The Bitter Truth on Bitter Greens

Bitter greens are, well, bitter! They’re sophisticated, they’re beautiful and they’re healthy. But the bitter truth is that they’re bitter! Don’t make the mistake of using too many bitter greens or pairing them poorly. Most people do not love a mouthful of bitterness. Yep, that’s me after a mouth full of bitterness.

Bitter Greens!

Here are some tips on keeping the bitterness out of bitter greens:

Pair them well. Bitter greens like endive, tatsoi, watercress and mizuna go well with a nice balsamic vinegar. The vinegar breaks down the bitterness and counters it with acidity.  Same with lemon. Unlike regular greens, they can endure more time with acids before breaking down into mush.

Why so bitter? Because this salad is 90% bitter greens!
Why so bitter? Because this salad is 90% bitter greens!

Go light. A mixed greens salad should be mixed – not overwhelmed with bitter greens. Throw in some extra romaine and some shredded carrots to offset the heavy bitter flavor if your “baby mix” looks like a “bitter mix.”

Not all greens are alike. Arugula (or roket) can come in variations whose bitterness can range from almost undetectable to sour lemon face inducing. Make sure you can take the bitterness before you dish it out.

Put them on the side. Arugula is a popular middle eastern pizza topping, but you don’t have to put it on the pizza for people. Offer it up in a salad bowl and let people put it on themselves.

Chicken Wings: Asian Honey Sesame and Soy

Forget frozen chicken wing appetizers – you can do your own just as easy and much cheaper. Using just a few ingredients and frozen chicken wings, you can have a fun, visually appealing main dish, snack or appetizer to make on the fly. No defrosting required and unlike store bought appetizers, no artificial colors, flavors OR preservatives. Just good ingredients, a little bit of time and there you go!

Asian Chicken Wings

Ingredients

Chicken Wings, Minced Garlic, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Honey, Sesame Seeds

Instructions

1. Marinade the fully frozen chicken wings (separated) in the garlic, honey, soy and sesame oil in a deep (at least 1.5 inch) baking dish. The amount of marinade depends on the amount of chicken – you don’t need much to start with.
Frozen Chicken Wings Marinating

2. Bake in an oven at 325 degrees until they start to brown. When they start to brown, turn them over. The wings should be cooking in liquid now, so they’re not just baking, they’re roasting and softening into fall off the bone wings! Add some soy if there is not enough liquid. Sprinkle with sesame seeds once they are browned.

Halfway Cooked Asian Chicken Wings

3. Keep roasting until all of the wings are a deep dark brown. Raise the temperature at the end to 350, but be sure you have enough liquid in the pan. You can cook these from 45 minutes for a more chewy chicken, or go a full 1 1/2 hours for fall off the bone chicken wings (my preference!) And these guys do not need dipping sauce:)

Sesame Soy Chicken Wings

Chicken Wing TIP: You barely have to worry about burning wings when you do them slow roasted style in plenty of liquid in a deeper pan, like in the recipe above. The liquid protects the wings and the long slow cooking tenderizes the chicken.

Easy Salmon Recipe

Salmon can be easy! Follow this simple salmon recipe and you’re guaranteed success. I’ve included not just the recipe, but tips to make sure your salmon turns out just right.

Asian Salmon: Salmon Lemon Pepper with Soy
Easy Salmon

Ingredients

Salmon Fillets

Fresh Lemons

Soy Sauce

Ground Black Pepper

Dollup of Butter (Optional)

Small Roasting Pan

Lemon Soy Salmon

Instructions

In a small roasting pan – not much bigger than the salmon fillets, put your fresh or thawed salmon. The pan MUST not be large! For easier clean up, line the pan with parchment paper.

Add the juice of one lemon and soy sauce until there’s about 1/4″ of sauce in the pan – this is the key to not overcooking! Sprinkle with ground pepper, cover with the lemon skins from the squeezed lemon and bake. Add a dollup of butter if you want.

Since salmon varies in size, cook until the edges start to brown. One reason why salmon recipes go wrong is because they assume all salmon is the same size – it isn’t. Nor is it always the same fat content. Watch for it to brown, then it’s done! This one is done, but paranoid me had to check it anyways – oh well:) ENJOY!

Beautiful French Desserts: Jean Luc Pele in Cannes

French desserts are some of the best in the world! Feast your eyes on some of my travel photos from France and drool:) These pictures are from the Jean Luc Pele in Cannes. We opted for some macaroons and they were DELICIOUS!

So much to choose from!
So much to choose from!

Macarons and Homemade Chocolate Nut Bark DisplayReally? You need to tempt me even more with tantalizing displays?!Berries Desserts Display

More French DessertsAre you visiting Cannes and want to find this delightful shop? It’s down the street pictured below – just look for the Jean Luc Pele shop and hold on to your wallet tight. It’s not cheap, but definitely worth it!  42 Rue d’Antibes and you’re there.

Rue d'Antibes is much more fun than the overpriced and not so glam anymore La Croisette. You'll find Jean Luc Pele on 42 Rue d'Antibes.
Rue d’Antibes is much more fun than the overpriced and not so glam anymore La Croisette. You’ll find Jean Luc Pele on 42 Rue d’Antibes.

Want to see more eye candy and tummy temptations from Jean Luc Pele? Here are pictures from his Engish site on macaroons, pastries and chocolates. Enjoy!

Cream of Broccoli Homemade

You will never buy cream of broccoli soup again once you master this recipe! I used to buy condensed soups, then moved on to fresh in the fridge soups and now make my own. It’s liberating and cheap! Here is one of my winter go-to buddies: cream of broccoli soup using 100% fresh ingredients and gluten free!

Homemade Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup Homemade

Ingredients

Large Fresh Broccoli (1 Lb. or so)

1 Large Potato

1 Cup Fresh Cream (10-15% Fat) OR 1/2 Cup Fresh Cream + 1/2 Cup Whole Milk

Butter

Salt

Pepper

1 Medium Onion

1 Cup Water

Instructions

Cut your broccoli into large chunks, wash, rinse and steam. While the broccoli is steaming, heat 2-4 Tbsp of butter (as much as it takes to cover the pot surface) in a large pot on low. Quickly dice 1 medium onion and add it to the butter, raising the temperature slightly. While the onion is cooking, peel and dice 1 large potato. When the onions are translucent, add the diced potato and 1 cup of water (more water if it doesn’t cover the potato). Don’t be so hard on yourself if you brown some of them – it won’t make a huge difference, just aim for translucence. Using a potato instead of flour keeps it gluten free!

Raise the temperature on the soup and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are soft. At this point, your broccoli is probably finished. I like mine to be a bit bright green to retain a bit of crispiness, but still soft enough for soup. Remind yourself of what it looked like before you cooked it and try to keep the color close. When it’s finished cooking, put it in the food processor and chop it fine (or blender).

Using potatoes as the starchy base instead flour is great for gluten free folks!
Using potatoes as the starchy base instead flour is great for gluten free folks!
Don't cook out the nutrients! Overcooking broccoli can reduce its healthiness.
Don’t cook out the nutrients! Overcooking broccoli can reduce its healthiness.

When the broccoli is blended up, add it back into the potato mixture and heat. When the potatoes are soft, remove the whole liquid to the food processor and blend. You can blend it finely, or loosely. Slowly add the cream or milk to the mixture as it blends. Remove from the blender, heat and then serve! You can make it as soft or chunky as you want – just blend more for smooth soup and less for chunky.

Cream of Broccoli TIP: For super chunky broccoli bits, set aside part of the broccoli before you chop it finely, cut it into the chunky size you want and then add it back into the soup after you have blended everything.

Cream of TIP: You can use the same recipe to make cream of cauliflower! This is an amazing gluten free base for lots of different creamy soup recipes.

Love creamy soups? Try my condensed cream of mushroom replacement soup recipe and never buy canned again!

Gluten Free Pizza on Thin Rice Cakes

Pizza! It’s a favorite, but one of the hardest recipes to do gluten free. I have a solution! Pizza rice cakes. Here is the most simple recipe you’ll ever see for 5 minute gluten free pizza.

Gluten Free Rice Cake Thins Pizza

Ingredients

Rice Cake Thins, Pizza Sauce (or Sweetened Tomato Paste), Pizza Cheese

Instructions

On a parchment paper, set out the rice cake thins (you can use regular rice cakes too). Spread the tomato paste or pizza sauce and cover with cheese. If you use thins, add another rice cake thin, cover with sauce and then cheese.

Rice Cake Pizza

When you’ve got it all covered, place your ready to bake rice cakes in the oven. Bonus is that you can do this in the toaster – no mess, no hot house and no preheating!

Rice Cake Ready to Bake

Pop it in the toaster oven until browned and THAT’S IT! Less than 5 minutes from hungry belly to full plate:)

 

The finished product - YUM!
The finished product – YUM!

Inspired by Lundberg Farms Pizza Cakes.