Fun with Cabbage

My husband sometimes goes on day trips with his work and last week he went to Plaquemines Parrish in Southeast LA. He came back with a bunch of odd, yet tasty stuff, having stopped at a farmer's roadside stand on his way back. The primary piece of produce that he came home with? A HUGE head of green cabbage. My response when I saw it - "what the heck am I going to do with green cabbage?" I grew up in a red cabbage family, so this was totally a new area for me. So I scoured my cookbooks and the internet for cabbage recipes. To no true avail, I looked in my pantry and fridge and threw something together. And the result - Not half bad! This is not a rich or heavy meal, its a perfect, light, healthy and actually quite filling recipe.

Asian Chicken Slaw Salad - Serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups of sliced green cabbage
  • handful of salted peanuts
  • handful of green onions, sliced
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 TBSP sesame oil
  • 2 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 TBSP rice vinegar


  1. lightly brush chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill til opaque. Cut into strips once done and put to side.
  2. mix cabbage, peanuts, green onions and cilantro in large bowl
  3. in small bowl, mix sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and vinegar. Set to side.
  4. add chicken to cabbage mix, then drizzle with oil mix and toss to coat.

This mix is also perfect for putting in a wrap!

Here's the final product (actually, this is after we had already helped ourselves to our serving.)

as you can see, nice, green and very tasty!



Every week I try to refresh the bouquet in our apartment -- with everything so stark and blah in this very run-of-the-mill apartment complex, I find fresh flowers to be a total breath of fresh air. However, last week I decided to take a break from buying flowers, mainly just for a break in our budget so we can save up for the up and coming holidays.

But then I walked into Whole Foods yesterday, saw these and just HAD to pick them up --

Can you blame me?


Adventures in Baking

I took a huge leap yesterday -- I baked. Yup, she who can screw up cut and bake cookies decided to bring the aromas and tastes of the holiday season to our abode. My lack of baking has also taken a toll on my husband, who grew up in a southern home full of baked breads, pies, cakes, cookies, etc. So while wandering around the grocery store last night, I decided to take a risk. I pulled out my handy dandy iPhone, went to my Whole Foods Recipes application, ,and found a recipe for Pie. Note: the Whole Foods recipe app is AMAZING - I've made many a "crud- it's-6:30pm-and-I-have-no-idea-what-to-make-for-dinner" last minute recipes using this app. If you have an iPhone and a healthy cooking/baking addiction, this app is worth the 20 seconds it takes to dowload it (because its free!!) Now, I LOVE Apple Pie - its really the only kind of pie I like and it reminds me of my grandmother and her amazing apple pies made from scratch. But last time i made an apple pie, it tasted like undercooked apple cinnamon soup (ick). But to be adventurous, I picked the Pumpkin Apple Pie recipe - my favorite pie mixed with a Thanksgiving favorite.

So off i went -- I had to go to three (yes three) different stores to get everything. But I eventually arrived home with my pie-making goodness and then off I went!

50 minutes later, My pie was done. I was a little nervous because at times when the directions would say "spoon the mix into the pie crust," I just poured it in because it was so liquid-y. Also, i wasnt sure if me using a pre-made pie crust instead of one from scratch would affect anything (me make a crust from scratch? let's not get ahead of ourselves now). However - this is the final result:
You can see the bits of apple peeking out above the pumpkin pie mix. Yes - i burnt the crust a little. Yes, i got impatient and started cutting the pie before it was cool and had set. But all in all, the pie was actually pretty good -- and my husband liked it. I dont know if he actually liked the pie or if he was just happy to be eating a baked good of some sort. Me - i was just happy it didnt tasted like pumpkin-apple soup and it gave me a reason to eat one of my grad school guilty pleasures: Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, made 40 miles from Aggieland, in Brenham TX.
so Baking attempt number one as a married woman was a success! Lets hope the luck continues into the holiday season. And as for now, the apt smells like a field of spiced cinnamon spiked with apples and pumpkin. Joy!!


Itsa Pizza Pie!

Yesterday, in an effort to get in touch with my Italian roots and take advantage of the lovely Stand Mixer in our kitchen, I decided to make pizza dough from scratch. Seems, easy enough, but in our family, pizza dough has always been elusive. Even though my mom is 1/2 Italian, she was never given a family pizza dough recipe and had to find one on her own - talking to Italian restaurant owners, cooks and scouring magazines for a recipe that was tasty and healthy. She'd find one, make the dough, and much to her disappointment, it would either be too salty, too bland, etc, etc. So eventually she gave up and resorted to buying Boboli pre-cooked pizza crust.

