Now that it is cold and dreary in NYC, I like to spend my time inside cooking. One of my favorite hobbies is looking at cookbooks (actually cooking out of them is less of a passion, but I’m working on it). I recently bought three new cookbooks and love them all.
Pretty books (and yes, pretty flowers).
Today we go behind the scenes with a TV chef (one of my favorite types of TV). Casey (aka, Casey2Cook) is a successful chef who won a season of Cooks vs. Cons! (BTW, that is my biggest nightmare — being quick and fast in the kitchen). Such an inspiration and I learned so much from the interview. Thanks so much, Casey! And FYI, her partner Steven is Natori’s E-Commerce Shipping manager!
Talented and beautiful, too! Thanks, Casey for this interview and inspiration for all of us.
How did you start cooking? What inspired you to become a chef?
Everything about my biffle‘s house is blog worthy. It is like walking into a perfectly curated store that carries only the best of the best. Literally, every nook and cranny could be photographed and written about as her taste and style is impeccable (I will take one of each, please). She is also a phenomenal cook who meal plans for her family with healthy, simple, and varied recipes. Here are her top cookbooks of Summer 2016. And perhaps if we have the same cookbooks, then we have the same dinners?
Wonder what to do with a weekly CSA veggie box? Take a peek inside our Wednesday box (my parents get a box twice a week in Oregon) and see the creations assembled and imagined by my wonderful Mama!
Fresh, crisp, local, organic veggies. My dream come true.
Another grilling post from Ken… enjoy!
Guilty pleasure: reading cookbooks! I love collecting, sorting through, and learning from cookbooks. Although the internet is a terrific place to peruse for recipes and ideas, there is something about the old fashioned, hard cover that I can’t get away from. There are so many cookbooks that I love and use, but currently, here are my three favorite:
One of my besties is someone whose style and taste is impeccable. Everything she wears, owns, makes, likes and buys is top quality and perfect. She offers great outfit advice, gift options, and decor styling. This is in addition to being the most loyal, fun, funny, beautiful and loving friend. I am lucky to have her in my life. I am also incredibly lucky that she gifted me these hip and up-and-coming short stack cookbooks. Check them out!
What to do with leftover oatmeal? OATMEAL PANCAKES! All you need is your previous day’s oatmeal and some maple syrup and VOILA, another meal. This recipe was created by my ever-so-resourceful-brilliant-mother who has an amazing ability to manipulate leftovers into a whole new delicious meal.
Although many people are haters (randomly, including my father), I actually love Gwyneth Paltrow. She is honest, open, beautiful, stylish, and resourceful. I am a big fan of her, her website, and her cookbooks.
Gwyneth’s new cookbook. Each recipe looks delicious and healthy. Plus, the pictures are gorgeous and make you want to become a super model millionaire actress.
What’s not to love? So hip and chic, effortless. If only we each had a personal trainer that flew with us everywhere, liposuction, a stylist, and an Oscar.
The following two recipes are taken from “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow. Both recipes are super duper easy to make (one step), green, delicious, and oh-so-Spring.
GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
Green Goddess dressing is the perfect creamy, rich topper to any salad. It is also a perfect dip for crudites or spread on a sandwich (instead of mayo or mustard). Plus, it has a beautiful, rich green color that makes you know it is healthy and full of nutrients.
Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean that cookies and sweets are. Far from it! It is the New Year, so time to live in the present moment and eat sweets after every meal!!! This cookie is perfect because it has anything and everything in it. This recipe was taken from the food blog, food52, which is one of my favorite places to visit on the web.
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (or almond flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 sticks of room temperature butter (KEY!)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups of granola
- 1/2 cup crushed salted pretzel pieces
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped chocolate candies, or any kind of chocolate goodness
I am a granola snob (fun game to play: what are you a snob about? For example, I am a granola snob as well as a coffee, grocery store, shampoo, and gym pant snob. I just have expectations for these items to be the best of the best. And if they aren’t, then I am snobbily unhappy). I absolutely love granola, and as you may recall, absolutely love Blackberry Farm Granola. I have tried to make my own granola but have never been satisfied (I am a tough critic), until NOW! Big cluster maple granola from the cookbook “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” did the trick. And not just with the granola recipe, but with every recipe. Thank you, Smitten Kitchen!
* 3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
* 1 cup of unsweetened shredded/flaked coconut
* 1 cup of crushed walnuts (or any other type of nut)
* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon of salt
* 1/2 cup of maple syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
* 1 large egg white
* 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, raisins)
The Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Everything about this is to-die-for. First of all, it reads like a novel, the pictures are divine, and the recipes themselves are winners. I can’t wait to try more recipes!
* Preheat oven to 300 degrees
* Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl. Make sure to mix evenly.
Mixing everything together made me want to eat the “dough” before cooking it. It smells like perfection.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner (??????), so there is nothing like a pumpkin pie dessert to get you in the mood! And pumpkin pie smoothies have a bit of everything I like: blended texture, pumpkin flavor, healthy ingredients, and a sweet aftertaste. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie! Watch out Starbucks, your Pumpkin Spice Lattes have a competitor.
* 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin
* 1 scoop of protein powder (you want to get more muscular, right?)
* a dash of pumpkin pie spice (or some nutmeg and cinnamon combo)
* 1 banana (frozen preferably, but fresh is fine)
* 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on your sweet tooth)
* 1 cup of milk (almond, soy, real)
Fruit leathers are a great source of fruit, vitamins, and calories. I had a ton of them this summer, and so did Cruz. Unfortunately, we ended up spending a lot of money and wasting a lot of plastic. SOOOO…..we decided to try to make them at home!
My mother, of course, is a pro at anything homemade and has her own food dehydrator where she dries different fruits left and right. Although they are great, personal food dehydrators aren’t exactly common. So below is my attempt to recreate an oven-only recipe for Fruit Leathers from Weelicious (which, btw, is an awesome blog).
* 3 cups of fruit (whatever is in season, fresh, and local!)
* 2 tablespoons of honey
Pretty food makes pretty fruit leather.
* In a blender, blend fruit and honey until it looks so delicious that you want to drink the entire pitcher
Nothing better than a cool soup on a hot day! This vegan soup is uber tasty with its unique spices and blends of sesame, cucumber, and parsley. Tofu gives it a rich and creamy taste. Divine and delicious, this recipe is adapted from the cookbook “The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally” (which is an absolutely beautiful book whose specialty is dishes that are seasonal, and made with local ingredients). Enjoy!
One of my favorite new cookbooks, the author is also an Oregonian!
Nothing is more refreshing than cucumbers!
Ingredients! Most of these should be always stocked in your fridge.
If you read last Friday’s post, you saw the (long) process of preparing fava beans. Now, it is time to put those beans to use in a recipe for a Summer fava bean salad. This salad works perfectly as a complement to a standard green salad and a hunk of bread and cheese, for a light summer meal.
One of my favorite types of cheeses; Cojita, a Mexican hard white cheese.
* Fava Beans (cooked) – 4 cups
Fava beans are my mother’s favorite bean. And beans are my mother’s favorite hobby. And yes — beans ARE a hobby (except for the refried beans in a can …). It is almost an art. Soaking, peeling, boiling, creating a dish — it involves a lot of steps, thoughts, love, and time.
Big, giant, buttery flava-ful fava!
Fava beans are the big magic beans that you imagine in Jack and the Beanstalk. Huge, green beans located in a floppy, large pod, fava beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants and are among the easiest to grow. Most of the world loves to eat fava beans, aside from Americans.
Well, hello Jack and the beanstalk!
Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds that can then be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouts are extremely healthy and rawists, vegans, omnivores, and carnivores all love them. Growing sprouts at home is becoming more and more trendy. According to my mother, “Sprouting is very popular with the young generation.”
Grocery stores (healthy ones) sell sprouting tools and seeds that allow one to germinate sprouts at home. The process is quite simple and just takes time and water. And then after the germinating process is done, you have a lot A LOT of sprouts that you need to eat– which is great and healthy! Long story short, you place the seeds with water in a sprouting vessel and let them sit for several days at room temperature, rinsing them every so often with water. And voila, sprouts.
Sprouts are incredibly nutritious and contain lots of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes. Sprouts also deliver these nutrients in a form that is easily digested and assimilated. In fact, they improve the efficiency of digestion. Sprouts are also deliciously fresh and colorful and add a great crunch and speckle of color to any dish!
The sprout mixes come in little tiny packets, making them easy to store and keep on hand.
This past weekend, I was given a lesson by my ever-so-smart mother on how to sprout. We sprouted three different types of sprouts, using three different types of vessels. Each sprout is fairly different and the three different containers can be used with any type of sprout. We just used different ones in order for me to have a solid lesson! We used a mason jar, a bag, and a tray (each are built specifically to grow sprouts).
The three different sprouts soaking up water.
GREEN LENTIL SPROUTING SEED
Fig + Prosciutto = Divine
Figs are in season right now, and if you are like me, there are loads of them in your fridge at all times. They are a great addition to any salad (even just lettuce, figs, walnuts/almonds, and blue/goat cheese = perfection), and also make a great side dish to any meal. Figs are naturally rich and sweet, while prosciutto provides a salty complementary punch. Together, they create a mouth watering bite.
* Olive Oil
* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
* Wash the figs and slice them into halves
Figs cut in half.
* Wrap the figs with prosciutto — depending on how much meat you want, you can do a half or full slice of prosciutto.
Nothing is better than a healthy cookie! Based off of Nikki’s Cookies from 101 Cookbooks, I set out to make a new and different version of these tasty bites. Truth is, I wanted to make Nikki’s Cookies actual recipe, but I didn’t have most of the ingredients, so I had to improvise…. but let me tell you, these new cookies still tasted delicious and I would make them again in a heartbeat!
* 2 large, ripe bananas, well mashed
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups of flour (whole wheat, normal, almond, any variety works)
* 1 1/2 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup of nut butter. Peanut, almond, or cashew.
AND LOTS AND LOTS OF CHOCOLATE CHIPS! Healthy, right?
* First, mush up the banana making it soft and gooey. The banana acts both as the sweetener and the fat in the cookie. Thank you, Mr. Banana.
* Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them together.
One of my absolute favorite entrees is crab cakes. I am a crab cake snob and only like the best of the best crab cakes. Cheap crab cakes taste oily and fishy, some are too spicy, and others are either too bready or greasy. So, when my mom made crab cakes from scratch and they were healthy, delicious, and oh-so-perfect, I fell in love. Not a fast process but SO delicious. These crab cakes are crisp on the outside and rich on the inside — perfection.
The recipe is from Mother’s Cookbook, which is a cookbook from a restaurant (Mother’s Bistro) in Portland. If you are on the lookout for a good, ‘ol American homestyle cookbook, this one is solid, reliable, and approachable.
A snapshot of the dry ingredients used for the crab cakes.
* 1/2 pound of cod fillets
Ladies, a little warning that this recipe is UNHEALTHY and SINFUL. It is a far cry from my healthy concoctions that I normally throw together as these cookies use a tremendous amount of butter, sugar, and chocolate. But life is too short. So let’s celebrate and eat some damn COOKIES!
This recipe comes from my best friend from Eugene, Miss Julie. Julie is one of those cooks that can make anything taste delicious. Her cookies are famous (especially in my family) in Eugene. They are the perfect treat to bring to a neighbor, a birthday party, work event, or an after school/work treat for family members. THESE ARE FLIPPING DELICIOUS and no one will ever turn them down.
Holy Heavens! Chocolate, butter, cake mix, brown sugar. SUGAR RUSH!
