Living and Eating Well!

 

Spicy Tuesday – Warm Roasted Veggie Salad with Herbed Mustard Dressing – Italian Seasoning

Imagine the “oohs and ahhs” from your table when you set this gorgeous platter of color down, overflowing with flavorful greens and topped with warm veggies bathed in a tangy herb filled dressing. (Not only delectable, but beautiful too!) Welcome to our Warm Roasted Veggie Salad recipe, an entrée using whatever looks pretty in the store today and whatever’s abundant in your fridge and pantry.

For the picture above we roasted green beans and asparagus, baby gold potatoes and mushrooms…but the combinations are limited only by your imagination, Make sure to include some fresh veggies to add a crispy contrast to the roasty toasty flavors. We used grape tomatoes that we halved, but shallots, green onions, carrots, celery, fennel or sliced bell peppers would all be tasty, too.

We love anchovies and they are SO good for us, so we added a row for their heart healthy components and their protein. Tuna or sardines would be an excellent choice as well, or try one of your favorite ancient grains to make this a complete meal. Last but not least its fun to add some “briny” goodness, we did it with Kalamata olives, but capers or pickles would be good too.

The spice mix we used to pull all these ingredients together? A traditional Mediterranean blend, the easy-to-find, easy-to-love Italian Seasoning. Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley and marjoram are just a few of the power packed herbs that can make up the mix – and each brings its own flavor and goodness to the whole. For example, the basil has strong flavonoids which protect your body on a cellular level. The oregano has Vitamins A,C,E, and K when you use it generously in this recipe. And the thyme is one of our powerful anti-oxidant rich herbs. You can’t go wrong with this healthy blend of herbs!

Warm Roasted Veggie Salad with Herbed Mustard Dressing

Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim or cut your favorite veggies and divide them by type and hardness. (Baby potatoes on one tray, green beans on another, etc.) Toss your veggies onto a sheet pan with a just a Tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 10 to 25 minutes depending on your choice of veggies. Remove from the oven, and while still warm toss with the dressing and arrange on a bed of greens. Add your fresh veggies and briny olives, pickles or capers, along with fish or grains. Serve while warm.

Herbed Mustard Dressing

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar

3 TB Dijon Mustard

1 Tsp Orange Juice

1 Garlic Clove, grated

2 Tsp Italian Seasoning

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste.

Shake all the ingredients together in a small jar.

Spicy Tuesday – Cumin Bread – Cumin

When talking about Cumin in our cooking classes, we always say, “it’s the original smoky-smelling spice.” If you open a bottle and take a big whiff, the semll will transport you to another country. Why? You can be cooking almost any cuisine and see cumin in the list of ingredients. Cumin has been around for a long time, too. Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and Iran, it was mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible!

A member of the parsley family, cumin has a long history of medicinal properties within Indian cuisine. Medical research has just begun to suggest the benefits of cumin to the digestive system. The spice appears to stimulate the liver to secrete more bile, which aids in the breakdown of fats and the absorption of nutrients, leading to healthier digestion. Cumin also has beneficial antioxidants like vitamin-C and vitamin-A.

Spanish and Portuguese colonists brought cumin to the Americas – the native Indian cuisines quickly adopted it to add to their cuisine. Cumin is used both in ground forms and as seeds, like we are doing in this week’s Spicy Tuesday recipe. We hope you like this quick and easy bread as much as we do!

CUMIN BREAD
Makes 1 loaf – Double the recipe to make a sheet tray like the picture.
3 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 TB Sugar
2 TB Baking Powder
2 Tsp Cumin
1/2 Tsp Dry Mustard
1 ½ Tsp Sea Salt
2 Large Eggs and 2 Large Egg Whites, beaten together
1 1/2 Cups Light Buttermilk
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Cumin Seed, toasted in a small dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic
1 Tsp Sumac*

Step One Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper, set aside. Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cumin, mustard and salt, season with pepper. Using a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring batter until just moistened.

Step Two Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with the toasted cumin seed and the sumac. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes clean, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Remove the bread from pan and cool completely on wire rack before cutting.

*(Chef Nancy borrowed the idea of this quick bread from a friend, and made it better! The sumac in the recipe is a result of a class on middle eastern foods.) Sumac is a cooking essential in the Middle East. Slightly tart and acidic it adds a pleasant lemony flavor and works as a beautiful red garnish, too.

 

Spicy Tuesday – Cinnamon Pomegranate Oranges – Cinnamon



***I know you’re never supposed to start with an apology, but oh well, I just pulled up the Living and Eating Better website to start working on this week’s blog entry. Whoops. There it is, sitting there all by itself. Never published. The post entitled, “WooHoo – It’s the Holidays, and We Are Taking a Break!” never actually got published. Big apologies! We’ve loved our time off though…

Juicy, tart, sweet and drippy – that’s what we’ve craving after the holidays. This citrus salad is the perfect antidote to a month of indulgent treats and rich traditional foods. Easy to make, keeps great in the fridge for a couple of days and mullti-talented too. Serve it up with yogurt for breakfast, have a bowl for a snack in the afternoon, and for (more) indulgence it can even be a topper for vanilla gelato.

If you can’t find the pomegranate molasses, just double the amount of honey that you use and scatter pomegranate arils over the top. It will be SO pretty and you’ll get the nourishment of the pomegranate as well.

Cinnamon is a spice we use year-round, but in the cold damp winter its spicy goodness seems even more appropriate. Cinnamon is fabulous for taste and health benefits. It can help control a person’s blood sugars during the day. It is also loaded with polyphenol antioxidants which can help you stay healthy during these cold winter months. Finally, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that help combat low grade inflammation as well.

Cinnamon Pomegranate Oranges

8 Large Navel Oranges, Sliced into Thin Rounds

8 Large Dates, Pitted and Chopped

¼ Cup Almonds, Toasted and Chopped

3 TB Honey

3 TB Pomegranate Molasses (or to Taste)

½ Tsp Cinnamon

Pinch of Salt

Place orange slices on a large platter, overlapping. Top with the dates and almonds. Whisk together the honey, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon and salt and drizzle over the platter.

Spicy Tuesday – Pretty Pumpkin Hummus – Turmeric


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Easy to make, a brilliant color and smooth creamy seasonal taste, what’s not to like about Pumpkin Hummus? We love hummus of all kinds, but pumpkin adds a unique savory flavor to the dip, so this one pops up in the healthy kitchen, often. Because it substitutes pumpkin for the oil usually found in hummus, its a super addition to the holiday appetizer table. It’s lighter but full of flavor.

There are four spices that create the big YUM in this hummus, but turmeric not only enhances the “tasty” factor, it amps up the cheerful pop of orange, too. Its not surprising that this spice goes into many of our dishes, and it’s a natural in this one too.

We love turmeric for its many health benefits. Currently there are over 6,000 peer reviewed articles, (dietician/nutrition experts look at it), explaining turmeric’s benefit to the body. Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-carcinogen. Eating the spice daily in your food can possibly help decrease joint pain, keep the brain healthy, and keep blood sugar levels under control. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Hummus with Goat Cheese

2 Cans (15 oz) Cannellini, drained and rinsed

1 Cup Canned Pumpkin (2/3 of one 15 OZ can)

2 TB Lemon Juice

2 Garlic Cloves, grated

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1 Tsp Cumin

½ Tsp Turmeric

½ Tsp Allspice

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1 Cup Crumbled Goat cheese

¼ Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

In a food processor add all ingredients except the goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Remove from the processor, spread on a plate and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese

120616 Festive Brussels Sprouts Salad – Parsley

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We love the traditional foods of the holidays…like Brussels Sprouts! But sometimes we just want to “shake it up”. This recipe takes one of our favorite veggies and uses it in a creative and beautiful salad. This crisp and crunchy full-of-flavor salad can convince even the sprouts haters to convert!

Parsley adds a bright green flavor to this salad, enhancing its fresh, lively taste. It also is a super powerhouse when it comes to anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogen food chemicals. It can even boost your immune system  – something we all want to do! Add 2 TB to your dish today and you’ll get all the wonderful health benefits of vibrant green parsley.

Festive Brussels Sprouts Salad

4 Cups ***Shredded Brussels Sprouts

2 Cups Shredded Carrots

½ Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions

½ Cup Thinly Sliced Fennel or Celery

½ Cup Pomegranate Seeds

½ Cup Golden Raisins

½ Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans

2 TB Minced Parsley

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss with the Honey Dressing.

Honey Dressing

1⁄2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 – 6 TB Apple Cider Vinegar

1 TB Dijon Mustard

2 TB Honey

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Shake the ingredients together in a jar.

***Chef Nancy likes to use the Cuisinart shredding blade to quickly reduce the whole little heads to shreds, (we couldn’t resist the rhyme), but you can use a mandoline or even a knife.

Spicy Tuesday – Warm Scallop Salad – Thyme

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It’s the Holiday season! But that doesn’t mean that salads are out of the picture. A great way to bridge the gap between rich heavy fare that is so prevalent this time of year is to prepare a salad like the one we are sharing below. Shake up a weeknight or even a holiday party! This salad is full of luscious soft baby greens, with bright colored veggies that are topped with warm scallops and just a sprinkle of prosciutto. Plus, all that goodness is flavored with the lemony taste of thyme!

Not only is thyme a delicious ingredient in this salad, it’s a nutritious smart choice, too. Thyme has terpenoids which are recognized for their cancer preventive properties. Rosmarinic and ursolic acids are major terpenoids in thyme that possess anti-cancer properties. Thyme contains an essential oil that is rich in thymol, a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and a strong antioxidant.

Warm Scallop Salad

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 1 Tsp, divided

2 TB Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1 TB Thyme Leaves + more for garnish

½ Tsp Honey

½ Tsp each Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

12 Cups Baby Lettuces

8 oz. Package Frozen Baby Peas – defrosted

2 Carrots, Julienned or Shredded

¼ Small Red Onion, very thinly sliced

4 Thin Slices Prosciutto, chopped

18 Large Dry Scallops

Step One Make the salad dressing by placing ¼ Cup Oil, rice vinegar, Dijon, thyme, honey and salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the lettuce, peas, carrots and onions to the bowl and toss with the dressing.

Step Two Sauté the prosciutto in the remaining 1 Tsp oil until crispy and browned. Remove the prosciutto from the pan and sauté the scallops in the pan. (Don’t overcook! Depending on their size, scallops will only take about 1 minute per side.)

Step Three Divide the greens between six bowls. Top each bowl with 3 scallops and sprinkle with the crispy prosciutto and additional thyme if desired.

Spicy Tuesday – Full of Fall Flavors Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Tarragon

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Ahh…tarragon. A smell that often evokes memories of France, the warmth of sunshine, fields of lavender or mustard. Tarragon is also a beautiful partner to sweet potatoes and winter squashes, so not only is it beautiful with summery flavors – it rocks with the creamy rich tastes of fall, too!

Did you know that tarragon is called “the king of herbs” because it is rich in nutrients and vitamins? There was a study done in 2005 that determined tarragon (specifically the oil) worked as a free radical scavenger. Trust us, even if you haven’t visited France, this recipe will bring you the delicious food from the southern region of the country.

Just whipping up these wonderful fragrant sweet potatoes will put you in a happy mood. And to think that the tarragon in the recipe will also aid in digestion as you eat, is a wonderful benefit.  Everyone will love this — and ask you for it again and again.

Full of Fall Flavors Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

6 Medium Sweet Potatoes, Baked

2 Green Apples, chopped, skin on

2 Cups Chopped Oranges

1 TB Chopped Tarragon

1 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts

¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Step One Hollow out the baked sweet potato and place the flesh in a large bowl, reserving the shells.

Step Two Add the apples, oranges, tarragon, walnuts, vinegar, oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the large bowl of sweet potato. Carefully fold the ingredients together and taste for salt and pepper.

Step Three Spoon the filling back into the potatoes and cook in a 350F oven until warm, about 20 minutes.

Spicy Tuesday – Thai Tomato and Coconut Soup – Coriander

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Quick and easy, a real crowd pleaser, this different-but-delicious tomato soup is infused with the flavors of Thailand. We served this up at the Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center to rave reviews, recently. The combo of spices like cumin, coriander and smoked paprika sing with the addition of the creamy sweet potato and coconut milk.

Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. It’s a tiny round light brown seed that packs a BIG punch of flavor. Slightly earthy, slightly lemony, you’ll recognize its taste from other Asian dishes. Coriander is used to fight inflammation, decrease loose stools, reduce blood pressure, and combat anemia. There are many health benefits weaved into this vegan soup!

Thai Tomato and Coconut Soup

2 (28 OZ) Cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained

1 Tsp Olive Oil

1 Cup Minced Red Onion

1 Minced Jalapeno

1 Tsp Ground Cumin

1 Tsp Ground Coriander

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp Grated Garlic

2 Cups Minced Sweet Potato

1 ½ Cup Coconut Milk

1 TB Sweet Chili Sauce

1 Tsp

Sea Salt to taste

Chiffonade of Basil

Puree the tomatoes in a blender. Heat the oil and sauté the onion and pepper in a stockpot until soft – about 6 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika and garlic to the pot. Cook and stir for about 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes, sweet potato, coconut milk and sweet chili sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt. Serve garnished with fresh basil.

Spicy Tuesday – Artichokes in Olive Oil and Garlic – White Pepper

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Did you know that black and white peppers are both from the same plant?  Black peppercorns are picked when almost ripe and sundried, turning the outer layer of the pepper black. To produce white peppercorns, this outer layer is removed before drying, leaving only the inner seed. White pepper tastes hotter than black but has less complex flavors. When buying white pepper it’s important that the spice is fresh – it can turn stale and bitter much faster than black pepper.

The French created the tradition of using white pepper for lightly colored dishes – we like it because it adds a bigger pop of flavor to these delicious artichokes. White pepper has many health benefits. It can help with digestive issues, dental issues, diabetes, minor headaches, cough, even weight loss. Although we may see it just as simple spice, the taste and health benefits are quite extensive!

Artichokes in Olive Oil and Garlic

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TB Unsalted Butter

1 WHOLE HEAD Garlic, peeled and minced

2 Cups Grape Tomatoes, halved

2 TB Dry White

2 (15 OZ) Cans or 1 Package of Frozen Artichoke Hearts – defrosted (about 2 cups)

Sea salt and Freshly Ground White Pepper to taste

Add olive oil and butter into a sauté pan and melt together over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook stirring often for 2 minutes, watching carefully to make sure garlic does not burn. Add the tomatoes and wine and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the artichoke hearts. Cook and stir for about 2 or 3 minutes or until warmed through and then salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

 

Spicy Tuesday – Patatas Bravas or Angry Potatoes – Smoked Spanish Paprika

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Happy Halloween from us – to YOU! Here’s an easy and spicy-good treat for ALL the trick-or-treaters in your family!

Don’t worry about having to buy the wide variety of spices used in this recipe  – the seasoning mix is not only wonderful on potatoes – its also great on a piece of fish or chicken. (Make a double recipe and save some for cooking later in the week.) Plus, when you add the smoked paprika to the other spices, it power-packs the blend! The high Vitamin C content can help your body absorb the iron in the fish or chicken.

Smoked Paprika is one of our favorite spices. It’s got a great smoky aroma and meaty taste and is a super substitute for meat or pork. The paprika pepper is 6 times higher in Vitamin C than tomatoes! As an antibacterial agent and stimulant, paprika can help normalize blood pressure, improve circulation, and increase the production of saliva and stomach acids to aid digestion.

Patatas Bravas – Angry Potatoes with Smoked Spanish Paprika

2 LBs Fingerling Potatoes, either very small, or cut in half

2 LBs Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped into the same size as the potatoes

3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Recipe *Spanish Spice Rub

2 TB Chives and 2 TB Parsley, Chopped

Toss the potatoes in the olive oil and spice rub and spread out on an aluminum foil lined sheet pan. Place the spiced rubbed potatoes in a 400F oven and roast for 35 – 45 minutes, or until browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chives and parsley to serve.

*Spanish Spice Rub

1 TB Coriander Seed

1 TB Cumin Seed

1 TB Fennel Seed

1 TB Mustard Seed

1 TB Dried Oregano

2 TB Smoked Paprika

1 TB Onion Powder

1 TB Garlic Powder

1 TB Sea Salt

½ TB Black Pepper

In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the first four ingredients until fragrant. Add to the rest of the spices and grind well in a spice grinder.