Monday, October 31, 2011


grilled red onions

tonight the perfect meal / baked sweet potato, grilled cajun red onions and spinach bites


red onions, peeled and sliced
olive oil, 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. crab boil
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce


Simmer the ingredients for 5 minutes.  Brush generously over the grilling onion slices.  Repeat witht he other side. 

Missing an ingredient?  It won't matter, you can't mess this one up.


mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl

roll into balls and place on parchment topped cookie sheet

baked sweet potato, spinach bites and grilled Cajun onions


2 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
2 cups seasoned bread stuffing (Pepperidge Farm)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. olive oil
6 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper  and garlic powder to taste


Cook spinach according to directions on pkg.  Drain well.

Mix all in the order given.

Shape into bite size balls.

Place on greased cooking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.

These can be cooked then frozen and reheated when needed.  I freeze these on a cookie sheet then drop them into a freezer bag. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011


See full size image

Which of these egg-certification seals claiming humane treatment is the only one to guarantee the hens were allowed outdoors?

a.  American Humane Certified

b.  Animal Welfare Approved

c.  Certified Humane

scroll down for the answer

The answer is B

  -  The Animal Welfare Approved  (source:  "The Morally Informed Consumer: Examining Animal Welfare Claims on Egg Labels,"  in Temple Journal of Science, Technology & Environmental Law)


so easy so good / do I dare admit I eat an entire head?

All you need for this recipe is 1 head (I use 2) of cauliflower and olive oil.  I use nothing else.

Cut up cauliflower into flowerettes.  Heat some olive oil in a large pot.  Add cauliflower and put the lid on.  Cook low until the cauliflower turns brown, darker in some areas.  Stir every once in awhile.  Cauliflower will be soft and browned. 

This is so tasty, I don't even add salt.  If you're looking for something to enhance the flavor, try coriander.
Cauliflower does NOT need a fattening cheese sauce!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The First Food Day has been set for this coming Monday in the hopes of promoting healthier eating in the United States.  This is the latest effort by the Center for Science to help educate the public.  Check your area for many local events being held.

Meanwhile, in the interest of educating, a list of the 10 worst and best foods have been published.  Check them out.

one example from the worst food choice list

"People don’t expect light desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. If it weren’t served on its side, this one would stand over six inches tall. And upright or not, the slab of cake still weighs in at three-quarters of a pound. What do you get for all that heft? Just 1,760 calories and 2½ days’ worth of saturated fat (50 grams), mostly from chocolate, sugar, cream, white flour, and butter."

SCORE YOUR DIET, take this quiz:

Nutrition Action Healthletter is a wonderful newsletter that keeps the public informed with the latest safety and nutrition news.  Check it out:

Monday, October 17, 2011

SHUCKING CORN / does this work?

I'm not a big fan of the microwave BUT wonder if anyone has ever tried this method of shucking corn.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I started this recipe with fresh picked green from my garden.

collards in an earth box

Swiss chard / earth box


large bowl of mixed greens (I used Swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, collards), cut off bottoms, soak,  spin dry, rough cut
olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt & pepper
1 can white beans, drain and rinse
1/2 box whole wheat pasta, cook and reserve 1 cup of the water
1 lemon, zest only

rough cut mixed greens

garlic and red pepper flakes saute in olive oil


In a small amount of oil, saute the garlic and red pepper flakes. 

Add the greens, turn the heat up a bit.  Season with salt and pepper.

When the greens start to wilt, add the beans.  Continue to cook and wilt the greens, add some of the pasta water, the cooked pasta and the lemon zest.

Adjust the seasoning.

Garnish with toasted pine nuts and serve with Parmesan cheese.

a quick throw together meal

the typical version of this recipe calls for 2 bunches of escerole

Saturday, October 15, 2011


a little goes a long way


1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 dash ground cloves, optional
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Combine molasses, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves with 1 cup water in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, and boil 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract.

Store in a jar or bowl.

To make a gingersnap latte, spoon 1 to 2 Tbsp of this syrup into a mug, add 6 ounces of coffee or 2 shots of espresso, and top with 1/4 cup frothed milk.

