Living and Eating Well!

 

Spicy Tuesday – Herb Salad and Dressing – 090914

Have you ever opened the produce drawer of your fridge, and found partial bags of herbs, and wondered what to do with them? We have too! That’s why we came up with the solution in this post. A fresh herb salad with herb dressing is one of the easiest and most fun ways to put those bits and pieces of herbal goodness to work in a wonderful way.

You can use any herbs you have to create this salad and dressing. A fun way to think about the herbs you mix and match together is like casting a movie – make sure that herbs with strong distinctive tastes like rosemary, mint, oregano and sage play an “extra” role instead of a main character.

Tarragon is another strong flavored herb – but one that can be a real star in the salad dressing. Tarragon, that soft leaved herb with a liquorice-y taste partners beautifully with the buttermilk in this recipe. Tarragon has not only strong taste but big nutrition, too! Tarragon has long been used as a digestive tonic because it aids in the production of bile by the liver. Not only can it improve natural digestion, but it has also been found to relieve common digestive problems like an upset stomach, irritable bowel. Also, based upon several studies, tarragon appears to have chemicals that can help to increase appetites. Whether used as a seasoning herb in cooking or consumed raw as a small garnish, it may help people who have poor appetites due to age or illness.

Herb Salad and Dressing

24 Cups of Soft Lettuces, (like mesclun, spinach or baby greens) and Herbs, (whatever still looks good in the produce drawer!)

2 Cups Grape Tomatoes, quartered

½ Cup Chopped Green Onions

½ Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

1 Recipe *Herb Salad Dressing

Toss the lettuces and herbs, tomatoes and onion together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the herb salad dressing and toss again. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and serve

*Herb Salad Dressing

¼ Cup Lowfat Buttermilk or Yogurt

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tsp Honey

1 Clove Grated Garlic

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TB Finely Chopped Tarragon, (or whatever herbs you have on hand)

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Shake all the ingredients together in a jar and taste for salt and pepper

Spicy Tuesday – Spanish Rice and Seafood Stew – Fennel

We love Fennel! Once difficult to find in the local grocery store, now you can find it almost everywhere. Usually lurking between the cabbage and bokchoy in the produce section, fennel is often thought of as a vegetable, but its actually a herb.

It’s not only the crispy crunchy parts of the fennel that we enjoy, but the dill fronds are great for garnish, too. Just like dill, the wispy light ends make a perfect addition to the top of this yummy seafood stew – or in a salad as a luscious green.

Did you know fennel contains an abundant amount of antioxidants? Rutin, quercitin, and various kaempferol glycosides just to name a few. Most important is its volatile oil anethole– In animal studies, it has repeatedly been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer.

This recipe is a little longer than the ones we typically share – but, OH, its worth it!

Spanish Rice

Serves 8 – 12 Depending on size of ramekin or mold

2 TB Olive Oil

2 Cups Valencia or Paella Rice

1 Chopped Red Onion

1 Garlic Clove, minced or grated

4 Cups Veggie Stock

1 TB of Tomato Paste

2 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

1 Tsp Sea Salt

½ Tsp Black Pepper

Step One In a large stockpot, brown the rice in olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant. Stir in the paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.

Step Two In another pot bring the stock to a boil. When boiling, add it to the original pot and stir. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook about 15 – 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Step Three Srpay a small mold or ramekin with non-stick spray. Pack the rice into the ramekin and turn over onto a plate.

Provencal Tomato Seafood Stew

Serves 6 – 8

1 Large Red Onion, Chopped

1 Large Red Bell Pepper Chopped

1 Head Fennel Chopped, fronds reserved

4 TBs Olive Oil

¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper

½ Tsp Black Pepper

1 Tsp Sea Salt, plus more to taste

3 Cloves Garlic, chopped or grated

8 Large Ripe Tomatoes Chopped with all their juices, (or Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes)

2 Cups Veggie or Fish Stock

1 LB White Fish (Cod, Halibut or other)

1 LB Medium Shrimp

½ LB Calamari (Cleaned & in Rings)

¼ Cup Chopped Parsley

¼ Cup Chopped Basil

1 TB Lemon Zest

Lemon Wedges

Step One In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the onion, red pepper and fennel in the olive oil, with the turmeric, peppers and salt until wilted and soft.

