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pancetta-wrapped peaches & vinho verde

A topic I’ve been longing to learn more about is wine and of course along with that comes wine and food pairings. While I can easily say that wine is my favorite liquid, I will admit that it is something I don’t know much about. I’ve got books, I’ve got a BF who sold wine for a short stint and yet I can barely determine if something is “oaky” or not.  But what I do know? I know that a vinho verde tastes just perfect with peaches & pancetta.

With a short ingredient list and the use of cured pork I was sold on this recipe when I came across it on the Food & Wine website. Although I’m almost convinced you could wrap anything in pancetta and it would turn out delicious.  

And until my wine palette is more refined, I’ll just have to stick with what tastes good. I think I can handle that.

Pancetta -Wrapped Peaches from Food & Wine, serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 2 ripe peaches, sliced into wedges
  • a few basil leaves, torn into about 12 pieces
  • 12 slices pancetta

Roll pancetta in half. Place basil leaf and peach on one end and wrap pancetta around peach. Fasten with a toothpick if necessary.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Heat to medium-high heat. Add peaches and cook on both sides until pancetta is crispy. 

Serve!

Do you know of any good wine resources to help me out?

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Filed under appetizers, fruit, herbs, in season, Uncategorized, wine

mushroom ravioli & recipe fails

Just when I start to think that someday I’ll be a good enough cook to be a personal chef in LA, I have a huge recipe failure and I’m swiftly brought back to my Minneapolis (and winter) reality.

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Take the sun-dried tomato & mushroom alfredo I made recently. It wasn’t horrible, but it made me want to add mushroom ravioli to the menu the next week just so I could redeem myself. I thought I was being creative and heath conscious as well as finally getting around to using the Hoosier Mushrooms from Lori and the Buitoni Ravioli I received as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. It was all going perfect in my mind – a nutritionist-ed alfredo sauce made with ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms over mushroom ravioli…

But when I tasted the sauce it needed something. So we added some 1/2 & 1/2, a few more spices and it tasted ok. I should have just given up then. Nixing the whole sauce idea all together would have been a good decision. But it was a decision I didn’t make and so mushroom ravioli with sun-dried tomato & mushroom alfredo it was.

When I tried the ravioli plain, I realized that it didn’t need ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes or more mushrooms. It would have been perfect with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh parmesan cheese.

So I picked up some more Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, this time knowing it needed nothing but a sprinkling of cheese. And it was delicious with just that.

Sigh. I guess part of being a good cook is knowing when to leave good things alone – something I’ll be working on.

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Filed under cheese, eating experiment, mastering the art of, pasta, product review, Recipes, Uncategorized

beef & vegetable noodle stir-fry

We often hear that eating healthy, fresh foods is too expensive and that it’s much cheaper and easier to pick up fast food on the way home then to make a meal at home.

One of my goals is to dispel this myth. Eating healthy doesn’t mean slaving away at the stove or breaking the bank. What it does take is some planning ahead, a little creativity and a love for great food.

The next time I make a stir-fry I’ll be reviewing a wok set sent to me by CSN Stores. CSN Stores has everything from dishes to dining room tables. Look for the review and a new stir-fry recipe coming soon!

Here is a meal that is well-balanced, comes together quickly, tastes great and costs $10.20 for four servings! ($2.55/person)

Even better? The pasta and vegetables were organic and the beef passes the Whole Foods Meat Quality Standards.

Money-Saving Tip: Add frozen veggies to your grocery list! They won’t go bad, they are often cheaper and have just as many nutrients as fresh ones!

Beef & Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry – 4 servings

  • 4 oz whole-grain spaghetti
  • 16 oz bag of frozen Chinese Stir Fry Vegetables
  • 8 oz skirt steak
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (if desired)

Prepare the pasta as directed.

Heat large pan over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add steak to pan and season with salt & pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board to rest.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha.

Add the frozen vegetables to pan and saute for about 6 minutes, until cooked through.

Turn off heat and add pasta and sauce to pan. Toss to combine. Slice steak into thin slices and serve over pasta.


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Filed under great meals, pasta, protein, Recipes, sriracha, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

ask the nutritionist: breakfast on the go

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Breakfast is often times the first meal that we neglect, whether we are trying to skip meals or would prefer to spend the extra time sleeping. But as we’ve been told since we were young, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and there really is some truth to that. We’ve been “fasting” all night and we need some energy to focus and perform our best, whether it be at school, work, or play.

When I was in high school, eating breakfast, was like, totally not important to me. I was focused on the essentials: finding the perfect Abercrombie & Fitch outfit and making sure my bangs were curled just so.  My mother being oh-so-wise would make fresh waffles for my brother and I, which if we couldn’t eat whilst getting ready for school, we could take along in the car with us. Very Pleasantville of her, don’t you think?

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Abercrombie & Fitch is no longer cool (I don’t think?), my bangs no longer need curling and I’ve fully embraced breakfast. My day just wouldn’t be the same without it, nor would you want to be in my presence if it was missed.  Here are some of my breakfast staples – I often eat my meals in courses- an egg at home first thing and then something a little more substantial at work. I prefer splitting my meals up a bit, but obviously everyone will have different preferences!

Normal Breakfast:

  • First Course: Coffee and Coconut Creamer
  • Second Course: An Organic Egg (fried or hard boiled)
  • Third Course: Oatmeal & Peanut Butter, Hemp or Sprouted Bagel or Smoothie

Oddly enough, I rarely find the need to switch up my breakfasts, I love having a combination of proteins, fats and carbs. On weekends at home the taster will often make some omelets or something a little more exciting! (ie. bacon) But if you like some variety, here are some other ideas:

  • Cedarlane’s ready-to-go omelette
  • hard boiled egg and slice of sprouted bread
  • fruit, bread and peanut butter/almond butter
  • greek yogurt, cereal and peanut butter/almond butter
  • smoothie: almond/coconut milk, juice, spinach, fruit, amazing grass and/or protein powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc.

Do you eat the same things for breakfast or do you have to switch it up?

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Filed under ask the nutritionist, coffee, eating local, eggs, fats, protein, Uncategorized, whole foods, whole grains

blue cheese & olive pasta salad

My Mother is the Queen of pasta salads. Literally. She has enough pasta salads in her arsenal to get through the whole summer without repeats. Many of them are worth repeating however, so she’ll find a way to squeeze them in.

As a child, I remember being fond of some, like chicken curry pasta salad, and not so fond of others, presumably this one as I hated both blue cheese and olives at that young stage of life. Now I’ll take the blue cheese & olive combo anyway – fried, in a salad, a martini or preferably all three at the same time. 🙂

I’m finally starting to understand the great meal that is the pasta salad. Easy to throw together, tastes even better the next day and no oven required. Just thinking about pasta salads reminds me of summer dinners as a kid, eating on the porch. While I rarely eat on my balcony these days, I may just serve up a bowl of this and head out to the sun for a summer lunch worth dreaming about.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad – 6-8 servings

  • 2 cups farfalle pasta (I used Barilla PLUS)
  • 6 oz can of black olives, halved
  • 2 cups green grapes, halved
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz blue cheese crumbled
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt & pepper

Cook pasta as directed. Set aside in large bowl and let cool.

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt & pepper until smooth in small bowl. When pasta is cool, add other ingredients and dressing to bowl. Toss to combine.

Refrigerate overnight if possible. Serve cool or at room temperature.

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Filed under cheese, in season, olives, pasta, Recipes, Uncategorized, whole foods, whole grains

kogi inspiration

This sandwich was inspired by the Midnight Torta, a popular late-night sandwich from the Kogi Truck in LA.  Around 50,000 people follow the Korean BBQ tweets and show up all over LA for a chance at some food from the Kogi Truck. I have yet to experience the Kogi Truck so when I came across a recipe, I knew I would have to give it a try. And try it that day – there was no waiting with this recipe.

There were a few problems I had with this recipe however, the main one being that it calls for pork belly. I’ve searched high and low for this pork delicacy but have yet to have any luck finding it.  I even asked a local farmer if he had any, but alas, once again I was denied. “I just can’t keep up with the bacon,” he replied to my plea. Screw the bacon slices, I want a whole big slab of it! I’ve been looking for pork belly ever since a dinner in Denver but I’m not so sure that I’ll ever be able to find it. (If you know how to track some down, please fill me in!)

Originally, I was going to sub the pork belly with some bacon, which seems like the logical replacement, but when at the store I decided on a different direction. My pork of choice? Prosciutto. Cheese of choice? Graskaas. (Graskaas is a special spring cheese that is made from the first milking after the cows run and jump out of the barn to the pastures after the long winter. Apparently, cows, much like humans get overly excited for spring. Their happiness, in turn, produces an incredibly creamy, smooth and once-a-year cheese.)

This sandwich, while it certainly required napkins, had a variety of flavors, was filling, and pretty easy to throw together for a casual summer dinner. I’m starting to think that I may be able to survive without that pork belly after all.

Kogi Inspiration – 2 servings adapted from Food & Wine

  • 1 demi french baguette (the small one)
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices Graskaas Cheese
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 red onion slices
  • 2-4 green onions
  • 2 jalapeños

Grill onions and jalapeños until soft and lightly charred. Thinly slice green onions and jalapeños. Set aside.

Pre-heat broiler.

Heat large pan and spray with cooking spray. When hot add prosciutto and cook until crisp. Set aside. Add spinach to pan until just wilted, about 2 minutes, and set aside. Crack eggs into pan and cook until just set, 2-3 minutes.

Cut bread in half and then cut each piece lengthwise. Add slice of cheese to bread and broil until cheese has melted. Spread other side with mayonnaise if desired.

Layer prosciutto, egg and veggies on sandwich. Enjoy!

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Filed under cheese, great meals, Recipes, restaurants, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods