Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots, Cilantro Dill Pesto

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots
Cilantro Dill Pesto

My health-minded friends at Explore Cuisine have just released a new line of Pulse Pastas.  Certified vegan, organic, and gluten-free – their Pulse Pastas are made in Italy into spaghetti, penne, fusilli, and lasagne shapes.

Pulses are part of the legume family, the term “pulse” referring to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.

Made of chickpeas, red lentils, or green lentils these noodles are much more than a gluten-free pasta substitute, they are smart choice for the chef to savvy home cook, and they make a perfect dish for everyone at the table. Packed with protein, high in potassium, with lower net carbs, and a good source of fiber – beyond the health benefits, these noodles have an impressive taste, texture, and color.

Here, chickpea spaghetti is paired with carrots that have been roasted and slightly caramelized for depth of flavor. The carrots were spiralized for a nifty presentation. Fresh and herby, with bright lemon and zippy garlic flavor – the cilantro dill pesto complements the roasted carrots. It is a simple but very tasty and healthful dish.

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots Recipe

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2 comments • Filed in: Meatless

Friday, April 15, 2016

Modern Asparagus Spring Rolls - Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond
Modern Spring Rolls

Asparagus, Ham, Cabbage
Basil, Mint, Tarragon, Cilantro
Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond, Key Lime
Almond Butter Sauce, Sesame Chili Oil

Inspiration from two fabulous but completely diverse restaurants combined to form the basis for this Modern Spring Roll. An absolutely lovely lunch at Thai District in Long Beach, California where we were served some very herbaceous and memorable spring rolls. The other dish was what my brother and I both proclaimed “the best duck we have ever eaten” at Otium in downtown LA, which was accompanied by an elegantly rustic black sesame cashew crumble or “soil.”

Here I wanted to serve some herbaceous spring-y spring rolls in an individual presentation where the diner could enjoy asparagus with a trio of diverse sauces. Roasted almond butter sauce makes a refreshing change from the ubiquitous peanut sauce. Chili oil adds that fiery balance, while the black sesame almond soil adds a nutty crunchy texture. A squeeze of fresh key lime juice enlivens and brightens the whole plate.

Modern Spring Rolls Recipe

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pavlova with Whipped Yogurt Cream, Kiwi, Passion Fruit, Blackberry, Mint

Pavlova with Whipped Yogurt Cream
Kiwifruit, Passionfruit, Blackberry, Mint

A trio of colorful fresh fruit is ensconced on a pillow of whipped yogurt cream atop a light airy sweet meringue. Beyond its function as a pretty little garnish, mint adds refreshing herbal notes. The eponymous dessert is as elegant and graceful as the Russian ballerina herself.

Pavlova is my favorite dessert to serve at an al fresco luncheon. Filled with irresistible fresh fruits, and whipped cream blended with non-fat Greek yogurt which adds an invigorating tartness while cutting the fat by half. These beauties are perfect for my gluten-free friends, my lower-fat friends, and my fruit-for-dessert friends. The individual meringue shells can be baked into various sizes, from a substantial dessert portion to a mini-portion for those who prefer just a “bite” of something sweet.

Pavlova – A Light, Elegant, Gluten-Free Dessert

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallops with Frizzled Leeks
Red Leaf Lettuce and Radicchio
Asparagus, Purple Potato, Fresh Corn, Red Onion
Fresh Blackberries and Blackberry Vinaigrette

Remember back in the 80s when “Blackened Redfish” was all the rage on restaurant menus everywhere? The late Louisiana Chef Paul Prudhomme’s recipe caught fire around the country.

Moist, succulent barramundi is an excellent stand-in for redfish with its mild buttery flavor and texture that is flaky yet firm, perfect for this blackened preparation.

Australis farmed barramundi from Vietnam received a “Best Choice” recommendation  from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Native to the Indo-Pacific, this omega-3 rich fish is a healthy choice as well as an eco-friendly choice. Farmed barramundi is often marketed under the names “Asian seabass” or “giant seabass.”

BLACKened barramundi and BLACKberries contrast each other in this striking salad. It’s vibrant, colorful, savory with a hint of sweetness and a balanced spicy character – I think the Chef would approve.

Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallop Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette

The blended vinaigrette is such a pretty shade of purplish-pink, be sure to serve extra on the side in a clear little pitcher.

How to Make Blackened Barramundi and Sea Scallops

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fresh-Caught Pan-Fried Yellowtail, Garlic Butter Petite Peas and Green Beans, Toasted Pine Nuts, Tarragon, Mint, Parsley, Meyer Lemon Hummus Drizzle

Fresh-Caught Pan-Fried Yellowtail
Garlic Butter Peas and Green Beans
Toasted Pine Nuts
Tarragon, Mint, Parsley
Meyer Lemon Hummus Drizzle

Neither succulent fresh fish nor fresh spring produce need much embellishment. Although the addition of lots of fresh green herbs and a drizzle of meyer lemon hummus doesn’t hurt. The verdant colors of spring make the dish pop. Where pine nuts, parsley, and lemon juice are a classic pairing with hummus – here all these flavors and textures lend a supporting role to the fish and vegetables. The ubiquitous dip is equally fabulous as a sauce for fish.

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