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Beets & Olives Salad with Feta, Super Greens & Lemon Herb Dressing

Here is a recipe for a beet and olive salad that is pretty to look at and delicious. We had this wonderful beet salad with lemon herb dressing at our friends Swati and Tarak’s home when we went over for a holiday dinner. Swati got inspired to use a few lemons from one of many fruit trees in her hillside garden and made a Lemon Herb Dressing to go with her outstanding Super Greens, Beets and Olives Salad. Continue reading Beets & Olives Salad with Feta, Super Greens & Lemon Herb Dressing

Pomegranate, Orange and Arugula Salad with Bleu Cheese & White Balsamic Dressing

I make lots of salads but I would never think to combine a citrus flavor such as orange with blue cheese – it wouldn’t be a combination that would occur to me. When I think of bleu cheese I tend to use the likes of apples and pears. Surprisingly though the combination of orange and bleu cheese along with pomegranate seeds and the peppery bite of arugula tastes really good together in a salad.

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Fresh Apple Ginger Cake

An apple cake that is not too sweet, not too dry, but just right? This recipe is the one. This apple cake is the perfect balance of sweet with a little kick of spices, all mixed together with grated fresh apples and fresh ginger.  I am loving fresh ginger in sweets and treats lately. I find it adds a nice spicy fragrant kick and especially balances the sweetness of cakes really well.

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Veena & Mani’s South Bay Garden Gem

Our friends Veena and Mani have a gorgeous home right here in the South Bay.  They moved into their new home a few years ago, and though their home went through a major renovation right before they moved in, the previous owners left the backyard untouched. Their landscape is huge. It has a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a very large circular driveway at the entrance.

However this landscape was lacking in character.  It needed a personal touch, a gardener’s personal touch that is. And that is exactly what Veena and Mani did. Give this large expanse of a garden their own unique perspective. This massive re-landscaping of their outdoor space took more than a year to accomplish, and the end result is something spectacular.

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Iya’s Vitamin Salad with Miso Dressing

My friend Iya brought this delicious and refreshing coleslaw style of salad to our garden party a while back that was enjoyed by all. It was crunchy, sweet and salty, with an Asian inspired dressing. Part of the beauty of this salad is the gorgeous, thinly cut, colourful vegetables. When cut in this way, the veggie flavors come out perfectly in this delicious salad.  I asked Iya for the recipe and also invited her to come over and show me how to make her salad. Here is the recipe.

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Roasted Pan Sautéed Okra

Okra also called ladies fingers is an interesting vegetable. Growing up my Mom made okra quiet a lot, but I wasn’t always a big fan of this vegetable mainly because I didn’t like the texture of okra. It’s slimy when cut and that’s what turns many people off. But my Mom very often made an okra stir-fry in a well-seasoned old wok that got rid of the sliminess, and to get us kids to eat this very unusual vegetable she would tell us okra is good for the brain, that it makes us smarter, so we ate it slimy or not.

Okra provides about 22% of RDA per 100g of okra (which is about 3/4 cup of okra). RDA is short for Recommended Dietary Allowances that the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences puts out every few years. There is an RDA value attached to each food item. Think about it, 3/4 cup of okra has 22% of a person’s daily-recommended allowance of nutrients – that is pretty high!  The many health benefits of okra Continue reading Roasted Pan Sautéed Okra

Swati & Tarak’s Italian Inspired Hillside Garden Retreat

Our friends Swati and Tarak have a beautiful home with an amazing Italian inspired hillside garden right here in the South Bay. This graceful terraced back yard is a wonderful representation of how you can transform a steep hill into a lovely lush green landscape filled with flowers, greenery, trees, and a fruit orchard.

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Continue reading Swati & Tarak’s Italian Inspired Hillside Garden Retreat

Half Moon Bay Nursery in Half Moon Bay, California

When was the last time you stopped by a plant nursery with soft classical music playing in the background? A nursery where during the holidays there is hot apple cider waiting to be sipped by their customers. A nursery that is more of an experience than a functional errand to purchase some plants. Half Moon Bay Nursery in Half Moon Bay, California is one of those places which is more of a destination rather than a nursery where one goes to just to buy a few garden plants.

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Spring Risotto with Leeks, Peppers & Arugula

You will find this recipe is not your traditional way of making risotto. I’ve tried the authentic Italian way of making risotto, and let me tell you, it’s a time consuming recipe.  Every time I have followed a risotto recipe I have had to stand over the stove and stir the risotto rice with broth in batches until the rice is cooked. This takes at least 30 – 45 minutes. 45 minutes of standing and stirring, sometimes even longer. I started to dread making risotto when the kids wanted it.

Then one day I decided to try an alternative way of making risotto. I wondered how is it that in restaurants risotto is at our table within minutes. It occurred to me that they must cook the Arborio rice in advance, and just add the veggies or seafood when we order.  I thought let me give that a try.

The next time I made risotto, I cooked the Arborio rice in broth in a pressure cooker – no stirring involved. Then when I was ready to make my risotto, in a separate pot I sautéed vegetables and just added them to the already cooked Arborio rice and mixed it all together.  The risotto turned out awesome. Because the rice is already cooked, the whole process of making risotto goes by much faster. Try my recipe for a quicker vegetable risotto and see if you like it as much as I do.

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