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