Friday, April 27, 2007

Too Pretty to Eat

A definite factor in Chicago's culinary prowess is Alinea. While I certainly want to dine there some day, in the meantime I want framed prints from the website's food gallery!

These images are quite stunning and look very tasty. My personal favorite is the bacon trapeze-like shot.


Wow. Wow. Wow.

You Are What You Grow

This fascinating article was printed in the New York Times magazine on April 22, 2007. Written by Michelle Pollan of University of California, Berkley, it addresses the farm bill that is up for reconsideration this year and its immense impact on not only the American food industry, but the world's. She poignantly explains:

A public-health researcher from Mars might legitimately wonder why a nation faced with what its surgeon general has called “an epidemic” of obesity would at the same time be in the business of subsidizing the production of high-fructose corn syrup. But such is the perversity of the farm bill: the nation’s agricultural policies operate at cross-purposes with its public-health objectives.

Read the entire article here.

To Make Our Lives Easier-Envirosax Bags

I am sure many of you have been in a situation where you are walking out to your car after shopping at the grocery store with several plastic bags in your hands and .....OH NO! One breaks and all your food spills out. I know it has happened to me and not only is it embarrassing but it's annoying. Or what about the collection of plastic bags you have left over after you put all your groceries away? It's a waste to throw them all away, but seriously, what are you going to do with them?
That is where the new and creative invention of Envirosax bags come in handy. As stated on the website, "Envirosax bags provide an exclusive range of eco friendly reusable shopping bags, while introducing an exciting new medium for the message of environmental sustainability." These inexpensive, colorful, and stylish bags will only cost you $6.50 each! So what are you waiting for? For tips on living and eating Green, check out our Eco-Friendly Living section of the site!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pimp Our Website

If the editorial team here at had blue and yellow celebratory cigars, we would smoke them. And well, if we liked smoking cigars. The point is it's time to celebrate; the new Recipe4Living is now up and running, and we couldn't be prouder!! Maybe we're biased, but we think it's really quite pretty. New community features will be added in the next couple of weeks. These include:

User Profiles
Commenting on all Recipes and Articles
Your Own Recipe Box
Shopping List
Nutritional Calculator
And More!

Most importantly, we want to know what our dedicated readers and first-time visitors think about our new look and what they would like to see us bring to We will cherish every suggestion!

Click here to take our short survey!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Diner-esque Noodles

I refuse to stop talking about noodles. That's right; I must express my love. But let me set some background at least. Awhile back, I was wandering around a new section of Greenwich Village after discovering that my building did not, in fact, house a hidden laundry room that I was simply having trouble finding. Without a proper laundry bag, I was unabashedly wandering around the city, totting my gigantic suitcase on wheels. On my way to the self-proclaimed "Chinese Laundry," (not really a requirement I would demand), I passed Grey Dog Coffee Shop (famous "Jesus-worthy" cookies), the Non-Imperialist Book Shop (extensive collection of Bob Dylan lit.), and the unassuming, almost plain-fronted Noodle Bar.

The inside of Noodle Bar is small with a wrap-around diner-style counter and a couple tables, which expand out to open doors when the weather is pleasant. While you munch away, you can watch the spectacle as chefs battle blue-flamed woks. Creative sections of the menu advertise small tapas-like plates (Kimchee Pancakes), cold noodles (Teriyaki Salmon Soba), wok noodles (Pad Thai), and broth noodles (Tom Yum Bouillabaisse). You can order from an extensive variety of teas with your meal or have a juice box. Flavors include lychee, pineapple, and mango. Best of all, the food is very reasonable, $7-10 for a substantial dish.

Unpretentious yet creative, flavorful, and packed with fresh ingredients, Noodle Bar is basically an ideal restaurant for a single diner like me. I had the Bee Hong Goreng, rice vermicelli with egg, bean sprouts, snow peas, and more, alongside a slew of other diners popping in for a quick meal. Check it out:

Noodle Bar
26 Carmine St.
New York, NY 10014

Here are some of my favorite recipes for noodle-tastic, Asian-inspired meals:

Cold Sesame Noodles

Hot and Sour Shrimp Lo Mein

Mandarin Noodles with Sauteed Tenderloin and Vegetables

Pad Thai

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Blocking Chop

Translation: The Chopping Block. Except, after "tasting" seven bottles of wine, it became the Blocking Chop. For my birthday, R got us a wine tasting class at The Chopping Block called "The Wine Goddess Presents: Six White Wines You Should Know." I had heard fantastic things about The Chopping Block's cooking classes, but the idea of going wine tasting and actually learning how to pick wine in the future (instead of defaulting to Yellow Tail Chardonnay) was very exciting to me.

There are two locations in Chicago, one in the Merchandise Mart and one in Lincoln Square. Our class was at the Lincoln Square location at the bar-height chopping block table near the storefront. When we arrived - and were affixed with name tags and seated in front of a spread of goat cheese, crusty bread, meats and cheeses - The Wine Goddess (aka Diana Hamann) informed us that we would be tasting and learning about not six, but seven white wines that evening.

Surprisingly, I was able to absorb a decent amount of information as the evening went on. I took copious notes to make sure I would remember the differences between oaked and not oaked wine and the little-known facts about the Riesling grape. I also became an active participant in the discussion somewhere around glass number three and found I had opinions about everything we tasted! It should be noted that many people did not "down" all seven glasses of wine, but instead, simply and politely swished the fermented liquid around the "four corners of their mouths" as instructed and then poured out the rest. I opted to fully appreciate each glass.

In the end, I learned that Pinot Grigio isn't always super-dry, that Riesling isn't always super-sweet and that Chardonnay is the boring American's wine of choice, simply because it seems to go with everything and no one knows any better. It was an all-around fantastic birthday present and I really enjoyed experiencing the effects of a truly great wine pairing.

If you're in the Chicago area, I highly recommend taking a class. It's a small, intimate setting that is as un-intimidating as you can get. If you're not in the Chicago area, check out Recipe4Living's guide to wine pairing and start your own tasting at home.

Note: The Wine Goddess is an adorably enthusiastic wine connoisseur whose casual demeanor put us at ease, yet allowed her expertise and knowledge of wine to shine through. However, she is currently out on maternity leave. She has arranged a Sommelier Series of classes featuring sommeliers from some of the most famous restaurants in Chicago. See The Chopping Block Calendar for details.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Signs Of Spring At The Grocery Store

Sundays are my day to go to the grocery store and I must admit it is one of my favorite things to do! For some reason, I get the same joy and excitement out of grocery shopping as I would actually shopping for clothes. Don't deny it, I know some of you out there are just like me!

So, last Sunday was a fantastic day of shopping for me because my favorite springtime fresh veggie was in the produce section: Sweet-Corn on the Cob! I will be eating one of these sweet and crunchy veggies at least twice a week now and I am so excited to try cooking, grilling and seasoning it all different ways!

Before I became an Editor for Recipe4Living, I never really thought of any other ways to flavor corn on the cob. My way of making it was just to throw a couple ears of corn in a pot with water and put the stove burner on high and leave them alone for 20 minutes. Sometimes if I felt like it, I would add a packet of Splenda in the boiling water so it would sweeten up the corn even more. After the 20 minutes were up, I would take the corn on the cob out and just coat with butter and salt. But now, after reading what some of our loyal readers sent in, I have realized that my corn on the cob is boring. So this weekend I am going to start using other recipes we have on the site, and the Italian-Style Grilled Corn on the Cob is perfect because on Saturday I am having a bunch of friends over for a BBQ!


4 ears fresh sweet corn, in husks
3 to 4 Tbs. olive oil or melted butter
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper


Soak corn in cold water for 30 minutes; drain. Meanwhile combine oil, oregano, and parsley; set aside. Pull back husks on each ear of corn, leaving husks attached at base. Remove corn silk. Brush corn with seasoned oil. Fold husks back around corn; tie at top with string or strip of corn husk. Place corn in center of cooking grate. Grill 12 to 14 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Carefully remove husks. Sprinkle corn with cheese; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Here are some more wonderful recipes our loyal readers sent to us:
Best-Ever Corn on the Cob
Corn on the Cob with Cheese and Lime
Corn on the Cob with Garlic-Chives Butter
Fresh Roast Corn on the Cob
Barbecued Corn On The Cob
Fresh Roast Corn on the Cob
Honey Corn on the Cob

Have a great weekend and I hope all of you are as lucky as we are here with this amazing weather!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chocolate Covered What Now!?

Oh America, we've had a hard week. With a full heart for those affected by the tragedy of Virginia Tech, I returned today to the purpose of this blog. But, I admit I sat at the computer for quite some time at a loss for what deliciousness to share with our readers this time. The proper answer, so perfectly comforting it's almost hard to believe, came from a wonderful coworker passing by my desk. The absolute perfect food for such a week is chocolate-covered potato chips.

Can you argue with these scrumptious babies from Neuchatel Chocolates? I think not. I had no idea they existed before today, but I assure you I will cherish them forever after. The chocolate is rich, imported Swiss chocolate, and not overly sweet. The potato chips are thick and salty, and the ridges were a logical choice (more surface area to cover with chocolate). The pairing of chocolate with salt has been rather trendy lately and these Swiss Chips demonstrate how well the combination actually works. Here are some great articles on the salty chocolate craze:

Salty Chocolate
Sui Mai Salty Chocolate
The Rise of the Salt Tooth

I did some exploring at and found that one of our wonderful readers discovered the fun of salty chocolate in her own quirky recipe (with potato chips to boot). Enjoy and be comforted.

Potato Chip Brownies

This unlikely dessert ingredient adds a subtle salt element and a bit of fun crunch.


1 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 C. butter
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs, well beaten
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. potato chips, crushed


Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Melt butter and chocolate. Beat eggs well and add sugar gradually, beating well. Add the chocolate mix and vanilla to eggs and blend. Add flour and mix well. Add potato chips. Bake in lightly greased 8-inch square pan in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. While warm, cut into squares.

Yield: 12 brownies

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Our Hearts Go Out

After the horrifying circumstances of yesterday's tragedy at Virginia Tech, it seems inappropriate to ramble and rant about the merits of the cantaloupe or the fantastic-ness of the avocado. Today I'd like to keep is short and simple to honor those who are mourning. All of us at Recipe4Living have the students, faculties and families of the Virginia Tech victims in our thoughts.

In times of loss and tragedy, it can be difficult to know what you can do. Click here to donate to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund that will help victims' family and friends begin to cope and process these horrific events.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Put A Smile On Your Face With Fresh Strawberries

Unlike many parts of the country, we’re having some mighty fine weather today. The sun is out and the temperature is in the high 50’s. And although I feel bad for the people on the East Coast, I can’t help enjoying the thought of farm fresh fruits and vegetables. After all, summer is short here and we like to eat our fresh fruits and veggies while we can.

One of my favorite seasonal fruits is strawberries. I know you can get them year round in most parts of the country, but really fresh ones are the best in April, May and June. I absolutely adore this Strawberry Shortcake a la Mode from Wolfgang Puck.

Other great ways to serve this seasonal favorite are Strawberry Vanilla Shortcut and Strawberry Banana Split Cake . But no matter how you serve them, they are high in vitamins and minerals and heart-healthy too. So don’t wait! Go on out and buy a pint of these luscious red beauties today

Friday, April 13, 2007

Thin Mints Rock!!!!

Let me tell you, there is nothing better than walking out of the grocery store and being welcomed by a couple of little ladies dressed in green, selling Girl Scout Cookies! It has been years since I have been approached and asked to buy the delicious $4-a-box cookies and I was in sheer joy to be a part of it again.

I know everyone has their own favorite box and I must say I had a pretty hard time deciding on Thin Mints or the Tagalongs, also known as Peanut Butter Patties. (I am seriously getting hungry right now just thinking of these.)

After about five minutes of debating in my head which box to buy I decided to go for the Thin Mints, almost everyone's choice, I assume. Of course, I also had to buy a box of the Samoas (also known as Caramel deLites) for my boyfriend since those are his favorite.

After eating about half the box and feeling extremely guilty I started pondering if it is possible to make the minty, melt in your mouth, crunchy, Thin Mint cookies myself. I looked on the Recipe4Living site and low and behold I found a recipe for them! So much for my eating healthy, but I can't turn these down and everyone deserves a treat now and then.

If you are like me and love Girl Scout cookies you should check out their site. You can even find a location near you that sells them. How exciting is that?

Here is the recipe I found for Chocolate-Mint Cookies!


1/4 C. shortening
1/2 C. sugar
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1/4 C. light corn syrup
1 egg1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. mint extract
1 and 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. peppermint candy, crushed


Combine shortening and 1/4 C. of the sugar and beat well. Add melted chocolate, corn syrup, egg, vanilla and mint extract and continue to beat. Slowly add flour and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in candy. Shape into 1/2-inch balls and roll in the other 1/4-C. of sugar. Cook for 12 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Decorative Food Discomfort

Remember my last blog about the joys of food simplicity? Well, a case in point was made last night. I met two friends for dinner at a Thai restaurant called Spice. The restaurant is small, intimately lit, and certainly stylish. I had Thai Iced Tea and a duck dish called Chu Cee. The duck was scrumptious, slightly crispy and, admittedly, wonderfully complicated with flavors of a mild curry sauce. Luckily, the price for my indulgence was very reasonable. But, the duck is not where I will make my point. Overall, the quality of the food was quite impressive. The problem was the rice, or more specifically, the presentation of the rice.

Heavily sauced dishes like the ones we enjoyed at Spice demand a great deal of rice, if only for the pleasure of sopping up every modicum of the flavor. Alongside our large meat and vegetable dishes, we were each served a tiny cone of rice on a small plate. The portion reminded me of a serving of sorbet to cleanse the palate between courses. My friends and I giggled at the strange portions of rice (especially at a Thai restaurant) quickly burned through them at the start of the meal, and flagged down our server to request more rice. With the server's obvious discomfort, you would have thought we asked for a new, perhaps even still quacking, duck.

No, we did not want another cone of rice or even a small family of rice cones with our meals. With great amusement and various hand gestures, we insisted on a BOWL of rice for the table. They begrudgingly complied after the manager was summoned, and in the end we were charged for four extra cones, much to our chagrin. The restaurant seemed to be insisting on some aesthetic statement with their rice cones, turning us into mere philistines unappreciative of the presentation. (Do you see how ridiculous this sounds?) In all honestly, the bowl of rice was much more appealing than the awkward rice cones.

In my opinion, restaurants and foodies alike should never sacrifice the proper balance of a meal in favor of decorative presentation. Trust me, it's not going to be sitting on the plate long enough for me to appreciate it. As Andy Rooney put it, "I don't like food that's too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I'd buy a painting."

Nonetheless, here are a few Thai recipes to peruse.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Snow Again!

Well it's still winter in the Midwest. I can't remember the last time we had snow this late in the season. I'm sure they'll let us know on the evening news tonight when we last had snow in April. And although it's technically Spring, the cold, wet, heavy snow has me hankering for a nice warm stew. So I've started a wonderful pot of Simple Beef Stew.

And while I’m thinking about it I’m going to open a bottle of 2005 Domaine de Vieux Chene, Pauys d'Oc which I wrote about at Recipe4Living. This earthy red wine is full-bodied, rich and velvety with a smooth aftertaste. The earthiness is a perfect compliment to beef, lamb or pork.

It’s supposed to be warm and in the 60’s next week. Let’s hope for warmer weather, no snow and a chance to break out the barbeque.

Simplicity and the Meat Thermometer

The "kitchen" in my temporary "apartment" in NYC, more aptly named a closet, elicited a gasp of horror at first sight. The oddly shaped corner does not in fact boast an oven, nor a proper counter top. A microwave is awkwardly suspended over half the space, and a two-burner stovetop is crammed into the opposite corner. The fridge is, get this, under counter below this poor excuse for a stovetop. As my boyfriend put it, "It's like you're back in a dorm room with a beer fridge." I've come a long way evidently.

Despite an extreme sense of loss for my Chicagoland kitchen, I have been determined since moving here to cook and not waste too much money on dining out. Simplicity is the key and a proper skillet can do wonders (an item I admittedly contributed to the "fully-stocked" kitchen). Last night, I prepared some simple chicken drumsticks, whole wheat pasta, and sweet basil tomato sauce (alright, from a jar). Because of the weakness of the burner, the chicken was first seared on all sides in a tiny bit of butter and then cooked more slowly. The only seasoning was a generous sprinkling of freeze-squeezed lemon juice and the wonderful juices in the pan, released with a bit of water.

I did not have what I consider one of the most essential kitchen tools: the meat thermometer. Cutting into meat can dry it out, and the meat thermometer insures a perfectly cooked result. Since I'm eternally nervous about consuming undercooked meat, the chicken came out a bit charred on the outside, but still moist and delicious on the inside. It was wonderful. All these spices and seasonings are great, but sometimes the simplest dishes are the most successful. Simplicity allows you to enjoy the full potential of the meat itself.

But, if you are looking for something a little more exciting in your chicken drumsticks and pasta combo, try this delicious recipe:

Chicken with Skillet Tomato Sauce


2 to 2 1/2 lb. meaty chicken pieces (breast, thighs, and drumsticks)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 C. slivered almonds
2 Tbs. olive oil
6 oz. packaged dried rigatoni
1/2 C. sliced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut up (1 1/2 lb.)
1/4 C. tomato paste
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/47 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 C. coarsely chopped, pimiento stuffed green olives
Fresh marjoram sprigs (optional)


Skin chicken, if desired. Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with the first 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper, set aside. Place almonds in the 12 inch skillet. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until almonds are lightly toasted, stirring often; remove from pan and set aside. In the same 12 inch skillet, heat olive oil. Add chicken to the skillet placing meaty pieces toward the center. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes or until lightly browned, turning to brown evenly. Reduce heat. Cook, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until is no longer pink. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm. Remove chicken from skillet; drain off all but 2 Tbs. drippings. Cover chicken and keep warm while preparing sauce.

For sauce, cook onion and garlic in the reserved drippings until tender; transfer to a blender container or food processor bowl. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, and red pepper. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth. Return mixture to skillet. Stir in olives. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until desired consistency.

Divide pasta among 4 bowls or plates. Top with a piece of chicken. Spoon sauce over chicken and pasta. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Garnish with marjoram sprigs, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An Outpour of Emotions

Some people might say that the word "love" gets thrown around a bit too often. Kids shout "love you!" in their parents' direction on their way out the door, and celebrities fall in and out of "love" faster than they can, well, shave their heads. And just when we think it's all gone too far, we witness a glimpse of true love. True foodie love, that is.

Wine That Loves
simplifies the matchmaking process between food and wine to create the perfect pairing for every meal. With the aid of sommelier Ralph Hersom (former wine director at Le Cirque in New York) as the Wine Director, this wine literally pairs itself. The complete line includes Wine That Loves Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Wine That Loves Roasted Chicken and Wine That Loves Pizza; it couldn't be easier to make the right match. (Wine That Loves Grilled Steak and Wine That Loves Grilled Salmon are coming soon.) The site even breaks down each bottle to explain the necessary amounts of Intensity, Acidity, Tannin and Flavor that go into the pairings.

Starting to feel the love? I certainly am! No more embarrassing fumblings around the liquor store - and then finally just choosing the one with the funnest label (guilty as charged), these simple bottles make you look like an expert. And most importantly, they make your food taste even better! In fact, the company was inspired by a success story of someone who was finally given a proper wine recommendation and was astounded by the way it enhanced the meal.

And just to prove that I am in the mood for love - and because I feel a rendition of "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof coming on - I shall now pair your wines with some choice dishes from R4L.

Penne Pasta with Tomato Vodka Sauce
Pair with: Wine That Loves Pasta with Tomato Sauce (see how easy this is???)


1 1/2 lb. penne pasta
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. vodka
1/2 lb. Canadian bacon or smoked ham, diced
1/4 C. olive oil
2 28 oz. cans tomatoes, crushed
1 C. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 C. frozen peas
1/2 C. Romano cheese, grated


Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil until brown, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, Canadian bacon, crushed red pepper and peas and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and vodka and cook for 5 more minutes until sauce thickens. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil Penne pasta until it is al dente and drain. Place pasta on individual plates and top with tomato-vodka sauce and serve.

Roast Chicken with Sweet Garlic, Melted Onions and Sour Orange
Pair with: Wine That Loves Roasted Chicken


1 (3 lb.) chicken
1/2 C. whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 C. olive oil, divided
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 orange, zested
1 lime, zested
1 lb. yucca, peeled
2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
16 fluid oz. orange juice
1 C. rich chicken stock
3 Tbs. olive oil


Cut the chicken in half and de-bone. Place the garlic in 1/4 C. of the oil and sauté until tender. When the garlic is cool, puree half of it with the parsley, orange zest, lime zest, and remaining 3/4 C. of oil Rub the garlic mixture onto the chicken and marinate for 1 day in the refrigerator. Cook the yucca in salted water until tender and drain. Slowly cook the onions with a little water until soft. Reserve. Simmer the orange juice over the low heat until syrupy. Add the chicken stock and cook until lightly thickened. Reserve. Bake the chicken at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, until cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Sauté the yucca in the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil until crispy. Add the onions and the reserved garlic confit. Drain the yucca mixture well and place on a plate with the chicken. Cover with the orange mixture.

