Rice is one of the least expensive grains and it is also highly digestible. I just don’t like to overeat it because it doesn’t have a ton of nutrition and it can cause a blood sugar spike on its own. So ideally, I will bulk up rice with lots of non-starchy vegetables. You can top this rice chopped salad with tuna, turkey or chicken, or cooked beans to make this a complete meal. I even grated hard boiled eggs on top once and it was delicious! It lasts a good 5 days in the fridge too.
I love giving you 15-minute recipes, but once in a while there comes a dish that is worth the extra effort. This Layered Summer Vegetable Torte is just that. Yes, you have to grill some vegetables and make a simple vinaigrette, but this is a hearty, delicious, veggie-centric showstopper. Every summer I have a few recipes that I put on repeat when I entertain at home, and this was one of my go-to’s from the Summer of 2021 and now it’s back in the rotation!Continue reading
Sometimes, a little freshening up is in order. I put this chopped grilled vegetable salad on my weekly dinner planner and when I pulled the image for it, I cringed a little. The photo did not do it justice at all. This salad is one of my absolute favorites and one that I posted almost 5 years ago. In all fairness to me, I didn’t even know how to use a camera when I started this blog, and although I am still no photography expert, I think my images have improved since 2011. So I thought I would pull this post from the archives and give it a facelift, especially on the eve of Memorial Day weekend when you might be inclined to make a fantastic, crowd-pleasing salad such as this one.
It’s good to be home. I had the loveliest holiday break, but it’s good to be home. Even though I knew I was coming back to two weeks worth of mail to sift through, groceries to buy, meals to plan, piles of laundry to wash, it’s all good.
As I’ve mentioned several times, I am not much on detox diets or cleanses after the holidays even though they are all the rage. I notice a lot of people overdo it even more between Thanksgiving and New Years knowing they will “cleanse” it all off starting January 1. Eh. If you just try eliminating sugar and flour for a few weeks, your health will improve drastically. You don’t need to give up real food and sip juice for a week. But that’s just my opinion.
However I do want to share an amazing, healing and very digestible soup recipe called Bieler’s Broth. This soup is nothing new. In fact, it has been around for decades, invented by a doctor named Bieler. The soup is vegan and all vegetable-based. It is not a culinary soup in the sense that it is so delicious that you would want to serve it to your friends at your next dinner party, but more of a medicinal soup. It tastes absolutely fine though, just a little bland.
According to Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions, Dr. Bieler felt that this combination of vegetables was ideal for restoring acid-alkaline and sodium-potassium balance to organs and glands, especially the sodium-loving adrenal glands which suffer under stress. The broth is also supportive for liver function — recall that the liver is our detoxifying organ. Bieler’s broth is highly recommended for those under stress or suffering from stress-related conditions. Know anyone stressed out? Yep, I thought so.
When I have had a lot of travel combined with a chaotic schedule and less than desirable eating, I’ll make a big batch of Bieler’s broth every few days and drink a mugful either as a snack during the day or with my breakfast or dinner. I don’t function well without protein and fats, so I can’t use this as a meal replacement.
I always notice a big improvement in my overall wellbeing after supplementing daily for 2 weeks with Bieler’s broth. I made a batch yesterday which should last 3 days and I’ll make another batch on Thursday to get me through the weekend.
I know that the vegetables in Bieler’s broth are not in season in the winter. I am normally opposed to that, but in this case it’s just temporary. Be sure to buy only organic vegetables since this is supposed to be a healing soup and pesticides will just add more toxins to the body. Also, zucchini is now a common GMO crop, so buying organic ensures you will be buying non-GMO.
Here’s hoping 2016 is off to a healthy start for you. If you’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, it’s never to late to start fresh. Do check out the dinner planner I started posting on Sundays! It will change your life to plan out your meals. Promise!
My kids can’t get enough of these zucchini fries and I can’t get enough of hearing them beg me for vegetables! After I returned home from New York last week, my son, the one and only Mr. Picky, said, “I don’t know what you’re making for dinner this week, but please include zucchini fries!” Pinch me.
