Summer Garden Casserole

Hey guys, I posted a new recipe on Food 52! Food 52 is an amazing recipe sharing community that I am in love with. If you are looking for something healthy to cook tonight, head over to Food 52 for … Continue reading

Healthy “Fried” Eggplant

This august it it seems like my garden decided to be ready to eat all at once! We have been eating so much eggplant that I’m getting creative and changing up classic recipes that my mom used to make when … Continue reading

Garden Salad

Now that summer is in full swing, it hasn’t been easier to be inspired. Our garden is flourishing and the raspberries are out; as a culinarian I am literally in nirvana!

To make this simple salad, I added the ingredients listed below. If you don’t have a garden, try your local farmers market! This is peak season for New England growers and it is good to support them.

Garden Salad:

Speckle & Green Lettuce (the smaller leaves are more tender and mild)

Fresh Coriander (seeds, flowers, & fronds)

Thai Basil (flowers & leaves)

Traditional Mint

Wine Raspberries

Cucumber (thinly sliced)

Dressing:

1 tsp Raw Honey

1.5 tsp Dijon Mustard

Basil Leaves (about a handful)

3 Tbs Apple Vinegar

1/3 c Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

-Blend dressing ingredients until pureed. Rinse & dry all vegetables and plate neatly. Top with dressing. Garnish with basil & cilantro flowers.

Vegan Rootbeer Float

The other day when I was slow cooking some {{organic & local}} ribs I decided to throw some root beer on them while they cooked. This idea prompted me to make a root beer float. I love making miniature drinks. … Continue reading

Blueberry Pie with Almond Crust

Recently, we went blueberry picking at a friends. Well after getting home and washing the 15 pounds of blueberries we seemed to accumulate, I began getting crafty. Continue reading

Lemon Maple Shortbread

These cookies are a delicious, refreshing treat from the everyday. I have always adored shortbread; it was one of the first things I’ve learned how to bake. This is a fun and interesting take on the traditional recipe.

Image

Lemon Maple Shortbread: Makes 2 dozen

8 oz Cake Flour

8 oz AP Flour

1/2 t Salt

11 oz Butter

6 oz Brown Sugar

6 oz Maple Syrup

1 Lemon (just zest)

1 oz Lemon Juice

2 oz Egg Yolks

Cream butter, and zest. Add in the yolks, syrup and juice. Slowly add in the sifted dry ingredients. Chill the dough for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Form into circles of about 1/4 inch in thickness then bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Image

Better than Cinnamon Buns

Want to try something new for your next brunching soirée? Have to impress the in-laws dropping in this memorial day weekend? Give these a try, they won’t disappoint.

Image

These pull-apart cinnamon buns came from an idea that I saw a pastry chef doing with croissants. These are similar to monkey bread, but have hundreds of flaky layers and bursts of sticky butter….can you hear the yums yet?

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Buns: Makes 18 medium size buns

Ingredients:

1 c Whole Milk

2 env Active Dry Yeast

1 t Sugar

12 oz Butter

1 t Salt

2 Eggs

4 1/4 c AP Flour

11/2 c Dark Brown Sugar

1T +1t Cinnamon

Icing:

1 c Confectioners Sugar, Sifted

2 T Milk

1 t Cinnamon

Heat milk in a pot, or microwave, til it is about body temperature. Sprinkle in the yeast and teaspoon of sugar, then gently stir. Allow yeast to develop for about five minutes so that it is foamy.

ImageBeat 4 ounces of butter, 1/2 a cup of the brown sugar, and salt with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add in eggs and beat until combined. Slowly add in 2 cups of flour. Switch to a dough hook, add in the milk and yeast and slowly add in the remaining flour. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl every so often.

Image

Image

ImageOnce the dough is finished, scrape it into a buttered bowl, covered, and put in a warm place to proof. I recommend heating your oven to 200℉, then shut it off and put your dough there to proof.

After your dough proofs, divide it into fourths and roll out each section to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Stack each layer on a sheet pan with parchment paper or oiled plastic wrap in between. Freeze the layers for 10-15 minutes.

ImageMeanwhile, cream the remaining butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Take out the layers and coat each with a fourth of the butter mixture. Roll the layers up as if you were making cinnamon rolls and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Image

ImageCut the rolled up layers into 1/4 inch pieces and roll away! Put 4-5 balls into each lined muffin tin. The dough will double in size so do not overfill them. I made the mistake of doing that the first time around. Cover the tin and allow to proof for another hour.