However, when I got married I made a point to learn a dough recipe that was easy, healthy and very tasty! My parents gave us a cookbook for the wedding that has a number of a basic recipes for the newlywed home:

(image courtesy of Crate & Barrel)

Yeah, so it's a cookbook with a cheesy name, but it really is chalk-ful of great recipes. And yes, it has a recipe for basic pizza dough. I picked up what I needed and off I went making my dough:

Here's my dough being kneaded by the dough hook. I was a 1/4 cup short of whole wheat flour, so I had to substitute the rest with pancake mix flour. Turned out to make no difference.

still a little sticky, but coming along!

Once I got the dough to a point where it wasn't sticky anymore, I put the dough in a oiled bowl, covered it with a kitchen towel and left it on the counter to rise while I went out for a few hours to look at apartments.

My dough before it rose.

When i got back, my dough was ready to be kneaded and formed. I wanted to make 2 personal pies, so I cut the dough in half (I had made enough for 4 8-inch pies), wrapped it in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for another time. The other half I divided again and then rolled and stretched out into two 9-inch pies. I then sprinkled a baking sheet with cornmeal and put the dough out on the sheet. NOTE: If you follow the book's recipe, DO NOT use as much cornmeal as I used in this picture. I learned in the recipe that cornmeal burns easily. 15 hours later, our apartment still smells like burnt cornmeal.

Then I was off to making the pizza. I'm a big fan of the simple, classic and fresh taste of a Margarita pizza, so I started chopping and slicing away. My family's Margarita pizza ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 or 2 medium sized tomatoes on the vine, sliced (I used the Creole Tomatoes that i bought that morning)
  • 2 balls of fresh "Ovaline" sized mozzarella, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh fresh basil, sliced.
  • Italian or Pizza seasoning with no salt
  • garlic salt
  1. preheat the oven to 500 degrees
  2. drizzle the olive oil over the top of the crust.
  3. slice the tomatoes and arrange in a single layer on the dough.
  4. slice the mozzarella and arrange on top of the tomatoes in a single layer
  5. sprinkle the basil on top of the mozzarella.
  6. dust the top of the pizza with the seasoning and the salt.
  7. drizzle some more olive oil around the crust edges.
  8. pop in the oven and bake for 12-15 mins.

take out and let cool. Then serve & enjoy!

My final product:

So did my first stab at made-from-scratch pizza dough work? A loud resounding YES! The crust was REALLY good and was a very nice & light, but still filling. My next goal? Figuring out a way to lower the amount of sugar and salt in the recipe and still keep it yummy. Any ideas?

Also, if you'd like the recipe for the dough, email me or pick up the cookbook The Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook . La buona fortuna e gode di!


A Fresh, Green Crescent City Morning

One thing I absolutely love about our new home is the Cresent City Farmer's Market - the pride and joy of New Orlean's fresh food. I'm used to only having access to fresh, local produce & dairy products on Saturdays during the summer. But the Crescent City Farmer's Market is every Saturday & Tuesday and year round!
Here's some of today's Fresh Produce bounty:

Some Creole Tomatoes, Kale (my newly discovered favorite green), Romaine and a freshly baked wheat loaf. I also picked up some potted herbs, lima beans and spinach fettucine. I usually grab some gulf Lousiana prawns and lump crab meat, but we already have a colony of little prawns sitting in our freezer, waiting to be eaten.

I also picked up a pretty fall bouquet - lillies and sunflowers!

But my absolute FAVORITE part of the Farmer's Market is the Smith Creamery truck. Located in Mount Hermon, LA, this dairy's milk and butter are wonderful -- but their chocolate milk is like drinking liquid dessert. It is sinfully delicious and my husband begs me to buy some every week. Their products are local, pasteurized (but non-homogenized, so it's super-creamy) and the milk is from grass-fed, happy, grazing cows (which equals more cortisol-fighting CSA, Omega 3 fatty acids, beta carotine, antioxitents, and CKA!). Its truly like milk from supercows.

So if you are ever in the New Orleans area on Saturdays or even during the week, be sure to stop by the Crescent City Farmer's Market. You will definitely be pleased and surprised with everything New Orleans has to offer!

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