Archive | Just Food RSS feed for this section

Oh! It’s Polenta….my Darling!

29 Jan

Polenta is a dish of boiled cornmeal. It may be consumed hot as a porridge or allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf, which is then baked, fried, or grilled.

After making the polenta, yesterday I chose to cool the mixture on a cookie sheet for 30 -45 minutes in the fridge! After cooling, today using a turned over glass I’d made circles to fry in a sauté pan with a little extra virgin olive oil under medium heat (4-5 minutes)

I then I took a mason jar lid to make a quick guide to house my fresh egg in the same pan. Sea salt and coarse pepper added.  Once browned to my liking, I then took fresh arugula and chopped red pepper sautéed very lightly (less than 1/2 a minute).

To assemble place one polenta cake on a plate, then your egg, following are arugula and red peppers and topped with another polenta cake! A pinch of  freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and coarse pepper….and that’s a great Sunday breakfast; a hit this morning with a spot of Earl Grey tea!

Perfectly cooked egg, arugula, red peppers placed in between two  beautiful polenta cakes

I love the peppery taste of arugula, but any leafy green can be substituted…spinach, kale or even leeks!!  If not for breakfast, then as an appetizer with a seared scallop!  What you can do is endless!  If you have any polenta recipes, please  do share!

Here’s the recipe to make the cornmeal mixture; I created about 8 (4 servings).  Oh! You can keep the extra polenta in the fridge.

_______________________

Ingredients

5 cups Water

1 cup Fine Corn Meal (polenta)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Grated, More If Necessary (I didn’t add, opted to top …minding for those who didn’t want cheese)

Prep

In a large sauce pan, bring water to a rolling boil. Season heavily with salt.  Gradually, slowly add in the cornmeal and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until mixture thickens, stirring often. While polenta is cooking, spray a casserole dish or cookie sheet with a small amount of cooking spray. Line the dish with Saran wrap and set aside.

Once the polenta has thickened (approximately 30 minutes), check for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Then pour the mixture into a Saran type wrap lined dish or cookie sheet (I wanted them thin).  Add another layer of Saran wrap on top and smooth it down directly on top of the polenta. Place into the refrigerator to set up.

When you are ready to make the polenta cakes, lift the polenta out. Remove the Saran wrap and place onto a cutting board. Using a round cookie cutter or glass, make 6 polenta circles.

letia Mitchelll 403 Letia 😊

Photo by Letia Mitchell LifeStyle & Design®

Advertisements

Pump Up The Volume on Your Vegetables! 

8 Jan

img_1605Vegetables can be boring, if you don’t change up a bit! So starting off the New Year, I’m trying things new, being creative! 😊

So my cutting board was very useful this afternoon with all the chopping and julienning being done!

Fresh fennel, onions, kale, carrots!

Fennel, an acquired taste raw….however when roasted with virgin olive oil with sprinkles of Himalayan pink salt and coarse pepper; its wonderful! That’s how I prepared it!  Placed on the bitten rack of the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  It can be paired with a roasted pork loin and even accompany a broiled salmon.  I’m roasting them to be as a side to my arugula salad  for lunch today and add to my boxed lunch tomorrow ( that’s the plan…it’s so good)!

Beautiful fennel!

Then taking raw carrots, kale (remove middle stem) and onion, I’d julienned, then formed them together  in a palm size circle by taking a dip in a tempura batter of rice flour, tsp of soybean oil, Sea salt and cornstarch*!

* or a tempura batter mix from the grocery store will also do.

I’d settled twelve of them on a tray and placed in the fridge to get cold (1 to 3 hours ).  The little circles can be cooked in the oven at 350 degrees, on each side for 10 minutes.  Or you may pan fry in vegetable oil for 3 minutes until golden brown.  These will be my go to snack on it’s own!  

img_1598

Vegetable circles in a tempura batter, placed on a cookie sheet.

