Monday, April 27, 2009

Georgia Grown Produce Recap

April 11th's "What's Cooking?" Class at Sevananda Natural Foods focused on Georgia Grown Produce.

Since we've had a lot of storms, and it's early in the growing season, I had to improvise and use ingredients that may not have been Georgia-grown at the time, but definitely would be in the weeks and months to come.

Our three recipes included (Click pictures for larger images, click links for recipes):
Georgia grown produce on Twitpic
A Locally Grown Salad of bibb lettuce, kale and parsley, with black radish, strawberries and blueberries in a white wine vinaigrette

Cornmeal crust tomatoes w Green Hill chz on Twitpic
Cornmeal dusted vine-ripened tomatoes with Sweet Grass Dairy's Green Hill soft, ripened cow's milk cheese

Balsanic peaches w baby braising greens on Twitpic
Balsamic peaches with mixed baby braising greens

Cornmeal Crusted Vine Ripened Tomatoes with Green Hill Cheese

Green Hill Cheese is a soft, ripened cow's milk cheese made by Thomasville, GA based Sweet Grass Dairy. It's one of my favorites! This works well with vine ripened or green tomatoes.

Cornmeal Crusted Vine Ripened Tomatoes with Green Hill Cheese
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2" slices
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1/2 round of Green Hill cheese, sliced
Fresh parsley for garnish

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large pan or on a griddle.
Meanwhile pour cornmeal onto a plate and season with cayenne, salt and pepper. Press tomato slice into cornmeal mixture on both sides.
Cook on each side about 3-4 minutes until crisp and brown, turning once.
Top with sliced cheese, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Bibb, Kale, Parsley Salad with Strawberries, Blueberries and Radish

All of these ingredient can be picked up in the spring and summer at the local farmer's markets and groceries here in Georgia. This salad is bursting with flavor and loaded with antioxidants.

Bibb, Kale, Parsley Salad with Strawberries, Blueberries and Radish
1 head Bibb lettuce, torn
5 kale leaves (any variety), trimmed and torn
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 pint blue berries
1 pint strawberries
2 medium sized black radishes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp raw agave nectar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine vinegar, Dijon mustard and agave nectar in a bowl. Stir in sliced radish and kale. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinate for about 10 minutes.

Place lettuce, parsley and berries in a large salad bowl. Add the radish-kale mixture along with the liquid. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in, toss well and serve.

Balsamic Peaches with Baby Braising Greens

This side dish or entree is a wonderful marriage of some Georgia-grown flavors: fresh peaches, and some tender, baby bitter greens.

Balsamic Peaches with Baby Braising Greens
2 peaches, pitted and quartered
1 lb of mixed baby braising greens (kale, beet greens, mustard greens etc.)
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (go with a good one)
salt and pepper

Drizzle oil, salt and pepper over cut side of the peaches.
Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan over medium high heat. Carefully add the peaches, cut side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until caramelized.

Flip peach wedges to the other cut side and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar (about 2 Tbsp) and stand back!

Allow the balsamic vinegar to reduce by about half and stir in the greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, until the greens wilt and are tender. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water.

To serve, place greens on a plate and arrange peaches on top.

Option: crumble ricotta salada cheese, bacon pieces or toasted nuts over the top

I'm in the Loaf! ... Online, that is.

Nothing trumps a mention in the local paper. And for me, that doesn't mean the AJC, but the Creative Loafing. The tabloid sized paper I've been grabbing up automatically every Thursday for the last (mumble mumble) years to find out what bands are coming to town, what classes are being offered, what odd-ball nutjobs made the Blotter, my horoscope and then the leisurely stroll through the food section.

Ahhhhh. Whether or not I've agreed with restaurant reviews, bought 1/2 price gift certificates, or sighed at a recent restaurant closing this has been my favorite part of the Loaf and I've read the Food & Drink section with the casual comfort of chatting with a friend over Sunday morning coffee for years.

And today I find thanks to @savoryexposure on Twitter, behold, the venerable Cliff Bostock has seen fit to put my name in type face. Well smack the seeds off my everything bagel and call my mama! I'm in the Loaf!... online, that is (most print media has moved online at this point right?), at Omnivore Atlanta, where CL food writers Cliff Bostock and Besha Rodell spill the beans on everything that doesn't fit in the Loaf's small Food & Drink section, along with this gem of insight, Some Notes. And that last link, dear reader, is where you will find my proud home-town mention. Today is a great day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Enzo's Pizza and Cafe

A new Enzo's Pizza/Italian Deli opens in Decatur this Friday (near Wahoo!). They have been in Sweet Auburn Curb Market for 3 years (this location will stay open). We had lunch there for first time on Friday and I can't wait until Monday to get some more!

