When I was traveling back east for work and living out of a hotel room I would try to find a local Whole Foods store so that I would at least attempt to maintain a healthy diet on the road. While I love vegetables, given a choice I will double down on some barbeque rather than fill my plate with vegetables first. Fact of the matter is I just love meat (especially BBQ!) and I would rather finish off a plate of ribs rather than eat a bowl of broccoli crunch. But I digress.
One of the best things I discovered on the road was raw juice. I’d grab a green lemonade everyday from the Whole Foods juice bar and down it as I shopped. After awhile, I noticed that I would get a nice jolt of energy that was better than my normal afternoon cup of coffee - not to mention that this stuff tasted pretty good! Needless to say, the frequency of my Starbucks Rewards began to decline. I did hear that Starbucks is starting to open a chain of juicebars so that should tell you something. Hmmm, I wonder if my rewards will be good there as well!
On the weekends back in San Diego I would often grab a glass of raw juice at the farmer’s market from GreenFix in the Little Italy Mercato. Here again, I found myself making less stops at the Joe’s Coffee truck (sorry guys) and grabbing a juice rather than coffee for that early morning boost.
I have to tell you, I feel a lot better after adding raw juice to my diet and I noticed I’ve dropped a few pounds as well. The key to what makes this stuff awesome is the amount of green veggies that are packed into a little glass. Five servings of vegetables with all the fiber and natural goodness are packed into a 8 oz glass. I drink about 20 oz per day and I know consider myself a vegetarian (just kidding).
Seriously though, take a look at adding a little raw juice in your diet especially one that is packed with kale and other leafy greens. It will do amazing things for your body and you won’t feel so bad skipping those over cooked green beans that Nana serves for dinner. But don’t take it from me, if you need some convincing I highly recommend watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead on Netflix or Hulu. It will change your life.
I’m sorry folks but i know it has been a long while since I posted. I was doing some traveling consulting back on the East Coast and frankly that did not lend itself to allow me time to rattle some pots and pans. Well, that project is now over and I am back again!
I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately and the convergence of health and our dietary choices. I’ve decided to make sure that the food featured in my blog is clean and minimally processed as possible. In addition to the dishes I create I will also feature local restaurants and everyday value wines that I think you will enjoy. Stay tuned this week and look for my post on an easy-to-do 5 minute frittata.
Pannatone French toast
For a twist on your usual French toast recipe, slice your pannatone into thick slices. No need to add sugar, cinnamon or vanilla. Just fry them in the pan and let the flavors of the Milanese favorite do the rest.
Christmas morning breakfast - spinach and goat cheese frittata
1/4 cup of milk
3 handfuls of fresh spinach
3 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 Tbsp of dried shallots
3 oz of goat cheese, crumbled
3 oz of grated Manchego cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
Beat eggs and milk in a medium bowl and pour into non-stick pan on medium heat.
Top egg mixture with remaining ingredients and cook on range top until bottom of eggs begin to brown. Remove from range-top and finish in oven @ 350 degrees for 10 mins or until cheese is melted.
Remove from heat and allow to rest for 2 minutes. Top with parsley or basil if desired. Serves 4.
I wanted to do something simple for Thanksgiving this year so I decided to make some turkey burgers. I found this awesome recipe on Hungry Girl Por Vida last week and I though about how I could make this amazing looking burger in less time and with less stress. I stared at Cindy’s photo for so long that my stomach started growling and it was then in that magic moment - when hunger meets creativity that I drew my inspiration. My burger would not be complete without the requisite sauce so I also I need to give some credit to Wolfgang Puck for his cranberry catsup recipe.
Baldini Cooks! Friendsgiving Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Catsup
2 lbs of fresh ground turkey
4 eggs or 1 cup of Eggbeaters
8 oz goat cheese
1 box Stovetop Stuffing (Sage)
1 head of Bibb or other artisan lettuce
8 delicious burger buns (onion rolls)
12 oz fresh cranberries
1 small sweet onion
1/4 cup of packed Splenda brown sugar blend
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of dried orange peel
1Tbsp of minced garlic
2 tsp Morton’s sea salt
A dash of McCormick’s mustard powder
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of coriander
A pinch of cloves
A dash or red pepper flakes
A pinch of ground ginger
A pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tsp of olive oil
You will want to prep the cranberry catsup ahead of time so begin by sautéing the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion begins to brown. Then add all of the catsup ingredients and cook in a covered sauce pan for 30 minutes on low temperature. Be sure to give the pan a stir every 5-10 minutes. When finished cooking, purée in food processor until smooth and transfer to glass or plastic bowl to cool.
The burgers are pretty simple, in a large bowl combine all of the burger ingredients (save the buns for later) and mix together completely with clean hands. Form into 8 large burger patties and allow to rest 15 minutes before grilling.
I’m a huge fan of using the gas grill but I also own a Lodge cast iron grill as well and it works great for getting the grill marks on burgers and steaks without having to fire up the grill in subzero weather. In either case, I always find that you get the best results grilling if you have a drink in one hand (Guinness Foreign Extra!) and the tongs in the other.
To assemble the burgers, place the lettuce on the bottom bun and the top with the burger patty. Spread a generous amount the cranberry catsup and top with additional goat cheese if you wish. Top with a thinly sliced vine-ripened tomato and the bun top and enjoy!
My goal this year was to try to make things as simple as possible, but somehow I still managed to cook all day. The difference this year is that I got to make the food that I wanted instead or some prescripted traditional turkey dinner. I will say that this has been the best and most enjoyable Thanksgiving cooking experience by far!
If you have some more time on your hands an really want to indulge in some cooking creativity, I highly recommend trying out Cindy’s recipe on hungrygirlporvida.com . Let me know how your dish turns out and feel free to post any photos of your masterpiece. You can also contact me at Baldinicooks@gmail.com if you have any suggestions.
If you are looking for a way to add a Chinese twist to your Thanksgining, I suggest this recipe I found in the Candian Globe & Mail.
Servings: 6 to 8
Purchase your turkey breast from your local butcher, and ask butcher to debone turkey, keeping the breasts intact and attached. Save remaining bits for soup.
2 whole large turkey breasts, skin on (about 7 pounds total)
1 white onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1½ cups celery, chopped
2 tablespoons five spice mix
3 tablespoons salt
Rinse turkey breast. In a large bowl, add chopped ingredients and one cup of water. Mix ingredients until spices are combined. Set turkey in bowl and cover with cold water. Place turkey in the refrigerator and let rest for 8 to 10 hours.
MANDARIN AND CRANBERRY STUFFING
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely diced
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 can mandarin oranges
2 tablespoons mandarin juice
2 cups whole-wheat bread cut in small cubes
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
HOISIN ROASTING SAUCE
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Rinse turkey breast. Add all brine-bath ingredients to bowl and set turkey in it. Cover with cold water. Let rest in brine bath in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours.
To make the hoisin roasting sauce, mix ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve until ready to roast turkey.
In a large pan, sauté onion, celery and cranberries in the butter. Cook until cranberries are soft and starting to break down. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Remove turkey breasts from brine bath and pat dry. Place on a large working surface, skin side down, and butterfly meat.
Spread stuffing on top and roll the turkey around the stuffing.
Wrap kitchen twine around turkey and tie tightly.
Set your oven rack in the centre of your oven. Set stuffed turkey in a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees or until internal temperature of the turkey breast is 165 degrees F, about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes remove and brush turkey with hoisin sauce mixture. Return to oven and roast for another 30 min until golden. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes, then snip off kitchen twine. Slice the turkey and arrange decoratively on serving platter.
Pour pan juices over the slices and serve