Friday, November 26, 2010


another one of my new cold weather favorites...easy and so satisfying.  nothing real gourmet about this one, just good old breakfast ingredients presented in a different way...makes breakfast more fun and feels a little gourmet-ish.  this would be great to throw together for a casual brunch because it's so easy to prepare and it stays quite warm.  this one held up well even after the photo shoot.


your favorite OATMEAL.  cooked. enough for the servings you are making
BACON.  cooked.  enough for garnish...adds a great crunch.  i always have some cooked bacon in the fridge.  what can i say...I LOVE BACON.  check out this BACON CANDY recipe here for a tasty sweet, savory, spicy treat.  can be pre-made and crisped up in the oven.

* see notes and excuses at the bottom

fill your serving vessels with the cooked oatmeal (a little butter inside doesn't hurt)  ramekins would work well.  i used this cute little retro cast iron dish that held the heat for quite some time, but anything at least an 1 1/2 inch deep will do.
make a little well for the egg and crack it right in. 
bake in a preheated oven at 370 degrees for approx 15-20 mins.  your cooking time depends on the temp of your cooked oatmeal (your oatmeal should be warm), the type of dish, and how you like your egg. i know everybody likes their eggs different so just keep checking the middle 'till it is to your liking.  i turned the top heating element (not broiler) on for the last five mins.  remember it will keep cooking a little bit after you take it out, so if your not serving right away take that into consideration.
NOTE...i just recooked this and i had the oven on convection 370 degrees for 15 min. and not much was happening except the oatmeal was baking.  then i turned the top element on for about 7 min. that's when the eggs started to cook.  i think the dish and the type of oatmeal really affects the time, so just keep your eye on the prize.  if you've never baked an egg before (i hadn't), i suggest doing a trial run as i did.
while they're in the oven crisp up your bacon get it ready.  you don't want to be waiting on bacon when your eggs are just perfect.  if your not into bacon or don't want to fuss with it some toasted pecans or almonds would be just need something that will add a little crunch and texture.

* i know i didn't give you an exact recipe, but i hope you get the idea...the idea is delicious, but my instructions are pretty lacking.  actually, my instructions suck !  sorry about that.  i even tried to do a retest so i could get the timing right, but there are too many little factors.  the first time i just threw it together and thought it was so delicious and tasty...the second go around, i was trying to be too precise.

long story short.....use the idea and flavor combo...not the instructions...and you'll have a delicious breakfast as i just did....maybe it's all about the candied bacon...hmmmmm...

KNOW it's all about the candied bacon!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


i like to call these "POWER BALLS"
a great alternative to all the sweet sugary goodies we are going to be exposed to in the next month or so. not that all those sugary goodies will be a problem or anything, but you can throw some of these together to make yourself feel good.....besides...they are really tasty!

full of goodness with natural sugars from dates and figs,  these will definitely get you through one of those "I NEED SOMETHING SWEET RIGHT NOW" moments.  you know, when you grab for bad stuff that will hype you up then put you to sleep in the blink of an eye

these little gems are so easy to make and i must say friends and family were quite pleased.  not only are they delicious, but they are impressive looking...anything "truffle-like" always seems decadent. 

i have seen many of these recipes around, but the one that caught my eye was from ANJAS Food 4 Thought called Coconut Pistachio Truffles...NOTE...i'm having trouble inserting the link, but you should really check out her whole blog.  i have tried many of her recipes and they all are fabulous...and healthy too.  try her recipe for Flourless Almond Butter Honey Cake, so simple soooo good (i'm making another one today).  try  sorry my link thingy is not working.  i will insert the info later.

here are 2 recipes i put together
the basic instructions are the same

POWER BALLS...Healthy Truffles

1st recipe
makes about 15-20 depending on how you roll

4 Calimyrna (white) figs
4 Medjool dates 
1 tsp vanilla
1.3 c. almonds 2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder
3-4 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
1 tsp coconut oil
 woops...i almost forgot to mention...i DID put a little cayenne pepper with the cocoa powder that i rolled them in.  i love the extra kick in the pants.  the ones rolled in coconut were for the ones who can't take the heat.

2nd recipe
this made ALOT...i forgot to count...24-30 ?

