn from green to brown, snip off the flower heads. Put the flower heads in brown paper bags and close the bags. Let the plant dry until the seeds fall off the heads easily.

Have a wonderful week...I will have more to offer in my next post!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Garlic Shrimp with Broccoli

It's a Friday night, usually a pizza night at my daughter's...and if not, then shrimp night at my son's. We were all there together, to enjoy the easy shrimp dish that even the little ones like, including broccoli...and let's not forget the pasta, in this case it was whole wheat penne, with basil tomato sauce, which I did not photograph...(been done) so many time. The focus was on the shrimp, in a nice fresh garlicky lemon sauce-no butter, just extra virgin olive oil that it was sauteed in, and broccoli florets steamed, and added the the shrimp. Extra virgin olive oil wast drizzle on the top, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The sauce was the best part, to dip your bread into it. Yumm! No recipe required...just common sense, and pure enjoyment!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Farfalle with Basil Pesto

There's something about pesto sauce that I really love. Maybe its bright green color, and oh, the aroma of fresh basil infused with imported extra virgin olive oil, the pine nuts, the garlic, just a little whirl in the food processor, and you have a gourmet sauce, that is quick, and delicious. A few shavings of Parmigiana Reggiano, and you have an incredible meal. All you need, is a nice fresh Italian bread, or French baguette, a salad, and you have a gourmet dish, with very little fuss! I used the recipe from the Food Network, but otherwise, I use the same one myself, not know where the original came from.
          Pesto Sauce
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (see Cook's Note)


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.
Adapted from Television Food Network

I decided to remove the second photo of the yummy pesto pasta, so I could include the photo of this year's Christmas tree, at my daughter's house. This year, as in every few years, they put up a live tree, but unfortunately my little 4yr old grandson is allergic to the fresh pine, so he has to take his allergy medicine, which is helping...otherwise they would have to take the tree down before Santa Claus arrives!

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Salmon

As much as I love spices, and spicy foods, I have not ventured out of my sphere yet...hoping to be more adventurous in exotic spices, and cuisine. I cropped these photos, really focusing on the beautiful sweet, and spicy salmon, which was marinating rubbed with the spices, of hot paprika, chili powder, cumin, zest of 1 lemon, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and rubbed 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil (to prevent from dryness, )marinated  it in the frig.  for about 25 minutes...broiled for about 6 minutes, and laced with a Tbsp of honey and the juice of 1 lemon, to finish broiling for another longer, for a 6 oz. fillet.
When you are dining alone, and you want to make a quick and healthy dinner, not to mention somewhat elegant...after all, you deserve it! Look, what just 1 nice piece of Norwegian salmon can do for you. Livens up your "thrift find" 69 cents plate...LOL...the pepperoncini, which I always like to buy a nice large jar  of and of and the amazing jar of black olives, from Peru purchased at the Latina market, the mesclum fresh salad, and the jasmine rice, which only takes 20 minutes. This truly is a 30 minute meal, from start to finish, and hardly any messy clean up...and you did it for YOURSELF!...So, start to enjoy gourmet, for 1, or 2, at home!
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipe for the: Light and Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

 Light and Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs
for the meatballs
1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 lb ground chuck
1 whole onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup cracker meal (or 1/2 cup breadcrumbs)
1 handful chopped parsley, (or about 1 teaspoon dry parsley)
a few fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dry)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Romano (I used grated Granana Padana)
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil for frying meatballs, and onion
salt and pepper to taste

22 uniform sizes, no getting your hands all dirty, and just gently roll them together with wet palms, ready to brown them in olive oil, and throw them into the sauce. You don't have to use all of them. After frying, you can freeze probably half, it's up to you.
Meatballs should look like these, nice and brown. They're ready to go in the sauce when all pink is browned evenly. 

Combine all your ingredients for the meatball, and just lightly form them, scooping them out with the 1 1/2 inch scooper. If you like, use 1/2 of the onions in the meatball mixture, and use the other half to saute them to put into the sauce.

Easy Spaghetti Sauce 

In a blender, blend each 28 oz can of Marzano tomatoes, one at a time, give it a whirl, and it's done. Pour into a med.large sauce pan, just like that, and start heating it at med.high. Saute half the onions if you like, and add them in the sauce, along with some of the parsley, the basil, bay, leaf and a small amount of chopped garlic. A generous grinding of fresh black pepper, kosher, or sea salt...PLEASE NO SUGAR! Tomatoes are sweet as honey...HONEST! When meatballs are browned, just throw them in there, partially cover the pot, and on med.low cook for about 4 minutes, or until you see the liquid evaporating. You won't be sorry you followed this method, because sometimes you just want to make a vegetarian sauce, and leave out the meat. Serves 6.

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The easiest way to chop garlic and onion, is to first, buy a plastic jar container of whole peeled garlic, and put them into a food processor, larger than this size, and process them till they're finely chopped, and spoon them into a small mason jar, fill them with canola or vegetable, and use them for whatever your garlic calls for. Sure beats all that chopping by hand. This little food processor I got at Goodwill  $2.99, and whenever I just want to chop onion in it, just quarter the pieces and drop them in there. For meatballs, or meat loaf, they are especially goo, because you don't have all the large unwanted pieces in there, that usually don't cook all the way. This is such a time savor. The garlic will last you at leas a good whole month.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Broiled Grouper with Mango, Papaya Salad

Broiled sea food is one of the best ways to make it, next to grilling. I just use simple mix dry spices, fresh grated lemon zest, fresh juice of 1 lemon, and also use the same on the unpeeled large shrimp. drizzle extra virgin olive oil on it, line the broiler pan with the dull side of the aluminum foil, poke a few holes with a fork right through the aluminum foil just maybe about 3 places, an broil on the very top for about 10 minutes for the grouper, and just a few minutes for the shrimp, as soon as they turn pink, it's done.
I saved the juices from the fish, and added a little white wine to it, and added juice of 1 lemon on top.No need for extra lemon on the side.
The mango, papaya, romaine, and radicchio salad is another fresh and simple, yet bursting with color and flavor. A perfect combination with fresh Florida seafood. I also added sliced fresh jalapeno peppers, scallions, and drizzle extra virgin olive oil, and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice. Couldn't get any better.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baked Dill Sockeye Salmon, and Broiled Shrimp

As you can see, I am serving the baked sockeye salmon, and the broiled shrimp on the beautiful milk glass shallow bowl, from Goodwill. This particular milk glass is very sturdy, and heavy. Easy recipe to follow.
Baked Sockeye Salmon
1 1/2 lb sockeye salmon
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
fresh squeezed lemon, and lime
fresh shopped, or dry dill
1/2 c. white wine
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, place salmon, and drizzle some olive oil, juice of 1 lime, and lemon. Pour wine over it, and sprinkle dill on top. Bake in a 375 degree oven, for about 10 minutes. Sockeye salmon requires very little time, because it is thinner than the other salmon. Serves about 6, along with simple broiled shrimp, seasoned with spices, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Salad is just a simple mix with tomatoes, cucumbers, and home made olives from Como, Italy.
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