Make frothed milk without a fancy machine:

Friday, October 14, 2011


I'm home recovering from gum surgery; lots of food restrictions, what to eat without compromising good nutrition?

make this soup in 20 minutes


1 (16 oz) bunch asparagus, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 medium onion, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp arrowroot
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley


Bring asparagus, broth, peas, onion, salt and 2 1/2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Transfer to food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. 

Mix the oil and arrowroot (or make the standard roux with flour and butter over a flame) and then place in a pan to heat and cook together 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Add pureed soup mixture and cook over medium-low heat until soup is thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve sprinkled with parsley ( I just add it to the soup).


I know, I know, I'm totally out of control.  Can't help but owning them all, gives such variety to cooking.   I'm a spice snob.  Check out Penzey's for the best. 

Their last catalog was quite impressive; featured more vegetarian recipes than ever.  Recently they've dropped the selling of their sea salts, creating more and more spice blends to flavor without the addition of salt, following the healthier trend.

Some of my tried and true absolute favorite staples are:  Maharajah Curry Powder, Fajita Seasoning, Paprika Smoked Spanish Style, Smoky Seasoned Salt, Tellicherry Coarse Grind Black Pepper, Mignonette Pepper, Shallot-Pepper and Country French Vinaigrette (dressing base).

Monday, October 10, 2011


I found this listed via the net and thought it would make the ideal gift for the real "foodies" in our lives.  It's particularly perfect for those of us that love scrabble - yes, that might mean YOU Barb R. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Sponsored by US Foodservice, the Charleston Iron Chef Competition was a showcase of some of the best local chefs in a heated head-to-head battle.  What a fun evening!  I was fortunate enough to have reserved seating in the Culinary Institute of Charleston's state-of-the-art kitchen. 

This charity driven event is a part of the weekend festivities,  Taste of Charleston, supported by Southern Living magazine.  All tickets included hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer.  The food was fabulous.  I was amazed that so many people had traveled to South Carolina specifically to attend this event.  This is a "don't miss" event, I'll be there again next year.

preparing the "living" cake

smile and prepare to stand for 5 hours

one of many delicious appetizers, red bean cake

sampling of food prepared during the competition

the most amazing kitchen

Chefs Matthew Neissner of Halls Chophouse and 82 Queen's Steven Lusby take home the trophy

competitors were Tomelex Copeland of Red's Icehouse and Pearlz Oyster Bar's Victoria Neikirk


toss with the ingredients and place on the grill


4 heads of baby bok choy  ( I made the super size Costco pkg, whole thing)
1 orange, squeezed
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used blood orange olive oil)
garlic powder
2 Tbsp fresh herbs of your choosing, such as dill or sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar


Slice heads of baby bok choy in half length-wise (leaves to stems).  Soak in cool water for 10 minutes to perk them up and remove any grit hidden inside.

Drain and pat dry the bok choy.  Slice off upper dark green parts of the leaves from the lighter heads (save for making soup).

Toss all together in a large bowl.  Place the veggies, cut side up on the grill.  Cover and grill for 5 to 8 minutes.  There should be a nice golden color starting to appear.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar over cut sides of the heads.  Cover again for 5 minutes.  Remove from grill when fork-tender.

Friday, October 7, 2011



Pam to spray baking dish
1 1/2 lbs firm not-too tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Fuji
1 large onion, sliced 3/8 inch thick and separated into rings (3/4 to 1 lb)
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups coarse bread crumbs, preferably homemade
2 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces (Earth Balance)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping layer in the baking pan.  Top with a layer of the onion rings.  Sprinkle the brown sugar and salt over the rings and top with the bread crumbs and bits of the butter.  Cover with foil and place in the oven. 

Bake for 3 hours, remove the foil, and continue baking for 30 minutes more, or until the juices are evaporated and the breadcrumb topping is browned.  Cool slightly, then serve while still hot.

This is a great holiday side-dish.

the day after with the addition of blueberries, a good breakfast /
would be a great addition to pancakes

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


starts with peeled, sliced eggplant

toast whole wheat buns

use a good feta cheese or vegan alternative


egg plant peeled and cut into 1/4 to 1/3 inch slices
olive oil
salt & pepper
toasted whole wheat rolls
mayo or veganaise mixed with parsley flakes and garlic powder
red onion, finely cut slices


Place eggplant slices on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove eggplant, from the oven.