12 Medjool dates
5 Calimyrna (white) figs
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. salted roasted almonds
1/2 c. blanched almonds

if your dates and figs are too dry soften them by pouring boiling water over them and let them soak for 10-15 mins...i would suggest doing this.  then drain them and pat dry before using.  combine all ingredients in a food processor.  pulse at first, then give it good whirl.  you want a fairly smooth texture to resemble a smooth chocolaty truffle.  NOTE...if you want a little almond crunch inside, just add more of your almonds last to the processor and pulse to your liking.  taste as you go...check your spices.
now...with your hands, form balls the size of a cherry or a walnut and roll in cocoa powder, coconut, finely chopped nuts or anything you like...all the sudden you have these cute little beautiful truffles.  keep in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerate.  i liked mine chilled...they kept well for at  a least a week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


well, i'm so sorry that i was away for a while with my computer problems, but i was definitely still in the kitchen trying out new savory flavors and sweet treats...i have loads of goodies to post.

let me start with this MOROCCAN GOAT STEW
 as you might guess by now, i'm always on the lookout for things a little out of the ordinary.  i came across some goat at one of my favorite markets in Irvine, CA called Wholesome Foods.  if you're lucky enough to have one in your area you should check it out.  great stuff for Middle Eastern cooking.  their produce alone is worth the trip.
as i was poking around looking for something new, i saw some fresh goat shanks...not knowing what the heck to do with it, i bought it anyway...and sooooo glad i did.


i think it tastes like a cross between lamb and beef.  the texture and flavor was fabulous.  i had to add a little beef to my recipe because i didn't have quite enough of the goat the recipe called for.  i was  surprised to find that i really liked the goat much better.  this slow cooking stew was just the right way to introduce a new meat to the party. (the "party" usually consists of ME, MYSELF and I.)  i will definitely try it again.

now with goat in my fridge i went straight to google.
luck on my side, i found this fabulous recipe at Cehun Family Recipes...
with many thanks to the Cehun Family for bringing goat to my table i have copied the recipe for you below exactly.  i usually put in some notes, but this time i did exactly as the recipe was written...i suggest you do the same because it is absolutely changes necessary.  one thing i would like to add is that this would lend itself to any slow cooked stew meat...lamb would be wonderful...beef was great...maybe even pork.  the base of this recipe is so delicious it's worth a try with anything you choose.  i am aware that "GOAT" is not available at every supermarket.


1 tbspn olive oil
750g goat shoulder, cut into 4-5cm cubes
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
30g dried apricots, roughly chopped
pinch of saffron
goat or lamb stock or water

1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn ground ginger
1.5 tspn smoked paprika
1 tspn turmeric
Half tspn ground chilli
Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tbspn finely chopped coriander
Half-1 tspn of Harissa paste
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 tbspn honey

300gm pumpkin, peeled, chopped into 1-2cm cubes and roasted in olive oil with a little seasoning.

Place the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole pan and put it over a moderate-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion to the pan and sweat for one minute until transparent.

Place all the spice mixture ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Toss the goat in the spices so that it is well coated.
Add the spiced goat and garlic to the pan and seal the goat on all sides so that it is browned.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, cinnamon stick, apricots, saffron and enough stock to just cover the goat. Bring to the oil then reduce to a slow simmer. Leave the goat to cook for 1-1.5 hours or until the meat is tender, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon (add more stock or water if the liquid is below the goat). (You can do this on top of the stove or in the oven. If the stew is too watery, drain off the excess liquid into a saucepan and reduce until thickened. Then return to the stew.
Stir in 3 tblspns of the chopped coriander, harissa paste (more or less to taste), lemon zest, juice and honey.
Garnish with roasted pumpkin and scatter over remaining coriander

Monday, November 15, 2010

COCONUT EGG CUSTARD...a healthy treat for anytime

 Coconut Egg Custard for breakfast?...yup, why not?!  this is a healthy version of an egg custard pie...full of protein, low in fat and carbs, so you can start your day out right with this guilt free dessert for breakfast.  don't get me wrong...this isn't really meant for breakfast only...i just prefer eating my dessert like goodies in the morning.  i usually make it the night before and then dream about it.  as i've said, breakfast is my favorite meal so i like to think fun, delicious and outside the box a little.

i make this in an 8 x 8 glass pyrex and cut it into 9 nice size squares for one of my favorite ready-made, quick and fun breakfasts.  it's fabulous and just right to start the day with some vanilla greek yogurt and fresh berries.  sometimes i'll drizzle a little ginger syrup over...YUMMMM.  oh...and this keeps really well for several days refrigerated in an airtight container...on with the recipe....


