Guest Post from Yaniv Cohen:: Let’s talk about spices

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You are going to love our guest contributor today…Yaniv aka The Spice Detective. Yaniv and I met through mutual friends in Mykonos about 10 years ago. He was working as partner in a big Miami/NY catering company, and obviously we had tons in common, food events, you get the picture. We hit it off like a house on fire. Over the years, he has continued to build his company. We have kept in touch, and a few years ago Yaniv starting sharing his healthy recipes and his healing spice philosophies. I was hooked. I loved the idea and the shift in focus he had. I was impressed. So that is why I wanted to have him share his knowledge with you in a post for Juice January, and lucky for me, he agreed. Thank you Yaniv! xx I have a feeling this will not be your last time on my blog sharing amazing, healing and delicious recipes.

Take it away Yaniv…

Let’s talk about spices…and health. Many of you might not be aware of the incredible power of spices…

So what are spices? A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.

Have you ever wondered why steamy, humid hot climate regions typically have the spiciest cuisines? And why spices are more commonly used in warmer climates? Think about India, north Africa and Thailand  for instance. The answer is simple: spices have powerful antimicrobial properties which helps preserve food and meats in regions around of the globe that have more infectious diseases due to the climate conditions.

But spices are more than just antimicrobial powders. Spices contain anti-inflammatory agents. They are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, too. So for your next meal, sprinkle more spices on your vegetables, meats, fish, desserts and drinks.

If you need ideas, information, and recipes I invite you to get inspired by following me, The Spice Detective, on Instagram and join me on the spice trail.

Since there is so much to say about spices, and not nearly enough time to do so, I selected one of my favorites, turmeric, to share with you today.

Turmeric is a spice that’s no longer an enigma. From its amber color and its earthy aroma to its unique medicinal properties, it’s easy to see why this golden yellow powder rightly earned the title of the spice that heals. Known as the anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric is one of the most scientifically researched spices to date—with a history that goes back as far as thousands of years. Not only does it bring color and flavor to a bowl of white rice, but it actually acts as a one stop shop for your entire medicine cabinet.

Here is an easy yet delicious recipe  to combine my beloved cauliflower with my favorite spice, turmeric. Cauliflower is finally becoming more popular in American cuisine. It is healthy, delicious, versatile and beautiful. This recipe produces a gorgeous side dish that deserves to be a star on any dinner table. In addition, this is what I’d like to call easy, breezy, lemon squeezy! Simple to make, delicious to taste and healthy to no end!

 Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
 serves 2-4

 You will need:
– 6 qt (6 l) water
– 2 tbsp (30 g) turmeric
– 3 tbsp (45 g) salt, plus extra, to taste
– 1 whole cauliflower
– 4 tbsp (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
– Pepper, to taste
– Few thyme springs
– Tahini for serving (optional)
– Cilantro chutney (optional)

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

In a large pot, bring the water, turmeric and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and carefully add the whole cauliflower. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but not falling apart.

Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil over it, sprinkle the thyme and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the cauliflower is lightly charred. Remove from the oven and place on a serving plate. Serve drizzle tahini and cilantro chutney and serve.

For the Cilantro Chutney

You will need:
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 2 bunches cilantro
– 4 garlic cloves
– 1 jalapeno
– cumin, salt, and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Mix two bunches of cilantro, 4 garlic cloves and one jalapeno in a food proceed and work until finely chopped.

Place in a mixing bowl, add half a cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste along with a dash of cumin and mix well.

For Tahini

You will need:
– 1 cup tahini
– 1 cup water
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Mix one cup of raw tahini with one cup of water , 2 tablespoons of lemon juice salt and pepper to taste and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a mixing bowl. Whip thoroughly for 10 minutes until smooth tahini forms. If too thick, add little more water and whip again.

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Wise Words from my Personal Trainer

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Last year for Juice January, I asked my personal trainer, Gabriel to offer some insight for the blog. He did such a wonderful job, I am reposting it again below. He knows his stuff, and I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say!

Hi everyone!  When my friend and client, Annette, asked me to write something for her blog, something about healthy eating, I thought: YAY! I get to be famous! And on top of that, I get the great opportunity to list a few things I’ve learned in my 20 years of experience in the health and fitness world, working with people who have tried it ALL, including myself.

I’m sure that you have (like I have) heard or tried one of these: juicing, Paleo, Atkins, vegan, raw, Mediterranean, intermittent fasting, South Beach, the list of diets seems to be only ever increasing, and you may always be asking: but which one…? And the answer to that is a big ol’: Depends.  

They all have something in common: they all pay important attention to the overall caloric intake (which works!), and all of them are equally effective and ineffective. I know! Even more confusing, right?  Our nutrition, a close to a perfect one, is or should be highly personalized simply because different approaches work for different people. It really depends on the individual, our needs, our lifestyle, and our commitment to our overall goal to stick to a plan that would help us.   

Here are some things I like to have in mind when working on a nutrition plan to keep a healthy relationship with food:

Keep it fresh. I avoid highly processed foods, or keep them to a minimum because they are not friendly, just drama!
Keep it clean. Some sauces, toppings and batters are messy friends; keep them away!
White rice, potatoes and yams are friends. They say they are all wild, but I’ve learned to like them as friends.
Quantity and quality.  They are really good to me; they moderate all my wild food-buddies.
Education is key. The more you know about your sweethearts, the better you are with them.
Watch the alcohol. She’s sneaky.
Learn to read. Reading and understanding labels helps us choose good food-friendships.
My health is important. I want to keep it! So I hang out with foods that add value to my life.
My lifestyle is also important. I’m very active, so I eat good things that I know give me good vibes and energy, and when I am not that active, I eat things that keep me on the chill mode.

As we move forward into the new year, with all our new eating resolutions in place, let’s all agree that the most fabulous secret to a great diet is being happy and enjoying all that we eat. It will help us stay committed to those resolutions, and good results will follow. Our diet should not be boring, time specific, a tiring effort, nor should it be a pain. I see a diet as a friendship; it should be nurturing, long lasting, fun and enjoyable, most importantly, a healthy one.

I guarantee you that if you are physically active, and actively caring for what you eat, you will be happy with the way you look.  My word!

Gabriel A. Ceballos -Strength and Conditioning Personal Trainer, ACSM Certified

photo by: Alexandra Sofis

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My Top 3 Juice Recipes

Let’s kick-off Juice January with what else…juice! Over the years, I’ve collected many juice recipes. In fact, if you’ve been reading long enough, you might remember that I used to only have juice for nearly the entire month of January. Since then, I’ve been focusing more on healthy eating habits, lifestyle changes, and working out. Trust me, it’s much better these days.

However, during January, I still love to incorporate a lot of juice into my routine. Not only is it fresh, but it’s a great source of nutrients. And not to mention, it’s delicious. Today, I’m compiling my top 3 juice recipes favorite recipes into one easy to find post.

Try bookmarking this page, so you can come back to it time and time again. These recipes are tried and true, and I think you’ll love them as much as I do. Who’s off to a great Juice January start?!

xx Annette

Beet Juice
roughly 2 servings

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You will need:

– 1 beet
– 1 apple
– 3 carrots

To prepare:
Put everything in your blender and blend. This makes about 2 servings, so divide it if you want.

Green Monster Juice
serves 1

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 and blend!

photo:confessions of a bride cook

Carrot Juice
Serves 1

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You will need:

– 3 carrots
– 1/2-inch piece fresh turmeric or ¼ to ½ teaspoon dried
– 1/2-inch piece ginger
– 1 cup orange juice ( freshly squeezed)
– 1/2 cup ice
– 1/8 teaspoon dried cinnamon

To prepare:

Put the ingredients into your juicer (I use a Nutribullet) and blend!

 

Photo from: The Honor System

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2018 The year in highlights!

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Wow what a year 2018 has been! It marked the conclusion of the Italian renovation of La Fortezza which was a milestone indeed.

Our second season of the La Fortezza workshops were a huge success. We had the opportunity to delve into our region in Italy more deeply, and we welcomed 40 guests this year.

We also welcomed our new chef, Chef Philip Meeker, to our workshops. We cooked in the kitchen with Angie Moser, preserved, jarred and canned and cooked with Domenica Marchetti and enjoyed showing James Beard Award winning Chef Rebecca Wilcomb our region. We introduced Rebecca, Angie and Philip to some local slow food artisans and purveyors. We harvested our vineyard and pressed olive oil at the local press with students in tow. We seasoned our new pizza oven and cooked with all the local products with locals. We ate every single thing out of our kitchen garden. We hunted truffles and sampled our wine (non stop) it was amazing.

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Testaroli tasting

Testaroli tasting

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Truffle huntiing followed by a 4 course truffle lunch, left us stuffed and sleepy.

Truffle huntiing followed by a 4 course truffle lunch, left us stuffed and sleepy.

We had Steve McKenzie paint with our guests. Lucky for us, he will be returning in 2019 to stay for a month and paint a collection that will conclude in our first ever Art Exhibition at La Fortezza.

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It was a rewarding year, and with rewards naturally come some challenges. After all renovating a 12th century fortress in the Italian countryside can be bit daunting, but if you know me, you know I love a challenge. It’s great fodder for my next book, my third book, Italy is my Boyfriend.

Speaking of books, this was the year my passion project, Cocktail Italiano, was published in April. I was overwhelmed by the support and how much everyone loves the book. We’ve put it up for a Book Award, so keep your fingers crossed, and I will most definitely let you know if it wins. To all of you who came out to various book signings, know I loved meeting all of you, chatting about my favorite subject, Italy, and hearing all of your travels and impressions of my adopted country.

Me with Penny Randolph who illustrated my map

Me with Penny Randolph who illustrated my map

Me mixing up a Campari Shakerato from my book

Me mixing up a Campari Shakerato from my book

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Here’s to hoping that 2019 will be filled with new adventures, and new friends. I look forward to meeting all of you at our workshops, and of course, I am excited to send my 3rd book off to the publishers in the spring.

Happy and healthy new year to everyone, and big grazie to all that made 2018 a perfect year. Cheers to La Fortezza and many dinners and drinks on the terrace with all those we love.

xx Annette

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2019 Jump Start with Juice January

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It’s here again: the new year and our 2019 jump start! The month of January is the month we jump start the year by readjusting our eating habits. Beginning in 2011, I did a strictly juice fast for 21 days. It was brutal!

Over the years, however, I have modified my January regime and added light meals. This year, I will focus a bit more on workouts and meal planning, and along the way, I’ll be sharing some great advice from experts and of course, great juice recipes and other healthy meals and side dishes.

I hope you join me for 21 days of resetting and making lifestyle adjustments to kick off 2019! Start your Mondays and Thursdays here on the blog and find new posts, new outlooks and daily habits.

It is a good thing. Happy New Year and may the year bring you happiness and good health!

xx Annette

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