Tag Archives: Gluten-Free

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash

So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.

I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.

Spaghetti Squash

Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Shrimp

and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper,  fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!

Lemon Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.

You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!

Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes 4-5 cups Spaghetti Squash and approximately 3 cups of Lemon Garlic Shrimp, serving 2.

This light and healthy dish is made with roasted spaghetti squash topped with sautéed shrimp, garlic, olive oil, chile flakes, lemon and parsley. Super easy and tasty and low on the carbs!

Ingredients

  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 ct)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds and inner membranes. Drizzle and rub squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish and roast squash for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn side up, letting it cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to make spaghetti strands and serve with the Lemon Garlic Shrimp.
  7. Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet until shimmering, then add the sliced garlic and cook while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are slightly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley; toss to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately over roasted spaghetti squash.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/31/lemon-garlic-shrimp-w-spaghetti-squash/

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Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts w/ Salted Caramel Pumpkin Spice Glaze

Mini Vegan Chocolate Donuts

Fall has arrived my friends, and we all know what that means. Pumpkin Spice. Everything. In the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to make some Mini Vegan Chocolate Doughnuts with Salted Caramel Spiced Pumpkin Glaze.

Vegan ingredients

They’re a perfect fall dessert, and healthy too! These doughnuts are made with all natural vegan ingredients – red kidney beans, unsweetened soy milk, vanilla extract, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder – and you wouldn’t believe how good they taste.

KitchenAid Mini Donut Pan

They are so delicious (and cute!) and easy to make with the help of my KitchenAid® Diamond Blender and Mini Doughnut Pans – and they bake in only 10 minutes in my Convection Countertop Oven!

Glazed Mini Donuts

The glaze is super easy to make too – made in my KitchenAid Stainless Steel sauce pan with fresh pumpkin puree, coconut cream and coconut sugar and pumpkin pie spice all cooked into a gooey luscious caramel sauce then topped with flaky sea salt – it’s the most lovely combination of Fall flavors in one tiny bite!

mini vegan chocolate donuts

ooh…aren’t they lovely and delicious? Oh, and they’re vegan and gluten-free too! Isn’t that wonderful.

bet you can’t have just one bite! 

CLICK HERE TO SEE STEP-BY-STEP RECIPE ON THE KITCHENTHUSIAST BLOG!

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Sunday Supper: Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic | Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

 

Rosemary Chicken AsparagusLast Sunday on a cold rainy night last week, I started craving some homey pan-roasted chicken. And since I had some fresh asparagus from the farmer’s market I wanted to make some roasted asparagus to go with.

I found a recipe on Food.com‘s website by Rachael Ray for Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon that looked pretty delicious and decided to make my own version by tweaking the recipe and the cooking method a little bit.

Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken

Rachael’s recipe uses boneless chicken breasts and lemon along with the rosemary and garlic, and is roasted in the oven for about 25 minutes. It’s a simple recipe but I wanted to change it up a bit by using boneless chicken thighs for a richer, meatier flavor, and I added some paprika and cayenne pepper for some extra zing and savory flavor. I started out by pan-searing the chicken and garlic cloves in a Rosemary-Garlic infused olive oil for 20 minutes until they got caramelized and browned, then added the rosemary and finished the dish in the oven for another 20 minutes or so until cooked through and a lovely, golden brown. Then I made a savory pan sauce made with chicken broth, wine, lemon juice and butter to top the chicken, giving it a silky luscious sauce to bathe in.

Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

I also made some lovely roasted asparagus to go with it simply made with olive oil, salt and pepper, some fresh lemon juice, sliced toasted almonds and a dash of dill seasoning and lemon zest to give it some bright flavor at the end.

The result? Crispy, savory chicken with tons of roasted caramel-y flavor and a fresh, lemony side dish of spring green asparagus topped with crunchy almonds and a hint of dill. Perfect for a Spring Sunday Supper!

