Two sides of the coin ~ Toasted Pearl Barley Salad

When I competed on Food Network’s All Star Academy season 2, I was blessed to be mentored by Iron Chef and Food Network guru, Alex Guarnaschelli.  She looked at me and my teammate Lee Abbot and said, “You will never look at cooking the same,ever again.” She was right. Competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy, was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  It’s not just television folks, it’s an experience you will never forget. It challenged me to my very soul, not only in front of the cameras, but also behind the scenes. In such competitions, 12 hours of filming, elimination challenges, television politics and illness, you discover a part of you, you never knew. I have to say, I am so grateful for my time on the show. The experience is still revealing more of who I am and what I am capable of. You may say, Lisa, it was just a game show, maybe, but life is how you digest it, how you take it in and savior all of it’s flavors, like a wonderful dish executed with skill, patience and lots of care. This is experience was one of the best I have ever consumed.

The dish I would like to share with you today reminded me of my time on the show. I got a chance to cook also with Chef Curtis Stone, he is incredibly brilliant chef, that takes his craft very seriously.  Chef Stone inspired me with his precision and attention to every single detail. Chef’s food reminded me of art, fashion, symphony, culture expressed on a plate. Chef Guarnaschelli mentoring and food is full of soul, spirit, it’s holistic, she hits you with texture, flavor, aromas, emotions, she brings you HOME.

I made today two salads, from produce I got from the Farm and from my local grocery store. The salad is made with all the same ingredients, not one is missing no matter how different they may look. When I made these dishes, I wasn’t thinking of my experience on Food Network, I was just creating, but as Chef Guarnaschelli said,  You will never look at cooking the same, ever again. She was right. Thanks Chefs for the inspiration that  sometimes comes out unconsciously. It’s in me now. 🙂

 

Toasted Pearl Barley Salad ( two ways) 

This salad is necessarily not a recipe. It using your favorite vegetables and displaying them from your cooking perspective. Here is what I used.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

 

For the Rustic Salad and Salad of Art

Using a mandolin, slice up squash, radish, red cabbages, set a side

Cut up campari tomatoes in quarter for the rustic salad, for the artistic one, thinly slice of the bottoms, not exposing the inside, scoop out the top and some of the inside of the tomato, set a side.

Cut up 1 shallot, peel and slice horizontally, keep two of the ends where the circles are intact, the remainder will be used to toast in the rustic salad.

This is all about creativity, so follow my instruction or go wild with your imagination.

 

Here’s the instructions you need to follow:

Toasted Pearl Barley with Ras El Hanout season walnuts and vegetables with a fried egg

( a mouth full) 🙂

Toasted Pearl Barley

Ingredients:

1 cup pearl barley

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup green cauliflower florets, small pieces

1/2 cup green sweet peas

1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers

1/2 cup sliced onions

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Cook pearl barley as instructed. Once cook set a side. In a sauté pan add the oil, the peppers, onions, and pinch of the salt, cook until tender remove. Add the cauliflower, pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes, you want it to stay crunchy. Remove and add to the peppers and onions. Add the walnuts and the ras el hanout and a pinch of salt. Cook the walnuts and seasonings for about a minute, you are just warming up the walnuts and bringing out the flavors of the ras el hanout. Add all the ingredients into the toasted pearl barley, season with more ras el hanout and sea salt, to taste.

For the Rustic Salad:

Add the toasted pearl barley to a plate and toast in your favorite veggies, remember to leave some of the vegetables on the side to create your Salad of Art. You will need 3 medium squash slices, 6 small pieces of the squash slices, 6 small radish slices, 3 pieces of the red cabbage,  Drizzle with the Basil and Garlic oil, recipe below:

Basil and Garlic Oil:

Ingredients:

2 cups of packed basil leaves
½ cup – 1 cup of olive oil, adjust based on the thickness level you prefer
1 garlic clove
Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place the basil, olive oil, garlic, mini-food processor, mix until you have smooth sauce. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Salad of Art:

On a beautiful white plate, add 3 pearls of basil oil on the plate, take 3 of your mandolin cut squash and add it on top of the basil oil pearls. Stuff your campari tomatoes with some of the toasted pearl barley mixture, add one pea on top of the each stuffed tomato. Add a piece of the red cabbage inside of the stuffed tomato, allowing it to stand up like a flag. Add the radishes on the outside of the tomatoes with a dollop of the basil and garlic oil and add the small squash slices onto that. Add the pieces of the green cauliflower artistically onto the plate with the slices of shallots.

