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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Fall is upon us!  Summer sped by. Let’s slow down with some tomatoes. Slow Roasted Tomatoes that is….

If you want to keep that summer feeling through the seasons then this recipe is for you.  Plus as a added bonus, tomatoes seem to be flourishing a bit later into the season this year so my farmers market (and garden) is still stocked up.

“Recipe” is a bit of of stretch– these few steps are so easy it should just be called a “Must Do”.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Roughly chop tomatoes ( heirlooms or san marzanos or even on the vine tomatoes) and lay in a single layer in a baking pan.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt.

4. Add spices etc to your likings (basil, thyme, garlic all work well)

5. Let roast on this low heat for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours (what you are looking for is for the tomatoes to be very fragrant and loosely shaped).

These soft wrinkled beautifies have an intense tomato flavor that is perfect in sandwiches, with eggs, on salads and of course on any pasta dish you can imagine.

Stored packed in olive oil for 5-7 days in the refrigerator- but in my house they don’t last this long!

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So if you didn’t notice yet, I have a lot of vegan and vegetarian clients and today’s blog post is thanks to one of them…

Vegans and Vegetarian’s (and pre-menopausal Ladies in general) have to be sure to get enough Iron in their diet.  Now that can be easy if you eat a lot of beans and leafy greens but you also have to careful to maximize absorption (or how much iron your body actually takes in)….

Here is the deal with Iron & Absorption:

  • Iron from meat, poultry, and fish (i.e., heme iron) is absorbed two to three times more efficiently than iron from plants (i.e., non-heme iron).
  •  Vitamin C enhances non-heme iron absorption when eaten at the same meal.
  • Calcium in dairy or fortified non-dairy milk decreases absorption of both heme/non-heme iron.
  • Iron absorption is also inhibited/decreased by polyphenols, phytates.

— Polyphenols (phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins) are found in coffee, tea, cocoa and red wine and when consumed in high amounts, may lead to decreased iron absorption.

— Phytates are in grains/legumes. Soaking, sprouting, leavening, and fermenting whole grains render the iron more bioavailable by degrading the phytates.

— Soy also has Phytic acid and can decrease iron absorption

So whats a girl to do?

Try to increase your Iron Sources and eat them WItH Vitamin C sources. Eg. Spinach with Red Bell Peppers, Fortified Cereal with Strawberries and almond milk.

Use an iron skillet– you actually get some of that iron into your food!  Especially with longer cooking times, frequent stirring and a newer skillet.

Avoid eating your iron-rich foods at the same time as your coffee/tea/red wine or dairy (or calcium supplement).

Here is a link to sources of both Iron & Vit C and here is a link especially for the vegetarians/vegans that has a nice list of plant sources of iron:

Also talk to your doctor about your latest blood labs and they can  tell you if your labs are looking anemic or low in iron.

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I have been in a Frittata Frenzy as of late….using up summer’s bounty of greens and veggies and throwing in scraps of cheese to make easy delicious portable food for picnics, potlucks, brunch luand any meal in between.

Here is one easy and adaptable recipe I love from my neighbor the great Alice Waters. I like to cook the frittata on the stove top until the bottom is set and then finish it in the oven but here she cook the whole thing on the stove top. Don’t forget to try ANY cooked veggies as a filling and get creative with other spices, cheeses etc that you can add in.

