Monday, November 22, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast

Typically, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but tonight, I made vegetables the star of the show.  Using the same flavors that resonate with the comforts of family and late fall, these dishes will take your mouth on a tour of the holiday table without all the fuss.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
3 large portobello mushrooms
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 medium sticks of celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 Tbsp ground walnuts
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup of your favorite seasonal beer
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

In a saute pan, heat olive oil and butter then add diced carrots, celery, onion and fresh herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about ten minutes over a medium flame, stirring often, then add ground walnuts and cook for another five minutes.  Deglaze your pan with beer and cook until liquid has been absorbed.  Set your stuffing aside and saute mushrooms in olive oil until soft then top with your stuffing.

Potato Leek Soup
2 large leeks, rinsed (very well), halved and thin sliced
2 small onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 small white potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup of your favorite seasonal beer
3 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

In a large pot, heat olive oil then saute leeks, onion and garlic until soft.  Stir in herbs then deglaze your pot with beer.  Add in potatoes and vegetable stock.  Cook until potatoes are fork tender then puree.  Finish with butter.

Here's to happy, healthy and holiday eats...

Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Mash

With cold and flu season right around the corner, it’s time to start stocking up on some immune boosting foods! Fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E can help reduce your risk of coming down with a nasty cold.

These antioxidant vitamins are natural immunity boosters that help your body ward off infection and stress. In fact, your body’s disease fighting cells called white blood cells are considerably increased after consuming an antioxidant rich meal. So it’s a good bet that you’ll instantly improve your immune protection just by increasing your overall intake of fruits and vegetables. But some of the best seasonal sources of antioxidants can be found in foods like carrots and pumpkin for vitamin A, broccoli and cauliflower for vitamin C, and almonds and hazelnuts for vitamin E.

Researchers have demonstrated that vitamin A enhances your body’s response to disease by increasing the number of and ability for your white blood cells to attack disease-causing germs. Eating a diet rich in vitamin A also protects the integrity of your body’s cells. So the next time you’re in the grocery store or at your local farmers’ market, think orange for vitamin A and bring home some sweet potatoes and bell peppers for dinner!

Vitamin C, popularly known as the flu-fighting vitamin, is naturally found in high concentration in white blood cells. This makes vitamin C an essential component to immunity, but researchers warn against the traditional use of high doses when fighting the flu. Common side effects of mega-dosing include indigestion and diarrhea so moderate your intake by consuming vitamin C as part of your diet rather than by the pill. Bell peppers, parsley, chili peppers, Brussels sprouts as well as most fruits are rich in this immune boosting antioxidant.

Foods like turnip greens, spinach and mango contain large amounts of vitamin E which aid in the maturation of white blood cells. Without this process, your body’s immune system would be too weak to fight against the various viruses and bacteria that you leave feeling sick.

And with cold and flu bugs running rampant through winter, get all the protection you can and remember to pick up some seasonal flu-fighting foods on your next shopping trip. Think carrots and squash for vitamin A, cabbage and potatoes for vitamin C, and plenty of nuts for vitamin E.

Try this tasty recipe for an instant immunity boost!

Roasted Cauliflower & Potato Mash
2 large potatoes, skins on (for added antioxidants and fiber) and chopped
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
8 oz plain Greek yogurt
Handful of parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350.  Place chopped potatoes and cauliflower in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper then mix to evenly coat the vegetables.  Roast in oven until vegetables are browned and softened.  In a large pot, saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown.  Combine with cooked vegetables and Greek yogurt then blend until smooth.  Mix in parsley and enjoy!  This recipe is a significant source of vitamin C to help stay strong through flu season.

Here's to happy, healthy and immune boosting eats!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Pierogies

These roasted pumpkin and cauliflower pierogies are a healthy treat that will make your mouth water.  Cauliflower and pumpkin are a high fiber combination that is rich in antioxidant vitamins A and C so feel good serving these pierogies with a drizzle of brown butter sage sauce.

Roasted Pumpkin Pierogies with Brown Butter Sage Sauce
1 pumpkin, halved and roasted
1 head of orange cauliflower, chopped and roasted
1 package of wonton wrappers
1 whole egg
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Canola oil
1/4 stick of salted butter
6 to 8 sage leaves
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Preheat your oven to 350.  Halve the pumpkin and place flesh side down on a baking sheet.  Chop cauliflower into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.  Spread cauliflower on a second baking sheet in a single layer.  Cook vegetables until browned and softened then process until smooth in a food processor.  This can all be done a day in advance. 

