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Showing posts from September, 2017

Quote of The Day

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Good Intentions Need A Good Road Map

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I had a moment of deep understanding for the word, “intention,” while listening to mediation by Deepak Chopra. I understood that I'm impatient while executing my good intentions so I end up with a mess sometimes. And today, my aha! moment was that my intentions are not bad, but that the ground for those intentions isn’t always fertile yet, meaning that it wasn’t time to help or speak out about something. I forge ahead instead of taking a moment to gather more information or do some work before moving forward with my words or actions.

A story immediately came to mind during my meditation, one that aired on CBS Sunday Morning about well-meaning people who donate items during natural disasters and end up creating second disasters with their good intentions.

CBS Sunday Morning - Best intentions: When disaster relief brings anything but relief:
In 1998 Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras. More than 11,000 people died. More than a million and a half were left homeless.

And Rilling got a wake-…

Shrimp Fritters with Cornichon Dressing

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Recipe courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian
Total: 45 min
Active: 45 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
Cornichon Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely minced cornichons
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh tarragon
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shrimp Fritters:
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 eggs, separated
8 ounces peeled and cleaned small shrimp (26/30 count), chopped
1 cup finely sliced scallions
1 cup small diced zucchini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
About 2/3 cup buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
For the cornichon dressing: In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cornichons, Dijon mustard, mustard powder, tarragon and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

For the shrimp fritters: Heat about 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the …

Artichoke-Spinach Dip Bread

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Recipe courtesy of The Kitchen
Total: 35 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
One 13.75-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained, dried thoroughly on paper towels and roughly chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup thawed, drained, squeezed and chopped frozen spinach
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Kosher salt, as needed
1 sourdough boule
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the artichoke hearts in a bowl with the mayonnaise, spinach, Parmesan,
yogurt, garlic powder and lemon zest and juice. Taste the mixture and season if necessary.

Cut vertical lines in the boule 1 inch apart, cutting halfway deep. Turn the bread 90 degrees so that the lines are horizontal, and repeat the previous step so you end up with 1-inch cubes still attached. Spread the cubes slightly apart and evenly spoon the artichoke-spinach mixture into the crevices. Put the boule on a baking sheet and …

Grapefruit and Honey Salmon

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

The Chopped challenge this week was to use grapefruit in a savory dish. In order to bring out the semisweet-and-sour flavor of the fruit we made a sweet-and-sour sauce to pair with poached salmon.

Total: 25 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2 ruby red grapefruit
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets

Directions
Juice 1 grapefruit into a bowl. Cut the peel and pith from the other grapefruit. Remove the flesh from the membranes with a sharp knife, adding any juice to the juice in the bowl. Reserve the grapefruit segments.

Boil the reserved juice, honey and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small saucepan until reduced by half and slightly syrupy, 4 to 6 minutes.

Toss the grapefruit segments with the shallots, oil, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teas…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Let's Focus on Resilience and Hope...

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I love the show, The Little Couple with Jen Arnold and Bill Klein. The show just started its first episode of a new season this week and it was a powerful one! The couple had just moved out of Houston, Texas when Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and surrounding cities. Jen and Bill still own a pet store in Houston, so nine days after the hurricane, Bill flew back to check in on their store, and their yet to be sold home. The film crew followed Bill and his two brothers around Houston--it was overwhelming to see the footage of all the damage the city sustained.
There have been so many natural disasters lately that I wasn’t sure I could keep watching the episode. I’m on heartbreak overload with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the two earthquakes in Mexico. But I’m glad I kept watching because of as much damage as there was to homes and businesses, I was able to also see the resilience in people. A woman was asked how she was doing and she said, “We only lost one home and two cars!” I …

Steak Marsala with Cauliflower Mash

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 40 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 sprigs rosemary (leaves from 1 sprig chopped)
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend (about 5 ounces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives Freshly ground pepper
4 beef eye-round steaks (1/2 inch thick; about 5 ounces each)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 ounces sliced white mushrooms (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine or white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Directions
Combine 2 cups water, the cauliflower, whole rosemary sprig and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor, discarding the rosemary. Add the cheese and 1 tablespoon butter and puree. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the chives; season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Season th…

Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Cucumber Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 23 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 8 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Salad:
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup pear tomatoes, sliced in rounds
1 kirby cucumber, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced
3 pepperoncini peppers, stemmed and minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper

Grilled Chicken:
4 chicken paillards (scaloppini), about 4 ounces each
Olive oil spray
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Smash the garlic clove, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear to a coarse paste. Put the garlic paste in a large bowl and stir in the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, pepperoncini, and dill and toss. Give a couple of generous grinds of black pepper. Toss again, and set aside.

Preheat a grill pan or nonstick skillet to medium high. Spray the chicken paillards …

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Chili Verde with Sausage and Pumpkin

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Recipe courtesy of Aarón Sánchez
Total: 50 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
For the tomatillo salsa:
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos (6 to 8 medium)
5 serrano or 10 jalapeno peppers, stemmed (plus seeds, if you can take the heat)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large white onion, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper

For the chili:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 pound sausage meat (mild or hot)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1 15-ounce can hominy
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
2 cups chopped peeled sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (about 8 ounces)
Kosher salt
Thinly sliced serrano or jalapeno peppers, for topping

Directions
Make the tomatillo salsa: Preheat the broiler. Remove the husks from the tomatillos, then rinse the tomatillos under warm water to remove any stic…

Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Brussels Sprouts and Kale Couscous

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Recipe courtesy of Katie Lee Total: 45 min
Active: 45 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Four 4- to 6-ounce halibut fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch chile flakes
2 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup hot chicken stock or water
1/4 cup dried currants or chopped dried cranberries

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle the halibut with salt and pepper. Lay 2 slices of prosciutto on a flat surface, slightly overlapping each other. Place a halibut fillet at the end of the slices and roll up (like a mini burrito). Repeat with the remaining prosciutto and halibut.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the halibut just until the prosciutto gets browned, about 1 minute per side. (If your pan is hot enough, this will happen quickly. This is just for color and crisping the prosciutto; the fish will cook later i…

Eggplant Parm Soup

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Recipe courtesy of Jeff Mauro
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 minYield: 4 servingsLevel: Easy

Ingredients
8 cups (2 quarts) prepared tomato soup1 Parmesan rind
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for frying
8 slices whole milk mozzarella
2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade

Directions
Put the soup in a medium pot, add in the Parmesan rind and bring to a slight simmer.

Set up a standard breading station with the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Lightly season each station with salt and pepper. In batches and using a spider or slotted spoon, dredge each eggplant cube in flour and shake off the excess; dip in egg and let the excess drip off; and then coat in breadcrumbs. Set aside on a wire rack.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in 2 large straight-sided saute pans over medium heat. Working in small batches, fry the eggplant pieces, turning o…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Loving Energy For All Victims of Natural Disasters

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North America is in the midst of so many natural disasters. We’ve had fires in Los Angeles and many other cities and states, Hurricane Harvey brought floods to Texas and Louisiana, an 8.2 earthquake in Chiapas, Mexico happened late last night, and Hurricane Irma barreled down the Bahamas and Cuba, and now cycling toward Florida. My heart aches for people, mammals, animals that become victims of such disasters. I whimpered when I read this morning about the death toll in Mexico’s quake. Then, I thought about a video I saw last month of a mama seal that was found on the beach beside her dead baby, wailing and mourning the death. She spent two days by the baby’s side! As a mother, I watched the video holding back tears. Then, fast forward to now and seeing the death toll numbers on TV for all the disasters that have happened lately, and it’s truly overwhelming and heartbreaking. I know it’s hard to include animals and mammals in the death toll numbers for natural disasters, but after the…

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 35 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
Kosher salt
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 large eggs
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups prepared marinara sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Crusty bread, for serving

Directions
Bring a large, wide pot of salted water to a simmer. Put the spinach in a large bowl and separate it with your hands. Add the ricotta, 3/4 cup parmesan, the flour, eggs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the nutmeg. Mix with a fork to form a slightly sticky dough.

Spread some flour on a plate. Scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls of the spinach-ricotta mixture and roll into about 24 loose balls using floured hands. Gently roll the balls in the flour.

Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large skillet o…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of The Day

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Quote of The Day

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Knowing How and When To Help…

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I have a “helpful” friend who tries to help everyone she knows. I love her and know that she’s always up for helping but the problem is; she creates problems while trying help because she doesn’t listen to what is needed of her. I remember coming home one day with a car full of groceries, she saw me and wanted to help unload the car. I politely told her that I had it covered. She didn’t listen and loaded so much stuff in her arms that she dropped a bottle of wine, it shattered all over the driveway and my car. She must have been embarrassed because she turned the tables on me. She said had I told her that there was a bottle of wine in the bag, she wouldn’t have dropped it! Huh? I was out a good bottle of wine and I was now feeling terrible about the entire situation! How was that helpful? This is not uncommon behavior for her. She wants to do things her way and doesn’t recognize that she’s not helping when she creates more problems for those she’s trying to “help”.

I was reminded about…