Monday, November 7, 2011

The Verdict is In...

Hi Everyone!

The 2011 Taste of Atlanta was the best yet! I recently attended Taste of Atlanta as a judge for two events! The first event was the Cook's Warehouse Iron Chef Kids cooking competition. I, along with 2 other judges, tasted several different desserts. The first dish was a plate with 3 tarts: pistachio, raspberry, and mango. They were all really good, but my favorite was the raspberry tart.


The second dessert was strawberry cake with whipped cream. It was very dense and moist, and had a nice flavor. The final dessert was a lemon tart with a raspberry sauce and a meringue. The lemon tart was my favorite. It was tart and sweet, had a nice texture, and had an overall deliciousness! The judges and I consulted and it was a tie between the first dessert and the last one.

After the Cook's Warehouse competition, I judged the Top Chef Kids cooking competition.


We were served 2 dishes, and each dish incorporated pasta. The first dish was an Asian pasta salad, with a ginormous prawn! The pasta salad had mango, peppers and lots of other veggies in it. It was very light and refreshing.



The second dish was a soup with pancetta, kale, and pasta. It was also very good! The pancetta and the pasta worked very well with each other. The judges and I consulted and decided that the first dish was the winner!


After judging, I tasted some different foods: baklava (a Greek dessert), maple bacon ice cream, grilled corn, and lots of other tasty foods! The maple bacon ice cream was very good; it was salty and sweet. I also really liked the grilled corn because of its smoky flavor and the baklava because of it’s freshness.

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Applesauce Season

Hi Everyone!
Fall is finally here, and I’m really excited about being able to make my homemade applesauce! It’s hard work, but it’s definitely worth it! This is where my passion for cooking started; when I was about 2 years old, my mom put set me on the counter and give me the task of stirring the pot and adding the spices. Now I’m able to make the applesauce all by myself (with a little help and guidance from mom!) Here’s a picture of me helping mom out when I was 2.


Cranberry Applesauce
If you don't like cranberries, just leave them out to make a delish plain applesauce.

INGREDIENTS:
2 pecks apples, use two different flavors (one sweet and one tart)
Set aside about 12 apples to use for making pies or muffins
2 cups all-natural, no sugar added, apple cider
1/3 cup craisins
To taste: cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg



Rinse off apples. Pour apple cider into large pot. Core apples with apple slicer/core device, discard cores. If you don't have a food mill, you can remove apple skins before placing slices into pot or cook slices with skins on and skins will fall off after cooking. Place apple slices and craisins into pot and bring to a boil. Add several dashes of spices but use slightly less of cloves and nutmeg because they have a strong flavor so you don't want to add too much. Cover pot and lower heat to medium low and cook for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.


As the apples cook, the skins will start to fall off. Taste and adjust spices to your liking. Continue to cook for about another hour. If you have a food mill, this is when you will use it to remove the skins and blend the applesauce. If you don't have a food mill, spoon out skins and blend apples with an immersible hand blender to the consistency you like. Move pot to cool spot on stovetop to let applesauce cool before bagging and placing in freezer. To help applesauce cool faster, put half of the applesauce into another pot or large bowl.



This recipe makes about 6 quarts of applesauce. Freeze most of the applesauce into quart sized ziplocs and freeze laying flat in freezer. Save the remaining applesauce in your frig to eat right away.

You should try adding different, unique things to your applesauce once it’s done cooking, like walnuts or uncooked oatmeal!


Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Friday, October 21, 2011

Taste of Atlanta Oct 22

Hi Everyone!

I’m very excited because tomorrow I’m going to be a judge at the Top Chef Kids Competition at Taste of Atlanta! Taste of Atlanta is a great event where a lot of Atlanta restaurants set up booths and offer food samples. There are also different cooking demonstrations and fun activities to do with the whole family! I will be at the Family Food Zone Stage tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. Here’s a link with more information

Hope to see you there!

Lizzie Marie

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oxtail Soup

Hi Everyone!

I’ve always heard people talking about oxtail soup, but I’d never made it or tried it before. I recently took a trip to a German butcher and he had some oxtail on hand. I decided to get some and make oxtail soup!

I called my grandparents, Ma and Pa, to see if they had any advice on how to cook the oxtail. When I asked Pa about oxtail soup, he made a disgusted noise and said, “I hate oxtail soup!” I asked him why and he answered, “The name! It sounds so weird and disgusting!” When I prompted him about why he didn’t like the flavor of the soup, he responded and said, “Oh, I love the flavor, it’s just the name that I don’t like.” This made me crack up, because even though oxtail does sound disgusting, it’s just as odd as eating ribs, right?

I also learned that Pa’s grandma used to make oxtail soup a lot when Pa was younger. When my grandparents were kids, the oxtail would be the part of the oxen that the butcher would either throw away or give away. People soon started realizing that the oxtail (which is now cattle tail) was the most flavorful part of the oxen, and nowadays you sometimes have to special order it!


INGREDIENTS:
1 tail cut into sections by butcher, about 4 pounds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz can all-natural diced tomatoes (my favorite is fire-roasted tomatoes)
*Use your favorite veggies (chopped celery, peas, etc.), I used the following:
Several carrots - chopped or 1/2 bag of carrot chips - roughly chopped
1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
A few quarts of water, depends upon the size of your pot
1/3 cup barley
2 tablespoons grape seed oil (better to sear with other than olive oil which will burn)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste

This soup takes a looooooooong time to cook. Prepare it the day before you plan to eat it. The longer the tail cooks, the more flavorful the soup.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Salt and pepper both sides of oxtail bundle (butcher may bind tail with twine). Sear both sides of tail bundle until browned. Toss in onions, snip twine and remove, then sear all sides of tail sections until browned. Deglaze pot: add about 1/4 cup of water to pot and scrape brown bits off bottom of pot. After tail is browned on all sides, add enough water to your pot or slow cooker until within 2 inches of top. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and several turns of pepper mill for cracked black pepper. Reduce heat to low, put lid on pot and simmer for about 6 - 8 hours, stir occasionally.