Chard Frittata Recipe

from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Wash and separate the stems from 1 bunch of chard
Cut the stems into 1/4-inch slices. Coarsely chop the leaves.
Heat in a heavy pan, over medium heat:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Add:
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
Cook for 5 minutes and add the chard stems. Season with salt.
Cook for 4 minutes and add the leaves. Cook until the leaves are
tender, adding a splash of water if the pan dries out. Turn out of the
pan onto a plate. Crack into a large bowl:
6 eggs
Add:
Salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
Fresh-ground black pepper
A pinch of cayenne
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Beat lightly. Gently squeeze the chard with your hands, wringing out most, but not all, of the liquid. Stir the chard into the beaten eggs.
Thoroughly preheat a 10-inch heavy or nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Pour in:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
After a few seconds, pour in the egg mixture. As the eggs set on the bottom, lift the edges to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath.
Continue to cook until mostly set. Invert a plate on top of the pan; turn the plate and pan upside down to turn out the frittata onto the
plate. Pour in 1 teaspoon olive oil. Slide the frittata back into the pan. Cook for 2 or 3 more minutes. Slide onto a plate and serve warm
or at room temperature.
(or you can stick the pan in the oven for a few minutes instead of
flipping it onto a plate to set the middle)

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Taking a long road trip this summer or flying to Europe?  Here are some handy healthy snacks ideas to make sure you don’t give-in to the Cinnabon at the airport (880 kcals for the classic!) or Doritos at the gas station…and of course bring a refillable water bottle wherever you go too!

I also like to travel with my own herbal tea bags for the decadent taste of home (decaf chai for me please).

Non-Perishable Suggestions:

• Energy bars: Make your own or look for low sugar (<10g),high fiber(>3g). A few brands to try: Kind bar, Larabar, Kashi, FiberOne or Luna/Cliff bar.

• Plain or low sodium almonds, peanuts, cashews, soy nuts, mixed nuts, etc without added oils. Keep servings to a small snack sized baggie (pre-make several as necessary).

• Dried fruit (mix with nuts for a protein boost)

• Pistachio seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds with shells- this will keep your hands busy (bring an extra baggie for empty shells)

• Trail mix- homemade or from the store, keep the serving to a snack sized baggie

• Canned fruit (in water not syrup and remember to bring a spoon!)

• Instant oatmeal packets (low sugar ideally). Top with handful of nuts for an extra protein boost and/or dried fruit for added sweetness.

• Peanut, almond or apple butter with whole grain crackers ( like Akmak or Wasa). I like Justin’s single serve nut butter

• Air popped popcorn  or microwave popcorn (look for low fat, “natural” brands”)

• Brown Rice cakes;flavored (sweet or savory) or plain and spread with peanut, almond, nut butter.

Perishable Suggestions (pack a soft cooler bag with a ice-pack):

• Low fat string cheese or wedge cheese and whole grain crackers

• Apple slices with snack sized packets or containers of nut butter

• Mini Pita and hummus sandwiches-add lettuce and tomato too or eat with baby carrots

• Mini or scooped bagel. Spread with light cream cheese, cottage cheese or peanut butter and whole fruit low sugar jam.

• PBJ on whole wheat bread (>3g fiber per slice)

• 6 oz low fat yogurts, I like greek yogurts in the lowest sugar flavor possible or plain with berries.

• Protein roll ups-roll up turkey, roast beef or light cheese, wrap and pack in plastic

•  Hard boiled eggs

•  Cut up veggies with low fat dip (you can find this prepackaged in many local supermarkets)

• Hummus with cut up veggies, pretzels or pita chips

• Unshelled edamame (Trader Joes sells these fresh or find them in the freezer section and thaw on the road

• Homemade low sugar whole wheat fruit muffins

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So Northern California hasn’t been quite as blazing hot as the rest of the country, ok to be honest, here in the Bay Area it has hardly been hot at all….BUT…I was still craving a summer dish to serve at an impromptu brunch for my family from out of town.

Saw some gorgeous quartered watermelon pieces at Whole Foods and was inspired to serve a summer favorite, Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad.

Sometimes I just serve the watermelon, mint and feta version but since I knew I had 8 or so people coming I wanted to bulk the salad up with arugula.  It was a hit and most of my aunt’s and uncles had never tried the lovely combination of slightly salty feta and sweet watermelon.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish or for a main meal serves 4

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 large orange

Juice of 2 small lemons

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon of honey (ideally local!)