 

 

Taking arugula leaves washed and dried, tossed in a lemon dressing of extra virgin oil, Dijon mustard, fresh squeezed lemon with a pinch of sugar. Added diced tomatoes, olives was a winner!  You can even add some fresh shaved Parmesan cheese if you like for this beautiful salad!

Now taking the serving size in consideration, the calories can be low (for example the vegetable circles is 2 at 70 calories for each).

With changing the look of your vegetables can be really good!  The different ways can give the incentive to trying different vegetables and eat more of them for a healthy start to this new year!

img_1605

Arugula salad, vegetable circle snacks and roasted fennel.

letia Mitchelll 403 Letia  😊

The bulb’s foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are used in many of the culinary traditions of the world. The small flowers of wild fennel (known as fennel “pollen” ) are the most potent form of fennel, but also the most expensive. Dried fennel seed is an aromatic, anise-flavored spice, brown or green in color when fresh, slowly turning a dull grey as the seed ages. For cooking, green seeds are optimal. The leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp vegetable that can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. Young tender leaves are used for garnishes, as a salad, to add flavor to salads, to flavor sauces to be served with puddings, and also in soups and fish sauce.

Photos by Letia Mitchell LifeStyle & Design ®

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caramelized Fig Ice Cream with Mascarpone & Honey Pecans

10 Jul

IMG_1219Figs! Love them! Especially when they are ripe and sweet.  So of course when seeing them I’d brought them with anticipation eating them with breakfast.

Unfortunately with rescheduling of meetings, my plans had changed!  So by the week’s end I had more figs that I needed and was scrambling my brain on what could I make with these beautiful figs?

It so happened that this past December; I’d brought a Cuisinart® Ice Cream maker and was reminded that it was in storage (the extra freezer bowl which was part of the rebate offer arrived 2 weeks ago).  So that’s it! Figs plus ice cream…let’s try!

Reading the recipes which came with the ice cream maker and looking at fig desserts; I collaborated what I liked and came up with this most delicious caramelized fig ice cream treat!  If you are not a fig person, the fruit can be substituted with peaches, bananas, or even nectarines! Whichever you select, it will be soooo good!

Preparation

The freezer bowl to make ice cream needs to frozen for at least 24 hours, this is the most important step, don’t be like me and think it’s cold enough and staring at a bowl spin around for 20 minutes;  nothing happens!  Nothing!  Ice cream delight delayed a day; but when frozen right…a piece of cake!

IMG_1215

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of mascarpone ( 4 oz)
  • 1/3 cup of turbinador sugar
  • 1/2 pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 lb of figs
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 2-4 tbsp of water
  • 1 cup of honey roasted pecans; chopped to bits

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be surprised how easy it is!

IMG_1218

Figs

To make it easier, I measure and place ingredients in their little individual bowls.

Begin by melting butter in a saucepan, medium heat.  Then add brown sugar, stirring until completely dissolved.  Take figs and cut off stems and begin to slice in halves.

Then add them to saucepan with the lemon juice and water.  This is where you have to be patient, because you are going to be stirring until you almost have like a jam texture!

IMG_1223

Figs added to brown sugar.

When at this point, add the salt and stir.  Turn off the heat and set aside to cool completely.  You will be tempted to taste and you can, you won’t be disappointed at all!

IMG_1225

Now in a small pot; let’s begin the ice cream mixture.  Also over medium heat, combine milk, heavy cream and sugar.  The sugar must be dissolved and the temperature lukewarm.

IMG_1226

Adding heavy cream to milk mixture with sugar.

Once the sugar is dissolved, whisk in the egg yolks gently.  Now place in bowl and set in fridge, until the fig mixture is cooled.

Please do not start the ice cream process until the fig mixture is cooled!

Take the ice cream freezer bowl out of freezer and place on basin (follow the instructions of your ice cream maker).  Pour milk mixture and start the ice cream process.  Allow the machine to spin for the first 20 minutes to allow the thickening process.

The fig mixture should now have a jam consistency, so once the 20 minutes has expired add the mascarpone, pecans and fig mixture.  Let the machine spin for another 10 to 15 minutes.