Remove lid from pot and move pot to a cool part of your stovetop to cool down. You want to be sure the soup is completely cooled off before you put it into the refrigerator for the night, about 2 hours to cool. Before putting soup into frig, remove tail pieces and with a fork, remove any meat from bone. Place meat back into pot and discard bones. Place cooled soup into frig overnight.

The next day, remove soup from frig and carefully skim off top layer of fat. Place soup back onto stove and bring to a boil. Add veggies, tomatoes, barley, thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low, put lid on pot and simmer for 1 hour. Taste soup and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.



The oxtail soup was delicious and it warmed my belly up. I can’t wait to make it again!

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Easy Way to Cut Onions

Hi Everyone!

Cutting onions is a dangerous task; they're slippery, make your eyes water, and are an accident waiting to happen! I recently learned a great way to cut onions from one of my favorite chefs, Robert Irvine. Here's how:



Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Monday, September 12, 2011

Add Crunch to Lunch

Hi Everyone!

I recently talked with New York Times bestselling cookbook author Mollie Katzen and one of Health Magazine’s ‘Five Women Who Changed the Way We Eat’ & Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating and co-director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.


They were very enthusiastic about the "Add Crunch to Lunch" campaign, and had a lot of great things to say about it! Listen to our chat and learn some great tips:


Be sure to enter the Add Crunch to Lunch Recipe Challenge where you can send in recipes and have a chance to win some awesome prizes!



Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Cutting Board Safety

Hi Everyone!

Don’t you just hate it when you’re cutting vegetables and the cutting board starts to slide all over the place? Not only is this super annoying, it’s also pretty dangerous. I mean, your cutting vegetables with a sharp knife, and that knife is in close proximity to your fingers. One slide of the cutting board and – well you get the point.


There’s a really easy way to fix this and keep your fingers intact! Simple take a dish towel, a wet paper towel or a rubber mat and set it under the cutting board. The cutting board will stop sliding around, and you’ll be able to cut a lot easier!

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Product Review: GoGo squeeZ

Hi Everyone!

GoGo squeeZ recently contacted me through Twitter and sent me some of their applesauce flavors for me to taste. I received AppleApple, AppleCinnamon, ApplePeach, AppleStrawberry and AppleBanana applesauce. The applesauces come in cute pouches that are perfect for eating in the car, at a picnic or at the pool!


The AppleApple flavor was delicious! It was super flavorful and had the perfect amount of sweetness. You can tell that they use only the best ingredients in their applesauce.

The next flavor was AppleCinnamon. I’m not a huge fan of applesauce with cinnamon, but I really enjoyed GoGo squeeZ’s! There was a hint of cinnamon, but it didn’t overpower the applesauce.

ApplePeach is my favorite flavor! Peaches and apples go great together; they’re both sweet and they both have a unique flavor. The ApplePeach flavor tastes great; the flavors combine very well together. It’s the perfect flavor for summer!

AppleStrawberry is really good; it’s sweet and is a great summer snack! The strawberries compliment the apple incredibly! I would have never thought about mixing strawberries and apples!

The final flavor I tried was AppleBanana. Apple and banana is a classic combination; but who would have thought about mixing them together in applesauce?

You can find GoGo squeeZ at Whole Foods, Costco, Walmart, Target, Harris Teeter, and Publix. Check out their website www.gogosqueez.com, drop them a tweet gogosqueez or stop by i.like.gogosqueez


All of the flavors were delicious, but my favorite flavor was ApplePeach. I can honestly say that GoGo squeeZ applesauce is extremely easy to eat when on the go (no spoon needed) and is all natural.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Farmers Market Pizza

Hi Everyone!
While visiting some relatives, my grandma made veggie pizza. She rolled out Pillsbury dough and baked it then covered it in ranch dressing and topped it off with diced bell peppers, onion and raw broccoli. It was really good, and I decided to do a gourmet version at home. I came up with Farmer’s Market Pizza!


INGREDIENTS:
Your favorite veggies fresh from the farmers market, we used:
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, diced
2 ears of corn, remove husk and silk, cut kernels off cob
1 green bell pepper, rinse clean, diced
1 pastel bell pepper, rinse clean, diced
1 large red carrot, rinse clean, diced
2 celery stalks, rinse clean, diced
1 baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch thin
All-natural pesto
Few pinches of salt
TOPPING: Candied Cherry Tomatoes


Mix together all veggies in a bowl and add a few pinches of salt. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut baguette into 1/4" slices and place onto rimmed baking pan with a silpat liner on the bottom (makes for easier clean up) and spread a thin layer of pesto onto each slice. Bake for 5 – 6 minutes until lightly toasted. Place baguette slices onto a serving platter. Top each slice with a spoonful of veggie mixture and place a few candied cherry tomatoes on top. Delish! Use whatever veggies are in season. Broccoli, yellow squash and zucchini are very tasty to add into your veggie mix.


It’s really yummy during the summer, because it’s light and full of fresh veggies. The pesto gives it a ton of flavor and the best part is, it’s super healthy! A great way to use your leftover veggie mixture is to cook it up in omelets, delish!


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Candied Cherry Tomatoes

Hi Everyone!

During the summer, tomatoes become sweet and juicy; almost like candy! One day I decided to try and make them even sweeter by candying them.


INGREDIENTS:
1 pint farm fresh cherry tomatoes, rinsed clean and dried with paper towel
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 – 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half and place into a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss with tomatoes to coat. Place tomatoes onto a rimmed baking pan with a silpat liner on the bottom (makes for easier clean up). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until roasted and caramelized.


