Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blended

Soup season is coming. Warm, blended goodness. All of these dishes can be blended to the texture you like best. I put my actual blender away a long time ago. I don't do smoothies. To blend I use an immersion or hand blender. Much cleaner, and you really get to control how much is blended. Here is the one I have. I've never used the plastic blending cup or the whisk attachment. 



But before the soup round, just wanted to post this because it's SO PRETTY. Blended dishes take a lot of dressing up to look tasty for the camera, but this fiery redness is beautiful with the cilantro topping. I just blended jarred roasted red peppers and peeled zucchini. Salt, pepper, lemon or lime juice and a bit of zest. Keep adding to your liking, but keep it simple. The hard part with spreads anymore, including my favorite hummus and tzatziki, is that you need something to dip. Raw veggies hurt my stomach these days, and too much baguette fills me up too fast. I should slice them even thinner and toast for some crunch. I can digest woven wheat crackers. Multi-grain works. Pure flour crackers seem to turn to undigestible dough. Gross.


Roasted red pepper and zucchini spread

It's not quite mashed potatoes, but I've become an occasional cauliflower fan. Boiled or steamed like broccoli and drained. Then I added plain greek yogurt, a dash of half and half, butter, and salt and pepper. I don't skimp on taste, even though the calories would be lower. I eat so little, it has to taste good. So the BUTTER. I don't use sour cream anymore. Plain greek yogurt tastes very similar, has a similar texture, but has lots of protein. Great choice! I was craving a dash of heat, thus the dash of hot sauce.


Creamed cauliflower

I honestly don't remember how I made this. It's not on my Best Dishes notebook on Evernote, so it might not be my favorite. I just remember being impressed with myself that I toasted coconut! I needed the soup to be creamier. I'm trying this one again.


Coconut, Cauliflower and Carrot Soup 


This is my all time favorite the last year or so. So simple and stunning. My great friend Natalia introduced me to this recipe when I stayed with her in Brooklyn one winter. Brown some sweet Italian turkey sausage in a skillet.  In a pot brown some chopped onions and garlic in butter. Add a couple peeled diced sweet potatoes. Add chicken or veggie stock to cover. Simmer until potatoes are cooked. Insert the hand blender and blend potatoes to desired consistency. Add sausage and lastly add chopped fresh spinach. Add salt and pepper as desired. Perfection. And only gets better the next days as the flavors really meld.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

I love this soup. I usually just add a can of pumpkin, a can of light coconut milk, and some brown sugar to taste. That's IT. Simple goodness. The side was just a bonus that day.


Pumpkin Thai soup with pork and tofu topped with basil, bean sprouts and Greek yogurt with side of roasted sweet potatoes, red onions and chopped walnuts topped with feta and parsley.

I like the sweet flavor of the corn with the bland but filling potatoes. I want to experiment with this to get some good protein blended in. Perhaps just some bacon. Bacon makes everything better!


Potato corn chowder.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Favorite Friday


Before surgery, any occasion or emotion would be an excuse to pig out. TGIF happy hours were no exception. I had gathered some lovelies for my Friday evening on a gorgeous October day. The store bought items turned into making my french onion soup. A perfectly tasty end to a long week.




Getting this into my kitchen has been a long process. Bought my first cocktail shaker from Amazon. Found the olives at TJ Maxx. I love popping in there every couple months for fun gourmet food, kitchen ware, and all kinds of yummy lotions and soaps. I made an IKEA run this week and came across martini glasses. All I needed was the booze, which I picked up on my way home Friday, and we're off to the races! Bad analogy; I just needed to unwind. And gin is my favorite way to do it. It's the only liquor that I can digest well, and that I really enjoy. I can't drink much post-surgery, so I need to be picky with beverages just as much as my food.




The best pretzels ever. Everything. Perfect crunch. They are so thin, they don't fill me up. I still try to limit my intake, of course. But these are a great go-to for dips. 




I will be returning to the Joplin Greenhouse/Marketplace often for this hummus. Sure, I could make my own for a fraction of the cost, but it's happy hour for pete's sake. I didn't want to make anything but the martini! They had several other flavors, but I usually return to the original. 




Fantastic complement to the hummus, this spinach and artichoke spread was creamy and divine. Again, I could have made this myself and have several times, but the texture was perfect and all I had to do was rip the top off and dip, baby, dip.




So far, no protein on this afternoon delight with the exception of a tad from the garbanzo beans. So I had a serving of the french onion soup I made earlier in the week. I don't each much beef, but beef broth is a delish, comforting experience as it gets chillier outside. I topped with toasted sourdough and fontina cheese. Still not much protein, but I tricked myself into thinking there was!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Stir Fried




Stir Fry. Fun, hot, fast. Key is to have all ingredients chopped, sauces made, noodles cooked before everything gets thrown into the wok. The wok has higher sides than a skillet, so you can stir things around without dumping out ingredients. I use a wooden fork for this process. 


Cold peanut pad Thai with yellow peppers, cilantro, basil.

Balancing textures is important. You don't want everything cooked, especially overcooked and mushy. It only takes 5-10 minutes for stir fry. Start with some oil in the wok. Get it hot, until you see it smoke. I use a combo of sesame and canola. Add chopped veg and move around, about five minutes. Then add raw meat: shrimp, chicken, beef, pork. All bite size. All seasoned with salt and pepper before adding. Another five minutes. Lastly add cooked rice/soba noodles. Stir around a minute or two, then add your sauce.


Shrimp and snap peas over rice noodles with peanut sauce.


I have only perfected the peanut sauce. I usually use a couple of tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, splash of fish sauce, brown sugar, and a teaspoon of this yummy stuff:
I was hoping to use this as is, but it's TOO hot for me. So a spoonful in the peanut sauce is divine.
Whisk all these ingredients, and add warm water to desired thickness. This is all mixed before you dump into the wok, and stir through all ingredients.







Chicken, broccoli, cauliflower stir fry with spicy peanut sauce, cilantro and toasted almonds.


To serve,  add other chopped and ready ingredients once the stir fry is in the bowl. And do use a bowl, a shallow one is best. It's messy. But a shallow bowl will allow it to cool a bit since it is super hot coming out of that wok. To top, I need some crunch and freshness. Toasted sliced almonds or other nuts are great. Or bean sprouts. Sometimes some torn fresh herbs of your choice. I always go for cilantro or basil for these dishes. A must is a squeeze of acid; lemon or lime. Just brings a brightness to it that you will miss if you forget!



Green beans with sesame seeds


My first attempt. Didn't pay enough attention, some got scorched. Too much oil. Bite size would have been easier to eat, but whole they look more pretty.



My first shrimp rolls with peanut sauce. Delish, but very labor intensive.




Definitely NOT made in a wok, but I had so many extra chopped veggies after preparing these, I used them in a stir fry. Peanut sauce is the same version I use in stir fries. The rolls are fresh and cold, great for summer snacking. I get the rice wrappers at Fox Farm or Walmart. Super cheap and last forever in the pantry. You just soak them in warm water to get them spongy and flexible for folding, like a burrito. 

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Body of Work 2016

Scarab Iris 3x3'

Blue Iris 2x2'

Arch 3x3'


Arch II 2x2'

Calla Lillies 3x3'


Calla Lillies II 2x2'
  
Caramel Apple 3x3'

Eclipse 3x3'


Eclipse 2x2'

Jack in the Pulpit 3x3'

Mandala 34x36"

Mandala II 3x3'

Mandala III 2x2'

Ode to Georgia 32x38"

Poppies 3x3'

Wave 3x3'