Dec 16, 2009

Winter Pesto - Article

I've been experimenting with different kinds of pestos lately. I'll post the recipes soon! I wouldn't have thought to use kale, though...

Winter Pesto - Article

Aug 7, 2009

Seven ways to use salsa

I'm always trying to get my family lots of vegetables in their diet, and salsa is such a good vehicle for them because the kids like it, and you can eat it with lots of things. I've even come up with different ways to use it, as I always try to have some on hand in the refrigerator! It's easy in summer, when all of the salsa vegetables are in season!

Not only is salsa delicious and sometimes spicy by itself, but it's a healthy addition to other foods too. Tomatoes are a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Iron, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Jalapenos are a strong anti-inflamatory food, and also a good source of Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. How's that for a power food?

Now let's get out there and use it!

7 Ways to Use Salsa

1. Serve it by a dip itself. (got to include this, right?) Add lemon or lime juice for a splash of flavor!

2. Mix with chopped or mashed avocado for instant Guacamole. (a dash of lemon juice will be good for keeping the avocado fresh, too.)

3. Mix with pureed can of black beans for Black Bean Dip.

4. Mix with sour cream and serve over pasta for a Creamy Pasta Sauce.

5. Marinate diced whitefish in lemon juice overnight in the refrigerator. Mix with salsa for Ceviche.

6. Heat water and cook a penne or curly pasta until al dente. Drain and cool. Mix with a small can of corn, a small can of beans (your choice) and salsa for a Taco Pasta Salad. You can top with cheese and chips for serving.

7. Place a nice piece of fish on a large piece of foil or parchment paper. Top with 1/4 to 1/2 cup salsa and 2 Tbs;. olives. Fold to seal and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes for a tasty and delicious Fish Espanol.

8. For those who feel #1 doesn't count, bake a few corn tortillas and top with canned refried beans. Top with an egg or two, and top that with salsa. Huevos Rancheros!

I've found a few salsas I like in the grocery store, and try to look for them on sale. But just in case you don't already have a good salsa recipe, here's one like Momma used to make:

Salsa Fresca

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, quartered
1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper (like that used to top pizza)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed
1 22-oz can of tomatoes - whole or diced ( or chopped organic tomatoes, if you prefer)
1 tsp olive oil
1 lemon - juiced

Place ingredients into a blender, and pulse at puree speed, or chop by hand until a desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chips.

Enjoy, or refrigerate for later!

Jun 19, 2009

Ham and Arugula Wraps

I adapted this recipe from Everyday Foods magazine. I couldn't find the recipe when I was ready to make these wraps to take to the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, so I improvised slightly (adding the rosemary) and made the wraps from memory. I couldn't make the cheese stretch to 4 wraps as guided in the original recipe, but these were very good and well praised by my friends. A handy lunch idea, too!


4 oz goat cheese, room temperature
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
3 lavash bread wraps
1 lb thinly sliced ham
1 bunch arugula, trimmed


  • In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese with the lemon zest and rosemary, and mix well.

  • Spread the wraps with goat cheese and top with ham and arugula. Roll up and cut in two, or into slices. Wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for up to one day.

Serves 3. Enjoy!

Jun 10, 2009

Urban Foraging

I thought this article in the New York Times about Urban Foraging was really interesting.

As I walked around my neighborhood last summer, I saw a neighbors yard that held a full tree of ripe apricots that they didn't seem to be eating. I thought of asking them for some, or of offering something from my own yard in exchange!

So it seems that some people are already doing that, and I think it's great. It helps us use the harvest wisely, it helps us share, and it could help build a sense of community!

I think I'll look around the neighborhood a little more...


Make sure you ask first!

For more info on apricots, go here.

Feb 15, 2009

I love Pizza!

A favorite meal that the kids love helping with is Pizza. In fact, I used to have a routine where we rented movies on Sunday night and we made pizza to each while we watched our movies.

The kids liked helping make the dough, and especially liked pressing out their own piece after I divided the dough. They'd spread out the dough as wide as they could, then top it with ingredients of their choice. I always offer lots of veggies (see left side of this pizza) but they're not often the first thing picked (see right side.)

Whether you use this as a family activity, or just make it for yourself - have fun!

Basic Pizza Dough
1 pkg dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour

Pour water into a bowl and sprinkle with the active yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or so. Then add the oil and salt, and slowly start adding the flour. Stir the flour until it sticks together, then use your hands to knead the dough. Add flour until the dough is not sticky, but smooth. Knead for a few minutes more.

Then put a little olive oil a medium bowl, and wipe it around the inside . Place the dough in the bowl, and turn a few times to cover the ball of dough with oil. Cover with a damp towel or paper towel, and put the bowl in a warm, non-drafty place. (I usually use the top of the stove or the oven,) Let sit 1 hour.

Turn on the oven to preheat it to 450 degrees. Wipe a pizza pan or a cookie sheet with a little oil.

Remove the towel and take out the dough. Punch it down to deflate it a bit, and divide into individual portions (3 or 4). Spread the dough into individual pizza discs onto the pan, and top with anything handy - cheese, vegetables, cooked meat, tomato sauce.

Bake at 450 degrees until cheese is melted and pizza browned - about 10 minutes.


Jan 24, 2009

Macaroni Salad with Indian Spices

I've noticed that quite a few people come to this site searching for an Indian Macaroni Salad. There's always confusion whether Indian is referring to people from the country in the East, or Natives of the Americas.

Thanks a lot, Columbus!

Anyway, not wanting to disappoint anyone, I looked for a recipe for such a dish. I found something at, a site that seems to specialize in macaroni. I haven't tried the recipe, so if you do, please post your opinion in "Comments." It's always good to hear from someone who's actually tried the recipe.

Macaroni Indian Style Recipe

Macaroni Pasta 2 Cups
Tomatoes large 2 Nos
Onion medium size 1 No
Ginger paste 1 tsp.
Potato Large 1 No
Coriander Powder 2 tsp.
Chilli Powder 1 tsp.
Tumeric 1/2 tsp.
Salt Acc to taste
Garam Masala Pwd 1 tsp.
Cilantro Fresh For Garnishing
Water 10 Cups
Cheese As Sprinkle

Mustard seeds 1 tsp.
Cumin seeds 1 tsp.
Oil 2 tsp.

Cut all the vegetables lengthwise. Rapid boil the water, add pasta & cook till a ldente. Reserve 1/2 cup of water, drain & run cold water over to stop cooking.

Heat oil & do the seasoning. Add onions fry till translucent.

Add ginger paste, potatoes, salt, tumeric & cover to cook for few minutes. Mix in tomatoes, cook till juice wilts from tomatoes. Add the reserved pasta water if necessary.
Add coriander, chilli powder & cook till potatoes are done. Mix in macaroni pasta & adjust the seasoning.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves & serve with cheese sprinkle.