Fourth of July Fruit Kebabs

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Nothing says summer like watermelon and nothing says festive like themed food… So you pick, make a Fourth of July Fruit Flag and/or serve these beauties! Both are kid friendly and quick to whip up.

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Serve as a yummy breakfast, bring to your favorite daytime BBQ or enjoy as a healthy dessert while watching the fireworks. I’m wishing a very happy and healthy Independence Day to you and yours!… 

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Roasted Fava Beans + More Greece Photos

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First off, I am so happy to hear that other people enjoy looking at pictures of food as much as I do :). So by request, I have added some additional pictures to my Photo Essay: A Taste of Greece– I hope you enjoy!

Now onto this week’s recipe – The last time I made fava beans was years ago and  I recall  a lot of work only to produce a few measly beans… So perhaps you can understand why my ears perked up on Sunday at the farmer’s market when the gentleman behind me asked his wife to grab some favas to BBQ. I asked him about it and he said he just throws the whole thing on the BBQ and they are delicious. Hmmmmmmm…… 

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Eggplant with Spicy Chickpeas and Lemon-Dill-Tahini Sauce

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A friend of mine made a similar recipe at a potluck not too long ago but hers used a yogurt sauce. So when recreating it, not only did I want to veganize this recipe but I also wanted to add a little kick to the flavor of the chickpeas by making them spicy to counteract the cooling nature of the dill sauce. Its a simple recipe but the flavors work so well together. I really felt like I was back on the streets of Istanbul…. which is a feeling I am happy to revisit over and over!… 

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Parsnip Chips

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To be quite honest, I had never ever cooked with a parsnip before but I knew I had The Conscious Cleanse coming up and I would certainly be missing my roasted sweet potatoes. So, I tested out the recipe I use for sweet potatoes but subbed parsnips instead, which is a cleanse friendly veggie. Let’s just say it was a quick romance, as I fell in love immediately. These chips are so simple, delicious and satisfying!… 

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Spider Deviled Eggs

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I am hosting my book club this week and couldn’t be more excited that it is Halloween week because it means I get to bring out all my Halloween favorites. Straw-Boo-ries, Spooky Seven Layer Dip… I’m excited just thinking about it! But no Halloween holiday is complete without the addition of another themed item.

I’ve learned the versatility that deviled eggs have in theming food at Easter and during the Superbowl. So this week I plan to add these spider deviled eggs to my menu. Thanks to Sunset for the inspiration!… 

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Tofu Satay

Tofu Satay

One of my all time favorite Thai starters is Tofu Satay but it is rarely offered at Thai restaurants. Those if you that live in SF should check out Bangkok 900 in Cole Valley. It is kind of a hole in the wall but Scott and I went there on weekly date nights leading up to our Thai trip – our Monday night breakdancing class was just down the street 🙂 – and I have to say, they definitely do it right there! I have always wanted to recreate it and had a reason to do so when I hosted my Thai Supper Club on Wednesday night (I also served my Thai Red Curry). The marinade is the real kicker so of course if tofu is not your thing, you could use a protein of your choice and I am sure it would even be a great marinade for roasted or grilled veggies…. 

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Fourth of July Fruit Flag

Fourth of July Fruit Platter

This post is particularly special to me because it was a year ago on Fourth of July that I was flying home from an incredible trip to Turkey where I learned about how amazing feta and watermelon can be together. Not only is this recipe cute, but it is healthy compared to many of the patriotic treats that are bound to be around AND super easy if you are strapped for time. Feel free to sprinkle with some mint or basil for an added touch. I’ll be wishing a happy Fourth to you and yours from Portland!… 

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Hearts of Palm Cakes

Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes

When I received Crazy Sexy Kitchen, this recipe was one of the first I wanted to try. It took me a while to get there but here it is.  In her book, she offers them with a remoulade sauce which I made, but for me the cakes are fine just as they are, with a dollop of greek yogurt or a side of something yummy. I served them alongside a good salad such as her Crazy Sexy Salad or  my Sugar Snap and Garden Pea salad. I’ve included the remoulade sauce recipe at the end of the post for those of you who want to try it out. Enjoy!

Hearts of Palm Cakes
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of nori, or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes
  • Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm
  • 2-4 Tbsp oil, more as needed
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
  2. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that can be used for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
  3. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
  4. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator until firm (30 – 60 min).
  7. Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  8. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven until you finish all of the cakes.
  9. Place the cakes on a plate and garnish.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with homemade chimichurri or another one of my dips, sauces and spreads!

Photo courtesy of Kris Carr.

Roasted Baby Artichokes

Roasted Baby ArtichokesI got some feedback from a friend and colleague of mine that my Stuffed Artichokes didn’t work for her…I got to the bottom of it and realized it is important that you used homemade breadcrumbs. Also, you  should be able to stick a knife easily through and the outer leaves should be almost falling off (as you should have removed the firm outer leaves prior to cooking). I have made the update but just wanted you all to know that all feedback is welcome.

Anyway, if that all sounds like too much for you, this is a much simpler and easier way to cook artichokes but you’ve got to use those adorable little ones that are all over the place right now. These are delicious and crispy and remind me almost of artichoke chips, yum!!!!

Roasted Baby Artichokes
 
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Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 9 baby artichokes (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (omit for vegan version)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare artichokes. Cut stem and remove the tough outer leaves of the artichokes (until it starts to look a lighter green). Cut off the top third of the head to remove the tough ends of the leaves, then split it down the middle. Rub with lemon as you work so they don’t turn brown.
  3. Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic. Lay the artichoke halves cut-side up in a roasting dish and drizzle or brush with the olive oil mixture. Roast in the oven until the artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Top with the cheese and garnish with the parsley.

Serving Suggestion: Throw in some sweet potatoes and roast together for double yum!

Photo Credit: My Man’s Belly