Monthly Archives: June 2009

Simple, Rustic dish

This is probably more of a winter dish, but since I wasn’t feeling well I wanted something comforting and soothing. Warm, hearty dishes do that for me. This was inspired by my good friend Maegen, a wonderful chef and friend who gave me the wonderful smoked paprika on my last trip out to California.

Rainbow Chard with Garbanzos

1 bunch of Rainbow Chard, chopped (stems and leaves)
1 large clove of garlic to two smaller ones, chopped
1 can garbanzos, rinsed
1 TBS grapeseed oil
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/2 C golden raisins
About 1/4 C shredded Romano (optional)
1 tiny pinch of smoked paprika (a little goes a long way)

1. Heat large saute pan with oil. Add galic and cook for a minute.
2. Add chopped chard and saute for a few moments, giving the chard time to wilt.
3. Add beans, salt, pepper, raisins and broth.
4. Saute till everything is warmed through and chard is cooked through.
5. Add paprika and cook for just one more minute.

Serve with shredded Romano. The smoked paprika gives it a warm, smoky taste. Just what I needed to warm my tummy. If you don’t have smoked paprika, which I never did before, this is still delicious on it’s own without it. I tried it before adding the paprika and it was wonderful.


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Filed under dinner, garbanzos, gluten free, Swiss Chard

Dinner at The Park

I had the most wonderful vegetarian, gluten-free experience and I just had to share with everyone. My dear friend, Maegen Loring, is chef/owner of The Park restaurant in beautiful San Luis Obispo, CA. With another dear friend, I traveled there to spend a wonderful weekend filled with wine tasting, girl talk and feasting. For our first night there, Maegen planned a fabulous gluten-free, vegetarian, 5-course meal. At a fine-dining establishment like this, it was so much more than I had ever asked for. I’m so grateful to Maegen, her husband, Jeff, and their wonderful staff for making our night such a culinary experience. I’ve documented it as well as I could, but remember I was trying to eat it as fast as it came out at times, as well as drinking the wines that were paired with everything…remember this is wine country!

First course: Grilled red pepper with a pesto and pine nuts on top. Drizzled with a wonderful vinaigrette. Just the perfect start to a beautiful meal.

Second course: Chickpea soup with carmelized onions, smoked paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. I had never had smoked paprika before and it was so lovely. The wonderful smoky aroma, mixed with the firm texture of the chickpeas was heavenly. Having a friend in the business is great since Maegen even gave me a bag of the paprika to take home. I can’t wait to use it. I love garbanzos and cook with them often.

Third course: Fava bean puree with fennel, topped with zucchini, grapes and a red pepper coulis. Wow, the crunchiness of the zucchini and the creaminess of the puree were just perfect. I have never eat fava beans and they were fabulous. I know they are difficult to prepare and take a lot of time, but I can see now that they are worth all the effort. The grapes gave the dish just a touch of sweetness that made it complete.

Fourth course: We’re on our second bottle of wine and making our way to the dish I’ve been waiting for all night: the beet risotto. I love risotto and although I make it infrequently, I just love the rich flavor and creamy texture. Maegen’s is made with beet puree added at the end to give it a brilliant color and taste, as well as grilled asparagus, a touch of creme fraiche and a dash of mint oil. Wow! My taste buds were in heaven. I was getting pretty full by now, but I had to eat the entire dish because I wasn’t sure when I would have this again. It was incredible and now one of my top five favorite dishes.

Finally, dessert: To put a perfect end on a delightfully perfect meal, we start with a glass of La Vie late harvest Chardonnay. A sweet, dessert wine with a touch of honey flavor. Lovely (I brought a bottle of it home also, Thanks Jeff!). This is paired with an apple cider sorbet topped with fresh berries and fried sage leaves dusted with powdered sugar. Beat that! The flavors were tart, sweet, mellow and bursting in your mouth. It was the perfect ending to a dinner I did not want to end.

The weekend of feasting was not over since my dear friend continued to cook for us with fresh produce from the local farmer’s market over the course of our stay. If you don’t already have a friend who is a gourmet chef with a restaurant, I highly recommend it! And if you’re in or near San Luis Obispo, stop in at The Park restaurant, I know you’ll love it.

We’re heading back soon with my husband in tow since I told him all about The Park’s Wednesday Burger Night…complete with homemade buns, homemade fresh ketchup, thick fries cooked in duck fat and an array of gourmet burgers. Of course, I won’t be eating any of this, but I know my husband will love it enough for both of us. Maybe there’s some of that beet risotto left???

Visit The Park at the link to your right.

Thanks Maegen!


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"Not" Tuna Boats

Wow, this raw food life is really fun. I’ve been working on making as many new raw foods as possible, and it couldn’t be more rewarding. I feel great, and although I’m hungry every few hours, I know that what I’m eating is clean burning and good for me. No regrets about a piece of chocolate or a few chips (although, those things never hurt anyone).
Today it was “Not” Tuna. Once again, I tried this recipe while at a raw-food meetup and I couldn’t believe how great it was. I took the recipe from the meeting, then found a few online and changed a few more ingredients. For instance, many recipes call for Dulse flakes (a certain type of seaweed), but I didn’t have any so I just crumbled up some Nori that I had in the cabinet.
Bottom line, I’m crazy about it, especially since it has tons of protein from the almonds and sunflower seeds, Omega 3s from the flax seeds and to my utter relief, dear chefs, no little fishies gave up their lives for my lunch. If the ingredients look strange to you, just take my word for it. You’ll be amazed if you take the time to make it just once. A friend happened to come by and I gave her some on a lettuce boat… she loved it, and took some home with her. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to be adventurous… go on, give it a try.

“Not” Tuna Boats
½ cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked 8 hours or overnight)
½ cup raw almonds (soaked 8 hours or overnight)
Juice of one lemon
Sea salt
1/5 Tbs ground flax seeds
1-2 sticks of celery, diced
1 Tbs chopped sweet onion
1 Tbs chopped/crumbled Nori (or 1 TBS dulse flakes if you can find them)
¼ apple diced
Whole Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried

1. Rinse seeds and almonds and place on a paper towel to dry for a few moments.
2. Run seeds and almonds in a blender with a little water until it makes a paste. Add water a little at a time so it doesn’t get too runny.
3. Remove mixture from blender and add all other ingredients.
4. Serve in Romaine lettuce boats.

Variations: I added a few extra grapes at the end, and the apple was an afterthought also. A roommate of mine always liked her tuna with onion and dill. Actually, you could also add dill, mustard, more onion, raisins, fresh parsley, garlic, etc. Go crazy and add anything you like, play with it and make it just the way you want it. Just one or two lettuce boats makes a great snack or lunch. I plan to make this a weekly staple in my house. It lasts for about 5 days in the fridge.


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