Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

The Best Roasted Kale Chips


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I have been experimenting with kale chips for awhile, mostly focussing on the spice factor. I discovered however, that using a different variety of kale is the real secret to improvement. When regular kale is roasted, it becomes so brittle (because it is a thin leaf), that just picking it up causes it to crumble. A variety called Lacinato kale has a thicker leaf, therefore is sturdier when roasted.

So now I have the perfect leaf and spices that will even get your kids to gobble these up. Quantities are loose here, since every head of kale is different, so you have to be a little flexible.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F or 375degrees if using a convection oven. Use a head of Lacinato kale (or a different flatter, thicker leafed kale than the traditional one). For best results, prepare the kale before washing/drying. Cut out the hard spine that runs in the center of the leaves. Break up the pieces of kale into approximately 2-3″ pieces. Soak in cold water, swishing the leaves around to loosen any sandy earth. Remove the leaves by hand, into a strainer (don’t dump it out or you pour the sand onto the leaves again!). Repeat the process one more time. Now drain and dry thoroughly. A salad spinner works wonders if you have one.

Very finely grate a hard cheese such as parmigiana reggiano, so it is snowy fine. 

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Lightly coat a large cookie sheet with good olive oil. I use Lyrika Groves. It’s expensive, but worth it! (Shameless plug: https://www.facebook.com/LyriKaGrovesOrganicExtraVirginOliveOil) Place your kale leaves in a large bowl and lightly coat with oil. Toss well for even distribution.

Lay out your kale pieces, touching, but not overlapping. Spread a dusting of the grated cheese evenly on the leaves, followed by a VERY light dusting of chili pepper. (When the kale shrinks, the chile gets more potent, so unless you like your mouth ON FIRE, use sparingly.) 

Here’s the main potential for kale chip destruction: Place the tray in the preheated oven. DO NOT WALK AWAY. If you must multitask, do it in front of your oven. Leave the oven light on so you can observe the chips. They go from “not ready” to “ready” in seconds!

Figure on about 10 minutes, but since ovens vary, watch your chips. When they appear to have shrunk about a third to a half in size, open the oven gingerly, remove a chip with a small spatula and test it. It should be nice and crisp. If you have distributed the leaves evenly on the sheet, all the chips will be ready when the sample is.

Let cool completely and store in a tight plastic container. I guarantee, they won’t last long!

 

 

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Faux Aged Modena Vinegar


OK, I admit it. I have become addicted to aged vinegar. And when you need a lot of something that is expensive, you need to look for alternatives. I searched for “faux” aged vinegar and found a good number of sites, many of them with the same recipe. So I set out to experiment.

Having tried in the past to reduce vinegar, my big takeaway was that you DO NOT do this in the house. Your lungs and eyes will sting and you will choke from the acid in the air. I am not kidding about this. Do it outside. I went and bought a $15 single burner that I could use outside on the deck (a good investment since one good bottle of aged vinegar easily goes for $35 and up).

The first recipe had to boil for awhile to reduce it. I left it unattended and it seized, like candy when it exceeds the perfect temperature. I threw away the pot and tried  another recipe, this time attending to it as it boiled. It wasn’t quite right. So I adjusted a bit until I found what I considered very passable “aged” vinegar, for the price – less than $5.00. for 8 oz.

Don’t be put off by the sugar, as I initially was. As vinegar ages, the natural sugars emerge and it is indeed sweet. So try it and let me know how you like it.

Ingredients:

1 cup inexpensive Modena vinegar. I like Trader Joe’s in the 33.8 oz jug. $3.50
4 oz. inexpensive port wine
3 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
3 Tbs. Turbinado sugar

Directions:

Combine the vinegar and port wine in a stainless steel pot. Bring to a medium boil.  Let it boil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugars, stir to dissolve and continue boiling . Watch it closely and stir continuously, for another 4 minutes.

Remove from heat, let cool and enjoy!

*If you want it a bit thicker, boil it longer, but before you add the sugar.

You can add an essence like blueberry. Wash and thoroughly dry the fruit and add it for the first boil. Strain the mix prior to adding the sugar and continue boiling as above. You can reduce the sugar slightly when adding sweet fruit.

Grilled Japanese Eggplant


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I needed a side dish to bring to a party and had all these cute little eggplants from the farmer’s market. “What to do with them?” I thought. Well I figured making an Asian inspired dish would fit the bill, and I would feel good about bringing a healthy dish.

The eggplant is a nutritional winner. Low in calories and fat, rich in fiber, it has a low glycemic index, contains many essential vitamins and minerals and is high in antioxidants. These properties are effective in helping to control cholesterol ,  sodium and the inflammatory processes that are harmful to our bodies.

And now, the recipe . . . . . .

Use the long, skinny, baby eggplants. I used the purple and white striped variety, but any color will do. You do need the thin, baby variety however, as they have no seeds and are ore tender than the mature types.

Ingredients:

12 baby eggplants, washed, stems removed and sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup soy (regular, tamari or reduced sodium)
1/3 cup sherry or port wine
3 TBS sesame oil
1 tsp hot pepper flakes, ground (can substitute another chili-based hot sauce)
4 cloves of finely minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Roasted sesame seeds
Optional: fresh grated ginger (about 2 tsp)

Directions:

Mix the soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, pepper flakes, garlic, and black pepper and pour into a large , flat pan (a foil-lined cookie sheet is good). Place the eggplant halves in a single layer, into the pan, cut side down. Let them marinate for half an hour on the counter.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees for a convection oven, or 400 for traditional oven.

After half an hour of marinating, pour off the excess marinade into a bowl and set aside. Place the eggplant pieces into the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the eggplant over, cut side up, brush with some leftover marinade and roast for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and sprinkle roasted sesame seeds on top. This can be served hot or at room temperature.

You can also grill them on the barbecue, but use one of those mesh grill pans or the delicate eggplant will get too mushy and fall through the grates of the grill. Cook on lower heat and for less time than in the oven.

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Poached Salmon with Mustardy Lemon Dill Sauce


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Is a rainy day – just right for cooking! Everyone gets to eat well and you get another healthy recipe!
Enjoy!

Note: Although the sauce tastes deliciously rich, it is nearly fat free! Quick to make and very elegant. Serve with a green vegetable and some nice new potatoes, either boiled or roasted.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 lb salmon
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped shallots or sweet onions

Directions:

Blend the yogurt, mustard, honey, lemon juice, and dill,in a bowl. Cover, and refrigerate until time to serve.

Place the salmon in a saucepan with the white wine and water and shallots. Make sure the fish is covered. Add more water if necessary.

Cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, until salmon is easily flaked with a fork. Drain, and top with the yogurt sauce.

Cheesy Cauliflower Patties


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These patties are easy to make and the family will love them.

Ingredients:

1 head Cauliflower
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Grated sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 Cup Grated panko crumbs
1/2 tsp Cayenne papper (more if you like spicy)
Salt
Olive oil for griddle

Directions:

Steam cauliflower florets for 10 minutes (from boiling point)
Drain well and mash. Let cool.
Stir in cheese, eggs, panko, cayenne and salt.
Coat griddle with olive oil over medium heat.
Form cauliflower mixture into 3″ patties.
Cook until golden brown and set; about 3 minutes on each side.

The Simple Salad


A salad can be a feast for the eyes, which comes before the desire to eat it! We often enjoy a salad as dinner, or with dinner. Variety in color enhances the nutritional value of the meal. Salads are versatile: you can use what’s left in the fridge. It’s fast, easy and economical. This salad has only green leaf lettuce, red cabbage and yellow peppers. It is tossed simply with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a dried spice consisting of garlic, chili pepper and a little salt. While delicious on its own, you can make it dinner by throwing in small blocks of cheese, leftover roasted chicken, tuna, canned salmon, avocado, or sunflower seeds. You can make it a little sweet by adding dried cranberries, orange slices (fresh or mandarin), apples, gorgonzola (Waldorf style). You can add other greens or red lettuce, radicchio, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. A salad is really whatever you choose to put in it!

Just stay away from the creamy dressings, caesar dressing (VERY high in fat/calories) and bacon, and your meal will be very healthy.

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Mushroom Barley Soup


P1010325 (1)What could be better on a wintery day than a nice hearty, savory soup? I love making huge pots of soup in the winter and freezing family meal size portions to pop out of the freezer or to give to a sick friend. This one is filling enough for a meal with some bread and a salad. IF you prefer vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of mushrooms. Chop one pound finely and slice the other pound into thin slices. You can use any kindof mushrooms you like. Mixing varieties makes it interesting.
  • 1 Cup of pearl barley
  • 2 Quarts of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1/2 bunch of chopped, fresh dill
  • 1 cup of sherry or other wine of your choice
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Oil to brown herbs

Directions:

In a stock pot, sauté onions and garlic until just beginning to caramelize. Add chopped parsley, stir and remove from heat. Add the stock and wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any sticky onions. Add dill, salt, pepper and barley. Cover pot; bring to boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for one hour, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot every 10 minutes. After an hour, check the barley for doneness. If it is still hard, you can continue cooking the soup until the barley is tender.

There are many types of barley. Some take as little as 40 minutes to cook and some take 2 hours If you know how long your barley will take, adjust cooking times appropriately. You want the mushroom soup to cook for at least an hour but it can cook longer. If the barley is quicker cooking, add it later in the process.

Optional additions: chopped carrots, shopped spinach or kale to add extra goodness and nutrition.

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