Cilantro Mint Chutney

This chutney is generally served with samosas and pakoras at Indian restaurants. It is a really flavorful sauce with a hint of tanginess.  This versatile sauce can also be used on sandwiches, Indian potato dishes, basmati rice, egg dishes and much more.

Cilantro-and-Mint-Chutney

 I love making this sauce. It reminds me of the Krishna festival at Venice beach called Festival of Chariots that happens each summer.

There are three decorated four-story chariots that lead the parade. The parade starts off at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and then travels down Main Street to Venice Beach arriving at noon.  One day in 2010 when I was living in Venice, I heard all this commotion on my street (Rose Ave.); so I went to see what was up and it was the parade, so cool!

 There is plenty of free Indian food, interesting and informative exhibits on various topics including vegetarianism, Indian music and my favorite part is all of the elaborately painted elephant’s crusin around.  I am not sure how much they liked it though.

  Cilantro-Mint-Chutney

Recipe: Approx. 1 1/2 cups

  • 3 Cups Cilantro 
  • 1 Cup Fresh Mint
  • 1 – 2 Serrano Peppers (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger – micro planeed
  • 1/4 Cup Expeller Pressed Grapeseed Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 Cup Filtered Water (if you like it thinner add a little more water)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to Taste

Instructions:

Pick the mint and cilantro leaves off the stems, measure and put into a food processor or blender.

Cut the stems off the serranos and remove the seeds (optional).  Peel the ginger with a peeler or a spoon then grate it with a micro planer and measure.  Then add both the serranos and ginger into the food processor or blender.

Measure and add grapeseed oil, lemon juice, water, cumin seeds and salt; then blend until purred.

Health benefits:

Cilantro is an extreme anti-oxidant immune-booster that helps detoxify the body by loosening them from the tissue, binding to and pulling out toxins and heavy metals.  It helps promote a healthy liver function and is an overall digestive aid.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that may help symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. Cilantro can lower bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol level.  It also helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K and dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and calcium.

Mint activates the salivary glands just by the aroma alone, which helps promote digestion. It relaxing the muscular lining of the digestive tract and improves the flow of bile through the stomach and soothes the stomach, indigestion, inflammation, abdominal pain, nausea and discomfort associated with IBS. People who suffer from allergies and asthma can benefit from regular use because it is a relaxant and relieves congestion. Mint contains potent antioxidants that decrease levels of free radicals that can cause damage to cells. It is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium.

“My Heart Beets for You” Martini

A totally cheesy name but a delicious drink; I HAVE to come up with kooky holiday cocktail names.  In lieu of myself being on a juicing kick, I’ve been trying to detox my liver from a celebratory few months.  Enjoying the mixing of all the possibilities one could concoct, I gave birth to this fabulously beautiful love infused cocktail.

MyHeartBeets. This is like a healthy cocktail; no guilt!

After I picked the boys up from school, there were a box of fresh oranges in front of a house labeled “Free Fruit” so we stopped and D grabbed like  six oranges for me.  I thought “orange and beet would go great together”.

I feel like Spring is coming and I always think of  fresh herbs, fresh flowers…  So with that in mind I decided to add a little sweet floral essence with St. Germaine; most people call it the bartender’s ketchup but it does have it’s place; also very delicious!

MyHeartBeets

        Recipe:  Makes 1 Martini                                                              Profile:  Original/Earthy, Light, Refreshing

Glass:  Martini Glass                                                                             Garnish:  A Twist Orange or Lemon, or a “Rose Petal”

Instructions:

First thing, you will need a JUICER or have your local juice bar make you some to take home with you.  I would say one small beet per drink.

 Then juice your citrus.  Combine all ingredients in your mixing tin or glass, shake with ice and serve.

Kale Slaw with Sesame Mandarin Tahini Dressing

This hearty salad is a meal in itself and has all the colors of the rainbow, making it extremely healthy!  Ok, so there is no blue. But it’s true that vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables have the most nutrition and eating a variety of colors will provide many health benefits.

It has a slight creaminess from the tahini with a bit of tang from the mandarin and a lot of sesame goodness.  And trust me, the toasted almonds puts this salad over the top!

Kale-Sesame-Mandarin-Tahini-Salad

 What is it about the flavors of sesame dressings that make people inhale whatever it is used on?  I have been into Asian flavors lately as well as kale salads!  It is definitely helpful when you are trying to stay fit, which I am, with my wedding less than 3 months away.  It’s going to be all about soups, salads and falafel for the next 3 months!  Well, mostly!  What are your go to dishes to stay fit?

Kale-Sesame-Tahini-Salad

This salad is great with a crisp refreshing white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a white Rioja.

Kale-Salad-Sesame-Mandarin-Tahini-Dressing

Recipe: 6 – 8 servings
  • 1 Head Kale – finely sliced
  • 3 Cups Savoy or Napa Cabbage – finely sliced
  • 3 Cups Red Cabbage – finely sliced
  • 1 Cup Carrot – shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Scallions – thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – about 3/4 cup – julienned
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – about 3/4 cup – julienned
  • 1 Cup Radishes – matchsticks – about 5 large
  • Toasted Almonds – I usually toast a few cups to have around.
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro – roughly chopped (optional)
Additional optional toppings
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Asiago Cheese – finely shredded – or sprinkled on top of individual
Dressing
  • 1/4 Cup Tahini
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Brown Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce or to taste (be careful not to add to much)
  • 2 Clove Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/2 Cup Mandarin Juice – fresh squeezed
  • Dash Black Pepper

Instructions:

Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Toast almonds – spread out on a cookie sheet bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf on 350 degrees F. Roughly chop.

 Wash the kale and remove main rib by holding the end of the steam and pull down with your other hand and discarding the main rib. Chop kale into thin strips.

 Chop savory and red cabbage into thin slices then add to kale.

Slice the radishes into thin rounds, then stack on top of each other and cut into match sticks.

 Slice the top and bottom off the bell peppers, cut in half and clean out the insides, then cut into long thin strips and then cut the strips in half.

Shred carrot, slice scallions, roughly chop cilantro, measure then add to cabbage.

 You can either mix in the dressing if you are going to eat right away or add to individual salads for your own desired amount.

 Sprinkle almonds on top individual salads just before eating to keep them from getting soft.

Kale-Sesame-Salad

Health benefits:

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma. Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol. It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)  More on kale

Cabbage is really low in calories, fat and high in fiber. High in vitamin K helps with brain function. Red cabbage is the highest in vitamin K than other cabbage. It’s high in sulfur keeping your hair, skin and nails healthy. If you have arthritis, rheumatism, skin diseases or gout, cabbage can help with its high vitamin C and sulphur content. Cabbage is higher in vitamin C than oranges and is a natural antioxidant that helps with premature aging and also helps detoxify the blood and liver. Cabbage helps protect bones from becoming brittle with its high potassium, magnesium and calcium content. Potassium is also great for reducing high blood pressure allowing the blood vessels to open and the blood to flow freely. It is also high in beta-carotene need for eye health.  The pigment in purple cabbage helps lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production. Helps your body fight off cancer with the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin.  Cabbage is good for your heart, blood pressure, brain, nervous system, immune system, digestion, bowels, bones, eyes, skin, hair and nails.

Creamy Feta Potato and Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Imagine yourself curled up on a couch in front of a fireplace with a bowl of this seriously comforting soup! The blend of potato and butternut squash is a heavenly combination and the feta adds just the right amount of cheesy richness.

Butternut-Feta-Soup

I literally threw this soup together.  Don’t you just love it when you think you have nothing to eat and you rummage through your refrigerator and pantry and come up with something spectacular?  This soup was just that!  I had left over butternut squash from my “Potato Butternut Squash Au Gratin with Sage Pesto“, a couple potatoes and some feta.  Voila, a new soup was born.

Creamy-Feta-Butternut-Squash-Potato-Soup

Enjoy this with a glass of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, white Rioja, Pinot Gris or a Tempranillo or Pinot Noir.

_Feta-Butternut-Squash-Potato-Soup

Recipe: 6 – 8 Servings

  • 1 1/2 Pounds Yellow Potatoes  (about 5 cups)
  • 1 Pound Butternut Squash (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Red Wine (or white)
  • 1 Vegetable Bullion Cube – unsalted
  • 1 Cup Sheep Feta
  • 2 Cup Filtered Water
  • 2 Cup Milk – (I used 1 %)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 2 3/4 Teaspoons Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper – or to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayanne Pepper (optional)

Instructions:

Dice the potatoes into small cubes, put into a pot covered with water, bring to a boil and continue boiling until potatoes are soft enough for a fork to go in.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Peel the squash, then de-seed and dice into 1 inch cubes.  Drizzle squash with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. With your hands toss the squash to coat with oil evenly.  Bake on middle rack for 30 – 40 minutes or until slightly brown on the edges.

Dice the onion, mince the garlic and add to a 3 or 4 quart soup pot or dutch oven along with 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Saute on medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until garlic is slightly golden.  Add the wine and bullion.  Mash the bullion to desolve and cook until wine is syrupy.

In a food processor, add the onions and puree; then add potatoes and slowly add in 1 cup water.  Pour back into pot.

Next add the squash, feta and 1 cup water to the processor and puree, add to potatoes.

Stir in the milk, lemon juice and spices.
Cook until desired hotness.
Health benefits:

Butternut Squash is a great source of fiber and folate making it heart and bowel healthy it has an abundance of carotenoids that is great for eye health and also helps protect against heart disease and very high levels of beta-carotene.  It regulates blood sugar levels helping to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and increasing energy levels.  It has a significant amounts of potassium and vitamin B6 which is great for the nervous and immune systems.  A 1-cup serving gives about half the recommended amount of antioxidant-rich vitamin C.  Winter squash also helps in the prevention of prostate, colon, lung & breast cancers.

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Quince Chocolate and Almond Rugelach

Are you done detoxing? These are the most amazing cookies ever, well, in my opinion anyways!!!  I love the quince and dark chocolate together.  It is a unique and delicious flavor combination!

_Chocolate-Rugelach

Rugelach means” little twists” and it is a traditional Jewish dessert typically made with a cream cheese dough. I used mascarpone instead of cream cheese which made it a bit more delicate.  There are so many flavor combinations you can do. It is endless, really!

I first discovered these amazing cookies when I was searching for something unique to bake at my restaurant.  I decided to make them and after trying one, I was hooked!  They are just so light and flaky yet rich and decadent!

Quince-Almond-Chocolate-Rugelach

 I’m not going to lie, but these cookies are a bit more labor-intensive than your normal cookies.  However, they are so worth it!   Just go slow when rolling them into their cute little crescent shapes.

_Rugelach

Recipe: Makes 48

  • 1/2 Cup Mascarpone Cheese – room temperature
  • 2 Sticks Salted Butter – room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Beet Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 1/3 Cups All purpose Flour
  • 1  Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 Raw Almonds – ground
  • 1 Cup Raw Almonds – ground
  • 3/4 Cup Chocolate – roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Terbinado Sugar –  packed
  • 1 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • 10 ounces – 1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Quince Preserves

 

Instructions:

The dough

Grind the almonds in a food processor until a fine crumble, mix 1/4 cup into the flour and set aside.

In a food processor, cream the cheese and butter until light.

Add sugar, salt, and vanilla.

Add the flour and ground almonds and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball into four pieces, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Filling

Roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces. Mix the 1 cup of ground almonds with the terbinado sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and chocolate. Set aside

Assemble

Generously flour your board and roll out one ball of dough into a 9-inch circle.
(This is a softer dough than regular cookies so it is a little harder to handle.  If your dough gets too soft put it back in the refrigerate for a bit.) Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons quince preserves and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the filling.Press the filling lightly into the dough.Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges by cutting the circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds.Starting with the wide edge and carefully roll up each wedge.Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.s

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

  Almond-Quince-Chocolate-Rugelach