April 28, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

As we go into week 8 of our kitchen renovation, I am experiencing deep baking withdrawal. Although I have to admit, being ovenless has been an acceptable excuse for not cooking and baking.

I thought it would be relaxing and a well deserved break, but to be honest, it’s been hard…..like really hard.

So instead of banging out creations week after week, I’ve succumbed to pouring over pictures of wall colours, countertops, taps, lighting and other various kitchen paraphernalia that has landed me into more trouble than you want to know about with my husband (and the contractor).

Just when they thought it was safe ……….I come up with another “brilliant” idea”.

What was it this week?

A pot filler.

Yes.

A pot filler. You’ve seen them. They are stuck on the wall over the cooktop and conveniently dispense hot and cold water directly into your pot on the stove. GENIUS.

When we first started to design our kitchen, the contractor asked me if I wanted one. Then, two of my friends who are interior designers said, “you’re getting a pot filler, right?” Of course I said YES and my husband said NO.

Steve’s justification for his answer was as follows:

“What do you need it for? Can’t you just walk over to the sink and fill the pot? We only have pasta once a month, so it’s a big waste of money.”

Not to mention he would have to do extra plumbing work for this little kitchen thingy.

To which I answered, “BUT IT’S SO PRETTY!”

Then I stopped to think about the fact that I do have two sinks in the kitchen – one on the island and a main one just a few steps from the cooktop. So I eliminated the pot filler option from my mind UNTIL……..last night.

I’m going to blame Pinterest again, because if you key word search “Beautiful Kitchens”, the majority have these damn pot fillers sticking out of the wall.

As you know, Steve needed to change all the lighting in the house. Since he was already in a lousy mood from that task even though he admits he was W.R.O.N.G. , I figured it was an opportune time to ask for another item we clearly DO NOT NEED for the kitchen. Guess what?

HE SAID FINE JUST DO IT.

He said what?

I had to confirm his answer again, because I thought I heard him say something like “YOU WILL BE FINE WITHOUT IT.” But no, in his current state of exasperation, he said YES!

This brings me to today, and as I write this blog I’m thinking about how to rationalize having that thing on the wall. For instance, this recipe has nothing to do with a pot filler except for the fact that it is also really pretty. Oh and it’s easy. Oh oh…….and it’s a great side dish for pasta which means only one thing……….

I need the pot filler. Right Steve?

Black Sesame & Herb Double Cheese Twists

– 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
– 1 extra large egg
– 1 tablespoon water
– ½ cup shredded jalapeno jack cheese
– ½ cup shredded OKA cheese or Jarlsberg
– 1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs, I used thyme & parsley
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
– Freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is approximately 10 X 12-inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with both cheeses, fresh herbs, salt, pepper and the sesame seeds. With the rolling pin or your hands, lightly press the flavourings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Brush with additional egg wash.
3) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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April 7, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

I just wanted to share a little secret with you. I completely forgot about this recipe and the accompanying photos. Most likely because I’m living in renovation (hell) disarray and it’s been a messy, long and arduous process. As most of you know, I’m “kitchenless”, which means I have no stove, oven or full size sink.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. She’s suffering  from the dreaded “Woe Is Me Effect”. Well, you’re right. Working from an upstairs bathroom isn’t my idea of fun. Every time I look to my left while preparing our salad, I see a TOILET. I can’t seem to justify preparing a meal in a room with a commode. I just can’t.

Anyhoo. You need a stovetop and an oven to make this recipe. Don’t even try to make this on a hot plate because it will end up being an omelette and not a frittata.

What’s the difference? I’ll tell you.

Frittatas are cooked in a cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet because they are started on the stovetop and then finished in the oven. And, unlike omelets, frittata fillings are mixed in with the eggs in the pan rather than folded in the center.

Why is this great? Because I seriously SUCK at making omelettes. No matter how slippery slidey the pan is, mine always seem to fall apart and break upon flipping or folding. Yes, I know there are tricks of the trade, but being an “omelette chef” is not in the cards for me. It’s just NOT.

These tomatoes were actually from our summer crop in the garden. That’s the clue on how old these photos are because right now our garden is in spring thaw mode. Nonetheless,  tomatoes are readily available at the market year round, so you needn’t worry about growing your own, unless you happen to have a hothouse in your backyard.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it reminds me of a party. Here’s what you need to do right now. Grab your friends, partner, husband or wife and dance around the room saying FRITTATA several times. I’m going to do that later tonight. Perhaps it will put me in a better mood when I’m slinging salad in the washroom. Cha cha cha.

