Monday, May 24, 2010

Flavors of Forysth!

Congratulations to the event planners for the First Annual Flavors of Forsyth! Over 10,000 "Forsyth-ens" enjoyed over 30 restaurants, fun entertainment and crafts at the fun festival last Thursday. The event, held at the attractive open-air Avenues of Forysth, benefited the United Way of Forsyth. I had the pleasure of being one of the judges for the cooking competition - and what a job I had! Almost 40 different entries from appetizers to desserts. (Check out the wowza pie platter in front of us in the photo.) We managed to pick 4 winners from the 4 categories - but it was a tough job. Bre, Amy, Mark and I achieved at least a taste from every single beautiful plate - sighing over the fact we couldn't finish.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saint Joseph’s Heart Day for Women

Last Saturday, some caring folks from Saint Joseph’s Hospital’s Heart Center for Women held a wonderful event at Saint Joseph’s Mercy Services downtown. Free cardiac screening and lots of great information for participants – including yoga, nutritional counseling, a fun Zumba class and a cooking class from yours truly. I am passing on a recipe from the class for an easy and power-nutrient-packed summer dish that is easy to fix, and the whole family will enjoy. Try adding chopped zucchini or yellow squash during the summer when it is plentiful, or even a couple of roasted red peppers for a little zing. The Heart Center for Women located in Dunwoody provides an incredible array of services for screening and education about our hearts. You can check it out at

Summer Quinoa with Vegetables

1 (15 oz) Can Low Salt Chickpeas, Rinsed

3 TB Fresh Lemon Juice

3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided

3 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced

1 TB Cumin Seeds

2 Tsp Turmeric, divided

2 Tsp Smoked Sweet Paprika, Divided

2 Cups Water

1 Cup *Quinoa, Rinsed and Drained

2 Tsp Ground Cumin

2 Tomatoes, Seeded and Chopped Julienned

4 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced

¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Step One Combine chickpeas and lemon juice. Add 2 TB olive oil, stir in the garlic. Let the mixture marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Step Two Heat 1 TB olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add cumin seeds, 1 Tsp turmeric, 1 Tsp paprika and stir until fragrant – 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, and the quinoa Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until quinoa is done – about 15 - 20 minutes.

Step Three Stir in the ground cumin, the remaining turmeric, and paprika to the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, green onions, parsley and the chickpea mixture. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

FAST FOOD FACT Quinoa (Keen-wah), tonight. Revered by the Incas as the “mother grain” it is actually a seed from the Goosefoot plant. Sold in the U.S. only since the mid-eighties, it has a mild nutty flavor that is a great background for strong bold flavors - like smoked paprika, lemon juice and garlic. Try substituting Quinoa for Couscous in some of your recipes!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Beauty and Bubbly, Oh My!

What's better than Trish McEvoy cosmetics, tiny pink cupcakes, wonderful makeup artists and fizzy wine? Nothing! And you can see that from the gorgeous faces of the Pink Heals women who attended last Tuesday. Thanks much to fun and talented artists Wendy and Rober'!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fun in Portland at the IACP Conference

I am finally getting a chance to slow down for a moment and visit my pictures and paraphernalia from the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Conference in Portland, Oregon. Here's some of the fun pictures from the street food culture in downtown - food from around the world is eaten and enjoyed from

carts parked all over the city. Wendy, Rebecca and I stopped on Saturday afternoon for a quick snack from the incredible offerings. We ate the world: a Vietnamese Spring Roll, a Gyro from Greece and a yummy Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich, a fusion of Italian and American cuisine. To celebrate the time we had together, I am sharing an easy and delicious pesto that you can use to top a sandwich, a cracker or a bowl of steaming hot whole-wheat pasta!

Basil Mint Pesto

3 Cups Basil Leaves, Packed

1 Cup Mint Leaves, Packed

Zest of 1 Lemon

¾ Cup Toasted Walnuts

½ Cup Grated Pecorino Romano

2 Large Garlic Cloves

½ - 1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, (amount as desired)

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

In a food processor, pulse the herbs, lemons, walnuts, cheese and garlic together. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Splendid Spring Salads and Gentle Yoga

Wow! Take a look at that hand action in the salad bowl. I'd call that a real salad spinner:)

We had a great time at Cancer Wellness with Salad and Yoga. A group of graceful yogis and instructor Angela Buttimer joined me for a lunch of crisp spring salads. I'll feature more of them in a future edition of the Friday Four. Until then, here is a delicious Brown and Wild Rice Salad full of flavor, that you can make on Sunday and eat til Friday.

Greek Rice Salad

3 Cups Cooked Brown Basmati Rice (or Wlid/Brown Rice Blend)
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved or quartered
½ Cup Calamata Olives, sliced
¼ Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 Roasted Red Pepper, Chopped
*Greek Vinaigrette
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
Whole Romaine leaves or Whole Wheat Pita Pockets

Combine the rice, tomato halves, olives, feta and ½ of the vinaigrette recipe in a large bowl. Toss and check to see if more dressing is needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with whole Romaine leaves for filling, or pita pockets.

*Greek Vinaigrette
1 Garlic Clove, Grated
2 TB Red Wine Vinegar
½ Tsp Dijon Mustard
½ Tsp Honey or Agave Syrup
¼ to ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tsp Dried Oregano
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Place all the ingredients in a jar and shake. Taste for salt and pepper.
**Try it with Whole Wheat Orzo instead of the brown rice.