Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BBQ Pulled Pork, Roasted Potato and Spinach Frittata- plus 3 Tips for Tasty, Tempting Leftovers

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Not just in my food blogging life, but also throughout my life, leftovers have been the equivalent of a drive through the fast food window, but without the guilt, or that back of the mind question wondering "what was really in that burger?"

A gourmet gimmie.

Healthy, fresh leftover ingredients that come together quickly, allowing that ultimate moment of peace, knowing the dishwasher is empty and the counters are wiped down for the night.  Pure foodie bliss.

Not only do I love creating new and flavorful dishes on night 2, but some of my recipes are down right dependent on it!

Still not believing me?  How about my from grilled tri tip?  from a pork tenderloin. Or one of my favorite things of all time... from a roasted turkey (is it November yet?)

And now, this lovely frittata, so full of flavor that you'll be pulling out your crock pot more this year, then you did in all of the 70's.  Last night, I took leftover BBQ Country Pork Ribs and my Mustard Thyme Roasted Baby Potatoes from the night before, and in no time, I had a fresh and hearty meal on the table.  And, can I just say it again... with just one pan to wash! Oh yea.
*full recipe at end

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Horse Camp, The Munsters and Chicken Meatball Spinach Orzo Soup #SundaySupper


Horse Camp- circa 1982

I’m an introvert (it's true!)  But I've never been afraid of just going for it, especially in my early years.

I met my horse two weeks before and we seemed to get on well enough.  I’d fed him and cleaned his hooves and learned proper saddling. But that day- the last day of camp, I flew. It was pure canter with him.

Sitting on his back trotting around the ring, while all the parents waited anxiously in the stands for the final , I froze.  I couldn't breathe. But I focused on the sound of his hooves hitting the dirt in perfect synchronicity, while he circled on a long lead round and around.

Not sure how I made it up that day. and if wasn't for a letter home from camp that my Mom showed me over the holidays, I'd have thought it was a dream.  Me, standing on his back, arms stretched out to the side- flying.  My horse, that day, ran in circles for what seemed like forever... while time stood still.

At 12, we were naive  We were wannabe gymnasts, doing tricks on the backs of our beloved horses. And falling meant something very different then, than now.  Perhaps because we knew someone was always there to pick us back up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

5 Mix and Match Sauces that make Weekday Meals a Snap

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Nothing says simplicity like Mix and Match.

Mix and match makeup, furniture, garden plants, exercise routines.  You can even mix and match outfits.  You know, like in the fashion magazines, where you buy 10 foundation pieces including tops, shoes, skirt and accessories.  And they turn them into like 80 outfits. 

It's the same with cooking. 

By knowing some key sauces (the foundation pieces), mix and match cooking saves time, money and offers unlimited healthy meal possibilities.  Plus it gets you in and out of the kitchen fast.
First select your protein, like chicken, seafood, pork, lamb, duck, beef.  Then your veggies like broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, or whatever you and your family like (I sometimes use frozen to save even more time).  And then choose a sauce to match your mood.
Feeling creative?  Play around with the flavors.  Substitute port for beef broth or limes for lemons. Experiment with different fresh herbs and spices. And even mix up the base- as cream, cream cheese, sour cream and even Greek yogurt offer different textures and flavors to your sauces.

Fresh, low-carb, gluten free, and oh, so delicious. 
(recipes below... and yes, I was feeling a bit arty with my photos this week)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa and Black Bean Burgers with Parsnip Fries #SundaySupper #healthyluxemeals

Shrimp Skewers from Fish Enterprise, everything from Skandi Smorgasbord, Dad's Cheeseburgers on the Grill, and Milk from the 7-Eleven

Funny how when I think of Sundays growing up, it pretty much revolves around food.  Really good food. And the milk?  To this day I'm still not sure how we always ran out of milk on Sunday.  Mom, my brother and I, sitting in the car on the way home from church while Pop ran inside the 7-Eleven to get milk.  I don't even like milk.

