Beringer Wines Grill-Off Competition

A big thank you to the fabulous folks over at Beringer Wines for hosting me in Washington D.C. for their Grill-Off.

Here I am with Paula Deen’s sons: The Deen Brothers!

Grillin’ in action…with the Food Network camera rolling…

Me n’ my Grill Master…these grills were amazing!

I had such an amazing time and truly enjoyed meeting all of the other regional grillers.


And now, for my Regional Finalist Winning Recipe:

Balsamic Encrusted Fillet Mignon with Goat Cheese

Wine Pairing: Beringer’s Pinot Noir

Ingredients

  • 2 (12 oz.) Fillet Mignon’s
  • 2 Tbsp. Organic Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Bran Crumbs
  • 1/2 ripe Avocado, mashed
  • Dash of Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Dash of chili powder
  • Handful of Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Handful of Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Goat Cheese
  • Lemon wedges, juice for topping
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat grill to high.
  2. Combine bran, pumpkin seeds, fresh cilantro, avocado, tomato sauce, red onion, fresh basil, chili powder, Sea-Salt and pepper in a food processor; blend until mixture is the consistency of paste.
  3. Spoon a thick layer of the pumpkin seed mixture on top of each fillet.
  4. Lay each fillet on the hot grill; cook till desired doneness.
  5. Serve each fillet with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a dollop of Goat Cheese.
  6. Enjoy!


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Get Those Kids Cookin’…

Ever wonder how to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Here are a few tips that I offer to my clients…whether you have young children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, family or friends…these tips are sure to get your little ones active and entertained in the kitchen.


  • Cucumber Caterpillar: Slices of cucumber held together with natural peanut butter. Place the Caterpillar on ‘greens’ to look like grass.
  • Taco or Burrito Bar: Serve brown rice, black beans, onions, hot peppers, sprouted grain or gluten free tortillas, broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, guacamole and  salsa.  Add nuts, seeds and spices in tiny serving dishes to jazz up the flavors!
  • Salad Bar: Spin your greens in a salad spinner, then dress dry greens with a lime dressings made by combining sesame oil, fresh lime juice, low-sodium tamari, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar and water.
  • Mashed Potato Parfaits- Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips and carrots mixed together…topped with raisins, cinnamon, shredded coconut and agave nectar
  • Individual Pizzas: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Choose gluten free or sprouted whole grain tortillas, caramelized onions, spinach, red onion, mushrooms, kalamata olives, artichokes, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Add each ingredient atop each tortilla and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Panini Party: Gluten Free or sprouted whole grain bread, SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free cheese, tomato slices, eggplant slices, fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, avocado, zucchini and squash slices.  Add all ingredients to 2 slices of bread.  Place onto a panini maker (sprayed with cooking spray); cook until cheese is melted and veggies are warm and cooked.  Dip into marinara (red) sauce.
  • Stir-Fry: Switch up your usual recipe with unique grains such as millet, quinoa or buckwheat.
  • Fruit Salad: Add exotic fruits to spice up the flavors.  Use a melon baller and serve in a wine glass to add to the allure of this meal.  Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt atop each fruit salad serving and sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia.
  • Slaw Wraps: Cabbage, celery, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, peppers, snap peas, bean sprouts, snow peas, green beans and Napa Slaw can easily be combined and wrapped in rice paper.  Liven up this dish by pairing it with a special sauce of grapefruit juice, ginger, balsamic vinegar, lemonade and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower.  Toss with fresh apples or cumin roasted chick peas.  Adding berries such as blackberries, raspberries and cherries add a nice antioxidant punch to these wraps.
  • Peanut Butter Chicken Fajitas: The best way to make a good peanut sauce is by combining organic peanut butter, fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, agave nectar and low-sodium tamari/soy sauce.
  • Frozen Basil and Banana Pops: Blend together 2 cups ice, 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup fresh mint leaves, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup agave nectar in a blender.  Blend well and pour into glasses! This is a wonderful treat for a healthy dessert!

Have fun and experiment with some of my ideas above…Getting the kids active in the kitchen is fun…and who knows, your kids may just start to ‘enjoy’ their veggies!!!

Spicy Bean Cacao Chili

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Now, this is what I call ‘Delicioso’.. talk about a sweet n’ savory winter meal. This hearty chili packs in powerful antioxidants from the raw honey and cacao nibs and a dose of protein from the  beans and pumpkin seeds.  Try this tasty chili tonight for a cozy way to warm up your weekend.

Ingredients

  • 3 Dried chili peppers
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Smoked sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Raw honey
  • 1 ounce Cacao nibs
  • ½ tsp. Fresh Ground white pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 c(15.5 ounce) an Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can Chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can Navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Strong coffee
  • 1 Yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, shredded
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced

Directions

  • In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in raw honey, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add tomatoes, chili peppers, and cacao nibs, and stir until well blended.
  • Add beans, water, and coffee, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chili thickens and flavors have time to develop, about 45 minutes. Add a little more liquid if chili becomes too thick.
  • Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and fresh basil before serving.
  • Enjoy!

Do you recall a few weeks ago, when I had the pleasure of dining at Rouge Tomate and interviewed their Culinary Nutritionist as well as visited the Back To Basis Farm Market last month?  Well, next Thursday, November the 19th marks the one year anniversary of Rouge Tomate and they are celebrating with a Basis Farm To Chef event…and you’re invited!  I had the pleasure of

dining rougetomate 3

Rouge Tomate, one of the greenest restaurants in Manhattan, is proud to celebrate its New York one-year anniversary with a special event co-sponsored by Basis Farm to Chef.On Thursday, November 19th from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Rouge Tomate will host a Farmer’s Market Forum featuring produce and representatives from 10 local farms and a 3-course $29 price-fixed Farmer’s Market Lunch prepared with ingredients procured from four of the farms being showcased.  This celebration comes on the heels of Rouge Tomate receiving its first star from the Michelin Guide, a true honor for a health-conscious restaurant in its first year of operation.

A member of the Green Restaurant Association, Rouge Tomate exhibits its commitment to sustainable, environmentally conscious practices in everything from the architectural design to the development of the menu. Under the direction of Executive Chef Jeremy Bearman, the Modern American restaurant features delicious cuisine with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers such as those involved in Basis Farm to Chef.  Basis Farm to Chef is a service provider that helps bring together small and mid-size farmers with chefs and consumers who want to buy locally produced food.  At the upstairs market, the farms will offer food samples, describe their operations and discuss the benefits of eating seasonal and local foods. Downstairs, Chef Bearman will be preparing a delicious menu that locavores will not want to miss.

In the year since Rouge Tomate opened its doors at 10 East 60th Street, the restaurant has had a huge impact on the community, partnering with a number of eco-conscious organizations and health charities including Go Green, The Green Market, New York Restoration Project, Operation B.L.U.E and Action Against Hunger among others.

“As Rouge Tomate prides itself on seasonal and local cuisine, a farmer’s market is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate our year of success and showcase our sustainable and delicious menu,” said Emmanuel Verstraeten, Founder and CEO of Rouge Tomate. “When I began Rouge Tomate in Brussels eight years ago, I never thought that that one day we would open in New York.  It has been a truly special year, from our first reservation to our first Michelin star. We are proud to celebrate our anniversary with a great organization like Basis Farm to Chef.  We hope to see you all on November 19th.”

To make reservations for Rouge Tomate, please call 646.237.8977 or visit www.rougetomatenyc.com

dining rougetomate 3

Rouge Tomate was envisioned and founded by Emmanuel Verstraeten, who opened the first property in Brussels in 2001. Based on the resounding success of the original location, Verstraeten opened the flagship location in New York City in 2008.  Rouge Tomate’s commitment to health, balance and well-being is evident in every aspect of the restaurant – from sustainable, eco-friendly design and practices to the constant collaboration between the executive chef and the staff culinary nutritionist.

Rouge Tomate is located at 10 East 60th Street (between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue), and is open Monday through Saturday.

basis

Founded in 2008 in New York City, Basis is a mission-driven company committed to good food for all. We are passionate about good food that is traditional, localized and 100% traceable. We partner with farmers and local communities to sell good food at affordable prices. Basis is launching a new chain of small-format retail food stores, starting in New York City, that will only sell good food. No toilet paper. No Twinkies. Just good food from good producers. Basis also offers delivery, storage, and marketing services for farmers interested in selling their products directly to wholesale customers, including the 20,000+ restaurants in New York City.

fall

And Just in Time for The Weekend, Here’s A Few Articles In The News This Week:

Fast Eating Limits Gut Hormones that Induce Fullness

Kellogg Removing Antioxidant Claims on Some Cereal Boxes

A White House Chef Who Wears Two Hats

New Couples At Risk For Packing On The Pounds

Perishables Sales Booming at Retail

Kids Menus? O Grow Up!

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tilapia

Last night, I made this quick and simple dinner of baked tilapia with pumpkin seed crust.  It takes just minutes to prepare and is quite delicious!

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Ingredients

  • 2 Fresh Talapia filets
  • 2 Tbsp. Organic Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Bran Crumbs
  • 1/2 ripe Avocado, mashed
  • Dash of NuSalt and Pepper, to taste
  • Dash of chili powder
  • Handful of Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Handful of Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Quinoa, cooked
  • Lemon wedges, juice for topping
  • Parchment Paper

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine bran, pumpkin seeds, fresh cilantro, avocado, tomato sauce, red onion, fresh basil, chili powder, Nu-Salt and pepper in a food processor; blend until mixture is the consistency of paste.
  • Spoon a thick layer of the pumpkin seed mixture on top of each tilapia fillet.
  • Lay a large piece of parchment paper atop a baking sheet.  Place each tilapia fillet atop the parchment paper.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Remove tilapia fillets from the oven and unwrap parchment paper.
  • Serve each fillet over a bed of cooked quinoa with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  • Enjoy!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Last night I decided to cook up a few sweet potatoes that I purchased at the market this past weekend.  They were absolutely delicious and I will be making these again soon!  Although the weather is starting to get warmer, these sweet potatoes are just as tasty when eaten at room temperature or chilled in the fridge. 

265sweetpotatobeans-small

Ingredients

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Dollop of Tofutti Dairy Free Sour Cream, topping
  • Dollop of Amy’s Organic Black Bean and Corn Salsa
  • 1/4 cup Bran Cracker Crumbs (Mashed high fiber cracker crumbs or Whole wheat bread crumbs)
  • Chives, diced
  • Nu-Salt and Pepper
  • 1 can Amy’s Organic Traditional Re-fried Beans
  • 2 Scallions, diced
  • SoyaKaas Gluten free/Dairy free Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 Fresh Avocado, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. Lime Juice
  • Handfull of Pumpkin Seeds

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Cook sweet potatoes in the oven or microwave until soft enough to hollow out the insides. Remove the inside “Orange” part of the potato and keep the skin and a portion of the inside to preserve the shape
  • In a bowl, combine 1 can re-fried beans, salsa, avocado, bran crumbs, lime juice, scallions, Nu-Salt and pepper; mix well.  Scoop this mixture into each potato skin. Top with SoyaKaas cheddar cheese shavings.
  • Place each stuffed potato on aluminum foil on a cooking sheet. Place into the oven for 20 minutes or until center is warm.
  • Top with a dollop of Tofutti sour cream and chives
  • For the final touch–sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and enjoy!