Monthly Archives: January 2011

Soup Bowl Vacancy

Do you ever buy a pair of shoes and then think, “They’re perfect. Now I just have to find an occasion to wear these over-the-top, frilly, red, sparkly 5-inch heels”. Me? Never. But I did do that with a set of new soup bowls last week. Mom and I were out consignment shopping, and I don’t mind browsing, but I never really expect to find much. Suddenly these bowls caught my eye and I was filled with inspiration… Moroccan chicken stew, Texas brisket chili, Mexican tortilla soup.. I needed these bowls and that’s all there was to it. As for the vacancy, thus began my search for the best Moroccan chicken stew. Never deny a craving. 😉

Most Moroccan dishes I’ve come across are done in a tagine, but to date there’s nothing I’ve found a tagine can do that a Dutch oven can’t. Funny enough, the recipe I got from Simply Recipes, where Elise also used a Dutch oven. It’s like the all-purpose dish. That, plus a bottle opener, and I am one happy camper. What more could you need??

As you can see I couldn’t even wait for it to stop steaming before going camera happy. So delicious. It must be the cold, but lately I crave the stick-to-your-rib stews. Not only did I love the hearty dish, but I had major food photo envy too. I know its going to be a good meal when I’m still enjoying my morning coffee and–low and behold–a picture makes me want to stop everything and start cooking. Just sayin. Thanks Elise. You might want to start your grocery list now.

Have a lovely Monday everyone. Soups up! 🙂

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Mushroom Barley Soup

Today is a soup day. Yesterday was a soup day. With rain in the forecast, I’m pretty sure tomorrow will be a soup day too. When its cold and rainy for an entire season how can you not fall in love with a warm bowl of goodness? Its the bowl that soothes the soul. So go ahead Seattle, drizzle away, I’ve got my soup (and snuggy).

I’ve had the opportunity to try so many great soup recipes this winter thanks to all you creative food bloggers. This Mushroom Barley Soup was adapted from Frank at Memorie di Angelina. We also featured it in last month’s #MeFirst Newsletter. If you don’t subscribe to MeFirst, click on over to Nurture Principles and get on our emailing list.

Mushroom Barley Soup
1 onion
2 carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 cup barley (*barley is a whole grain)
1 ham bone
2 sprigs Rosemary
salt & pepper
2 T olive oil
water (enough to cover generously)
2 cups mushrooms
1 cup fresh chopped parsley

In a 5-quart pot sauté onion and carrots in 1 T olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Add the barley and fold into the veggies to infuse with flavor. Add ham bone and cover generously with water–barley is the thirstiest grain you ever saw. Add more water as needed. Bring pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Sauté mushrooms in 1 T olive oil. Once softened add to finished barley soup. Top with fresh parsley and stir. Note that its best to use bold flavored mushrooms. I prefer fresh shiitake, though dried mushrooms are also pretty pungent.

And why mushrooms? Why not?! One of the few natural sources of Vitamin D this earthy, delicious little morsel is packed with antioxidants, potassium, zinc while also offering great immune benefits, contributing to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, blood pressure and fights cancer-causing free radicals. Cooking real food has a huge nutritional impact!

Other soups I’ve enjoyed immensely this season: Olga’s Kale & White Bean Soup, Food Network’s Spicy Lentil Soup, and my own Apple & Butternut Squash Soup.

I hope you have a warm and wonderful weekend! My mom is on her way from Boise as we speak (eeerr type). I’m looking forward to a fun girls weekend!!

Question:
What’s your favorite soup recipe? Share a link in a comment or email me the recipe. I’d love to post it.

