Dec 112011
 
Last week was my second trip to Jersey for work.
The big plan had been to drive into the city on Wednesday but after a really long work day- the weather, gloomy and rainy-we ended up debating on where to eat locally.
We scrolled through the pamphlet of local restaurants provided by the hotel and settled on an Italian restaurant called Scalini Fedeli in Chatham, NJ.
The two men in the group drove there straight from work and the ladies went back to the hotel to freshen up.
When we arrived at an old house converted to a restaurant, the hostess took our coats before we walked in to find the two guys awkwardly sitting at alternate sides of an eight person table, gripping their drinks in the most manly fashion they could muster.
This was probably because the decor was-shall I say-romantic. Low lighting, candles, “Its interior features high vaulted ceilings, antique pine floors, and a sense of style, which evokes a distinctly Tuscan feel.”, apparently created with a female touch.
We stopped in our tracks to laugh for a minute or two before joining them because they just looked so awkward.  As we opened the menu immediately we noticed there were no prices.
Uh oh.  We aren’t allotted that much for company meal allowance.

Diane said I’m not comfortable with this.
We went back and forth, debating on whether to stay, for what seemed like 15 minutes-meanwhile the poor bread waiter, leaning over me with a basket of fresh, homemade bread and tongs, was asking me if I wanted rye or multigrain.
Um…I’m not sure.  I looked around, eyes darting back and forth as we are still debating.  There aren’t many people in the restaurant so it would be glaringly obvious if we got up and walked out.
Oh jeez. My hand went towards the basket and away from the basket while he looked at me with a, lady, for God’s sake it’s just a piece of bread, look on his face. 
Finally I stammered, Um, can you please just give us a minute?
The bread man looked semi disgusted about my indecision with taking a damn piece of bread, unaware of the debate going on at the table.
Finally, the sales guy in our group, David, convinces us all to stay for the $52 prix fixe menu consisting of a choice of appetizer, main and dessert, reasoning that if we had made it into NYC, it would have been even more expensive.


As soon as the pre-appetizer of a single shrimp in a buttery Dijon sauce with fresh peas came out, we knew it would be worth every penny. We all had to refrain from licking the plate. 
The menu featured fresh pasta, savory sauces and unique desserts-it one of the best meals I have ever had actually.  At the end the waiter asked, most embarrassingly, was it worth it? Why yes it was.
 
Friday I got home after a smooth flight, completely exhausted and so thankful to be home.  I have to hand it to any of you that have to travel a lot.  It’s just not for me.

Saturday at lunch, the dreaded indecisiveness hit me again. I’m hungry, what the heck should I eat?

I went and opened the fridge door and stared in until it started beeping at me.  

Then I walked over to the pantry and stared in there. 

And back to the fridge I went, finally pulling out what was in front of me.

This time it was broccoli, pigeon peas and some pre-cooked rice pasta as I contemplated what I could do with it to make a meal.  Sometimes the simplest and delicious meal is right in front of you, without a ton of prep work and cooking.  Like this dish of broccoli, pigeon peas and pasta.

Broccoli and Pigeon Peas with Pasta, Sea Salt and Garlic Topping
Serves 2
Gluten Free, Vegan

Ingredients
1 head broccoli
1 cup pigeon peas
1 cup cooked rice pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil

Directions

1. Steam broccoli and pigeon peas for about 17 minutes or until destired tenderness.

2. Meanwhile, mix nutritional yeast through olive oil in a small bowl.

3. Divide broccoli, pasta and sea salt mixture between two bowls.  Enjoy unshelled peas as you would edammame; biting peas out from shell.
Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 361.5
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 294.6 mg
Potassium 1,520.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 60.6 g
Dietary Fiber 17.7 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 20.9 g

Vitamin A 93.8 %
Vitamin B-12 66.5 %
Vitamin B-6 266.3 %
Vitamin C 472.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 27.9 %
Calcium 18.7 %
Copper 21.1 %
Folate 108.3 %
Iron 25.1 %
Magnesium 31.2 %
Manganese 58.4 %
Niacin 160.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 23.9 %
Phosphorus 38.6 %
Riboflavin 306.7 %
Selenium 32.5 %
Thiamin 348.8 %
Zinc 23.7 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dec 042011
 
Last Thursday was my second CSA pickup and I stayed behind to discuss some workshop ideas with Vivian and Francisco for KYV farm.

As we chatted, Vivian offered me some soup. 



It was delicious.  A hearty mix of all the veggies we got from our CSA, lentils and barley.



The most surprising ingredient was radishes.  They tasted, well, not very radish-y.  More like a mild, soft potato-I couldn’t believe it!  Normally I’m not a fan so I’m so glad to have found a new way to prepare them.



I cut some fresh herbs from my garden but a mix of dried would work just as well.



My daughter and I shelled some of the pigeon peas.  This is really weird but it’s one of my favorite tasks.  I can focus on the mindless task of shelling and working on my intention of staying in the present moment, especially through the holidays.




Florida Fall Harvest Soup



Ingredients


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (or 2 cups pre-prepared)
1 bunch radishes, chopped
1 handful baby carrots, chopped
2 cups yum yum peppers, chopped (or 1 red bell pepper)
Handful fresh herbs-parsley, culantro and chives
1/4 tsp Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning (or salt)
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup shelled pigeon peas
1/3 cup lentils
1/3 cup barley
6 cups organic vegetable
1 bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped


Directions 


1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in Dutch Oven ;add onions, sauté about 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent; add garlic through fresh ground pepper, cook an additional 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients except kale, bring to a boil; reduce heat, set cover askew to let steam out, and cook on low 30 minutes.  Add kale to pot and cook an additional 5 minutes.