Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Musings on Spring Gardening

Dear Readers,

This afternoon I was shopping at the grocery store in a mad quest for canned pumpkin. Don't ask people. OK fine! I owe homemade pumpkin pies to my co-worker Stevia. They are well-earned after all the help he gave me moving TWICE in December, plus showing up and helping me out with my yard downsize, AND storing all my tools, potting bench, and misc garden stuff in his garage while I'm in an apartment. All he asked for in return was his favorite, pumpkin pies. Apparently canned pumpkin is out of season and I've been checking every where. I digress...

While I was at the grocery store today I noted several clueless people walking out of the garden center with gallon size tomato plants. And, when I say clueless I am not being condescending or judgement. I honestly just mean clearly they don't know. Since I love talking veggie gardening I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you know, it's too early for planting tomatoes. Way too early. It's March 27th and in Portland our average last frost date is April 15th. Tomatoes are a warm season veggie that ideally likes to be planted around Memorial Day. Yup, that's right late May. Not late March. Jumping the gun by about 2 months people. Tomatoes are not frost tolerant. And, regardless of what some jack-ass in the grocery store garden center tells you, it's not ok to plant them yet. I know we've had an unseasonably warm late winter and early spring, but last week I scraped ice off my windshield in the morning. So no matter how warm the days are the nights are still at risk for frost. Tomatoes require night temperatures consistently above at least 50 degrees. We are no where near that.

I know you are eager to garden, we all are. You can still plant lots of stuff in your garden right now. There is a wide array of cool season veggies that would love to be planted in April like kale, mustard greens, collards, cabbage, broccoli, broccoli raab, arugula, micro greens, beets, turnips, carrots, radishes, peas, kohlrabi, bok choy & asian greens, scallions, shallots, onions, garlic, and potatoes. It's awesome timing for perennial veggies like artichokes, asparagus, jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), horseradish, and rhubarb. It's also a great time to plant small fruit: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, vining fruit: kiwis & grapes, and fruit trees: apples, pears, asian pears, plums, cherries, figs, and persimmons. You have a lot to choose from. Just wait on the warm season crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, winter squash, pumpkins, melons, and beans.

A really great resource for lots of this information is the Portland Nursery website, in particular the Vegetable & Herb index page, the Veggie Planting Calender (which I helped write), and the Fruits & Berries index page.

Please also ask me your gardening questions. I know sometimes I groan when you do this, just because people are always picking my gardener brain when I'm not at work. But, really, I love it. Please use me as your resource. Lord knows I've got a lot of information stashed up in my rolodex brain. This week I was laying on the acupuncture table, settling in and relaxing as the needles were being placed, when my Acupuncturist (who I adore!) asked me about pollination needs of blueberry plants. I started laughing thinking "you are sticking needles in my ankles and asking me gardening questions!" (If you need a good acupuncturist, please go see Taya!) This is not exclusive to my Acupuncturist, because my Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistants, Pilates Trainer, Chiropractor and Massage Therapists all do the same thing. The cashiers at Trader Joe's ask me gardening questions. Seriously people, I have this nightmare that sometime I'm going to be having sex, and my lover is going to look up and ask me for planting advice. Ok, now that I've got that out of my system, feel free to ask me for help.

Better yet, please hire me as your Gardening Coach to give you a consultation at your home. I charge $50/hour and my rate is well worth it. In one hour you can ask me every single gardening question you have and pick my brain clean. I also offer garden design and installation at an additional rate. I accept bartering arrangements. You can reach me at

Happy Spring,
Miss Jolie Ann

Curry Egg Salad

I love a good egg salad. And, this is the season for eggs with Spring Equinox and Easter holidays. Did you know that eggs and bunnies are potent feminine fertility symbols hiding behind all the commerical peeps candies and easter baskets? Easter eggs find their origin as a symbol of the ancient Goddess Astarte. There's your spirituality lesson, now on to egg salad...

Make no mistake, the quality of the eggs makes all the difference in this recipe. Use eggs from your own chickens, your friend's flock, the farmer's market, or your CSA. And just a note for all you animal luvas out there...just because the egg carton says it's organic does not mean those little chicken babies were treated humanely. So please investigate what various labeling on eggs means: white vs brown, organic, free-range, hormone-free, etc, because I'm not going into it here. Enough said.

