Dirty Fruit.

Read an article on Shine for Yahoo this morning about the 10 Dirtiest Fruits in the produce section.  Very interesting, kinda scary...will definitely influence my next shopping trip. 

Organic.  Yes, please.

Here's a condensed version of the article:

Celery::  This stalky vegetable tops the dirty list. Research showed that a single celery stalk had 13 pesticides, while, on the whole, celery contained as many as 67 pesticides. 

Peaches::Peaches are laced with 67 different chemicals, placing it second on the list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables. They have soft fuzzy skin, a delicate structure, and high susceptibility to most pests, causing them to sprayed more frequently.

Strawberries::This red, juicy fruit has a soft, seedy skin, allowing easier absorption of pesticides. Research showed that strawberries contained 53 pesticides. Try to buy strawberries at a local farmer’s market for a sweet dessert.

Apples::Apples are high-maintenance fruit, needing many pesticides to stave off mold, pests, and diseases. The EWG--Environmental Working Group --found 47 different kinds of pesticides on apples, and while produce washes can help remove some of the residue, they’re not 100% effective.

Blueberries (domestic)::These antioxidant-rich berries have a thin layer of skin that allows chemicals to more easily contaminate the fruit. Domestic blueberries were loaded with 13 pesticides on a single sample, according to the EWG. Imported blueberries also made the list at No. 14 for the dirtiest produce.

Sweet bell pepper::
This crunchy, yet thin-skinned, vegetable is highly susceptible to pesticides. According to the EWG, sweet bell peppers showed traces of 63 types of pesticides. While some pesticides can be washed away, many still remain.
Spinach, kale, collard greens::
These leafy green vegetables are on the list, with spinach loaded with 45 different kinds of pesticides and kale 57.

Grapes (imported)::
These tiny fruit have extremely thin skins, allowing for easy absorption of pesticides. And think twice before buying imported wine. The grapes that go into the wine could be coming from vineyards that use too many pesticides.  Very interesting.  Had never even thought of that when buying wine. 
Have you ever indulged in a potato skin at your favorite restaurant? You might want to think twice before eating the skin. This spud was highly laced with pesticides—36.

Cherries::Cherries, like blueberries, strawberries, and peaches, have a thin coating of skin—often not enough to protect the fruit from harmful pesticides.


Miniature Mexican Pizza.

Sensational Mexican Pizza.

mini bagel with mexi-cheese

black beans, mango, red pepper, orange pepper, lime juice, cilantro and avocado.

garnished with sour cream and cilantro.

totally not centered.  ugh.  pretty though.

This was so easy, and surprisingly yummy! 
I have some pretty serious salsa snobbery, so I was a little suspicious of this required ingredient--
Sensational Salsa.
I really liked it.  Just enough tomato flavor, but not over the top as to overpower the black bean "salad."

The kids will really love the sweetness of the mango and may even forget that they're eating black beans and other vegetables. 

Not really a recipe.  Just throw it together::


Black Beans
Red Pepper
Orange Pepper
Lime Juice
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Toast bagel and melt cheese on top.   Top with black bean mixture and garnish with::

Sour Cream
Cilantro "sprig"

Mix it up, and put it in front of your kids.  See what happens.



New York Style Cheesecake with Tart Cherry Coulis

 Graham Cracker Nut Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
1 cup pecans, finely chopped in food processer 
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
Cheese Mixture:
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup flour, all-purpose
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Tart Cherry Coulis
1 bag frozen Tart Cherries
1 cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 9 inch springform pan.  Prepare crust. 
Place graham cracker crumbs and chopped pecans in a bowl.  Melt butter and pour over crust mixture.  Mix well until all butter is incorporated.  Press into bottom, and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.  Place in refrigerator to chill.
Prepare filling.  In a stand mixer, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Slowly mix in milk, and then the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.  This can be done 24-48 hours in advance for ease of preparation.  An hour before serving, prepare the Tart Cherry Coulis. 
Place frozen Tart Cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer.  Simmer until mixture thickens to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.   Sauce will thicken more as it cools.  If it becomes too thick, simply add a bit of water and stir. 
Serve chilled cheesecake with Tart Cherry Coulis.  Enjoy! 


People's Choice Taco.

Yay!  My taco is among the 20 finalists up for the People's Choice Award.  Help me out y'all!!  Go to the site below:


and vote for my Philly Roll Taco with Wasabi Cream

Just click "Vote Now" and a new window will open.  Follow the prompting from there and pick your top three favorites.  Mine is listed/pictured first, so it should be easy to find.  I have no idea how many times you can vote per day, but if you're bored, maybe you could find out for me;) 


Letter from the Fish Taco folks:: 

Hi Meredith,

I work for the company that is administering the Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest for Alaska Seafood. 

