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.