This egg salad recipe would be fabulous on warm sourdough bread hot out of the oven. Mmm, if only I was eating gluten. These days I eat my egg-salad gluten-free style with corn tortilla chips or on a rice cake. I also like my egg salad fresh and warm. I don't like it if it's been refrigerated. Though, this egg salad will keep in your fridge for about 2 days before it begins to get watery. As with most of my recipes, texture is important and my egg salad is chunky full-o-bits-o-goodness. The recipe makes enough for 2 smaller servings or one big meal if you love your eggs! Enjoy! And, as always, please drop me a comment.

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Curry Egg Salad Recipe
Serves 2

4 eggs
1/4 cup mayonaise
sea salt & black pepper
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp smoke paprika
1 tbsp chopped kalamata olives (that's about 4 whole olives)
1 celery stalk, minced
1 tsp minced red onion
1 tsp minced cilantro

1. Place the eggs gently in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Drain the water. Fill pot with cold water and let sit for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs and place in a large bowl.
2. In a large bowl use pastry cutter (my favorite method) or fork to mash the eggs. You want the eggs to be finely chopped, but not turn to mashed mush.
3. Add the mayonaise and stir. Add the coriander, curry, and paprika. Add a pinch of salt & pepper to your taste. I don't even salt this recipe because of the existing sodium content in the mayonaise. Stir until the spices are well mixed.
4. Add the olives, celery, onion & cilantro. Stir until everything is combined.
5. Serve on bread or bagels for a sandwich. Or on a bed of greens for a salad. Or go the dip-ish route with tortilla chips or crackers.

Tomato-Fennel Soup with Garbanzo Beans & Quinoa

Dear Readers,
You may remember when I posted a tomato bisque with quinoa recipe in January. I decided to expand on that recipe as the base for this more complex soup. What I love about this recipe is how all the textures combine: the tomato puree, the slight crunch of the tiny quinoa grains, and the softness of the garbanzos. The fennel and tomato compliment each other with a sweet and tangy bite. Honey softens the acidity of the tomatoes, without being overly sugary. You could substitute for the quinoa: brown rice, barley or couscous. By now you should know how much I love quinoa. If you buy your quinoa in the bulk bin, at say Winco Foods, you will cut the cost in half! Plus I'm trying to increase the protein in my diet to accommodate for my recent increase in exercise. This soup is also easy on the budget and cooks up in a few simple steps in about 45 minutes, including prep time. The recipe is vegan, gluten-free and virtually fat-free. Yet it is substantial and satisfying. It's a big pot of soup, which lasts me all week as lunch to bring to work. Enjoy the recipe. I love hearing from you so please send me comments to let me know what you think.

In Health & Joy,
Miss Jolie Ann

p.s. I wrote this recipe while listening to Def Leppard "Love Bites" because sometime you just need a little old school Def Leppard, right Michelle?

Tomato-Fennel Soup with Garbanzo Beans & Quinoa
6 servings

1 yellow onion, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2-28 oz cans of chopped tomatoes in juice
2 cups water
1 tbsp honey
1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup cooked quinoa

1. Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot for a few minutes. Add the onions and the sea salt. Saute for about 10 minutes until onions are soft and started to become translucent. Add the basil, oregano, and marjoram. Stir and let cook for 1 minute until the herbs become fragrant. Add the fennel and carrot. Saute for 5 minutes more.
2. Add the tomatoes and water. Stir. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Remove pot from heat. Add the honey and stir well. Let soup cool, uncovered, for approximately 15 minutes.
4. Once soup is cool you can puree it either in the pot with an immersion blender or in batches in your food processor. Before pureeing, reserve 1 cup of the soup. Once soup is pureed return it to the pot and back to the stove on medium heat. Add the reserved cup of un-pureed soup, and the soymilk. Stir well. Add the quinoa and garbanzo beans. Stir and cook briefly over medium heat until everything is warm & combined. Taste soup for flavors and add desired amount of sea salt to your taste. If soup is too acidic for your taste add another tsp of honey.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Orange Glazed Tofu

Hello readers,

This dish of fried tofu in an orange gravy is paired nicely with the killer mashed potatoes. I used my basic recipe for batter fried tofu which then any sauce can be added. Honey-mustard, barbecue, and 5 spice are a few of my favorite fried tofu toppings. I like to use the high protein tofu from Trader Joes because it's a thick sturdy tofu that holds up well to frying. Or you can use any extra firm tofu, just make sure you drain & press it well prior to preparing to get rid of the excess water. I find the high protein tofu doesn't have excess liquid. The only feedback from my guests about this dish is it could have had more flavor. Also, I don't think there were any vegetarians in attendance, so probably not a crowd big on tofu to begin with. In hindsight I realized it was a difficult dish to choose for a dinner party, because to cook it in large quantities entailed doing batches and then keeping warm in the oven. I left the oven temperature on too high and the sauce all but dried up on the first batch. I think this recipe will turn out much better when cooking on a smaller scale with only one block of tofu. And, consistent with the rest of the dinner party, I did not get any photos. So no matter how you prepare it, it's going to look perfect! Let me know what you think.