Be creative, squash all that I have written and honey do your on thing. LOL.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

Red Fruit Salad with Cacao Chips for Breakfast

I believe food is Beautiful Healing Art. Okay, I am busted that’s the title of my new cookbook. Hee Hee. 🙂 Today I woke up and wanted to have a fruit salad for breakfast,but not any old fruit salad, something special. I am so happy it’s cherry season, because this girl love her some cherries. LOL. Beside, cherries are very healing for the body. I decided I wanted a monochromatic salad. Yes I am one of those people who likes to eat in color and today I chose red. Red fruits are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, ellagic acid ( a potent anticancer agent), Vitamin A and C and high in potassium. So why not eat red today. This salad is super simple and you go with what you love. I added, cherries, strawberries, goji berries and cranberries. But you can try raspberries, even little pieces of cut watermelon in here would be very refreshing. I also added a little coconut whipped cream, cut up some of my leftover granola I had in the freezer and a few cacao chips sprinkled over the whole salad. That is all to it. This is a vegan version, but you can add greek yogurt to this as well.

Let your mind run wild. Instead of red fruit, do purple and blue fruit. It is a easy way to incorporated more raw foods into your diet,  and a fun experience for your whole family.

This is a rough recipe, because it just putting your favorite fruit together in an artistic way and top it with coconut cream, honey and cacao chips. Enjoy!  Remember to Set the Table with Love.

 

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Dark Chocolate and Cherry Fruit Salad
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Dark  Chocolate and Cherry Fruit Salad with homemade Granola Bites topped with coconut whipped cream and cacao chips

Ingredients:

Handful of cherries and strawberries

1/4 cup cranberries and 1/4 goji berries

1/2 cup coconut cream and honey to taste

1/4 cup of cacao chips

Directions:

Cut the fruit in half and position on a plate that suits your fancy. Add coconut cream and honey. Garnish with cacao chips.

*The coconut cream is just the top of the cream a can of coconut milk with a tsp of honey, gently stir and top on your fruit salad.

 

 

 

 

What’s Trending in Food? Savory Yogurt and Turmeric/Curry Chickpeas and Greek Yogurt

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Roasted Red Curry Chickpeas, Yellow Chickpea Spread over Greek Yogurt

Fashion!! We are always looking for what’s hot on the runways. So, I will indulge that side of us, for just a moment; Retro is the thing this season, designers are getting their inspiration, once again from the 60’s and 70’s, but just an essence of the era, from high waist and wide- legged pans, to wide brim hats and Boho frocks. If you ask me, Boho frocks will always be in, I am just saying.

Okay, back to food. The big thing now, that’s trending in food, is savory yogurts and turmeric. We have seen yogurt topped with granola, coconut, chocolate chips, honey, etc., etc. But we are also, seeing this trend of topping and mixing yogurt with savory ingredients. Now in Ayurvedic medicine ( an ancient medical system of India, which take a holistic approach to healing)has been mixing yogurt with savory ingredients as a common practice to healing, especially using turmeric. It is known to provide many health benefits, one in particular is to help with anemia. Turmeric is also the main ingredient in yellow curry, hence the curry recipes I am sharing with you today.

So, I decided to take on this trend and make a healthy dish using yogurt and turmeric. This recipe is high in protein, to be exact, it packs a whopping 27 grams of protein. It is also great for digestion, because of it’s high content of probiotics. As well as, being high in potassium and b12, which provides lots of energy and good nerve health.

This recipe is super easy, high is vegetarian based protein and full of flavor. Enjoy.  Remember to eat on purpose as you Set the Table with Love.

Side note: In this dish you are making the chickpeas two ways, roasted and also as a spread over the yogurt.

