Welcome my blog of LOVE!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Just Another Dinner....

aluminSo check it out....in a hurry here's what I did.
Pork chop, very lean brushed with Hosin Sauce and grilled.
sautéed with fresh garlic, Pepper, and Extra V olive oil.
But the highlight was....Fresh corn on the cob seasoned with garlic and fresh basil and a smidge of butter wrapped in foil and on the grill it goes!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Low Sugar Spaghetti Sauce...of Love!

Ellen wrote…

Spaghetti sauce is high in sugars. Any suggestions about this? Can you refer me to any brand lower in sugars for Spaghetti sauce? I am also totally Vegan as of 14 days ago.

If you don't want to make a sauce, check out Walden Farms. http://www.waldenfarms.com/

Low Sugar Spaghetti Sauce...of Love!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms (I like baby portobello)
1-2 tablespoon minced fresh garlic...ok I love garlic!
1 28 oz. can Tomato Puree (plus 1 cans water)
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatos undrained, chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
tablespoon dried basil lightly crushed
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano lightly crushed
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Splenda or Stevia
  1. Heat oil in medium size saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir onions 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook and stir 2 additional minutes.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients, except the Splenda or Stevia . Heat to simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sweetner until dissolved.

Taste for Life:

Recipes for eating and living better from “The Happy Diabetic”

We’re changing the way you eat one recipe at a time.

Traveling, eating, cooking my way thru the back roads of Italy

After returning for a trip to Italy back in March, I just can't shake the feeling that I need to share some of the food's and recipes I experienced. As I write my next book I will share some of my highlights I experienced while "on the back roads".

So lets try a dish inspired from Florence.

Florence, the city lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the richest and wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance; in fact, it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages.It was long under the de facto rule of the Medici family. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

The Cuisine... Awesome!

As soon as we returned home I set off to recreate many of the great dishes we encountered. I started hitting the farmers markets looking for fresh artichokes. We got up bright and early drove to The Fright House market and bought a dozen fresh chokes. I love artichokes just about any way you could possibly prepare them, but my favorite method is to simply braise them until they are meltingly tender. So with that said... try this simple and easy recipe.

Please feel free to feedback to me your comments.

Buon Appetito!
Chef Robert The Happy Diabetic

Taste for Life:

Recipes for eating and living better from “The Happy Diabetic”

We’re changing the way you eat one recipe at a time.

Artichokes My Way

One of the great food we encountered in Italy were the artichokes. I love artichokes just about any way you could possibly prepare them. It’s on of those veggies most misunderstood and missed cooked. Not this one!

3 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil

3 Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced

4 Medium Artichokes, Trimmed very well.

How to Trim an Artichoke

Trimming artichokes takes work, but getting to the tender inner leaves and heart is worth it. First, fill a large bowl with water. Then add the juice of half a lemon-dropping the trimmed artichokes in lemon water helps prevent browning.

  • Pull off the tough outer leaves and cut off the stem of each artichoke. Cut off 1 inch from the top of each artichoke. With scissors, cut off about 1/2; inch from the tip of each leaf.
  • Rub cut surfaces with lemon.
  • Separate the leaves to get to the center of the artichoke. Pull out the purple leaves, exposing the prickly choke. With a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the prickly choke from each artichoke. Drop prepared artichokes into the bowl of lemon water until ready to use.

1 Cup,or a little more..White Wine

Salt & Black Pepper

Juice Of 1 Lemon

4 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat, add the garlic and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute. Next add the artichokes and coat well in the oil. Add the wine, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until the artichokes are fork tender, about 25 minutes. Add the fresh chopped parsley and toss. Place the artichokes on a serving platter. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil and reduce by half. Drizzle over the chokes and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve



Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quad Cities Iron Chef= Final Showdown ...The Movie!

Congratulations To all the Chef's

Taste for Life:

Recipes for eating and living better from “The Happy Diabetic”

We’re changing the way you eat one recipe at a time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quad Cities Iron Chef= Final Showdown This Sunday

Eight chefs entered; four remain

By Sarah Gardner, sgardner@qconline.com

Chef Aaron McMahon is interviewed by fellow chef Robert Lewis as he shaves lemon rind for his competitive dish Aug. 2 in Bettendorf. Mr. McMahon, executive chef at the Outing Club, went head-to-head with Faithful Pilot chef Robert Cook at the Trinity Farmers Market Iron Chef Showdown. Both chefs were given the surprise ingredient of conch to use in their dishes.
More photos from this shoot

Faithful Pilot chef Robert Cook at the Trinity Farmers Market Iron Chef Showdown. Both chefs were given the surprise ingredient of conch to use in their dishes.

By Sarah Gardner, sgardner@qconline.com
It began in July. Two by two, area chefs arrived at the Trinity Farmers' Market in Bettendorf on Monday afternoons to throw down in the Home Grown Iron Chef competition sponsored by Scott Community College.

The chefs -- Rory Bancroft of Aramark at i wireless; Matt Mulder of Amber Ridge/Arbor Village Clubhouse; Aman Razdan of Red Crow Grille; Sean Dittmer of Oakwood Country Club; Brandon Zawada of Aramark at John Deere World Headquarters; Dustin Head of Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano; Robert Cook of the Faithful Pilot, and Aaron McMahon of the Outing Club -- had come to compete.

But really, said Scott's Lysa Hegland, they began lining up for the competition immediately after the end of last year's Home Grown Iron Chef. "We had a dozen chefs calling us, asking how they could participate."

