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Posts Tagged ‘sulfur’

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Like me, you might find yourself right in the midst of holiday parties. They’re fun, they’re festive, and they can be exhausting, particularly if you’re doing the hosting. We’ve been hitting our share of holiday cocktail parties, but we prefer to host actual dinner parties, where guests come around 5:30pm, enjoy some wine and hors d’oeuvres for the first hour, segue to dinner around 7:00pm and go home by 9:00pm or 10:00pm, depending on whether they have little ones in tow.

I typically serve a cheese, cracker and charcuterie platter with one other hors d’oeuvre–something that’s a little fancier because of its ingredients or because it requires some assembly. My basic offering includes a three-cheese selection, such as Manchego, Triple Cream Brie and Stilton with a selection of crackers, one or two kinds of salami and maybe sopressata along with a small dish of cashews or Marcona almonds.

But above and beyond unwrapping a few chunks of cheese and slicing some salami, my favorite go-to hors d’oeuvres are apricots spread with a basil-goat cheese and topped with  Marcona or herb-infused almonds. They look elegant, taste delicious and are a cinch to prepare. I also love that they work as hors d’oeuvres summer, winter, fall or spring. They always get gobbled up and exclaimed over, which is just what you want guest to do when they’re in your home, right?

Please note: I considered buying conventional apricots (treated with sulfur to keep their orange color) because they certainly photograph better, but I just couldn’t reconcile having a “health and wellness” blog and showing something laced with chemicals just because it looks prettier. Conventional apricots also have a sharper, sometimes slightly bitter taste, whereas natural untreated apricots have a subtle carmel flavor. So please focus on the wonderful flavor and texture combination, and never mind the naturally brown color of the dried apricots in my photos.

 

Ingredients

4 oz fresh, quality goat cheese, at room temperature

2-3 tsp milk

2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

40 dried apricots

40 Marcona or herb-infused almonds

Honey for drizzling

 

Preparation

In a small bowl, mix together the cheese, milk and basil until it’s very spreadable. Thin with more milk if necessary.

Spread the cheese mixture on each apricot and top with an almond.

Drizzle all the apricots with honey and serve.

 

Sante!

 

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What do you make for dinner when you realize it’s already after 5:00pm, the day got away from you without a thought about dinner or a corresponding trip to the store? Many in this situation simply don’t make dinner, and instead head off to a favorite restaurant. But for those times when you don’t want to leave the home just to feed yourself or your family, consider an omelet! The omelet for dinner is a cooking “trick” of the French. Open the fridge, chop up whatever remaining bits of meat or vegetable you find, whisk a few eggs in a pan, stuff and serve. Et voila!

Before I turned low-carb and subsequently Paleo, I might have boiled some pasta and thrown in a few veggies from the fridge. But pasta rarely makes an appearance in my kitchen these days–with the exception of gluten-free pasta to appease the kids. An omelet serves the same purpose with some significant added benefits.

Many consider eggs one of the most perfect foods. An individual egg offers 6 grams of protein along with a substantial amount of selenium and Vitamin B2. Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline, a B-complex vitamin associated with improved neurological function, reduced inflammation and happiness. And in case you hadn’t noticed yet, eggs are rich in sulfur, a nutrient your body needs to produce collagen and keratin (for good skin and nails and shiny hair). Sulfur also aids vitamin B absorption and liver function. And last but not least, eggs have the most easily digestible amino acids of any other protein–at least for humans.

Just like with the quiche recipe I posted a few weeks ago, you can add pretty much anything you like to an omelet, and it’s obviously much fast and easier to whip up than a quiche. I tend to keep a small glass container full of slow-roasted cherry tomatoes in my fridge so I can pop a few in my mouth when the hunger pains arrive, or easily add some in an omelet along with fresh herbs from the garden. Served with a cooked greens or a fresh green salad, an omelet makes a complete, delicious and healthy meal.

 

Ingredients

3 organic eggs (preferably pastured hens)

A splash of milk or water

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe below)

1-2 tbsp fresh herbs, such as oregano, parsley, thyme and basil

1/4 cup quality feta (I use sheep milk feta)

Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

Fresh chives, finely chopped for optional garnish

 

Preparation

Whisk the eggs and milk (or water) in a small bowl until thoroughly blended.

Heat a little olive oil in an omelet pan or well-season cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook, gently lifting the edges with a spatula, until nearly set, about 5 minutes. Add the herbs, tomatoes and feta to one half of the circle and carefully fold the plain half over. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped chives and serve immediately.

 

Slow-roasted tomatoes 

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, add a pint of cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Pour out onto a large rimmed baking sheet (or a large cast-iron skillet) and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the tomatoes caramelize.

Allow to cool before transferring to a glass container. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Enjoy!

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