1/2 Organic head lettuce, chopped (or green leaf lettuce mixed with head lettuce.)
8 oz of Hand shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack if you prefer kick (Mexican blend if you choose bagged cheese)
1 cob of corn cut from the cob (boiled ahead of time)
2-3 small organic tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, sliced
1 lb of ground organic turkey, marinated in taco seasoning, cooked, and cooled.
1 red onion, sliced
Tortilla Chips of your choice to line the bowl.
Serve with Hidden Valley Southwest Chipotle Dressing
Chop lettuce. Blend and mix variety of your choice.
Put lettuce in a large salad bowl. Layer with 3/4 of the total amount of cooked turkey meat. Start layering cheese around outside circle. Follow by adding quartered tomatoes, corn and then remaining turkey meat. Onions and avocados can be creatively added to outside on top of cheese. Finish with tortilla chips lining entire bowl. In addition, other ingredients such as black beans and olives can be added.
Serve with Hidden Valley Southwest Chipotle Dressing,
or Homemade Fiesta Ranch without all the other additives.
1/2 cup of whole milk Daisy Sour Cream
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of butter milk
1/4 cup dried cilantro
1/4 cup of dried parsley
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons fresh, garden picked, finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
Blend all the ingredients in food processor. Store in refrigerator.
Eating in accordance with the seasons has been done for centuries. When we synchronize our circadian rhythms with nature, we feel healthier and more balanced. In addition, planning a seasonal diet can ease the challenging transition from winter to spring.
After months of cooler weather and heavier foods, the body can build up impurities, excess mucus, and toxins. Metabolic toxins are a natural part of our physiology. The key to health is how we keep them in balance. If they become excessive, they can accumulate, affecting the organ systems. Eating according to the season can prevent this accumulation.
For most of the winter, even in warm climates, your body is in hibernation mode when it stores fat for warmth—this is one of the human's innate survival mechanisms. However, when the days get longer and brighter, your body starts to shed the winter insulation. As a result, the fat released into the bloodstream makes thicker blood. In early spring, the body warms up, the liver filters the winter blood, and the stagnation begins to move. Clinically, the symptoms present as stiff muscles, arterial plaque buildup, mucus & hay fever. These symptoms signify the body's transition and make it an ideal time for lighter meals, cleansing, and rejuvenation.
When the weather is still cooler in early spring (March - April), it helps to consume warm meals for lunch and dinner until it turns hotter (May-June). During this transition, eliminate heavy meat proteins such as beef and pork. Lighter vegetarian one-pot meals can replace stews and meat dishes. Try vegetable chilis and lentil soup which are suitable for this period. They are higher in protein and grounding energy during March and April's windy, turbulent storms. Eat lighter foods for breakfast, drink fresh-squeezed juice, or detoxifying tea (see recipes). These regimens can help cleanse the body and rejuvenate the liver as the body starts to shed winter weight. In addition, a more spartan diet relieves the organs from a load of heavy digestion.
The spring diet should incorporate lightly cooked vegetable and rice combinations, leafy green salads, and lighter proteins such as tofu, poultry, and fish when May arrives. In addition, diuretic foods like asparagus, celery, and cabbage help shed excess water weight and reduce puffiness. Warming mustard and tarragon also stoke your digestive fire and boost your metabolism. Finally, turmeric, a powerful blood mover, re-invigorates the blood, restores circulation, cleanses the liver, and re-ignites the metabolism. By incorporating curry dishes into your spring menu, you receive all the benefits of turmeric and other therapeutic spices in the mix. (See my recipe for homemade curry powder.)
Spring is also an excellent time to incorporate the pungent (e.g., ginger), sour (e.g., lemon and dandelion), and bitter (e.g., apple cider vinegar) tastes. These tastes are the best to balance and stimulate sluggish metabolism. Pungency stimulates digestion while bitter foods cleanse the liver and encourage healthy elimination. Try fresh herbal tea to flush out all the toxic residue from winter.
My favorite is homemade fresh lemon, ginger, and honey detox tea that I was introduced to at the Ananda Spa in the Himalayas. It was delivered daily outside our door as a refreshing replacement for morning coffee. It transports my memory back to the beauty of the foothills every time I brew it, which is more energizing than any amount of caffeine!
Lemon, Ginger Honey Detox Tea:
Boil 8-10 oz of water with fresh ginger root slices (about 1-1.5 inches of fresh ginger root) let simmer for 2-5 minutes on low.
Add 1 TB of local honey.
Squeeze juice of 1 small organic lemon.
Stir and serve.
In the spirit of the Strawberry Moon this evening, my cousin Jody's delicious Homemade Strawberry Bread is in order. The recipe is from her mother Gloria. It's a year-round winner but especially good with garden-picked strawberries during the season. It doesn't last long at the party!
3 Cups of Fresh or Frozen Organic Strawberries
3 Cups of King Arthur Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
3 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
2 Cups of Sugar (I use 1 Cane and 1 Brown Sugar)
2 Stick of Butter or 1 and 1/8 cups of safflower oil
(I LOVE BUTTER)
1 Cup of Nuts (optional)
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Mix everything but strawberries in the food processor. Add strawberries and pulse, but do not blend so that some chunks of strawberry remain.
Bake for 1 hour.
Makes 2 -9x13 pan loafs.
One exceptional talent and hobby my mom, Georgia, passed on is homemade Gingerbread house baking and crafting. The tradition began during the Christmas season of 1978 and continues in our family to this day. My mom’s homemade Gingerbread houses became a coveted holiday gift. Everyone who knew my mom’s tradition would anticipate receiving one. Indeed labor of love, my mom produced dozens, sometimes into the wee hours of the night, each Christmas season. Over the past decade, I have become the primary Gingerbread maker of the family. My operation has not surpassed the dozens yet, but the process brings joy and nostalgia that now my children partake.
By popular request I have created a short Gingerbread House guide complete with original recipe, decorating tips and pattern. Gingerbread Houses make great gifts, and are a way to connect with family, get into the Holiday spirit and enjoy sweet spiced aromas throughout the house. I hope you enjoy the recipe and begin a new family Holiday Tradition!
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Hominy is a Mexican corn that is a hearty addition to chili, soups and stews. Hominy is made from whole corn kernels that have been soaked in a lye or lime solution to soften the tough outer hulls. The kernels are then washed to remove the excess solution, the hull, and the germ. I discovered it on a trip to Puerto Vallarta in a chicken soup. Once you have it, you’ll want it again!
1 lb of Organic Ground Turkey (We use Hasselmann Farm)
Eliminate the turkey if you prefer vegetarian
3 cans of organic chili beans
3 cups of hominy (Mexican corn)
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped red pepper
2 chopped jalapeño peppers
1 chopped large onion
7-8 cherry tomatoes quartered
1 small can of Rotel diced tomato and green chilis
2 tablespoon of Weber Chipotle marinade
2 tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
Dash of Chipotle Red Pepper powder
Dash of Cayenne powder
2 tablespoon of Olive Tap Habanera Jalapeño olive oil
2-3 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup of water
1-2 cups of marinara sauce or 1 small can of tomato paste
In large fry pan, brown the turkey meat in the spicy habanera jalapeno oil, add the chipotle marinade powder and 1/3 cup of water.
In large pot or crock pot brown the green pepper, red pepper, jalapeños, onion, fresh tomato and hominy in regular olive oil, add the pepper and cumin, once brown, add the diced tomatoes and chili beans with liquid. Top with the dash of chipotle red pepper powder and dash of cayenne. Stir in small can of paste to thicken or 1-2 cups of tomato basil marinara (we like Trader Joe’s) Add the turkey into the large pot, bring to a boil for a few minutes, stir, then turn to low simmer for 20-30 minutes, up to an hour.
Top with shredded cheese, sharp cheddar or smoked Gouda
Optional: dollop of sour cream.
Serve with gourmet oyster cracker, tortilla chips or soft corn tortillas.
Cool down with a Dogfish Head IPA
When it comes to summer meals, convenience is key. Most of us want to enjoy the outdoors and limit time in the kitchen. I find salads paired with grilled meat, poultry or fish are a quick way to get the dinner on the table.
Try preparing a pasta salad such as this Tri Colored Tortellini in the morning or evening before you plan to serve. With all ingredients in house it simply takes about 15 minutes. Let it sit and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving (the longer, the better to allow the flavors to be absorbed into the pasta). A multiple pound batch can last up to 5 days in the fridge. It covers starch, veggie and dairy all in one dish. For vegetarians, its a full fledged meal!
1lb of tri colored cheese tortellini
½ chopped sautéed red pepper
1 head of steamed organic broccoli
½ red onion chopped
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts
1 cup of chopped pepperoni (try Boar’s Head pepperoni stick or if you’re a Chicago land local try uncured by Hasselmann Farm)
1 cup of Kalamata olives
½ cup of cubed smoked Gouda cheese
1 cup of shaved Parmesan
1 ½ cups of Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste (try 1/4 teaspoon of ground fresh pepper)
Package of Hasselmann's Garlic and Onion Brats
Cook tortellini 5-7 minutes. Strain and immediately pour 1 cup of the Italian dressing over, toss and let cool. Steam the broccoli until a firm soft. Chop the red pepper in 1” strips, sauté in olive oil. When broccoli is down, separate the broccoli into small florets. Combine the warm ingredients (broccoli and peppers) with the cooling tortellini and toss. Add in onion, artichoke, chopped pepperoni, olives and shaved Parmesan. Pour remaining ½ cup of Italian dressing over and toss. Save the cubed smoke Gouda until chilled or right before serving, if it’s added to the mix while its warm, it will melt. Refrigerate in covered glass (plastic absorbs dressings) or stainless container until ready to serve. Before serving toss in Gouda and let sit at room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. Drizzle more Italian over if needed. Pasta should not stick together, but shouldn’t be too oily.
Grill Brats on charcoal grill over medium-low heat between 300 and 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees. Turn them at half way mark to evenly char each side.
Summer is here and so are picnics, bbq's and family parties! A fast, simple and savory appetizer that packs a green punch with an Italian flair is prosciutto wrapped asparagus. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook.
The key is choosing Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a quality Parma or San Daniele Prosciutto. Two regions in Italy that are known for their excellence in curing meats.
*Choose a high quality prosciutto, Parma and San Daniele are regions in Italy both known for their excellent prosciutto.
A great way to move out of the heaviness of winter is to eat lighter food. The best way to do that is to incorporate lots of delicious spring vegetables such as, asparagus, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, spinach, kale, kohlrabi to name a few. The simplest way to do this is in preparing salads or one of my favorites, a spring Pasta Primavera. It's a very flexible dish and can be made with your preference of vegetables. It's a nice "in-between season dish" because it's served warm for those cool spring evenings. Still it's lighter because it's filled with vegetables rather than meat and you can choose to dress it with just olive oil and cheese or a cream sauce for a heavier flair.
10 ounces of Trader Joe farfalle pasta1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 white onion sliced
3 medium Cal-organic rainbow carrots cut into match sticks
1/2 of medium red pepper sliced
1/2 of medium yellow pepper sliced
2 cups of 2” cut asparagus
2 cups of broccoli florets pre steam
1 medium zucchini sliced
1 medium yellow squash sliced
5-6 large white mushrooms sliced
4-5 Campari tomatoes quartered
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 cup of fresh basil chopped
1-2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
2-3 teaspoons of dry Italian seasoning
Cook pasta until tender.
Sauté all vegetables in large deep skillet. Begin with heating oil medium-high heat, add garlic, onion, carrots. After 2 minutes add peppers, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, then tomatoes and broccoli last. Toss vegetables and add salt and pepper and dried Italian seasoning. Turn down heat after 5 minutes and simmer for additional 2 or until vegetables have softened. Pour veggies over cooked pasta and toss with Parmesan Reggiano and fresh chopped basil. Add additional olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Looking for a great use of your abundant summer tomato and fresh herb harvest? My dad has a great red sauce recipe that screams vitamin value with fresh produce from the garden.
The basic style of Dad’s sauce originated from my grandparents land lady in 1934. It is a Genoa style Bolognese sauce. Bolognese is an Italian meat based red sauce, originating in the city of Bologna, Italy. Ground beef, beef short ribs or pork short ribs or a combination of both can be used. Bill has called it his modified Marinara, because he sometimes eliminates the use of meat and always uses anchovies or capers for flavor, which is typical of Marinara.
1 large 106 oz can of tomato sauce (or 5-6 pounds of garden grown roma tomatoes, or a combination of large beef steak, romas, and vine tomato variety ground in food processor)
4 small 6 oz cans of tomato paste or 2/ 12oz
1 lb of pork ribs or short ribs with bone
Olive Oil ( try Tuscan Herb from The Olive Tap)
1 cup or more of chicken broth
Lean flat King Oscar anchovies
1 large sweet onion (garden grown if possible)
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 large green pepper or 2 medium (garden grown if possible)
2 medium carrots (garden grown if possible)
2 stalks of celery (garden grown if possible)
1.5 cup of red wine
1 cup of freshly grated pecorino romano cheese or parmesan reggiano
1 tblspn of local honey
Dried Italian seasoning
Fresh basil, flat leaf Italian parsley, oregano (garden grown if possible)
Ground black pepper
Ground sea salt
In a large pot, combine the tomato sauce and paste and put on medium high.
In a cast iron pan, use a generous amount of olive oil approximately 3-4 tablespoons (preferably Olive Tap’s Tuscan Herb) and turn to medium-high heat.
Cut up short ribs and brown in pan on medium-high approximately 8-10 minutes, turning over half way through. Turn on low for remaining 3-5 minutes
Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the tomato sauce and then add the browned meat.
Blend up the carrots, celery, onion, green pepper and flat parsley in food processor. Add additional olive oil to the cast iron pan and sauté the vegetables on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Then add to the sauce.
Grate a cup of cheese (pecorino romano or parmesan reggiano) and finely chop the can of anchovies and add to the sauce. Chop a bunch of fresh basil (approximately 10 large leaves) and remove leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh oregano and add to the sauce. Bury the top of the sauce with dried Italian seasoning, grind in fresh sea salt and black pepper (a sprinkle) and stir.
Add a tablespoon of honey, drizzle some Worcestershire sauce and add cup and a half of red wine, stir and bring to a boil. Then turn to low simmer for 4 hours.
Taste half way through and add ground salt and black pepper to taste.
Enjoy on top of pasta of choice and sprinkle with parmesan reggiano and cut fresh basil. Mangia!
Fresh ingredients are the key to incredible salsa. If possible gather vegetables from your garden or farmers market. When my tomatoes aren’t ready for harvest, I get organic “On the Vine” tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes from the local farmers market. Why? Because you don’t want something that’s been sprayed with ripening agents or has traveled hundreds of miles, it’s way more cool (and more healthy) to grow your own or buy local.
My neighbor cuts up every ingredient for her homemade salsa, bless her heart, but for my impatient heart, there is my Cuisinart food processor (any food processor will do).
4 large garden tomatoes
1 large Vidalia onion
1 green Pepper
3 cloves of garlic
¼ can of Chilpotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ -1 cup of cilantro leaves (no stems)
1 teaspoon fresh ground peppercorn
1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt ground
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of chipolte chili pepper
2 tablespoon white vinegar
½ of organic lime juiced
Cut tomatoes in quarters. Pulse in food processor a couple times, DO not blend, this will make tomato juice. Leave tomatoes partially chopped. Pour into mesh strainer and put tomato juice aside.
Slice peppers in strips and de-seed and de-stem. Use a glove for Jalapeno, juice will burn your skin. Add ¼ of the 12 oz can of chipolte peppers in adobo sauce, more if you desire a smokier taste. Finely chop the garlic cloves. Put all four ingredients into processor and pulse until chopped, but not blended.
Add back the strained tomatoes to the mix of peppers and garlic. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, chipolte chili pepper powder, juice of lime, vinegar and leaves of cilantro (no stems) to the mix. Pulse until blended 3-6 times, don’t over blend. Sample with a tortilla chip to determine the salinity factor or salt level, (chips that are salted alter the taste of the salsa). If you prefer less spicy add in 1-2 extra tomatoes and additional lime juice. Otherwise Happy Fourth and enjoy the savory fireworks!
Chill salsa before serving. Drain if you prefer less liquid, and add to tomato juice liquid. Save this mixture for homemade Bloody Mary’s on the 5th! Cheers.