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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What To Do With Your Suzie's Farm CSA Pumpkin

Pumpking, like most other winter squash is delish when roasted, but getting it cut into pieces can be a nightmare.
Here is the trick, boil or mircowave your pumpkin (or squash) for 10 minutes. This will cook the oustside just enought to make them easy to cut but not cooked all the way through.
Or make pumpkin puree- place whole pumpkin in a large pot of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is just cooked. Peel and seed pumpkin. Them roast or micorwave till tender.Place pumpkin into a food processor and puree till smooth. THis puree can then be made into soups, pies, ravioli and so much more.
 
 
 


Last night I had an amzaing class at Great New, the class show cased Suzie's Farm's CSA box.
Featuring these amazing vegetables:
Lettuce
Kale
Sunflower Greens
Cherry Tomatoes
Mixed Hot Peppers
Sweet Pepper
Squash
Cilantro
Salad Mix
Onions
Pumpkin - Winter Luxury or Long Island Cheese (edible)
 
Here is one of the recipes I made in class, enjoy!!

Pumpkin and Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta
Serves 6 to 8

1                 Vanilla bean
1 cup          Milk
1 tbsp         Agar agar flakes or 1 tsp agar agar powder
½ cup         Dark or light agave syrup
1 cup          Plain Greek yogurt
1 cup          Pumpkin puree (made from winter luxury, squash, or sweet potato will also work)*
¼ cup         Orange juice
¼ tsp          Pumpkin pie spice

 Split vanilla bean down the length of the bean, using the back of a small knife,  scrape seeds from the pod, reserve seeds and pot.
Add milk, vanilla bean, vanilla seeds and agar agar in a medium saucepan; bring to a scald over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve agar agar.
Remove from heat add agave syrup and stir combine agave; steep for 10 minutes.
Remove vanilla bean from steeped milk.
In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin puree and orange juice.
Add steeped milk, Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree mixture, and pumpkin pie spice; to a blender and blend till smooth.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Divide mixture among custard cups.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Run a knife around edges of each panna cotta to loosen. Set each cup in shallow bowl of hot water for 10 seconds. Immediately invert onto plate and serve.

*Pumpkin Puree- place whole pumpkin in a large pot of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is cooked. Peel and seed pumpkin. Place pumpkin into a food processor and puree till smooth.

 

 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake


Honey cake is a Rosh Hashanah tradition, wishing you a “Sweet New Year”. This holiday honey cake is easy to make, beautiful and delicious to eat.

Unlike some of the more traditional recipes, I use coconut oil instead of margarine or vegetable oil. I find it produces a much more flavorful cake. Also I glaze my cake with an apricot glaze (this helps to ensure a moist cake) and garnish with sliced almonds (creating a beautiful looking cake).
 


This recipe was part of a recent Rosh Hashanah cooking class I taught at Great News Cooking School, the full menus was; Salmon and White Fish Gefilte Fish with Herb Sauce, Citrus Brined Roasted Chicken, Tzimmes (traditional sweet stew), Saffron Rice. All proceeds from the class where donated to Jewish Family Services Adoption Alliance Program. I will be teaching another class Jewish Holiday cooking class for Hanukkah (with proceeds donated to JFS) Monday, December 3 (from 6 to 9 pm) at Great News.
 
 
Honey Cake

Makes 1 (10-inch) Bundt cake

 

Non-stick baking spay (like bakers joy or the Trader Joes brand)

Cakes
2 ½ cups    All-purpose flour
2 tsp           Baking powder
½ tsp          Baking soda
½ tsp          Kosher salt
¼ tsp          Ground nutmeg
3 large        Eggs
1 cup          Sugar
1 ¼ cups    Liquid coconut oil
1 cup          Local honey of your choice (except buckwheat)
¼ cup         Dissolved instant espresso (following package instructions)
¼ cup         Orange juice
¼ cup         Amaretto
2 tsp           Orange zest
¼ tsp          Lemon zest

Glaze
¼ cup         Amaretto
¼ cup         Apricot preserves
3 tbsp         Water

Garnish
½ cup         Toasted sliced almonds (optional)

 

Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously spray a 10 inch bundt pan, including center tube, with baking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

In an electric mixer whisk eggs; slowing add in sugar. Whisking till almost completely incorporated. Then coconut oil, and follow with honey, espresso, orange juice, and Amaretto. Whisking until completely incorporated. Fold in orange and lemon lest by hand.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the honey mixture, then stir with the whisk until the batter is smooth.