Margherita Pizza
Pair with: Wine That Loves Pizza


2 tsp. garlic, chopped
2 med. tomatoes, sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 dash of salt
1 dash of pepper
6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 med. wheat flour tortillas
2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1/2 c. fresh Parmesan, grated


In a small bowl place the garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Thoroughly coat the tomatoes. Place the cheese slices over the tortillas. Place the soaked tomatoes on top. Sprinkle on the basil and Parmesan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tortillas on a cookie sheet and bake them for 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Cut the pizza into wedges. Serves 2 as an appetizer or 1 as a main course.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter

Free range? Organic? Nutrient-Enhanced? You might have noticed the dizzying array of choices now available when it comes to eggs. You can have cage-free eggs, nutrient-enhanced eggs, and/or even "naturally" colored eggs. In an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the American Egg board breaks down the different egg choices, just in time for Easter.

Read it Here.

Falafel Feva'

On my first night walking around Greenwich Village (I'm a New Yorker now!), I saw many, many great places to eat (not to mention the neighborhood clairvoyant and a club for "mad scientists," aaahh NY). I felt like a kid in a candy store. Seeing as it was rather late and I was by myself for the time, I didn't feel the need for an all-out, sit-down affair. I thought I would just wander around until a take out place caught my eye. A big "Yummy" sign did just that as I walked down 7th Ave. "Well that sounds promising," I thought.

Yummy Shawarmy specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food prepared with an almost silly helping of hippie love, with names like "Yummy Chick" for the chicken dishes and "Schnitzel From Your Mother's Kitchen." Being a fan of falafel, I went for the "Falafel with Love" platter served with rice, pita, and green beans in a tomato sauce (never a combination I have tried). Honestly, I wasn't really feeling the love from the falafel. I do enjoy spicy food, but the spice of these falafel just didn't work, and there was no cucumber sauce to help cool it down. The cucumber sauce is key to the falafel experience.

So, I think I can do better in my own kitchen (which right now is literally a "two-butt" kitchen, meaning only two butts can fit into it, aaahh NY). Normally, I feel guilty eating falafel because they are deep-fried, but I came across a great recipe for baked falafel the other day. These are great for vegetarian eaters and really make the perfect lunch with pita and cucumber.



1 potato
1 bunch parsley
2 onions
3 Tbs. oil
3 C. cooked, ground garbanzo beans
1/4 C. sesame seed meal
1 Tbs. yogurt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs. salt
Dash cayenne
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
Juice of 1 lemon


Cook and mash potato and set aside. Mince leaves of parsley. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop onions fine and sauté in oil until soft. Stir in parsley and cook briefly. Add to ground beans. Mix well with remaining ingredients. Form into balls or shape into patties, using about 2 Tbs. of the mixture for each one. Place on greased cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes on each side.

Yield: 24 balls

Tip: Make pita bread from scratch for a true falafel sandwich.

More NYC adventures to come!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Keeping Up With Your Food

Sustainable eating, organic foods, cruelty free foods, free range chickens, and, nest eggs are just some of the words floating around the food industry these days. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of everything that’s going on. And just recently, Nightline did a story on the City Council of Chicago and the recent ban on Foie Gras.

This delicacy is obtained at great expense to the ducks and geese who provide their livers for it and the council members decided that it was their mission to make food safer for the consumer and less cruel for the livestock. And whether you agree with this or not, it has garnered a lot of media attention lately. Should the government be involved in what we eat and how it’s produced, or should the consumer vote with their wallet?

If you’re concerned about where your food comes from, or just trying to lower your meat intake, you should try some of these great vegetarian recipes.

Friday, April 6, 2007

A New Season A New Me

I don't know about you guys but it seems that come every Spring, I sit down and evaluate my life, asking myself if I am as happy as I could be. I came up with the conclusion that no, I could be happier. I actually realized that I was disappointed in myself and that I needed to start making some changes and make them fast.