* 1 cup butter
* ½ cup brown sugar
* 1 egg
* ¼ cup water
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 box cake mix, divided
* 2 cups oatmeal
* 1 cup (or more) chocolate chips
Summer is here! While it may not say so on the calendar quite yet, the rush of heat and humidity in the Northeast definitely has the Josie Girl thinking of summer. Long days, (stifling humidity), beach and swimming, (stinky garbage), and… grilling!
While most people associate grilling with burgers, hot dogs, and other various forms of meat, Ken and I emphasize vegetables just as much as meat and fish. Grilled vegetables are simple, healthy, and incredibly flavorful. Last summer, Ken decided to start grilling artichokes. While more complicated and easier to mess up than other vegetables, when done correctly, grilled artichokes are impossible to beat. Without further ado, here is the Josie Guy… and a lot of pictures. Enjoy!
Artichokes, washed under water. Cut off the bottom inch or inch-and-a-half of the stem...
See these spines? We don't like them. Cut off the top of each leaf with scissors...
Sometimes, I fail. Today is an example of having good intentions and thinking that I could make an awesome recipe, and instead… it flopped. I am sharing this with you in hopes that maybe someone can fix this recipe and make it edible? All the components are tasty and I am still eating my concoction, but it just isn’t right. I need HELP! (Comments/suggestions appreciated!)
In any case, for some reason, I am eating double the amount NOW versus when I was pregnant. I guess it is true that nursing a baby burns a lot of calories, but DAMN ladies, I am literally hungry ALL THE TIME! No matter how much I eat, I still want more…
I was craving a snack that is (1) itty bitty in size (2) sweet (3) healthy (4) easy to make (if you make it correctly). My raw apple balls actually became raw apple mousse. The mousse *is* delicious…but it’s not the raw apple balls the recipe promised to be. The dough was just too sticky which made it impossible to form balls. I SWEAR IT IS DELICIOUS no matter what the form is, but they are not an easy snacks to eat. I want little balls of goodness!
Apples, walnuts, dates, almonds, and cinnamon are always on hand in our kitchen. Thank goodness I didn't go to the store just to get these ingredients and then fail!
Ken is guest-writing today. Call it my “Welcome to Third Trimester” free pass. And I don’t love pasta… Without further ado.. Here’s Ken…
As the JG has discussed, we recently went on her “babymoon” to Antigua, where she posted on the trip and the food. One food/drink element that she didn’t include was a refreshing rehydration drink we concocted and proceeded to have about 10 of a day: seltzer water with crushed mint and a splash of cranberry juice. Given her pregnancy and the heat, I was militant about her staying hydrated. And the drinks we discovered were our go-to for three days straight.
We have been enjoying these drinks since we got back to New York, but as with all herbs, a fresh batch of mint is about 10X what you can actually casually use before it goes bad (pet peeve). In an attempt to use up the rest of our fresh mint, we threw together a super-easy and quick dish: Lemon-Mint Pasta with Bacon.
* 1 lb. pasta – We used organic whole wheat spaghetti. Not a huge fan of the whole wheat thing, but the JG is uber-healthy. And she doesn’t love pasta. So we used whole wheat pasta, something we could both equally, slightly complain about. Definition: “marital compromise”.
I am the world’s best (or is it worst?) picker. I love having nibbles and bites and picks of everything and anything. Mind you, it drives my family absolutely bonkers, but I can’t help myself. I just love sampling a little of everything here and there. So when I came across this recipe for bite size healthy alternative cookies, I was thrilled. And Cruzzie loves them too (he is also a picker and nibbler). It is the perfect snack to grab and have in each hand as I leave the house. A little perfect portable pick-me-up. Also — you can add whatever you want to make them more special and sweet. Isn’t it fun to change things up here and there? Peanut butter vs almond butter? M&M’s or chocolate covered raisins? Bare naked? No matter what you decide to throw into these cookies, they end up delicious.
Ingredients all in a line.
* 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
* 1/4 cup of any kind of nut butter
* 1/4 cup agave nectar
* 1/4 cup almond flour
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* pinch of good quality salt
* any kind of chocolate touch you want to add. Chocolate chips, truffles, anything that you want to spruce up these little nibbles!