Thursday, June 24, 2010


I don't know what I am doing lately. I have been trying to shop mostly at the farmers markets and supplementing a few items from Whole Foods. The problem is, I am completely in a fog and have no idea what I am doing. When I get home, there's a random assortment of vegetables in my bags and a piece of chicken or something. I have been pulling recipes from my you know where. Yesterday I came up with this veggie burger with leftovers that were in the fridge. Since there was nothing in the fridge except some quinoa and black rice, this is a pretty minimal burger.

Veggie Burger
1/2 ish cup of quinoa, cooked
1/2 ish cup of black rice, cooked
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup flour (any kind-I used quinoa and rice flour)
1 or 2 eggs
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. While it's cooking, mix the quinoa and black rice in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, including the onion and garlic and form into patties. You may need to add a little more flour as necessary to hold it all together.

Heat a medium frying pan and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Cook patty until golden, then flip and cook the other side. When both sides are nicely browned, transfer to the oven to finish cooking.

I mixed the cooked quinoa, black rice an egg, some flour, chopped onion and chopped chives. I promise you this is all the food that I had.

Options- You could add shredded carrot, chopped spinach or any other cooked vegetable. You could use substitute any rice or grain for the quinoa and rice in this recipe.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


So, the truth is that I may eat a little better than many, but I eat "normal" food too. In fact, I am about to order a pizza. I just cannot look at the chicken that is in my fridge. First of all, I had chicken for lunch and I cannot face it again tonight. Secondly, I am feeling slightly uninspired tonight. Sometimes, I don't feel like setting foot in the kitchen or trying to come up with something interesting to make out of a boneless, skinless chicken breast. So I am choosing to do nothing. I think it is unrealistic to eat well 100% of the time and tonight is one of those times. More often than not I do, but sometimes, I just throw it all out the window.

So here are a few photos of some of the things I have made recently. Merguez sausage which is a Moroccan lamb sausage with carrots and onions, chicken breast with sauteed vegetables, rosemary shortbread and olive oil braised zucchini. The zucchini is going along side of the pizza. The shortbread has nothing to do with anything, except to show you that I am a kick ass baker and I eat sweets from time to time.

Regardless of what I eat, I insist on a lot of vegetables. They are full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants. One of my guidelines for eating healthy is to include a lot of vegetables, even with your pizza. Just one serving of salad or one scoop of vegetables might just prevent you from eating one extra slice of pizza and who could argue about that not being a good thing?

Friday, June 11, 2010


Sometimes, I plan my dishes, other times I just open the fridge, nose around and then put something together and hope it works out. Usually, it does. I knew I had some chicken leftover from one that I roasted last night. I also knew that I had mustard greens that were on their last leg and some asparagus. A closer inspection of the kitchen revealed an open box of orzo, a bag of organic slivered almonds, some vinaigrette from a previous meal and of course the staples-red pepper flakes and garlic. If you haven't figured it out yet, those two along with some good olive oil form the basis of many of my meals.

As I was looking upon all of these, a plan started to come together-toast the almonds, shred the chicken, sauté the greens with the olive oil, garlic and red pepper and toss it all together with the orzo and a splash of dressing. Voilá!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Farro is an ancient Tuscan grain. It is a whole grain that packs a bunch of fiber, protein and B vitamins. Over the lat few years, it has become pretty popular, turning up on menus in restaurants and for sale not only in specialty shops but in Whole Foods too. I love farro and use it often. A couple of years ago I went on a farro hoarding spree. Don't ask me why, but I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to find it, so when I did, I bought lots of it. I was down to the last package and no longer fearful of being unable to find it when I prepared these two dishes.

A tip I learned from Heidi Swanson is that you can freeze grains! What a time saving tip. I prepared the whole package, used part of it in a Tuscan inspired mushroom soup, then I froze the rest and a few days later used it as the basis for a pilaf type side dish to go with my Tuscan grilled chicken. Can you tell I have Tuscany on the brain? It's been a year since I first went to Italy and am longing to go back.

For the pilaf, I just sauteed some garlic and red pepper flakes in some olive oil, added some quartered mushrooms and cooked until they were golden, then added some chopped mustard greens and the cooked farro. Sauté until the greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of good, fruity olive oil and serve. I topped this with a whole grilled chicken.

Tuscan Mushroom Soup
1 four ounce package dried mushrooms
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
1 sprig sage, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup lentils (beluga or green-not red or orange)
1 four quart container chicken stock (or homemade)
1 small bunch kale (chard, spinach, dandelion or any dark green will suffice), chiffonade
olive oil
salt and red pepper flakes
1 1/2-2 cups farro, cooked according to package directions

Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water to reconstitute. Set aside for 20 minutes or until soft. Remove mushrooms from water and set the water aside for later. Thinly slice the mushrooms and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan. Sweat the vegetables until soft, then add the garlic, lentils, sage and red pepper flakes to taste. Add the mushrooms to the pan, then add stock and reserved mushroom liquid. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked then add farro and kale. Cook until kale is wilted. Adjust seasoning and serve topped with parmesan shavings.