I love the Naked Chef: Smoothie Recipe

11 01 2009

I’m not sure I can handle his energy live.  I am sure that I would never have wanted him in my classroom, but there is something so adorable, fun and vibrant about Jamie Oliver and it is reflected in his recipes and his cooking.

I have been lucky enough to eat at the bar at Fifteen in London.  Everything was fab and I believe my husband and my mom were enjoying even sampling the salt!  It was a while ago so I don’t remember precisely what we ate, but I do remember the breads being divine.

Tonight we made his fresh pasta recipe and it was delicious paired with grandma’s home made Pound Ridge, NY pesto.  I decided to check out his other recipes and couldn’t resist sharing this one:

Jamie Oliver’s Fruit Smoothie


• 1 banana
• 2 ripe mangoes
• 400ml can coconut milk
• zest and juice of 1 lime
• a pinch of cardamom seeds, pods and husks removed, seeds pounded
a handful of ice cubes

to garnish
• a little lime zest
• freshly ground black pepper

Peel the banana slice it. Peel the mangoes, remove the pit and roughly chop the flesh. Put the fruit in a food processor or blender and blend together with the rest of the ingredients. Make sure you blend the mixture really well, then pour the fruit smoothie into a tall, chilled glass. Sprinkle over a bit of lime zest and some freshly ground black pepper. Drink straight away.

Bon appetit. ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: Jamie OliverFifteenFood Network(Jamie Oliver), Facebook (Jamie Oliver), Jamie’s Dinners(Book)


Recipe: Braised Monkfish with Bacon and Tomatoes (modified)

5 01 2009

I made this recipe from my Williams Sonoma Fish cookbook, but changed it a bit.

Before you head to the recipe,  here are my modifications.

I used a handful of cherry tomatoes per person.  I used pancetta instead of bacon because that is what I had in the fridge.  You could also try to use proscuitto and crips it in the oil, just allow less time.  Oh and I didn’t have any basil so I just left it out.

Once the dish was done, I left a little of the sauce in the pan after plating our dinner and added

2008 Year in Review: A Year of Seasonal Produce in New England

23 12 2008

It’s no secret that our growing season in the northeast is a short one.  New England has its last frost some time around the end of April by the coast and early June in the mountains and first frost can be any time from early September to the end of October.  This year many crops were hurt by some early ice storms.  Other crops did very well with the many days of rain early on in the season.

Here is a look at what a year’s worth of New England climate can give us for seasonal produce.  You will eat better and more “budget-friendly” if you eat seasonally.  Don’t let that stop you from an occasional indulgence in strawberries mid-winter.  We have a couple jars of freezer jam in the fridge from our fabulous crop of strawberries that grew early this summer.

I have linked some of the produce below to recipes for your enjoyment.


Vegetables: asparagus , beets , broccoli , cabbage , cauliflower , fiddleheads , garlic greens , greens , arugula , beet , bok choy , chard , collard , cress , dandelion , kale , mizuna , mustard greens , sorrel (the French make a great sorrel soup), tat soi , turnip , lettuce , mushrooms , parsnips , peas – snap and snow (the other favourite spring treat especially English peas) , radishes , rhubarb (one of my favourite spring treats) , spinach ,  sprouts

Fruit: apples , strawberries

Herbs: chives , cilantro , dill , marjoram , mint, oregano , parsley , sage , thyme


Vegetables: beets (Patricia Wells has a fabulous raw beet salad), broccoli , cabbage , carrots , cauliflower , celery , cucumbers , eggplant endive , fennel , garlic , green beans , kohlrabi (early in the season), lettuce , mushrooms , okra, onions – red and yellow , peppers – hot and sweet , potatoes – new , radicchio , scallions, sprouts , summer squash , sweet corn , tomatoes,tomatillos

Fruit: apricots (delish on puff pastry for a tart) ,blackberries , blueberries , cherries , currants , elderberries , gooseberries (great for jam), melons , nectarines , peaches , plums (also great for a puff pastry tart), raspberries

Herbs: basil , cilantro (also known as coriander), dill , marjoram , mint , parsley , rosemary , savory , tarragon


Vegetables: beets , broccoli , brussels sprouts , burdock (gobo) , cabbage , carrots* , cauliflower , celeriac , daikon*, fennel , garlic*, greens : arugula , bok choy , chard , collard , kale , mustard greens , mizuna, tat soi , and turnip , horseradish*, kohlrabi , leeks , lettuce , mushrooms , onions – red and yellow*, parsley , parsnips , potatoes*, pumpkins , radishes , rutabaga , scallions ., shallots*, sprouts , sweet potatoes ,  turnips , winter squash*

*This is the peak season for vegetables and fruit marked with a *, however they can be stored fairly long term in the proper conditions to be eaten throughout the seasons.

