Prince?? Really??

Dammit. I can’t wrap my head around this. Three people texted me in all caps, “PRINCE” and I checked Twitter and figured it was a hoax (a sick one), but, nope, not so much. It was true. Price was gone. When your musical idols start dying….first Bowie and now Prince. Too many people from the entertainment industry have died this year. Enough already. 2016 is the year of death. Fuck this.

His music was on my teenage life soundtrack for Chrissakes. His music made people happy and get up and dance. He was a true musical genius. Those vaults of unpublished music that we’ll never hear….Sigh. To say that he will be sorely missed worldwide is an understatement. I hope the Empire State Building is lit up in all purple tonight. Rest in Peace, Prince.

Let’s all sing….

Purple Rain

Chickpea, Broccoli and Carrot Salad with Lemon-Mayo-Mustard-Olive Oil Dressing

Chickpea, broccoli, carrot salad with mustard-mayo-olive oil-lemon dressing. Delicious!

Chickpea, broccoli, carrot salad with mustard-mayo-olive oil-lemon dressing. Delicious!

Sometimes I think I can be a raw foodist, but then I remember how much I love sweet potato fries and my Mom’s homemade, warm chocolate chip cookies and I scrap that idea. I can be an occasional raw foodist, one who eats a lot of various kinds of salads, right? Right. In fact, this was my lunch today.

  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 C chopped carrots
  • 1/2 C broccoli florets (cut really tiny)
  • 1/4 C chopped onions

Dressing

Whip together the following in a small bowl:

  • 2 TB dijon mustard (I used OrganicVille brand)
  • 2TB Mayo
  • healthy glog of extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half (or a whole) a lemon

Put chopped veggies and chickpeas in a large bowl, drizzle the dressing and mix until the beans and veggies are well-coated. I measured out the dressing and it’s about 1/3 of a cup. I did add a little more mustard because the flavor is just so nice.

Spring Avocado Basil Pesto with Pasta

I really love pesto of any sort: basil, kale, swiss chard, you name it, I’ll eat it. So, I decided to try a new recipe out that had been in my head for awhile and, lo and behold, it was delicious! Even G. loved it (he had two helpings of pasta). This dish just screams spring!

  • 1 avocado, seeded and halved
  • 1.5oz pkg of basil, washed
  • couple glugs of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Pecorino Romano (optional)
  • cooked pasta of your choice

Cook your pasta, whatever shape you decide, (I used gemeli, about 2 cups uncooked), set aside in a large bowl. Add avocado halves, basil, olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Use your best judgment with the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bam, you’re done. Add pesto by spoonfuls to the cooked pasta (you don’t want to over-saturate it), and serve. I added a bit of grated Pecorino to our servings and halved grape tomatoes to mine. This goes well with red or white wine too.

Smoky Lentil Mushroom Soup

lentil mushroom soup

Nice and warm on a snowy February day.

I was in 70 degree and sunny temps in FL the other day…only to come back to 27 degrees and snow in NYC. So, why not make some soup? Not that soup fills the void of fresh Florida produce like tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes….Oh well. I think this soup would benefit from some homemade croutons sprinkled on top and a glass of red wine. Enjoy!

  • 2-3TB olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 package of white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2C. red wine
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth
  • 1 14oz.can of diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
  • 2 cans of lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 container of spinach, rinsed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoky paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

(Use a Dutch Oven or soup pot) Heat pot first, over medium heat, when pot is hot, add olive oil and then add shallots and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and yellow pepper and cook for another few minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add half cup of red wine and stir. Let the wine cook down, then add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and then the lentils and spices, stir. Then cover and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Add the spinach just before you’re about to eat and let that get wilted. Serve with crusty bread or, make some whole wheat bread croutons* and sprinkle on top of soup. Serves 4 with some leftovers.

*To make croutons: Cut two slices of whole wheat or whole grain bread into 1 inch pieces. Heat 2TB of butter in a pan, add bread and make sure the bread is coated with the melted butter. If bread isn’t coated, then add a little olive oil. Add some salt, pepper to taste.

Browned Butter Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies!

browned butter oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies!

This cookie has all my favorite flavors: browned butter, chocolate chips, oatmeal, coconut and a little bit of saltiness. You could also add some toasted pecans for an extra kick. Ahhhh!!! (head explodes).

  • 1 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 C unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. fleur de sel (more for sprinkling on top of cookies)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 C dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 – 1/4 c white sugar (I used about 1/8C)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TB molasses
  • 1 1/2 c. dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C unsweetened coconut (toasting optional)*
  • 3 C. old fashioned rolled oats (not steel cut. You could use instant, but I wouldn’t recommend it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brown the butter

To brown the butter: add two sticks to saucepan, on low to medium heat. Let butter melt, then it will froth/bubble up, stir it with spatula in order to prevent burning. The bubbles will die down and the butter will start to crackle. The proteins of the butter are sinking to the bottom and after a second bubbling, the bits on the bottom will start to turn a little brown and the butter will change to a more amber color. This whole process will take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t burn the butter, we want it browned. Remove from heat and transfer melted butter and brown bits to a bowl to cool while you assemble the other ingredients. I set my bowl of butter next to an open window, which speeded up the cooling down process. (As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t want to add hot butter to the eggs because we don’t want scrambled eggs).

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, spices in a bowl, set aside.

Once browned butter is cooled, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer, along with the sugars, mix until nice and smooth, which is 2 minutes or so. Add the vanilla, molasses and eggs and beat for three minutes until it’s light and smooth in texture. Then add the flour mixture and beat until combined. (PS-don’t do what I do sometimes and accidentally switch the mixer speed to medium or high, or else you’ll be covered in flour [it WAS funny at the time]. Start slow and then increase the mixer speed. Add the coconut, mix well. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, add the oatmeal and chocolate chips (and pecans if using).
I used a 2 tsp cookie scoop for the cookies because I thought a 1 1/2 TB scoop was too big. But, use whatever you prefer. Allow a couple inches between the cookies. You’ll want to gently flatten the cookie balls and add a sprinkle of fleur de sel to the tops. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as you want the cookies to just be slightly brown around the edges. Once out of the oven, let cookies rest for 5 minutes, then cool on racks. Cookies will last a week in an airtight container…well, unless you have a Cookie Monster around.

*As I was talking about this recipe with G., I thought that toasting the coconut and then pulvarizing it using a spice grinder would be a good idea. That might be a more complex flavor element. Ah, next time!