There is an eloquent tale about the difference between Heaven and Hell. It is said that in both places, the occupants are presented with opulent tables laden with exotic foods and given four-foot long utensils with which to eat. In Hell, people are miserable and starving because they cannot imagine how to get food to their mouths with such long forks. In Heaven, the people are joyful and well fed. They use the same forks to feed each other.
- Epilogue from Leo Buscaglia's "Love Cookbook"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Carrot Nut Loaf


While most people are laying in bed thinking of their day's events or the next day's events, I'm laying there creating recipes in my head.  Two nights ago I wanted to make something to satisfy a carb/sweet craving without setting myself up on a cycle to eat everything in sight and feel bad about myself.

Almond meal is always my favorite "go-to".  However I've just recently discovered Nutiva coconut four, and adore this!  For this recipe though, I thought it would be best with almond meal/flour.  I used Bob's Red Mill.  I'm loosely giving you the measurements.  I stink at math and rarely measure, which I know is unheard of in baking.  Once I perfect the precise amounts, I will post them again.  But for now, this is my estimate:

2 c. ground carrots (you could use zucchini as well)
1 c. chopped nuts (any kind)
1 c. dark chocolate mini chips
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-3/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/2 c. molasses
1/2 c. maple sugar, agave, or other sweetener if desired
2 c. almond meal
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp allspice or nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix the dry ingredients, then stir in the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon (do not beat)

I baked it in a 350 degree oven, approximately 30 minutes (depending on your pan).  Let it cool slightly, it will stay together better.  Enjoy this......there is some high protein here.  But don't be deceived, there are calories too.  So easy does it.

The Last Thing I Ate.....


Dragon Fruit.  It actually WAS the last thing I ate on my recent trip to Kona.  It was a fresh-picked gift from my new friend, Chef Hubert.  I've had plenty of dragon fruit, having lived in Singapore and Japan, but this one from Hawaii was the best one I have ever eaten.  I split it with my husband, it was huge.  I tried to capture the taste in a photo?  Couldn't be done.  Tasted like the freshest, red strawberry, combined with a pear.  And deep magenta juice bled all over the table.

So I have to visit Kona to enjoy dragon fruit like this again.  In the meantime, here we are, summer in Seattle.  Plenty of local fresh fruits abound.  And my herb garden is overflowing.  I'm feeling inspiration.  Stawberry sorbet?  Off to the market!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cooking with the Hawaiian Executive Chef!

It's a wrap!  A wonderfully exhausting and inspiring trip to Kona......

My husband and I did the Kona Half Ironman Saturday.  We celebrated our 20th anniversary.  And THEN I had the priviledge of cooking with 3 incredible people at the Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii.  The extremely talented and gracious Executive Chef Hubert, the two equally talented and warm chefs, the Sous Chef, Kalani, and Pastry Chef, Daniel.  All organized by such an impressive Concierge Team, led by Darlene.

Chef Hubert started by taking me to his glorious garden that he created, on-site.  



Chef shared with me some incredible stories of herb origins, and how he uses them still in his creations today.  We picked some to use in the dishes we would cook this morning.


When we arrived back to the kitchen, Chef Kalani was waiting and prepared to teach me a bit about Poke and a steamed Opakapaka with yucca.


I will share the recipes on a post coming up.  I want to try it at home first!


Then Chef Daniel had me help him with our equally healthy and delicious dessert, chopped local fruits with coconut custard cream, in a coconut shell and orchid garnish.  WOW!


Fascinating!  The entire Hawaiian culinary experience was complete with historical relationships to the dishes.  My husband was fascinated.  We are hooked on this glorious cuisine.  Healthy, cultural, artistic, sensual.  I'm an Italian cook.  But I know this experience is going to create some sort of fusion in my repertoire!  Thank you to all of our new friends in Hawaii.  Your hospitality is unequaled!!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I absolutely DID finish!!!!

What a wonderful "twisted" joyful day at the Kona half Ironman! I fulfilled my dream of completing that tough race in the brutal heat today. The twisted surprise is that I got a "DNF" for not getting to the finish on time......and I am so fricken proud of myself for finishing every mile of the 70.3 miles, and made it through despite that!

I started barfing on the bike. And I kept pedaling, whi
le I was heaving. I feel kinda badass about that! And after that 58 miles, got off on the 13.1 mile run and kept on throwing up.....trying to hide it so the officials wouldn't pull this determined chick off the course. I still couldn't keep a drink down, so the run was super slow and I missed the cut off time. 

Funny thing is I feel it was a special gift today! My mental strength refused to give up and I know I completed it! I don't care if I didn't make a certain time. This race was special, I swam in a clear blue ocean with the most beautiful sea creatures, rode on the scenic ride of my life, and I proved to myself that I am strong. Inside and out. And NOBODY can take that from me. So just now my incredible triathlon team were all there with me at the medical tent and I just drank up two full IV's! Oh and my incredible coach and friend Ginny put her medal around my neck!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

                             Fruit & Vegetable Delivery!



My first shipment of local fruit and vegetables came to my doorstep last night!  Perfect timing.....triathlon season is just starting!  My dear friend Rose gave me a great idea.  Since the deliveries will be made up with whatever is fresh, good, and plentiful in our area.......I will always be surprised by what's in the box.  And to me, nothing is more fun than making up new healthy recipes!

The first thing I noticed was an odd shaped root vegetable.  I researched online and it turned out to be a jerusalem artichoke (or often called a sunchoke).  It looks like this:


Here's a photo......if you look closely, don't you see animals?  I see a little pig, a turtle, a cow, a pug!  Ok I'm losing it.  Anyway, I worked with what I have in the kitchen.  I scrubbed them clean, sliced them on a mandoline, tossed them in about 2 tbsp. of walnut oil, 1 tsp. smoked salt, 1 tsp. pepper, a small handful of chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup fresh snipped parsley.  Roast in the oven (about 425 degrees) and keep an eye on them, turning often.  Probably 30 minutes of total roasting.  Here's what you'll get:

Gorgeous!  Looks like apples, doesn't it?  This dish was delicious.  So happy to be introduced to sunchokes!  I sure hope they are in the box again next time....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Naples, Florida


Naples.  Gorgeous sunsets.  Perfect weather.  Incredible shopping and restaurants.  Endless retired people living well.  Each morning except one, I ran a few miles, but a daily run nevertheless.  And one pilates class.  My inspiration in the kitchen after this trip would have to be minestrone soup.  My lovely Italian relatives cook well, and that's what I'm cooking up.  Recipe in the works!