Saturday, August 10, 2013

Southwestern Omelet with Avocado and Blue Corn Tortillas

During my college years, I spent a semester in Los Angeles where eggs, cheese, salsa, avocados, tortillas, limes and Tequila were often the only things I had in my refrigerator.   Now that I am just a bit older and have a lot more food in my refrigerator, omelets usually, consist of wild mushrooms, fresh tarragon and Emmental cheese.    However, feeling a little nostalgic as I pushed my grocery cart down the dairy isle this morning, the  corn tortillas conjured up memories of life as a carefree twenty year old.  I have a delicious Welsh Cheddar that will give my omelet that extra zing.  You are welcome to use any cheese you like as I will use this because it in the box.  For those of you who have difficulty making omelets, here are a few helpful hints:
·        Use a non stick pan and a rubber spatula
·        Make sure the pan is well oiled with a food release or olive oil
·        Have all of the ingredient that will go into the omelet seasoned and ready ahead of time
·        Don’t over-stuff with ingredients or it will be difficult to fold
·        Control your fire-make sure the pan is not too hot when your are preparing the omelet or the eggs will get too brown and crisp
·        Have fun with it

I have listed the ingredient for one omelet in an 8” non-stick pan the way  I like it.  You can use a smaller pan with fewer eggs if desired. 

Southwestern Omelet with Avocado and Blue Corn Tortillas

2 large eggs
1 egg white
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons salsa
1/3 cup diced avocado
3 corn tortillas
Food release/ olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Season avocado to taste and set aside
Heat tortillas in a skillet  and hold  them warm in an earthen tortilla warmer until omelet is ready
Heat a non-stick pan; add desired fat (Do Not Let Pan Smoke-that’s too Hot)
Scramble eggs 

Add eggs to hot pan; move with the rubber spatula

Now this is where I cheat.  I flip the eggs over to insure the eggs are entirely cooked.  You can continue to move the eggs and fill it without flipping it over.  I just find that it increase the likelihood that the eggs will be runny inside.  Do what makes you comfortable.

Turn omelet onto your plate serve with avocado and tortillas

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blueberry Pie

This is what summer weekends’ are made of--great barbeque followed by a slice of blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream.  This is my mom’s recipe and she by far, was reining Queen of Pies.  Before her passing, she showed my sisters, niece and cousin how to make apple pie and blueberry pie.  The crust is the same for both as I posted in the Apple Pie post.   Blueberries are plentiful this time of year so you may want to buy a flat and freeze them in order to enjoy this antioxidant rich fruit all year round.
I have made this pie a few times but Dad gave this one the highest approval rating. "It's as good as your Mother's."

Blueberry Pie

9 inch Glass Pyrex pie pan
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3-4 pints blueberries
½ stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoon lemon juice 
1 beaten egg for egg wash
Vanilla Ice Cream

Combine first six ingredients in a medium bowl

Prepare first layer of pie shell
Add berries in layers alternating with the sugar mixture, pieces of butter, lemon zest and lemon juice

Berries should be heaping because they cook down

Cover top of pie with dough;

crimp edges and brush with egg wash 

Bake for 20 minutes at 375F; turn down woven to 325F and continue baking for about 1 hour 10 minutes
If pie starts to bubble and leak its juices, put a sheet pan filled with water on the rack below the pie to catch the juices

Remove pie from oven and allow to completely cool

Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream

Friday, June 7, 2013

Spinach and Citrus Smoothie

I finally got one of those juicer everyone’s been talking about.  Having tried juicing several times, I think this one is right for me.  It's easy to use and clean but most importantly the recipes are very good.  One of the reasons why I never liked juicing was the flavor combinations were never tasty.  Drinking a watery concoction of greens, cucumber, green apple and ginger was torture.  The juicer dose not extract the pulp and fiber from the fruits and vegetables therefore, the beverage is the consistency of a smoothie when you add a avocado or banana.  Since I’ve been juicing I consume more green vegetables than ever. 

