kale & eggs

Most of the time, I like to think that my cooking style is simple with a touch of elegance. (Never underestimate the power of 2 drops of truffle oil) While I love some of the “fancy” ingredients that I may use from time to time, I really have an appreciation for simple food. Quality food doesn’t need much, which is certainly the case in this meal.

The last few times I’ve visited my parents, I’ve come home with grocery bags full of kale – fresh from my Dad’s garden. The first time, the Taster and I ate almost the entire bag in one sitting – by simply sauteing it with some olive oil and salt. I received another bag last weekend and once again wanted nothing more than sautéed kale. Topping it with an egg upgrades this from side dish to main dish status and in my opinion, gives it that elegant edge.

Kale & Eggs - 1 serving

  • Fresh kale (I used about 8 cups)
  • Organic Egg

Clean kale and remove thick stem. Cut into about 2″ squares. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add kale to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile heat small pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray and crack egg into pan. Cover with lid and cook for about 3 minutes, until whites are set. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve egg over kale.

project food blog #3: luxury dinner party

All good meals start with prosecco. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Luxury Dinner Parties conjure up an array of memories – I think of my Aunt Frances whose parties always included champagne and caviar. I think of Dinner Club, my parents group of 4 couples who have dinner together once a month and have been doing so for almost 30 years. I’d say they know a thing or two about dinner parties. I think of my friend Mercedes who always has the perfect place settings and exceptional desserts.

But I haven’t hosted many dinner parties on my own. I generally fall back on cocktail party type get togethers. I’m not sure why – maybe because our table only seats 4, our dishes are terrible and honestly, I don’t particularly like having to leave the party to finish a meal in the kitchen!

Challenge #3 was about to change that. Hosting a Luxury Dinner Party for at least 4 was the challenge and I have to say that planning, preparing and enjoying the company of family over dinner was just that – enjoyable. You can expect to see more dinner parties from me!

Planning Ahead:

  • Theme: pick a theme and carry it out throughout all courses, drinks and decor
  • Timing: dinner parties require time management and planning ahead. Sure I would have loved to make the gnocchi from scratch but yoga, work and a drive to Wisconsin did not allow that time – my meal needed to come together quickly. I also know that not everyone has full days to spend on dinner parties. I had about an hour to prep for my meal, and sometimes you may only have an hour (or worse!) but you can make it work!
  • Place Settings: I prefer white plates and cloth napkins with simple decor. Fresh flowers are always a nice touch.

The Menu:

  • Courses: I rarely make a dessert but this occasion called for one. Decide how many courses you will serve.
  • Food: I started with the gnocchi to go along with my Italian theme and since that would be somewhat rich, I wanted the other courses to remain light. Feeling stuffed may mean the food was fantastic but it certainly isn’t an enjoyable way to end the evening. Let’s also not forget that I’m a Nutritionist and a strong believer in portion control. :)
  • Drinks: I always like to start with prosecco, whether the meal is an Italian one or not. I also served Italian Red & White wines as well as beer.

Antipasti: Antipasto Platter: Olives, Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers, Prosciutto & Pecorino Romano

Insalata: Garden Lettuce & Parsley Salad with Lemon Viniagrette

Gnocchi: Potato Gnocchi with Olive Oil & Parmesan

Dolci: Cannoli Cream with Fresh Berries

Most importantly however is that the host should never be stuck in the kitchen the whole night. You should choose dishes that can easily be made ahead of time, or can be thrown together rather quickly at the end. It’s imperative that the majority of the prep is complete by the time your guests arrive. Oh, and have fun! That’s what it’s all about anyway – sure lucious food makes for a great party, but it all comes down to the company you share it with!

Buon Appetito!

Thanks for your support in getting me to the next round! Voting starts tomorrow for Challenge #3!

ask the nutritionist: what to do with truffle oil

Last Christmas I picked up a bottle of truffle oil for my Mom. Apparently I thought she wanted or desperately needed it like I do. We are now nearing October and I doubt the truffle oil has even been opened (the horror, I know!) and so the question arose – what do I do with truffle oil?

I will start by saying that the tiny, but expensive bottles of truffle oil really do last longer than they look like they might.  The flavor is strong, so typically a few drops is enough and chances are you aren’t going to use it everyday, so if you’ve ever been tempted to pick it up, my recommendation is to get it. You can thank me later.

Ideas for Truffle Oil:

  • drizzle on popcorn
  • drizzle over fries with parmesan cheese
  • mixed into mashed potatoes
  • mushroom pizza (saute mushrooms and finish with truffle oil)
  • scrambled eggs
  • on burgers (truffle burger with brie cheese on an english muffin)
  • homemade mac & cheese

Recipes for Truffle Oil:

Wild Mushroom & Truffled Brie

Truffled Deviled Eggs

Truffled Pasta with Spinach

Mushroom Pâté

Navy Bean & Artichoke Salad

Pan Fried Thyme Potatoes with Baked Eggs & Truffle Oil (from Eating for England)

Do you have truffle oil? What do you use it on?

mini greek pizza

Only this isn’t the kind of pizza you may be thinking of.  My friend Megan and I lived together in college and while we didn’t survive on ramen noodles, we did have our share of simple meals. One of our favorites was what we called “Mexican Pizzas.” A tortilla, refried beans, shredded cheese and enchilada sauce all microwaved until the cheese is melted and gooey. Just thinking about it makes me miss those “simple” dinners of ours! (We never rolled up the tortillas, which is apparently why they weren’t burritos :) )

Well, here is the Greek version! Made with pita bread, hummus, feta cheese and any toppings you have on hand. All broiled until the cheese is hot and the pita bread crispy. Fast enough to qualify as a snack, but delicious enough to qualify as a meal!

Greek Pizza - 1 serving

  • whole grain pita bread
  • hummus
  • feta cheese
  • toppings: red peppers, olives, tomatoes, chopped onions

Layer hummus, cheese and toppings on pita bread and broil on high for about 5 minutes until bread is golden brown.