Monday, April 26, 2010

Spicy glazed carrots

This recipe is served as a side dish...

- 6 carrots
- 1tsp olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (white and orange)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tsp brown sugar

Peel carrots and cut into pieces.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add ginger and chile flakes. Cook stirring until the ginger is very fragant (about 1min.) Add carrots and salt. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until carrots are just turning barely tender (about 4min.)
Add sugar, stir to combine and cook, stirring, until sugar melts and forms a glaze on the carrots (about 2 min.)
Cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are as tender as you like (about 3 to 5 minute range).



Stuffed tomato

I found this recipe a few years ago in a Spanish cook book. I must admit I had never seen it back home, but all the ingredients are used in my home country cuisine!

- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 green pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 2 onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- Broccoli
- 3/4 cups sliced abd peeled almonds
- 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice
- 1 handfull of raisins (soaked in hot water)
- fresh mint
- fresh parsley
- paprika

Stir fry the onion and garlic. Stir in most of the almonds and broccoli. Add cooked rice, tomato pulp, raisins, mint, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Stuff the tomatoes and peppers with the rice mix.
Bake it for 20-25 min. at 190C. Put the rest of the almonds and chopped parley on top. Add a table spoon of olive oil on top. Bake for anothe 15/20min. or until almonds are gold.



Cambodian Vegetable Stew

As resquested, here is one my Oriental soups... sorry for the delay!! It has been a while, so I don't remember exactly which vegetables I included, they can vary as you wish :)

- Regular ginger
- Orange ginger (I bought it in Thailand and it dies my hands yellow everytime I use it, but I don't know the name of it!)
- tumeric powder
- Paprika
- Kaffir lime leaves
- Lemon grass
- 2 cans of coconut milk
- 2 cups of water
- 2 eggplants (cut into cubes)
- 2 zucchini or squash (cut into cubes)
- 1 lb fresh spinach
- Mushrooms
- salt and pepper

Put the 1st six ingredients along with the coconut milk and water into a blender and puree well. Put the eggplant in a large pot, pour the coconut mix over it, cover and cook for 10 min. Add the zucchini or squash, cover and cook until vegetables are tender.
Add the spinach, mushrooms and season well. Cook just until spinach is brightly green and wilted. You can serve it over brown rice.



Monday, April 12, 2010

Tropical Chicken Salad

The Cheffettes5 recently took a trip to the Philippines, where we enjoyed exquisite beaches, amazing sunshine, and even more amazing food. Returning to the dreary weather of Korea was a great challenge! Feeling the need to bring a little tropical paradise to the table, I decided to make something on the tropical side.

I made this up as I went, so no measurements are available, but I am confident anyone can make it work- just go by your preferences.

Tropical Chicken Salad Ingredients:

1 chicken breast per person
dates to taste
pistachios, chopped
dried coconut flakes
about 10 crushed coriander seeds
3 TBLSP coconut cream powder
1 TBLSP "Better than Bouillon" chicken stock

1/2 container plain white yogurt per chicken breast (about 1/8 cup)
coconut cream powder
about 1/8 cup mango juice
1/8 cup orange juice
yellow curry powder to taste
1/2 TBSLP dijon mustard
1/2 TBSLP honey

Boil chicken breast in chicken stock with coriander seeds and 3 TBSLP coconut cream powder. When chicken is fully cooked, remove from mixture and immediately slice chicken into bite sized pieces cutting against the grain. Let cool. Mix the juices and coconut powder of the sauce ingredient list. Add curry to yogurt, and add coconut mix to yogurt. Stir well. Add all other sauce ingredients. Pour over cooled chicken, adding the other ingredients with it. Mix well. Serve over a bed of lettuce or with toasted bread of your choice. Enjoy!

Yours in Sunshine,


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast with Strawberry Salsa

Two flavors remind me of my days living in the southern region of the good ole' USA: pecans and strawberries. Both were abundantly available in the freshest way possible, and both remind me of "togetherness."

My best friend in Georgia lived on a lovely pecan plantation, and so racing on our pink Huffies to her house after school and stepping into her back yard to grab a snack right off the trees was a normal daily ritual. Her father would cook up some of the most scrumptious dishes with those pecans: pecan rolls for breakfast, pecans in your salad at lunch, and pecan crusted chicken or fresh caught catfish for dinner.

When Kristy came to my house, we painted our lips red and stained our fingers with all of the strawberries growing like weeds in my family's back yard garden. On the weekends, that garden was tended to with exceptional care and precision , my parents working side by side in waltz like unison. I would whip up lunches and fresh squeezed lemonade whilst they pruned the strawberry beds, snapped off green beans, and tidied the perfect ditches that surrounded the garden. The amazing red that came from a vine ripened strawberry presented a hard case for the divinity of nature, and made every dinner plate a festive experience for the eyes to feast on.

Later in life, when I moved to Germany, I was dismayed by the colorless, bland, less than romantic meals often found on German dinner tables. When late spring rolled around, by which point I was homesick beyond belief, I was thrilled to discover that Bonn turned into Strawberry olfactory heaven- the strong waft of strawberries from the many farmer's fields over taking the city. I ate baskets- neigh- bushels- of strawberries every day, and must say that I became a far more joyful person with some Strawberry color on my plate!

Strawberries and pecans... Always a source of happiness! It is with great pleasure that I bring these two healthy ingredients together for you to enjoy. The strawberries are loaded with anti-oxidents, and the pecans are a healthy person's dream food: also loaded with anti-oxidents, they are known to lower cholesterol, help with weight loss, and boost the immune system.

Enjoy a little bit if southern joy on your plate today ladies!
Love, Erin

Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1-1 1/4 pounds), trimmed
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
1/4 cup plain dry wholewheat breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large eggwhite
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided

Working with one piece of chicken at a time, place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even 1/4-inch thickness.
Place pecans, breadcrumbs, spices in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. Whisk egg white and water in a shallow dish until combined. Dip each chicken breast in the egg-white mixture, then dredge both sides in the pecan mixture.

Place in a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Strawberry Salsa

15 strawberries, diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 jalepeno or other spicy pepper finely diced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tblsp honey
Dash of ground red pepper and salt

Mix all ingredients together, If you have cilantro and fresh mint available, they add a lovely finishing taste to this zesty topping.

Spoon strawberry mix over chicken and you are all set for a yummy meal!

Wholewheat Pita and Hummus

Today I was craving the fresh flavors of Mediterranean fair. Hummus is a favorite healthy meal, and I love to eat it with pita bread, but couldn't find pita anywhere! You know what they say when you are an expat and you cannot find what you are craving: "make it yourself!" And boy am I glad I did- I think I like the homemade better than any I have purchased before! AND it was super easy.

Here is the Pita Bread Recipe: (As a side note, I used one cup white flour and 4 cups Organic Wheat Flour and used olive oil instead of vegetable oil)

Whole wheat pita bread is perfect for those looking to add more wheat to their diet. This recipes contains both white and wheat flour and is so simple to make!

2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.

Combine white flour, wheat flour, and salt in large bowl.

Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.

Slowly add warm yeast water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until dough becomes elastic.

Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.

Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated with oil. Allow to sit, covered, in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.

Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.

Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.

Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.

Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

Storing Pita Bread

Pita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer. Be sure to use freezer bags when storing in the freezer.

Pita bread dough can also be refrigerated for up to one week in the refrigerator.


Hummus Recipe
4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed
2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2/3 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Paprika and olive oil to garnish

1 In a food processor, combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and paprika!

This is a great base recipe for adding anything you wish to your hummus. I like to add pesto or jalepeno peppers to mine.

Serve with crackers, raw dip vegetables such as carrots or celery, or with pita bread. You can cut the pita bread into thin triangles, brush with olive oil and toast for 10 minutes in a 400°F oven to make pita chips with which to serve the hummus.
Makes about 3 cups.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lettuce Wraps

Do It Yourself Lettuce Wraps
A salad you can grab on to...
I use a variety of different vegetables and protein each time I make it.
I find it to be filling but it is not easy to eat quickly. Plus it is full of delish vegetables.
Sometimes I need a crunch so I eat it raw. Others time I like it warm so I stirfry the vegetables.

Erin inspired me to check out the TED podcasts. Here is one that I wanted to share with you by Jamie Oliver. He talks about a food revolution. The fact of the matter is that unhealthy bodies kill more people than all the other scary things we worry about.
Good motivation to keep learning more recipes and eating food that is good for us.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Basil Pesto Chicken and Veggies

My meals are going to focus on lean meats and a variety of vegetables for the next 3-5 months. I am working on eating the least amount of sugar, yeast, fungus (mushrooms), and mold (dairy) as possible because I think they are contributing to a yeast imbalance which is compromising my immune system due to an over use of antibiotics. After spring break, I’ll be going on a very strict diet for at least of month, after which will be working in a variety of food slowly into my diet. I’ll go into more details, as we get closer to that time. But I figure it doesn’t hurt to work on achieving the goals of that temporarily restrictive diet because it is healthy and it will show me that I can do it.

Artichoke hearts
Yellow Onion
Sun-dried Tomatoes
Raw Cashews
Olive Oil
Basil Based Pesto

1. Slice everything into bite size pieces.
2. Add a little olive oil to the pan
3. Add garlic for about 30 seconds, until you smell it
4. Add chicken, let cook about 2-3 minutes with garlic
5. Add eggplant, let cook about 1-2 minutes
6. Add onion, let cook about 2-3 minutes
7. Add, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, let cook about 2-3 minutes
8. Add Basil Based Pesto and Cashews, let cook for about 1-2 minutes

You may add rice or pasta to the meal or it may be served on its own.

Enjoy! Elizabeth

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Vegetables

I’ve been sick for about half this school year and the longest time I’ve gone without being sick was when we started the Cheffettes. So of course the week we take a break, I come down with bronchitis. Coincidence? I don’t think so. There is something to healthy food makes a healthy body. What has been so nice about this experience is that I didn’t force myself into it. Delicious, healthy, international cuisine has been literally delivered to me four days of the week, which has served as my largest meal of the day. It has been a joy. And I get excited to be able to deliver my love for cooking on the one day I have to deliver delicious and healthy food. I have more desire to eat and buy healthy foods because I truly desire them, not because I want to be healthier or lose weight, which are both nice side effects, but currently not the main motivation for my new shopping and eating habits. This is the only sustainable manner for me to be able to eat healthy and I’m thrilled by it. Unfortunately, I don’t think my fellow Cheffettes realized that we must always move to other schools together, because I NEED their healthy loving food!
This week I wanted to focus on high veggie content, with lean meat and lots of flavor. I wanted to see if I could deliver a meal without having to add rice or pasta (of course you can add either). I found a recipe I liked on, and had to make adjustments to what was available to me in Korean grocery stores. I’m happy with how it turned out and my apartment has the wonderful aroma of lemon and garlic.
Enjoy! - Elizabeth
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large red bell peppers, sliced
4 heads of broccoli, bite size chops
1 small package of mushrooms, sliced in four
½ yellow onion, diced
Dash of Chili pepper flakes
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
5 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 pound raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.

2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Whisk broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

5. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

6. Add the dash of chili pepper flakes and stir

7. Remove from the heat.

8. Stir in lemon juice and parsley.

9. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glass noodle salad with shrimps

After travelling to Thailand and being infatuated with Thai food, I tood a morning cooking course to learn... it was awesome!! So I tried to put my new "knowledge" into practice and I made my 1st glass noodle salad with some ingredients I brought from Bangkok.

- Glass noodles
- Shrimps
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red and green peppers
- Cashew nuts
- Celery
- Onion
- Lemon juice (it's better to use lime)
- Soy Sauce
- Fish sauce
- Sugar
- Key lime herbs
- Ginger
- Lettuce

Soak thenoodles in cold water for 1/2 hour until soft. Holding a strainer to hold the noodles, dip them into boiling for 1 min. Remove immediately into cold water to stop cooking. Drain well and set aside.
In a saucepan, with a little bit of olive oil, stir fry the onions with srimp and sredded ginger.
In a bowl, mix the glass noodles with the shrimps and all the vegetables sliced or chopped. Add lemon juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, shredded ginger, and sugar. Mix well and test until your preferred taste.
Place the salad on a bed of lettuce and sprinkle some chopped cashew nuts on top. (You can add chillies to make it spicy!)
Buen provecho!!

Maria =)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Garlic Chicken Stirfry


Busy day. Busy mind. Busy.

A stirfry is my fall-back meal. I can zone out and enjoy the simplicity of it.
For me there is something wonderful about eating it hot out of the pan.
I have cooked the chicken with garlic but the veg is left raw for you. My personal preference is to keep the vegetables on the crunchy side. As a reheated dish you don’t get the same effect.
So, everything is ready to go into the pan at home. I have included a couple of cloves of garlic. If you don’t have a garlic press, simply crush the garlic with the side of your knife blade then mince. With a small amount of olive oil, heat garlic till soft then add vegetables into the pan. Some people prefer to cook with chicken broth. Alternatives include soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, oyster sauce, or whatever you are in the mood for. You can make a sauce at home with garlic, ginger, broth and soy sauce thickened with flour or cornstarch. At home I usually flavor the dish with just garlic and salt and pepper. For a heartier meal you can serve this on top of a bed of rice.

Garlic…it is known as nature’s healing drug. The benefits are literally endless; everything from increasing the immune system to cancer prevention. As a side note, about a year and a half ago, I got an “abnormal” pap. That was really scary. I asked what I could do about it and the response was, “Nothing. Come back and have it tested again in 6 months”.
That wasn’t enough for me.
Never underestimate the power of your body and mind. I focused on increasing my immune system. But the part that I really want to share involves…GARLIC. So, if you ever get an abnormal pap (it is common) come see me and I’ll tell you what to do with the garlic! Everything was normal on my next visit :)

***Last night at yoga, Erin closed the session by reminding us to be grateful for what we have in our lives in order for new wonderful things to enter our lives. That gave me new perspective! In addition, I would like to add that in order to make room for the new, sometimes we also have to let go of the old. Simplify. The things that may have served a purpose at one time in our lives no longer benefit us. Clearing those things will also help us to appreciate what we have and then in turn invite new wonderful things!

Enjoy a delicious apple and Detox Yogi Tea (I love the mini messages on each bag.)

Simplify today.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tonight, We are Heading to Mexico! Well Tex-Mexico!

I know we went out for Mexican for Erin's birthday on Saturday, but if we can have salad's two to three times a week, I think we can handle another Tex-Mex meal almost a week later!
Tonight, I'm serving another dish I've never made before and I'm a little scared of this one, but it seems to be that way each week because I'm trying new meals on friends whom are expecting a healthy yummy meal and that can be intimidating.
I have to keep in mind that it is good to try new things and I've been doing that in two ways.
One, I've been trying meals from the other Cheffettes that I would have never made or ordered myself and with the exception of the beets in the last salad. I've LOVED everything so far. As far as the Beets are concerned. I did forced myself to eat them because Erin's vast health knowledge on the little guys made me feel guilty not eating them down.
The other I've been trying new things has been the adventure of trying to make new healthy foods I've never tried before. I'm taking food I normally love and putting a healthier spin on them and I think the more I do that, the more natural that will be come and more of a habit that will become.
So get out of Mariachi music and your sombrero hats because Shrimp Fajitas are being served tonight.

Shrimp Fajitas
30-35 medium Raw deveined Shrimp
1.5 Yellow Peppers
1 Red Peppers
1 Yellow Onion
5 cloves of Garlic
Package of Organic low sodium Taco Seasoning
4 cups Organic Mexican Flavored Rice
1.5 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 cups Hot Organic Salsa

Fruit Salad
1/2 Pineapple
package of strawberries
1 seeded pomegranate

Cook the shrimp in a wok like fry pan with a light sprinkle of olive oil and sliced garlic
Cut the onion and peppers into long strips and added to wok
Once Shrimp is pink and onion and peppers are soft, add the taco seasoning.
Cheese, Salsa, and Mexican Flavor Rice are served on the side, so whomever is eating the meal can decide what they want to add to the rest of the mixture.

Disfrute de su comida : Enjoy your food!

Recipe by Elizabeth Hickey

Roasted Tomato Soup

Living overseas can make it hard to get that easy Cambel's tomato soup fix that is so satisfying on a cold's winter night. Now that I know how easy it is to make at home, I may never need that red and white can again.


2 cans diced or whole tomatoes (use the spiced ones to add variety)
Fresh basil
sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 small carrot, peeled
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 cups water or milk
2 TBLSP tomato paste

On a large cake pan, spread the tomatoes from the can, reserving the juice for the stock pot. Sprinkle with 1 TBLSP olive oil, salt, and ground pepper. Dice garlic over tomatoes. Raost in oven set to 400 F for until carmelize, stirring occasionally to avoid blackening. In stock pot, carmelize onions with remaining olive oil. Add diced carrot, bay leaf, and water. Add roasted tomatoes and tomato paste to the mix and boil for about 5 minutes. Add fresh basil. Remove from heat and blend the mixture in a blender until smooth.

Enjoy served with fresh shaved parmesan or your your favorite grilled cheese. So great for cold evening!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage and Roasted Beet Salad with A Trip Down Memory Lane

My birthday is often a time of nostalgic rendezvous into the past; a time when I wish to acknowledge those who have contributed so much to my life and made me who I am. This year, newly involved wih the food swap that gives me an opportunity to cook for others, I had the opportunity to reflect on my love of cooking and the people who helped to make it what it is. Looking back over my 35 years, I realize that my affinity for "kitchen time" exists for many, many reasons.

I love the quest for a perfect recipe- one that makes you salivate and giggle with glee just anticipating the flavor explosion that will happen if you follow the recipe properly. I love experimenting with flavors and textures, trying to satisfy a random craving. The rhythm created with the rocking knife blade as I dice and slice, the delicate shifting of my wrist that comes with pot stirring, and the shuffle from chopping block to stove is like a sacred dance meant to serve as a form of communication, or a tribal ritual. I love the quiet time, when I slip into some sort of Dervish trance. Cooking, on many levels, turns into a religious experience.

Some people step into a church to pray, others a temple. I step into the kitchen. The origin of my worship practice isn't hard to track down. My mother was always creating amazing 7 course meals, complete with home made bread, savory main courses like Beef burgundy, and desserts that could make anyone feel closer to heaven with just one bite. My Aunt made tea parties and baking a staple part of our many interactions, so much so that I cannot think of her without an olfactory recall of blueberry pie baking in the oven. My greatest memories center around food- those amazing moments when your nearest and dearest are gathered around a table, enjoying a meal together, laughing and emptying bottles of wine for hours on end. These memories of breaking bread together are vast, but when I think of the first time I recall knowing that sharing a meal together was a sacred act was on one of my many summertime visits with Grandpa George, my mother's step father.

Gramps was a dashingly handsome man, with a sort of brat pack air about him. He loved big band jazz and cold beer, and using words like "Broad," "Doll Face," and "Sweet Heart." He also loved taking me, his "girlfriend" on dates to the restauarant of my choice where he inquired about my life's ambitions and gave me lessons on troublesome boys over scrumptious meals. Gramps also loved cooking up a "small snack" in honor of my summertime visits. These daily "snacks" started with breakfast: eggs in a basket, bacon, fresh juice, ham, pancakes- all in one meal. Then came lunch: Chicken Paprikash that simmered all morning, Johny Marzetti and vegetable soup with fresh made biscuits. And then there was dinner. Heavenly roasted turkeys, smoked hams, baked beans, stuffed cabbages, and slow cooked fresh green beans. Dessert was homemade baklava and chocolate cakes. If we ever had a meal with just one dish, I don't recall it. Of course, Gramps knew that a good dish begins with the right ingredients.

Going to the grocery store was a twice, sometimes thrice, daily excursion. He taught me the importance of taking your time when selecting your goods, and the proper path to follow when in the store. You have to be willing to go to the specialty shops if you want the best cuts of meat, freshest produce and homemade pastas. Don't buy packaged bread, get it from the bakery. Always get fresh sliced cheese from the deli, and produce from the farmers market. Just as much as he was a stickler for shopping protocol, Gramps steadfastly believed in proper table protocol.

The table must be properly set, and you must sit properly when at it. Nonfood related items, such as handbags, hair brushes, and toys, had no business near the table top. And you never, ever, say "yuck" to food. It is a standing order that you try everything at least three times before you can say you don't prefer it. One thing was clear about this statuesque man: sharing a meal was sharing love, and the table was the sacred alter where it was offered out. Even after he lost the ability to taste and swallowing became a challenge from throat cancer, Gramps cooked up his traditional buffet anytime we came to visit.

As I was trying to decide what to cook for my newest friendship circle this weekend, I felt the need to draw inspiration from family and friends who have made my life experiences so spectacular. This birthday weekend dish is made up to honor my Gramps, the man who taught me that sharing a meal with friends is the greatest way to say thank you, I love you, and I hold you dear. It is also a dish that pays homage to the wonderful friends who often joined together at a fabulous Greek restaurant in Philadelphia to celebrate birthdays and Wednesdays. Effies served the finest stuffed cabbage you will ever have, next to Grandpa George's that is!

Hope you enjoy!

Warning this is a bit of a time consuming meal that goes with my lengthy introduction!

Roasted Beet salad In Citrus Vinaigrette

1-2 medium sized red beets, carefully washed
Tblsp Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Handful of Pistachios and almonds
Reggiano Parmesan Cheese
Fresh micro greens and arugula

After washing the beets and drying them, coat the skin with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap in foil. Place in a preheated 400 degree F oven. Roast beets for about 90 minutes, or until they are soft. Remove from oven and rinse with cold water. Peel off outer layer. When cooled, thick julienne the beets. Add to bed of greens, top with shavings of Reggiano, diced almonds and pistachios.

3 Tblsp. grape seed oil
1/2Tblsp orange juice
1/2 fresh squeezed lemon or lime
1/2 Tblsp. grainy dijon mustard with whole seed
1/2 Tblsp honey
dash of sea slat and fresh ground pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and serve over salad

Stuffed Cabbage:

1 1/2 pounds chopmeat (I used Lamb)
1/2 cup slightly cooked rice (I used the Korean packaged rice)
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon finely chopped or crushed fresh garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups plain tomato sauce (I used two cans diced tomatoes tomatoes & 2 Tblsp. tomato paste)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 Tblsp OJ, or you can use 1/2 diced up orange
2/3 lemon, chopped with peel into 1/2-inch pieces; remove pits
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tblsp brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 large lightweight young green cabbage
. You'll need 4 cups (if you don't have enough, supplement with leftovers from the large cabbage).


1. In a large bowl, combine all the stuffing ingredients. Stir them with a fork, then mix thoroughly with your hands. Cover and refrigerate.

2. In another bowl, thoroughly mix all sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.

3. Fill a very large stockpot three-quarters full with water and bring to a rapid boil. While bringing the water to a boil, use a thin, sharp knife to make deep cuts around the core of the large cabbage (cut into the cabbage in a circle about 1/4 inch out from the core). Lift out the core, making a hole about 2 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches deep. This is a bit difficult — persevere.

4. Set out a baking tray neat the stove. Stick a long cooking fork into the core hole of the large cabbage, and plunge it (carefully, so you don't splash yourself) into the pot of rapidly boiling water. The outer leaves will begin to fall off. Leave them in the boiling water for a few minutes until they're limp and flexible enough for stuffing; then take them out one at a time, and place them on the baking tray. Try not to tear the leaves. When all the leaves are on the tray, transfer it into the sink and pour the boiling water from the pot over them. Wash the leaves carefully in cold water. With a small, sharp knife, trim off the tough outer spines and discard them.

5. Find your largest leaves, and set them out on a plate. Set out all other leaves on another plate. One at a time, line each large leaf with another large leaf or two smaller leaves. (The idea is to strengthen your cabbage wrapping so that the stuffing stays securely inside during cooking. Be sure to align the spines of inner and outer leaves.) Stuff with 3/4 cup of the meat-rice mixture, roll very tightly along the spine, and close both sides by tucking them in with your fingers. The spine should be vertical in the center of tour roll.

6. Stir the 4 cups of chopped cabbage into the sauce. Pour 3/4 inch of the sauce into a large, wide-bottomed stockpot. Arrange the cabbage rolls carefully on top of the sauce, and pour the remainder of the sauce over them to cover. Cover pot and simmer for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes and a vegetable.

This recipe is variation of the recipe found here:

Hope you enjoy!



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Colourful Salad Love

There can never be too many salads! While they may not require the cooking, they still require purchasing fresh vegetables, washing and preparing them. On the days where it is easier to grab whatever is convenient, it is nice to have something beautiful and fresh handy.
With this one I also included grilled chicken in pesto sauce for variation.

Nutrition by COLOUR:
Yellow and Orange - vitamin C, Beta Carotine
Red - Cancer figher; heart-happy
Purple/Blue - Digestion; fiber
Green - iron; immune
White - immune; hormone balance

I am also in love with dates <3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spicy Stuffed Eggplant

I was REALLY nervous about this one because I've never made this before. Actually, I totally made up the recipe between a couple that looked good online. I also have never cooked eggplant before, so the whole experience was a wonderful adventure. I also have to admit that since I've moved to South Korea I haven't bought measuring spoons or cups, so my measurements are good guesses! I know Julia wouldn't approve of that, but so far, it has worked for me.

Ingredients: (Servings 5)

5 medium sized eggplants
1/2 red pepper (finely chopped)
1/2 yellow pepper (finely chopped)
1/2 yellow onion (finely chopped)
8-10 sliced grape tomatoes
4-5 finely slice cloves of garlic
4-5 bread sticks (I couldn't find bread crumbs, so I made my own)
1 cup of shredded gruyere cheese
5 small slices of gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of Parsley
1-1.5 tablespoons of Chili Pepper Flakes
Sprinkling of Salt, Basil, Black Pepper, Oregano
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Preheat oven at 350
Slice the Eggplants in half and cut out the center to make room for the stuffing.
I threw out the inside because of the amount of ingredients I was going to add to the inside, but if you purchased large eggplants, you may have room to keep some of the eggplant for the stuffing.
Line the surface of the baking pan with a light layer of olive oil and placed the eggplant shells inside (cut out side facing up)
Lightly salt the inside of the eggplant

After slicing the onion and garlic, heat together in a frying pan with olive oil until tender. (If you kept some eggplant, you'll also place this in the frying pan)
In another bowl, combine, 1 cup gruyere cheese, .5 cup parmesan cheese, 2-3 crumbled bread sticks, parsley, chili pepper flakes, red and yellow peppers. Mix well.
Once the onion and garlic is tender, you may add that combination to the bowl.
Again, mix well.

Stuff eggplants with the contents of the bowl.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Change oven to Broil
Combine the rest of the parmesan cheese, 1 crumbled breadstick, sprinkle of salt, black pepper, oregano, and basil into a small bowl.
Sprinkle the combination on top of the baked stuffed eggplant
Layer tomato slices nicely in a line on top of each stuffed eggplant
Place three small slices of gruyere cheese evenly over each piece of eggplant.
Broil until cheese has melted

You are now ready to serve!

