Monthly Archives: November 2011

To eat well, we must first eat moderately…

Mark Bittman, Food Matters (2009)

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November 30, 2011 · 1:36 pm

Fall Salad

I’m still playing with this one.  Ate a huge bowl for dinner last night and can’t resist sharing. Not sure the dressing is perfect, but I love the cardamom with the roasted sweet potatoes and goat cheese. And it is truly beautiful on the plate–Give it a try, and let me know if/how you tweak the dressing.

 Serves 3-4 as side salad. Approximate.

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½“ dice
1-2 T olive oil
Sea salt
5 oz. baby spinach
3oz crumbled goat cheese
1/3 c. (or more) roasted, salted pepitas

2 T. honey
1 T. poppy or balsamic vinegar
1-2 T olive oil
¾ tsp. freshly crushed cardamom seed
2-3 tsp. water (opt.)

Toss sweet potato with olive oil and salt and roast in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until lightly roasted.

In a large bowl, whisk together honey, vinegar, 1 T. olive oil and cardamom until combined. Taste. Add additional oil if too intense. Consider thinning with water. Toss spinach, pepitas and feta with dressing. Spoon warm sweet potato on top.

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Tortilla Pizzas

My kids can’t get enough of these. Success depends on good-quality ingredients and the full-flavored sauce. I serve them with a soup or salad for dinner, but the recipe makes enough sauce for 14 “pizzas,” so I usually have more cheese and tortillas on hand to make another batch after dinner to pack in the kids’ lunches. They are delicious cold. 

Six “pizzas”

28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 ½ tsp. chopped garlic
2 T. dry vermouth
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 T. pesto
cooking spray
12 T. good-quality cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 oz.)
6 T. parmesan cheese, grated on a micro plane (about 1 oz.)
6 6-inch corn tortillas

Combine tomatoes, sugar, red pepper, garlic, vermouth and black pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn down heat and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Stir in pesto and simmer until thick, about 15 minutes longer. (The volume should be reduced by about half.) Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Arrange tortillas on baking sheet (they may overlap slightly). Using the back of a spoon, spread each tortilla with 2 T. sauce, leaving an 1/8” border around edge. Sprinkle each tortilla with 2 T. cheddar cheese, and 1 T. parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, 12-15 minutes. Let set a few minutes before serving.

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Beans, Beans, Beans

  • 1lb navy beans, soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 very large onion, diced
  • 6 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red jalapeno pepper, diced
  • pinch chipotle chile powder
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • water
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • salt
Place first six ingredients in bowl. Add water to cover.  Bring to a boil and turn down heat.  Stir in tomato paste.  Simmer until very tender, 2-3 hours.  Taste for salt.
Serve in wide shallow bowls with sliced avocado, roasted cherry tomatoes and chopped cilantro.

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Secret Ingredient Brownies

Craving something sweet.  Made these for after-school snacks. Will freeze any extra for lunch-box treats. 

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed very well and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 T. canola oil
  • 1+ c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T. spiced rum (opt.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • salt (opt)
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries, soaked to plump in spiced rum or water and drained (opt)
  • 1/2 c. chopped toasted walnuts (opt), combined with 1 tsp. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 ^ F.  Coat 8×8″ pan with cooking spray.

Place black beans bowl of a food processor and process until a paste forms.  Add eggs, oil,  1 c. sugar, cocoa powder, brown rice flour, xantham gum and baking powder.  Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.  Add spiced rum (if using) and vanilla and almond extracts.  Process to combine.  Taste.  Add salt and more sugar if needed.  Fold in dried cherries and walnuts, if using. Spread in prepared pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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Roasted Cauliflower

One of my favorite mid-morning meals, the cauliflower gently caramelizes, turning soft-sweet and crispy-edged, and the onions get sweet and luscious and practically melt in your mouth. The key here is seasoning– it needs nice amount of salt.  Sometimes before serving, I sprinkle a tablespoon of finely grated sharp cheese on each bowl.

  • Head cauliflower, cut into 1″ bites
  • Large red onion, cut into wide wedges
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Toss together in 9×13″ pan and spread to a single layer. Roast at 375^F for 35 minutes or so, stirring half-way through.  Serves 1-2.

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You are what you eat….

Not to sound trite, but sometimes we need reminding.  For many of us, food is so readily available, so easy to procure, that we barely give thought to to the act of eating.  We are so busy rushing around, meeting deadlines, dropping off kids, that we often eat absentmindedly, whatever is on hand.  We have such an amazing array of comestibles on hand. We can walk into virtually any store– even a gas station– and grab something to fill our bellies.  And move on.  Because really, as North Americans, that seems to be our purpose, moving on.And yet, with all our wealth, our vast array of foodstuffs, our enviable access to food, medicine, and leisure time, we still have sky-high rates of lifestyle-related illnesses, and our stress levels are some of the highest in the world.  Why?  Why do we do this to ourselves? There seems to be a real disconnect these days between what we put into our bodies and how our bodies run.  The American diet, dominated by market economics and politicized nutritional advice, is slowly robbing many of us of our life and health.  This blog is my attempt to reshape my family’s diet. I hope to provide nourishing food in the context of this culture, to encourage my family to make small but meaningful food decisions, to create a map for how to eat and live well.

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