Thursday, June 19, 2014

Post Detox Green Chicken Soup

Why yes, it does say "post detox" in the title. Which means yes, I actually did a cleanse. I know... I am as surprised as anyone!!! I had very little faith in myself going into this whole thing, but I actually made it through and I feel absolutely amazing! I started out doing a three day cleanse though Pressed Juices and loved it so much that I actually added two days and did a five day cleanse! I was definitely hungry at first, especially being around food non stop. Cooking and cleansing is tough to say the least, but it was totally worth it. 

This soup is perfect for coming off of a cleanse! Orrrr just because soup is delicious. It's super healthy, packed with immunity boosting greens and lean chicken breast. I made a huge batch of it so that it would be ready when I was done my cleanse and so that I would have extras to freeze for the next time I wake up with a sniffle in my nose.





POST-DETOX CHICKEN SOUP
Recipe from Chalkboardmag.com

Ingredients:

For the soup:

½ bunch kale (washed, stem removed and leaves shredded)
½ bunch swiss chard (washed and shred leaves only. Keep stems)
1/2 leek (mostly white part, washed very well and sliced into strips)
2 cups green cabbage (shredded)
2 stalks of celery (washed and slivered)
6 cups fortified chicken stock (regular chicken stock, reduced to ½ its volume)
couple minced cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste

To simmer the chicken:
2 chicken breast (bone-in for more flavor)
2 carrots (peeled and cut into thick slices)
2 stalk celery (washed and cut into big slices)
Swiss Chard (sliced stems)
½ cup leek (washed and sliced)
½ cup Spanish onion (cut into chunks)
cold water- to cover chicken and veg


Method:

For the Chicken:

Add all the ingredients in stockpot and cover with cold water. Start on high until it comes to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and let the chicken cook for 25 minutes.

Remove chicken from pot and chill until cool enough to handle with hands. Pull chicken into shreds. I saved the stock for the soup... I just reduced it by half so that it was much more flavorful.

For the Soup:

Place all the shredded greens and garlic into a separate pot. Cover with fortified chicken stock and cook at medium high heat, until it begins to boil (you won’t see it very well, as the greens will cover the broth). The greens will soon cook down and diminish in size. Let soup simmer slowly for 10 more minutes. Stir in shredded chicken breast and cook for 1 or 2 more minutes. Adjust seasoning. I like to keep it low in salt after co ming out of detox.




Thursday, June 12, 2014

Homemade Peanut Granola Bars

I love cooking. I know, SURPRISE!! You never could have guessed it, right? But I really, really do. I just love to cook. You see, cooking is the thing that I can do no matter what mood I am in and it finds a way to make my day or the circumstances around me even better. Sometimes I am in the best BEST mood and having friends over for a dinner party is the absolute most fun. Sometimes when I am sick, getting in the kitchen and baking a cake makes me feel a bit less sniffly and miserable. And on this certain occasion, when my hubby has just left me as the sole caretaker of four scruffy mutts for the next three weeks while he is in Portland working, cooking completely turns my frown upside down. Well, maybe not completely upside down, but things are starting to look up!

There is just something so soothing about taking simple, lonely ingredients and creating something wonderful with them. Richard takes words and turns them into stories... and I? Well, I take nuts and raisins and turn them into granola bars!

Ok. These energy bars are really good. Like, really really good. They are protein packed, contain all natural ingredients, don't require any baking, and best of all, they only take about 15 minutes to prepare. They are perfect for on the go snacks or for a quick breakfast!


Homemade Peanut Energy Bars



Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels or other chopped nuts (such as walnuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups raisins or other dried fruit
2 cups quinoa flakes or rolled oats
2 cups toasted rice cereal
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey (or light corn syrup)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The great thing about this recipe? You can substitute whatever you want for whatever you want! Switch out the honey for maple syrup, the rice cereal for cherrios, leave out the coconut, add some hemp seed, or ground flax seed... you get it. Get creative, you can't mess these up!

Method:
Coat a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray. I used coconut oil spray.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, and peanut butter. Microwave for two minutes until melted and bubbly. Stir in the vanilla extract and pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and toss to coat.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Press down firmly. Let stand for about an hour before cutting into bars. I store the bars in the freezer because the recipe makes quite a few!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Banana Bread with Fresh Figs

It's very rare for me to meet a carb that I don't thoroughly enjoy. Who am I kidding... I have NEVER met a carb that I don't love! Pasta, breads, baked goods.... bring it. That is why me going on a no carb diet is very very disheartening. But, it is summertime and sometimes these things must be done because bikinis must be worn.

The upside? Lots of healthy carb free recipes coming your way. 

The downside. Well, everything that has to do with me and my own quality of life. 

Sigh. But, since I will not be starting this nonsense until Friday, I figured I would squeeze a couple more mouthwatering, carb filled recipes in!

I loveeeee banana bread. A bread with fruit in it? Love it, love it, love it! I also love figs, though I rarely know what on earth to do with them! This recipe is great because the figs not only compliment the flavor of the bananas, but they also add a great texture to the bread and when paired with the coconut oil, keep it incredibly moist! 





