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Posts Tagged ‘healthy recipes’

Caponata

 

As I’ve said more than a few times in my ramblings, Steve, my husband, does not much care for eggplant so I always have to hide it under other flavors and textures. For a tasty side dish to serve along with a flank steak marinated in olive oil and rosemary, I combined the eggplant with zucchini and tomato to make a sort-of caponata. Thought I made enough to serve throughout the week, but our guests liked it so much there was nothing left to stretch out meals during the week. Here’s what I did:

 

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to taste

1 sweet onion, peeled and diced

1 head fresh green garlic, chopped (had just picked a bunch up at the greenmarket, but a couple of

cloves of garlic would work just as well)

Salt

2 small eggplant, trimmed and diced

2 large zucchini, trimmed and diced

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice

A handful of basil leaves

About 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Chili flakes as many or as few as you want – I tend to be heavy-handed

Ground black pepper

 

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened a bit. Stir in the eggplant and continue to cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant has absorbed some of the oil and begun to soften. Add the zucchini and tomatoes along with the basil and oregano. Season with chile flakes and pepper, cover, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for about an hour or until the vegetables are soft and the flavors are nicely blended. You may want to add more olive oil along the way; I like the fruitiness of it so often add more than I probably should.

Remove from the heat and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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Kale Salad_DSC_3373

I know, I know everyone is getting tired of being bombarded by kale, but it is so good for you, filled with vitamins and minerals, inexpensive, and versatile that I just have to add my voice.  At the moment, kale is high on our list because of its cancer-fighting properties.  My son, Mickey, is fighting lung cancer (no he never smoked, was a runner in the best of health until now) and kale contains sulforaphane which offers strong anti-cancer qualities as well as indole-3-carbinal, a chemical which seems to help in blocking the growth of cancer cells.  I’m not crazy about it raw, but to retain its amazing strength I often just wilt it by adding something hot to it as I did in this salad.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup quinoa (plain or multi-colored)
2 cups vegetable broth or water
Salt
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed and finely chopped
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Citrus Dressing (recipe follows)

Place the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.  Set aside to drain well.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until just beginning to color.  Stir in the quinoa and then add the broth and season with salt to taste.  Raise the heat and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower the heat, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the broth has been absorbed.  Remove from the heat and set aside to steam for about 5 minutes.
Place the kale in a large salad bowl.  Pour the hot quinoa over the kale and, using your hands (I use thick rubber gloves to keep my hands from burning) toss the quinoa along with the pumpkin seeds into the kale.  When just about totally combined, add just enough vinaigrette to season nicely and continue to toss and blend.  Taste and, if necessary, season with salt and pepper.
Serve at room temperature.

 

Citrus Dressing
Makes about 1 cup
5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon mirin
½ tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon ginger juice
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons white miso paste
6 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the vinegar, orange juice, mirin, tamari, and ginger juice in a jar with a lid.  Cover and shake to blend.  Uncover, add the orange zest and miso and, again, shake to blend.  Open, add the canola oil, recover, and shake and shake to emulsify.  Taste and, if desired, season with salt and pepper.

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Radishes_DSC_4652

There were so many radishes in the farmers market that I just had to buy a few bunches.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but they were irresistible and only $1 a bunch.  We ate some chilled, with sweet butter and sea salt, tossed some in salads, and then I did the classic French side dish, radishes braised in butter to accompany some grilled chicken breasts.  You never see cooked radishes on menus anymore, but this braise is a very traditional French summer dish.  If you use bright red radishes, they will lose quite a bit of their color when cooked.

2 bunches crisp radishes
3 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth or even water
½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

Trim the radishes, leaving just a bit of the stem.  Scrub them well as dirt can often cling around the stem and root end.  If they have stringy rootlets, pull these off and discard them.
Melt the butter in a frying pan large enough to hold the radishes in a single layer over medium heat.  Add the radishes, stock, and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, lower the heat, and braise for about 20 minutes or until easily pierced with the point of a small sharp knife.
Remove from the heat, stir in the zest, and serve.

 

©StephenKolyer_Radish

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first-spring-dinner-801

The only real spring product in this dinner was the asparagus, but it was, at long last, local.  This has been such a long winter that any sign of spring has been welcomed with enthusiasm.  Very slowly, spring omens have appeared – first thin stalks of asparagus, just the past week ramps have shown their bright green leaves at the farmers market, but I think that they are being picked far too young as you barely see the white stalks as they are so thin and not scallion-like or bulbed at all.
I sautéed the asparagus with some parmacotto ham that I had leftover from a little pre-wedding cocktail gathering we had for friends.  I seasoned it with a touch of sherry vinegar and that was it.  The sweet potatoes were the last touch of winter and the chicken breast is my year-round go-to for a quick dinner.

 

first-spring-dinner-806

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Watermelon_Radish_Chips_IMG_0415

The other day we were experimenting with egg rolls and dumplings and I remembered that I had some turnips in the back of the fridge.  Why not pickle them for a refreshing crunch with the steamed dumplings and fried egg rolls, thought I.  So I rummaged around in the fridge and found a bag of 5 healthy looking, perfectly round “turnips.”  As I began to trim one, I thought this doesn’t look like a turnip, but I continued to peel it so I could do some paper thin slices on the mandoline.  As I began slicing what should appear but the most beautiful explosion of red in the center.  I didn’t have turnips at all but watermelon radishes.  I had to find my grocery recipe just to check if I had completely lost it and there it was turnips @ $1.99 a pound.  Felt a little saner, but by then I had lost my interest in pickling.  So, before I fried the egg rolls, I decided to fry the radish slices and make some salty chips to accent our Asian treats.  You know what – they were sweet and crisp and made a perfect accompaniment.  But I still have 4 radishes left to pickle and that will happen on another day.

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            Cauliflower_IMG_3016

 

Within the last couple of years, every restaurant in New York City and every food magazine adopted kale as their go-to vegetable.  Kale was dried, sautéed, baked, drizzled, wrapped, and, primarily, served raw.  The latter is all well and good when the kale is young and fresh from the garden, but, for me, big tough raw leaves do not make a satisfying salad or side.  Cooked, that’s a different matter – once they are soft and unctuous anything goes, but garlic, lemon, and olive oil really do put icing on that cake.  By this past spring, I’d had it with kale and threatened to never, ever eat it again.

BUT, then last week I saw some deep green, curly leaves in the farmers market and I was hooked.  At the same time, I purchased a big, creamy white cauliflower and some yellow beets and somehow all of those fall wonders came together in my mind and I produced this salad which instantly turned into a “make that again” dish.

I pulled the cauliflower apart into little florets and roasted the whole batch in olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a very hot (425ºF) oven until the florets were golden brown and crisp around the edges.

While the cauliflower was roasting, the kale was cut into ribbons and the beets into julienne and tossed together in a big bowl.  When the cauliflower was done I scraped the whole hot mess into the kale mix and tossed the salad together.  The heat wilted the kale – just enough to tenderize it nicely.  I added a light vinaigrette made with moscato vinegar and olive oil – gave a taste and added some sea salt and pepper.  And, what did I get – a delicious fall salad that was about as nutritious and satisfying as it could possibly be —- next time, I’m going to try tossing it into some hot pasta with some lemon zest and freshly toasted bread crumbs added at the last minute.

 

Yummy_Fall_Salad_R0011041

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