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  • Eating in Rome, Italy

    Rome is all about Carbonara, Amatriciana, and Cacio e Pepe

    Fried artichoke on the left
    Cacio e pepe
    Prosecco with struzzichino in Teremo

  • Eating in Siena, Italy

    I spent a couple days in Siena to visit my friend Marta. She’s a cooking teacher in Siena and we met on Instagram. Her handle is @martascooking

    Below are some of the dishes I ate there. It’s tuscan food and it’s delicious. Siena is know for Pici pasta, Chianti wine, and a lot more.

    Sauces often don’t have tomato sauce (like the south) but feature vegetables, cream, and cheese, like the pastas below. The food is a bit heavier (some cream is used) in Tuscany than Rome because the weather gets colder in winter months.

    Homemade maccaroni with leeks and vegetable purée
    Homemade tagliatelle with porcini mushroom
    Sautéed Red cabbage with Octopus in salsa verde
    Panzanella is a bread salad made with soaked bread, cucumber, tomato, onions, basil and plenty of olive oil. My friend Marta made this.
  • Eating in Lucca, Italy

    My first stop in Italy was Lucca. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Florence. It’s a small city and beautiful. The medieval walls that surround the city are all still in tact. So, you can bike all along the top of the walls in about 1 hour.

    It’s a beautiful, quaint city that’s not as touristy as Florence or Pisa. It’s romantic to walk along the walls. Don’t miss it on your trip to Tuscany.

    The food in Lucca is Tuscan. So, some of the foods I saw were prosciutto, pancetta and pasta with meat sauces. Some pastas had mushroom sauces because they were in season, too.

    For dessert, you’ll find cantucci (or biscotti) with vin santo, or sweet wine. You dip the hard cookies into the sweet wine.

    One of my favorite things in Tuscany are the roasted potatoes. They are always perfectly crispy and melty inside, like in the picture below. It’s probably because they roast them with the most flavorful olive oil and they soak up all the flavor.

    In a Lucca home! Roasted potato and chicken wrapped in prosciutto
    Welcomed with bread and Caprese salad!!
    Light appetizers with Prosecco. Salmon with cream cheese- like spread
    Bed and breakfast Al porto di Lucca. Eggs, melon with prosciutto, and croissant with garden view. Italians don’t typically eat all this for breakfast. They prefer to have some coffee with a cookie or two.
    My simple tomato mozzarella bruschetta. It was way too hot to eat anything heavier.
    Ham with truffle oil and arugula bruschetta
    Bruschetta with eggplant tomato and pancetta and cheese
    Simple bruschetta with tomato and mozzarella
    In the town of Vinci enjoying some cantucci and vin santo (sweet wine)
    Afternoon break with caffe macchiato and some sweet bites
  • Greek Island Lentil Salad | Vegetarian | Longevity Diet

     Greek Island Lentil Salad. A tasty Wellness Wednesday with #childrenshospitalofphiladelphia !
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    Thank you @tmimi95 and @minal_tolani for another wonderful cooking session with you and your staff.
    .
    This was a super easy dish with lentils from the Greek Island Ikaria from the Blue Zones, where people live long, healthy lives. One of the keys to their health and vitality is eating at least a 95% plant-based diet. Enjoy this recipe inspired by this beautiful place. You will feel light, energized and ready to go after eating it!
    .
    Save this recipe as it’s a perfect cold salad for summer. 🌞

    GREEK ISLAND LENTIL SALAD

    Ingredients: 

    Serves 4-5

    • 1 cup dried lentils
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • ½ white onion, chopped
    • ½ carrot, grated
    • 1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Salad greens
    • Feta (optional)
    • Mint (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Cook lentils by placing in pot with lid. Cover with water to cover lentils by an inch of water. Add bay leaf. Bring to boil, then lower, put lid on and simmer 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender to your liking.
    .
    2. Then, strain and reserve cooking liquid.
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    3. In a large sauté pan, add oil, lentils, onions, garlic, and carrot. Cook 5-10 minutes or until onion is soft. Add a spoon or two of cooking liquid if it gets dry in pan. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool a little.
    .
    4.Then serve lentils over greens. Top with a splash of red wine vinegar, olive oil, feta and chopped mint if using.

    use 1 cup lentils for this salad
    cooking lentils for 30 minutes
    tender lentils. Cool before adding to salad

