Pepper Board

Pepper Board

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Farfalle with Roasted Red Tomato Sauce and Creamy Sriracha Cabbage Slaw

You will need to buy 1 pound of ground pork and1pound of ground breakfast sausage - from the deli/meat counter- not a packaged brand.  When I buy these two amounts of ground meat, I mix them together (giving me 2 lbs.) and use half for this recipe and half for two weekend breakfast meals. Or, you can freeze the other portion for another time. I have yet not made my juicy fresh creamy cabbage slaw for this blog. You will need to buy one whole head of green (some call it white) cabbage. A few carrots or just two med. if you buy in singles. Fresh green parsley, one lemon and a bottle of creamy Sriracha sauce. And, of course if you don't have on hand in your pantry: farfalle pasta, 1 small can (14.5oz)  roasted diced tomatoes or two fresh, and parmesan cheese.

Take one whole onion and chop as well as one large clove of garlic. In a covered skillet, drizzle in 3 tbs of olive oil, turn the flame to med. and add your onion and garlic. Saute til edges are brown. Add your ground meat ~ 1 pound of the mixture saving the other pound. I also had a few slices of left over bacon that I diced and added. My nonna would do that, whatever was leftover and she thought could be added so as not to waste, she just put it in. Stir, breaking up the ground meat. Sprinkle in any amount of dried herb seasoning *rosemary, mint, oregano and basil. Add your can of roasted diced tomatoes and stir, cover and simmer for 20 min. If you like it extra juicy, you may want to add another can of tomatoes.

Start the water to boil your pasta. Once it rolls, add the farfalle, stirring occasionally. In this time, halve your head of cabbage, shred/grate into a glass bowl, do the same with at least two med. sized carrots or one large. Chop finely your fresh parsley and add that as well. Drizzle olive oil over the top, squeeze in the juice of one small lemon, sprinkle in 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and finally add 3-4 tbs of creamy Sriracha sauce and for me there is never enough. I keep it on the table in case I want more. Stir your salad and set aside.

When the pasta is finished, drain and pour the farfalle onto a large low lipped serving dish. Pour over the top your juicy roasted red tomato sauce and grate some fresh parmesan.  Gather everyone to the table, say the blessing and get busy eating.

Juicy food is good food!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Paleo Diet ~ To Be or not to Be Paleo?

The Paleo diet is a gluten-free, grain-free, legume-free, dairy-free and sugar-free diet. The foods that constitute the foundation of the Paleo diet are lean proteins, from free-range eggs, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish and seafood and grass-fed meat, as well as seasonal vegetables and fruits and healthy fats from avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts and seeds. The Paleo way of eating is high in nutrients, antioxidants and omega-3 fats, while being low in carbohydrate, moderate in protein and high in fat.
*Source ~

While I like all the food on the Paleo diet, I am not into raw meat. The true Paleo man or woman was not cooking. Man's gut is no longer a paleolithic intestinal system. It is evolved and largely through cooking and baking over heat over a long period of time; therefore, we are used to a non hunter gatherer diet.

We can imagine that the true Paleo man ate fresh, and ate clean in his time and place. He was less likely to cook anything and was more likely eating raw animal organ meats and fish. The closest group on the planet today to the Paleo man are Eskimos whose native diet still consists of a liberal use of organs and other special tissues of the large animal life of the sea 'whales', as well as other fish. The latter were dried in large quantities in the summer and stored for winter use. The fish were also eaten frozen. In the past, seal oil was used freely as an adjunct to this diet and seal meat was specially prized and was usually available. Caribou meat was sometimes available and the organs were used.

Their fruits were limited largely to a few berries including cranberries, available in the summer and stored for winter use. Several plant foods were gathered in the summer and stored in fat or frozen for winter use. A ground nut that was gathered by the Tundra mice and stored in caches was used by the Eskimos as a vegetable. Stems of certain water grasses, water plants and bulbs were occasionally used; but the bulk of their diet was fish and large animal life of the sea from which they selected certain organs and tissues with great care and wisdom.

To be or not to be a Paleo man/woman? That is the question. I am not saying that such a diet is bad for you and neither am I saying that such a diet would be 100 percent good for you. What I can say and have stated many times as the real culprit in the American diet is ~ Sugar!
The Paleo diet may well be a fad that will go out of fashion  or stay fashionable as restaurants serving only rare steak will survive becoming the most popular place (s) to eat.  And, think about it, how could we sustain 300+million people on steak and eggs given the amount of space and time needed to produce that kind of food?  Unless, we start cloning organs for the new Paleo man to eat.

*Source ~

A Quick Gourmet is a Brainy Gourmet

To be quick and brainy, a basic pantry stock is what you need to keep and bread can be part of that. However, because bread has a short shelf life it is not something that can be kept in the pantry for long. So, when it comes to bread that is more than two days old what can you do? You can make a quick gourmet meal; take your day old or even two day old bread, and create the most delicious sandwich ever.

If you haven't heard of the Monte Cristo, then you are being introduced. The traditional Monte Cristo is a ham or turkey sandwich that is battered and fried. For a light crispy batter, add 12 ounces of beer, 1 cup club soda water and 1 tbs baking powder to 1 cup cornstarch and 2 cups flour.

Make your sandwich like you would normally (plenty of meat and cheese)... though, do not put fresh tomato or greens on at this point since you will be frying in hot oil.  In a large skillet, heat a light variety cooking oil (1inch deep). Batter up your sandwiches, and fry, turning then over to get both sides.  Once brown on both sides, transfer the sandwiches to a warm oven and keep going til you have as many as you need.

These lovely simple sandwiches can be made gourmet just by presenting them so that they look like something extraordinary. I suggest staking on a plate and drizzling both savory and sweet oils/dressings (Raspberry Chipotle) over the top and around the plate edges, toss on a sprig of fresh green ~ Exceptionnelle!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chicken in Pineapple Garlic and Onions with a panache of butternut squash

A light Tuesday evening supper of baked chicken in pineapple, garlic and onions with a panache of butternut squash. Its only a matter of laying your skinless chicken thighs into olive oil glazed baking dish and then smothering them in crushed pineapple, chopped garlic and onion. Sprinkle on some organic honey and cane sugar along with sea salt, red pepper flakes and dried herbs to taste.

Bake covered for 30 and uncovered for 10 min on F350.

Boil some rice noodles to use as a bed for your chicken.  Once done, place the chicken thighs and garlic/onion caramelized mixture over the  top; then, quickly and generously squeeze some icy fresh lemon juice over the top, finish with parsley flakes or a fresh green sprig.

The butternut squash can be microwaved whole for 10 min, make sure you puncture it before cooking. Scoop out the inside when done.

Delicious ~ Good food should come from the heart, it does not go into the heart.  Mark 7

Grocery Shopping ~ What's in the Bag?

Its always a hassle to think about what to pick up at the store before you head home. A simple yet well stocked pantry can help.  It just so happens that I have the same list as executive chef Eric Damidot. Here are what I/he consider(s) the top ten foods every kitchen should have. With these simple basics, you can cook up a simple tasty meal and you can also add any mean/fish to these items for a lovely dinner party.
2- Eggs
3- Garlic
4- Onions
5- Fresh herbs
6- Wines (white and red)
7- Heavy cream
8- Cheeses (soft and hard)
9- Pasta and Potatoes (yellow)
10 -Whole or canned crushed tomatoes

It is also a good idea to have on hand both olive oil and coconut oil.

Tilapia ~ Simple Fish

Eating two servings of fish each week promotes heart health and adds variety to your diet. Tilapia is a flaky, white-meat fish that crisps nicely over the high heat of a grill. Grilled tilapia is low in fat and rich in beneficial nutrients. 
*Source ~
Now, I have heard the controversy about Tilapia as being a fatty fish. The National Institute of Health funded a study which looked at the favorable omega-3 fatty acid content and unfavorable omega-6 contents of commonly eaten fish and found that while catfish and tilapia contain both, they contain a high amount of unfavorable omega-6 fat.
They report that a 3-ounce portion of catfish or tilapia contains 67 and 134 milligrams respectively of the bad fat (the same amount of 80 percent lean hamburger contains 34 milligrams, and bacon 191 milligrams).
Does this mean you should give them up? No! It has been stated that the logic of judging fatty fish by the amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fat contents is flawed. Governmental and professional organizations haven't used such a ratio for years.

*Source ~

I am going to keep eating fish. Any food eaten in moderation is always best...
Price per serving for two: $2.00

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kefir ~ What is it?

and is it good for you?

Kefir is a product made by fermenting milk. The first time I ever had kefir was while living in Poland. There and here, people are using kefir for poor digestion (I do), upset stomach, lactose intolerance, diarrhea following treatment with antibiotics and high cholesterol. How does it work?
Kefir contains actively growing bacteria and yeast. Their effect on milk results in production of enzymes and chemicals that affect the way food is digested. In American big box stores, it is difficult to find kefir in its 'plain' state, rather most of what I am able to find has added fruits which means- sugar.

I recommend staying away from any dairy product that has added flavor or fruits as that translates into hidden sugar. Kefir and yoghurt are best when taken in their 'plain' state - no added anything for taste.

Other Names for Kefir:
Fermented Dairy Product, Fermented Milk, Fromage Kéfir, Kéfir, Kefir Cheese, Kefir Grains, Kefir Yogurt, Lait Fermenté, Produit Laitier Fermenté.

Bread, butter and a bowl of soup...

What is a simple meal?

A simple meal is what you make of it. The simplest meal I know of, speaking as the brainy urban gourmet, is a bowl of soup, a slice of bread with fresh butter. Speaking of butter, you know that the origins of butter go back thousands of years to when our ancestors first started domesticating animals. In fact, the first written reference to butter was found on a 4500- year old limestone tablet illustrating how butter was made.

The Bible has references to butter as the product of milk from the cow, and of Abraham setting butter and milk from a calf before three angels who appeared to him on the plains of Mamre. For thousands of years, people around the globe have prized butter for its health benefits.

Source ~ See more at: