Friday, September 3, 2010

Green Rice!

I had Green Rice the first time at a small restaurant in New York that specialized in cooking with herbs and spices. It was delicious, and determined to make mine taste as good, I developed this recipe. I substitute half of the cilantro with spinach - which makes it good-for-you as well! Here's the recipe so you can enjoy it, too.

Green Rice
1/2 Cup Tightly Packed Fresh Cilantro
1 Cup Tightly Packed Baby Spinach Leaves
1 1/4 Cups Light Chicken Broth or Veg Broth
1 1/4 Cups Skim Milk
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 TB Olive Oil
3 TB Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Cups Basmati or other Long Grained Rice
1/4 Cup Minced Onion
1 Garlic Clove, Grated
Step One
Put the cilantro, spinach, and broth in a blender and blend until the vegetables are puréed. Add the milk and salt and blend until combined.
Step Two
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the rice and sauté, stirring, until it turns golden about, 3 to 4 minutes.
Step Three
Add the onion and cook until wilted. And the garlic and cook and stir for a minute. Add the contents of the blender, stir well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat to very low, and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir gently and keep covered until ready to serve.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dana G Smith Fund Appreciation Event

Don't you just love folks who care and support the causes they believe in?

I had the pleasure of spending an evening with the donors of the Dana G. Smith Fund last week. Buoyed along by the sincere wishes and loving gestures from the attendees, I enjoyed sharing my cancer journey as well as the food! For those who appreciated eating the appetizers as much as I liked preparing them - here are the recipes and a couple of pictures. If you are interested in learning more about The Dana G. Smith Fund, I've got some info here on it - or check out their website at:

*The Dana G. Smith Fund was created in March 2006 to assist those in their fight against cancer. Oftentimes, because of poor insurance coverage, missed work, multiple co-pays, doctor visits and travel, those battling cancer find themselves unable to pay basic bills such as rent and utilities. To date, the DGS fund, operating under the auspice of the Piedmont Hospital Foundation, has been diverse in its ability to assist those in need. It has helped with mortgage payments, rent and utilities. It has repaired vehicles for patients enabling them to transport themselves to treatment, paid COBRA insurance premiums and dental care required needed because of side effects of chemotherapy. With help from those touched by Dana, her story and her cause, the fund has lifted weight off shoulders, elevated spirits and lengthened lives.

Fresh Melon Skewers with Hoisin-Lime Dressing
6 Cups Cubed Honeydew, Cantaloupe and Watermelon
12 Bamboo Skewers
¼ Cup Lime Juice, Plus the Zest of 1 Lime
3 TB Hoisin Sauce
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 TB Chopped Fresh Mint
½ Cup Chopped Peanuts
Step One Combine the melons in a large colander. Let sit at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours. Discard liquid. Place the melons on skewers alternating each fruit.
Step Two Whisk lime juice, zest and hoisin sauce together in a small bowl to blend. Drizzle the dressing over melon skewers. Season to taste with pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro, mint, and then peanuts. Serve immediately.

Mini Crab Tostados
6 OZ Lump Crabmeat
2 Scallions, Minced
Zest and Juice of 2 Large Limes, Divided
3 TBs Minced Cilantro, Divided
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste
1/4 Cup Light Sour Cream
¼ Cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt
Chipotle Tabasco to Taste
1 Bag Tostitos Scoops
1 Ripe Avocado, Sliced Thinly and then in Hal
Step One Gently fold the crabmeat, scallions, zest and juice of 1 lime, 1 TB cilantro together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Step Two Mix together the sour cream, yogurt, the remaining lime and zest. Add the Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste.
Step Three Place a Tsp of crab salad in each Tostitos. Top each with the sour cream mixture and garnish with avocado. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Indian Spiced Nuts
4 TB Sugar, Divided
1 ½ Tsp Garam Masala
1 Tsp Cinnamon
½ Tsp Salt
1 Large Egg White
4 Cups Raw Nuts: Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, Brazil Nuts
Step One Preheat your oven to 350F. Cover a sheet tray with aluminum foil or parchment. Lightly spray with non-stick spray.
Step Two Combine 3 TB of sugar, spices and salt together in a bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add in the nuts and stir. Add the spice mixture and toss to coat.
Step Three Spread the nut mixture out in one layer on the sheet pan. Bake, stirring once, for about 15 minutes or until golden.
Step Four Remove the pan from the oven, stir the nuts to loosen them and sprinkle the remaining TB of sugar over the top.

Date and Toasted Pecan Goat Cheese Lollipops
½ Cup Chopped Dates, Pitted
1 10 OZ Log Goat Cheese, Room Temperature
4 oz Light Cream Cheese
1 Cup Toasted Chopped Pecans
24 Pretzel Sticks
Add the dates, goat cheese and 1/4 cup of the toasted pecans to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Put the remaining pecans on a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop the goat cheese and roll into small balls. Roll in the pecans to cover all sides. Place the pretzel stick in the center of each goat cheese ball and serve.

Asian Tuna Pops
½ Cup Canola Oil
2 Tsp Dark or Toasted Sesame Oil
½ Cup Soy Sauce
2 TB Dark Brown Sugar
2 Cloves Garlic, Grated
2 Tsp Grated Ginger
1 TB Dijon Mustard
2 LB Tuna Steaks, in 1x2” pieces
Chopped Cilantro
Wasabi Mayo*
Step One Whisk or Shake in a Jar, the oils, soy, sugar, garlic, ginger and mustard. Place in a zippy bag and and the tuna. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but no longer than 4 hours.
Step Two Remove the tuna from the marinade and load onto bamboo skewers. Cook on a hot, oiled grill or grill pan about 1-2 minutes or until desired doneness. Sprinkle with Cilantro and serve with Wasabi Mayo. *Wasabi Mayo is made by combining light mayo with Wasabi paste to taste.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Endless Possibilities - Kids in the Kitchen

Can you believe this food was created by kids from ages 11 - 16? Not only is it beautiful - but delicious. Chef Rosemary Rutland and I had the pleasure of tasting these treats, and many more, while judging the week-ending challenge for Camp at Cooks Warehouse. Chef Carlin Breinig leads these fun expeditions into the world of cuisine for children and teens of all ages. In just 5 days, participants go from reading recipes to creating creative meals!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rhythm and Food

What fun we had with food and music this week! Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Hospital and innovative musician Cindy Stark Reid hosted a creative workshop where participants made instruments out of food - and I used the same fruits and veggies to make lunch! Check out some of the food art and the lunch we enjoyed. And here's a beautiful and bright salad recipe that you can make in an instant and enjoy all week long:)

Spiced Carrot Salad

1 LB Carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” Slices

½ Tsp Sea Salt, or to taste

½ Tsp Teaspoon Cumin

½ Tsp Turmeric

¾ Tsp Smoked Paprika

½ Tsp Black Pepper

4 TB Olive Oil

1 Clove Garlic, Grated

2 TB Lemon Juice

2 TB Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Golden Raisins for Garnish

Step One Boil the carrots in salted water until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, and refresh with cold water.

Step Two In a medium pot or skillet, gently sauté the cumin, turmeric, paprika and black pepper in the olive oil for 2 - 3 minutes over medium heat until fragrant*. Add the garlic, and then add the carrots, lemon juice, and cilantro. Sauté over low heat for another 2-3 minutes, and remove from the heat. Garnish with golden raisins. Serve the carrots either warm or chilled.


Toasting spices in a dry pan or with oil is called “blooming”. This allows the essential oils to come to the surface of the spices and become fragrant.

When using turmeric in cooking, it’s a good idea to also add black pepper. This increases the bioavailability of the curcumin in turmeric – making it even better for you!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Corn is in Season!