Alaska Seafood would like to thank you for entering your recipe in The 1st Ever Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest. The judges reviewed literally hundreds of fish taco recipes and choosing a winner was not an easy task. Congratulations to the grand prize winner, Edwina Gadsby and her recipe for "Black Thai Grilled Alaska Cod Tacos with Green Papaya Slaw and Sambal Crema."
Now, it’s your turn to be the judge.
We are pleased to inform you that your recipe has been chosen as one of the 20 recipes that will be featured in the People’s Choice Award voting. The recipe that receives the highest number of votes will win a 16gb Apple® iPad™.  Voting is open to the public February 15 – March 15, 2011.
What does this mean for you?
First, visit www.AlaskaFishTaco.com and vote for your recipe.
Then, tell everyone to vote for you too, whether you know ‘em or not!
You can spread the word by selecting one or all of the social icons on www.AlaskaFishTaco.com to post, tweet, digg or e-mail friends about the People’s Choice contest. Don’t forget to post your taco recipe to your Facebook wall to encourage your friends to vote, too!
Good luck, and may the top taco win!
On behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI).

Jeremy Woodrow


Spicy Valentine.

Tonight's Valentine's dinner for my sweetheart.  He's LOVES curry. 

Maharajah Curried Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Carrots served over Jasmine Rice with a dollop of Greek Yogurt, Peanuts and Fresh Cilantro. 

Now that's a mouthful...and I'm so looking forward to it. 

My house smells divine.  The Maharajah Curry is similar to a typical yellow curry, but it has an incredible smokiness and heat.  Just like Penzeys promised, it is "just plain beautiful."  The color is a deep orange...it will look gorgeous over the rice and garnished with yogurt, peanuts and cilantro. 

I omitted the yellow potatoes.
glad I did--
the sweet potato balanced the spicy perfectly. 
35 beanos.
 seems to be the magic number. 
chicken not pictured.
( i vow now to never photograph raw chicken.)



the star of the show.

ginger.   heart you.

coming together.

adding color and sweetness.

more color and texture.


coconut milk.


almost too pretty to eat.


last bite!

A very nice Valentine's dinner---even though we ate standing up--it was that good--no time to make space at the table with all the Valentine's loot.  Can't wait for left-overs (in a few hours).
Yes, we ate at 4:30.  Blue-hairs have nothin' on us! 

Maharajah Curried Chicken 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons Maharajah curry powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans light Coconut Milk
  • 1 sweet potato, rough chop
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Peanuts
  • Fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, 2 tablespoons curry powder, cinnamon, and ginger.   Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces and sauté until chicken is cooked.  Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the good curry bits incorporated.  Once chicken is cooked through, add chopped sweet potato and carrot.  Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring often.   Add tomato paste, coconut milk and remaining 2 tablespoon of curry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.   Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in lemon juice, and cook for 5 minutes longer. 
Serve on a bed of Jasmine rice with Greek yogurt, peanuts and cilantro. 


Roasted Vegetable Linguine with Torn Fresh Basil and Parmesan.

A pasta dish for my marathoning friends and for Valentine's Day. 
Spreading the love::
Asparagus Spears::  Packed with vitamin E-- aka the "sexy" vitamin for its ability to boost fertility.
Basil::  Italians know this herb by the name "kiss me Nicholas"...  kissy, kissy...

So whether you are preparing for the marathon or preparing for the "love holiday," this pasta will get you going, wink, wink.

Was going to call this post Baby- Makin' pasta, but decided that may dissuade some readers.  So now that I have you as my captive audience...I present to you...Baby-Makin' Pasta!

All that and  bottle of wine--35 bucks--not too shabby!

"squeezy basil"




chopping board.

ready to roast.

smooch me Nicholas. 


even out of season these little beauties just burst in your mouth.



Roasted Vegetable Linguine with Torn Fresh Basil and Parmesan.

2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbs, olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes--add more if you like more heat.  I do. 
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 package linguine
1/2 cup torn basil-- add more for vibrant color and fresh flavor.
Grated Parmesan
2 tbs "Squeezy Basil"---can be found in refrigerator section near fresh herbs. 

Preheat oven to 450.  Toss together mushrooms, asparagus, onion, oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a roasting pan.  Roast 20 minutes, or until mushrooms and onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Add tomatoes to pan, and roast 7 to 10 minutes more or until tomatoes shrivel and soften.  Transfer vegetables to a bowl.  Add wine to roasting pan, stirring to scrape off any stuck-on bits from bottom of pan.  Place roasting pan on stove top burner over medium heat, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until white has evaporated by half; OR return roasting pan to oven for 5 minutes and allow wine to cook off. (much easier)

Meanwhile prepare pasta.  Drain pasta, and reserve 1/2 of the cooking liquid.  Stir reserved cooking water into reduced wine in roasting pan.

Return pasta to pot.  Add wine mixture and vegetables, and toss over medium heat until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper, and 2 tbs "squeezy basil".  Stir in torn fresh basil leaves, top with grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

Adapted From Vegetarian Times.  April 2010. 


Breakfast Souffle.

I have never made a souffle, so the thought of making one with Bay's English Muffins was a little scary.  I had to though.  Yes, for another contest. 