GREEK ROASTED TOMATO FRITTATA

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– ½ cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 cup baby spinach
– 3 – 4 large eggs
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
– ½ cup chopped red or yellow peppers
– 2 tablespoons chopped chives
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Add the olive oil to the tomatoes and place on a cookie sheet to roast for 10 -15 minutes, or until tomatoes burst open and are nicely caramelized.
3) In the meantime, whisk the eggs in a bowl with a fork. Add the feta, spinach, red pepper, chives and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4) Heat an 8 or 9 inch cast iron pan on your stovetop and place the roasted tomatoes in, then pour the egg mixture on top of the tomatoes and give everything a good stir, don’t overcook – the frittata will set in the oven.
5) Place the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your frittata. Simply stick a sharp knife into the middle to test if it has cooked through. Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, dill and additional feta cheese.

xx, Debi
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March 24, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

For those of you who have been following along on Snapchat and my Insta Story, you know what the current state of affairs is in my home. We are living in total chaos right now during a kitchen and main floor renovation. No one said this was going to be a walk in the park, but we have learned to manage without a kitchen, and to be honest, I’m quite proud of US. Here are a few things we are doing to get us through the next few months.

1) We set up a “mock” kitchen – The location of this kitchen is in our boy’s old bathroom upstairs. Well? There’s a sink, a counter, a toilet and a shower in there, so what more did we need? Nothing.
2) Our new pantry area – We placed boxes of the contents of our cupboards and flatware drawers in my youngest son’s old bedroom. Perfect space to store all the large tubs of dry goods, sauces, oils, cleaning equipment etc. (My first thought about using our every day dishes was NO WAY. Why not just live on paper plates for the next three months? That didn’t bode well when you actually have to cut something on your plate and you saw right through it to the table. Besides, it wasn’t an eco-friendly idea anyways…despite the fact that I’m a total lazeball when it comes to doing dishes without a dishwasher. God, I’m spoiled.
3) Cooking with no stove – Yes, we have NO STOVE, but the good news is we have a fridge, microwave and I bought a hot plate for my food videos, so basically we are GOOD to go. The microwave comes in handy for reheating meals and the hot plate is just the best thing on earth for making everything from stir-frys to soup.
4) Our new dining room – We set up a bridge table and two folding chairs in my office/studio. It’s fine, with the exception of the days where we had the heat turned OFF by the contractor and sat shivering with a small space heater at our feet while eating our dinner.

This turkey vegetable egg drop soup is the easiest reno recipe ever. Everything is made in one pot on the magic hot plate and voila…….you have a meal in a bowl. In fact, you have a meal that you can actually eat right out of the pot – to save yourself from cleaning the bowl!

TURKEY VEGETABLE EGG DROP SOUP

– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium onion, minced
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– 1 large carrot, chopped
– 1 large tomato chopped
– 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or boxed organic
– 1 cup cooked turkey, shredded
– 2 eggs, beaten
– salt and pepper to taste
– 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

1) In a medium pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic. Saute for another minute. Add chopped carrot. Add chopped tomato. Continue to saute for a few more minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add shredded turkey. Remove from heat. Start stirring in a soup in a circular motion. Slowly drop beaten eggs. Stir for about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add chopped flat leaf parsley and grated parmesan. Top with additional parmesan and parsley!

Click here to see a quick run through of these steps!

See you next week!
debi @simplybeautifuleating
S
imply Beautiful Eating

xx, Debi
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March 17, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend With Simply Beautiful Eating

Green isn’t limited to shamrocks and leprechauns. At this epic spread, it’s the inspiration for a healthy, yet hearty lunch that offers a spread of crudités with green goddess dip, mini fruit-topped pavlovas, and iced green tea.

Here’s what comes to mind when I think about St. Patrick’s Day: loads of green food, rainbows, pots of gold, shamrocks and of course, leprechauns. Even if you’re not Irish, you can create, style, cook, bake and host a gorgeous and elegant St. Patrick’s Day party!

This table offers a lush meets luxe dining experience. Think green and leafy intertwined with white and gold accents for your table settings. In keeping with the traditions of this theme, I used all of Martha’s recipes to blend together a wonderful, healthy lunch for family and friends.

One of the most eye-catching details at this table? The four-leaf clover napkins! Since this holiday is always fun and festive, I wanted to try my hand at napkin-folding. The only problem I have with this type of challenge is following instructions. This was a perfect job for my husband to tackle. (I bet you didn’t know that he is an expert napkin folder. Now you do!) He has so much more patience when it comes to tasks like this, it’s wonderful. Here’s how!

One thing I loved doing for an anniversary party I hosted recently, was a DIY garland for the table runner. It was super easy, reasonably priced, and packed a punch as a focal point for a simply beautiful centerpiece. For this garland, I included frisée (pronounced “free-ZAY”), which is used to refer to a variety of endive with curly, pale green or yellow-ish leaves. I created the garland with an edible factor, which is also appealing to the eye.

Let’s get back to the food. I chose these recipes carefully, based on three ingredient colors: green, white, and a pop of gold. For a quick appetizer, I created a wonderful crudité platter with green goddess dip.

My main course dishes were super healthy, green, and packed with protein. A warm quinoa and chicken salad, baby bok choy with ginger and garlic plus a refreshing salad with buttermilk dressing.

Don’t forget a signature mocktail. I served a cool and refreshing iced green tea with cucumber, which paired perfectly with the meal.

Lastly, dessert was easy: mini pavlovas garnished with fruit and a fresh herb that kept the St. Patrick’s day theme going — green grapes, kiwi, and mint.

Wishing you a pot of gold and all the joy your heart can hold.

Here are some quick tips for hosting this party:

Get festive with your food, think green and clean.

Showcase your creativity by cutting foods into pretty themed shapes. For example, a green pepper sliced width-wise looks exactly like a shamrock or four-leaf clover.

Give your tablescape a focal point, like the DIY garland.

Incorporate traditional with a modern twist: a four-leaf clover napkin, gold drinking straws, confetti and a menu filled with color themed food.

Include a signature “green” drink.

Have fun!

Credits
Author/Photographer/Stylist: Debi Traub | @simplybeautifuleating created exclusively for

Martha Stewart Living

Party props: Little Miss Party

Tableware, Props: Pier 1 Imports

Florals: Irene’s Floral

Tableware, Props: HomeSense (U.S. readers can shop similar product at HomeGoods)

View all recipes by clicking on the pictures above

xx, Debi
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March 10, 2017

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

Two words.

PRETTY PIZZA.

I could probably stop right here and just move forward to the recipe because that’s all you need to know, right?

But of course I can’t go on without my usual and much anticipated ramble.

What inspired me about making this pizza was one simple ingredient – watermelon radishes. I can’t even look at them because they are just too stunning. LOOK AT THIS COLOUR!! A perfect shade of hot pink and a real show stopper for many recipes. Here’s the real story behind me buying ONE, yes ONE watermelon radish.

It’s all because of the popcorn.

Wait.

What?

Yes, popcorn.

Do I still have your attention? If you haven’t scrolled down to the recipe already, I’m going to tell you about my current obsession.

Every night I stuff my face with a good size bowl of low fat popcorn from a very well known company. Before I tell you more, you need to know this. I HATE SHARING MY FOOD. Like HATE. Okay, hate is a very strong word, how about DISLIKE IMMENSELY. Wait. That’s two words, but who cares.

When I go to the movies, I get my very own “pig size” popcorn. If I happen to drop a kernel on my lap while shoveling it in, I get anxious and sweaty. If my husband happens to reach over and steal from my bag when he clearly has his own, that’s grounds for divorce. So  yes, I don’t like anyone in my popcorn space.

The other night, as I was enjoying my bowl of popcorn I noticed that it had a strange, almost sweet taste. I asked Steve to taste it just in case it there was something wrong with ME. This would be the ONLY time I would share this snack because, technically it was yucky. (I actually googled my Med MD website to see if there was a correlation to a change in taste buds due to eating high volumes of popcorn). Ya. That’s how nuts I am.

Then I checked the bag and it was my usual popcorn brand, so I have no idea why it tasted different. I thought about different factory based scenarios that would interfere with the production of MY popcorn. Other than the possibility of a sweet flavour version somehow making its way into the wrong bags on the conveyor belt, I don’t have a clear cut answer. I just wanted MY slightly salted and oh so perfect popcorn, not this sweet crap.

Still with me?

I went to buy another bag of it the next day from a different store. The second I walked in, I spotted these magnificent watermelon radishes and completely forgot about why I was there in the first place. I put ONE radish in the cart, picked up additional ingredients and toppings for a whole wheat pizza and left the store…..

….WITHOUT THE POPCORN.

Wasn’t this worth reading?

NO, but this pizza is worth eating.

WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA WITH BUFFALO MOZZARELLA, GREENS & WATERMELON RADISH

– 1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (see below)
– ½ teaspoon oregano
– 2 – 3 tablespoons fresh pesto
– 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
– 4 – 5 slices fresh buffalo mozzarella
– 3 cups of mixed greens (I used mixed greens with edible flowers)
– ½ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
– fresh basil for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 400F. I like to use the convection option for making pizza. If you don’t have this type of oven don’t stress. Just bump up the temperature to 425F
2) Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by greasing it with butter.
3) Stretch the pizza dough onto the pan. Spread pesto sauce over the dough, sprinkle with oregano and top with sliced watermelon radish. Place buffalo mozzarella over the top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle 1½ cups of the mixed greens over the buffalo mozzarella, then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella. Bake for 20 -24 minutes or until crust is nicely browned underneath and around the edges. Remove pizza from the oven and top with remaining 1½ cups of mixed greens and basil. Slice and serve hot.

WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH

– 1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) rapid-rise or instant yeast
– 2¾ cups white or regular whole wheat flour (or a combo of both)
– ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
– 1 teaspoon sea salt

1) Whisk water, sugar, oil and yeast in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Allow yeast to proof for 5 minutes. It should puff up.
2) Pulse flour, parmesan cheese, and salt in food processor until combined. While running the food processor, slowly pour in the water mixture and process for one minute until a rough looking ball forms.
3) Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and quickly knead dough a few times until it comes together. Cut your dough in half if your are making two smaller pizzas or use the entire ball for a large pizza.
4) On your floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough as thinly as possible. Place into prepared pan and stretch it out with your fingers if it bounces back. It can get sticky so dip your fingers lightly into oil to help it spread. Once you have all your toppings on, brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.

See you next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating

xx, Debi
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