Market Finds

Market Finds
Farmer's Market Bounty

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lazy Girl's Ragú

Every once in awhile, some of my favorite creations come from desperation, lack of time, or in this case, pure laziness.   I like to start my week with a meal that is packed with nutrition, easy to put together and to reheat.  This simple ragú is just such a dish, using quick cooking, lean ground turkey and some frozen organic kale and butternut squash.  Kale and butternut squash are two of my favorite vegetables, but both require a bit of patience and time, when prepping them fresh.  I was really happy with the chopped kale and butternut squash cubes that I found in the frozen foods section.  They were delicious and quick additions to my skillet meal.  I served this on top of smoked basmati rice, but it would be just as good on quinoa, brown rice or whole grain pasta.  I seasoned the mixture with my new favorite spice mixture, Bragg's Organic Sprinkle.  Herb blends are a terrific item to have on hand, and Italian seasoning or herbs de Provence would work equally as well in this recipe.  Normally, I don't use granulated garlic or onion, but today I could not even be bothered with chopping a fresh onion or garlic clove.   Just because one is being lazy, does not mean that you have to compromise on flavor, so I added a little dash of organic onion and garlic granules to punch up the flavor.  Canned, fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste rounded out the dish.  Tomato paste is one of my pantry staples and my favorite ways to add a rich depth of flavor to a quick cook sauce or stew.

So here's to a delicious and nutritious week!

My new favorite seasoning blend
This rice is amazing and as luck would have it, buy one get one free at Publix this week!!

Lazy Girl's Ragú:

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
1 teaspoon Bragg's Sprinkle
1/2 teaspoon organic garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon organic onion granules
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 10 oz bag frozen organic kale, thawed and drained
1 15  oz bag of frozen, cubed  organic butternut squash, thawed and drained
1 can of organic fire roasted diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

1) Brown turkey in a non-stick skillet coated with olive oil, over medium high heat.  Breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and cooking until browned and liquid has evaporated

2) Add tomato paste and spices and stir to combine.

3) Add kale, squash and tomatoes.  Stir to combine, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes

4) Serve warm on top of rice, quinoa or pasta.

Time to dig in!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

California Crunch

I was born in New York City and would certainly classify myself as an "east coast kinda gal", albeit a very well travelled east coast gal.  Somehow, Los Angeles has not been a place that I have often visited.  Why?  Perhaps all New York natives have some angst towards L.A. embedded in their D.N.A., or maybe it was just an honest lack of opportunity.   I had traveled there once for spring break with my family when I was about fourteen and had a great time.  That was many years ago, and have not been back since, so I was excited to have an excuse to head out to the left coast for my annual culinary conference hosted by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.  

First off, let me say, the weather is amazing.  I realize that this is not earth shattering news to anyone who lives there, but coming from pollen infested Atlanta, it was an especially welcome relief.  Additionally, on a strictly vain note, I never had a bad hair day during my visit.  This must be why all the movie stars and models live here.  Sunshine and dry air do wonders for your physical well-being.

Now on to my raison d'être, the food.  On my short visit, I only barely scratched the surface, but did my best to fit in as many tastes as possible.  Certainly the most amazing adventure I had was a tour of Korea Town.  From food courts to a barbecue restaurant, it was a day filled with new sights, smells and flavors.  The conference provided many opportunities to sample food from local restaurants and I was lucky to have dinners out with my Atlanta colleagues as well as new friends made a the conference.  We dined at Drago Centro, The Bazaar-by José Andres, The Hollywood Grill and and Pizzaria Mozza, as well as a walking lunch of tamales and tacos at the Hollywood Farmer's Market.

The conference, the people I met and of course, the city of Los Angeles left me inspired.  On my flight home, I mulled over what to do with the lovely bag of figs that were gifted to conference goers by the California Fig Advisory Board.  The result is my California Crunch Salad, which is a lighter, modern twist on a classic broccoli salad.  The golden figs are a perfect substitute for the usual raisins, found in a broccoli salad.  I think this salad perfectly embodies the spirit of L.A.  It's crunchy, colorful, filled with a variety of good things, and most importantly, it is portable and can be eaten outside, while you soak in the California sunshine and show of your fabulous west coast hair.

