Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eating Out In New York

Let me preface this story by stating that I just adore Cathy Erway's blog Cathy is a smart and young New York urbanite whose claim to fame is the fact that she volunteered to not eat out in New York for two years and documented the process. Having traveled to New York several times ever since I've been married, to visit my husband's sisters and attend the occasional wedding, I understand the absolute primal need one has for eating out while in the city.
So hats off to you're a better woman than I am.

Here's a little taste of some incredible food I  experienced while in the city...hope you like it!
Pause Cafe:

Cute little soup, sandwich, smoothie and coffee shop. I ordered a Ginger Carrot soup which made me feel fantastic.  I also had a great Ginger, Green Apple, Wheat Grass, Beet, Kale juice to follow-up the soup.  The soup was $5 and the smoothie was $4.50

3 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-677-5415

The Fat Radish:

On the advice of my future brother-in-law, we visited this great little gem of a restaurant on Lower East Side.  Beautiful airy white room dotted with rustic picnic tables and plenty of seating along the walls.  This place is defined as a British Modern Gastropub that distinguishes itself by getting most of its food locally...and I verified this by asking the kitchen staff in Spanish. I know, I know, I'm a Noisy Nelly but inquiring minds...Anyhow, I got the Kale Caesar Salad and Oysters.  Both where delicious though the oysters were a bit small for my taste.  As for my husband Kris, he enjoyed the Bacon Cheese Burger immensely.  He said the inside was juicy, outside was crispy and the meat was locally sourced and cooked to perfection.The burger also came with an order of potato wedges fried in rendered duck fat...the dish was so delicious that I didn't give Kris a hard time about ordering, what appeared to be, the least adventurous item on the menu. 

17 Orchard St, New York NY10002
(Between Hester and Canal)

Call ahead and make a reservation or else just relax at the bar and enjoy one of their many fantastic British beers and the company of a very friendly bartender.   

 Last, but not at all least.....

                                Roberta's Pizzeria:

 Tucked away in Bushwick, just off the Morgan Ave stop on the L train, is one of the most authentic and beloved spots for pizza in Brooklyn.  Like Gainesville's much acclaimed venue/restaurant/junk shop/bocce spot Satchel's, Roberta's is a destination, not just a place to chow.  Roberta's not only houses the most stellar piece of pizza making equipment I've ever's imported wood burning Italian oven...they also source locally through Heritage Foods and have a rooftop garden.   

Just in case all this draw isn't enough to get you on down to Bushwick, the back of Roberta's is home to the Heritage Radio Network.  Remember the blogger/food writer I mentioned earlier, Cathy Erway?  Well, Cathy hosts a show out of the station called "Let's Eat In". During the show Cathy usually interviews local food artists, entertainers, food personalities, advocates and even the occasional sexologist about their creations.  Tune in Monday at 1pm or listen to her podcast whenever your little heart desires. 

Now about the food...on the advice of our friends Marco and Sarah, we ordered the Calzon, a simple Margherita and a ham and pineapple pizza.  All of the above were delicious and perfectly crispy.  My favorite among them was quite surely the Margherita...thank you Sarah for making that suggestion.       

 If beer's your thing, I highly suggest the Blue Point RastafaRye, a sweet and satisfying rye with an alcohol content of 7.5...this beer packs a pretty big punch for $7. Kris got the Smuttyhouse Porter, slightly lower in it's alcohol content, but quite comparable in flavor. We ate at about 3pm which seemed like the perfect time since we didn't have to fight for a table and eating early gave us ample time to walk off the calories around the city before hopping in the cab and heading to JFK. 

Special thanks to our extraordinary tour guides and amazing hosts...Candace, Cameron, Corinne, Sarah, Tommy and Marco for showing us around town and helping me to explore New York like a native and bring something back for the rest of you all to enjoy.   Also, a very special thanks to Vivian from Roberta's for allowing me to interview her about the restaurant and touring me through the rooftop garden. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

               Pizza – In Search of the Ultimate Crust!                              By Inge Jaffe, MS, RN

I found the one, the one that crunches and bubbles and is oh, so yummy.  I’ve been making my own pizza dough for years and am always looking for new ways of perfecting my crust.  What I love about this recipe is its simplicity.   If you’re in the mood for a pizza party, it’s best to prep your toppings before guests arrive.  Let your creative juices flow:  meatballs, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, fresh basil, oregano, sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, thinly sliced garlic, goat cheese, sea salt … the possibilities are endless.   If it’s family pizza night,  halve the recipe and call it a day.