Fruit: apples* , apple cider*, Asian pears , cranberries , grapes , pears*, quince , raspberries

Seasonings: Hopefully you dried herbs from the spring and summer harvest to use for winter and fall.  You can also keep some herbs growing in a sunny window inside for a good part of the fall and winter.


Vegetables: beets, burdock (gobo), cabbage, carrots, celeriac, daikon1, garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke,, Early in the season:  kale, kohlrabi, and leeks, mushrooms, onions – red and yellow, parsnips, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, shallots, sprouts, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash

Fruit: apples*, apple cider*

Seasonings: Hopefully you dried herbs from the spring and summer harvest to use for winter and fall.  You can also keep some herbs growing in a sunny window inside for a good part of the fall and winter.

Recipes:  grilled seasonal vegetable pizzaoven roasted ratatouillealmond apricot tart,strawberry freezer jamrhubarb crisppotato gratin

For more info: The Northeast Regional Food Guide,Eating Seasonally

The First Night of Chanukah: A Latke Recipe or Two

20 12 2008

I made these latkes last year and have had a special request to serve them again. I am not a huge fan of variations on a theme, except perhaps in classical music, because I love tradition and tend to be a bit of a purist.  So to get around this, I usually prepare the classics and then try one new thing.

Last year, I made the No-Fry Potato Latkas (the Sweet Potato variation).  The con is that No-Fry kind of goes against the whole point of latkes and the story of Chanukah and the oil.  The pros are that you can prepare them in advance, they bake in the oven all at once so they are good for a party, and they are healthier.

So from now on, I make this recipe to have ready to go and then I have a batch of traditional latkes and some gluten-free ready to cook and serve fresh to our guests.

This no-fry recipe is from Norene Gilletz‘s Meal Lean I Yumm! I believe my bubbe bought it for me one year.  It was kind of an I love you and “have you put on more weight?” kind of gift that so many good Jewish mother and grandmothers buy for their children.  It’s the classic Jewish dilemma of “What you’re not eating?  You don’ t like my famous (name food here).  Have some more!” followed by “It looks like you might have put on a little weight.  Have you been eating too much chocolate?  I know it’s the noshing.”  The pros are: I love everything my grandmother cooks and no I can’t eat the quantity she offers, yes I like to nosh, and yes I put on weight.  The cons are:  I don’t really feel like talking about this right now in front of all these people and I’ll just take my cook book and get myself a glass of water…okay and perhaps a little nosh and find a quiet corner.  The reality is that once I flipped through the cook book I found a lot of good ideas and tips for healthier cooking and some great recipes.  This is one that’s a real crowd pleaser.

No-Fry Potato Latkas

I will list the ingredients, in case you need to make your shopping list and also because when I made the recipe I modified the ingredients slightly.

4 tsp. canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 large sweet potato (I prefer the white ones as they are less sweet)
Idaho potatoes (I think these are Russets)
1 medium onion
(if you still have some left from the farmer’s market this year…good for you!  If not buy more and store next season)
1 clove garlic, if desired (I don’t use garlic)
1 tbsp. fresh dill ( I don’t use dill either)
2 eggs plus 2 egg whites (or 3 whole eggs)
1/4 cup of flour (white or whole wheat)
1/2 tsp of baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper

For the cooking directions you can visit the recipe link here.   If you want you can also make some greatapplesauce with this simple method explained in the second to last paragraph of a post on making food approachable for my very picky son.

Bon appetit. ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: No-Fry LatkesLatkes on Chowhound,Gluten-free latkes (we serve these too), Chanukah Dinner Menu ideas (Food Network), traditional latkes

Holiday Survival Series: Breakfast For Dinner

12 12 2008

Okay parents.  It is that time of year.  We’re festive, we’re fun, we’re decorating, we’re shopping a little, we’re planning, we’re travelling, and we’re starting to get tired and cranky already.

Take a deep breath.  I decided that I would re-evaluate everything I am doing right now.  First I think: Is it necessary?  Yes, I suppose the kids do need to eat dinner.  Will they care or notice?  No, I don’t think the neighbour will care if I don’t drop off a jar of home-made cookie mix.  Will it make me stressed?  Yes, I don’t want to plan it right now, but If we have time, we’ll makes mixes as an afternoon activity before bed.

Okay, so dinner has to be made.  No groceries.  No problem.

“Kids!” I say and I know it’s not so novel to us but to them it’s a big deal to switch things up.  “We’re having breakfast for dinner!  Isn’t that funny?!”   Of course my daughter is a bit concerned that this isn’t quiteKosher to have breakfast for dinner, but she gets over it once I tell her she can have some dinner foods and some breakfast foods.  I make some french toast and feel good that my son is eating eggs that way.  I slice up some ham (or whatever cold cuts you have left in the fridge).  I found grapes, but apple slices are good too or bananas.  Et voila!  Dinner for breakfast.  We’re cleaned up and in bed by 7:00.  Phew!

Bon appetit.  ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: Breakfast for Dinner (Wondertime)

Oatmeal Cookie Mix

10 12 2008

This is taken from Canadian Living.  It was a holiday insert of theirs from a couple years ago.

The ingredients are layared into a clear jar.  Be sure to attach the instructions for cooking.  If you want to take it up a notch, get a basket to put the “fresh” ingredients in along with the mix.

The Mix

1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups large flake rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt.

Directions (for you)

In a tall wide-mouthed jar large enough to hold 5 cups (42 Fl. Oz) neatly layer the chocolate chips, cranberries, coconut and rolled oats, packing down each layer.  Sprinkle the cinnamon around the edge.

In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Spoon this mixture over the cinnamon and oats.

Seal the jar.  Print out the cooking directions and add your finishing touches to the packaging.

Directions (to add to the jar)


2/3 cup butter or soft margarine
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
Oatmeal Cookie Mix


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment
  3. In a bowl, beat butter with sugar until light, beat in egg.
  4. Stir in flour mixture from top of the mix until blended
  5. Stir in the rest of the ingredients from the jar.
  6. Drop by 1 Tbsp, 2 inches apart onto baking sheet
  7. Cook for 12-15 minutes until godlen on bottoms and edges are crisp.
  8. Transfer to rack and cool

Bon appetit. ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info:
Chipper Cookie Mix (also from Canadian Living)

Cantaloupe and Prosciutto

2 12 2008

This is hardly a recipe, but the ingredients really matter.  This is an appetizer that takes a fabulous ingredient and highlights it.  This is also a finger food that can stretch your dollar.  You don’t need a lot of this prosciutto to go a long way.  If you are having a dinner party serve this as your salad course.  For a cocktail party, cut the melon smaller and add a toothpick to make it a finger food.

If you add the endive cru and a couple tartines as well as some olives, fancy crackers, some cheeses if you like and a couple of the frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Bakers Best then you have a great menu for a cocktail party.   Just add ice and beverages.

For a holiday open house add some platters of crudites with dips (this is easy to do yourself or if you’re crunched for time you can buy it prepared), skewers of fruit, and some cookies or bars for dessert.  To drink, throw a pot of apple cider on the stove with some spice. You can have one pot for the under 21 crowd and another spiked for those in need.

Cantaloupe & Prosciutto

Buy one great cantaloupe.
For a dinner party, get six slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele
For a larger party get 10 – 12 slices (Ask the deli to let you taste some of the local proscuittos and you may find one you like at a fraction of the price.)

I find it easiest to cut the cantaloupe in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then using a knife, slice the skin off of the cantaloupe.

Slice the cantaloupe into crescent slices for a dinner party.  The rest of the cantaloupe can be cubed for the little ones to snack on.  Take a slice of prosciutto and cut it in half lengthwise.  I just pull it apart and it usually splits naturally somewhat down the middle.  Then either gather it atop the crescent cantaloupe slice or wrap it around the fruit.

For a cocktail party just make rectangular cubes of the cantaloupe and gather small strips of the prosciutto on top.  Then skewer them together with a toothpick and serve on plate.

Bon appetit. ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: Produce Picker BlogcastDown Home ProsciuttoNY TImes looks at Country Ham and ProsciuttoHot Spiked Apple Cider