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Orange Glazed Tofu
Makes 4 servings

1 block Trader Joe's brand high protein tofu
1 cup brown rice (gluten-free) or whole wheat (full of gluten) flour
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp dried mustard powder
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp smoked parika
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tbsp low-sodium wheat-free tamari
juice of 6 freshly squeezed oranges
zest of one orange
2 tbsp honey
black sesame seeds

1. Drain the tofu and cut into cubes or strips about 1/2 inch thick. Set aside on a clean towel to absorb excess liquid.
2. In a shallow bowl combine the flour, nutritional yeast, sea salt, basil, parika, dried mustard, and a pinch of black pepper. Stir until combined.
3. In a skillet add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pan completely. Warm oil over medium heat.
4. Add the tofu, little by little, to the flour/spice mixture and turn until fully coated.
5. Add tofu to the pan and fry over medium heat. When each side becomes brown and crispy flip the pieces until all sides are browned.
6. Add the vegetable broth & tamari and continue to cook over medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed.
7. While the broth is being absorbed, in a bowl combine the orange juice, orange zest and honey. Whisk together until well combined.
8. Once the tofu has absorbed and cooked down all the broth-tamari liquid, add the orange juice mixture to the pan. Continue to cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has been absorbed and there is left a sticky gravy.
9. Serve tofu with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Killer Mashed Potatoes with Kale & Caramelized Shallots

Dear Readers,
Let's just be honest, OK, potatoes and I have a very passionate love affair. My love for potatoes is primal and unconditional. I will embrace them in any manifestation: creamy soups, gratins, mashed, baked, twice baked, stuffed, hash browns, home fries, french fries, latkes, perogis, gnocchi, potato salad, ad infinitum. I like them naked or with skins on. Dressed up or plain. For my love of potatoes, last year I grew 6 different varieties in my backyard--yellow, red, blue, white, fingerlings, early season, mid season, late season, mashers, bakers, friers. Oh my. Let's just say I'd enjoy a death by mashed potatoes.

When I make mashed potatoes I enjoy them whipped & creamy or chunky full of bits of extra stuff. This recipe is a skins on, mashed-but-chunky, with beautiful bright wilted kale. With little exception 'yukon gold' potatoes are my favorite mashers. They have an amazing taste, their color is pretty, and their flesh is perfect for mashing without being gummy like red skin potatoes can be. Typically I'd use a non-curly variety of kale, like 'lacinato' for this recipe, which is what I did for the dinner party. However yesterday the majestic purple of the curly 'red russian' kale was beckoning me. Either way, you only lightly saute the kale until it's wilted but retaining it's bright color and a slight crunch. The potatoes are flavored with sour cream & chives, garlic, and flecks of caramelized shallots. Spend the extra dollar a pound for the shallots vs regular onions and you will not be disappointed. Better yet, grow your own, it's easy. Plant them in the Autumn for harvest the following Summer. The caramelizing process takes an extra 10-30 minutes depending upon the type of onion you use and it adds another layer of complexity to the taste of the dish. Once you begin using the caramelization technique you will want to use it in everything. I promise. No joke. I'm pretty clear I just made up a new word: caramelization technique.

The feedback I received from my dinner party guinea pigs about this recipe was all positive. Folks liked the addition of the kale, enjoyed the chunks, appreciated the tang the sour cream added, and the flavors were all mild enough to mingle well together yet stand out distinctly individual. My favorite quote I scribbled in my notes: "They are non-homogeneous. I like that." Good one. Anyone who can slip homogeneous in casual conversation deserves a seat at my dinner table.

I would like you to know that I wrote this recipe typing while standing up doing leg yoga in my pajamas listening to loud Franz Ferdinand. I have the shades up and the windows open. Enjoy the show people! And, enjoy your potatoes and please drop me a comment to let me know what you think. What you think of the recipe, not what you think of my crazy writing behaviors.

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Killer Mashed Potatoes with Kale & Caramelized Shallots
Makes 6-8 servings depending on your appetite!

