Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Swedes, Bergman and Berries

May 25, 2010

Whenever I eat wild strawberries I can’t help recalling the classic Bergman film, Wild Strawberries….or as the Swedish refer to it as Smultronstallet

Strawberries are in season and, for those of you keeping track, they are by far my favorite fruit. Did you know there are over 600 varieties? When available, I go for the small wild ones, which are unbelievable!

A few quick tips:

Strawberries are delicious as is, but you can add them to most anything.  Try them in smoothies, pancakes, salads, oatmeal, dipped in chocolate, frozen into pops, you name it.  The possibilities are endless.

Strawberries are a great source of vitamins A and C. They also contain fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants and flavonoids.

Don’t wash your strawberries until you are ready to eat them because they spoil quickly.

Be sure to purchase your strawberries organic since they are a regular on the “dirty dozen list.”   (You can download a wallet size version of the list here.  http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php. )

Here is a super easy recipe for Stawberry and Rhubarb Popsicles:

Ingredients
8-10 medium strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 cup rhubarb,chopped
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons water

Method
Simmer the berries with rhubarb and water until very soft about 8-10 minutes.Puree in a blender or processor.Cool a little.Pour in the molds.Freeze for 6-8 hours.
To get the Popsicle out,dip or run under warm water,and slowly pull them out.

And finally, for my fellow strawberry fanatics, check out the next strawberry festival here:

http://www.troyohiostrawberryfestival.com/cwt/external/wcpages/strawberry-festival/index.aspx

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Looks like Japan has been reading my blog

May 24, 2010

Celebs, dignitaries and, of course, yours truly have all embraced Meatless Monday. Now we can add Japan to the mix.

Four of Japan’s top colleges are hosting monthly veggie Mondays  (http://veggiemonday.japanteam.net/) to encourage their country to follow more of a  plant-based diet.

In celebration of their Meatless Monday solidarity, here is an easy recipe for nori rolls that kids love.  Nori has the highest amount of protein of all seaweeds and is the easiest to digest.  Kind of like this blog.

Vegetable Nori Rolls

2 cups sushi rice *

3 cups water

pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

10 sheets toasted nori

1 small cucumber, julienned

1 carrot, julienned

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into strips

Combine rice, water and salt in large pot and bring to boil.  Cover then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In small saucepan, heat vinegar and rice syrup until dissolved, pour over rice and mix until combined.  While rice is cooking, prepare vegetables.

* you can substitute short grain brown rice for sushi rice just use 4 cups of water

Assembling Nori Rolls

Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, or work surface or bamboo rolling mat, http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/category/sushi-accessory with short edge facing you.  Press a layer of rice ¼- inch thick along the edge of the sheet closest to you.  Place vegetables in a long thin strip across the middle of the rice.  Carefully fold the end of nori over the rice and continue rolling away from you to form a log.  Moisten the edge with water to seal, and let sit briefly until nori is soft enough to cut easily.  Cut into ½-inch pieces and arrange on platter.  Serve with tamari, pickled ginger and wasabi.

It’s Meatless Monday! And John Cleese Highly Recommends Rhubarb.

May 17, 2010

I’m headed off to the farmer’s market to pick up some Rhubarb. Why? Oh, nothing. Not only is Rhubarb high in fiber, low in calories and cholesterol free, it is a good source of Vitamin A and potassium.  Betcha didn’t know one cup of cooked rhubarb has as much calcium as a glass of milk.

When choosing rhubarb, look for stalks that are bright and colorful with no wilting leaves.  If you are not using the rhubarb right away, cut off the leaves as soon as you get home,  put the stalks in bags and store in the fridge. And remember: Do not eat the leaves. They are poisonous!

Here’s a Meatless Monday Recipe for Rhubarb Tart. Look, if it’s good enough for John Cleese…

p.s. I’m not going to lie. This recipe takes time.  If you’re a person of leisure, by all means make your own crust, but if you’re a busy bee, I suggest buying your pie crust at wholly wholesome (http://whollywholesome.com/products/pie-shells.php).  I like to have a few organic whole wheat crusts in my freezer for special occasions. Like when I make a pie.