Pour batter into pan and bake in oven until springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes.

Loosen cake from the pan with a thin rubber spatula, then invert cake onto the rack and cool completely.

For glaze:

Heat preserves, Amaretto and water in a small sauce pan over low heat until preserves are dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Let glaze stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, but still pourable.

Transfer cake to a cake plate and slowly pour the  glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. If desired, sprinkle the top of the cake with almonds.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Spend a night under the ripe full moon with farmer Laurel Mehl for an intimate farm tour and dinner.
Nestled on a seemingly standard suburban block lies a completely organic and biologically diverse urban farm.
 
The farm plays host to a tribe of goats, ducks, chickens, fruit orchards, and a large variety of heirloom fruits and vegetables, all beyond organic and free range.
 
For $65 per person you receive, includes two craft cocktails, a five course vegetarian meal featuring the tantalizing creations of Chef Jenn Felmley and desert by confectioner Nikki Stout. The evening will also include a farm tour, heirloom seed showcase and craft cocktail demo.
 
Look for daily menu updates on the Coral Tree Farm's Facebook Page. To reserve your tickets please call Carris Rhodes at 760.688.8275 or email carrisrhodes@gmail.com.
 
Seating is VERY limited.
 
To secure your spot payments must be made in full no later than 3 days before the event.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day at The Docks 2012....Slinging Fish Tacos and Teaching Quick Baja Style Shrimp Ceviche

Every year my amazing friend Tommy Gomes
(the most amazing fishmonger at Catalina Offshore Products)


Sets up a booth at Day at The Docks

Selling fish tacos
To raise money for the Monarch School (a school that educates childeren impacted by homelessness). This year we raised $5,000.00!

When I am not slinging thousands of fish tacos, I teaching. This years cooking demonstration, on one of the many amazing sport fishing boat was Baja Style Quick Shrimp Cevice.

Here is the recipe I made this year.

Quick Baja Style Shrimp Ceviche
Serves 4 to 6


For Cooking Shrimp
1 ½ lb         Shrimp, shell on
4                 Green Onions
1/4 cup        Lime juice
1                 Jalapeno, cut in half

For Ceviche
1                 Jalapenos, seeded & diced
1 cup          Green onion, sliced into thin slices
1/4 cup       Cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tbsp          Extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup       Tomato ketchup
¼ cup         Tomato juice
½ cup          Lime juice
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 1/3 cup    Cherry tomatoes (multi colored), halved or quartered
1/2 cup       English Cucumber, finely diced

1                 Avocado, seeded, peeled and diced

Tortilla chips

Combine green onions, lime juice, jalapeno, and 2 quarts water in a large stock pot; bring to a boil.
Add shrimp, stir, cover, cook until half cooked, about 2 minutes (or until pink and firm on the outside and shiny on the inside).
Drain in a colander.
Remove from colander and spread into a single layer onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate till cooled completely.
Peel and devein shrimp. Cut shrimp into bite sized pieces, small enough to fit onto a chip.
In a large bowl, stir together jalapenos, green onions, olive oil, ketchup, tomato juice and lime juice. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. 
Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up till over night
Before serving stir in cilantro, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Serve with a garnish of avocado and with good quality corn tortilla chips or tostadas.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Recipes Seen On San Diego LIving

My Easter Menu

Deviled Eggs
Crudite with Herb Dipping Sauce
Biscuits
Dijon Glazed Ham with Raw Sugar Crust
Green Bean Potato Salad with Dijion Dressing
"Ambrosia" Fruit Salad

 
Glazed Ham

With Maple Dijon Sauce
Serves 6 to 8

1 (5 to 6 lb) Smoked, spiral ham

Glaze:
½ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup Honey
1/8 tsp Fresh nutmeg
¼ tsp Ground pepper

Sugar Crust:
1 cup Raw sugar

Maple Dijon Sauce:
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
1/3 cup Dijon mustard

Submerge ham in water and soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a roasting pan with foil.
Place ham, flat side down, into roasting pan and cover the ham completely with foil.
Place in oven and cook for 1 hour.
Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 400°F.
In a bowl stir together glaze ingredients.
Uncover the ham, trim excess fat, score ham in a diamond pattern and coat ham with the glaze mixture; making sure to get into the diamond scores.
Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, basting half way through.
Remove ham from the oven and press the 1 cup of sugar to the outside of the ham; add a thin layer of sugar and melt with a torch. Heat the sugar until a crust forms, and turns a dark caramel color and repeat (adding a thin layer of sugar and torching).

