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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Egg and Spinach Salad with Blackberry Dressing

Boring salads are dead to me. We've all seen the same salads topped with the same dressing for decades. Don't get me wrong, I love a good balsamic vinaigrette on field greens; but why stop there?

This spinach salad celebrates a mix of farm goodies from squash and sage to green beans and eggs. Blackberry jam stands in for the flavor role in the dressing and it's surprising how well it combines with the roasted squash.

Topping the salad with a poached egg is genius. The runny yolk dripping over the entire thing adds a richness that helps the salad become a satisfying meal.

Don't stand for blah. put something interesting on your Fat and Happy plate today. It's Dave approved too!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Argentina Street Meat; Turkey Fenel Slaw Sandwich

Grilled meat as far at the eye could see. That pretty much sums up Argentina.

One of my favorite grilled grub was the simple street meat we encountered on our final day in Buenos Aires. Along a bike path overlooking a bird sanctuary, we encountered a mile-long stretch covered end to end with street vendors slinging grilled sandwiches.

Smoke billowed across the sky as the vendors flipped strips of meat and plump chorizo sausages. The difference between each vendor wasn't the meat or the grill. Nor was it the ridiculously long sandwich itself (each individual loaf resembled my forearm!)

The real difference filled dozens of large bowls strewn out on long brightly colored tables. Each bowl carried a mystery topping and no two looked alike. Marinated tomatoes, pickled onions, salted lettuce, chimichurri salsas, and even a creamy blue cheese-like concoction. Every bowl held a different flavor and an opportunity for endless sandwich creations.

Hungry patrons weren't limited by standard American trimmings of ketchup, mustard and pickles. Next to the infinite salad topping accoutrements sat unlabeled squeeze bottles oozing with local goodness. Regulars grabbed their favorites with ease while we stood baffled by the countless choices. Tip: ordering your sandwich 'completo' will gain you a slice of ham and and a fried egg.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gluten Free Pasta

Many friends and family in my life are living a gluten free lifestyle. It would be rude of me to ignore their desire for a big bowl of freshly made pasta while the rest of us sit stuffing our faces.

 Rolling by hand rather than on a pasta machine, cooking in simmering water rather than boiling- gluten free pasta requires a delicate touch and a light hand, but it really is worth it. It eats the same - absolutely wonderful tossed with simple butter, fresh herbs, black pepper and cheese.

It took me many rounds of trial and error, but with the help of the right flour, this pasta can pass for gluten eaters too.

I'll never forget the day I placed a pile of fresh, gluten free ravioli in front of my friend Amy. At the first bite she was transported to more comforting time when white flour was not the enemy. She ultimately came back to the present to tell the tale that this was her first ravioli she's had in over 15 years. I swear there was a tear in her eye at the time.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spinach Pie aka Mock Spinach Empanada

We are off to the land of empanadas and grilled meat to eat until our bellies are bursting. Amazing food coupled with tours in wine country makes Argentina the perfect place for us to spend a few weeks recharging,

A true empanada, whether Argentinian or Spanish, would be wrapped in dough made from scratch; however not everyone wants to or has time to undertake scratch dough. That's where frozen phyllo dough steps in to produce a delicious mock empanada.

Light, airy and crunchy pockets of dough stuffed with sauteed garlicky spinach and melted rich white cheddar cheese.... whether you call it an empanada or a spinach pie, it's filling, tasty and flat out outstanding. Eat these while hot or at room temperature with a fresh side salad.


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