Tag Archives: fresh produce

Baja Stuffed Peppers

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What inspires your cooking?
Smells, colors, freshness, memories, blog posts, magazine photos?
I’m inspired by all of these things and my weekly menu is designed around the freshest ingredients that I can find. This is a weeks worth of produce which costs me between $8-12 US depending on how much fruit I buy. Fruit is relatively expensive here because most of it has to travel farther than local vegetables. Mexico does grow a large amount of citrus, melons and tropical fruits which are available year round but I often splurge on American apples and pears which are expensive by Mexican standards. Apples can cost $1.50 each. Gasp. A huge cabbage costs about $.50 in comparison.

I buy produce at our outdoor market every Sunday and meat in town from a local grocery store or from the butcher. I confess that buying the meats on display on tables at the open air market makes my “food safety” radar go on high alert. I do realize that our local restaurants buy meat there, I’ve seen my favorite chef actually choosing meats, but I haven’t been able to get past the flys and feral dogs hovering about. I’m failing at complete Mexican cooking immersion but I’m sure there will be a blog post on the day that I give in.

This stuffed pepper recipe was inspired by these beautiful striped bell peppers. I choose the vegetables, add my aromatics, pick a cuisine or a combination of cuisines, add a protein source and start to design the dish.

Baja Stuffed Peppers

Mix and Match Ingredients for 4 servings:

4 bell peppers, any color
1 pound ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork. Vegans substitute legumes, tofu, nuts.
1/2 cup cooked “grains” quinoa, rice, bulgar. I used quinoa
1/2 cup diced onion
2 gloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cup chopped vegetables, I used carrots, tomatoes, and zucchini.
1/2 finely chopped chili pepper, serrano, poblano, jalepeno for heat
1/2 cup tomatoe sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs. I used flat leaf parsley, lovage and oregano. Cilantro or basil would be great too.
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add lean protein and brown. Add remaining herbs, vegetables and seasonings. Simmer until vegetables are soft but still hold their shape.
Slice off the top of each pepper and remove seeds. Stuff peppers with meat mixture and replace the tops. I use any remaking meat mixture to pack around the peppers in a casserole dish to hold them upright.

Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees until peppers are soft.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, more veggies (sautéed beet greens) and fruit.

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Turkey, Apple, Caramelized Onion Stuffed Mushrooms

I’m bored with my mostly Paleo diet. Protein plus veggies and fruit. Rewind and repeat. I’m guessing that even a cave woman would have branched out to add some pizazz to her diet given the chance.
Paleo works for me and I’m thinner and fitter than I have ever been as an adult but I haven’t been exploring or creating foods that make me healthy AND happy.

Back to School in Spain

Back to School in Spain

Be extension, I have completely neglected this blog, my first and favorite blog.

I’m trying out new flavor packed “real food” recipes and you can come along for the ride.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the planning, recipe writing and photographing and give up before I even start to write. Today I remembered that all of my blog buddies just use recipes as a starting point or as inspiration for their own creations and they don’t expect perfection.

Besides, my messy posts make theirs look so much fancier. 😋 So here’s a not so perfect blog post with a delicious and healthy recipe for you to enjoy as is, modify at will or save for a day when you are feeling bored with food.
For more awesome recipes to try this weekend jump over to Fiesta Friday and see what’s cooking.

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Turkey, Apple, Carmelized Onion Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe yields 6 large or 12 small mushroom servings.

Ingredients:
6 baby portobello or 12 cremimi mushrooms, stems removed and chopped.
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1/2 Granny Smith or Fuji apple, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1-3 leaves of fresh sage chopped, I used pineapple sage, or 1 tsp dried sage.
Optional: 1-2 ounces goat cheese crumbled if you eat dairy. I added the cheese and was happy with its binding capacity and flavor punch but you can skip it and enjoy a more crumbly texture or substitute an egg for moisture and binding.

Caramelize Onion
Thinly slice the onion into rings. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and a dash of salt. Cook onion, stirring occasionally until golden brown. About 30 minutes. Set aside in a serving dish.

Prepare the turkey mixture
Add remaining oil to pan and add chopped apple, chopped mushroom stems, sage, minced garlic and ground turkey. Sauté until apples are softened and turkey is lightly browned. Stir goat cheese into meat mixture and combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Fill mushroom caps with meat and cheese mixture.

Bake on a lined cookie sheet at 400 degrees F until browned and mushrooms are soft. 25-30 minutes.

Serve over greens and top with caramelized onions or serve as an appetizer if you prefer.
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Asparagus Chèvre Quiche

Asparagus  Chèvre Quiche

Asparagus is in season!
Nestle these lovely gems in a thyme scented chèvre custard for a slice of heaven. This isn’t a low fat recipe but it’s packed with protein and looks impressive at a brunch or on the dinner table. Serve with fresh seasonal fruit and a side of fresh snow peas or greens.
I’m taking my quiche to Fiesta Friday to share with my amazing foodie blog friends. You can find delicious recipes here every week.

Recipe? Who needs a recipe?
Buy or make a tart crust and lay in in a pie dish or tart pan.
Whiz 5-6 organic eggs with 2 ounces of goat cheese, 1/2 cup milk or cream, 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, salt and pepper in the food processor for the custard base. Sauté a thinly sliced red onion until translucent and toss in sliced asparagus but save a few tops to place on top of your quiche before baking for decoration. Shred 4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese.
Layer onions, asparagus and cheddar cheese in tart crust and pour custard over the veggies and cheese. Decorate top with remaining asparagus tips.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.

Asparagus Spring Quiche

Asparagus Spring Quiche

Asparagus Spring Quiche

Caramelized Honey Squash Rings, Fiesta Friday

Caramelized Squash Rings
Happy Halloween and Happy Harvest

I received these beautiful yellow and green striped delicata winter squashes and pomegranates in my Fall CSA basket. The delicata are petite winter squash that can be used to make perfect little rings to roast and caramelize. The pomegranates are a tangy sweet addition that look gorgeous next to the orange and yellow rings. What a lovely addition to a Halloween dinner and to a virtual party at Fiesta Friday. Stop by and visit The Novice Gardener for a bounty of new Friday recipes. Our hosts this week are Margy @lapetitecasserole and Jhuls@thenotsocreative cook
Caramelized Squash Rings

Caramelized Honey Squash Rings

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
• 2 small delicate squash
• 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger or fresh grated
• salt and pepper to taste
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Slice squash into 1/2 inch rings.
3. Drizzle squash with honey and sprinkle on spices.
4. Bake uncovered until golden and caramelized, about 40 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve warm.

Caramelized Squash Rings

Smoked Salmon and Shrimp Chowder

Smoked. Salmon and Shrimp chowder

I adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine’s recipe for Smoked Salmon and Leek Chowder. Their version called for whole milk, 3 tablespoons of butter and heavy cream. Try reducing the cream and butter in most recipes to reduce the saturated fat and calories. Substitute olive oil for some of the butter to increase the healthier monounsaturated fats. Most recipes can be modified while retaining or improving the flavor profile. Continue reading

Eggplant Parmesan With Pesto

Eggplant Parmesan With Pesto

I’m having a lazy Sunday, after an incredibly stressful week, writing my blog for Fiesta Friday. If you are a new blogger then you should find a weekly virtual group that will challenge you to write. Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener motivates me to create recipes and photos every week. I’ve made a commitment, it’s on my calendars and it gets done.

I have been exploring ways to enrich my life outside of medicine. Please don’t think for a minute that I don’t love medicine. Medicine was my first love and has been my passion since I was 12 years old. But I know there’s more to me than being a physician. I’m not sure where this silly little blog is taking me but I know for sure that writing most days keeps me writing and that’s what writers need to do, right? Yes, write.

Please enjoy my original spin on baked eggplant Parmesan with a pesto twist. Not low-fat, not carb free, not a nutritional power house but a delicious cheesy comfort food recipe.

When eating a rich main course keep your portion size reasonable and balance your plate with 1/4 main dish and 3/4 fresh fruit and vegetables. Take what you need and savor every bite.

Eggplant Parmesan with pesto

Portion control
1/4 main protein
3/4 fruits and vegetables

Add color and textures for visual and flavor satiety. The flowers are nasturtiums which I grow for salads. I keep my herbs and edible flowers free of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers.

Edible nasturtiums

Edible Organic Nasturtiums

For those of us who never follow a recipe. Here’s the quick step version. Keep reading for the printable recipe.

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan With Pesto

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 15 minute prep and 75 minutes baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Pesto
(You will have extra)
1 bunch of fresh basil, large stems removed, about 2 cups
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoon olive oil or more for the consistency you like

Eggplant Parmesan
3 large eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs, I used panko
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, no need to peel
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, or 1/2 cup shredded
Spray of olive oil
1 (8-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese,
3 cups jarred or homemade, natural marinara (I used Trader Joe’s Marinara)
1/2 cup fresh or store bought pesto

Preparation

Blend pesto ingredients in the food processor until blended if using fresh. I highly recommend fresh because it’s so easy to make.

Whisk eggs until blended. Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Lightly salt eggplant then dip slices into egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
Bake eggplant in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly greased with olive oil. Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes until golden, turning slices at 15 minutes.

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce in a 9 X 13 baking dish, I prefer glass, and arrange one-half of the eggplant in a single layer. Spread 1/4 cup of pesto over eggplant. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat pesto layer and spoon 2 cups of marinara over the top. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
Bake, covered, at 375° for 35 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese melts and is golden.

Thai Beef Salad Over Greens

A flavor explosion for the Fiesta Friday #25.

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It is important to me that my blog posts are honest and genuinely reflect how I eat which is why you won’t see gourmet, extravagant, high calorie meals here. A friend who reads my blog asked me if I eat any meat because I only post fish and vegetable recipes. The truth is that I do eat beef and pork but infrequently. If I eat meat then it will be great meat because I won’t settle for fast food mystery burgers or stringy fatty meat buried under gravy. (Sounds appetizing, right?) Here is my personal take on Thai Beef Salad where the meat is succulent filet mignon and is complimenting the fresh organic produce. If you are watching your calories and your nutritional status then you will appreciate the lean beef and the huge serving of delicious veggies.

Take what you need and savor every bite.

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Thai Beef Salad Over Greens

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderately Easy
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Sauce and marinade

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 limes squeezed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup cooking sherry (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Salad

12 oz beef steak grilled and cooled, thinly sliced
1 red onion sliced thinning
2 carrots, sliced in curls with a peeler, (I used a purple and an orange carrot)
1 cucumber sliced
1/2 to 1 Serrano chili thinly sliced into rings, remove seeds to reduce the heat
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Thai or other basil chopped
1/4 cup toasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

For Serving

5 cups of spring greens, mesclun keep separate
Lime wedges

Directions

Mix sauce and use 1/4 cup to marinade the beef for 20 minutes to overnight. Grill marinated beef to medium rare and let rest before slicing. Throw marinade away and don’t reuse. Chop and slice remaining ingredients. Poor reserved sauce over meat and mix with the vegetable and herbs. Serve over spring greens with extra lime wedges and sliced Serrano if you prefer more spice.