To compete, the chefs had to agree not only to abide by the rules of the competition, but to provide a dish for spectators to sample. They also had to contribute a raffle item to the Scott Community College fundraising effort.

As for the rules, the chefs were allowed to bring their own cooking equipment. But the food they were to prepare? That was a mystery. The chefs would have to use whatever protein was provided to them by Home Grown Iron Chef organizers. The vegetables and herbs would be what was fresh at the market that week, donated by the vendors.

In fact, event organizers were so intent on preserving the mystery of the meat the chefs would have to prepare that employees at Great Midwest Seafood Company and Johnnie's Market, where the meat for the competition was purchased, were sworn to secrecy.

After the meat of the week was revealed, the chefs had one hour to prepare three dishes, though ultimately only one could be submitted for judging.

Over four weeks, the chefs were faced with squab, with emu, with elk and with conch.

They were also faced with crowds who watched every flick of the knife and sizzle of the saute pan. Market-goers filled three rows of folding chairs lined in front of the chefs' work station. When those filled up, spectators set up their own folding chairs.

"It is very energizing to sit right up where the chefs are at and watch them at work," said Ms. Hegland. "In a lot of ways, these spectators at the market have gotten a taste of what it will be like to sit in the 'hot seats' at the final competition."

And now? Four of the chefs have been eliminated from the competition. Four remain: Chefs Bancroft, Razdan, Zawanda and McMahon.

They will face off in the final showdown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Isle Center of the Isle of Capri, Bettendorf. One of them will be named Home Grown Iron Chef 2010.

For those wishing to attend the final showdown, tickets are available for $25, $40 and $50. The highest-price tickets secure a "hot seat" location closest to the chefs.

Two local judges will be joined by visiting chef Paul Virant to determine the winner of the final showdown. Mr. Virant is executive chef and owner of Vie Restaurant in Western Springs, Ill., recently rated as one of the top 40 restaurants in the United States.

Chef Virant is no stranger to high-intensity cooking competitions. In fact, he was himself a contestant last year on the television show Iron Chef America.

In addition to judging the dishes prepared by the final four Home Grown Iron Chef contestants, Chef Virant will offer a cooking demonstration at the showdown. Students from the Scott Community College culinary-arts program will work with him to prepare a caramel mousse with candied almonds and fresh market vegetables ahead of the event. Attendees of the final showdown will have a chance to enjoy the dish.

Those who attend will have a rare treat, Ms. Hegland said. "We will have food you wouldn't be able to try except at an exquisite restaurant."

In addition to sampling Chef Virant's mousse, watching the competition and taking in the cooking demonstration, attendees of the final showdown will be able to participate in raffles and bid on items in a silent auction.

All proceeds from the Home Grown Iron Chef competition support Scott Community College programs and scholarships. For more information or to reserve a spot at the final showdown, call (563) 441-4063.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Brockway Sweetcorn Farms, Organic Farming of Love

Brockway Sweetcorn Farms...Mark and Anne a commitment to excellence.

When Mark Called to let me know the crops were coming up I wasted no time getting to the Brockway Sweetcorn Farms. Ok...it's much more then that, swiss chard, peppers, corn, herbs, tomatoes, fresh garlic, flowers, Hot peppers, pumpkins and a lot more!
Located on hwy 67 about 1/2 mile on the right past Alcoa, look for the Brockaway Farm sign, a classic red tractor and an American flag.
Now you have to know that all the crops are organic. Grown with stream feed irrigation and fish based fertilizer. Right away you notice the butterflies, frogs, bumble bee's Mark say's it's the organic nature of the farm. Theirs nothing on the farm that has the ability to kill. Unlike a traditional corn field where there is nothing alive due to the pesticides.

Anne, Mark's boss and marriage partner mans the retail produce stand and is a awesome cook!
Last year she gave me a dish made with swiss chard cooked in sesame oil and garlic WOW unbelievable. Their are many different types of chard on the farm. Here's my recipe and some pictures of the dish I made today.


4 nice serving!

A bed of greens makes a delicious accompaniment to Arctic char. Serve with buttered rice or pasta if you like.

Let's put it together!

1 bunch Swiss chard 5-6 stems , 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, thinly sliced 3 cloves garlic, Pepper to taste Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil.


Wash chard well in a large basin of cold water. Drain well. Cut or strip leaves from the stems. Slice stems into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside in a bowl. Roughly chop leaves and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons of the Olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until the soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes on a low heat. Reduce heat if the garlic is cooking too fast. Add chard stems, cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in chard leaves, cover and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 tablespoon water, if necessary, to create enough steam to cook greens quickly. When ready, greens should be wilted but still bright green. Squeeze lemon juice over the top, then drizzle on the soy and sesame oil.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The British Can Cook!

This weekend is the Quad Cities British Car Club Rally. Over 50 of the coolest Spitfires, MG, Jags, Lotus and others. Their is something about a British racing green Triumph Spitfire.

So in honor of this great event let cook healthy...English style!

Summer Chicken

1 Lemon Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic -- finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
3 Teaspoons Cumin
1 Handful Fresh Mint -- finely chopped
6 Large Chicken Breast
3/4 Cup Yogurt
Cilantro -- for garnish

Place all ingredients in food processor, except chicken, yogurt and cilantro. Process to a paste. Rub this mixture over the chicken and marinate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Drain juices from baking dish and place into a pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to 1 cup. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Place chicken on platter, pour yogurt sauce over and sprinkle with cilantro.