Eating healthy in 2021 Curry Lentil Bowl

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Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

I am excited to share today’s recipe by Lidey Heuck via the New York Times. If you don’t already know, Leidy began her career as Ina Garten’s assistant, so needless to say, she knows her stuff. You can follow her on Instagram @LideyLikes.

In this vegetarian main inspired by Indian dal, lentils are cooked with an aromatic blend of Thai spices — fresh ginger, turmeric, red curry paste and chile — then simmered in coconut milk until fall-apart tender. Browning the sweet potatoes before cooking them with the lentils brings out their sweetness, balancing the heat from the chile and curry paste, while baby spinach tossed in just before serving adds fresh flavor. Serve over steamed white or brown rice, or with toasted flatbread on the side.

Curry Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Spinach Recipe
(from the New York Times) By Lidey Heuck

Serves 4-6

You will need:

– 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
– 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
– 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
– 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
– 1 red chile, such as Fresno or serrano, halved, seeds and ribs removed, then minced
– 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
– 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
– 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
– 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
– 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
– 1 (4- to 5-ounce) bag baby spinach
– ½ lime, juiced
– Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
– Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for serving (optional)

To prepare:
  1. In a Dutch oven or pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the browned sweet potatoes to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and set the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the curry paste, garlic, ginger, chile and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the lentils, stock, salt and browned sweet potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil over high. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the lentils are creamy and falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and season with salt to taste.
  6. Divide among shallow bowls and top with cilantro and coconut flakes, if using.
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A healthy way forward 2021: favorite green juice

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Today I’m sharing my favorite green juice. This one is a staple for me, and I love it as a mid-day boost.

Go to Green Juice
serves 4

You will need:
– 2 cup fresh basil
– 6 cups baby spinach
– 3 green apples
– juice of 1 lime

To prepare:
Put everything in your blender, blend and enjoy it!

Tip: put any leftovers in sealable jars (such as a weck or mason jar) for easy snacking throughout the week. Shake it up and pour it into a glass!

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A healthy start 2021

Welcome 2021! I must say I have never been so happy to greet a new year!

As always, I will be launching the year with a healthy mantra. I have been promoting healthy January, otherwise known as Juice January, for the past 9 years. Can you believe it?

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It was all about juicing for most of those 9 years. We have come a long way baby!

This year will look a little different. I think that eating healthy is the way forward. I will be sharing some recipes and some new rituals I have introduced to my day. I will be sharing what I discovered in 2020. I started a yoga practice and meditation practice. I try to do yoga at least 5 times a week, there are so many choices online so find what’s best for you. However, I found a practice that is perfect for me, it is geared to every type of mood or physical issue. My son who lives in Austin, TX turned me on to Yoga with Adriene  I find her not intimidating which is great, her poses are doable and help me physically as well as mentally.

Additionally, trying new recipes was part of my daily routine. I will be sharing a few juice recipes, but mainly I will be talking about how to introduce calm and patience into your life.

2020 taught me to be much more mindful and to be kinder. I am hoping that the challenges we have been through in 2020 allow us to step back and see how change can be a better way forward. I hope you all tune in to 2021. Wishing a happy healthy 2021 to everyone!  Love you guys.

xx Annette

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Yoga with Adriene

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2020 What can I say…

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When we welcomed 2020, we had no idea what the year had in store, nor could we have imagined it. As always, we celebrated with our family at a restaurant, but little did we know it would probably be the last restaurant visit all together of the entire year.

Frank and I went to our home in Italy as we always do in February, although the Corona Virus had already taken hold in Italy, we were blissfully unaware of how devastating it would be—how deadly how frightening 2020 would be. Frank left early, and I was 2 days behind leaving behind any notion of working on La Fortezza Cookbook winter chapter photoshoot.

As I write this blog post, help is on the way. The FDA has just authorized the use of a vaccine and is distributing it. I watched as the Vice President, his wife and the Surgeon General took the vaccine on live television. I am hoping that people will take it as well and this nightmare will be behind us. In the meantime we still have to pay close attention and alter our behavior until we are all vaccinated. I have always worn a mask, and distanced. I am a germophobe, so I wash my hands constantly. Of course, I am lucky to work at home, so I have very little contact with people in general. The only thing that’s changed is no restaurants, no dinner parties, and sadly, no workshops.

I am looking forward to heading back to Italy in February to continue photographing my latest book, La Fortezza Cookbook with David Loftus and our tiny EU, British crew. Since the US is still not allowed into Italy, for now, we will stick to a local group of pros. We have Rosie Scott a food-stylist from London, along with our Italian chef Leo. They will make up the food prep and styling team. Barbara Pederzini will continue as prop mistress, and production advisor once again.

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I am excited to finally get the winter chapter under my belt. I will stay to shoot the spring chapter in June, and IIwill be staying Italy until late fall. Frank will come back and forth since he’s a medical worker, a doctor, he will be vaccinated early. I am relieved that he will be safe.

I am pretty sure things will be looking up in the fall and all of our scheduled Workshops and Retreats will go on. It is going to be an amazing workshop roster. Bill Abranowicz will be back along with Ros Atkinson Her Dark Materials, and Our Slow Food Experience, if you’re interested in joining us, hurry because it’s almost sold out. An Olive Eccentric Experience will be once again on the schedule. I can’t wait to welcome our groups.

From my family to yours and from the La Fortezza team.

Happy Healthy 2021, see you at La Fortezza, see you in Italia! Speriamo. XO

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Easy Brunch Cocktail

This is the best cocktail for Christmas brunch, but it's also perfect for any party this season. It's great for a crowd too!

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend, and I am thrilled to be guest posting today to bring you a festive holiday cocktail: pear prosecco punch.

In my house, I always make a huge Christmas brunch to enjoy after opening presents. The feast starts with sausage balls & pigs-in-a-blanket (oldies but goodies) and coffee for breakfast while we all tear through gifts. Late morning, I pop everything in the oven, and we sit down to a huge brunch complete with berry French toast, quiche, fruit, and of course, a festive cocktail. There are only three of us every year, but we always manage to have a full-fledged feast. This is the best cocktail for Christmas brunch.

One trick: freeze a bag of cranberries and keep them on hand in your freezer. Warm prosecco isn’t tasty. Frozen cranberries can be used in place of ice to keep your cocktails cold. They won’t water-down your beverage, and they’ll look festive, too!

Pear Prosecco Holiday Cocktail

Let me know if you give this a try! I’d love to hear what you think. Happy holidays!

xo, Nicole

Pear Prosecco Punch
serves 1

You will need:

– 2 oz Pear concentrate (I use Looza)
– 4 oz Prosecco
– Rosemary sprigs & frozen cranberries for garnish

To prepare:

Pour pear concentrate into a champagne or wine glass. Top with prosecco. Add a rosemary sprig and frozen cranberries for garnish.

photos by Nicole Letts

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