Living and Eating Well!

 

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.

Spicy Tuesday – Modern Day Bean Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette – Parsley

Happy July! Maybe you’ve seen the inspiration for this salad at potlucks and picnics around this time of the year. The salad we are talking about is typically made with three different kinds of canned beans and bottled Italian salad dressing.  It’s the right idea, just not the healthiest and tastiest use of the wonderful protein and fiber packed beans.

Instead, our recipe uses four kinds of beans in bright fresh vinaigrette, made with one of our favorite ingredients, avocado. A fast dish to whip up for dinner tonight, or easy to carry along to a friend’s house, it keeps great in the fridge for a couple of days – getting better and better as the avocado vinaigrette soaks into the beans.

We’ve used parsley in the salad for several reasons. Of course we love it for its bright clean taste and slightly crunchy texture, but also because of its incredible nutrition. It’s more than just an herb – it’s a super-herb! Parsley is actually considered an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. The flavonoids in it help protect cells from damage and increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood. The volatile oils qualify as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens. Wow, more than just a pretty green on the side of your plate— This is perfect to bring to a Fourth of July Celebration this week!

Modern Day Bean Salad

1 Can Chickpeas

1 Can Black Beans

1 Can Cannellini Beans

1 Can Red Beans or Kidney Beans

2 Roasted Red Peppers

2 TB Chopped Green Onion

1 TB Chopped Parsley

½ Cup Chopped Sweet Peppers or Pepperoncini

¼ Cup Capers

Rinse well and drain the canned beans. Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss with the avocado dressing below.

Easy Avocado Vinaigrette

1 Haas Avocado, peeled and pitted

3 TB White Balsamic Vinegar

¼  Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ Tsp Sea Salt

1 Garlic Clove

Puree all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender.

Spicy Tuesday – Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad – Cilantro

Crisp and Crunchy – Full of flavor – what more can you ask from a Summer Salad? This appetizing side is easy to whip up, and provides lots of nutrition as well as stunning good taste. We use Napa cabbage instead of lettuce as a base for this cool salad, which brings not only crunch, but a healthy dose of cruciferous veggies as well.

It’s a great take along for a potluck, picnic or barbeque because the goat cheese that’s added into the green topper helps slow the browning of the avocado. That, plus the fresh taste and acidity of the juices make it a good choice for the buffet.

Cilantro is an integral player in the salad, pulling all the tastes together with a bright and tangy, slightly grassy zip! Wow – Cilantro actually binds to heavy metals in our body, loosening them from the tissues, blood and organs. It transports harmful substances out of the body through elimination. Also, the rich qualities of cilantro oil have a powerfully positive effect on the digestive tract. The oils aid our digestive system in its production of digestive enzymes, acids and juices. The oil also helps to stimulate digestion through peristaltic motion.

Hope you love this delicious and healthy salad as much as we do!

Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad

2 Avocados, Coarsely Mashed

½ Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro

3 TB Chopped Roasted Almonds, plus more for garnish

½  Tsp Red Pepper Flakes

1 Garlic Clove, Grated

1 TB Lime Juice

1 TB Orange Juice

1 TB Honey

3 TB EVOO

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Finely Shredded Napa Cabbage

Grated Carrots

Quartered Grape Tomatoes

Chopped Green Onions, green 
part only

Fold the first four ingredients together, gently. Shake the red pepper, garlic juices, honey and oil together in a jar, (or whisk together) Toss the shredded Napa cabbage, carrots, grape tomatoes and green onions together with the dressing. Top with the avocado mixture, sprinkle with almonds and serve.

Spicy Tuesday – Spicy, (Not Hot), Summer Fruit – Garam Masala

In India, it’s said that every family has its own secret recipe for Garam Masala. Each kitchen holds the key to the amounts and types of spices and herbs that create the mix.  A yummy combo of ground spices like Cinnamon, Cumin, Nutmeg, Black Pepper, Turmeric, Bay Leaves, Cardamom, Cloves – what’s not to like? Garam Masala is one of our favorite warm and aromatic spice mixes. Once thought terribly “exotic”, as cooks across the United States have adopted this interesting Indian spice blend, you can now find it in almost every grocery store.

The combination of the ingredients in this savory mix bring nutrition to the table, too! Garam masala can help with weight loss because of the blend of spices. The literal translation of the spice’s name is “heat spice” or “hot spice.” And individually each spice brings its own health benefits which include:

Cinnamon: An anti-microbial as well as anti-inflammatory. It can also help control elevated blood sugars.

Cumin: Helps stimulate digestion, helps relieve nausea and indigestion.

Black Pepper: Increases the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and proteins. It helps break down fat cells (and brings the “heat” to the spice.

Cardamom: An anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-carcinogenic. It helps to flush out toxins from the body.

Cloves: Boosts the metabolism, removes toxins from the blood stream, helps prevent the formation of blood clots and regulates blood sugar levels.

Bay Leaves: A powerful anti-oxidant that helps prevent cancer, arthritis, and ulcers.

What’s even more interesting is how you can use it to flavor foods from soups to stews, main courses and even dessert. In this week’s recipe, we use it as a warm baking spice that pairs perfectly with the crystallized ginger. A summer dessert with only three ingredients plus fresh summer fruit? Sign us up. It tastes like a delish cobbler – with out the crust.

Spicy, (not hot), Summer Fruit

1 TB Garam Masala

1 TB Raw Sugar

1 TB Crystallized Ginger, chopped

4 – 6 Cups of chopped Seasonal Fruit (like strawberries and peaches, pineapple, etc.)

Stir the garam masala, sugar and ginger together in a bowl. Sprinkle over the fruit and place under the broiler for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the fruit is browned on the edges. Serve over ***frozen yogurt, cake or just by itself!

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad – Chives

Ahhh….the inspiration from Spring and Summer Farmers Markets just can’t be beat. This week’s recipe is for beets – one of the veggies that just burst with flavor when you buy them fresh from the farmer. Beets are one of the first veggies you can find when the weather is warming up, and whether Yellow, Pink, Red, Gold, White, Striped and Magenta, beets are delightful for their color and flavor as well as for their nutrition.

Did you know that beets can lower your blood pressure slightly in just a matter of hours? The nitrates in beets turn to nitric oxide which can help lower your systolic blood pressure and relax blood vessels. They are also a good source of betaines, which reduce inflammation in the body. And save those beet greens! They contain protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese, beet greens also supply significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

The herbs that we use in this salad add to the flavor and nutrition, too! Along with the goodness found in basil and parsley, chives add allicin, an important nutrient that might contribute to lower blood pressure and cholesterol which can help with overall health.

Beets from the Farmers Market!

Roasted Beet and Blue Cheese Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing

4 to 6 Beets, (about 2 LBs)

2 TB Olive Oil

2 TB Water

1 Small Yellow Onion, thinly sliced

3 TB Red Wine Vinegar

6 Cups Baby Lettuces, Watercress or Baby Romaine, (Yes! You can even use your beet greens that you have saved – just make sure to wash them well and chop them finely.)

1⁄4 Cup Toasted Walnut Oil

5 TB Orange Juice

1 TB Dijon Mustard

1 TB Chopped Basil

1 TB Chopped Parsley

1 TB Chopped Chives

Sea Salt and Black Pepper

1 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese

Step One Preheat the oven to 375F Scrub the beets and trim the tops. Do not peel them. Place on a sheet of foil and toss with the olive oil, water and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the foil around the beets and place on a sheet pan. Roast for an hour or until tender. While they are roasting, place the onions In a bowl of ice water and set aside.

Step Two Remove the beets from the oven, and when cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into large, bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl and while still warm, sprinkle with the red wine vinegar. Set aside to cool completely.

Step Three While the beets are cool- ing, make the dressing by whisking together the walnut oil, orange juice, mustard and herbs in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step Four Drain the onions and pat dry. When ready to serve the salad, toss the beets with 2 TB of the dress- ing. Divide between 4 plates. Top with the cheese, the lettuces and finally the onion. Drizzle the dressing over all.

Spicy Tuesday – Crab Stuffed Tomatoes – Basil

Ripe, red tomatoes stuffed full with briny crab, lemon and basil? Yup, we love easy and delicious appetizers like this. This quick recipe fills up lots of small tomatoes – or for a yummy dinner on a hot night, stuff large tomatoes with this salad and place on a bed of crunchy baby lettuces and you have dinner.

The flavors of the crab marry well with the tomatoes, lemon and basil. If you can make this crab stuffing earlier in the day, the flavors develop and meld beautifully as it sits in the refrigerator. Make sure that only the salad goes in the fridge – tomatoes should never be stored in there! Cold makes tomatoes lose their flavor and can make them mealy. Plus, if you’ve bought your tomatoes from the grocery store, the refrigerator’s cold temperatures will stop the ripening process.

Basil adds not only flavor and beautiful bright green color to this salad but also a pop of nutrition. One of the primary medicinal uses for basil is for its anti-inflammatory properties. This effect stems from eugenol, a volatile oil in basil that blocks enzymes in the body that cause swelling, making basil an ideal treatment for people with arthritis. Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of many bacteria, even some that had grown resistant to other antibiotics. Enjoy this summer dish while fueling your body with healthy foods and herbs!

Easy Crab Stuffed Tomatoes

1 LB Fresh Lump Crabmeat

3 Green Onions, thinly sliced – green parts only

2 TB Chopped Basil

1 TB Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

2 TB Olive Oil Mayo

1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Celery

½ Tsp Fine Sea Salt

Basil, Julienned for Garnish

Sweet Pepper Rings for Garnish

14 – 18 Campari or Cherry Tomatoes

Stir together all the ingredients except the julienned basil and peppers. Stuff the mixture into the tomatoes and garnish with additional basil and pepper rings.

Spicy Tuesday – Parsley Soup – Parsley

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog – you know we LOVE herbs. They are flavorful and delicious, colorful and full of nutrition, we just LOVE our herbs! But just like you, we don’t often think of them as playing a starring role on our plate. Yes, there’s Basil Pesto and Cilantro Sauce among other luscious sauces and dips, but those herbs compliment other foods. Well, hang on to your hat! Our opinion,and yours can change when you make this easy and super delicious Parsley Soup. This yummy entrée or starter is full of veggies, super colorful and packed with flavor from the good-for-us parsley.

Studies actually show that parsley has myristicin, an organic compound that not only inhibits tumor formation (especially in the lungs), but also activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps fight against oxidized molecules. It is also full of various antioxidants and Vitamin A and C to build your immune system.

So take some of that parsley from your garden and create this luscious and easy soup!

Parsley Soup

3 Shallots, Chopped

1 Tsp Coriander Seeds

½ Tsp Red Chili Flakes

2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Coarsely Chopped

2” Ginger, Peeled and Coarsely Chopped

3 Bunches Parsley, Washed Well and Chopped Coarsely

6 Cups Veggie Stock

1 Cup Almond Milk

3 Cans Cannellini Beans, Rinsed and Drained

1 Cup Quinoa

1 Tsp Sea Salt

½ Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

*Fresh Salsa

Step One Saute the shallots with the coriander and chile flakes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook and stir until aromatic – about one minute. Add in the veggie stock and almond milk and bring to a boil.

Step Two Lower the heat to a simmer and add the cannellini beans and the quinoa. Cook until the quinoa is done – about 20 minutes. Add in the salt and pepper and use the immersion blender to puree. Top with the fresh salsa and serve. (You can also chill this soup before topping with salsa and serve it cold.)

*Fresh Salsa

2 Carrots, Peeled and Chopped

2 Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped

1 Large Avocado, Chopped

2 TB Fresh Lemon Juice

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Spicy Tuesday – Black Bean Bowl with Farro – Cumin

You’ve probably been to one of the “Bowl” restaurants – where you start with rice or noodles and then the rest of the ingredients are added as you choose them. It’s great fun to “have it your way”. That is, IF you choose healthy foods. Just like a salad bar, what you put in your bowl can make the difference between a yummy better-for-you meal, and dinner disaster!

This week’s recipe is filled with good ingredients that are easy to find and fast to prepare. The flavors are so familiar and delicious – this is one of those recipes that the whole family will clamor for again and again. We’ve shaken up the traditional bowl idea by using farro instead of more typical choices. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a nutty chewy grain, used for centuries in Europe and the Middle East. Similar to making rice, the only difference is that you add a little more water. Instead of a 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice, farro calls for 3 cups water to 1 Cup farro. Cook it just like rice, and enjoy it as a change of pace. It keeps great in the fridge too, so make a double batch for different recipes during the week!

The spices in the bowl should be familiar to you: turmeric, one of our favorite anti-inflammatory spices and cumin, the original “smoky” spice. Cumin is good for digestion, and although research is still ongoing, cumin may have a powerful effect in preventing diabetes by reducing the chances of hypoglycemia. It’s also very rich in iron. This is a wonderful dish, both from a health standpoint but also a taste standpoint. Enjoy and make extra, everyone will love it!

Black Beans Bowl with Farro

1 Large Red Onion, Chopped

2 TB EVOO

1 Tsp Turmeric

1 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Each Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

3 Cloves Garlic, Grated

4 Cups Prepared Farro

2 Cans Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained

1 Pint Grape Tomatoes, Quartered

½ Cup Chopped Cilantro

½  Cup Cotija (or Goat) Cheese for Garnish

Step One Sauté the Red Onion in the EVOO with the turmeric, cumin and salt and pepper. When soft, (about 5 minutes), add the garlic and cook and stir for about a minute until the garlic is aromatic.

Step Two Add the onions and garlic, sorghum, beans, tomatoes and cilantro to a large bowl. Toss and drizzle with olive oil and sherry vinegar. Toss gently again and garnish with cheese.