November 30, 2017
Carrot Ginger and Fennel Soup
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
3 pounds organic carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium high heat, and cook the onion and fennel until soft. Add a big pinch of sea salt, and stir in the carrots, ginger, and ground spices. Cook for 3-4 minutes to intensify the flavor of the spices. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot. Stir in the orange juice and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper or additional citrus.
Warm Butternut Squash Farro Salad
Serves 3-4 as a main course or 6 as a side
2 cups butternut squash, chopped into ½” cubes
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro
2 cups organic vegetable stock
½ cup chopped Italian parsley
for the dressing, whisk together:
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the coconut or olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and roast for about 30 minutes, until the squash begins to brown at the edges.
Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine the farro and the vegetable stock. Add a pinch of salt if the vegetable stock does not have any. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a medium low and cook about 20 minutes, until al dente. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Drain the farro if necessary and toss with the dressing in a shallow bowl.
Fold in the roasted butternut squash and the chopped parsley. Allow the combined squash and farro to sit for at least 45 minutes so the flavors can build together. Serve at room temperature or cold.
- Serve as a bed for roast turkey, baked salmon, or grilled shrimp to complete a main course
- Serve in a roasted acorn squash half for a vegetarian main course
- Add cannellini beans or roasted mushrooms for a heartier vegetarian version
- Use any favorite herbs
- Add roasted cherry tomatoes and basil when they are in season
- Add shaved Parmesan or Goat Lady chevre
August 29, 2017
Here is a major short cut recipe:
Easy Black Bean Cakes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup panko or other breadcrumbs
½ cup salsa
½ cup corn
½ cup chopped peppers
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon chopped red onion or shallot
Combine beans, breadcrumbs, and salsa in a bowl. Smash together with hands or the back of a spoon. Shape into 6 or more cakes or patties.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Cook black bean cakes over medium heat for 2- 3 minutes on each side. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
August 28, 2017
Jicama, Orange & Fennel Salad
I don’t often think of serving oranges in summer, but this salad is so refreshing and the familiarity of the oranges encourages people to try it even if they aren’t familiar with jicama or raw fennel. Because the jicama is a great source of prebiotic fiber and the arugula is a cruciferous vegetable, this dish is an especially healthy choice to add to summer cookouts or fall tailgate buffets.
To make enough for a small platter of about six servings, you will need 4 navel oranges, 1 small jicama about the size of a small orange, 1 small fennel bulb, and 1 five-ounce box of mixed baby arugula and spinach.
Prepare the oranges by slicing the segments away from each membrane, and set them aside. Peel the jicama and fennel and slice them into thin strips.
Whisk together for a dressing: 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove, minced, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons maple syrup; then whisk in 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. You can also boost the flavor by adding 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds to the dressing.
Refrigerate the ingredients and dressing until shortly before you plan to serve. Assemble the salad by putting down a layer of arugula and spinach and layering jicama slices over the greens. Drizzle with dressing and then top with fennel. Arrange the orange sections on top and perhaps add more dressing.
Spicy: You could spice things up using radishes instead of jicama or add them to these ingredients.
Sweet: You could add blueberries or watermelon, or use either of these in place of the oranges.
Green: You could add cilantro or parsley to the bed of greens.
Serve at brunch after eggs, or with burgers and hot dogs at a cookout, or as an accompaniment to shrimp or fish tacos. For a light lunch you could add pumpkin seeds and avocado and serve the salad on its own.
March 11, 2017
Lentil Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing
¾ cups French lentils
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
2 cups water or vegetable broth
¼ cup olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste (from about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons tahini
1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch radishes, scrubbed and quartered
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Rinse the lentils and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with an inch or two of water and add a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and keep at a low boil for 20-22 minutes until cooked through. Drain and rinse, and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the rinsed quinoa and the water or broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, insert a clean towel or paper towel under the lid, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, which gives it time to fluff up without any condensation falling back in to the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and several twists of freshly ground pepper. Taste, and add up to 1 more tablespoon of lemon juice and/or more pepper, if desired.
Place the quinoa in a large bowl. Add the lentils, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, zucchini and chives. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or let it cool and refrigerate for later. This salad is a great make-it-ahead dish for work week lunches or a fun picnic.
March 10, 2017
Think Outside the Box … of Crackers
Sweet Potato Toast
Here’s a great healthy food swap that’s oh so versatile. Use a round of toasted sweet potato in place of a cracker or bread for an hors d’oeuvres or even breakfast. It’s Whole 30 compliant, and it’s a neutral start you can adapt for lots of different palates. Make it savory or sweet… the possibilities are pretty much endless!
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees or use a toaster on the highest setting if you are preparing one or two large slices. Scrub the sweet potatoes and leave their skin on. Any variety of sweet potato will work. Slice them evenly to ¼” thickness. I slice them crosswise if I’m preparing an hors d’oeuvres, as pictured here, and lengthwise if I’m using them for a larger gluten-free toast. Lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or place them directly on the racks of your toaster. Bake them for up to 20 minutes, flipping over about halfway through cooking, until the slices are beginning to brown.
For a light savory hors d’oeuvres with a distinctive taste, I paired Japanese sweet potato toasts with a bit of arugula and some Goat Lady Dairy Smoky Mountain chevre.
Try it any other way you can think of or check out the nearly 7,000 posts at #sweetpotatotoast.
Toasted Sweet Potato topped with sweet or savory flavors
- Almond butter, banana slices, chia seeds, and a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Kite Hill non-dairy cream cheese and fresh blueberries
- Good ole’ PB&J
- Avocado and freshly ground black pepper
- Cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, and chives
- Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese and arugula or rosemary
- Bacon, egg, and avocado
- Beet Hummus and chives
February 8, 2017
It’s easy to forget a root vegetable can be packed with flavor. The bags of organic carrots at the supermarket don’t offer much big taste. But if you can get your hands on the real thing that grew in the ground near your home, well, that’s a totally different experience. There’s a new farmer from Hillsborough at my local farmers market, and the carrots she is selling are out of this world – juicy, crunchy, and so sweet. Now I’m hoping I can keep getting these carrots until the spring vegetables arrive in a couple months.
This warm lentil salad with carrots and parsnips concentrates the flavor of the vegetables whether you have access to fresh local ones or need to rely on grocery store produce. There’s a pretty substantial spice rub on the roasted vegetables, but the lemon at the end is the most prominent seasoning. It’s a hearty vegetarian main course, and it would also work well as a side for fish, chicken, or pork.
Warm Lentil and Root Vegetable Salad with Coconut Tzatziki
adapted from Food & Wine serves 4-6
1 cup French lentils
1 lbs. carrots, cut on a bias into 2-inch pieces
1 lbs. parsnips, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons)
¾ cup chopped mint, plus torn leaves for garnish
¾ cup chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
1 cup coconut milk or cashew yogurt (non-dairy brands such as So Delicious or Forager)
¼ cup finely diced seeded cucumber
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Drain, sprinkle with salt, and set aside in a large shallow bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large sheet pan toss the carrots and parsnips together with the cumin, coriander, and ancho chile powder. Drizzle with ¼ cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 25 minutes, until vegetables are beginning to brown.
Add the roasted vegetables to the lentils and toss with lemon juice and ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil. Fold in the mint and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the tzatziki, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and serve alongside the warm salad.
January 30, 2017
Colorful, versatile, and good for you. Here’s a grain salad that stands alone as a hearty main course and travels well for picnics and lunches to go. Add poached salmon or grilled meat for an easy make-it-ahead dinner. If you prefer gluten-free, substitute brown rice for the farro.
Winter Rainbow Grain Salad
Makes 6 servings
1 bunch Lacinato kale, stemmed and sliced into ¼” ribbons
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups butternut squash, chopped in ½” cubes
1 small head cauliflower or broccoli, cut into florets
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups farro
1 bay leaf
red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
½ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup toasted pine nuts or shelled pistachios, optional
Toss the kale with the lemon juice and massage the leaves for about 1 minute. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large sheet pan, toss the cauliflower or broccoli with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. On a second sheet pan, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside the roasted vegetables.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the farro, 1 teaspoon salt, bay leaf, and a pinch of red pepper flakes with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes or until the farro is tender. Drain, discard the bay leaf, and toss the farro with the dressing.
To make the dressing, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium low heat, add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Off the heat, add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Whisk together and stir into the farro. In the same pan, heat 1 more tablespoon olive oil and sauté the brussels sprouts for 5 minutes or beginning to brown at the edges.
In a large bowl combine the farro, roasted vegetables, and brussels sprouts. Fold in the kale. Top with the pomegranate seeds and nuts, if using. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
December 29, 2016
Starting the New Year with Luck and Money
Here’s a regional tradition this transplant to the South is glad to embrace. These are good for you, for sure, and they taste great. Of course, the traditional dish calls for collard greens, but a couple months ago I discovered Brussels Greens at our local farmers market, and I like them even better because they are a bit more tender and sweet, like very small collard greens would be. Black eyed peas are usually the only field peas available locally at this time of year, but if there are others in your area, don’t hesitate to use your favorite.
Ring in the new year with a helping of smoky stewed greens and black eyed peas.
Brussels Greens and Black Eyed Peas
for 6 servings
1/4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced
2 lbs. Brussels greens (or collards), stemmed and chopped into 1/4 inch ribbons
a big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups cooked black eyed peas
3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
Warm the oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and beginning to brown. Meanwhile, toast the red pepper flakes in a dry pan for about two minutes over medium heat. Stir the chopped greens into the onions and add the toasted red pepper and a big pinch of salt. After a couple minutes, add the wine and reduce the heat to medium low. Stirring occasionally, cook for 30 minutes or longer, depending on your greens, until they are soft. When the greens are tender, stir in the cooked black-eyed peas and the cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer and stir in the adobo sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 10 minutes.
This recipe is adapted from the James Beard award-winning Ashley Christensen, whose contributions to North Carolina’s food renaissance showcase the best of our foods from mountains to coast.
November 30, 2016
I’d rather not fill a prescription at the pharmacy, and it’s not just because of the crowds in line. The first seasonal colds and viruses circulating through my community, and more recently in my own body, remind me of the value of a good homemade “medicine.” It’s a boost to our immune systems when we eat whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, especially foods that deliver a great Rx of anti-inflammatory properties. I’ll take a bowl of soup or stew over a dose of NyQuil anyday!
You probably already have your favorite recipes for bone broths or chicken soup to nurse a cold or ward one off, so this recipe is a plant-based alternative that counts on shiitake mushrooms, butternut squash, lima beans, and kale to deliver a healing elixir.
Green and Gold Stew
makes 2.5 quarts, or 6 hearty servings
stems from wild mushrooms to make mushroom stock
extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms or other wild mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
5 cups butternut squash, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
1 bay leaf
8 cups homemade mushroom stock
6 cups thinly sliced Lacinato kale (leaves from a small bunch)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Clean the mushrooms one by one with a damp paper towel and cut off their stems. Place the mushroom stems in a medium saucepan with 8 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer while you prepare the rest of the stew. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the onion and garlic to a large bowl and set aside while you cook the mushrooms. Add a slick of oil to the hot pot and toss in about half of the mushrooms, cooking and stirring occasionally until they begin to brown. Add the browned mushrooms to the onion mixture and repeat with the remaining mushrooms. When all of the mushrooms have been browned, return the onion and mushrooms to the pot and add the squash, lima beans, and bay leaf. Remove the mushroom stock from the heat and strain it through a sieve into the bowl that held the onions and mushrooms. Discard the stems. Pour the stock over the stew vegetables and bring everything to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Season with a few big grinds of black pepper. Cook 40-50 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and add the ribbons of kale, stirring to combine. Cook 5 minutes longer until the kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
February 13, 2016
This salad is truly a labor of love. It’s best made when friends or family gather in the kitchen and you have plenty of hands to keep busy. Once you have spread out your mounds of fresh herbs, picking all these cups of leaves will probably still take a group of four about fifteen minutes – or at least that’s been my experience with a few chatty groups so far!
Etti’s Herb Salad
From Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi Serves 6
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 ¼ cups Italian parsley leaves
2 cups dill leaves
1 cup tarragon leaves
1 ¼ cups basil leaves
2 cups arugula leaves
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 heaping cup whole raw almonds
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Gently immerse the herb leaves in cold water, and be careful not to bruise them. Drain in a colander, then dry in a salad spinner or spread them out on clean kitchen towels and pat gently to dry.
Heat the butter in a pan, and add the almonds, salt, and pepper. Sautéeé for 5 to 6 minutes over low to medium heat, until the almonds are golden. Remove the almonds and transfer to a colander to drain. Reserve the butter left in the pan, and keep it in a warm place so it does not set. Once the almonds have cooled, coarsely chop them.
Assemble the salad when it will be served: Place the herbs in a large bowl; add almonds, cooking butter, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss gently and season to taste. Serve immediately.
Why It’s Good For You
Fresh herbs deliver loads of chlorophyll to your body, which detoxifies your blood from metals and feeds the good gut bacteria. The nutrient density of fresh herbs is really remarkable. Consider this salad a powerhouse multi-vitamin: Parsley and basil are high in vitamin K, which protects cells from oxidative damage, as well as vitamin A. Parsley is also packed with iron to boost your energy. Cilantro may reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood. It is high in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, and a good source of folate, and fiber, as well as minerals calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Like so many herbs, cilantro is also a great source of vitamins K, A, and C. Dill is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and it is a good source of folate as well as minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Arugula’s sulfurous glucosinolates protect cells from DNA damage, lower inflammation and protect against UV damage. Almonds are a great source of good-for-you fat as well as vitamin E.