Are you using apples from your tree? Try baked apples!

When we bought this house four years ago, we had a half-dead apple tree.  After puning, it started bearing apples.  The apples are something close to golden delicious and holds its shape when baked. If you have a surplus of apples, bake them with cherries and almonds for a lovely dessert.
bakedapple

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup(s) cherries, dried
    coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon nuts, almonds, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, brown (packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 6 small apple(s), Golden Delicious
    about 1 3/4 pounds total weight
  • 1/2 cup(s) juice, apple
  • 1/4 cup(s) water
  • 2 tablespoon honey, dark
  • 2 teaspoon oil, walnut
    or canola oil

Instructions

Serves 6

    • Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, toss together the cherries, almonds, wheat germ, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.

The apples can be left unpeeled, if you like. To peel the apples in a decorative fashion, with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, remove the peel from each apple in a circular motion, skipping every other row so that rows of peel alternate with rows of apple flesh. Working from the stem end, core each apple, stopping 3/4 inch from the bottom.

Divide the cherry mixture evenly among the apples, pressing the mixture gently into each cavity. Arrange the apples upright in a heavy ovenproof frying pan or small baking dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the apple juice and water into the pan. Drizzle the honey and oil evenly over the apples, and cover the pan snugly with aluminum foil. Bake until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the apples to individual plates and drizzle with the pan juices. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving size: 1 apple

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Here is my friend’s recipe for Kale and Almond Fried Rice– She is a legs model.

Do you find take-out to be too greasy? I enjoyed this Kale and Almond Fried Rice at a friend’s luncheon. That day some of us lamented about how easy it is to gain five pounds or more between Halloween and New Years. Yikes. This recipe follows the Mayo Clinic diet that the hostess was on—she said she doesn’t have to give up carbs to get lean and healthy. As a legs model in Los Angeles, she needs to stay that way. 

kale-almond-fried-rice-750x1333

Ingredients

·       2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

·       1 medium onion, chopped

·       2 garlic cloves, chopped

·       1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

·       1/2-bunch Tuscan kale, ribs removed and leaves cut with kitchen scissors

·       2 cups brown rice

·       2 tablespoons sesame oil

·       2 tablespoons tamari sauce

·       1/4 cup sliced almonds

·       Sea salt, to taste

·       Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

1.       In a 10-inch skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. (Tip: you can easily peel the ginger with a spoon, by scraping the excess off). Sauté for 1-2 minutes, until lightly golden.

2.      Add kale and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the leaves are slightly wilted.

3.      Add rice, sesame oil, and tamari.

4.     Add almonds and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Have you noticed Coconut Chicken is the rage these days?

Do you want to try an easy Coconut Chicken recipe?  This one features soba noodles, but any noodles work fine here.

coconutchicken

Ingredients to serve 6:

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound mini sweet peppers
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 box (12 oz) soba noodles (such as Annie Chun’s)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high and brush grate with oil. In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp of the brown sugar, 1/4 tsp of the salt and 1/8 tsp of the cayenne. Rub onto chicken breasts. Grill chicken over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes per side, until cooked through.
  2. Toss peppers and scallions in 1 tsp of the vegetable oil. Skewer peppers and grill 4 minutes; flip and grill another 4 minutes. Grill scallions 2 minutes
  3. stems, and chop scallions.
  4. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add soba and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse immediately under cold water.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Toast coconut 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a plate. Add remaining 1 tsp oil to skillet. Add garlic and ginger to skillet; sauté 1 minute. Pour in coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, remaining 1 tbsp brown sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and remaining 1/8 tsp cayenne. Bring to a simmer. Mix cornstarch with 1 tsp cold water. Add to mixture and simmer 2 minutes, until thickened.
  6. In a large bowl, toss sauce with chicken, peppers, scallions and soba. Divide among 6 bowls and garnish with coconut and cilantro.

Nutrition Information for Coconut Chicken Soba Noodles

Servings Per Recipe: 6 PER SERVING: 440 cal., 10 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 85 mg chol., 880 mg sodium, 52 g carb. (5 g fiber), 35 g pro.

 

Do you want to try something a little different? How about Coconut Chicken?

The crunchy outside makes Coconut Chicken delicious beyond description.  I’m serving this dish with brown rice, broccoli, and Waldorf Salad– celery, grapes, pineapple on top of greens.

Ingredients to serve 4:

2- 8 oz boneless chicken breasts, scant amount of minced garlic, dashes of Italian seasoning, cinnamon, paprika. Rub with coconut oil, sprinkle with 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut.

Directions:  Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through.

coconutchicken

 

 

Have you ever eaten farro?

Have you noticed farro is taking over the trendy vegan salads on menus? Once in a while I order a vegan or vegetarian selection. Sometimes farro is used a substitute for pasta or rice, farro is a grain with a nutty flavor similar to brown rice. It is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C, and E.

farrothe front yard

Farro is an ancient grain, first domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, has been found in Egyptian tombs, and is believed to have sustained the Roman legions. Today, farro grows in central northern Italy. These areas at one time wer impoverished area, and the longevity of people there were attributed to farro.  Have you tried it?

The salad I ordered yesterday at a restaurant in North Hollywood, The Front Yard, was their Ancient Grain mixed green concoction. Ingredients were farro, red quinoa, yellow beet, butternut squash, and pomegranate seeds. I am planning to make it at home.

 

Here’s a lighter version of Summertime Corn-tomato chowder

I’m making this tonight– corn chowder with a bit of zesty Mexican seasoning, dapted from This is a Cookbook, by Max Sussman and Eli Sussman.

corn-tomato soup

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes
  • Kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn (about 3 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 cup low fat milk (original recipe was heavy cream)
  • Sliced avocado for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Paprika for garnish

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes
  • Kernels from 6 ears of fresh corn (about 3 cups)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Sliced avocado for garnish
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Paprika for garnish

 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Put the tomatoes in a lightly greased glass baking dish. Roast until the skins darken and the tomatoes are caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keep the oven on. Spread the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until the edges begin to turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, when the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard. Set the flesh, with the juices, aside in the baking dish. Remove the corn from the oven and let cool. Place 1 bell pepper on each of 2 gas burners. Turn the burners on high and sear the peppers directly over the flame, using tongs to turn as needed, until the skins are blackened all over, 10 to 15 minutes total. (Or place the peppers under the broiler and broil, turning as needed, until charred and blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes.) Transfer the peppers to a brown paper bag and close tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes, then remove the peppers from the bag. Remove and discard the skins, core and seeds. In a soup pot, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, yellow and red onions, garlic and corn, reserving a handful of the roasted corn for garnish. Add just enough broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and the 1 tsp. salt. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. While blending, slowly drizzle in the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish each portion with a couple of avocado slices, a few drops of olive oil, a scattering of the reserved roasted corn and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve hot. Serves 4.

The debate is on—Parasites in Raw Fish

You might recall the warning from fifteen years ago from the World Health Organization that smoked, pickled, and undercooked fish contains parasites.  This hit home recently when a friend who adores sushi complained of pain in her ribs and made a medical appointment.  An increased number of white blood cells indicated an infection.  It was only after she told her doctor she consumed raw fish regularly did her doctor suspect an infestation of anisakiasis nematodes (worms) in her stomach lining and intestines.  Two drugs (albendazole and mebendazole) are fast-acting and also used by WHO, thanks to donations from GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson. If left untreated, the parasites invade other organs including the brain.

Sea mammals such as seals act as the parasites’ hosts, and dissections from marine biologists tell us the problem is worldwide.

I get ideas for villains from current news topics. In my work-in-progress, Bittersweet Alliance, the serial killer serves Poke (raw fish appetizers popular in Hawaii) to kidnapped victims.  After ransoms are paid, the victims return home with severe worm infestation in their brains.  Surgical procedures to remove (massive numbers of) parasites leave victims’ brains impaired.  The serial killer leaves victims brain-dead and is using a popular food where the book is set, the Big Island of Hawaii.

raw fish appetizers

You might like this low calorie creamy vegetable stew

Did I write low calorie and creamy in the same sentence? I did! One large bowl is 320 calories.  Enjoy a salad and bread sticks with this filling summer entre.

creamy summer vegetable stew

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces frozen pearl onions
  • 2 cups baby carrots, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch half-moons
  • 1 15 1/2 – ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 cups cooked white rice (optional)

Directions

  1. Place onions, carrots, corn, broth, vinegar and 1-1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours.
  2. Stir in zucchini and chickpeas; cook for 45 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together cream, cornstarch, salt, pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence; set aside.
  3. Stir in cream mixture and tomatoes and cook an additional 15 minutes or until thickened. Sprinkle with Asiago and serve with rice, if desired.

Nutrition Information for Creamy Summer Vegetable Stew

Servings Per Recipe: 4 PER SERVING: 311 cal., 9 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 23 mg chol., 681 mg sodium, 48 g carb. (9 g fiber), 11 g pro.

For dinner– corn-tomato chowder with a grilled salmon salad

Corn-tomato is a flavorful vegetarian chowder. Believe it when I say it goes well with a salmon salad and bread sticks.  I’m making grilled salmon for dinner and will chill it for the salad.

corn-tomato soup

 

Ingredients

 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/4 cups (1 pound) frozen corn, thawed
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Place the cooked shallots, corn and chicken stock in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Pour the corn mixture back into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a salmon salad.

Devilish Chicks for Easter

Aren’t these deviled eggs cute?  They’re a humorous twist on deviled eggs. This recipe originated a few years ago from Taste of Home magazine. 

chicks develed eggs

Ingredients for a half dozen deviled eggs

  • 6 hard-cooked large eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash pepper
  • 5 carrot chips
  • 12 capers
  • Fresh dill sprigs
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup prepared lighter ranch salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Dash pepper
  • 5 carrot chips
  • 12 capers
  • Fresh dill sprigs

Directions

  1. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each egg so it sits flat. Cut the top third from each egg. Carefully remove yolks and place in a small bowl; mash with a fork. Add cheese, salad dressing, mustard and pepper; stir until well blended. Spoon into the egg white bottoms; replace tops.
  2. Cut 12 feet and 12 small triangles for beaks from carrot chips. Gently press the capers into the filling for eyes; add beaks. Insert a dill sprig in top of eggs for tuft of feathers. Place feet in front of chicks. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 1/2 dozen.