3 pounds organic 'yukon gold' potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
sea salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced into ribbons
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk or cow milk
black pepper
16 oz light sour cream
handful of chives, chopped

1. Rinse the potatoes, half them and place in a large stock pot of water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Slightly lower heat and boil until the potatoes are soft enough to be pierced with a fork, but not turned to mush. This will take approximately 15 minutes for this amount of potatoes. When done boiling, drain, but leave a small amount of the cooking water in the pot.
2. I mash directly in the hot pot. Add the butter and soymilk (or milk) and mash. Potatoes should be mashed, but still chunky. Add sea salt & black pepper to taste. Add the sour cream and chives. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
3. In a skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of sea salt. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. You want the shallots to be soft, translucent, and slightly browning. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Continue to saute for another 15 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar. Continue to saute covered for another 5 minutes. Your shallots are now caramelized. Add them to the potatoes and stir until combined.
4. Return the skillet to the stove and increase heat to medium. Add another small splash of olive oil. Add the garlic and the kale. Cover the pan and saute over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. You want the garlic to be fragrant and the kale to have reduced in size, wilted & retaining it's color. Do not overcook the garlic and kale. Please.
5. Add the kale-garlic mixture to the potatoes and stir until combined. Serve immediately. Share with friends, or not. Later, thank your favorite aspiring cookbook author.

Quinoa-Wild Rice Salad

Dear Readers,
I served this salad at my Spring Equinox dinner party and I can't believe I didn't take a photo of it. You will have to use your imagination. As you know, I'm all about the quinoa so I'm constantly creating new variations for one of my favorite ingredients. An alternate name for my blog could be "My Ode to Quinoa." This salad can be served room temperature or chilled. It is sweet and tangy with raisins and notes of balsamic vinegar in the dressing. And the balsamic is a good thing because my friend John, who was a dinner party guest, is basically obsessed with the balsamic. And he loved the raisin-balsamic combo. Katy suggested more wild rice so we're increasing that from the original salad and toasting up the almonds instead of raw. And Gina suggested slivered almonds, instead of sliced, for added texture. I don't typically like raisins in my food, other than oatmeal for breakfast. However, I was willing to give it a shot. There was an overwhelming "yes! yes! yes!" to the raisins in this salad. Well, all right then. The raisins can stay. Thanks for all the feedback my adorable recipe guinea pigs! If you would like to be one of my guinea pigs, try my recipes at your home and send me some feedback. You can say you "knew Miss Jolie Ann when." Even when I become the vegetarian "Barefoot Contessa" I won't forget my roots. I crack myself up.

In Love with Quinoa,
Miss Jolie Ann

1 cups quinoa
2 cups water
1 cups wild rice
4 cups water
4 carrots, shredded
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
1 small purple onion, minced
1 cup raisins
1 cup toasted slivered almonds

1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp raspberry preserves (100% fruit, no added sugar)
1/4 tsp prepared dijon mustard
4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Add the quinoa and 2 cups water in a covered saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork and set aside.
2. In a mesh strainer rinse the wild rice very well. Add rinsed wild rice and 4 cups of water to a covered saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Add the quinoa and the wild rice in a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, cabbage, onion, raisins, and almonds. Stir until combined.
4. In another bowl add the garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, raspberry preserves, salt and black pepper. Whisk together until well combined.
5. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until everything is mixed. Let dressing marinate the salad for at least 1 hour before serving. Chill overnight or serve room temperature after it's "marinated." Garnish with extra toasted almonds.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Pasta Primavera with Garbanzo Beans & Walnuts

Dear Readers,

I don't often post recipes featuring pasta. Honestly, I think it's overdone. But, gluten-free brown rice pasta makes a nice platform for the first of Spring's beautiful vegetables. That's all Pasta Primavera is--fresh Spring vegetables. If you planted a year-round edible garden your overwintering varieties of cauliflower, cabbage & carrots should be ready to harvest. This Winter was pretty mild and the Spring unseasonably warm which means your hardy greens like kale, chard and mustards should all be doing great and producing a nice harvest. Fall planted garlic should be producing nice green shoots or "scapes" to add to your stir-fry dishes. There's not a lot in the edible garden this time of year. But, with some planning it can produce in early Spring.

Pasta Primavera has endless variations. Mine lacks the standard issue bland cream sauce. The vegetables and their fresh tastes headline this dish. The recipe co-stars garbanzo beans, walnuts, garlic and some fresh lemon zest. It's gluten & dairy free. Loaded with vitamins, fiber, and protein. Whole foods goodness. Plus once the chopping prep is done this dish is completely cooked in under 30 minutes. And it's easy on the budget as well with simple ingredients. Filling, delicious and pretty. What more could you ask for. It's virtually a perfect dish. Please send me your comments. I appreciate the feedback.

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Pasta Primavera with Garbanzo Beans & Walnuts
Serves 4

1/2 of a 16oz package brown rice spaghetti or linguine
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, minced
2 cups cauliflower florets
3 thin young carrots, thinly sliced
sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 cup chopped walnuts
14 oz can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups thinly sliced mixed greens-kale, chard mustard
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1. Bring a stockpot of water to boil and prepare pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. It should take about 8-10 minutes. Brown rice pasta quickly becomes mushy if overcooked by a minute. Drain pasta and return to the pot off the heat. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and a splash of olive oil on the pasta. Add the nutritional yeast. Stir well. Cover pot and set aside while you prepare the veggies.
2. Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and continue to saute for another 5 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to saute for another 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sea salt & black pepper, and the walnuts. Saute for another 5 minutes. You want the spices to become fragrant and the walnuts to become slightly toasted. Add the garbanzo beans and the garlic. Stir well to combine. Add the greens and cook for approximately 5 minutes. You want the greens to just begin to wilt but remain bright green. They will be slightly crunchy. Overcooked veggies=no bueno. Remove pan from heat.
3. Add the vegetables to the pasta. Add the lemon zest. Check the flavor and add more sea salt if desired. Eat. You be sure to thank me later.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blueberry Lavender Cornbread Muffins Revisited

Fans of Muffins,

This recipe originally posted in June 2008 on my blog. I figured it was time to revisit it. Plus I got some great photos this morning. My Mary aka "Big Fruit" absolutely loves these muffins. I should be a good friend and bake them for her more often. She got some this morning. Joy.

It's not blueberry season yet so please use frozen ones until we are blessed with fresh blueberries once again in June. Don't waste your money on buying out of season produce from another country. It's going to be poor quality, lacking in nutrients and you are supporting an "on-demand" produce industry that is leaving a huge footprint on our environment. Local seasonal food is way more gratifying and tasty. *Stepping down from my soapbox now.* Since I downsized out of my house and moved into an apartment, my friend Katy is babysitting my blueberry plants until I have space for them again. I saw them today and they have so many new buds! It's going to be a great blueberry season for my plants. If you don't grow your own blueberries--you should! They are very easy to grow and do great here in Portland. Stop by the nursery and chat with me about growing them if you are interested. I love talking small fruit, it is in fact my nickname at the nursery. "Small Fruit" at your service! Here's a link to some helpful basics about growing blueberries.

This recipe has dried lavender. I love everything about lavender. It is a gorgeous ornamental plant and once established in it's first season it never needs supplemental watering again in Portland. I use it for countless medicinal purposes, in my skin care products, as an herbal tea, for aromatherapy, and as a culinary flavor. The lavender I used today is from a big harvest I did in my friends Anne & Megan's garden last Summer. Kept out of sunlight in an airtight jar it still smells great! Check out this link to helpful information on growing your own lavandula.

If you haven't cooked with lavender then get started because it's awesome.

In Health & Love,
Miss Jolie Ann

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup powde
red sugar
1 tsp dried lavender (crush blossoms, whole ones can be overpowering!)
5 tbsp butter (or canola oil for less dairy)
2 tbsp organic honey
2 organic large brown eggs
1 tsp organic non-alcohol pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup nonfat greek style yogurt
zest of 1 fresh lemon, about 1 tbsp
1 cup fresh (if in season) or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and powdered sugar. Stir until well mixed. Add the lavender and stir.
3. Melt the butter and honey together. Combine in another bowl with the eggs, vanilla, yogurt, and lemon zest. Beat until well mixed.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix. Add the blueberries and stir until combined.
5. Pour about 1/2 cup batter into each muffin pan. I like bigger muffins so this recipe makes 8 muffins for me.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool on counter and remove from pan.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Creamy Mushroom Casserole

Dear Readers,

I love mushrooms. But, what's weird is I am picky about what kind of mushrooms. I adore white button, cremini and portobellos--your standard grocery store mushrooms. This recipe has all three. I am not a fan of the shiitake, porcini, chanterelle or any other wild fungi. Also, I will only eat mushrooms that are perfectly fresh. Any signs of browning or smell creep me out. I hate raw mushrooms or undercooked mushrooms. I love them sauteed just perfectly so they are soft and melt in my mouth. That's my tangent about mushrooms. Thanks for listening.

This recipe has more dairy that I'd typically eat but I was feeling inspired for a rich creamy casserole tonight. Portland has been blessed by unseasonably warm Spring weather throughout January & February. Today it was cold, rainy, windy, dark and down right dreary. It felt like Winter again and that made me crave a substantial hearty casserole. It seemed the perfect night to create this recipe. 3 types of mushrooms mingle with wild rice and brown rice. The sour cream adds a stroganoff-ish flavor. The casserole is topped with bread crumbs browned in butter & lemon zest. This recipe takes about an hour to bake after you are done with all the prep, so probably 2 hours total. That means it's not a quick week night supper. Better to do when you can futz around the kitchen doing other things while it cooks. But what I love about casseroles is they make many servings. And for a single eater this means leftover meals all week. Or you can freeze portions to enjoy later on when you are really hungry and don't feel like cooking. Take it to your next potluck and tell them the recipe came from my blog.

I absolutely love the bread crumbs in this recipe. When I have extra bread (which I don't have around anymore since I drastically reduced my gluten intake) I chop it up, toast it in the oven for a minutes until browned, then freeze it for later use as bread crumbs. It is way better than any store bought packaged bread crumbs. In this recipe I saute the bread crumbs in butter and lemon zest until they are saturated and browned. The aroma is heavenly and they taste amazing.

Hope you enjoy the recipe. And, hey, if you are out there reading...I really have no idea if anyone ever reads my blog! Drop me a comment once and a while so I know I have some readership. I'd appreciate the encouragement. I know my book deal or HGTV show is out there somewhere. Help me find it. I love hearing from you. Thank you people.

In Health, ,
Miss Jolie Ann

Creamy Mushroom Casserole
6-8 servings

1 cup short grain brown rice
1 cup wild rice
4 cups water
bay leaf
1 tbsp butter
1 cup dried bread crumbs
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms-white button & cremini
1 portobello mushroom
sea salt
black pepper
pinch each of nutmeg
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 shredded asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Rinse well the wild rice. Combine wild rice, brown rice, bay leaf and 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to a low and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside covered for 5 minutes. Remove cover, discard bay leaf and fluff with fork.
2. While the rice cooks prepare the bread crumbs. In a skillet warm 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, lemon zest, and a pinch of sea salt. Saute for about 5 minutes until the bread crumbs have saturated the butter and have browned up nice and crispy. Set aside.
3. In the same pan warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. You want the mushrooms to be soft and their liquid to have absorbed. Add the garlic, nutmeg, sage, tarragon, and rosemary. Saute for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
4. In a large mixing bowl combine the cooked rice, the mushroom mixture, eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, and asiago cheese. Stir until well mixed.
5. Grease a 13x9x2 baking dish with butter or olive oil. Spread the casserole into the pan. Cover with foil. Bake in oven at 350 for 45 minutes. At 45 minutes remove the foil, spread the bread crumbs on top of the casserole and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes until the top is toasted. Done. Enjoy the creamy goodness Gina Drew.

Blueberry & Dark Cocoa Pancakes

Good Morning Readers!

It's my day off and it's been a really busy couple of weeks at work for me. After sleeping in this morning I wanted a more substantial breakfast than my usual fruit smoothie. It's true. Every morning at 6:30am I make a fruit smoothie & green tea for breakfast. I usually follow this up with some steel cut oats around 9:30am. I am a total creature of habit. I've had this breakfast every morning for easily the past 8 years. Prior to that my breakfast was a strong cup of coffee and a couple of cigarettes. So, I'd say my current breakfast routine is a huge improvement. Little did you know Miss Jolie wasn't always such a healthy eater :)

I am not creative when it comes to breakfast. I found what works for me. But, on my days off I'm a little more adventurous. And this morning when I looked outside at the bleak rainy cold morning I was craving pancakes. Since I kicked the gluten last Autumn I've found success with the Trader Joe's brand gluten-free pancake and waffle mix. I also like this mix is sugar-free, as I try to eat a limited amount of sugar in my daily diet. I try to reserve sugar for special occasions. For this recipe you could substitute any gluten-free pancake mix. For the add-in's I used frozen blueberries because we are months away from fresh blueberry season. The frozen organic wild blueberries from Trader Joe's are the perfect tiny size. I was craving chocolate and had on hand unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate. So these got thrown in the batter. I love the taste of pancakes on their own so much that I rarely add syrup. If you use syrup, please people, invest in some pure maple syrup. That "syrup" junk most folks eat is just brown dyed corn syrup without a trace of real maple. Kick the corn syrup to the curb where it belongs. You'll be better off. I hope pancake joy brightens your day today!

