• france-june-2005-016
  • IMG_5185
  • IMG_4559
  • DSCN1159
  • IMG_4848
  • img_2992
  • img_2455


Recipes by Type

Supper Club

Since June 18th 2011 my wife and I have participated in a supper club where we get together at a members home for a bi-monthly celebration of food and wine. We have four couples in the group from diverse backgrounds and professions. I look forward to these foodie fests with great eagerness as I love to share my cooking with those who love good food and wine. Being from Colorado and the fact that I work out of the home my social world is limited here in Baltimore giving me a greater appreciation of our club.
IMG_0847
Back in Colorado we tried to start a similar supper club and had an amazing first dinner at a friend’s home. I made seared foie gras with a side of blackberry sauce, and one member brought the wine and special glasses for each type. It was great fun with interesting people, but no one could seem to make time in their busy schedules to continue on. From that first failed event I realize how special our group is to hold on for almost four years now. Several of us work well over fifty hours per week and three of us travel extensively yet still find a spot in our calendars for one Saturday every two months. There have been times when we went four months before we could get everyone onboard for a free Saturday, but that’s okay as long as we can all be together.
prepped and ready

the ingredients

The themes are the responsibility of the host and have ranged from our first meeting’s farmer’s market, then Western Mediterranean, Julia Child, to southern inspired themes. Last Saturday was American comfort food featuring mini mac and cheese, candied bacon and cheese whiz on Ritz crackers for appetizers. The main course featured a grass fed beef meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans with onion and bacon, pan fried chicken, biscuits and gravy. Dessert was a Myer Lemon cheesecake with a buttery nut crust. It was all very good but what makes it is most worthwhile is sharing in each other’s company.
We learn about new and special restaurants near and far from our supper club members like Little Sero in Washington DC for exceptional Thai food. One of our members that travels the US often told us about a great Spanish restaurant in Chicago called Mercat la Planxa where we had excellent tapas and wine. New recipes are learned from each gathering, like last night’s meatloaf contained different veggies that I never would have thought of putting in a meatloaf.
ready for the pot

ready for the pot

Sometimes when it seems like too long in between supper club meetings we get together to try a new restaurant. It’s always best to dine with four or more when trying out a new restaurant to get a better sampling of dishes, especially when we order appetizers that are made for sharing. With one couple living south of Baltimore, two living in the city and us living north of Baltimore we cover a lot of ground. We share our favorite grocery stores, farmers markets and specialty shops and sometimes share in bulk buying.
There are many reasons to start a supper club and perhaps yours will be different than ours, but if you start one my hope is that it continues to give you a joyful excuse for blocking out one night every month or two to share the best thing in life and that is time spent with people you enjoy to be with over food and wine. In my ongoing effort to share new and different recipes with you, here is an unusual mushroom soup. Most mushroom soup recipes are high in calories and fat. This one is virtually non-fat and tastes great. It is based on similar soups I have had during my travels in Japan, but uses easy to find ingredients. It also cooks in less than ten minutes and takes less than ten minutes to prepare. Give it a try and please share with foodies you think would enjoy it. As always I welcome your comments and suggestions.
IMG_0844
Royal Trumpet Noodle Soup
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 pound royal trumpet mushrooms, see note
1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears
1 carrot shredded, about one cup
1/4 pound Asian noodles, white or soba style
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
Trim ends off of royal trumpets then cut stem off about one half inch from bottom of cap.
Chop stems and set aside.
Peel and shred carrot and set aside.
Clean and trim tough part from asparagus, cut into two inch lengths and set aside.
In a two quart pot add stock, water and one tablespoon soy sauce. Add mushroom stems and cook over high heat until it boils.
Add noodles stirring often for the first two minutes.
After about five minutes or when noodles are almost done add asparagus and carrots. Cook for two minutes on high.
Taste and add second tablespoon of soy sauce if needed.
Serves four.
Notes:
Add chopped green onions with asparagus for more color and flavor.
Shitake and/or white mushrooms can be used if royal trumpets aren’t available.
A tablespoon of miso goes well with this soup if added with the stock and water in the beginning.

Blackened Tilapia Recipe

On my morning dog walk today I saw several robins hopping about looking for worms and other avian culinary delights. I expect this is a sure sign that a long awaited spring is just around the corner. On the morning weather forecast I heard encouraging words I haven’t heard in a long time-“Highs in the lower sixties today and mostly sunny by the afternoon.” Such sweet music to my ears was this news that I feel compelled to start work on my veggie garden. I’ll sort my seeds and start planning my crops for the year. Somewhere on the internet is a site with tools where I can map, by square feet, my garden layout for the spring and summer. This is most helpful in designing a well laid out garden that takes advantage of my gardening space and sun fully. After all, I would not want my tall pea vines to block out the sun on my lettuce and herbs. With a well planned garden all the plants are arranged as if in a large family picture with the short ones up front, the mid-sized in the middle and the tall in the rear.

Kale from last spring

Kale from last spring

In a day and age when you hardly ever know what goes into your food it is important to grow what you can in your own yard, community garden, or patio. Even when I lived in a rental town home before moving to my current house I had Earth Box container planters on my deck and grew tomatoes, herbs and peppers in a small space with good results. With just a few hours per week you can take control of some or most of your produce needs. It is so gratifying to provide for yourself and family fresh grown tomatoes, peppers, herbs and more. With a bit of luck you might even have a surplus to share with neighbors and food banks. I have had bumper crops for the last three years and wander the neighborhood looking for someone at home to gift my excess crops to. It is a wonderful thing to share that which we have brought about using our own two hands.

Early spring lettuce form last year.

Early spring lettuce form last year.

Speaking of sharing, today I have one of my favorite very fast and quite healthy recipes to give to you. Blackened fish, whether it be catfish, salmon, halibut, redfish, or tilapia is an excellent choice for those in a hurry wanting to eat healthy. This blackened tilapia recipe uses very little oil on  lean pieces of fish and takes less than ten minutes to prepare, and cook. It goes well with fried rice, Spanish rice, or steamed rice. Add a side salad, steamed green beans or broccoli to round it out as a full meal.

IMG_0749

When the weather gets a bit warmer  and drier I like to use my charcoal grill to cook it on outside.

With just three ingredients this is about as simple as a main dish gets and is bursting with spicy good flavors of chilies, cumin, garlic, herbs and black pepper. Give it a try with tilapia, the “aquatic chicken” of aquaculture. Easily grown in controlled fish farms tilapia has exploded on the American food scene over the last fifteen years. It is healthy, tasty and relatively easy on the environment, as well as reasonably priced. With a wide presence you should be able to find it in your grocery store. If you can’t find tilapia try this recipe with catfish or salmon. Please share with family and friends and leave your comments to help me continue improving my website and recipes.

IMG_0742

 

Blackened Tilapia

Dust it well with the blackening blend.

Dust it well with the blackening blend.

1 6-8 ounce piece of tilapia per person

1 1/2 tablespoons of high heat tolerant oil, see note

1 tablespoon of blackening spice per piece of fish

 

Dry of fish with a paper towel then dust with blackening spice on both sides.

Heat heavy skillet and oil, cast iron is preferred, using high heat. When oil just starts to smoke add fish and cover with splatter guard.

Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip and cook for 3 more minutes. Hold in a warm oven if necessary to finish additional pieces.

IMG_0757

Note:

I use avocado oil or refined peanut oil that can handle heat over 400 degrees. Some light olive oils can take heat over 400 degrees too but don’t use extra virgin.

You can use just about any commercially available blackening spice blend sold in grocery stores. If not available here is a simple recipe to make your own:

1 T salt

1 t dried oregano

1 T paprika

1-2 t cayenne pepper

1 T granulated garlic

1 t onion powder

1 t dried thyme

2 t ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and you have your very own blackening spice.

 

 

A Taste of Two Cities

The southern states have never been my favorite part of America even though my parents are from there. Maybe it’s because I was raised in Colorado that I’m not fond of the south with its flat low country and near tropical weather. Over the last year I have visited Charleston, SC and Fairhope, Alabama for short breaks from the northern cold. These two places are changing my mind about the south. Both towns have much to offer vacationers with a love of food and culture.

Charleston water view.

Charleston water view.

 

Charleston is a foodie paradise as long as you don’t get hung up on counting calories! This is food that will fill you up and warm you up.

 

Seafood soup southern style.

Seafood soup southern style.

Ordering the shrimp and grits with a biscuit on the side is a must to get the true southern experience. At Poogan’s Porch they serve up some of the best biscuits money can buy. They have a fried chicken breast biscuit sandwich on the breakfast/brunch menu that knocked my socks off. I didn’t order it but was glad my father-in-law did and shared it with us. It was crispy, juicy, spicy perfection served hot from the fryer between the top and bottom of a buttery biscuit. Dinner at Husk is not to be missed. They were named best restaurant in Bon Apetit in 2012, a lofty honor that they deserve.

Pecan pie perfection.

Pecan pie perfection.

 

The duck confit and chicken were great but the pecan pie should be enshrined in the Smithsonian American History Museum as an example of pecan pie perfection. Served with a scoop of ice cream this one dessert for one was ample for the four of us! A carriage ride through the historic streets of Charleston is a great way to hear about the history of the city while you ride comfortably spell bound by the clip clop of the horse’s hooves.  I doubt I’d visit Charleston in the summer months but in January it was a great to get away from the chilly Baltimore winter.

A massive Charleston oak tree.

A massive Charleston oak tree.

 

Fairhope, Alabama is not your typical southern town. This hotbed of artistic creativity was founded in 1894 as a single tax colony by a group from Des Moines, Iowa. It didn’t work out as planned, but did transition into an artsy southern paradise on Mobile Bay. The small downtown area is well preserved and sports many cute shops long gone from most American downtown areas, victims of big box stores and online commerce. You can walk the entire downtown area in an hour or so, including popping into several shops. If you are a lover of books and bookstores the Page and Pallet will grab you and keep you for a while as you browse their local authors section and have a cup of coffee from the attached coffee shop, “LatteDa”. Some famous authors are seen at the Page and Palette; like Winston Groom of Forest Gump fame, or Fannie Flagg of Fried Green Tomatoes.

Downtown Charleston.

Downtown Charleston.

 

If wine is your thing just across the street from the Page and Palette is a wine bar and shop called Red or White wine & Gourmet. With small plates and a knowledgeable staff you are sure to find interesting wines there. Just half a block away is Pinzole’s restaurant and wine bar. Stop by for a glass of Italian white wine like an Orvieto and maybe a pizza too.

A glass of  white wine at four o'clock. Why not?

A glass of white wine at 4four o’clock. Why not?

Fairhope has dozens of restaurant choices from Sweet Olive Bakery & Juice Bar for breakfast, or the Grand Hotel for a glimpse of Fairhope’s glorious past when people vacationed for a week or more in the big hotel on the bay. If you are lucky enough to be there on Sunday be sure and try the legendary brunch buffet at the Grand Hotel. The view of Mobile Bay and their down south dessert spread is enough to get me in the door, but the entrees and sides are of high quality too. After your meal stroll along the bay shore walkway or park your stuffed self into a bench under a Live Oak as the breeze animates the Spanish moss dangling low from its massive branches.

IMG_0401

A charming alley in Fairhope.

On my most recent trip to Fairhope I was able to attend a writer’s group meeting, and met two ladies from Colorado. Both were impressed enough to make it their home, one full time, the other part time. There aren’t many places in the south a Coloradan would move to, but Fairhope is so charming I can see the draw. It’s a free thinking, liberal community with a focus on art and good times in a beautiful southern setting. What’s not to love?

Duck confit.

Duck confit.

The Grand Hotel Fairhope.

The Grand Hotel Fairhope.

The Windmill in Fairhope where Sweet Olives resides with two other restaurants.

The Windmill in Fairhope where Sweet Olives resides with two other restaurants.

Mushroom Potato Soup

To be or not to be Gluten-Free?

I’m still not convinced that I need to go gluten-free. I did a test last summer and went four weeks virtually gluten-free and the only thing I noticed was the mild to moderate headaches I have had almost daily for the last thirty years went away about three weeks into my experiment.

IMG_0727

When I added gluten back into my diet a bit at a time the headaches were still mostly absent so I couldn’t draw a line and say for sure what was going on. After all my research into gluten I do believe it is best to be cautious of wheat and all the man induced meddling it has endured over the last hundred years. Therefore I still eat wheat products but have cut back considerably on anything that contains it and gluten.

Cream of mushroom soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. It was probably one of the first things I cooked by myself when I was about twelve years old. Even though it was just canned Cambell’s cream of mushroom soup it was good stuff. Since moving to the Mid-Atlantic region and discovering the Mushroom Capital of the World just up the road in Kennett Square my appreciation for a great bowl of mushroom soup has blossomed.

IMG_0737

In an effort to be cooking in the footsteps of the mushroom chefs up north I’ve come up with my own recipes including this new one I share with you today that happens to be gluten-free. I find that this new soup combines the savory flavor of mushrooms with the heartiness of a potato soup and will satisfy the pickiest mushroom soup fans. Please give it a try and share far and wide so others can enjoy this shroomy good bowl of soup.

IMG_0716

Cream of Mushroom Potato Soup

2 pounds russet potatoes

1 pound mushrooms, maitake,  crimini, or white

2 teaspoons garlic infused olive oil

1/2 cup minced yellow onion

2 teaspoons mushroom base, or beef base

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons chicken base

2 cups milk

3 cloves garlic, optional

cooking mushrooms in a LeCruset pot

cooking mushrooms in a LeCruset pot

Peel and  cut potatoes into one inch cubes. Put in a covered pot with one teaspoon chicken base and  water to cover. When it boils reduce and cook at a simmer until tender.

Cook minced onions, and garlic infused olive oil on medium low heat for three minutes in a sauté pan.

Chop mushrooms and add to sauté pan cooking at medium heat for about ten minutes and stirring every minute or so.

Add thyme and white pepper and cook for about two more minutes until most but not all of the liquid is gone from the mushrooms.*

Add cooked minced garlic from garlic infused olive oil if using.*

When potatoes are tender drain and reserve liquid. Mash potatoes and 1/2 cup of milk with a hand masher.

Add the mushroom mix to the potatoes.

Add milk, mushroom base, chicken base and one cup of the potato liquid and blend with an immersion blender.

Cook for another five minutes and add more potato liquid until desired thickness is achieved, about two cups should do.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

hot soup!

hot soup!

Note:

*Most of the time when sautéing mushrooms the liquid is cooked off, but it’s not necessary to cook off all the mushroom liquid with this recipe.

*If using my recipe for garlic infused olive oil you will have the cooked garlic cloves to use in this soup. If not just sauté minced fresh garlic when the mushrooms are added to the onions.

*For a different garnish try finely sliced celery leaves.

Pasta Portabella

With a busy schedule that has me out of town one or more days for each the next five weeks I don’t want to spend any more time than needed in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong. I still love to come home from a trip and cook, but it has to be quick and healthy like this Portabella Pasta dish. When I’m on the road I get to eat at some great restaurants. Take for instance the Wicked Spoon in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan Casino last week. The food was amazing and they have a bottomless glass of wine special too. When you order a glass of wine the waiter will ask, “Would you like our bottomless glass of wine for just $4 more?” to which I said, “Hell yeah!”. The catch is you have to get your wine drinking done within two hours. That is not a problem for most of us, certainly not me. After three tasty glasses of Prosecco I had enough food and wine for the day and was off to enjoy the sunshine.

IMG_0707

Once I get home I  look forward to cooking in my own kitchen again. I might have even picked up some ideas from dinning out on the road. This week I went up to Phillip’s Mushrooms in Kennett Square and picked up a load of portabellas, shitake and maitake mushrooms to use in my test kitchen. I had some ports leftover and decided to share this recipe that I wrote two years ago but had lingered on the back burner awaiting a final test. I learned this type of cooking while visiting Ostuni, Italy. That region of Italy is known for simple dishes made with just a few ingredients. Their thumbprint pasta called “ orecchiette” is found often and usually served with some sort of tomato product, and maybe some fresh herbs. We loved every dish we tasted with orecchiette in it and I have used it occasionally since that visit.

IMG_0695

In your kitchen you can substitute orecchiette with bow tie pasta or a gluten-free pasta and I suspect it will still turn out quite well. Use the best canned or fresh tomatoes you can get your hands on for best taste. If you want to make it a meaty entree just add Italian sausage in it or on the side and you will have the full meal deal. Pair it with a nice Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon for dinner Italian style. It beats Spaghetti O’s any day! Please leave your comments so the world knows I have a gazillion readers/followers. Until next time, eat well and drink well my friends.

