Vegan Dark Chocolate “Almond Joys”

 

 

I absolutely love this time of year.  It really inspires me to think of creative ways to make treats that are absolutely delicious but good for you too!  I grew up loving this traditional candy bar as a child but as Rose-Marie Swift recently said, “We live in a world where chemicals are gods and naturals are ridiculed.” It got me thinking about how I could make a delicious version of the traditional “Almond Joy” favorite without all the extra ingredients that we don’t need.  I love how this recipe turned out because they are not too sweet and are the perfect combination of crunchy almonds, coconut flakes, sea salt and chocolate.

There are a little tricky to make because of the cocoa butter but if you have the patience,  they are well worth it and I think your up for the challenge.  I’ve been really enjoying one of these babies with a hot cup of tea in the afternoon and it really hits the spot!  I can’t wait for you to try them too.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Almond Joys

2 cups organic cocoa butter

Pinch of sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups unsweetened shredded organic coconut flakes

3 tbs organic real maple syrup

5 to 6 of your favorite dark chocolate bars for melting

16 organic almonds

Take a double boiler or two pots of the same size.  Place water in the pot that will be on the bottom, then place the other pot on top.  Add the cocoa butter and place heat on medium.  The cocoa butter will begin to melt slowly.  As it is melting, add a pinch of sea salt and the vanilla extract.  Once the cocoa butter is completely melted, add the coconut flakes, maple syrup and stir with a spoon till all the ingredients are fully combined.  Take a 8 by 8 by 2″ pan and line it with parchment paper.  Take the coconut, cocoa butter mixture and press it into the bottom of the pan evenly so that fills the whole pan.  Place it in the freezer for 30 minutes till the mixture becomes nice and firm.

While the mixture is getting firm, clean your double boiler or two pots and now once again place water in the pot on the bottom.  Place the other pot on top and add the chocolate, then place the heat on medium.  Let the chocolate completely melt. Then set aside.

Once the coconut, cocoa butter mixture is hard, remove it from the refrigerator.  Lift it carefully out of the pan keeping the parchment paper on the back.  Use a sharp knife and cut them into rectangular bars.  This recipe made 8 bars.  Place 2 almonds on top of each bar.

 

Now lets get to the tricky part because you need to work quickly because the melted chocolate will start to melt the cocoa butter in the bars!  Place a clean piece of parchment paper down next to your melted chocolate, then also have a spoon ready for your melted chocolate.  Use a spatula and place one of the rectangular bars at a time onto the spatula then very gently place it into the melted chocolate using a spoon to pour the chocolate over the top of the bar so that it is fully covered with chocolate. Then let is rest on the parchment paper and repeat till you’ve done this with all the bars.    I like to sprinkle additional sea salt on each bar but this is a preference.  Now quickly slide the parchment paper onto a firm flat surface like a cookie sheet and then place into your refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes till hard.

Once hard, remove from refrigerator and use a sharp knife to cut around each one so that they are in nicely shaped rectangular bars.  Now use a firm spatula and remove each bar from parchment paper and store in an airtight glass container with a top in your refrigerator or at room temperature.  These will last in the refrigerator for at least 9-10 days and at room temperature for 5-7 days.

Enjoy with all my love from my kitchen to yours! – Chef Emery oxoxox

Share your pick of this recipe on Instagram and tag me at Emery5 !!!

 

Curried Vegan Red Dal

 

As the New Year approaches, I always spend time reflecting about my year with gratitude. What I’ve learned, how I grew, what I’m ready to let go of and what I’m ready to bring more of into the New Year. I hope that we can all agree that bringing more peace might be at the forefront of our own lives and the planet’s. I know personally that it is something that has been on my mind.

Specifically, I have been thinking a lot about how are our choices impact and effect our carbon footprint. We have more power than one might think. If we each individually made a commitment to using less plastic along with reusable water bottles, grocery bags, recycling, supporting local farms and food that has traveled less, we can make a difference. We vote with our dollars and we impact change one by one. One of my New Year commitments will be buying reusable fruit and vegetable bags so that I’m not putting my produce in plastic bags when grocery shopping. It’s just a small adjustment but can you imagine the effects if we all made an adjustment like this? I always recycle my current plastic bags but recycling is not enough because even with recycling, it takes a long time for plastic to break down. The solution really is using less plastic and purchasing less things that are adding to our carbon footprint.

Sustainable, organic local food has always been at the foundation of my work as an organic female chef. I truly believe this is one of the ways that we can build a foundation of health for ourselves and the planet. This paired with mindfulness for nature. The theory that what we take, we give back and are mindful when doing so. I love the French term “doucement” which means slowly or just a little. This is how I view my relationship with food and how I come to building my relationship with food as a chef. Personally, we’ve always eaten lots of fruits and vegetables and the majority of our diet is plant based. When we do supplement with meat, there is tremendous gratitude and understanding behind it. We eat it sparingly and only source meat from local farms where the animal was cared for and butchered in a mindful way. Food is meant to be nourishing and when we cook it with well sourced ingredients it just tastes different than that item that sat on the grocery shelves for weeks.

I wanted to share this recipe that we eat fairly regularly in our home. It’s fair to say its a staple. I want people to experience vegetarian and vegan recipes that are flavorful, delicious, easy to prepare and dishes that the whole family will enjoy. My kids absolutely love this curry dish and so do we! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Curried Vegan Red Dal

1 medium head of organic cauliflower washed and cut into bite size pieces

1 medium organic onion peeled and diced

1 tbs fresh organic ginger minced

2 cloves of fresh organic garlic peeled andminced

2 tbs mild curry powder (spicy curry powder may be used if that is your preference)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro washed and minced

1 1/2 cup organic red lentils

32 fl oz. organic vegetable stock or homemade stock

2 tbs sweet mango chutney (optional)

1/4 cup organic raisins

1 tbs organic coconut oil

Pinch of sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Take a medium stock pot with a lid and add coconut oil then place the heat on medium. Once the coconut oil melts, add minced onion, sea salt and black pepper. Sauté approx. 8 minutes till the onions are translucent then add minced fresh ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro and 1 tbs of the curry powder. Cook approx. 2-3 minutes then quickly add the red lentils and cauliflower. Stir quickly then immediately add the stock, the other 1 tbs of curry powder and the mango chutney. Bring the heat up to high till the curry just begins to start to simmer then immediately reduce to low. Add the raisins then place the top on the pot and let cook for approx. 10 to 15 minutes. Chef’s note ** the liquid will reduce.

I generally serve this with steamed basmati rice and you can make this fancy if serving to guests by offering optional toppings to add to their bowls of curry such as additional raisins, coconut flakes, mango chutney, fresh cilantro and even a spoonful of plain coconut yogurt to finish it off.

Enjoy!! – Chef Emery oxoxoxo

 

 

Gluten Free Holiday Biscotti

There is something really magical about the holiday season.  I was reading a Christmas story to my daughter tonight and it brought back so much nostalgia.  Do you remember how exciting it all felt?!  Something obviously gets stripped away a bit as we become adults but the traditions, the smells, the twinkling lights allow us to time travel back.  These traditions especially when centered around cooking are opportunities for deep connections with those we love.  I especially adore creating these memories with children as it leaves lasting imprints.  Cooking opens up their senses of smell, touch, taste and when this happens, these experiences become cherished gifts that they can pass on from generation to generation.  This sort of love saves the world.

Speaking of saving the world, this recipe is one of those!!  Biscotti have always been a holiday tradition in my family and it took me awhile to create a gluten free version that actually came anywhere close to the real deal.  These will definitely not disappoint and you can really make them your own as the dried fruit, chocolate and nuts can be adapted to your liking.  These make the most fantastic gifts.  I like to wrap mine in cookie bags and tie them with pretty ribbon and I always make sure to save some for us too!  My favorite holiday moments are enjoying one of these biscotti with a hot cup of tea while taking in the glorious smells of the kitchen.  I hope this recipe fills your home with beautiful aromas and happy bellies as well.  Happy Holidays!