1/4 Cup of good quality olive oil

1/4 of a medium perfectly ripe watermelon (look for a deep red color and seedless makes it easy),

8-10 oz of good quality feta cheese (you can get low or no fat feta but for the real flavor kick go full fat, especially if the rest of the meal is light)

1 small bunch of mint

1 bag/6 cups of Arugula (washed and spun dry)

Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Chop up the watermelon into bite-sized chunks about 1″ squares

2. Cut the feta into bite-sized chunks about 1/2″ squares

3. Pluck the mint leaves from the branches and rinse, then roll into mini cigar shapes and slice into thin strips

4. Whisk or vigorously mix the citrus,honey, shallot, salt & pepper and olive oil to make the dressing which can be set aside until ready to serve

(I often use less than the full amount of dressing but this depends on your taste, extra dressing can be refrigerated for upto 3 days).

5. When ready to serve, toss the mint, arugula, watermelon and feta with the dressing

Isn’t that pretty!

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Since spring is playing peek-a-boo with us….its time to get ready for an easy spring salad!  I like to add no-fat feta from Trader Joe’s for a protein kick in there as well.

From the American Institute of Cancer Research.

A versatile salad like this one is perfect for those who want to add cancer-protective foods to their diet, but are just starting to transition from a meat-based plate. Tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion make an excellent side salad or use them as a meal base by adding a lean protein like low-fat cheese or chicken.  An added bonus: tomatoes are rich in the phytochemical, lycopene, which scientists believe may play a role in protecting against prostate cancer.

Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Parsley and Mint
4 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, parsley and mint. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and mustard. Add to tomato mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 60 calories, 3 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 8 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber, 45 mg sodium.

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As promised in last week’s Healthy Meal Planning post, here is the White Bean & Kale Ragout recipe that is one of our meal-time staples.   You can do it with the sausage or not, with the zucchini or not and I like to serve mine with a sprinkle of parmesan on top.  Remember to make extra and pack it for lunch or freeze!

Serves 4 (serving size 1 ¾ C each)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
½ C Chopped Onion
2 (4 oz) links of chicken/turkey sausage, cut into ½ inch slices*  (OPTIONAL)
1 Zucchini, quartered and cut into ½ inch slices (about 2 cups)
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
6 Cups chopped trimmed kale (about ½ pound)
½ C Water or Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock (good for flavor if omitting sausage)
2 (16 oz) cans Cannellini/White beans, rinsed & drained or 4 cups pre-cooked homemade
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes (low sodium, or NO salt), undrained
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Sauté onion and sausage 4 minutes or until sausage is browned.

3. Add zucchini and garlic, cook 2 minutes.

4. Add kale and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 467 calories, 10.2g fat (6.5g if no sausage), 28.5g protein (with sausage), 15.4g fiber
764 mg sodium

Cooking Light, January 2005

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Kale Ceasar Salad

As a follow up to my last post on Eataly and their love of vegetables- I wanted to post a recipe that highlights one of my favorite leafy greens that also happens to be one of the healthiest foods out there.  It is a great source of Vitamins A and C and also a delicious mouthful of potassium, calcium, iron and folate. The best part of this recipe is that the creaminess of the casear dressing makes this dish popular for those that would normally steer clear of anything so healthy sounding!

Recipe adapted from Tartine Bread (Chronicle Books)
Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings

INGREDIENTS

Croutons:
Four 1-inch slices day-old country bread (ideally whole wheat), torn into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
½ teaspoon herbes de Provence (optional)

Kale Caesar:
3 garlic cloves (freshly minced or from a jar of minced)
6 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets (or 1-2 Tbsp of anchovy paste)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 large egg yolk ( I like to boil for 45 sec just to be safe first)
Salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil (I use half this but this is his recipe)
2 heads (about 1 pound) black kale, center stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
⅔ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

1. Make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, a pinch of salt and the herbes de Provence, if using. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake, turning the croutons midway through, until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.