Ingredients:
3 very ripe mashed bananas 
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ripe figs, quartered and mashed
6 ripe figs, chopped
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour



Method:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas, mashed figs, melted coconut oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix well and then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. 

In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour. 

Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, mixing until just combined. Then, fold in the chopped figs, mixing very gently so that they do not get broken down. 

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45- 50 minutes. 

Let cool before slicing. 




Friday, June 6, 2014

Buttermilk Baked Doughnuts

Happy doughnut day! (Yes, that is actually a day....)

I made classic glazed doughnuts a while back (recipe HERE) and while they were super fun to make, I decided that I am actually much more of a baked doughnut fan. They are a bit healthier (around 150 calories!), and much less time consuming to make. So, in honor of doughnut day, get baking! 



Cinnamon and Sugar Buttermilk Baked Doughnuts


Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup all purpose flour flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Topping:
Equal parts cinnamon and sugar


Method:
Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly coat a doughnut pan with cooking spray.
Combine flours and ingredients through salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Combine buttermilk, eggs, honey, butter, and vanilla, stirring well with a whisk. 
Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; whisk just until combined. 
Spoon batter into doughnut pans, filling two thirds full. 
Bake in middle of oven until doughnuts spring back when touched and are golden on bottom (about 8 minutes). 
Let cool in pan slightly, about 4 minutes, and then remove doughnuts carefully from the pan. 
While the doughnuts are still warm, roll them in cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat.



Pan Roasted Halibut with Blue Crab, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Horseradish Creme Fraiche

For my birthday last week (happy 21st birthday to me!), Marco, gifted me the new A.O.C. cookbook by Suzanne Goin . I find it funny that all of the men in my life buy me cookbooks... I wonder what they're trying to say?! Without surprise, the new A.O.C. cookbook is amazing. It's focused on seasonal dishes that all have that amazing Suzanne Goin touch and I seriously want to make every single dish in it... so I think I will! Annnnd since Marco and I have birthdays only 5 days apart, it was pretty easy to find an occasion for such a feast....


With such fantastic culinary inspiration, what better reason to kick off dining al fresco on the veranda than my best friends birthday dinner?! Dining outside is one of my favorite things in the world. There is something truly special and romantic about watching the sunset, eating good food, drinking good wine an breathing the fresh summer air (or whatever air it is we breath here in Los Angeles). I just love it. And since Marco is also one of my favorite things (people) in the world, I got this ginger (blonde) bum in the kitchen (um... yeah, just kitchen) and got to work. And I prepared a pretty perfect summer menu, if I do say so myself. We started dinner with a butter lettuce salad with grapefruits, avocado, shallots, and pistachios (Rich hates salad with fruit and he said it was one of his favorite salads EVER). For the main course, I prepared a pan roasted halibut with blue crab, heirloom tomatoes, and horseradish creme fraiche. It was so simple, but yummy! Light, fresh, and full of flavor! And for dessert I made a cantaloupe sorbet (Sorry Rich, he hates melon). But if you love melon, you love sorbet, and you love fun, you can find the recipe HERE!)


Pan Roasted Halibut with Blue Crab, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Horseradish Creme Fraiche


Ingredients:
6 filets of halibut, 5-6 ounces each
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
4 tablespoons fresh parley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon shallot, finely diced
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound blue crab meat, steamed and picked over***
3/4 cup creme fraiche (sour cream or plain greek yogurt can be substituted if you must)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
1 bunch of arugula
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

***I could not find blue crab meat anywhere, so I just bought king crab legs and used the meat from those. I am not a big seafood person, so I am not sure what the difference is, but I will tell you, the king crab was delicious!

Also, for three people, I cut this recipe in half. 

Method:
Season the halibut with the lemon zest, thyme, and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night. If you are familiar with Suzanne Goin's recipes, almost everything she makes needs to be marinated for at least this long, so PLAN AHEAD!

Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

Place the shallot, both vinegars, and salt and pepper into a small bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.

In another small bowl, toss the crab meat (gently) with one tablespoon of creme fraiche, the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Taste for balance and seasoning... the crab meat may or may not need to be salted.

Combine the remaining creme fraiche, (yes, in ANOTHER bowl) horseradish, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a little pepper.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and carefully lay the fish in the pan. It will smoke, but do not move the fish. Cook 3-4 minutes, until browned. Turn the fish over, lower the heat to medium low, and cook for a few more minutes until just cooked through. Do not overcook the fish. It will continue cooking when you remove it from the heat and will be flakey and opaque in the center when it is done.

While the fish is cooking, arrange the sliced heirloom tomatoes and arugula on large dinner plates. Spoon the vinaigrette over the tomatoes and arugula. Place the halibut in the center, arrange spoonfuls of crab on top of the fish. Dollop each fillet with a heaping spoonful of horseradish creme fraiche (you could seriously put the horseradish creme fraich on a shoe- it is so delicious, so don't be stingy!)

Enjoy!



annnnnd HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARCO!