Thursday, October 13, 2011

My New Red Hot Latin Love: A Guest Post by Healthy Sous Chef Partyologist, Lea Bowen

I want to introduce you to my new favorite spice. It's smoked paprika. Quite frankly, I have become a bit obsessed with this beautifully hued, smoky spice. It is most commonly used in Spanish cuisine and adds a deep, smoky flavor and a touch of heat. Smoked paprika can transform a simple salad vinaigrette or a roasted potato into a taste sensation. This spice adds such a nice smoky flavor, that many times, vegetarians use it as a substitute for bacon. It adds a smoky, bacony flavor without the bacon. Earlier this week I made croutons with smoked paprika and tossed them with a tomato and lettuce salad for a new twist on the traditional BLT. Most recently, I made a white bean dip with this wonderful spice. I hope you will enjoy this recipe for white bean dip with smoked paprika. It is great with pita chips, crudite or as a sandwich spread. I hope you will give smoked paprika a try whenever you need to take a bland dish to the next level.

White Bean Dip with Smoked Paprika:

2 cans of Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 TB Smoked Paprkia

1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Sea Salt To Taste.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, season with salt to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and an additional sprinkle of smoked paprika for garnish. Serve with pita chips or carrot sticks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Uncovering Healthy Recipes From The "Me" Generation: A Post by Healthy Sous Chef Partyologist, Lea Bowen

I'll just go ahead and admit it. I am a cookbook junkie. At the rate I'm going, I may very well be buried alive under my collection of cookbooks and cooking magazines within the next year or two. Of course, my growing collection and lack of storage space did not prevent me from accepting a large box of "vintage" Southern Living cookbooks from my neighbor Carol. This box of books contained almost the entire decade of the Southern Living Annual Recipes from the 1980's. I was thrilled to take this box of books off her hands, as the 1980's remains one of the most important decades of my life. The end of elementary school, surviving middle school, getting my ear's pierced, my first kiss, a huge crush on Simon Le Bon just to name a few of the high points. Perhaps the best year of that decade was the last one. 1989 was the year I graduated from high school and set off to college on my own. Because of my affinity for this year, the 1989 cookbook was the first one I pulled from the box. I thought I would peruse through the book and find a highly fattening recipe to make over. Certainly, there were quite a few high fat, high calorie recipes in the volume, but much to my surprise, there were far more health conscious recipes than I could have imagined. For me personally, my diet during this year mainly consisted of peanut M&M's, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and keg beer. So, it was with great excitement that I learned that there were people out there indulging in whole wheat pasta, tomato-herb salad and fruit kebabs. I guess the "Me" decade was not just about indulgence, power, money and status. Maybe "Me" was also about looking good in your leg warmers, stirrup pants and neon aerobics leotard.

My recipe this week is adapted from the Hearts of Palm Salad found on page 276 of the Southern Living 1989 Annual Recipes book and the picture above is from the same publication. I hope you will enjoy my twist on this recipe.

Hearts of Palm Salad:

1 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

2 Garlic Cloves, grated

1/4 Cup each finely chopped Red, Orange and Yellow Bell Pepper

1/4 Cup finely chopped Red Onion

8 Kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped

2 TB Capers

1 16oz Can of Hearts of Palm, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

6 Cups torn Romaine Lettuce

Combine first 7 ingredients; chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. To serve, arrange lettuce on six individual salad plates or a large serving platter. Top with hearts of palm and drizzle with the chilled dressing.