Category Archives: Guest Feature

Food Styling for Birds Eye Healthy Eating TV Segment on CBS with Jennette McCurdy!

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Birds Eye Veggie Mission on CBS The Couch with Jennette McCurdy
Birds Eye Veggie Mission on CBS The Couch with Jennette McCurdy

Last week I got a really fun, unique food styling assignment for Birds Eye Vegetables for a TV segment featuring brand ambassador Jennette McCurdy (Nickelodeon I AM CARLY and Sam & Cat star) on CBS morning show The Couch. Jennette McCurdy talked about her new role in a healthy eating initiative for Birds Eye Vegetables for a multi-week challenge for families to seize the fun and ‘Rewrite the Dinnertime Rules’ leading up Nickelodeon’s 10th annual Worldwide Day of Play this fall.

I was asked to create three veggie portraits of Jennette and The Couch hosts Carolina Bermudez and John Elliot using Birds Eye Vegetables to feature on the show. I picked up a few packages of frozen carrots, peas, green beans and corn and had a fun evening drawing faces and glueing veggies on white plates to create the portraits. Not as easy at it looks! Here’s a few photos of them along with some photos and videos from the TV Segment. Read on to find out Jennette’s Dinnertime Rules for eating healthier by incorporating fresh veggies into your kids meals!

Food Styling for Birds Eye and Jennette McCurdy segment on CBS The Couch
Food Styling for Birds Eye and Jennette McCurdy segment on CBS The Couch
Veggie Portraits for Birds Eye & Jennette McCurdy CBS TV Segment
Veggie Portraits for Birds Eye & Jennette McCurdy CBS TV Segment
On set with Jennette McCurdy on CBS The Couch
On set with Jennette McCurdy on CBS The Couch

McCurdy and Birds Eye have some suggestions for getting started ‘Rewriting the Dinnertime Rules.’

Rule #1: Role Reversal. Kids pick the menu and the veggies, help shop for the groceries and are in charge (with a little help from mom and dad) in the kitchen. Plus, they get to pick the theme and dress and decorate accordingly, whether it’s hitting the “beach,” bringing out your family’s wild side in the “jungle” or cheering on your favorite sports team.

Rule #2: Play with Your Birds Eye Veggies! You can use your veggies to make smiley faces or create colorful rainbows on your plate. You can even give your broccoli a mohawk haircut (really!) – just have fun!

Rule #3: Celebrate Every Bite. It can take up to 12 times for a kid to try a new type of veggie, or any new food before he or she begins liking it (http://www.choosemyplate.gov). So, keep it up! And while you’re at it, give yourself a high five for every bite your kid takes.

Rule #4: Be a Veggie Explorer. There are all sorts of cool and surprising ways to serve veggies. Like smoothies (mixed veggies with yogurt, OJ and honey), popsicles (carrots and OJ) and salad dressings (carrot ginger). You AND your kids will be amazed at all the cool ways you can eat your veggies.

For easy advice on getting kids to eat their veggies, more dinner “rules” and recipe ideas created for and tested by kids, visit www.BirdsEye.com.

Enter to win a trip to Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play on September 21st in New York City!

The Couch on CBS Birds Eye Jennette McCurdy Video

 CLICK HERE to watch the video from the TV Segment on CBS The Couch

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Food Styling for Dr. Neal Barnard on the Joy Behar: Say Anything TV Show!

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Kristen on Joy Behar Say Anything TV Show
Kristen on Joy Behar Say Anything TV Show

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to cook and do food styling for a special healthy food segment on the “Joy Behar: Say Anything!” TV Show featuring Dr. Neal D. Barnard, M.D., founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Dr. Barnard sits down with guest host Marilu Henner to discuss how saturated fat makes you sluggish and which colored foods are good for your brain and improve memory. Barnard says, “Greens, foliage — that contributes folate, which is a B vitamin which protects the brain.” He adds, “So when you see the greens, you know that’s good for the brain.” He also goes into discussing what foods to avoid such as heavy carb and fat-laden foods that make us tired and lack energy.

Power Foods For the Brain
Power Foods For the Brain

I was asked to cook and style four of Dr. Barnard’s recipes from his new book “Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory” to display during the TV interview food segment. The recipes were all colorful and healthy and made with Power Foods and all-natural ingredients: Summer Salad made with Rainbow Chard, tomatoes, corn, onions and garlic and pecans, Minted Fruit Kebabs made with a Citrus Lime and Mint light dressing, Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs marinated in a balsamic and herb dressing, and Super Raspberry Protein Brownies made with black beans, raspberry jam, cocoa powder and figs.

Could that glass of milk affect your memory? Is that aluminum can increasing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease? Can a banana be a brain booster? Everyone knows that good nutrition supports your overall health, but did you know that certain foods can protect your brain and optimize its function?

In POWER FOODS FOR THE BRAIN, Dr. Neal Barnard has gathered the most important research and studies to deliver a program that can boost brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and other less serious malfunctions, including low energy, poor sleep patterns, irritability, and lack of focus. The plan includes information on:

  • The best foods to increase cognitive function and boost folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12
  • The dangers dairy products and meats may have on memory
  • The role alcohol plays in Alzheimer’s risk
  • The latest research on certain toxic metals, like aluminums found in cookware, soda cans, and common antacids
  • Plus, 50-75 recipes and timesaving kitchen tips.

Here are the recipes I made and styled for the show. Enjoy!

Summer Salad
Summer Salad

Summer Salad – The more naturally colorful your meal is, the more likely it is to have an abundance of immune-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals. The same foods that are good for your heart are good for your brain.

Summer Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 2 as main dish or 4 as a side

Calories per serving: 181 calories

Fat per serving: 2 g total fat

Chard’s slight bitterness is beautifully balanced by the sweetness of the corn and grapes, resulting in a surprising depth of flavor.

Ingredients

  • ½ small white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Leaves from 1 bunch chard
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels
  • ¼ cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup seedless black grapes
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mince the onion and garlic, then smash them together a couple times with the back of a knife or with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Wash the Swiss chard thoroughly, as it tends to be gritty, then slice it into ribbons by tightly bunching the leaves together and slicing them with a sharp, heavy knife. Place the chard in a salad bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and toss.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/07/24/food-styling-for-dr-neal-barnard-on-the-joy-behar-say-anything-tv-show/

Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs
Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs

Marinated Grilled Veggie Kebabs – these are super easy to make and super colorful, and healthy. Marinated in a dressing made with balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, mustard and maple syrup with Italian season before grilling, they are super tasty too.

Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Serve these savory kebabs over a brown rice pilaf for a satisfying and easy meal.

Ingredients

  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 red onions, each cut into 8 bite-size chunks
  • 2 green or red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 8 pieces each
  • 16 button mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 8 pieces
  • Marinade:
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 metal skewers, or bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes

Instructions

  1. Place the cherry tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, squash, and zucchini in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and whisk well. Pour the marinade over the vegetables and stir to coat. Marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a charcoal or gas grill or your oven’s broiler. Onto one skewer, thread the ingredients in the following manner: 1 tomato, 1 red onion chunk, 1 pepper piece, 1 mushroom, 1 yellow summer squash slice, 1 tomato, 1 zucchini slice, 1 red onion chunk, 1 pepper, and 1 mushroom. Repeat with remaining ingredients and skewers. Place the kebabs on the hot grill or a broiler pan and brush with the marinade. Grill for 7 minutes, or until desired tenderness, turning the kebabs a few times. Serve immediately.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/07/24/food-styling-for-dr-neal-barnard-on-the-joy-behar-say-anything-tv-show/

Minted Fruit Kebabs
Minted Fruit Kebabs

Minted Fruit Kebabs – Power up with blueberries and grapes. These “brain berries” get their deep colors from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants shown to improve learning and recall in studies at the University of Cincinnati.

Minted Fruit Kebabs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes 4 kebabs (4 servings)

Calories per serving: 35 calories

Fat per serving: 0.2 g total fat

Fresh fruit makes a striking appearance in these antioxidant-rich kebabs. Enjoy them for a refreshing, light dessert!

Ingredients

  • 8 red or green grapes
  • 4 large strawberries
  • 4 1-inch-square cantaloupe chunks
  • 4 1-inch-square honeydew chunks
  • 4 1/2-inch-thick slices peeled kiwi
  • 4 1-inch-square watermelon chunks
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 10-inch bamboo skewers

Instructions

  1. Thread 1 grape, 1 strawberry, 1 cantaloupe chunk, 1 honeydew chunk, 1 slice kiwi, 1 watermelon chunk, and 1 more grape onto a skewer. Repeat with the remaining fruit and skewers. Place the finished skewers in a shallow container.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, mint, and vanilla. Pour the marinade over the fruit kebabs, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours) in the refrigerator before serving.

Notes

Recipe by Christine Waltermyer

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/07/24/food-styling-for-dr-neal-barnard-on-the-joy-behar-say-anything-tv-show/

Super Raspberry Protein Brownies
Super Raspberry Protein Brownies

Super Raspberry Protein Brownies – A brownie made with black beans? You bet! Beans are high in fiber, calcium, and protein, making them a nutrition powerhouse. Beans are free from saturated and trans fats. Researchers find people consuming the most saturated fat in their diets have more than triple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Super Protein Raspberry Brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 16

Serving Size: 1/16 of the recipe

Calories per serving: 145 calories

Fat per serving: 1 g total fat

A brownie made with black beans? You bet! Beans are high in fiber, calcium, and protein, making them a nutrition powerhouse.

Beans are free from saturated and trans fats. Researchers find people consuming the most saturated fat in their diets have more than triple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon safflower oil
  • 2 15-ounce cans low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup all-fruit raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8x8-inch baking pan with the oil.
  2. Combine the black beans, dates, jam, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and process again.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top looks set. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then cut into 16 squares. The brownies will keep, refrigerated in a covered container, for up to 1 week.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/07/24/food-styling-for-dr-neal-barnard-on-the-joy-behar-say-anything-tv-show/

For those of you who may have missed the show, here’s a video of the food segment that aired on TV last week:

And lastly, here’s a few photos behind the scenes on set at the show that day:

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Blue Hill New York – a well deserved James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant

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Blue Hill NY
Blue Hill NY

I had the recent opportunity to have an intimate conversation with Trevor Kunk, Chef de Cuisine of Blue Hill New York about their history, philosophy, cuisine and thoughts on their recent James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant 2013.

Trevor Kunk, Chef de Cuisine
Trevor Kunk, Chef de Cuisine

We sat in the charming back patio garden room as he told me the story of the Barber Family, Blue Hill Farm, his Southern Florida upbringing and Culinary Institute of America training, and how he found his culinary calling at of one of New York’s most premiere farm-to-table restaurants. When I asked him what he thought made Blue Hill win this most distinguished and notable award, he simply stated, “we consistently produce delicious, fresh food.” After our conversation, it’s clear to see why.

Blue Hill NY
Blue Hill NY

Blue Hill New York is B-owned and managed by award-winning Executive Chef Dan Barber, and Co-Owners David and Laureen Barber. Dan is a long time supporter of local farmers, agricultural policy and artisanal food producers, and has created a consciousness around everyday food choices and bringing the principles of good farming directly to the table. He has preserved this philosophy and brought it to life through his restaurants, the Blue Hill Farm and the Blue Hill Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

Blue Hill Farm Barn
Blue Hill Farm Barn

BLUE HILL FARM

With over 138 acres in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Blue Hill Farm has been in the Barber family for three generations and served as the inspiration behind both Blue Hill restaurants. Blue Hill Farm was originally a dairy, and was converted into a cattle farm by the Barber’s grandmother Ann Marlowe Straus, in the 1960s. She believed strongly in preserving land and connecting great farming and delicious food, which she passed on to them. Dan began farming and cooking for family and friends at the farm, and it is there that grew passionate about locally grown and seasonal produce.

Blue Hill Farm
Blue Hill Farm

In 2006 the brothers decided to redesign Blue Hill Farm back to its original form, and brought in local farmer Sean Stanton to manage the land. The farm is home to chickens, pigs, dairy cows, and laying hens, supplies the restaurants with vegetables and grass-fed meats.

Blue Hill New York Outside Menu
Blue Hill New York Outside Menu

BLUE HILL NEW YORK

In 2000, Blue Hill New York opened in Greenwich Village, New York City. A small intimate space, the restaurant occupies a historical “speakeasy” near Washington Square Park. It is both elegant and casual, serving seasonal American cuisine that celebrates the delicious offerings from the Hudson Valley.

Blue Hill’s menu highlights local food, cocktails, beer and wines from regional Tri-State artisanal producers. The majority of the ingredients come from nearby farms, as well as Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, located in Pocantico Hills, NY.

Blue Hill Fresh Organic Food
Blue Hill Fresh Organic Food

In addition to Blue Hill’s a la carte menu, they also offer a 5-course Farmer’s Feast and a 7-course extended Farmer’s Feast, both inspired by the week’s harvest, and have a regular seasonal menu that changes depending on what produce, poultry, meats and seafood are in season to offer the freshest foods possible. Asparagus, Rhubarb, Radishes and Fiddlehead Ferns are abundant on the current Spring menu, which will change as soon as the weather warms up to Summer months, bringing in a flux of new seasonal fruits and vegetables to feature.

They offer a variety of fresh and locally sourced Farm Snacks such as Blue Hill Farm Yogurt, Parsnips, Beets and Oats or the “Farm Bar” served with Goat Cheese and Strawberries. There are plenty of gorgeous, creative appetizers to start the meal too: Chilled Asparagus Soup with Pickled Green Garlic, Walnut Bread and Sorrel; Emu Egg Pasta; or Stone Barns Butterhead Lettuce Salad with Fiddlehead Ferns, Pickled Cauliflower and Hazelnuts.

They serve Raven and Boar’s Pig year around, but their Hudson Valley Chickens are only served from May through November when their pasture raised chickens are in their prime and able to run around and feed outside. They serve local shellfish such as Shrimp and Squid with Spring Vegetables and fresh Tarragon; Grass-Fed Lamb with Asparagus, Knotweed and Alliums; and Rotation Risotto with 12 local grains and seeds made with Brassica Puree and Chocolate Wheat. Desserts are also made with fresh fruits and ingredients from surrounding farms –Olive Oil Cake with fresh pears, brown butter and toasted almond ice cream and a Chocolate Bread Pudding made with salted caramel, pine nuts and cocoa nib ice cream are a few house specialties.

Their cocktails and bar menu mimic the culinary program and support local farms by using NY State and domestic distilleries, wineries and ingredients from Blue Hill Farm and local Hudson Valley farms. They make their own bitters and sweet vermouth in-house, and have a ‘bartender garden’ where they grow their own herbs and plants, including wormwood used to infuse vodka, which is then muddled with fennel and chartreuse to create their own absinthe.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Blue Hill at Stone Barns

BLUE HILL AT STONE BARNS CENTER AND BLUE HILL CAFE

Blue Hill at Stone Barns opened in Spring 2004, within the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. The Barbers created the Stone Barns Center, a farm and educational center, to help carry through their mission for local and sustainable food.

Sourcing from the surrounding fields and pasture, as well as other local farms in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is an elegant restaurant that highlights the abundant resources of the Hudson Valley. There are no menus there, instead guests choose from a variety of fresh daily ingredients from the field and market.

Blue Hill Stone Barns Dining
Blue Hill Stone Barns Dining

Blue Hill Café offers light snacks, farm-fresh lattes and other locally grown and baked goodies, available to eat in the courtyard or take on a walk around the farm.

Blue Hill Cafe
Blue Hill Cafe

Shop for seasonal jams and pickles, rhubarb jam and pickled sunchokes in the Spring or apple butter and pickled cucumbers in the Fall. You can also shop for Blue Hill Farm Market items online.

Blue Hill Sheep
Blue Hill Sheep

The non-profit Stone Barns Center offers plenty of cooking classes and demos using local seasonal ingredients taught by well-known chefs and food artisans.  You can also try your hand at some of their fun farm activities such as hands-on egg collecting, ice cream making, foraging for wild plants, making natural herbal remedies or maple tapping on the farm.

Stone Barns Center
Stone Barns Center

Visitors can also get a behind-the-scenes insider’s tour of Stone Barns, or attend one of their special events centered on farming and agriculture, such as the Sheep Shearing Festival in April or the Young Farmers Conference held in 2012. Check out this great video about Stone Barns Center’s mission to support a healthy and sustainable food system.

Blue Hill New York
Blue Hill New York

Blue Hill New York is open for dinner 7 days a week, and also hosts elegant events and private parties at its two restaurant locations and off-site venues. Whether it’s a trip to the farm or an elegant dinner in the city, Blue Hill certainly has earned its James Beard title for Outstanding Restaurant without a shadow of a doubt.

Blue Hill is a longstanding member of the NYS Restaurant Association (since joining in 2000), and is grateful for all the positive work NYSRA does to support their restaurants and businesses.

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Blue Hill New York

75 Washington Place
New York, New York 10011
T 212 539 1776 (reservations and general information)
F 212 539 0959

http://bluehillfarm.com/food/blue-hill-new-york

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, New York 10591
T 914 366 9600 (reservations and general information)
F 914 366 7920

http://bluehillfarm.com/food/blue-hill-stone-barns

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/

Blue Hill Farm Online Market

http://bluehillfarm.com/catalog

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Photo Credits: Kristen Hess, Jen Mulkvold, Thomas Schauer, Blue Hill. Please do not share, use or distribute any photographs without expressed permission. Feel free to share this post, but please include a link back to my original post on my website with credit to © 2013 Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet.

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Good Irish Food for a Good Cause: Good Food Ireland makes a U.S. Debut with Authentic Irish Food Products

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Good Food Ireland Website

Good Food Irelandthe first-ever, all industry network driving food tourism in Ireland, kicks off its international debut in the U.S.. Seeking to promote innovations in contemporary Irish cuisine and the country’s commitment to sustainable, authentic products, the organization also hopes to inspire Americans to travel to Ireland to experience and engage with its citizens and culture.

Good Food Ireland was established by Margaret Jeffares to link the agri/food sector with the hospitality industry. It was her philosophy that by supporting Irish farmers and producers, she could establish a healthy business environment where commercial opportunities for agriculture could be promoted through tourism and visa-versa.

“It is my mission to grow Ireland as a food tourism destination and to establish the ‘Good Food Ireland’ brand as the brand of choice for good food lovers everywhere,” says Jeffares. “One of Ireland’s greatest secrets is its locally produced ingredients and Good Food Ireland aims to set the standard for quality across a variety of industries – agriculture, food, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality.”

The premise is that by creating trusted and authentic Irish food experiences, Good Food Ireland will drive business to the hospitality sector and that, in turn,

inspires consumer purchase of more Irish food from farmers and purveyors,

contributing greatly to the local Irish economy.

Good Food Ireland’s U.S. launch includes:

They have kicked off the debut of Good Food Ireland Approved Provider foods at Dean and DeLuca’s flagship store in NYC, featuring the highest quality food the island has to offer. The foods available for sale in the Dean and DeLuca Store include:

Kilbeggan Porridge

Good Food Ireland’s Kilbeggan Organic Porridge,

Dittys oatcakes

Ditty’s Oatcakes,

Irish Farmhouse Cheese

Irish Farmhouse Cheese,

Ballymaloe Relish

Ballymaloe Relish,

Burren Smokehouse Salmon Plate

Burren Smoked Irish Salmon,

Seymour's Traditional Irish Shortbread

Seymour’s Traditional Irish Shortbread and more. For those living outside the NYC area, there is the opportunity to purchase products from Good Food Ireland’s online shop.

In addition to bringing both providers and products to New York City, Good Food Ireland seeks to increase awareness for its hub at www.goodfoodireland.ie.

Hayfield Manor Hotel

Here consumers can book a food journey via “My Food Trip,” a feature that is supported by a host of information including locations and details about Irish tours and holidaysfarmers and producerscooking schoolsrestaurants and cafesfood shopsfestivalsmarketsand Irish bars and pubsas well as an ongoing calendar of events.

In addition, there’s the opportunity to meet the people behind the products. Special offers and recipes are also available online, and I’ve included a few below.

Salmon Fishcakes

Salmon Fishcakes

Ingredients

2 shallots finely chopped
1 lb salmon, filleted and skinned
1 Tablespoon Kerrygold butter
5 fl oz dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Mashed Potatoes – no cream no butter

For the Coating:

2 tablespoons plain flour
2 eggs
2 oz soft white breadcrumbs

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200c/400fgas 6

Butter and season a tray.  Sprinkle with the shallots and sit the salmon on top.  Drizzle with white wine and season with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 8- 10 minutes – the salmon should be firm to touch but still pink in the middle .

Sit the salmon in a colander over a pan to collect all the juices.

When all the juices have drained, place in a small pot and reduce on a stove to a nice syrup consistency.

Break up the salmon into flakes, add the syrup and chopped parsley, then fold in the potato until you have a binding texture. Check for seasoning and roll into 12 to 18 ball shaped cakes.

To Breadcrumb – Lightly pass through the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs, repeat the process again.

To Cook – Deep fry at 180c/ 350f for 4-5 minutes drain well.

Serving suggestion: Serve 3 per portion on a bed of steamed baby spinach and lemon butter sauce.

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Irish Porridge

Porridge Oats

Ingredients

2 oz Porridge Oats
7 fl oz Milk

Heat the milk, add porridge oats and cook for 1 min serve with honey or salt.

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Bircher Muesli made with Irish Porridge Oats

5 oz porridge oats
1 oz Irish honey
20 fl oz milk
14 oz natural yogurt
4 oz sultanas (raisins)
1 whole Banana, chopped
1 apple, grated
4 oz blueberries

Combine ingredients and devour!!

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Good Food Ireland sets strict criteria for Approved Provider status based on a core commitment to using local Irish ingredients and operating at a standard that is “best in class” and its branding on packaging of authentic Irish products is already recognized as the standard bearer of the industry. Beyond food products, the Good Food Ireland brand can also be used by hotels, restaurants & cafes, cookery schools and markets that meet Good Food Ireland standards. To date there are 450 Approved Providers that ensure consumers that all products and services bearing the brand meet the strictest “best in class” standards. All products and service standards are independently assessed.

Since Good Food Ireland was founded approximately five years ago, almost 70% of its Approved Providers have increased their business profile or heightened their awareness of local food. As a result, 92% have increased their purchasing of Irish food over the last 3 years, directly contributing close to 50 million euro to the local economy. (Source: Grant Thornton Survey – April 2012).

VOTE IN THE GOOD FOOD IRELAND FOOD LOVERS’ CHOICE AWARD 2012!

The Good Food Ireland Food Experience Awards celebrates excellence in food experience, the Food Lovers’ Choice Award lets you have your say. Simply vote for your favourite shortlisted GFI Approved Provider from the list below. The provider that gets the most votes will be announced on November 20th in the Shelbourne Hotel and presented with an award from An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D.

Good Food Ireland logo

About Good Food Ireland:

Good Food Ireland is a grassroots industry network aimed at promoting innovations in Irish food, the country’s commitment to sustainable, authentic products across food, hospitality and travel industries – incorporating farmers, chefs, hoteliers and outposts of cultural interest. The organization seeks to promote its authentic products in the U.S. and to inspire Americans to travel to Ireland to experience the contemporary cuisine and engage with its citizens and culture. The cross section of agriculture, food & culinary, production/manufacturing and tourism industries seek to grow and sustain the Irish economy.

Visit Good Food Ireland on Facebook
Follow Good Food Ireland on Twitter
Visit Dean and Deluca on Facebook
Follow Dean and Deluca on Twitter

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Unleash your Skinny Girl w/ Bethenny Frankel, Author & Healthy Living Expert on OpenSky.com

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Bethenny Frankel
Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel, the well-known TV personality, entrepreneur, healthy living chef, new mom and author (known for Skinnygirl cocktails and New York Times best-selling books Naturally Thin, The Skinnygirl Dish, and A Place of Yes) has just joined the ranks at OpenSky.com as their newest healthy living guru.

Bethenny has a knack for making healthy food taste delicious. For her what started as a hobby, was enhanced with formal training at the National Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary arts, and has elevated her to national prominence as a natural food chef.

As the go-to expert for all things reality and lifestyle, Bethenny wants her fans to get the insiders truth on all-things healthy. She is on a mission to democratize healthy living, making information available to everyone she can reach.

On Monday, July 2, Bethenny just launched her healthy living shop on OpenSky. She is featuring her favorite products for living a healthy and happy life along with tips, videos, advice and ideas for living a healthier lifestyle.

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Read the Q&A with Bethenny about her new OpenSky shop and philosophy on healthy living:

 

You’re a new TV host, Founder of Skinnygirl, 4-time NY Times best-selling author and chef, but if you had to describe yourself beyond that to someone, what would you say?

Well, I’m most definitely a businessperson, but I’m most proud of being a mother. Ever since I had Bryn, I make all my decisions based on what’s best for her so that’s how I define myself first now.

It seems like everybody’s biggest challenge for living a healthy lifestyle is time. What’s one simple thing time-starved women can fit into their day to live a healthier lifestyle?

What I tell women is there’s no way you can be the best mother, the best wife and the best businessperson if you’re running yourself ragged!

The best thing you can do to keep healthy is to keep hydrated. Even if you have one hand on your Blackberry, your baby bouncing on your lap and your ear on a conference call, you can still manage a few quick swigs of water. I even struggle with it personally because I don’t love water, but your body needs it to detox and to keep things moving if you know what I mean. So my alternative is knocking back club soda.

Summer’s here so we’re all thinking about baring more skin. Can you share one of your best secrets for getting a more toned body?

There’s honestly no secret. I believe in watching what you eat and exercise in moderation. Otherwise you go on one of these crash weight-loss regimens and you give up by Day 4. You can’t keep it up! And then you end up beating yourself up. If I eat a burger for lunch, I’ll have a salad for dinner. If I don’t have time to do 40 minutes of yoga, I’ll take the stairs instead of the elevator or park a little further away and walk a little extra. Moderation is key.

I’m a New Yorker so I’m used to walking a ton every day. That’s just what we do.

With your incredibly busy schedule, how do you find the time to cook at home?

My schedule is crazy but I always make it a point to make Bryn a home-cooked meal every day. I started out in catering so cooking is what I enjoy. And I swear, it’s easy…as long as you make it easy. Don’t say you’re going to make Beef Wellington and a Baked Alaska for a weekday dinner with the hubby—make turkey burgers and 30-minute brownies instead.

What are a few easy tips for gradually moving toward a healthier lifestyle?

The easiest way to start is to get rid of all those processed foods in your kitchen. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. Fill your fridge with real food instead. If you really need those potato chips, buy chips that are the most natural. (Hint: Check the ingredient list and it’ll be the one with the least ingredients.) If you really need that booze, make a Skinnygirl cocktail so you’re not downing all those calories.

With all of these extraordinary experiences on your resume, what made you decide to work with OpenSky as your next move?

I love giving women practical solutions that can make their lives a bit easier. It’s like having boozy brunch with my girlfriends and talking out our problems. But OpenSky is a way to bridge that gap between recommending something great and giving my fans a way to actually buy it.

What kinds of products and advice can your fans expect to see you offer on OpenSky?

Well, you definitely won’t get recipes for cardboard chicken. I mean I want you to actually like healthy living. I’m planning on showing you practical products and awesome tips that you can actually use in your day-to-day routine… And some of my Skinnygirl favorites, naturally.

—–

Bethenny’s OpenSky profile – https://opensky.com/bethenny-frankel?osky_origin=osm&osky_source=PRartfulgourmet

Check out all the videos, products and more on Bethenny’s shop at Opensky.com

Check out the Skinnygirl Cocktail Guide on Facebook

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Food Styling & Photography Workshop w/ Bea Peltre @ Haven’s Kitchen NYC

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Food Styling & Photography Workshop w/ Bea Peltre
Food Styling & Photography Workshop w/ Bea Peltre

I recently attended an amazing food styling and photography workshop with Beatrice Peltre, of La Tartine Gourmande at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC. Bea is an amazing Chef, food stylist and photographer and author of the cookbook La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life and one of my favorite food bloggers on the planet! If you don’t know Bea, she is very talented and creative – not only in her cooking and recipes but in her unique, fresh, colorful food styling and photography that has given her fame in the food community.

The workshop was at Haven’s Kitchen, a great cooking school and event space in Chelsea, NYC. If you haven’t visited this place you must next time you visit New York! The front area is stocked full of gourmet food items, cooking tools and utensils, kitchenware, and housewares; and they also serve coffee and tea, wine and great gourmet snacks. They offer small group cooking classes in their great location too, which you can check out online. The kitchen was set up with all of the fresh, beautiful food that we cooked and prepared together with Bea before we went upstairs to the private event space to prop, style and shoot the gourmet dishes we prepared.

After the shoot, we all sat down for a healthy gorgeous lunch of smoked salmon, veggie and dill cream tartines, fresh fruit and salads, cheese, gourmet pizzas and more. We laughed and ate, and had great conversation among the group and learned valuable lessons in the art of cooking, food styling and photography with Bea.

Check out my photos from the workshop and event below (there’s a slideshow on Flickr and a mini-gallery below for viewing pleasure). And if you have the opportunity to ever take a class from Bea or Haven’s Kitchen, I highly recommend! Enjoy.

VIEW THE SLIDESHOW


 

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Grill like a Pro w/ Essentials from Chef Tom Colicchio

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Chef Tom Colicchio
Chef Tom Colicchio

Memorial Day is just a week away and marks the unofficial start of the grilling season. If you’re looking to host the ultimate barbecue, making sure you have all the right grilling ingredients is essential.

Tom ColicchioJames Beard Award Winner, Top Chef Judge and restaurateur, is known for his top-quality food served in his restaurants across the country. After 30 years in the business, and cooking at prominent New York restaurants including The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel, and Mondrian, Tom is an expert when it comes to grilling.

From the most flavorful meats to the sharpest knives, Tom’s been able to get his hands on the best ingredients and products from around the country. Some of his favorites include using the Konro Charcoal BBQ Grill, the perfect tool for cooking skewered foods, and grilling with D’Artagnan Wagyu Striploin, the best and most flavorful cut of meat when cooked at just the right temperature.

On Wednesday, May 16 Tom brought together all of his grilling essentials, including ingredients you’ll see on the menus in his restaurants, to OpenSky.  With warmer weather on the way, now you have the chance to grill like a pro this Memorial Day.

Fuego Portable Gas Grill
Fuego Portable Gas Grill

Fuego Portable Gas Grill ($149) – it’s a high-quality tool and only 15 pounds – very portable. It’s equipped with a stainless steel burner that heats up to 650 degrees and it offers 159 square inches of grill space — enough to fit four burgers and as many hot dogs on the grill all at once.  The steel frame construction means super durability, and an enameled cast iron grill grate allows your cooking surface to get and stay hot enough to guarantee a good sear.

Rufus Teague BBQ Sauce
Rufus Teague BBQ Sauce

Rufus Teague BBQ Sauce & Rub Bundle ($27) These sauces and rubs are the real-deal – with rich, spot-on flavors that complement meat rather trying to outshine it – and will get your summer grilling off on the right foot.  Here’s what’s included: (1) 16 oz flask of Touch O’ Heat BBQ Sauce 
- (1) 16 oz flask of Honey Sweet BBQ Sauce 
- (1) 7 oz flask of Meat Sauce
– (1) 6.8 oz jar of Fish Rub
- (1) 6.8 oz jar of Meat Rub

Baxter's Premium Smoker Wood
Baxter's Premium Smoker Wood

Baxter’s Original Premium Smoker Wood ($20) — Essential tools for basic grilling include: a limitless supply of charcoal, a good set of tongs, and a big pile of wood chunks. Since the quality of the wood you grill with really does affect the flavor of your food, Tom is particular about what he uses. Baxter’s Original sources all their wood in Georgia, where they’re based, and they’re careful to make sure that it’s free of bark and debris.

Tip from Tom: If you’ve never used smoker wood on your grill, it’s easy.  Soak the chunks in water and then add them to smoldering briquettes in a charcoal grill, or into the smoke tray of a gas grill, and they’ll flavor whatever you’re cooking with a nice, wood fired taste. A couple of chunks on a hot grill will mean a steak with just a hint of smoke, whereas a few cups of the stuff over low heat allows you to transform your grill into a smoker, capable even of turning out amazing, authentic barbecue ribs.

Konro Charcoal BBQ Grill
Konro Charcoal BBQ Grill

Konro Charcoal BBQ Grill with Bag of Charcoal ($77-$151) Konros are small Japanese tabletop grills – a cousin to the hibachi. The compact ceramic units use as their heat source binchotan charcoal, a slow-burning hardwood charcoal that’s traditional to Japan. They’re the perfect tool for cooking skewered foods like yakitori, or any other small items that you could otherwise cook on a big, free-standing grill.  They’re fun to use – especially in a dinner party setting where everyone can participate in the cooking – easy to set up and clean up, and totally portable for picnicking and tailgating.

Sweet Deliverance Chutney Duo
Sweet Deliverance Chutney Duo

Sweet Deliverance Chutney Duo ($24) – Try Kelly’s Spicy Green Tomato Chutney and Raisin Haters Apple Chili Chutney as spreads to accompany a cheese and charcuterie platter, or better yet, as a condiment to serve alongside a rich meat like lamb. It transforms a hunk of cheddar, a slice of pate, or a simple ham sandwich.

Wagyu, Boneless Ribeyes & Pork Chops from DeBragga
Wagyu, Boneless Ribeyes & Pork Chops from DeBragga

Wagyu, Boneless Ribeyes & Pork Chops From DeBragga ($61-$250) These meats are supplied in his restaurants and work perfectly on the grill:

-Two 12-ounce American Wagyu (a.k.a. “Kobe beef”) strip steaks, the richest and most decadent steak on the market, sourced from Imperial Wagyu cattle raised in Nebraska. A little of this stuff goes a long way.

-Four 12-ounce boneless ribeye steaks, sourced from naturally raised Angus cattle. These cattle are never fed any antibiotics, hormones, or animal-based protein supplements, and the meat is amazingly well marbled and tender.

-Four 14-ounce pork chops from naturally raised Duroc and Berkshires hogs, free-ranging in Iowa. The meat is nothing like the pork chops you’re used to from your local supermarket. It’s beautifully marbled, succulent, and sweet.

Check out more cool food items, cooking and grilling essentials on OpenSky.com (sponsor of this post) and have an amazing Memorial Day weekend grilling your hearts out!

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An Interview w/ Italian Chef Pia Vallone :: Spring Vegetable Soup Recipe

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Pia Vallone / Mascarpone Mousse
Chef Pia Vallone / Mascarpone Mousse with Almond & Cookie Crumb

I love Italian food. I mean really loooove Italian food.. And who doesn’t? But especially authentic, homemade Italian – cooked with fresh ingredients and simple, healthy recipes that are downright divine. I recently took a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City with Chef and Culinary Instructor Pia Vallone, who teaches the Techniques of Italian Cooking course. It was a 5-week intensive class 6 hours long. Lots to learn in a short amount of time. Chef Pia, a native of Italy and graduate of ICE, taught us a a variety of recipes from different regions of Italy spanning the basic recipes and techniques.

Wild Boar Ragu w/ Matriaciani
Wild Boar Ragu w/ Matriciani

We made fresh pasta and risottos, hearty ragus and fresh and creamy sauces, roasted and braised meats, seafood dishes, soups and stews,

Baked Tomatoes with Oregano / Baked Shrimp with Garlic, Parsley & Crumbs
Baked Tomatoes with Oregano / Baked Shrimp with Garlic, Parsley & Crumbs

roasted and braised vegetables (my favorites were the Roasted Tomatoes and Stuffed Wine-braised Artichokes), desserts such as Classic Tiramisu, Mascarpone Mousse and Rustic Italian Apple Crostata,

Radish, Spinach, Romaine and String Bean Salad
Radish, Spinach, Romaine and String Bean Salad

and healthy, fresh Italian salads and small plates.

Making Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi
Making Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi

We always had red and white Italian wine and fresh Italian bread to accompany, and learned the customs of eating the way the Italians do – start with an “antipasti” (appetizer), next order a “primo” (first course usually consisting of pasta, risotto, minestrone or other soups), then pick your main “secondi” (second course usually a meat or fish dish), have a small bit of “formaggi” (cheese) after your main, then on to “dolci” (sweets/desserts such as cheese, fruit, sweet wine, and coffee/cappucino).

Sage Brown Butter
Sage Brown Butter

We made some of the most amazing Italian food during this class and learned classic authentic cooking techniques that I was able to bring home with me to prepare my own delicious Italian food. In fact, I was so impressed with Pia’s class that I had to interview her to share her culinary background and story along with a recipe with all of you! Enjoy.

  1. Can you tell me a little bit about your culinary training and professional background? What was your first job as a Chef and what was that like?

My first and only hands-on restaurant experience was in an Italian restaurant in London (cannot remember the name of the restaurant), near Victoria Station, in the summer of 1978. A friend of mine who worked as an executive chef there, offered me a job as a sous chef. After a month of hard work, I had to leave the restaurant, because my visa was about to expire and soon after, I returned to Italy. The second experience related to food, was working for several years as a bookkeeper for a restaurant and corporate catering. There I learned so much about food and was exposed to new ingredients and flavor profiles, although I worked in the establishment’s office. As for training, I graduated from The Institute of Culinary Education in NYC and hold a Culinary Arts diploma and a Pastry and Baking Arts diploma. I currently work at ICE as a Manager of Kitchen Assistants and as a Recreational Chef Instructor, though I have worked in different areas in the company, within the past 10 years.

  1. When did you realize you wanted to be a Chef? Who inspired you most as a young cook and what did you learn from them?

I always loved cooking and eating, but I began to spend time experimenting with recipes from various kinds of cuisines in my home kitchen, cooking for friends when I arrived to New York in 1980. Wanting to get involved with food and becoming a chef was a second career change for me, which began in 2001.

 My greatest inspiration was my father, who was a gourmand and a terrific cook. I spent many hours in the kitchen with him during my childhood, helping out, observing him and absorbing all the knowledge I could. From my father, I learned passion, love and appreciation of good food and the importance of using fresh ingredients.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your culinary style and what makes your menus and recipes unique?

My style is mainly rustic. I like rustic food for its simplicity and because it is nourishes the body and soul. My menus and recipes are unique, because the ingredients I use are accessible and inexpensive.

  1. Is there a difference in the recipes you create/the food you eat in Italy versus the Italian food here in the United States and what are the main differences?

The difference between food in Italy and food here…? Food in Italy is extremely fresh, mostly organic and seasonal. Its flavor(s) cannot be replicated in dishes cooked outside of the Country. Food in Italy is also quite simple. In fact, most of the best food I have ever eaten there was prepared with just a few ingredients. On the contrary, Italian American food is the result of ‘imported’ traditions and transformations, mostly due the immigrant’s longing for the ‘Old Country’. Immigrants, who arrived here tried to capture flavors and freeze memories, by utilizing similar ingredients grown in a different terroir. Nowadays though, great Italian chefs live here in the States, so the differences between Italian food in Italy and the US is narrowing down.

  1. In your opinion, what are the most important elements when creating a recipe from scratch?

The most important elements are: fresh ingredients, simplicity and focus, Make sure to tastes the food while cooking it.

  1. What is your signature dish or your favorite recipe?

My favorite dish is ‘Roman Style Tripe’, a dish that brings back childhood memories.

  1. What is your favorite spice or ingredient to cook with and why?

I love black pepper, which I use in all savory recipes. Besides liking its pungent flavor, I add it to dishes because it helps improve digestion.

  1. What is your favorite cooking gadget or kitchen item you can’t live without and why?

I own many gadgets and often buy the new ones that are the latest invention in the market, but always tend to use the familiar ones over and over. A gadget I cannot live without is a hand held grater, because it is efficient and does not use too much space in the kitchen.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs and home cooks?

Start by cooking a simple recipe, one with 4 or 5 ingredients. Learn basic skills and techniques at first and then move on to a larger repertoire. Patience, practice and repetition are important to achieve success with cooking, as with other things in life.

  1. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

Yes. I am always looking to inspire others to cook. It is a pleasure to see that people are interested in cooking and familiarizing themselves with ingredients. Sharing passion for food and cooking with people is an all-around relaxing experience for me.

Spring Vegetable Soup
Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring Vegetable Soup

Yield: serves 6

2 small carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 small zucchini, diced
1 small butternut squash, diced
1 bunch escarole, chopped
½ cup peas, frozen
1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for bread and for drizzling on soup
4 quarts chicken stock
1 small ciabatta bread
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste

  1. Sauté carrots, celery and onions in a large stock pot over medium heat, for approximately 5 minutes, making sure that you stir the vegetables while they cook.
  2. Add chicken stock to the pan. Increase the heat to high, cover the pan, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Slice bread into 1” thick slices. Brush slices with the additional olive oil on both sides and place in a sauté pan over low heat. Turn bread slices once and cook until they are golden brown. Place bread in a tray and lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.
  4. Add butternut squash to the stockpot and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini and peas to the stockpot and cook for 3 more minutes.
  6. Add escarole, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and cook for 4 additional minutes.
  7. Remove two ladles of soup from the stockpot and puree in a blender, then return the pureed soup to the pot (the puree will thicken the soup). Stir and cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
  8. Add some grated cheese into the soup and stir. Ladle soup in individual bowls, drizzle oil and sprinkle additional cheese.

Recipe Copyright © Pia Vallone 2010.

Photo credits: Kristen Hess and Pia Vallone. 

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Food to Inspire: La Tartine Gourmande – Recipes & Cookbook Giveaway!

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La Tartine Gourmande

La Tartine Cookbook Giveaway!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED FOR ENTRIES. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER,
***(Check back for our next awesome cookbook giveaway in the next week!)***

Enter now for a chance to win a copy of La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook! Starting today (5/3/2012), I am running a giveaway for one (1) La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook, courtesy of Roost Books. The giveaway runs until 5/13/2012 at 12:00 AM EST.

To enter the giveaway (open to US/Canadian residents only):

*** VERY IMPORTANT! *** Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted. For example, leave your first comment about your Spring dish or ingredient and why you want to win the cookbook, then add another comment to say “I follow you on Twitter”, another to say “I follow you on Pinterest”, etc. If you already follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and/or Facebook let me know as well, since this counts as an entry.

*NOTE: Please make sure to provide your current email address (which won’t be visible on the blog) so I can reach you if you win.

I will randomly draw one lucky winner on Sunday, May 13 at 12AM EST. Good Luck and enjoy the recipes and video from La Tartine Gourmande below!

Beatrice Peltre
Beatrice Peltre

If you haven’t seen the food blog LaTartineGourmande.com or heard about the author Beatrice Peltre – Chef, Writer, Recipe Developer and Photographer, then you absolutely need to continue reading on! I recently purchased a copy of her new cookbook La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life, which is a delicious, full-color cookbook filled with beautiful, fresh, simple recipes and gorgeous food photography. She has been such an inspiration to me as a Chef, food writer and photographer, and I’ve been following her site for a few years now — I was so excited when her new cookbook came out that I wanted to do a review and giveaway to share her fabulous recipes and photos with my readers.

The cookbook is full of amazing recipes made with whole, fresh ingredients based on French-based techniques. The recipes are beautifully simple and easy enough to make at home or for entertaining friends and family. The book is written in an honest and down-to-earth voice, with stories and recipes based on Bea’s French background and other places she has lived or traveled to such as Denmark, New Zealand and Boston. Bea brings a creative twist to everyday recipes and uses only the freshest ingredients and gluten-free whole grains such as millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and nut flours. She shares stories of cooking with her daughter (Lulu) and takes you inside her kitchen with tales of culinary delight.

Her inspiring recipes are full of bright flavors and colorful fruits and vegetables and tantalizing baked goods. Organized by Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and Desserts,  she offers menus within each category for different occasions: The Picnic, Casual Lunch with Friends, The Party with Small Bites, Sophisticated and Elegant Dinners, etc. You’ll find mouthwatering recipes such as Cherry Tomato Tartlets Tatin, Saffron-flavored Crab and Watercress Souffle, and Tagliatelle with Zucchini, Lime and Parmesan. Her gorgeous desserts include Chocolate and Plum Almond Cake with Cinnamon and Apple and Pear Verrines with Millet Crumble and Vanilla Custard and many more luscious creations. Bea has been generous enough to share two of her recipes from the new cookbook below: her lovely Summer Vegetable Tian, and tantalizing dessert Cardamom Chocolate Creme Caramel. Enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Tian
Summer Vegetable Tian

Summer Vegetable Tian

Oh the joy of a melt-in-the-mouth vegetable tian! I have a true weakness for this dish. Originally from the South of France, a tian is a dish in which summer vegetables —similar to those used in a ratatouille — are layered and baked slowly in a low-heated oven. The result is melting layers of flavors and scents that transport you to the Mediterranean. During the summer, when I can get wonderfully aromatic vegetables at the farmers’ market, this is a meal we enjoy weekly. Also, to simplify dinner when you’re busy, prepare the dish ahead of time, or even the day before.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon chopped lemon thyme or regular thyme
¼ cup chopped basil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 Italian eggplants (280 g; 10 oz), sliced into thin rounds
Sea salt
Olive oil
2 zucchini (400 g; 14 oz), thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
3 to 4 ripe tomatoes (550 g; 19 ½ oz), thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs (280 g; 10 oz), thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
Pepper

Preparation

In a small bowl, combine the chopped herbs and garlic. Place the eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle them with sea salt. Let them rest for 30 minutes so the moisture releases. Pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F (160 degrees C).

Brush a large oven dish with oil and layer your vegetables into it in this order: 1 layer of tomatoes, 2 layers of zucchini, 1 of eggplant, 1 of fennel; repeat this pattern until you run out of vegetables, adding some of the chopped herbs and garlic each time between layers. Season with sea salt and pepper and drizzle generously with oil.

Place the tian in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Check regularly to make sure that they do not brown too quickly, covering the dish with a piece of foil paper if that’s the case. Serve warm with a green salad and grilled meat or fish.

Serves 4.

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Cardamom Chocolate Creme Caramel
Cardamom Chocolate Creme Caramel

Cardamom Chocolate Crème Caramel

This attractive dessert is made for people like me and Philip who cannot resist anything described with words like “dark chocolate” and “custard.” Maybe you are one of these people too? It offers a rich silky aromatic chocolate flan-like cream balanced by a light caramel sauce that you’ll want to dip your fingers into.

You will need:

Six 6-ounce ramekins
Canola oil, for the ramekins

For the caramel:

½ cup (100 g: 3 ½ oz) fine granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon hot water

For the chocolate custard:

2 ¼ cups (530 ml) whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out
5 green cardamom pods, crushed
3 oz (90 g) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons blond cane sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust

Preparation

Oil six 6-ounce ramekins; set aside.

To prepare the caramel: Heat the sugar and cold water in a small pot. Swirl the pot in a circular movement so that the sugar absorbs the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer at a medium heat — do not stir the sugar at this point, although you can swirl the pot occasionally — and watch the caramel develop. It will be ready when it’s golden in color, which takes about 8 to 10 min­utes. Remove from the heat, add the hot water, and stir quickly. Pour the caramel into the oiled ramekins, making sure to coat the bottom and sides; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300ºF (150ºC).

To prepare the custard: In a pot, combine the milk with the vanilla bean and seeds and cardamom pods and bring to a boil, making sure that it doesn’t overflow. When it boils, remove from the heat and add the chocolate, whisking quickly so that the chocolate melts evenly. Cover and let infuse for 20 min­utes. Discard the vanilla bean and cardamom, and using a fine sieve or chinois, strain the chocolate milk.

In the meantime, using a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar for 1 minute. Pour the chocolate milk in and stir quickly. With a spoon, remove any foam that might have formed at the surface. Divide the chocolate custard among the 6 caramel- filled ramekins and place them in a water bath (see Basic Cooking Techniques, page 27, for instructions). Place the custards in the oven and cook for about 50 minutes. To check if they are ready, jiggle the ramekins a little —the center of the cream should be almost set but not fully (they’ll finish setting once they cool down). Remove the ramekins from the oven and let cool com­pletely. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight, until the custard is completely set.

To unmold the crème caramel easily, dip the ramekins in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, taking care to not let the water spill in. Run the blade of a knife between the custard and the edge of the ramekins. Turn onto a plate and serve with dusted cocoa on top.

Serves 6.

—–

La Tartine Gourmande from Unusually Fine on Vimeo.

Watch the premiere book trailer for the new La Tartine Gourmande cookbook. Music: “The Winter Song” by the band Au Revoir Simone: www.aurevoirsimone.com Video: Margaret Singer & Max Freeman of Unusually Fine: www.unusuallyfine.com

For more great recipes and inspiration, visit Bea’s website La Tartine Gourmande

Click here to order your copy of Bea’s Cookbook La Tartine Gourmande

This is a non-paid sponsored post and cookbook giveaway courtesy of Beatrice Peltre and Roost Books.  

