Debbie’s Delicious Chopped Salad

This is no side salad

Photo: tastespotting

This salad is a meal of its own – both fulfilling and filling. It’s loaded with goodness to give you energy.  Here you have an extremely tasty mix of sweet, salty and savory, with a healthy dose of good fats, fibre, protein and greens.

What you need:

Along with greens of your choice (I use a combo of baby spinach, arugula + spring mix) toss the following:

Chopped cooked *chicken breast, avocado, apple (skin on), green onion, pitted medjool dates (2-3 per serving), cherry tomatoes, chickpeas (drained and rinsed), cucumber, hard boiled egg & kalamata olivesOptional: I like to crumble gorgonzola (or feta) cheese over top.  You can also add chopped crispy bacon bits.

Of course all of this is optional depending on what you enjoy.

  • I usually bake a few *chicken breasts in a little olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice + pepper.  It’s easy and perfect for adding to salads, wraps or pasta dishes.

Dressing: Add to chopped mix right in the same bowl – a squeeze of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, low sodium soy sauce (yes I did mean to say that) & drizzle a bit of balsamic.  Note: you won’t miss s+p to taste if you choose to add gorgonzola and/or bacon bits.  Sprinkling sesame seeds over top….

Voilà…lunch or dinner is served.

OR; wrap it up.  If you’re especially hungry this also works well in a wrap.  There are so many kinds to choose from now (Italian Herb, Sundried Tomato & Basil, etc.) and the calories are written right on the package.  We love options.

Enjoy!

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Best in Bone Broth

I’ve had this recipe on hold since I’ve been making my own bone broth from scratch.  I add the rich broth to many recipes and also use it to mix over meat for the dogs. I think this one taken from GooP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s Lifestyle website) is worth sharing because it claims to be The Best Bone Broth on the Planet.  Now who’s going to argue with that?  

How to Make the Best Bone Broth on the Planet

Marco Canora started serving bone broth from the takeaway window at his NYC restaurant Hearth in 2014. In fact, it was so wildly popular that he built Brodo, a whole restaurant devoted to the stuff, in 2016. But that’s not where it all started for him. “I had a relationship with broth long before it was called ‘bone broth’—and long before I knew anything about its health benefits,” says the chef and entrepreneur, who also runs Zadie’s Oyster Room in the East Village. “Our signature broth at Brodo is pretty much the same broth I learned to make as a child, watching my mom in the kitchen.”

Opening Brodo, however, had a great deal to do with Canora’s own personal health journey. “After twenty years of carb-loading, smoking, drinking, and working eighty hours a week in high-stress NYC kitchen environments, I was in a deep hole of inflammation and anxiety,” he says. The results: gout, high cholesterol, weight gain, insulin resistance, and lack of energy, along with a mental and emotional toll. “I had become short-fused and lost my ability to motivate and manage a staff,” says Canora.

Bone broth was key to his path back to health. “Its nutritional benefits and healing abilities for the gut and immunity played a large role,” he says. “While there are no magic bullets, as I learned about its properties, I made an effort to drink it more often. And the better it made me feel, the more strongly I felt about sharing the amazing goodness that is bone broth with my customers.”

How to Make Bone Broth by Marco Canora

  1. Get some bones: Visit a local butcher or farmers’ market or order them online, and always save the leftover bones and whole carcasses from anything you cook.
  2. Fill a large pot (I recommend eighteen quarts, minimum) four fifths of the way with bones and cover with cold water. The water should cover the bones by two to three inches.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer for an hour or two, periodically skimming off impurities and fat.
  4. Add organic chopped vegetables, like onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes (canned, fresh, or paste), along with aromatics, like parsley and peppercorns.
  5. Continue to simmer for twelve to eighteen hours, checking periodically to make sure that the bones are fully submerged.
  6. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer.
  7. Season with salt to taste and let cool.
  8. Transfer cooled broth to storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Skim off any solidified fat from the top and store the broth for up to five days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.

Common Mistakes

  1. Not skimming your broth frequently enough. Skimming removes impurities and fat for a clear, clean broth.
  2. Skimping on cook time (we simmer our bones for eighteen to twenty-four hours).
  3. Using beef-marrow bones for making broth. For some reason, lots of people believe this is the right bone to use, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The marrow bone, aka femur bone, is a smooth bone with very little meat. The meat is where the umami-rich flavor comes from, so you WANT meaty bones for your broth! The marrow bone also lacks connective tissue, which is where all the collagen goodness comes from. And though marrow is nutrient-dense, it is also pure fat, so it liquefies during cooking and either emulsifies into the broth (giving it an unappealing cloudy/milky look) or, worse, floats to the top, where it’s skimmed off with other impurities. (If you want to consume marrow, I recommend you add it to the finished broth with a battery-operated frother.)