    View this post on Instagram

    Greek Island Lentil Salad. A tasty Wellness Wednesday with #childrenshospitalofphiladelphia ! . Thank you @tmimi95 and @minal_tolani for another wonderful cooking session with you and your staff. . This was a super easy dish with lentils from the Greek Island Ikaria from the Blue Zones, where people live long, healthy lives. One of the keys to their health and vitality is eating at least a 95% plant-based diet. Enjoy this recipe inspired by this beautiful place. You will feel light, energized and ready to go after eating it! . Save this recipe as it’s a perfect cold salad for summer. 🌞 GREEK ISLAND LENTIL SALAD . Serves 4-5 . Ingredients : 1 cup dried lentils 1 bay leaf 1 clove garlic, minced ½ white onion, chopped ½ carrot, grated 1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper Red wine vinegar Salad greens Feta (optional) Mint (optional) . Directions: Cook lentils by placing in pot with lid. Cover with water to cover lentils by an inch of water. Add bay leaf. Bring to boil, then lower, put lid on and simmer 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender to your liking. . Then, strain and reserve cooking liquid. . In a sauté pan, add oil, lentils, onions, garlic, and carrot. Cook 5-10 minutes or until onion is soft. Add a spoon or two of cooking liquid if it gets dry in pan. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool a little. Then serve lentils over greens. Top with a splash of red wine vinegar, olive oil, feta and chopped mint if using. . @bluezones #bluezones #bluezonesliving #bluezoneschef #bluezoneskitchen #lentils #plantbased #greece #greekfood #ikariaisland #greece_travel #greeksalad #greekfoodporn #vegetarianrecipes #legumes #longevity #longevitydiet #mint #instarecipes #instadelicious #eatclean

    A post shared by Chef Joanna’s Kitchen (@chefjoannas) on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:26pm PDT
    This post contains affiliated links. Please read my disclosure page.

  • Orange and Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

    This is a simple cake that bakes for just 30 minutes. It makes 1 9-inch cake that’s perfect to whip up right before company comes over. There’s no fuss about it and you can switch flavors for lemon zest instead of orange if you want. I love a lemon blueberry cake.

    I love to serve this cake with my paella classes because olive oil and oranges are so famous from Spain. I hope you enjoy this simple but delicious cake!

    Orange and Cardamom Olive Oil Cake

    By Chef Joanna

    Ingredients

    For the cake: 

    • Organic olive oil cooking spray
    • 1 ½ cups all purpose unbleached flour
    • 2 tsp. Baking powder
    • 1 tsp. Cardamom
    • ⅛ tsp. Sea salt
    • 4 tsp. Orange zest
    • 3 eggs 
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ½ cup buttermilk

    For the syrup: 

    • ¼ cup powdered sugar
    • ¼ cup orange juice

    For the garnish:

    • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

    Equipment: 

    • Bowl
    • Whisk
    • Parchment paper
    • 9-inch round cake pan
    • Sifter or fine mesh strainer

    Directions: 

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
    2. Line the bottom of a 9” cake pan with olive oil spray and parchment paper. 
    3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt and zest. 
    4. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, olive oil, sugar and buttermilk. 
    5. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and whisk together. Pour into the prepared pan. 
    6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Take cake out of the oven and wait 10 minutes to cool. Then, place on a rack to cool. 
    7. Poke holes in the cake with a toothpick or fork. Mix together the syrup ingredients. Spoon syrup over the cake a little at a time to let it soak up. 
    8. Let the cake cool completely. Before serving dust with powdered sugar on top. Serve with sliced orange round.

    Variation: Drizzle with chocolate sauce. 

    • To make, heat 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then, stir in 1/4 cup (1.5oz) chocolate chips until melted. Pour over the cake in the center. 

    Yields 8-10 slices

  • No Sugar Added Gluten-free Banana Pancakes

    These are my favorite gluten free pancakes for sure. I think adding baking powder makes the big difference. They feel like a real pancake and the best part is that there is no added sugar. The bananas sweeten it so you don’t need syrup (but I needed a drizzle).

    Hope you enjoy this simple recipe. The whole thing can be made in the blender. No need to buy oat flour- just blend whole rolled oats in your blender.

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    No Sugar Added Gluten-free Banana Pancakes

    Ingredients(3 servings):

    • 2 medium ripe bananas (best when they have lots of brown spots)

    • 2 eggs

    • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    • 1 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats, gluten free if desired

    • 2 teaspoons baking powder

    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    • ¼ teaspoon salt

    • Olive oil, for cooking

    Instructions

    1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until completely smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

    2. Lightly coat a griddle with coconut oil, vegan butter or olive oil and place over medium heat. Once pan is hot, add 1/3 cup of the batter to the griddle for each pancake and cook for 2-4 minutes until pancakes slightly puff up and you see a few bubbles along the edges.

    3. They brown quickly so lower the heat in the pan. I keep them warm in my toaster oven set to 250 F. Makes 9 pancakes.

  • Superfood Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

    I made this salad as a side dish to grilled shrimp tacos and a cabbage slaw. It’s light and can be served hot or cold.

