Friday, April 3, 2009

Huevos Rancheros

Creating a delicious meal that satisfies both your nutrition needs and your taste buds is not that difficult. For instance if one was to have a few organic brown eggs sitting around and some triple washed spinach from Sam's club or Costco, one might have the back bone of just such a meal. Say you ,who have now ascertained that you do indeed have the afore mentioned ingredients, were to locate a jar of homemade black beans ( or canned) and a couple of avocados begging to become guacamole. From this point you would be mostly there. So, set about getting out your skillet and pouring your beans into a pan to warm. There now, don't you feel encouraged now, dinner is almost completed and you have just begun. Wilt a skillet full of vitamin rich spinach and dress with a smidge of olive oil, grey salt and lemon and create a nest of the same on your plate. Now, carefully ladle your warm black beans into the center of the nest and begin frying your eggs. One or two, which every you choose will do nicely. Hopefully by now, you or someone close to you has mashed those lovely, creamy avocados, with a bit of micro-planed garlic,lemon, grey salt and crystal sauce, this will sit nicely atop those eggs. Since the eggs take only a few moments you are , I am sure , ready to perch them atop the glistening bed of black beans.

PUT DOWN THAT FORK! Really...Do have some control. We are close, so lets finish this off to perfection! Sprinkle no more than a tablespoon full of raw cheddar cheese across those steaming eggs and spread your newly made guacamole across the top of that. Whew! See there, you have neither starved to death nor been forced to continue your rapidly developing friendship with the drive-through attendant at that horrid fast food place down the road. Oh yes, add a bit of fresh salsa to the top of the whole shebang and your taste buds will thank you. So, go on now, don't stand on ceremony. Dig in and thank me later...

Little Known Facts Regarding Strawberries

You may be thinking, What is there to say about the strawberry that hasn't been visited and re-visited in every publication everywhere I look! You may be right, as we are just getting to the end of strawberry season. Ah...but I think there are some little known facts about the mighty strawberry that has been overlooked to often and just maybe some new ideas that will serve you well in the very near future.
To start with the strawberry has been delighting the young and old for well over 2000 years. In the 1714 a french engineer sent to Chile and Peru to monitor the Spanish observed that the strawberries growing in the area where much bigger that the European varieties. With a bad case of strawberry envy, he decided to bring a few plants back to France in the hope of improving the french variety. This plan was a dismal failure until the Chilean strawberry met a North American strawberry and from this destined meet came a sweet, juicy offspring which became the rave of Europe. Whether the American strawberry had been visiting, on a student visa or newly transplanted is unclear. All that aside what we know is love bloomed and the union produced a large fruit that spent much time entertaining royalty and dignitaries until the railroads finally superseded ox cart and shipping made it possible for the masses to partake.
That is just fascinating! you say, but what has this to do with me? Well...frankly not much. However you may be able to find a way to work it into dinner conversation or over a cocktail with friends. The occasion I leave in your very capable hands.
Nutritionally Strawberries are brimming with vitamin c and k,enzymes and flavonoids. They are also a good source of vitamin b1, pantothenic acid, folic acid, manganese and iodine. There is next to no fat and very little sugar and all of it is natural sugar. The Strawberries' vibrant color is due to its anthocyanidin content which in turn makes it a valuable protector against cancer, heart disease and inflammation. If you have allergies to strawberries it is best to just walk away no matter what the purported benefits are.
Enjoy this heroic fruit in smoothies or fresh juices, on wholegrain french toast or straight from the plant. Search your local farmers market and U-Pick strawberry farms for the sweetest picks. The children love to harvest these little gems themselves and in most cases eating on the job is encouraged. If the strawberries make it home make sure to store in the refrigerator immediately and eat with in two days. You can rinse them cut there little tops off and freeze them for longer storage or to add to your smoothies. A final warning, what ever you do, DO NOT leave berries sitting out they will get furry very quickly!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marathon Part Two ...

Perhaps you are haunted still ,by the image of a weary Pheidippides crumbling to the earth after proclaiming victory for the Greeks in a history forming battle against the Persian empire. Do you wake from your afternoon nap smug in the satisfaction of having chosen wisely to nap when being tempted to train for your local charity marathon. Heaven forbid some of you have come with in a hairs breadth of climbing onto a treadmill instead of having an afternoon tea and a quick flip through your recently received subscription of Health, Fitness or Natural Healing.
Well...Sigh... I did it...I stepped outside the proverbial box this past Saturday and with heavy steps and beating heart ( and all that before the race began) I signed in along with most of my family to run in the 5k at our very own Smokin Blues and Barbecue challenge. Pheidippides dismal fate weighed heavily on my mind and by the time I finally made it to the starting line I had decided that since the cultural fate of the world was not resting on my shoulders, I would start with the one mile run...This turned out to be a wise choice. If the fate of culture had been balanced precariously on my shoulders there would be far fewer museums in existence and we all might be speaking Persian (?). Nevertheless... I ran. Mostly because the police car behind me might well have rolled right over the top of me had I not, still...I ran...and I finished. My darling son came in first in the 5k and my brave husband and two of my daughters ran and got awards. I feeling victorious to have run and lived to eat barbecue afterwards... nutrition aside for the weekend. I earned every savory bite! Maybe next time I'll run two miles...LOL... Or maybe I'll cheer the real runners from the safety of the sidelines. (less chance of being rundown by the police escort) However, I will probably still need some cute running shoes...

It was a dark and stormy night...

Jacmel Inn...Even the name seems cloaked in mystery and romance. Borrowing it's name from the creole-Italian Pirate befriended by Haitian natives, more than 200 years ago. This is where my darling Husband ,of twenty years, invited me to dine with him for our anniversary. Who was I to say no to such a lovely invitation and besides I had eaten their once before and it was amazing. It was a dark and stormy night which saw us heading two blocks from our humble abode to the moss covered brick steps of an historic old house turned restaurant called Jacamel. over a hundred years old it sits shrouded by lichen draped oaks with large twisted arms and vines which crawled around the house and attempted to find entrance though the many paned window looking out over wild gardens. Just the ambiance alone is worth the visit. After being seated at a small table for two on a converted porch long ago windowed in against the elements, we were brought hot bread and butter and a small tasting of white bean salad. The wooden ceilings glowed richly in the dim lighting and made all of us look at least the age we envision ourselves to be. My handsome dinner date ordered us our meals and a glass of red wine and we chatted about ...well everything and anything we wanted to. My seared yellow fin swimming in a jerk mango salsa and accompanied by herb seasoned and roasted fingerling potatoes, just about sang with each bite. Tall, dark and handsome across from me was just about moved to manly tears by his porterhouse steak and baked potato. Each meal was preceded by a salad of your choice which was both fresh and delicious with just a hint of horseradish. After stuffing ourselves to the point of comfortable laziness we shared our first desert in...well i don't remember the last one. A beautifully executed strawberry napoleon. Our undying gratitude to the chef who made our evening so Delicious. While we didn't outlast the storm, My hero braved the lightening and rain to pull my coach up the curved driveway and help me into my seat. I suggest that you all reserve a table at Jacmel at the first sign of a special occasion...Don't bother waiting twenty years for this amazing experience.
Jacmel Inn:
903 E Morris St.
Hammond, La 70403
Ph# 985-542-0043

Barbeque in the Deep South

Barbecue in the South, need I say more...
You didn't really think you where getting off that easy did you? This past weekend was the annual Smokin Blues and Barbecue competition held in the quaint and historical town of Hammond, Louisiana. Saturday morning as we laced up our running shoes to participate in the 5k run for charity that starts off the day ( more on this in another blog) the heady aroma of barbecue wafted around us enticingly. running parallel to the train tracks and through the center of town, tents, motor homes and giant trucks formed makeshift cook sites. Smokers and barbeque's, some equal in size to a mack truck and others as humble as a Weber, graced each competitors site. Giant professionally printed banners and hand written poster board signs hung side by side. Seasoned veteran competitors and first timers, alike filled their que's with aged hard wood and coals and created magic with fire and meat. Some cooked carefully seasoned chicken and others smoked beef and pork for long hours until perfect tenderness was achieved and than add homemade secret barbecue sauces that would send a grown man to his knees in grateful tears. All of these festivities where wrapped warmly in the sounds of live blues played on a center stage. for two days the town hosted an enormous delicious party that would make the most experienced hostess flush in envy, as every party goer left with a satisfied grin and a slightly larger waist line than when they arrived. All in all it was a raging success. which is no more than should be expected of an area of the country that takes small breaks in between celebrating, everything and anything, just long enough to rest up for the next event...
I'm just not sure I have the stamina to keep up with the laid back South!