A modern take on a classic picnic salad, garnished with a beautiful golden fig from the gift bag I received at #IACP16, courtesy of the California Fig Advisory Board
Colorful and crunchy salad ingredients

California Crunch Salad:

1 large red onion, 1/2 dice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
2 cups orange cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
2 cups purple cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
3 slices proscuitto, crisped and crumbled
1/2 cup golden California figs, chopped
1/2 cup roasted and shelled California pistachios, chopped
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 T fresh chives, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T while balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste


1) Place diced onions on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place into a reheated 425 degree oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until onions are softened and brown around the edges.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2) In a large pot of salted, boiling water, blanch the broccoli florets for 40 seconds, just until color turns a vibrant green.  Remove from boiling water with a spider or slotted spoon and immediately run broccoli under cold running water.  Set aside to drain.

3) Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine.

4) In a large bowl, combine the roasted onions, blanched broccoli, cauliflower, proscuitto, figs, pistachios, goat cheese and chives. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.  The salad can be eaten immediately, served in a lettuce cup along side a couple of slices of avocado or placed in the refrigerator to marinate.  It will only get better over time.

The Passionate Plate: Making every plate something to be passionate about!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Classic Deviled Eggs

Just like Mother Nature, my blog has been dormant through the winter months, but as the green leaves and flowers are springing back to life, so too are my creative juices.  With an Easter celebration to prepare for tomorrow, I am inspired to share my classic deviled egg recipe.

While deviled eggs are a perennial favorite, I am fixated on these tasty bites more than ever this year.  Most likely this is due to the fact that I had nary a one last Easter.  There is a long, sad story behind this, but I will spare you the details, for this is a blog about fresh and new, rather than sadness and regret. So, let's move on...

I have made many iterations of deviled eggs during my culinary career.  There have been "fancy" eggs topped with caviar and smoked salmon, as well as "healthier" eggs that use fat free Greek yogurt and light mayonnaise, and let's not forget my "French" eggs with country dijon and tarragon.  All of these recipes were delicious and served the purposed for which they were intended, but I always go back to my classic deviled egg recipe to accompany my Easter meal.

I have very strong opinions about the ingredients used in this recipe.  The absolute, must haves are as follows:  Duke's mayonnaise, Mt. Olive sweet and dill relish, French's yellow mustard and of course large organic eggs.  I flip flop on the garnish depending on my mood.  Sometimes it's paprika, other times it is fresh dill or chives. Today I opted for a combo of dill and chives.  It's a gray day here in Atlanta, and the fresh herbs made me happy!

I am looking forward to all that is new and fresh this spring, starting with a platter of my classic deviled eggs that I plan on sharing with my family and friends on Easter Sunday.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe and always remember to make every plate something to be passionate about!

My Classic Deviled Eggs:

1 dozen large, organic eggs
Cold water

Hard cooked yolks of 12 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon dill relish + 1 teaspoon of the liquid
1 tablespoon sweet relish + 1 teaspoon of the liquid
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes:
Chopped fresh dill or chives


Hard Boiled Eggs:

Gently place the eggs in a large sauce pan or dutch oven and cover by two inches with cold water.  Bring to a rolling boil on the stovetop.  Boil for one minute, then cover the pan and remove from the heat.  Set a timer for 12 minutes.  When timer goes off, drain the eggs and rinse for several minutes under cold running water, until the eggs are cool to the touch. Crack the eggs on one end and remove the shells.  I like to use a teaspoon to help facilitate the shell removal, as shown in the photo below.

Cut the eggs in half and place the yolks in a bowl.  Reserve the whites for filling later.


Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, mash the yolks until smooth.  Next, add the mayonnaise, mustard and relishes.  Stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Fill the egg white halves with the yolk mixture with a spoon or alternately, place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large tip, and pipe into the whites.