Sunday, January 31, 2010

Healthy Soup Share

In our, January 19, share from Annie's Organic Buying Club, she included everything needed for making healthy soups and produce good for juicing. We received Gala Apples, Blueberries, Satsuma Mandarin Oranges, Honey Tangerines, Comice Pears, Cauliflower, Parsnips, Collard Greens, Celery, Roma Tomatoes, Carrots, Sweet Potato Yams, and much more.

This share was awesome. I made a variety of healthy vegetable and fruit juices. Also, got to test out three new recipes and make an Italian Feast.

Stay tuned. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Carrot-Apple-Ginger Juice

When it comes to juicing, carrots have everything going for it. They are high in beta-carotene, which helps fight cancer, and they are extremely rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. Carrot juice mixes well with both fruits and vegetables.

Just as carrots are a staple for juicing vegetables, apple is the staple in juicing fruits. The apple yields a great deal of raw juice, and the pectin it contains efficiently removes toxins and promotes regularity. Apples help balance out strong flavored fruits and vegetables.

Ginger Root is a vegetable that can be kept fresh for months and be used as a minor ingredient in juices. Ginger root helps soothe troubled stomachs.

These three mixed together are absolutely delicious.


2-3 Large Carrots, washed
2 Apples, any kind, washed
2 inches of ginger root

Yield: 2 cups of juice or 16oz.

Totally Juicing

Last July, My father-in-law gave me a Jack LaLanne Juicer that he had in the back of his car. It had been sitting in the original packaging in his car for over a year. So I started putting it to use and it has changed our life. I began substituting vegetable or fruit juice for breakfast about 5-6 days a week. As a result, I am leaner and healthier. My hubby, Justin, lost about 25 pounds in 4 months.

It has been so much fun. I try all sorts of unique combinations of fruits and vegetables. Some have been amazing and some.. well not so good. :) The juice gives me energy to start my day. I will share some of our favorite vegetable and fruit combinations. There are many excellent health benefits that comes from fresh juice. Fresh juice is fantastic for your skin, keeps you feeling great and energized, and helps to ward off illness.

Here's a few of my favorite juicing books:
- Total Juicing by Elaine LaLanne
- The Joy of Juicing by Gary Null, Shelly Null
- Complete Book of Juicing by Michael Murray

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms

In my previous organic produce share, I received Shiitakes mushrooms. These exotic mushrooms are delicate with a rich and smokey taste. They are found in many Asian dishes and have been used in Chinese medicines for over 6,000 years.

As I am always on the search for new, fun, and healthy dishes; I went to my backlog of recipes to try, and found this one. These stuffed mushrooms are a scrumpticious and quick appetizer or side dish. Justin and I thought these were absolutely delicious; the perfect combination of smoky and sweet & tangy and creamy with the hazelnuts adding that extra bit of crunchy texture. We wished we had more shiitakes because these did not last long at all. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Shiitakes with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, and Pecans
Adapted from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet by Didi Emmons

15 medium fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup of port or reduced red wine
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh sage
3 slices of stale french bread
3 ounces of soft goat cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground white or black pepper to taste
1/4 cup skinned hazelnuts, untoasted


1. Preheat oven to 400'. Oil a roasting pan large enough to hold the mushrooms in a single layer. In the roasting pan, toss the shiitakes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the shiitakes stem side down in a single layer and roast until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Set the shiitakes aside to cool.

2. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and lightly brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Stir in the cranberries and port or reduced red wine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is evaporated and the cranberries have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.

3. Break the bread into a food processor and process them into crumbs. Transfer to crumbs to a large bowl and stir in the onion mixture and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Oil a baking sheet and arrange the shiitakes stem side up on it. Divide the stuffing evenly among the mushrooms, about 1 teaspoon for each. Use your fingers to press the stuffing into the shiitake caps. Top each with hazelnut.

5. Bake the stuffed shiitakes until piping hot, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fresh Fish Tacos

Our good friend, Adam, is a Florida Sportsman who enjoys the hunt and sharing his captures with friends. Recently, he caught an African Pompano off the coast of Palm Beach. The African Pompano is a large fish normally found off oceanic islands. It is a white, fleshy fish and is excellent table fare. He graciously brought us a couple of filets.

When we opened the package of filets, they smelled just freshly caught from the salty ocean. The smell made me develop a craving for fresh fish tacos, which brings back many fond memories. In preparation, I coated them in panko breadcrumbs and sautéed them in canola oil for a minute or two on each side. They took about 10 minutes for 10 fish "fingers".

I prepared all the fixings to go with the tacos including strips of cabbage, chopped tomatoes, sweet baby peppers, onions, grated cheddar cheese, hot sauce and sour cream. We used warmed soft flour tortillas. Adam brought a delicious chipolte ranch dressing to go with the tacos, which kicked them up a few notches.

The fish tacos paired perfectly with this crisp and dry 2008 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is from their Marlborough vineyard. The wine is a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with an intense bouquet of grapefruit followed by flavours of guava and passion fruit.

Introducing The Gourmet Groupie's other love... WINE

No meal in my home is ever complete without a great bottle of wine. My husband, Justin, and I met in college talking about wine and both share an extreme passion for the juice. Two years ago, Justin became a wine consultant with Opici Distribution Company of Florida. We have the opportunity to taste endless amounts of wine. Justin and I will work on the wine part of this blog together.

Recently, we opened a bottle of 2003 Falcor Cabernet Sauvignon. Falcor is a small boutique winery in Napa Valley, California. The winery was established in 1999 by two attorneys, James Peterson and C. Micheal Bee, from West Virginia. As enthusiastic wine lovers and regular visitors to California’s North Coast wine country, Bee and Petersen decided to take the plunge and start their own winery. They teamed up with winemaker Ray Coursen, then owner of Napa Valley's Whitehall Lane and now owner of Elyse Winery, he has made their wines from Day 1. Falcor winery focues on producing limited quantity, handcrafted wines.

The Falcor 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is a complex and full bodied wine with a silky mouth feel, great length and classic expressions of spice, chocolate, dark fruits and cigar box flavors. This wine pairs great with grilled or roasted meats as well as grilled vegetables like portobello mushrooms and bell peppers, to compliment the dark, rich, earthy tones the wine expresses.

Varietal Details: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Verdot

14.5% Alcohol

Monday, January 18, 2010


January's first share of organic produce, I received these brown knobby roots that I had never seen before. After reviewing Annie's weekly email, I decided they must be the Sunchokes aka Jerusalem Artichokes. I did some research and found out that they are not at all related to the artichoke family. They are actually related to the daisy and sunflower family. (wow, totally unexpected because of their name). Sunchokes taste like a yukon potato with some sweetness. They are quite delicious. I wanted to try a recipe that was simple, so I would able to truly be able to taste their true flavor.

Sunchoke Gratin Recipe
Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

This simple sunchoke gratin with Parmesan cheese is simple and easy. Sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes) are quite healthy and a good potato substitute.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

•About a 1 pound sunchokes(Jerusalem artichokes)
•Pinch of Salt
•Small baking dish
•1 tablespoon of butter
•Fresh-ground black pepper
•1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Spray Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel the sunchokes and drop them in salted, boiling water. Cook them until they feel tender, but not mushy when prodded with a fork. About 10 minutes, check them frequently because they do go from very firm to very soft quickly.

Drain when tender, and as soon as they are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/2 to a 1/4 inch slices.

Smear the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil, then place the sunchoke slices in it, arranging them so they overlap slightly, roof tile fashion. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the grated Parmesan, dot with butter and place the dish in the preheated oven. Bake until a light golden crust begins to form on top. Allow to settle for a few minutes out of the oven before serving.

Serves 4 as a side

Annie's Organic Buying Club

A few months back, we joined Annie's Organic Buying Club. This organic produce buying club was established by Annie Malka. She uses the groups pool of money to purchase the organic produce in bulk and coordinates with the coordinators all over Florida and southern Georgia to distribute the organics to the club participants. It really makes buying organic fruits and vegetables more affordable. See the link below for more information.

We have had a great experience receiving the freshest and most delicious organic fruits and vegetables. I am currently receiving the $45 Fruity Booty share Bi-weekly. My first share in January included apples, pineapple, broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers, shitake mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, crimson melon, sunchokes and much more. It's approximately a 30-40lb box (or bags in my case) of fruits and vegetables. The friday before I pick up my share, Annie emails what we can expect to receive and a collection of recipes that correspond to the weeks share.

The shares allow us to eat healthy and organically-affordable. I get to experiment with vegetables, I would not normally purchase at the grocery store. It's a fun way to add a healthy variety to each week's menu.