Whisk a single egg in a small bowl and set aside.  Place a small spoon of your pumpkin and cauliflower mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper.  Dip your finger into the egg mixture and spread along the edge of the wrapper then fold and press together to form a half circle.  Continue until you finish using all your vegetable.

Pan fry your pierogies in canola oil until browned and crisp on both sides.  To make the brown butter sage sauce, place a 1/4 stick of butter in a small, flat pan and cook until browned.  Add in sage leaves and fry until crisp -- about one minute.  Drizzle on top of your pierogies and enjoy a taste of fall!

Here's to happy, healthy and drizzled with delicious eats...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Green with Envy

Nutrition Tip!
The calcium in dark leafy greens is best absorbed in your body when
eaten along with a vitamin C rich food like tomato sauce.  

When you're having leftovers for dinner, think green.  Dark leafy greens like radish tops make a delicious and healthy addition to your reheated homemade tomato sauce and pasta dinner.  Radish greens can be substituted for turnip greens, kale, collard, spinach or any other leafy green that has been sitting uneaten in your refrigerator.  Just saute in a bit of chopped garlic and extra virgin olive oil with a dash of salt then add to your reheated sauce for an extra boost of calcium in your evening meal. 

Here's to happy and bone healthy eats...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beer Braised Greens

Beer braised greens and lean turkey burgers is a healthy and hearty meal that will please any man.  That's a promise I stand behind as this meal has been man-tested (and girlfriend-approved)! 

Beer Braised Greens
3 bunches of any dark leafy green (such as collards, kale or chard)
5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
1 bottle of your favorite craft beer or, my favorite, pumpkin ale
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground clove
Kosher salt to taste

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Remove the rib of your greens then cut in half lengthwise and chop into inch-thick strips. Rinse your greens several times to remove any grit or sand. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil.  When hot, cook garlic until golden brown then remove from pan.  Add in greens, stirring continuously.  (You may have to do this half at a time depending on the size of your skillet.)  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and cook greens until just wilted.  Pour in beer, add spices and continue to cook for about 10 to 12 minutes until liquid has reduced by at least half.  While this is cooking, start another pan to cook your onions.  Heat canola oil then add onions when hot.  Cook, stirring continuously, until perfectly caramelized.  Remove your cooked greens when done and combine with garlic and onions.

Serve with a lean turkey burger topped with caramelized onions, Vermont cheddar cheese and, for an extra kick of flavor, apple cider hot sauce! 

Here's to happy, healthy and manly eats...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Curried Egg Salad with Apple

{Apple picking at Lagoner Farms in Williamson, NY!}

Apple picking is a fall favorite.  And what better way to celebrate a seasonal harvest than with a meal that puts the fruit in the forefront.  Apple gives this warmly spiced egg salad a tart crisp which goes well when paired with a deliciously smooth tomato soup on a cold and rainy night.

Curried Egg Salad with Apple
6 whole eggs, hard boiled
1 apple, finely diced
1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cardamom
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes (for hard boiling the eggs)

Mash hard boiled eggs with diced apple.  Mix in mayonnaise, mustard and spices until well combined.  Serve on a sandwich or enjoy by the spoonful.

Twenty Minute Tomato Soup
1 large tomato, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 handful of parsley, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

In a small pot, heat olive oil.  When hot, add onion and garlic and cook until soft.  Add tomatoes, stirring often, and cook until soft.  Add tomato paste and chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and reduce to desired consistency.  Add parsley and season.  Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream or simply by the bowl.

Here's to happy, healthy and simply delicious eats...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spicy Dal

Dal is an authentic Indian dish usually made with lentils or some other form of dried peas or beans which makes it an extremely high protein stew.  It also contains a variety of aromatic spices and vegetables that will fill your mouth with tons of flavor and good-for-you nutrition.  With just one pot and a chopping block, I dare you to try this spicy dal for your next dinner.

Spicy Dal
1 1/2 cup dried lentils, cooked
1 1/2 inches of ginger root, minced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 onions, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 bunch of braising greens (such as Collards, Chard or Kale), finely chopped
1 large handful parsley, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp mustard seed
2 1/2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp turmeric
2 1/2 tbsp ground coriander seed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Chili powder, to taste (optional)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil.  When hot, stir in mustard seeds and cook until they begin to flutter then add in ginger, garlic, onions and jalapeno.  Cook vegetables until soft then add cumin, turmeric, coriander and chili powder (optional).  Stir for a few minutes then add chopped tomatoes and cook until softened.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook to desired consistency.  Add cooked lentils and chopped greens, stirring well.  Season with salt and pepper.

{Our fifteenth fruit and vegetable share.  Beautiful as always!}

Here's to happy, healthy and spicy eats...