Step Two Add in two thirds of the grated garlic and cook until fragrant – about a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook and stir for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Add in the fish and shrimp and simmer until opaque. Add in the calamari and cook until just warm – about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Step Three Stir the parsley, basil lemon zest into the stew. Garnish with lemon and fennel fronds.

Spicy Tuesday – Prawn and Avocado Salad – Arugula

Did you know that Arugula is an herb that is also used as a salad green? Yes, one of our favorite leafy green beds of goodness for salad, egg dishes and veggies is also an herb. A native of the Mediterranean, argula is called “roka” (RO-kah) in Greece and “rocket” elsewhere in the world. The name rocket comes from its peppery-bitter leaves that not only pack a punch of yummy and distinct flavor, but also lots of good nutrition, too!

Arugula is an excellent source of Vitamin A and B-complex Vitamins. It is also a rich source of certain phytochemicals which have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of estrogen and thus help benefit against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and ovarian cancers.

This recipe is a winner, whether served as a salad – or in a wrap. Cool and easy to make, it’s a perfect cooling dinner for hot weather in August!

Prawn and Avocado Salad

The Dressing

4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Orange

Juice of 1 Lemon, plus more for garnish

1 Tsp Dijon

1 TB Minced Cilantro + more for garnish

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Make the dressing by pureeing the oil, citrus, cilantro and mustard together in a blender – adding salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

The Salad

1 Fennel Bulb, sliced

1 Avocado, sliced

16 Medium Shrimp

3 Green Onions, green parts only, sliced thinly

1 Bag Arugula

Toss together the fennel, avocado and shrimp with the dressing in a bowl. Place the arugula in 4 martini glasses and divide the salad on top. Garnish with more cilantro and a wedge of lemon.

Spicy Tuesday – Wonderful Watermelon Salad – Mint

There’s nothing better than pink, juicy, sweet, drippy watermelon in the summer. Typically, we just enjoy eating it right out of hand, sharing with friends and family as we lean over to avoid getting rained on by the sticky juices. This week’s recipe is a exception -  and even though it is – we haven’t added lots to this wonderful watermelon salad. It’s simply a few perfectly chosen ingredients to add a savory slant to the succulent melon.

Oil cured olives allow us to avoid adding additional oil to the salad. Typically from Morocco or Greece, these olives reach optimum flavor by curing first in salt and then soaked in olive oil until the are withered and super-packed with flavor. Just a few of these meaty and less bitter olives are the secret to this salads briny twang. We can find oil cured olives in the grocery store here in Atlanta, but if you can’t find them where you are, they are available on line.

A sprinkling of good feta is also added, and a half of a red onion, too. When we add raw onion to a salad, we always start our recipe by soaking the chopped or sliced onion in a boil of ice water for about 30 minutes. This removes the sting from the onion without stripping it of its wonderful onion flavor. Try using this tip for other salads too.

The last step is throwing in a smattering of chopped basil and mint leaves. Both of these pungent herbs add lots of flavor to the salad, without salt, fat, sugar or calories. Mint, especially is a great partner to the basil in this salad. Mint is wonderful for many reasons health reasons as well. It can help soothe digestion issues which include nausea and vomiting. It is also great with respiratory issues and coughing.  See below for a full list of reasons to include mint in this great salad!

Wonderful Watermelon Salad

¼ Small Red Onion, sliced into thin rings

12 Cups Chopped Watermelon

12 Oil Cured Black Olives, chopped

¼ Cup Crumbled Feta

Juice of 1 Lemon

Handful of Mint and Basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Place the onion in a small bowl of ice water and set aside while you chop the watermelon and olives. Toss the watermelon, olives, and feta and lemon juice together gently. Remove the onion from the bowl and pat dry. Sprinkle the salad with the onion and herbs.

Spicy Tuesday – Red or Brown Rice Salad – Thyme

Do the variety of different rice types and blends entice you with their beautiful colors and descriptions? They certainly do us! We have been using lots of different rice to make hot, warm and cool rice dishes this summer – full of gorgeous color and delicious flavors. This week’s recipe celebrates rice with other easy to find ingredients that combine so well together, you’ll want to make a double batch for lunch later in the week!

Thyme is an herb that “sings” when its combined with earthy mushrooms and the umami, (the flavor of lusciousness), of soy sauce. Thyme is also a nutrition powerhouse because it is packed with minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Its leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. And its volatile oils have scientifically been found to have antiseptic and anti-fungal characteristics. You can’t go wrong with the health benefits and the flavor of this awesome salad!