Two paninis w/ 2 sides both under $8:

Fury - PEPRONI salami capi mozz rstpeps on Twitpic
"Fury of Rome" features pepperoni, salami, hot capicolla, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and olive oil.

"Aventine" features grilled marinated chicken breast, fontina cheese, spinach, fresh herb mayonnaise

Will def eat there again. Their motto appeals to me: "Real Pizza 4 Real People."

Curb Market location info: M-F 11-5, 404.223.3353 209 Edgewood Ave. Looking forward to trying the pizzas, hot sandwiches, salads and pasta at the new Decatur location which will be on College Ave in Decatur near the East Lake train station and Wahoo! restaurant.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Emory's "Cooking 101" class in the news

Read all about it:
Life Chef/Chef Asata "Cooking 101" featured in the Emory Wheel

Food News: Food giant Unilever to cut sodium content

THUMBS UP: Food giant Unilever reducing sodium content across the board to fit within World Health Organization's 5mg/day by 2015.

Popular Unilever brands include Bertoli, Country Crock, Hellmans, Knorr, Lipton, Slim Fast, Wishbone, Heartbrand and many others.

Read Article Here
(RT @thefoodsection)

TASTY II with Spicy Wifey This Sunday

Revamp your nightly repast with an internationally inspired series, customized exclusively for Spicy Wifey by the Life Chef, Asata Reid.

This series is designed to bring the entire family to the table! Everyday ingredients get a makeover and take center stage in sexy, delicious, nutritious meals that will have you canceling those restaurant reservations and coming home for dinner night after night!

This cooking demonstration will present seasoned cooks with fresh ideas and provide those new to cooking with a great place to start. Surprise your mate with a spicy new dish! This session will explore Asian flavors and feature wine and cocktail pairings with each tasty course! These sessions are informative, fun and TASTY!

Turkey-ginger potstickers with nappa cabbage slaw
Chilled soba noodles with shiitakes and green onions
Sliced chicken with spicy braised bok choy
Sesame garlic long beans

- Ladies Only!
Register Now at, click "shop spicy wifey" - Only $40.00

Calavino's Soul Kitchen

Had dinner last night at a relatively new East Atlanta eatery, although the chef is not new to Atlanta by any means.

Vidalia onion soup @ Calavinos in EAV on Twitpic
Vidalia Onion Soup

Fried green tomato sandwich on Twitpic
Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Fried fish collards macnchz on Twitpic
Fried Tilapia, Collards, Dill-Havarti MacNCheez

Short version:
All of the food had good flavor and you can’t deny the good flavors of real food. Our waitress Erin was friendly, knowledgeable and patient – not only were we newbies (who always take a long time to order) but we were also Those People with The Kid in the restaurant on this particular evening. If you’re rolling with your mini-me entourage, eating at Calavino’s on a weekday at 6-ish is good timing. We were one of only three tables and the night-life set of East Atlanta Village hadn’t kicked into gear yet.

Check out the full review here:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"What's Cooking?" class this morning!

Heading to Sevananda for "What's Cooking? Land of Plenty- GA Grown Produce" class. We're cookin' local "vittles" y'all! 10-noon. C U there!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Leftover Makeover: Tortellini

When I have to make dinner in a hurry, I turn to Buitoni's Three Cheese Tortellini, found in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. It freezes well (so I stock up when it's on sale), can go straight into a pot of boiling water (yes, even from the freezer), and has a nice toothy bite that the dried tortellini's just don't have. Dinner in 15 minutes: twice...

Our first tortellini dinner: Cheese tortellini with chicken and potabella mushrooms in a creamy pesto sauce.

Here's my leftover makeover: tortellini, spicy chorizo in saffron-tomato broth. Crumble in tortilla chips and YUM

Emory "Cooking 101" Recap

A big THANK YOU to Emma and Taylor from the Student Alumni Association at Emory for having me out to teach "Cooking 101," part of the "Life 101" Series for students.

You guys were a great group with fantastic questions and lots of energy. As promised here are the recipes from our class. If you guys have any questions while experimenting in the kitchen let me know!


