Monday, July 29, 2013

Meatless Luscious and Fun - Thai Lime Dressing!

Yummy and fast, this salad dressing lends a tasty Asian flair to a salad of fresh veggies. Toss it up with a salad-bowl-full of tomatoes, radishes, hearts of palm, carrots, onions, celery or broccoli. Any of crunchy choices will shine with this dressing!

Thai Lime Dressing
2 TB Lime Juice
Zest of 1 Lime
1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar - unseasoned
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 TB Sweet Chile Sauce (Mae Ploy)
1 Tsp Dijon
Shake all the ingredients together in a jar - whisk in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Meatless Luscious Fun, Spiced Tomato Cupcakes

What possessed me to make a tomato cupcake? A class about tomatoes. You may know that I approach creating a class curriculum a little differently than other culinary teachers. I not only want to teach people HOW to cook, but FEED them as well. I believe cooking is about fun, connection and enjoyment. Any time there is fun in the kitchen, we remember more and are eager to repeat our experiences.

What does that have to do with a tomato cupcake? Since I love feeding folks, I always look to have a little sweet at the end of class. For my "Tantalizing Tomatoes" class I needed to find that little sweet treat for everyone to enjoy. First, I free-brained ideas. I thought about candied tomatoes, roasted tomatoes and cream cheese topped with a little honey drizzle, and other out-of-the-box ideas. Next, I hit my cookbook library...and I discovered it. No, not a tomato cupcake, but a zucchini cake recipe. Full of shredded veg and easy to make. Why couldn't I turn in to a tomato cupcake? Armed with a bag of whole wheat pastry flour, and a handful of spices I preheated the oven and got to work. Three iterations later, the results are right here. Frosted or not it's moist, flavorful, spicy and perfect for breakfast, lunch or a snack. Great in the freezer and easy to double, this is a recipe you'll return to often. (Plus, you don't have to tell anyone their tasty cupcake is made with tomatoes!)

Spiced Tomato Cupcakes

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
¼  Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
¼ Cup Canola Oil
1 Egg
2 Egg Whites
½ Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans
½ Cup Chopped Dates
½ Cup Chopped Raisins
2 Cups Peeled, Seeded Chopped Tomatoes
3 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
½ Tsp Nutmeg
½ Tsp Allspice
½ Tsp Sea Salt

Step One Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare 2 muffin tins with liners.

Step Two Cream the butter, oil and sugar together. Stir in the eggs, whites, dates, nuts, raisins and tomatoes. Sift the dry ingredients into the cupcake mixture. Pour into the prepared tins.

Step Three Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cupcakes comes out clean. Frost with *Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting.

*Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
8 Oz Light Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
1 ½ Cups Confectioners Sugar
1 TB Vanilla
½ Tsp Allspice
Beat until smooth. Place in the fridge until firm.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meatless Luscious Fun: Piquillo Pepper Dip!

It’s been two weeks of fun and friends during the July 4th break. WooHoo – almost everyone seems to have taken some time off. I love parties when I get to take a dish – its my chance to show others how good food can taste, and surprise them with how good it is for them!

Just like you, I never seem to have enough time before the get together to prepare. Visions of elaborate dishes dissolve quickly when reality hits, and its almost time to hop in the car. Here’s one of my favorite go-tos, an appetizer that friends request often. Super fast using the food processor, versatile and full of flavor, this dressing can be served with raw veggies, (like the picture above), as a dressing on a big green salad, or as a dipping sauce for grilled mushrooms, potatoes, shrimp or chicken.

Piquillo peppers are from Spain, and in Spanish the word means “little birds beak”. When the small red beauties are out of their jar, you can see the distinctive shape. Sometimes I have a hard time finding them in the regular grocery store, but I can always find them at the international market. (If you can’t find them, you can use a jar of roasted red peppers.) Piquillos are sold in jars, and you may notice the price is significantly higher than other red peppers. Why? After roasting, each pepper is peeled by hand and packed in the jars. More labor equals more cost. Ooooh, but when you taste the piquant, not spicy flavor, you’ll agree that they are worth it!

Piquillo Pepper Dressing and Dip

6 Roasted Piquillo Peppers
1 Garlic Clove
1 TB Chopped Parsley
2 TB Sherry Vinegar
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
½ Cup Light Mayonnaise (I like Kraft Reduced Fat Olive Oil Mayo)
1 TB+ White Wine
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

Drain the Piquillo peppers. Place the peppers, garlic, parsley, vinegar and paprika and purée the mixture until smooth. Add in the mayonnaise and pulse until smooth. Add the white wine until desired consistency and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Meatless Luscious Fun - No Cook Mediterranean Quinoa Salad - 070813

I don't know about you, but once the excitement of the 4th is over - the summer begins in earnest. Here in Atlanta, we have muggy, hot and humid days relieved by muggy hot and humid showers. (This year has had way, way too many showers.) Don't get me wrong, the weather here suits me just fine. Am I crazy? Nope - just love the smell and feel of the humidity instead of being cold or dry. Think of what it does for your hair and nails and skin... There's a reason why we are called Georgia peaches:) Okay, sometimes it can make us feel like peach pie. Chopped and sliced and baked and hot. But mostly, its green and lush outside and in the evening with a really frosty glass, its perfect. 

Which brings me to this weeks meatless dish. On nights when all I want to do is grab that glass and sit under a fan, this is the perfect dish to serve. Run by your favorite bakery, and grab a loaf of good rustic whole grain bread and you have dinner. (Or better yet, knock a few slices out of your freezer!) A drippy, wet, cold slice of watermelon makes the perfect dessert.

No Cook Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

3/4 Cup Quinoa, Prepared as Directed on Box
1/2 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, Chopped
1/4 Cup Capers, Drained
1/2 Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes
2 Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped
1 Cup Chopped Artichoke Hearts
1 Cup Garbanzo Beans
1 Jalepeno, Minced
1/4 Cup Minced Red Onion
2 TB Chopped Chives
1/2 Cup Chopped Dill
1 Recipe Mediterranean Dressing*

In a large bowl, toss the ingredients together with the Dressing.

Mediterranean Dressing*

2 Anchovies
1/4 Cup EVOO
2 TB Red Vinegar
2 TB Dill
2 Cloves Garlic
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Meatless Luscious Fun - Creamy Lime Dressing and Dip - 070113

The big day is coming up - filled with fireworks, grills and food that reminds us of childhood and warm summer evenings. Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, how bout you? No need to haul out the fine china, no last mad dashes to the store for gifts, just a relaxed sultry day with shorts, hats, sunscreen, good food and lots of friends. Followed by an evening of cool drinks and bright lights. Can it get better? 

I developed this dressing to capture the tastes of Brazil for last week's class at Cooks Warehouse Brookhaven. Sous Chef Lea and I shared our passion for the food of this interesting country with a bunch of students eager to eat better, fresher and more deliciously!

This is a super easy recipe to take along to the cookout. Whether you serve it like the picture with fresh veggies, or add to a big salad, your family and friends will love its fresh flavor, and you'll be happy knowing that you've shared a delicious recipe that is better-for-us too!

Creamy Lime Dressing and Dip

2 TB Chopped Cilantro
Juice and Zest of 2 Limes
¼ Cup Light Sour Cream
¼ Cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt
1 Garlic Clove
1 TB Honey
¼ - ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil and process until smooth. While machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until desired consistency. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.