Tag Archives: Whole Foods Market

Pear And Apple Arugula Salad

29 Apr

It’s finally spring in Los Angeles! It had been staying in the 60s for quite some time, but it finally got up to the 80s (and 90s in the valley) and it looks like it will be staying there. Our nights are still cool, which I like, but spring is definitely here to stay. So on a clear and warm Saturday afternoon I saw my pears sitting in my kitchen and decided I wanted to make a salad with them. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I live one long block away from my local Whole Foods Market. So I pulled on my shoes, grabbed a reusable bag, my headphones and purse and walked down to the market. I picked up fresh arugula, blue cheese, and Greek yogurt (which would be for dessert with brandied figs that my dad canned himself). I walked back home, very excited for my lunch. I had no specific recipe in mind, just that I wanted a fresh salad. I made half the recipe (ie. for two people) below since I didn’t want soggy salad later on. My roommate and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! And dessert was even better!

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Arugula, Red Apple, Red Onion, Pear, Blue Cheese, Salt and Pepper, Salad Greens, Balsamic Vinegar

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Arugula, Red Apple, Red Onion, Pear, Blue Cheese, Salt and Pepper, Salad Greens, Balsamic Vinegar

PEAR AND APPLE ARUGULA SALAD (serves 4)

  • 1 Pear
  • 1 Apple (preferably a sweet red)
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Arugula
  • 3 or 4 oz Blue Cheese (any variety)
  • 1-2 Cups Salad Greens (add any variety and the amount to your needs)
  • 1/2 of a Red Onion (optional)

Wash your arugula to get any dirt off and pat dry in a few paper towels. Chop off the leaves and throw into a large salad bowl along with any additional salad greens of your choice. Slice your pear into thin slices. I chopped my pear in half then thinly sliced the pear. Chop your apple into slices or into small chunks. I used a Pacific Rose apple. Pink Lady’s or Galas would also be good. Toss into the salad bowl. Chop your red onion and add to salad.

Sliced Pear

Sliced Pear

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad with red onions.

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad with red onions.

Crumble your blue cheese onto the salad. I used Maytag Iowa Blue Cheese. One thing I love about Whole Foods is they give recommendations for each of their cheeses. This one said it paired well with pears and apples and it smelled delicious! (I know not everyone loves the smell of blue cheese, but it’s one of my favorites!).

Maytag Iowa Blue Cheese

Maytag Iowa Blue Cheese

Maytag Iowa Blue Cheese ready for crumbling.

Maytag Iowa Blue Cheese ready for crumbling.

Toss with a simple vinaigrette dressing. I used equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad ready for tossing!

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad ready for tossing!

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad was delicious!

Pear and Apple Arugula Salad was delicious!

For dessert I served plain Greek Yogurt with brandied figs that my dad canned himself. It was thoroughly delicious and a great way to finish off lunch.

Brandied Figs and Plain Greek Yogurt

Brandied Figs and Plain Greek Yogurt

Brandied Figs and Plain Greek Yogurt for Dessert! Yummmm!!!!

Brandied Figs and Plain Greek Yogurt for Dessert! Yummmm!!!!

Baked Salmon with Edamame and Snap Peas

19 Mar

Salmon is one of the most common fish on the market. There is a lot of controversy over farm-raised vs. wild, but I’m not here to talk about that. I love salmon and it’s a fish that is easy to bake in your oven or grill on your barbecue. Salmon is another “super food” because of it’s omega 3s. Growing up, especially when my parents were on Weight Watchers, we would have salmon at least once a week. Costco usually has nice big pieces at a great price so if you’re a member I highly recommend their salmon. I usually buy a piece at my local grocery store though, they’re smaller and usually just as good. This recipe is super simple and anyone can do it. You can pair it with a lot of different side dishes too. I usually pair it with brown rice or green beans, but this time I decided to try a new side dish that I found in my cookbook, “Weeknights With Giada”, Edamame and Snap Peas.

