Sweet Potato Turkey Hash

Sweet Potato HashBreakfast hash. I’d never tasted it, much less ordered it. But, ‘The Original’ hash was on my companion’s plate at the famed Otis Cafe on the Oregon Coast. I dug my fork into the mass. When in Rome. Yes, it was delicious. But, one bite was adequate. Cross that off the list. Until yesterday morning, when The Time food section was promoting Turkey Hash as a way to repurpose one’s remaining Thanksgiving bird. Count me in.

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Gluten-Free Cornbread

Gluten-Free Cornbread

If stuffing is a hot topic at your house and you are the gluten-free cook, cornbread is the answer. But, to the GMO-aware, having cornbread on your menu may feel like having Satan himself at your table. Fear not. Bob’s Redmill makes an organic corn flour.

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How to Make Fire Cider at Home

Fire Cider

Fire Cider, according to the Huffington Post, is “one of those grandma-style cold and hangover remedies that is designed to be one part soothing, one part refreshing and one part BURN-IT-OUT-OF-YOU.” That got my attention. Research ensues. In short, the tonic is a potent culinary alchemy of anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, sinus clearing, immune and circulation boosting ingredients. No wonder this herbalists’ treasure can supposedly remedy far more than just hangovers and the common cold. -As if that wasn’t enough!

At this point, I’m fully intrigued when I finally found it at a country store in the Berkshires. One sip later, I was hooked. But, several months and about a dozen 8 ounce bottles later (at $12.99 each), it was DIY-time.

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Sweet Potato Mash with Maple Carmelized Onions and Mint

Sweet Potato Mash with Carmelized Onions and MintLike many food lovers, visits to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen typically end with my attempts to mentally deconstruct my latest menu favorite. Wishful plans to recreate it at home assume that guesswork will be on the ingredient list. But, in the case of the restaurant’s now famous Squash on Toast, the New York Times made my day and published the recipe.  Continue reading “Sweet Potato Mash with Maple Carmelized Onions and Mint” »

Radicchio Salad with Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette

Raddichio SaladIn 1988, I moved to Napa Valley with dreams of launching a catering career. I had no job and no local industry contacts to help me get one. But, I had my college friend Heidi. A native of the Valley, Heidi introduced me to Jamie, the executive chef for Inglenook winery. It was a good start. Continue reading “Radicchio Salad with Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette” »

3 Ways to Get the Most from Curcumin

Turmeric Anti-Inflammation DrinkUsed for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, the healing powers of turmeric are now gaining mainstream awareness. Turmeric and curcumin, the most active constituent of the spice, have been the subject of thousands of studies, revealing the following: Continue reading “3 Ways to Get the Most from Curcumin” »

International Food Blogger’s Conference: A Rookie’s Perspective

IFBC Seattle 2014I’ve attended more than my share of conferences ranging from technology, science, dietetics and integrative healthcare. But, those weren’t on my dime. So, in considering IFBC, I questioned if attending as a non-professional and relatively inexperienced blogger would be worth the investment. Indeed, it was. Continue reading “International Food Blogger’s Conference: A Rookie’s Perspective” »

Basic Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock IngredientsEvery poultry-eating cook needs a go-to stock recipe. I never had one until recently as the yield from my single roasted chicken didn’t seem worth the effort. But, now I can’t imagine wasting a single carcass and simply wait until I have two of them. After all the meat has been eaten, I throw the bones  into a freezer bag, along with any kitchen scraps collected from juicing and cooking during the week (mostly carrot, celery, leek and onion ends). I also save onion skins, as they impart a pleasant caramel color to the stock. Continue reading “Basic Chicken Stock” »

Radicchio: The Other ‘Green’.

RadicchioWith tightly bound, magenta leaves, radicchio is a striking vegetable. But, at the market, it often receives an admiring gaze, then is passed over for the more familiar, less bitter and less intimidating bins of greens. While radicchio (pronounced similar to Pinocchio), looks like a small cabbage, it is actually a member of the chicory family, cousins of lettuces and dandelions. Also known as Italian or Red Chicory, radicchio is very versatile to use, nutritious and is as simple to prepare as your usual green suspects. Radicchio is nutritionally rich, but has several distinguishing health benefits, which set it apart from typical salad greens. Check out this impressive red-head!

Digestive Health: Chicories, like radicchio, contain inulin, a non-digestible carbohydrate [1]. Through fermentation, inulin acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria in the intestine. Inulin also helps regulate blood sugar levels [2]. In addition, the bitter quality of radicchio increases bile salts, which can improve digestion.

