Archive for epicurean ventures

Focus On Fruit: Ataulfo Mango

Posted in Epicurean Chronicles, Epicurean Ventures, Focus On Fruit, Foodies Fodder, Gourmet, Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by Angela


I am completely in love with these mangoes at the moment because they have given my taste buds a reason to sing.

Early spring can be a challenging time to find good variety of fruit. Most of the apples are red, small & incredibly hard. And if you’re like me, you just grow tired of the can fruit after so long.

I frequent the farmer’s markets as much as possible but in the colder months and for optimal variety, I tend to shop at Whole Foods & Fresh Market. Shopping at these stores and the farmer’s markets have broaden my horizons tremendously.

I spotted these beauties one evening while I was attending a wine tasting and I decided to give them a whirl. I was about to purchase regular mangoes but they had a huge display of these and they were $1 ea. while the others were 2/$5.

They look a little different than most mangoes you’re accustomed to seeing because they’re oblong shaped. This varitey hails from Mexico and are excellent source for Vitamin C & fiber.

I am very pleased with what I’ve found and have been raving ever since!!

If you like tropical fruits (mango, papaya, guava, etc.) you will be greatly pleased with these.

Here I’ve shown one of the ways I added a little life to my salad (after I perfected my mango-cubing method…the first couple I just peeled and ate very sloppily)


*spring mix*
*garlic sesame crumbles*
*ataulfo mango*
*Swiss emmenthaler cheese*
*spicy Thai & curry vinaigrette dressing*

~Peace & Blessings~


Recipes for Health: Eggplant Parmesan

Posted in Epicurean Chronicles, Epicurean Ventures, Foodies Fodder, Gourmet, Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2011 by Angela

3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (16 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.
3.In a 9×13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.
4.Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serving Size 1/10 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe 10


Amount Per Serving
Calories 487
Calories from Fat 144


% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g 25 %
** Saturated Fat 6.7g 33 %
Cholesterol 78mg 26 %
Sodium 1663mg 67 %
** Potassium 815mg 23 %
Total Carbohydrates 62.1g 20 %
Dietary Fiber 8.8g 35 %
Protein 24.2g 48 %
** Sugars 19.9g
Vitamin A 22 %
Vitamin C 8 %
Calcium 64 %
Iron 41 %
** Thiamin 10 %
** Niacin 75 %
** Vitamin B6 25 %
** Magnesium 22 %
** Folate 28 %

Recipes for Health: Pressed Eggplant & Pepper Sandwich

Posted in Epicurean Chronicles, Epicurean Ventures, Foodies Fodder, Gourmet, Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2011 by Angela

How’s this for a yummy lunch….of course, I would make some modifications but all in all it looks like a winner.

Photo and recipe courtesy of CHOW


  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons packed, finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 medium bell peppers, ends trimmed, seeds and stems removed, and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 medium globe eggplants, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 4 ounces chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced in half horizontally and lightly toasted
  • 3 cups baby spinach


  1. Combine orange juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, orange zest, and red pepper flakes in a large, nonreactive bowl and whisk to combine. Add bell peppers and eggplant and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature while the grill heats, at least 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium (about 350°F) or a grill pan over high heat and rub the grill or grill pan with a towel dipped in oil. Remove eggplant from marinade and place on the grill; cook until soft and lightly charred on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until charred and soft on the other side, about 5 minutes more. Remove to a plate and set aside. Place peppers on the grill and cook until soft and lightly charred on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until charred and soft on the other side, about 5 minutes more. Remove to the plate with the eggplant and set aside.
  3. Place crumbled cheese on the bottom piece of bread, then evenly distribute spinach over cheese. Drizzle marinade over spinach, then layer grilled vegetables over spinach. Close sandwich and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on a flat surface, cover with a baking sheet, and place heavy cans or a cast iron skillet on top of the baking sheet to press the sandwich down. Flip sandwich over after 10 minutes and press for another 10 minutes. Then unwrap, slice, and serve.

Recipes for Health: Two Eggplant Bruschettas

Posted in Epicurean Chronicles, Epicurean Ventures, Foodies Fodder, Gourmet, Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Recipes, Tapas, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2011 by Angela

Here is a Tuesday Two-Fer for eggplant tapas.

Sicilian Bruschetta

Photo: Lisa Romerein; Styling: Rori Trovato


· 1 loaf (1 lb.) crusty Italian bread such as ciabatta, cut into 1/3-in.-thick slices

· About 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

· 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-in. dice (about 4 cups)

· 2 tablespoons minced garlic

· 1 cup chopped celery

· 1 cup chopped red bell pepper

· 1 cup chopped green olives

· 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

· 1/4 cup tomato paste

· 1/2 cup raisins

· 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

· 2 teaspoons kosher salt

· 2 teaspoons sugar

· 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

· 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano

· 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

· 1 cup ricotta cheese


· 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lay bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tbsp. oil. Bake until toasted and light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

· 2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

· 3. In the same pan, cook garlic in remaining 2 tbsp. oil, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add celery, bell pepper, and olives, stirring to combine, and cook until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water, the vinegar, tomato paste, raisins, and pine nuts and cook until heated through. Stir in reserved eggplant, salt, and sugar, then mix in herbs.

· 4. Serve caponata with ricotta on the toasted bread.

· Make ahead: Chill caponata up to 2 days and store toasts airtight up to 2 days.

· Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

MAY 2009

· Calories: 275

· Calories from fat: 59%

· Protein: 8.2g

· Fat: 18g

· Saturated fat: 3.2g

· Carbohydrate: 29g

· Fiber: 2.8g

· Sodium: 715mg

· Cholesterol: 10mg

Yield: Makes 5 cups (enough for 12 servings, plus leftovers)

Eggplant w/Mint Bruschetta

Photo: Scott Peterson


· 1/3 cup olive oil

· 1 small red onion, diced

· 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

· 1 medium eggplant, diced

· 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

· 1/2 teaspoon dried red chile flakes

· 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

· 6 mint leaves, chopped

· Basic Bruschetta (see recipe)

· Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling


· 1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute, then add eggplant, salt, chile flakes, and pepper. Stir to coat with oil and turn heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until eggplant is soft, about 20 minutes.

· 2. Stir in mint. Let mixture cool to room temperature and spoon onto bruschettas. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

· Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving with bruschetta.

Jennifer McIlvaine, Bruschettina, Ballard, Columbia City, and Edmonds, WA, Sunset

Amount per serving

· Calories: 284

· Calories from fat: 79%

· Protein: 2.3g

· Fat: 25g

· Saturated fat: 3.5g

· Carbohydrate: 13g

· Fiber: 1.7g

· Sodium: 459mg

· Cholesterol: 0.0mg

Recipes for Health: Eggplant Au Gratin

Posted in Epicurean Chronicles, Epicurean Ventures, Foodies Fodder, Gourmet, Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Recipes, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2011 by Angela

Here’s a favorite eggplant recipe of mine. I have experimented with making it a few different ways by mixing up the type of cheese used and I also use a chunky, homemade arrabbiata sauce so it’s really hearty.

You can bake in a loaf pan or casserole dish or use ramekin for a ready made lunch-size serving.

1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

1.Brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes. Turn and bake 7-8 minutes longer or until lightly browned and tender. Cool on a wire rack.
2.Place one eggplant slice in each of two 10-oz. ramekins coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top each with 2 tablespoons spaghetti sauce and 2 tablespoons mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 287 calories, 18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 30 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 15 g protein.

Focus On Fruit: Cherries

Posted in Epicurean Chronicles, Epicurean Ventures, Focus On Fruit, Foodies Fodder, Gourmet, Health & Wellness, Nutrition, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2011 by Angela

Hello all, if you have been peeking in this week you will have noticed something new added into the rotation of posts. As you may be able to see by now there is an emerging theme in this month’s Health & Wellness week’s posts:


One of the things I did years ago when I began to be purposeful in my diet and eating habits was to educate myself on the things that are good for you and why they are good for you. The information to be gleaned is vast and I’ve done a lot of reading and hopefully can pass on some good information to you as well through these FOCUS ON FRUIT posts.

To kick off the first of this series, I decided to highlight cherries since this is peak season and you are most likely to see them during your recent trips to the grocery stores.

Cherries have one of the shortest growing seasons but they are able to be enjoyed in juice conentrate, fresh, frozen or dried. Dried varieties can be rehydrated by soaking in water.

Cherries are packed with powerful antioxidant flavonoids in the form of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are what gives cherries their vibrant red color and pigment. These rich, red pigments are linked to a number of health benefits, some of the major ones being anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic properties.

I’ve only touched the surface with the recipes I’m providing but have tried to include a little bit of everything. And over time will provide more recipes on my food blog EPICUREAN CHRONICLES so please check over there as it’s a work in progress as well.

~Peace & Blessings~


Posted in Epicurean Chronicles, Epicurean Ventures, Gourmet, Nutrition, Recipes, Tapas with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2011 by Angela

I’m not big on two of the most popular dairy products: milk and ice cream. And no, it’s not a lactose intolerance issue. Oddly enough I do like cottage cheese, an occasional yogurt and sour cream/dips. But my biggest indulgence has always been cheese. I love it for a light snack or enhancement.

For a while I had virtually eliminated cow’s milk totally from my diet during which time I heavily explored other cheese alternatives and was able to obtain favorable substitutes.

It was also during this time that I branched out and tried other animal sources (sheep, goat) for milk and find them preferable in a lot of recipes. I watch a lot of cooking shows and attend a lot of demos, etc. and recently I tried a new cheese which I will be definitely adding to my favorites: HALLOUMI.

Halloumi is a semi-soft to hard, white cheese made either from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk or combination of the two and has a slight saltiness to it from being brine-cured. It’s mainly prevalent in Greece and Middle Eastern cuisine.

What I found most interesting about this cheese was that due to its higher-than-average melting point it is great for frying and grilling. Halloumi browns nicely and completely without any oil.

In talking with the server, the addition of any cooking oil actually breaks down the cheese and causes it to separate a bit. I suppose if that’s what you wanted to do to infuse some flavor that you could try it out to see what happens. However, as an appetizer, I think it’s a definite winner.

Of course, I took to my favorite cooking websites and found many recipes to use but here are a couple of recipes that I think would be great to try during the summer months:

Marinated Halloumi Cheese Kabobs with Herbs

Serves 2

Halloumi, a cheese from Cyprus that’s made primarily from goat’s and sheep’s milk, is similar to fresh mozzarella. Serve this appetizer with oven-roasted potatoes and garlic with rosemary, if you like.


12 ounces (350 g) halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1 medium pepper (any color)
1 medium red onion
4 medium cap mushrooms

1 level teaspoon each of chopped fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint and parsley (or similar combination of whatever herbs are available)
1 fat clove garlic
1/4 cup (55 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lime
Freshly milled black pepper


You will also need two 12-inch (30 cm) flat metal skewers.

Begin by cutting pepper and onion into even-sized pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) square, to match the size of cubes of cheese. Then chop herbs and garlic quite finely and combine them with the oil, lime juice and some freshly milled pepper. Now place cheese, onion, pepper and mushrooms in a large, roomy, non-metallic bowl and pour marinade over them, mixing very thoroughly. Cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours, and try to give them a stir round every now and then.

When you’re ready to barbecue kabobs, try the two skewers and thread a mushroom on first (pushing it right down) followed by a piece of onion, a piece of pepper and a cube of cheese. Repeat this with more onion, pepper and cheese, finishing with a mushroom at the end. Place the kabobs over the hot coals, turning frequently till they are tinged brown at the edges, about 10 minutes. Brush on any leftover marinade juices as you turn them.


Per serving (about 11oz/311g-wt.): 730 calories (510 from fat), 57g total fat, 30g saturated fat, 42g protein, 14g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 115mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Serves 4

Distinctive Halloumi cheese pairs with crisp red onions, tender zucchini, zesty lime juice and fruity olive oil in this grilled delight. Halloumi, a goat and sheep milk cheese, doesn’t melt so you can throw it right on the grill. Delicious as an appetizer, add some Kalamata olives and pita bread for a light summer entrée.


1 (6-ounce) package Halloumi cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, thickly sliced into rounds
2 zucchini, thickly sliced into rounds
2 limes
Black pepper to taste


Preheat grill.

Slice Halloumi in half lengthwise then rub all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Drizzle one tablespoon of the olive oil on the onions and 1 tablespoon on the zucchini. Grill Halloumi, onions, and zucchini, turning frequently, until they begin to blacken, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Transfer Halloumi to a cutting board and quarter each piece. Arrange Halloumi, onions, and zucchini on a large platter. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then squeeze limes over the top and sprinkle with pepper. Serve warm.


Per serving (210g-wt.): 250 calories (180 from fat), 20g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 10g protein, 10g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 20mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium