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Poached Green Tea Tarragon Chicken

End result.

Well, I just couldn’t help myself… Doesn’t this look incredible? I was inspired to create this dish last week when I was making my  morning cup of green tea and sprinkling of turmeric and tarragon on my breakfast eggs.  I thought, hmmm, ‘This tastes pretty good’…

And the rest is history.

A quick peak in the fridge fora some lonely chicken breasts and a light bulb went off in my head.

So, let’s start from the beginning.

I combined the chicken breasts with fresh green tea leaves with turmeric, tarragon and water in a pot over medium heat.

And let it simmer, covered for awhile, then reduce heat and keep it cookin’ for a soft, tender chicken.

Still cookin’…

Then, drained the excess water and was left with a beautiful array of tender chicken and blossomed green tea leaves.

I served this chicken dish with Gluten-Free Girl’s amazing Wild Rice Salad, which is one of my favorites.  A perfect side dish to compliment some tasty chicken.

Don’t ya think?

Poached Green Tea Tarragon Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup green tea leaves, dried
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. tarragon
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium sized pot, combine all ingredients over medium-heat.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce to a simmer; cook for another 25 minutes or until chicken is tender and fully cooked.
  3. Drain liquid.  Discard excess green tea leaves.
  4. Transfer to a serving plate.  Serve warm.
  5. Enjoy!

Cooking with tea is one of my favorite ways to create a unique taste to any dish from rice to tofu and chicken to stews…not only does this green tea create an incredible aroma and delicious taste, it’s full of antioxidants.

So, put down that cup of tea and pour those leaves into your favorite dish.

It may just surprise you.

Have you ever cooked with tea?

Kale Parsley Soup

Tempting, isn’t it?  Let’s just say me and my new food processor are best friends.  It’s becoming my 2011 ‘Trend’ but I’m sure it will stick with me forever as I can’t seem to leave it for more than a few hours…

I mean, how beautiful is this soup? Come on, don’t you wanna just try it?

I’ve been creating delicious, quick and easy dishes for all of my meals and snacks…

How did I not think of this before? Like 5 years ago, before…

Life is so much easier with a fabulous food processor.

My mouth is happy…fresh vegetables, fresh herbs.

My stomach is happy…less irritability and easier digestion.

So, I’m happy.

And smiling.


For this soup, I decided to combine a mixture of fresh kale, fresh tomatoes and fresh parsley.  I just love adding fresh herbs to any dish, but for some reason when I add it to my food processor the flavor becomes even more incredible.  I know you’re thinking why would I make a chilled soup in the winter, but this dish is perfect with breakfast, lunch or dinner and even as a snack in between.  You can easily turn this into a smoothie and put it into a to-go water bottle.

I have been enjoying these processed meals as I eat them along with my breakfast and they are a great way to start the day off with a slew of veggies.  After facing years of stomach pain, bloating and digestive troubles, I’ve become a new person the last week. Seriously. I kid you not.  My stomach is normal, well normal for me.  And it feels great, which goes to show that our bodies need this extra ‘process’, well at least mine does…maybe after all these years of eating so much, my stomach just needed a lil R n’ R (rest n’ relaxation via the food processor) making my meals go down smooth and feeling great hours after eating.

This has gotten me to thinking, why don’t I try healing my stomach via the food processor and seeing how I feel.  It’s been fabulous so far, so I’m challenging myself to take on many of my meals, whether they be chicken, turkey, vegetables, soup, tofu, beans, etc. and plop them into the food processor to puree into a fine, smooth texture that is easy to digest and makes me feel great. Many of my clients love using their food processors and I have showed them countless ways of creating delicious pates, hummus, ground chicken, turkey, tofu, polenta, beans, vegetables, soups, and smoothies in a cinch.  I’m even working with many clients creating homemade babyfood via the foodprocessor, which is working wonders.

Exciting, isn’t it?

Keeps me happy.  Another tid bit I’ve come across is Meatless Mondays.  Have any of you tried to go ‘meatless’ on Mondays? This is something that has been quite interesting and fun to take on….I usually create a delicious vegetable dish with hummus, nuts, seeds, avocado and fresh herbs…maybe a bit of salsa and Greek yogurt, as well….

What are your thoughts on Meatless Mondays?

Gotta love those antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in each sip or spoonful, whichever you choose.

Speaking of ‘Trends’ this food processor is more than a ‘trend’ to me, it’s becoming a staple in my everyday meals n’ snacks.  So, I thought it’d be fun to share with you some of the 2011 ‘What’s Hot’ Restaurant Trends…I thought this was pretty interesting…

Vegan Kale Parsley Soup

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup curly parsley, chopped
  • 6 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • Pinch all spice
  • Pinch sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor; puree until smooth.
  2. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
  3. Enjoy!

And of course, let’s sum up the week with some headlines ‘In The News’…

“Lunch” School Lunch Documentary

America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook Launch

Thoroughness is Key in Children with Food Allergy Diagnosis

The Cooking Channel’s Top Food Trends for 2011

Top 10 Food Trends To Watch in 2011

Vegan’s Come A Long Way

There’s An App For Reading Food Labels

‘Fresh’ Tops 2011 Grocery Trends

It’s been a chilly week here in Manhattan, so I’m thinking about spending the weekend in my family’s warm home by the beach baking scones and making chili.  Mmmmm, gotta love the winter cravings for healthy, hearty fare, don’t ya?

What are your weekend plans? Any baking and cooking?

Vegan Green Quinoa Gazpacho

Steamed greens…they’re so easy to make.  Just a blanch here, a blanch there…a bit of water here and there.

I mean, what more can I ask for? Steamed pure green veggies…soaring with antioxidants n’ vitamins.

So, when I recently came across The Pioneer Woman’s Gazpacho recipe, I thought…why not create a spin on Ree’s recipe and add my steamed greens to the recipe.  It was easier said than done. Just plopped these steamed veggies into my food processor and added Ree’s gazpacho ingredients.  What more can I ask for?

So, here’s what I did.

Starting with the Cuisinart. Yes, the Cuisinart; my very own brand spankin’ new Cuisinart that I have been obsessed with since Saturday.  I’m talking nonstop blending, pureeing, processing, o my gosh….these new Cuisinart’s are incredible.  I’ve been having way too much fun tossing all of my food into this baby.

So, after playing around for hours upon end with various steamed green veggies, I got to work.  Tomatoes, a must, of course…a bit of sweetness with anise seeds and cilantro and a bit of savory with chili powder and ground cumin.

A chop here and a chop there. Tossed into the food processor and the rest is history.

Thanks Ree, for this Gazpacho inspiration.

Vegan Green Quinoa Gazpacho

(Inspired by The Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and steamed
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and steamed
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. anise seeds
  • 5 large Roma tomatoes
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 Tbsp. Tabasco
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor; pulse until it forms a smooth consistency.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl. Place into the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.
  3. Serve cool or at room temperature.
    Enjoy!

Take a peak at this new website I came across, Fooducate, which helps people eat healthier and just launched a cell phone app where you can scan or type in a bar code for a food product and receive an overall grade rating for a product based on certain ‘bad’ ingredients such as too much sodium, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, additives, etc.

Pretty clever, don’t ‘cha think?

I also stumbled upon a few articles I thought were worth sharing:

NYC Chefs Resolve to Eat Better (And Worse) in 2011

Americans Aspire to be Healthy Eaters

 

Baked Eggplant Medley

I’m a sucker for eggplant.  Yes, it’s a nightshade veggie but I just love the sweet, soft taste of a freshly baked eggplant.  There’s something about that rich purple skin and those succulent seeds…it almost resembles a creamy texture when baked.

What’s not to love, right? A perfect dish for a chilly, winter night when your body’s yearning for a bit of warmth and ‘healthy’ comfort food.  Why not toss the idea of the heavy, rich comfort foods and create a dish that you feel good about eating and is fun n’ quick to whip up.

My Grandfather and father got me hooked on the ol’ eggplant when I was a kid and I haven’t turned my back since.

But, these days, my body enjoys a freshly baked eggplant and veggie dish instead of the heavy eggplant Parmesan that we made growing up.  My baked eggplant is gluten-free n’ dairy-free, delicious and farm-to-table fresh.

No need for processed bread crumbs.

No need for processed cheese.

Just a lil’ trip to the ol’ farmers market and you’re all set.

Trust me on this one; you won’t miss the ol’ version of eggplant parm.

The combination of chia seeds and flax seeds, both finely ground, make this meal hearty and satisfying.

If you’re going to add in a healthy fat, why not toss in these seeds or a bit of avocado instead of layering on heavy cheese and sauces?

I surely don’t miss the old eggplant parm.

Because this is new; it fits me and my lifestyle and is easy for my stomach to digest.

And that’s what life’s all about right?

Feeling good and feeling good about what we put into our bodies.

So, why not whip up this fresh veggie medley dish tnitey?

I create this dish every once n’ awhile with a few of my other favorite veggies and herbs.

This time around…it was all about the tomatoes, sweet onion, fresh parsley, turmeric, freshly ground white pepper, sea salt, dulse flakes, fresh tomato sauce n’ a sprinkle of both ground chia seeds and ground flax seeds.

And every time, I simply just can’t resist.

Can you?

Baked Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant,
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh tomato sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • Pinch sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dulse flakes (sea vegetable)
  • 2 Tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh curly parsley, roughly chopped
  • Topping: Additional fresh tomato sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 9 x 9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Slice eggplant into disk-like shapes approximately 1/4″ thick.
  3. Layer eggplant into the bottom of the baking dish; top with tomatoes, onion, scallions, tomato sauce and garlic.  Sprinkle with turmeric, sea salt, pepper, chili powder, dulse flakes, chia seeds and flax seeds. Place into the oven.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender.
  5. Remove from oven; garnish with parsley.
  6. Serve warm with additional tomato sauce.
  7. Enjoy!

Gluten Free n’ Vegan Applebutter Cornbread

There’s nothing quite like a homemade corn bread when there’s a chill in the air. Especially when you’re snowed in with 30 inches of a winter wonderland outside your window…

So, I thought, why not strike up the oven and create a delicious homemade corn bread with a gluten free n’ vegan spin and a touch of sweet n’ savory in each bite.

Sweetness from the amazing Musselman’s Apple Butter…pure bliss to my taste buds.  If you haven’t tasted their apple butter, I surely suggest you run on out and dip that spoon into the jar for an out-of-this-world experience. I usually spread it atop toast, muffins and grilled veggies, but today I thought, why not toss it into my cornbread for an extra sweet kick.

We were creating a homemade chili and my little brain got to thinking…how about a bit of corn bread to serve hot with our bowls of hearty chili.

And I did just that. Hot chili n’ hot cornbread.

There’s a first time for everything and this surely was a baking experiment…

Success at its best.

I kid you not.

You truly must try a bite.

Gluten Free n’ Vegan Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
  • 1 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp. Musselman’s Apple Butter
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup stevia for baking
  • Egg substitute for 1 large egg
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame seeds, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 tsp. anise seeds, plus more for topping

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the butter into a cast iron skillet.  Transfer to the hot oven until melted.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well to combine.
  • Remove hot skillet from the oven; transfer batter into the skillet.  Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds and anise seeds.
  • Place into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

Have you ever made cornbread from scratch? If so, I’d love to hear your recipe.

I also wanted to share with all of you a Winter Retreat filled with yoga, private chefs and skiing at Good Commons up in Vermont. 

Click here for information on the Winter Retreat at Good Commons and be sure to give my name, Amie Valpone as your referral when booking!

Vegan Sweet Pea Kombucha Puree

Trying to decide what to serve tnite for your New Year’s Eve dinner party?

How about something that can be used as an appetizer dip with veggies, a topping on baked fish and even added to dessert recipes for a hint of natural sweetness and a kick of kombucha.

Have you ever heard of a kombucha puree?

Me neither.

That’s why I decided to get a lil’ creative this morning in my kitchen and whip up an incredibly delicious and versatile puree that I’m going to be using in my breakfast oats, my morning salad and my evening Greek yogurt parfait with fresh fruit.

Why not, right?

Go, ahead. Whip this baby up.

I assure you, your New Year’s guests will be beggin’ for the recipe.

You can serve with tortilla chips, hummus, guacamole and vegan cheese with crackers.

Happy New Year!

Sweet Pea Kombucha Puree

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup kombucha
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. curry powder
  • 10 cashews
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine lemon zest, juice, onion, scallions, peas, kombucha, garlic, coriander and curry powder; cook for 5 minutes.  Add cashews, sea salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer; cook for another 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a blender.  Process in batches until smooth.
  3. Serve atop salads or sandwiches.
  4. Enjoy!

And, be sure to check out my new article, “Amie lives Gluten and Dairy Free” written for the wonderful, Jayne at Allergies-R-Us.

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