How to Make Mushroom Bacon

Mushroom BaconWe all know that ‘mushroom bacon’ is not really bacon. I’m talking about “bacon”. And while I get annoyed with food marketed as something else (tofurky), nothing communicates quite like a good metaphor in air quotes. So, while I’m not going to fool the pork lovers out there, using the ‘B’ word is aptly descriptive. It infers what you’re going to get; an earthy, dense bite of savory, slightly salty immune-boosting goodness. 

No, I won’t bash legit bacon. I have nephews who would never forgive me if I did. But, it’s good to know that these umami bombs are totally unprocessed. And even more important, they are free from the cancer-causing nitrates added to many processed meats.    Continue reading

Rockstar Granola -With or Without a Recipe

Granola Recipe

Granola is one of the more simplistic baking endeavors. Yet, there are several granola recipes which have reached national notoriety. Ironically, the creators of these recipes are on the opposite ends of the country.

The first granola recipe from Eleven Madison restaurant in New York City, my adopted hometown. Yes, at the end of the 15 course, $295 per head prix-fixe dinner, you are presented with a mason jar of the house granola. It is an unexpected and lovely touch. You ration the hell out of that granola because it is probably the best you’ve ever had. And, you know you won’t be getting more anytime soon. Or ever. Continue reading

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

Baked Apple ChipsApple chips don’t require special equipment. Dehydrator? Mandolin? Nope. While both are nice to have, they aren’t necessary. A low-temperature stove, a sharp knife and some time are all you need. Healthy, full of fiber, sugar-free and just two ingredients; apple chips might be the perfect whole foods baked treat. Caution: the aroma of cinnamon apples wafting from your oven is almost as addicting as the chips. Continue reading

Zucchini Pesto Noodles

Zucchini Noodles

My first effort with zucchini noodles was a fail and it had nothing to do with not having a spiralizer. The first time I made them, I sautéed them with pesto. By the time I sat down with my plate, the noodles were a lukewarm and slightly watery pile. Note to self: the best way to eat zucchini noodles is cold. Continue reading

Quinoa Breakfast Bars – Your Morning Saver

Quinoa Breakfast BarsHave a love-hate relationship with breakfast? The earlier the alarm sounds and the greater the rush, the more tempting it is to skip it. But, research shows the importance of “breaking the fast” for better energy, cardiovascular health, weight control and healthier food choices throughout the day [1][2]. Quinoa Breakfast Bars to the rescue. These gluten-free, protein-packed and only slightly sweetened bars are a healthy, grab-and-go breakfast or snack item. This recipe is not only easy, but endlessly customizable, or what I call a “kitchen sink” recipe. Dried, fresh or frozen fruit, coconut, seeds, nuts… throw them all into the mix! You can’t go to wrong, as long as you don’t add so many extras that the mixture is as dense as wet concrete. These bars can be made ahead and last for days in the refrigerator. Try the Vegan Quinoa Bars as well! Continue reading

Eggs Diablo

Eggs DiabloEggs Diablo is a healthier version of the classic Deviled Eggs with Greek yogurt and avocado replacing mayonnaise. If you are not a deviled egg fan, give this version a try. If you like guacamole, you will love Eggs Diablo! Green eggs. Perhaps Dr. Seuss was on to something!

Continue reading

Bagna Cauda Roasted Cauliflower

Bagna Cauda Roasted Cauliflower

This Bagna Cauda Roasted Cauliflower recipe was inspired by my Nonna. It was she who introduced me to Bagna Càuda, a traditional Italian warm dipping sauce made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil and butter. Translated literally as ‘hot bath, the dish is typically eaten during the autumn and winter months, served hot in a communally with raw, boiled or roasted vegetables.

She prepared Bagna Càuda in her electric skillet for family gatherings. As the butter melted into the olive oil, the garlic would soften and the warm pool would eventually dissolve the anchovies and transform into a heady, salty and nutty sauce of umami goodness. The aroma was as unique to me as it was captivating. I knew I was smelling ‘the Old World’ before I even knew what that phrase meant.

Continue reading

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)
  • A few tablespoons coconut, almond or rice milk, if desired for texture

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!

Vegan Quinoa Bars: Breakfast Solved

Vegan Quinoa BarsBy request, this recipe for vegan quinoa bars is an egg-free version of the Quinoa Breakfast Bars. These gluten-free, protein-packed and only slightly sweetened bars are a healthy, grab-and-go breakfast or snack item. This recipe is not only easy, but endlessly customizable. Dried, fresh or frozen fruit, coconut, seeds, nuts can all be added to the mix! You can’t go too wrong.

Continue reading

Raw Cacao Spice Date Bars

Raw Cacao Spice BarDates didn’t interest me in the least, until Costco. No frugal foodie can resist two pounds of discounted organic fruits. Or, in this case, ‘drupes’.

This quick and easy raw date bar recipe gives me even more reasons to love dates. I’ve made this recipe with various types of dates and prefer the Medjool variety, and not just because Costco carries them. Medjool dates are larger (Left below) are a little sweeter, softer and more flavorful than other varieties, such as Deglet Noor (Right below). Full of fiber and dairy, gluten and sugar-free, these bars are a favorite pre or post-workout treat, especially with a glass of chilled almond milk.

Continue reading