Why Use San Marzano Tomatoes

Why Use San Marzano Tomatoes

It may seem like a weird time of year to feature Canned Tomatoes but San Marzano Tomatoes really take your Marinara and any Dish to the next level! One of the most distinctive traits is the rich sweet taste that other canned tomatoes don’t have! Also, you may have noticed with many canned brands that there is a tinny flavor and the only way to balance that out is to add sugar. Check out this link for more information.

Many of have asked for my Marinara Sauce and Chicken Meatball Recipesso here they are and have fun making it! If you have never heard of Rao’s it is amazing! https://www.bonappetit.com/story/nycs-most-exclusive-italian-restaurant

Organic Chicken Meatballs with Rao’s Marinara Sauce

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 28 ounce cans imported Italian San Marzano crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper (I use red pepper flake)

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1-pound ground white meat organic chicken *Can use Beef or Meatloaf Mix
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs can use dried Italian bread crumbs or a combination of both
  • Half n half
  • 1 cup small diced peppers, zucchini, squash and purple onion (can omit but adds flavor)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and a pinch or 2 red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Yields 10-15 Meatballs depending on size

PREPARATION:

  1. Make the sauce: Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Sauté onion with salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté just until softened. Add tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Add the basil, oregano and reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. If adding Meatballs place in sauce to simmer.
  2. Make the meatballs: Toss peppers (no green pepper), vegetables and onions in evoo, garlic powder, salt and pepper and roast in 350-degree oven until tender about 15 minutes, let cool. While vegetables are cooking soak fresh breadcrumbs in half n half in a large mixing bowl, after liquid is absorbed add Chicken and balance of items, plus cooled vegetables, do not over work. Shape into desired shape of meatballs. *Cooks Tip I take a small amount of meatball mixture and test in Skillet to make sure flavors are balanced.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Working in batches and taking care not to crowd the pan, add meatballs and fry until undersides are brown and slightly crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn and brown the other sides, about 5 minutes more. Transfer meatballs to 350 oven and finish cooking about 10 minutes then add to the marinara sauce. * You can Bake the Meatballs on Parchment Paper 35-40 minutes make sure internal temperature is 160 they will continue to cook in Sauce.
Benefits of Bone Broth

Benefits of Bone Broth

Because my diet is primarily Vegetarian I struggle to get the Protein I need. As I really have trouble eating Meat I find that drinking Broths is much more palpable. So, in addition to Juicing I also keep Bone Broth and Thai Broth on hand especially for when I feel I am coming down with something. I know most of you don’t have the time to make your own so I have tested and tasted many store-bought versions and found Kettle and Fire to be the best! https://www.kettleandfire.com/pages/bone-broth-benefits

By far the best Scratch Made Broth I make is the base for Thai Chicken Soup that most of you have ordered and love. I have been asked many times to share the recipe so here it is. After you complete Day 1and strain the Broth that is when you portion Ziploc Bags of Broth for the Freezer or place in a Glass Jar for up to 5 days.This Broth has so many Medicinal qualities and really will help when you feel you are coming down with something!

Thai Chicken and Rice Soup

  • 1 Whole Organic Chicken or 2-3 Bone in Chicken Breasts (Can Add More Chicken This Broth Freezes Beautifully and Since It Takes 2 Days to Make I Encourage That)
  • 2 Boxes Organic Chicken Broth or Good Chicken Base Added to Water
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 4-6 Sticks of Lemongrass (Cut in Half Then Pound a Little to Expose Center)
  • 3-4 Chunks of Ginger (Cut in Half or Quartered If Pieces Are Large)
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro (Separate Stems) Reserve Roughly Chopped Leaves for Garnish
  • Fresh Basil (Chop Before Serving)
  • 1 Bunch Green Onion (Sliced Thinly on the Bias) Reserve Half for Garnish
  • 1-2 Fresh Jalapeño for Garnish
  • Pickled Jalapeños and Their Juice 2 Tbsp * You May Add More on Day 2
  • 2-4 Kaffir Lime Leaves (Optional)
  • 2-3 Limes (Juiced)
  • Green Curry (Optional)
  • Jasmine Rice (1cup) May Vary Depending on Number of People You Are Feeding. I like Add a Piece of Ginger and a Lemongrass Stalk in the Water. Then When Finished Zest Some Lime to Enhance the Flavor

Day I

Cover Chicken with Enough Broth or Chicken Base and Water to 3/4 of the Pot. Add Cilantro Stems, Ginger, Lemongrass, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Pickled Jalapenos and Their Juice (Probably 4-5 Slices and 2 Tbsp of the Liquid) If You like It Spicier You Can Add More the Next Day). Bring to a Boil Then Cover and Lower Heat to a Good Simmer Cook for 30-45 Minutes Depending on Size of Chicken. Cool Completely Then Store in Fridge Overnight.

Day 2

Strain Stock into a Large Bowl, Take out Chicken and Shred and Place to the Side. Discard All the Other Stuff. Place Liquid Back in Pot and Bring to a Simmer for 15 Minutes. * This Is Where You Can Freeze Some Broth for When You Are Feeling Under the Weather. Add Coconut Milk Stirring Until Incorporated Then Add Chicken, Lime Juice and Green Onion If Using Green Curry Add a Little. *Taste Your Soup

Ladle over Hot Rice Then Garnish with Fresh Jalapeno, Basil, Green Onion and Cilantro

Cook’s Note: Lee’s Asian Market in Asheville on Highway 25 Has Everything You Need for This Soup and All Things Asian. Lime Leaves, Lemongrass, Ginger, Green Curry, Green Onion and Beautiful Cilantro. the Owner Is Very Helpful and If You Have Never Been to an Asian Market It Is Worth the Trip. Your Flavor Profile May Need Help Day 2 Depending on the Strength of Day 1. Adding a Little Salt, Extra Lime Juice or Jalapeno Juice or You Can Even Add Chicken Base to Really Amp up the Flavor. Play with It!

How to Make the Most out of Fresh Produce and Herbs and Carrot Top Pesto

How to Make the Most out of Fresh Produce and Herbs and Carrot Top Pesto

Summer is a great time to really clean out your refrigerator. With the farmers markets and fruit stands in full swing eating fresh is a breeze but it can seem like a lot of work! Here are a few tips to make your food prep really work for you!

  1. Throw out any old produce and try to plan a menu for the week ahead. If you are a person who would rather decide what to cook as you are shopping you still need to keep your purchases realistic, not only from a time management perspective but for reducing waste. Most people throw out 15- 20 % of fresh items weekly because they just don’t get to it or it goes bad before they do.
  2. When you return from the grocery or farmers market wash and store everything that day. By prepping all your vegetables that day you set yourself up to enjoy fresh salads and vegetables all week with only minutes to plate a salad or sauté whatever you like.
  3. Fresh Herb Storage: Basil should be kept at room temperature in a glass container filled with a few inches of water with a plastic bag covering it. This will keep it fresh all week. Other herbs like cilantro, dill and mint can either be kept the same way as basil but in the fridge or wrapped in damp paper towel and placed in plastic storage bag in the vegetable drawer.
  4. What to do with excess Herbs? Here is a link with great ideas https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/what-to-do-with-herbs

RECIPE: CARROT TOP PESTO
INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup carrot leaves (from about 1 bunch carrots)
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup of nuts of your choice (roasted cashews, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pulse the carrot tops, parsley leaves, nuts and garlic in food processor until coarsely chopped. With the processor on, slowly drizzle olive oil, and process until blended. Add the Parmesan and salt, and pulse until combined. *Cooks Note: Mint leaves are also a great addition to this recipe

Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

With summer on the way, I have been busy developing lots of recipes and wanted to highlight Green Tomatoes. Living here in the south Green Tomatoes or Fried Green Tomatoes as they are known are featured on countless menus but there are so many other ways to use them! First check out some interesting information about all the amazing health benefits http://eatyourselfwell.com/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-green-tomatoes/.

Green Tomatoes aren’t a specific variety – any tomato that hasn’t ripened can be a Green Tomato. (However, don’t confuse them with the varieties that stay green when ripe, like Green Zebras.) Here are some tips for selecting Green Tomatoes http://cubitsorganics.com/2013/08/how-to-tell-when-your-green-tomatoes-are-ripe-and-ready-to-eat/.

So, if you are looking for new ideas this summer take your favorite Red Tomato Recipe and substitute it for Green…

Green Tomato Caprese
BLT
Scalloped Green Tomatoes
Green Gazpacho
Green Salsa with Tortilla Chips (See below recipe) *Great topping for a Cali Mex Burger

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 green tomatoes quartered
  • 1 small onion quartered
  • 2 jalapenos seeded and quartered
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 haas avocado
  • ½ cup cilantro tops
  • 1-2 limes juiced
  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place Green Tomatoes in food processor and pulse until chunky, add cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapenos, avocado and lime juice and pulse until combined and chunky unless you like a smoother Salsa then puree. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Tips for Cooking With Citrus

Tips for Cooking With Citrus

With Spring finally, here it’s the perfect time to infuse all your dishes with citrus! As most of my cooking is Mediterranean based, I use citrus in most all my dishes. I think by know many of you have the handy lemon/lime citrus squeezer.  If not, here is a link https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-Citrus-Squeezer-Color/dp/B0002BFZ16.

Here’s a tip I learned working in restaurants, purchase a bag of lemons and process most of bag into a measuring cup and either store in a glass jar or squeeze bottle. This way you can easily make vinaigrettes, use in soups, deserts or top your favorite protein hassle free. Save a few for zesting. On that note, don’t ignore the zest! There is so much flavor in the rind, just a few teaspoons in a recipe can really amp up the flavor.

One other amazing item I can’t live without is olive oil infused with citrus. I even have one infused with blood orange! Once you start using these in your cooking, you will never look back. Check out this Bon Appetit link for more citrus tips https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/citrus-common-mistakes.

Below is a recipe for Toasted Lemon Breadcrumb Gremolata. It really adds that extra something and cuts through the heaviness when I use it to top my casseroles. *Note when used to top casseroles, I don’t toast them. I use the toasting method for topping salads, vegetables and proteins.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs *I use rosemary bread
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat a small skillet, either stainless steel or cast iron over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the pan is very hot, add the olive oil and immediately add the breadcrumbs.
  3. Toast the breadcrumbs while stirring continuously until the crumbs have turned golden brown and begin to get a little crunchy, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool. The breadcrumbs will continue to crisp while cooling.
  5. Once the crumbs have cooled, add the Parmesan cheese, parsley and lemon zest.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Set aside until ready to serve.
  8. Leftover Breadcrumb Gremolata will store nicely refrigerated in an air-tight container.
Eat to Beat Inflammation

Eat to Beat Inflammation

With so much information out there on what to eat and what not to eat it can be really confusing to make good choices! As a Vegetarian I struggle to get enough Protein in my diet while managing Anti-Inflammatory issues. Ongoing inflammation is problematic and can cause several chronic conditions. Food plays a pivotal role and filling your plate with more anti-inflammatory foods while dialing back on the ones that cause inflammation will improve your body’s ability to ward off future diseases and slow down the aging process.

Check out Dr. Weil’s Food Pyramid very informative.

As mentioned last month I use Fresh Juice as a way to get the majority of my daily requirement of Fruits and Vegetables. I recently tried an Anti-Inflammatory Elixir from http://www.mountainjuicery.com and by the time I arrived home the swelling in my hands had gone down dramatically!

Ashley Covington co-owner of Mountain Juicery was nice enough to share the below recipe give it a try:

Inflammation and Skin Elixir

1 oz liquid Turmeric

Drizzle of honey

1 /2 Lemon squeeze

Dash of Water

Sprinkle Black Pepper

Orange Wedge (Eat after you finish)