IMG_1245

The milk mixture thickening to a beautiful consistency.

IMG_1244

Honey roasted pecans chopped.

IMG_1247

Mascarpone with fig fixture added to ice cream maker.

Once the time has expired, quickly add the semi frozen mixture to a Pyrex dish or glass top pop dishes.  Let freeze for two  to three hours.

IMG_1250

Semi Frozen and glass top dishes.

Then you will have an addictive dessert!
efiglee

 

letia Mitchelll 403 Letia 🙂

Photos by Letia Mitchell LifeStyle & Design®

Love is in the Air! Valentine’s Day! 

27 Jan

You see hearts everywhere, so you know The Cupid is near!  

Hearts filled with chocolates, scrumpous cakes decorated beautifully and gifts to show you care! 

A friendly reminder, just in case your Post It® it got mistakenly blown away by Cupid!  

 

Valentine’s Day…in two weeks!  Great cake ideas by Cake Central!  

Letia 🙂

Photo by Cake Central.

Banana Oatmeal Bread! Easy!

18 Jan

img_2367I shop weekly for fresh fruit for making smoothies and green juices.  My plan to include bananas daily did not pan out and they also ripened very quickly!

The bananas are the sweetest at this stage and I was left with the decision; what should I do?

This year I’ve said I was going to embrace trying new things; one being cooking more! Then it dawned on me that I can make a banana bread; but use ingredients that were towards the healthy side!

The recipe is real easy and less than an hour to prepare.   And on this cold winter morning, the baking made the home smell wonderful!  The banana bread came out perfect!  So here are the steps and the recipe!

You will need 3 bowls, spatula, large spoon, mixer (if you don’t want to mix by hand), measuring cup, measuring spoons, whisk and a smile!img_2368

Get all the ingredients; to double-check you have everything! It’s nothing worse than starting and you find out that you thought you had everything and you don’t!

My substitutions were the walnuts, I like the walnut taste…..not necessarily the walnuts in the bread.  So I used walnut oil (1/2 teaspoon)!  If you don’t like walnuts; you can try raisins, pumpkin seeds,  anything you like.  Instead of white sugar, I’d used trubindao sugar.  I also used coconut oil; instead of shortening.img_2357

Oh! I’d also increased the measurements, because I had a lot of bananas – as you can see!  So my banana bread is larger than the proportions in the recipe.

 

img_23651/2 cup coconut oil

  • 3/4 cup Sugar in the Raw (turbinado sugar cane)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

 

img_2358

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

 

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the banana and vanilla.

 

sugar-in-the-raw-

img_2364

img_2363

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat into creamed mixture. Stir in oats and nuts.

img_2361

img_2362

img_2360

Pour into prepared pan.

img_2359

 

Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Let the bread rest for about 30 minutes and then go for the slices!

img_2356

letia Mitchelll 403 Letia 🙂

 

All photos by Letia Mitchell LifeStyle & Design® (excluding sugar image).

 

 

Thai Carrot Soup to Start the New Year with Spice! 

3 Jan

img_0751I wanted something satisfying and warm to eat!  So while grocery shopping, I decided to make some soup!  I love-making soup, where I can make it how I like it and be creative!

So Thai Carrot soup it is!  It came out wonderfully and for the upcoming nights when arriving from work; I can effortlessly choose to have a nice warm bowl of soup and little spinach salad!

It was quite easy and in less than an hour in the early morning;  I was done and ready to venture out to enjoy the rest of the day!

If you love carrot soup, try it!  You can add what you like…coconut milk, ginger, yogurt….what ever you like.  I just wanted a Thai peanut, very spicy, carrot soup! And I mean spicy…which you can omit!  Here are the steps; if you decide to make it also and add your delights; please share!

Happy New Year!

2 pounds of peeled carrots, 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, 2 tbsp of minced garlic, hot chili pepper flakes, peanut butter and 1 granny smith apple + Sriracha

2 pounds of peeled carrots, 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, 2 tbsp of minced garlic, hot chili pepper flakes, peanut butter and 1 granny smith apple + Sriracha.  It will make about close to 1 quart and 1/2 of soup.

img_0740

In a Dutch Oven, saute onions, apple, garlic in one teaspoon of hot coconut oil (about 2 – 3 minutes).

 

Add all the carrots and it's ok to eat some while they go in!

Add all the carrots and it’s ok to eat some while they go in!

Add 1 box of Vegetable broth (or any broth you like) and simmer for 20 minutes; until carrots are tender.

Add 1 box of Vegetable broth (or any broth you like) and simmer for 20- 30 minutes; until carrots are tender.

Once tender, now puree! Either a food processor or hand blender.

Once tender, now puree! Either a food processor or hand Immersion blender.

You want to have a smooth consistency!

You want to have a smooth consistency!

Now you add the peanut butter, blend then taste! A little salt and hot chili flakes, then taste again. Then judge is it to your liking.

Now you add the peanut butter, blend then taste! A little salt, basil and hot chili flakes, then taste again. Then judge is it to your liking.

For me! Not all, I added more S hot sauce!

For me! Not all, I added more Sriracha hot sauce!

Add to a beautiful bowl. Topped with basil and more hot sauce!

Add to a beautiful bowl. Topped with chopped basil and more hot sauce!

letia Mitchelll 403 Letia 🙂

The peanut butter is added last. For those who are allergic to nuts; it can be skipped without compromising the taste you want for a wonderful carrot soup!

Photos taken by Letia Mitchell LifeStyle & Design®

 

Hot Summer Day! Soft Serve vs. Scoop Ice Cream?

17 Aug

 

Icecream ball

Creamed Ice Cream by Cascadian Farms

It’s 92 degrees outside and I’m loving the air conditioning inside.  I have to run an errand and dread going outside!

So with my water in my bag and shoes changed to flats; on my way.  Finally to  get to the front door and sighed for it feels like a furnace on my face.  I couldn’t help but to say loud “It’s HOT!!!!!!!!!!”

So I did my errand quickly and I didn’t want anything heavy to eat; but something real cool! Ice Cream…that’s it!  Vanilla ice cream!

One block walk and I’m at the ice cream place, crowded of course and I stand on line waiting to be served.  Lo and behold, which I can tell that I’d just walked into a lengthy discussion – just by the look on the people’s faces before me!

scoop

Chocolate Mint, Chocolate, Mango, Strawberry and Maple Fudge Extra Scoops

“Do you like soft serve or hard scooped ice cream?”  This was the topic. ‘Yeah you….hey a newcomer to the convo!”; said this sweetest looking elderly woman.  I really didn’t care, for I just wanted vanilla…ice cream….to keep cool; real simple!  So I thought, for voices were raised!

They were talking about Mr. Softee, sugar cones, milk, sugar….all the ingredients of ice cream; no taste to has taste.  It seems that it would never end, like a circle… soft serve or scooped????

I really had to go and all eyes were on me, when I said Soft serve!   Then the sweet elderly woman, “See I knew it”. Back in the day………

 

softserve

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

It was quite comical and what a way to spend the afternoon, talking about a topic loved by so many.  I would have loved to know how it ended, but I really had to go before the scouts come looking! Perhaps it never ended!!

I’ve asked my friends on Facebook which has also started a lengthy discussion too.  So I said, it would be fun to ask here too… what’s your take!   Enjoy your last few weeks of summer and keep cool!

Letia Mitchell LifeStyle & Design Letia 🙂

Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century. England seems to have discovered ice cream at the same time, or perhaps even earlier than the Italians. “Cream Ice,” as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century. France was introduced to similar frozen desserts in 1553 by the Italian Catherine de Medici when she became the wife of Henry II of France. It wasn’t until 1660 that ice cream was made available to the general public.

Photos by Cascadian Farms, Sweet Corn Ice Cream by Geezer – 3rdArmbizxe, Letia Mitchell LifeStyle & Design. 

%d bloggers like this: