Archive for May, 2014

Unrecipe of the Week: Edamame Hummus

May 28, 2014

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In the wake of the great hummus recall of 2014, it’s time the ask the question on everyone’s mind:
Why not make our own?
No good reason, since it’s actually pretty simple to do. Trader Joe’s edamame hummus may be a cult favorite, but just because it’s off the shelves, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the homemade version.

It all starts with the same simple ingredients, enhanced to suit your tastes.

Edamame Hummus:

In a medium pot, boil one bag of shelled, frozen edamame and a few cloves of peeled garlic in salted water, until thawed and tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain, and transfer to a food processor. Add the juice and zest of one lemon, about a tablespoon of fragrant olive oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth, adding small amounts of water until it reaches the desired consistency.

To take it up a notch, add a 1/4 cup of tahini, and a handful of cilantro. Puree until smooth, and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to blend and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

 

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Reheating Bread

May 20, 2014

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Did you ever heat bread or baked goods in the microwave, only to find them nearly fossilized a minute later? The microwave seems to zap the moisture from foods, often leaving them dry and hard.

Have no fear, a solution is here!
Simply place a small dish of water in the microwave, next to the bread or pastry before heating. The water adds moisture to the air inside the oven, and serves to lightly steam, rather than dehydrate the food. The result is softer, fresher tasting baked goods every time.

This concept works in a regular oven as well. My grandmother used to place bread or bagels in a brown paper bag, and sprinkle it liberally with water before placing it in the oven. When the bag was dry, the bread was heated through, soft and delicious. We have even rubbed a little water on a baguette for the same result.

Next time you have bread that is starting to get a bit stale, try one of these methods to bring it back to life!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Summer Salad Rolls

May 19, 2014

These vegetable rolls are riff on the traditional Vietnamese Summer roll. A study in simplicity, these rice paper rolls are filled with fresh julienned vegetables. The secret lies in the sauce: we dipped ours in a carrot, sesame oil and soy based dressing that brought the flavors to life. The best part? We’re torn between how healthy and low calorie they are, and the fact that nothing needed to be cooked.  Twice the reason to try this unrecipe!

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For the rolls:

Julienne a variety of vegetables, including cucumbers, carrots, diakon, red bell pepper, radishes and beets. Mix it up to suit your tastes. I used a mandolin, but depending on how many you are making, you can just cut them by hand. Be sure to peel the carrots, diakon and beets first!

To assemble:

Dip a large rice paper wrapper* in warm water to soften. There is no need to soak them, just get them hydrated enough to be pliable.

Place the rice paper on a work surface. Lay a small piece of lettuce and a fresh mint leaf or two at the bottom of disc. Layer on the julienned vegetables. Begin rolling the rice paper, tucking it tightly, but gently as you go. Roll it twice, fold the sides in, and continue rolling to the top. It should look like a fat, transparent egg roll.

Lay the finished roll on plastic wrap. The rolls will stick together, so be sure to keep them from touching. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the sauce:

Peel about 3-4 medium carrots, and cut them into chunks. Place them in the food processor, along with a small shallot, peeled and quartered, a good sized chunk of peeled fresh ginger, about 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, about a 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Puree until everything is finely diced and combined. With the machine running, add about 1/4 cup or so of vegetable oil ( We used grape seed oil, which has a neutral flavor. Do not use olive oil, as the flavor is too strong!) Add about 1/4 cup of water, and continue mixing until it forms a a chunky dressing. Check flavors, and add more vinegar, or soy sauce as needed. If the dressing is too thick, add a little bit more water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

We served the rolls cut in half lengthwise, on a pool of drizzled dressing, and then put the rest on a platter with a bowl of sauce on the side. Sounds like the perfect dish to toss in my lunch bag tomorrow!

*rice paper wrappers are sold packaged in the international foods section of grocery stores, or at Asian markets.

A New Crop

May 14, 2014

Midriff baring tops made their way to the red carpet last week, as young Hollywood dared to bare it at the annual Met Ball.

Rihanna ruled the night in a white two piece by Stella McCartney:

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Anne Hathaway was a chic lady in red in Calvin Klein:

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Gabrielle Union was on the fringe in her Prada skirt and top:

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Anna Kendrick showed some skin in J. Mendel:

488321789.nocrop.w1800.h1330Emma Stone glows in brightly hued Thakoon:

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Cleaning a Coffee Grinder

May 13, 2014

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Coffee grinders are great for grinding coffee beans, but they are also useful for grinding herbs and spices. The only problem is, who wants turmeric scented coffee? Or coffee scented oregano? Get the picture?
Help is on the way! In between uses, toss in some uncooked rice and grind it up until the grinder is odor free. For particularly pungent smells, change the rice and grind again.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Surfing USA

May 12, 2014

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I have fallen into a bit of a fitness rut. I have been traveling non-stop, and the truth is, hotel gym workouts are great for short term maintenance, but they aren’t great for a long term situation. At home I walk everywhere (weather permitting),weight train, run, and take several cycling and conditioning classes each week to round out my repertoire of exercise. The boredom, and lack of facilities were taking a toll on my body and my mind. I started noticing a small fitness studio that just opened somewhere between my hotel and office in Quincy, Massachusetts. When I went on line to book a spin class, none were available, but something new and innovative caught my eye: Surfset.

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Surfset is an indoor surfing class, that uses an unstable surfboard-like apparatus mounted on 3 inflated balls to simulate the real deal. Best of all, I didn’t even need to get wet.  I couldn’t wait to try it!
With a mix of excitement and trepidation, I showed up for my first introductory class.
The first few minutes on the board were a little shaky, as I tried to get my bearings and stabilize the board. Thighs shaking, toes cramping, and arms out for balance, I quickly found my center of gravity. Once I got the hang of it, we performed a series of exercises on the board, including planks, squats, step ups or jump ups, burpees, pushups and crunches. Some moves actually simulated swimming and paddling. Only the lunges got the better of me, but the second set proved easier than the first.
I am happy to report that I did not fall off the board, or do anything that incited uncontrollable snickers from my fellow surfers.
Surfset challenges your thighs and core, as they work extra hard to stabilize your body and the board during the workout. Pushups, when done on a wobbly surface add an extra edge to the movement. While only one exercise incorporated weights, and I hope once people get comfortable on the board, the studio will ramp it up a bit, including more weighted and compound movements.

Living in a neighborhood of boutique fitness studios focusing on everything from cycling, pilates, barre, bootcamp, rowing or yoga, everyone is looking for a niche. Surfset could be the big next big to come our way. Soul Surf anyone?

Photos taken at Shred Pilates and Spin

Belles of the Ball

May 7, 2014

The annual Met Ball, feting the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute is the fashion equivalent of the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards all rolled into one. This year was no exception, as the rich, famous and simply fabulous walked the red carpet to celebrate the opening of the exhibition entitled “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” in the newly christened Anna Wintour Costume Center. The dress code included white tie and tails for the gentlemen, and grand gowns for the ladies.
While the new designers generally set the tone for the future of fashion, tonight it was the old guard that ruled the red carpet.

Oscar de la Renta dressed some of the evening’s standouts, including this spectacular look on Sarah Jessica Parker:

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Allison Williams was also elegant in a red Oscar de la Renta gown:

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Taylor Swift glowed in her de la Renta dress:

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Anna Wintour’s daughter, Bee Shaffer wore a stunning baby blue Alexander McQueen gown:

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Idina Menzel ruled in a frothy Donna Karen Atelier gown:
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Blake Lively glowed in gold Gucci with the ultimate accessory: husband Ryan Reynolds!
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Others didn’t fare as well, as many of the younger stars took fashion risks and failed.

The very sexy Kate Upton donned something from a bad western movie. Just…no:
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Chloe Grace Moretz also missed the mark in Chanel:

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Sarah Paulson was a hot mess in Prada:

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Diana Agron looked matronly in Mui Mui:

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Katie Holmes channeled a Disney princess, and failed:

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Speaking of Disney, it appears that Sandra Lee’s gown was semi-homemade and came off as more wicked step mother than princess:

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Check back later this week to see the starlets that took risks and ruled!

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Muffin Tins

May 6, 2014

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Muffin tins can be useful for more than just baking cupcakes. Use them to make single servings of everything from meatloaf to egg frittatas. Simply fill the wells in the pan with whatever you need to bake and turn out individual portions. Use mini muffin tins for hors d’oeuvres to produce small bites.

This concept also works well for freezing. Pour sauces, soups, or even cooked oatmeal into the muffin tins, allow them to freeze until  solid, and pop them out and store them in a freezer safe zip lock bag until needed.

What could be easier?

photo: Glasshouse Images


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