                                            No-Knead Pizza Dough
                                                        Makes Six 10”-12” Pizzas
                                                                                           Inspired by Bon Apetit April, 2012 Issue

                                                   7 ½ cups all-purpose flour (1000 grams)
                                                   4 tsp. fine salt
                                                   ½ tsp. active dry yeast
                                                   3 cups water

Mix flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl.  While using a wooden spoon gradually add the water; stir until well integrated.  Bring it together with your hands to form a rough ball.  Transfer to a large bowel and cover.   Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size about 18 hrs.  Time will vary depending on the room temperature but it’s my experience the longer the better.  

On a floured surface shape the dough into a rough rectangle and divide it into 6 equal portions.  Gently mold each portion into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap for about 1 hr.  

During that last hour that the dough is resting place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to the hottest setting, 500-550 degrees.  Gently shape each dough into a 10”-12” disk.  Sprinkle pizza peel with flour, place the disk on it, drizzle with olive oil and place toppings.

When your ready to bake, increase the oven to broil.  Getting the pizza off the peel onto the stone can be tricky, use small, rapid back-and-forth movements.  Broil the pizza for about 5-7 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining pizzas.   Enjoy your bubbly pizza with the yummy crunchy crust!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Ceviche @ 235 Washington, South Beach


By Inge Jaffee, MS, RD

A recent family vacation to South Beach brought me to this small, low key, 240-square-foot space, where co-owner Roger Duarte, of George Stone Crab, greeted us.  The tiny take-out and delivery hub was bustling and I could see why!

The seafood is amazingly fresh, apparently less than 24-hours off the boat.  Chef Sam Gorstein, nominated twice as Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation, and partner Duarte serve up a delightful array of seafood tacos and burritos, offered with shrimp, octopus, raw yellow fin tuna or the fresh catch of the day.  Also on the menu, ceviche, of course, stone crab claws, an assortment of salads and salsitas.  Sides include crispy plantains, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob served with queso fresco and hash browns with a mustard sauce.  Leave room for dessert, there is key lime pie and chocolate fudge brownie.

Having, what seems to be the most finicky 4-year-old twin girls, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was pleasantly pleased when they devoured the fish and crispy corn chips.  My husband enjoyed a grilled octopus burrito and I, a couple of fish tacos.  The “latin-fusion” flavors were fresh, tangy, spicy and exotic.  I will definitely make my way to My Ceviche next time I wander down south.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Miriam's Dominican Poached Egg and Garlic Soup

Wednesday afternoon lunch holds a special place in my heart.  My friend Miriam is the originator of this ritual and deserves full credit for inspiring me to create some fun and unique Dominican menu items. For example, it was not till several months ago that Miriam introduced me to Mangu (boiled, mashed green plantains topped with sauteed garlic).  Due to her Dominican heritage, Miriam's food has a simple and unassuming quality.  Her regional delights are brought to life by her charming personality, generous spirit and genuine hospitality.

One afternoon, after some cocktails and a very satisfying lunch, we got on the subject of eggs.  Being a self-proclaimed egg-a-holic, I began to run down a list of favorite egg dishes. My Abuela's Tortilla, a simple fried egg over a bed of rice accompanied by a sliced banana or fried plantains, Eggs Florentine, Spanish Chorizo Golden Potato Bake and the list goes on...It was at this point that Miriam looked at me very intently and said, "I have to make you my grandmother's garlic and egg soup. You would love it!" I agreed, and in typical Latin fashion we set it as a tentative goal without a specific date or time in mind.  The understanding between us was would happen.  Maybe not next Wednesday, but some time in the future.

A month ago, at around noon, I got a call from Miriam.  As usual we exchanged salutations in Spanish and Miriam went on to inform me that she had all the ingredients and would be making her grandmother's egg soup recipe this afternoon.  30 minutes later, I was standing over her stove typing some general notes on my iphone and hoping the mimosa she had just served me wasn't affecting my ability to reproduce this simple and beautiful dish.

My fears were confirmed when I read over the recipe last week in preparation for this blog post.  I had forgotten the most fundamental aspect of recipe writing...naming. Just a few weeks ago, in conversation with Miriam I confessed my mistake.  She giggled and said the reason the recipe title had not been recorded is because she had never given me a name.  "So, what's it called?", I asked. In typical Miriam fashion, she laughed again and it what you want. And so I did.  It's my pleasure to share with you, Miriam's Dominican Poached Egg and Garlic Soup...Here's to your health..or as Miriam would say, Salud!

