Quick and Easy Potato chips
What you’ll need:
- Mandolin slicer
- Parchment paper
- Potatoes or sweet potatoes (when I made this I used little Yukon golds, larger potatoes will give you normal size chips)
- Vegetable oil
- Scrub your choice of potato and get slicing. Your Slices should be paper-thin.
- Place slices in a ziplock bag and coat them with about one tablespoon of oil.
- Put parchment paper on a microwave safe dinner plate and line with the well-coated potato slices.
(I was lazy and didn’t separate the slices which resulted in a giant beautiful potato chip flower, it was still delicious though.)
Microwave 4-5 minutes depending on your microwave.
- Cook until they turn slightly brown.
- Remove from plate and place on a paper towel, sprinkle with salt. Or if you are feeling adventurous get inventive and sprinkle crushed rosemary and garlic salt or cinnamon and sugar chips sound good too. Whatever your heart desires.
- Get cooking and enjoy!
Coconut Red Curry Tempeh
What do you do when your chicken is still frozen and your dinner is need of a super protein punch? You break out the tempeh, of course. Tempeh is whole soybeans that have been cooked and fermented into a cake form. It is not tofu. I hate tofu. Tofu is nasty and spongy and all around gross. Tempeh, on the other hand, isn’t as processed as tofu since its made from the whole bean so retains its protein and texture. Whole Foods sells different varieties of tempeh, they are all yummy. For this recipe I used the 3 grain tempeh from Trader Joe’s.
Coconut Red Curry Tempeh:
- 8 oz. Tempeh (chopped into bite size pieces)
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp Red Curry paste
- 1 Tsp of Palm Sugar (brown or white sugar will work too)
- 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 lime
- Handful of Cilantro (chopped)
- In a pan heat the Coconut oil and begin to sauté the tempeh on medium heat.
- Once it is slightly browned on both sides remove and place on a plate.
- Add half the can of coconut milk to the warm pan and bring to a simmer.
- Let it simmer about 2 minutes and then add the red curry paste.
- Stir and press the paste until it is completely combined. If you like a super spicy dish add another tablespoon of red curry paste.
- Stir in the rest of the coconut milk.
- Stir in the sugar and fish sauce.
- Return the tempeh to the pan of sauce and add the juice of half a lime and the chopped cilantro.
- Stir coating all the tempeh.
- Turn the heat to low and let the flavors fuse together for a few minutes.
Serve over rice or noodles.
My husband and I love granola. We eat it as cereal and a must-have yogurt topping. Honestly, I can’t have yogurt without it.
But one morning, while reading the ingredients label in one of those I-have-nothing-better-to-do-than-read-a-label moments, I started wondering about all the extraneous ingredients. Canola oil? Modified cornstarch? Refiners syrup? I thought I was eating oats, nuts and honey and being super healthy! These unknown (to me) ingredients did NOT make me feel healthy, especially when I had to Google the ones I couldn’t pronounce.
I was very disappointed, considering the granola was not cheap. So I decided to make my own, free of oils and such. I gathered ideas from the almighty Internet and haven’t bought another bag of granola since.
(You can use all organic products if it makes you feel healthier. Either way, both your body and your bank account are going to thank you.)
- 3 Cups Whole Oatmeal –I use Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats, but it works with Quaker quick oats too.
- 1 Cup chopped nuts of your choice (I use raw unsalted almonds)
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp Chia seeds
- 1/3 Cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 Cup pure maple syrup (NOT table syrup)
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Don’t stir too much–let some of those brown sugar clumps remain.
- Transfer onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I coat mine with Trader Joe’s Coconut oil spray).
- Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes – depending on your oven. Mix around about halfway through. I like chewier granola so I only cook for about 25 minutes, but if you like crunchier experiment with the time and leave it in a little longer.
- Gently gather the edges of the parchment and transfer to a heat safe surface to cool; it could continue to cook if you leave it on the tray to cool. Then put it in an airtight container and enjoy!
Experiment and make it your own. Add flax seed and dried fruit like cranberries, apricots or dates; the world is your oyster. Just remember: when you start adding and subtracting ingredients, your cooking time might change. So just keep an eye on it. (One time I forgot to add the brown sugar and it still tasted good just not as sweet, so that’s an option too.)
Summers in South Florida can be brutal – this time of year the “Sunshine State” is a misnomer and should be renamed “the Monsoon” State, not to mention dealing with: 100% humidity, mosquitos with weight and abundance you didn’t think possible in nature, hurricane threats and overly crowded beaches (when you do get those few afternoons of clear skies).
Have you booked your vacation flight yet?