 

Gluten Free Biscotti with Lemon Zest, Pistachios and Tart Dried Cherries dipped in Dark Chocolate 

Chefs Note ** This recipe is best with a standing mixer or electric beater.  You could use a fork if you did not have either of the following kitchen tools.

Preheat oven to 350

4 Cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Artisnal Flour

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Baking Powder

4  Organic Eggs

12 tbs Organic Grass Fed Butter at room temperature

Zest of One Organic Lemon or Orange

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 tsp Lemon Extract

1 1/4 Cup Organic Sugar

1 Cup Dried Organic Cranberries, Cherries

1/2 Cup Pistachios or Walnuts

3 Bars of your Favorite Organic Chocolate (I used Dark Chocolate) for melting

 

In a medium bowl, add gluten free flour, sea salt, baking power and then set aside.  Now take your standing mixer, electric beater or fork and place your softened butter in a large bowl.  Add the sugar and cream the butter and sugar together till fully combined by placing the beater on medium.  Now add vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon or orange zest.  Now beat in one egg at a time with the mixer on medium till fully combined.  Place the mixer on low and slowly add the flour a little at a time.  Be careful to not overmix the dough or it will become tough.  As soon as all the flour is added, gently add the dried fruit and nuts.  Mix on low till just combined.

Take a piece of parchment paper that is the correct measurement for your cookie sheet and lay it on a flat surface.  Divide the dough into two sections and use your hand to shape the dough into two evenly shaped logs.  Now move the parchment paper gently onto the cookie sheet and bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes till it just becomes golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool for approx. 15 minutes then use a serrated knife and gently cut each log into individual biscotti slices.  Be careful so that your slices do not break.  Now gently transfer the slices back to your cookie sheet and continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes.  Make sure to set your timer for 15 minutes so that half way through the baking time, you flip the biscotti over so they can brown evenly on the other side.  Remove from the oven to let cool once baked.  Chef’s tip ** leave them in longer if you like crispier biscotti which is a preference for some.  I like mine true to the 30 minutes personally.

Take a double boiler or two pots of the same size.  Pour water in the bottom pot and then place the other pot on top.  Add chocolate into the top pot, then place heat on medium.  Take a spoon to occasionally stir the chocolate as it begins to melt.  Once it is fully melted remove the top pot with the melted chocolate.  Take each biscotti and dip the end in the melted chocolate then place on parchment paper or wire racks to continue to cool.  Once cooled, these biscotti can be kept in an airtight container for 7-9 days.

Tag me on instagram @emery5 if you make these!!  I would love to see them.

Much Love and Enjoy!  – Chef Emery oxoxox

Organic Cumin & Chili Veggie Burgers


“Cooking is a continual opportunity to connect with your senses.  When we touch, taste, smell and explore through the beauty of food, the soul is elevated and comforted.  I dare say it might be one of the most beautiful ways to extend love and nurture others”

I try to incorporate at least 2 to 3 plant based meals a week into our dinner rotation.  As a chef, it keeps my creativity in bloom as the opportunities are endless in terms of imagining ways of bringing a variety of vegetables into interesting, delicious meals.

When I created this recipe in particular, it stirred from a place of wanting a really delicious veggie burger that didn’t crumble or taste like sawdust. I hate to say that but many veggie burgers just fall short in terms of flavor and consistency.  This however is not your typical veggie burger and this recipe is a huge success in our house.  My kids absolutely love these and they are a lot of fun too as they can be dressed up in so many ways.  Think pickles, sauerkraut, roasted poblanos, cheese, red onion, lettuce, micro greens, sautéed onions and mushrooms.  The options are endless.  I also love that I can get two meals out of this recipe which is fantastic on busy days when you just need to get dinner on the table fast.

Chefs note ** You will need a food processor for this recipe.

2 tbs organic olive oil

1/2 half of an organic onion peeled and minced

2 cloves organic garlic peeled and minced

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tbs ground chili

1 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup raw organic walnuts

2 cans organic pinto beans or kidney beans drained

2 organic eggs

1 cup gluten free bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs  (please have extra set aside to reach proper consistenacy)

 

In a large skillet, place heat on medium and add olive oil.  Add onion, sea salt and black pepper and cook approx. 7-8 minutes till golden brown then add garlic, cumin, chili and walnuts.  Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Once cooked, set aside briefly.

