Homage to Spinach 2: Spinach Salad with Tomatoes, Avocado, Goat Cheese, Strawberries, Flax

Tasty, easy, healthy; make this one of your favorite salads, this summer. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This summer, we’re going to be eating fresh salads, loaded with super healthy ingredients, as the main dish, along with chilled wines. Fresh fruit and sugar-free jello cake for dessert. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Ingredients

 

1 box baby spinach, washed twice or three times, then dried on paper towel

2 or 3 plum tomatoes

1 avocado, cut in pieces

1 container creamy goat cheese, cut in pieces

4 sweet strawberries, cut in half or 1.5 cup of fresh watermelon pieces

1 cup of toasted flax seeds, or use some of the flax crackers and crush them into crumbs

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped fine

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped fine

 

Flax seeds are in the top 10 to 15 list of healthy foods to include in a regular diet. Keep a large jar out on your kitchen counter and simply throw a handful into nearly everything you make. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Using more flax seeds on everything, now. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Dressing

 

Make a simple dressing with:

walnut oil (not olive oil)

zest of 1 lemon

fresh lemon juice

4 garlic cloves squeezed

Pinch chili flakes

 

We had spinach pie with the spinach salad and fresh mango for dessert. Did not seem redundant at all. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Imagine living on an island with this sweet fruit growing everywhere. I’m going to try to create some mango desserts this summer. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

Homage to Spinach 3: Baked Tofutti Spinach Spread or Dip, with Yogurt, Parmesan & Flax

Healthy, simple and easy to make. It turned out to be so-o delicious, that I made this my dinner. Fresh French baguette, slightly toasted, with spinach spread (or dip with crackers and/or cruditee) and icy Pouilly-Fuisse; mango for dessert. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

 

2 stalks of scallion, chopped up to half the white section

6 fresh garlic cloves, sliced

? cup fresh dill, well chopped (save a twig for garnish)

2 cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 (10 ounce) boxes of frozen spinach

2/3 cup of Greek yogurt (FAGE)

1 container Tofutti (soy cream cheese)

1/3 cup of Kraft mayonnaise

1 cup crumbs of flax seed crackers, or plain toasted flax seeds

 

Directions

 

Take frozen spinach out and let it thaw.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

When spinach is thawed out, with paper towels in each hand, squeeze excess liquid out of the spinach.

Oil some ramekins, one for each person; or a larger group bowl

Get out your food processor and pulse all the ingredients together

With a spatula, scrape out everything from the food processor and into the oiled baking dish(s) and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Serve as a side dish or simple main dish with chips, baguette and/or bread and a nice chilled Pouilly-Fuisse.

 

Still enjoying Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuisse. This wine was perfect with all three spinach recipes ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

Bon Appetit!

 

Salmon-Avocado Appetizer

We love salmon in our house: sauteed salmon, baked salmon, Nova Scotia salmon (Nova), salmon mousse, salmon salad. You name it; we love it. So, it was a no-brainer to come up with this recipe. What’s amazing is that I didn’t think of it sooner. This has got to be the world’s easiest, most delicious fish recipe. It came to me, after we decided to cut calories and not have weekend bagels piled high with Tofutti (soy cream cheese) and Nova, with steaming mugs of coffee. We grind our own beans because of the influence of our son Alex and because Dean Gittleman told us we were missing out on great coffee by not doing grinding our own beans! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This recipe went from a more complex, salmon ceviche with 16 ingredients to what you see here, a two-ingredient recipe with no marinade, no seasoning, no cilantro, no sake. It eliminated all the extra work, without a loss of flavor. Who could ask for anything more? ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Ingredients For Two People

 

6 ounces of special ahi salmon, sold especially to be eaten raw, like sushi and/or sashimi

2 ripe, but not mushy avocados

1 bag of bamboo picks, 6 inches long

 

World’s easiest appetizer with only two ingredients. Or, to be precise, if you count the bamboo picks, then three items to buy. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

I got this Ahi Salmon from Whole Foods. It’s in the frozen section and is especially for eating raw salmon as in my recipe and as in making sushi and/or sashimi. You want to get the very best salmon, cut and flash frozen for the purpose of eating raw fish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Directions

 

1. Cut the salmon into small pieces (cube like if possible) on a cutting board. Put on a plate.

 

If from your freezer, thaw out the salmon. Then cut it into small cube-like pieces.  Keep in mind that you want to have three cubes of salmon for about 10 to 13 bamboo picks, so try to get at least a total of 30 of these small pieces of salmon. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. Cut the avocados in half and pull out the pit the best you can, without damaging the flesh.

3. With a knife, crisscross each avocado half, so you have little squares. Then with a knife, run the blade all around the avocado half to loosen the flesh. With a small spoon take out each cube of avocado, carefully, so it stays intact. Put on a plate.