Recipe done by: Elizabeth Hickey

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seasoned Baked Chicken with Cowboy Caviar

Seasoned Baked Chicken:
1-2 cups of white rice
4-6 Chicken breasts
Sprinkle of Garlic and Herb seasoning
Brushing of Olive Oil
Cowboy Caviar:
1-2 red peppers
1-2 yellow peppers
1-2 green peppers
1 yellow onion
1 red onion
1-2 avocadoes
1 can of black beans
1 tablespoon of Sea Salt
1 small bottle of low fat Italian Dressing
Preheat oven at 400. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle each with a garlic/herb seasoning. Place in oven for 40 minutes.
While chicken is cooking you’ll cut all the peppers, onions, into small cube cuts. You will also want to cut the avocadoes in this manner, it keeps them green long and the caviar more appealing. Place the black beans into a strainer and rise before adding to the bowl. Once everything is in the bowl, add the Sea Salt and low fat Italian Dressing. Stir. Place in refrigerator until the Chicken is done.
Cook rice.
Once the chicken is done you can strain our some of the Italian Dressing or leave it, depending on how the juices have collected on the bottom. Slice the chicken into strips and place over a small bed of rice. Generously place the Cowboy Caviar over the Chicken Strips.
If you have left over Cowboy Caviar, the mix is also great with tortilla chips.
Cook Time: 40 min Total Time: 60 minutes
By: Elizabeth Hickey

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lemon Salmon/Medley and... Chai Tea!

Cooking for five! Wow, I really haven't done much of this. When I think about preparing food for many people, I think of the gatherings my family had where there was always an abundance of food. And on the opposite end, I have cooked for myself (and Jerry) for many years, making dishes for one or two. It is different, and wonderful to create for others to enjoy.
On the weekend I found a beautiful piece of salmon. I bought it with the intent to freeze most of it for another day. But when I opened my fridge on Monday evening, I saw it there and thought about my four lovely ladies. Although salmon is considered a fatty fish, it contains omega 3-fatty acids which help prevent future illnesses, boosts brain function and keeps our moods balanced. While I am trying to eat more vegetables and have a lower carb diet, I am not eliminating carbohydrates. :) I hope that once in a while it is ok for everybody too. To compliment the fish I made a grain dish with broccoli, carrots and green squash.

Home Made Chai Tea
Oh, how I love chai tea!
I love it even more when I can make it for myself. My house smells wonderful and I feel beautiful.
I was inspired this past Christmas when I spent some time with Jerry's sister in Nigeria. The season is called Harmattan and it is dry and dusty. We both had a sore throat. Her solution was to boil a pot of ginger tea. It did wonders for both of us!

Here are the directions for making your own chai tea:
-Boil at least 2 1/2 cups of water (I often make a double batch though :)
-Peel and grate fresh ginger. Reduce the water to a simmer and add ginger.
-Add cinnamon bark, cloves, and cardamon. Remember to take the seeds out of the pods.
-(For variety, you could also add a few black peppercorn, nutmeg or a star anise.)
-Allow the flavors to combine. As the water reduces, the flavors enhance.
-Steep a tea bag, discarding before it turns bitter. You can choose green, black, or red (rooibos).
-When you are ready to drink it you can sweeten it with honey, sugar or a natural sweetener like Stevia. In addition you can add soy milk or half a squeezed lemon. For variety, try it cold by pouring it over crushed ice.

Health Benefits:
*ginger-promotes energy circulation and digestion, as well as a remedy for colds
*Cinnamon-boosts brain and controls blood sugar
*cloves-a natural antiseptic and aphrodisiac :)
*cardamon-stimulates mind and heart creating joy
*rooibos-soothing and full of anti-oxidants

And the combination is sweet and loving.


Mixed Greens Salad and Raw "Cookie"

I made a big green salad with a variety of lettuce, spinach, and sprouts. I chopped, sliced and diced carrots, zucchini, and peppers. I grilled chicken and sprinkled dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. I dressed my own with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yummy!

Raw "Cookie": In the search for better health, I became interested in incorporating more raw foods into my diet. Raw foods have been linked to numerous benefits including increased energy and better digestion as well as improving the immune system and weight loss/management.

In my food processor/blender attachment, I combined raisins, dried cranberries, almonds and pumpkin seeds. After, I rolled portions into balls and pressed them to make "cookies". On top I placed a square of delicious dark chocolate, given to me by Natasha.

Alternatives: You could use any sticky dried fruit (ie. dates), any seeds (ie. sunflower), any nuts (ie. walnuts). As a topper you could put sliced fruit like fresh apples. You could even make an open-faced "ice-cream" sandwich by mashing and freezing bananas then spooning them on top.