I have created my own combinations.  This one is my favorite. 

Spinach and Citrus Smoothie


2 cups spinach of kale

¼ avocado

1” piece chopped ginger

1 orange peeled and cut in quarters

½ lemons peeled

½ lime peeled

2 strawberries

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1-teaspoon date honey*

Water/Chilled Unsweetened Green Tea


Place all vegetables and fruit in juicer

Put just enough water to cover the contents

Process until smooth- about 20 seconds

You may want to add a few ice cubes so the beverage is cold a refreshing

*Note Date Honey can be found in Middle Eastern supermarkets or you can make it by placing dates in a sauce pot, adding just enough water to cover them, simmer them until they are soft and puree them until smooth or the consistency of honey

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kale and Hemp Pesto

It seems that everyone is touting the benefits of Kale!  With many Americans suffering from various forms of chronic disease, this nutrient dense cruciferous vegetable is the supper food of note.  This strongly anti-inflammatory green has the greatest antioxidant capacity of all fruits and vegetables in addition to being an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C. 

Kale is a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and potassium.  If the benefits could not get better, it is also low in calories; one cup of raw kale is about 33 calories. 

With all of these great health benefits, I thought I'd make kale pesto for friends but I wasn’t satisfied to make it the traditional way with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.  One of my friends does not consume dairy so I left the cheese out. if you want you could use nutritional yeast for the flavor of cheese. Instead of pine nuts I used hemp, which is very high in protein. Therefore, if you want to have this with just pasta and vegetables, the hemp would supply protein.  
Kale and Hemp Pesto

2  cups raw kale, firmly packed
1 bunch parsley leaves
3 cloves raw garlic or 6-8 cloves of roasted garlic
½ cup hemp
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Olive oil

Add first three ingredients to food processor.   

Drizzle olive oil in while processing until kale reaches a pesto consistency
 I served it with buckwheat pasta and cod oreganata.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Spring Fiddleheads

Fiddlehead ferns are a sure sign that spring has arrived.  These, tender tightly furled new-growth shoots of the fern family plant, grow wild in the Northeast.  The fern is a clump forming (like an ostrich plume), seasonal plant, which typically grows in well-drained, moisture rich under shady environments.
Their harvesting season is very short and should be done before the fronds unfurl.

Nutritionally 100 grams of ferns contains 120%  Daily Allowance of Vitamin A and is very rich in Vitamin C. 

I tend to prepare them quite simply, being careful not to mask its delicate flavor.  If I had to describe the taste, I would say that it was somewhere between an asparagus and a green bean with the slight texture  purslane.   
If that sound a bit confusing, I recommend just buying it and trying it.  This is how I prepared it.  And  Oh….by the way… They are not cheap.  I paid  $8 for 8 ounces which is two servings. 


8oz Fiddleheads
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Fried shallot (optional)

Bring a medium size pot of boiling water and salt to a boil in order to blanch the fiddleheads ( the water should taste salty like the sea)
Cut off the brownish tip on the ferns
Prepare a boil of ice water to shock the ferns after they come out of the boiling water
Add ferns to boiling water
Let boil for about 3 minutes
Shock in ice water
Preheat a medium sauté pan with olive oil
Drain the ferns and add to the hot pan
Sautee for about 5 minutes more, then add butter.
Sautee for 2 minutes more or until ferns are tender but not mushy
I garnished with fried shallots but they are just as tasty on there own
Serve immediately.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Angle Hair Pasta with Seafood and Chorizo

Unable to find  a restaurant here in Astoria that makes a good seafood primavera, my friend and I decided to make it ourselves.    Since he's from Mexico, I thought I’d appeal to his since of taste by adding a little chorizo.   Although I’m not a big fan of monk fish, it is the perfect texture for stews or ragouts.  You can add any fish you like.  I used what was available at my local fish market.  Keep in mind that this recipe is for two people; you may want to increase the the quantity of fish if you are serving more people.  Oh… I must also tell you, the vermicelli was toasted. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures while preparing it… just got a bit tied up in cooking and entertaining.  Actually, you can prepare whatever pasta you like.

