Tick Tock Chop Chop: No Lettuce Salad

chop salad, no lettuce

Deliciously clean and refreshing while filling and low-cal

Let’s be honest – loose fitting sweaters, balloon tops and baggy pants are great to hide the winter weight. But, no one looks super sassy sporting these looks on a warm spring day, much less in a muumuu at the beach. Tick tock, people – It’s already April. It’ll be bikini weather before you know it!

So with summer and thus, swimsuit season, looming – it’s time to shed the January jowl, February fat and even the March mushiness.

Today I sought to create the perfectly filling chop chop salad – no lettuce included. I don’t love the lettuce.

Chop Chop! No Lettuce Salad (serves 4 as a side or 2+ as a meal)

Ingredients:

  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1 orange bell pepper -or yellow, or if you had to, red
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds – no salt
  • 1 piece prosciutto
  • Ray’s Low-Fat Italian salad dressing
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Peel about half of the cucumber – the skin of an english cucumber or hothouse cucumber is AOK to eat – but take a bit off anyway like this
low-fat salad, no lettuce salad

Just a simple peel

2. Dice the cucumber into small squares. i made 1/4 inch rounds and then cut 4 x 4 or 4×3 depending upon the slice size. Throw them in a bowl

cucumber salad

Cut rounds first. Then cut the rounds into 12-16 pieces each

cucumber dices, salad, no lettuce

Just a small simple dice

3. Do the same thing – core and dice a whole pepper. I bought two – but one was just fine. Throw the dices in the bowl with the cucumber

peppers, vegetarian salad, chopped salad

I just used the orange one…

4. Throw the shredded carrots in! I bought them already shredded since price-wise it was the same and saved me the work!

chopped salad, recipe, carrots

Carrot shreds – also filling

5. Dice up the Gruyere cheese and yes, then throw it in the bowl

gruyere cheese, chopped salad

You can save the rinds for stock – but I didn’t

chopped salad recipe, gruyere cheese

Cheese is protein – and filling

6. Mix it all up.

7. Option – take one slice of prosciutto and place it between two pieces of paper towel and microwave it on high for 1 minute

prosciutto, crispy, salad

BEFORE – The prosciutto adds salt and crunch and yum

prosciutto, crisped salad topper

AFTER: Crispy goodness

8. Portion out one serving into a bowl and top with 1 tsp of sunflower seeds and some of the crispy prosciutto

9. Top with 1 tbsp of Ken’s Steakhouse Italian dressing. Stir and enjoy

dressing, no lettuce salad

I like me some Ken’s

Chopped salad recipe

Chop Chop Salad in no time at all!

 

 

Listen, people – the clock is running. You can’t stop summer from coming and it’s time to get prepared. So Chop to it!

Skeptical of Microwave Corn? Don’t Give a Shuck

corn, microwave, vegetarian

Sheath. Corn. Just that easy

My business partner (for my manderpants company) tells me I’m the skeptical one. I’m the one that asks the questions. That brings up the potential for disastrous outcomes. That reads the Yelp reviews, all of them, before we book hotels – I mean, bed bugs are a real thing, people.That may be prone to thinking something just isn’t quite right. That maybe – just maybe – Googles too much – I’m a really good Googler.

So when the microwave corn video started showing up all over Facebook and in my other social media feeds – because I follow food stuff and stuff – I didn’t really believe it. I mean, people do lie on the Internet.

I thought I had mastered the most succulent and fabulous corn the old fashioned way…a best friend who is ‘corn-psychic’ and selects perfect cobs every time, lots of shucking, big pot of water, butter and whole milk (or cream, who cares?) in the boiling water…add corn, cover, turn off heat – wait 12 mins, eat.

But this is no longer the best way. Plus, if there’s one KP job I hate – it’s shucking. I said ‘shucking’…

So…the microwave corn with no shucking at all intrigued me.

Ingredients:

Corn IN the cob – 1, 2, 22 pieces, I don’t care – ps, it was on sale at Whole Foods this week, so, bonus!

Preheat the……wait, you don’t need to do that

Fill a large pot with water….nope, not that either

1. Open the microwave. Yeah. Do that.

2. Put an ear of corn or two or three, whatever, in the microwave – DO NOT GIVE A SHUCK

corn, microwave

I just made one to test – cuz I really didn’t believe it would work – ps, look how clean my microwave is. yep.

3. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, just 3

microwave, kitchenaid, corn

It’s very hard to photograph my microwave. but you get it

4. It’s very very hot – wear an oven mitt, please…AND – Remove from microwave and cut the base off – you need to cut about a 1/2 inch into the kernel part – it’s fine, you’ll have enough corn, promise, trust me, google it.

corn, microwave, whole foods

I had to cut twice as the first time I didm’t get enough of it – see two cuts…I was proceeding in doubt and with caution

5. Hold the icky hairy top part of the corn with an oven mitt and shake it like a Polaroid picture….this is sorta the hard part – you have to really shake to get it moving out of the sheath

corn, microwave

Hold and shake – fer reels. PS, my oven mitt reminds me of Muppet hands.

6. As the corn starts to come clean of the sheath, you can assist by pulling the perfect corn with a second oven mitt

corn, microwave, vegetables

AHHHHnd…it’s working! Shock and Awe.

7. et voila – perfect corn, no sheath, no hairy stuff and you don’t have to give a shuck

corn, vegetables

Seriously, perfect. Hardest part is the shake-ification

Test was so successful, that I zapped two more ears and made magical toasted corn.

Is the lesson have more faith in things you see/read on the Internet? Uh…don’t think so – but keep reading, investigating, googling, if you will…and ultimately, test it for yourself. Sometimes it’s best to be skeptical, sometimes it’s best to not give a shuck.

Patience and Perseverance: Broccoli Pie ’70s Style

The ladies of a certain generation are very protective of their old family recipes and refuse to share their secrets even among their closest friends. If, heavens, a woman finds herself forced to reveal the recipe, she might…I’m saying might…accidentally, like totally by accident…leave out one crucial ingredient rendering the replication far inferior to the original.

Such ingredient omission could result in conversations like “Louise, I made your pecan bars last week and they just weren’t as good…’ To which Louise might just smile and say ‘bless your heart’. (see Southern lady’s translation of this sentiment)

I had been begging a friend’s mother for her Zucchini casserole recipe for exactly three years. Every time I saw her I asked again and she always found a way around giving it to me.

Denial of its existence:       ‘I’m not even sure I have it written down.’

No way to send it:  ‘Oh, I don’t have email.’

Fear of being replaced:    ‘I don’t want the casserole showing up at dinner parties all over town.’

But, I was persistent and about six months ago, she sat me down, went into a triple locked vault and simply said: ‘Do you have a pen?’

Listening intently…I took copious notes and asked only one question: ‘do you think adding toasted bread crumbs to the top would be good?’ Horrified, insulted and thinking about ripping the recipe out of my hands, she shook her head disapprovingly and said firmly, ‘NO.’

When it came time to make the casserole, (and please don’t tell) I did make a few changes: I subbed out zucchini for broccoli and divided the recipe by 4 – ‘Louise’ (that’s an alias, she who has no access to the internet or this blog prefers not to be named) makes a giant batch, divides in to several 9-inch bread pans before cooking and freezes – then she pulls out a pan, thaws and bakes off as needed.

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. Bisquick ExpiryThis recipe was translated from one that made enough Zucchini casserole for an army – there was math – but it worked out. Don’t be afraid to do some dividing in order to cook for fewer than 57 people
  2. Write expiry dates on the side of packages that face out in the cabinet – that way each time you look in there, you’ll know how many more days you have left to use your Bisquick – I had until today (no fear, I baked this over the weekend)
  3. Don’t keep your 8×8 Le Creuset baking dish on the very top shelf of your cabinets – the fact that mine was up there kept me from using it for a very long time. Thank goodness for my Gracious Home step ladder

Broccoli Pie (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • bisquick recipes

    70’s mix

    2 Cups Broccoli Florets

  • 1/2 Large Onion
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Bisquick Baking Mix
  • 1/4 Cup Grated or Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Pepper – if you want

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees

1. Mise en place – always miss en place – cheese, eggs, vegetable oil, Bisquick mix, onion half, Italian Seasoning

mise en place anne burrell vegetarian

All important Mise En Place

2. Chop the stems off of your broccoli and rough chop – then wash

broccoli vegetarian dinner side dish recipe

Lots of Broccoli – fresh from Fairway Market NYC

3. Pretend you’re going to make vegetable stock and keep the broccoli stems in the freezer until you admit that you’re not going to ever make vegetable stock and then throw them out.

broccoli stems vegetarian pie side dish

Be honest, you’re not going to make veggie stock

4. Roast the broccoli – this adds a great, browned, smoky flavor to the casserole. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet. Toss with ‘really good’ olive oil and salt. Roast for 15 mins, tossing them around a bit about halfway through.