Sunday Supper: Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic | Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • Pan-Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Caramelized Garlic:
  • 2 tablespoons Rosemary Garlic infused olive oil
  • 4-5 boneless chicken thighs
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Roasted Lemon Asparagus Almondine:
  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, thick woody stems trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • White pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill seasoning
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, thin sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Rosemary & Caramelized Garlic:
  2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees and heat olive oil in a cast iron or large skillet.
  3. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, cayenne and paprika, and sear over high heat skin side down for about 2-3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high, add the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs; cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Turn off the heat, turn chicken over in the skillet, baste with some of the pan juices, and broil in the oven for another 10-12 minutes until chicken is crispy and cooked through.
  5. Turn chicken over once more (skin side up) and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Remove chicken, garlic and rosemary sprigs from the skillet, reserving the drippings in the pan. Add chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until sauce has reduced by half. Swirl in the butter at the end to make a silky sauce. Serve sauce over the chicken and caramelized garlic.
  7. Roasted Asparagus Almondine:
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Wash and trim asparagus and place on a roasting sheet or in a baking dish.
  10. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add lemon juice and dill. Add sliced almonds over the asparagus
  11. Roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes until asparagus and almonds are a toasty, golden brown. Sprinkle some additional lemon zest for garnish, if desired, and serve immediately with the Pan-Roasted Rosemary Chicken and Caramelized Garlic.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/04/22/sunday-supper-pan-roasted-chicken-with-rosemary-and-caramelized-garlic-roasted-lemon-asparagus-almondine/

Rosemary Chicken and Asparagus

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Holiday Brunch! Caramelized Onion, Ham & Gouda Tart :: Pear, Bleu Cheese, Cranberry & Toasted Pecan Salad with Honey Vinaigrette :: Chicken Empanadillas :: Gluten-Free Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Egg Casserole :: Brown Sugar Butter Monkey Bread

Holiday Brunch
Holiday Brunch

It wouldn’t be the holidays without catching up with friends and family and coming together for a fun holiday brunch with friends that I only get to see a couple times a year. There’s nothing better than gathering in the kitchen and around the table to eat, drink, and laugh together over some great food and drinks.

Holiday Brunch with the Girls
Holiday Brunch with the Girls

We decided to all bring a dish for our brunch (I love potlucks!) – I made a Caramelized Onion, Ham and Gouda Tart, my Sister brought a Pear, Bleu Cheese, Cranberry and Toasted Pecan Salad with Honey Vinaigrette. We also had homemade Chicken Empanadillas from my friend Julie, a Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Casserole by Donna (our gracious host!) and Rachel’s Brown Sugar Butter Monkey Bread was to die for! Teresa brought some gorgeous Christmas cookies and Peppermint Bark for dessert. Here’s a roundup of our recipes for the perfect holiday brunch..enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Ham & Gouda Tart

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6

Caramelized Onion, Ham & Gouda Tart

This savory tart recipe is perfect for the holidays and easy to make. You can either make it in a 9-inch tart pan or in a pie dish. It has tons of chunky ham, lots of gooey melty cheese, and caramelized onions, covered in a creamy egg custard with herbs baked in a crunchy, flaky pie dough. You could also substitute crispy bacon or prosciutto for the ham, and use any melty cheese you like. The caramelized onions and garlic give it a tangy sweet flavor that goes perfect with the cheesy creamy custard.

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated pie shell dough (fresh or store-bought)
  • 1 cup cooked and cubed ham
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup Gouda cheese, sliced or shredded (can also substitute Gouda, Cheddar or another soft cheese that melts well)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Roll out pie dough into a 9" pie dish, overlapping dough 1 inch over edge of pie dish. Flute edges.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil and butter and onions.
  4. Saute onions for about 5 minutes until soft, add maple syrup and stir.
  5. Saute onions for another 5-10 minutes until they become caramelized and golden brown, add garlic and cook another minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together sour cream, egg, egg yolk, light cream, fresh thyme, parsley and salt and pepper to make the custard filling.
  7. Scatter the caramelized onions into the pie shell, and top with diced ham and cheese.
  8. Pour custard over the top evenly into the shell. Bake tart for 10 minutes.
  9. Take tart out of the oven and cover the crust edges with strips of foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown..
  10. Let tart cool on a wire baking rack, cut into wedges and serve.
  11. Note: if using homemade dough, pre-bake tart shell covered in foil with dried beans or pie weights at 400 degrees F for 15-17 minutes, then and add meat and veggies and custard filling and bake for additional 20 minutes or so until the tart is set.

