Monday, August 8, 2011

Golden Summer Squash & Corn Soup

Today I was going to post about one of the great restaurants I have discovered, but I keep making these delicious recipes that need to be shared immediately. This recipe came from the August 2009 issue of Eating Well. It is a tragedy that it has taken me two years to make it.

The other good news about this soup is that if you left off the feta cheese, it would be totally cleanse appropriate. However, unless you have a serious problem with lactose, I would not recommend it. It is too delicious.


1 tb olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped
about 1 pound of medium summer squash diced, (maybe 2?)
3 ts fresh herbs, chopped (thyme or oregano recommended - I used oregano)
14 oz. chicken or veggie broth (I did not have enough broth so I substituted 7 oz of heavy whipping cream... maybe another reason I loved this soup so much)
1/4 ts salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels cut from the cob
1 ts lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (or as much as you want)


Heat oil in large saucepan. Cook shallot in oil over medium heat, stirring about 1 minute. Add squash and 1 ts herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash starts to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a blender, or use one of those fantastic hand blenders and blend until smooth. Return to pan and stir in corn. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with the remaining 2 ts herbs and feta.

This recipe made barely enough for two decently sized servings.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Winter Grain Bowl w/Ginger Miso Lime Sauce

First, do not let this picture of the leftovers I am eating for lunch today turn you away from making this recipe. I forgot to take a picture when I first made the recipe a couple nights ago and it's all I've got.

So, I tried to do The Cleanse earlier this year and it didn't really work out. It is very hard to do on a consistent basis because of all the cooking. As my friend Becca put it last night, "Doing The Cleanse is social suicide" because you have to decline so many eating invitations. Although, it is much more liberal than the P90X diet everyone is doing now. Anyway, I digress. Since I have such a hard time going 100% with the cleanse, I try and incorporate cleanse recipes into my regular diet as much as possible.

One of the many things I love to eat while on the cleanse are the "grain bowls". There are four suggested grain bowls in the recipe book, but by the time I'm done mixing and matching my grain bowl doesn't really resemble the original recipe. This week I made a grain bowl and the closest recipe it resembled was the Winter Grain Bowl.

Original Winter Grain Bowl Recipe

Roasted Squash & Root Vegetables
Sauteed Kale
Adzuki Beans
Ginger Miso Lime Sauce

I changed the vegetable into summer squash, sunflower seeds instead of kale, and black beans instead of adzuki. Mostly I just wanted the sauce:

Ginger Miso Lime Sauce

3 TB light miso
1/4 c. water
3 TB olive oil
1 TB grated fresh ginger
1 tsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic crushed or minced
1/4 c fresh lime juice (I was quite liberal with this.)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Dissolve miso in water, add other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Another important point is that these grain bowls taste the best when the grain and the beans are made fresh. I usually soak the beans overnight and then cook them in the crock pot while I am at work.

Barley is cooked best with a 3 to 1 (water to barley) ratio. I usually add a little salt as well. Also, The Cleanse guy recommends you always add one inch of kombu seaweed anytime you are cooking beans or grains to make them more digestible. It doesn't change the flavor. Barley only takes about 20-30 minutes depending on how much you are making. It should be done by the time you have prepared everything else.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reuben #2 - Carnegie Deli, Las Vegas

This Reuben was discovered by my friend, Sam Nelson, who lives in Las Vegas. Sam, thank you for joining the Search for the Perfect Reuben. From Sam...

I’ve never had a Reuben quite like the one from Carnegie Deli in Las Vegas. Carnegie Deli is famous in New York City and the imitation in Las Vegas did not disappoint. It’s a plateful of sandwich big enough for two, three, or even four people.

I’m a believer that it is the bread that makes a sandwich. That is why I was so surprised that I loved this sandwich. The bread was a dry slice underneath the sandwich that didn’t add much to it. It also had just a thin layer of sauerkraut. What made the sandwich were the pastrami and the melted swiss cheese.

The pastrami was thicker than I normally like, but it was full of flavor. The cheese was piled on but surprisingly, it wasn’t too much at all. The sauce was served on the side and tasted like a fry sauce with some sweet pickle relish mixed in.

A great part about this sandwich was that it did not leave a pile of grease at the bottom of the plate. For how much pastrami and cheese was included, it ended up being the perfect mix of flavor without all the grease.

Although a different type of sandwich, this is the best Reuben I’ve had so far, and definitely the best in Vegas.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables

This was amazing.... and easy. I've actually never cooked shrimp before, but I decided to try it and was rewarded with this delicious dinner. If you are allergic or don't like shrimp, you can substitute chicken, or just more vegetables. You could actually make this with any combination of meat and vegetables and it would still be delicious because of the sauce. Garlic. Lemon Juice. Salt. That says it all. I got this recipe from the June 2010 Eating Well magazine.


6 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
12 ounces peeled and deveined raw shrimp, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups yogurt (I recommend greek yogurt)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts*


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook 2 minutes less than package directions. Add shrimp, asparagus, bell pepper and peas and cook until the pasta is tender and the shrimp are cooked, 2 to 4 minutes more. Drain well.

Mash garlic and salt in a large bowl until a paste forms. Whisk in yogurt, parsley, lemon juice, oil and pepper. Add the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

* If you don't know how to toast pine nuts, it's really easy. Just put them in a pan over medium heat and push them around until they are fragrant. Usually not more than 4 minutes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Chile-Spiced Fruit Salad with Queso Fresco

Yesterday I made this salad for the office Cinqo de Mayo party. I tried to find something that was healthy, but also on theme. Unfortunately, I forgot to read the recipe before I showed up at work and I had to make the dressing in the microwave. Luckily, it turned out fine. Also, since the fruits it calls for are not in season, I substituted strawberries and kiwi for the peaches and blueberries. My only suggestion would be to add more lime juice. At least twice, maybe three times as much. I got this recipe from the July 2008 Cooking Light magazine.


1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced in half length wise
(I also seeded the jalapeno so it wouldn't be as spicy)
2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 large peach, peeled & sliced
(or whatever fruit you want)
2 TB fresh lime juice

for serving

crumbled queso fresco


Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar dissolves, remove from heat and add jalapeno to sugar mixture. Cover and let stand 1 hour or until cooled to room temperature. Strain sugar mixture through a mesh sieve over a bowl and discard solids.

(office version: Add the sugar to 1/4 cup of hot water and stir until it dissolves. Add jalapeno and microwave everything for about 30 seconds or until the mixture bubbles. Add ice cube to cool it down and take out the jalapeno.)

Combine fruit, sugar mixture and lime juice. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Power Plate

A few months ago there was an article in the LA Times about a group of doctors who sued the USDA for ignoring this vegetarian alternative to the food pyramid. (Click here to read the LA Times article.)

I'm not saying I agree or disagree, but I think it is interesting, and definitely more user friendly than the food pyramid. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Cleanse Rules

The last theme of this blog is The Cleanse. This is what we call it. It is actually called The 28 Day Cleansing Program and is outlined in a book by Scott Ohlgren. Some of the claims he makes are kind of extreme and I don't really believe them, but overall the diet has really good principles that make sense. I've done it before and felt fantastic which is enough evidence for me to do it again and again. So I started again yesterday. Here are the rules:

Forbidden List
1. Rule #1 is Do Not Go Hungry
2. No Dairy
3. No Processed Grains (this includes any product which contains flour as well as any other product containing a processed grain )
4. No Processed/Refined Sugar
5. No Meat (however, if you are working out regularly you can eat organic eggs and fish)

Things to do Every Day
1. Drink AT LEAST half your body weight in ounces of water
2. Drink AT LEAST 12 oz. of fresh vegetable juice (this can also contain fruit)
3. Eat AT LEAST one food item containing live bacteria (ie. some pickles, sauerkraut, some soy products, some olives, some types of soy sauce, anything with miso, etc.)
4. Eat AT LEAST one food item rich in minerals (ie. celtic sea salt, some type of seaweed)
5. Perform AT LEAST one of the 7 daily cellular cleansing activities (see below)
6. Live Organic (eat organic whenever possible, use organic/natural personal products)

7 Cellular Daily Cleansing Activities
1. Skin Brushing
2. Cardiac Sweat
3. Sauna Treatment
4. Massage
5. Colon Cleanse
6. Mineral/Salt Bath
7. I can't remember #7 right now