INGREDIENTS

FILLING

2 cups diced fresh rhubarb

3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced, divided

1/4 cup sugar,

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon cold water

3 tablespoons red currant jelly

CRUST

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

3 tablespoons 1% milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

PREPARATION

To prepare filling: Combine rhubarb, 1 cup strawberries, sugar and lemon zest in a large nonreactive saucepan. Let stand for 20 minutes (35 minutes if rhubarb is frozen). Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir into the simmering fruit. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is clear and very thick, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until chilled.

To prepare crust & assemble tart: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.

Spread oats in a small baking dish and bake, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Place the oats in a food processor and process until finely ground.

Combine milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk the ground oats, flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Drizzle oil onto the dry ingredients and stir with a fork or your fingers until crumbly. Use a fork to stir in the milk mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead 7 to 8 times. Roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle, dusting with flour if necessary. Transfer to the prepared pan, pressing to fit. Trim the edges.

Line the tart shell with a piece of foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove weights and foil or paper and bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes more. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Shortly before serving, spread the strawberry-rhubarb filling evenly into the tart shell. Arrange the remaining 2 cups strawberries decoratively over the filling.

Heat jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. With a pastry brush, glaze the strawberries with the jelly.

Wait. My husband just ate WHAT?

May 14, 2010

Many of my clients harbor nightmares from their childhood of being forced to eat their Brussels sprouts and hating every minute of it.  Even as adults, it’s hard to convince them that Brussels sprouts actually taste good, even delicious. But they are.

If you make them right.

Here is one of the easiest and most scrumptious ways to cook Brussels sprouts that will not only turn those naysayers around but have them begging for more.  FYI,  Brussels sprouts are are full of  many essential vitamins, folate and fiber as well as an excellent source of Vitamin C. And now they supply 100% of your daily recommend dose of Na-Na-Na-Na-Told-You-So.


3 or 3 1/2 cups of Brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut each sprout in half lengthwise.

Place sprouts in a plastic bag with oil and toss to coat.

Place sprouts in a plastic bag with oil and toss to coat.

Place sprouts on baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

Bake until outside leaves begin to brown and crisp and inside is tender.

Let’s Get Cooking

May 11, 2010

Yesterday, I spent the day in my test kitchen trying out new recipes.  Besides the fact that I ate way too much cookie dough and muffin batter and that I probably have salmonella, it was a pretty good time.  I really love being in the kitchen, which is a surprise to most of my friends who knew me when I couldn’t even boil water.

I experimented making new muffins for toddlers that were both nutrish and delish, as well as created some healthy summer recipes for us older folks who keep putting off going bathing suit shopping.  (How many times can your friends tell you it’s just the lighting?)

Anyhoo, here is an EASY, and I mean EASY, recipe for a healthy gazpacho that takes literally five minutes and will hopefully prevent you from buying that always-a-don’t bathing suit with a skirt.

5 Minute Gazpacho

5 medium vine-ripened organic tomatoes (about 4 ½ cups)

½ medium organic cucumber, peeled and slice (about 1 cup)

½ cup cooked or canned garbanzo beans

1/8 cup chopped organic red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup vegetable broth

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Garnish (optional)

½ cup chopped avocado, tomato, and/or peeled cucumber

Blend all ingredients except optional garnish in a food processor or blender until smooth, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a container and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Ladle into soup bowls and top with garnish, if desired.

from Petit Appetit Cookbook

Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti

May 7, 2010

Hannibal Lechter aside, did you know that fava beans were eaten in ancient Rome and Greece and even Gladiators ate them with barley to give them strength for battle? These tender, creamy members of the pea family are also known as broad beans, pigeon beans, horse beans and Windsor beans and make their appearance in early spring.

Great steamed and served with olive oil, salt and lemon, they are also delish in purees, soup, added to pasta or just sprinkled with sea salt. Favas are high in fiber and iron, have no cholesterol, low in sodium and fat and high in protein. It’s also been said that these little guys are libido boosters. So, there’s that.

Be sure to shell your favas before eating and don’t eat them raw, some people of Mediterranean descent have an allergic reactions to raw or unpeeled favas called favism. Shelling favas are labor intensive so make your husband do it, I mean, allow plenty of time.

Here’s an easy recipe for fava bean dip

Fava Bean Dip with Goat Cheese and Garlic Recipe (from Simply Recipes)

INGREDIENTS

2-3 pounds fresh fava (broad) beans, shelled (about 2 cups)

1 Tbsp salt

1/2 cup chopped green garlic (can substitute 4 cloves chopped garlic)

Olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup or more water

5 ounces goat cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

METHOD

1 Remove the outer shell from the fava beans. The easiest way to do this is to work over a large bowl, bend the fava bean pod near one of the beans, squeeze the bean with your fingers, to have it shoot out into the bowl when the bean snaps. Keep squeezing, pinching and snapping, until you’ve de-beaned all the pods.

2 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the shelled beans, simmer for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove beans from the hot water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to shock the beans into maintaining their bright green color. When the beans have sunk to the bottom of the bowl of ice water, fish them out and remove and discard the outer peel.

3 In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add the chopped green garlic (or chopped regular garlic cloves) and cook until softened, but not browned, about 3 or 4 minutes.

4 Place shelled and peeled beans in a food processor with softened green garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water. Pulse until smooth. Stream in a tablespoon or two more of olive oil while puréeing.

5 Scrape mixture out of food processor into a bowl. Mix in the goat cheese until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve with sliced cucumbers or jicama.

Makes about 2 cups.

Everything is better on a stick

April 29, 2010

The weather is getting warmer and you know what that means…well, yes, it means inappropriate belly shirts and sweaty subway rides, but more importantly, it means popsicles!

I have such great memories of summers at the Jersey Shore (before the Snookie and Situation invasion) on the beach, my face and hands stained blue from all of the color dyes and artificial flavorings crammed into my all time favorite Rocket Pops.

So now that we know how bad all those ingredients are for us, what to do? Simple, you make your own pops and you make them not only nutritious but fun to eat too. All you need are some BPA free molds and an imagination. I’m assuming you’ve got the latter. The molds can be found at http://tovolo.com/. You can choose from shooting stars, rocket pops, groovy pops, dual layer pops and even freezer gems. So cool.

Let your imagination soar as you put together nutritious and delicious combinations that your kids and all their friends will dig (yep, this will put you firmly in contention for coolest mom of the year).

Check out http://icypops.com/ for some more inspiration and grab a copy of Pops! Icy Treats For Everyone by Krystina Castella, a great selection of healthy pop recipes at http://amzn.to/a5kKTX.

To get you started, here’s her recipe for Honeydew Melon Pops:

4 cups diced ripe honeydew melon

1/3 cup plain yogurt(organic please)

Juice of 3 limes

Grated zest of 1 lime

3 tsp of honey

1. Put 2 cups of melon, the yogurt and lime juice and zest in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add the honey and blend again.

3. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of melon

4. Fill the pop molds with the mixture and freeze for at least 6 hours

5. Remove from the freezer. Let stand for 5 minutes before removing the pops from the mold.

Serve and enjoy!

Finally, a global movement that involves waffles.

April 28, 2010

I just discovered a new movement whose mission is to promote  friendlier healthier, and more sustainable living. Through waffles.

The Global Vegan Waffle Party was born in 2008. They’re a great resource for vegan waffle recipes (yep, they exist and they’re good – just look at my husband asleep at the breakfast table, drooling like an eight month old). There are a whole bunch of local waffle party events around the country and you’re more than welcome to host your own, or you can join in the Third Annual Global Vegan Waffle Party on May 29th.

You can get a boatload of recipes here, http://bit.ly/cNOKnG, and to get you started, here’s their recipe for Naked Vegan Waffles (*ahem* the waffles are naked, not the Vegan)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups soymilk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix the soymilk, canola oil, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Pour the soymilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Cook on a waffle iron for 3 to 5 minutes, generously spraying both grills with oil before each waffle. Makes 4 (7-inch) round Belgian waffles.

Attention! I have something very important to disc- What’s that, there’s biscotti? Hold, please.

April 20, 2010

I was all set to write about the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act today. It’s an important piece of legislation that affects each and every one of us. And it merits a serious and thoughtful discussion.

But just can’t get the biscotti I made last night out of my mind.

Oh well. So, let’s talk about polenta biscotti.  Yep, po-len-ta. Doesn’t really sound that great, but truth be told, it’s fantastic.  Not too sweet but definitely sweet enough, just the right amount of crunch and not half bad for you.  Funny, you could say the exact same thing about my husband.

The recipe is below. Don’t be put off by what looks like a lot of steps.  They are super easy to make. Enjoy polenta biscotti in the morning, for a midday treat or for a little snacky-poo after school. And another perk – kids love them.

FYI, polenta biscotti are pretty low in calories, if you can eat just a few. My “few” happened to be the entire batch.  I can’t stop noshing on them.  As I write this I am wiping away the crumbs still left on my computer.

p.s. Did you know biscotti is plural?  The singular is biscotto. But who eats biscotto? Not me.

Polenta Biscotti

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)

1 cup sugar

½ cup fine cornmeal, or polenta

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons of canola oil or mild flavored olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven, preheat to 325 and coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, cornmeal (or polenta), baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk eggs, oil and vanilla in another bowl until frothy and well combined.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until a soft dough forms.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface.  Divide it in half and shape each half into a log 12 inches long by 2 inches wide. (I had my daughter measure)  Brush off excess flour and place the logs on one baking sheet.
  4. Bake the logs on the upper rack until almost firm when pressed on top 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 20 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 300.
  5. Place the logs on a cutting board and slice diagonally into ½ inch thick slices using a serrated knife.  Divide the biscotti between the two baking sheets, standing them up about 1 inch apart.
  6. Return the biscotti to the oven and bake until lightly colored and dry 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool(the biscotti will crisp as they cool)

Recipe from EatingWell.com

It’s Meatless Monday! (And I have news)

March 15, 2010

Okay, let’s start with the big stuff. My world famous mushroom tofu scramble is being featured on meatlessmonday.com today. Right now. Pretty cool, huh?

But don’t go over there yet! I have an actual blog post for you. Ready? Here goes…

Move over Kale Chips, there’s a new sheriff in town. And by sheriff, I mean a healthy snack for kids that involves seaweed.

Introducing Toasted Sesame Nori Strips.  Not only do they satisfy the crunchy, salty cravings that we all get, but at the same time they are nutritious and delicious and kids of all ages love them. Nori is high in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Bet you can’t eat just one.

Toasted Sesame Nori Strips

3 sheets of toasted nori

½ cup canola oil

Cayenne

½ cup brown rice syrup

1 ½ cups sesame seeds

spice of choice( nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice)

Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Stack nori sheets, cut into 2-inch strips, stack again and cut in half.  Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper, and lay individual strips of nori side by side on paper.  In small bowl, whisk together oil, syrup, and a pinch of cayenne.

Using a pastry brush, generously coat the top of each piece of nori with syrup mixture.  Oil and syrup tend to separate, so continue to mix as you work.  When all nori pieces are coated sprinkle with sesame seeds, spice of choice and salt.  Toast in oven 5-7 minutes-keep a close eye as they burn easily.  When seeds are light brown, remove from oven and set aside to cool until nori is firm enough to handle.  Flip nori pieces, brush with syrup mixture, sprinkle with sesame seeds, seasoning and salt.  Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Repeat until all the ingredients are used up.

Store in airtight container.

(taken from Terry Walters’ Clean Food)