Monday, February 15, 2010

The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen

As I prepare for my culinary adventure to Mexico next week, I am enjoying the snow storm! Sledding, warm spiced wine, and laughs with a great friend visiting has kept me busy. Tonight we are headed to the Kitchen Table Bistro for dinner. If the snow lets up, we will head to Montreal tomorrow to dine at Au Pied De Cochon.

The dirty dozen and the clean fifteen are good to program into your grocery shopping routine. Take note if you have not already. Both lists are fruits and vegetables; the difference is that the dirty dozen are pesticide heavy and the clean fifteen are safely eaten non-organic. In these times when you are watching your dime and may not be buying everything organic, this list can help guide you while grocery shopping. Print a copy and keep it in your reusable grocery bag.

Dirty Dozen:
1. Apples
2. Pears
3. Carrots
4. Cherries
5. Strawberries
6. Lettuce
7. Bell Peppers
8. Peaches
9. Celery
10. Nectarines
11. Grapes
12. Kale

Clean Fifteen:
1. Sweet Potatoes
2. Broccoli
3. Watermelon
4. Eggplant
5. Onions
6. Pineapple
7. Avocado
8. Mangos
9. Asparagus
10. Sweet Peas
11. Kiwifruit
12. Cabbage
13. Eggplant
14. Papayas
15. Tomatoes

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chinese New Year & Morning Muffins

Time is flying by lately. It must be the excitement of self-employment. I have been having an extremely great time teaching all sorts of cooking classes in private homes. Dinner party cooking classes seem to be the most popular this month. I am also working on a one list, 5 recipes project for a client consisting of four weeks of detailed recipes, shopping lists, chef's tips, and nutritional info. What an encouraging way to set a new direction in day to day cooking. Break your pattern of cooking those same old recipes. With my guidance eating healthy is easy!

Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year just passed and I seem to have celebrated both. Prince charming bought me the best point-and-shoot camera which I love! I missed taking pictures and am happily back in action mode. We had a blast with Chinese New Year. Below are some pictures.

Breakfast is a meal you always hear nutritionists say not to miss and I believe them. I would like to share one of my personal favorite breakfast muffins. Favorite is rated on a healthy scale because lets get one thing straight, I would love a sour cream chocolate chip muffin with cinnamon streusel. BUT not after a cookie marathon and especially not after the holidays. So this Brown Sugar Carrot Muffin recipe makes 15 medium muffins or 8 large ones. They freeze well. Just take one out before you go to sleep and in the morning you have a light breakfast.

Brown Sugar Carrot Muffins
Makes 15 medium

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup oat bran
1/3 cup brown sugar; plus 1/4 cup for topping
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh cinnamon, divided
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 large apple, grated
1/2 cup currants
1 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup soy milk
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl mix together flours, flaxseed meal, oat bran, 1/3 cup brown sugar, molasses, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Stir in carrots, apples, currents, and nuts. Combine soy milk, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Then add to batter. Stir until just combined do not over mix. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on top of muffins. Add a thin slice of apple for garnish. Bake 15-20 minutes.
*These muffins freeze wonderfully! 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sweet Clover Market

Attention Vermonters-
Not sure what to do with that defrosted chicken? This Friday, February 5th, I will be at your service at Sweet Clover Market in Essex, VT. The friendly Market is my personal favorite place to purchase local and organic foods. You will find me wandering the store offering personalized culinary advice! If you are craving some culinary guidance for your next meal or hors d'oeuvre party, come out and chat with me this Friday 3:30-4:30. My Mac Book and I will be ready to email you the recipes you need. I have easy Super Bowl Sunday one bite ideas for all tastes. Prince Charming and I love my Bacon & Cider Beef Sliders (see my 2009 Super Bowl blog post). We definitely will be making it again this year. Hey there's nothing wrong with a good thing! You will continue to find me at Sweet Clover once or twice a month on Fridays 3:30-4:30. Stay tuned to my blog and twitter page to find out about future dates.

Last night I headed out for food & wine at the Bearded Frog. Then Prince Charming and I went to see the 'Prairie Home Companion' showing at the Palace Nine. So fun. Thanks Edward Lieb for the tickets, we loved the show!

See you in your kitchen.

Bacon and Cider Beef Sliders

4 pounds beef brisket

3 garlic cloves, slivered

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1-cup apple cider vinegar

10 oz. Vermont maple smoked bacon, diced

2 medium onions, sliced thin

1-cup strong brew coffee

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ cup grade B maple syrup

1 tablespoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons dried oregano

20 rolls or small buns

Prepare brisket by cutting small slits all over the brisket. Insert garlic slivers into the cuts in the brisket. Pour cider vinegar over the brisket and rub it with crushed garlic.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add bacon to a preheated cast iron pan with a tight fitting lid and cook at med/low heat until bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon but leave the fat in the pan.

Heat the skillet with the bacon fat to med/high heat. Once hot, pat the brisket dry with a paper towel. Add the brisket to the pan and brown both sides (approximately 3 minutes on each side)

Remove brisket and set aside.

Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions and cook until deep brown.

Return brisket to the pan.

Combine coffee, tomato paste, cayenne, maple syrup, salt, pepper and oregano and pour over the brisket. Cover the pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Decrease the heat to 250 degrees and cook for an additional 3 ½ -4 hours until meat is tender.

Let rest for 20 minutes, carve and garnish with crisp bacon. Make sliders and save sauce on the side to dip! Yum.