Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Dinner Party Exploiting Your Tomato Bounty + Lazy Summer Deliciousness

I accidentally forgot to take pictures of the food -- three amazing Summer recipes you will LOVE that looked absolutely bellissima -- so you are getting pictures of the flower arrangements instead.

For the first year in a long time I don't have tomato plants, but I found these adorable baby tomatoes on a vine at the Farmer's Market.  Check out how cool they look nestled in with flowers!  It's OK to snack on these arrangements!

 The recipes I tried were super easy other than chopping, which I happen to love to do and cleaning shrimp, which you can have done for you.  If you don't have time to wait as I didn't, you can just use it as a Zen meditation and/or sit in front of a movie.  It was very meditative to do while I listened to "The Women" (the original, of course),a movie I've seen a lot so I could look up from the deveining and shelling from time to time. 

I have never pickled nectarines before.  YUM!  And, with Burrata? You've got to be kidding!  The first two recipes were due to a miraculous find at the gym.  Bon Appetit Magazine August 2013 issue was miraculously laying around so I found these two during my bike ride:

I have never pickled nectarines before. YUM! And, with Burrata? You've got to be kidding!

Super duper easy and brilliantly inspired recipe.  I grilled ahead of time on an open fire with a grill over it to give extra smoky flavor and to have the grilling DONE before guests arrived:

A friend made this recipe recently for a dinner party I attended.  Just amazing.  I couldn't find currents so I chopped dried blueberries and cranberries up together.  Really great substitution.  Also I forgot Pecorino cheese so I used SHAVED parmesan.  I would not use grated cheese on this recipe, just because I'm not a fan of grated cheese on raw greens, but that's me. Genius recipe with just the right amount of heat.

Then I grilled corn also on the grill on the fire.  I left the fire going so I could throw them on right before serving to warm them up too.  If you aren't slightly retarded like I am you won't drop any in the fire!

I made herbed butter to slather on warmed grilled corn:

1 stick butter at room temperature
Course Salt
Cayenne Pepper
About 3/4 cup chopped cilantro

Do the salt and cayenne to taste, but it wasn't too warm.

All in all a very pretty dinner plate with all the colors: Greens, Reds, Purples, Oranges...oh my!

Buon Summer Appetito to all!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lazy Selfies

Did you see the recent viral sensation video the doting daddy made of the first year of his baby's life?  It's inspiring....and definitely inspired me to take a new look at my own life.

Check out my recent HuffPo article here:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lazy Ass Healthy Ass Mushroom Risotto Alternative

OK, I'm listening, I'm listening!  Barley is good, so let's get this Barley started!

I had a craving for mushroom risotto and I also had a craving for a Greekish salad.  And, I wanted all of this together, so I skipped the cheesiness in the barley.  I'll use wine and cheese on another day when I'm feeling a little more Italian, but for today this was a perfect dinner that gave me that yummy-risotto-feeling -- the Lazy Way!  If you've ever made risotto from scratch, you know that is a hands-on situation. It requires delicate babysitting skills.  This is quick, stress-free and healthy.

Olive Oil
1 pkg of Trader Joe's Chopped Onion, Shallots & Garlic
1 pkg Trader Joe's10 Minute Barley
1 pkg Trader Joe's Sliced White Mushrooms
1 pkg Crimini Mushrooms
1/2 Quart os Trader Joe's Vegetable Broth
1/2 Bottle of a rich beer...I used Negra Modelo (you can use a cup of white wine if you prefer)
Salt + spices you crave
1 pkg Fresh Parsle
Optional:  1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Sautee onion mixture in just a wee bit of olive oil until soft in a medium sized pot.  While that's cooking, chop up all the mushrooms in small pieces.  Add the mushrooms, and let them sautee until soft and liquidy.  Chop up the parsley for later.

Then add broth and beer (or wine), as well as any salt and/or spices you wish. Then, lower heat, throw in the barley.  Let it sautee for 10 minutes, then turn off heat, throw in chopped parsley and let it sit for another 10 minutes while it steeps and becomes beyond delicious.

I didn't add parmesan tonight because I knew I was serving this with a feta salad and knew the flavors were going to work well together. On another day, I would add shredded parmesan.

Instead, the salad I made to go with it, simply based on today's cravings:

Fresh Spinach
Garbanzo beans
Feta Cheese

I chopped all that up and threw in lemon juice, some red wine vinegar and salt. 

May I tell you how these two dishes go more than splendidly together?  Thank you!

Buon Barley Appetito!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lazy Way to Deal with Body Image

It's enough to deal with our own inner demons, but when they are reflected in others, it's a great LAZY opportunity to drop in for a listen.....

Latest Huffington Post article on this topic:

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Speaking of God and Dog this Sunday....

Sitting with your furry loved ones contemplating God this Sunday afternoon?  Well, this is my recent article on Huffington Post that you might appreciate:

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Summer Time = PIE TIME!

Blackberries and peaches, oh my! I love trying new recipes and found this Bobby Flay gem yesterday and had to try it.  I used to make Blackberry Peach pies professionally -- long ago, in my 20's -- with my own recipe including lemon juice, fresh nutmeg and just a little flour as a thickener. Simple deliciousness.
But, I have to say this was my favorite Blackberry Peach Pie possibly ever.  More complex flavors and stellar crust.  I never use shortening because shortening just plain ol' freaks me out and is so unhealthy, but it truly does make the best crust.  Because this was mostly butter, I braved it.   Great result even in the areas where I overmanipulated, i.e., the fluting.
The only thing I would say is that I drained the fruit, using a slotted spoon as directed and did NOT add any extra juices, as he directs, because I knew it would be too much. Next time I make it I will definitely add more tapioca because it was still a little too juicy.  Not bad in any way, shape or form, but a little more tapioca would have made the filling texture absolute perfection.
Flay soaks the berries in one liqueur - Cassis, and the peaches in another - Peach Eau de Vie (you can use brandy instead - I used Peach Schnapps because I happened to have from another recipe long ago).  And, those flavors really come through.  Lovely.
Here are the pics - pre and post - baking. 
And, yes pies are pretty lazy.  Not a huge amount of effort for a big bang effect.
Here's your link to bliss: