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I know. I know! It’s been too long. You must be thinking that since The Food Network has launched its daughter program, appropriately called The Cooking Channel, I must have gotten lost between the folds of my couch, sitting with my nose glued to the TV 24/7.

I wish! But somebody has got to pay her bills, plus Cosmo’s mani and pedi ain’t cheap. His favorite nail polish is Bulgarian Rose by the way. Don’t ask me where he got that from.

Less than two weeks ago I announced the start of my very own LUNCH DELIVERY SERVICES here, in Los Angeles. Guess what. It’s HAPPENING! I’ve been busy menu planning, then designing labels, then shopping for containers, then grocery shopping, then cooking, and delivering at last. Breathe in, breathe out.

I was also clear-minded enough to snap a few photos in all that chaos. Just imagine me with a chef’s knife in one hand chopping cucumbers, my toes holding tight a wooden spatula and stirring soup in the pot, while my jaws clenched on the camera and took some shots.

ONE MORE BITE Lunches (sides)

As a result of the madness, I was able to produce this CRUNCHY RED QUINOA SALAD with a Medley of Vegetables and BASIL VINAIGRETTE. Also, I made this refreshing FRUITS SALAD sprinkled with Orange Juice and MINT CHIFFONADE.

One of the meals on my Menu for this week is this delicious and healthy PAN-SEARED TUNA Over the Bed of SPINACH with Gorgonzola, Pecans and Cranberries, dressed with POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE.

Speaking of dressings, there’s nothing easier than making one. The most basic one is simply oil (olive) and acid (e.g. vinegar, acidic juice) in 3:1 ratio with a pinch of salt and pepper. You can get fancier than that just by adding a touch of a healthy sweetener (e.g. honey), maybe a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, or cucumber (as an emulsifier), whip it together, and just like that you have made yourself a perfectly wonderful vinaigrette.

Once you get the basics, then you’ll want to explore other flavor combinations and possibilities. One of my favorite dressings that I make for our meal ALL THE TIME is Basil Vinaigrette. To make it yourself, follow the steps described above and add a bunch of fresh basil leaves to your blender. WHIZZ. WHIZZ. Done.

ONE MORE BITE Vinaigrettes: Basil, Lemon, Pomegranate

Store-bought dressings are full of fat, sugar, and preservatives. Save yourself money and that unnecessary inch on your waist just by switching to home-made goods like the ones seen above. You’ll satisfy your palette. You’ll exercise your creative muscle. You’ll be healthier and closer to Nature with each bite. And it takes 2 minutes to make it, from scratch.

Go for it. Try this at home!

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Oh-Mah-Gawd, what a paralyzing accident did I get myself into last night! I crashed face first into a platter of… (are you sitting down?)… CARAMELIZED PEARS WITH… (oh, god, save my soul!)… WHIPPED CREAM.

Our sweet neighbor Mike stopped by in the afternoon hours carrying “something small and trivial, but better than sex”. He appeared at our threshold oh-so gently cupping two precious, juicy, perfectly ripe pears he had purchased from a specialty store. Generous man that he is, he hurried to share the joy the fruit had given him and Peter, his husband, with us.

We have a special bond with our neighbors, as not only are they fun, life loving, gregarious and genuine people, but also Mike is as nuts about playing in the kitchen as I am (if not more…? Nah, can’t be!). He often runs over with treats of his own making as those are the simple things in life that make the difference. It doesn’t hurt that Peter, like myself, is Polish. All in all, most of the neighbors are rather sweet and semi-chatty making the place our version of “Melrose Place”. Well, maybe with less inter-unit screwing.

Mike tenderly slipped both pears into Jason’s hands while giving the cooking instructions to me. “Slice those babies up and sauté them with a little brown sugar. They’re heavenly. I’m telling you, they’re better than sex!” he exclaimed visibly elated and off he returned to his lovely abode.

I know, I know I was supposed to keep it clean and light during that time squeezed between holidays. I didn’t plan on being put against the wall by an idea of that incredibly decadent dessert that’s “better than sex”. Who could resist that? So I did it. Yup, I broke and made the CARAMELIZED PEARS WITH (gasp) WHIPPED CREAM. You can walk around huffing and puffing all you want, but you can’t stop me from telling you ABOUT THOSE PEARS, because it’s simply too divine to just keep it to myself.

I followed Mike’s directions, and sliced the fruit into half-an-inch thick discs and set them on a heated pan with a touch of olive oil and butter. I sprinkled them with raw cane sugar, as that’s the only kind of sugar you’ll find in this household. Then I christened each slice with a drop of pure vanilla extract, and drizzled fresh lemon juice all over the pan. Just a touch. I let everybody get happy for a few minutes over a low-medium heat. Then I flipped the pears and gave the other side a moment to lounge in their own juices.

Within minutes I had this beautiful delight on a platter dressed with a flower of whipped cream and drizzled with its own caramelized juices. All it needed was a dust of cinnamon and a fork. The rest is history.

The whole pear incident, from start to the last bite, took no more than half an hour. However, I needed many hours of bouncing off the walls in our living room before I wore off the sugar rush and was able to settle down in bed for the night. Just saying.

And yes, it was ORGASMIC. Jason, however, thinks pears taste like dirt, so he would have none of the dessert and he never experienced what I did. I guess we’ll cultivate the old fashion way and won’t give up sex just yet. (PHEW!)

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