Bone and Neurological Health: Radicchio is uniquely rich in vitamin K, with 100 grams providing 212% of daily recommended values. Vitamin K promotes the formation and strengthening of bone. Further, research shows adequate dietary vitamin K may limit naturally occurring neuron damage in the brain. As such, vitamin K has an established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s [3]. 

Visual Health: Radicchio’s vibrant red color is an eye-pleaser, in more ways than one. The brightly colored leaves are an excellent source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, such as zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds protect eyes from age-related macular disease (ARMD) by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays [4]. Sunscreen for your eyes!

When selecting radicchio, look for compact, bright-colored heads with prominent ribs, free of bruises and brown or withered leaves. The smaller, younger heads will be less bitter. Store the heads refrigerated, but eat as quickly as possible as they will become more bitter with time. To reduce the bitterness, soak the leaves or quarters in cold water for 10 to 30 minutes.

Radicchio Leaves Soaking

Substitute radicchio in recipes calling for chicory or endive. Using radicchio raw, tear or chop the leaves into small pieces, and combine it with other salad greens for a flavor, color and texture accent. The individual leaves can also be used as elegant and low-carb serving cups or wrappers for appetizers. Cored, but not quartered, the sturdy leaves are excellent grilled or roasted. Radicchio pairs especially well with balsamic vinegar. Try tossing the soaked and dried leaves with a balsamic vinaigrette, with an optional topping of shaved parmesan. Balsamic vinegar also combines well with grilled or roasted radicchio. Following is an adaptation of Michael Ruhlman’s Grilled Radiccchio recipe.

Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar

Serves 4-8.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium heads radicchio, quartered lengthwise, core intact
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette

Radicchio Quarters

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place radicchio wedges in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  4. Place each wedge, cut side down, on the lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast the wedges, turning once, until the leaves are wilted and just slightly charred, about 12-15 minutes.
  6. Season both sides of the wedges with salt and pepper.
  7. Before serving, drizzle balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette over the top of each wedge.

REFERENCES:

[1] The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia – Comprehensive Resource for Healthy Eating, by Rebecca Wood
[2] Niness (1 July 1999). “Inulin and Oligofructose: What Are They?”Journal of Nutrition. 129 (7): 1402 (7): 1402. PMID 10395607. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
[3] USDA National Nutrient data base
[4] nutritionandyou.com – Radicchio

Lemony Garlic Cauliflower Mash

 

Lemony Garlic Cauliflower MashTemperatures are atypically hovering around 70 degrees. While I’m ready for fall, I’m not quite ready for my favorite fall recipes such as cauliflower mash, aka faux mashed potatoes -a quintessential comfort food fake.

But, cauliflower is in season -now! As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower is a true ‘super food’. While over-used, cauliflower is actually worthy of this term. Rich in sulforaphane, indoles and isothiocyanates, cauliflower supports multiple body systems; detoxification, antioxidant, and the inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system [1].

Cauliflower is also high in vitamin C, with one serving providing 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C [2].  It is also high in fiber, and pretty much all the nutrients as it’s more popular and colorful cousin, broccoli. That is, of course, except chlorophyl. But, cauliflower has an edge over broccoli inside its cell walls, pectin. Just as pectin in apples provides thickening and gelling properties to applesauce, the pectin in cauliflower makes it creamy when cooked.

I love this recipe for its seasonal-neutral contrast of light citrus and subtle heat from the pepper flakes. The recipe is simple and quick to prepare, can be served warm or at room temperature and the texture is the same the next day. You can enjoy this and other cauliflower mash recipes year-round as the preparation works equally well with fresh or frozen cauliflower. However, keep in mind that while still nutritious, commercially packaged frozen cruciferous vegetables may lose many of the health benefits found in their fresh counterparts [3].

Lemony Garlic Cauliflower Mash Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower, chopped into florets (or 1 pound frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, olive oil or butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 head roasted garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic lemon zest (optional)

Steaming Cauliflower

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place chopped cauliflower into a steamer insert inside of a saucepan or stock pot with an inch or two of water.
  2. Cover and steam until very soft when pierced with a fork. For fresh cauliflower, this will take 10-12 minutes. Frozen cauliflower will take less time.
  3. Remove the cauliflower from the heat.
  4. Allow the cauliflower to rest in the steamer for another five minutes.
  5. Transfer steamed cauliflower into a food processor or blender.
  6. Add all other ingredients, except the zest to the blender and process until smooth.
  7. Add rice or almond milk, if needed for a smooth texture.
  8. Readjust seasoning to taste, if needed. 
  9. Top with lemon zest and serve.

REFERENCES:

[1] Nation Cancer Institute
[
2] World’s Healthiest Foods, Cauliflower
[
3] nutritionfacts.org – Video

What are your favorite ways to prepare cauliflower? Let me know!