I've seen many health bars that have similar ingredients, but I think this is better because there are no preservatives and it is more cost effective. And, the best of all, the main ingredient is...LOVE! <3

Happy Raw Day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Roasted Winter Squash with Salad in a Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette


3 medium sized pumpkin squash, also called winter squash
1 medium onion'
1 TBLSP. "Better than Boulion" chicken stock puree
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
2 TBLSP. olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. nutmeg
Yellow curry to taste
5-6 cups water, depending on preferred consistency

Place squash on a large cookie sheet and roast on low heat for 20-30 minutes, until soft- you can also microwave for about 10 minutes, stopping half way through and turning the squash over. When the squash is very soft, cut through center and remove seed. (You can roast these if you are up to cleaning them!) Scoop out the squash meat from the shell. It should be soft- if not, it will need to roast longer.

While squash cooks, sautee onion and garlic with olive oil in a large soup pot.
Add squash to pot
Add 1/2 water, chicken stock, and bay leaf
Bring to a full boil, and reduce heat
Add all other seasonings EXCEPT curry
Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes
Remove bay leaf
Add soup to blender- careful not to over-fill. Blend in batches if necessary, separating the blended from the stock. You may need to add some water to the blender if soup is too thick.
Put all blended soups back in the soup pot
Add curry to taste

Allow soup to cool fully before closing in storeage containers.

Soup is best when served the next day.

Sundried Tomato vinaigrette:

2 halves of a Sundried Tomato
2 TBLSP. Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBLSP. water
3 TBLSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Ground pepper
1 tsp. Dijon grainy mustard
1 tsp honey

Boil sundried tomato in shallow water for 3-4 minutes; drain
Place tomato in small food pocessor with balsamic vinegar, water, mustard, pepper, and honey: blend until a rough puree
Add Olive Oil; blend until smooth

Serve on your favorite salad greens- excellent with feta!

The Beginning

We are the five lady chefs, all teaching together at a small International school in South Korea. Though we are all very different in nature, we share some things in common: we are health conscience food lovers who are always looking to improve ourselves whilst embarking upon new adventures. A brief look at how we spent our Christmas vacation illustrates our adventerous natures: Thailand, Cambodia, Nigeria and Wisconsin welcomed at least one amongst us (Thailand claimed more!) as we sought a little R&R.

At the turn of the new year and the start of a second school semester, Cheffette Natalie suggested that we start a "food swap." She had done this before with someone else, and really enjoyed the variety of healthy food and ease of an occasional meal delivered by a friend. It works like this: one day you cook for someone else, and then on another day they cook for you. I think she was a bit surprised when all four of us replied with a resounding "YES!" She asked that we all give a preferred day to cook along with any allergies or dietary restrictions. Responses came in with the over-all result showing that we all preferred healthy, low carb options with no pork and limited dairy. Deciding that we should test out cooking for the large group of five, we were all assigned a day to play the role of chef. We would evaluate the success at the end of the week and adjsut accordingly.

Week one turned out to be incredible! We all found that cooking for five made it easier to prepare some of those dishes that we wouldn't want to prepare for just one, and we had a healthy meal ready for us after a long day of work. Coming from a wide array of regions throughout the world, we have varied palates and vast knowledge of world foods, making our evening meals something of a gastronomical foray into another culture. Erin started the week off with roasted squash soup served with a baby greens andfeta salad drizzled with sundried tomato vinaigrette. Natasha shared an amazing avocado, peppers, and mixed greens/spinach salad with feta cheese followed up with chocolate covered dates stuffed with walnuts from Russia. To the table Maria brought a Thai influenced dish of glass noodles with shrimp and cashew nuts for the main course and Spanish olives with cheese to follow. A little Spanish explosion of cherry sweetness finished off her meal. Elizabeth treated us to an incredible grilled chicken topped with the all American "cowboy cavier, " the avocado, beans, and yellow peppers marinated in low-fat Italian dressing made this dish a staple item for the meal exchange program! Natalie tossed together a delightful harvest salad filled with dried berries, sunflower seeds and roasted turkey. Her dish was complemented by the exquisite blend of berries and dark chocolate in the "raw cookie" dessert that closed the meal.

Natalie sent out a follow-up email: "Was it a success? Do we want to continue?" Five exclamations of YES brought us into week two. Maria suggested that we start a Google doc to share recipes, and from that suggestion, the blog idea was born. Here you will find recipes, reflections, and anecdotes that narrate our journeys into our cupboards, where we pull out healthy ingredients, lovingly mixing them together to nurture our friends, strengthening our friendships.

We hope you enjoy some of the recipes we share, and that you will feel inspired to start a cooking circle of your own. Open that cupboard and share what's inside; you never know what will follow!

Bon Appetit!