I know the recipe is posted on the Today Show website, but I didn’t actually demo the recipe during my segment and I do have some tips to share. Keep in mind, if you love zucchini fries when you go to a restaurant, these are similar, but not exactly the same. Those are deep-fried, and we all know deep-fried food, EVEN A VEGETABLE, is really, really bad for you. Sorry to remind you, but restaurants use the lowest quality oil to fry foods and they use it over and over and over again. It is like a big vat of inflammation and free-radicals and transfats and likely GMO’s — everything you want to avoid. So we’re going to bake these, ok?
They’re still going to be crispy and tasty, they’re just not going to be greasy. Perfect reason to dip these fries into something. I eat them as is, but my husband (just a grown-up kid really) likes these dipped in tomato sauce (homemade recipe here) or Ranch dressing (homemade recipe here) and my son will also eat them with mustard. I find two things to be true with kids and vegetables — they love dips and they like things that resemble French fries. That makes this recipe a double winner!
But I’m not going to lie — even though this is an easy recipe, requiring no special skills or culinary training, they’re kind of a pain to make because you’re dipping a lot of zucchini sticks into egg and then breadcrumbs and arranging them just so on a baking sheet. My advice is to get your kids or someone to help you and then this becomes no big deal. You can also cut the zucchini in the morning to save on prep time before dinner.
I know so many of you have zucchini coming out of your ears right now. Try not to let them grow too big. For this recipe especially, you want to select small to medium zucchini which contain fewer seeds and aren’t bitter like some big ones. And the trick is to cut them into the size no bigger than a normal adult finger. If you cut them too big, they won’t get tender enough and if you cut them too small, they can get dried out.
The only problem with this recipe is that it never makes enough. It says “serves 6,” but that’s hardly true. I actually never got to eat 1 fry during the entire month I taught this recipe because there were never any left. Once you start, you can’t stop. So for the first time, I can’t answer the question “how long do leftovers last in the fridge?” No matter how many you make, there won’t be any!
I just returned from Dallas, one child and many suitcases lighter. Sigh…. My daughter has officially opened her wings and flown from the proverbial nest to plant her roots at college. The whole thing is quite surreal as many of you may or may not know. One minute they’re spinning around in a pink tutu drinking from a sippy cup and the next you’re renting a mini fridge and lecturing them about why beer is the devil.
I actually met my husband freshman year of college. So we couldn’t help but reminisce about our move-in experience and our crummy, old and unrenovated dorm. I think my daughter was a little tired of my exclaiming every five minutes how her new dorm is “like the Four Seasons compared to where we lived!” Of course you can’t furnish the Four Seasons with cinderblocks and plastic milk crates. So we channeled our inner Nate Berkus and coordinated duvet covers with cork boards. Funny, I do not remember my parents making two trips to Bed Bath & Beyond, two trips to The Container Store, a visit to the campus bookstore, Whole Foods, and, of course, amazon.com for anything and everything we didn’t find in the oasis of Dallas and that could be delivered in 2 days flat. As another student’s exasperated father said to me after his ninth trip up the stairs with the umpteenth box, “My parents sent me to school with a towel.” Yep.
Even the food is better at college than it used to be. My daughter’s school has a smoothie and juice bar in the dining hall. I knooooow!!!!!! So I kinda had to stick my fingers in my ears and sing a little “la-la-la-la” song when my sweet girl started to complain about what she was going to eat. Not listening!
In the week after we returned from Europe and before she left, I did indulge her with all her favorites though. And it was my pleasure. We had pasta with pesto, caprese salads, spanakopita, oatmeal-butterscotch chip cookies, veggie frittatas, acai bowls and on and on. All for my daughter who was pickier than Mr. Picky and at 17 now craves fresh-pressed juices and veggie tacos. Certainly, nothing beats food cooked by your mom who loves you to the moon and back. I will miss cooking for my baby to be sure, but I am already planning cookie and granola bar care packages.
This corn and zucchini frittata is one of my daughter’s favorites and a perfect way to enjoy summer’s last gifts before they slip away. I very often make frittatas on Fridays or the weekend to use up whatever’s left in the fridge and that’s exactly how this one came about. I had leftover sautéed corn and zucchini from dinner to which I added some beaten eggs and voila! Our newest favorite frittata was born.
Surprisingly, corn goes so well with eggs and adds a beautiful sweetness, but more importantly, the perfect texture to the soft eggs. Sometimes I add goat cheese or feta to the top and I’ve even made this for a big crowd by doubling everything and baking it in a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Summer’s bounty is still here, but only for a few fleeting moments longer. Enjoy every last morsel while you can, because it will slip from your fingers before you’re ready to let it go.
3 medium zucchini (about 1 pound), ends trimmed and sliced ¼-inch thick by hand or by the slicing disk of the food processor
Fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 large eggs
1 ½ cups of organic corn kernels, from 2-3 ears (frozen, defrosted is fine)
½ cup grated cheddar or mozzarella or a few crumbles of feta or goat cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 10-inch skillet, warm the olive oil. Sauté the scallions until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the zucchini slices and a generous pinch of salt and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir the cooked zucchini mixture and the corn (and grated cheese if using) into the eggs and combine well. Pour the mixture back into the skillet. If using feta or goat cheese, scatter the pieces across the top of the egg mixture.
Transfer skillet to the oven and bake until firm, about 40 minutes.
Alternatively, bake in a larger skillet for less time for a thinner frittata.
Or, cook gently over medium-low heat, covered until slightly set on the bottom, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil until the top is slightly puffed and golden, about 3-5 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
After Barcelona, we went to Aix-en-Provence, which is the center and heart of Provence, France. I adore the South of France! We had a guide for the day since I don’t know the area well and I had no time before we left to do proper research. I absolutely love hearing about the history of European towns because it puts everything in context. This wall was here for this reason. These two towns were perched on opposite hills facing each other for that reason. Plus the only way to keep my son interested is if you talk drama – wars, fighting, weapons, who won, who got killed, etc.
More than that, I love seeing how other people live. Do they drive or walk? What do they eat for lunch and when? How much vacation do they get every year? What’s the coffee shop for locals? I am very, very nosy! I was so excited to find and experience the local farmer’s market in Aix and see what is sold here and how it is different from my market in Manhattan Beach. It thought I was so lucky to be here on market day, until our guide told me the market is open every day until 1:00. People in Provence prefer to shop daily for their food so it’s really fresh. Heaven. It was such beautiful market, where they sold everything from tomatoes, herbs, melons and lettuce, to eggs and the freshest fish, to the most delicious olives ever and lavender sachets with lavender from the fields in Provence. I could get used to that.
While I was in Provence, I remembered the recipe for this Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian that I taught when I was in France 2 years ago and in my cooking classes in LA last summer. It’s a very simple, easy, seasonal vegetable side dish and of course, it’s quite delicious. Who wouldn’t love a casserole with gently cooked onions on the bottom and then a mélange of tomatoes, zucchini and potatoes on top, where the tomato juice kind of infuses everything and mixes with a bit of fresh thyme and some Parmesan cheese? Yum! I love it because it goes with anything, whether you are making a piece of grilled fish or some roasted chicken or you want a light vegetarian meal with either a frittata or a simple green salad. Don’t forget a cold glass of rosé, too!
It does take some time to cook, so it’s not a last-minute deal. But you also don’t have to time it perfectly with your meal, since I think it actually tastes just as good warm and even room temp. You know how I love a good do-ahead!
The one thing I miss when I’m on vacation is cooking at home, especially when I see such beautiful ingredients around me. For now, I’m picking up inspiration everywhere I go. Next stop – Italy!
2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, about ¾ pound, sliced ¼-inch thick
2 small tomatoes, about ¾ pound, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 medium zucchini, about ½ pound, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until tender and lightly golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Transfer onion and garlic on the bottom of an 11 x 9 gratin dish or a 10-inch round baking dish. Overlap potatoes, tomatoes and squash over the onion mixture. Season with salt (I use about ½ teaspoon) and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme and Pecorino/Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes until golden and potatoes are tender. You can serve this hot, warm or at room temperature.
Try to find potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes with approximately the same diameter so the casserole looks balanced.
You can also add shredded gruyere or buttered bread crumbs to the top for an extra special finish.