Rest the ham for 10 minutes, before carving*.
In a bowl stir together maple syrup and mustard, till smooth.
Slice ham and serve with sauce.

* I prefer to serve my ham cold. If doing so torch the sugar crust just before serving to ensure a good crust.



Green Bean and Potato Salad
Serves 4

1 lb             Mixed fingerling potatoes or small potato, scrubbed and cut in halves or quarters

½ lb            Green beans, trimmed and blanched
3 tbsp         Dijon mustard
¼ cup         Olive oil
2 tbsp         Cider vinegar
½ tsp          Lemon zest
3 tbsp         Mixed fresh soft herbs (chives, thyme, parsley, tarragon, basil, etc.), chopped


Place potatoes in a large pot of salted cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes, and drain.
In a large bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, oil, cider vinegar and zest; till smooth.
Add potatoes, beans, salt and pepper, toss to combine.
Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Add fresh herbs and serve salad warm or at room temperature*.



*Note- is you prefer a creamier dressing you can replace some or all of the olive oil with mayonnaise, but you will not be able to serve the salad at room temperature.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chef Jenn is cooking up some amazing new classes

We just finished our first Urban Farm Cooking Class of 2012 and it was amazing! If you are interested in attending one of these class we have scheduled our next class for Saturday May 12. Please contact me if you are interested in RSVPing.

My amazing fish monger and I will be teaching a Seafood Cooking Class on April 13 (yes that is Friday the 13, ha ha).This menus will feature Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Classic Red and White Cocktail Sauce; Baja Style Octopus Ceviche with Fresh Tortilla Chips; Salmon Burger with Wasabi Mayonnaise; Scallop and Crab Stuffed Halibut with Citrus Beurre Blanc.

For those of you in the North County I have a ton of great hands-on class coming up through San Dieguito Adult Education like Spanish Tapas or French Cooking for Beginners and so much more.

I have had several students ask about volunteer opportunities. Please email me and let me know if you would like to be put on my new volunteer list. Student would help plate food, serve food and in some cases event cook the food for various classes and non-profit events.

For a full list of upcoming classes, including Vegan and Urban Farm classes go to www.chefjenncooks.com
Please contact Chef Jenn at (858) 212- 9054
www.chefjenncooks.blogspot.com or follow me on twitter Chef_Jenn

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tons of Upcoming Classes- for March and April

For more information about Chef Jenn; her recipes and her classes go to www.chefjenncooks.com For any other questions or to set up private classes; please contact Chef Jenn at (858) 212- 9054 or jlfelm@yahoo.com

Vegan St. Patrick's Day: hands-on pop-up cooking class at Sea Rocket Bistro-Wednesday March 14 from 6 to 9 pm $57

Vegan 3-course meal using all of the great local ingredients Sea Rocket is known for, along with a local craft beer pairing. Menu: "Luck of The Irish" Green Pea Soup with Coconut Cream Drizzle, Vegan "Sheppard's Pie" with Tempe, seasonal vegetables and mashed potato crust, Whiskey Glazed Carrots, and Chocolate Pudding. Served with a local Stout Beer

Vegan or not, this class will teach you how to make some amazing dishes!

Students will prepare the meal entirely themselves under the expert direction of Chef Jenn, as well as enjoying the meal! Come eat, drink and learn with Chef Jenn! To reserve your seat today call Chef Jenn at (858) 212 9054 or email at jlfelm@yahoo.com

In the North County

Spanish Tapas- Wednesdays March 28 to April 4 from 6 to 9 pm at Torrey Pines High School $89

This 2 week class will present you with amazing recipes, all the tips and tricks you will need to cook (as well as eat) these astonishing Spanish Tapas. This class will showcase tapas, Spanish Custards and so much more. Join Chef Jenn for these bold flavored, rich and exciting recipes like Ham, Cheese and Potato Croquettes, Garlic Clams, Citrus Marinated Olives, Natilla, Gazpacho, and much more!  All classes are hands on and will give you everything you need to create (and eat) wonderful meals.