Ingredients:

1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained, you will use this one can, for the spread and for the roasted chickpeas, so divide the chick peas in half. Set the other half aside and prepare the roasted chickpeas first.

7 0z. greek yogurt

2 tbsp of chopped red bell pepper

mint and lemon zest as garnish

For the Red Curry Roasted Chickpeas

Half of the chickpeas

1 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tbsp of red curry powder, more or less based on your preference

1 tbsp of  no salt garlic herbal seasonings

sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Direction:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season with red curry powder, no garlic seasoning and sea salt and cayenne pepper, to taste.  Spread on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy.

Ingredients :

For the Yellow Curry Chickpea Spread

The remaining chickpeas

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp yellow curry powder, less or more based on your preference

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Add everything to a food processor and process until smooth, you may need more oil, if you like your spread thinner.

How to plate:

Add greek your to the bottom of your plate. Top with Yellow Curry spread first, then roasted chickpeas, than add garnishes and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over top the entire dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring is almost here: Is it time to Detox?

A spring cleanse is an important regimen, no matter how healthy you are. Our bodies need a good cleansing from the previous diet of the winter. In the winter months we tend to get less exercise and we eat heavier, fattier and more comfort foods. Our metabolism slows down as much as 10%, so we have to get it back up and running. A detox can get that metabolism back up and ready to go for the warmer months ahead.

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JUICING

Today I will share a video and a few recipes on how I like to do my Spring detox. I would advice, before starting and new nutritional or exercise regimen to speak to your health care professional first.

One of my favorite ways to detox, is to drink vegetable broth in the morning. Here’s simple and nutritional vegetable broth you can try at home. I also like to juice during my detox, carrot juice is my favorite and provides results, quickly.

I hope this video will give you a few tips and enjoy the recipes below. Remember, to always Set the Table with Love.  I start with a salad for lunch here’s a great salad recipe already on the blog, https://setthetablewithlove.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/warm-beet-green-apple-and-trio-lentil-salad/

 

Ingredients:

Vegetable Broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

10 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns,

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Sea salt to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, 5-7 minutes. Add 4 quarts cold water.  Add spices. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until stock is reduced by half, 1-1 1/2 hours.
Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids.

I drink this stock each morning. I drink it like a tea. You can also add lentils, an egg or other legumes to boost the protein.

Carrot Juice

Simple. Juice 5 carrots and enjoy. To boost the juice, to help with your immune system add1/2 tsp of turmeric at the bottom of the glass, then juice the carrots.

 

 

 

Beautiful Energy Food ~ Roasted Beets with Zucchini and Kale

I love food.  I also love feeling and looking great. Eating healthy for me is essential. I am kidney transplant survivor, so how I eat makes a difference in my health.  This Roasted Beet dish, is full of flavor, textures and nutrition. Here’s a few reasons you may want to try this simple recipe for yourself:

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Roasted Beets, Kale and Zucchini

Beets
Fight wrinkles and conditions the naturally with folate!
Prevents age-related macular degeneration with vitamin A and carotenoids!
Is also known to improve blood flow.

Kale
Boosts the health of your skin, because of it’s vitamin C content. Your skin contains collagen fibers, which are long strands of protein that form a network that holds your skin cells together. Vitamin C helps you make the collagen needed for skin strength.

Radishes
Keeps you hydrated.
With a high water content and lots of vitamin C as well as phosphorus and zinc, radishes are an excellent food for the tissues and can help keep your skin looking fresh and vibrant. Eat your thirst.

 

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Roasted Beets, Kale and Zucchini

Preheat oven 400.
Wash beets well. Peel the beets, slice them thinly into circles. Lay them on parchment paper,  salt to taste and drizzle with olive oil.

Clean the zucchini, slice them into circles as well. Place on parchment paper and salt to taste with a little olive oil.
Place in the oven cook for 25 – 30 minutes, until tender.  The zucchini will cook faster,  remove when done.

Sauté the kale. Add olive oil to a sauté pan. Add 1 cup of chopped kale, sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sauté  for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
Clean and slice radishes, also into circles. Zest some lemon. Set everything to the side. Goat cheese optional.

Now, once the beets and zucchini is ready you can assemble on a beautiful white plate as you desire. I used a good store bought balsamic glaze to drizzle over the whole dish, but you can make your own.

TIPS ON PLATING
The key to pretty plating, as I learned from my mentor Alex Guranaschelli, on Food Network’s All Star Academy is know what your making, figure out what plate best fits your dish. How and where will you place each component of the dish on the plate?   Sketch it out, if you have to.

Enjoy Beautiful Energy Food and being creative.

Caramelized Pears with homemade Granola and Mascarpone cheese

Breakfast and brunch is my favorite time of the day to eat. I love everything about a good breakfast and brunch. I feel, it’s the most creative time of the day to combine savory with sweet. You can have eggs, grits, muffins, toast, cakes, salmon, meat, chicken, juice, coffee and champagne, all at once. So, you see why it’s my favorite time of the day to eat.

I love having fruit for breakfast, but sometimes you want more than a raw apple or a banana. Sometimes, you want something decadent, rich, but also nutritious. I came up with this pear recipe when I got a little to happy in the produce department and bought tons of pears. I ate several and put several in salads, but there was just a few left over and starting to look a little too ripe. I am standing over my counter thinking, what will I do with these pears?  Hmm… sauté them!! Yes!!

I sautéed these pears in coconut oil and I sprinkled a little coconut sugar over the, to give them a nice caramelization, but the coconut sugar also gave them this wonderful nutty flavor. I made homemade granola the night before and thought this would be fantastic over the pears. But, here’s the decadence. I topped them off with little mascarpone cheese with lemon zest. OMG!! I hope your mama is not near, because you would want to slap her. LOL 🙂  Now, if we are going all out healthy , yogurt would be perfect. But sometimes you need to indulge a little, or a lot, depending on the day.  This makes an amazing dessert as well.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Oh yeah, remember to Set the Table with Love.

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Caramelized Pears with Granola and Mascarpone Cheese

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 medium Bosc pears, pitted and halved
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup granola,  homemade or bought tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, 1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup blueberries or  your favorite fruit
Drizzle of honey

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Sprinkle each pear with coconut sugar just enough to over lightly cover the pears, you will have some left over.  Melt the coconut oil. and then add the pears, cut-side down, cooking until they are slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remainder of the coconut sugar and continue cooking until caramelized, 4- 5 minutes, depending on your stove top.

Mascarpone Cheese with lemon zest. 

Add the mascarpone to a bowl and add the lemon zest and gently stir, until the lemon zest is incorporated into the cheese. If you are using yogurt, just add the zest into the yogurt or just add honey to the yogurt, if you desire.

Plating

Divide the pears, 2 pears to a plate. Add the homemade granola, a dollop of mascarpone cheese, drizzle of honey, add the berries all around the plate and a little shake of cinnamon and it’s the bees knees.

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Caramelized Pears with Granola and Mascarpone Cheese

 

 

Super Bowl Smash Potato Bites

Super Bowl is tomorrow and I have to make something, yummy, easy and delicious! I don’t know about you, but for me the best thing about Super Bowl Sunday, is the food. My mind starts to race, what will I make this year? LOL :).

Bingo!!  Smash Potatoes!! Crazy, super simple as well. Bake some baby potatoes, use a potato masher, smash them and add your favorite toppings. Done and Done.

I hope you enjoy this recipe any time of the year.

SET THE TABLE WITH LOVE.

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Smash Potatoes with Jalapeño cheese, red bell peppers, and cilantro

Smash Potatoes

Ingredients

24 ounces Dutch yellow baby potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup red bell peppers, diced

1/2 cup or more of your favorite cheese, shredded

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Parsley for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain well.
Place potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a potato masher or fork, carefully smash the potatoes until flattened but still in one piece. Top with olive oil.
Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven.  Using tongs, add the potatoes onto a nice heat proof serving platter. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cheese, red bell peppers and parsley to each potato. DON’T GET ALL FANCY , IT’S SUPER BOWL AND THEY ARE SMASHED POTATOES! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Serve immediately.