Angle Hair Pasta with Seafood and Chorizo

½ pound Monk fish
1/3 pound calamari
1/3 pound shrimp
½ pound New Zealand clams
2 tablespoon olive oil (total)
1/3 cup onions, small dice
1/3 cup red pepper, small
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
1 small link of chorizo dices
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
½ cup white wine
1 cup of Marinara or tomato sauce
½ cup clam broth
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Salt to taste
Angle hair pasta, prepared

Prepare seafood by cutting the monk fish into bit size chunks, cut calamari into ¼ “ rings, peel and devein shrimp. 
Heat a small saute pan with 2 teaspoon olive oil, add monk fish; sear until slight brown
Remove from pan and set aside**
Add about 1 teaspoon more of olive oil to the pan and saute the shrimp;set aside when tender**
In a medium saucepan heat remaining olive oil;
Add onions, peppers and garlic; cook until onions become translucent
Add chorizo, chili flakes and oregano; cook for about five minutes; deglaze pan with white wine
Add clam juice, tomato sauce, calamari and basil; bring to a boil; simmer for about 2 minutes then add remaining fish, and parsley, bring to a boil then allow to simmer for about 3 minutes more.  Season to taste.

Serve over desired pasta immediately

In hindsight, seasoning the shrimp with smoked paprika would have rounded out the flavors more.

** It is not necessary to saute the monk fish and shrimp separately.  I just feel it gives me more control against overcooking the fish but realize adding it directly to the broth remove 1 tablespoon of olive oil from the dish.  It really is up to you.

*** I steam the clams in a little white wine in separate pan, then strain the liquid into the broth as part of the clam broth.  I do this to avoid getting sand from my clams into the sauce. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chicken Plov

If you live in the South, you may call it Purlough or if you live in the West Indies, you may call it Pelau.  Although the name and flavors change from  place to place, few will disagree that the combination of meat, fish and vegetable cooked in rice is a harmonious concoction. Whether its Pilau, Pealla or Plov I am sure you will recognize the similarities. 

I have had the pleasure of enjoying all of these amalgamations and yesterday I made Chicken Plov for friends.  I knew they had never heard of Plov so I was happy to enlighten them.  Plov is from Central Asia where it is typically made with lamb, chicken or beef.  It is sort of a cross between Indian pilau and Spanish paella. I think you’ll like this dish.  The combination of allspice, almond, and raisins work very well together. 
I used chicken thigh meat but if you want to use breast that’s fine too.  Just be careful not to overcook the breast otherwise the dish will be very dry. 

Chicken Plov

1 pound boneless, skinless thigh meat
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon allspice
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon saffron threads
¼ cup olive oil
Black pepper to taste
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped/ slivered, toasted almonds
¼ cup chopped scallions
1 ½ cup white rice
3 cups chicken stock


Place chicken in a bowl and season it with ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon coriander, ½ teaspoon allspice, ½ teaspoon salt, turmeric, (I actually used 1 teaspoon fresh turmeric)1 tablespoon olive oil and black pepper to taste.
 Place on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until chicken is cooked but not dried out. 

While chicken is cooking, heat a medium sauté pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When pan is hot but not smoking, add onions, carrots and garlic.  Cook until onions become translucent. 

Add remaining spices along with rice.  Cook, stirring continually for about 2 minutes then add chicken stock. 

Bring rice to a boil; cover and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.  

Once the liquid is almost completely evaporated, remove from the oven and add chicken. 

Place back in the oven for five minutes more. Remove from the oven.The liquid should be completely evaporated and the rice nice and fluffy.  Add the  raisins,almonds and scallions. 

Toss gently and serve.