 And, this Sunday, I'm even more excited about food and family time because I'll be sharing it with people all over the country... and around the world!  Sunday Supper is a beautiful movement started by  to encourage families to gather around the table for meals. And each week we'll be sharing recipes and stories based on a theme. How cool is that? This week's Sunday Supper has gone Skinny! But don't worry, it's not about diet food, just favorite recipes made a bit healthier.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Uppåkra- Potato Flour Cookies from my Swedish Grandmother

"A pinch of this, and a cup of that," is enough to make even the most seasoned baker's confidence crumble.  But, in my family, it's just another day in the kitchen.

My Grandmother came over from Sweden in her early 20's (circa 1922) and couldn't speak a bit of English. She got a job as the cook at the Wrigley's home on Catalina Island (which is now the Inn on Mt. Ada).

"William Wrigley, Jr. bought 99% of Catalina Island in 1919. He chose the setting for his new home on Mt. Ada (named after his wife, Ada) because it received first sunlight in the morning and the last rays at sunset. The Inn is 350 feet above the town and harbor. The building of the Wrigley's home was started in 1920 and completed in 1921. The couple enjoyed their home together through January 1932, when Mr. Wrigley died. Mrs. Wrigley continued to visit until 1947, when she suffered a stroke and lingered in a coma in Pasadena for 11 years. She died in 1958. From 1921 to 1932, the Wrigley's entertained a number of famous guests at their island home, including Presidents Calvin Coolidge, Warren Harding, and the Prince of Wales"
~according to their website, I wonder if she ever cooked for one of our Presidents- she was the Catalina Island version of Downton Abbey's Mrs. Patmore!

It was there that she met my Grandfather, who also came over from Sweden, although they had never met before...

how romantic!

Frida. A woman whose "icebox rolls" aka, the best and most moist cinnamon rolls I've ever had, could have rivaled any bakery in the world. And whose Swedish Meatballs still make me drool at the thought of them. Cardamom!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Dip Casserole- the Ultimate Comfort Food

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Today I bought Bologna.

OK, so it was Boar's Head Bologna.  But it was still Bologna.  And yes, I'm singing B-O-L-O-G-N-A as I write it, because how else would you know how to spell it? 

And today I understood (even more) my Santa Barbara coworkers who announced "I'm hitting the gym" at lunch, but instead hid away under shade trees in empty parking lots eating Big Macs and fries in their cars.  Or the time a good friend of mine asked me to smuggle in a few fried chicken legs and a biscuit when I met her at her work (a high-end golf community in Asheville) for lunch.  Yes, I actually hid them in my purse.

Crazy? Maybe. I blame the comfort food.

So, what soothes your soul?  Pasta?  Chocolate?  Bready stuff... what's your go-to comfort food?

Well, besides bologna, mine is cheese. And yes, I love that I'm part French, so I don't need an excuse.
And I love Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Ooey, gooey cheese, with two of my favorites- artichokes and spinach, but fresher than the typical bar fare.  Kicked up a notch on flavor and heat... and lower carb with chicken (you won't miss the chips or pita for a minute with this one).  Serve this with a nice salad, or some roasted veggies, and this twist on an old favorite will help curb your comfort food cravings.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Three Unique Salads so Fun and Full of Flavor- You just might Feel Famous

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If you could be a salad what kind would you be?

A Bacall Bacon and Blue?  A Cusack Cobb (Joan or John)?  Or how about a Turkey and Tomato Terminator?

And mine?
It would have to be a Chef Di's Chef Salad- Chicken, Cilantro and a TON of Cheese!

But no matter what your star ingredients, these three salads are a sure way to keep you as fit and fabulous as those famous Hollywood Stars.

Old Hollywood...

My favorite era.  And a time when salads made their mark, and being named after one was everything.

In the book Hollywood Dish, chef Akasha Richmond, owner of Culver City's organic restaurant Akasha, writes that in the 1940s, studio PRs gave out stars' favorite healthy-salad recipes to magazines, which encouraged salad-eating nationwide. Marilyn Monroe lived on salads... when she wasn't living on champagne.  And Paul Newman and Natalie Wood craved shrimp salads.

Pure foodie magic.

So, in keeping with the Old Hollywood theme, plus some famously rich stories about growing up in California, here are a few creations named after some of my stars.  All full of flavor, with just enough creativity and boldness for an award winning plate.