Sunday, February 7, 2016

Painting and Party

We painted the walls of the kitchen for a (necessary) finishing touch.  It looks so nice in the morning sunlight, with some forsythia branches that I picked up at Whole Foods.

We hosted a Mardi Gras party to play around cooking some of our New Orleans favorites.  It was a fun crowd!  I love how when you have a party with vinyl, everyone takes a turn picking a record, and the music never seems to stop. 

bourbon milk punch
satsuma champagne mimosas

Smoked Oyster Pate
Oysters Bienville (broiled with breadcrumbs, shallots, and butter)
muffaletta salad (chopped up muffaletta insides on toast)
garlic bread
Fresh Raw Oysters on ice
Baked Boudin Balls with Mustard Remoulade
TurkeyBacon-wrapped Shrimp-and-Grits Tarts with BBQ spices
Southern Shrimp Cocktail
Crab Imperial with Garlic- Chive Sauce 
Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
king cake bundt cake

We used the punch bowl and these adorable little mini plates that my sister-in-law gave us to assemble tiny individual serving shrimp cocktails and shrimp-and-grits tarts with roasted okra.

The Oysters Bienville were broiled in ceramic dishes oyster shell dishes that we picked up at Petite Amelie during this last trip to New Orleans.

And Ben shucked dozens of raw oysters over the course of the night.  We had to make a special order at the grocery store.  We served them with caviar and mignonette.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Homemade Low-Glycemic Chocolate for Midnight Snacks and Prettier Skin

I love a piece of chocolate as a midnight snack.  Since my skin has been improving so much after my ELISA/ACT testing done at Cornerstone Health, in reduced redness and in overall texture and "glow", I have been inspired to eat for my skin a little more.  I've been drinking cups of tea in the morning and finishing the day with hot water with lemon.  

This recipe uses coconut oil, ghee, honey, and cacao powder to create a fudgy, rich chocolate that won't spike your blood sugar and doesn't contain milk solids and dairy skin irritants like casein and lactose.  

For added flavor and some added fiber and vitamins, I added maca powder.  I love the flavor of maca; it tastes like old-fashioned malt powder (think "Malted Milk Balls" without the chocolate coating).  I also added ho shou wu powder for its antioxidant properties.  Also, both of these ingredients are rumoured to have aphrodisiac properties... soooooo Happy Valentines Day!   (Although many so-called aphrodisiacs are just vitamin-rich, energizing foods, it seems)

Low-Glycemic Chocolate

-1/4 cup ghee
-1/4 cup coconut oil*
-1/4 cup raw honey* or several drops stevia
-1 cup cacao powder
-2 tsps maca powder
-2 tsps ho shou wu powder
-chopped raw almonds

Prepare a 8x8 glass or metal baking dish by cutting a piece of wax paper to fit in the bottom.  Combine coconut oil and ghee in a glass bowl set over a simmering pot of water, and stir until completely melted. Add honey or stevia and stir until incorporated.  Remove from the heat and whisk in cacao and other powders. Pour into prepared baking dish, sprinkle with chopped almonds, and freeze for about 25 minutes, or until firm. When ready, pop the bark out of the dish with a butter knife, and break into pieces.

*My source for huge amounts of coconut oil and raw honey, at the very best price, is Costco.  I don't even have a membership, I just ask people to please take me once every 6 months.

Combine coconut oil and ghee in a glass bowl set over a simmering pot of water, and stir until completely melted.

Remove from the heat and whisk in cacao and other powders.
There you have it! It's very delicious and fudgy, you wouldn't even know that it's healthier for you! 

Nori Wrap with Quick Fermented Sea Vegetables

Nori Wrap with Quick Fermented Sea Vegetables
-1 24-oz jar sauerkraut
-1 carrot
-2 green onions
-2 Tbsp hijiki seaweed
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 Tbsp rice vinegar
-2 sheets roasted nori
-1 avocado
-2 umeboshi (Japanese salt-pickled plums), chopped - or- umeboshi paste to taste

1. Remove half the sauerkraut from the jar and save to use in a different recipe.
2. Add the hijiki seaweed and 2 Tbsp hot water to a small bowl, allow to soak.
3. Run the carrot through a spiralizer, or use a vegetable peeler to get shredded carrots.
4. Finely dice the green onions.
5. Hijiki seaweed should be reconstituted by now.  Add carrot, green onions, hijiki seaweed, sesame oil, and rice vinegar to sauerkraut jar.  Shake to incorporate or stir with a clean spoon.
6. Slice the avocado and put half of the slices on each nori sheet.
7. Spread umeboshi paste or sprinkle umeboshi pieces, if using, onto nori and avocado.
8. Top avocado slices with a drained spoonful of sea vegetables, roll up like a taco, and enjoy. Temaki-style!

These quick-fermented sea vegetables would make a fine nightshade-free kimchi.

Friday, January 1, 2016

First Floor Powder Room... Complete!

Our last big project is complete!  New floor, wallpaper, and sink vanity for the first floor bathroom!

We replaced the brown linoleum with herringbone marble, installed a new vanity with a Craigslist Rohl faucet, put up wallpaper leftover from our Main St apartment (hey, it's really hard to find wallpaper you want to keep for years), put up an old Venetian glass mirror from ebay, and bought a Turkish cotton shower curtain at Home Goods.  As a finishing touch, we also installed a solid wood door to match the other 1919 doors in the house.  We are working on phasing out the few hollow-core doors that were installed sometime in the 1980s or '90s, and this one had to go for the room to feel complete! 

Rohl faucet from Craigslist
New solid wood door and Martha Stewart "River Mist" paint, code MSL119