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My Favorite Kitchen Tools

Kitchen Tools
Every chef and home cook alike has their favorite kitchen tools- their go-to items that they cannot live without. I am a pretty simple gal, I don’t need a lot of fancy gadgets, but there are some essentials that rock my culinary world. If you love to cook or you are a newbie looking to improve your kitchen experience, even just a few of these tools will rock your world too. The idea is that these tools will simplify your life and inspire you to cook more. If you need more help in that department we have public cooking classes and private cooking classes that will do the trick! read more…

Japanese Mandolin 101

There are a few kitchen tools that I find indispensable; A good chef’s knife (8-10 inches), a Vitamix, a food processor and a Japanese mandolin. While the first three are pretty awesome, nothing will turn your veggies into effortless, professional-looking works of art quite like the mandolin. The best part? It is CHEAP, easy to clean, stores super easily in a drawer, no muss no fuss.

MandolinThere are 4 different blades that you can use:

  1. Flat- for things like sliced onions, fennel, paper thin squash, root veggie slices, cheese etc
  2. Wide Strips (1/3inch wide)- for zucchini noodles, carrots, cucumber, root veggie etc
  3. Thinner Strips (3-4mm wide)- a medium julienne, great for many veggies for salad, sandwiches, pickling etc
  4. Super Duper Baby Strip (1-2mm wide)- works only with very dense veggies like carrots, and other root veg

Whatever you do- do not use the silly plastic guard that is included (not pictured here as I promptly throw it out!), invest the $10 in a pair of nylon mesh gloves that will SAVE YOUR FINGERS :).  See the video above for the full demo…I promise you will fall in love!

 

Check out some of our recipes use a mandolin:

 

The Naked Bite in Austin: Personal Chefs, Cooking Classes, Catering

Austin, TXThe Naked Bite has expanded to Austin, Texas! We are offering veggie-driven cooking classes for individuals and groups as well as personal chef services, and boutique catering for our new Austinite neighbors.

This is a unique and bustling city and we are very excited to make an impact on the way people eat and how they cook. With vibrant and pure flavor vegetable-driven recipes, mouthwatering special diet options* and everything clean in between, The Naked Bite is thrilled to become part of the food scene in Austin.

Austin is a wacky, eclectic and dynamic city filled with food, fun, music and plenty of places to get your drink on. Fitness is also a big focus here with plenty of outdoor activity and organized events to sweat and work up an appetite. Exercise may be popular, but food is King here in Austin. The city’s amazing eats still err on the side of heavy: BBQ with a side of pulled pork and bacon, anyone?

The options are diverse and there are strong roots in the farm-to-table and nose-to-tail philosophies; supporting local is almost mandatory. Despite these conscious practices, meat is still the main focus and the veggies are often the side piece. There is room for all, and The Naked Bite will be the perfect complement to all that Austin has to offer.

So if you are a local, we can’t wait to meet you. Check out the services we offer in Austin.

And of course, we are continuing our services in Miami/South Florida, as well as Phoenix, while we are also growing our video recipes, so that we impact even more parts of the world!

*The Naked Bite can accommodate almost all dietary needs. Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo & Vegetarian/Vegan are our specialties.

Mixed Mushroom Parcels with Sherry & Herbs

Everyone is looking for exciting vegetable side dishes. These tasty little parcels are super fun, fast and a neat crowd pleaser. Many different veggies will work and you can even place a piece of fish inside the parchment for a full and flavorful meal.

Mixed Mushroom Parcels with Sherry & Herbs

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups mixed sliced mushrooms, such as shiitakes, oysters or chanterelles or portabellas, cleaned and de-stemmed
1 small head of fennel, tops and core removed and sliced very thin (I use a mandolin)
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
6 large stems of tarragon or dill, stems removed and chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry sherry, marsala or madeira
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of butter, about 1/8 inch thick (optional)

read more…

What’s For Dinner? Meal Planning Like a Pro

There is no denying that home-cooked meals are important to being mindful about what we eat. Yes eating out is fun on occasion, but it is expensive, taxing on the waistline and often uses lower quality ingredients than what I hope you would buy for your home. However the endless question of what’s for dinner plagues everyone, even me (hard to believe I know…it’s like the cobbler who doesn’t have any shoes). In this post I am going to take you through the steps on how to execute meal planning for much of the week and help ease some stress, yeeeee-haw!

Here is a sneak peek into how we execute personal chef services for our clients. These are the procedures that we use to set up families for 4+ days worth of food. We do this everyday and it works, we promise. If you want to drastically improve your health and reduce your stress level- we are going to show you the steps to kick some culinary a#s and eat well while doing it!

the steps on how to plan and prep your meals for much of the week and help ease some stress, yeeeee-haw!Plan Ahead- Choose a day of the week that gives you a good block of uninterrupted time- this will vary depending on your kitchen prowess and if you have assistance either prepping or cleaning (approx 3-5 hours). Give yourself one shot to see how it goes; you will know better how to plan for the week to follow.

Decide How Many Days/Meals You Need – this depends how much variety you need and if you are going out in the evening at all. Are you looking for Monday –Thursday dinners only? Or perhaps you want to throw some lunch in there as well? Maybe your will be out for dinner on Wednesday but home during the weekend. Our rule of thumb at The Naked Bite is that prepared food lasts about 4 days (you can squeak out 5 with soups and stew-type dishes) but there are many items that freeze beautifully. Make them on Sunday and then Thursday thaw overnight in the fridge, reheat, make a salad and viola…dinner in 20! See tips below for some freezer friendly ideas (FF).

Double Down- most all of us appreciate leftovers, so plan for them! The key to cooking once and eating several times is to prepare a dish but make enough portions to eat two+ full meals, this can go for side dishes and salads as well (dress salad only as needed). Dinner on Monday could be lunch/dinner on Tuesday or Wednesday. See some options below for examples.

Example #1- Lunch & Dinner 4 days
(8 recipes- servings varied on number of people feeding) read more…

Are You in the DARK?

On March 16th- after months of debate- the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate. This bill is essentially intended to keep GMO labeling off of American products and keep our consumers in the Dark about what is in their food.

This bill would have prevented the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska – and crushed the movement for mandatory GMO labeling in the United States. This means that millions and millions of Americans are waking up to what is happening in our food system and taking a stand. There is an exorbitant amount of money being spent to keep us in the DARK, this is a huge victory and a giant leap toward progress. With dozens of other countries banning the use of GMO’s we are quite behind, but there is hope for us yet!

GMOWe can’t be sure what happened next. Hopefully the Senate will do the right thing and pass the legislation to ensure federally mandated GMO labeling. But it’s also very possible that some Monsanto-friendly “compromise” legislation will be introduced.

What can you do? Educate yourself and vote. Not only on this specific case but you are actually voting every time you shop. We spend more money on food than almost any other item (besides our homes), imagine how many dollars that puts in the hands of the “good” vs “bad” food companies. The cleaner we buy, the more clean food will be available, thus lowering the cost, improving our planet and our overall health. A fantastic website called The Food Revolution is an incredible resource where you can read a very in-depth article about the DARK Act as well as endless information about all things “clean food”.

Raw Energy Bars

These raw energy bars are so simple and a great sustaining snack as well as a healthier and less expensive option to the popular store-bought version. Double the batch and keep in your freezer for months. They also store well at room temperature and are great for travel!

Raw Energy Bars

1 cup nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds or a mixture
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup pistachios or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or dried cherries
1 heaping packed cup pitted medjool dates
1/3 cup sweet cacao nibs
1-2 Tablespoons filtered water, if needed read more…