I had become this person who had an everyday routine, which was wake up come to work, go home to watch hours of television and then go to bed, wake up and do the same thing. Talk about no exercise or activity. Plus my eating habits became, well let's say, not that good. No wonder I felt depressed! And to even think of summer and bathing suits, ugggggg.

So.....a couple of weeks ago I had decided to start exercising at least four out of the five weeknights and eating a much healthier diet. (I actually have had a gym membership for months and just never went) So now after work I go to the gym for about 45 minutes and work up a pretty decent sweat, along with packing a healthier lunch consisting of more fruits and veggies. Not only go I feel better about myself but I can tell a difference in my attitude and even the way my clothes fit.

This is something everyone should be doing and it is so easy to do. You don't even have to belong to a gym, just go outside and take a walk or take up running. Now is the season to enjoy the outside. This is the start of a new season so make yourself a new you. Happy Spring Everyone!

Here are some of my NEW favorite healthy recipes:

Low-Fat Chicken Enchiladas
2 lb. chicken breast
2 cans low-fat cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz. container low or fat free sour cream
1 small can green chilies
2 C. low or fat free cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 Tbs. chili seasoning8 tortillas (low fat)

In a bowl combine 2 cans of soup and sour cream. Set aside. In a nonstick frying pan brown chicken breast with Pam. Cut chicken into small pieces or shred. Add half of the soup and sour cream mixture and the can of green chilies to the cooked chicken and warm. This is the mixture that you will fill the tortillas with. Using a large baking dish, (9x13 usually), fill each tortilla and wrap. Place these filled tortillas in the pan with the seam down until done. Add the other half of the soup and sour cream mixture to the top of the filled tortillas. Top with shredded cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Low-Fat Grilled Tuna
Chicken Salad Wraps
Low-Fat Low-Carb Lasagna
Baked Low-Fat French Fries

For some delicious healthy recipe ideas click here!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Do It Yourself Holiday

I know with Easter coming and the beginning of Passover, it seems like there should be enough holidays going on right now. But if you are anything like me, then you have a tentative menu for what to serve for Easter but have absolutely no idea what to have for dinner tonight. I love holidays, I think every day should be celebrated. So I checked out our fun Food Holiday guide to see what holiday I missed or what holiday we can celebrate today.

Today is National Cordon Bleu Day. That sounds wonderful, I think I will make that tonight. Cordon Bleu or Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich depends which one uses more of the ingredients I have in my house. Then I will probably make a Cucumber and Dill Pasta Salad to go with it and my dinner will be complete.

I have so many things on my menu for my Easter dinner I will wait until next week and tell you what I ended up serving. Whatever your plans are for the weekend, just find a reason to celebrate.

Let My People Go... to Bed

It has been a long couple of days for me. With the changing over of the kitchen and the making gefilte fish from scratch, there's nothing easy about preparing for Passover (wow, I sound like an 80-year-old Jewish grandmother....). And while I've learned dozens of new tricks (how to make ridiculously strong, beet-red horseradish and how to form the perfectly shaped gefilte fish piece), I was beginning to think that Passover was more work than it's worth. I go through this mental process every year, and every year at the first seder I remember why it's so important.

Passover is actually one of my favorite holidays because it is steeped in religious traditions. I love the rituals that my family has adopted, but I also love that every Jewish family has their own unique traditions that they look forward to every year at their seders. It's a very special thing.

One of the greatest traditions my family has come up with is the "only soup for dinner" custom. Long ago, my very wise Bubbe decided that no one really wanted a full meal at 10:00 at night, and proceeded to serve bowl after bowl of her homemade, perfectly golden chicken soup with matzah balls and her famous meat borscht, expertly "sweet and soured" with a deep red hue. Call us simple, but this keeps my family more than happy. My dad can easily down two bowls of each in one sitting. Of course there is the requisite gefilte fish tray and a few basic veggies, but the centerpiece of the evening is at least two steaming bowls of soup.

To honor the memory of my Bubbe, I cannot disclose her secret recipes. (Actually, they're rather cryptic and I'm not sure I've mastered the art of translating yet.) But instead I can direct you to Recipe4Living's Passover guide for lots of other yummy recipes! Have a great holiday!