“To Die For”, Cooked Cabbage with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar!

031cabbage

Don’t hate me!

We should all eat more cabbage.

It’s inexpensive and one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

I like to make a big pot of this and have as my go to dish all week long!

I also add stuff to it like cheese and other veggies. I eat it with whole wheat bread or brown rice.

This dish is so simple yet so delicious you may just find yourself addicted…as I am!

For those of us avoiding simple carbs, these tender cooked cabbage “noodles” make a nice substitute for the real thing.

The shape and texture satisfies noodle lust!

074Cabbage

Simply chop a head of cabbage; I always use 2 and 2-4 tomatoes and sautee in a large deep pan with olive oil.

When the cabbage is tender add the tomatoes.

When everything in soft add the balsamic; enough to add color.

You can also use canned tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. Make sure that they are unseasoned.

Unseasoned tomato paste would work as well.

Cover the pot and allow to cook for 2-4 hours on medium to low heat.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

083cooked cabbage with tomatoes

077cooked cabbage

076cooked cabbage

I add flakes of crushed red pepper at the end and garnish with sheep feta and hot sauce!

This is so tasty! So healthy! and soooo addictive you won’t believe me until you try it!

030cabbage

Ricotta Cheese Cake with Lemon Zest and Honey! Light and Delicious!

017ricotta cheesecake

My grandmother used to make a Farmer’s cheese or cottage cheesecake when I was growing up.

It was her “not fancy”, always good with a cup of coffee, cake.

I have yet to try these versions but decided to start first with ricotta cheese since that was what I had in my fridge!

001ricotta cheesecake crust

This cake was wonderful and whipping the egg whites makes it especially light and delicious.

005ricotta cheesecake

Lemon zest or even lavender is a lovely flavor note.

I plan to experiment with herbs and other flavors such as almond, orange or even rose.

010ricotta cheesecake

I used a 9 inch spring form pan for this recipe.

I also used Nilla Wafers with pecans and butter for the crust.

I ballparked the amount for the 9 inch pan.

015ricotta cheesecake

Ingredients:

6 Large eggs
2/3 cups sugar
2 tspn vanilla
2 15 oz containers whole milk ricotta cheese
2 tspn grated lemon zest

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 fahrenheit

seperate eggs

place yolks in mixer

and sugar and vanilla to yolks in mixer

Add ricotta cheese and zest and mix for 30 seconds

Beat egg whites until stiff

fold into the ricotta cheese mixture

pour mixture into greased pan

Bake until golden, approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Let cool at least 6 hours before serving

016ricotta cheesecake

I serve this was honey!

023ricotta cheesecake

028ricotta cheesecake

033ricotta cheesecake

ricotta cheesecake

001ricotta cheesecake

009ricotta cheesecake

012ricotta cheesecake

018ricotta cheesecake

An Afternoon at the Four Seasons! Espresso, Biscotti and Apple Tarte Tatin with Caramel Ice Cream!

022apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

The Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago is a very special place for me.

The lounge is cozy and relaxing and I have spent plenty of time with a cup of coffee; alone or with friends, enjoying the atmosphere and the desserts!

an afternoon at the Four Seasons Chicago

This afternoon was no different.

005an afternoon at the Four Seasons Chicago

It was a warm and sunny Autumn day in the Windy City and we sat by a window enjoying the view and the sun streaming in.

021apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

This apple tarte tatin was warm, caramel and puff pastry perfection.

023apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

I personally, took the world tour of coffees! I had 2 espressos, a cappuccino and a cafe latte!

It was a long afternoon and I couldn’t resist the excellent brew!

012espresso and biscotti ar the Four Seasons Chicago

And, of course, the photos.

With the warm sunlight soaking everything on our table in a golden glow, every shot was glorious.

024apple tarte tatin at the Four Seasons Chicago

047apple tarte tatin Four Seasons Chicago TS

051apple tarte tatin Four Seasons Chicago

This is not the recipe for the Four Seasons Apple Tarte Tatin, however, this looks amazing Courtesy of Curtis Stone.

CLASSIC APPLE TARTE TATIN WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM
Serves 4

Ingredients

7 oz / 200 g butter
7 0z / 200 g caster sugar
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into halves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 vanilla pods, split lengthways
2 x 7 in / 18 cm pastry disks, rolled to a thickness of 0.1 in / 3 mm
2 vanilla bean ice-cream balls
For the caramel sauce
7 oz / 200 g castor sugar
3 fl oz / 100 ml double cream

Espresso an afternoon at the Four Seasons chicago

Method

1.Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180C.

2.In two 6 in / 15 cm high-sided copper pans, push 100 g of the butter into each pan and sprinkle 100 g sugar over the butter in each pan.

3.Place four apple halves, core-side facing up, onto butter and sugar in pan.

4.Place cinnamon stick and vanilla pod in between the apple halves to resemble a cross.

5.Stretch pastry over the apples pushing pastry down between the apples and the sides of the pan.

6.Prick pastry 4-5 times using a fork.

7.Place tarts in fridge and allow pastry to rest for 1 hour.

8.Over a medium to high even heat, on preferably an electric stove or BBQ, begin to caramelize sugar and butter (NB. you won’t be able to
see the full extent of the sugar colouring but if you gently swirl the pan, you will get glimpses down the side of the pastry of the colour the sugar is turning – this should take around 4-5 minutes).

9.Transfer tarte tatin to preheated oven and cook until the pastry is golden brown, approximately 18-22 minutes.

10.Once the tarts come out of oven, it is best to allow them to sit for around 1 hour to allow all flavours to amalgamate.

To make the caramel sauce

1.Place the sugar in a saucepan over a medium to high heat and allow sugar to dissolve.

2.Once sugar has turned to liquid and begins to change colour, keep a careful eye on it as sugar will change colour and burn quickly.

3.You need sugar to turn golden brown before adding cream.

4.Once cream is incorporated, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

To Serve the Tartin

1.Place pans with tarts over a high heat until the caramel in the bottom begins to bubble.

2.In a swift movement, turn tarte tatin over onto a clean plate, discarding vanilla and cinnamon stick.

3.If the plate is a little messy, it may be easier to transfer tarte tatin to a clean plate to serve.

4.Drizzle caramel sauce around tarte tatin and serve with vanilla ice-cream.

5.One tarte tatin will serve two people.

014espresso at the Four Seasons Chicago

Artisan Goat Cheese and Lavender Honey with Fresh Baked Flatbread at Tavern On Rush in Chicago!

036flatbread with honey and lavender

The Tavern on Rush in Chicago’s Gold Coast is where Chef John Gatsos creates this simple but outstanding flatbread and cheese appetizer.

TAVERN FLATBREAD: Chef’s daily selection of artisan cheese served with freshly baked flatbread and a side of lavender honey.

032Tavern on Rush flatbread

Lavender honey with seasoned goat cheese is perfect.

033tavern on rush flatbread

Warm and fluffy, doughy and lightly seasoned with fresh parsley, this flatbread melts in your mouth.

034tavern on rush flatbread with honey and lavender

A picture is worth a thousand words and on this gorgeous sunny day one photo just wasn’t enough!

035tavern on rush flatbread with honey and lavender

Indulge my prediliction for photos of beautiful food!

037tavern on rush honey and lavender flatbread

038tavern on rush lavender and honey flatbread

040tavern on rush flatbread with honey and lavender

041tavern on rush flatbread with lavender and honey goatcheese

042goat cheese at tavern on rush with lavender and honey

043goatcheese with lavender and honey at tavern on rush

044tavern on rush goatcheese with lavender and honey

045goatcheese at tavern on rush

046 goat cheese at tavern on rush

047goat cheese with lavender and honey at tavern on rush

048tavern on rush goat cheese and flatbread with lavender and honey

Vegetarian Chili! Healthy, Delicious and Easy!

031vegetarian chili

068Vegetarian Chili

Although I am not a fan of “fake meat”; TVP, or any other ersatz animal products I must admit that Texurized Vegetable Protein works really well in this chili.

The secret to this amazing chili is the copious use of fresh cilantro! Added at the end of cooking to ensure fresh and intense flavor.

I also soaked the TVP in vegetable broth for and hour or so before adding it to the chili. This adds flavor to something which basically tastes like cardboard. The good thing is that it soaks up the flavors of everything around!

002Vegetarian chili

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 sweet onion
5 cloves garlic
4-5 Tbspns chili powder
2 cups TVP soaked in broth or water then drained
1-1/2 cups fresh cilantro chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
4 cans dark red kidney beans
Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe provided chili for a crowd. You can always adjust the amounts and vary the beans to include your favorites.

I also missed an opportunity to add fresh corn!

005TVP vegetarian chili

Method:

Soak the TVP in 2-4 cups of broth or water
Sautee the veggies in 1/4 of olive oil until soft
Add the tomatoes, beans, and TVP
Allow to cook for about an hour on medium heat and add the fresh cilantro
Allow to cook for about another hour then serve with cornbread or rice or anything you like!

Sauteeing the TVP with the veggies adds more flavor.

011garlic vegetarian chili

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