—–

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Behind the Scenes with Healthy Eating Expert Kathy Freston

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Kathy Freston
Kathy Freston

Kathy Freston is is a bestselling author with a focus on healthy living and conscious eating, a health activist, vegan fashion lover, and person obsessed with living and eating well consciously. I had the opportunity to interview Kathy on her healthy living strategies for cooking and eating right, and find out more about her background, bestselling books and favorite recipes.

Veganist
Veganist

In Kathy’s new book, Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World, she discusses how she made the switch from classic, meat and fat-laden comfort foods to plant-based substitutes to create the same dishes, not only healthier for her well-being, but also better for the ecosystem and reversing and preventing disease.

Veganist was an instant New York Times bestseller, as were two of her previous books – Quantum Wellness and The One. She has appeared frequently on national television, including The Oprah Winfrey ShowEllenThe Dr. Oz ShowGood Morning AmericaThe View, and Extra. She is a regular contributor to the The Huffington Post, and her work is consistently featured in many national publications.

The Lean
The Lean

Kathy is also offering a limited number of signed copies of her book The Lean! – a 30-day plan for achievable, healthy, long lasting weight lossThe philosophy behind the book is about making choices to eat foods that are delicious, filling, and supportive of your weight loss goals. Each day of her 30-day plan, she asks you to make one simple change – from drinking more water, to swapping nondairy for cow’s milk, to exercising for a few minutes each day. Little by little, these changes will help you gain momentum and propel you towards your goals.

“Leaning in’ is a positive, sustainable way to lose weight and transform your health. It’s all about setting an intention for what you want, and then nudging yourself ever so gently in that direction.”
– Kathy

For more of Kathy’s tips and suggestions for cooking, eating right and healthy living, visit her shop on OpenSky.com — the premiere social network for shopping where you can connect with experts in health, food, design and style for exclusive information, advice and insider product recommendations.

***Now for the exclusive interview with Kathy where she discusses about her background, healthy living strategies and cooking tips in more detail.

1. Can you tell me a little bit about your nutrition / culinary training and professional background?

I am just your average food obsessed gal with no culinary training, which is why I enlisted the help of Chef Dayna Mcleod to come up with some super easy and delicious recipes to accompany the weight loss plan!

And on the nutritional front, I’m a researcher rather than a dietician, so I track down the best and most definitive peer reviewed studies on how food affects our health and weight; I try to pull it all together so that the science is easy to understand and applicable to anyone’s daily life.

I’m lucky to know and work with some of the nutrition science rock stars of our time, like Drs. Dean Ornish, Andrew Weil, Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic, T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and Neal Barnard, professor of medicine at George Washington University.  I use their work and expertise to substantiate the medical soundness of The Lean plan.

2. When did you realize you wanted to be a nutrition and healthy living expert? Who in your career has inspired you most? What did you learn from them?

My interest in health was first born out of vanity!  I wanted to lose weight, have clear skin, and look attractive… all things that had eluded me until I started changing the way I approached food.  But vanity was soon taken over when I learned that nutrition could add years (many years) to my life by preventing and reversing disease.  THAT’S empowering!

I’ve been inspired most by the people who have lost weight – whether it was 30, 100, or 200 pounds – and turned their health around.  They are the best story tellers and motivators because when they share the steps they took and tell how they felt along the way, you can feel in your bones that you can do it too.  I love those people; they are game changers – not only for themselves, but for their families and communities, too!

3. Can you tell us a little bit about your healthy living strategies and what makes your menus and healthy eating plans unique?

Here’s my belief:  life is meant to be enjoyed, and food is a big part of that.  So much of our comfort and joy is connected to enjoying traditional favorites with our friends and family.  I’m a big fan of continuing to enjoy the traditional foods we grew up loving, but just upgrading them a bit so that they are healthier.  I love pasta with sausage, for instance; so I’ll opt for pasta made from brown rice (you cannot tell the difference between it and white flour pasta) and veggie sausage instead of the fatty stuff from animals.  I love tostadas and burritos; but I’ll have them with black beans rather than beef or chicken with all the fixins (nondairy sour cream rather than dairy, though).  I love all things creamy, but I make them with cashew cream so that it’s easier on the body.  No white-knuckle, hard core discipline –  just healthier versions of the things we already love!

4. Can you tell me a little more about your book and eating plan The Lean, and some of the basics key points and advantages behind it?

The Lean is about getting lean in the body, but it’s also about “leaning in” to the process easily and gradually.  You have one new task to do each of the 30 days of the plan, and what you do on Day 1, you will also be doing on Day 2, Day 3, etc; so by the end of the 30 days, you will have 30 wonderful new habits that will have crowded out some old bad habits!

5. Can you give us some quick tips and strategies on weight loss and nutrition?

Here are 3 little things you can do right away that will help you begin leaning:

1.     Eat an apple a day.  The fiber fills you up and keeps your blood sugar steady.  The pectin from apples is actually twice as good as other fiber, because it leaves your stomach twice as slowly so you feel fuller longer.  Eat one before a meal and you’ll eat far less calories!

2.     Drink 8 glasses of water, 8 times a day.  This keeps your metabolism (and every other system in your body) running optimally.  In regards to weight loss,  it’s called pre-loading:  people who drink 2 cups of water before meals in a study lost 5 pounds of fat more than people who didn’t drink water in a 12 week period.  Easy peasy!

3.     Add 2 Tbs ground flax seeds to your food every day (in a smoothie or soup, for instance, or mixed in with oatmeal); the fiber adds volume to your food and fills you up so you are satisfied for hours.  And flax has a powerful antioxidant in it called lignans, which are cancer preventative.

Notice how weight loss and health go hand in hand?!

6. What is your signature dish or your favorite recipe, and would you be willing to share it?

Well, there are many (I can say that since I didn’t write the recipes!).  I love, love the recipe for cashew cream that I borrowed from Chef Tal Ronnen for the book.  All you do is soak raw cashews in water overnight, and then blend them (at a very high speed) with fresh water the next day to get delicious cream that you can use as a sauce, a base for soup, or anything you would have used heavy cream for!  It’s way less fattening than dairy, and has zero cholesterol!  I also love this Soy Milk Maker because you can make fresh soy milk, almond milk, and cashew milk instantly!  Its also great because you can use it to make porridges and pureed soups for a healthier meal option.

7. What are your favorite ingredients to cook with and why?

I really like adding fruits to meals because they make the dishes sweet and textured.  I love mango salsa on black bean cakes (recipe in The Lean), sliced pears in salad, or a sprinkling of goji berries into a soup for an extra dash of health.

8. When cooking at home, what do you like to prepare for yourself?

I could live quite easily on soups and salads.  I get all my nutrition – protein, complex carbs, and veggies – from them, and they are super hearty and fulfilling.  And did I mention easy?  Also, when I make a soup or chili, I make at least double what I need and freeze half of it for a later date when I may not have time to cook.

9. What are your favorite cookbooks/books that you recommend (besides yours!) to help readers eat healthier and more nutritiously?

If you are a real chef – or aspire to cook like one – I love The Conscious Cook by my friend Tal Ronnen.  His dishes are exquisite!

10. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

I’m all about progress, not perfection!  I believe that we can all lean into healthy changes, one small step at a time.

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