Baked Salmon Ingredients L-R: Rosemary, Onion, Lemon, Salt & Pepper, Salmon

Baked Salmon Ingredients L-R: Rosemary, Onion, Lemon, Salt & Pepper, Salmon

BAKED SALMON (2 to 3 servings)

  • Salmon, 6 to 9 oz piece (one serving is about 3 oz, the size of a checkbook)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Half a Lemon
  • A slice or two of an Onion
  • Rosemary (dried or fresh)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Aluminum Foil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pull a cookie sheet or other oven safe pan out and tear a piece of aluminum foil large about 3 times the length of your fish and place on your baking sheet. Place your fish in the middle of the foil and slightly bend the sides up so the oil won’t travel far. Slice the thin lemon slices, enough for each serving. Cut a thin slice of your onion, you only need a few of the rings. Pour the olive oil on the fish and rub it all over. Sprinkle salt, pepper and rosemary on the fish. If using fresh rosemary, tear off the leaves and sprinkle on the fish. I like to place a lemon slice for each serving of the fish and I lay the onion rings so they are overlapping for one end to the other. Fold all four sides of the foil above the fish and fold together at the top so there’s an air pocket between the seam and the fish. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. If you want to check if it’s done, a fork should easily separate the fish.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

All wrapped up.

All wrapped up.

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

While the fish is cooking work on your side dish. If you decide to cook rice, I would start it before putting the fish in the oven. But with veggies, you can start after. Giada’s recipe was actually double what I have below, but since I didn’t want too much leftover, I made half.

Snap Peas and Edamame

Snap Peas and Edamame Ingredients L-R: Frozen Shelled Edamame, Salt & Pepper, Snap Peas, Garlic, Shallot, Olive Oil

SNAP PEAS AND EDAMAME (2-3 servings)

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium or Small Shallot
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Cup (5 oz) Shelled Edamame
  • 1 1/4 Cup (4 oz) Sugar Snap Peas, Halved
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Do your prep work first: Thinly slice your shallot, mince your garlic, measure out and cut your snap peas in half and measure out the edamame. *Note: It took me a little while to find shelled edamame, but I did find them in the frozen food aisle after careful searching.

Shallots

Thinly sliced shallots

Snap Peas

Snap Peas

Snap Peas halved

Snap Peas halved

Shelled Edamame

Shelled Edamame

Minced Garlic

Minced Garlic

In a medium skillet heat your oil over medium-high heat. Add in your shallots and cook until soft, but not quite translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for about 30-60 seconds, until you can smell it. Add in your edamame, snap peas, salt and pepper for about 3-4 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Shallots

Edamame & Snap Peas almost done

Edamame & Snap Peas almost done

I found that the salmon and the edamame and snap peas paired really well together, and I enjoyed it for another two nights. I love that it’s an easy side dish to make and cooks up pretty quickly.

Baked Salmon & Snap Peas and Edamame

Baked Salmon & Snap Peas and Edamame

I had a bottle of Crispin Cider, Single Strength Reserve Bare Naked in my fridge which I opened up and enjoyed. I discovered Crispin Cider after The Blank’s beer festival, Hollywood On Tap, last October. They are my new favorite hard cider and they have so many options! I found this bottle at my local Whole Foods (although I can’t find it on Crispin’s website). This cider is part of a line that is unfiltered, which means you have to swirl it around before drinking to disperse the residual apple-wine sediment evenly. It’s not as sweet as most hard ciders, so if you’re more of a beer fan or just don’t like sweet wines/drinks, try one of these unfiltered lines from Crispin. You won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking to pair it with something else, aim for a white wine rather than a red.