 

IMG_0696

Pasta Portabella

2 cup orecchiette pasta, or bow tie pasta

1 16 oz can diced tomatoes

3/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

5-6 teaspoons garlic infused olive oil

1 portabella mushroom sliced in 3/8 inch slices

2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped,optional

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

saute time

saute time

Heat to boiling 8-10 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of salt.

While water is heating sauté portabella slices in a sauté pan on medium heat until lightly browned. It may take two rounds as the portabella slices  should not be touching. After browning set aside in a warm oven.

Cook pasta when water boils.

Use same sauté pan to heat tomatoes and herbs to a simmer.

When pasta is done cooking, drain and toss with tomatoes.

Add chopped parsley and arrange on individual plates.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with sautéed portabellas, and parmesan.

Serves 2 as an entree or four as a side dish, but easily doubles to serve more.

Let's eat!

Let’s eat!

A Turkey Chili Story

Once upon a time there was chili and chili was good. Back then chili was always made with beef or pork for the meat component, and it was good. For many years all the people in the land ate of the usual beef and pork chili and all was well. Then one cold day came strangers to the world of chili and proclaimed that there are other meats that are good in it. These strange people put ground turkey in their chili much to the surprise of the beef and pork chili eaters. As if that wasn’t enough strangeness they would also use bison instead of the age old method of beef and pork to make matters more unsettling. The “old school” beef and pork chili eaters were upset by this oddness and said, “woe is thee who eateth the turkey or bison chili” and they refused to eat it. This did not bother the “new school” turkey and bison chili eaters, and they blended in as best as they could in the world of the “old school” crowd.

IMG_0567

Many years passed and the “old school” chili eaters had children who grew up alongside the children of the “new school” chili folk and in time they became friendly towards each other. It was bound to happen that one day the child of an old school chili eater was visiting his friend who’s parents were of the “new school”. It was cold and nasty outside and the “old school” child was invited to stay for dinner. Lo and behold the family served nothing for dinner but turkey chili. The “old school” child  thought it was better to eat of the strange turkey chili than go hungry and upset his hosts so he bravely tried this new chili. What a surprise to his taste buds this milder flavored meat had! It was delicious in a most agreeable manner and he ate much of this warm and satisfying bowl of hot red goodness. He couldn’t wait to go home and tell his parents about what was once thought of as sacrilege amongst chili eaters, was indeed quite tasty. He asked his hosts for the recipe to take to his parents so they too could sample this new chili. When he arrived home with chili smeared on his happy little face he told his parents of the wondrous chili at the “new school” chili eater’s home. He presented them with the recipe and the parents tried it and liked it. Soon all the land was rejoicing in the bliss of two new chili recipes and all was well in the land.

Today I share with you that amazing turkey chili recipe that brought peace and harmony to the land of chili eaters. May it keep you warm and happy.

IMG_0551

 

1/2 pound ground turkey

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce

1 can of pinto beans

1 can of kidney beans

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a 6-8 quart pot add olive oil, onions and garlic, and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes stirring often.

Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 more minutes stirring often.

Add ground turkey, turn heat up to med-hi  and cook for 5 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until turkey is no longer pink.

Add rest of the ingredients, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook at a slow simmer for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so.

Chili is ready to eat after 20 minutes, but improves if cooked for 45 minutes, the last 25 minutes should be with the cover off. Like most chili recipes this one improves the next day.

Serves 4-6

IMG_0558

Soba Noodle Soup

Soba Noodle Soup With Shitake Mushrooms

Japanese cuisine tends to be healthier than American food and has taught me much about eating right. That’s not to say the Japanese are without health issues, but overall they are slimmer and healthier than us Americans. Most of the foods they eat are lower in fat and sugar than American foods. According to a Business Insider article from February 19,2012  us Americans were consuming one hundred pounds of sugar per year each! The Japanese consume only about forty pounds each. Their fat consumption is less also and other than pork katsu or tempura vegetables and shrimp they don’t overdo it with fat as often as we do.

IMG_0547

Even if you didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier I want to share a Japanese inspired soup recipe I developed using soba noodles. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are used often in Japanese soups and served cold dipped in broth as well. I sometimes make soba noodle salad and hope to post a recipe for spring or summer this year. Soba can be a bit high on sodium so if you are concerned with sodium be sure and by the less-sodium version sold in most Asian grocery stores. Soba soup or salad is versatile and tastes great with broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, green onions, snow peas, or edamame. For meat additions try pork, chicken, beef, salmon or tofu if you are eating a vegetarian diet.

IMG_0537

I love how fast a from-scratch soba soup recipe comes together, and how it incorporates super healthy shitake mushrooms. This recipe of mine can take as little as twelve minutes to make  if your veggies are purchased cut-up and soup ready. It’s low-fat, easy to make and filling as well as delicious. There was a time you had to go to an Asian grocery store to buy soba noodles but I’m seeing them in many regular American grocery stores lately. If you can’t find them local try amazon.com where I found one of the brands I like, JFC Brand six pack for $17.36 plus shipping.

IMG_0543

So please give it a try and leave comments on how you tweaked the recipe to include what you had on hand, and share on your favorite social media. Here’s to eating healthier in 2015!

IMG_0550

Soba Noodle Soup with Shitake Mushrooms

1  quart water

2 teaspoons chicken base, or bullion cubes- see note

1  1/2 tubes of soba noodles

1 cup sliced shitake caps

2 cups chopped green or broccoli florets

1 cup shredded carrots

1 tablespoon soy sauce,optional

Bring water to a boil with bullion, or base.

Add mushrooms and noodles and cook on high for two minutes stirring often.

Add cabbage and carrots cooking for two more minutes.

Add soy sauce to taste, about 1-2 tablespoons.

Serves four.

Note:

If you are concerned with your sodium intake buy the “less sodium” soba or bullion.

To make this soup a main course add one of the following:

1-2 cups cubed tofu

1-2 cups of cooked shredded chicken, or sliced pork

Top with La-Yu hot sesame oil to kick it up!

Spinach and Feta Tostadas

Spinach and Feta Cheese Tostadas

IMG_0528

Here we are in the first week of the New Year and I bet everyone is eating healthier thanks to resolutions made on New Year’s Day. If you are a little late to the health food party no worries as I have a delicious and easy recipe for you to try. I keep corn tortillas in the freezer most of the year because they are so versatile,quick and yummy. As long as you fry them in a healthy oil I think they are a great choice for eating better without much prep time. With the right ingredients you can make a full meal deal with them. I usually go vegetarian, but have been known to add a bit of leftover chicken on them if I have it on hand.

IMG_0523

In this latest creation of tostada magic I had some feta cheese in the fridge and a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto just waiting to appear on the table. I figured spinach would be a great choice of greens to complete the circle and into the kitchen I went for lunch. It took all of about fifteen minutes to make these spinach and feta tostadas and was deee-lish! Three of these cheesy circles of mouthwatering joy, with a side of avocado, were enough to satisfy my hunger. I probably could have eaten another but after all the high calorie goodness I had during the holidays I was glad to show some restraint.

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

Give it a try and see if you think this is a worthy recipe for you family and friends. Why you could even serve them for NFL playoff snacks if you wanted to, and if your teams wins they will taste even better!

Spinach and Feta Cheese Tostadas

4 cups fresh spinach 2-3 corn tortillas

6 corn or flour tortillas

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon garlic infused olive oil, or regular olive oil

3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto, or tomato salsa

2/3 cup feta cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Fry the tortillas in a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon oil on medium high for about 1 1/2 minutes each side then drain on paper towels. You don’t need to brown them much.

In the same sauté pan, or a bigger one wilt the spinach in 1 teaspoon oil stirring often for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add a bit of salt and pepper if you like.

Spread the sun-dried tomato pesto on the flour tortillas, about 1 1/2 teaspoon each.

Top with spinach, then feta cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes on a rack.

Serve with a side of sliced avocado and a bit of the pesto, or salsa.

Serves two but is easily doubled.

IMG_0530

Chicken Breast with Mushrooms and Sherry

 

Are We There Yet?

Each year many of us find ourselves just about done with the feasting and drinking scene that dominates our American culture this time of year. Starting with Thanksgiving we pig out in the name of tradition and it is good! Then comes the Christmas parties, and family gatherings before Christmas where we indulge some more. When Christmas rolls around we get food gifts of hams and chocolate, scotch and champagne and who knows what else. The Christmas feast is a lovely affair of roast goose, baked ham, prime rib or some other very special food with all the trimmings we don’t eat often. Don’t forget the amazing dessert this time of year! Pecan pie is a favorite, as well as pumpkin pie. A side of whipped cream is a must with either of the aforementioned delicious desserts. Maybe just a taste of eggnog splashed with a spot of brandy wouldn’t hurt? You get the picture. We eat well in this country and outdo ourselves during the Thanksgiving to New Years Days stretch. With New Year’s Eve comes the big drinking fest for many of us. Finally we stretch out in front of the tv to rest on New Year’s Day now that we are at the end of the holiday splurge and feeling stuffed like a tick on a fat hound dog.

IMG_0457

Come January second we need a break from all of this good stuff! Bring on the gym memberships and the New Year’s resolutions, Get off the couch and take the dog or kids for a walk to burn off some of the seasons excesses. It’s all for naught if you don’t eat healthy for a while, and that is where I come in. You need healthy, easy to prepare recipes that don’t interfere with all that exercise you are going to be engaged in for the rest of the year, according to your resolution.

IMG_0443

To start, here is a tasty dish that should take you no more than twenty minutes to prepare using non-processed whole foods. To top it off if you email me with the types of foods you like and want recipes for  I’ll send you five custom choices to get your New Year off to a good start. Let me know if you lean towards gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low fat or low sugar and I’ll send you a list of five original recipes to help you make healthy choices for the New Year free of charge for the first ten readers. Also let me know how many minutes of prep time and cook time you want to stay within and chances are I can find recipes that fit the bill from my database of almost two hundred FastandFuriousCook.com originals. After all, life is short enough. Why make it shorter by eating and drinking too much unhealthy food and drinks?

IMG_0447

 

Chicken Breast with Mushrooms and Sherry

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1-2 cloves of fresh garlic sliced thin

1/4 cup diced bell pepper

1/4 cup diced yellow or white onion

1 skinless chicken breast

8 oz white mushrooms sliced

2 tablespoon sliced green onions

2 teaspoons Spike seasoning salt

8-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half

1- 2  tablespoons sherry

IMG_0455

 

Cut the chicken breast across in thin slices and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in sauté pan and add garlic, bell peppers and yellow onion. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes stirring often.

Add mushrooms and continue cooking until most of the moisture is cooked out of mushrooms, about 8-10 minutes stirring every minute or less. Set mushroom mix aside.

Add remaining olive oil to the sauté pan and cook the chicken breast on medium high heat for 2 minutes then flip each piece and cook for two more minutes.

Add mushroom mix, Spike, green onions and tomatoes cooking for 3 more minutes. Add sherry and serve.

Goes well with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed green beans.

Serves two, but is easily doubled.

 

Note:

Make sure the chicken is dried off with a paper towel to prevent splattering and sticking while sautéing.

Can be tossed with your favorite pasta too.

Cut olive oil to just two teaspoons if you want it low fat.

Chicken breast with mushrooms and sherry

Chicken breast with mushrooms and sherry

Salmon Rice Bowl

East Meets West

I love salmon rice bowls! On my most recent trip to Japan I paid extra attention to the food. From the restaurants, cafes, street foods, and even on the ANA Airline flight home I took mental notes of Japanese cuisine at its best. Japanese food is significantly healthier than American food overall. On the flight back from Tokyo to Chicago at lunch I noticed the calorie difference in our two choices of entree. The American style lunch featured braised beef with sides, and the Japanese style lunch featured grilled fish on rice with sides. The American lunch came in at about 1,250 calories while the Japanese lunch came in around 670.

IMG_0342I’ve been to Japan many times and have seen few fat people. They do have more incidences of stomach cancer, but overall their health is better than Americans. They eat less meat and fat than we do and get more exercise. I decided I would come up with some Japanese American fusion type recipes to share with those of you looking to eat lighter, or those who would like to explore Japanese foods.

