Thursday, April 19, 2012

Santa Barbara Salad

One of our favorite places is the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.  The Spanish architecture, the ocean, the hospitality: it's such an amazing place.  I had this salad last time we stayed there while lounging by the kiddie pool.  It was so good, I had to try to make it at home.  I have made it at least a dozen times since, with a number of variations: added baby tomatoes, used baby kales instead of red leaf lettuce, etc.  So, make it you're own: it's versatile.  The dressing is enough for about 4 salads (I like to keep lots around.)

6 asparagus spears, blanched, cooled and sliced
2-3 large handfuls of chopped red leaf lettuce
1 apple cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup Marcona almonds
6-8 baby carrots cut into matchsticks
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
Juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon (to taste)
1/2 cup EVOO
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.  Combine all salad ingredients in bowl except the goat cheese and toss with some of the dressing.  Top with the goat cheese crumbles and serve.
Serves about 4

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brett's Scramble

This is my take on a Joe's Scramble, which I make for weekend breakfasts quite often.  Joe's traditionally has ground beef and spinach.  I like to use veggie sausage patties, potatoes, mushrooms, then top with fresh herbs, maybe some avocado and hot sauce.  I always buy the best eggs I can find. They're like $8/dozen, but once you've had good quality eggs it's hard to go back.  They are local, pasture raised, organic, vegetarian fed, etc...and the yolks are practically orange.  Plus, that's still only 67 cents an egg: a cheap meal regardless.  Anyway, I call it Brett's scramble because my husband loves it, and just like this dish, he's not you're average Joe.

1 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup baby potatoes, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 cup mushrooms
4-5 medium organic eggs
2 veggie sausage patties, thawed and crumbled
Sprig fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)

Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and saute until cooked through.  Add the mushrooms and saute another 2-3 minutes.  Add eggs and sausage and scramble until the eggs are cooked through.  Top with fresh thyme, salt and pepper.  Serve with hot sauce, and top with avocado, salsa, etc. if desired.
Serves 2

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tofu and Green Beans with Peanut Sauce

There have been lots of requests over the last few months.  One that keeps coming up is for a quick and easy dinner.  This is a super easy weeknight meal that can you can throw together in  minutes.  I often keep a bag of frozen, microwavable, organic brown rice on hand for those frantic nights.  Get a really good quality jar of peanut sauce as some are much better than others (try Jade or Annie Chun's--the Whole Foods 365 Organic brand is disappointing, unfortunately).  You could also sub asparagus for the green beans, or add other veggies as well.

2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 12oz package firm tofu, sliced into bite-sized triangles
1 large handful of green beans, trimmed and steamed
2 1/2 cups cooked rice
4-5oz peanut sauce
Cilantro sprigs (for garnish)

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the tofu and fry about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from pan, drain on paper towels and wipe pan clean.  Meanwhile, steam the green beans and microwave your rice. (If you are steaming rice, make sure to do this well ahead of time).  Return tofu to pan and add peanut sauce, simmer on low for two minutes.  Add the cooked green beans and cook another 30 seconds or so.  Serve over brown rice and top with fresh cilantro leaves.
Serves 2-4

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm back!

Ok, I'm back!  I didn't realize how many people actually followed this blog until I stopped posting for a while.  For the last few months I have spent every spare second remodeling our new (old) home.  We spent 4 1/2 months eating out almost every night as we had to live in a temporary apartment where the oven never worked and the cooktop had electric coils that were always too hot or too cold.  It was challenging, but the result was worth the wait.  My favorite room is, of course, the kitchen.  I got to pick all my appliances, faucets, sinks, countertops, tile and cabinets, and design the layout of where things go.  I even did some unique things, like install runnels next to the sink and put a pass through arch into the dining room. It is truly amazing, and I hope this next chapter of my cooking will be equally amazing.  Of course, none of this would be possible without my most wonderful husband who trusted me enough to buy the house and let me go crazy with it.  I'm truly blessed.  Anyway, the last bit of construction is wrapping up tomorrow and I am relieved.  New recipes on the way!
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