Challenge:   Create a Winter Weekend Breakfast item with Bay's refrigerated English Muffins. 

I immediately decided upon Bread Pudding.  I have tasted some out-of-this-world Bread Pudding in my life.  
Everything from White Chocolate Bread Pudding to Bacon infused savory Bread Puddings.  I have rarely been disappointed, but when I have been it's usually because of the 3-letter word... 
A cook's nightmare... 
I'll just whisper it in your ear... 
If you know me, one of my greatest fears is making a dish that might possibly be described as "dry."  I can't think of a more negative descriptor for food you have lovingly prepared.   
Well, yes I can.  But I won't go there. 

While on the topic of Bread Pudding, I would be remiss if I did not tell you where to go for the best, tastiest, most incredible, blow your mind, ...  I am not even going to give this one an adjective, because none would adequately describe it. 
The Bon Ton Cafe.  New Orleans.

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce::

1 loaf French bread
1 quart milk
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons melted margarine
***Whiskey Sauce***
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
2 ounces bourbon whiskey

Preheat oven to 350 F. Soak bread in milk.

Crush with hands to make sure milk is soaked through. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, raisins and stir well. Pour margarine in bottom of heavy 9 x 14 baking pan. Add bread mixture, and bake till very firm, approximately 40 minutes. Cool the pudding, cube it and put in individual dessert dishes. When ready to serve, add whiskey sauce and heat under broiler for a few minutes.

Whiskey Sauce

Cream sugar and butter and cook in a double boiler until very hot and well dissolved. Add well-beaten egg and whip very fast so egg doesn't curdle. Cool and add whiskey

I have made the Bon Ton's recipe several times and it is always a huge crowd-pleaser, but it never quite compares to how it tastes after a bowl of piping hot crawfish etouffee.  If you're ever in NOLA, don't pass it up.

I was all ready to make my Bread Pudding and checked the contest website one last time for the official rules, etc.  I'm glad I did because someone had beat me to the pudding and had posted their recipe. 
Now what's a cook to do?  I had my day old English Muffins all stale and ready to go....  
I knew what I had to do, I was just scared.


I scrambled to the store for more eggs.  I should have gotten two dozen because I learned the hard way that Meringue is finicky, and doesn't like to be ignored. 
So high maintenance. 

Second time was the charm, and my bowl of lifeless looking egg whites became the most magical moutainous stiff peaks. 
This time around, I made sure to talk to the Meringue and tell her how beautiful she was lest she "fall" on me again.  She was quite lovely, actually. 


Once the peaks were stiff, the rest was pretty simple. 
The process is just a little tedious. 
It's was totally worth it, though. 

It was like Bread Pudding with benefits.

The English Muffins performed beautifully--the little air pockets made for some serious soaking up of the custard mixture.

Breakfast Soufflé with Blackberry Sauce
Serves: 6

6 Bay English Muffins
1 Granny Smith apple
3 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Blackberry Sauce
4 cups blackberries
2 cups water
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Cut Bay English Muffins into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl.  Leave out on counter overnight.    
Core and dice one Granny Smith apple, leaving skin on the apple.  Add diced apple to muffin cubes. 
In a medium mixing bowl, combine ¾ cup sugar and 3 eggs.  Mix until smooth.  Add 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix until well combined.     
Pour wet ingredients over muffin and apple mixture.  Mix well, making sure all muffin pieces are well coated. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, allowing the muffins to absorb wet ingredients.  Stir occasionally to redistribute.  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour mixture into an 8 x8 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.   Press mixture down with a spatula several times during baking.  While baking, prepare the Blackberry Sauce.  
In a medium saucepan, combine blackberries, water, sugar and lemon zest.  Cook over medium heat until berries soften and sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly. 
After 40 minutes, remove “muffin pudding” from oven.   Let sit to cool. 
Prepare the meringue.  Place 7 egg whites in a cold bowl of stand mixer, and add cream of tartar.  Mix on medium speed until frothy.  Continue mixing on medium-high speed, adding sugar slowly.  Once all sugar is added, mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  This will take approximately 15 minutes.   Continue to next step while eggs are beating. 
Once cooled, break ½ of baked “muffin pudding” into a large bowl using your hands.  Break into small pieces.   When meringue has formed stiff peaks, fold ¼ of the meringue mixture into bowl containing half of the “muffin pudding” crumble.   Once combined scrape into a loaf pan, 8x 8 pan or mini ramekins…all would work just fine.  Then crumble remaining half of “muffin pudding” into bowl.  Fold in remaining meringue.   Top the loaf pan, 8x8 pan or ramekins to about 1 inch above the rim with this lighter mixture.  Bake immediately at 350 degrees.  Bake until top is golden and soufflé has set up.  Approximately 35-40 minutes.  Slice or spoon onto plate or serve individual mini ramekins. 
Top with warm Blackberry Sauce.  Enjoy!!