4. Get out your bamboo picks and alternately put a piece of salmon, then avocado on each stick, so that you have a total of 3 small pieces of salmon and 3 small pieces of avocado

5. Arrange the salmon picks on a serving platter and devour.

6. I suppose you could add wedges or circles of lemon and/or lime on the serving plate, which would look lovely. I didn’t think of it when I served this the last time, but will do it next time. If you have any leftover avocado, serve that on the table, or on the serving platter.

7. A white wine (icy if possible) goes well with this recipe, including champagne or prosecco.

 

So-o colorful and inviting to serve your guests! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We had icy Pouilly Fuisse with the salmon appetizers. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Pretty and Easy, not to mention delicious. Happy Spring! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This is the beautiful high ceiling of the Metropolitan Opera, after all the Swarovski crystal chandeliers slowly, have been raised up. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

The breathtakingly beautiful Metropolitan Opera chandeliers, by Swarovski from Austria. Photo source: Genista – http://www.flickr.com/photos/genista/3491661640/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9756704

 

We’ve seen our last opera for this season. We usually go to 10 to 12 operas each year. The MetOpera season went so fast this year, can’t believe it’s almost over. My three favorite operas this year were Bellini’s I Puritani, Verdi’s Rigoletto and Wagner’s Tristin and Isolde (yes, 5 hours). For those operas lovers reading this, I am posting one aria from each opera, for you to enjoy.

 

I Puritani: Tenor Aria, Act 1

Rigoletto: Quartet, Final Act

Tristan and Isolde: Final Act: Isolde’s aria, sung by Nina Stemme, who sang at the Met in this year’s production – an epic version. At the end of this five hour opera, I stood up with tears streaming down my face – finally looked around me – the people in front of me and those next to me, were the same, moved to tears. A transcendental experience, is what we all agreed. I will never forget this particular production and I’ve seen it several times before this. Bravo to all involved and to the audience so deeply moved.

Vladimir Horowitz plays Wagner-Liszt Isolde’s Liebestod: Editor’s note: It took the legendary pianist three separate days to record this piece to his satisfaction, and he died four days after its completion on November 5, 1989.

WAGNER – Tristan und Isolde – Prelude and Liebestod (Georg Solti – Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

 

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

Bon Appetit!

 

Another Holiday Dessert: White Chocolate/Marzipan with a Cashew Kiss Inside

First I ordered the little candy flowers, you see above, from Amazon and then stored in back of fridge. I knew I would think of a use for them. When Spring arrived to Manhattan and hardy little flowers started peeping through the soil, I thought of the stored decorations; they seemed to call out for white chocolate rather than dark. Gradually, this recipe fell into place. The concept and preparation were fun and easy to do. Naturally, I then wanted to share the results with you. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This is a perfect holiday dessert. If you wanted a different garnish like cashew crumbs or tiny pieces of shaved chocolate, or whatever you have around the house, that would work also. With this batch, because Spring had arrived, I liked the little flowers. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

A little bite of heaven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Filling Ingredients

 

1 and 1/2 cups toasted salt-free cashews (bought at Nuts.com)

3 Tablespoons Grade A or B maple syrup (bought at Nuts.com)

1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract (bought at FreshDirect.com)

pinch of salt

3 Tablespoons white chocolate chips (FreshDirect)

 

Coating & Dipping Ingredients

 

3.5 ounces of a white chocolate brick (bought at Whole Foods)

1 can marzipan (bought online at Nuts.com)

Use any type of garnish you want like: crumbs of cashew, tiny pieces of shaved dark chocolate, teeny candy flowers, rainbow sprinkles (buy in a small bottle), rum soaked pieces of cherry

 

Online buying, makes life so easy. For these ingredients, I went to three websites: FreshDirect, Amazon and Nuts.com ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

 

1. Take out a plate or small platter, and put parchment paper on the plate. You will put little dough balls on this plate and into the fridge for 60 minutes.

2. Plan your garnish and have it ready to sprinkle over the melted chocolate before it hardens. It’s too late to do this, once the chocolate has hardened.

 

Garnish is ready. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

3. In a blender, combine all filling ingredients, except white chocolate chips, until cashews are broken down into a batter which holds together when pressed. Pulse for 30 seconds or more, if needed. Remove the batter to a bowl.

