Hello there. I’m back!

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My new passion.

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My new passion: baking sourdough bread. If anyone is interested in this literal labor of love, I would love to share with you, what I’ve learned and continue to learn!ūüíó

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A sweet idea…

A friend of mine suggested combining and roasting Brussels sprouts and dates with a little olive oil and salt.  The dates become very caramelized and are extremely harmonious with the sprouts in taste and texture.  An odd combination with an excellent result.

I washed the Brussels sprouts, cut off the ends and sliced each in half.  The dates I pitted and chopped. I tossed all in a little organic olive oil and salt.  I roasted them on a foil covered baking sheet, in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, stirring once during the roasting.

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They were uniquely delectable (yummy) and made for a gorgeous side dish.  The next day, I added the leftovers to some rice pasta with homemade organic tomatoes and beef and a bit of cottage cheese.

Cozy good.

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Brown rice can be perfect!

For all of you brown rice lovers who hate the mess and the guessing, I found, in and old issue of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, a foolproof way to cook, or rather BAKE brown rice and I’ve never ¬†gone back to the stove top way of preparing it ever, again. ¬†It’s one of those finds that makes you want to tell everybody (not that everybody really cares but some of us do!). ¬†I’ve been baking brown rice for a few years now and it comes out fluffy and PERFECT every time . ¬†I once heard Ina Garten The Barefoot Contessa tell her viewers that brown rice is just destined to be soupy and messy. ¬†Sorry, NOT TRUE Ina. ¬†I’ve been meaning to contact her people and set the record straight!

Let’s make some foolproof brown rice!!

You will need the following ingredients.

1 & 1/2 cups of uncooked, long grain brown rice (NOT Minute or Uncle Ben’s..like organic Lundberg)

2 & 1/3 cups of water ( a 16.9 oz bottle of Aquafina is pretty exact)

1 Tablespoon olive oil (I find less is sufficient)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 8×8 ceramic or glass baking dish

foil

clean kitchen towel

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1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread the uncooked rice in the baking dish.

2. Bring water and oil to a boil, COVERED, in a medium saucepan on high heat; once boiling, immediately stir in the salt and pour the water over the rice.  Stir quick, to even out rice and cover with a double layer of foil, sealing edges tight.  Bake for 56 minutes, until tender.  The recipe call for baking an hour but I find 56 minutes to be the best time.

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3. Remove baking dish from the oven and uncover. Be careful! ¬†The steam can burn you! ¬†Fluff the rice with a fork, then cover with a clean dish towel and let rice sit for¬†5 minutes.IMG_4819¬†Uncover and let stand for 5 minutes longer, then serve. ¬†OR let the rice cool then spoon it into a large Ziplock bag and freeze! ¬†This rice freezes so well. ¬†When you plan to use some, bang the bag on the counter to break it up. ¬†Take out what you need and, welllah! ¬†You can warm it up in the microwave for a minute or stir fry it or…oh the possibilities!! ¬†The beauty is, you only have to bake a batch once in a while so it’s always there when you need it and ready in minutes!!!

Thank you to the folks at Cook’s Illustrated who always find a way to figure “it” out!! ¬†From the June 2008 issue.

Just saying….. :)

