Recipe: Fig and Gorgonzola Bruschetta

I like big, bold flavours and make no apologies.  Over the years I have given many a side eye to friends who say  "OMG - you totally have to try the Best Thing EVER at the Newest Trendy McSpot." I'm not saying the Best Thing EVER isn't good, I'm just saying that my palate is used to something else, and since I have been eating really flavourful, spicy food all my life (read I'm Jamaican,) you have to come good for me to come up out of my seat with praise. Having said all of that, you will understand why I about lost my mind over the  combination of flavours in this Fig and Gorgonzola Bruschetta.

What You'll Need:

  • Crusty Bread ( I used a french bread but anything similar will do)
  • 6 Figs, Diced
  • 1/4 Cup of Crumbled Gorgonzola 
  • 1/4 cup of chopped Walnuts
  • A few dried Cranberries (less than a quarter of a cup)
  • 1/4 cup of  Balsamic Reduction (How to: Add one cup of Balsamic vinegar and about a tablespoon of sugar to a saucepan. Bring to slow simmer and stir occasionally for about twenty minutes (or until thickened). Allow to cool.  Store in an airtight jar.)

How to:

  • Slice bread into 1/4  inch thick slices and toast until crispy  (I use a foreman grill and keep slices on until they are almost golden brown and grill marks start to form.)
  • In a bowl, combine, figs, cranberries, cheese, and walnuts.
  • Once bread is toasted, spoon mixture over the top and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  • Serve immediately 

This Fig And Gorgonzola Bruschetta is something of a staple now and I'll definitely be serving it at my next party -- whenever that might be.

 

 

Posted on August 22, 2015 and filed under Recipe.

Food Essentials: Lemons

I use lemon for my water, teas, smoothies, green juices, mocktails, cocktails, salad dressing, nail care, salad dressings, pestos and the list goes on. This super versatile fruit is loaded with flavor, amazing on fresh seafood, and jam packed Vitamin C.  It makes a world of difference in all the items I mentioned above.

Hydrate

I’ll start with one of my favorite mocktails (i.e. alcohol free cocktail)

Raspberry Cooler

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • quarter cup of frozen raspberries
  • sparkling water/sodium free seltzer/club soda

Muddle berries and lemon in a tall glass. Add  one cup of crushed ice fill with sparkling water, stir lightly. ENJOY!

On some days I want a hint of sweet and will add a tablespoon of sugar while muddling. You can use your favorite sweetener but keep it light. You can also add vodka or gin to get your cocktail hour started. You may also add just a drop of Angostura Aromatic Bitters to the mix to give your drink a bit more 'character'.

Lemon Butter Sauce

Quick and easy broiling of seafoods like salmon and shrimp are a staple. Lemon butter sauce is one way to punch up these items in under five minutes.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • 1/4 unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • Salt to taste

In a sauce pan combine a quarter cup of unsalted butter, four to five tablespoons of lemon juice, a half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper and salt to taste.  Use this to base your seafood as you broil.

Salad Dressing

Store bought salad dressings often give you a quarter of your daily intake of sodium in 2 tablespoons (for those on a 2000 calorie intake) That is a bit too much for me. Especially  when I’m trying to reduce sodium intake to prevent bloating and swelling.

Here is one of my favorite recipes

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey (I sometimes substitute with  brown sugar)
  • 1 large garlic clove finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (I sometimes use red pepper flakes)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (I sometimes substitute for a tablespoon of the dry Italian blend because I always have that on hand.)

Combine all ingredients (except oil) in small bowl. Once combined, whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days. If chilled, let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Whisk before serving.

There you have it -  lemon, one of my essentials.

Posted on May 4, 2015 .

Recipe: Lemon Rosemary Branzino

Branzino is fast becoming a favorite! The first time I had it was under a year ago and I have eaten it numerous times since. It is low in fat but has a really great flavor.  I have only ever cooked it on the bone, so, it's virtually impossible for me to get it too dry.  One of my favorite ways to have branzino is stuffed with herbs and lemon and baked at a high temperature. Below is my recipe for Lemon Rosemary Branzino:

Needed:

  • Whole branzino (the one I used was about 1.2 pounds. It serves 2)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 3-4 slices of lemon
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosmary

How to:

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Clean and pat dry fish
  • Combine minced garlic, salt, pepper flakes and olive oil and coat fish (including the cavity)
  • Place lemon and rosemary inside the fish cavity
  • Place on greased baking sheet and put into the oven
  • Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until skin reaches desired crispiness.
  • Remove and let it sit for a few minutes before serving

Hope you try it...it's amazing!

Posted on March 17, 2015 and filed under Recipe.

Healthy Newark Restaurants

Newark, New Jersey isn't known for its healthy food offerings. However, there are several places worth visiting if your taste veer more towards the herbivore than the carnivore and more towards a salad than a slab of ribs and a hearty helping of french fries.  I recently compiled a list of 5 Newark Restaurants worth visiting for healthy food options. It includes fresh pressed fruit and veggies juices, granola acai bowls,  soul food that doesn't require a stretch pants and kosher foods everyone can enjoy.  See the complete post on Newark Happening.

Salads from The Green Chicpea

Salads from The Green Chicpea

Posted on November 21, 2014 .

Pumpkin Pancakes with Bacon Walnut Maple Syrup

The name got you, didn't it? It's fall so anything with pumpkin is a must-have and throw in bacon and even vegans want it (Sorry vegans, you know you do.) I have been craving pumpkin pancakes for a while and I am not a pancake person.  When my little cousin visited me a couple of weeks ago she wanted pancakes, so, I bought a box of Aunt Jemima complete mix (Judge if you must, that's her fave.) After she had two servings from the box I was left with the remaining mix.  The next obvious thing for me to do was buy a can of pumpkin puree and experiment. After several attempts I concocted a recipe that was perfect for me.  I like my pancakes small and a little dense. (If you like big fluffy pancakes you probably won't like these...but there's bacon so keep reading.)

Here's what you need for Pumpkin Pancake: (2-4 small servings)

Heat large nonstick skillet or griddle to medium heat.  Lightly grease the pan or skillet. (I use a paper towel and vegetable oil but you can use cooking spray.  I never buy the stuff.) Combine water, pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in large bowl and whisk until combined. Whisk in pancake mix. The mixture should be runny. Use about 2 tablespoons of mix per pancake -- anything more and you'll have problems because of the density of the mix. Pancakes will have about a two inch diameter. Cook through on one side until bubbles form in the center of the pancake. Flip and cook until done.

Here's What You Need for Bacon Walnut Syrup Topping:

In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and cut into tiny pieces. Drain the pan, wipe clean and add back about a 1/2 tablespoon of bacon fat.  Turn stove to medium low heat. Toss in walnuts, cook for about a minute . Add bacon pieces and quickly combine. Turn off the heat and add maple syrup, a dash of pumpkin pie spice, stir and quickly pour into serving bowl. Spoon desired amount over stacked pancakes and eat immediately.

I must warn you, you will feel the urge to call all your friends and exclaim at the awesomeness of these pancake. I did. :)

 

 

 

Posted on September 26, 2014 and filed under Recipe.