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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vegetarian Tuesday!- Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, Asparagus, Red bell pepper Terrine with Pesto, slices of fresh feta, olive oil, thyme and oregano

My obsession with the Blue Zone's continues with my macrobiotic meal tonight which is inspired by food from Ikaria, Greece. This is an area of the world where over 1/3 of the population lives over 90, they suffer 20% less cancer and half 50% less heart disease than the rest of the world. Obviously, these people must be doing something right! http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103744881

Part of their secret lies in eating wild greens high in antioxidants (we have wild argula growing in france right now that is ohh so good), drinking herbal teas (which I do every morning), taking little 30 minute cat naps a few times a week (I love these while curled up on the coach), living in the mts (I think the hills of SF might qualify as everytrip out of the house was exercise up a steep hill). Also they eat a greek diet that is low in meat and sugar but full with tons of vegetables and beans. Sounds like a pretty great life, right? My mom, sis and I have been eating like this for a long time.

I'm also discovering more and more macrobiotic eating which Japanese doctors since the 1800's have used in helping people recover from serious illness and is a recent philosophy in the quest to beat cancer naturally. My friend Ayako practiced Macrobiotic eating like this recipe below when she was diagnosed with cancer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrobiotic_diet

This Vegetarian Terrine or Napoleon is quick and easy and Blue Zone approved according to me :) Buy locally grown veggies to follow macro eating here. Also, peel the veggies if you feel like it. I like the skin because I am a believer in the nutrients found in it but you can easily peel it off.

Roasted eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, red bell
pepper terrine with pesto, slices of fresh feta,
olive oil thyme and oregano

1 small eggplant
1 bunch of asparagus
1 small zucchini (cut in half lenthwise, then turned horizontally and sliced thin)
1 red bell pepper
1 packet of fresh feta
packet of pesto (or homemade)
Tbls Olive oil
2 cloves diced garlic
pinch of sea salt
Pinch of oregano and thyme

Wash all the veggies well. Cut the eggplant in 1/2 inch slices (this will be your base and topping so make sure its thick enough). Next cut off hard stems of asparagus. Next cut soft stems away from the tips so you have 2 groups of asparagus. Next slice the zucchini thin. Scoop the seeds out of the bell pepper and slice into strips. Next cut feta into thick strips. Now begin to layer your dish. Turn oven on to 400 F or 25o Celsius. Layer Eggplant with pinch of garlic top with criss-crossed red pepper and drizzle with a touch of olive oil and salt. Next add a layer of thin sliced zucchini, top with a thick layer of pesto, garlic and then a few slices of feta. Now top with the last layer of Eggplant. Drizzle this top slice with more olive oil, sea salt, oregano and thyme.

For the next one use eggplant, diced garlic, salt, criss-crosed asparagus, a few slices of bell pepper, more diced garlic, zucchini, feta and last layer of eggplant with spices. Be creative and do what looks good! Don't worry about garlic being overpowering but use less if you're not a huge garlic fan. Put the terrine or napoleon or whatever you feel like naming it into the oven and let it roast for about 30 minutes. Spread the leftover sliced zuccini or asapargus on the platter to roast alongside. Take out when golden, oozing and delcious looking. Eggplant should be easy to cut.

This was a Meat Free Tuesday for me. Not only was I supporting Macrobiotic eating and focusing on the benefits of eating food similar to those in Ikaria, Greece but I also was doing my part to reduce livestocks effect on the environment. Check it out http://www.supportmfm.org/

Cooking in a kitchen like this?-Melanie Brandman Inspiration

I would die to have a 2nd county home with a kitchen and living room like this (Ok, yes it's true that I have yet to have a "first" home but it does not mean a girl can't dream... I see nothing wrong with optimistically planning your 2nd especially if you were told by a Chinese friend that your palm showed you would retire by the time you were 30!!) .

Anyways, wouldn't this be a great place to cook a big meal for friends during a weekend in the country with jugs of wine, a rich chocolate dessert and maybe picked veggies from your garden out front? I think it is the perfect mix of natural colors, stained pine floor, sharp angles yet still soft and modern. I love the simple stools by the kitchen island and the wild rug for some reason as well.

This is the work of Melanie Brandman, an interior designer who transformed a dark dingy cabin in Livingston NY into a bright and open weekend haven. Check out the article in the NY times.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My obsession with Japanese Soups

This entire year I have had an obsession with Japanese food. I think after watching Opera's Blue Zone Special http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/Ageless-Living-with-Dr-Oz-Secrets-of-the-Blue-Zone I became even more obsessed with healthy eating and the reasons why people in certain regions of the world (Nicoya Peninsula-Costa Rica, Sardinia- Italy, Loma-Linda-California, Okinawa Japan) live such healthy lives.

Japan is definitely one such area with one of the healthiest diets in the world. Their cuisine is filled mainly with large amounts of veggies, fruits and grains, fish regularly and only small amounts of red meat. This is my favorite way to eat. I also love their mantra " Hara Hachi Bu". This is something they chant before every meal which is essentially a reminder to stop eating when they're 80% full. I think this is an ingenious idea especially as many inAmerican, and even me myself, eat sometimes until we cant move!

Quick+ healthy Japanese Soba noodle soup

1 cube chicken bullion (homemade stock is always preferred if you have time)
1 Tablespoon of fresh diced ginger
1 Leek sliced very thin
1/2 packet of Soba noodles (Japanese Buckwheat noodles)
10 shrimp
6 Cups of water (traditionally this recipe is made with Dashi broth)
-Optional (a few handfuls cooked spinach, Japanese mushrooms, tofu, soy sauce)

Heat the water and the cube of bullion over high heat. Stir often to dissolve the bullion in the broth. Add the ginger and leek to the broth. When broth is boiling add shrimp to broth. Next add soba noodles and cook a few minutes.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grilled Caesar salad with Homemade Croutons, Parmesan and Dressing.

I love this idea of a grilled Caesar salad. How delicious does this look? Grilled leaves, crunch homemade croutons, huge slices of shaved parmesan, fresh lemon and thick dressing thrown over the top. Yummm...

This is from a great restaurant in Seattle. I know that it seems weird to put romaine on the grill for a few minutes but it really does create great flavor and really pretty charred marks. Be careful when making this at home because it should really only be a hot flame or a bbq for a few seconds. If you leave it on too long the leaves will wilt and this is not pretty or tasty.. believe me!

I also love how the salad is plated. Rather than breaking up Romaine into small bite size pieces try just leaving the lettuce in huge chunks with the great crunchy core exposed! Then cover with huge slices of shaved parmesan, leave a lemon on the plate for peopl and throw some homemade caesar dressing on top.

I think the restaurant is so cute and chic as well. I love the idea of black and white, the soft, white, delicate curtain and the antique chandeliers and the stacked wine.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Veggie Pickin' at the Farm in Muizon, France

Ohh the beauty of France and living in the country. Ok.. well usually inevitably everytime I get on the highway and turn the corner to leave glorious Paris to come back to my little homey home (which consists of a small city in the East of France) I get a little depressed to leave big city life. It's like a little gray cloud is perched a few feet above the car and is traveling with us on our journey back to the country. Yet, this last journey I pushed aside my dreary mood and decided to stop to take pictures of the hills and hills of Colza yellow flowers blooming and to stop at a farm 8 km away from Reims to pick our own fruit, veggies and tulips for the week!

It was soo cool to be able to dig up my own huge head of lettuce, some small baby onions, a leek, fresh spinach, handfuls of tulips, pick some beautiful apples from a trough and walk a little too far to the Rhubarb fields.

Let me tell you its not as easy as it looks to get pesky little veggies out of from their home into my shopping bag! At least a few times I pulled with all my might and ended up with half a leaf in my hand and sprawled out on the dirt. Ohh at least not many people were around. I guess it takes a little practice and I can't wait to eat all these veggies this week and then go back to give it another try :)

If you are in Reims visiting and have a car you should #1 take the back road from Paris-Reims (and not the toll road) and #2 you should stop 8km before Reims here. It could be a cute idea to go to the farm and pick some fresh veggies for a picnic before you get into town. I'm sure the owners would help you wash everything off on site!

Cueillette de Muizon
RN 31 51140 Muizon
tel :03 26 02 99 61

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wagamama London- Tofu Salad

I have always been a big fan of Wagamama (pan asian inspired noodle house) and I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that they expand to France and SF soon!

In April I went to London for the weekend to meet my friend Renee who had flown 23 hours from Australia. I flew straight to London from a trip to Sweden, Finland and the Arctic circle and was fresh off a 23 hr train ride from the Arctic Circle-Helsinki. At the airport in Helsinki I waited 1.5 hrs in an Easyjet checkin line, took a quick 2 hr. flight to London, scuffled through the Gatwick airport to the train to London, got directions from a quite helpful train employee and eventually hoped on the metro, transfered and finally ended up in Covenant garden feeling like a lost + exhausted dove that had just traveled around the world.

Regardless of my extreme traveling I was thrilled to see my friend Renee and excited to be able to go back to Wagamama after probably 4 years. If you haven't ever heard of Wagamama it is a delicious and fresh noodle house located around the world. They specialize in ramen so if you go you should really order a big bowl of ramen. Yet, I am a huge fan of the fresh squeezed fruit juice because they are incredible.

I had the 1/2 carrott, 1/2 organge but the apple and ginger and raw juice (carrot, cucumber, tomato, orange, apple) are amazing. http://www.wagamama.com/asset/gb/files/location/menus/1268665315_5238%20wuk%20
main%20win3.pdf. Having just eaten Vietnamese in Finland (yup I know it sounds random but it was surprisingly good) I was more in the mood for Edamame and Salad. I had the Wasambi, butternut squash and tofu salad. The salad was made of squash, tofu, mixed greens, beets and avocado with a spicy wasabi dressing. It was really delicious.

If you are in Australia or the UK or any other country where there is a Wagamama I recommend that you go. http://www.wagamama.com/. It's a little corporate"ish" now that they have expanded but a I still think it's a great concept (huge bench like tables, fresh ramen, great spices and waiters which take your order on little electric pads which then goes straight to the kitchen where they fire up your dish).

In London I went to the one by Covenant Garden. I like this area.


- www.wagamama.com
10A Lexington Street, London - 020 7292 0990

Note : 3,7 sur 5,0

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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Beauty of a Simple French Dessert

How Yummy does this look? I bought it the other day for a little treat after lunch. The middle was filled with a very light, gelatin like mouse of raspberries.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Soup Shots-Butternut Squash with gruyere, sage croutons and Celery Root with White Truffle oil, chives and croutons

Anyone that knows me knows that I am the biggest fan of soup and especially cute little shots of soup as an amuse-bouche. They are the perfect punch of flavor especially when made with sweet and rich butternut squash, oh so delicious white truffle oil and savory celery root (which in my book is a hidden culinary gem)

It is my tradition for Thanksgiving every year to make 2 different types of shots. I think they work because they are so flavorful, warm and perfect for entertaining as you can easily walk around with a tray and serve them to a group. They're also nice because its never too much to fill you up. I think a whole bowl of soup sometimes as a start to a meal is just too much. Be careful about the thickness of these because if they are too thick its hard to drink them. If they look like they might be difficult to eat buy a few cute little plastic spoons to serve them with.

I think the first time I had a soup shot was at Cortez restaurant in San Francisco, ca which has since closed :( I had the most amazing pea soup shot with a touch of crisped jambon and some sort of foam topping. It was glorious and I would love to buy a foam machine and be able to top my soup shots with foam. Here are two recipes below that I love.
Butternut Squash Soup shots with Rosemary Cream and Mini Gruyere Sage Croutons
2 butternut squash (you can also use 2 mini pumpkins here)
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 white onion- finely diced
  • Good quality Salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups homemade Chicken Stock or store bought
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 baguette for croutons
  • 1 block of grueyere cheese
  • 1 package of fresh sage
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 celsius
  3. Cut each squash in two lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon. Brush or drizzle cut sides with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Arrange the squash cut side down in a roasting pan and bake until tender (make sure it is very tender-poke all over the squash to test), should take about 1 hour. Make sure to let them cool then scoop out the insides of the squash, puree and reserve.
  4. In a medium stockpot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Over low heat, sauté the onion. Do not allow it to brown. Add the squash and cook over very low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Do not allow it to bubble up. Season with the salt, pepper, ginger.
  5. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, still over very low heat, stirring often. Puree the soup one more time. Cook about 20 minutes.
  6. In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the rosemary sprig. Remove the rosemary and pour the cream into the soup. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process. Adjust the seasoning to taste. If the soup seems too thick add more stock. Cut up some fresh baguette into small mini croutons. Top the croutons with a small sliver of gruyere and last a piece of sage. Bake in the oven at 400 for a few minutes. Top each shot with a few croutons. Alternative Serving tip: bake small squash or pumpkins until tender, scoop out, and use as individual serving bowls instead of shot glasses or bowls.
  7. Celery Root and Chestnut Soup with chives, croutons

    and touch of white truffle oil

    2 tablespoons butter

    2 1 pound celery roots, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
    2 medium onions, chopped
    1 cup chopped celery

    1 small potato peeled and cut into large dice (optional)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 teaspoon celery salt
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (make sure not to use too

    1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
    5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    1 cup whipping cream
    Chopped fresh chives or celery leaves or white truffle

    oil for garnish

    The celery root might look a little scary but it's not too hard

    to peel and it has a light, sweet and nice flavor. The best

    part of this recipe is definitely the Vermouth. Don't leave it

    out because it also gives you so much flavor and pairs

    perfectly with the celery root. Really this recipe is very simple.

    Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.

    Add chopped and peeled celery roots, onions and celery.

    Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until tender,

    stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add garlic, celery

    salt and cayenne pepper and stir 1 minute. Add vermouth

    and boil until most of liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes.

    Add stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until

    vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Puree

    soup in blender in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan.

    Add cream. Simmer until thickened to desired consistency,

    about 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with chives,

    croutons and add a drizzle of white truffle oil and serve.

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