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Sexy Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Sexy Swiss Chard with Golden Raisins and Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

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Swiss chard is loaded with vitamin A for bright, gorgeous eyes, vitamin K for strong bones, and antioxidant vitamin C for glowing skin. What's not to love about this sexy green? If you can't find pumpkin seeds, try sunflower seeds.


  • 2 pounds Swiss chard, stem ends trimmed
  • ¼ cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Place the chard on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut out the colorful stems from the leaves. Slice the stems crosswise into ¼-inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Working in batches, stack the greens, roll them into a thick cigar shape and slice them crosswise into ¼-inch-wide ribbons.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until fragrant, toasty-brown, and plump, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chard stems and cook until they're starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the greens and cook, stirring often, until they begin to wilt, about 4 minutes longer. Stir in the raisins and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and turn the greens out onto a serving platter. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top and serve.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime and Green Chilli

When it is hot and steamy out, we don’t feel like having a big heavy meal. On Saturdays we usually have brunch consisting of bread, cheese, a frittata or omelet and a salad. This Saturday, I finally served two dishes I made from the Plenty cookbook, written by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, that Mr BT bought for me on our trip to the States and London last month.

One of the dishes I made was butternut squash that I roasted with freshly ground cardamom and allspice and served with wedges of fresh lemon (couldn’t find any limes in the market) and a lemon, yogurt and tehina dressing that was light and refreshing and had a completely unexpected mixture of tastes. You can serve this as a meze with other salads, a first course or a side dish.

I can’t wait to try more recipes from this cookbook.

  • 2 whole limes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium butternut squash about 900g or 2lbs
  • 2 tablespoons cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup 100g Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons 30g tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 green chilli thinly sliced
  • 10 g picked coriander leaves or chopped chives
  • Sea Salt

The Fiery Foods of Spring

Greens and Ferns with Santa Fe Serrano Dressing

Creamy and Spicy Ramp and New Potato Soup

Spicy Morel Sauce for Meat and Poultry

Gingered and Peppered Asparagus

New Potato and Cilantro Ratatouille

Hot Sauced Shad Roe with Green
Chile & Pepper Cheese Scrambled Eggs

Barbecued Kid Shepherd-Style

Strawberries with Tex-Mex Tequila & Black Pepper

Spring can be a frustrating time of the year for chileheads. The garden has not yet produced those chiles and tomatoes you crave for your summer cooking, and the other vegetables are not ripe either. But out there in farming and ranching country, dedicated foodies have grown the spring foods you need to celebrate the season. And we can find the heat sources to spice them up. Here’s my take on what you should be cooking for a spicy spring.

Greens, Ferns, and Serranos a Spicy Salad Make

Nowadays, greens are available all year long, but for the home gardener, spring is the best time for spring greens before they are burned up by the summer sun. The most common greens are probably various kinds of lettuce and spinach, but there are many other varieties of greens, some with weird names. Chicory, Dutch savoy, bok choi, watercress, sorrel, mustard greens, turnip greens, endive, escarole, radicchio, Swiss chard, golden orach, kale, dandelion, purslane, and amaranth are a few of the lesser known, but tasty greens. Interestingly, chile pepper leaves are also edible and can be used as greens.

Available from April to July in the eastern United States, fiddlehead ferns are tightly coiled, bright green and taste like a cross between asparagus and green beans. They are a good source of vitamins A and C, and complement the slightly bitter flavor of some greens.

Greens and Ferns with Santa Fe Serrano Dressing

You should make small batches of the dressing because the avocado will discolor slightly on the second day however, it is so good and so versatile, that it probably won’t last that long anyway. Using Champagne vinegar adds zest without the harshness associated with other types of vinegars. You can also serve the dressing over cooked chilled vegetables, such as freshly cooked asparagus or artichokes.

1 ripe avocado, peeled, seed removed, and cut into quarters

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/2 cup unflavored low-fat yogurt or sour cream

1 fresh serrano chile, seeds and stem removed

6 bunches of different greens, mixed together in a bowl

Place all of the ingredients (except the greens and ferns) in a blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed. If the dressing seems too thick, add more water or yogurt. Place the mixed greens in 6 bowls and add 3 fiddlehead ferns to each bowl.. Add the dressing to taste.

