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Spinach, Chicken and Feta Spaghetti

Spinach, Chicken and Feta Spaghetti  recipe

On the last day of Les Gourmettes classes last week, Barb sent me home with a big box of spinach and a package of feta. Both would have gone bad in her refrigerator – since she would be eating out all weekend.

The following pasta recipe is what I created with it.

Waste not, want not.

cooking fresh spinach

It’s magical to watch a huge pile of fresh spinach wilt down …

cooked spinach

and down … to a little handful of cooked spinach …

add balsamic

… in only a couple minutes.

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April 29, 2013   No Comments

day 4 – week 3


The dinner meal on this forth day of the third week of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse was my least favorite meal of the entire cleanse. Additionally this recipe didn’t make sense. It originally had you start with 1/2 cup cooked rice and 3 cups of water. What? The end result of that would be 1/2 cup of overcooked soggy rice floating around in 3 cups of water! Even starting with uncooked rice, as I did, resulted in a flavorless rice bowl. The recipe also never told you to heat the tofu before adding to the bowl. Oh, it would be so bad if you didn’t.

If you really want to try the recipe, use either the cleaning broth from the first two weeks or vegetable broth…  maybe that would help.


On the plus side – this is the closest thing to a soup this week – and yesterday (when I actually had this for dinner) was the perfect day for it because it was a dark, cold, rainy… and snowy day here in Arizona! Yes, snow in the Valley of the Sun.

The rice bowl is dinner today and is supposed to be lunch again on the final day of the cleanse… not sure I’ll give it a second chance.

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February 21, 2013   3 Comments

so far away…

Grande Palace

My baby girl, Marissa, is 8,530 miles away from home. She and her boyfriend, Jeff, are in Bangkok, Thailand today and tomorrow. Then they’ll travel to the beaches of Phuket or Patong (I can not remember which) for a week of fun in the sun before heading back to their foggy homes in San Francisco.

beach thailand

I’m very excited for her and wee bit nervous, all at the same time. It’s not as if she hasn’t traveled abroad before. She studied in Paris, France for five months during her sophomore year in college… and she went alone that time.

I guess the difference is that I had been to Paris many times myself before she went, but I’ve never been to Thailand. Heck, I’ve never been to Asia. So, I suppose it’s just a touch of worry of the unknown.

Jeff is wonderful and protective of her, they’re both supremely intelligent people, they’ll be fine!  There, I talked myself into being just fine too! Thanks for listening!

portobello with kale

Let’s get to the recipes for Day 6 of Week One of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse. The only new recipe today is another juice for breakfast. Once again, you’ll need a juice extractor to make it.

green lemon ingr

The only change I made to this recipe was to increase the lemon from 1/2 lemon to one whole lemon. As you know, I love lemon, so be sure to taste before doing the same.

Tomorrow, the seventh and final day of Week One, all of the meals are repeats. I’ll be sharing with you the snacks allowed and their respective recipes, along with my thoughts on Week One of the cleanse.

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February 9, 2013   No Comments

day four – week one

Here are the recipes for breakfast and lunch Day Four of Week One of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse. The dinner recipe will follow tomorrow.


But before we get to the recipes, I want to share a little story with you. As you know, I’m doing this cleanse, long distance, with my Illinois BFF, Jennifer.

We talk everyday about what we like and how we are coming along. As we were talking yesterday, Jen started complaining about the heat from the red chile pepper in Tuesday’s Cauliflower “Rice” Stir-Fry. As she was telling her tale, I said, “Oh, I hope you didn’t buy and use a habanero!”

She said, “I don’t know, I bought four of them, I’ll send you a picture.”

jen's habanero

Sure enough, the poor thing used a habanero in her stir-fry. No wonder she was less than thrilled with it.

habanero chile

In case you don’t know, a habanero has more than 40 times of the heat of a jalapeno!!!


They are the devil’s fruit!

devil trash

I told her to throw them away, in the trash can, never down the garbage disposal, unless you want to fumigate your house. That’s what habanero chile peppers are good for!  Poor Jenny – too funny.

OK, back to breakfast and lunch of Day Four – Week One.

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February 7, 2013   3 Comments

lemon pizza?

The idea for this pizza came from the Corkscrew Cafe in Carmel Valley, California.

I’ve never been there. I  have never had their pizza, but as you well know, I have Meyer lemons… so it is this pizza that I made!

Meyer Lemon Pizza

I read the description on the menu, and the plethora of raves about it on Yelp, and I came up with my own Meyer Lemon Pizza.

Are you worried that you may not like this pizza because of the full lemon slices on there? Peel and all! Please don’t be. Meyer lemon peel is thinner and sweeter and it is delicious!

In addition, just yesterday, my friend, Amy (Amy’s Famous Taco Soup) sent me an email with all kinds of amazing information about lemon peels.

Did you know that lemon peels contain as much as 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself? Lemon peels eradicate toxic elements in the body. The peel is an antimicrobial agent that fights against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms, it regulates blood pressure, and is an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders. And according to the email Amy sent me, lemon kills cancer cells and is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.

Now, I haven’t done an ounce of research to back up any of the information in that email, it could be “internet truth.”  But if even 1/10th of that is true… well get out there and eat your lemons, peels and all… and start with this pizza!

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January 23, 2013   2 Comments

meyer lemon pasta

This was my horoscope on Tuesday.


How perfect is that? Oh, here are the last few words you can’t see, “… nourishment and warm feelings.”

It’s perfect because I already had on my calendar two dinner parties this week.

Peggy and Anne were over last night and my dear friend, Karen, who was a bridesmaid in my wedding 27 years ago, and her husband Bob, are coming over for dinner tomorrow night. Got to Love It!

Are you ready for the onslaught of Meyer lemon recipes? I hope so, that is what I’ll be making for quite a while now!

Don’t have Meyer lemons? Not to worry. You can use regular lemons in any of my recipes that call for Meyer lemons.

meyer lemon pasta in trifle bowl

I saw a photo of a version of this salad on Pinterest and was inspired by the use of a trifle bowl to serve it in. I created the recipe from scratch but stole the visuals and serving idea. If you don’t have, but have always wanted, a trifle bowl – Crate & Barrel always has them in stock.

It’s so pretty and springtime fresh and it turned out to be a delicious main course salad. I’m sure Peggy and Anne will attest to that. It would be lovely as a side salad on a buffet too.

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January 17, 2013   2 Comments

super green soup

It is officially Christmas time in the Hopkins’ home. Connor drove home from Flagstaff on Wednesday afternoon, Marissa flew in from San Francisco yesterday afternoon, and Dave’s mom, Pat, flew in from Illinois last night. The gang’s all here, time to celebrate! Nothing like a nice hot bowl of soup to get the party started, well that and a glass of wine…

When you taste this creamy, thick, and rich soup you will swear that is it loaded with cream and fat… but no, the only fat comes from 2 tablespoons olive oil and that is divided by 12 servings, so nearly fat-free!

And the color, oh it is lovely – thanks to the last second addition of a bunch of spinach leaves. Check out this photo of the soup with and without the addition of spinach, just to show you the lovely transformation the spinach makes to the end result.

Healthy? Oh this soup is plenty healthy… cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach – on my! Plus it uses the usually discarded broccoli stalks. I almost never discard broccoli stalks, they are flavor-packed and delicious! For instance, when I stir-fry, I use a vegetable peeler on the tough outer part of the stalk and then slice them up and throw them in the wok. No need to peel the stalks for the soup, they will get plenty tender during the simmering stage.

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December 23, 2011   2 Comments

festive duck

First things first - Happy Birthday to my BBF, Jennifer Markett, who lives in Illinois! I LOVE YOU! And if you were here with me, I would be serving you this wonderful duck strudel! xoxo

Pictured above is my collection of authentic vintage French confit pots. Pretty, aren’t they? Duck confit has been a preservation method, for cooking and keeping duck in its rendered fat in France, for centuries. It results in supremely tender, moist, and extremely flavorful duck. You can then sear the duck legs in a hot skillet and serve them as is, or shred the meat and add it to salads, or into the delicious and festive strudel recipe I have for you below.

One of the great things about this strudel is that you can assemble the entire thing a month in advance and freeze it. Pop it in the oven for your Christmas celebrations and impress your guests! It is out of this world glorious!

A sealed glass jar of confit may be kept in the refrigerator for up to six months, or several weeks if kept in a reusable plastic container. To maximize preservation, the fat should top the meat by at least one inch.  As the fat turns solid, and prevents any air from reaching the meat, so basically the confit technique is a way of hermetically sealing the meat. The cooking fat acts as both a seal and preservative and results in a very rich taste.

I have been collecting authentic confit pots from France for a while now. Before refrigerators, the pots were used to “refrigerate” the confit. The entire inside of the pot is glazed and the glaze drips decoratively down the outside rim of the pot. The rest of the outside of the pot is left unglazed.  The pot was  filled with the duck and sealed with the fat. The pot was then buried in the cold mud and the unglazed outside of the pot would soak up that coldness and keep the duck confit perfectly chilled until ready to dig out and use.

The  amount of duck confit used in this recipe is small, only 4 ounces. So instead of going to the trouble to make my own confit, I purchased a leg quarter from Chef Vincent Guerithault of the famed Vincent’s on Camelback. Call ahead, and Chef Guerithault will happily sell you some too.  Or you can make our own duck confit, I’ve included a recipe from Epicurious.com at the bottom of this post. It is not difficult, just time consuming. You will need to salt the duck for at least 24 hours before beginning and you have to render duck fat from the duck skin, which I have posted about before. The link on how to do that, is there in the recipe too. But if you just purchase the confit, you can get going on the strudel recipe…. right now!


December 3, 2011   1 Comment

what to do with all that….

Turkey!?! Is it too early to begin worrying and wondering what you’re going to do with your leftover turkey?  Since Thanksgiving is one week from today, I don’t think so.  After turkey sandwiches,  I think leftover turkey works best treated with a Mexican or a Western flair, so that’s what I’ve provided for you today.

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November 17, 2011   1 Comment

smoked salmon – part 2

This is the recipe using smoked salmon that I told you about a couple days ago, the one I found in an old Gourmet Magazine and wanted to try for my smoked salmon-loving husband.  It is a winner!!! Perfect for picnics, tailgating, or lunch brown-bagging.

If you made the Brussels sprout salad from yesterday’s post, then you have extra mustard vinaigrette leftover… use 1/4 cup of that and just stir in the shallot listed here… then skip making the vinaigrette in this recipe, and you are ready to rock and roll.

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September 24, 2011   1 Comment