Notes

Recipe inspired by Andrew Zimmern's Bacon-Onion Tart, Food & Wine Magazine

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/01/01/caramelized-onion-ham-gouda-tart/

Pear, Bleu Cheese, Cranberry & Toasted Pecan Salad with Honey Viniagrette

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Pear, Bleu Cheese, Cranberry & Toasted Pecan Salad with Honey Viniagrette

This is one of my favorite Winter salads made with a gorgeous combination of flavors and textures. It has fresh sliced pears, toasted pecans, crumbly bleu cheese and red onions, bathed in a slightly sweet honey vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce or 1/2 bag mixed greens, chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup crumbly bleu cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1-2 pears, cored and sliced
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey, heated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Salad:
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Chop lettuces and slice onion, add to large salad bowl with cranberries.
  5. Core and cut pears into thin slices. Toss some into salad, save some for topping.
  6. Heat honey and make dressing; toss with salad ingredients, top with crumbly bleu cheese and sliced pears.
  7. Dressing:
  8. Combine vinegar, warmed honey, salt and pepper in a blender or whisk together well in a mixing bowl.
  9. Slowly stream in olive oil whisking vigorously until all oil is blended into a gorgeous vinaigrette dressing.
  10. Toss with salad ingredients.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/01/01/caramelized-onion-ham-gouda-tart/

Chicken Empanadillas (Empanadas)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 10-12 empanadillas

Chicken Empanadillas (Empanadas)

This is a classic recipe for Chicken Empanadillas (or empanadas). It has a flaky buttery dough surrounding a savory mixture of shredded cooked chicken, onions and spices, then lightly fried to crispy golden brown perfection. Serve with fresh tomato salsa for some extra heat and Latin flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. Evoo
  • ½ lb. cooked chicken breast & thigh
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup Tomato Sauce
  • 6 Spanish Olives Stuffed with Minced Pimientos, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. Sofrito
  • 1 packet Sazón with Coriander and Annatto
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. Dried Oregano Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 package (14 oz.) Discos (Yellow), thawed Corn Oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shredded chicken and cook until browned, breaking up meat with a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, olives, Sofrito, Sazón, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, using a rolling pin, roll out discos until ½” larger in diameter. Spoon about 1 tbsp. meat mixture into middle, fold in half to form a half moon; moisten edges with water and pinch to seal closed, or seal with a fork.
  5. Fill a deep saucepan with oil to a depth of 2½”. Heat oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking (350°F on deep-fry thermometer).
  6. Cook Empanadas in batches until crisp and golden brown, flipping once, 4 – 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of salsa.
  8. Makes 10 to 12 empanadillas.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/01/01/caramelized-onion-ham-gouda-tart/

Gluten-Free Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Egg Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8

Gluten-Free Spinach, Mushroom and Cheese Egg Casserole

This is a healthy and delicious gluten-free egg casserole made with spinach, sautéed mushrooms, onions and cheese baked into a fluffy savory dish that will feed a crowd and leave room for the heavier fare at the brunch table.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bag (10 oz. each) spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
  • 1 1/2 packages (8 oz. each) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Gluten-Free Bisquick® mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle spinach, 1 cup of the cheese, the mushrooms and onion in pie plate.(I personally recommend sautéing the onions and mushrooms for a few minutes first to soften them before adding to the casserole.)
  3. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate.
  4. Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
  5. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/01/01/caramelized-onion-ham-gouda-tart/

Brown Sugar Butter Monkey Bread

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 12

Brown Sugar Butter Monkey Bread

This recipe for Monkey Bread is sure to be a huge hit at your next brunch gathering with friends. It's super easy to make, using Pillsbury biscuits and is topped with brown sugar, butter, walnuts and cinnamon baked into a caramelized construction of sweet buttery goodness. It won't last longer than 5 minutes - promise!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury® Grands!® Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large -storage plastic food bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts among the biscuit pieces.
  3. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
  4. Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

Notes

Recipe from Pillsbury.com

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/01/01/caramelized-onion-ham-gouda-tart/

Girls-Brunch-Table

As I reflect on 2013, this has been a year filled with challenges and opportunities, adventures and growth both personally and professionally. Good times and bad times, which I’m thankful for and have made me stronger. Wishing all of you a Happy New Year 2014 and health, happiness and good eating! Cheers! xx

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New & Notable Restaurant Openings & Food Events 2013