Ramping It Up a Notch

Ramps are wild onions with a strong garlic aroma and flavor that are very popular in Appalachia, where festivals are devoted to them. But many people think that they are much too strong and there is even an aphorism that goes: “Ramps are not for ladies or those who court them.” Ramps are not cultivated but are collected in the wild. Sometimes they can be found at farmers’ markets from southern Canada to the Carolinas beginning in April. They were a favorite of forager Euell Gibbons, author of Stalking the Wild Asparagus who loved them to pickle them and use them in soups such as this one.

Creamy and Spicy Ramp and New Potato Soup

If you can’t find ramps, substitute scallions with a few cloves of garlic. Of course, you can adjust the heat level by increasing or reducing the amount of chile powder added to the soup. Serve with crusty French bread.

1 pound fresh ramps, cleaned and cut into 2″ pieces

Salt to tasteFreshly-ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon New Mexican red chile powder

3 tablespoons minced garlic

10 cups chicken stock2 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered

Melt the butter in a 6-quart stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the ramps and stir. Season with salt, black pepper, and chile powder. Saute until the ramps are wilted and soft, about 6 minutes. Add the bay leaf and garlic, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are very soft and the mixture is thick and creamy, about 1 hour. Remove the soup from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. Slowly add the cream. Stir to blend. It can be served as is, or blended in a blender or food processor.

The Morel of the Story: Spice is Nice

The odd-looking morel does not have a cap but rather a fruit body about four inches long that is pittted and resembles a honeycomb. Since the darker the mushroom, the stronger the flavor, the morel is prized as one of the strongest mushrooms with its earthy and smoky flavor. It is related to truffles, but far more common. They are spring mushrooms, available fresh from April through June, although specialty markets will have them all year long in the dried form. They are easily rehydrated. Morels are particularly common in the midwest, and a festival is devoted to them in Boyne, Michigan. Since morels have never been successfully cultivated, mushroom lovers depend upon foragers. A word of caution: never eat morels raw, as they contain toxic helvellic acid, which is destroyed by cooking.

Spicy Morel Sauce for Meat and Poultry

This sauce does wonders for any roasted meat, including beef, pork, lamb, elk, and venison. It is also terrific on roasted chicken or turkey.

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar plus additional to taste

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

24 fresh morels (about 1 pound),cleaned and trimmed (or 1 ounce dried morels, soaked, reserving 1/2 cup soaking liquid)

1/3 cup finely chopped shallots

In a small heavy saucepan, boil the water with the sugar, without stirring, until a golden caramel color results. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the vinegar and balsamic vinegar down the side of the pan. Stir the mixture over moderate heat until the caramel is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a heavy saucepan cook the morels in butter, stirring, over moderate heat until liquid from morels is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer the morels with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve. Add the shallots and the cayenne to the pan and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in the wine and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.

Add the stock and reserved morel soaking liquid (if using dried morels) and reduce to about 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in caramel mixture. Add the morels to sauce with salt and pepper to taste. You can serve the sauce as is or processed in a blender or food processor.

Asparagussied Up with Heat

Asparagus is probably the most revered spring vegetable. I recall that when I lived in Los Chavez, between Belen and Los Lunas in New Mexico, the wild asparagus would sprout beneath the cottonwood trees and I could collect as much of it as I wanted. This was before the Internet, so I was constantly combing through cookbooks to find new recipes for this unusual, leafless plant with the odd name. Interestingly, the word asparagus comes from the ancient Persian word asparag, meaning a sprout.

The ancient Egyptians cultivated asparagus and offered it to numerous gods and the Romans had an expression, Velocius quam asparagi coquantur, meaning faster than you can cook asparagus. It was a rare and expensive vegetable in the 1890s in the United States, but then cultivation (and its subsequent escape from cultivation thanks to birds). Food expert Waverly Root commented: “It was inevitable that the asparagus should be treated as an aphrodisiac given its shape, which, and Elizabethan writer remarked, ‘manifestly provoketh Venus.’”

Gingered and Peppered Asparagus

Asparagus is a nutritional gem. It has only 22 calories per half cup or approximately six spears and contains vitamins A and C plus 2 grams of fiber.