This week I had the pleasure of developing recipes for a Lighter Southern Lunch to accompany a reading and book signing by my friend Amanda C. Gable. Her new book, The Confederate General Rides North has garnered her the Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel, as well as a New York Times Review! I had so much fun designing a twist on traditional Southern food - making it delicious but better eating. I have lots of recipes to share - which will be featured in upcoming issues of The Friday Four - but since it's corn season, I just had to share this recipe. No one will believe that you haven't used cream or butter!

Un-Creamed Corn

½ Cup 2% Milk
½ Cup Vegetable Stock
4 Cups Fresh Corn off the Cob, Divided
1 TB Honey or Agave Syrup
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper to Taste
Minced Basil or Mint, or Combination of Both

Step One
Combine the milk, stock, half of the corn, and 1 TB honey in the blender. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Blend until the mixture is a rough puree.

Step Two
Combine the remaining corn kernels with the corn purée in a stock pot and heat on the stovetop over medium for 5 – 10 minutes or until warm. Remove from the stove and stir in the minced herbs.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cancer Wellness Center at Piedmont Fayette Opens

If you look at our smiling faces, you will know that we were very happy last Thursday night. Just a short drive south from Atlanta, the new Cancer Wellness Center at Piedmont Fayette Hospital celebrated its VIP Grand Opening! Chef Hans and I enjoyed cooking Indian Lentil Burgers, and Spicy Honey Cumin Shrimp and Okra for the over 200 visitors. What a beautiful new center! Designed by Daniel Montanez from Harris Fritz Architects, the new center boasts a fantastic kitchen full of Wolf and Subzero Appliances, great meeting and class space and even several huge aquariums full of colorful and exotic fish. I know the cancer patients and survivors, (and thrivers) will really enjoy spending time with each other in such a beautiful place. Congratulations and much thanks to all who have played such a big part in this important cancer community venue.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Woo Hoo - Time for Watermelon

Here in the South, it’s watermelon season again. Just because watermelon is sweet, juicy and delicious doesn’t mean its just for dessert. One of my excellent cooking assistants has sent me a flavorful and unusual recipe for a watermelon salad. Thanks Bill!

Watermelon Salad with Potato Vodka Feta Dressing

1 Head Bibb or Romaine Dressing
2 Cups Seedless Watermelon cut into 1” Cubes
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
Chopped Mint Leaves for Garnish
*Potato Vodka Feta Dressing
Cover a salad plate with the lettuce. Top with the seedless watermelon and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Lightly sprinkle the smoked paprika over the dressing and garnish with the chopped mint.

*Potato Vodka Feta Dressing
1 Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Light Mayonnaise
½ Cup Loosely Packed Fresh Mint Leaves Finely Chopped
2 - 3 oz Feta Cheese
1 - 1 ½ oz of Potato Vodka.
Stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, mint and feta ingredients in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the vodka and continue stirring until the dressing becomes thick and creamy.

Recipe by Bill Thomas

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dinner Tonight - Fast and Delicious!

Just because I'm a chef doesn't mean that I don't have the same issues as everyone at dinnertime. Not enough time, ingredients in my frig and pantry. So for nights like this, I have a solution that both Mike and I love: Tortilla Pizzas. I throw whatever is available on, and we have dinner in 15 minutes. The secret is to keep your toppings simple and spare - too much and the thin tortilla won't hold it!

Tortilla Pizza

1 Large Whole Wheat Tortilla (My favorite brand is Tam-x-ico's, available in the dairy section of most grocery stores)
1 TB Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
1 Thinly Sliced *Tomato
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella, Fontina or Manchego Cheese
½ TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Julienned or Chopped Fresh Basil

Preheat the oven to 500F. Place the Tortilla on a Baking Sheet or a sheet of Aluminum Foil. (Or use a pizza stone and cook directly on the preheated stone.) Sprinkle the tortilla with the Parmesan, and place the tomato on top of it. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste. Scatter the mozzarella over this and top with a drizzle of the olive oil. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with the fresh basil. Set aside for a few minutes to cool and cut into wedges.

