Tag Archives: Easy

Feast Week – Day 2

As feast week continues, I bet you’re wondering what Bite-Sized recipes are headed your way today.   You know I love to keep you on your toes, so I’m switching up the order of things.  Watch out now!  Yesterday we did dessert, today we are starting back at the beginning.

The beginning for me is when my guests first arrive.  And since the football starts before the feast, I can’t expect my guests to be anything but early.  Good thing for this Bite-Sized Blonde, and my family, that basketball isn’t normally on Thanksgiving day.  Otherwise, we would all be eating Chinese takeout, lockout aside.

So, the eating starts early on Thursday and you betta believe I have something up my sleeve for an appetizer,  something that’s not lackluster like crudités, or too filling like devils on horseback.  While delicious, these little guys pack a deadly, and by deadly I mean filling punch from the combination of a little protein and fiber.  So, what’s left to serve?  Baked brie and crackers.  This sweet, salty and savory treat will leave my guests satisfied but not full, which is a very important, and thin line to be aware of on Thanksgiving.

Baked Brie is another one of those dishes that is impossibly easy.  There’s just so much to do on T-day, so much cooking, so much baking, so much eating, why make any more work for yourself than you already have?  I know I make a good point, which is why I make a good Baked Brie.

Ingredients
1 wheel of Brie (2 lbs)
1 cup of peach apricot preserves

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cheese on the parchment paper and cover with the preserves.   Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cheese looks like it’s softening.   Remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cool enough to handle, place the cheese on a plate and serve with crackers, veggies or nuts!

How easy was that? I know, totally awesomely easy.  Now, onto the next step, salad.   I know you are probably not expecting fireworks here.  Wait, who am I kidding?  I know you are expecting fireworks here, and here you have them.  This Autumnal Salad is a recipe inspired by a recipe by Chef April Bloomfield for New York Magazine.  One look at this salad, and I knew this is what I had to serve at Thanksgiving.  The colors scream fall and the flavors and textures will have your feathers flustered.

Autumnal Salad
Ingredients
2 packages of organic baby lettuce mix
20 ounces of butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 cup of shaved parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Smash 2 garlic cloves with the flat side of your knife, then chop the garlic until it is very fine. Combine with olive oil and salt.  Place the butternut squash in the bowl and coat with the oil mixture. Put the butternut squash in a baking dish, drizzling any leftover oil over the squash and pop in the oven. Roast the squash until it is tender and slightly brown, about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Lightly drizzle with 1 tbs. of olive oil and a splash of lemon, and place on platter. Put market greens in large bowl, and gently toss with salt, 2 tbs. of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon. Sprinkle the greens in and around the butternut squash, and finish with a drizzle of balsamic, a hearty handful of pomegranate seeds, Parmesan shavings, and pine nuts.

This recipe was interpreted from a recipe by Chef April Bloomfield  which you can see by clicking HERE.

Also, there will be more recipes to relish at tomorrow, so come back and see me soon!

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The Crème de la Crème

Have you ever thought about having crème brulee for breakfast? And I don’t mean have you ever dreamt about it, because that’s an obvious YES.  I mean, have you ever really thought about it?  I have.  And what I have decided is this: it’s totally a reasonable breakfast, and I’m not currently high on sugar.

Here’s my rationale.  Yogurt is kind of similar to the crème in crème brulee.  Sure, it’s a stretch, but the truth is, it’s creamy.  Greek yogurt is tangy though, not sweet, which is why it’s the perfect base for this breakfast.  Combined with the sugar that gets bruleed, it’s a marriage made in heaven.  By adding fruit to this dish, it’s also a well balanced meal.   Dessert for breakfast that can also be breakfast for dessert.  Brilliant!  This is so good, easy and quick, you will be wondering why you never made this before.  Did I mention that you use a torch to make it? Awesome, right? I know.  Oh, and the best part, this is under 300 calories!

Breakfast Crème Brulee
Ingredients
1 6 oz. cup of Greek Yogurt 0%
2 strawberries, sliced
1 tbsp. strawberry preserves
1/4 cup of light brown sugar

Directions
Add the strawberry preserves to the bottom of a 3 inch ramekin. Place the strawberries in an layer on top of the preserves. Add the yogurt and top with the sugar.  Then, bust out your awesome torch and carefully burn the sugar so it melts to form a sweet, crunchy layer.  Serve and enjoy!

Soup Solution of Delicious Proportions

That feeling when you know you are about to get a cold can be one of the worst feelings.   It can be so much worse than actually having a cold. When you have a cold, there are medicines you can take to make yourself better.  When you are about to get a cold, you can feel like getting sick is pretty much inevitable, no matter what you do.  But, it doesn’t have to be.

Any Jewish mom will tell you to have a bowl of matzo ball soup; it is known as the Jewish penicillin for a reason.  But this Bite-Sized Blonde has another soup solution for your sniffles.  Carrot Ginger Soup is a not so obvious remedy of delicious proportions.