roasted broccoli dinner side dish vegetarian

Brown food is good food – roasted broccoli

5. Turn oven down to 350 degrees

6. Allow the broccoli to cool for about :10 mins then toss it into your Cuisinart

7. Chop the onion into chunks and toss into the Cuisinart with the broccoli

side dish recipe vegetarian casserole

Thank you Cuisinart

8. Pulse until the broccoli and onions are well minced, but still have a tiny bit of chunkiness to them

9. If you’re using shredded parmesan (not grated) – add to the Cuisinart and pulse a few more seconds

broccoli casserole recipe vegetarian

Slight chunks AOK

10. In a separate bowl combine the 2 eggs, Bisquick, Vegetable oil, Italian Seasoning and pepper if you like that kind of thing. You already salted the roasted broccoli, so no need to add more. (Also if you’re using grated parmesan, add it now)

recipe side dish vegetarian broccoli

Bisquick-y mix

11. Add the broccoli, cheese, onion mince to the Bisquick mix and stir to combine

broccoli casserole recipe

Add the broc onion cheese mix

12. It should look like this – just make sure you get all of the dry bisquick-y stuff well combined with the veggies and eggs

vegetarian casserole broccoli recipe

Well mixed

13. Spray an 8×8 Le Creuset dish with Pam or other nonstick cooking spray. Can you use other than Le Creuset? No, no you can not.

14. Spread the mixture into the baking dish evenly – should be about 1 inch thick

vegetarian casserole dinner broccoli

Spread into modern Corningware = Le Creuset

15. Bake at 350 – did you remember to turn down the oven? – for :35 mins or until lovingly browned

broccoli pie casserole recipe

Perfectly browned edges

16. Slice into wedges and serve

vegetarian side dish recipe broccoli

Sumptuous Slice

The Broccoli Pie nee Zucchini casserole recipe was worth waiting, begging and ultimately fighting for. It’s a ’70s throwback to the time when most vegetables were over boiled or minced and most side dishes included Bisquick.

To those of you who are courting women of a certain generation for a secret family recipe, let me say just this – patience and perseverance pay off. And, if this dish starts popping up at dinner parties all over town – please don’t tell ‘Louise’ about this blog.

Soup-Er Bowl: White Bean, Sausage and Cauliflower Soup

superbowl football soup cauliflower

Soup-Er Superbowl Soup

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. If I read the Roman Numerals correctly, it’s Super Bowl 48..Not 49-er. And while, we, as New Yorkers, lament that our (or Jersey’s depending upon how you look at it) hometown team won’t be playing, we rejoice in the fact that at least one Manning will be there….Hopefully leading the Broncos to victory.

And, let’s be honest, we’re just happy it’s not the Patriots.

superbowl soup dinner recipe budweiser horses

Boozy Budweiser Clydesdales – not Colts

I know it’s almost Super Bowl Sunday because I saw the Budweiser Clydesdale horses outside of my apartment the other day. That’s right, a team of boozy Broncos led by some Cowboy towing a ton of beer. Right here on 67th St. Only in New York, Kids.

And, then there are all of the cooking tips on TV. Seem that no one eats like a Saint on SBS. Most chow down more like Cardinals – twice their weight in one day – and view Super Bowl Sunday as an excellent opportunity to consume 8million tons of guacamole – always seemed odd to me. Maybe those Texans started this tradition of guac. Americans pride themselves on creating 7-layer dips in the shapes of football stadiums, wrapping billions of cocktail weenies in crescent dough and consuming copious amounts of …beer.

I, on the other hand, prefer to provide my guests with Giant Soup-er Super Bowl soups. Last year, I made the Soup-Er simple Taco Soup…..this year, I’ll be mesmerizing Manning fans with a not as simple, but equally delicious, White Bean, Cauliflower, Chicken Sausage Soup. A soup that may even entice my Seahawk friends Jet-ing in from the west.

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. If you don’t have a hand held blender – get one. They don’t take up a lot of space, aren’t that expensive, come in pretty colors (mine is pink) are dishwasher safe and make an easy job of pureeing your soup.
  2. Timing is everything – since you’re having people over, clean as you go – you don’t have counter space for all of those dirty pots & pans anyway and your kitchen probably doubles as your bar, coat rack, convening space for friends and Titans of Industry.
  3. If you don’t have a Viking range, no worries, yours will be just fine.

Soup-Er Super Bowl Soup (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • rachael ray sausage oscars smoke house super bowl soup

    Super Sausage from Somewhere Upstate – Well East of Buffalo, home of the Bills

    4 Chicken-Cheddar-Spinach Sausage links Sliced –  mine were from Oscar’s Smoke House upstate –  because Rachael Ray says so…PS, they ship to NYC

  • 2 Cans White Northern or Cannolini beans – the big white ones not the Redskin-ed ones – rinsed
  • 2 Cups Cut Cauliflower – don’t be an over Packer – just 2 loose cups will do
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion Diced
  • ½ Small Shallot diced
  • 2 Cups of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh Thyme – ok, mine are frozen – not in the refrig-e-Raider, but in the freezer
  • 4 Cups of Good Chicken Stock – like you’d ever use ‘bad’ chicken stock?
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • EVOO
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Spread the cauliflower on a lined baking sheet (Reynolds Wrap pan-lining paper is my fave), sprinkle with EVOO and salt and gently mix

vegetable roasting cauliflower

Cauliflower Ready to Roast

3. Put Cauliflower in to oven and roast for :30mins

cauliflower roasted vegetarian

Brown(s) Food Is Good Food

4. Meanwhile…..In a large stock pot – Le Creuset, s’il vous plait – over medium heat, sauté the diced onion and shallot in about 2 tbsp of EVOO until well softened and sorta translucent – about :10 mins

soup onion shallot super bowl sunday dinner

The onion makes it onion-y the shallot makes it sweet…and it’s pretty

5. Toss in a Bay Leaf for flavoring….

soup recipe super bowl

Bay Leaf for seasoning

6. Add 4 Cups of Chicken Stock and 1 Cup of water

7. Add in the roasted cauliflower and the Thyme leaves

cauliflower soup dinner recipe

Stirring in roasted cauliflower goodness

8. BTB / RTS – bring to boil, return to simmer….but, you knew what I meant

9. Simmer for :25 minutes until the cauliflower is well softened. Keep an Eagle’s eye on your simmer – it’s an art, simmering.

While that’s simmering….

9. In a frying pan over medium/high heat, add 1 tbsp of EVOO and sauté the sausage slices until browned.

dinner sausage soup with white beans

Chicken Sausage with Cheddar and Spinach – Oscar’s Smoke House NY

10. Remove the sausage and set aside

oscars smoke house chicken sausage

Browned and Beautiful

——————————WAIT—————————————

ABOUT :10mins – read a book, call your mom, watch an episode of ‘That’s So Raven(s)’, whatever….

11. In the sausage-y pan, add the spinach and wilt – :04 mins ish

fresh spinach soup cauliflower recipe

Wonderfully Wilted Spinach

12. Remove the sautéed spinach and set aside

13. Back to the large stock pot….After :25 minutes Turn off heat on Stock Pot…….Remove the bay leaf

14. Stir in 1 15oz can of White Beans and simmer another :05 minutes

soup dinner recipe

Simmering Simmering Simmering

15. Add pepper to taste – about 4-5 turns of a mill

16. Puree mixture with pretty pink hand held blender until smooth – you may have to chase the chunks of cauliflower…Like a Lion, Panther or a Bengal Tiger might chase down its prey.

soup puree cauliflower

Pretty Pink Pureeing – chasing chunks of Cauliflower

dinner soup recipe cauliflower spinach sausag

Smooth, Sleek and Silky…Like a Jaguar

17. Stir in 1 Cup of Cannolini / Northern White beans and the cooked sausage and the spinach. I like a soup that eats like a meal…so, I add no more stock… you do what you want, you know what I’m doing…If your guests are hungry as Bears, Ram in another can of beans to make it more stew-ish. You can also stir in some cream, don’t need to, but can – whatever you want. You’re the Chief Chef here.

soup super bowl recipe find the teams

Do you have to add spinach? No, but it’s pretty and delish

Gindo's Spice of Life fresh and spicy pepper sauce

That’s Hot!

18. Have some spice-loving Buccaneers coming over? You can, at this point, stir in a few dashes of Gindo’s Fresh and Spicy Spice of Life…for an extra point or an onside kick!

19. Heat Through

20. Serve warm (just in a simple soup bowl, no need for the formality of fine china on gilded Chargers).

Add some yummy, crusty bread  – I paid just $1.19 for a baguette at Fairway today! At that price, I felt like a Steeler of breads!

dinner soup recipe super bowl

The Spinach Swims in the Soup like a Graceful Pod of Dolphins

So….the Giants didn’t make it to the big game. It’s fine. Truth be told, I’m more in to the commercials anyway…And the cooking. And, with this chicken sausage, white bean and cauliflower soup – it’s sure to be a Soup-er Super Bowl Sunday!

Go Peyton!

PS – Maybe you’d rather watch reruns of Falcon(s) Crest instead of the Big Game. Listen, if you need to be entertained, find the 32 NFL teams mentioned in this post.

It’s OK To Be In The Can: Spicy Easy Bean Dip

spicy bean dip vegetarian recipe

It’s in the Can

I heart my iPhone 5…even though it has some glitches. Like I had to get the speaker replaced when all noises – text pings, Twitter tweets, phone chime, email bings etc stopped. And, for whatever reason…when my phone reaches 35% battery and I try to take and post a picture (sort of the way of life of a food blogger) it just shuts off. Telling me in it’s own Apple way that it’s done with the social media thing for that day. I’m OK with it, though.

iphone 5 texting vegetarian corn dip

Heat

One thing that does drive me crazy is the auto text correct. Sure, generally, the phone is right and I mean to type rosé, not rose. The phone seems to have picked up on summer wine season. So smart.

But, I almost…wait, I actually never mean to type that ‘I’m in the can.’ For whatever reason – maybe it’s because the iPhone speaks ‘Californian’ and those people don’t take cabs like we do in NYC – the iPhone refuses to accept that I’m in the ‘Cab’ not the ‘Can’. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to text ‘I mean Cab, not Can’ to people who are waiting for me and now think I have an ‘issue’.

That said, there are times when it’s OK to be in the Can….Like when people are coming over and it’s national hot and spicy food day and you need to quickly get an appropriate array of appetizers ready.

My most recent favorite mix is:

Spicy Easy Bean Dip (serves a bunch – but lasts two days, so just make it all)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. You should probably always have these ingredients on hand, they don’t take a ton of space and last a long time…Oh, and they’re inexpensive too
  2. You don’t need or have room for an electric can opener…I was guest chef-ing…and the kitchen had one…fun, but sorta silly and a space waster for NYC apartments.

Ingredients:

  • Gindo's Spice of Life fresh and spicy pepper sauce

    That’s Hot!

    2 Cans Shoe-Peg or Whole Corn Kernels

  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Garbanzo Beans
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro – Like a hearty handful of leaves
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion
  • Gindo’s Spice of Life Fresh and Spicy Honey Habanero Pepper Sauce…You can use the green mild sauce or the original Pepper Sauce but since it’s National Hot and Spicy Food Day…Go for the gusto!

Pay attention – this is tricky…

1. Open the cans of corn kernels and pour into the bottom of a large mixing bowl

2. Open the can (or box, sometimes it’s a box like 365 brand at Whole Foods) of Garbanzo Beans, drain, and pour into the bowl

bean dip recipe vegetarian dips hot an dspicy

This is exhausting!

3. Dice the 1/2 red onion and pour dices in

4. Open the can of black beans, rinse thoroughly, and throw them in the bowl

can opener electric bean dip vegetarian recipe

Who still has an electric can opener???

5. Chop up the cilantro – chop it pretty well…and, yes, if you absolutely hate cilantro, you can use parsley… whatever makes you happy. I don’t judge.

6. Pour 3 TBSP-ish of the salad dressing over the mixture

7. Toss in a few dashes of Gindo’s Spice of Life Fresh and Spicy Pepper Sauce – this’ll get your guests to go ‘hmmmm…wow!’ as the heat hits their tongues. Don’t be afraid here, the smooth taste of the garbanzo beans and the cool, fresh, sweet avocado will balance out the spicy hot sauce.

vegetarian bean dip hot and spicey

I guess at the amount of the dressing – it’ a pretty design!

8. Mix…just get in there and mix

bean dip vegetaran cold dips

This really is TOUGH

9. Cube up about a whole avocado and gently fold in…This part isn’t shown, because our avocados weren’t ripe enough and we had to do without…But, I recommend including them if you can

This dip is best if allowed to sit, chill for a while – at least 2 hours…The flavors all meld together and add to the deliciousness.

Serve with the dippers – you know the Tostito Scoops corn chips…

I can’t really think of an appropriate time to text anyone that you are ‘in the can’…still can’t figure out why my iPhone wants me to say that. Unless the iPhone thinks that somehow I’m shoe-peg corn or black beans or garbanzo beans. Then, being in the can is totes OK.

Happy National Hot and Spicy Food Day! Enjoy the dip!