*If your tomato is ripe and juicy, slice it and place it on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Roll it up and let sit for about 5 minutes to remove any extra juice, before placing it on the pizza.

And to drink:

Loads of dark red juicy fruit taste and an aroma of violets and berries makes Southern Italian Sangiovese a winner with easy Tortilla Pizza. Did you know the Sangiovese grape is the same grape used for Chianti, a traditional choice for pizza and pasta? Wine Advocate Antonio Galloni gives Di Majo Norante a score of 90 points. I agree. You can find it at Cost Plus World Market for about $10 a bottle.

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.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chocolate Chile Powder

How much fun to have been in the kitchen when this spicy delight was whipped up. What a great idea - the marriage of deep dark chocolate and smoky chipotle. How to use it? This week's Friday Four Gluten Free Chocolate Chile Cake is one great idea - but the possibilities are unlimited - like this adult hot cocoa or "chocolate milk"

1 TB Cocoa Powder

1 Tsp Chocolate Chile Powder

2 TB Water

1 TB Sugar

1 Cup Milk

¼ Cup Coffee Liqueur

Whisk the cocoa powder, chocolate chile powder, water and sugar together in a small pan until smooth. Add the milk and heat to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the coffee liqueur. Serve warm or over crushed ice.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scattered, Smothered and Covered...

I betcha didn’t know there was a Waffle House Museum. A tribute to all the scattered, smothered and covered that have been eaten?

I have a fond spot in my heart for this roadside favorite, having eaten Christmas dinner there in1993. (Long story, trust me.) So, I was excited to join my fellow intrepid Atlanta Culinary Historians on a tour through the past 60 years of waffle history. The fun museum is located in the first ever Waffle House – in Avondale, Georgia, a quick drive from downtown. In 1955, the restaurant was opened by a pair of locals interested in a 24-hour restaurant. In the early years, the chain cooked everything in house except for 3 items: Post Toasties, Ketchup and Coca Cola. Today over 1400 “Good Food Fast” restaurants are open in 25 states.

The outing is fun for nostalgia fans, and great for kids, (okay, I liked the paper hats, too!). You’ll find lots of weird and wonderful info about Waffle House, like what’s the most ordered item on the Waffle House menu? No! It’s not the hash browns. It’s the T-bone steak. Who knew?

Check out my ezine, The Friday Four, for a recipe inspired by the visit. This week's Buttermilk Honey Breakfast Cake with Strawberries is a delicious bite you can enjoy on the days you don't go to Waffle House:)

Chocolate Chubby Cake

Sometimes it just has to be cake. Chocolate Cake, if you are asking my opinion. This cake is called a chubby cake – not because of its implication for our thighs – but for the coconut in the frosting that makes it round and “chubby”. My friend, Ann, the creative cook behind the original chubby recipe, claims anyone can make a cake look good when you add coconut to the frosting. She’s right! The lumpy, bumpy, crinkly coconut makes this cake a snap to frost.

I have tinkered and played around with it to make it a little lighter and a bit less chubby. Make it this weekend and share it with your family and friends.

Chocolate Chubby Cake

4 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 60% Cacao)

½ Cup Strong Black Coffee

1 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 ½ Tsp Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature

¾ Cup Sugar

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

½ Cup Natural Applesauce, (No added Sugar)

2 Large Eggs

8 Egg Whites, Divided

1 Tsp Vanilla

1 Cup Light Buttermilk

Dark Chocolate Coconut Frosting

Step One Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick spray. Cover the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and spray with the nonstick spray.

Step Two Melt the chocolate and coffee together over very low heat – or in the microwave fpr 1 ½ minutes. Stir to remove any lumps.