In Health & Happiness,
Miss Jolie Ann

Blueberry Dark Cocoa Pancakes
Improvise with Me....

1. Gluten-free pancake mix (follow directions for the quantity you crave)
2. 1 tbsp unsweetned dark cocoa powder--mix this in with the dry ingredients
3. Prepare the pancake mix according to directions. Once wet & dry ingredients are mixed then add in a handful of defrosted frozen blueberries (the amount will depend on how many pancakes you are making).
4. Add in a few shavings of dark chocolate. mmm.
5. Cook pancakes with according to package directions.
6. Optional toppings: butter, powdered sugar, more dark chocolate shavings, maple syrup, blueberry syrup.
7. Drool and/or eat pancakes now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Corn Tortillas Layered with Garlicky Wilted Cabbage & Chard, Black Beans & Eggs

Dear Readers,
My friends Sherrie & Mindy gave me these adorable little eggs from their backyard flock of hens. I wanted to create a recipe to feature these delicious cute tiny eggs. What I came up with is this recipe that features soft corn tortillas layered with garlicky wilted cabbage & swiss chard, black beans, fried eggs, and I used some roasted green tomato chipotle sauce I preserved in the Autumn. You could use any salsa, enchilada sauce, or hot sauce for this dish. The flavors stand on their own. Whatever sauce you choose, don't use a lot. A little goes a long way to mingle with the other flavors of this recipe. And, this is a VERY improvisational recipe so there aren't exacts. Play with it. Play with your food. Just play as much as possible. Create beautiful food and follow your bliss. Life is short. Enjoy!

In Health & Joy,
Miss Jolie Ann

Corn Tortillas Layered with Garlicky Wilted Greens, Black Beans & Fried Eggs
Serves 2

2 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced swiss chard
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
Butter (less than one tablespoon)--or more olive oil to keep it vegan
4 corn tortillas
14oz can black beans
2 eggs
1/2c cup salsa, enchilada sauce, or hot sauce--your choice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage and a pinch of sea salt. Saute for 3-5 minutes. You want the cabbage to be slightly wilted, but still firm and retaining it's color. Add the swiss chard and garlic. Saute for 1 minute, no longer. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Add a very thin slice of butter to the pan. Add one tortilla and cook on each side approximately 1 minute. Set aside. Continue to cook all 4 tortillas individually. If the pan gets dry, add it more butter. (If you don't do dairy you can easily substitute olive oil)
3. While the tortillas are cooking, drain and rinse the black beans. Set aside.
4. Once the tortillas are cooked, use the same pan for the eggs. Add a tiny bit of butter if the pan is dry. Fry the eggs over medium heat until the yokes are firm but not hard.
5. Put 2 tortillas on each plate and begin layering. First tortillas, then sauce, then cabbage & chard, then black beans, then 1 egg, and garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quinoa-Lentil Salad with Greek Flavors

Quinoa-Lentil Salad with Greek Flavors

Hello! This main dish salad is packed with protein, fiber, and all kinds of colors, textures and flavors. The quinoa and lentils are combined with sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, walnuts, and herbs used in Greek cuisine. You can add feta cheese or leave it vegan. It's delicious either way. Think taboulli without the wheat or summer veggies. This salad also keeps well all week, so I make a big batch on the weekend and take it to work for lunch each day. It would be perfect on a picnic. It's one of my favorite recipes and a staple for me during the Winter. While the quinoa and lentils cook (in under 30 minutes) you chop and prepare all the other ingredients. This meal is done & in your happy belly in a flash! Enjoy!

In Health & Love,
Miss Jolie Ann

Quinoa-Lentil Salad with Greek Flavors
Original Recipe by Miss Jolie Ann
makes 5-6 servings

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup dry brown lentils
2 cups water
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
1 tsp sea salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/4 cup minced red onion
4 stalks celery, minced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup julienned sundried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
1 cup whole pitted kalamata olives
Optional: 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Place the quinoa and water in a sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Place lentils and water in a sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let cook for about 20 minutes. You want the lentils to be cooked, but not mushy. They should still be firm and hold their shape. Drain water from lentils and set aside. Let cool to room temperature.
3. In a large bowl combine the quinoa and lentils with all the remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined. Serve at room temperature.

Coconut Corn Chowder with Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Coconut Corn Chowder with Fresh Squeezed Lime

As a seasonal eater, sometimes I really miss the sweet flavors of Summer during the Winter. In fact, I miss them a lot. This recipe is great with frozen corn and satisfies some of those cravings until fresh corn is available in July. I recommend using frozen vs canned corn. Canned corn, or any canned vegetable actually, contains ridiculous amounts of sodium that honestly you just don't need in your diet. Corn chowder recipes are a dime a dozen. What I love about this one is the addition of creamy coconut milk. It really changes up with traditional corn chowder flavor. Fresh squeezed lime & cilantro are a perfect accompaniment to the coconut milk and corn. A comfort food, kind of like creamed corn, without all the dairy and sugar. Added bonus--the recipe is quick and very simple to prepare. Enjoy this little bit of Summer sunshine and flavor in March!

In Health & Love,
Miss Jolie Ann

Coconut Corn Chowder with Fresh Squeezed Lime
Original Recipe by Miss Jolie
approximately 6 servings

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
1 small yukon gold or other yellow potato, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
pinch of black pepper
2 16oz packages of frozen corn
2 cups water
14 oz can unsweetened light coconut milk
1 lime, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1. In a stock pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced onions and cook for 5 minutes until they start to turn translucent. Add the minced ginger root and chopped potato to the pan. Continue to saute for 5 more minutes. Add the sea salt, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. Saute for a few minutes more until the spices are well combined and smell very fragrant.
2. Add the corn to the pan. Stir. Add enough water to cover the corn, approximately 2 cups. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer soup for approximately 20 minutes. The corn is already fully cooked, so you just need the potatoes to get soft and all the flavors to combine themselves.
3. Add the coconut milk and let simmer for just a few minutes until it's combined with the soup. Remove from heat and let cool enough to blend.
4. Reserve 1 cup of the soup and set aside. If you have an immersion blender you can puree the soup directly in the pan. Or you can puree the soup in batches in your blender. Remember to never put hot liquids in your blender because the heat will blow the lid off and make a huge mess. Safety first people! :) After soup is pureed to a creamy consistency, add the reserved cup of soup. This gives it a nice texture.
5. Squeeze the juice of one lime and add to the soup. Stir to combine. Garnish each bowl with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beet & Grapefruit Salad with Black-Eyed Peas

My friend Catherine came to dinner and I wanted to create something really special for her that was vegan, gluten-free, and completely delicious. She loved it so much I'm going to name this recipe "Catherine's Salad." I just love beets--everything about them. The color, the earthy & sweet flavor, the dirt. Everything! The colors in this salad are beautiful and it's ingredients are substantial enough to serve it as a main course. It's combination of veggies and fruit is sweet, tangy and sour. The dressing is a combo of raspberry, mustard and balsamic vinegar. It's companions at dinner were coriander roasted yams and asparagus with chevre. It was a divine dinner. Enjoy the recipe!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Beet & Grapefruit Salad with Black-Eyed Peas
aka "Catherine's Salad"
Serves 4

1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried rosemary
4 beets, rinsed & tops removed
1 tbsp sugar-free 100% fruit raspberry preserves
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp + 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
sea salt & black pepper
4 cups mixed greens, washed & dried
1 red grapefruit, peeled, and segments skinned into small pieces
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced

1. Rinse the black-eyed peas and remove any grit. Place in a large pot, add bay leaf, dried rosemary, and cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until black-eyed peas are cooked, but not mushy. Approximately 40 minutes. Drain & set aside.
2. While black-eyed peas are cooking, remove tops from the beets and rinse. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until beets are tender all the way through when pierced with a fork. Once cooked, remove from heat, drain water, rinse and let soak in fresh cool water for a few minutes. Once beets are cool to the touch, pull the skins off with your fingers. They should easily fall off. Cut the beets in half and thinly slice each half. Put slices in a bowl and add 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar plus a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Set aside.
3. Once the black-eyed peas are cool begin the dressing. In a small bowl combine the raspberry preserves, Dijon mustard, olive oil, remaining 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper to your desired taste. Stir with whisk until well mixed. Combine the dressing and the black-eyed peas until combined.
4. Divide the salad greens among 4 plates. Divide the black-eyed peas into 4 portions and add to the top of the lettuce on each plate. Divide the beets and arrange on top of the black-eyed peas on each plate. Divide the grapefruit pieces and arrange on top of the beets on each plate. Divide the avocado slices and arrange on the top of salads.