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Cioppino Recipe


This is one of the signature dishes from Napa at the Peabody Orlando.  Cioppino is typically a fish stew which originated from San Francisco.  It’s a great hearty dish, robust with flavor.

Cioppino (Spicy Seafood Stew)

with a Paprika Rouille

(courtesy of the Peabody Orlando)


  • 4 oz. Florida Grouper
  • 2 oz. Cape Canaveral Calamari
  • 6 ea. Rock Shrimp
  • 3 ea. Mediterranean Mussels
  • 6 oz. Fresh Tomato Sauce
  • 2 oz. White Wine
  • 1 tbs. Diced White Onion
  • 1 tbs. Chopped Leek
  • 1 tsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • Pinch Crushed Red Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Paprika Rouille

  • 8 oz. Egg Yolk
  • 2 oz. Olive oil
  • .5 tsp. Paprika
  • Salt to taste



  1. Heat olive oil in sauté pan until hot. Then add grouper, rock shrimp, onion, leeks and sauté for one minute.
  2. Deglaze pan with white wine and reduce by half and add tomato sauce, mussels and calamari.
  3. Cook until mussels fully open and add the butter, salt, red pepper and black pepper and heat until butter melts.


Paprika Rouille

  1. In a blender place the egg yolk, paprika, salt and slowly add oil until it comes to a mayonnaise consistency.
  2. Serve in a deep sided bowl and place 2 oz. of aioli on top and a slice of grilled sourdough bread.

Homemade Potato Chips

Homemade chips
What to do with a sack of potatoes?  I didn’t want to eat mashed potatoes for days so at first I thought I’d make potato bread.  How much potato bread can one person eat?  Then I realized many potato bread recipe used instant mashed potatoes rather than real potatoes.  Interesting.  Well, next idea…. Potato chips!  Ah, I love potato chips.  So addicting!  I could never just eat one chip.  One chips goes to two chips, and then oops, the bag is gone.  Then regret soon follows.  All those extra calories consumed as I stare at my empty bag of chips.  So, how about healthy potato chips?  It’s exists!  And without compromising flavor.
Garlic Salt Microwave Potato Chips 
  1. Peel potatoes (optional). If you have fresher potatoes, then it’d probably be tasty with the skin on. I peeled mines.
  2. Rinse potato.
  3. Use mandoline on the lowest setting, or if you don’t have a mandoline, try to cut the potato slices as thin and evenly as possible. If you want to keep the slices in water to prevent oxidation, remember to dry the potatoes before putting it in the microwave.
  4. Use parchment paper, microwavable plate or the glass tray itself. I sprayed with PAM, then added the seasonings (in this case, garlic salt).                                                                                                      ♦ Instead of PAM, I have seen recipes with olive oil, or no oil at all. If you opt to use no oil, make sure the surface the potato chips are going on are non-stick or else you’ll have a fun time prying the chips off. Also, you can sprinkle the seasonings on top or after the chips are done. From my trials, I have found that placing the seasonings underneath works best.
  5. Place potatoes on the plate/paper/tray. If you have more on there, it will need to cook longer.
  6. It will take 2-8 minutes, and depends on your microwave. Once you see it slightly brown, stop the microwave. Let it cool and enjoy!
So for me, I have a microwave that is 950 watts. I used a microwavable dinner plate, and it took me at 4 minutes 30 seconds for each batch.
The chips were crunchy like kettle cooked chips.  You don’t have to feel as guilty about eating these chips.  On a side note, I was at bed bath and beyond the other day (I love that store!) and they had potato chip makers for the microwave.  I didn’t think it was necessary to buy that but if it works, why not?  Whatever works for you, go for it!

Lettuce Soup


Yes, I said lettuce soup.  Have you ever gotten tired of just eating lettuce?  It’s good for you, but how many salads can you really eat?  I decided to look into what else I could do with lettuce.  I had 3 romaine heads in the refrigerator and I really didn’t feel like eating any more lettuce.  I came across a recipe for lettuce soup.  Hmm… this could be very interesting.  Try this soup hot or cold!

Romaine Lettuce Soup:

  • 2 TBS of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 onion, chopped (I used red onion since that’s what I have on hand)
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • 1 cube of vegetable bouillon if you use water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put pan on medium to high heat, place butter in pan.
  2. Add onions, sauté for 8 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  3. Add garlic, be sure to stir ingredients around and not let the garlic burn.
  4. Add parsley and lettuce.  Constantly stir to let the lettuce cook.
  5. Add some water and bouillon to help cook the lettuce.  If you’re not using any bouillon, add 1/4 cup of stock.
  6. After all the lettuce is wilted transfer contents to a blender and add enough water to blend the contents well.  Do not add all the water, this is to ensure you don’t have a messy kitchen and get soup splattered on your face. If you don’t have a blender, use a hand immersion blender but make sure the contents are in a pot.
  7. Heat contents in pot, reduce the soup if desired.

Mushroom Powder

mushroom powder

Ah… mushroom powder, how much I love thee!  Sounds a bit odd, I’m sure.  Seems like these days, not many people are that fond of mushrooms even though they’re so yummy! If you’re not familiar with the term “umami” then be prepare for some education.

Pop quiz: How many types of taste are there?  Any guesses? 4, 5?  Well, there’s sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.  That’s it, right?  It depends on who’s answering the question.  For awhile, people stuck to the four but there are others (including me) who stick to the 5 types of taste buds.  So, what’s the fifth one?  Umami, which is a Japanese word that doesn’t have an exact translation but you will find it described as “deliciousness” or “savoriness”.  I just prefer to call it “that ‘je ne sais quoi’ “.  Research has shown that mushrooms are high on the umami scale.  On a side note, you will find in Ayurveda (a holistic medicine derived from India) that there are 6 types of taste: sweet, salt, sour, pungent, astringent, and bitter.  I don’t have much knowledge on the matter but it does seem like an interesting topic.  Perhaps something to read more about at a later point.  I am definitely a nerd so this type of thing seems right up my alley.

If your dish or soup needs some extra pizzazz, try using mushroom powder.  It works great as a flavor enhancer due to the high glutamate levels.  A natural MSG, so to speak. Since this is my first time making mushroom powder, I just stuck to the good ole regular button mushrooms.  Next time, I get some portabella mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms.


Mushroom Powder:

  • 1 ounce package of mushrooms
  1. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove the dirt.  (I actually like to quickly rinse my mushrooms, drain, then clean with a damp paper towel.  In a culinary sense, you shouldn’t wash them but my personal preference is to do so.  You could also have a mushroom brush but I don’t see a need for that.)
  2. Slice mushrooms to desired consistency. 1/8″ to 1/16″ thick.  The thinner you cut them, the faster the mushrooms dry.  For consistency, I used a mandolin.
  3. Arrange the mushroom slices evenly on the food dehydrator tray.  In six hours, it should be done.  Be sure to rotate the trays and have the vents open up top (if applicable).  If you don’t have a food dehydrator, then the oven works just as well too. Just set the temperature to 150°F on an non-oiled baking sheet for an hour.  Flip the mushrooms and let it bake for another hour.  If you can break it easily then it’s done.
  4. Let the mushrooms cool, then place mushrooms in food processor.  You can also use a coffee grinder.
If all else fails, just buy some dried mushrooms instead. Actually, after everything was said and done,  I would only recommend you make your own mushroom powder if you have an abundant amount.  One 8 ounce package of mushrooms came out to 1/4 ounce of mushroom powder.  WOW!  On a side note, the dehydrated mushroom slices were delightfully thin and crispy. I kept eating it as a snack and had to remind myself I need to save the rest to make the powder.


Dairy-Free Smoothie Before


I FINALLY got a Vitamix.

I know this sounds pretty trivial but over the past year and a half, I kept going back and forth between the Vitamix and Blendtec.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about,  then this is only just the comparison for the two most expensive/powerful household blenders. Just only.  Why on Earth would anyone need to buy an expensive blender?  A blender is just a blender, right?  The answer to that is, “NO”.  I have had blenders  from all different price ranges and for my needs, I need something with some oomph.  I remember the time my magic bullet died from making hummus.  HUMMUS?! Seriously.  As I continue my quest for a healthy lifestyle, I wanted to do more green smoothies.  From the Oster blender I was using, I just wasn’t getting an appealing texture.  Don’t get me wrong, I like my Oster blender.  It’s made of glass and I can unscrew from the bottom, which made cleaning really nice.  Have you ever looked around the blades? Gross looking if you don’t clean it well.  “Once this blender stops working, then I’ll get a Vitamix….”  The Oster is still going strong, just to let you know.  Although as I’m blending at times, I’ve had to stop it and stir things around.  Perhaps I do need something stronger after all.

Vitamix has been around for decades, and I’ve met people who’ve had the Vitamix that had been passed down through their family.  I thought the blender looked a bit old-fashioned, but who am I to judge? It didn’t seem worthwhile to spend hundreds of dollars on a blender but as I read the reviews, I began to think otherwise.  The Blendtec looked very nice, very modern.  The display, the colors, everything just seemed great.  Yet, I kept debating with myself about a Vitamix.  If you look on YouTube, you’ll see all those “Will it blend?” videos.  It’s very entertaining and tempting to try at home, even though they clearly state not to.  I don’t think I’ll blend those lighters after all.  Anyhow, I read pages of reviews between the two blenders.  Oh how tiring it was…  In general, it really seemed to be an even draw.  Or, a slight edge to Vitamix due to it’s warranty and customer service.

Well, I decided I’d get myself a nice present for my birthday this year.  It’s not there yet, but it’s close enough. :)  Why not get the blender that’s made to last?  I headed off to Costco today and took a gander.  The store location I went to did not have the package that I saw on-line.  The package deal included the Wet Blade container along with the Dry Blade container.  Do I really need the dry blade container?  It’s probably great if you want to do flours and things of that sort but since I’ve changed my diet to a more Paleo-style, it didn’t seem necessary for me.  (Also, it’s cheaper by itself, obviously.)  I bit the bullet and purchased the Vitamix 5200.

Finally, I got home and I anxiously opened this box.  Is this blender all they say it is and more?  Did I just waste all this money on a blender?!  Oh the thoughts ran across my mind.  Might as well give it a go!


The contents included the 64 ounce wet blade container, the vented lid, the blender unit, the getting started guide with dvd and the tamper.  This blender is tall! I might end up needing to use a step-stool.

Yesterday, I made a dairy free smoothie and I used the same exact recipe for comparison.



Dairy-free Berry Smoothie


  • 1 cup of vanilla soymilk
  • 2 frozen strawberries
  • 1 Tbs frozen kiwi pulp
  • 1 Tbs frozen beet pulp
  • 1 berry all-fruit bar
  • 1 tropical all-fruit bar

I poured the soymilk into the container first and then added the rest of the ingredients.  Let me tell ya, this thing has got serious power!


The finished product was a nice, smooth texture.  Even the strawberries seeds were so finely blended, you wouldn’t have known I put whole strawberries in.  My smoothie from yesterday was good but this was definitely better.  I can’t wait to use this blender more and see what awesome creations I’ll come up with!