While all of these things could make for a helluva time, there are some glorious moments during the summer and typically they involve going to the farmer’s market. Summer’s true beauty in South Florida comes in its produce. People practically pushing mangos in your hands begging you to take them home. Avocado’s a-plenty, any kind of berry and a myriad of other treats, peaked to deliciousness.
My favorite bounty of the summer is tomatoes. All kinds; vine ripened, beef steak, heirloom, cherry, grape, red, yellow, and green – I truly love them all. And while it’s still impossible for me to eat one raw, like an apple, I’ve seen this done. NOT for me. But here are a few of my favorite ways to play with nature’s line jumper of vegetable / fruit.
Slow Oven Roasted
For a great addition to a cheese platter – try slow oven roasted grape tomatoes.
- Slice a pint or two of small grape tomatoes in half, can use red or yellow or a mixture of both.
- Spread the halves over a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Drizzle over 1 Tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and about 5 fresh sprigs of thyme.
- Roast for 4-6 hours in a low 225 degree oven (this will prevent the house from becoming too hot!)
- The tomatoes should be chewy and sweet (remove them if they get too crispy).
- Store in air tight jars with 4 tablespoons of olive oil to cover.
We often have something my father dubbed “Pasta Pomodoro” for dinner in the summer.
- Finely dice one small white onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, and 5-6 vine ripe tomatoes (any variety of red tomatoes work here)
- Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant and translucent (5-6 minutes) on medium heat with 2 tsp of olive oil.
- Add the diced tomatoes, 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste, ½ tsp of oregano, ½ tsp of red pepper flakes (more for spicy!) 1 scant tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.
- Sauté for about 10 minutes, really letting the tomatoes expel their juices and create your sauce, then add ¼ of dry white wine
- Let the wine reduce out and finally add another summer treat, basil (about 5-8 leaves roughly chopped)
- Toss with ½ lb of your favorite short cut pasta (we love penne and cavatappi)
- Sprinkle with an obscene amount of parmesan cheese to serve.
Caprese With A Twist
A friend of mine told me about this summer salad, a twist on the traditional Caprese salad. She switches out the green element, instead of basil leaves she adds diced avocado.
- For a single serving or this salad, chop one large beefsteak tomato (again the tomato can be interchangeable with whatever is on hand) in large cubes
- Add a handful of diced mozzarella cheese 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar and 1 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil
- Toss with salt and pepper to taste
- Then gently fold in one small diced Haas Avocado (these tend to be creamier in my opinion). Re-season if necessary.
These are basically NON-recipes – just guidelines to create simple and easy dishes using the best local produce around because really no one wants to slave away in the kitchen when it’s 90 pushing in the shade. Happy summer!
Tomato Soup With Croutons
This serves 2 adults and 2 picky kids that want no more than 1/3 cup in their bowl.
What you’ll need for the soup:
- 4-quart pot
- Immersion blender, blender, or food processor
- 2 Tbsps butter
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 -14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes -do not drain
- 1 -14.5 oz. can chicken broth
- Handful of baby carrots coarsely chopped
- 3 large basil leaves
What you’ll need for the croutons:
- Baking sheet
- French baguette, fresh or stale
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Garlic Salt
- Melt butter in pot over medium heat and add garlic. Stir garlic around for a minute or two; don’t let it burn like I tend to do.
- Add both cans of tomatoes with the juice, carrots and the broth. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower to a simmer, throw in the basil leaves, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover and cook until carrots are tender, around 15 minutes.
- Now my favorite part, move pot to a cool burner and begin the blending. If you have an immersion blender simply put it in the pot and blend until you get to your desired texture. If you are using a blender, work in batches and be careful blending hot liquids. When I mix hot liquids in the blender I remove the center of the lid and cover with a towel this helps avoid a hot soup explosion, same goes for if you are using a food processor. Note that your towel will be covered in the soup once you are finished.
On days when I’m feeling extra picky I’ll finish blending and then strain the soup through a sieve. I take the mush left behind and add a couple tablespoons of water then blend again. Once the mush is sufficiently liquefied I add it back to the soup. Now it’s nice and smooth.
(image credit: peters paradise) If your children are still not digging the soup or you want a little more, add some frozen meatballs and ABC noodles to the already blended product and continue to cook. Now you basically have a healthier version of Spaghettios.
While the soup cooks start on the croutons. They are so simple.
- Cut half a French baguette into small cubes. In a bowl toss cubes with olive oil and garlic salt.
- Spread croutons on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for approximately 8 minutes mixing halfway through.
- It’s alright if they get a little too crisp because you are going to put them in the soup, but they are really delicious when they are equal parts crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.