Step Three Whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the applesauce, and beat to incorporate. Add the eggs and 4 of the egg whites to the mixing bowl, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture and the vanilla into the bowl. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

Step Four In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 4 egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter with long sweeping strokes.

Step Five Place the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the pans. When cool, frost with the Dark Chocolate Coconut Frosting.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Frosting

4 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 60% Cacao)

½ Cup Strong Black Coffee, plus more if needed

1 Tsp Vanilla

¼ Cup Cocoa Powder

4 - 6 Cups Confectioners Sugar

2 Cups *Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, Toasted

STEP ONE Melt the chocolate and coffee together over very low heat – or in the microwave fpr 1 ½ minutes. Stir to remove any lumps.

STEP TWO Place the chocolate mixture in the bowl of a standing mixer, add the vanilla and beat on low speed to combine. Add the cocoa powder. Starting with the 4 cups of confectioners sugar, slowly add in the sugar and then the coconut flakes. Check to see the consistency of the frosting, and if more stiffness is needed – add the additional sugar.

*Try to find unsweetened coconut flakes if possible – they taste more like real coconut. To toast, spread the flakes on a sheet pan and place in a 350F for about 10 minutes or until they turn golden.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Atlanta Junior League Tour of Kitchens

How hard it it to cook in a kitchen like this? On Sunday, I did a chef demo for the Junior League's Annual Tour of Kitchens. Karen graciously welcomed me into her home, and I made Healthy Snacks for Kids. And, they are healthy and delicious for adults, too!

Almond Honey Fondue

1 8-oz Container Fat Free
Vanilla Yogurt

2 TB Natural Smooth Almond Butter

1 TB Honey

1 TB Chopped Toasted Almonds

Carrot and Celery Sticks

Mix the first 3 Ingredients together. Top with the Toasted Almonds. Dip away!

Cheesy Veggie “Spreader”

1 Cup Shredded Lowfat Cheddar Cheese

1/2 Cup Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

1 Tsp Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Lemon Zest

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Red Apple

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Green Apple

1/4 Cup Shredded Carrot

2 TBs Minced Fennel

2 TBs Finely Chopped Toasted Almonds

2 TBs Dried Chopped Cranberries

1/2 Tsp Curry Powder

1/2 Tsp Cumin

Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Process the cheese, yogurt, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and taste for seasoning. Serve a dip, stuff celery, or use as a topper for open faced whole wheat sandwiches.

Pomegranate Cinnamon Oranges

8 Large Navel Oranges, Sliced into Thin Rounds

8 Large Dates, Pitted and Chopped

¼ Cup Almonds, Toasted and Chopped

3 TB Honey

3 TB Pomegranate Molasses (or to Taste)

½ Tsp Cinnamon

Pinch of Salt

Place Orange Slices on a Large Platter, overlapping. Top with with the dates and almonds. Whisk together the honey, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon and salt and drizzle over the platter.

Taste The World

Saturday at Callanwolde was too much fun! Refugee Services held their annual "trip round the world of food". I had a great time showing people how to make a trio of easy and delicious recipes from Africa. My friend and fellow chef Beci Falkenberg made my job easy - and we did a lot of laughing and cooking for the hungry crowd.

Here's the African goodies we cooked up:
African Spice Dip

1/2 cup salted peanuts

1 Tsp chili powder

1/4 Tsp ground ginger

1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 Tsp ground cloves

1/4 Tsp ground cinnamon

Kosher Salt to taste

Grind the peanuts to a coarse powder in a mortar, blender or food processor, and then add the ground mixed spice, chili powder and a little salt.

Serve with Goat Cheese topped Apple Slices. Or, use for a rub on Chicken or Pork, top Goat Cheese with it, Use as a dip for fresh fruit like Apples or Pears, or serve it with Crusty Bread and Olive Oil.