 

The cashews are in the food processor, with maple syrup, vanilla extract and pinch of salt. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Now, keep pulsing until the cashews, vanilla, maple syrup, salt, turn into a batter. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

4. After scraping all of the batter into a bowl, now, stir in the white chocolate chips.

 

With a spatula, scrape out of your food processor, every last bit of the cashew dough into a regular mixing bowl (not with electric beaters). Add the white chocolate bits to the dough and mix them into the dough, with your hands. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

5. Using your hands roll the dough into 13 to 15 half-inch balls, and place on a parchment lined plate.

 

Here is what a cashew dough ball looks like. (with white chocolate chips) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

More cashew dough balls on parchment, eventually going into fridge for 60 minutes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

6. Put in freezer for at least 30 to 60 minutes.

7. While dough is freezing, roll out the can of marzipan. Using a cookie cutter or small round glass or cup, press the circle into the marzipan until you have 13“ to 15“ circles, thick enough to hold the dough, but not so thin that the marzipan pouch will break when the dough is put into it. There will be little scraps of the marzipan, so save them until you have enough to make another circle. Make marzipan circles that equal the number of cashew dough balls you’ve made.

8. After 60 minutes, you will place a dough ball in the center of a marzipan circle. Then with your fingers, gather the marzipan up and over the dough ball. The marzipan is easy to manipulate, so when you’ve covered the dough ball with marzipan, simply pinch it, at the top a little, and the marzipan will be sealed. You’re now ready to dip all the balls into warm white chocolate.

 

Marzipan has been rolled out with a wooden rolling pin. I didn’t have any cookie cutters, so I used this round dish that I use on the table to serve little extras like more anchovies for Caesar Salad, or more salmon roe for top of baked potato. Your marzipan circle should be large enough to wrap around one cashew dough ball. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

9. In a double boiler, or small pan, melt the white chocolate.

 

I like to use this tiny frying pan to melt chocolate because it’s easier to use my hands to dip the balls into. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here is the one stage of this recipe that you might balk at. Now, the time has come to dip the balls into the warm melted chocolate. You can do it by putting one ball at a time, into the chocolate, with your fingers. Roll it around to get completely covered, using fingers or a fork. Then remove the wet chocolate ball with fingers or with two forks, and put it on the plate you have ready with the parchment. If you’re quick, you can do this with half of your balls, and then add the sprinkles right away, to be sure they will stick. The thing is, what do you do with your sticky chocolate fingers?     :))  Guess. That’s right.

 

 

10. After the freezing time is up, remove the dough. Put one piece of the cashew dough in the middle of a marzipan circle. With your fingers, gather the outer circle of marzipan around the dough, so that the marzipan can be pinched together at the top like a little purse.

11. Have the same plate with parchment ready.

12. Pick up each little marzipan purse or ball and dip it into the melted chocolate; roll it around so you get as much of it covered as possible, then put the cashew kiss on the plate. Use your fingers or use two forks.

13. Immediately sprinkle the white balls with whatever garnish you have ready. Do this while the chocolate is still wet. Later, the sprinkle will not stick, as well.

14. Do the dipping and sprinkling, one at a time, with each little chocolate purse, putting each one to harden on the plate. Or, as mentioned, above, do the dipping fast and get half, or all on the plate and then do your garnishing, quickly while the chocolate is still wet and not yet hardened.

 

This is what the wet chocolate balls look like right after being dipped and garnished. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

15. Later, you can arrange them as you like.

 

You can have a little bite of heaven, without too much effort. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Can I crow a little about my own recipe? Okay, these petit-fours or little cakes will be like a little bit of heaven in your mouth. You won’t believe how good they are. And, as you can see from the directions, they’re very easy to make.  Enjoy, my friends!

 

May the Spring of 2017 bring with it, a joyful renewal of much needed hope and peace!

©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

Bon Appetit!

 

Holiday Sweet Sticky Nut Bars

 

Jules gives this dessert five stars. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

 

Crust

 

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

 

Filling

 

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves, or chop in pieces, you decide
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or butter substitute
  • pinch of Kosher salt

 

Just a few ingredients. I like to use vanilla extract with bourbon infused into the extract. There’s no bourbon flavor in the dessert, but somehow this addition, enhances the vanilla. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. If you want the nuts chopped, do that now and set aside.

 

Chop your nuts or keep them in whole pieces, you decide. I’ve done my recipe with chopped nuts and whole halves. It doesn’t matter. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
3. Mix the crust ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until combined. Press mixture evenly into an 8” or 9” square baking dish, covering the bottom and sides.