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1 serrano chile, seeds and stem removed, minced

Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Snap off tough ends of the asparagus. Remove the scales from the stalks with a knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the spears into 2 inch pieces.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium low heat until hot. Add asparagus, soy sauce, sesame seeds, ginger root, serrano, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Ancient Chiles, New Potatoes

New potatoes are simply young potatoes–those with undeveloped skins and whose sugars have not converted to starches. They are excellent simply boiled and seasoned with butter and parsley and also, because they keep their shape after cutting and cooking, they are great in potato salads. One of the best qualities of new potatoes is that they are not processed, “The more a potato is processed, “ wrote Francis Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins in Food First, “the more its price goes up and its nutritional value goes down.”

And new potatoes are not really all that new. They were cultivated in Peru by at least 3000 B.C. and had many different shapes and colors. The Incas development the technique of freeze-drying the potatoes so that they could be safely stored.

New Potato and Cilantro Ratatouille

Now here’s a delicious spring vegetarian dish that utilizes new potatoes, and feel free to increase their number and reduce the eggplant if you so desire.

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 stalks celery, cut in 1 inch pieces

2 medium leeks, cut in 1 inch pieces

2 purple onions, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

2 zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped

3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup sesame oil (not the Oriental concentrate variety)

2 tablespoons New Mexican red chile powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the eggplant in a colander. Toss with salt and set aside for 1 hour to remove moisture. Pat dry with paper towels.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the celery, leeks, onions, and garlic. Carefully remove the sauted vegetables, leaving the oil in the skillet. Place the vegetables in a large oven-proof casserole dish.

Saute the potatoes in the skillet for about 5 minutes, then add to the casserole. Next, increase the heat and stir-fry the red and green bell peppers and zucchini in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add this to casserole with the tomatoes, broth, cilantro, 3 tablespoons sesame oil, and the chile powder. Stir gently and bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Wipe out the skillet and add the 1/3 cup sesame seed oil. Over medium heat, saute the eggplant until tender. Stir the eggplant into the casserole and bake, covered, for 30 more minutes.

Anadromous Fish (Look It Up)

Fish that live in both fresh and salt water–and migrate to spawn-are called anadromous. They include salmon, eels, and shad. When I lived in Richmond, Virginia, spring was particularly enjoyable because of the shad runs up the James River. It was fun to go down the fast-moving river and try to catch the shad on light spinning tackle. We would use shad jigs, which are molded metal with a feather and a hook. Since shad have very tender mouths, it was quite a challenge to hook and land them. Once I caught a four or five pound female, but it took me a half-hour to land it. We would throw the thinner males back in the river, but keep the females for their roe, or eggs. Because of their many bones, shad are not very good to eat except for the boneless roe. The prevailing joke was about planked shad. Before an open campfire, butterfly the shad and tack it down on a plank. Place the plank near the fire and cook for ½ hour. Then throw away the shad and eat the plank.

Hot Sauced Shad Roe with Green Chile & Pepper Cheese Scrambled Eggs

You can actually use any fish roe in this recipe, so ask your local fishmonger what is available. If you’re in Richmond in April, you’ll find this breakfast shad recipe in restaurants. Of course, you won’t find the green chile eggs, as we do that here in New Mexico. This recipe will not win any awards from the Food Police.

1/4 cup bacon drippings, melted

6 eggs, beaten with a little milk

1/4 cup chopped green chile

1/4 cup grated pepper jack cheese

In a skillet, combine the shad roes and the bacon drippings and fry the roes for about 10 minutes, turning several times. When the roes are half-done, in another skillet melt the butter, add the eggs and scramble with a fork. When the eggs are nearly done, add the green chile and cheese. To serve, sprinkle the roes with your favorite hot sauce and place next to the eggs.

Get Your Goat, It’s the Spring BBQ

The central Texas town of Brady has staged the World Championship BBQ Goat Cook-off for more than forty years on Labor Day weekend. And they know how to cook it correctly, using ten to eighteen pound goats that have been slaughtered at thirty to forty days of age. The older goats eat grass and develop a distinct muttony flavor. They can also be tough. The best time to find young goat is around May. Cabrito is the Spanish word for young goat.

Purists insist that the only traditional way to cook cabrito is to dig a hole in your back yard and burn mesquite wood down to coals. Then you take the skinned cabrito, season it, wrap it in wet burlap bound with wire, and set the meat over the coals. You cover it with dirt to seal in the heat and smoke, and let it cook all day.

Known in the Southwest as cabrito al pastor, barbecued young goat is a spring tradition that can be duplicated in a grill with a spit or in a smoker. The biggest problem is going to be finding a young, tender 12 to 15 pound young goat and you may have to search out butchers, farmers, or Hispanic markets.

Barbecued Kid Shepherd-Style

You can also substitute a large leg of lamb if you can’t find the young goat, and adjust the smoking time downward.

Your favorite barbecue rub containing chile powder

1 12-pound young goat, cleaned

Barbecue sauce of choice, chipotle recommended

Salsa of choice, chipotle recommended

Sprinkle the rub all over the goat and rub it in thoroughly. If grilling the goat, build a mesquite wood fire in a large barbecue with a spit, or use natural charcoal and mesquite chips. Arrange the goat on a spit about 1 foot above the coals. You can use a motor to turn the spit, or turn it manually every 10 or 15 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F., for well done.

If smoking the goat, place the goat on a rack in the smoker with the smoke from pecan, oak, or fruitwood at 200 to 220 degrees F. Smoke for about 1 hour per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F.

To serve, slice the cabrito thinly and top with barbecue sauce. Serve with the tortillas, guacamole, and salsa on the side, or make tacos topped with the salsa.

Yield: 20 or more servings

Dessert: Double Pepper-Infused Strawberries

Ninety percent of Americans eat strawberries, according to the California Strawberry Advisory Board, and we eat about 3.4 pounds of fresh berries and another 1.8 pounds of frozen ones. California grows about 75 percent of all strawberries and the peak season is March through May. Eight medium strawberries have only 50 calories but supply 140 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C. They also taste great!

Strawberries with Tex-Mex Tequila and Black Pepper

This is a shocking dessert if there ever was one, with the sharp flavors of the pepper tequila and black pepper strangely complementing the sweetness of the strawberries. Only a truly daring chilehead would serve this over chile-infused icecream.

6 cups halved strawberries

1/4 cup chile-infused tequila (or soak crushed piquin chiles in tequila for a few hours and strain)

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Combine the strawberries, orange juice, tequila, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and toss well. Cover and chill for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Spoon the mixture into 6 small glass bowls and garnish with the mint sprigs.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Broccoli Waltham - Brassica oleracea - GREAT GREENS!

BROCCOLI - Waltham is a Tall sturdy variety that tolerates the cold well.
It is also drought tolerant.

A great way to get nutrition - Broccoli is full of fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants - Boil heads, or eat raw - salads, stir fries etc.

Blue-Green medium sized heads on long shoots - offshoots also head up, freezes well.
Dont forget to collect seeds to have again next season.
Heirloom named in 1950 - 74 days approx to maturity
Full sun, Fertile soil - Direct sow or plant in pots until plants have 2-3 leaves.


BALM OF GILEAD seeds - Mint Family - BEES LOVE IT!

0014 Balm of Gilead - Cedronella Canariensis

Attractive strongly scented herb that looks great in a pot.
Growing 2-3 ft,Tall bracts of light pink/lilac flowers in Summer. The plant releases its pleasant camphor scent when brushed or pruned.

Medicinal uses include reducing the congestion of the lungs when used as an inhalant, as a balm to ease sore joints and muscles, or a cream to aid healing of scratches, bites and sunburn.

Seeds are small, black and hard. Scarify lightly by rubbing them on sandpaper, sow in pots, keep moist until the plant is through, plant out (full sun) when frost is past, soil is warmer & plant has started to grow leaves. Likes moist, fertile rich soil. Full sun.
Seed pods are formed as long bracts that brown and dry, then expel the seeds into the soil below which if conditions are ideal, continues your Balm supply through to the next season.
Cut back lightly (shape) in Autumn, plant does not like the cold and will not survive extreme (temps in the minus!) cold, but it will survive with mulch if roots are kept warm (in a pot)

Note, there is also a tree known as Balm or Balsam of Gilead. This is the HERB that is known by the name Balm of Gilead.

Have a look at my listings HERE on Trademe

Strawberry - Fragaria x ananassa - CHANDLER - Sweet Large Fruit, Easy Grow

0013 STRAWBERRY - Chandler

Strawberry - Fragaria x ananassa - CHANDLER is a very desirable productive strawberry, with large sweet fruit.

Plant seeds inside, keep moist and plant out once the plants have four good sized leaves and frosts are past.

Plant out in moist well-drained fertile soil with a Ph of 6, in full sun.
Plants must be given regular water to produce the best fruit.
Strawberries grow and multiply, and the runners can be cut off, or planted alongside.
CHANDLER has a high yield, but needs a little love (potash, mulch,and fertilizer) between flowerings.
Snuggle plants into a bed of pea straw over Winter, it lifts the fruit off the wet ground, avoiding slugs and other sucking pests.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Please do a search to find your favorite recipe(s).

Half Green Kale and/or Celery

1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard

1 small clove garlic, sliced

pinch of dried crushed red pepper

Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk, discard or save for another recipe (such as this Swiss chard ribs with cream and pasta). Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.

Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt to taste, and a small amount of butter. Remove the swiss chard to a serving dish.

1 bunch green onions, or one or two of the spring onions (use the "greens" and all!)

garlic (however much suits your fancy)

1½ cups milk or half & half

Chop the chard stems, and sauté in olive oil along with the chopped onions and garlic until the stems begin to soften. Add the roughly torn chard leaves to the pan, a handful at a time, and wilt them down. Splash on a little lemon juice, if you want, at this point (a dash of citrus helps make the calcium in the chard more "available" to your body!). In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, add the parmesan cheese and salt & pepper. Stir in the chard mixture, and pour into an unbaked 9-inch piecrust.

If you want to get snazzy, you can toast some pine nuts (sauté them in a hot, dry skillet over the stove for a couple minutes) and sprinkle them on top of the quiche. Bake in a 375-degree oven for a half hour or so -- the quiche is done when it's nicely browned on top. Take the quiche out of the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing into serving pieces.

Chard and cilantro Quiche With Two Cheeses

6 to 8 medium-size chard leaves, thick middle ribs removed

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup BelPaese or similar mild, soft cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange the chard leaves on a steamer rack over gently boiling water, cover and steam for 5 to 7 minutes. The leaves should retain their pretty green color but be greatly reduced in volume. Remove the chard from the steamer and squeeze the leaves to extract any water. Cut the chard into long, thin strips by stacking the leaves, rolling them up into a thin cigar shape and then cutting them crosswise in thin shreds. Set aside.

Steam the cilantro leaves as you did the chard, but for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the steamer and squeeze dry mince. Again squeeze the chard and cilantro to remove excess water. Set aside.

Warm the olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and sauté until just soft, 1 or 2 minutes. Add the chard and cilantro, reduce the heat to very low and cook, turning often, until the greens have absorbed the oil, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream, salt, pepper and eggs. Beat lightly, and then add the olive oil-infused greens and the cheeses.

Fill the crust as full as possible with the mixture without spilling any over the top. Cut the butter into bits and dot the top of the quiche.

Place in the preheated 375-degree oven and bake until the filling is puffed and golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately or let cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges to serve.

Cottage Cheese And cilantro Quiche —serves 4

1 unbaked 8" (20cm) pie shell

2 cups cottage cheese, puréed

¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

Fry onion in butter until golden. Combine with cottage cheese, cilantro and beaten eggs. Season to taste. Beat well and pour into pastry shell.

Bake 15 minutes at 375°F. Reduce heat to 325°F and bake for 45 minutes.

Celery Soup —serves 6

10 medium-length stalks of celery, chopped ½ inch (2½ cups)

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

5 cups vegetable broth or water

2 cups cooked wild rice or barley

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)

Chop the onion, potato, carrots, and celery into ½ inch or smaller. Cut everything roughly the same size will keep cooking time somewhat uniform.

In a large thick-bottomed soup pot over medium high heat combine olive oil, onion, potato, carrots, celery and a few pinches of salt in a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté for about ten minutes or until the onions and celery soften a touch. Stir in the garlic and add the stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 10 minutes or until the celery, carrot and potatoes are just cooked through. Stir in the rice a few minutes before the potatoes and carrot are cooked through. Top with some Parmesan cheese.

Apple, broccoli and Celery Salad

¼ cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

freshly grained salt and pepper

3 large ribs celery, sliced (about 1 cup)

½ cup (or more to taste) cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the apples, celery, broccoli and cilantro. Toss until well combined.

Apple Celery Swiss Chard Kale Detox Juice

Big handful of Swiss chard

Beets and Celery juice

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Simply grate raw beets for a delicious and colorful addition to salads or decorative garnish for soups.

Add chunks of beet when roasting vegetables in the oven.

Serving homemade vegetable juice? A quarter of a beet will turn any green drink into a sweet pink concoction, pleasing both the eyes and the taste buds.

Healthy sauté beet greens with other braising greens such as chard and mustard greens.

Marinate steamed beets in fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh herbs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quick Sauté

Shrimp are fast, delicious, and easy to cook. I'm not sure why I don't make them more often . . . Tonight I started heating a pan and added in butter and olive oil. After the butter had finished foaming I tossed in chopped shallot, oregano, crushed red peppers, hot sauce, and plenty of garlic (seem like my usual recipe for seafood). Next the peeled deveined shrimp went in and started to pink up. When I turned the shrimp I poured in a splash of Guinness left over from our christmas cake and I let the mixture bubble until the shrimp were cooked through. I finished the sauce with an extra pat of butter for good measure. Perfect with bread or rice or even on a toothpick. Dinner in seven minutes or less.
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup Bulgar wheat
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 lamb loin chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning, divided
  • Olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups small spinach leaves
  • One 7 ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers, drained and coarsely chopped

In a medium saucepan combine broth, bulgur and onion. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Stir 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning, the spinach and roasted peppers into the bulgur mixture. Cover and keep warm.

Preheat an outdoor grill to high and oil the grill grates. Turn off one side of the grill for indirect cooking.

Trim fat from the meat. Brush the chops with olive oil and sprinkle the meat with 1 teaspoon of the lemon-pepper seasoning.

Start the lamb on the indirect side of the grill. When the meat reaches 110°F for medium-rare on an instant read meat thermometer, moved the chops to the hot side of the grill.

They’ll quickly sear and come up to the desired temperature of 120°—130°F. Let them rest for 10 minutes off the grill on a platter before serving.

To serve: Divide bulgur mixture among 4 dinner plates. Top each with a grilled lamb chop.


In this series, the typical MasterChef weekly format was slightly changed from prior series. Mondays now feature a Team Challenge with the losing team facing Tuesday's Pressure Test elimination. Wednesdays feature a Mystery Box with the best cooks competing in the Immunity Challenge on Thursday, in which one contestant will be granted immunity from the upcoming elimination. All the other contestants then head into the All-In Elimination Challenge on Sunday. [10] In addition, only one Immunity Pin was up for grabs this season it was awarded to Dani Venn in the first episode of the series. A new format schedule was debuted on 14 June, with the show beginning to air only three nights a week. Mondays featured the Mystery Box, Tuesdays featured the Immunity Challenge, and Sundays featured the All-In Elimination Challenge.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, production of the show continued while following government regulations. [11] This includes the observance of social distancing, having individual plates for each judge during tasting, and the use of gloves when handling ingredients. In addition, the number of crew on set has been reduced by half, and outside challenges and guests have been dialled back. [12] [13] The new measures debuted on 25 May 2020.

Unlike previous seasons, there was no mid-way "second chance" return challenge for eliminated contestants all eliminated contestants had no chance to return to the season.

The 24 returning contestants were announced on 19 February 2020. [14] [15] In March 2020, Ben Ungermann was dropped from the series after being arrested in a matter, unrelated to the show. [16] His departure was announced on 17 May 2020. The arrest was connected to accusations of sexual assault against a 16-year-old girl. [17] Those charges were dropped when Ungermann pleaded guilty to a single count of common law assault, avoiding a criminal conviction. [18]

Contestant Age State Occupation Original Series Previous
Emelia Jackson 30 VIC Cake Designer & Chef Series 6 3rd Winner 20 July
Laura Sharrad 24 SA Chef & Restaurateur Series 6 2nd Runner-up 20 July
Reynold Poernomo 26 NSW Chef & Restaurateur Series 7 4th Eliminated 19 July
Callum Hann 30 SA Restaurateur & Culinary Educator Series 2 [a] 2nd Eliminated 14 July
Reece Hignell 30 NSW Cake Designer & Chef Series 10 6th Eliminated 12 July
Poh Ling Yeow 46 SA Chef, Artist, Actress & TV Presenter Series 1 [b] 2nd Eliminated 5 July
Tessa Boersma 28 QLD Chef & Criminal Statistician Series 11 2nd Eliminated 28 June
Brendan Pang 26 WA Restaurateur Series 10 9th Eliminated 21 June
Khanh Ong 27 VIC Business Owner & Chef Series 10 3rd Eliminated 14 June
Sarah Tiong 29 NSW Lawyer & Restaurateur Series 9 6th Eliminated 9 June
Simon Toohey 33 VIC Cook & Restaurateur Series 11 3rd Eliminated 7 June
Jess Liemantara 22 VIC Chef Series 10 4th Eliminated 31 May
Tracy Collins 44 SA Restaurateur Series 6 5th Eliminated 24 May
Sarah Clare 33 TAS Restaurateur Series 10 10th Eliminated 19 May
Hayden Quinn 33 NSW TV Presenter & Marine Biologist Series 3 [b] 6th Eliminated 17 May
Ben Ungermann 36 QLD Ice Cream Shop Owner & Chef Series 9 2nd Left 17 May
Amina Elshafei 35 NSW Paediatric Nurse & Author Series 4 11th Eliminated 12 May
Chris Badenoch 52 WA Business Owner & Restaurateur Series 1 [b] 3rd Eliminated 10 May
Rose Adam 42 SA Chef & Café Owner Series 7 10th Eliminated 5 May
Dani Venn 34 VIC Business Owner & Publicist Series 3 [b] 4th Eliminated 3 May
Harry Foster 25 QLD Chef Series 8 3rd Eliminated 28 April
Ben Milbourne 38 TAS Restaurateur Series 4 5th Eliminated 26 April
Courtney Roulston 39 NSW Chef Series 2 5th Eliminated 21 April
Lynton Tapp 32 VIC TV Presenter & Chef Series 5 2nd Eliminated 19 April

  1. ^ Callum won the Masterchef: All-Stars mini-series
  2. ^ abcd These contestants also competed on the Masterchef: All-Stars mini-series.

-Emelia Jackson appeared on the 3rd Junior Series as a guest judge for a Mystery Box Challenge.

-Emelia appeared on the following season as a guest judge for the first Mystery Box challenge. Reynold Poernomo, Callum Hann and Poh Ling Yeow appeared later on as guest judges for an elimination challenge. Laura Sharrad appeared for the first Masterclass as a guest chef.

Allegations of favouritism Edit

The series has been met with sustained skepticism from viewers concerning the judges' apparent favouritism towards certain contestants. The most prominent instance of this has centered around contestant Laura Sharrad, who worked in judge Jock Zonfrillo's restaurant for two years following her Series 6 appearance. The criticism has focused largely on Laura's apparent tendency to cook pasta dishes repeatedly, receiving praise from the judges despite her unvaried repertoire. The judges' decision to award Weekly Immunity to Laura, rather than Poh, in Episode 50, was met with instant backlash from viewers, who felt that Poh's effort was evidently superior. [19] Laura spoke out about her controversy, citing the numerous non-pasta dishes she has cooked on the show and claiming that having to cook for her former employer has made the competition harder, rather than easier, for her. [20]

Other accusations have attacked the judges' apparent reluctance to eliminate contestants Poh Ling Yeow [21] and Reynold Poernomo, [22] both of whom are considered fan favourites, and, therefore, beneficial to the show's viewership. Notably, contestant Tessa Boersma’s elimination stirred controversy and prompted allegations of bias towards Reynold.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sticking to the Grocery Budget

Hi, my name's Karen, and I'm a compulsive grocery shopper. Seriously. The only time I ever stick to my list is when my husband is with me, and that's just because he hates grocery shopping so much it's quick in, quick out. I, on the other hand, consider grocery shopping a recreational activity. In fact, it's the only kind of shopping that I enjoy. So it should come as no surprise that I have a heck of a time staying within the budget.

We budget $300 a month, which, in writing, I've broken into two amounts - $175 for the first half of the month, and $175 for the second. That way I don't spend $250 up front and have no money left for milk and bananas at the end of the month. Not that I haven't spent $250 up front and gone on to spend another $175, don't get me wrong!

Last month my husband and I took a good hard look at our spending, and decided something needed to be done. So we dropped cable, got a VOIP phone service, and made a commitment to getting our spending back on track. Not only did I recommit to sticking to my grocery budget, but we also (at that point) completely eliminated our eating out budget. We've since seen the folly of our ways, and have added a small amount back in for restaurants, but nothing at all like we have been.

So here I am, trying to stick to my grocery budget. It seems like no matter what I go into the store to buy, I end up spending $110+. I will admit that I go to one of the more expensive grocery stores in town, but I buy a lot of organic, natural, and/or local foods, which they have there, and that all costs more. But really, after visiting a couple of the cheaper grocery stores in town, they aren't really that much cheaper, and the quality is a lot lower. I also buy local, natural pork and grass-fed beef from a local butcher, which costs a little more (but, again, not that much more considering the difference in quality).

This weekend, when I went on my regular shopping trip, I had a little over $21 left to spend until the 15th. Fortunately, all we really needed was milk, fruit, and yogurt (my daughter eats Cheerios, yogurt, and fruit for breakfast almost every day). I could have made yogurt, but I had a coupon for a free pack of YoBaby and found some organic on manager's special (orange tag) for $1.49. I also got a gallon of organic whole milk (that's what my daughter drinks) on manager's special for $2.49. Those combined were less than I was planning to spend on her milk alone, so I was ahead of the game. I usually buy a gallon of organic milk and a gallon of regular for hubby and me, but got two gallons of regular instead - they're half the price of organic.

Knowing we have plenty of canned fruit in the cupboard, blueberries in the freezer, and apples in the crisper drawer, I skimped a bit on the fruit. Hubby said he could do without his usual daily orange as long as there are honeycrisp apples in the house (I buy them from a local farmstand for about $1 a pound less than at the grocery store), so I just picked up a few bananas. That left enough for a pint of heavy cream for a dessert I was making to take to the neighbor's last night, and a carton of ice cream to go with the apple crisp I knew I'd be making today (with the last of our backyard apples, which are only good for cooking!). We buy the store brand version of premium ice cream - at $2.99 a carton, it's less than half the price and tastes exactly the same.

At the last minute, I ran back to the produce aisle to pick up a bag of organic grapes - they're from California and SO GOOD right now! That was my real splurge - two pounds cost $4.20. My total came to $20.53. After all that, if I stay out of the store, I have $1.13 left to carry over to the second half of the month!

Neapolitan-Style Mussels alla Giancarlo

  • 20 slices of bread, from one large Italian baguette
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced in half
  • 4 pounds mussels
  • 1 cup wine
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, from fresh lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like this dish)
  • 32 ounce can peeled, diced Italian tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 bunch, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 lemons, sliced in wedges

Brush both sides of each of the slices of bread with olive oil.Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Rub each side of the crostini with the sliced garlic. Set aside.

Clean the mussels under running water, discarding any with broken shells. Trim the “beard” (the stringy portion) from the side. In a large sauté pan big enough to hold all the mussels in one layer, add the mussels, wine and lemon juice. Cover and steam over medium heat until almost all the mussels have opened, about 10 minutes. (Discard any that haven’t opened.) Strain the liquid and set it and the mussels aside, separately.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions and celery and cook until they are transluscent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, the mussel cooking liquid, oregano and 1/3 of the chopped parsley. Turn the heat to high. Keep the heat high until it starts to boil, then turn the heat down to medium and cook another 10 minutes, reducing a bit. The sauce should be quite dense. Add the mussels and reheat. Taste and add more salt if needed, plenty of freshly ground pepper and the remaining parsley.

Place a crostini at the bottom of each of 4 individual bowls. Spoon the mussels into the four bowls, distributing them evenly. Pour the sauce over the mussels. Add three crostini to each bowl and lemon wedges if desired.


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