Saturday, January 17, 2009

Grilled Salmon, Ginger Honey Glaze

I never thought I'd see the day that I was eagerly reading "Eating Light" and "Cooking Light" for new and tasty recipes. However, so it is!

We're doing quite well on this high-protein, low-calorie diet of ours. It's not easy on either one of us, but we're trying and are doing well so far. Having lost 3 pounds last week was a bonus and recognition that we're doing something right. And there have been no fights about food (or other things), so that's another plus! (Now if I would only go back to having miniature York peppermint patties in the freezer, Brad would be oh so joyful!)

I've never been a good cooker of fish. I am not sure if it's the pans I use, the stove on which I cook, or something else, but the recipe never turns out quite the way it was intended. The other night, we tried this recipe and it was amazingly easy and tasty.

There are only 250 calories, 10 grams of fat and 33 grams of protein per serving. It would be even less if you didn't use the teriyaki sauce, but you have to have some flavor somewhere.

We paired the dish with some roasted vegetables and a plentiful salad and were very satiated at the end of the evening -- even without the peppermint patties!

Serves 4; Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cooking Time: 15 minutes

1-1/4 lb. wild salmon with skin
Salt and black pepper to taste
2T light teriyaki sauce
1T honey
1T bottled minced ginger or 1 t.ground ginger

1. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Combine teriyaki sauce and honey and pour evenly over the salmon. Springer ginger over the top. Let stand 5-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat grill.
3. Place salmon, skin side up, on grill. Grill 5 minutes over high heat. Turn gently, reduce heat to medium and grill 7-10 minutes or until salmon is just cooked through. Remove skin before serving.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pawsitively Pleasing Pasta

We're not the only ones eating vegetables at our house; we have Oliver actively eating them now too. You sometimes have to hide them amongst the meat (same thing that I do with Brad from time-to-time). But it's a good and fresh meal, he'll gobble it up.

From "Real Food for Dogs: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes for a Healthier Dog," comes Pawsitively Pleasing Pasta. It's a much easier recipe to make than some of the others that I have tried for Oliver. And what's not to like -- ground turkey, pasta, tomato sauce and veggies.

As with other recipes for him, I use gluten-free and wheat-free pasta. I also used lean ground turkey. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly (though I didn't add the olives). Oliver was very happy. And it's easy to store in small containers in your freezer for future meals.

Woof! Woof!


2 t. olive oil
1 c. water
2 c. pasta noodles
1 c. chopped broccoli
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped cauliflower
1-1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. black pepper
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce (low sodium)
1/2 c. chopped mushrooms
1/4 c. black olives

1. In a large pot. bring the oil and water to boil. Add the past a noodles.

2. In a separate pan, steam the broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.

3. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet, with the basil, oregano, and black pepper. Add the tomato sauce, mushrooms and black olives.

4. Drain the noodles. Pour the meat and steamed vegetables into the noodle pot. Mix with a wooden spoon.

5. Serve when cool. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta & Cabbage Slaw

Before a couple of weeks ago, I would easily pass by vegetarian recipes in magazines and cookbooks. I love vegetables, but I always thought of them as a side dish instead of the main course. But now that we're trying to eat healthier, I look twice at the recipes containing beans and vegetables.

I found this recipe in the February issue of Bon Appetit. It's super-duper easy to make and wow, what a lot of flavor it has. Instead of tacos, however, we just piled the black bean mixture on top of tortillas and ate them more like tostadas.

I really like the Cuban-style black beans from Trader Joe's. They're a bit spicy and with a ton of flavor. I still added the cumin to the beans, as the recipe suggested and they were terrific. I couldn't find cabbage slaw in my grocery store, but did find broccoli slaw instead, and it worked out just fine. And believe it or not, Brad ate it readily.

These are fast and easy to prepare. They contain a lot of protein. And they have a lot of flavor. As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing!"

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Makes 4

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained
1/2 t. ground cumin
5 t.olive oil, divided
2 c. coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 c.chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese
Bottled Hot Sauce

1. Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of been mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Caramelized Vegetable & Meatball Soup

2009 turns over a new leaf for our household. With weight and cholesterol counts up, it's time to start anew and get healthy. The new "regime" is mostly for me, but Brad is coming along for the ride. It may be a bit bumpy for him as vegetables are generally anathema to him, however, so far so good.

I talked about this new healthy direction on of my favorite blogs -- -- and you can see my comments and other healthy food bloggers at the following link:

I made this recipe before my trip to New Orleans so Brad would have something good and easy to prepare from the refrigerator when he came home from work each night. He thinks it's one of the best soup recipes I have made in a long while and I tend to agree. So far, this means we're off to a good start with the diet and vegetable intake!

The recipe was discovered in the January 2009 issue of Sunset magazine. For a 1-1/2 cup serving, there is only 330 calories and 6.7 grams of fiber.

The soup gets all of its flavors from the caramelized vegetables (and garlic cloves) -- roasted in the oven until they are crispy and sweet. (I almost wanted to eat them right out of the oven instead of putting them into the soup.) The other key ingredient is turkey meatballs, which are also roasted in the oven to get them browned and caramelized before going into the soup pot.

If you're a vegetarian, this recipe is easily adaptable. Simply eliminate the steps for the turkey meatballs and cook with organic vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

There are a few steps to the soup because of the roasting, but it's really a very easy recipe and the perfect thing for a Sunday meal with leftovers on Monday after work. Try it out and let me know how you like it.

Serves 6 to 8 (makes 12 cups)
Time: About 1-3/4 hours

1 small peeled, seeded butternut squash
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
2 each large carrots and parsnips, peeled
15-20 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 c. olive oil, divided
2-1/2 t. kosher salt, divided
1-1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 lb. ground turkey (not breast only)
1 T. fennel seeds
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 large leeks, cut into 1/4-in. slices and rinsed
1 large head fennel, cut into 1/4-in. slices
8-12 cups reduced sodium or homemade chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Cut squash, potatoes, carrots and parsnips into 1-inch pieces and put in a large oiled roasting pan; add garlic. Toss with 2-1/2 T. olive oil; 1-1/2 t. salt, and 1 t. pepper and spread out in a single layer, leaving as much room as possible around the pieces. Roast vegetables on lower rack about 40 minutes, or until browned and tender (stir after they've browned underneath,about 25 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, make meatballs: With wet hands, mix turkey, fennel seeds, egg, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper together in a small bowl. Oil your hands with some of remaining oil. Shape turkey mixture into 1-in.meatballs and set them on an oiled rimmed baking sheet as you go, using more oil as needed to coat them well. Roast meatballs on upper rack 15-20 minutes, turning a couple of times to brown well on all sides.

3. Heat 1T. olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and fennel, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in broth and bring to a boil over high heat, covered. Lower heat and simmer vegetables until meltingly soft, about 25 minutes.

4. When vegetables in oven have caramelized and meatballs are browned, remove both from oven. Pour a ladleful of hot broth on to both baking sheets/roasting pan and scrape up browned bits. Put all ingredients into soup pot and heat until all flavors have mingled and are hot.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dining Out in Atlanta

Just after college, I contemplated a permanent move from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta. I had heard that it was the cosmopolitan capital of the South, was a great place for a young girl like me to start a career, had a good dining scene as well as outstanding entertainment and sports options. I can't really recall now why I changed my mind, but I returned back to Southern California.

Over the years, Atlanta has become all that I described above and more. And over the past 1-1/2 years since I started my own business, I have been back to Atlanta a total of (5) times. Thanks to my friend, Peter, who has been a career concierge in Atlanta, he has made some wonderful suggestions and I have been fortunate to be able to indulge during my visits.

Below are my favorite restaurants in the City. There are a myriad of other restaurants to try and experience. However, if this is your first visit and you need a place to start, I am hoping this assists you with creating culinary memories in the Peachtree State Capital.


Looking for that special occasion restaurant, excellent food and wine or in my case, a great cheese selection, this is your place. Located in Midtown Atlanta in a "renovated" part of town, Bacchanalia features contemporary American cuisine. The restaurant's chefs are former James Beard award winners and the restaurant is consistently voted #1 in Atlanta. I have dined here twice and had memorable experiences both times. On the night in September that I last dined here, I had a prix fixe $75.00 four-course dinner. There were 6-7 choices per course from which to choose. My menu consisted of: First Course -- Hamachi Crudo, Fennel, Orange, Sweet Peppers; Entree -- Slightly Cured Duck Breast, Farro Risotto, Local Filet Beans, Pickled Sour Cherries; Cheese Course (more on this later) and Dessert -- Brown Butter Fig Tart, Rosemary Cream, Ginger Ice Soda. Each presentation was more exquisite than the last and more delectable than the one before it.

I eat a lot of cheese (which probably attests to my higher cholesteral counts these days) and have never encountered a more knowledgeable and patient cheese sommelier and more beautiful cheese cart. There were (3) cheeses from which to choose in (4) categories -- Cow's Milk Cheese, Goat's Milk Cheese, Sheep's Milk Cheese, Blue Cheese. Lovely condiments adorned each selection and complimented each cheese wonderfully. Like a wine fine is paired with your food, cheese should be properly paired with condiments and wine. Bacchanalia does it correctly for my tastes and I am already looking forward to my return.

1198 Howell Mountain Road

Fourth & Swift
Just opened a few months before my visit this past September, Fourth & Swift is quickly making a name for itself on the local restaurant scene. Don't be fooled by the exterior (or interior) as this used to be location for the engine room for Southern Dairies -- exposed brick, concrete and metal beams create a unique vibe.

Comfort food is what the Chef is looking to providing its patrons. Of course, that means there's a twist on everything. For example, there is a dish that I tried called "Three Little Pigs." Here, the chef presents pork three ways -- loin, belly and housemade sausage -- accompanied by macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese was not near the top of my list for taste, but the pork was prepared and presented well and had a good taste. I started with the crab cake with fennel salad and it was one of the better crab cakes I have had recently -- moist and full of lump crab. There is an extensive wine list from small wineries, which made it fun to try different wines by the glass. I am a big fan of Oregon Pinot Noirs and there were several from which to choose.

Fourth & Swift
621 North Avenue NE

I dined here the first time in October 2007 and had a dessert that was amazing --Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake with Jack Daniels Ice Cream. For the past year, I have craved that dessert and when I knew I was coming back to Atlanta this past September, I couldn't be swayed from coming here again. And it didn't disappoint -- Ooey gooey toffee cake served warm with a decadent Jack Daniels Ice Cream. I must have that recipe for the winter season of entertaining. But I digress from the restaurant and the rest of the menu . . .

Opened for 4 years, Rathbun's is also located in Midtown Atlanta. And now, the Chef/Owner, Kevin Rathbun, has ventured into new endeavors -- Krog Bar (located next to Rathbun's) and Rathbun's Steak, located down the street in another renovated warehouse district of Atlanta. What's great about this menu is that you can have a traditional dinner -- first course, entree and dessert -- or experiment with their small plates concept, which is precisely what I did on the most recent visit. Among my favorites are: Ahi tuna "crudo" Citrus, Serranos; Garlic Snails, Trofie Pasta, Preserved Lemon; Kurobata Pork Belly Soft Tacos, Orange Hoisin; Sardinian Flatbread, Golden Beets, Grayson Cow's Milk Cheese, Arugula. Service has been excellent both times and in fact, it has been memorable service, which always seems to be lacking when you're a single diner.

112 Krog Street