Sunday, May 23, 2010

Braised Leeks

I am sad to say that until last night I had never braised a vegetable. Wow...was I missing out! D grilled salmon filets and I sprinkled them with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese after they came off the grill and then served them on a bed of braised leeks....let's just forget the salmon as it paled in comparison to the leeks...which were, for lack of a better word, divine!
Braising is a slow cooking technique that can be used for meats or vegetables. In the case of vegetables, they are "cooked for short period of time in hot butter or another fat, then simmered partially covered in the cooking liquid until they are soft and the liquid is reduced to a sauce-like consistency." (The Joy of Cooking) This technique yields a deep, creamy and delicious flavor. I seriously could not get enough!
D and I both agreed that this would go wonderfully with filet mignon and mashed that would be a luxurious meal!

The recipe I used was from a cookbook called "Salmon", by Diane Morgan. I halved the recipe as there were only two of us.

Braised Leeks
serves 2

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 medium leeks or 3 large, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground pepper

In a 8 or 10-inch saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan. Add the leeks and saute, stirring frequently, until they just begin to brown, 8-10 minutes. (Reduce the heat to low if the leeks begin to darken and get crisp at the edges.) Add the broth, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat so the borth is barely at a simmer, partially cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and the leeks are very tender, 35-45 minutes. (The leeks should be very moist but not souply at all). Uncover and raise the heat to reuce the liquid, if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dark Chocolate Bark

This was my first dessert post-cleanse. I wanted to make something relatively healthy but still a bit indulgent. This dark chocolate bark loaded with healthy dried apricots and toasted chopped cashews and a sprinkle of good french sea salt did the trick. I kid you not...6 people ate over a pound of this...not one piece left! I think it was the salt and the sweet combo that really put this over the edge!

Winter Dried Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark
(Adapted from December 2007, Bon Apetit recipe)

Green Drink

As promised, here is the blended green drink. I also add a splash of freshly squeezed OJ at the end. I like to drink this cold. You can drink half and save the other half for the next day.

Blended High Green
- for 2
Please choose organic and when possible locally grown produce.

2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
4 hearty leaves of Laciento kale, torn
1 c celery, chopped
1/2 apple, sliced (I really like Gala apples. You could also use pears)
1/2 lemon, peeled
knob of ginger, peeled (you control the kick by how much you use!)

Place all ingredients in your blender, add about 2c filtered or spring water. Blend from low to high for about 30 seconds. You can either drink it as is like a smoothie or strain it for a smoother texture.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The End of The Cleanse

It is Saturday morning and my cleanse is officially over! While it was a great experience, I am happy for it to be over! I am ready to start chewing again :)
I lost just over 4 lbs, discovered a new appreciation for green juice and am recomitted to my healthy lifestyle. I plan to continue the daily salad and green juice.
Here was the menu for the last couple of days:

Day #3
High Green Juice
Pear Nectar-pear, filtered water, star anise, ginger, raw honey, Himalayan crystal salt
Spinach Salad with Pumpkin seeds
Orange Gingerade- orange, ginger, filtered water, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, Himalayan crystal salt
Beet Ginger Soup-beets, filtered water, almonds, celery, ginger, cumin, coriander, sea salt
Brazil Nut Cacao Milk-Brazil nuts, filtered water, raw cacao, lecithin, raw buckwheat honey, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, sea salt

Day #4
High Green Juice
Strawberry Goji Tonic- strawberries, filtered water, pau darco, goji tea, goji berrie, vanilla, raw honey, sea salt
Spinach Salad
Grapefruit Pomegranate- grapefruit, filtered water, pomegranate seeds, aloe leaf, lime, raw honey, himalayan salt
Vanilla Almond Milk

Day #5
High Green Juice
Papaya Nectar-papaya, filtered water, lime ginger
Spinach Salad
Lemon Goji Gingerade- lemons, goji berries, filtered water, ginger, flax oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, himalayan salt
Cashew Milk

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Juicing with your Blender

During this cleanse, I've been kicking myself that I sold my champion juicer when I moved....granted it was about 9,000lbs and a real pain to clean but still! The thought of going out now and buying a $5 juice aggravates me!
Fortunately, I found out yesterday that you can make great juice in your blender...a regular blender at that! You don't have to own an expensive high-powered Vita-mix. The woman who is running the cleanse realized at the last minute that her juicer wasn't working properly so was forced to use this method for our juices. She actually said she preferred this method as a bit of fiber from the fruits and vegetables are retained and it imparts a nice texture in the juice.

You need:
fine mesh strainer/nut bag /paint strainer bag ( available at home depot)


1. Take your fruits and vegetables and remove all large pits or seeds and chop up. Remove peel if necessary as well.

2. Put all into blender with a small amount of filtered water (just enough to get the fruits and veggies to blend)

3. Turn on the blender and let it whirl!

4. Once fully blended, pour juice through strainer or bag into a container and voila! Fresh juice!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

5 day Cleanse

Well I am back after a couple weeks away...was in Mexico for a week then hurt my back and it was too painful to sit at my computer. I am back now and on day 2 of a 5 day cleanse. All is going well so far. The first day I had a bit of fatigue and nausea in the afternoon but felt fine yesterday and woke up feeling good today.
Primarily, I'm doing this cleanse to boost my health and also to reduce my out of control cravings for chocolate. I've also noticed that my taste buds have been craving more salt and sugar so hopefully this cleanse will re-set things a bit and get me back on track.

An added bonus is that I've lost 3 lbs so far :)

This cleanse consists of juices, a salad, a raw soup and a nut milk every day. Everything is made fresh daily, is raw and organic!

MENU: Day 1

#1 High Green Juice: Romaine lettuce, celery, kale, cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger, E3 Live
#2 Strawberry-Goji Tonic:strawberries, filtered water, pan darco, goji tea, goji berries, vanilla, raw honey, Himalayan crystal salt

#3 Spinach Salad with mixed herbs, sunflower sprouts, pumpkin and
sunflower seeds
#4 Orange Goji Gingerade: Orange, ginger, filtered water, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, Himalayan crystal salt

#5 Creamy Carrot Soup: carrots, filtered water, cashew, cilantro, cumin, coriander, cardamom, Himalayan crystal salt

#6 Cashew Milk: cashews, filtered water, vanilla, lecithin, cardamom, Himalayan crystal salt

MENU: Day 2

#1 High Green:
Romaine lettuce, celery, kale, cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger, E3 Live
#2 Papaya Nectar: Papaya, filtered water, lime, ginger
#3 Spinach Salad with mixed herbs, sunflower greens, mung bean sprouts, pumpkin
and sunflower seeds
#4 Lemon Goji Gingerade:lemon, goji berries, filtered water, flax oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, Himalayan crystal salt
#5 Zucchini Bisque: Zucchini, spinach, filtered water, pumpkin seeds, chives, parsley, Himalayan crystal salt
#6 Vanilla Almond Milk: sprouted almond, filtered water, lecithin, vanilla, Himalayan crystal salt

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chicken for a Crowd

Chicken Marbella
(adapted from The Silver Palate cookbook)
serves 8-10 people

Chicken Marbella is one of those legendary recipes that you always seem to come across...I think it was very popular in the 90's for entertaining as it serves a large crowd and can be prepared the day before. I first had this dish at a high school graduation party.
While it wasn't as fabulous as I remembered, it was still very good! However, next time I make it, I would adjust a few things...
1. cut down on the amount of oregano
2. Use a mix of green and black olives and double the quantity
3. Double the quantity of prunes

I served this with steamed broccoli, and Israeli couscous that I made with half water, and half chicken stock. I then add sauteed shallots and garlic, fresh parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and Herbamare seasoning. Delicious!!

See below for the original recipe-


5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
1 bulb garlic, finely puréed
1/4 cup dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cups pitted dried plums
1/2 cup pitted green olives, or a mix of olives such as Greek, Moroccan, or French
1/2 cup capers with about a tablespoon of their juice
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup brown sugar (I cut this back from 1 cup)
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Cover it with the garlic, oregano, coarse salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, dried plums, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Rub the chicken well with the marinade and refrigerate, covered, ideally overnight, but at least for 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in 1 or 2 large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around but not on them.

4. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with the pan juices.

5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, dried plums, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. Serve the remaining pan juices in a separate bowl.