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Mm..Mm..Gnocchi

I can’t help myself. I love making pasta, just as much as I love consuming pasta. And Sunday afternoon–after my Seahawks lost–I needed to knead. Why is it that kneading is such great therapy? Anyhow, gnocchi is especially fun to make. It’s super easy. You don’t need a fancy pasta maker, or even a rolling pin. (For gnocchi recipe and rolling tips see previous post here). And the beauty of it all, is that sweet potatoes have so many health benefits; as does arugula, olive oil, walnuts, whole grain flour, nutmeg.. read between the lines: whole foods are healthy foods!! No trans or saturated fats here.. its aaaall good.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Arugula & Walnut Dusting
1 c cooked pasta
1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c arugula
1 T finely ground walnuts
sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg

Instructions: Just toss! From the moment I popped the potato in the microwave, to the time I sat down to photograph lunch enjoy lunch, was under one hour.


The humble tuber:
Ridiculously rich in Vitamin A (which is the #1 nutrient deficiency worldwide), Vitamin C, manganese (bone health), as well as a good source of fiber (keeps you full and stabilizes blood sugar), iron, and potassium (electrolyte). Don’t let its natural sweetness fool you.. its as good for you as it is good! For more perks visit this trusty site: WHFoods

One thing I often hear dieters say is how fearful they are of carbs. It feels so “indulgent”. And it should. Read carefully: Nutrition done right shouldn’t feel like dieting. It should taste delectable, without guilt. Increase fiber by eating whole grain (or sweet potato) pasta, and rather then laden with meat and butter, add colorful veggies, nuts and olive oil. A modest 1 cup serving is life enriching, and its a necessary component to a well-rounded diet. Enjoy!

And finally, a big thank you to Melissa at Eat on the Run for The Stylish Blogger Award !! It made my day 🙂 All you Fit To Indulge readers check out her blog for more passionate food and fitness posts!

Fulfilling my nomination to-do’s..

1.  Make a post + Link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2.  Share 7 things about yourself.
3.  Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers.
4.  Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!

My 7 Things:

1. My mom is my best friend, and I am so thankful for her. (And so excited for her to visit this weekend!!!!)

2. I love flowers so much that they’re on my grocery list every Sunday.

3. If I had to eat one food for the rest of my life it would be pesto gnocchi.

4. I’m a Minnesota Vikings fan but I’ve never lived in Minnesota.

5. Someday I will start a non-profit and love people one meal at a time.

6. I loath shopping and prefer to buy all my clothes via “dot com”.

7. And.. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.– Philippians 4:13

Now, time for me to dole out some awards!!

Smitten Kitchen

Mango & Tomato

Annie’s Eats

Eating RD

Sassy Radish

Nutritionella

Inspired RD

From Buenos Aires to Paris

Mission Dietitian

Cake Duchess

Give these ladies some blog love. Have a fabulous Wednesday everyone!!

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Walnut Crusted Salmon

Monday already?? Well at least I can say that I had a lovely, low key weekend. Friday night me and the girls went out for sushi at Moshi Moshi. If there’s one thing I love about living in Seattle its the fabulous sushi. A couple pieces of super white tuna, salmon, mackerel, and I was purring. With seafood still on the brain I whipped up walnut crusted salmon last night. And literally “whipped up”. It was a piece of cake! Inspired by Jessica at How Sweet It Is.

Walnut Crusted Salmon
1 12-oz salmon fillet
1/2 cup walnuts
1 egg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
olive oil

Put walnuts through the food processor until finely ground, add cinnamon and pulse a couple more times. Pour mixture on a plate. Brush the fillet with an egg wash and then lay it over the plate of walnuts. Give the fish a little push so the walnuts stick. Add fillet to a hot skillet coated with olive oil. Cook both sides until done. Voila!

I know that I don’t have to tell you about all the health benefits of salmon–omega-3’s, vitamin D, heart health, antinflammatory, blood pressure, etc. but I would like to point out that a healthy diet consists of 25-30% calories from fat. That’s right, your body needs a certain amount of fat to function at peak performance! The goal is to minimize meat and dairy “saturated” fats and focus on healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, avocados, soy products and fish (all of which are mono and polyunsaturated).

A few tips for reading food labels:

  • Under Total Fat you’ll find the breakdown: saturated and trans fats are always listed (and sometimes mono and poly).
  • If saturated and trans are listed as “0 grams” but the total fat shows a number, then you can assume its mono or poly fats (healthy)
  • Even if the product boasts “0 grams of fat” that may not be true. Read the ingredients list to make sure there’s no partially hydrogenated oil.

So that about sums it up. Go on and have some salmon this week, navigate food labels with confidence, and lavish around the dinner table. Happy Monday. 🙂

Questions:
What was the highlight bite of your weekend?
What’s your favorite way to boost omega’s?

 

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Lamb Ragù


So delicious!! In Italy, the word ragù simply means “meat-based sauce”. And the meat was good and all.. but with scrumptious figs, shiitakes, parsnips.. it was hard to say who was stealing the show. I was inspired to develop this recipe after seeing cocoa pasta in a specialty food shop here in Seattle. It was such a beautiful, rich chocolaty color that I had to make my own. After much ‘googling’ I learned that it’s hard to find anything on chocolate pasta, but what I did find suggested that the subtle cocoa flavor would compliment an earthy, rustic dish. Funny, so does red wine! Say no more, we’re having ragù… and Barolo.

Before starting, I referenced one of my favorite books: Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. This book, by Pellegrino Artusi, was one of the very first Italian cookbooks (1891), written during a time when cooking was done by the help. It’s full of comical stories, and really demonstrates the difference between French and Italian cooking–proving that the French are far more meticulous! So when I look up a ragù recipe, this is what I find:

Pappardelle Pasta:
A dough made with three eggs should do, in my opinion. (That’s really what the recipe says. That’s it).

Pappardelle col Sugo di Coneglio (Pasta in Rabbit Sauce):
After you have washed your rabbit, bone it. Fillets should be skinned and cut it into larger pieces than you would if frying it. (So how big is that?) Place in saucepan to draw out retained water. Drain the water off and add some butter, a little olive oil, and a finely chopped battuto made of rabbit liver, a little proscutto, and the usual seasonings

I think I’ve proven my point. The irony is in the name, Science.. in the Kitchen. Maybe an anatomy lesson but I don’t know if there was anything precision-like about it! None the less I cherish my Artusi and someday would like to own an original print. That’s the food nerd in me.. collecting hundred-year-old cook books. But you’ll never catch me chasing a rabbit around the backyard.

My Lamb Ragù
2-3 lbs of lamb, 2″ cubes (or rabbit–both are rich in flavor, with Tuscan roots)
6 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 parsnips
2 carrots
1/2 onion
3.5 oz shiitake mushrooms
8 dried figs
1 1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Barolo (or another bold red wine)

1 ½ lbs cocoa pappardelle pasta

Pasta:
1 cups semolina flour
1 T cocoa powder
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 whole egg, plus 1 white

Brown lamb pieces in 1 T olive oil. Remove from pot, and add parsnips, carrot, onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves. Reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are soft. Return lamb to pot, add wine and broth. Cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour.

While ragù simmers start the pasta. First sift dry ingredients. Separately, beat eggs and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients to egg mixture. Roll out on floured surface and knead gently. Roll pasta as thin as you can get it, while still being able to lift the dough sheet off the counter without tearing. (Maribel used to say I should be able to hold the dough to the window and see the two towers through it, but we’re not in Bologna so just pretend). Then with a pizza wheel cut “thumb width” noodles, as Artusi says. I like to leave them long. (It’s sexy. Reminds me of Lady and the Tramp) In a pot of boiling salted water carefully drop noodles one at a time. They will sink. When noodles float to the top they’re done.

Back to the ragù. In a medium skillet, heat 4 remaining chopped garlic cloves in 1 T olive oil. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and chopped parsley to ragù and cook for another 30 minutes.

In a separate pot, cook pasta to al dente. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl; add ragù and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

This recipe is certainly a Sunday project, but if you’re up for making the pasta it is definitely worth it. There is nothing quite as tasty as fresh pasta. So dig out that ol’ apron, flour up to your elbows and uncork a bottle of vine.. just be sure to reserve 1/2 cup for the ragù. 😉 Indulge..

Question:
Do you have a cherished cook book? Or a recommendation for reading a fab 2010 cook book? I’d love to hear about it!