I get exasperated when I watch the Food Network and the Cooking channel, sometimes. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, the food looks yummy, the shows are fun to watch but really, do people want to go to all that trouble following elaborate recipes, cooking with ingredients that over time can wreak havoc with their health all in the name of taste and glutinous satisfaction?? ¬†Hey I love to eat like anybody else¬†but I want to share a secret with you: ¬†simple preparation of healthy, clean food is quite satisfactory both physically and mentally. ¬†When you eat well, your body responds in positive ways and your mental and emotional relationship with food becomes balanced and adjusted and begins to work in harmony with your body which initiates not just the feeling of well being, but OF well being!! ¬†Also, please don’t be so afraid to try new foods. ¬†For example, here is a lunch that is very filling and satisfying, and no recipe required. There’s organic brown rice with chick peas, advocado and goat cheese, steamed spinach with Celtic salt broth, and Medjool dates.Image I know that some of you can’t get past the goat cheese so, try a cheese you like! ¬†Use pinto beans instead of chick peas. ¬†You don’t need sauce or gravy or whatever the cooking enthusiasts say you need. ¬†You don’t always have to be led by a recipe or cooking star. ¬†Be creative. ¬†Educate yourself about food and why it’s important to eat to live, not live to eat. ¬†Knowledge is power and the internet has an almost infinite store of information about food and nutrition. ¬†Our society is so brain washed about food. ¬†Take a minute and think about what you put into your body and take it seriously. ¬†You wouldn’t think of putting crappy gasoline in your vehicle. ¬†Right? ¬†Why not? ¬†Okay. ¬†Enough said. ¬†ūüôā

The best fried chicken….

ImageThis is the first time I¬†fried one of our new organic chickens raised this past summer by our neighbor, Dale. Wow. We could not stop eating this chicken. Here’s the drill:
After thawing the bird in the refridg I cut it up,  remove the skin and give the pieces a good washing off.  Still wet, I bread them with my blend of flour, and spices.

*Here’s my flour mixture with approximate measurements for two legs, two thighs, the wings and deboned, sliced breast meat:

I don’t use wheat flour often but for this there’s no substitution.
In a ziplock bag, I mix white flour ( about a cup and a half or more) with heavy amounts of garlic powder (1.5 T?), onion powder (3 t) , paprika (2 t), Lawry’s seasoning salt (2 T), and pepper. You can taste but only before the chicken is added to the mix! I put the wet chicken in the bag and shake and squeeze to coat.

I heat a good amount of Smart Balance oil in a big, heavy skillet ( so there’s no crowding). ¬†Before adding that first piece to the skillet, I make sure the oil is HOT. ¬†Please resist the urge to turn the chicken every 2 seconds. Leave it alone for the first 5 minutes or so you get a good crust started….until you see and smell some browning. Adjust the heat as you go, turning the heat down after browning the second side, but turning the heat back up a bit if the crust begins to sog and lose crispness. Do not fry chicken in a covered skillet.

During cooking (I must remind you, again) resist the urge to turn the chicken every two seconds so it will cook evenly ūüôā Make sure near the end that your seasoning is the way you like it. ¬†You can ¬†taste the crust and see if you need to add more Lawry’s.

I fry until the crust is really brown and the pieces feel soft when pushed on (boneless, skinless white meat takes only a few minutes…legs and thighs take much longer).
Take out a piece and cut it open if you are paranoid about raw poultry like me.  Try not to over cook.
Drain on paper towels and DIG IN.
*Sorry I can’t provide you with exact measurements. ¬†It all depends on the amount of chicken you are frying and therefore, experimenting. Enjoy hot out of the skillet or later, cold or reheated.
We love it with a big spinach and iceberg salad with homemade ranch.
I’m thawing another chicken in the the refridge right now, for the weekend!

I hope you can find organic chicken. There is a definite difference!

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Dinner tonight…

Dinner tonight...

Do you roast?? If you don’t, read on and you will never steam vegetables again, unless you have to. I have here organic vegetables: carrots, red onion, leeks, broccoli, asparagus, and yellow cherry tomatoes. Brussels sprouts usually join the crowd, but there were none to be found, today. Experiment with pretty much whatever you like.
Preparation includes washing, drying and chopping (not too small) and spreading the vegetables out on a foil covered baking sheet in a single layer. I then massage the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, a generous sprinkle of Celtic salt and pepper and roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-25minutes. Whatever is left can eaten cold for a snack later or be added to stir fried rice tomorrow. You could puree with some broth for soup like Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) does.
I hope you try this. It’s darn good and extremely healthy.