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Monday, October 29, 2012

Smokey Garlic Shrimp with White Beans in Tomato Sauce

I have no words to explain this dish. I actually moaned  "Mmmmmmm's" the entire time I ate.  Actually, I have no shame... I inhaled.  You too will adore this lovely smokey, tomato-y shrimp and bean dish. It's a perfect Sunday dinner. 

We served it alongside roasted Parmesan fennel. It was just.... well, perfect :)


6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 dried chiles de árbol
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
1 1/4 cups chopped tomato (about 8 ounces)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans white beans (such as cannellini), rinsed, drained
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of chili flakes2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grilled bread (optional)


  1. Preheat broiler. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 garlic clove, chiles, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, 1–2 minutes (do not allow garlic to burn). Add tomato; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and smashing tomato with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomato is completely broken down, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is deep red and caramelized, 3–4 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until juices are slightly reduced and thickened, 3–4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and chili flakes.
  3. Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp. oil, shrimp, and paprika in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Scatter shrimp over beans in an even layer. (You can do this step ahead and let them marinate for a bit while you're cooking the ingredients in step 1).
  4. Broil until shrimp are golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over shrimp and beans; garnish with parsley. 
Serve with bread, if desired because you'll want SOMETHING to sop up that delicious sauce.


Nutritional information
5 servings, 1 serving contains:
Calories (kcal) 530
Fat (g) 25
Saturated Fat (g) 3.5
Cholesterol (mg) 175
Carbohydrates (g) 40
Dietary Fiber (g) 10
Total Sugars (g) 4
Protein (g) 36
Sodium (mg) 540

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lentil Patties!

Looking for ways to amp up your veggies and legumes? I've got the perfect recipe for you!

Since moving toward a more plant-based diet, I have been concerned with my protein intake. I have increased eating eggs, quinoa and a bunch of other goodies, but I wanted to make something creative today. Voila! Lentil patties to the rescue.

I had a small bag of brown lentils in the pantry and figured I could try making them into something fun. I rounded up a bunch of things like brown rice, nutritional yeast, veggies, spices and came up with this little treat.  I even made a special spice blend just for this experiment.  You certainly don't need the spice blend to make this great, but if you're feeling overwhelmingly creative and have some time, why not.

I would think you could add whatever greens or any type of lentils you have on hand and throw it into this mixture. I think it's a great base to play around with. Enjoy and I hope to hear about how you made out with this recipe!


  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 large garlic clove 
  • small handful of kale, washed
  • small handful of spinach, washed
  • 1/2 jalapeno, not seeded
  • 4 dashes of Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp Steph's special seasoning
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp bread crumbs
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • cornstarch for dusting
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste


Throw all ingredients into a food processor. That's it! Blend until combined. Easy-peasy, right?

The mixture should come together nicely, and not be too sticky.  If it is, add a bit more flour or breadcrumbs. You should be able form a patty without it sticking to your hands. I used a 1/3 measuring cup to portion the patties out to ensure they were the same size. Once you have your patties formed, dust them with a little cornstarch. It will help form a crust when cooking. 

Heat a large frying pan, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil or oil of your choice. You don't need a lot, it's just to brown them up, so feel free to use cooking spray instead. You will need to add more as you cook as the patties will soak up a bit of the oil.

Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes. You want to see a light to medium brown color before flipping. Everything is already cooked in these patties, so you're really just browning them up for texture. The crust is sooo good and you can actually pick these up and eat them instead of using a fork. 

Below are the recipes for the masala yogurt sauce, and my special spice blend.  

Masala yogurt sauce
  • 1/4c plain fat free yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp masala spice mix
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 chili (you can omit if you're not into spice)
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Let it chill if you can, or enjoy it right away.

Steph's special spice blend
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
Toast all the seeds together in a shallow pan. Just as they become fragrant, turn off the heat.  Be sure to constantly stir because the sesame seeds will start to brown quickly and you'll burn them if you don't constantly shake/stir. 

Take the toasted seeds to your mortar and pestle and grind 'em up.  You may need to do this in batches.  Once the entire mixture is ground up, store in an air tight container for uses with other dishes. 

Enjoy friends!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Carrot-Banana-Zucchini Loaf

I'm a big fan of banana bread. I almost never make it though because of all the sugar that the recipes usually call for.  This past weekend, I was searching for ways to use the 10lb bag of carrots I bought and came across a Carrot-Banana loaf recipe. It got me thinking... I've made 'Morning Glory' muffins before and figured why couldn't I make a loaf, but without all the sugar? 

This recipe is vegan, and can be gluten-free if you want.  I didn't have any gluten-free flour on hand, so I used whole wheat instead. 

I absolutely LOVED how this turned out.  Beware that it is a pretty dense loaf, with all the banana, carrot and zucchini in it. It's also pretty moist, so don't be afraid to pull it out at the 25 min mark. I just kept inserting a knife in the middle to check done-ness. You may need to cook a little less or a few minutes more, depending on your oven.

Two slices of this keep me full for a couple of hours. I did not add the apricots because I don't like fruit in my bread, but I added it in for those who do.


  • ½ cup organic raw honey
  • 3 tablespoons organic olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed organic ripe bananas (I used two bananas)
  • 1 finely shredded zucchini 
  • 1 cup grated organic carrots (I used 1.5 cups)
  • ¼ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (I juiced half a lemon)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups Organic gluten free all purpose flour (or whole wheat if you aren’t doing gluten-free)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup chopped organic dried apricots (I didn’t add these)
  • ½ cup organic chopped raw almonds (I added chopped walnuts instead and added a full cup.)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3, 3” X 6” loaf pans (I only had to use two disposable tin ones, the NoName ones from NoFrills)
  2. Using a fork beat the honey, oil, vanilla, and salt. Add the bananas, carrot, zucchini, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into the banana mixture. Then fold in the nuts and apricots.
  3. Spoon into the loaf pans and bake for about 20-25 min, or until tooth pick comes out clean. Let it cool for about 5 min before removing from pan.

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General Tso's Tofu

I've been on a really good vegetarian kick for the last few weeks and have also amped up my workouts at the gym.  I was getting concerned that I wasn't eating enough protein and in turn have been researching more tofu recipes to balance me out. 

I love tofu. I  love Chinese food also, so when I found this recipe for General Tso's Tofu, I had to try it. I promise you'll want to make this as soon as you can!

I served it with blanched broccoli, tossed in a bit of sesame oil and mirin and let it all cool. I also finished it off with a tiny bit of sea salt. The result is a cool sweet accompaniment to the spicy tofu. Oh I almost forgot, I also boiled one bar of Chinese Egg noodles which were nice to gather the left over sauce.  I was a champ and thought 12 seeded dry chili's was the way to go for this. If you ultra love spicy, follow suit. Otherwise, stick to 3 or 4 so you don't burn your face off. 

Note that you don't need to marinate this tofu for hours and hours. This can be a quick meal if you need it to be. 

Photo: General Tso tofu & blanched broccoli is our Meatless Monday dinner. It was spicy and delicious!

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal

1 pound extra-firm tofu
2 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon peanut of vegetable oil
8 dried whole red chilis, or substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger,
1 scallion, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, for garnish


3 tablespoons tomato paste (or substitute ketchup for a slightly sweeter sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons chili sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar

  1. Rinse and drain the tofu, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Blot the tofu all around with paper towels (drying the tofu helps it pan-fry better.)
  2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the tomato paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, and sugar.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat the bottom. Add the tofu in one layer (you may have to do this in batches) and allow it to sear on the first side undisturbed for about 1 minute. Then use a spatula to move the tofu cubes around until they are golden on half or most of the sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the dried chilis, garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 30 or 40 seconds. Pour in the sauce and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Add the tofu and carefully toss to coat with the sauce. You can either toss the broccoli in with the sauce or serve it on the side. Transfer everything to a large serving dish. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and scallions greens on top and serve with rice on the side.

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Who likes carrot cake? I DO! Minus the cream cheese frosting, this recipe is a pretty great replication of carrot cake, but in a breakfast or snack oatmeal.

I doubled the recipe as it’s a very small portion originally, and I wanted some for breakfast for a couple of days.  (It’s great cold or reheated in the microwave also.) 


Yield: 4 servings

·    1 heaping cup finely grated carrot (about 1 large)
·    1 cup almond milk
·    2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk cream (or use more almond milk)
·    1 tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
·    1/4 tsp ground ginger
·    1/8th tsp ground nutmeg
·    pinch of salt
·    1/2 cup regular oats
·    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
·    1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
·    2 tbsp chopped walnuts, divided
·    2 tbsp raisins, divided (I didn’t add raisins)
·    2 tbsp pure maple syrup
·    1 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut, for garnish (forgot to add this and it was great without)
·    1 tbsp coconut milk cream + 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup, to garnish (optional) Try it, it’s great with the garnish.


  1. Finely grate 1 heaping (and I mean HEAPING) cup of grated carrots. You want to use the fine grate and not the large one so the carrot shreds are very small. This helps the carrot blend in more.
  2. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, whisk together the almond milk, optional coconut milk cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Stir in the grated carrots and oats. Adjust heat if necessary or bring heat to low if it starts to boil. Cook for about 8-9 minutes, stirring frequently. When the mixture has thickened up, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, 1 tbsp walnuts, 1 tbsp raisins, and 2 tbsp of maple syrup. Remove from heat and portion into bowls.
  4. Top the oatmeal with the remaining walnuts, raisins, and shredded coconut. If you are using coconut cream, you can mix a bit of the cream with maple syrup and drizzle on top of the oatmeal, as shown in the photo. Sprinkle with cinnamon for garnish.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Panko-Crusted Pork with Wasabi Gingered Soy Sauce

This was a FANTASTIC pork chop dish, and we enjoyed it with steamed veggies on the side.  A nice twist to what can be a boring dish. 

    Panko crusted pork with wasabi gingered soy sauce 

  • Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • large egg white, lightly beaten
  • (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil or sunflower oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground fresh ginger 
  • 1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry or vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste (I like to add 1tbsp of it, cause I love the kick)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions


  1. Place panko in a shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish. Dip pork in egg white; dredge in panko.
  2. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; sprinkle with salt.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine broth and the next 4 ingredients (through wasabi) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in green onions. Spoon sauce over pork.
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Spicy Garlic Hummus

I was driving down the road when I ran over some hummus.

A little further on, I hit taramasalata.
Then I saw a road sign:
'Caution - dips in road'

I am a huge lover of hummus and I usually make it two or three times a month.  I like to switch it up and make different varieties; such as black bean, or white bean and feta. I love throwing in fresh jalapenos, raw cashews or cilantro.  Lately though, I've been craving just the good 'ole traditional hummus.

I played with this recipe a bit and have decided that I'll keep this one around. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  

P.S. This recipe has a kick so if you're shy about spice, I'd cut the cayenne down to 1/4 tsp and add more to taste. If you like a bit of heat, try adding in a dried chili or some chili flakes.

Spicy Garlic Hummus


- 1 can chickpeas, drained (reserve some liquid from the can as you will add this while pulsing in the food processor to smooth it out)
- 2 cloves garlic (add more to taste, of course. If you're using roasted, you will want to add about 4 cloves)
- 2 tbsp tahini
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 


1. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.  
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse, you are trying to get it to a smooth and creamy texture.  
3. Start to add the reserved chickpea liquid in small bits, as you continue to pulse until you get it to the desired consistency.  Taste test.
4. Adjust seasonings and lemon to taste. 

Serve with fresh cut veggies, pita or nacho chips. Enjoy!

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