Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

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 (  I like to have a few organic whole wheat crusts in my freezer for special occasions. Like when I make a pie.



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


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


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)


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


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.

Radish Chips anyone?

May 6, 2010

Radishes really don’t get the respect they deserve.

Usually just seen as a fun, colorful garnish, these little earthy-spicy guys are not only versatile but a great source of vitamin c and rich in minerals like sulphur, iron, and iodine. Braise them, drop them in salads with fennel and grapefruit, you can even bake them. Pick some up at your local farmer’s market and try this easy, delicious, nutritious, low-calorie recipe for Baked Radish Chips:


10 radishes

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp garlic salt

½ tsp paprika


  1. Thinly slice radishes
  2. Steam in microwave for 5 minutes
  3. Put in bowl with spices; stir
  4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flip the chips and bake for another 10 minute, lo

Okay, now it’s really time to get serious

May 5, 2010

It’s officially beach weather and some of us haven’t quite gotten down to our bikini weight yet. Look, we all put on a few ell bees during the winter. It happens. But, this happens to be one of those years that we are apparently just going to skip spring and jump straight into boiling hot summer. (Remember when we used to ease into the hot stuff with a few weeks of brisk mornings and mild afternoons? The nineties were awesome.)

Anyhoo, it’s time to make the decision to shed those extra pounds or go shopping for beach appropriate mumus.  I say we lose the weight. And I’ve got a great way to jump start the process.

A great way to stop those sugar and junk-food cravings partially responsible for your extra junk around your trunk is to incorporate more greens into your diet.  Greens are rejeuvanating, cleansing, excavating, energizing and nutritious.  The problem is sometimes they are hard to eat, especially if you are on the go.  So, here’s an easy way to start your day with Dr. Oz’s green drink which is high in fiber, low in calories and rich in vitamins.

See you at the beach.


2 cups spinach

2 cups cucumber

1 head of celery

½ inch or teaspoon ginger root

1 bunch parsley

2 apples

juice of 1 lime

juice of ½ lemon


Combine all ingredients in a blender.  This makes approximately 28-30 ounces, or 3-4 servings.

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


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


  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

It’s Meatless Monday! And we’ve got lasagna.

April 19, 2010

One of my favorite past times is to go out with friends for Italian and throw back some red wine.  But with bathing suit season looming dangerously close, I try to stay away from heavier dishes and choose lighter fare (although a little organic red wine never hurt anyone). So here’s the great news. I found a delicious, meatless, gluten-free recipe for lasagna – in Martha Stewart Magazine of all places – that won’t go straight to my thighs but still tastes like the real thing. Dig in.

Zucchini-Ribbon Lasagna

For The Sauce ( makes 3 cups)

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes, with juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoons coarse salt

For the Lasagna

2 medium zucchini, trimmed

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

¼ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

Garnish: Fresh oregano

  1. Make the sauce: Pulse tomatoes with juice in a food processor until finely chopped.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion and red-pepper flakes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 8 minutes.  Add tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer until thick, about 20 minutes.  Stir in oregano and salt.  Let cool.
  2. Make the lasagna: Preheat oven to 375.  Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin strips.  Place 5 or 6 zucchini slices, overlapping slightly, in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish.  Top with 1 cup sauce.  Dot with ¼ cup ricotta.  Repeat twice with zucchini, remaining sauce, and ½ cup ricotta, alternating direction of zucchini.  Top with remainingzucchini, alternating direction; brush with oil.  Dot with remaining ¼ cup ricotta.  Season with pepper.  Bake, uncovered, until lasagna bubbles and top browns, 50-60 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Garnish with oregano.

Clean Plates? There’s an app for that.

April 16, 2010

Clean Plates, written by nutritionist Jared Koch, is a must-have resource for any one who likes to eat like you and I like to eat. Think Zagat for us New Yorkers looking for fresh, local, organic and whole foods.

With Clean Plates, Jared has partnered with food critic Alex Von Buren to compile a list of 75 of the most delicious and healthiest restaurants in the Big Apple.

This invaluable guide is this Nutritional Nanny’s dream.  Imagine finding gluten-free options, hormone and antibiotic free meat and naturally sweetened deserts at your fingertips and for only $13.95! And while the book is a handsome addition to any home library, you don’t need to carry it around with you every day. Yep, they even came up with the mobile version.

Get yours at now and yes, you’re welcome.

It’s Meatless Monday – So stick it!

April 12, 2010

Kebobs are one of the oldest inventions known to mankind – created seconds after someone invented something called “the stick.” They are also one of my favorite things to feed kids, especially the picky ones.

Kebobs are win-win and here’s why. First off, they’re fun. Come on, it’s food on a stick. In kids terms, that’s a riot.  Secondly, kids can make them on their own.  (Even toddlers can make their own kabobs – try using popsicle sticks) And lastly, no dishes to wash!!

Kebobs can be savory, sweet, tangy you name it.  Think of kebobs as your go-to for transforming ho-hum leftovers into exciting delish meals that even the finickiest of eaters will enjoy. And yes, they’re perfect for meatless Mondays.

Some of my favorite kebob combinations for summer are watermelon and mint, mixed fruit and coconut and grapes and feta.

But there are a billion other combinations. Figure one out and jam a skewer through it. Tada!

Here is an easy kid-tested and approved recipe for  Sweet Corn, Cherry Tomato and Tofu Kebabs from Annabel Karmel’s First Meals:

Sweet Corn, Cherry Tomato and Tofu Kebabs

1/2 lb firm tofu, cubed

6 cobs baby sweet corn, halved

1 zucchini, trimmed and sliced into round chunks

8 cherry tomatoes


1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tbsp Chinese plum sauce

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 green onion, finely chopped

Combine the ingredients for the marinade.  Put the tofu in a shallow bowl and pour on the marinade.  Cover and leave to soak for about 1 hour.  While the tofu marinates, soak four wooden skewers in water to stop them from burning under the broiler.

Thread the tofu cubes and vegetable pieces alternately onto the skewers.  Brush with some of the marinade.  Cook under a hot broiler or on the grill for about 3 minutes on each side, basting occasionally, or until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is nicely browned.