RestaurantEvents-Hero

 

It’s hard to believe that 2013 is coming to an end shortly. There’s been so many fun food festivals, events and restaurant openings this year that it’s been quite the whirlwind! It’s great to be in the food and hospitality industry and connected to some of the Best of the Best to experience new places, meet new people, try delicious food and cocktails and hob knob with some of the Top Chefs and Restaurateurs around the country. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite New and Notable Restaurants, Chefs and Food Events of 2013 that deserve a nod for their outstanding hospitality and efforts in the food world. Check it out and give these guys a go. Happy Holidays and may 2014 be filled with more fun, food and festivities to go around!

Metaphore NYC

I recently attended a fantastic event at Metaphore in NYC where we sampled delectable Gluten-Free dishes by Owner and  Executive Chef Jehangir Mehta. The event was in support of the national Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour in an effort to elevate the importance of food safety and promotion of gluten-free items in the restaurant and foodservice sector. Chef Mehta teamed up with GREAT Kitchens, a National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) to create the Chef’s Table Tour which features exclusive gluten-free dining experiences from executive chefs in fine dining restaurants, gluten-free cooking demos with local media and interactive educational experiences at partner universities. The 10-city Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour debuted this Fall in New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and will culminate in the spring with an open call for spring tour restaurants and institutions through January 2014. Check out some of the delicious gluten-free goodies we sampled in the slideshow below – Fresh Oysters with Cilantro Pesto and Tapioca Crisps, Foie Gras with Berry Jam on Gluten-Free Toast, Crispy Onion Ring, Pesto and Tofu, Seared Duck Breast with Pickled Onions, Mustard and Portabella Mushrooms, and a gorgeous Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sundae. click here to view the full Gluten-Free menu at Metaphore.

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San Diego Restaurant Week Taste 2013

One of my favorite events this year was out in California when I went to visit some friends for some sun, fun and R&R. I got invited to attend the 2nd Annual #SDRWTaste2013an event to kick off the start of San Diego Restaurant Week! The event was a super fun kick-off party and culinary adventure at the Broadway Pier where people from all over San Diego gathered to celebrate San Diego Restaurant Week and indulge in some of the finest foods and beverages! #SDRWTaste2013 showcased some of the top culinary talents of SDRW chefs from throughout the County. At this premiere tasting event, over 40 of San Diego Restaurant Week’s best restaurants served up samples of their house specialties paired with a unique beverage to enhance the flavors of each dish.

A special nod goes out to VinVillage, the online community for wine lovers, who sponsored my attendance to this fabulous event and who showcased a plethora of top notch wines for tasting to the event goers.  Check out their website to join the community and get access to their events, newsletters, forums, online store and wine tastings around the country.

The weather and the view of the ocean was amazing, and so was my company of good friends. I think it may have also convinced me to move to San Diego someday…what’s not to love?

100 Montaditos NYC

Another fun VIP restaurant opening event I attended was for 100 Montaditos, a new multinational franchise bringing unique Spanish cuisine to the West Village of NYC. The West Village shop specializes in tapas-sized sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread (mini-heroes!) with 100 unique filling combinations such as Chorizo and Manchego cheese,  Blue Cheese with Ham and Strawberry Jam and Serrano Ham with Tomato and Olive Oil. They also have “Americanized” versions such as the Philly Cheese Steak, Meatballs with Marinara, Hot Dogs with Bacon, Ketchup and Mustard and Pulled BBQ Pork. They even have some sweet dessert Montaditos such as Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Spread or Heavy Cream and Oreos – all served on CHOCOLATE BREAD. That’s right – CHOCOLATE BREAD. The atmosphere is casual and buzzing and the prices are reasonable at $1 to $2.50 per Montaditos so grab a plateful with some friends and sip a Sangria or two while you’re at it. Check out the goods in the slideshow below!

Relaix & Chateaux VIP Event NYC

I was recently invited to an intimate reception with the CEO of Grace Hotels at the Relais & Chateaux Maison to celebrate the launch of The Mayflower Grace. This summer, Grace Hotels acquired the iconic Mayflower Inn & Spa, the beautiful New England resort located in Washington, CT – which is undergoing exciting updates such as a room renovation and new restaurant.

Chef Jonathan Cartwright and his culinary team of chefs were in the open kitchen showcasing “Taste of Grace” canapés from the Grace Hotel properties around the world with samples of delicious cuisine from Central & South America, Europe & Asia and North America as well as wine and spirits. My favorite was the Wood-Smoked Lobster over Corn Puree with Butter Sauce, served in tiny smoke-infused pots. The most gorgeous, delectable thing I’ve ever tasted! Check out all the other beautiful canapés we sampled that night in the slideshow below.

The James Hotel Winter Art Garden NYC

I recently attended the fascinating unveiling of the new  Winter Art Garden at The James NY hotel. Curated by The James NY’s resident artist Matt Jensen and Recess Art, the installation titled Still Moving will feature the work of five (5) up & coming artists whose outdoor sculptures initiate a chatter of heat and motion in an otherwise still and icy winter landscape. Continuing The James’ commitment to providing a stellar art program and the SoHo neighborhood, the exhibit will be open hotel guests and the public just in time for the holiday season beginning on December 12th, 2013 through March 2014.

Garden Art Sculptures & Artist Biographies

Beth Campbell, “If it is possible it’s possible” 2013
Piece makes sculptural a quirky line drawing or diagram.  There is a sense of instability and indecipherability  in the meandering nature of the line and the movement in the multiple parts.  This is an attempt to get at the veiled instability or slippage of things.

Dave Hardy, Untitled, 2013
Balancing the precarious structures of interiority—from the physiological to the architectonic—with the brazen forces of externalized expression and brute will to form, Hardy’s sculptural works depict an unrelenting tension.  The work captures the paradoxical demands of contemporary artistic life, where each new gesture appears at the brink of collapse.

Marie Lorenz, Flotsam Garland, 2013
The flower garland is often a symbol of celebration but also of impermanence, temporality, the passing from life to death. In India, flower garlands are used in temples, designed with horticultural rules passed down from generations. These Flotsam Garlands are made from things found on the beach, already subject to the ravages of time and tide.

Alina Tenser, Untitled Screen II, 2013
Tenser’s Screen is to be simultaneously, looked at and looked through.  The surface is reflective and translucent, allowing the viewer to experience a polar state of their image being bounced back to them and their vision going past the image, essentially looking past themselves.

Jeff Williams, Supernatant Fossil, 2012
Williams sets up material experiments in which natural and industrial components interact to change or break down existing compositions and structures.  Here, a series of floor sculptures contain Central Texas fossils, resting on weathered plexiglass sheets.  The weight of the fossil produces a concavity in the plexiglass, which is filled with a puddle of calcium sulfate (gypsum).  The fossils slowly wick the chemical solution over time and accumulate gypsum deposits.

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Fogo de Chao NYC

Fogo de Chao is an authentic Brazilian steakhouse, and a new location just opened in Midtown Manhattan. At a VIP press event last week to celebrate the grand opening, I got to experience the Fogo “gaucho” way of preparing and serving meat as they do in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Their gaucho chefs expertly grill 16 cuts of meat served and cut fresh to order with continuous table side service. This is also known as Churrascaria – where the meat is roasted over charcoal or wood embers to give it a rich smoky flavor.

They have a gigantic gourmet salad bar with a plethora of fresh grilled veggies, salads and chartucerie, authentic Brazilian side dishes such as fried bananas and polenta sticks, and we sipped on Brazilian wines and cocktails all night long amongst great conversation and a buzzing atmosphere. The architecture is stunning too with high ceilings and dynamic design. You won’t walk out of this place hungry – I promise. Definitely worth checking out (on an empty stomach!)

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Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Summer has quickly arrived and it’s that time of year again to shed a few pounds and hit the beach. I’ve decided to muster up some will power and started experimenting with a low carb diet with grand visions of lazy days on the beach in that bikini I need to fit back into. The bad news is whenever I decide to go on a diet, my brain automatically starts thinking about all the evil foods I CAN’T eat – pizza being one of the first things I start craving.

I decided to make a low-carb pizza using a parmesan garlic cauliflower crust. It sounds weird, but it’s absolutely delicious and healthy and a great substitute for traditional pizza dough when you want a healthier option to cut some carbs out of your diet (while satisfying your cravings for pizza which are absolutely NOT allowed when you’re doing low carb!) I’m absolutely in LOVE with spinach artichoke dip and thought I would make a lighter version mixed with some fresh ricotta, garlic, onion and parmesan cheese to top the pizza.

I found a gorgeous head of bright yellow Carnival cauliflower and simply shredded and chopped it into a fine crumble (you can also do this in a food processor or blender). Then I chopped up some garlic and threw them both in the microwave for about 8 minutes, then drained and let cool.

You simply need to mix in some grated parmesan cheese (or any other shredded cheese you like), an egg, garlic, dried minced onion, herbs de Provence (or dried oregano or basil), a few sesame or chia seeds (optional), some yeast, almond flour and sea salt and black pepper. Then pat the mixture on to a greased pizza sheet or Silpat mat, then bake for about 10-15 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown.

In the meantime, to make the luscious (and healthy) spinach, artichoke and ricotta topping – simply sauté the spinach with some garlic and olive oil, mix in some chopped up artichoke hearts (precooked), fresh minced garlic, ricotta cheese and shredded parmesan cheese, then top the pizza crust spreading the mixture in an even layer. Top with some additional shredded cheese (I used sharp white cheddar but you can use mozzarella or Monterey jack or any other cheese you like that melts well), and then scoop some light and fluffy ricotta cheese on top of the mixture and bake for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly.

In my experiment I found that you shouldn’t spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

Also, let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes or so before slicing it. Top with additional salt and pepper, red pepper flakes if desired, and grated parmesan cheese.

Devour. Repeat.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare the cauliflower crust ingredients and pat down on a greased pizza pan.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to get golden brown around the edges.

Pizza Ready For Oven

Top pizza crust with spinach artichoke mixture, shredded cheese and ricotta. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Let pizza cool down for 5-10 minutes and cut into slices.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Garnish with additional salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Devour.

Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Pizza with Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Repeat.

Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower Crust

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 (or 1 large 9-10\" pie)

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 ½ cups shredded)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon sesame or chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon herbs de provence (or dried basil or oregano)
  • ½ teaspoon dried minced onion
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Grease a 9-10” round pizza pan or place Silpat mat on a rectangular baking sheet.
  3. Shred and chop cauliflower into fine crumbles (either by hand with a large Chef’s knife or with a food processor).
  4. Mince the garlic and add to the cauliflower in a microwave-safe large bowl.
  5. Microwave covered with plastic wrap for about 7-8 minutes.
  6. Uncover, drain and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the next nine ingredients and mix together well.
  8. Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove the crust from oven and set aside.

Notes

In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

Spinach & Artichoke Ricotta Pizza

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 (or 1 large 9-10\\\" pie)

Ingredients

  • 1 parbaked cauliflower crust (see attached recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted (or 1 bag fresh baby spinach)
  • 1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted (or 1-14 oz can, drained)
  • 1-15 oz container ricotta cheese, divided in half
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese (can sub Monterey jack or mozzarella), shredded
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Place the spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 8 minutes on HIGH.
  3. Mince the shallots and garlic cloves and drain the spinach (pressing out extra liquids).
  4. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  5. Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the spinach for another few minutes, mixing all ingredients together. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  6. Microwave the artichokes in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on HIGH and drain. (if using canned artichokes, simply drain).
  7. Chop the artichokes up into small pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Add half of the container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.
  9. Stir in the spinach, shallots and garlic mixture.
  10. Drizzle or spray some olive oil lightly on to the parbaked cauliflower pizza crust.
  11. Spread the spinach, artichoke and ricotta mixture evenly over the crust.
  12. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and scoop out a few large tablespoons of ricotta cheese and place on top of the pizza.
  13. Bake at 425 degrees for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly and the crust edges are light golden brown. (Watch crust edges to make sure they don't burn).
  14. Remove pizza from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  15. Slice into wedges (or squares if making rectangular pizza) and top with additional red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.

Notes

In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2013/06/03/spinach-artichoke-ricotta-pizza-with-parmesan-garlic-cauliflower-crust/

More pizza recipes you might enjoy:

Two Peas and Their Pod Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pizza

Real Simple Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

Gluten Free Spinach and Artichoke Pizza Better Batter

Recipe Girl’s Hawaiian Cauliflower Pizza

Closet Cooking’s BBQ Chicken Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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