The virtues and health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are widely proven and accepted. The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, it is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. And the inhabitants of the region live a long, healthy life without the modern diseases that plague many in America: Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.
I love this way of eating because of the flavorful meals I can create that are satisfying and fit a healthy lifestyle.
My quinoa shrimp bowl also is an easy and quick meal that is perfect for a weeknight. I serve this with toasted pita bread and a glass of crisp white wine.
1/2 cup prepared or homemade pesto sauce
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups arugula
2 cups cooked tri-colored quinoa
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, diced
4 ounces cubed feta cheese
Whisk pesto, vinegar oil, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Place 4 tablespoons in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add garlic cooking until translucent. Do not brown. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, until cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Remove shrimp to a plate.
Add arugula and quinoa to the large pesto vinegarette bowl and toss to coat. Divide the quinoa mixture into four bowls. Top with shrimp, tomatoes, avocado, and feta. Drizzle each bowl 1 tablespoon of the reserved pesto mixture.
An outrageous luscious cake that will wow your guest! I loved creating this cake and had so much fun making the crepes that I hadn’t done many years. Years ago, when crepes were extremely popular, I purchased a Sunbeam M’sieur Crepe maker. To my surprise, I found the maker in a cabinet in my basement; unfortunately, it no longer worked, so I used an omelet pan to make the crepes. This cake should be started two-three days before you want to serve. The cake is time-consuming yet easy to make. And your guest like mine will be so impressed with the cake because it looks and tastes fantastic,
Crepes ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cognac
Tiramisu Filling 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
4 cups mascarpone cheese
1/4 coffee liqueur
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoons for topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon powder sugar
1. Make the crepe batter: Sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in the salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the butter, then the milk and cognac, until the batter is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Set an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Gently stir the crêpe batter, then pour ¼ cup of batter into the skillet. Holding the skillet by the handle, tilt and turn the skillet to quickly disperse the batter. Cook the crepe until the underside is golden-brown, about 1½ minutes. Lightly jerk the skillet to loosen the crepe, then flip the crepe over using a spatula, a more vigorous jerking motion or your fingers. Cook on the other side until golden-brown, about 30 seconds, then slide the crepe onto a plate. Top with waxed or parchment paper to prevent crepes from sticking together. Repeat until all of the batter is used (you’ll end up with about 20 crepes total, and will need 18 for the cake). Refrigerate the crepes on a plate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Make the tiramisu filling: Sift the confectioners’ sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese, coffee liquor, and 1/4 cocoa. Combine the mixture at low speed until well combined.
4. Remove the crepes from the refrigerator. Add 1 crepe to the bottom cake plate so it lies flat. Add ¼ cup of the tiramisu filling to the center of the crepe and use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the filling over the crêpe. Repeat with the filling and 17 more crêpes. Refrigerate the leftover filling; you’ll use it to finish the cake. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whippingcream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
Fold whipped cream into remaining tiramisu cream just until combined and no white streaks remain.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Spread the remaining tiramisu cream on top and sides of the cake. Add the cocoa powder to a fine-mesh sieve and sprinkle it over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.
A staple in Mediterranean cuisine, rapini or broccoli rabe is known for its slightly bitter taste, which I mitigate by cooking with lemon and roasting. I also use rapini in place of broccoli or asparagus in soups, quiches, casseroles, and more. Give this versatile veggie a try, and I’m sure you’ll love the unique taste.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice water. Drop the broccoli rabe into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the boiling water and plunge immediately into the ice water. Once cool, remove from the ice water and let dry. It can be used right away or held for future use.
Place broccoli rabe in a baking dish. Combine olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and pour over rabe. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Red Velvet is all over lately, even Dunkin Donuts has Red Velvet lattes and Red Velvet Drizzle Donuts for Valentine’s Day. I’m still not tired of this delicious flavor. What could be more appropriate for Valentine’s Day than Red Velvet Heart cookies? These little gems are fun and easy to make just screaming Be Mine!
Red Velvet Heart Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon red food coloring
3 ounces white baking chocolate with cocoa butter, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon shortening
1. Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside
2. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Add red food coloring gently hand mixing until the dough is red without any chocolate streaks.
3. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until 1/2 inch thick. Using a 1inch scalloped heart cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
5. In a small heavy saucepan cook and stir white chocolate and shortening over low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate. Let stand until white chocolate is set. Makes about 24 cookies.
I’ve never met a holiday that I didn’t love to celebrate. Valentine’s day happens to be one of my favorites. I love decorating, pulling out all my dishes, plates, teacups, pots, and more. I collect china, silver, and crystal, which I use all the time, and especially on Valentine’s Day, I have an assortment of heart shaped tableware.
For Valentine’s Day, I baked up some treats to share with my family. I made French Macaron cookies and Red Velvet Heart cookies. Perfect to say Be My Valentine!
These delectable little treats are worth all the work. I also like to fill the shells with other flavored fillings to change it up!
French Macarons with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes 24-30 shells or 12-15 macarons 3 large egg whites, at room temperature for three hours 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Red food coloring Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, draw 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch circle. (Depending on the size you want the macarons) Turn parchment paper over; set aside.
Combine almonds and 1 tablespoon of the confectioners’ sugar, pulsing until finely ground. (Do not over process.) Add remaining confectioners’ sugar until combined. Set aside.
Using a mixer or medium-high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating at high speed until peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and desired about of food coloring: mix well.
Add almond mixture to egg whites, folding gently until well combined. Place batter into a pastry bag fitted with a medium tip. Pipe batter into drawn circles on prepared baking sheets. Tap baking sheets on the counter 5-7 times to release air bubbles. Let sit at room temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking.
5 Preheat oven to 275F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool completely on baking sheets until ready to fill.
Place Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream in a pastry bag fitted small round tip. Pipe mixture onto the flat side of macaron, and top with another macaron, flat sides together, pushing gently down and twisting slightly so that filling will spread to edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream 3 egg whites, at room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 1 cup butter 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine egg whites and sugar. Using a mixture at medium speed, whisk together. Set the pan over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture registers 140 on an instant-read candy thermometer. Remove from heat and beat at high speed with whip attachment for 10 minutes. The meringue should be tripled in volume.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
Ah, Valentine’s Day the perfect time to celebrate love! What could be more impressive than a heart shaped cake decorated with fresh raspberries filling and white chocolate frosting! Hearts are my favorite shape, and I carry the motif in my jewelry, clothing, and home accessories. For Valentine’s Day, I bring out all my heart decorated serving pieces to set my table.
I have many go-to cake recipes depending on the size and type of cake I want to make. This recipe, one of my favorites, is a tender, moist cake perfect for birthdays and special occasions, yet simple enough to use for regular cupcakes. In this recipe, I used my favorite, King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, which results in a high rising cake with a moist, tender crumb.
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Cake Flour Blend 1 2/3 cups sugar; superfine sugar is best 1 Tablespoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened 4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg* 1 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt or 1 cup whole milk* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract 2 cups fresh raspberries for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 9″ x 2″ heart-shaped pans. Trace the bottom of the pan, then cut inside your marking. Next, butter the pan. Place the cut parchment inside the cake pan. Butter the parchment, then flour the pan. Tap off extra flour.
In a stand mixer or a sturdy hand mixer, mix all of the dry ingredients slowly to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the butter’s temperature, how much it’s mixed, and the granulation of the sugar used.
Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans—Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, then remove from the pan.
Raspberry Filling This delightful filling is simple to make and can be made in advance. In fact, I always make the day ahead to chill in the refrigerator before using it. Yield: 1 3/4 cups
Ingredients: 4 cups raspberries 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons raspberry liquor
In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 3/4 cup of water, and the sugar. Bring to boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the raspberries have broken down. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain in a fine-mesh sieve. Return the strained mixture to the heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk the slurry into the raspberry mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, raspberry liquor, and cool completely.
White Chocolate Frosting 1 cup butter, softened (no subs) 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 6 ounces white chocolate or 6 ounces white baking bar, melted and cooled 3 -5 tablespoons whipping cream or 3 -5 tablespoons half-and-half
In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners sugar at low speed until fluffy. Add in melted and cooled white chocolate and whipping cream (start with 3 tablespoons and add more to achieve desired consistency). Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl with a spatula. To assemble the cake: Spread a small dab of frosting in the center of the cake plate to anchor the cake, and set down one cake layer. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over the first layer. Carefully spread raspberry filling on top, then cover with the second cake layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of assembled cake. Decorate with raspberries sprinkled with powder sugar.
Winters in New England spell snow and Noreasters. Storm after storm plummets the region beginning as early as October and some years raging until April.
A warming soup is perfect when the wind is howling and rattling the windows and the temperature dips to frigid proportions. Soups are easy to make and healthy, primarily if you use unsalted vegetable stock, fresh vegetables, and beans. Did I mention that beans are superfoods, high in fiber, protein, and low in calories? And I add herbs to favor the rich vegetable broth.
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced 1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 8 cups unsalted vegetable stock 2 (15-ounce) cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 cup uncooked orzo 3 cups broccoli florets juice of 1 lemon 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, until softened. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Add vegetable stock, beans, bay leaves, thyme, orzo, broccoli, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the orzo is al dente. (Be sure to stir the soup occasionally so that the orzo does not clump on the bottom.)
Add lemon juice and stir. Then season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.
Healthy eating and an active lifestyle are essential to me. Creating recipes low in fat and salt, high in fiber and nutrients is vital to staying fit and youthful. I believe in cooking good tasting food that is satisfying to the pallet. I’ve wanted to incorporate more tofu into my recipes for the enormous benefits of soy. Putting it on top of kale, butternut squash, and red pepper makes this an extraordinary healthy, fulfilling one-pan meal.
I use William-Sonoma Goldtouch bakeware for even temperature cooking and cleaning up, which is essential to me. And they are last long.
1 bunch kale, cut and stems removed 1 (20 oz package) cut butternut squash 1 red pepper sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 1/4 cup olive oil sea salt pepper 1 container ( 16 oz.) super firm Nasoya Organic Tofu 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon Bragg Coconut Liquid Aminos 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pre-heat oven 425F.
Place kale, butternut squash, red pepper, garlic, and shallots in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Prepare tofu: Cut tofu into one-inch cubes. In a small bowl combine olive oil and coconut liquid aminos: mix cornstarch, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Dunk tofu cubes in the liquid mixture, turning to coat, then dredge tofu in cornstarch. Place tofu on top of the vegetables. Bake for 30-35 minutes until tofu is golden.
Did I mention that I love fish! And if you read my blog, living in New England affords me access to the freshest fish. Our local grocery stores all have excellent fish markets.
Cod is a staple in our region, and the most famous dish is Baked Cod with Ritz crackers. On the menu in every traditional New England restaurant. I’ve put a new twist on this recipe to create a healthier version with fewer calories and fat.
During the pandemic, my recipes have tended to be for two and one-pan meals. Double the recipe to serve more people; use a large roasting pan.
4 cups kale, cut into bite-size pieces, and stems removed 1-pint cherry tomatoes 1 lb. cod, cut into four pieces 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup unseasoned Panko bread crumbs 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pre-heat oven 425F. Arrange kale and tomatoes on a baking pa—place cod nestled in kale and tomatoes.
Mix olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle over cod and vegetables.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle over cod and vegetables.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cod. I purchased a thick cod fillet for this recipe.
Cooking at home is fashionable during the pandemic. Cooking is in my blood; I come from a long line of cooks. I love to cook, entertain, and my favorite, large Sunday dinners with family and friends, is on hold until after the pandemic.
The situation necessitated that created tasty one-pan meals for two while my husband and I are social distancing in our home. So easy and no sacrifice on flavor to combine all the ingredients in one roasting pan, and I serve in the same pan!
I add a salad and homemade bread for a simply delicious meal! Dinner for two couldn’t be more perfect!
1 package Earthly Choice Farro, Microwaveable in 90 minutes 1/2 pound Sea Scallops 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about half lemon 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 cloves garlic, crushed 4 lemon slices, halved 1/4 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, sliced I like Mezzetta olives 2 teaspoons capers 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 425F.
Place farro in baking pan and top with scallops.
Combine in a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, wine, and garlic. Pour evenly over farro and scallops: place lemon slices, olives, and caper on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.