Monday, February 28, 2011

Meatless Monday Features My Recipe For Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Crostini

Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Crostini
Divas, click on over to Meatless Monday to view my recipe for Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Crostini.

It's a healthy, delicious dish that starts with a soup made from broccoli and potatoes, topped with crusty bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil, and finished with shaved parmesan reggiano. This is rustic done right with a gourmet twist.

While you're over there, give my recipe a good rating and/or leave a nice comment. Feedback is always appreciated.

And remember, one day a week, cut out meat (even Oprah is on board)!

Click here to view my recipe for Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Crostini

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Brother's Restaurant Pizzeria Picco Named Top Pizza Spot by Food & Wine Magazine & Huff Post!

Courtesy of Huffington Post
Divas, very exciting news!

Pizzeria Picco, my very talented brother's restaurant in Larkspur, CA, was named one of the top pizza spots in the country by Food and Wine Magazine and The Huffington Post! I have to agree--it's the best pizza that I've ever tasted (click here to read all my posts about Picco's restaurant and pizzeria).

Not only do they get a big shout out for their pizza, but also for their soft serve ice cream with olive oil and sea salt, one of my favorite things in the world. My brother also cures all his own salumi, which is amazing.

Click here to read the article on The Huffington Post!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club: Allan Benton's Dry-Cured Bacon from Tennessee (Bacon #4)

For this installment of the "best wedding gift of all time" a/k/a Zingerman's Bacon of the Month Club, we received Allan Benton's Dry-Cured Bacon from eastern Tennessee.

Owner of a down-home family operation, Benton is a self-taught baconeer (he also makes killer country hams). His bacon can be found gracing the tables of some of the top restaurants in the nation, like David Chang's Momofuku (a DD favorite) and Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, both in NYC.

If that's not endorsement enough, here's my two cents on his bacon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meatless Monday: Greek Frittata

Greek Frittata
I love Greek cuisine, the flavors, the falafel, and oh, the feta!

I also love eating breakfast, the most important meal of the day. So what do you get when you combine my love for Greek food with breakfast?

Greek Fritatta, that's what!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Saag's Basil Cracked Pepper Sausage, Kale, and Shitake Mushrooms

A big day in the culinary world--James Beard has announced their 2011 Semifinalists!

There are a lot of heavy hitters are on this list. However, I'd like to extend a special shout out to Baru 66 in Windsor Heights, IA and Chef David Baruthio for their nomination for Best New Restaurant. I had a fabulous meal there in November, and was very impressed with their food.

Now, on to more important business--what recipe do I have for you today?

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Makes about 50 pieces
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Print Recipe

6 small sweet potatoes, baked and allowed to come to room temperature (yield should be about 3 cups flesh)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2-2 cups flour
pinch of salt

Monday, February 14, 2011

V-Day Meatless Monday: Aphrodisiac Brownies with Blueberries and Walnuts

Aphrodisiac Brownies with Blueberries and Walnuts
Happy V-Day, my dear divas! Today, I thought I'd bring you a special Meatless Monday dish for Aphrodisiac Brownies with Blueberries and Walnuts.

Is there any better aphrodisiac than chocolate? How about chocolate paired with blueberries and walnuts?

Not only are they a veritable antioxidant bonanza, but these brownies ought to get your sweetheart's libido kicking. If they don't, then nothing will!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Healthy Take on Chicken Nuggets: Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Americans, particularly American children, love chicken nuggets. I know that I grew up lusting after the golden-brown, crispy chicken bits (my mother was a health food guru and rarely allowed them in our house).

However, they aren't the healthiest choice--they're usually breaded and fried, and made of a chicken composite material that would make you gag if you saw it come out of the factory (check out this video where Chef Jamie Oliver shows a group of kids how chicken nuggets are made).

But there's no need to fear--you don't have to go cold turkey (no pun intended) on chicken nuggets. Here's my healthy take on this beloved dish.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Xmas Has Come Early: Saag's Speciality Sausages

Saag's Specialty Sausages
Yesterday, I got the best present in the mail--a package of Saag's Specialty Sausages! I can't wait to start cooking with them.

Saag's is a small San Francisco Bay Area manufacturer that maintains the tradition of handcrafted sausages and deli meats first practiced by its founder, George Saag, in 1933 and continued today by artisans who take pride in their work. This is a company truly after my own heart.

I'm especially excited about their Naturals line, which features sausages made with all natural ingredients.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meatless Monday: Whole Grain Spaghetti with Spinach-Walnut Pesto

Whole Grain Spaghetti with Spinach-Walnut Pesto
Big news--the ultimate diva herself, Oprah Winfrey, announced last week that she's adopting Meatless Monday at Harpo, her company (read about it here)!

This was on the same episode that she put over three hundred of her staff members through Oprah's Vegan Challenge for a week, which I think is a great exercise for anyone looking to reform their eating habits. The episode also featured the veganist advocate Kelly Freston and the omnivore himself, Michael Pollan.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Bourbon Coulis

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Bourbon Coulis
Divas, I'm still rocking out my Sous Vide Supreme, a sous vide machine for the home cook. It makes the best pork tenderloin on the planet Earth!

So last Sunday, the A-Girl, my frequent dining companion, came over for nosh and movie night. When she walked in the door, The Adorable Monster nearly lost his fur brain, crying and jumping for joy. He loves the A-Girl, and I think that the feeling is mutual.

Parmesan Grits

Here's my healthier take on Parmesan Grits (yes, they can typically be cooked with milk or cream or smothered with butter).

I use organic yellow corn grits from Arrowhead Mills--they're wheat-free/gluten-free, a good source of whole grains, and they cook up in under ten minutes. I cook them up and then stir in a generous portion of parmesan reggiano cheese, the nutty flavor of the cheese perfectly compliments the grits.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Raise Your Glass to Pinot Days: A Pinot Noir Tasting Extravaganza

There's nothing like a glass of pinot noir to brighten your day.

At least, that's how I felt when I accepted two tickets to attend Pinot Days on January 15th, a Southern California wine tasting extravaganza celebrating wine made from the pinot noir grape.

Even though I consider myself a bonafide pinotphile, this would be my first trip to Pinot Days. The annual event is held in the Barker Hanger at Santa Monica Airport, a huge venue meant to house airplanes. That gave me  an idea of just how much pinot noir was going to be on display. It promised to be a pinotphile's vision of heaven.