    Ingredients (for 4-5)

    • 1 cup white quinoa, cooked and cooled
    • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped small
    • ¼ red onion, chopped
    • 4 green onions, whites and greens sliced thin
    • ¼ bunch of cilantro, chopped

    Honey-Lime Dressing:

    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 2 tsp. honey
    • 2 Tbsp. neutral oil
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • freshly cracked pepper

    Directions:

    1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions with water. Cool completely. You can do this the day before.
    2. In a large bowl, mix all the chopped ingredients together to the cooled quinoa.
    3. Make the dressing by stirring it with a whisk in a small bowl or mixing it up in a jar.
    4. Mix the dressing into the salad and you’re done!
  • Double Chocolate Gluten-Free Banana Muffins

    These are rich chocolate banana muffins that are free of refined sugars. They are so delicious. I hope you enjoy them for breakfast or a snack!

    Ingredients

    • 4 ripe bananas, mashed (1.5 to 2 cups), can sub ½ cup applesauce for 1 banana
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled or coconut oil
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
    • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 2/3 cup coconut sugar or raw cane sugar
    • ⅔ cup chocolate chips, optional

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tray with muffin papers. Note: This recipe makes 14 to 18 muffins so note that you’ll need to bake two batches or use 2 trays.

    2. Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl until creamy and most of the chunks are out. I use a potato masher if I have one. Add the eggs and melted butter and stir well.

    3. In a separate bowl, stir together the gluten-free flour, cacao powder, baking soda, sea salt, sugar, and chocolate chips until well-combined.

    4. Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the banana mixture and stir well until combined. Note that the mixture will be very thick.

    5. Fill the muffin holes ¾ of the way up with batter and if desired, sprinkle with additional chocolate chips.

    6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes (I do 30).

    7. Allow muffins to cool at least 20 minutes before removing from the muffin pan and eating.

  • Greek Lemon Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

    Ingredients (for 2-3):

    • 1 lb chicken
    • Sprinkle of garlic powder
    • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
    • Half a lemon juiced
    • Drizzle of olive oil

    Directions:

    Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Add all ingredients on top chicken and mix (I did this directly on the baking sheet lined with parchment.)

    Broil 15 minutes or until juices run clear.

    Squeeze other half of lemon over chicken when done 

    Add peppers and mushrooms to the baking tray with the chicken and cook for the same time if you want.

    Serve with rice and pita if desired. 

    Keep Cookin’

    Served with hummus, fresh cucumbers and radish

    Chef Joanna | Chef Joanna’s Kitchen

  • Tofu Breakfast Burrito with crispy potatoes

    Need some more vegan breakfast ideas? This one is awesome.
    It comes together simply and is really satisfying. The one thing you GOTTA do is toast the burrito after you make it. The crispy outside makes it a real treat. Good food to me is all about texture- crunchy and soft etc.
    I served it with salads, lime wedges and plantain chips.

    Recipe adapted from Purple Carrot website

    INGREDIENTS

    • 6 oz Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    • ¼ oz fresh parsley, leaves and tender stems roughly chopped
    • 14 oz organic extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry
    • 1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
    • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
    • 4 oz curly kale, destemmed, leaves roughly chopped
    • 2 whole wheat flour tortillas
    • 2 tbsp Follow Your Heart® Soy-Free Vegenaise®
    • ¼ cup tomato chutney
    • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil*
    • 2 tsp vegetable oil*
    • Salt and pepper*
    • *Not included
    • Ingredients are listed for 2 servings. If you’re making 4 servings, please double your ingredients by using both meal kit bags provided.
    • For full ingredient list, see Nutrition.
    Allergens: soy, wheat
    Tools: Large nonstick skillet, Baking sheet

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1
    Roast the potatoes

    Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add potatoes, 2 tsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a baking sheet, and toss. Roast until potatoes are browned and crisp in places, 20 to 22 minutes. Add garlic and parsley to the potatoes, and toss. (4-serving meal: use 4 tsp olive oil) 

    2
    Cook the tofu

    Crumble the tofu into bite-size pieces. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Add just half the tofu and turmeric, and cook until tofu is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate. (4-serving meal: use 2 tbsp olive oil) TIPS: Save the remaining tofu for your own use. Work in batches for the 4-serving meal.

    3
    Finishing touches

    Return the large nonstick skillet to medium-high heat and add kale and a splash of water. Cook until kale is bright green and wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. TIP: We will use this skillet again in step 5.

    4
    Build

    Place tortillas on a flat surface and spread Vegenaise on each tortilla. Top with cooked kale, turmeric tofu and onion, garlic parsley potatoes, and tomato chutney. Roll the burritos, tucking in the sides as you go.

    5
    Serve

    Wipe the large nonstick skillet clean and return to medium heat with 2 tsp vegetable oil. Add burritos seam side down and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cut crispy tofu burritos in half. Tuck in! TIPS: Work in batches for the 4-serving meal, adding more oil as necessary. For easy eating, wrap your burritos in parchment before slicing.