Most people know that carrots are high in vitamin a, but did you also know they are chock full of vitamin C, which is why they make such a great base for a get-well soup. Ginger is antimicrobial, which means it kills bacteria.   It also helps eliminate congestion, eases throat pain and has been known to combat chills and fever.   Sounds like a winning combo if you ask me.  This soup is even more delicious than it is beneficial, if you can believe it.  This is such a great make-ahead soup to keep in yourfreezer for a rainy day or an unexpected cold.

Carrot Ginger Soup
Ingredients
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup of peeled and finely chopped ginger*
1 ½ pounds of carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups of water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Blender (regular or handheld)

Directions
Heat 3 tbs. of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions, ginger and garlic and sauté for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Add the stock, water and carrots.  Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the pot to a boil.  Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the carrots are very tender.  This will take approximately 30 minutes.  If you have an immersion blender, as shown in the pictures above, use this to puree the soup to your desired consistency.  If you have a regular blender, puree the soup in batches by adding portions of the soup into the blender at a time.  Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

*Ginger can be tricky to peel because it is so misshapen.  An easy way to peel ginger is to actually forgo the peeler altogether! Use a spoon to peel the skin away; it helps with all the nooks and crannies!

Recipe Inspired by:
http://whippedtheblog.com/2009/12/01/simple-carrot-ginger-soup/

Post inspired by:
http://cravingsgoneclean.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/get-well-ginger-butternut-squash-soup/

Skinny Spaghetti

There’s only one thing this girly girl likes to twirl more than a giant party skirt, and that’s a fork full of spaghetti.  If I could have one wish granted from a genie it would be that all carbs would be calorie free, and if the genie told me that was greedy, I would happily accept pasta as my calorie free carb of choice.  Or pizza? No, I’m gonna stick with pasta.  But alas, I don’t have a magic lamp to rub, so it looks like I am sh*t outta luck.

There is nothing comparable to a big old bowl of starchy spaghetti, but there are alternatives.  Don’t worry; I’m not getting all “hippie dippie tofu fake spaghetti” on you.  Yes, that is a real term.  But, I am forgoing the flour for something a little more figure friendly.  Zucchini, if cut properly can transform into silky strands of spaghetti.  How you ask? Let me tell you – the solution is simple and it’s just one word – Julienne.  Julienne is a type of knife cut in which the food is cut into long thing strips.  These thin strips usually resemble shoe strings.  But if you ask me, spaghetti sounds way more desirable than shoe strings any day of the week.  The easiest way to julienne cut your zucchini is to use a mandolin.  But since the good ones are really expensive and slightly dangerous, they aren’t the most popular kitchen appliance for the average Joe.  Of course, I have another solution for you – a julienne peeler.  Not only is this little tool effective, it is totally reasonable.  At $8, it would be silly not to buy this easy to use utensil.  And of course, there is always the option of practicing your knife skills and cutting these bad boys by hand.

No matter the tool to get the job done, the once average zucchini is now spaghetti, and that’s seriously magical.  If you thought skinny and spaghetti didn’t go together before, think again.  This recipe will fill you up and trim you down.

Skinny Spaghetti (serves 2)
Ingredients
4 medium-large zucchini
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of tomato sauce

Directions
Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  (Once the zucchini is cooked, it will need to be cooled down immediately to stop the cooking process.)  Boil a large pot of heavily salted water.  When the water is boiling, add the julienne cut zucchini for 1 minute.   Remove immediately and place into the ice bath for 1 minute.  While the zucchini is cooling off in the ice bath, heat 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce.  You can use my recipe for a chunky tomato sauce, or use a jar of your favorite! Once the zucchini is cool and the sauce is hot, add the zucchini to the pot and toss in the sauce.  Serve with some grated parmesan or mozzarella.

Me, well I’m a Golden Delicious

Do you ever see something, and think, god that’ so ME! I do, all the time actually.  Like anything yellow or smiley.  And now, I have another object to add to my list of “So me’s.” GOLDEN DELICIOUS APPLES.  So me, right?  I mean, if I was an apple, I would be a golden delicious, it’s really that simple.

Here’s a fun fact about yours truly, I’m a champion apple picker.  If apple picking was a competitive sport, I would take home the gold medal.  It’s a skill I was born with, and then further developed as a child, and continue practicing as an adult or whatever I am now.  Apple picking is literally my favorite activity.  Forget what I said about shucking corn.

It’s a fact of life that apples taste better when they come straight off the tree.  And, it’s totally rewarding to PYO – pick your own.   It’s not only fun, but its resume booster.  Everyone has a life resume, and apple picking is a great extra-curricular, if I do say so myself.  Plus, it makes the apple pie you bake that much better.