Tropical Coconut Fruit Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

1 Recipe Mango Vinaigrette*

1 Peeled and Cored Pineapple, in 1” Cubes

2 Large Navel Oranges, Peeled and Segmented

¼ Cup Coconut

½ Cup Chopped Peanuts

¼ Cup Chopped Mint

Toss the pineapple, oranges and mango together in a bowl. Drizzle with the Mango Vinaigrette, garnish with the coconut, peanuts and mint.

Mango Vinaigrette*

1 Mango, Coarsely Chopped

Zest and Juice of 1 Lime

Zest and Juice of 1 Orange

1 TB Chopped Cilantro

¼ Cup Rice Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

½ Cup Nut Oil

Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

Place the mango, lime zest and juice, orange zest and juice, cilantro, vinegar and mustard in a blender or food processor and puree. With the machine running, drizzle in the oil. Taste and add the salt and pepper.

Black Eyed Peas with Rice

Theibou Niebe - Senegal

1 Tsp Olive Oil

1 Cup Minced Red Onion

2 Cloves Garlic, Grated

½ Cup Smoked Turkey or Chicken

1 Tsp Ground Cumin

¼ Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

1 (16 oz) Bag Frozen Black Eyed Peas, (Prepared as Package Directs)

1 (14 ½ oz) Can Fire Roasted Chopped Tomatoes, Undrained

½ Cup Minced Fresh Cilantro

¾ Cup Chopped Sweet Cherry Peppers

Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

Basmati Rice to Serve

Step One

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, until golden. Add the garlic.

Step Two

Stir in the chicken, cumin, pepper, peas and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro and peppers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on top of Basmati Rice.


Did you know frozen fruits and vegetables could be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts? When you pick fresh vegetables from your own garden, or buy them at a farmer’s market the day they are harvested, they are at the peak of freshness. But fresh produce from the supermarket may have been sitting for days or weeks in transit. Frozen fruits and veggies have been picked at the peak of ripeness, and are immediately flash frozen. Freezing locks in the minerals and vitamins. This means they may be more nutritious than those sitting in the grocery store for days.

Mindful Tastes and Sips

When you think about "tasting" you may think it only applies to wine. Not so - and we proved it at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont last week. A fun group participated in a 5 course tasting, and appreciated not only the food and drinks, but Angela's Mindfulness direction. It was so interesting to receive feedback from the participants. We asked that everyone try each pairing, whether or not they would typically drink wine or green tea or coffee. The quiet observation of Mindfulness allowed them to really taste the pairings, and the food and drink interacted and even brought out the flavors or amplified the tastes of the food.

If you didn't get a chance to attend, here are the recipes and drinks we enjoyed together.

Seared Scallops with Avocado Tomato Cucumber Salsa

Water With Cucumber

¼ Cup Finely Chopped Cilantro

4 TB Olive Oil, Divided

2 TB Lemon Juice

¼ Cup Chopped Green Onions, Green Parts Only

2 Hass Avocados, Chopped

2 Large Ripe Tomatoes, Seeded and Chopped

1 European or Hothouse Cucumber, Peeled, Seeded and Chopped

Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

2 LBs Large Sea Scallops

Finely Chopped Cilantro for Garnish

Step One
Combine the cilantro, juice, olive oil, onions, together in a large bowl. Gently fold in the avocados, tomatoes and cucumbers and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Step Two
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned outside about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and serve topped with the salsa and cilantro.

Sparkling Wine Vinaigrette Salad
Botter Prosecco or Sparkling Water

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Champagne Vinegar
½ Cup Cava
½ Tsp Emulsifier*
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Pinch of Sugar

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake – or whisk in a bowl. Serve on top of field greens.

*Emulsifiers for Salad Dressing Include Dijon or other mustard, egg yolk – pasteurized, mayonnaise, miso, goat cheese or cream cheese if you are using a blender.