Herb Roasted Chicken
1 Roasting hen
1 spring rosemary, stemmed and chopped
5 sprigs of thyme, stemmed and chopped
½ head garlic
4 bay leaves
black pepper
1 lemon thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Liberally season chicken with salt, pepper and herbs (including inside the cavity). Stuff garlic and bay leaves inside of the cavity. Pin wings behind the chicken and secure the legs. Place on a rack or perforated pan in a roasting pan. Cover breast and tops of legs with lemon slices. Bake at 400 degrees in center of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning half way through cooking. Chicken is done when thick part of the thigh joint is pierced with a knife and the juices run clear, and none of the flesh is pink. Discard lemons, and slice chicken to serve.


Peach and Strawberry Cobbler Pie
1 lb frozen peaches, thawed
1 lb frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup quick cooking oats
½ cup raw or brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp all spice
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 deep dish frozen pie crusts, partially thawed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients except crust and butter in a mixing bowl. Place berry-spice mixture into one pie crust. Break the second pie crust into pieces and arrange over the top of the fruit. Dot top crust with butter pieces. Bake 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.


Vanilla scented Jasmine Rice with cranberries and almonds
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
2 cups water
pinch salt
5 cardamom pods
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup dried cranberries (or dried apricots or dried apples or golden raisins)
¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds

Combine water, salt, vanilla and cardamom in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries and almonds, replace lid, and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking 10-15 minutes or until rice is tender.


Spicy Garlicky Green Beans
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
¼ cup water
pinch salt
2 tbsp butter
pinch crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic

Heat water in a large pot until simmering. Add salt and green beans and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until beans are bright green. Turn up the heat and continue cooking until most of the water has evaporated and green beans become slightly tender. Add butter, garlic, crushed red pepper and toss the green beans to coat thoroughly. Continue cooking until greens are crisp tender and serve immediately.


Herbed Pasta in Scampi Sauce
1 lb fresh herbed tagliatelli
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
½ yellow onion, diced
½ cup wine or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp oregano leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
pinch crushed red pepper
Parmesan Reggiano cheese

In a large pot of salted water cook fresh pasta according to package instructions (or boil for about 5-6 minutes, less for thinner pasta, more for thicker pasta). Drain, rinse to stop cooking and set aside.

Meanwhile heat oil and butter in a large pan until melted. Add onions and cook for about 3-4 minutes, then add garlic and continue cooking until tender. Pour in wine or lemon juice and simmer until liquid evaporates by half. Stir in fresh herbs and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and toss in cooked pasta, stirring gently. Sever on a large platter with shaved parmesan reggiano cheese.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dinner: Cheese tortellini, chicken and portabellas in a creamy pesto sauce. What about you?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Banana Bread Muffins

Zen got the idea of banana bread stuck in his head after watching an episode of Blues Clues. After talking about it all week, we picked up a bunch of bananas today and made muffins instead of a loaf. Just seemed more fun that way! This recipe has my modification based on one posted by Elise from

4 ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 12 cup muffin pan.

Mash bananas with a fork in large mixing bowl. Stir in butter, eggs, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and fold in. Add the flour and nutmeg and fold in.

Pour mixture into the buttered muffin cups, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 15 minutes.

Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before attempting to remove from the pan (but they are OH SO GOOD WARM!).

Red Curry Carrot Soup with Apple Lime Salsa and Jalapeno Corn Cakes

This yummy lunch was prepared as part of "Natural Foods 201: Food as Medicine," an ongoing series at Sevananda Natural Foods Market on the first Wednesday of each month from noon to 2 p.m. We chased away symptoms of yucky seasonal allergies with this spicy soup and its tasty accoutrement. It was simple to make and really, I mean REALLY, good. I hope you try it.

For the soup
1 lb organic carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
salt and pepper

In a large pot, saute onions, garlic and carrots until onions become translucent.

Stir in tomato paste, ginger and curry paste and continue cooking occasionally until the vegetables caramelize.

Pour in enough water to cover by about two inches and bring up to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Puree the soup with a hand blender or by pouring batches into a stand blender. The soup should have some body and still be somewhat chunky and rustic. Return to the pot and keep warm.

For the salsa
2 fugi apples (or granny smith if you want it tart vs. sweet)
juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced

Dice the apples and place into a mixing bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season lightly with salt and pepper.

For the corn cakes
1 cup whole grain or multi-grain corn muffin mix
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 red bell pepper diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (or more to taste)
pinch of salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water (more or less to get the consistency of pancake batter)

Combine all ingredients except water in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water until you get the desired batter consistency.

Cook just like you would pancakes: Heat a griddle or pan with a tablespoon of oil or butter. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle/pan to form cakes. Cook on each side about 4 minutes. Spread with butter and serve.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cancer Awareness Day & Build Your Own Trailmix Bar

Sunday March 29 was Cancer Awareness Day at Saint Philip AME Church. At the request of Dr. Hogan, I pulled together a Build Your Own Trailmix Bar with fresh fruit boats sponsored by Sevananda Natural Foods. Here's a glimpse...

Spicy Wifey Recap!

I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to host TASTY: a cooking class for a sizzling group of women, Spicey Wifey LLC. Ladies if you're someone's significant other, this group is dedicated to keeping the spark in your relationship. My "Inspired Italian Dinner" was probably the tamest class today (think lap dancing classes and lingerie parties, etc.). However, I assured the ladies the way to your mate's heart is still just like the old adage goes... through his/her stomach! So this sensuous three course meal was loaded with contrasting flavors, textures and temperatures to tempt the palate, appeal to the eye and lure your loved one to the table.

Instead of the heavier pastas and sauces, I focused on the fresher, lighter side of Italian dining, and pulled ingredients that can be found in just about any market or easily substituted.

Skip the calorie laden Caesar salad for this fresh starter made from many local ingredients: Arugula and Strawberry Salad with Toasted Almonds and Goat Cheese Vinaigrette
You can enjoy carb-conscious amounts of soul-satisfying pasta without the wheat gluten:Spicy Broccoli "Scampi" with Matchstick Gluten Free Pasta
Pair Georgia gulf coast shrimp with Italian vegetables for these skewers which are perfect on the grill or in the oven:Marinated Shrimp with Italian Vegetables

Light, healthy and delicious... that's how dinner should be. Thanks again Spicy Wifey, and I look forward to seeing you all again for "Inspired Asian Cooking."

Marinated Shrimp with Italian Vegetables

This was intended to be made onto skewers for the grill, however, if weather doesn't permit, it makes a quick and tasty saute dish as well!

1 1/2 lb Georgia Gulf Coast shrimp, peeled and deveined
Newmans's Own Family Style Italian dressing
1 red bell pepper, cut into 2" squares
1 green bell pepper, cut into 2 " squares
1 fennel bulb, cut into 2" squares (not cubes)
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup oregano leaves, bruised
salt and pepper

Combine peppers, fennel, oregano and lemon zest in a non-reactive bowl. Cover w/ plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to overnight.

Place shrimp in a non-reactive bowl and add enough salad dressing to coat. Cover w/ plastic wrap and marinate 30 minutes.

Build skewers by alternating red pepper, fennel, green pepper and shrimp, up to twice on each skewer. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium-high heat and carefully coat with an oiled cloth or paper towel.
Once hot, place skewers on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are pink and firm. Drizzle lemon juice over each skewer, remove from grill and serve.

Alternatively, heat 2 Tbsp of oil in two large saute pans over medium high heat. Once hot, add the vegetables (including oregano and lemon zest) and cook about 4 minutes or until they start to become tender. Add the shrimp, discard the marinade, season with salt and pepper and cook another 6-8 minutes turning the shrimp once. Squeeze lemon juice into both pans, remove from heat and serve.

Aruglula Strawberries Almonds with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette

For vinaigrette
2 oz chevre (goat cheese)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

For salad
6 oz arugula
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup toasted almonds, crushed into pieces

In a large bowl combine the chevre, olive oil, herbs and spices with a fork until pasty. Thin with a tablespoon of water at a time until the consistency of a creamy dressing.

Add the salad ingredients to the dressing and toss, coating thoroughly. Season one last time with a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Using tongs, pile the salad onto individual plates for serving.

Spicy Broccoli Scampi with Broken Noodles

Spicy Broccoli Scampi with Broken Noodles

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic
½ yellow onion
2 Tbsp oregano leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley leaves, chopped
1 lb broccoli crown cut into finger-length stalks
½ cup white wine
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz uncooked Ancient Harvest Quinoa linguine
salt and black pepper

Break pasta into 2” pieces. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente (about 6 minutes). Rinse and set aside.

Meanwhile heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender.

Stir in oregano and parsley and add the broccoli in a single layer. Season with red pepper flake, salt and pepper.

Cook for about 5 minutes, tossing the pan or turning the broccoli once.

Increase heat to high, carefully pour in the wine and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated and the broccoli is tender and bright green. (You may need to cover the pan with a lid for 3-5 minutes if the broccoli is large or the pan is crowded).

Toss in the broken pasta and serve immediately on a large platter garnished with shaved Parmesan Reggiano cheese.