Example at hotel free breakfast of the day's offering

Example at hotel free breakfast of the day.

In my first two or three trips to Japan I had a hard time eating the breakfast that typical locals ate. We usually stayed at hotels, hot springs resorts, and with my wife’s family there. The typical breakfast offered steamed rice, grilled or baked fish, steamed dumplings, shredded cabbage, several types of Japanese pickles, undercooked eggs(yuk!), miso soup, some sort of bread, and fruit.

I started taking granola on trips to Japan so I knew I’d have something I could eat for breakfast. On this trip something strange happened. We ate at restaurants or hotel buffets and I found I liked quite a few of the foods on the breakfast buffets unlike previous trips. Especially the fish and rice with strange vegetable side dishes. Remember the song “I think I’m turning Japanese”? I wondered after eating and liking so many of the dishes I usually wouldn’t have eaten at breakfast if I was. After eating fish on rice at three different places I decided to conjure up my own fish and rice bowl to share with you, my dear readers. This would be a lunch bowl, not breakfast. I’ve been cooking Asian dishes for over forty years. Some authentic, some blended East meets West style. Today I share with you my love of salmon, and brown rice. This simple, and very healthy dish takes no more than ten minutes to make, and uses ingredients that are easily found. If you have a rice maker get your rice cooking an hour or more before lunch time as this is one fast dish, but rice is not. Unless you do the microwave rice thing. Does anyone really buy that crap?

Three simple ingredients

Three simple ingredients

With the holidays upon us why not try this healthy salmon rice bowl before the new year resolution period? This salmon bowl is good hot or cold. If you have access to a good Asian grocery store, you can buy Bonito flakes, and rice sprinkles to enhance the flavor of the rice. If you can find unagi sauce(eel sauce) all the better. I tested it with Kikkoman BBQ Sauce brushed on, which worked well. I was  figuring it is easy to find, but have used unagi sauce for years on salmon with better results. If you have the time you can even marinate the salmon in my recipe:http://www.fastandfuriouscook.com/teryaki-salmon-skewers-on-brown-rice/, for about forty-five minutes. This rice bowl goes well with a side of Asian style salad, or green salad with Asian sesame dressing. So here’s to eating better and healthier before and after the New Year.

slice the salmon like this

slice the salmon like this

Salmon Rice Bowl

1 pound salmon filet, preferably Alaska salmon

1/4 cup thin sliced green onion rings, the green part

1/4 cup unagi sauce or Kikkoman BBQ sauce

Preheat oven to 350

Sliced the salmon horizontally at an angle in 1/2 inch pieces

Rub with oil, or use a spray oil to prevent sticking

Place on rack near the top of oven and change heat to broil.

Cook for three minutes then remove from oven to brush topside with sauce.

Broil two to three more minutes.

Remove from oven and brush both sides.

Arrange salmon on top of rice and sprinkle with green onions.

I like to have soy sauce at the table ready to add as needed.

Serves four.

broil on rack

broil on rack

Note:

There are several type of rice toppings available in most grocery store Asian sections. I like several of them including bonito flakes, seaweed and sesame seed combinations, and Nori Komi Furikake.

Serve with an Asian salad like my Asian Broccoli and Bell Pepper Salad:

http://www.fastandfuriouscook.com/asian-broccoli-salad/

Unagi sauce is the better choice if you can find it.

Unagi sauce is the better choice if you can find it.

Get the e-Cookbook!

Over forty five recipes that are fast, simple, delicious and healthy for beginner and seasoned cooks alike. Most recipes take about 10-15 minutes to prepare, and less that 45 minutes to cook. Some recipes have Youtube videos for easy to follow instructions. A bargain at only $9.97!

Discount Code:

About FastandFuriousCook.com

Did you ever come home from work or a busy day and thought you didn’t have time to cook a healthy great tasting meal? Many of us have this problem, but there is a way to conquer that beast. You just need the recipes, basic supplies and support of this blog to get you through it. I have learned over the last twenty years how to create great, healthy meals in very little time. You don’t need to be a chef to make this work for you. I have done the hard work of developing a plan for you.
Learn More...

Follow on Twitter

Like us on Facebook