Orange-Rosemary Green Tea Chicken

Matcha Blend Green Tea

6 Green Tea Bags 

4 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

3 Large Navel Oranges

1 Large Red Onion, Coarsely Chopped

2 TB Olive Oil, Plus more for cooking

1 TB Chopped Fresh Rosemary, Plus more for Garnish

1 TB Grated Fresh Ginger

Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

2 – 4 TBs Honey to Taste

4 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced, Green Part Only

Step One

Steep the tea bags in one cup water for 10 minutes.
While steeping, cut the chicken in half horizontally and set aside.

Step Two

Zest and juice the oranges and place in a large zippy bag. 
Add the 2TB of olive oil, rosemary, ginger and onion. Add the tea, and mix well. Add the chicken, and let marinate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving 1 cup, and discard the rest.

Step Three

When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

 Heat olive oil in a large cast iron (or grill) pan on medium high heat. Remove chicken pieces from the marinade, wiping off excess marinade. Working in batches, cook the chicken pieces for 3- 5 minutes on each side.

Step Four

While the chicken is cooking, add the reserved marinade to a small saucepan. Add the honey and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 5 minutes, or until the liquid begins to reduce. Remove from the heat and puree the reserved, cooked marinade in a blender or food processor.

Step Five

Top the chicken with the orange tea sauce and garnish with chopped rosemary.

Basmati Brown Rice and Mushrooms

Yealands Pinot Noir

3 TB Olive Oil, Divided

8 oz. Crimini Mushrooms, Sliced

5 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced, Divided

Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

4 Garlic Cloves, Grated

1 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Cup Brown Basmati Rice

1 Cup Light Chicken Broth

1 Cup water

1 TB Lemon Juice

Step One

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium skillet, heat 2 TB of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and all but 2 tablespoons of the green onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until any liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 8 minutes.

Step Two

Add the garlic and the remaining TB of olive oil and cook over moderately high heat and stir for about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar and rice, then add the stock and water and bring to a boil.

Step Three

Season with salt and pepper and place the rice into a non-stick sprayed baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Let the pilaf stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Step Four

Squeeze the lemon over the rice and fluff with a fork. Taste for seasoning, and garnish with the reserved 2 TB of green onions to serve.

Chocolate Walnut Cake

Decaf Caffe Verona

8 Large Eggs, at room temperature

1 Cup Sugar, divided

1/2 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar

1 ½ Cups Toasted Ground Walnuts* (about 2 cups walnuts)

2 Tsp Vanilla

6 TB Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (or Rice Flour for a Gluten Free Cake)

1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder, Sifted

½ Tsp Salt

¼ Tsp Cinnamon

1 Cup Whipped Cream

½ Cup Toasted Walnut Pieces for Garnish

Step One

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil and flour, (or use Bakers Joy) a 9-inch springform pan, tapping out any excess flour. Divide the eggs as follows:

2 whole eggs plus 2 yolks in one bowl (reserve the other 4 yolks for another use)

6 whites in a bowl of the electric mixer

Step Two

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Step Three

Clean and dry the beaters. Place the bowl of whole eggs/egg yolks in the mixer bowl and add the brown sugar and the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar. Beat with the mixer at medium speed until thick and light in color, about 3 minutes. Beat in the nuts and vanilla until combined. Then beat in flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.

Step Four

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Fold in 1 cup of the beaten whites with a rubber spatula until smooth, then fold in the remaining whites, just until incorporated (some white streaks may still be visible). Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Step Five

Place the pan in the oven and reduce heat to 325F. Bake the cake until set and puffed about, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours. As it cools, the cake will deflate and shrink away from the sides of the pan.

Step Six

Run a knife along the inside, and remove the pan's side. Release the cake and transfer it to a serving plate if desired. Cut the cake and serve with the port whipped cream, and garnish with the toasted walnuts.


To toast the walnuts, spread them on a baking sheet and set your timer for 7 minutes. Bake at 350 F, checking on them after 7 minutes, and again at 9 minutes. At 10 minutes remove them from the oven. Let the nuts cool, and then grind into a coarse meal in a food processor or blender.