Taverna @DineTaverna

TAVERNA ~ Dallas, TX

I really enjoyed my brunch at Taverna. First off, I appreciate the “fresh squeezed” Orange Juice, immensely! Yes $6 might be a high price but when you are used to real orange juice, you squeeze your own oranges at home, you hate concentrate or any bottled so called orange juices not only for their awful taste but for all the junk they are made of and how bad they are for you, it is so nice to go out for Brunch and enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice! So here you see, I really appreciate a restaurant that uses real – fresh -ingredients and serves freshly squeezed orange juice, thank you Taverna!

The atmosphere at Taverna is allegra, the inside dining area showed tables of Saturday morning Brunchers, a couple tables with balloons noticeably celebrating birthdays, the room was full but cozy. The brick walls, the open kitchen and bar give the atmosphere a warm feeling, typically Italian :) The waiters are very polite, professional and friendly. The front of the restaurant opens in a very European style where customers can enjoy eating alfresco and furry friends are comfortable.

I ordered the Chef’s (oven baked ) Frittata; shrimp, arugula, white onion, toasted baby heirloom tomatoes with avocado a delicately delicious combination! Jeff ordered “Eggs Any Style”, scrambled with ham and breakfast potatoes and was very happy with his meal also.

We were delighted to have been offered a few slices of their San Daniele, Prosciutto Crudo, it was delicious, I was impressed :)

All of the ingredients in the food were very fresh and natural tasting. The Lunch and Dinner Menus are inviting, typical Italian plates and a nice variety to choose from, including Gluten Free Menus :)  Which leaves me with the intention of coming back again!

Buon Appetito!

Chicken salad

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I love roasted chicken and when I wind up with left overs I make Chicken Salad!
I really don’t measure my ingredients, depending on how much chicken I have I toss it all together,

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, skinned, boned and chopped into cubes or small pieces.
  • Celery, chopped, I like my salad loaded with celery!
  • Onion, white, yellow, red, use what you have!
  • Green Onion, gives a great taste, yes, use it along with another onion above!
  • Mayonnaise , this is my recipe, it is super easy and quick and there is NO comparison to the store bought junk!
  • Dijon Mustard, use just a little to give a twist of flavor, (optional).
  • Salt & Pepper, I usually season the chicken before i mix the ingredients together, just a dash or two.

*It’s as easy as that! It only needs a few hours to settle and cool in the fridge.

I love my Chicken Salad topped with hemp seeds or a little gommasio, on greens such as spinach, kale or served in endive leaves.

*In my cover photo, fresh spinach and steamed baby broccoli.

Buon Appetito!

Dulce de Moka

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I’ve had a sore throat for a few weeks now, during these few weeks I was prescribed an antibiotic which didn’t do the trick. I am gargling with lemon juice in the morning now and talk about sting!

Drinking soothes my throat. I was in poor me mode, my throat hurts, my ears hurt and I really wanted something soothing…. and sweet. I don’t do juices or other “drinks”, smoothies too are meals for me not beverages. Water and green tea are my daily hydration and thirst quenchers. I enjoy my morning espresso macchiato from my Bialetti Moka with almond or hemp milk. After my morning ritual of oil pulling, lemon juice gargling and my aloe & maca powder water concoction, this is where my day starts and my espresso need ends.

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Back in Italy caffè is a tradition. Cappuccino or caffè latte for breakfast, un caffè after lunch and one after dinner, macchiato, with milk, cream or even ice cream! Corretto, with a drop or 2 (or 3) of liquor or wine, sometimes used as an amaro or digestive. Un caffè, which means “un espresso”, can also be and for most Italians is, a break time, luxury, sport, appointment date, spiritual moment of relax, late night study caffeine boost,  a sort of scape goat from anxiety, a daily ritual by many believed a wholesome addiction, coffee is healthy right? Habits that can take to an outstanding number of espressos a day!  Below are some fun reads, explanations and examples of Italian caffè syndrome.

An Italian Family Tradition

My Coffee Hell

So, getting back to poor me, my sore throat and sweet tooth, I had an idea!

I’d tried Starbuck’s Frapuccino, once with my son and sincerely, it didn’t really turn me on. At first that sweet chocolatey moka flavor….. but there was a terrible aftertaste, plus knowing what they are made of, their cost AND the brain and chest freeze I got from it.No thanks.

5 Ways To Get Sabotaged at Starbucks

To sum it up this was my excuse to a sweet tooth that led to the making of my,

“Dulce de Moka”.

Recipe

In a blender crush;

  • 4 cubes ice,

add the following and blend.

  • 1 Moka of caffe’ (da 1 tazza/small size Moka, 1 espresso)
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted, halved and soaked until soft
  • 3/4 c  organic coconut mylk (I use this brand)

Joe, you will love it!! XO

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Cin Cin!

 

 

 

 

Smoked, raw & toasted

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Usually I have a title for my blog. I mean, I know what I am going to write about, what I want to share, what I have cooked, learned, enjoyed and all of this comes together as some sort of label or explanation or description, but this time it took me a moment or maybe I had a moment! It was probably due to the thought of posting a the photo of my dinner on Instagram and thinking of how to label it or describe it in few words. At the time smoked, raw & toasted didn’t come to mind, rather, the five ingredient dressing was giving me hashtag anxiety so to make it all a little easier (?) let me just blog it, (since its been awhile) …..this is a description of my dinner.

“Smoked”, a favorite, “Raw” a curiosity  and  “Toasted”, the perfect ending.

“Smoked”

       I really like Whole Foods Smoked Chicken. I usually go to Whole Foods to do my grocery shopping every couple weeks. Sometimes I will even just go for lunch on a Saturday or just for an ingredient, but it seems that every time I go lately I pick up some of their Smoked Chicken.

Below is the 1/2 Smoked Chicken I bought today.

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“Raw”

My salad, spinach and frisse’ leaves topped with a  super special dressing I have been so curious to try! I watched FullyRawKristina’s 9 year Birthday video and discovered her world. FullyRawKristina’s salad dressings sounded delicious, she describes them so well, she  got me curious and hungry enough to try them out!

link here; http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rawfully+organics+9+yr+

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I tried Kristina’s Peach, tomato, bell pepper, avocado & basil dressing.  I halved the recipe and it made 3/4 pint of dressing, enough for a few salads this week. This dressing would be a perfect sauce or cream for cold cuts, lettuce wraps etc. The others in her 5 FullyRaw Salad Dressings video sound delicious also!

Check them out; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_z9xhwjOOw

 

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“Toasted”

Chickpeas!  You can find all sorts of recipes online on how to toast them.

I used a can of organic chickpeas, rinsed them well, let them dry in a colander while I prepared the dressing, lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and tossed the dry chickpeas on the lined baking sheet with a little evo and a mix of salt and spices I bought at a Midwestern Meats, a Butcher & Deli in Mesa, Arizona.

You can use whichever spices you have in your home and prefer to.

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I baked them for  approximately 30 mins at 400*F, I took the pan out of the oven twice to roll the chickpeas around. They were the perfect topping to my dinner salad!

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My dinner was smoked, raw, toasted & delicious :)

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Buon Appetito!

Brown O’s

My father sent me this photo text a week or so ago, the text read “Made these yesterday…” (photo below)

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“Brown E’s”  He said he made them to take to a Church meeting.

(don’t worry it took me a minute to get it too!)

So I sent him back a photo of my Brown O’s!  :)

 

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I’d seen dozens of real food, healthy donut recipes on Pinterest this winter and one of my favorite bloggers, Leafparade, was on a donut frenzy, constantly pinning and blogging all sorts of delicious looking donuts!

I finally decided to pick a recipe for homemade, real food donuts and try them out myself!

 

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I picked a recipe I found on Pinterest and hit the jackpot, they were awesome!

Recipe here; http://tastykitchen.com/blog/2013/08/coconut-flour-cake-donuts/

 

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I wrote a review on the Tasty Kitchen’s website, these are delicious and the recipe is perfect, accurate and very easy to follow :)

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Buon Appetito!

Hunger Games

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On the way home during my lunch hour or after my work out I think of the last few leftovers and what ever else I have in the fridge. The creativity that comes over me has a certain way of satisfying my hunger. Strangely even when the fridge is nearly bare I am able to throw together some pretty tasty meals, I love the way they turn out! These are my hunger games. Meal planning isn’t all about fixing 6 lunches and dinners during the weekend, not for me anyway. Its about utilizing the food I buy and preparing it with the time I have. I use some time on the weekends to make something that takes a lot of time or even just poach some chicken breast and clean some greens. In the mornings before work, I  steam or prepare my vegetables or thaw something from the freezer, soup, meat sauce, meat or fish and then my hunger and creativity take over each day.  For example throwing a potato In the oven for an hour in the morning and using leftovers to make a meal is fast, healthy and delicious….

Baked potatoes make awesome lunches & dinners and are a healthy carbohydrate and starch.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/506461-carbohydrates-in-potato-starch/

Scrub the potato, rub it with a little EVO, prick with a fork and throw it in the oven for about an hour at 350F.

I use half of a baked potato per meal.

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Half a baked potato w/butter, salt & pepper, pulled pork w/ a tbsp or two of Annie’s BBQ sauce,

a dollop

of sour cream and lunch is ready!

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I tried out Annie’s Organic BBQ sauce and everyone seemed to like it.

 This BBQ sauce is a tangy, spicy mustard flavor, less sweet tasting.

(I personally will try making my own sauce in the future, I prefer a slightly sweeter taste.)

I read a few reviews on the sauce, pros and cons, here are a couple;

http://voices.yahoo.com/organic-food-review-annies-naturals-smokey-maple-bbq-876807.html?cat=22

http://www.bbqsaucereviews.com/annies-smokey-maple-bbq-sauce-35/

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The other half of the baked potato,

I mashed it on my plate with a dab of butter, salt and pepper,

I added some poached chicken breast, steamed broccoli and cauliflower,

grated aged cheddar and a drizzle of EVO.

A delicious, quick, nutritious, easy to fix, meal.

Buon Appetito!

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(Photo left)

A baked sweet potato, quinoa, stewed lentils, parmiggiano, EVO, salt & pepper – judifood:)

TECHmunch

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This years TECHmunch was my very 1st Food blog convention! The convention was held at the Whole Foods Market HQ located at 550 Bowie St., a Whole foods Mega Store that you could lose yourself in, especially during a cold and rainy wet, mega event filled weekend, SXSW!  The city is overpopulated with visitors from all around for the annual film, interactive, music festivals and conferences. http://sxsw.com

TECHmunch AGENDA

A Conversation with Chef Brian Malarkey & Addie Broyles  @brianmalarkley @broylesa

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Addie Broyles and Chef Malarkey were great speakers! They spoke about food, restaurants and life.

Chef Malarkey, owner of 7 successful restaurants, uniquely named by his love for fabrics, Seersucker, Herringbone to name a couple. I really loved this idea, the combination of two of the things I love, he brought together. Yes, I was very intoned to what he had to say and his stories. Stories of his childhood, what makes the guy and how he works. I have to say I was intrigued by it all.

Take a look for yourself, http://brianmalarkey.com

At the end of the interview, conversation, explanation and advise he gave us an anteprima of what was next on his menu. He said “breakfast for dinner, eggs and…..” I think I fell in love right there.

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“How to keep your blog secure hangout” Andrew Wilder @EatingRules

So much info here! Back up your blog and how to! Lots of expert advise, passwords should be strong, decisive and unique, no word and number combinations, he gave plugins and a special coupon towards his own service, lots of good technical advise!

(I wish I understood more of what he was talking about!)
advised links: http://www.blogtutor.com, http://www.cloudflare.com

Introducing Cookbook Cafe – Remix your Recipes into Cookbooks

Babette Pepaj, @bakespace @CookbookCafe http://www.Bakespace.com http://www.CookbookCafe
Babette is the founder and CEO of CookbookCafe and founder of TECHmunch!
Cookbook cafe is also an app! Its all about recipes and making your own virtual cookbook! Yes, I am interested! Wow, I loved it!
Who is Babette?: http://www.socaltech.com/interview_with_babette_pepaj_bakespace/s-0023321.html

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Eric Schwartzman @ericschwartzman
Legal and Reputational Risks of Blogging
Top legal and reputation risks of flood blogging, ethics, disclosure, lots of good legal information to keep yourself out of trouble blogging!

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Kristin Guy @dineXdesign
The Value of Good Typography Hangout
Lots of fun seeing the different types of fonts and overlaying of photos! An app and website to check out, http://www.whatthefont.com

The app tells you from a photo what font is used!
Also, some cute rules to follow, like DO NOT USE the
“mom jeans of fonts”  (left)

Serena Ehlrich @Serena

Dir. of Social, Business Wire, she is a HOOT! Talk about keeping the audience entertained and alert! Serena is awesome! She gave us SOOOO much info on editorial calendars, pulling the audience, brand loyal/products, rainy day writes, I actually felt like I was a serious blogger listening to Serena, much of her advise I am doing just naturally trying to keep up with my everyday life and blogging, quite a juggle but fun, just like Serena’s talk!

(How didn’t get a photo of this women? I guess she had ALL my attention!)

Natanya Anderson @Natanya

How to Rock Pinterest

Dir. Social Media @WholeFoods, Natanya says better Pinterest than Facebook for social networking food blogs! She gave a lot of info on blogging and Whole Foods pinning and social networking.

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Lunch was sponsored by Whole Foods and gift cards were given out to venture out into Austin’s huge gastronomic REAL FOOD court.

I spent most my time exploring (part) of the store and taking photos. I filled my plate with a little of not nearly everything; Poblano goat cheese mashed potatoes, blue cheese stuffed portobello mushroom, Korean short ribs, chinese pork roast, balsamic roasted beets to name a few of my samples, Oh! and also took a taste of the Pork belly that was being prepared by request. I finally sat to eat I realized my lunch break was nearly finished which didn’t stop me from clicking photos while semi sitting down with a fork in my hand trying to stuff the delicious food in my mouth.

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Back upstairs to the convention for dessert! Local vendors brought in their products for us to taste.

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Gluten free and Vegan Cupcakes from  bake on Austin http://www.bakeonaustin.com

GoodPop All Natural Frozen Popsicleswww.goodpops.com

Toffee & Chocolates from http://www.thecandyjartx.com http://www.wisemanhousechocolates.com

Due to my flight out of Austin I had to miss the last two speakers at the convention. I had a wonderful time, I learned so much and learned I have so much to learn!

 

*A special Thank you to my bestie, Julie, for her hospitality,XO!

[Now I have my own business cards too!]

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Tiramisu’!

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Senza glutine/Gluten free! Ta Da!

I found this recipe for grain free Lady Fingers by “Satisfying Eats” and had to try it out, it seemed to good to be true!

http://www.satisfyingeats.com/uncategorized/breakfast-in-my-world-grain-free-and-sf-tiramisu-but-not-taste-free/#comment-9967

The Lady fingers turned out like the traditional Italian “Pavesini”. An egg based, lightly sweet, thin dry cookie that when in contact with humidity absorbs and softens quickly.

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I was going to be serving the Tiramisu in separate dessert dishes so I made little round cookies to put at the bottom of the cup then a few larger circles to put as a second layer and the remaining ones I made a few inches long to fill the top of the dishes. I used a ziplock baggie instead of a pastry bag as suggested in the recipe and it worked out just fine.

I used agave nectar to sweeten the mixture instead of Stevia. I cannot tolerate the taste of Stevia. It tastes like saccharin or artificial sweeteners that luckily in my life I have never been able to use because of the terrible taste they have to me.

I have made Tiramisu’ hundreds of times in Italy. I have perfectioned the method of making the cream to a soft, thick, luscious sweetness! I love preparing it!

I use evaporated organic cane sugar, which I used my grinder to turn to powder, and of which made my egg whites and the cream beautiful champagne, beige color!

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Making the cream is simple but not easy. **There are many things to take into consideration and apply when preparing it. The eggs and mascarpone need to be at room temperature. The sugar needs ground fine. The egg whites need to be stiff and folding them into the mascarpone takes patience and delicacy.

My Tiramisu’ recipe:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 350 grams Mascarpone
  • 85 grams Evaporated organic cane sugar
  • Cacao (approximately 1 cup)
  • a couple Tbsp grated dark chocolate
  • a 3 expresso Moka of caffe (equivalent to 3 expressos)
  • Marsala (dry) to your taste

Separate eggs, beat egg whites until half way stiff, add 30 grams sugar and beat until stiff.  Cream together the yolks with 30 grams of the sugar until light in color and  until they become a creamy – spongey consistency. Mix in the mascarpone to the egg yolk cream until all lumps are gone. Delicately add the egg whites to the cream, fold in with a wooden spoon.

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Tiramisu’ is prepared in layers. First dip the lady finger(s) in the expresso and cover with the cream.

[If you are doing a full pan dip lady fingers and make a layer at the bottom of the plate you are using, then add a layer of cream, cacao and so forth.]

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Sift cacao over the cream, enough to dust the top. Repeat with the dipped lady finger(s), then the cream, cacao, until dish(es) are full. The last layer before dusting with cacao I sprinkle with grated dark chocolate and then dust with cacao.

The expresso should be made in advance and the remaining 15 grams of sugar added to it while still warm. Add the Marsala to taste and let cool before dipping the lady fingers.

**The eggs in this cream recipe are not cooked. The cream is made with raw eggs. I advise you use fresh eggs, wash them before you crack them open. Sanitize your hands well after touching the egg shells before continuing handling, preparing the recipe.

*makes 8 servings

Buon Apetito!IMG_7713

Black Magic

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http://www.skinnytaste.com/2014/02/amazing-flour-less-brownies.html?showComment=1393030394574#c2884253872395212683

This recipe (link above) really caught my attention, the flour less, the black beans and as I read all the ingredients I was more and more anxious to try this out! The combination of these ingredients had to be magic!

Almond milk, balsamic vinegar, coffee grounds! So many recipes out there are just thrown together and just don’t turn out or are the same old, same old.. Not this recipe!

This one was really calling my name, starting with the coffee grounds…

Coffee in brownies really enhances the cacao flavor and brownies with coffee enhance the flavor in my life :)

I love chocolate but not just any chocolate. It has to be dark, decadent,  a rich cacao taste. NOT overwhelmingly rich to tie your stomach into a half day drought or fill you so full you feel like part of your body has stopped working like a clogged sink.

This recipe is delicious and it hits the spot! I didn’t have any cravings afterwards either, which I continue to be in peace totally with myself for over a year now since I cut out refined sugars. Without gluten and refined sugars in my diet I feel so good, normal.

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I did change the recipe a little bit. I used 1/4 cup raw honey and 1/2 cup organic evaporated cane sugar instead of 3/4 cup sugar. I love the taste honey gives cacao, it is a perfect, natural combination. I used organic cacao and gluten free chocolate chips.

http://www.iherb.com/Enjoy-Life-Foods-Mini-Chips-Semi-Sweet-Chocolate-10-oz-283-g/32772?gclid=CPHN2YW_3rwCFeJF7AoddGIABQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

I also used 2 tsp of cold pressed coconut oil instead of 1 tsp of oil.

This first time I made these they were delicious, a little dry and crumbly, especially the next day but delicious. My 2nd try I changed the ingredients to the above and used cupcake holders instead of using a 9″x 9″ square pan. They were super yummy (even if I used Wilton’s paper cups that I should’ve sprayed with coconut oil lightly so the brownies wouldn’t have stuck to the paper as much).

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What I love is the simplicity of this recipe, “mix all ingredients in the blender”, WOO HOO!!

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*Doubling the recipe makes 18 delicious, healthy and all natural black bean brownie cupcakes.

Buon Apetito!

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Spaghetti anyone?

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Since the beginning of Autumn I have been enjoying roasting all varieties of squash. Insistently trying to find a similar flavor to the Italian pumpkin I was used to preparing steamed, in bianco, in my minestrones and was the pumpkin I used in my delicious pumpkin & bacon sauce. The pumpkin or “zucca Mantovana” I was familiar with was a green, grey color not very tall, or big, for that matter, with a stern, bright orange pulp.

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   Maybe a Kobocha squash? The taste isn’t quite the same though… maybe all fruits and vegetables don’t have the same taste grown in different places? I believe my assumption to be truth. My basil plant doesn’t have near the aroma or taste as my Italian basil plants did :(

      Meanwhile, during my hunt I turned to a different squash and decided to give Spaghetti squash the Royal treatment! I was putting this squash to the Test. A sort of bullish expectation, taking out my my nostalgic upsetness on a squash that calls itself “Spaghetti”. Okay Mr.Spaghetti squash, lets just see what you are capable of!

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I roasted spaghetti squash and treated it as if it were real pasta, traditional spaghetti. Yes, the gluten full, wheat product I no longer consider as food for myself, and have come to the point that I do not miss it at all. I feel as if some foods are part of my past and I know how bad they are for me and I remember the bothersome side effects they gave me. No remorse. Serenity, peace and knowledge that I eat food that is good to me and for me :)

[How to roast spaghetti squash, here  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-178036 ]

So Spaghetti squash, time to show me your stuff!

Ok, so, my 1st Test was Spaghetti squash “In bianco” or ” white or plain”. In bianco, is a condiment of butter or extra virgin olive oil. The butter either browned alone, with a few sage leaves or added in small pieces cold (it melts directly on the pasta itself or spaghetti squash in this case). With or without a grating of parmiggiano, you decide.

I used browned butter and sage leaves and yes, parmiggiano. I treated my Spaghetti squash as a plate of pasta. I warmed my previously roasted Spaghetti squash in the microwave for 40 seconds, added a dash of salt & pepper and poured the browned butter & sage on the squash, mixed with a fork and added the parmiggiano on top. (For even more flavor the spaghetti squash can be put directly in the pan of browned butter and sage to warm up.) PASSED!

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Test #2

I made Pesto, a somewhat lighter version, due to flavor as I spoke of above but a Basil Pesto none the less. ( I will take the time to write out my Pesto recipe in the future, I make it without measuring the ingredients so I will have to take some time to measure and write it down next time!) Spaghetti squash with pesto, Passed!

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Test #3

“Al Pomodoro”, w/tomato. To make it a quick try I used what my children call The World’s Best Tomato sauce. After years and hours of pealing and deseeding tomatoes, making my own tomato sauce, which I happen to LOVE, my kids tell me that Mari’s tomato sauce is the best. Ofcourse my next move was to ask Mari her trick! So to find out she uses tomato paste. Yep, just tomato paste. No fresh tomatoes, no sautéed vegetables, not even onion or garlic. Just a tablespoon butter melted in a small pan a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a little broth, fresh cream or a laddle of the cooking pasta’s water to liquify the sauce enough to serve it over, in this case, Spaghetti squash. A grating of Pariggiano and there it is, The World’sBest Spaghetti squash al pomodoro!! PASSED!

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Test #4

“Alfredo”, with broccoli and shrimp. I sautéed a clove of garlic and a small piece of onion, chopped, in a tsp or so of butter, I added a few broccoli florets and a few shrimp, salt & peppered, then added approximately 1/4 c heavy cream and a grating of parmiggiano. When warm and bubbly I added the spaghetti squash to the pan and cooked at low heat until warmed. Topped with parmiggiano and WOW, delicious! PASSED!

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The next Test? Spaghetti squash and meatballs…. and maybe even with my Pumpkin & bacon sauce :)

Buon Appetito!