Friday, June 27, 2014

Avocados All Around! A Guest Post by Haley Warren, Taste and Savor Intern

Hi! I'm Haley Warren, the lucky new intern with Taste and Savor. I'm a graduate of the University of Georgia, doing my internship through Iowa State University. I'm on my community rotation right now, and will be moving over to Piedmont Hospital in a bit, to start a clinical internship. 

Over the past week, interning with Chef Nancy has been incredible! I have gotten to witness some amazing classes with her, but one class I would have to say was my favorite. We went to the Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center at Piedmont Hospital in Henry County to spread some herb lovin’. Chef Nancy and Sous Chef Lea created an incredible menu of summer dishes - all made with herbs and spices. 

My favorite was the  Avocado Salad. Instead of avocados in the salad itself,  it was a mix of greens, an array of chopped herbs, lettuce and grape tomatoes. Avocado was used to  make the dressing flavorful, cool and creamy without a lot of extra oil.

Avocado Salad Dressing

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
1 Large Avocado
2 Tsp Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 Cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 Tsp Fine Sea Salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor and puree it.

That's it - super easy and delicious. 

Another interesting Avocado tip I learned this week was all about Guacamole. Substitute 1/4 part of Frozen Green Peas to 3/4 Part of Mashed Avocado in  your favorite recipe. No one will be able to tell the difference - and you are getting lots of good nutrition from the bright green peas, without all the fat from the avocados. Yum. 

I'm looking forward to next week and all the adventures we are going to have in the Healthy Kitchen!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Restaurant Worth Reviewing

I know you've heard of Andrew Weil - inventor of the Anti-Inflammation Diet, guru to the stars, advocate of healthy eating AND integrative medicine. I had the pleasure of seeing him in person at a conference a few years ago, and his presentation rocketed him up my list of healthy food allstars. What does that have to do with a restaurant? His healthy restaurant venture, True Food Kitchen, has opened its doors in Atlanta.

Two of my favorite foodies and I were invited to the "soft" opening of the restaurant today. (A soft opening gives the kitchen and staff a chance to "practice" before the doors open to the public.) WOW! is the best description of the food, service and ambience. The restaurant opens at 11AM on next Tuesday morning. I'll be there next week, along with hubby and friends. We'll enjoy flavorful, light, satisfying and beautiful food, along with a fun wine list and a beautiful venue.

Because pictures speak louder than words, here's a quick overview of our delicious lunch!

We were seated and given a lunch menu, a page on the restaurant's philosophy and a copy of Dr Weill's Anti-Inflamation Diet Pyramid. All the menu items are made accordingly.
Our table was located in the large open area in front of the gorgeous kitchen.

For appetizers, we ordered the Caramelized Onion Flatbread with Figs and Blue Cheese, (HEAVEN!).
... and the house smoked salmon dip with Greek Yogurt - the yogurt was a delicious way to hold the delicately smoked salmon together. And the chips were crunchy and crispy! Don't you love the color of this app? 

And lest you think that all we drank was ice water - here's the yummiest Blueberry Mojito that has ever passed my lips.

Next up, our Entrees. I ordered the Sea Bass Tacos with Adzuki Beans. The beans are common to the southwest part of the country, full of flavor and packed with nutrition. Loved the avocado topping and just a bit of queso fresco - the mexican equivalent of Parmesan cheese.
Diane choose the Penang Curry with Shrimp. Wowza was it good!
You didn't think a healthy restaurant would have dessert? You didn't think we would leave without tasting it, did you? 
Take a look at these two pictures, you doubters!

What a joy. What fun, and what a super place to eat well and feel great. All the food tasted wonderful. The use of herbs and spices, along with flavorful citrus, onions and garlic made the food sing. This restaurant embodies everything I teach to classes everyday - that food tastes best when it is colorful, fresh and lighter. WooHoo, Dr Weil! So happy that you've come to Atlanta. Welcome!

True Food Kitchen is located in Lenox Mall at 3393 Lenox Road in Buckhead.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tropical Black Bean Cazuela...Yum!

This is not a secret to the frequent readers of my blog - but I can eat the bright flavors of Mexico for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not the goooopy-cheesy-fried-full-of-fatty-meat-cream-fare that leaves you in a food coma. Oh no...I'm talking about the yummy tropical fruit, creamy beans and fresh-fresh seafood thats real Mexican food.

We had a wonderful opportunity to spend the day with Rock Star Mexican Chef Rick Bayless  in March. What fun to explore a tortilla factory, a carnitas butcher and eat in the Test Kitchen with Chef Rick and his staff. (OH! the yummy margarita:) Not only did we spend the day learning about true Mexican food, we also spend the evening at Topolobampo, his Mexican fine dining restaurant that he owns with wife Deann. 

My take away from the fantastic dinner? I already knew that Mexican food is nothing like our Tex Mex or California Mex, but a fantastic explosion of sweet, tangy and piquant flavors. The incredible menu from Topolobampo is a super example of how food from South of Border can be Sweet and Savory, spicy and healthy, too.

I hope you enjoy this "take" on black bean enchiladas - our classes this week loved it!

Black Bean and Pineapple Cazeula*
2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
1 Cup Chopped Fresh Pineapple
1 (15 OZ) Can Black Beans
1 Small Can Chopped Green Chilies
1 Tsp Sea Salt
4 Cups Shredded Low Fat Cheddar, divided
1 Recipe Enchilada Sauce, (recipe below), reserving 1 Cup of Sauce
¼ Cup Pineapple Juice
12 Whole Wheat Tortillas
1 Cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt
1 TB Lime Juice
Chopped Fresh Cilantro for Garnish
Step One To make the filling, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and red pepper until soft. Stir in the pineapple, beans, chilies and salt. Cook and stir until warm.
Step Two  Spray a 9 x12 ceramic baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 1/3 of the filling over the bottom. Top with 3 tortillas that you have dipped in the Enchilada Sauce. Top with cheese. Continue layering until you have used all the ingredients. (You will be using 3 cups of the cheese in the enchiladas and 1 cup to top the dish.)
Step Three  Stir the reserved 1 Cup of enchilada sauce and the pineapple juice together and pour it over the prepared enchiladas. Sprinkle the dish with cheese. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 350F or until golden and bubbling – removing the foil for the last 10 minutes.

Step Four  Whisk the lime juice into the yogurt. Serve the enchiladas with a dollop of the yogurt mixture and garnish with cilantro.

Cazeula* means casserole in Spanish.

Easy Enchilada Sauce
¼ Cup EVOO
¼ Cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ Minced Red Onion
3 Cloves Garlic, Grated
1 (28 OZ) Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
3 TB Chili Powder
1 TB Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Cumin
1 TB Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
1 Cup Veggie Stock
1 Tsp Sea Salt
½ Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Step One Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, chili powder, oregano and cumin until well combined. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant.

Step Two Stir in tomatoes, brown sugar, veggie stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.