Friday, July 31, 2009

Here is a great, simple appetizer with a Mexican flair. Notice that the food styling of this photo is just okay ...not portfolio quality! It shows a nice black bean and corn salsa-salad accompanied by tortilla scoopers arranged on a Mexican plate. Not bad...but shot by an amateur with a point and shoot camera and no special lighting!

Now, take a look at the nicely styled and beautifully photographed shot of a similar recipe as shown on Portfolio #1 on my website.

I styled that photo in Visual Cuisine's studio in Altamonte Springs, FL . Susan Bourgoin is the studio owner and photographer. Wow! What a difference when styled with care on perfectly chosen props and then shot by a professional! Like they say, "Don't try this at home!"

Regardless of how it looks, here's the recipe. Believe me, it tastes great! This recipe is also featured in a Vegetarian Cuisine DVD program that Wendy and I produced last year.

Black Bean and Corn Salad
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 cups cooked black beans, drained
2 cups whole kernel corn
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Slice strips from the jalapeno, leaving the seeds intact. Finely chop the strips. Set aside.
2. Chop the cilantro leaves. combine the jalapeno, cilantro and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to mix well.
3. Cover and refrigerate at least 15 minutes for flavors to blend
4. Serve as an appetizer with tortilla chips, as a side salad or on greens for a main dish serving.
Copyright 2009 - Mary Holloway

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Market Food in Mazatlan, Mexico

This photo was taken at the central market in Mazatlan. I love the "local color" this photo represents and the memories of being there.

This stall was on the perimeter of the market, facing the street. The sidewalk between this lady's counter and the street was not more than two feet. While standing, ordering and waiting for food, customers are jousted by all of the people passing along the sidewalk, carrying their goods from the market while pulling their children behind them.

Factor in the noise of the traffic behind you, the smells of the market, (not always pleasant) people yelling at each other, riders getting off/on busses etc. Now you begin to get the real flavor of the scene! Despite all of this, this lady prepares wonderful food with a wonderfully pleasant attitude!

You'll notice she had all the "fixins" for tacos, burritos and other Mexican specialties to be eaten out-of-hand. I love the bowls of garnishes along the front of her counter.

In my next blog I'll give you a recipe for a great summer salad based on the ingredients you see here! Think Mexican, cool, spicy and vegetarian!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sauce for Summer Fruits

Summer fruits...part 2. Today I developed a new recipe - a sauce for summer fruits.

Zabaglione, as used in the fruit parfait on my website, is a classic sauce. Made with egg yolks, wine and sugar - like yum! It is cooked and beaten over simmering water until it is light and frothy. Let me clarify - it is light in texture although not light in calories!

Another classic sauce is creme anglaise - the rich custard sauce made with cream and egg yolks. Oh, yes, when I make this, I add orange zest to add nutritive value - LOL.

Today, my goal was to create a really quick and easy sauce that would be low in fat and calories, yet flavorful to compliment the fruit flavors with overpowering them.

Here's my recipe:
Combine 1 cup lowfat (2% milkfat) Greek strained yogurt, 1 cup vanilla pudding (made from a mix is fine) and 1 cup lowfat vanilla flavored yogurt. That's it! I said it was easy.

If you haven't tried Greek yogurt before, give it a try. Last year when I was talking to an Australian chef, working at a private villa on Santorini, Greece, he insisted I try 2% milkfat Greek yogurt. He uses it extensively in his creations. He was right - it's great!

The photo shows fruits with the sauce. Immediately after I took the picture, Steve gave the recipe a final taste test!

Let me know how this recipe works for you! You can email me from my website:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Finnish Fruits

Wow! Don't you love these pictures? Nothing is better than fresh fruit, straight from the farm. These photos were taken in the Helsinki market near the harbor. We were there in June, the perfect time for spring and early summer produce. I know that Steve and I ate our share of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries during our visit there.

In the next blog I'll give you a recipe for using these fruits. In the meantime, just enjoy the fruit eaten out-of-hand or with yogurt or ice cream. In the next blog, I'll give you the recipe for an easy sauce - oh so good.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tri-Color Couscous Tapas

Fun in the kitchen....I did some recipe development today using Tri-Color Couscous, vegetable broth, herbs and green peas for a savory tapa. For a sweet version, I used Tri-Color Couscous, vegetable broth, apple juice and sweet curry powder. Both are very good, but different from each other.

Here's my recipe for the savory version which is suitable for a vegetarian diet:

Tri-Color Couscous Tapas

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup tri-color couscous (from a specialty or health food store)
2/3 cup frozen green peas
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I like Penzey's brand)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a 4-cup glass measure, microwave the vegetable broth until boiling. Add the couscous; cover loosely and microwave 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Makes about 3 1/2 cups Copyright 2009 Mary Holloway

I would serve this warm as a tapa. A 1-cup serving could easily be a main-dish serving with about 10 g protein, approx. 5 g fiber, and lots of other good, healthy nutrients!

Or, serve warm as a side dish. I'll serve the couscous tonight with sauteed slices of turkey sausage - reminding Steve and me of the couscous with small sausages we had in Spain!

BTW, couscous is a staple in Northern Africa cuisine and frequently served in Southern Spain as well. It is a semolina (durum wheat) product. It can be used as a porridge (like a cooked breakfast cereal), salad, main dish, tapa (snack) or sweetened for a dessert. It combines well with vegetables, meats and, when served as a dessert, can be complimented with fruits.

So there you have it. Use my recipe or create your own using your favorite vegetables and seasonings!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spanish tapas in Orgiva Spain

Today, while eating tapas at a Cuban restaurant, I was reminded of the tapas I had in Orgiva Spain a few years ago. While touring near Costa del Sol, along the Mediterranean coast, my husband, Steve, and I along with our German friends, Hans and Bea Scheuermann, wanted to find "an authentic" tapas restaurant. We found the perfect spot and excellent tapas in Orgiva!

Our first challenge in our quest was locating a place for tapas. None of us speak Spanish and there were virtually no English speakers in the town. I called to some teenage girls, asking for their help. They understood my question and pointed me in the direction of a tapas bar. Once in the bar, we discovered that there were no printed menus. ..neither Spanish nor English. In Spain different bars are known for the tapas they serve. Patrons know the specialties of each bar. But, how were we going to order?

While we collected our thoughts, we ordered cafe au lait. The waitress understood that, when accompanied with hand signals!

While sipping the coffee, we came up with a terrific solution. Whenever food was delivered to the bar and about to be delivered to a guest, I told the bar tender/waiter "una par favore" and pointed to our table. This worked very well. Sometimes we could only guess what we were eating, but it was always tasty.

Sometimes guests at the bar got into the act by telling me, through gestures, that a dish was very good and I should order more for our table. Great fun! The picture was taken of some of the tapas. They were all excellent - most were very simple and often surprising.

One of our favorites and one that we saw many families eating was simply couscous served with small pieces of meats. I'll give you an easy, slightly Americanized recipe in my next blog. In the meantime, buy some couscous and chicken broth along with green peas or other vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and/or corn. Small sausages, too, unless you follow a vegetarian diet.

Never have people been more friendly and helpful. Other patrons even allowed me to take pictures of their food!

With no menu, we did not have a clue as to the cost of the tab we would have for lunch and cafe au lait. The bartender gave me the news, but I couldn't understand. So, I just gave him 20 Euros and he gave me 7 Euros change. This was, by far, our least expensive meal in all of Spain and definitely one of our best and most authentic.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Panzanella Salad in Tuscany

Seeing this picture reminds me of the great tomato dishes we had in Italy. The panzanella salads are unbelievably good. So good that I think I'll make one for dinner tonight. For the vegetarians, this is a great main course meal!

According to my food dictionary, panzanella is an Italian bread salad made with the ingredients as listed in the following recipe.

One variation is to brown the bread in olive oil before adding it to the salad. Make that garlic-infused olive oil for, that sounds really tasty! Use the best tomatoes you can find!

Here's my recipe
1 cup firm Italian bread cubes
1 pkg (8 oz) fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in cubes
2 cups chopped tomatoes (or more)
1 cup chopped English cucumbers
1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad. Garnish with olives, if desired. Serve immediately.

I always change the ingredients to suit my whims. I may combine different types of tomatoes. This is very attractive when yellow and red tomatoes are combined. Use more or less of the ingredients based on your own tastes. Enjoy!