Image

ImageImageOnce the dough proofs, pre-heat the oven to 350℉. Make an egg wash with one egg, a 1/4 cup of milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Egg wash all of the buns, sprinkle a touch of salt on each then pop them in the oven. Once they are golden brown on top they are done! About 20-30 minutes depending on how large the muffin tins are.

Drizzle with icing and Devour!

Image

Image

Detox Deliciously

Image

Detoxing, a culinary fad or a health trend? What once was seen as a retro crash diet has been newly deemed as socially acceptable and healthful! In fact, if you go to any of your local co-ops or Whole Foods markets, you’ll find dozens of different ways to detox your body and cleanse your corrupted colon. But, how do you know that your actually doing something healthy, or may just be shelling out dollars for the next big gimmick? Well, I’ve got the scoop on how to keep your money in the bank on the road to health, while also updating this retro food trend for the everyday health nut.

First, keep in mind the importance of your health. Detoxing is not something that should be done everyday. If you do decide to juice your days away, I recommend limiting it to three, maximum. Any longer could really derail your metabolism and very well cause you to binge for the next two weeks on unhealthy fats and carbohydrates. I usually limit my detox to two days, with a protein packed dinner on the second night.

A juice detox can be quite expensive, like that new Blue Print cleanse. Eighty bucks for juice? No thanks! Invest in a juicer, if you don’t already have one. They are well worth it and can be found at great discounts all over the internet. With one, juicing is much less expensive and you can control what you put in it, how it tastes, and how much you make.

For Breakfast:

I love starting my cleanse with a small bowl of fruit, hot lemon water, and juice! This one is a perfect wake up call.

Image

Simply, juice equal amounts of pineapple, carrot, and orange. Throw some mint in between, or pulverize it like making a mojito. This juice is full of carotin, vitamin C, and the pineapple & mint produce slenderizing effects.

Mid-Morning:

Feeling fatigued yet? Mid-Mornings are the worst for me. I always have to have a little something to perk me up and keep me going.

Image

Try broccoli, cucumber and mint, with a squeeze of lime! This juice has a lot of vitamin A & C. The cucumber is a fabulous de-inflammatory from too much salt in your diet.

For Lunch:

Protein time! By now, I’m sure that tummy screaming for something satiating. I am a true lover of smoothies. They are a great way to add protein and calcium into your cleanse. I usually try to keep mine low-sugar as well.

Simply blend fortified almond milk, soy protein, half of a frozen banana with a tablespoon of cocoa powder. For a little extra calcium and probiotics, I blend in half a cup of plain soy yogurt.

Mid-Day:

By now, my tummy pangs usually wear out, but to keep my blood sugar in check and metabolism revving, I resolve with some antioxidant dense beet juice.

Image

Juice equal parts of carrots and beets. Squeeze a touch of lime ontop for some acid to balance the sweetness. Yes, I said sweet! Im not sure why beets have such a bad rap. They are delicious and sweet, even more so then carrots.

For Dinner:

Don’t undo your day of wonderful detoxification with a scary midnight binge! I always end the day with a large salad of dark greens (like spinach, kale, and arugula) with roasted or steamed veggies. Ontop, I keep it light with a little Braggs apple cider vinegar, hummus or lemon. If your jonesing for some protein, try having a unsweetened soy or greek yogurt.

Image

A detox that involves mainly juicing comes at a price: hunger! Be sure to drink a lot of water all day to curb your hunger and prevent your blood sugar from jumping high & crashing quickly. Though you are drinking juice, that doesn’t mean you are getting enough of the stuff! I always carry a water bottle with me that is laced with lemon, lime and mint. It keeps me hydrated and helps me stay motivated. I also reccomend drinking green and mint blended teas. If slender is what you’re searching for, the tea will definitely help, while also helping curb your hunger. One last piece of advice I have is to remember to take your daily vitamins and probiotics. Though you are drinking in many different vitamins, you’re probably skimping out on a lot of them too (especially calcium), which can stifle the effects of your cleanse.

Though detoxing comes with an array of confusion and dilemmas, It is a great way to shimmy back into your bikini while also gaining a healthful, youthful glow. I hope I have saved you from spending a fortune on some miracle, slenderizing scheme. Feel free to ask me questions in the comment section.

Now get juicing!

Total Utilization.

With summer in full swing and waistlines toning, a lot of fruit is sure to be in your diet. Farmers markets galore, super sales on blueberries and memories of cherry-stained faces always come into mind this season.

The only issue with all this healthy-yummy fruit in our diets this season is spoilage! It happens to all of us; the best of us. Last summer when I was working at a restaurant, the pastry chef at the time loved peaches and he left them out one night too long and they completely rotted! What a waste of resources and money.

But fear not, my friends. It is very easy to keep the spoilage from dampening your summer days and keeping you from cleaning out that refrigerator door at the end of the week. Just follow my easy, thoughtful tips and I guarantee you will not only save loads of money, but you will have more to go round!

Tip 1: Freeze you assets!

Don’t you just love berry season? I believe I’ve mentioned my love for it once or twice before. It is the best time of year! I always get super excited whenever I go to the farmers market and see the plethora that the Connecticut and New York vendors have to offer. I usually end up buying one (or two, or four) pints too many and they start to get over-ripe before I even get the chance to eat them.

All you have to do is freeze them! If they are blueberries, strawberries or the like just give them a quick rinse and pop them into the freezer. Put them in cakes, sauces, smoothies, pancakes, or stew them together and let them thaw when your having a craving. They macerate beautifully this way. I personally love to cut up strawberries and freeze them for a cooling snack. Yum!

Tip 2: Banana-rama

Bananas spoil so quick, but are oh-so essential to the healthy persons diet.

If you have ever been to a marathon they tend to have them by the hundreds lined up and ready to go. They are the perfect super-fruit; Full of complex carbs, simple carbs, fiber and potassium.

Instead of tossing those browned nanners, peel and freeze them. Add them to your next batch of oatmeal cookies, zucchini bread or, again, a smoothie. There are some great vegan ice cream recipes that can be made with them as well! I personally love them dipped in extra dark chocolate with some crushed peanuts and a little sea salt.

Tip 3: Someone say sangria?

With Labor day coming up, I am sure your getting ready to host or attend a fantastic soirée. If not, this is a great idea to start off any meal as well.

Simply take your fruit that your trying to use up, frozen or not, and add it to some wine and brandy; presto! Sangria is born. There are hundreds of different ways to make it, and usually none wrong. Add what you like, to taste. I always make mine with frozen blueberries, raspberries and leftover cherries. I love adding pear brandy and an inexpensive vino verde or cabernet sauvignon. Yum.

Tip 4: Soft peaches equal a yummy dessert.

Have some peaches begging to get tossed? Fear not!

Peel those beautiful babies and put them into a blender with:

1 part water

1/4 c of lemon juice

4/5 sprigs of mint

Add agave or simple syrup for added sweetness.

Freeze to make a granita (comb through it with a fork every half hour)

Churn it in an ice cream maker

Or, even easier: Ice pops!

 

There are endless things you can do with all that extra fruit so next time you veer away from it; think about the endless possibilities that await and all the money you will save by using it.

 

Vegan Shortcake

Herb Shortcake with Roasted Heirloom Strawberries

Many of my gluten free baking recipes have been, or are easily adapted, to be vegan. This shortcake recipe is simple, just how I like it, but more importantly tasty.

On another note, it is a major growing season here in the North East. I used herbs and heirloom strawberries from right outside which is so refreshing; No trips to the market were necessary! For the herb shortcake I used lemon balm and spearmint. This added a complex flavor to the cakes which I was rather fond of. The heirloom strawberries are much smaller then what you will find in the market, but they are sweeter and full of flavor. I prefer them over the strawberries that you find in regular grocery stores and I recommend trying to grow them in your garden.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vegan Herb Shortcake:

1 c Bob’s Red Mill flour

1/3 c sugar

1/4 t salt

1 1/2 t baking powder

3 T Smart Balance Light (vegan butter alternative)

1 t vanilla

3 oz. Coconut milk yogurt

1 sprig each of Lemon Balm and Spearmint

Preheat oven on Convection to 350°F. In a bowl combine dry ingredients. Scoop in the 3 Tablespoons of butter alternative. With your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it is mealy. Add in the vanilla and yogurt. Wash and chiffonade the herbs then add to the batter. Spoon the batter onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle sugar ontop and bake for 10 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown.

Wash the strawberries, remove the tops and quarter them. Sprinkle desired amount of sugar (I used 1 tablespoon) onto the berries. Roast them on a baking sheet for five minutes while your cakes are baking. Scoop onto a halved shortcake with fresh lemon balm. A wonderful summer treat.