Friday, March 14, 2008

Barley Tabbouleh with Tomatoes and Olives

This recipe uses the whole grain barley, but in a convenient quick cooking form (takes 10 minutes!) thanks to Quaker.

Barley Tabbouleh with Tomatoes & Olives
1 box quick cooking Barley, cooked and rinsed
2-3 lemons, juice only
1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 can black olives*, quartered
2 scallions sliced
3 Tbps extra virgin olive oil (like Ybarra brand)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook barley according to package directions. Rinse and dress with half the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and black pepper to taste. Add scallions, tomatoes and olives.

Finely chop parsley and stir into the barley. If needed add the rest of the lemon juice.

Serve as a side dish with grilled chicken, lamb or fish. For a complete vegetarian meal, top with goat cheese and pine nuts for added protein and calcium. Enjoy!

*Note: I used canned black olives b/c that's what I had on hand, however this dish would've flourished with the addition of Niciose or Kalamatta olives. Yum!

Strawberry Oat Crumble

This dessert is so easy that it can be made any night on its own, as a topping for cake, or even as a pie filling or as part of a parfait. Talk about flexible!

It's made with whole fruit and quick oats, and is totally adaptable to whatever fruit you have available or have a taste for.

Strawberry & Oat Crumble
1 lb (1 bag) frozen whole strawberries
1 Tbsp organic light brown sugar (less if your fruit is sweet)
2/3 cups quick cooking oats
2 Tbsp butter
pinch each : cinnamon and allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar

In a sauce pan with a lid heat strawberries and 1 Tbsp of organic light brown sugar, covered over medium heat until warm and bubbly.

Meanwhile melt 2 Tbsp butter. Combine oats, spices, and remaining light brown sugar in a bowl. Pour melted butter into the bowl and stir well.

Combine strawberries and oat crumble. Makes a great topping over ZERO FAT angel cake slices!

Recipe: Life Chef's Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

This recipe was recently featured on March 13 at Henry County. I had to concoct a version on the spot using organic light brown sugar instead of honey, but those guys were game to try it. Here's a milder version of the tonic good for daily use.

Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
6 oz filtered water
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Stir and drink daily.

For more information about organic, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar and it's curative properties visit the Bragg website which has an extensive Q&A on ACV, or the Earth Clinic's informative article about ACV.

Note: if you can see through your apple cider vinegar, its not the right stuff for the "tonic". The unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar is cloudy, or has sediment at the bottom, which is where all the "good stuff is." As with all "natural remedies" there are as many articles that support the health benefits of ACV as there are those that denounce the same benefits. You be the judge and share your thoughts.

*** Disclaimer: I am a chef, not a doctor.***

The Henry County Challenge

I want to thank the gang out at Henry County for being such a great group. On March 13 I had my second Healthy Cooking Demonstration there, and I can't WAIT to do the next one. What a fun (and funny) group of men and women who obviously love food and eagerly participate in the dialogue!

As you guys requested I'm going to post the recipes that we covered. The Curry Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Spinach in a Coconut Broth is about to be a Life Chef classic.

We also made great use of new Food Find of mine: quick cooking barley by Quaker. It's done in 10 minutes! Quaker also carries the brand Mother's who also makes a quick cooking barley. This whole grain lent a twist to the traditional Mediterranean parsley salad in Barley Tabbouleh with Tomatoes and Olives.

Then we made a simple and easy Strawberry & Oat Crumble -- a quick and healthy dessert that you can whip up any night.

Finally we made a modified version of the old fashioned Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic -- made from unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, organic brown sugar and water -- that packed a SERIOUS punch. I admit, I made it strong but I figured if you guys can handle it at THAT potency, then making it at home will be a snap!

Read more about the pros and cons of Apple Cider Vinegar. Here's the basic recipe: Life Chef's Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic

*** Warning: vinegar is very acidic and can be uncomfortable on an empty stomach. If you have a history of irritation of your esophagus, stomach or digestive tract, eliminate the cayenne pepper. For your initial taste, sip the tonic to know how whether or not it is right for you and your stomach! And remember I'm a chef not a doctor and any health claims made by makers and promoters of Apple Cider Vinegar are just that "claims. ***

Now here comes the Henry County Challenge...
Enough participants were wowed by the tonic to want to try it for themselves. I'm a fan of it personally, but I'd love to try it for 30 days straight, and some of the Henry County group was game as well.

So here is the Henry County Challenge: Drink the Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic once a day for 30 days. Report your experience here on Life Chef's Food for Life in the "comments" section.

Let's see if this stuff is as good as it's reputation.

*** Disclaimer: I am a chef, not a doctor. If you have health issues (acid reflux, GERD, or are taking certain medications) please consult a physician. I am not posting the Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic as "cure" for anything (regardless of my own bias).***

I WELCOME your comments regarding the Henry County Challenge.

Chicks in the City Returns to Oakhurst

This Save the Date is from the Oakhurst Community Garden Project. They offer some of the coolest classes on home gardening and farming, right here in the heart of the city.

The next Chicks in the City Class has been scheduled for May 3rd from 10-noon. Please let me know if you want me to hold a spot for you, but please hold off on paying at this time. We may be tying this class into an afternoon chicken coop tour and a special price may be available for both. More details to follow...
Executive Director
(678) 642-4977

Unfortunately I think I'm booked that date, but if not I'll definitely try to attend this class because I would LOVE to have my own laying hens and my own hand-built coop! That's one of my big goals for 2008! See "A Few Words About Eggs" from December.