Baked Salmon & Snap Peas and Edamame

Baked Salmon & Snap Peas and Edamame

Chicken Stuffed With Spinach

22 Feb

I had chicken, spinach, a little bit of onion and a remnant cheese from Whole Foods in my fridge. (Sometimes they have little buckets of small pieces of cheese. It’s a great way to try a new cheese or to satisfy a craving without spending a lot of money.) I decided to take a chance and try stuffing a chicken breast again. This time with the above mentioned items. (Remember my stuffed chicken with onions and cheese? Stuffing a chicken breast ain’t easy.) This time I decided to try a different technique-I flattened my chicken breast and then folded it over. It worked as well as slicing the breast. Either it needs to be flattened more or I need to work on the slicing method again. My meal was still delicious, the innards just fell out a little, lol. Either way, I will keep trying until I have perfected a stuffed chicken breast. I had mushrooms and an onion in the fridge, so I sautéed those up as a side dish. This is my own recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

My remnant cheese from Whole Foods

My remnant cheese from Whole Foods

CHICKEN BREAST STUFFED WITH SPINACH (serves 1)

  • 1 Boneless Chicken Breast
  • Fresh Spinach (about a handful)
  • 1/4 of an onion (any color)
  • 2 oz Soft Cheese (I used doux de montagne)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 or 2 button mushrooms
  • Cooking Red Wine (about 1/8 cup)
Chicken breast pounded down

Chicken breast pounded down

Place your chicken breast between two pieces of parchment paper or paper towels and take a meat tenderizer or a hammer and pound lightly so it’s about an inch thick or thinner. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small or medium skillet over medium-high heat. Slice half of your onion and add to pan once hot and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in your cheese in pieces and stir around so it starts to melt and stick to the onions. Remove this mixture to a small bowl, then add your fresh spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. Add to the onion and cheese mixture.

Spinach

That big handful reduced down to this.

That big handful reduced down to this.

Spinach, Onions and Cheese stuffing mixture

Spinach, Onions and Cheese stuffing mixture

Spread this mixture onto one half of your chicken breast and then fold over. Sprinkle salt and pepper on one side. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pan over medium heat and place your chicken breast (seasoned side down) into the pan. Let cook for about 7 to 9 minutes, season with salt and pepper and turn over and cook for another 7 to 9 minutes. (This is where the insides of my chicken started to spill out. Oh well.) Once your chicken is done remove to a plate, reduce the heat to low and add in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan and stir. This will become the sauce for your chicken. Once it has reduced by about half, pour over your chicken breast.

Chicken Breast with stuffing

Chicken Breast with stuffing

Stuffed Chicken Cooking

While the chicken is cooking I worked on my mushrooms. Thinly slice your mushrooms and chop or slice the rest of the your onion. Once you turn your chicken over, in another small or medium skillet, heat the last of your olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in your mushrooms and onions, stirring often. Salt and pepper to taste. The mushrooms should become soft and the onions should become translucent, about 5 minutes. Once done move to plate with chicken. Enjoy!

Sauteing the mushrooms and onions.

Sauteing the mushrooms and onions.

All done!

All done!

Stuffed Chicken and Mushrooms! Yum!

Stuffed Chicken and Mushrooms! Yum!

Mushroom Cream Pasta Sauce

13 Feb

I get all my favorite recipes from my dad. Some I grew up with, others he found after his retirement, but many are recipes he created himself. He thinks nothing of it of course, but I think it’s so cool, since every recipe came from someone, somewhere experimenting in their own kitchen (remember the kale pasta sauce?) and it was yummy enough (very scientific term you know) to share with others. The story behind this recipe always makes me chuckle. After a shopping excursion to Whole Foods *cough-whole paycheck-cough*, my dad had bought (on a whim) a small bag full of fancy (ie, expensive) mushrooms, plus another bag at a mushroom farm out in the country. He didn’t have a recipe in mind when he bought them, but they just looked and smelled so good he couldn’t pass them up. Side note: folks, when someone you love buys a food product on a whim with no recipe in mind, be prepared to be that person’s guinea pig (carrot soup anyone?). Anyway, the mushrooms sat in their paper bags in our fridge for a while. They were starting to get soft, so my dad, not wanting to waste all that money, knew he had to cook them. And voila-he turned them into a cream sauce for pasta! Very yummy indeed!

The mixed baskets at LA FungHi. Photo courtesy of www.lafunghi.com

The mixed baskets at LA FungHi. Photo courtesy of http://www.lafunghi.com

My dad came to visit me for a day while my mom was in Bakersfield for a dog agility event (jumping through hoops, weaving through poles, etc.), so he arrived in beautiful Glendale at about 9am. He was going to be attending a rehearsal for “The Santaland Diaries” with me later, but first we had to get breakfast and kill some time. So after breakfast at the best diner in the Valley, Paty’s, we headed to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. I had brought my parents once before to the farmer’s market so we knew exactly where we wanted to go: the mushroom guy, LA FungHi. This guy has the best mushrooms I’ve ever seen. The smell is amazing and my mouth waters just thinking about them again. I will find a perfect recipe for each one and I promise to share. But back to the pasta sauce. LA FungHi sells mixed bags of mushrooms so my dad and I bought a large bag and split it, I, with the full intention of making this sauce.

When my sister came to visit the following weekend it was the perfect excuse. With all the talking we did though, I forgot to take pictures while I was cooking! Sorry! We are quite the gabbers! LOL. I promise to make it again and take more pictures. I also had salad greens and served a salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado and a Honey Garlic Vinaigrette. It was a recipe I found at AllRecipes.com and I have included it below. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Mushroom Cream Sauce and a green salad.

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Mushroom Cream Sauce and a green salad.

MUSHROOM CREAM PASTA SAUCE (4 servings)

  • 8 oz. Pasta (2 oz for each serving)
  • Small Paper Bag of Mushrooms (a variety is best)
  • 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Bunch Green Onions (or shallots if you prefer)
  • 3 or 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Pint Heavy Cream (1 Cup)
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup White Vermouth (or white wine)
  • Fresh Basil (for garnish)

In a large pot boil about 6 cups of water for your pasta. For every person measure out 2 oz of dry pasta. I used penne pasta, but any type of pasta will do. For four people it’s usually about half a box of pasta. I like to salt my water. This is a debatable, but it’s how I was taught so I do it. When the water is boiling add in your pasta and stir. Cook for about 7 minutes or until al dente. When you drain your cooked pasta save about a cup of the cooking water for your sauce.

The mushrooms finishing cooking with the cream

The mushrooms finishing cooking with the cream

While waiting for the water to boil, start preparing your sauce. Coarsely chop your mushrooms, mince your garlic, chop your green onions finely (or thinly slice the shallots). Set all aside so they are ready to add to your sauce. In a large fry pan or deep skillet melt the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once the butter is all melted add your green onions/shallots and garlic. Turn the heat down to medium and saute for a few minutes. Add in your Italian Seasoning and chopped mushrooms and saute for a few more minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Keep stirring the mushrooms around so they don’t sit too long. Once the mushrooms are soft add in your cream and stir until it starts to bubble. DON’T let it boil. Turn the heat to low and add in your Parmesan cheese and stir together until the cheese has melted into the mixture. Add in the vermouth and stir again. Remove your sauce from the heat and add in a little bit of your pasta cooking water to thin the sauce out. You want the sauce to be thick, but not a paste, so add the water as needed.

Mix your pasta and sauce together in either the pot or the large fry pan. Serve in pasta bowls. Chop your fresh basil and garnish each plate. Enjoy!

HONEY GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Cloves Garlic

Mince your garlic and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar and honey. Add in the garlic. You can also use a mason jar or some other container that has an airtight seal and shake vigorously. I like using a mason jar as I can store it in the fridge for later uses and easily shake it up again. Pour over your salad as desired. Save the rest for another night.

Green Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing

Green Salad with Honey Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing

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