 Generously spread the  mayo mixture on both sides of bun.

Lay several strips of egglpant on bun.

Cover with crumbled feta.

Add a layer of onions.



3 cans Chili Beans, mild, called  for in this soup


1 bag soy crumbles
2 medium onions
3 cans mild chili beans, undrained
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
8 oz jar salsa
1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix
2 1/2 cup water


In a little veggie stock, brown the soy crumbles and onions with a bit of salt.

Add all of the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, put the lid on and reduce to a simmer and cook 45 min to 1 hr. 

perk up a chilly day with good hot taco soup

Soup can be served with shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese substitute), fresh cilantro, sour cream, lime wedges, etc.

I topped mine with a small amount of feta cheese.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


clean in bowl with oil and seasonings


about 1/2 lb. of small, whole okra, top stem removed
2 Tbsp oil
garlic powder
smoky seasoned salt
coarse black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.


Start with the smallest okra you can find. ( I just pick them early!)  Larger okra tends to be woody, which wouldn't work in this recipe.

Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drizzle the oil over the okra and mix.  Season generously with the spices and toss again.  Place these onto the parchment paper.

Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until okra is browned on all sides, about 15 minutes.  Serve hot out of the oven.

note:  These are great served like this OR with just salt and pepper, which allows the fresh flavor of the okra to shine through.  You can also try using your favorite spice blends: garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, Creole or jerk can't go wrong with this recipe.

spiced up and ready to roast

makes a great appetizer OR side dish; serve with ketchup

Monday, October 3, 2011


my lovely butter holder now makes the perfect implement for roasting garlic

Cut the tops off of the garlic.  Pour over some olive oil, a couple of tablespoons.
Season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.  You'll smell it!!!

I love this served with bread OR crackers, appetizer or snack.  I also use the cloves in recipes, most recently in my steamed eggplant (posting soon). 

scoop the cloves out and spread on bread or cracker or use in recipes


the 3 key ingredients to this recipe

roasted eggplant is scraped with a spoon to remove the pulp

preheat oven to 400 degrees


4-6 eggplants, wash and pierce with a fork
rice vinegar
tamari or other soy sauce
sesame oil
salt & pepper
roasted garlic (opt)  see prior post


Roast the eggplant, cool about 20 minutes.  Slit the eggplant lengthwise and scoop the insides with a spoon, down to the skin.  Discard skin.

Chop all of the eggplant pulp.  Put in a serving dish.  Season with salt and pepper and roasted garlic if you've made some.  Sprinkle over some sesame oil, tamari and rice vinegar.  Taste to adjust the seasonings.

I LOVE this served over brown rice.

flavored steamed eggplant

sauteed eggplant recipe served over brown rice

Sunday, October 2, 2011


start with this Goya mix, 16 bean soup mix


Goya 16 bean soup mix
small amount of veggie broth (instead of oil)
2 medium onions
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
vegetable stock, about 5 cups
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste

10 collard leaves, shredded
1 recipe of dough balls


Follow the directions on the bag of beans.  Either soak overnight or use the directions for the hot water and boiling method.  Drain and rinse the beans.

In a small amount of veggie broth (this is in lieu of oil), saute the onion.  When it starts to soften, add the carrots and celery and continue to cook with a bit of salt. 

Add the drained beans, stock,  bay leaf, liquid smoke, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for at least 1 hr. or until the beans are tender. 

Add the collards and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Make the dough balls and drop in the simmering liquid.  After all have been dropped in, simmer an additional 2 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.  Soup is ready to serve.  (it's sooooo much better left over)


In a bowl, beat 2 eggs.  To the eggs add some salt and about 1 Tbsp. melted butter.  Mix.

To this mixture slowly mix in the flour, large spoonful at a time.  Keep blending till the  mixture resembles a wet thick cake batter. 

Dip a teaspoon into the hot simmering soup.  Take a bit of the dough mixture and place it in the hot liquid.  Continue until all the batter is used.  Keep the amount of batter small since these swell up when cooking.

The dough will sink to the bottom then rise when cooked.  After all have been put into the soup, continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes.

spooning the dough balls into the soup mixture

a large pot of hearty soup

served up