Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dried Apricot, Prune, Cranberry, Almond, Farro Salad

I love summer time salad of any style.  I combine different flavors to create deliciously tasty salads to eat along or with a summer barbeque.  Farro is a nutty Italian whole grain that is now widely available in all types of grocery stores.  I bought a large bag of organic Farro at Costco.  Farro is a great base for this salad which I added dried fruits, almonds and chick peas, tossed with an orange base dressing loaded with great spices. For a main dish I serve over spring greens.

Dried Fruit, Almond and Farro Salad

4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups Farro
1 can(15.5 oz) chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 cup slice almonds
1/2 cup chopped dried Apricots
1/2 cup chopped dried prunes
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Put 4 cups vegetable broth in large sauce pan bring to a boil. Add Farro lower heat to medium simmering for 30-35 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Place in large bowl to cool. 
In a bowl combine orange juice, oil, spices poor over Farro tossing to combine.  Add almonds, apricots, prunes and cranberries.  Chill.  Can be made a day ahead.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sauteed Soft Shell Crabs

Soft shell crab season is here! I love soft shell crabs which are so easy to make at home, just as tasting as you find out in restaurants.  The shells of the crabs are so soft that you can eat shell and meat.  This recipe is easy, fun and tasty.

4 soft shell crabs, cleaned and patty dry

2  teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning or similar crab seasoning
1 cup flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

 Season crabs with Old Bay Seasonings and dredge in flour.  Shake off excess.  Set aside.

Heat oil in large skilled.  Add crabs sauteing for about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove to serving plate.  Add garlic to pan cooking for 1 minute, then add capers, wine cooking until sauce is reduced to 1/2.  Add butter and parsley stirring until combined. Pour over crabs serve immediately.  Makes two servings.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Healthy Homemade Granola

I love Granola for breakfast combined with blueberries and Greek yogurt.  Lately I've become concerned with how much sugar store bought granola contains.  So I decided to make my own version with less sugar tasting just as flavorful.

Homemade Granola

2 cup regular Oats, not quick
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon healthy oil, I use olive
1 teaspoon of vanilla
pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven 300 F.  Combine all ingredients in large bowl, tossing until thoroughly combined.  Place in sallow baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.  Cool before pointing in a air tight container.  I like to store in refrigerator to keep fresh.

You can change up this recipe by adding an assortment of nuts and seeds or use other dried fruits.  If you like cinnamon add a tablespoon for additional flavor


Friday, June 6, 2014

Easy sauteed fresh vegetables

Eat your vegetables your Mom always said and she was right!  Veggies are so good tasting as well as good for you.  Low in calories, fat, no salt, cholesterol or sugar. I love to just saute fresh seasonal veggies for a dinner.  I just serve over greens, polenta, farro or any whole grain.  I wonderful healthy satisfying meal.

Sauteed Fresh Vegetables over Greens

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, chopped
Two Red peppers, chopped
8 oz fresh sliced mushrooms,  I like baby portabella
1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoon capers
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped 
Fresh greens, I used a combination of kale and baby spinach

Heat olive oil in medium saute pan over medium heat.  Add garlic cooking for about 2 minutes. Don't brown garlic as it will become bitter.  Add shallots continuing to cook for another 1 minutes. Next add the red peppers and mushrooms cooking for about 5 minutes. Gently combine tomatoes stirring for another 2 minutes.  Add capers, olives, pepper and basil cooking for a few minutes.  Place veggie mixture on top of greens.




Sunday, June 1, 2014

I don't get the Bacon thing!

I'm just going to put it out there, I don't like bacon! I don't understand the mania over bacon, putting bacon in all kinds of dishes that just don't need bacon.  Restaurants like BarBacon in NYC are all the rage. Again I don't get it!  Why ruin salads, veggie dishes, pasta and more by adding bacon. Bacon overwhelms all that it is paired with so you just miss all the wonderful subtle flavors as bacon bullies it way into the dish, leaving it just tasting like bacon not much else.  When did bacon leave the breakfast table to become such a star?

Now that I shared that I have no palette for bacon, what about the health aspect of eating all that bacon.  Bacon is full of fat, cholesterol and salt, not to mention that it is a process meat which has been linked to several cancers. Adding bacon to everything is just unhealthy!  I recently read that Americans eat about 18 pounds of bacon a year.  Unbelievable, 18 pounds is 73, 248 calories, 8,160 grams fat, 7,872 grams cholesterol, and 2,208 grams salt per year.  Even if you love the taste of bacon those stats are reason enough to cut back.

Instead of adding bacon use fresh herbs as a flavorful healthy alternative to bacon.  Also I like to add interesting oils or vinegars as well garlic, scallions or shallots for an extra infusion of taste when I am cooking.  Again I find that bacon overpowering as an added ingredient, at best it is to be served with breakfast, not everything else.