 

Mix well, the three crust ingredients. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Press the crust mixture down with the type of spatula I have above, or the back of a wooden spoon. Keep pressing until the mixture takes on a solid look and feel and it no longer looks like crumbs. After you’ve gotten a solid dough-like crust, then try to push it, up the sides of the baking dish or pan, just a little. Push it up the sides all around the baking dish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Next put into oven to bake. As I continued to perfect this recipe and, therefore, made it a number of times, it didn’t seem to matter how thick this crust was. In this photo, for example, on the right side of the baking dish, the crust is thicker than in the middle. I thought this would not taste good. However, it was wonderful. Because the crust is so flexible, I am assuming that you could use any shape baking pan or dish, and even the size could vary. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Coming out of the oven, nice warm browned crust. (smells wonderful). ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

  1. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  2. Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs with the coconut sugar until you get a pale brown foam. Add the vanilla extract. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan. Add the butter and maple sugar. Cook over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Turn off the heat. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

 

Best to crack your eggs into a separate, small dish, in case a tiny piece of shell falls in. Easier to pick shell out of a small dish than the big mixing bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

To the eggs, add the coconut sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined and you see, (above) some light brown foam. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Transfer the egg mixture to a saucepan, and add the butter and maple syrup and medium-low heat, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick, but does thicken. After this mixture has reached a nice thick consistency, remove from heat and allow it to cool for five to ten minutes.
6. Fill the crust with the warm, thick filling. Arrange walnut or pecan halves (or chopped nut pieces) over the filling.

 

After filling, has cooled down a little, pour it into the baking dish over the browned crust. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Over the warm filling, add all the nuts (either chopped or whole halves or both).

Then put into oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350°F.

 

Going into oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

  1. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours before serving.
  2. Serve the pie with cool whip or your favorite garnish.

 

Just out of the oven. Let it cool just a bit before you cut the bars. Cut the bars as large or as small as you wish. But wait until this delicious dessert has cooled down. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Warm and gooey and irresistible! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Serve on dessert dishes, plain or with whipped cream or ice cream or Cool Whip, which is what we opt for. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

This is one of the first times I experimented with this recipe. I didn’t wait long enough for the crust to cool. I poured the filling over a warm crust. Just so you know, it didn’t change the flavor at all. Some of the filling seeped into the crust, as you can see here, and it didn’t matter. Wanted to let you know this, so you can see how flexible the recipe is. Great flexibility. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Every bite is delectable! :) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Cheers to Spring, which is beautiful here in Manhattan. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This weekend we’re going to see the new Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie. We saw a Broadway revival of this play 3 years ago and didn’t like it. We’re going again because NY has a new young, extremely talented director, Sam Gold, whose ascent has been remarkable. Sam Gold is directing Menagerie, and we want to see how he deals with the challenges of this great play. Already, he has eliminated all intermissions, in order for the acting to go smoothly without interruption.

 

He always has some creative surprise in each play he directs. Sam Gold won a Best Director Tony recently for Broadway’s Fun House. His interpretation for off-Broadway, Look Back in Anger, a few years ago was awesome.

 

One way or another, we’ll have a good time.

 

Hope your weekend is restful and filled with the beauty of Springtime!

 

From Our Table to Yours !

Bon Appetit!

Sherry Mushroom Tart with Goat Cheese, Tofutti, & Leeks

Jules likes the crust, but I think it could be much better; however, the rest of this pie is wonderful. If you buy your pie dough, this is an easy recipe and if your aim is a meatless meal, you’ll be happy with this. You could also make this your veggie with fish, seafood and/or poultry; and a brunch treat over the weekend. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

You could serve this Sherry Mushroom Tart as an appetizer with chilled wine. As you can imagine, we’ve eaten a lot, as the tart evolved, so tried different white wines. The best were Sauvignon Blanc, Pouilly Fuisse, Pouilly Fume, Pino Grigio, Champagne and Prosecco. I’m not crazy about Chardonnay, but if you like it, go for it, it would be perfect.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons cream sherry for cooking leeks
  • 2 Tablespoons cream sherry for cooking mushrooms
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 scallions, sliced very finely
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 pounds’ leeks, white parts and 1 inch of pale green parts, thinly sliced
  • 20 fresh garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, well chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 container Tofutti
  • 3 ounces’ soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, chanterelle and cremini, brushed clean and coarsely chopped
  • Almond (or chickpea) flour for dusting (when you roll dough out)
  • Tofutti dough (made at home, or your own pie crust recipe, or bought at store)

 

Get all ingredients together in the same place. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

 

 

  • First, make your favorite pie dough or buy at store and refrigerate overnight.

 

 

I’m not yet anywhere near, a good crust maker, but here’s the latest experiment, making the pie dough, using Tofutti. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

  • Chop, cut, slice everything.

 

 

Chopping onion, scallions, garlic, leeks all at the same time. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

  • In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil.
  • Add the garlic, sliced leeks, chopped onion, scallions and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock, 2 Tablespoons cream sherry, all seasoning and spices.

 

 

This photo is steps 3, 4, and 5. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the leeks are nearly tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally and being careful not to let the leeks brown, until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes more.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer everything in the skillet to a bowl. Stir in the container of Tofutti, goat cheese, and mix everything together, very well. Set aside
  • In another fry pan, over medium-high heat, add olive oil 2 Tablespoons cream sherry and add the chopped mushrooms, and sauté until the mushrooms are soft and have released their juices, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside

 

Cooking mushrooms with sherry. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

  • Now, take dough out of fridge and roll it out into a large circle, so it will fit onto your oiled pie dish.

 

 

Scatter flour on parchment paper or on your counter, to roll out the dough. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Fit the dough to your pie dish. On the right, there’s an extra piece of dough that I pushed onto an empty space. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Crust baked and coming out of oven to get the filling poured in. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

  • Preheat an oven to 400°F.
  • Transfer the dough to pie dish. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit exactly. Push it, pinch it until it’s in place. If you have little pieces of extra dough, just pinch/push them into place on your pie dish.
  • Bake your crust according to your own recipe or go by the directions on the package, if you bought it. Bake it slightly, then remove from oven.
  • Add and mix the 2 beaten eggs to the bowl of leeks, stir them in to combine well.
  • Now, add the mixture in the bowl of leeks, to the sherry mushrooms in the skillet. If you forgot to add the goat cheese and any spice or herb, do it now and mix to combine well.

 

Mixing everything together, before spooning this, into the pie crust. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

  • Next, spread all the leek/goat cheese mixture to within 1 inch of the edge of the dough. Bake until the crust puffs and
  • both the crust and the leeks are golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

 

 

The filling has been spooned into the pie shell and about to go into the oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

  • Five minutes, before tart is done, open the oven and sprinkle finely chopped parsley and scallions over the top and bake for 5 minutes more.
  • Remove from oven, and let the tart stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

 

 

If a recipe turns out well, we’ll just eat that with some wine, and put away the rest of the meal. This was one of those times. :) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We had fried chicken thighs with this. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We had sautéed shrimp with this. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

As long as they stay sweet and juicy, we’ll be having fresh mango for dessert. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This is one of our reliable standbys, well chilled, Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuisse, wonderful with the Mushroom Tart. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We’ve seen several plays, on and off Broadway, but would not recommend them. We’re looking forward to Arthur Millers, The Price and at The Metropolitan Opera, Beethoven’s Fidelio.

 

The geopolitical situation in the U.S. and around the world, is not good. In addition to reading voraciously about it, I’ve been listening to a lot of Chopin. Here are some favorite pieces to bring stress levels down:

 

Frederick Chopin Piano Concerto #1, 2nd Movement, Krystian Zimerman

Vladimir Ashkenazy plays Chopin Nocturne in C sharp Minor (No.20)

Tiffany Koo (Age 5) – Chopin Nocturne #20 C Sharp Minor

Chopin : Nocturne in c sharp minor for violin and piano (Arr by Nathan Milstein)

 

Happy Spring Everyone !

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

 

Bon Appetit!

Curry Eggplant Pancake with Wide Variety of Toppings

Medium rare lamb pieces, cooked in oil and garlic with a fig reduction, is the topping on the eggplant pancake that you see above. It’s garnished with chopped scallion and served with fresh mango and mango chutney. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here, topping the eggplant pancake is a delicious shrimp salad (finely chopped celery, a few spices and a very light creamy dressing) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Over the eggplant pancake, are curry lamb meatballs served with yogurt and mango chutney; cilantro garnish ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

The eggplant pancake is topped with ripe avocados mixed with fresh garlic, finely chopped parsley and cilantro and a simple extra virgin olive oil & fresh lemon dressing. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Homemade lentils cooked with tomatoes (sundried or fresh or canned) onion, garlic, parsley, spices, seasonings. I always cook lentils in chicken stock or broth. Not shown is the finely chopped fresh parsley garnish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

On the eggplant pancake is left over chicken or turkey, turned into a salad with fresh apples, green and red grapes, garlic, scallions, nuts. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Curried eggplant pancake, served plain without any topping, as a veggie along with a cooked but rare salmon entr�e and a couple of asparagus spears. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Get all your ingredients together. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Ingredients

 

2 or 3 cups roasted eggplant

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 Onion, well chopped

6 fresh garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/4 to 1/2 creamy goat cheese or plain Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

Pinch black pepper

Pinch dried oregano

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 cup fresh mint, very finely chopped

1/4 to 1/2 cup canola oil, more if needed

 

 

Directions

 

  1. Roast 1 or 2 Italian eggplant until the inside is very soft. With an oven mitt on, squeeze the eggplant to feel the degree of softness. Remove from oven when done and (use oven mitts) cut each eggplant in half, and open like a book, to cool, on a plate.
  2. When cool enough, throw away any seeds or skin and remove the soft eggplant to a food processor to break up and soften any fibers. Set aside
  3. While eggplant is baking, do all your chopping
  4. Into a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, garlic, onion and creamy goat cheese, finely chopped parsley. Stir to combine everything well.
  5. Add the eggplant from the food processor, to the bowl with mixed wet ingredients.
  6. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, curry powder, dried oregano, and fresh mint. Mix well.
  7. Slowly, add the mixed dry ingredients to the eggplant mixture and stir until the batter is just moistened. Don’t over-mix.

 

Cooking the Eggplant Pancakes

 

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop rounded spoonfuls of eggplant batter into hot oil and fry until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain pancakes on a paper towel-lined plate.

 

Bake the whole eggplant. You can rub extra virgin olive oil over the skin before baking. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

I covered the whole eggplants, lightly with foil. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

When roasted and soft when you squeeze, ( but not soft and mushy), remove from oven and let cool. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Italian eggplants don’t have as many seeds as other varieties, so use these. When eggplant has cooled enough to handle, cut in half and open like a book to cool more. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Scoop all the flesh out of the eggplant and put into food processor. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Do all your chopping at the same time. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Mix all wet ingredients together in a bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

After mixing wet ingredients, add the eggplant from the food processor, to the wet ingredients. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Slowly, add the bowl of mixed dry ingredients, into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir only until you get a moist batter. Don’t over stir. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Don’t crowd the pan. Cook over medium high flame. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From pan to plate covered with paper towel to drain. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health In.

 

On a platter, serve plain as a vegetable with fish, seafood, poultry, meat. Or with a topping of your choice, make this into a meal in itself. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

With curried lamb cooked in a wine/fig sauce, the eggplant pancake turned into a gourmet feast. With it, we had a delicious robust Shiraz from Southern Australia. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc. (you’ve got to try it)

 

This wine was a gift from dinner guests. We didn’t open it right away. Recently, when we opened it for the eggplant pancake with lamb, we were so-o surprised at the unique quality of this Shiraz. You take notice the minute the first sip hits your mouth – then such a pleasant sensation as it explodes and sets your throat on fire, the long finish continues as the heat lingers. This is a fabulous 2012 Henschke blend, with 65% Shiraz, 20% Cab, 10% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. We highly recommend this wine. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

Bon Appetit!

 

Smoked Paprika Hummus with Warm Pita or Flatbread

Several years ago, our son, Alex, introduced us to one of Manhattan’s best gourmet vegan restaurants, Candle79.  We all go for dinner there, each time he comes to Manhattan . We all love it, by the way. Our strategy at Candle79 (on East 79th Street), is to have 3 or 4 courses, each ordering something different – and sharing. This way, we all get to sample a wide variety of what this inventive restaurant offers. For the appetizer course, one of the dishes was “Smoked Paprika Hummus.“ This and a few other items on the menu, which we ordered, were so-o delicious, that I bought one of the restaurant’s cookbooks in order to try their recipes out at home. The recipes are not that difficult. We want to share with our readers, Candle79‘s “Smoked Paprika Hummus“ recipe, exactly as it appears in their cookbook.

 

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas, or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use the canned chickpeas)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I don’t use the salt)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I also like to use cilantro instead of parsley, for a change of pace)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup tahini

Optional garnishes: roasted red bell peppers, roasted garlic, lemon slices, olives, mint or parsley sprigs

 

Instructions 

If using dried chickpeas, put them in a saucepan or bowl and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.

Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool, reserving 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil, and tahini in a bowl and stir to mix well. Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until well mixed. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or water or vegetable stock if using canned chickpeas) and process until smooth and almost fluffy. Add more liquid if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)

To serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle a bit of paprika. Serve with desired garnishes.

 

Some of the ingredients — Serve with warm pita bread

 

In the food processer

 

 

Try stuffing chunks of cucumber with this paprika hummus, or mushrooms or deviled eggs.

 

On an informal Sunday night at home, we find that this hummus is so good, we heat up some pita bread, break out a bottle of our favorite white wine, and just sit at our kitchen table, with raw carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks (and a few olives) and eat this delicious repast with total satisfaction. Sorta like a picnic at home.

 

See below the wine we enjoyed with the paprika humus.

 

Orvieto is a lovely light Italian white wine that we usually drink in the summer, but it went well with the paprika hummus  For dessert we had fresh mango spears and fresh blueberries.

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

Bon Appetit!

Curry Zucchini Dumplings and Curried Tomato Cream Sauce

All those wonderful spices did not disappoint; their warm aroma filled our home and whetted our appetites. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Dumpling Ingredients

 

2 eggs

2.5 pounds zucchini, washed, keep skin on

2 pinches kosher, sea salt or Himalayan

1 pinch black pepper

1 red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 Tablespoons raw cashews

10 large cloves garlic, peeled

1.5 Tablespoons curry powder (more for spicier)

4 lengthwise slices from a fresh ginger root

1 red chili, stem & seeds removed (more for spicier)

1/3 cup chickpea flour

4 Tablespoons rice flour

2/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

Canola oil for deep-frying

 

Sauce Ingredients

 

2 Tablespoons ghee or canola oil (ghee from Amazon)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1.5 Tablespoons curry powder

10 fresh garlic cloves, sliced

1 red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 red chili, stem & seeds removed (more chilies for spicier)

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup golden raisins

1 Tablespoon raw ginger root, minced

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (Cento)

1 pinch kosher or sea salt or Himalayan

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup chicken broth, to start; then use the whole can

1 teaspoon garam masala

2/3 cup + finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, (plus extra for garnish)

 

These are not your usual suspects. This group of ingredients, combines in an extraordinary way, yielding flavors so-o delicious, you will find that you can’t stop. Jules gives my recipe a 5+. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions for making dumplings

 

1. Prepare the dumplings: Shred zucchini using a box grater. Collect shreds in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt, not listed with the ingredients. Let stand for about 30 minutes.

 

2. Meanwhile, place onion, cashews, garlic, one egg at a time, ginger, curry and chilies in a food processor. Pulse until mixture forms a spicy-smelling, slightly chunky paste. Use a small spatula and get every bit of this mixture, scraped out and into a mixing bowl.

 

3. Back to the zucchini. Rinse all the salt off the zucchini. Wrap zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all the liquid, over the sink. You may not think this is necessary but it’s worth doing, in order to get as much liquid out of the zucchini, so later the dumplings hold together better.

 

Here, the salted (grated) zucchini has been draining for 30 minutes, after which salt rinsed off, and squeezed with clean kitchen towel. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

4. Place the squeezed squash into the mixing bowl and stir it into the onion paste mixture until well combined. Add chickpea flour, rice flour and cilantro and stir to combine into a slightly wet batter.

 

Here, all the dumpling ingredients are in this bowl, except for the flour. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Finally, both flour types, are added. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Half the dumplings made, and about to go into the oven. The other half will be fried. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

5. Now, you can either bake the dumplings in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Or you can fry the dumplings in canola oil over medium-high flame. For baking, line a baking sheet with parchment. For frying, have a large skillet ready with canola oil in it, heating slowly, while you make the dumplings. Use tongs for frying. I have baked as well as fried. Both turn out well, so it’s up to you.

 

6. Working quickly, place a heaping Tablespoon of batter in the palm of your hand and squeeze it slightly, to form into a ball; transfer dumpling to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining batter to make about 25 dumplings. The longer you let the batter stand without using it, the more liquid-y it will get, making it difficult to handle. Adding more flour will take away from the flavor and texture of the dumplings.

 

7. If you’re going to fry the dumplings, wait until you have formed about 8 dumplings and then put them all into the skillet to cook, while you make the remaining dumplings. Carefully, turn the dumplings with tongs to be sure that the whole surface of each dumpling is cooked to a golden-brown color. Each batch should take about 5 minutes to cook. Set aside.

 

Just turned dumplings over. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

8. Cover a plate with paper toweling, to put the fried dumplings, so they can drain away some of the oil. Set aside

 

9. If you bake the dumplings, remove from oven when done. Set aside.

 

Fried dumplings are done and cooling on a paper towel. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This batch of dumplings, just came out of the oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Chopping herbs for the sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Chopping red onion and garlic, for the sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Directions for the sauce

 

1. Heat ghee or oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until they sizzle and darken, 5 to 10 seconds. Immediately add onions, garlic, chili, cashews and raisins. Stir-fry until onion is soft and golden, chili is pungent, cashews have turned honey brown, and raisins are swollen and darkened, about 5 minutes.

 

Sauteing ingredients for the sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

2. Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric to the saucepan, stirring once or twice to combine. Add all seasonings and spices and herbs, now. Stir again to combine.

 

 

3. Transfer all the tomato sauce ingredients to a food processor and pur?e, scraping downward, with a small spatula, the inside of the glass bowl, as needed, to make a smooth and spicy-sweet red sauce.

 

4. Pour sauce back into saucepan, using the spatula to scrape all the sauce into the pan. Pour 1/2 cup chicken stock or broth, into blender and swish it around; add this liquid to pan. Stir in the half-and-half and garam masala. Stir all together to combine well.

 

Here is the thick sauce. I will add a little more chicken broth, very slowly, stirring the whole time, until I get the exact consistency I want. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

5. At this point, I usually find that the sauce is too thick, so I slowly add a little more chicken broth to the sauce, while stirring the whole time. In the end, I always add all the remaining chicken broth. Do this slowly, so that you’re sure the sauce will not be too thin. If it becomes too thin, it’s hard to add a thickening agent and be sure you won’t dilute the flavor, so don’t let the sauce get too thin, by adding the broth too quickly.

 

6. When you’re ready to serve, gently add all the dumplings to the sauce, making sure they do not break apart.

 

Sauce is just right and I’ve added the dumplings to the sauce, as they get reheated. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

7. Heat over medium flame, until sauce starts to bubble, then lower heat, cover the pan, and simmer until dumplings are warmed through and have absorbed some of the sauce, about 5 minutes; do not stir. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

 

Just brought the pot from stove to table and added some cilantro. Ready to serve. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

As Jules wolfed down the curry dumplings, I managed to get a photo`of one, cut in half. Dee..lish ! He gave my new recipe a 5+. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Serve warm with mango chutney on the table, some sour cream and chopped cilantro.

 

This was a scrumptious meal filled with such a myriad of flavors. We started with our chilled Pouilley-Fume and a simple tomato/avocado salad (fresh lemon & oil dressing); then the new recipe, the awesome curried zucchini dumplings with equally spectacular sauce. I love spoiling my dear, husband, so also made a favorite of his, fried chicken thighs. To complete the entr?e, I also served broccoli sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, a dab of butter and plenty of sliced garlic. Fresh fruit for dessert. We’re in a mango groove these days. Such a refreshing way to end a meal. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This well chilled Pouilly Fume was perfect with the whole meal. Pouilly Fume is a bit drier than Pouilly-Fuisse. I happen to like Pouilly-Fuisse better, for what it’s worth. If I had to compare (remember, I’m no wine expert), I would say that if you like Chardonnay, then you might prefer Pouilly-Fume. Whereas, IMO, those who like Sauvignon Blanc, which I do, would probably like Pouilly-Fuisse. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We saw a wonderful revival this weekend, on Broadway (The Samuel J. Friedman Theater). August Wilson is the playwright and the play with raving reviews is: Jitney. All of the acting is beautifully done, with excellent direction. IMO, the writing is splendid, especially Act 2 and the last scene of Act 1. The end of any play is particularly difficult. The sensitivity and skill of August Wilson’style is clear as he navigates to the final words of this gem Here’s a play not to miss. There’s another week or so to go. Try to catch it. The end is stunning!

 

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

Bon Appetit!

 

Kale and Pecorino Salad with Walnuts & Sherry-Soaked Raisins

I am always thinking about kale because our family is focused on health, although we sometimes break away for something sweet.  Kale is one of those super healthy foods so I have experimented with many combos of ingredients with kale.  © Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

 

1 cup walnut halves and/or pieces, toasted

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

1 Tablespoon creme sherry

1 Tablespoon water

1/2 cup Panko crumbs

2 or more (optional) cloves garlic, pressed

Pinch kosher salt (optional)

Pinch black pepper

Pinch chili flakes

1 teaspoon curry powder

4 Tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch Tuscan kale washed and patted dry

2 oz. or 1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

 

Directions

 

Prepare the walnuts:

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.

 

Prepare the raisins:

 

In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer champagne vinegar, water, creme sherry and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid, for as long as you can. (Keep in the liquid)

 

Prepare the crumbs:

 

Toast panko, garlic, curry powder, pinches, pepper, chili flakes and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.

 

Prepare the kale:

 

1. Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.

 

2. Put kale in a large salad bowl. Add the pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can.  This enables all of the lovely flavors to merge.

 

3. Add the Panko crumbs, just before you serve the salad, and toss it one more time.

 

We started with chilled Orvieto, warm Italian bread, olive oil & butter and an antipasto.

 

Next the kale salad with fresh halibut dipped in egg then panko (mixed with curry and parmesan), and quickly cooked in a small amount of olive oil.  For dessert we had spears of fresh mango which we have been eating all week.

 

This weekend we went to MetOpera and saw, Rusalka an opera by Antonin Dvorak.  We love Dvorak, so were looking forward to this.  The role of Rusalka was sung by the Latvian soprano, Kristine Opolais; the role of the Prince was sung by (beautiful) tenor, Brandon Jovanovich from Montana.

 

Below are my two favorite Dvorak compositions; the first is the hauntingly gorgeous First Act aria, “Song to the Moon“ from Rusalka; the second is his magnificent, String Quartet #12 (American).  I’m including one other video, which is a cello rendition of “Song to the Moon“  The cellist is the young, Stjepan Hauser, from Croatia.

 

Kristin Opolais, “Song to the Moon“ Dvorak

 

Stjepan Hauser, cello, “Song to the Moon“ Dvorak

 

 String Quartet #12, “American”

 

A glass of icy Proseco. Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Cheers!

 

← Previous PageNext Page →