Now you’ve got bone broth. Other than drinking it, what can you do with it?

Cook with it. Good broth is a forgotten staple, something that should appear on your shopping list next to salt, butter, olive oil, milk, and eggs. A good broth makes just about anything taste more delicious, and it adds nutrition to boot. As I write this, I’m braising beef shanks to serve with risotto:

Both dishes are even more delicious with bone broth.

Terrific Turmeric Latte

Nutritious and Delicious

This Image: goodnessmebox.com

My cousin Elizabeth visited me here in Palm Springs for the first time and made the most delicious turmeric lattes with a twist.  Her secret?  Adding medjool dates.  We had them every day.

Here’s the recipe which you can tweak to your liking.

Measure out your coconut milk in cup you’re using  (for two people use two cups – duh)

Sweeten to taste with medjool dates (pitted – two per person which you can add or subtract)

Blend until the dates are well blended

After it’s blended pour it into a pot on stove.  Heat gently.

Add spices to taste: turmeric, powdered ginger, cinnamon, bit of black pepper (which helps to  absorb turmeric into your system).  Mix it all together and heat until desired warmth.  Sip away & enjoy.

DATES are an excellent Natural Sweetener.  

They are high in several nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, all of which may provide health benefits ranging from improved digestion to a reduced risk of disease.

In addition, they contain several vitamins and minerals however, they are high in calories since they are a dried fruit.

Getting enough fiber is important for your overall health.  With almost 7 grams of fiber in a 3.5-ounce serving, including dates in your diet is a great way to increase your fiber intake.

Furthermore, the fiber in dates may be beneficial for blood sugar control.

Fiber slows digestion and may help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking too high after eating.

For this reason, dates have a low glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a certain food.

Compared to similar types of fruit, such as figs and dried plums, dates appear to have the highest antioxidant content.

We were lucky to get the freshest California medjool dates at the market which made them  very easy to pit and blend.

TURMERIC and especially its most active compound curcumin have many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

Helpful note: we are now sipping them through copper straws to avoid yellowing our teeth.

Dried or Fresh?

The general rule of thumb for converting dried herbs or spices to fresh in a recipe is 1-to-3, so 1 teaspoon of dried spice is equal to 3 teaspoons — 1 tablespoon — of fresh. Roughly 2 inches of fresh turmeric root will yield 1 tablespoon of the freshly grated spice.

You’re welcome!

 

Food: Poke Please

First things first, it sounds like “Poh-keh”—not poki, not poke.

Photo: d. king

However you word it, the native to Hawaii food phenomenon is sweeping the country.  It’s like a sashimi salad with all the toppings.

I recently sampled a new place in Palm Springs called Haus of Poke and loved it.  Everything is behind a counter and you just let the server know what you want.  They have lots of tempting choices.  They certainly have a new customer.

Many people don’t know what Poke is exactly… so here for your information:

Photo: d. king

Fun fact: poke can be easily made at home.
Indeed, making ahi poke doesn’t require a fancy recipe: Get your hands on 500 grams of sashimi-grade tuna and cut it into bite-sized cubes. In a bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, a teaspoon of minced garlic, a handful of chopped green onions, and whatever other condiments you feel like. Whisk it all together and marinate the tuna cubes in it for an hour in the fridge, and voila! Fresh, delicious poke that you can serve over rice with some slices of avocado for good measure.

Sounds good to me!

Have you tried it?

 

Green Goddess Dressing (aka creamy avocado dressing)

Don’t remember the last time I bought a salad dressing.  It’s all too easy to make your own from scratch and so much tastier.  This creamy, versatile and delightful dressing is packed with vitamins and goes with almost any salad.  It’s a  healthy alternative to dairy or mayonnaise-based dressings.

Image: Simply Scratch

What you need:

  1. 1 whole large ripe avocado.
  2. 1 clove garlic, peeled.
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice.
  4. 3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  5. ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
  6. ¼ cup low-fat greek yogurt (optional)
  7. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  9. water, as needed

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients In a food processor or blender.
  2. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Thin the salad dressing out with about 1/3 cup water (give or take) until it reaches a desired consistency.
  3. Keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

ENJOY

 

 

 

Full of Goodness Soup

 Winter vegetable soup for the soul

Photo: d. king

A friend requested I post a vegetarian/vegan soup recipe.   I’ve never followed one so this is a kind of non-recipe recipe.  All you need are a variety of vegetables and patience for chopping. Because literally you just chop & toss everything into a pot.  This soup is chock full of nutrients & tons of flavor.  Because vegetable soup can lean towards being more bland than other kinds, you can play with your spices. Add 21 vegetable spice mix, pepper, sea salt and Herbs de Provence.  Of course ***bay leaves  are a necessary addition while cooking.

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
4 cups of vegetables, roughly chopped.  Use a mix of spinach, kale, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, yam, sweet potato, parsley, etc.
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic,  chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil or *ghee (Note: if using ghee, the recipe is no longer vegetarian/vegan)
**4-6 cups vegetable broth (I made mine from scratch but you can use better than bouillon.
Or; water to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon juice
Spices

When serving add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil & sprig of parsley to garnish

Directions
1. Heat coconut oil or *ghee in large pot or a Dutch oven.
2. Add onions and garlic, stirring until fragrant, then add vegetables and stir for a minute or two longer.
3. Add broth or enough water to cover the vegetables. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender and puree in a high speed blender (or with a hand blender) until smooth.
4. Season as desired and serve with a squeeze of lemon, a splash of olive oil and some sea salt (Maldon is a good choice).

*Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s made from heating butter and allowing the liquid and milk portion to separate from the fat. The milk caramelizes and becomes a solid, and the remaining oil is ghee.  Ghee has a long-standing reputation as one of the healthiest cooking fats available.  You can buy it at many grocery health-food stores like Whole Foods.

This ingredient has been used in Indian and Pakistani cultures for thousands of years. When used in place of butter, ghee has several benefits.   Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to be protective against carcinogens, artery plaque and diabetes.  So it is known.

**Homemade Veggie Stock: I’ve been freezing ends and skins of vegetables like carrots, onions and herbs like parsley, cilantro, etc. to use for making stock.  I wash everything before freezing then place them in a pot & heat with covered water.  It offers more flavor rather than using plain water.  Of course you must discard the vegetables and use only the stock when making veggie soup.

***Nutrient Packed Bay leaves offer us a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, magnesium, calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron. Bay leaves apparently help to soothe body aches. You can add 4-5 bay leaves in 1 litre of water and add to bathwater to relieve sore muscles and rejuvenate the body. Supposed to ease joint pain from arthritis.  Try it!

Hope you enjoy it.  Let me know how it turned out. xo

Comfort Cooking: Creamy Lemon Chicken

SLOW COOKER CREAMY LEMON CHICKEN

A slow cooker is such a great kitchen appliance to have around.  Especially if you want to let something simmer for a long time without worrying about it.  I found this recipe on a website called dinnerthendessert.  Original recipe calls for chicken breasts but it’s equally good using chicken thighs. It’s also perfect as a pasta topping!  In fact that’s exactly what I did the next day – with tossed linguine.

Image + recipe: dinnerthendessert.com

This recipe is not only simple to make, it’s simply delicious with a creamy butter, garlic and lemon coating.

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 *chicken breasts boneless and skinless 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon **kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 lemons juiced and zested
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (optional) but delicious! I use “better than bouillon”

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large cast iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt on medium high heat.
  2. Add the kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning to the chicken and add it to the pan.
  3. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes to brown.

  4. Add the chicken to your slow cooker.
  5. Cover with lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and the rest of the butter in pieces (lemons in the picture is just for reference. Don’t cook the lemons in the slow cooker).
  6. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
  7. In a large measuring cup add the half and half, cornstarch and chicken base (bouillon) and whisk well.
  8. Add the liquid, mix, and cook an additional hour on high.

    *Did you know?

    Canada banned the use of hormones in Canadian poultry on March 4, 1963. Though it is rare, some marketers still classify their chicken as “hormone-free.” This is used as a marketing tactic, since all chickens raised in Canada have been raised without added hormones.

    **Why do recipes recommend kosher salt?

    Kosher salt is often recommended by TV chefs because it has a less intense and more pure, salty taste and because it’s easier to pick up the crystals and toss them into the pot!  The flaky structure also makes it easy to spread atop your food.

    By the way, kosher salt is so called because of its role in the process for preparing foods such as meats according to the Jewish tradition. Because it has so much surface area and doesn’t dissolve as quickly as table salt. Though it’s not much different than regular salt, it’s less likely to contain anti-caking agents and added iodine.

    Let me know how you like it?

Food: Autumn Beef Stew

A hearty stew is perfect comfort food for Fall.  This one pays homage to Julia Child’s legendary boeuf bourguignon, stealing her trick of flavoring a wine-rich beef stew with bacon drippings, but adding generous chunks of carrot, potato and butternut squash.  Serve with a side of crusty fresh bread.  And make sure to drink some of the wine.

Image: Midwest Living

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • strips bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • Canola oil
  • medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • cups less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • bay leaves
  • tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • pound butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • stalks celery, sliced into 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

directions

  1. In a large plastic bag, combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef; shake to coat evenly. In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, cook and stir bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Add enough oil to bacon drippings to equal 2 tablespoons. Add half the beef to pot, shaking off any excess flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef.
  2. If pot is dry, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add onions; cook and stir for about 4 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. Return beef, bacon and any remaining flour to pot. Stir to combine. Add chicken and beef broth, wine, bay leaves, thyme and paprika. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add potatoes, squash, carrots and celery. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer about 15 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and liquid is desired consistency. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley.

Enjoy!

 

Goldfish themed sweet treats

A good friend of mine who lives part-time in Tokyo just texted me a photo where she was eating a goldfish at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

This is a lifelike goldfish lollipop

Okay; it’s not a real goldfish (thank goodness) but a jelly dessert that’s part of a Goldfish Festival on until the end of September.  So I had to research the festival because one of the many things I remember about the time I lived in Tokyo was that they have an abundance of not-your-norm festivals.  

WHY GOLDFISH?

In Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868), in the days before the blissful arrival of air conditioning and electric fans, the residents of Tokyo had their own tried and tested ways of dealing with the hot summer weather. Traditionally, people would don lightweight yukata cotton robes and found that viewing images of goldfish had the mysterious effect of providing psychological relief from the summer heat.

The Eco Edo Nihonbashi is a festival themed on the cooling image of goldfish, which aims to replicate this marvelous placebo effect as it takes over the streets of downtown Tokyo from early July until late September. Festival-goers are invited to try for themselves some of the tactics used to keep cool by Tokyoites of yore as they scoop goldfish, dance among the fish at a night-time aquarium party, and munch on refreshing goldfish-themed summer treats.

Eco Edo will showcase the curious cooling properties of goldfish to the full, with an array of goldfish-themed attractions. All these forms of Edo-period wisdom can be enjoyed in a traditional Japanese festival atmosphere, with the surrounding streets decked out with the festival’s trademark enormous goldfish lanterns.

Goldfish Sweets & Bar Walk

New to this year’s festival, enjoy traditional Edo hospitality on a gourmet stroll through Nihonbashi and Ningyocho districts, where many bars, cafes and restaurants will be plying guests with goldfish-themed sweet treats and bar menus as well as locally-produced Japanese sake. Dishes on offer include colourful jelly in glass dishes designed to resemble goldfish in a goldfish bowl, and chilled oden (fish and vegetable hotpot) garnished with tiny carrot goldfish. Visitors can also claim special gifts in each area they visit and collect stamps to enter a lottery to win luxury prizes.

As part of the food and hospitality event, the Mandarin Oriental is also tempting festival-goers with several special offers:

Goldfish Bowl Desserts

Slurp on exquisite layered jelly desserts made to resemble goldfish swimming in a goldfish bowl – they’re almost too beautiful to eat!
Where? Ground floor, the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
When? 7:30-20:00 (weekdays), 9:00-19:00 (weekends and public holidays) to 24th September.
Only in Japan!

Food in the Forest: pilgrimme

pilgrimme on Galiano Island is a foodie dining out discovery.  It may be off the beaten path, but even so, it’s not easy to get a reservation.  It has been voted in Canada’s 100 TOP Restaurants for good reason.  I called a couple weeks in advance and was considered lucky to get a table for four during my recent stay on Galiano.  And what a dining experience it turned out to be.

plgrimme, the restaurant.  It’s worth the ferry ride over.

For years, Galiano remained a well-kept secret, its charms known mainly to the farmers and artisans who called it home.  The cozy wood cabin previously existed as a much loved French restaurant for years before present owners Leanne Lalonde and Jesse McLeery put their name above the door.  Leanne had previously worked for Rosewood’s King Pacific Lodge in the great bear rainforest where she first met Jesse.

Jesse made the inspiring journey to Denmark to spend the winter in the kitchen of Copenhagen’s acclaimed Noma, a two-Michelin-star restaurant . Returning west with new ideas and a reinforced vision, Jesse, with Leanne, opened pilgrimme working with the growers and artisans of Galiano Island.  Everything is made fresh from scratch, locally sourced, farm-to-table, creatively plated and extremely tasty.  Even the ceramics are made on the island.  They have a nicely curated wine list too.

Some of the shared plates created especially for us

Here’s the thing that impressed me the most.  The restaurant created an all vegan menu which was absolutely delicious because out of our group of four people, two and a half of us are vegan.  I must admit that I had my reservations about that at first because I thought that vegan food would be less tasty but everything turned out to be surprisingly excellent.  As good or better than anything I’ve had in a restaurant all year.  And it made me change my mind-set.  In a perfect world we would all be vegan and everything would be better off.  Although I’m not quite ready to totally live up to that.  I’m not perfect just yet.

http://pilgrimme.ca/visit-pilgrimme/