Quinoa & Black Bean Confetti Salad

Quinoa Black Bean SaladIt’s not easy to love a minimum wage job at a mall. But, I loved my part-time job at Pasta & Co. In the 80’s, fresh pasta was a retail novelty. While Pasta & Co was one of Seattle’s first retailers to offer fresh pasta, it was their specialty sauces and prepared foods which captured my imagination. The owner, Marcella Rosene put a creative twist on everything in that store, from selecting unique and defining recipe ingredients, such as black sesame oil to her beautifully hand scripted product labels. In her stores, something as simple as croutons were memorable. Pasta & Co. The Cookbook, the first cookbook I ever bought myself, is still with me today, dog-eared and splattered. The book is now out of print. But, I noticed a few new copies available on Amazon for $215! Continue reading “Quinoa & Black Bean Confetti Salad” »

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

Cauliflower-Yam Pizza Crust

Pectin makes cauliflower quite the chameleon, disguising itself as ‘mashed potatoes’, ‘rice’ or even ‘steaks’. But, when I kept reading about cauliflower pizza crust, my reaction was ‘I don’t think so’. That is, until I read friend and colleague, Michelle Babb’s version in Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy’. Trying this recipe set me on a quest to find the ultimate cauliflower crust. If you are curious, skeptical or intrigued about cauliflower pizza crusts, let me save you a lot of time. This is the best one I’ve tried yet. But, stay tuned as I’m on a mission to find a cauliflower pizza crust recipe for a variety of dietary preferences. Let it be said. Let it be done.  Continue reading “Cauliflower Sweet Potato Pizza Crust” »

Mom: Cook, Nourish, Repeat.

Today we honor mothers and all they do. As a food blogger and dietitian, I’m grateful that my mother passed on her passion for nutrition and cooking to me. Starting at a very early age, simple food-related tasks, such as going to the grocery store with her, were treasured outings. She taught me how to select certain produce… what to look for and what to avoid. She would then give me my mission, “Now go pick out 6 nice onions.” Most likely, the time coaching me in the selection process took more time than it would have to pick out the produce herself. But, I loved being her assistant -especially when it came to making pies. I would ‘help’ her role out the dough with my 6-inch child’s rolling-pin. Continue reading “Mom: Cook, Nourish, Repeat.” »

Daiya Cheese: It Melts!

Daiya Vegan CheeseIf you’ve tried dairy-free cheeses, you know delicious options exist, but few which actually melt. This can be a deal-beaker. Can you imagine nachos without melted cheese dripping, stretching and oozing across the layers? Let’s not go there. Instead, check out Daiya! Continue reading “Daiya Cheese: It Melts!” »

Jalapeño Infused Tequila

Jalapeno Infused Tequila After Two Weeks

Infuse your booze! Infusions are an inexpensive, simple way to create your own  “signature” cocktails at home. But, when a festive cocktail is in order, I think jalapeño peppers and tequila. When selecting jalapeños, look for those which are small or medium in size. The younger peppers will have much more heat than the larger, older ones, which may show signs of shrivelling. Consider starting with only 2 or 3 peppers the first time if you do not want a strong infusion.

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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

I’ve been slow to warm up to the ‘vegetable pasta’ trend. Of course, spiralized or shredded vegetables are a very healthy dietary choice. But, let’s just call them shredded or spiralized vegetables. Calling them ‘pasta’ seems a bit of a stretch, prompting disappointment by all but the most hard-core veggie eaters. But, I have learned a few tricks which are endearing me to the vegetable ‘noodle’ concept, spaghetti squash in particular.

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Quinoa Breakfast Bars

Quinoa Breakfast BarsHave a love-hate relationship with breakfast? The earlier the alarm sounds and the greater the rush, the more tempting it is to skip it. But, research shows the importance of “breaking the fast” for better energy, cardiovascular health, weight control and healthier food choices throughout the day [1][2]. Quinoa Breakfast Bars to the rescue. These gluten-free, protein-packed and only slightly sweetened bars are a healthy, grab-and-go breakfast or snack item. This recipe is not only easy, but endlessly customizable, or what I call a “kitchen sink” recipe. Dried, fresh or frozen fruit, coconut, seeds, nuts… throw them all into the mix! You can’t go to wrong, as long as you don’t add so many extras that the mixture is as dense as wet concrete. These bars can be made ahead and last for days in the refrigerator. Try the Vegan Quinoa Bars as well! Continue reading “Quinoa Breakfast Bars” »

Hudson Valley Weekend

Culinary Institute of America

Photo credit: Culinary Institute of America

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Henry Hudson and his explorations were my only association  with the Hudson Valley. But, as a New Yorker (going on eight years -is it official yet?) I now realize why the 150-mile stretch above Manhattan is revered for more than its epic place in history and a verdant New York City escape. It is also a culinary mecca, considered by many to be the ‘Napa of the East’ as quoted in CIA alum, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. In fact, National Geographic Traveler proclaimed the region as ‘one of the top 20 destinations in the world’ in 2013. Two words: Road trip. Continue reading “Hudson Valley Weekend” »

Lentil and Spinach Stew with Roasted Garlic

Lentil Stew

Lentil soups are known for being both comforting and simple. These terms describe this lentil stew recipe as well. That is until you add the final additions. Roasted garlic and balsamic vinaigrette transform plain-Jane legumes into a dinner party-worthy dish. As my mother would say “hold the phone”! This is my new favorite lentil recipe. Continue reading “Lentil and Spinach Stew with Roasted Garlic” »

How to Clean and Prepare Leeks

How to Clean LeeksLeeks are not a mainstay of American cooking. Mellow in flavor and known for their subtlety, leeks are overshadowed by onions and garlic, their more assertive cousins. But, perhaps there is more to their underutilization than their demure nature. They can seem like a bit of effort. Grown in sandy soil, leeks require very thorough cleaning. But, according to David Lebovitz, culinary American-in-Paris, it is worth the effort to cook with leeks and break out of the onion routine.

“They do require a bit more preparation, but you don’t have to deal with those papery skins flying all over your kitchen, which I think is a pretty decent trade-off.”

David Lebovitz

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