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Filed under Recipes, Wine

Best of 2010

Is it really New Years again? What a year. Looking back at some of the greatest moments–the laugh till you cry, cry till it hurts, and then laugh all over again moments–I feel really fortunate. Here’s what comes to mind when I think of the greatest moments of 2010 (and warning, this is a photo packed post):

Southern Italy & Hiking the Path of the Gods from Amalfi to Positano on an empty stomach.. err bread and gelato. The free roaming goats, cliff-side grapevines, lush green mountains and crystal clear water, with breathtaking views of Capri and the Mediterranean. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. And I had great company, cracking my up the whole four hours with ridiculous jokes.. spaghetti and blankets anyone?

Then there was the night in Alberobello.. a one bar town. We managed to befriend locals and attempted to tell jokes (language and culture barriers made it all the more interesting). I’ll never forget how hard I laughed at Joe’s attempt to tell the bicycle joke in Italian. Priceless.

Cooking with my girls. No longer living with my besties. I’ll always remember the 2 1/2 years we shared in our Magnolia townhouse, and all the “counter talk” nights we spent propped up on the kitchen counters sharing wine and dishing girl talk.


Going to a Minnesota Vikings away game. I love my boys, and was happy to fly from Seattle to New England and cheer my heart out in the presence of Patriot fans. No. Shame. Andi and I even sported full on purple and gold– including tutus (It was, after all, Halloween). Pats fans turned out to be a great bunch to tailgate with. Fabulous time! Sorry that neither of us have Randy Moss now. I do forever heart him.

Time with family.
Whether home in eastern Washington or visiting mama in Boise, I loved being with my family. I loved wine tasting in the RV last summer with grandma driving(!), the late nights on grandma and grandpa’s deck having heart-to-hearts, playing Scrabble where the Urban Dictionary flies as real words 😉 floating the river, fishing with the kids, barbecuing… all great times.


Hiking Mount Vesuvius of Pompeii, and later laying in the grass amongst the ancient Roman city of Erculano.. imagining life in 79AD. Not too shabby if you were Roman (and wealthy).

Bologna, Italy–I learned the craft of handmade pasta spending a day in Maribel’s home–drinking Prosecco, stuffing tortellini, and sharing our passion for food talk. I also loved the opportunity to CouchSurf with a great group of Italian guys who were so much fun, and happy to entertain and feed me every night! I can’t wait to return the favor in The States. Bologna is a beautiful city to photograph, and it has a reputation for having the best food in Italy. Truly a foodie’s paradise. The open air markets, the endless selection of fresh pasta, cured meats, real Parma cheese, and fabulous Modena balsamic. I can’t wait to return.

Prague Half Marathon–although my flight getting to Prague turned into quite the fiasco I now have an awesome story tell.. which may or may not involve missing an airplane, boarding a train with a bottle of Prosecco, making friends people who didn’t speak English and then waking up in Rome after having falling asleep on an old Austrian guy’s shoulder. Maybe. Either way I still made it to Prague the next morning, in time for a baguette breakfast and a 1:57:22 half marathon time (and a rolled ankle at kilometer 19 due to cobblestones, but that’s a longer story: here). Hooray for running!! Also, Prague is stunning, and Anthony Bordaine tells no lie: the street street food is “the bomb”, as are pub crawls. 🙂

I ran my first full, 26.2 mile marathon!!!!
This was my top fitness goal for 2010 and I am proud to say that I did it! And I can’t wait to do it again. Bellingham Bay Marathon was an incredibly beautiful run, and what a feeling to accomplish something so huge. Yes, Jess, we are rockstars!

And of course, being in the kitchen is on the list. Doing what I love most: cooking, baking and sharing the love.

I truly had a good year. What does 2011 hold? Graduating with my nutrition and dietetics degree, starting the next chapter of my life, culinary school, another marathon, a couple half marathons, and hopefully the opportunity to explore another country (like cheese making in the Greek Isles.. maybe). Happy New Year everyone!!!

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