2. Make the dressing: Place the garlic, anchovies and lemon zest in a mortar and pound with a pestle to make a thick paste. (Alternatively, pulse them together in a blender.) Add the egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a few drops of the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. While stirring, (or with the blender motor running), add ½ cup of the olive oil, one drop at a time, to create a smooth emulsion. Stir (or blend) in the remaining cup of olive oil in a slow stream. (The dressing will thicken.) Periodically add the remaining lemon juice. When all the oil is incorporated, season the dressing to taste with additional salt and lemon juice. Add water as needed to thin the dressing to desired consistency.

3. Make the salad: In a large bowl, toss the kale with the croutons. Add the dressing to taste, reserving any extra for another use. Add the Parmesan, toss again and serve immediately.

To download this recipe, click here.

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A while back while I was back in New York City for a week, I had the opportunity to visit Mario Batali’s new “Eataly” Food Emporium whose tagline is “We Sell What We Cook & We Cook What We Sell”.  Despite all the buzz, I was not prepared for the enormity of the space, the sights, sounds, smells and people that were packed in like finely cured sardines.

The 50,000 square foot space was originally the “Toy Center Building” housing various toy dealers and showroom as well as a private dining club deep in the bowels of the building.  The dining club, “200 5th Ave”, served elegant food to exclusive members with white glove waiter service.  Eataly was built in 2010 in NYC (but has several other stores around the world) to “taste and take home” delicious food and also to educate the public (they have an extensive class schedule as well).

You don’t need to be a member to dine here at one of the TWELVE food areas/mini-restaurants.  There is a coffee vendor, gelateria, pastries, a sandwich shop, pizza/pasta, fish place, salumi stop, rotisserie and even a vegetable restaurant (my favorite) which only serves vegetable dishes (some with grains, cheese but no meat anywhere) and serves them in high style (beautifully and with wine).

“Le Verdure” mini-restaurant gets its star-of-the-show vegetables from the produce section three feet away. Where tomatoes glisten and rub elbows with exotic neighbors like starfruit and buddha’s hand.   Sharing a corner of the kitchen space for Le Verdure and facing the produce area is a “Vegetable Butcher”.  This lovely person’s job is to prep vegetables in to easy to cook packets (sold at a premium of course) and to enthusiastically explain how to cook with these precious vegetable jewels.  While I was there Mr.Veggie Butcher was prepping baby artichokes (discard out leaves, chop down middle) and pontificating on how to cook them (in skillet with olive oil, salt/pepper and finish with a splash of lemon).

Additionally there are shopping areas for all sorts of other products (cheese, bread, meat, pastries, pasta etc) and the array is outstanding.

You might be wondering what I am doing talking about a high-end grocery/food shop, but I wanted to share the experience and especially the admiration for vegetables that this store has.

So don’t be shy, try a new vegetable today. Even if you don’t have the Veggie Butcher to talk you through it…I am sure you can find something on YouTube.

See a map of Eataly NY here.

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As a follow up to my Pantry post, I wanted to add this simple “Pantry Pasta” recipe to your healthy home-cooking repertoire.  You can throw it together with only ingredients in your pantry (white beans, artichoke hearts,stock, wine and sun-dried tomatoes) as long as you have a lemon.  Ideally serve it with something fresh too, like a simple arugula and tomato salad or a heap of garlic spinach.

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package whole wheat linguine pasta
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (drain as much oil as possible first and then blot with a paper towel after chopping)
  • 3/4 cup sliced marinated artichoke hearts
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguine pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook the onion 4 minutes, until tender. Mix in the thyme, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until onion is golden brown.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the saucepan. Return the onion and thyme to saucepan, and stir in the white wine. Cook until reduced by about 1 tablespoon. Mix in the stock, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking 10 minutes, until reduced to about 3/4 cup.
  4. Mix the sun-dried tomatoes, white beans and artichoke hearts into the saucepan, and cook just until heated through. Toss the cooked pasta into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted this recipe from All Recipes, but they use fresh tuna instead of white beans and I lowered the amount of oil a bit.

Let me know what you think!

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