A Sazerac… for Mardi Gras

The official drink of Mardi Gras in New Orleans


½ oz. absinthe (preferably Lucid)
2 oz. rye
¼ oz. simple syrup
Peychaud’s bitters
Angostura bitters
Lemon twist


Pour absinthe into an old-fashioned glass; swirl to coat, and discard liqueur; fill glass with ice. Shake rye, simple syrup, 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters, and 1 dash Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Discard ice in glass; strain cocktail into glass. Rub the rim with a lemon twist and drop twist into cocktail.


Banana Pudding….

Coconut milk beverage adds a hint of sweet flavor to this classic dessert.
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 4 Tbs. cornstarch
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 3 cups (coconut) milk beverage, such as Silk, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 very ripe bananas, sliced
  • 48 (vegan) vanilla wafer cookies
  • (Nondairy) whipped topping for garnish, optional

1. Place sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan, and gradually whisk in coconut milk. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook 5 minutes, or until thickened, whisking constantly. Stir in vanilla, then banana slices.

2. Line bottom of 11- x 7-inch baking dish with 24 cookies. Spread hot pudding over top, making sure bananas are submerged to prevent browning. Top with remaining 24 cookies, cover with plastic wrap, and cool. Refrigerate until cold. Top with whipped topping (if using).

Complete Proteins

People often choose to follow a vegetarian diet for health reasons. The diet can be high-fiber and low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and it can be sufficient in most essential nutrients if you plan your diet well. Being aware of the sources of complete protein will help you get enough complete protein on your vegetarian diet.

Complete Vs. Incomplete Proteins

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in foods and in your body. The University of Illinois explains that complete proteins, also called high-quality proteins, in food provide all of the amino acids that your body needs to get from the diet, while incomplete proteins are lacking one or more essential amino acids. The proteins in all animal-based foods, such as chicken, fish and beef, are complete. Getting high-quality proteins is an additional requirement to getting enough total protein in your vegetarian diet.

Dairy Products and Eggs

Lacto-ovo vegetarians avoid meat, fish and poultry but may consume eggs and dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Because these are animal-derived foods, they provide complete proteins. They are sources of calcium and vitamin B-12, too. Choose low-fat dairy products and eat egg whites to limit your intake of saturated fat, which raises levels of unhealthy cholesterol — or low-density lipoprotein — and increases your risk for heart disease. Try eggs with low-fat cheese, cottage cheese with pine nuts or yogurt with walnuts.

Soy Protein

The protein in soy is complete. Additional nutrients in soy products such as tofu, soybeans, soy milk, soy yogurt and tempeh can include dietary fiber, calcium and iron. Roasted soybeans make convenient additions to salads and portable snacks. Add tofu to vegetable stir-fries and serve over brown rice, top steamed vegetables with soy-based cheese and sesame seeds, and eat soy milk and yogurt as substitutes for dairy products if you are follow a strict vegetarian, or vegan, diet.

Cooked Quinoa

Quinoa is a plant-based source of complete protein that is a grain. Each cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein and 39 grams of carbohydrates. This makes it low-protein and high-carbohydrate in comparison to foods such as chicken breast, which is carbohydrate-free and has 27 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving, and beans, which have 15 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein per half-cup. Have cooked quinoa as a side dish or make quinoa tabbouleh with cold cooked quinoa, olive oil, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes.

Protein Combining

Beans, nuts, whole grains and vegetables contain some protein, but their protein is incomplete. The University of Michigan Integrative Medicine explains that protein combining can allow you to get all of the amino acids you need from the diet. Eating beans or nuts with grains provides complete proteins. Examples include peanut butter on whole-grain crackers, black beans with rice and hummus with whole-wheat pita. The principle is also called complementary proteins.

Roasted Turnips with Buttered Greens


  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. small white turnips with green tops, such as Hakurei, turnips halved, greens roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp. caraway seeds


1. Heat oven to 400°. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a 12″ ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, cook turnips, cut side down, until browned, 4–6 minutes. Return all turnips to pan and season with salt. Transfer to oven; bake until tender, 12–15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter; keep warm.2. Wipe skillet clean and toast caraway seeds over medium-high until they pop, 1–2 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add remaining butter to skillet; melt. Cook turnip greens until wilted, 3–4 minutes. Stir in reserved caraway seeds and salt; cook 1 minute. Transfer to platter with roasted turnips.

Potato Gnocchi: traditional and sweet potato

The secret to fluffy, tender gnocchi is to make the dough while the mashed potatoes are hot, add just enough liquid to hold it together, and work it as little as possible. To freeze: place cooked gnocchi on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer, freeze until gnocchi are hard, and transfer to resealable plastic bags. To reheat: add frozen gnocchi to boiling water, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce and cheese.

2 ½ lb. russet or Idaho potatoes
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup potato starch

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prick potatoes all over with fork, and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until soft to touch. Slice open, and let cool 10 minutes.

2. Scoop out potato flesh (it will still be hot); reserve skins for another use. Mash potato flesh in bowl or put through potato ricer. Stir in salt, then egg with fork. Stir in potato starch until dough comes together and no longer sticks to fork or your hands.

3. Scoop out 1/2 cup dough, and roll into 3/4-inch-thick rope on work surface dusted with potato starch. Cut rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Set back of fork atop 1 gnocchi, and use fork to roll gnocchi toward you, making light indentations with fork tines. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

4. Bring pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi, and cook 2 minutes, or until gnocchi float to top. Drain, and serve.

Serves 6

Sweet Potato Gnocchi


For the gnocchi:
1 lb / 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour (plus about 1/2 cup more for rolling out the dough)
1/4 cup of chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil


Start by roasting the sweet potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 400º. On a baking sheet, roast the sweet potatoes until they are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove and let them cool.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins. Place the peeled potatoes in a food processor and puree until they are smooth.
Place the potato puree on a well floured counter. Add in both flours and the salt and gently knead until all of the ingredients are combined. The dough should be soft, but not too sticky. If it is sticky, add in a small amount of flour until it is not too sticky to handle.
Do a test piece:
Pinch off a small piece and roll it lightly in flour. Drop it into the boiling water. When it starts to float cook it for 30 seconds more. Fish it out with a slotted spoon and allow it to cool slightly. If it fell apart in the pot or it is falling apart or melting after it is cooked, knead more flour into the dough. The goal is to use the smallest amount of flour possible because too much flour makes the gnocchi tough. If it was not right the first time, keep on testing until you have it right.

Cook the gnocchi: see the previous directions.

Toast the gnocchi (optional step):

In a large frying pan, heat up the grapseed oil. Place the gnocchi in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. You want them to be a nice golden brown color.

Spinach: not just for Popeye

Spinach is the bane of most children and many adults, and yet when it is cooked properly it is an awesome vegetable (and a key ingredient in many classic and modern dishes). Spinach is related to beets and chards but not cabbages or lettuce, to which it bares a superficial resemblance. It was first cultivated in Asia by the Persian, and it spread along the trade routes to China and eventually to Spain by the 11th century. It took another five centuries to arrive in Britain.

Spinach is really a plant for a cool climate. It dislikes hot, dry summers, when it will very quickly go to seed, often before it is fully developed and ready to harvest. However, if you make sure that the plants are properly watered, it is possible to produce a crop that should last for two or three weeks and, with successional crops, it can be extended.

The plants look rather like a loose lettuce, with stalked leaves rising from a central stem.

Spinach has a relatively short life, especially in summers. There are other vegetables that are cooked in a similar way to spinach and have the advantage of a longer life. They are generally known as “perpetual spinach” and the king among them is Swiss chard. Another good alternative is New Zealand spinach which is not related botanically to spinach but makes a good substitution.

Nutritional Highlights…

Spinach is low in calories and packs protein and fiber. One cup of cooked, boiled and drained spinach contains only 41 calories and a full 5.3 grams of protein and 4.3 grams of dietary fiber, according to Harvard School of Public Health.

Spinach is known to be a good source of iron. It is also high in other minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc in one cup of cooked spinach.

Spinach is rich in vitamins, especially vitamins A and K.

Research Highlights…

Spinach contains a phytonutrient that research indicates slows down the division of cells in human stomachs and skin cancer cells. Also, spinach has been shown to help protect against aggressive prostate cancer, what is considered Stage III or IV prostate cancer with a Gleason score of at least 7.

Powerful antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc, and selenium, are also found in spinach.

Spinach has also been shown to lower blood pressure because of a peptide found in spinach.

Side Effects :
If eaten in large quantities, spinach may have some side effects. Spinach has a chemical that binds with iron and calcium and causes the body to absorb less of these nutrients. Also, for those who are prone to kidney stones, it is advised to avoid spinach because it contains purines, an organic compound that the body turns to uric acid. High levels of uric acid will increase the risk of developing kidney stones.

Since spinach is high in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, eating too much can cause an upset stomach. One can experience gas, bloating and cramping, and possibly diarrhea.

Grub wisely

Calabrese (Italian Broccoli)

Although calabrese is in many ways similar to broccoli, it is usually considered as a separate vegetable. Its origins are the same: it originated in the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean coast (and Italy); before moving to the rest of Europe. It is sometimes known as Italian broccoli or American broccoli. (Romanesco is usually bracketed with calabrese).

Unlike broccoli, Calabrese is quick growing but not very hardy, and it is grown so that the edible heads, which are much larger than those of broccoli, are produced in late summer and autumn. Calabrese forms a large central head, rather like a louse cauliflower, and when this is picked, side shoots develop, each carrying a slightly smaller head. Not all varieties are capable of producing side shoots however, and these varieties are finished once the main head is picked. The color is different from broccoli in that it has a blue-green tinge. Another major difference to broccoli is that it is important that growth should not be checked so it is sown where it is to grow and not transplanted.

Romanesco is similar to calabrese and is, in factt, often listed as a variety of calabrese. The main difference is that it is hardier and can be grown to produce heads from late autumn into early winter, covering at least part of the cap between calabrese and broccoli. Unlike calabrese and broccoli, romanesco only produces a single head and is then finished. The shape of the head is also different. It is distinctly conical-shaped, with little erruptions over the surface, creating further pinnacles. It is said to be attractive, with yellowish, lime-green buds.


Regional Food opposed to Food by Country


Different regions of a country typically have very different styles of cooking. With Italian cuisine, for example, the Northern region is very much different than the Southern region. The Central region is far different than the islands.

The Northern region of Italy borders France, so they cook with more cream and butter. This is the part of Italy generally speaking where you would see more Alfredo type sauces. Most of the Northern region is land locked as opposed to surrounded by water so you would see less seafood and more game.

The Southern region uses a lot more tomato based sauces. Also, being surrounded by the ocean, the food in the Southern region tends to comprise of more seafood than game. Location in proximity to other country’s massively affects the food they cook. Also, the physical location of the region affects what they cook. Different climates dictate what can and can’t…

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Why nutrition should be more important when cooking in a restaurant setting


Generally when going out to eat we don’t really think about what we are eating from a nutritional standpoint. During the night on the town, dining at the fancy French restaurant, we probably consume over one thousand calories in one sitting. The portion sizes are very large at most places, or you have multiple courses. Eating like that every once in a while shouldn’t be too harmful, but it will leave you not feeling so great the next day. It puts a heavy strain on your body.

On a recent venture to Fogo De Chao, I tried over 20 different meats. Every different meat had something special about it, I learned a lot. The next day, and even the ride home, I wasn’t feeling too great. I overate because it was an experience and I wasn’t thinking about it. I tried over 20 different meats and had a few drinks. I…

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Good comfort food in Portland


One of my favorite types of food is good old-fashioned comfort food. Biscuits and gravy to fried chicken has a special place in most of our hearts.

I looked for a long time to find a good comfort/breakfeast restaurant in Portland. Almost every place I tried was disappointing. Seemingly lacking the effort it takes to produce the home style feeling of a gooimaged comfort food restaurant.

Only one breakfast restaurant in Portland that I’ve tried has that home style feeling I’ve been looking for. Sugar Mamas Cafe. The quality of the food is good, most of it is made from scratch. The flavors impress me everytime I’ve eaten there. The wait can be a while, especially if it’s busy, but the food is well worth it. The food is affordable and is open for breakfast and dinner.

If you have some time I would reccomend Sugar Mamas Cafe. I’m…

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