They came out tasting delicious! They were slightly crispy, and the balsamic vinegar gave it a tang. Candying the tomatoes brought out the natural sweetness and gave it a stronger taste. Serve on crostinis, salads, etc. These tomatoes taste amazing on Farmers Market Pizza. How do you like to eat your tomatoes? Send me a tweet @TheLizzieMarie.

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Protecting Your Knife

Hi Everyone!

When I first started cooking, I used paring knives. Paring knives are small knives that I used to cut fruits. As the years went on, I started using bigger knives. Nowadays I use a 5 inch Japanese Santoku knife (I think I'm due for an upgrade, though!) Whenever I'm cutting food on a cutting board and I need to scrape the food into a bowl or pan, I have a little tip for keeping my knife blade sharp. Instead of scraping the food into the bowl or pan using the blade, I use the back of the knife. This way, the blade doesn't get dull, which is really dangerous since you're more likely to cut yourself with a dull blade.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Parmesan Cheese Rinds

Hi Everyone!

I love all different types of cheeses, but there's one cheese I always have in my fridge. Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) is a hard, Italian cheese that is salty, yet with a delicate flavor. I love it! I use it in almost all of my dinners and soups because it's very delicious and versatile. Parmigiano Reggiano is made in large wheels that weigh about 90 pounds, but you can buy chunks of it. You'll notice that there is a very hard part of it with words engraved in it. Do not eat this part! This part is the rind, which is the outer covering of the cheese. Even though you shouldn't eat it, do NOT throw it out. Pop it in a small ziploc and put it into the freezer until the next time you make some minestrone soup (or any other soup). While your soup is cooking, throw the rind into the soup. It will infuse the soup with a nutty, savory flavor that is really delicious.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Watermelon Scoops

Hi Everyone!

I love watermelon; it's juicy, sweet and oh so refreshing when served cold. But isn't it a pain to have to chop it up just the right way? I used to have to spend about half an hour cubing the watermelon, and boy was it messy! I recently learned, however, that there is a better way to butcher your watermelon without making a big mess or spending a lot of time. All you need is a watermelon and an ice cream scooper! Simply cut the watermelon in half and start scooping out the 'meat' with the ice cream scooper. It may sound weird, but it works fantastic!



Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, July 8, 2011

Confetti Salad

Hi Everyone!

I love salads because you can top them with anything you like; nuts, fruits, cheeses and even seeds are really yummy on top of lettuce. But what about a salad with no lettuce in it at all?! Confetti salad is somewhere in between a salsa and a salad. Here's how to make it.


INGREDIENTS:
1 ear fresh corn, remove husk and silk, rinse cob clean, cut kernels off cob
1 can all-natural low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, chopped (if the pepper is really big, only use half)
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (if the pepper is really big, only use half)
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (if the pepper is really big, only use half)
1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
1 cup shelled edamame, prepare according to package
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 lemon or lime
To taste, salt and pepper

Combine first 9 ingredients into a large mixing bowl and carfully mix. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, couple of pinches of salt, pepper and mustard. Whisk vinegar mixture and slowly pour olive oil into vinegar mixture. Whisk until mixture is the consistency of a vinaigrette. Pour vinaigrette into veggie bowl and gently mix. Toss in feta and squeeze juice of half a lemon or lime juice into veggie bowl. Adjust seasons to your liking.

I love confetti salad because it's colorful, fresh and light. You can use any vegetables you like! You can also add different cheeses and pastas, orzo is our favorite. Confetti salad is perfect to serve at a cookout because it's great for vegetarians (leave out the feta) and it's really refreshing after a hot summer day. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Red, White & Blue Mediterranean Potato Salad

Hi Everyone!

With the fourth of July just hours away, people tend to go all out on showing their patriotic side! From decorations to hats to party favors, you can make almost anything be red, white and blue themed. But what about your potato salad? I have a really yummy recipe for red, white and blue potato salad. There's no mayonnaise in it so it's lighter than most potato salads, and it looks really nice, too.


INGREDIENTS:
2 pounds of small potatoes: red white and blue, rinsed clean, skin on, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup Feta cheese
1 small Vidalia (sweet) onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh dill or oregano
1 hard boiled egg, mashed with fork
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
To taste, salt and pepper

Scrub potatoes clean, cut into quarters or bite-sized pieces. Add potatoes to large pot of boiling water, add 1 teaspoon salt. Boil for about 13 minutes until potatoes are slightly firm to bite, but not mushy. Drain in colander and let cool. In large mixing bowl, combine onions, bell pepper, feta, egg, dill, a few pinches of salt, cracked black pepper and potatoes.

In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard. While whisking vinegar mixture, slowly add olive oil until emulsified; forming a vinaigrette. Pour vinaigrette over potato salad and add squeeze of fresh lemon juice, gently mix. Cover bowl and place potato salad into refrigerator for about one hour. Taste salad and adjust flavor for salt and pepper.


I love this potato salad because it's healthy, delicious, and totally patriotic. Everyone will love it!


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pea Ravioli

I love Italian food because it's full of flavor, it's hearty, and it can be really healthy! One of my favorite Italian dishes is ravioli. Ravioli is really versatile because you can stuff it with anything! I like mine with pine nuts and arugula! People think that Italian food is really hard to make, but it can be really easy. Since we had a bag of frozen peas in our freezer, I decided to try and make pea ravioli. Here's how to make it.


INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups fresh shelled or frozen peas
1 package wonton wrappers (usually in the refrigerated healthy food section of stores)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 small shallot, minced
2 – 3 dashes red pepper flakes – NOTE: if you do not like spicy food, do NOT add flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sprinkling of parmesan-reggiano cheese, grated
To taste, salt and pepper
Small cup of water

Heat olive oil over a medium heat in a small pan and saut̩ shallot and red pepper flakes for 2 Р3 minutes until shallots are translucent. Be careful shallots do not brown. Remove pan from stove and let cool. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil. Place a metal strainer into a pot of boiling water (watch my video for this step) and pour peas into strainer to blanche. Put a pot holder over strainer handle and cook peas for 3 Р4 minutes. Pick up strainer with peas out of pot and set into an ice bath (a large bowl of ice water) for a couple of minutes (this will keep the peas bright green and stop the cooking process). Lift strainer out of ice bath and drain water. Keep the pot of hot water so you can cook the ravioli in it, turn the heat down to medium to keep the water hot.

In a food processor, blend together ricotta, drained peas, shallot/oil mixture, salt, pepper and a small handful of parmesan cheese. Blend together until creamy. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper to your liking. Lay out a few wonton squares on cutting board and dip your finger into the cup of water. Moisten two sides of a wonton (watch video for this step). Place about 1 tablespoon of pea mixture into center of wonton and fold wonton in half to form a triangle. Press two sides together and seal tightly. Bring pot of water to a soft boil and place about 6 wontons (depending on the size of your pot) into boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes. If pea mixture leaks out of ravioli, use a little less filling in the next batch of ravioli. Carefully scoop out ravioli with a slotted spoon to drain off water.

Serve ravioli on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese. A great side dish is fresh salad. Extra pea filling can be served on crostini.


They were really yummy and light! The wonton wrappers came out perfectly and the peas added a sweetness to the dish. Have some fun and try baking the ravioli instead. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush ravioli lightly with olive oil and place on a silpat in a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. They are perfect pillows of tastiness!


What sort of things do you like in your ravioli? Send me a tweet @TheLizzieMarie.

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tiny Tidbit: When to Rinse Fresh Berries

Hi Everyone!

My family buys loads of berries during the summer. We use them in fruit salads, smoothies, desserts and popsicles! Berries are great, but they do go bad quickly. What a lot of people don't know is that if you wash all of the berries at once and then put them in the fridge, they will go bad a lot quicker. The berries will get moldy and fuzzy in about a day!


What my family does is we only wash the amount of berries we're going to use right before we eat them. That way, the berries will keep for a couple more days. Green vegetable bags help keep berries fresh a little bit longer in the frig too. Be sure to freeze fresh berries so you can enjoy them later in the year.


Have a great summer!

Thanks for reading,
Lizzie Marie

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Buttering Corn Cobs

Hi Everyone!

Don't you just hate it when you're buttering freshly boiled corn and you burn your fingers and the butter falls off? Well, I've got the perfect solution! All you need is some soft butter, the heel from a loaf of bread and a corn cob. Simply butter the bread and place the corn cob in the middle of the bread. Then rotate the corn until the butter is evenly distributed over the kernels. Plus you get a buttered piece of bread! If you don't want to butter your corn, squeeze some fresh lime juice on it instead. Enjoy and have a happy summer!


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Storing Avocados

Hi Everyone!

Sometimes I only need to use half an avocado for recipes, but the unused half turns brown within minutes. Learn how easy it is to store part of an avocado.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Homemade Popsicles

Hi Everyone!

Kids and grown-ups love icy cold popsicles this time of year. Unfortunately, a lot of popsicles found in stores have a lot of added sugars and dyes. Here is a super duper fast way to make your own healthy popsicles.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Adventures in Sarabeth's Kitchen

Hi everyone!

Recently, Sarabeth Levine from Sarabeth's Kitchen contacted me through Twitter. She said if I was ever in New York City to stop by her bakery and bake with her for a day. It just so happened that I was going to be in New York City! I told her I would love to come and bake with her. A few days later I arrived at her bakery in Chelsea Market. Before I started baking I ate lunch at her bakery; tomato soup and a grilled vegetable panini. The tomato soup was delicious and non-traditional. It had chunks of tomato in it and it was served with a buttermilk biscuit that was light and fluffy. The grilled vegetable panini was really yummy; the vegetables were fresh and they were seasoned perfectly. Then it was time to bake!


Sarabeth gave me a chef's coat and an apron, telling me I would end up covered in chocolate. I had asked her if we could make Chocolate Chubbies, which is somewhere between a cookie and a brownie. I learned a lot of tips and, sure enough, I was covered in chocolate! I saw the huge ovens they use to bake, all of the pre-made pastries and I even saw some HUGE mixers! I could have fit inside of them!



While the Chocolate Chubbies were baking, Sarabeth and I started talking about whipped cream. She explained to me how to make whipped cream the right way, and then she suggested we make some. To make whipped cream, you first mix the cream with an electric mixer until it's not completely stiff with a bowl of ice under the mixing bowl. Sarabeth then added some superfine sugar and fresh vanilla bean from a pod that had been soaking in rum. She then mixed the whipped cream by hand until it was firm and fluffy. It was amazing! The vanilla bean made really flavorful, yet it still had a delicate taste.


Sarabeth brought out some buttermilk biscuits and homemade strawberry jam. We put the whipped cream on the biscuit and topped it with jam. It was the best strawberry shortcake I ever had! The strawberry jam was chunky and loose, not like the thick jelly you find in the stores. I learned about this particular batch of strawberry jam from Sarabeth's blog

Before I left, Sarabeth gave me her beautiful cookbook, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours, Rizzoli 2010. Be sure to order your copy of Sarabeth's book so you can have fun making Chocolate Chubbies with your family!


Thank you for the wonderful treats, Sarabeth!
Lizzie Marie

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Which Produce to Eat First

Hi Everyone!

When buying fresh fruits and veggies from a CSA or farmers market, be sure you know which items will spoil faster than others.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Product Review: Microplane Grater Attachment

Hi Everyone!

Are you sick and tired of shaving your fingertips off every time you try to grate small items like nutmeg or garlic on a Microplane grater? Well I have the perfect solution: a grater attachment! A grater attachment is basically a little cube that snaps on to your Microplane grater. It’s used to grate nutmeg, ginger, garlic, etc. I’ve never been comfortable grating garlic because I want to keep my fingertips intact. I heard about this grater attachment and I looked everywhere for it in Atlanta, but I could not find one.

I was so happy when www.cheftools.com asked me to do a product review for a grater attachment! I LOVE my grater attachment! My fingertips are as intact as ever and I don’t have to chop my garlic up super duper fine anymore with my knife. Grater attachments are the best kitchen tool ever, aside from maybe a spoonula. To order your very own grater attachment, click on the link above. You will never have to worry about shredding your fingertips again!


Thanks for reading,
Lizzie Marie

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summertime Italian Feast

Hi Everyone!

During the summer, my family loves to make crostinis. Crostinis are slices of baguette that have been toasted with olive oil and salt. We always serve crostinis with a variety of different toppings. Recently, I attended an expo and saw Giada de Laurentiis cook on stage. I bought her Giada at Home cookbook and Mario Batali’s Molto Gusto cookbook. My mom noticed a recipe for pea pesto in Giada’s book and it looked delicious! I decided to make it and cooked a three-course Italian dinner!


The first course was the crostini platter. Our crostinis were topped with Giada’s pea pesto, arugula and pine nut pesto, brie cheese, sliced tomato, fresh purple basil and an apricot paste. The pea pesto was refreshing and really yummy!

The second course was broccoli rabe in a Pecorino Romano sauce. It was really yummy, especially once we topped it with smoked salt. You only need a tiny amount of smoked salt, great flavor!


The final course was fettuccine cacio e pepe, which is Italian for fettuccine with cheese and pepper. I found this recipe, and the broccoli rabe recipe, in Mario Batali’s cookbook. The fettuccine cacio e pepe only had a couple ingredients, but it took a long time to make! In the end, it was amazingly good! When I was in New York last year I visited Mario Batali’s specialty foods shop, Eataly. Mom and I ate lunch there and I ordered spaghettone cacio e pepe, which is the same as what I made, but the pasta was thinner. It was creamy, peppery and definitely a weekend splurge. What can I say, I LOVE Italian food!


I'm so excited to be back in NYC this week!

Ciao!
Lizzie Marie

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Watermelon Workouts

Hi Everyone!

Dad and I got a little silly filming this Tiny Tidbit. Who knew you could workout out with watermelons! Remember my motto: Have fun with your food.


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Best Way to Wash Lettuce

Hi everyone!

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you get little pieces of dirt in your lettuce even though you washed it off? That’s because you’re not washing it off the right way. Instead of just running the lettuce under some water and calling it a day, there’s a really effective and easy way to get rid of all those annoying pieces of dirt. Whenever you buy lettuce directly from the farmer (or you buy a CSA box), there will be more dirt in the lettuce because it’s so fresh.

Personally, I don’t like eating dirt and bugs, but hey, it’s extra protein! But, if you’re like me, it’s not that hard to make sure your lettuce doesn’t contain anything but lettuce. Simply take a big bowl and fill it with cold water. Then add a touch of distilled vinegar. The vinegar shocks the bugs and makes them fall off the lettuce. Tear the lettuce into smaller pieces, add it to the bowl and press gently so that the lettuce pieces are covered in water. Soaking the leaves causes the dirt to fall off, because lettuce floats and dirt sinks. After letting the leaves of lettuce soak for several minutes, pop the lettuce into a salad spinner, give it a whirl and you’re ready for a fresh, bug-free salad!


Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Monday, May 30, 2011

Beyond Farm-to-School: Bluebird CSA KidsBox

Hi everyone!

Recently I've been telling you a lot about CSA boxes. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture; basically, you prepay for a box of fresh, in-season produce grown by your local farmers. I was so excited when I learned that the Bluebird CSA program was coming out with a new program called the Bluebird Garden Fresh KidsBox! The KidsBox is a special box of fresh veggies and fruits especially for kids. Patti Robinson of Bluebird explains, "... the KidsBox is a step beyond farm-to-school... fun to dedicate a CSA box as kid-friendly with a healthy recipe each week that would be quick and easy for children over the summer to prepare using box contents.


Bluebird Garden Fresh KidsBox is available for a summer of affordable, quick and easy meals that can be prepared by children in the kitchen [or on the grill] with the help of a parent. Young people benefit from learning how to prepare garden fresh meals in simple ways for busy lives. The aim is to provide 12 weeks of recipes, courtesy of Chef Lizzie of Lizzie Marie Cuisine, and activities over 2011 summer vacation to pave the way for a lifetime of healthy habits that are a delicious alternative. Contents are suitable for 1-2 children depending on portion size. Included are recipes for kids, Eat the Alphabet game and more. Your child receives an assortment: Honey Straws or Local honeybear [tiny size], Cherry tomatoes, Butterbeans, greenbeans or peas [peas come shelled], Melon [cantaloupe or individual size watermelon], Greens [Dinosaur Kale, spinach, etc.], Berries [berries in season], Fruit [peaches, plums, fruit in season], Corn [in husk suitable for roasting], and Root Veggie [carrots, potatoes]."

I was also really excited when Bluebird presented me with an internship: Bluebird CSA Local Foods System Internship. For the next 12 weeks I'll be writing recipes using the produce found in the weekly KidsBox and the recipes will be included in every KidsBox.

The other day we picked up my very first KidsBox to see what would be included in the box. It was super heavy; 32 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies, just for kids! There was so much yummy looking produce in the box like squash, peaches, mini plums, honey sticks, peach cider and a watermelon! It was also cool because they included a kite to encourage kids to play! I can't wait to see what's in next week's KidsBox!

Be sure to visit Bluebird CSA to order your KidsBox.

Let me know how your kids like their KidsBox and share your recipes with me at lizzie@lizziemariecuisine.com or Twitter @TheLizzieMarie.

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Recipe: Fruit Cooler

Fruit Coolers are a tasty way to use my favortie fruits that are in season right now where I live: watermelon and strawberries.



INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cup Strawberries, remove green, rinse and cut in half
  • 3 scoops Watermelon, use an ice cream scoop
  • 1 tablespoon Local honey or organic sugar
  • 2 cups Crushed ice
  • 1/4 cup sparkling water (I like Pellegrino brand)
  • Splash of sparkling water
  • Optional: if you have fresh mint, rinse a few leaves clean with water and use as a garnish in your glass

Place first 5 ingredients into blender, blend until smooth. If the ingredients are blending easily, add a little extra sparkling water. Pour into glasses and top with a splash of sparkling water which adds a great fizz to the drink. Add a mint leaf to your glass for a fun garnish.  Yields 2 servings.  I added a few blueberries to the batch in the photo which was tasty too.

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's All Greek to Me: The Greek Yogurt Trend

Hi everyone!

Nowadays I’ve been hearing a lot about Greek yogurt and there are a lot of brands out there. Greek yogurt is different from regular yogurt because it is strained, which removes more water and make the Greek yogurt more thick and creamy. There is also more protein in Greek yogurt than in regular yogurt. Which one should you buy? That’s what I’m here for! I decided to pick 3 brands and critique them on taste, nutritional value and overall yumminess! I’ll then rate the yogurt on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best and 1 being the worst.

The first brand I tried was Voskos Greek Yogurt. The yogurt was light and creamy, and it had a great flavor! One container of Voskos Greek Yogurt has 13 grams of protein, 13 grams of sugar and 120 calories. I give Voskos 8 out of 10.

The second brand I tried was Brown Cow Greek Yogurt. The Brown Cow Greek Yogurt was not as light and creamy. It was heavy and it wasn’t as flavorful. One container of Brown Cow Greek Yogurt contains 13 grams of protein, 17 grams of sugar and 130 calories. I give Brown Cow Greek yogurt 6.5 out of 10.

The final brand I tried was Fage Greek Yogurt. The Fage Greek Yogurt was thick and creamy, and it had a really good flavor. One container of Fage Greek Yogurt contains 10 grams of protein, 17 grams of sugar and 130 calories. I give Fage Greek Yogurt 8.5 out of 10.

There are 3 main things that make these yogurts different. The Voskos Greek Yogurt had its strawberry flavor mixed throughout the yogurt. The Brown Cow Greek Yogurt had the strawberry flavor on the bottom of the cup. Finally, the Fage Greek Yogurt had a little container on the side of the yogurt with the strawberry flavor for you to mix in however much you wanted.

Thanks for reading!
Lizzie Marie

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tiny Tidbits: Separating Eggs

Hi everyone!
I'm really excited to share with you all the launch of my new online video series called Tiny Tidbits! My goal for Tiny Tidbits is to give you quick and easy tips on cooking, exercising and much more. Plus, the videos are all under 60 seconds! Tiny Tidbits is the perfect place to learn what brand of Greek yogurt to buy or even how to wash lettuce the right way. I hope my Tiny Tidbits help bring a dash of flavor and a pinch of health into your life.
Remember: it doesn't matter how much time you have because there's always time to live healthy.
Thanks for reading and look out for more Tiny Tidbits videos!
Lizzie Marie


Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview: Frank Mason - CSAs and Farmers Markets: Hyper-Local or Hardly-Local?

Hi everyone!

I recently interiewed Frank Mason, who is the creator of the Bluebird CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in Griffin, Georgia. I recently learned the meaning of hyper-local: 'supporting the residents in a community'. For example, the Bluebird CSA sells produce only from Georgia farmers. Another thing I learned is the difference between a CSA box and a farmers market. Customers pre-pay for a CSA box and they can't pick what produce they want in the box, but they get the freshest produce in season from local farmers.


At a farmers market people can pick what produce they want and pay the farmer at the market. Farmer Bob James in Griffin, Georgia explained that there sometimes there is a lot of leftover produce that doesn't sell at farmers markets which is not a good thing for farmers. He said it takes a long time to harvest the items and then farmers sit all day at a market hoping to sell everything. Farmer Bob explained CSAs are great for farmers because customers pay for their boxes first, then farmers know exactly how much fruits and vegetables to pick and deliver so there is no waste like there can be with a farmers market.


Sydney Jarrett - Miss Bluebird Festival Outstanding Teen 2011 crowned by Miss America Organization, Lizzie Marie - founder of Lizzie Marie Cuisine and Frank Mason - founder of Bluebird CSA.

Some friends of mine ordered a CSA box from a different program (there are a lot of new CSA programs popping up all over Georgia). The program they ordered their box from said their vegetables and fruits came from local farmers. However, when my friends opened the box they found rotten celery and discovered that some of produce was from Washington state according to the little stickers on the produce! My family had a very similar experience last year. We went to a local farmer's market--again the people said that the produce was from local farmers--and we bought some fresh vegetables. It wasn't until we got home that my mom realized that the produce was actually from Mexico (the little sticker was there to prove it)! Beware of the faux-local CSA programs out there!

Thanks for reading,

Lizzie Marie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Flipping Out

You know how those really experienced chefs don't need to use a spatula, they just jerk the pan to flip the food? After watching my Julia Child The Way to Cook DVD, I was able to flip without a spatula while making Chicken Parmesan! I was kind of nervous because I had never tried it before, but once you do it once, you realized how fun and easy it is! It's easier to flip small, solid things like chicken than it is to flip an omelette or a pancake. My mom tried and she was able to do it too! A tip for practicing this technique is putting some dry beans in a pan and trying to flip those. It's pretty hard since the beans most likely will roll out all over the place (my dogs got a little snack when I tried this).

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Parmesan

Hi everyone!

My mom recently showed me some of Mark Bittman's online cooking videos. I thought they were great! I found a video of his where he cooked Parmesan Chicken with Jamie Oliver. I watched it and it looked delicious. Mom and I decided to recreate it at home. Here's the recipe:


INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 thin cut boneless, skinless chicken breast (if thin cut is not available, regular chicken breasts are fine)
  • 8 slices Prosciutto de Parma
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, strip leaves off stem
  • 2 large fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Parmesano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  • To taste, sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Plastic wrap

Tear off one large piece of plastic wrap double the size of your chicken breast and lay flat on kitchen counter. Place one chicken breast onto center of plastic wrap. Lightly salt chicken then add a little bit of lemon zest and a couple pinches of fresh herbs. Next, grate cheese onto chicken. Top chicken with two slices of prosciutto. Fold over plastic wrap to cover top of chicken. Beat plastic wrapped chicken with a small pan until flat. Heat skillet over medium heat; add oil to skillet. Cook chicken, prosciutto side down first for about 3 - 5 minutes until prosciutto is crispy. Flip chicken and cook about 3 more minutes. Prepare the remaining chicken breasts as above and cook. Delish with a side of steamed asparagus and mashed cauliflower.

You can serve the Parmesan Chicken with any healthy side item; salad, steamed asparagus, mashed cauliflower etc. You can also try making this dish Mexican by using red pepper flakes, oregano and lime zest and using monterey jack cheese instead of Parmesano Reggiano.

I'm also really excited because I'm going to be cooking my Waffadilla recipe at a home-school event for some graduating seniors. It should be a lot of fun, because Waffadillas are the perfect dorm-friendly meal. You can make a lot with waffle irons these days; so far I've made a grilled cheese sandwich, a panini, a calzone and quesadillas! Can you think of any other thins you could make in a waffle iron? Send me a Tweet: @TheLizzieMarie.

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

East Atlanta Village Farmers Market

Hi everyone!

I love farmers markets which are basically markets where different people (some are even farmers, go figure) sell their homemade foods, products and fresh produce. Farmers markets are close to my heart because I started Lizzie Marie Cuisine at my local farmers market. I went to the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market on Cinco de Mayo and I had a blast! Even though the market was small, it was pretty crowded. The main reason I went to the market was to pick up some Flott tuna. Flott tuna is tuna imported from Italy, but instead of the tuna being in water, it's sealed in olive oil! When you cook with the tuna, do not throw out the olive oil because that's the best part! The only place I could find Flott tuna was in Florida, so I was ecstatic when I found a local supplier. I also picked up some vegetarian lasagna which was delicious from Urban Cannibals!


I tried a lot of different foods, too, like a Mexican Coke Float in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. A Mexican Coke Float uses Mexican Coke that has only real cane sugar and no artificial sweeteners. Instead of ice cream, I got lemon-lime sorbet. It was divine! I also tried Beef Stock Jalapeno Peppers boiled peanuts (yum) and a vegetarian taco. Some other things we picked up were pimento cheese with roasted red peppers from Grace's Goodness, Jerusalem sesame and regular sesame bagels, a garlic scape (baby garlic that is green and curly), lettuces and Easter egg radishes (they were pink, purple and white). The Jerusalem bagel (left in photo) was slightly darker than the regular sesame bagel (right in photo) and was a bit sweet. The pimento cheese was amazing on the toasted bagels.


In my online high school, different students run different clubs. I happen to run the Culinary Club. A couple of days after our farmer's market adventure, I asked my mom if she could turn the garlic scape into a couture hat for me to wear during the Culinary Club meeting. My mom clipped it to my hair and it looked amazing! I looked like I was ready to attend the Royal Wedding. Unfortunately, during the middle of the meeting the garlic scape fell out and I was left with oddly-smelling hair. Have you ever made a food-fashion-statement? If so, do tell on Twitter @TheLizzieMarie.


Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Recipe: Powerhouse Pancakes

I woke up today craving pancakes. Most pancake recipes aren't that healthy though, because they contain a good amount of sugar and no fiber. I then remembered a recipe for healthy pancakes that my dad used to make a lot. I like to call them Powerhouse Pancakes (or waffles). They're super easy, healthy and yummy! Plus they're a great recipe to make for your mom on Mother's Day!


Powerhouse Pancakes or Waffles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Small handful walnuts or almonds (optional)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • Toppings: agave syrup, pure maple syrup, 100% all fruit preserves or fresh fruit

Place cottage cheese, egg, cinnamon, nutmeg into blender or food processor and add oats and baking powder last. A hand blender works best. Blend until smooth, the consistency of thick pancake batter. Heat griddle or medium pan on medium heat, add butter to pan. Pan/griddle is ready when you place a few drops of water onto it and water sizzles immediately. Pour batter onto griddle/pan to make pancake. Cook until bubbles appear on top of pancake and edge of pancake appears dry. Flip pancake and cook about 2 more minutes until batter is cooked through. Serve with topping of your choice. This batter can also be cooked in a waffle maker. One pancake is full of fiber and protein which will keep you feeling full for a while. One powerhouse pancake topped with agave syrup is very low on the glycemic index and is great for diabetics. This means the sugar in the agave syrup releases slowly in the bloodstream, instead of spiking really fast like other syrups. My Pa is diabetic and he loves these pancakes.

Yields: 1 serving, double ingredients to make two pancakes

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Interview: Mary Anne

I recently visited my grandparents, who I call Ma and Pa. I also met one of their neighbors, Mary Anne. Mary Anne told me how she watched me on the Rachael Ray show and how she was inspired to make a healthy change in her life. I interviewed Mary Anne about her journey.

1. LM: Why did you decide to make a healthy change in your life?

MA: Actually, for me it has been a life long challenge. I knew I needed to make some changes especially concerning my eating habits. Then I saw Lizzie on the Rachel Ray Show telling America of her concerns about obesity in our society - to see someone so young take on this cause just inspired me! Lizzie inspired me to finally start the change I needed. I had been dragging my feet for several months but seeing and hearing Lizzie challenged me; I joined a weight loss program the very next week.


2. LM: What do you like to do for exercise?

MA: I have to admit I'm terrible when it comes to exercise. I am constantly in motion at work, I do yard work, but have not, yet at least, made a commitment to an exercise schedule. Currently the weight loss program I joined is encouraging us to walk, to start at 10 minutes a day and build up to 45 minutes, 5 days a week. They just gave me a schedule this week with a goal of walking a 5K in May. So, I am going to try to this!


3. LM: Do you have any tips for people going through the same journey as you?

MA: The best tip is just to take 1 day at a time. It is a very tough journey and there are not magic pills; it is just one foot in front of the other. Also, do not give up if you should stumble. Be conscious of the things you eat that make you feel better physically. I have noticed that I feel much better now that I am eating less processed foods. I have fewer aches and pains.


4. LM: What was the most difficult thing for you to overcome?

The most difficult thing is getting started; that first step, and I'm so glad that I live across the street from Lizzie's Grandparents so that I knew to watch the Rachel Ray Show — that was my "ah ha" moment: that got me to take that first step. Then I started to check out Lizzie's website. So now I need to keep overcoming things, like eating less processed foods, taking the time to make things from fresh products and finding more recipes. I'm constantly looking for ways to improve upon the foods that I like so that they are healthier for me. This will be an ongoing journey!

5. LM: Can you share one or two healthy recipes?

MA: One recipe I'd like to share is how I've made having "spaghetti" healthier. Instead of pasta I use Spaghetti Squash.


You can purchase Spaghetti Squash at most supermarkets or produce stands. It is not difficult to cook, simply cut it in half, scrap out the seeds with a spoon. Place it cut side down in a container that can go in the microwave, add 1/4 cup water and cook for 7 minutes. Turn over the squash and see if you can start to scrape the inside with a fork. If it seems a bit tough, cook for another minute or so. Now scrape out the insides, you will see that they come out like strands of spaghetti. Cook your other half.

Now comes the fun part, you can cover it with whatever you like:

  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Parmesan Cheese, and butter (I use butter spray) and garlic and parsley
  • Chili

Anything that you might have done with spaghetti you can do with this squash - and the squash literally has no calories. So enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Scones and Giada

'Ello everyone!

As I'm sure all of you know, the Royal Wedding between Catherine Middleton and Prince William occurred on Friday. I decided that I wanted to watch this event, and my mum suggested we make scones for the morning of the wedding. We decided to make cranberry blood-orange scones. They were utterly fabulous, darling. I quite enjoyed them. This was my first time making scones, and I did need some help from my mum. First, the butter wouldn't cooperate and it wouldn't blend with the flour! Then the dough was very sticky and most of it stuck to the cutting board. Finally, I rolled the dough too thin and had to do the whole dough thing over again! I have to admit, I went a little crazy with dough as you can see in the picture.... but in the end, they turned out splendid.


For dinner that night we decided to have fish and chips. I had been watching a food/travel show and the host went across the pond to England. She had fish and chips, and I said to my mum, "We should try making baked fish and chips!" My mum loved the idea and so we tried it out that evening. We took cod and coated it in Panko, a Japanese style breadcrumbs, and baked it. To make the chips we sliced potatoes very thin and covered drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked those as well. It was delicious!

My dad had to go to England to do some work. One night he decided to order Indian food. You might not know this, but England is known for having very good Indian food! My dad ordered Tandoori Chicken, basically a chicken roasted in spices, naan which is very thin dough with subtle seasonings, kind of like flatbread, and Lamb Vindaloo, a curry-like dish that is usually very spicy. My dad said the Tandoori Chicken was amazing; he said it was one of the best he's ever had. The naan, he said, was delicious as well. My dad said that the Lamb Vindaloo was spicy, yummy and "lamb-y".

This weekend I went to a big cooking event in Atlanta called the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show. My mum had given me tickets to see Giada de Laurentiis, my favorite Food Network chef, cook at this event! Before we got to see Giada, though, we walked around and visited a lot of different food booths and tried some of their food. I tried chocolate-covered toffee, fudge, relish, pound cake, orange juice, bread and olive oil, stir-fry, barbecue chicken with hot sauce, dark chocolate peanut butter and (believe it or not) spicy peanut butter! My favorites were the dark chocolate peanut butter, the barbecue chicken with hot sauce and the fudge. My mum and I did some shopping too; we bought 2 jars of the dark chocolate peanut butter, 1 jar of the spicy peanut butter, some different hot sauces and spices, a garlic peeler/chopper, a cookbook signed by Giada de Laurentiis, and one of Mario Batali's cookbooks. Then we got to see Giada cook. She made orzo with a tomato vinaigrette, salmon cakes and a strawberry parfait with a brown sugar crumble on top. It all looked delicious! I had a wonderful day, and I hope I can go again next year.

Thanks for reading!

Lizzie Marie