Take your food processor and make sure the chopping blade is inserted in the center.   Add the drained canned beans, eggs and the walnut/onion mixture.  Purée on high until combined then add bread crumbs and continue to pulse till ingredients are fully mixed. Using a spatula, remove the bean mixture from the food processor into a large bowl.  Add approx. 1/2 cup additional bread crumbs till the mixture is not super sticky and you can form the mixture into individual burgers using your hands.  This recipe will yield a total of 8 burgers.  I double wrap the additional 4 burgers in eco friendly plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

Once your ready to cook the burgers.  Take a large skillet and add 1 tbs of oil, then place your heat on medium.  Brown on one side then flip the burger to the other side  (approx. 4 minutes per side).  Serve on buns or over a salad with your favorite fixings.

Enjoy! – Chef Emery oxoxox

Slow Cooked Whole Chicken with Cranberries, White Wine and Fresh Herbs

I love one pot cooking especially in the fall when the kids schedules are jam packed with a myriad of after school activities.  It allows me to cook this in advance, let it rest and then gets a super nourishing dinner on the table super fast that we can all sit down to.  This recipe is incredibly versatile too as I love incorporating whatever seasonal veggies or fruits are in season at that time of year.  As we know, fall is the beginning of seasonal produce such as apples, cranberries as well as the first appearances of oranges as we drift towards winter.  I want you to take the “idea” of this recipe and then use it throughout the year by switching the herbs, fruit, veggies and even the liquid used.  I chose to use apple cider for this recipe because it is in season but chicken stock can be substituted, red wine.  I think you get the idea.  This particular dish was a huge success!  Everyone absolutely loved the sweetness that the apple cider, oranges and the cranberries slow cooked in white wine gave the recipe.  I served this with a buttermilk garlic puréed celeriac which really finished this dish off.

We can eat nourishing meals that are also absolutely delicious by just getting a little organized and then making the commitment.  You will be honoring yourself as well the gift of coming together and gathering around food.  I can not say how many times that true magic is shared around our table over food.  This is where a lot of the connection happens and it is invaluable.

** Chef’s note:  You will need an oven safe pot with a lid

Preheat your oven to 400

Ingredients:

1 whole organic chicken

1 organic organic washed and sliced

1 cup local organic cranberries

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs organic thyme

4 sprigs organic rosemary

2 tbs herbs de provence

4 cloves organic garlic peeled and diced

1 onion washed, peeled and diced

3 organic carrots washed, peeled and diced

2 organic celery ribs washed and diced

1 cup white wine

1 cup apple cider

2 tbs maple syrup

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tbs organic ghee, butter or olive oil

 

Wash your chicken and rinse the cavity then pat your chicken down till dry.  Rub the chicken with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and herbs de Provence.  Rub the cavity with sea salt.  Take a large oven safe stock pot with a top and add ghee, butter, or oil and place the heat on medium.  Add the seasoned chicken to the pot and cook 5-6 minutes on each side till golden brown.  Remove chicken from the pot and briefly set aside.  Now add onions and cook approx. 8 minutes till golden brown, then add garlic, celery, cranberries and carrots and cook approx. 5 minutes more.  Now add the chicken back to the pot then add the apple cider and wine.  Let simmer for two minutes then drizzle the top of the chicken with maple syrup.  Take the ends of the sliced orange and squeeze the juice over the top of the chicken.  Then place the rest of the sliced oranges over the top of the chicken along with the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme.  Place the top on the pot and place in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce to 275 for one and a half hours.  Remove from oven and let rest.  Serve and enjoy with mashed potatoes, mashed turnip, celeriac and/or a big salad.

-Chef Emery oxoxoxo

Organic Gluten Free Oatmeal Apple Banana Bread with Pecans, Sunflower Seeds and Flax

I tested this recipe the other day and it is super delicious!  The nutty crunch of the sunflower seeds, flax and pecans paired with the sweetness of the apples and bananas is really lovely.  This is especially delicious with some almond butter and a cup of tea!

While I was making this bread, it made me think of this quote that I love by Alice Waters, “It’s around the table and in the preparation of food that we learn about ourselves and the world”.  It truly captures everything I believe about cooking and what it can be.  My  daughter and I made this bread together and found great pleasure in the measuring, blending, smelling and tasting.  There are distinctive bonds formed when we gather to create delicious meals and enjoy them together.  It is in this gathering that I believe we find a piece of ourselves, our bond with others and nature.  I encourage you to do the same.

Please enjoy this recipe and if you love it share it and tag me on instagram@emery5

Ingredients:

7 packages of gluten free organic qia oatmeal
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp real organic vanilla extract
1 tbs organic cinnamon
1 tsp fresh nutmeg
2 organic bananas mashed
1/2 cup real organic maple syrup
1/2 cup organic apple sauce
3 tbs organic grass fed ghee
3 local organic eggs
1/2 cup sunflower seeds raw unsalted
1/2 cup raw pecans
2 tbs organic flax seeds

Preheat oven to 375
Take a small bowl, add mashed banana, apple sauce, maple syrup, vanilla extract and eggs.  Whisk with a fork till fully combined then set aside briefly.  Take a high speed blender and add all 7 packages of oatmeal into the blender.  Place your blender on the high setting and blend until it forms into flour.  Add the oatmeal flour to a large bowl, then add baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg and use a fork to fully combine the ingredients.  Now add the oatmeal flour mixture to the wet banana mixture.  Gently combine (do not over mix or bread will become tough) then add sunflower seeds and pecans ( save a few pecans and sunflower seeds for the top of the bread).  Gently mix the seeds and pecans through the batter then use a spatula and pour batter into a greased bread pan.  Then, sprinkle flax seeds and additional sunflower seeds and pecans on top. Bake at 375 for approx. 50 to 55 minutes till golden brown. Enjoy!

-Chef Emery Oxox ❤️❤️❤️

 

Gluten Free Organic Oatmeal Banana, Rum and Seasonal Pumpkin Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

Fall is absolutely one of my favorite seasons and this banana bread will honestly have your whole house smelling incredible!  This recipe is super easy to make and kids will love it to.  I’ve been enjoying a slice in the afternoon with a hot cup of tea working on slowing my pace down and finding the beauty in the slow down.  This time of year nature is beginning to transition towards winter and we are a part of nature.  You may notice feeling more inward or wanting to curl up on the coach with a good book.  I encourage you to do so and this recipe is a perfect opportunity to allow yourself that time.  There is something about cooking and connecting with real food that just relaxes the mind.  The smell and aromas that fill your home are a sensory gift for the soul that truly connect us with ourselves, nature and others.  My hope is that you make this recipe and enjoy the fall slow down and all the beauty that nature provides.  Enjoy it by yourself, with family or a good friend.  Much love.

3 tbs organic grass fed ghee

1 tsp real organic vanilla extract

3 local organic eggs

3 organic bananas peeled and mashed

1 additional organic banana peeled and sliced in half for top of bread

1/2 can of 15oz organic pumpkin

1/2 cup organic real maple syrup

2 tbs rum ( optional but note that rum will cook off so it is perfectly suitable for kids.  It adds a subtle fantastic flavor to the bread )

7  individual 8oz packages of gluten free Qia oatmeal ( your choice what flavor )

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp organic cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup 70% dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375.  Then grease one bread pan with 1 tsp of oil.  Take 5 of the individual 80z packages of oatmeal and add to a high speed blender.  Blend on high till it forms into flour.  Then add flour to a small bowl with sea salt, cinnamon, baking powder and the last 2 individual 80z packages of oatmeal ( do not process these into flour and leave the oatmeal in it’s whole form ).  Set aside briefly.

In a large bowl, add ghee, vanilla extract, eggs, mashed bananas, maple syrup, puréed pumpkin, rum.  Mix with a fork until well combined then add the flour mixture.  Fold the batter till just fully combined then add the dark chocolate chips.  Once all the ingredients are combined use a spatula and add the batter into your bread pan.  Then take the sliced banana and lay on top of the batter then press the banana gently down into the batter.  Bake at 375 for approx. 1 hour till golden brown.  Cool and Enjoy!

-Chef Emery oxoxo

Gluten Free Organic Banana Rum Walnut Bread

I absolutely love this time of year.  Cozy fall sweaters, crisp mornings, apples, pumpkins, warm tea, a good book and cozy recipes like this.  Our bodies were meant to align with the seasons and it is important to listen.  You may notice you crave cold raw foods less such as salads, smoothies, etc. and are beginning to gravitate towards warmer dishes.  I always notice I want to drink a lot of tea this time of year.  This is our bodies highly intelligent way of aligning us with nature and preparing us for winter.

This quote from Alice Waters “Coming To My Senses” is so beautiful, important and captures everything I truly believe about food and our higher connection to it.  “I really believe that nature is everybody’s mother- and I think our disconnection from it is the reason for so many of the problems we have now.”  I think much of our culture is disconnected from nature in a way that is limiting us.  Food and cooking is such an easy way to do this.

This recipe is a favorite in our home and the combination of the ghee, ripe bananas and rum make it really lovely not to mention it is super easy to prepare.  You will not even taste the rum and any alcohol will cook off so do not worry about it not being appropriate to give to kids.

Preheat oven to 375

3 tbs organic grassfed ghee
3 organic local eggs
1 tsp real organic vanilla extract
3 organic ripe bananas peeled and smashed
3 tbs plain coconut yogurt
1/3 cup organic real maple syrup
2 tbs high quality rum ( optional )
Pinch of sea salt
1/3 organic raw walnuts ( optional )
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups gluten free Pamela’s baking flour

Take a large bowl and combine ghee, eggs, vanilla extract, bananas, sea salt, coconut yogurt, maple syrup and rum using a fork to whisk till combined. Then add cinnamon and fold the flour into the batter using your fork. Add walnuts and combine, then using a spatula pour the batter into a greased bread pan then bake at 375 for approx. 50 to 1 hour. Cool and slice. Enjoy! Oxox – Chef Emery ❤️❤️

Chicken with White Wine, Garlic and Fresh Herbs

This is the perfect Sunday dinner in my opinion and will gather a crowd for sure.  I also love it because it can be served very simply with a salad or you can get fancy and add a variety of sides.  Think corn bread, sautéed garlicky veggies, roasted potatoes.  Whatever your in the mood for!  This recipe is also fantastic because it is packed with a variety of fresh herbs which is so good for our bodies.  Our bodies absolutely love variety and herbs are such an easy way to provide the body with variation not to mention they have medicinal qualities that are fantastic for us.  The whole cloves of garlic also give this dish some serious immunity boosting power as well!

 

** Chefs Tip – I recommend a cast iron pot with a lid but if you do not have this any oven safe pot with a lid will work.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

1 Whole Organic Chicken ( washed, patted dry and the cavity rubbed with sea salt )

2 to 3 Sprigs Fresh Organic Rosemary washed

2- 3 Springs Fresh Organic Thyme washed

1 Handful Fresh Organic Basil washed

1 Handful Fresh Organic Chives washed

1 Handful Fresh Organic Parsley washed

3 Cloves Organic Garlic with the tops cut off ( leave the peel on )

1 Organic Red Onion Peeled and Sliced

1 Organic White Onion Peeled and Sliced

2 tbs Organic Dried Oregano

2 tbs Organic Herbs de Provence

2 Cups White Wine

1 1/2 tbs Organic Cultured Grass Fed Butter

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Wash then pat the whole chicken dry, then salt the cavity.  Rub the dried chicken on all sides with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, herbs de Provence, and oregano.  Now take your oven safe pot or cast iron pot and add butter, then place the heat on your stove top to medium.  Let the pot get fairly hot, then add the chicken into the hot cast iron pan.  Sear each side of the chicken till golden brown ( approx. 6-7 minutes on each side).  Once browned, add white onions, red onions and garlic bulbs around the chicken.  Now add all of the fresh herbs placing them around the chicken.  Then sprinkle additional dried oregano, herbs de Provence, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over the chicken.  Now add the white wine and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Place the lid on the pot and place in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes.  Then reduce to 275 and cook for an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes then dinner can be served!  Your whole house will smell magnificent. Enjoy!  – Chef Emery oxoxox

Organic Tomato Bolognese


People often say to me that looks really delicious but I don’t have the time to cook like that or that will take me too long to make.  I truly believe that with a little organization, meal prep and consistency, we can all get there.  Trust me, as a very busy business owner, professional chef and managing two children’s very busy schedules, I get that it can be absolutely overwhelming.  I feel overwhelmed myself but I have specific daily tools that have really helped me such as a weekly schedule of what’s happening in my calendar, a free grocery app on my phone that helps me organize my weekly grocery shop list and then some meal planning.  I set one day out of the week to grocery shop and vaguely plan menu “ideas” and then I just commit to it.  There are some weeks I don’t even have time to plan menu ideas but because my fridge is organized and stocked with fresh real food, there is always something to quickly assemble and get on the table.

My hope is that these tips can help you get there too because when we take the time to sit down for a meal, slow down, connect with our family and make real food a priority everything just gets better.  The difference is startling and leaves me with more mental and physical energy for my job, mothering as well as for fitness.  We can all get there, it just requires a little focus and discipline.

Now onto this delicious easy recipe!!  This is super easy to do and especially delicious this time of year because it’s tomato season!!  My kids literally squeal over this and ask for it at least one a week.  It also can be made in larger batches and frozen so that you can get several meals out of it.  I love the versatility of it as it can accommodate varying diets.  For example,  I always put the kids over organic gluten free tinkyada pasta penne or spaghetti but sometimes for myself I will put this over sautéed seasonal zucchini ( another great way to use up that overloading seasonal produce this time of year ). Whatever way you like it, this is super easy to do and will get dinner on the table fast.  This can also be adapted to be vegetarian/vegan by simply omitting the meat which would be delicious as well.

 

Organic Tomato Bolognese

2 cans organic crushed tomatoes 28.2 oz or 9 large fresh organic seasonal tomatoes washed and cored

1 organic white onion washed, peeled and diced

2 cloves organic fresh garlic peeled and minced

2 organic dried bay leaves

1 tsp organic dried oregano

1 tsp organic dried basil or fresh basil can be used as well

1 tsp dried organic red pepper flakes ( optional ) sometimes I omitt this for kids as it makes the sauce slightly spicy

1 lb organic grass fed ground beef or ground turkey can be used

2 tbs organic olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tbs organic tomato paste

2 cups of water ( I generally rinse the cans of crushed tomatoes  and then add the water to the sauce so there is zero waste ) ** you will need to add the water though if using fresh tomatoes

 

If using fresh tomatoes, you will need a high speed blender.  Wash and core the tomatoes then slice with a knife into smaller pieces.  Add to your blender until they are completely crushed.  Set aside briefly.

Take a large stock pot and add olive oil then place the heat on your stove top to medium.  Once hot, add oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and minced onion.  Cook approx. 8 minutes till onions are translucent then add garlic.  Cook another 2 minutes sautéing quickly so the garlic does not burn.  Now add ground beef or ground turkey and season with sea salt and black pepper and continue to cook approx. 8-10 minutes till the meat is fully cooked.  Now add freshly crushed tomatoes or the two cans of crushed tomatoes, bay leaves along with the tomato paste.  Then add water and increase the heat on your stove top to high and bring the sauce to a quick boil stirring frequently.  Once the sauce comes to a boil, reduce immediately to a low heat and let simmer with the top off the pot for approx. 30 minutes.  The liquid or volume of the sauce will reduce and thicken which is what you want.  Your sauce is ready!

The sauce can be served immediately or placed in airtight containers and be frozen once cooled for future use.  Optimally, this sauce gets better and better as the flavors come together so it can be made a day ahead then served the next day.  It is still fabulous the day of though and especially delicious with copious amounts of Parmesan Reggiano.    Serve over your favorite pasta or zucchini zoodles and dinner is served!

Xoxo -Chef Emery