        Miriam's Dominican Poached Egg and Garlic Soup

2 tbsp olive oil 
6 cloves of minced garlic
6 cups of water
*5 angel hair nests (optional)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 whole eggs
1 egg separated
1 large bunch of cilantro 
 salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat olive oil in a medium sized soup pot and add minced garlic stirring frequently so as not to burn.  Saute for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a boil.

2. Add 5 angel hair nests(or one bunch of soba noodles, 1/2 a box of brown rice pasta) and cook down for 4 minutes.  If, like me, you prefer not to indulge in complex carbs, simply skip this step.

3.  Add vinegar to your boiling water and carefully crack open each individual egg into a ramican dish and gently drop into the water. Try not to take more than a minute depositing the eggs into the water, otherwise they will vary in their level of firmness. Poach eggs for 1-2 minutes.

4. Scramble an egg yolk and add it to the soup stirring gently and taking care not to break any of the eggs.  Cook for another minute. Turn off the heat, add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

*Although Miriam's original recipe calls for regular angel hair pasta nests, due to my family's sensitivity to wheat and my nutritional needs, I omit this ingredient when I make the soup.  If you would like a good substitute, you could use soba nooodles or brown rice pasta.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Citizen's Co-op Sunday Market

Ever since moving to Gainesville, my priorities have shifted from "being more" to doing more for my fellow man.  It may sound corny to those of you that have yet to experience Gainesville, but the culture of this city is deeply rooted in humanity.  That being the case, you would probably expect to find several businesses littering the streets that directly reflect Gainesville's principle of community.  As a 10 year resident of this tree city, I can certainly attest to the fact that such places do exist. Among my favorite 352 destinations is Citizen's Co-op.

The Co-op is a full service grocery store and as the website reads it is "owned and operated by and for the benefit of membership and the larger community."  This little treasure located on South Main Street, next door to the Civic Media Center offers Gainesville's citizens a great selection of locally grown produce and locally produced products...soaps, sauerkraut, fresh organic eggs and local goat cheese just to name a few.  My favorite Co-op guilty pleasure is the G'ville Sweets Caramels.
 Unlike the Co-op that Hank joins in King of the Hill, at Citizen's you need not be a member to shop...though membership does afford you a 5% discount at checkout.
 The best thing about this thriving and beautiful market is how it serves the local community by providing whole natural delicious foods while serving as a store front for local food artists to present their jams, cheeses, breads, stocks and sweets to Gainesville locals.  

The Sunday Local Market, located in the Co-op's cozy Courtyard, is a small weekly outdoor bazaar where vendors set up and sell...everything from vintage Pyrex to handmade pot scrubbers, home-made jams to mullet roe and fresh shrimp.  The Local Sunday Market runs from 2-5pm every Sunday and usually includes live performances by local musicians and some very yummy local fare.
If you do plan to come down, make sure to bring some cash and a reusable satchel to stash all your fantastic finds.

So wisen up and come down to the Sunday market for some spectacular local produce from Siembra and Swallowtail Farms, Illegal Jam from Stephanie and some fine Vine Bread from Dean and Teresa (not me)...and the occasional soup or hot dish by yours truly.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Start the Morning with a Ve-Green Monster!

I had a really fun time with my husband's cousin a few weekends ago.  Kim is a young, attractive newlywed just brimming with enthusiasm and joy.  While we were sitting down to dine at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants, she told me about a blog she follows called  I was immediately intrigued by the name and concept.  Also, one particular recipe that Kim mentioned sounded especially interesting.  The recipe is very simply called  "Green Monster" and it's essentially just a banana and protein shake with raw spinach.  As someone who adores simplicity, I made a few modifications to the recipe and resolved to try it out the following morning. 

 By eliminating the yogurt and substituting with some probiotic powder, I made the recipe vegan friendly and lactose-free.  Next, I subbed in almond butter for peanut.  During a holistic conference in Miami 15 years ago, I learned that peanuts affect the body's detoxification process by inhibiting liver function.  Since encountering this information, I've decided to scale down on my peanut butter intake(just in case).  Finally, I added some raw organic oats to the blender to increase fiber and add a little texture to the mix. Raw oats are also said to bind to bile acids and remove toxins from the body.

I recommend having this for breakfast when you're pressed for time.  The protein satiates your appetite, while the probiotic powder gets your system in order.  Also, the raw spinach is loaded with vitamins A, K, E, C and B6Spinach has a mild flavor, is only 7 calories a cup and is a excellent source of Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

Finally, this shake will rock your socks kids ask for it as a dessert. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

                                                           Ve-Green Monster

1 cup of ice
1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups of raw organic spinach
2 tbsp almond butter  or peanut butter
2 tsp probiotic powder
1/4 cup raw organic oats
1 large banana
2 tbsp flax seed meal
2 heaping tbsp hemp powder protein 
2 tsp agave nectar 

*Makes 3-4 8 oz servings.

1. Pour ingredients into the blender, set blender to crush ice mode and pulse for 15 sec.  Change blender setting to stir and blend for 60 sec or until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 *Please be responsible by sourcing your food from local farms, whenever possible. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Mom Inspired Post: Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

I like cabbage. So does my mom, which is the real reason I'm posting this recipe. Mom and I were discussing easy to prepare dishes that have assisted me in losing weight.  Just as I was telling her that I have finally dropped the 7 pounds of fat I put on during the holidays, it occurred to me that I should examine the last few meals I've had to determine which foods assisted me most in dropping this weight.  My conclusion was that the Stuffed Cabbage Casserole I had made my family earlier this week really helped me hit my weight mark.  Since she seemed eager to make this dish, I promised to post the recipe today, just in time for her trip to the grocery store.

If you're not a cabbage enthusiast, like mom and I, I'd like to take the time to tell you why I think you should reconsider. Cabbage is nutritious, full of fiber and contains vitamins C and B, which are essential for promoting weight-lossOne cup of cabbage equals only 15 calories which is why this ancient veggie is considered a great diet food.  Also, cabbage is said to have cancer-fighting properties.  The sulfuric properties of cabbage(which is what makes it so stinky) are said to assist the body in eliminating carcinogenic compounds. Finally, because cabbage is so easy to grow and can be grown nearly everywhere, it's one of the most inexpensive veggies at the market.  

Without further delay, here's the recipe my mom inspired me to post.  Hope you will enjoy the savory simplicity of this dish. 

                                            Easy Stuffed Cabbage Casserole 

1.5 lb ground beef (preferably organic)
1 large onion, diced
2 cups cooked bulgur wheat or quinoa
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
2 large eggs
.5 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
2 lbs of cabbage (shredded, washed and dried in a salad spinner)
16 oz of tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes
Locatelli Romano Cheese for serving

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients by hand in a large bowl and set aside. Grease a 13x9 inch glass pan.
2. Spread 1/2 the cabbage on the bottom of the pan and follow with 1/2 the meat mixture.  Repeat and spread the tomato sauce over top the cassarole.
3.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour. Plate, top with cheese and enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Few 30 Minute Meals: Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Thai Chicken Stir Fry, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Organic Spinach and Red Quinoa & French Lentil Soup with Sausage

Why does the cold weather make me crave Chinese take-out?  Is the thought of getting up from my cozy spot on the couch that irritating?  Yes, the truth is that the winter months make me feel completely inert which is usually bad for my waist and my wallet.
 Recently, I discovered a solution.  Since I seem to be much more lazy after dark, I cook dinner before the sun sets(usually between 4pm...just after I pick the kids up from school...and 5).  What occurs when we eat early are two very important things.  First, the kids are able to concentrate on home work.  If you've ever been hungry during an exam or while working on a project at work you understand the importance of feeding your belly so it may feed your brain.  The next thing that occurs if I cook early is that I am far less likely to succumb to the convenience of a take-out meal. So my tip this week is, cook early!  What if, like so many Americans, you happen to be at work till well past 5 every weekday?  The answer is quite simple really, all you do then is select meals that take under an hour to prepare or prepare your meals days in advance so that you can reheat and eat. Here are some 30 minute meals that you can prepare either straight after work or a few days ahead.  If you're interested in sharing your favorite 30 minute meal ideas leave a comment below! 

                Swiss Card, Broccoli, Thai Chicken Stir Fry

* Note: This recipe is a variation of a recipe that can be found on the Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste bottle.  I haven't reinvented anything, just used the simple principle of waste-not, want-not to create a yummy and easy meal.  

For this simple and versatile recipe, add any veggies you have on hand. I just happened to have some beautiful Organic Swiss Card I had picked up at Ward's early in the week that was starting to wilt and a bit of broccoli that was about to turn.  Also, any meat you select is fine too. I had some poached  chicken breast handy which made this dish a fast and easy dinner to put together.  So here's what you'll need...

1 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
1 large minced yellow onion 
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
3-4 cups of cut veggies(in this case,  Swiss Card and Broccoli)
1 lb of poached chicken breast, cubed 
2 tbsp of red chili paste
1 tbsp of brown sugar, agave, honey or brown rice syrup
2 tbsp of fish sauce

4 cups of brown rice for serving

1. Saute onions in coconut oil for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cook down for 1 more minute.  Throw in protein, veggies, red chili paste, sugar and fish sauce and cook for 5 minutes on med heat.  Serve over brown rice and enjoy!

     Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Organic Spinach &                                                      Red Quinoa

*Note: While having lunch with my friend Inge a few weeks ago, I gave into an impulse and stole this recipe from her copy of last month's issue of Cooking Light.  I did not tear up her magazine to take the recipe, I simply googled it and took it off have to admit that I have made a few improvements on the eliminating the rice and replacing the starch with quinoa.  I've also added spinach to the soup.  I hope you enjoy it and send me some of your favorite modified stolen recipes! Remember, as is written in the big book, "There is nothing new under the sun", so relax..take a little and give a lot!

3-4 tbsp olive or coconut oil 
1 large organic yellow onion
 3 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup red quinoa
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice(roughly, the juice of one large lemon)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp corn starch

1 lb poached chicken breast , coarsely chopped
8-12 oz organic spinach

 1.  Heat soup pot over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Add Chicken Stock; bring to a boil.

2. Stir in quinoa; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Slowly pour egg into broth mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.

3. Add chicken to broth mixture; cook until mixture thickens and rice is done (about 3 minutes). Turn off the heat, add spinach and stir till slightly wilted and serve.

                           French Lentil Soup with Sausage 

 *This is a variation of a recipe that I swiped from Ina's book Barefoot in Paris...thanks Ina!

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
3 tablespoon minced garlic (6 large cloves)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
1 pound fresh sausage, casing removed and crumbled  
1 pound French green lentils (Organic Green Lentils can be found in the bulk section of your favorite health food store)
3 quarts chicken broth or 1-2 bouillon cubes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
8 oz of fresh organic spinach
 Freshly grated Romano, for serving

1. Coat soup pot with oil,  add the next 6 ingredients(stopping at cumin) and saute for 5 minutes.  Next add celery, carrots and sausage and saute for another 5-10minutes or until sausage no longer appears to be pink.

2. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the red wine, spinach and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

4 Tasty Recipes To Help You Detox From Your Holiday Hedonism

Confession: I ate like a horse this holiday season. Too many sweet treats, way too much meat and enough raw oysters to choke a small cow.  While it was fun in the moment, I'm certainly paying the price now.  I'm afraid of my skinny jeans and my scale makes me want to curl up and cry.  To make matters worse, since it's birthday party season at my house and birthday cake is my kryptonite, I'll be in purgatory for the next 5 weeks baking cakes I can't sample...seriously masochistic.

There is one bright spot in all of this holiday regret, I get to set some new goals and kick some butt doing it. My food choices are also a silver lining. I have assembled a menu that will make your day(and mine) a bit brighter.  Here are your seriously tasty food options for the week. Again, no flogging yourself for being naughty over the holidays.  Just step up and start taking control of your body, 'cause before you know it we'll be embarking on swimsuit season and no one wants to be the fatty on the beach. 

Here we go, your back to basics weekly menu:

Easy Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Home-Made Salsa and Fresh Farmer's Cheese 

Pork Tenderloin

pork tenderloin (trimmed)
salt (1.5 tsp)
pepper(1 tsp)

  Home-made Pinto Beans

2 cups of dried pinto beans
5-6  cups of water
1/4 c canola oil
2 large yellow onions
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic, minced

Fresh Salsa

3 ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
salt and ground pepper

Other Ingredients:

gluten-free soft taco shells
fresh shredded farmer's cheese
sour cream
hot sauce

1. Preheat oven top 350.  Trim and rub down pork with salt and pepper.  In a cast iron skillet, sear pork on all sides.  Transfer pork to the oven for at 30 minutes.  Remove and let rest for 15 minutes prior to slicing.

2. Sort through beans and discard any stones.  Rinse beans, place in a pressure cooker and cover with 5 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil, cover pressure cooker with locking lid and cook pinto beans down for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat canola oil and add onions cooking down until slightly brown(10 minutes).  Add garlic and saute for another minute. When beans are done boiling, run pressure cooker under cold water until the over pressure plug falls and the pot lets out a hiss. Remove top, add sauteed onions and garlic to pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes(without the lid).  Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes before mashing with a potato masher or blending into a thick puree with a hand-held blender.

3.  Finally, combine tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, salt, lime juice and pepper in a bowl and let chill in fridge for 20 minutes.  Grate farmer's cheese and place in a bowl.  Heat soft gluten-free tortillas on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and assemble tacos. 

  Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Naturally Sweet Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Garlicky Kale Salad

Crab Cakes

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup minced red onion
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons tarragon
4 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound Jumbo Lump Crab Meat
2 cups breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs are preferable),* divided

2 tablespoons (or more) butter
2 tablespoons (or more) grapeseed oil

1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add crab meat and half of the breadcrumbs and set aside. 
2. Place remaining breadcrumbs in a deep plate, oil hands, form crab mixture into patties,  press  both sides of patties into breadcrumbs and set on a wax paper lined plate or baking sheet.  Meanwhile, heat skillet to medium and add grapeseed oil and butter. 
3. Brown patties in butter and oil for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Plate with a wedge of lemon on the side and serve immediately.  

Naturally Sweet Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 stick butter or 2 tbsp coconut oil (for vegan sweet potatoes)
1 banana, sliced
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 cup chicken stock(or veggie stock for vegan sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper 

1. Boil potatoes until tender, drain and set aside in colander.
2. Return the pot to the stove top over medium heat. Add butter and bananas to the pot. Cook bananas down for 3 minutes and add the juice of 1 orange to the pot, reserve the zest. Allow the juice to cook out, 1 minute.
3. Add potatoes to the with the stock and sugar. Mash potatoes, banana, stock and sugar together until well combined. Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and orange zest, to your taste. Mash again to combine spices and serve. 

Garlicky Kale Salad 

  • 1/2 bunch raw kale, washed, de-stemmed and dried
  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar (or water)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T Bragg’s liquid aminos (tamari or soy sauce would work too)
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (1 – 2 cloves of garlic)
  • sesame seeds, to taste as garish (optional)
  1. Break or cut kale into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. Puree all ingredients except kale and sesame seeds in a blender or food processor to blend the dressing.
  3. Pour dressing over kale and massage into the kale with your hands until all pieces of kale are coated.
  4. Let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour or so to marinate. You can skip this step if you need to eat right away, but allowing some time to marinate will wilt the kale a bit and make it a little more palatable – particularly for those who are skeptical of eating raw kale.
  5. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds before serving if so desired.
Recipe can also be found at:

    Vietnamese Baby Bok Choy and Ground Pork Stir-Fry

1 lb (approx. - it's very loose) ground pork
3 - 4 cups bok choy, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup collards or kale (or other greens if you have), sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, crushed
5 heaping tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 tbsp Soy Sauce or Tamari
1 tsp Sriracha (optional)

1. Heat Wok or cast iron skillet over med/high heat, turn the heat down to medium, add in some oil (about 2 - 3 tbsp) and throw in onion, green of choice and bok choy.
2. Stir frequently for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the garlic and the ginger.  Continue to stir frequently for about 2 minutes.  Add in the ground pork and cook together with the veggies for about 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat.
3.  Add the soy sauce and Sriracha and adjust seasonings to suite your taste. Serve over brown rice.

     Creamy Green Lentil, Red Quinoa and Organic Kale Soup

Note: Please do spring for the organic ingredients for this makes a world of difference in terms of the flavor and nutritional value of the soup.  My children especially enjoyed this soup which delighted me.  I hope you also enjoy this nutritious and filling potage.

1/2 cup organic green lentils
1/2 cup organic red quinoa (I like to use half-and-half)
1/2-1 whole organic medium onion, finely chopped
4 tbs Olive Oil
1 medium bunch organic lacanto kale
6 cups of water

1 tsp cumin, heaping
1 tsp curry Powder
2 tbsp chicken or veggie powder or 1 cube chicken or veggie bouillon
3 tbs tahini
2 tbs tamari or soy sauce
5 x 3 inch strip of organic sea kelp, minced(optional)  

1. Wash kale and tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, and add quinoa and lentils. Sautee for 2 minutes, add spices, minced kelp and kale. Mix well. Add water and bouillon powder or cube and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Carefully blend soup in the pot with a hand blender. Add soy sauce or tamari to taste.  For a garnish, mix 1-2 tbs of tahini with a small amount of water until it becomes smooth. Drizzle on top of the soup and serve.