I love to make apple pie, not only because it’s delicious, but because it is incredibly easy.  Hey, this Bite-Sized Blonde appreciates ease as much as any twenty something hormone driven guy.  And lucky for you, my recipes are just that, easy.

Easy as Apple Pie
Ingredients
1 frozen pie-crust
6 Green Apples
1 cup of Sugar
1 cup of A/P Flour
1 3/4 sticks of Butter
Cinnamon

Directions
Yes, I use pre-made piecrust.  I promise you, no one will ever know the difference, except maybe Martha Stewart, and she’s probably not coming over for dessert anytime soon.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and peel the apples.

Then, dice them into chunks, not too big and not too small.  Coat the apples with a small amount of flour, about 1/8 of  cup.  This will help make sure the pie isn’t too wet.  Then, place the apples in the piecrust.  The piecrust should be totally full.  Remember the apples will shrink during the baking process, so make sure you have enough in the pie!

To make the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon.  I love cinnamon so I use about a tablespoon, but feel free to adjust based on your taste.  Cut the sticks of butter into small pieces.  Make sure the butter is really cold before you add it to the flour, sugar and cinnamon.  You can smush the pieces of butter into the flour mixture, or you can use a food processor.  I prefer to use the food processor, but sometimes it’s fun to use your hands.  The mixture will start to look like crumb topping, which is how you know it’s ready.  Cover the pie with the topping and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake for approximately 45 or until golden brown on top.   The more apples you put in, the longer it will take to cook.  Serve warm!

Rock You Like a Hurricane

Oh, Irene.  You are such a tease.  And since it takes one to know one, I can say this with conviction.  You got us New Yorkers all riled up, and for what? Nothing, I tell you, nothing!  Except maybe a little junk food eating contest.  If you stocked up on food to prepare for the possible power outages, I bet you ate it all this weekend.  Not because the power went out and you needed to, but because you were so bored the food actually provided an activity.  Well, if you gained the “Irene Fifteen” this weekend, you might be looking for a light and easy dinner, out of your apartment, which of course now feels like a jail cell. 

Westville is the perfect place to go.  This small and simple restaurant has a menu that speaks to everyone.  Their food is prepared simply and tastefully, which is exactly what the doctor ordered, or nutritionist, whatever.  

The Greek Salad is loaded with olives, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese and avocado.  It is served over grilled bread with melted herb goat cheese.  I like to add the Grilled Steak to this salad to make it a meal.  The steak is flavorful and juicy and the salad is crisp. 

The Grilled Lemon Herb Marinated Chicken is my favorite item on the menu.  The chicken is packed with flavor and it is incredibly juicy, the way chicken is meant to be cooked.  It is served with 2 sides from the market.  What’s the market? Glad you asked.  The market is Westville’s abundant list of veggies.   They offer everything from asparagus to bok choy and back again.  It is a vegetarian’s dream come true, and mine as well.   I love the Honey Dijon Brussels Sprouts, and for good reason.  They are little tidbits of veggie heaven.  I couldn’t resist the Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad.  After all, it is tomato season.

Riddle me this.  What’s dinner without dessert?  While you ponder that, feast your eyes on this.  A homemade ice cream sandwich. Clearly, I’ve become a little obsessed with Ice Cream Sammies recently.  This isn’t on the menu, but ice cream is, and so are cookies, and the waiters are more than happy to accommodate your needs, no matter how indulgent they are.

With three locations, Westville convenient for everyone.   I happen to love the Lower East Side location, but they offer the same menu in the West Village and Chelsea.  So, whether the weather has you feeling on a bit on the bulky side, or you just want an easy, light dinner, head over to Westville.

Westville East
173 Avenue A (11th Street)
New York, NY  
212.677.2933

Westville West
210 W 10th Street (Between Bleecker and West 4th Street )
New York, NY
212.741.7971

Westville Chelsea
246 W18th Street (Between 7th & 8th Avenue)
New York, NY
212.924.2223

The Wizard of Gaz

And August begins…Doesn’t it feel like it was just Memorial Day? I would say Happy August, but that’s like saying Happy Sunday.  August, like Sunday, is great. But the greatness is overshadowed by the lingering feeling that it’s all about to end soon.

So, while it is still sunny and hot, and the fruits and veggies are still in season, take advantage of what Mother Nature, and your corner produce stand, is offering…tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers oh my! Thinking salad? Think again.  In this heat, the best use for those oh so fresh veggies is Gazpacho.  This cold soup will fill you up and cool you down, without blowing you up.  This dish is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low fat, high fiber and wheat free.  The only thing this soup isn’t free of is flavor!

Gazpacho

Ingredients
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes

Directions
Place the tomatoes and garlic in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Add the puree to a bowl.  You can strain the puree if you want a smooth soup.  I personally like a little texture, so I leave the mixture as is.  Add the cucumber, onion and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat! Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.