Brown or Red Rice Summer Salad

2 Cups Red or Brown Rice, Prepared*

¼ Cup Chopped Shallots

3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 Oz Wild or Baby Bella Mushrooms

1 Tsp Sea Salt

½  Tsp Black Pepper

1 TB Light Soy Sauce or Tamari

1 TB Fresh Thyme

1 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts

1 Large Red Apple Chopped

2 TB Chopped Parsley

Season the shallots and mushrooms with the salt, pepper and soy sauce. Sauté the shallots and mushrooms in the oil until nicely browned. Stir in the fresh thyme. Toss with the walnuts and apple and garnish with the chopped parsley.

*We used Lundberg’s Burgundy Rice – which we found in the local grocery store.

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Red Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato Soup – Chives


There’s no better time of the year to enjoy chilled soups than the steamy sultry month of August. This rich and creamy soup is full of flavor and veggies, without all the cream. And topping this cooler is the bright light oniony taste of chives!

We love chives for their versatility and subtle flavor. Raw or cooked they add a distinctive touch to any dish. Chives are a part of the allium family (onions, scallions, etc) and are very nutrient-dense, meaning that while they are low in calories they are high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In fact, allium vegetables have been studied extensively in relation to stomach and colorectal cancers. Their beneficial and preventative effects are likely due in part to their rich sulfur compounds. So the more potent the smell, the better for you!

Who needs to wait for cool days for a cup of soup? We don’t and you won’t either when you puree up this crowd pleasing soup!

Roasted Eggplant, Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

3 LBs Eggplants, halved

1 TB EVOO

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

6 Roma Tomatoes, halved

4 Red Peppers

1 -2 TB Lemon Juice

Nonfat Greek Yogurt and Fresh Chives

Turn the oven to broil. Season the eggplants with the olive oil, salt and pepper and place the eggplants on the middle shelf. Place the tomatoes on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray and place on the top rack in the oven until the tomatoes are blackened. Remove from the oven and replace with the peppers on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray. Broil until blackened. Remove from the oven and fold the foil over the peppers until cool enough to peel.

Place the eggplants, tomatoes and peppers in a stockpot. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm or cool, garnished with yogurt and chives.

Spicy Tuesday – Kitchen Tips and Tricks Videos

We whizzed through this week – especially Tuesday! So fast, in fact that we totally forgot Spicy Tuesday. So here’s a quick picture to show you what we were doing. When the videos are completed for the Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center at Piedmont, we will be sure to add links to them!

Soicy Tuesday – Fingerlings, Guac and Salmon Apps – Cilantro

Ahhh, its summer and social life is hopping. Here in the South, we party all spring, summer and fall, leaving the cold weather months of January and February to hibernate and recharge for the next round of….parties!

Its all the summer fun that inspired this latest entry for Spicy Tuesday – Fingerlings, Guac and Salmon Apps.  We chose some of the season’s best fingerling potatoes, (did you know that some potatoes are in season in the summer?), roasted and topped them with a special guacamole and a bright cheery red flag of smoked salmon. Easy peasy and quick to prepare, we can guarantee that their will not be one left on the plate when you serve them!

No worries about serving non-nutritious junk to your guests either. Not only are the potatoes, guac and salmon full of goodies, the cilantro is power-packed, too. Cilantro is a low calorie way to get in Vitamin K, folic acid, and Vitamin A. Its leaves and stem tips contain a rich source of polyphenols which act as antioxidants in our body. So use that whole piece of cilantro when you are cooking up these apps!

Fingerlings, Guac and Salmon Apps

About 24 Fingerling Potatoes

1 Tsp Olive Oil

2 Avocadoes

1 Cup Frozen Peas, defrosted in the microwave

1 Large Garlic Clove, grated

1 TB Hot Sauce, (We like Tabasco Chipotle)

2 Tsp Lime Juice

2 TB Minced Cilantro

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Smoked Salmon cut in strips to fit the potatoes

Step One Roast the potatoes by cutting them in half lengthwise,placing them on a sheet tray, tossing them in the olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper, and sliding into a 400F oven for about 30 minutes. When cooked through and browned around the edges, remove them from the oven and allow to cool until they can be picked up.

Step Two Scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl, along with the peas, garlic, hot sauce and juice. Mash with a potato masher or large fork or spoon until chunky. Add in the minced cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

Step Three To assemble, cut a small strip off the bottom of each potato to enable them to stand up on the platter straight. Top each potato with a spoonful of the guac, and twist a salmon strip on top of each app.

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Squash Soup – Dill

This is our favorite time of the year! In Atlanta, there is a farmers market open almost every day of the week, and July’s fruits and veggies are abundant here. One of the most versatile veggies and prolific? Of course it’s squash!

This recipe is versatile as well; you can use any type of summer squash – from zucchini to patty pan. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden overflowing with the brilliantly colored gems, you can follow the recipe through step one and roast extra squash to put in the freezer – make this squash soup in the dead of winter and remember your harvest.

One of the most important components of this soup is the dill. Bright, crisp and citrusy tasting, it also packs a powerful punch of nutrients, too! Dill has chemoprotective properties and also is a very good source of calcium to strengthen your bones. As a “chemoprotective” food  (much like parsley) it can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens. The volatile oil portion of dill has also been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth (like garlic).

Roasted Squash Soup

6 – 8 Squash, chopped

3 TB Olive Oil, divided

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

2 Cups Chopped Red Onions

1 Large Jalapeño, Ribs and Seeds Removed if desired

1 Red Pepper, Chopped

6 Cups Veggie Stock

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Chopped Dill for Garnish

Step One Toss the squash with 2 TB olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and spread out on a parchment paper lined sheet tray. Roast in a 425F oven for about 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Step Two Sauté the onion, jalapeño, and pepper in the remaining TB of olive oil until softened. Add the roasted squash to the pot and the veggie stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 hour. (If you are serving the soup chilled, put it in the fridge to cool overnight.

Step Three To serve, place a Tsp of Greek yogurt in the bottom of a small bowl or cup. Pour the soup over it and garnish with dill.

Spicy Tuesday – Grilled Salmon Sesame Sliders – Wasabi!

If you like food with a little “kick” like we do – you’ll love this week’s recipe! Full of omega-3s from the salmon with a delicious nutty taste from the sesame oil, these tiny burgers are easy to make and freeze well, too!

The herb we are featuring this week is slightly more unusual – but we bet you’ve enjoyed it before – wasabi. It was traditionally used in traditional herbal medicine, but now is eaten as a condiment for Japanese food. The zing of the bright green herb adds loads of flavor to a bite of sushi, sashimi or a bowl of noodles.

Wasabi comes from the root-like stem of wasabia japonica, a mustard relative that grows in the shady areas of Japan. When freshly grated, authentic wasabi forms a light green, coarsely textured paste that is both pungent and flavorful.  Wasabi’s medicinal effects are related to its content of active isothiocyanates (ITCs), which also account for its pungency. Research suggests that ITCs have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-platelet and anti-cancer effects, but these benefits have been observed in laboratory and a few animal studies. (To date there have been no good studies in humans.)

Shake up the burgers on your grill this weekend, and enjoy salmon in a whole new way!

Grilled Salmon Sesame Sliders

1 Large Egg

1 TB Soy Sauce, Tamari or Braggs Amino Acids

2 Tsp Toasted Sesame Oil

1 LB Skinless Salmon Fillet, Chopped into 1/8” Pieces

¾ Cup Panko Crumbs (Whole Wheat)

¼ Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions

2 TBs Black, Tan or White Sesame Seeds, plus more for garnish

Oil for Brushing the Grill

*Wasabi Mayonnaise

Lettuce Cups or Whole Wheat Slider Buns

Step One

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the salmon, the panko, green onions, sesame seeds and mix. Form into 2” wide and ½” tall patties. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

Step Two

Preheat your oiled grill pan, (or a clean oiled grill outside), and over medium heat, cook the salmon sliders on one side for about 2-3 minutes. Turn, and cook for an additional 2 minutes (or until they are cooked as much as you like).

Step Three

Place each slider in a lettuce cup and top with *Wasabi Mayo. (Or place in a grilled whole wheat bun along with shredded napa cabbage.) Garnish with sesame seeds.

*Wasabi Mayo is super easy to make. Just buy a tube of wasabi horseradish from the sushi bar at your local grocery store. Start with about a tsp and mix it into 
½ cup of olive oil mayo. Taste and add more wasabi as desired.