Spanish Tapas Part 2-April 18 to 25 from 6 to 9 pm at Torrey Pines High School, $89

This 2 week class is a continuation of Spanish Tapas Part 1 (these classes can be taken independently); and it will present you with amazing recipes, all the tips and tricks you will need to cook (as well as eat) these astonishing Spanish Tapas. Join Chef Jenn for these bold flavored, rich and exciting recipes like Meat Balls with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Spanish Rice Pudding, Sauted Mushrooms with Garlic Olive Oil, and much more!  All classes are hands on and will give you everything you need to create (and eat) wonderful meals.



Italian Cooking For Beginners- Thursday April 19 to 26 from 6 to 9 pm at La Costa Canyon High School, $89

 Looking for inspiration in the kitchen? Do you wish you could make delicious Italian dishes at home? Then this 2 week course will give you what it takes to prepare simple, impressive, and tasty dishes. Come join Chef Jenn, Certified Culinary Nutritionist and Caterer, as she teaches you all the tips and tricks to make cooking fun and delicious. This class offers a hands on experience with a professional chef, to guide you through culinary basic, and wonderful recipes. Creamy Polenta, Sauteed Spinach and Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, Sicilian Roasted Chicken, Ricotta Cheese Fritters with Blueberry Sauce (we will make the Ricotta Cheese in class). Week 2 - "Antipasti" with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Tuscan Bean Soup, Lasagna "Rolls" with Bolognese Sauce, Tiramisu. See you there!

Please go to www.sdadulted.com to sign up for these classes today.


Urban Farm Cooking Class-Sunday April 29 from 1 to 3pm in Encinitas $33

Coral Tree Farms, in the heart of Encinitas, and Chef Jenn Felmley are combining to bring you vegetarian cooking classes. This wonderful day on the farm will start with a tour of Coral Tree Farm (including the cute and cuddly animal and maybe a few baby animals). Followed by a cooking demonstration and tasting by Chef Jenn Felmley Come learn, eat and support your local farmer. Classes are limited to 20 people, please contact me to RSVP in advance, with Chef Jenn jlfelm@yahoo.com

Cooking Seafood with Catalina Offshore- Friday April 13, 2012 from 6 to 9 pm at Great News in Pacific Beach $59

Join Tommy Gomes, Catalina Offshore Products fishmonger and Chef Jenn, Culinary Instructor and Certified Culinary Nutritionist at Great News In Pacific Beach; to  learn how to make wonderful fresh fish dishes. Tommy and Jenn will show  how to filet and portion fish as well.  San Diego Magazine has nominated Tommy  as one of the top 50 people to watch in 2011, so don’t miss out.
Tommy will be donating his teaching fee to Urban Slow-Foods San Diego. Tommy and Jenn will discuss how to buy fresh seafood and what to look for in freshness and how to trust a true fishmonger. They will also instruct students on how to use the entire fish. Recipes: Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Classic Red and White Cocktail Sauce; Baja Style Octopus Ceviche with Fresh Tortilla Chips; Salmon Burger with Wasabi Mayonnaise; Scallop and Crab Stuffed Halibut with Citrus Beurre Blanc.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Pudding with Coconut Whipped Cream



