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Last week I made a salad for my clients. Tuscan Lentil Salad. They asked me for protein-rich, healthy, and low-carb meals.
Since I cook for each client once a week (for the most part), I have to come up with a practical menu where the food is easy to eat straight from the container (on a lunch break at work), and most importantly – easy to reheat later in the week. Usually I put some kind of soup on the menu, like Tomato Bisque with Quinoa, or Creamy Cauliflower Soup with chunks of the veg floating joyfully inside, or another health miracle, my Beet Soup, also known as a liver cleanser. Most of the soups I make are loaded with variety of good stuff while staying very light in the calorie department.
It’s very important that there are fresh vegetables on the menu, but a regular green salad lasts a day. Hence, for my clients I opt for hearty salads that will stay fresh for up to three days. I play with grains like a 6-year old with LEGO blocks. One day it’s Wheat Berry mix, another Quinoa blend, Barley, Farro, you name it. Last week, however, I used a recipe by Julie Daniluk, a Canadian nutritionist and the host of Healthy Gourmet (a TV show) simply because it looked divine.
Click on the photo above to get to the recipe itself.
When I was mixing all the ingredients at my clients’ kitchen, they both peeked over my shoulder and instantly requested a taste of the wonder. Let me just say that it didn’t end on a simple one bite tasting. An entire portion planned for one of the meals later in the week disappeared from the counter. A few minutes later, the husband returned to the kitchen with an empty container in hand, still licking his mouth.
“THAT WAS DELICIOUS.”
The wife only said:
“CAN WE PLEASE HAVE THIS SALAD EVERY WEEK?”
Your wish is my command. The salad became a staple on their menu. I also tested it on Jason and he loved every bite. Well, not the olive bite. I tried so hard to sneak some succulent, delicious olives into his bowl, but his olive detector would not be fooled. There are only few edible things Jason is on non-speaking terms with, and olives just happen to be one of those misfortunate bastards.
Since the Lentil Salad was such a success, I had to give credit where it was due. Julie Daniluk is a walking encyclopedia of food knowledge. Put any type of produce, nut, meat, you name it in front of her eyes and she begins to recite all the attributes of the food like a poem.
I will have you know also that Oprah Winfrey got a whiff of the Healthy Gourmet show, and with no avail had her people load all the goodies up on her new network’s website. Aha, just look at the web address when you visit the show’s web page.
I’ve studied nutrition for my own benefit over the years. However, I never went to school to bring that knowledge up to more comprehensive and organized level. Julie is the reason I started looking into various nutrition programs around the country that offer either the traditional, thus purely scientific approach, or more holistic one that produces life coaches. Keep your fingers crossed! I’m very excited about this project.
Pst, one more thing. It occurs to me that I have more in common with Julie beyond the affection for healthy and whole foods. Me thinks there’s Polish blood flowing in her veins…
To Be Investigated!
Somewhere in between concocting hearty and soulful soups…
baking HERBED POTATO CHIPS with a side of Green Peas Dip…
serving LUNCHES to starved for quality home-made food Los Angelenos…
and stalking nearly extinct HORNED FROGS in the woods…
my silly food-ish blog ONE MORE BITE celebrated it’s FIRST ANNIVERSARY (July 21st).
I’ve been having so much fun writing all this up to day. Now I’m looking forward to more candles on your B-DAY CAKE each year to come.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SWEET AND DELICIOUS “ONE MORE BITE”!
Let’s open with the latter.
I would like to take a moment to talk about the Internet. It is a mysterious machinery I do not understand. I file it under the same category as radio, airplanes, and telephones. It may be not kosher to admit that in public, but I have no clue how those work. Nor do I care really. As long as they do their job!
What puzzles me about the Internet in particular today are those little hairy monkeys from my micro-world, and directly related to these pages. As any committed blogger, I check the stats every day to know who’s coming to visit, how they find ONE MORE BITE, what pages I get linked to, etc. I don’t really KNOW who reads it, relax, unless you decide to tell me about it in the form of a comment, send me an email, postcard or a new Audi TT (black, please).
What I do know is what phrases Internauts enter into their search engines (like google or yahoo) to find my silly page in the cyber world. Today for example, some horny hungry person, clearly lucking the time to cook on their own, decided to look for “sexy personal chefs” and so typed that into the google search. I’m flattered to have been found. However, just so I don’t get too cocky and my bra doesn’t pop from pride bubbling up in my chest, there’s another little flower here leading to my blog that reads: “kill it before it spreads”. Huh?
People look for Stefan Richter and that restaurant I used to work at, Da Vinci, and find their way over here. The “quinoa and brussels sprouts recipes” entry will also successfully lead you to my blog. If you want a “goat cheese cranberry stuffed chicken”, you’re in luck–there is my Chicken Cordon Blue recipe with these components described in detail among these pages. That makes sense. “Melissa Peterman nipples” or “drop crotch carrot men” don’t.
If you think I made those up, you so overestimate my creativity and wit. I take no credit for the above. Moreover, I beg for an explanation! How in the world do people who search for a “text on indian toilet” find a food blog?? Hello! Google people, talk to me!
I don’t know when and if I’ll get my hairy monkey problem resolved. That’s all for the SOUR part for today.
Now on to the SWEET thing. Why? Because sweet is GOOD. Sweet is necessary to keep balance in your food and then in your system. Sweet is one of the four basic flavors (along with salty, sour, and bitter) that are present in any complete dish. Nonetheless, it’s all about finding that fine balance in anything you do, cooking included. Well… duh.
My sweet suggestion for today are CARDAMOM POACHED APRICOTS STUFFED WITH MASCARPONE. Even though the apricot season is pretty much over, you can make this beautiful and sweet bite all year round, as we’re using dry fruit for the thing.
Once again, I lifted the idea from my handy book called “Small Bites” by Jennifer Joyce that I had referred to previously. Once again, I changed the recipe by an inch and a half after trying once and needing some improvement. I am a big advocate of a freedom in one’s kitchen. Don’t be enslaved to a recipe. Make it work for you instead.
To start, gather the following:
– dried apricots, about 8 oz package
– handful of seeds from crushed cardamom pods (ground cardamom will do, too)
– mascarpone cheese and goat cheese, 1-2 tbsp of each, softened
– fresh mint, chopped, about 1 tbsp worth
– juice of 1 lemon
– 3 tbsp raw cane sugar
– 1-2 cups of water
– 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped.
In a small sauce pan heat together the water, sugar, lemon juice and cardamom. Toss the apricots in and let it all simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft and plumpy. Remove the the orange balls and let them cool.
In the meantime, mix both cheeses together along with mint. See, Jennifer’s recipe calls for Mascarpone only. However, after doing it her way, I was missing something. The goat cheese will give the whole thing a tang that will take your sweet bite into a different dimension. Also, I dare you to add just a pinch of ground cardamom into the mix. Just do it. It will be fine.
Take each apricot and using a paring knife make a small incision on one side, enough to scoop in a nugget of the cheese mixture. Now dip your stuffed fruit, cheese side down, into the crushed pistachios so they stick to the filling, thus covering up the entrance to the cave. (Yes, I’m a dork, I know.)
Such prepared Sweet Bites arrange in a single layer on a platter , or in an air-tight container, and store in a refrigerator for at least an hour so the cheese sets.
An hour later… VOILA!
Cute, right? And you know what else? SWEET!
I know you’ve been sick of the same ole food you’ve been ordering over and over from those same ole, same ole restaurants. Also, it’s been on your mind for some time now that the food you’ve been taking down is not really that good for you. I know you’ve been craving something homemade, delicious, NEW, and actually on the healthier side.
I may have some good news for you, that is if you happen to live in the close vicinity (that would be Hollywood and West Hollywood of Los Angeles, CA). You may have noticed a few changes on this site, with the most significant one–a new link on the top menu bar called LUNCH DELIVERY SERVICES. That’s right, I have begun a new service, aside from my Personal Chef’ing, that will allow YOU to test and taste my own creations.
Don’t hesitate and check out the menu. I won’t let you get bored with it either, as I will keep adding on new items and rotating the existing ones to keep it fresh and versatile. Place your order today for your lunch tomorrow.
I read in a magazine once that the best day for grocery shopping is Wednesday. After a thorough analysis of the results of a poll the authors ran, and based on the database collected, it was concluded the stores were least crowded on the third day of a week.
A whole lot of people must have read the same snippet in the magazine, as my local Trader Joe’s was bursting with fruit colors and soap bubbles when I arrived right past the lunch hour yesterday. Shopping carts were jamming at the front door, people pushing through, cars coming in and out of the parking lot, food disappearing from the shelves. You’d think Armageddon was coming, but I checked on my calendar that in fact March 3rd was WHAT IF CATS AND DOGS HAD OPPOSABLE THUMBS? DAY.
That surely explains the commotion at the grocery on the least frequented day in a week.
The last few days have been strongly affected by a craving rollercoaster. Since Monday, I think I stepped out of the refrigerator and paused consumption to take care of three things only – to walk Cosmo (as it would be embarrassing), brush my teeth (awkward), and when going to sleep (messy!). My right bicep is sore from the constant lifting forkfuls and spoonfuls of food to the opening in my head.
You know what I miss? I never thought I would say this but I miss being hungry. I want to feel empty for a change. Here’s a solution. While I wait for the estrogen levels to drop, I shall fill my refrigerator with foods that are filling, packed with fiber and digestion-boosting enzymes, just like my WHEAT BERRY SALAD. It tastes divine. It looks beautiful and appetizing. It’s crunchy and labor-intensive for the jaws, forcing you to chew your meal longer while enjoying its interlacing flavors and working out at the same time. Brilliant!
WHEAT BERRY SALAD
– 1 – 1.5 cups wheat berries, cooked
– 1 romaine lettuce, chopped
– 1 sm package of mixed greens
– 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
– 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
– 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
– 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, cooled off
– 3 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
– 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
– 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1/3 cup flax seed oil (or use only olive oil)
– 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1 tbsp honey
– pinch of salt, pepper and garam masala to taste
Bowl. Toss. Dress. Toss. Serve. Eat.
Abracadabra, cravings be GONE! P-O-O-F.