preheat oven to 350 f degrees
4 lrg eggs (real eggs work best, not eggbeaters)
2 c. milk (i use 1c. whole and 1c. skim)
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 c. low fat cottage cheese
1/2 c. baking splenda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract (more or less, depending on quality/strength)
1/4 c. wheat flour
1/4 c. almond flour/meal
1/4 cup unsweetened fine shredded coconut (a little extra if you want more texture)

put all ingredients in immersion blender works best!...i like to start with the eggs and 1 c. milk and cottage cheese and blend until there is no cottage cheese lumps left..then add in everything else and blend well...really well, about 3-4 minutes.  pour into greased 8 x 8 glass or ceramic baking dish OR a 10"-11" pie plate and cook for 40-45 min.  i turn mine twice during cooking to get and even top.  watch towards the end. don't be will puff up. jiggle to make sure the center is firm-ish and looks "set".  remove and let cool. serve warm or can be refrigerated and rewarmed piece at a time.  as i mentioned it holds up well.  it's great cold, but i like to take the chill off and let the egg custard flavors come alive.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


my dear fellow foodies...please accept my apologies.  i haven't posted anything new for over 2, TWO !, whole weeks.  i'm so sorry.  i've been having computer problems for quite a while and the hard drive finally gave up on me last week.  BUT...the good news is that we just got a MAC...YIPPIE !  i have a bit of learning to do and i'll be up and running as quick as possible.

i've been cookin' and shootin' loads of great stuff...Moroccan Goat Stew, Kitchen Sink Granola Bars, Chicken Curry, Coconut Egg Custard, Date-Nut Power Balls, 1/2 Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, South African Chicken Stew and so much more...oh...and this really great recipe from the beautiful Padma Lakshimi.  i've been watching her old show "The Melting Pot" that airs early in the morning on Sat. on the new Cooking Channel.  i love the stuff she cooks and her recipes are pretty easy, or at least she makes it look that way.

so...hang with me and check in later.  i'll piece something together ASAP.

Confit Style Roast Duck Legs

yes...i'm still riding the DUCK TRAIN...

and still lovin' every bite of it. if you're game (pardon the so sorry..they just slip out and i can't help it) please do try some duck cookin'. i think you might find it interesting and a bit more flavorful than the ever popular ever so over used chicken. i am continuously looking for things that have just that little extra something. duck has that rich flavor that chicken sometimes lacks. i recently cooked some duck breasts (expensive, by the way) and i thought it tasted like a cross between a good filet mignon and a perfectly cooked chicken. sounds odd, but it was like a flying cow. the texture was meaty and the flavor was poultry. the leg and thigh are a rich dark meat that are equally as tasty, but not so expensive...2 leg/thighs run about $5.00 as opposed to 2 breasts costing around $18.00 smackers.

if you haven't tried duck, i suggest you do. i found a recipe that is fairly easy and the end result is a roasted confit-style duck, but with a fabulous crispy skin. the truth is...i've never had REAL duck confit, so i have nothing to compare it to. i must say that now after all the duck i have been making i DO have enough rendered duck fat to make a good confit. i've read that it takes a few days to do a proper job of it.
one of these days i'll get to the real deal, but for now this Easy Duck Confit recipe will do just fine.
this great recipe was found at Simple Recipes posted by Hank Shaw. many many thanks to Hank and his pals at Simple Recipes for introducing a quick Confit by making it sound so easy and SIMPLE.


Duck legs-thigh attached (at least one per person)
duck fat.  not too much, but  have a little extra on hand for the size dish you are using and how many legs are cooking.
i also added fresh thyme to the salt rub and fresh tarragon, unpeeled garlic cloves and about 1/4 cup extra duck fat to the roasting dish as you can see in the photo above. i added the extra duck fat because my legs weren't snug in the dish and i though it would help in the confit-style cooking...not necessary if your legs are fatty (please don't take this out of context)...just use a dish that will fit the legs snug.

EDIT(10-29-2012)...from here on out i pretty much followed the method found at Simple Recipes.  it's an easy fun read so please check them out for their well thought out instructions.  
my additions were the thyme, tarragon, unpeeled garlic, extra duck fat....and i did not poke holes in the fatty duck skin...i gave it a few slashes with a sharp knife as you can see in the top photo.

make sure you save your duck fat.  mine was delicious after being infused with the herbs and garlic...i use it as "DUCK BUTTER" those concerned.  my apologies for not following up on the "edit" 2 yrs ago as i should have...and again, many thanks for the great short-cut confit recipe.

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