I have a funny thing I like to do. When I am planning vegan cooking classes I like to give them a theme (Vegan Valentines,  Thai Vegan, Summer Vegan, etc) and next month’s class is a St. Patrick’s Day themed vegan cooking class.
My go to dessert for St. Patrick’s day is this super rich chocolate pudding. Normally I would make it with Bailey’s Irish Cream to up the Irish factor, but it’s not vegan (although there are a few online recipes to make a vegan Bailey’s Irish Cream).
Yesterday spent the day toying with recipes, to convert my chocolate pudding into a vegan recipe. Here is what I found
1)    Please don’t use the recipes on the internet that call for “egg replacer” and “cocoa powder” – they are awful!
2)    Semi-sweet baking chocolate has no dairy and makes a super-rich pudding
3)    Adding egg replacer to my recipe (1 tbsp) makes the pudding super thick (like Jello instant pudding thick), not my favorite to sit down to a bowl of in front of the TV...but would be amazing in a “pudding pie” recipe.
Here is the recipe that I liked best, it taste like thick rich chocolate. You will love it And I topped it with a little Coconut Whipped Cream.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Serves 4 to 6
4 oz             Semi-sweet baking chocolate, broken into small pieces
¼ cup          Coconut cream
¼ cup          Agave nectar
2 tbsp          Corn starch
1 cup          Almond milk
2 cups         Coconut milk*
2 tsp           Vanilla
¼ tsp          Instant espresso powder
 Coconut whipped cream for garnish (optional) 
In a double boiler**, over medium low heat, combine semi-sweet chocolate, coconut cream and agave nectar. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat while a couple of pieces are still visible.
Whisk together corn starch, almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla and espresso; dissolve cornstarch completely.
Pour almond milk mixture into a sauce pot and heat over medium low heat. Whisk and scrape with a rubber spatula, constantly. If you don't keep on stirring, the mixture will turn clumpy, but you want it to be smooth and creamy.
Once it is thick, turn off heat and add melted chocolate. Pour into serving bowls or cups and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, but best if done a day ahead. 
Garnish with coconut whipped cream, and enjoy!

*I recommend Golden Star Coconut Milk
** To heat the liquid for your double boiler- start by placing a small amount of water (making sure that the water does not touch the bowl that will be inserted later) into a sauce pan.Bring water to a boil over high heat.Turn off heat and insert a bowl just small enough to rest inside of the pot. 
Vanilla Coconut “Whipped Cream”
Makes1 ½ cups
1 cup                    Coconut milk, COLD (golden star)
½  tsp                   Vanilla extract
½                          Vanilla Bean seeds, split down the length and seeds removed
2 tsp                     Agave nectar or sugar (optional)
½  tsp                   Agar agar
½ cup                   Coconut milk
2 tbsp                   Coconut milk
Using a hand mixer, whip 1 cup coconut milk, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds and agave nectar; whip at high speed for a minute or two until it becomes fluffy and whipped cream-like.
Cover and refrigerate.
In a sauce pot combine agar agar and ¼ cup coconut milk. Cook over medium heat to dissolve agar agar (or until the majority of flakes dissolve), about 7 minutes .
Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons coconut milk.
Strain coconut milk with agar agar into whipped coconut milk. With a hand mixer, whip together agar agar and coconut milk with the already whipped coconut milk; till light and fluffy. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (best if done the day before).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Plum Cobbler and Pinot Noir...a match made in heaven

In last nights Wine Country Cooking Class, it was Pinot Noir night. The menu for the evening was

French Country Vegetable Soup
Citrus Cedar Plank Salmon
Cauliflower Puree
Plum Cobbler

The smell where intoxicating. You felt as if you where in a bottle of Pinot. The first thing to hit your nose was the cedar (from the cedar plank salmon),  the the light vegetal aromas of ripe tomatoes from the soup and lastly the velvety aromas of vanilla and plum from the cobbler. It was a night to remember.

I loved the pairing of Chalon Vinyard Pinot Noir, with it lightly oaked flavor and strong jammy fruit notes. I had to share it.




Plum Fruit Cobbler

Serves 4

Filling-
1/3 cup       Sugar
2 tbsp         All-purpose flour
2 lb             Plums, pitted, peeled (optional) and cut to chunks                   
1  tbsp        Unsalted butter, melted
½  tsp         Vanilla extract
1/8 tsp        Almond extract

Topping-
3/4 cup                 All-purpose flour
¼  cup                  Cornmeal
1 tsp                     Baking powder
¼ tsp                    Salt           

1 tbsp                   Unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
½  cup + 1 tsp      Heavy cream, divided
2 tsp                     Raw sugar


 
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a baking dish.

Toss together filling ingredients in a large bowl. Spread out in baking dish and bake until just bubbling, 10 to 20 minutes.

Make topping while filling bakes: Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, then blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ½ cup cream and stir just until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly dust with flour, then roll out with a floured rolling pin into a 1/2-inch-thick round. Cut out biscuits with lightly floured cutter. If necessary, gather scraps and reroll once, then cut out more biscuits.

Arrange biscuits 1/2 inch apart over hot filling. Brush tops with remaining tablespoon cream, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake until topping is golden and fruit is bubbling in center, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to warm, 30 minutes.

Best if served with whipped cream!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Favorite Wine Books

A few good books to help you expand your wine knowledge and wine pairing skills!

Larousse Wine ; The World’s Greatest Wines, Estates and Regions ; published in 2011 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers New York


Wonderfully illustrated, with beautiful pictures and remarkable representation of wealth of information. This book is not just good looks; it has substance too. An amazingly good read with a vast amount of knowledge about wines, pairings, storing, tasting, history and so much more. If there is anything you ever wanted to know about wine; it is in this book and presented in a beautiful and interesting way. Hands down my favorite book!

Winesof the World; Published by DK Publishing, Inc—
This book is broken into regions of the world, just like your local wine store! I find that this makes purchasing wines very simple.
Step 1: Look up Country…France
Step 2: Region…Loire Valley (The book will tell you the history of the region and what they are known for -Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. If you need more information you can always look up those specific wines/grapes and find any information you need. )
Step 3:  Turn to the “Top Wine Producers” of that region….it will give you the name of the producer, styles of wine that are best, even the years that they produced the best wines.
Step 4: Buy a good wine and enjoy
This book is also great for traveling and exploring local wine regions, with detailed maps and lists of local wine producers.

Wine for Dummies- by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan; published by Wiley Publishing


This book has none of the pretty pictures but is packed full of information. And it will answer any question about wine that you have, simply and straight forward. My I recomend a chapter titled “Confronting a Restaurant Wine List”. It is designed to help with the “emotional-vulnerability” that can come with trying to buy wine. With a little knowledge you will have all the confidence in the world to grab the wine list and order for the table.
Please let me know if you have a book you think I should add to this list. I always love an excuse to go shopping.






Monday, February 20, 2012

Health Starts Here 28 Day Challenge...Coconut Covered Brownie Bite

Have you heard of the “Health Starts Here 28 Day Challenge”?

Well to be honest neither had I, until a friend at Whole Foods asked if I would do a cooking class for them.
It is a combination of  Whole Foods Health Starts Here Program and Eat Right America’s 28 Day Challenge. In the simplest terms they are encouraging people to start the New Year off right with healthy food choices and teaching you to eat healthier.

In not so simple terms they would love it if you got your fats from plant bases foods (you have to eat the plant, olive oil does not count). Same with your sugar, only recomended sugars are the ones that come in the form of berries and other fruits. You are encouraged to go wild with your vegetables, whole grains and water.  Take a look at the picture bellow to get a better idea.



Whole Food is offering special on “Heath Starts Here” prepared foods and showcasing foods in the store that have no added fats, sugars, are nutrient dense and contain no processed foods. Don’t let the scary words fool you, I tried some of the products and they are very good!
I have to admit it was a challenge even for me.  As someone who is a very well versed in special dietary concerns, I still struggled with wrapping my head around making a dressing without oil. Or not being able to sautéed my vegetables in oil.

But once I got over the initial shock it was really quite simple.  Using purees or reductions as thickeners for salad dressings.  Or tossing my vegetables in a bit of Tamari before roasting, to get rich color and flavor.

What I am most proud of is the dessert. I had heard forever about this “Raw” “Vegan” dessert that was supposed to be just like brownies. I thought what a crock! But I played with a couple of recipes and shockingly this one tasted like a brownie. And when you eat it right out to the food processor, while it is still warm, it is just like a gooey warm brownie. Even makes the house smell like brownies.

No-Bake "Brownies" rolled in Cocoa and Coconut

Serves 20 (bite sized pieces)

5                  Dates, pitted
5                  Dried apricots, sliced
1/3 cup       Unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup       Raw almonds
1 tbsp                   Vanilla Whey Protein
1 tbsp                   Vanilla Almond milk
2 tbsp                   Unsweetened shredded coconut

Add dates, apricots, cocoa powder, almonds, vanilla whey protein, and vanilla almond milk to food processor and pulse until nuts are ground and the mixture starts to come together.
Run mixer until mixture forms a sticky mass.
Roll dough into small balls with your hands.
Put a tablespoon of shredded coconut into a shallow dish, add brownie balls and shake till coated in coconut.
These can be stored overnight on the counter or in the fridge for a week.
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving 5 balls
Calories 45.1, Total Fat 2.7 g, Saturated Fat 0.8 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g, Cholesterol 0.0 mg, Sodium 3.9 mg,

Potassium 99.7 mg, Total Carbohydrate 5.2 g, Dietary Fiber 1.2 g , Sugars 2.9 g,

Protein 1.5 g , Vitamin A 1.9 %,Vitamin E 5.0 %, Calcium 1.4 %, Iron 2.6 %

Friday, January 13, 2012

Local Guava and Cream Cheese Tart

2012 started with a bang for me. My first private party of the year was a local, organic, and sustainable dinner. Shopping for this dinner party was a great chance for me to wish "Happy New Year" to all my farmers market friends, farmers, fishmongers, and more.

This dessert was created when Laurel from Coral Tree Farm, suggested I use some of her guava puree. The farm had such a great guava harvest that they processed the guava into mason jars full of yummy pink puree (thankfully removing all the seeds and doing all the hard work for me).

The dessert has several steps, but if you have made cookies, cheesecake or home-made Jello you will be just fine. Don't let the length of the recipe scare you off.

May I suggest you serve this dessert with a nice cold glass of your favorite Riesling. The flavors of this dessert pair beautifully with it.


Guava and Cream Cheese Tart

Makes 1 (10 inch) Tart

½ lb                      Unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup                   Sugar
1/8 tsp                  Salt
1                           Egg
1                           Egg yolk
1 tbsp                   Vanilla
2 cups                  All-purpose Flour
1 tbsp                   Lemon zest

8 oz            Cream cheese, cubed and room temp.
1/3 cup       Sugar
1 large        Egg
1                 Egg yolk
¼ tsp          Vanilla
1 tbsp         Lemon juice



1  tsp                     Agar agar flakes
¼  cup                  Water
2 cups                   Guava Puree
1                           Vanilla Bean, cut in half a seeds scraped
1/3 to ½ cup         Sugar
¼ cup                   Myer lemon juice

In an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter sugar and salt.
On medium speed, mix until smooth.
With the machine running add egg yolk and vanilla;  mix until smooth; making sure to scrape down the bowl.
Repeat with whole egg.
Add flour and lemon zest, all at once, and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
Place dough into a 10 inch removable bottom tart pan, cover dough with parchment paper. With the heal of your hand flatten dough and press into the bottom of the pan and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Press dough into a thin layer and into the fluted edges on the tart pan. Trim excess dough.
Freeze shell until firm, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Dock tart dough piece the flat bottom of the tart with a fork (all over).
Line shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights.
Place tart pan onto a baking sheet; bake until edge is golden and bottom is set, about 15 minutes, then carefully remove pie weights and parchment (gently prick any bubbles with a fork to release air).
Increase oven temperature to 400°F and bake until bottom is pale golden (and does not have and melted butter liquid), 10 to 15 minutes more.
Let tart shell cool to room temperature.

Place cream cheese, sugar, whole egg, egg yolk, vanilla and lemon juice into an electric mixer and beat with paddle attachment until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Pour filling into tart shell and smooth with rubber spatula. Cover tart shell edges with foil, to keep from burning.
Bake tart for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cream cheese has puffed lightly and looks dull.
Cool tart and filling to room temperature.

Combine water and agar agar flakes in a medium sauce pan; stir let rest for 15 minutes to rehydrate.

Place guava puree, vanilla bean (and scraped seeds), sugar and Myer lemon juice in a double boiler. Cook over medium heat till guava puree is heated through and sugar is completely dissolved.
Cook agar agar and water over medium heat, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Cook till agar agar flakes are dissolved and remove from heat.
Strain agar agar into cooked guave. Whisk to combine.
Remove vanilla bean from guava and pour into tart shell.
Refrigerate overnight to set.