What’s Stirring in My Pot? Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip

Eggplant Dip

I bought an eggplant the other day, because I thought it looked really beautiful.  The eggplant’s smooth, shiny dark purple skin and organic form was speaking to me…., please buy me I would make the perfect eggplant dip to go along with those boring chicken cutlets you are going to prepare…,PERFECT!

The eggplant dip was a big success!   Next time I make this recipe, I might add some smoky paprika or red pepper flakes to spice it up, but it was really tasty the way it was.  The dip works with chips, on sandwiches, or as a great side to a boring but delicious chicken cutlet!  ENJOY!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the eggplant, peppers and onion into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Toss theim in a large bowl with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly.
  5. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend.
  6. Taste for salt and pepper.

Note: I find eggplant can be acidic to my tongue to decrease this sensation: slice the eggplant and coat in kosher salt. Let the eggplant drain in a covered colander for at least a half hour. rinse and drain, then cut into cubes.

 

recipe: The barefoot contessa cookbook by Ina Garten

What’s Stirring in My Pot? Tomato Soup with Gruyere Grilled cheese

tomato-soup-3

 

There is nothing like a good bowl of creamy, velvety smooooth tomato soup paired with a very thin gruyere grilled cheeeese sandwich. This pairing brings back the best of childhood memories…,  comforting, warm and friendly after walking home from school on a chilly winter day. Inner child Nirvana!

I’ve been on a mission to make at least one soup a week for one year…, but my friends and family thought I might scale it down to 26…, whatever!  I am definitely starting now, and sharing some of my favorites. Soup is a meal unto itself.   ENJOY!

Ingredients:

  • good olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pan)
  • 3 cups yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (28oz. can of crushed tomatoes )
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring until golden brown.
  2. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4.  Fill a medium pot with water, add kosher salt, and bring to boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes.
  5. Drain the orzo and add it to soup.
  6. Stir in the cream , return soup to a simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve hot with Grilled Cheese on side.  I prefer using Pepperidge Farm very thin sliced bread for the sandwich, any cheese will do, but gruyere offers a delicious nuttiness and richness.

Directions for Grilled Cheese:

  1. Heat a panini pan or small fry pan with butter. Place cheese between two slices of bread.
  2. Brown Sandwich on each side.

 

 

The recipe was adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Foolproof . 

Inspiration #11: Looking for Inspiration at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

Wailing Wall

Wailing Wall

Looking for Divine Presence…,along with the Pope and Justin Timberlake!

Jewish sources, including the Zohar, write that the Divine Presence rests upon the Western Wall.[104] The Midrash quotes a 4th-century scholar: “Rav Acha said that the Divine Presence has never moved away from the Western Wall”.[105] 18th-century scholar Jonathan Eybeschutz writes that “after the destruction of the Temple, God removed His Presence from His sanctuary and placed it upon the Western Wall where it remains in its holiness and honour”.[106] It is told that great Jewish sages, including Isaac Luria and the Radvaz, experienced a revelation of the Divine Presence at the wall.[107]

from wikipedia.

What’s Stirring in My Pot? Granola

Granola

Granola

I was cleaning out the pantry, and came across a bag of organic old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free), and decided it was time to make some Granola. I was recently visiting London and the ampersand hotel made the most delicious fresh granola for breakfast. It was outstanding! Sheer Perfection!  My family and I started to look forward to yogurt with a scoop of granola magic every morning.  The hotel used a wide variety of nuts such as hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds and pecans which was the key to our morning bliss.

Back to my pantry,  I discovered I had more nuts and seeds than most birds and squirrels could eat in a lifetime…,soooo this is the perfect recipe for me.  You can add whatever ingredients you like to Granola, but best to add the dried fruit and coconut flakes after it’s cooled.  In this batch I added fresh dates, but I have added dried berries as well and it is quite good, or you can add dried or fresh fruit as a topping on the side…, whatever works for you!

The last thing I have to say is you will never buy another bag of granola from the store again which is a good thing.  This recipe is perfection, and has become a household staple. When the canister gets a little low someone will say…,  ” Time to make some more Granola, pleeeze!”

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 cups of nuts  (3/4 cup hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans or almonds), roughly chopped…, I like some whole pieces as well.
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower and pumpkin seeds (optional, but I love it)
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • unsweetened coconut flakes, for topping
  • chopped dried figs, for topping
  • chopped dried figs , for topping
  • Fresh or dried berries, for toppings or both

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (The key is to slow bake and stir often)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, oil, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar and stir well.
  3. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets in as even a layer as possible.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then stir well.  Continue to bake, stirring every 30 minutes, until golden brown and slightly crisp, about 2 hours total.
  5. Let cool completely, the oats should feel dry and crisp.
  6. Toss in coconut flakes.
  7. Serve over yogurt or with milk.   Top with dates, dried fruit or fresh berries.

This recipe was inspired by the Ampersand Hotel, and Melia Marden from Modern Mediterranean.

 

Mind/Body Connection: Astrology

Astrology Flash Cards

Astrology Flash Cards

I was invited to the Soho House a few months ago, to hear a lecture about spiritual astrology, and how we can become more aware of the planetary energies around us and use them to raise our consciousness.  It was a totally awesome evening and Carolyn Faulkner, the astrologist giving the reading  is a hilarious version of Bridget Jones…, English accent and all.  She was asking her audience some questions and I was the voice that broke the silence, and somehow our energies connected…, ding…,ding…,ding.  She read my natal chart the next day and announced to me, “I will be your  teacher”.  Wow! I thought she wants to teach me…,Wow! What an honor…,Will my friends and family think I’m nuts…, o.k. I’ll do it.., what have I got to lose…, soooo…, guess what?  I will be adding Astrology and Tarot readings to my resume.  Really!

I started reading Tarot Cards a few years ago when I was curious about energy readings. The one thing I love about both practices is the symbols, metaphors and beautiful visual imagery that is left up to intuitive interpretations.  The spiritual complexity and dimensions that Astrology and Tarot offer is unique and healing, and yes, there is something really real to all of this Hocus Pocus!

Anyway…, my booth will be open for readings shortly.  I will be certified in April when I am in London.  Stayed tuned for my May opening! Anyone interested in being read?

 

 

Stuff I Love: Food Markets – Catania, Sicily

Oregano Man

Oregano Man

I Love Food Markets!  I visit them when and where ever I travel.  These pictures were taken at the Catania Market in Sicily.  It is one of the most exciting markets, as well as being one of the oldest in the world.  The Arab influences of the Souk are still quite authentic here which makes this market one of the most unique places to go when in Sicily.

Catania Market, Sicily

Catania Market, Sicily

Fishmongers

Fishmongers

Fresh Tuna with cigar

Fresh Tuna with Cigar

The fish just came out of the Mediterranean. Soooo Fresh and Tasty!  Ashes included at no cost. This is where the real action is happening in the market.  The fishmongers are screaming their prices at one another creating a fish frenzy, and taking one back to a place where time stands still.

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