Honey Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts When the farmer’s market has Brussels sprouts on the stalk, one is coming home with me and roasted Brussels sprouts are suddenly on the menu. I can’t resist. There is something so novel and (literally) fresh about pruning the little cabbages from their stem. For an urbanite, it is close as we get to the ‘harvesting’ concept. That is, unless you are one of those people who have actually attempted and succeeded with urban gardening. That’s not me.  Brussels Sprouts Trunk

 

According to Rebecca Wood, author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Brussels sprouts become sweet and tender after a frost. So keep growing region in mind when purchasing. Most Brussel sprouts come from California’s mild coastal area. Deborah Madison, in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, recommends stronger flavors for sprouts harvested without a frost, such as mustard, capers, and lemon.

For the most flavor in Brussels sprouts from any region, select small sprouts with few yellow leaves. For best results, cut the sprouts in half or into quarters for bite-size pieces. They should all be cut about the same size for even cooking.

Prepped Brussel Sprouts

HONEY DIJON ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

This recipe is the Little Black Dress equivalent of Brussel sprouts recipes. It is classic and simple; a reliable ‘go-to’ recipe for weekdays or special events, which can not only be made in advance and reheat well, but can be dressed up in countless ways. It has just a hint of sweetness. So, you may want to increase the sweetener for some palates.

Try tossing in carmelized onions, roasted and chopped nuts, bacon, soaked current, chopped dried cherries or (of course) cheese to the roasted sprouts. You just might convert a skeptic with your creativity. And little will they know that with Brussels sprout’s glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, they are reducing cancer risk through with every delicious bite.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 trunk prepped (or 1 1/2 pounds) Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (1 tablespoon reserved for after roasting)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or fire cider or apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey (or maple syrup)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the baking sheet.
  4. Roast the sprouts, stirring half-way through for even browning, until tender and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes, depending on their size.
  5. Return roasted brussels sprouts back in the bowl. Combine remaining tablespoon olive oil, vinegar and honey together and pour the mixture over the sprouts, tossing to coat evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Roasted Brussel Sprout Dish

Revised 10.22.16. Originally published 12.24.14.

No-Recipe Spaghetti Squash Dishes

The stringy flesh of spaghetti squash resembles traditional pasta in appearance. But, does it taste like spaghetti? Does it have that unique ‘toothiness’ of an al dente pasta? Of course not. But, with about one-fourth the calories and carbohydrates of traditional wheat pasta, it can be a very satisfying, grain-free alternative —and a novel, creative way to enjoy a carotenoid and antioxidant-rich meal.  And, like regular ‘noodles’ the spaghetti squash pulp is like a naked canvas for flavorings. Almost anything goes. Check out these 4 tips for making delicious spaghetti squash dishes and 5 ideas to get you started!

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Just like preparing traditional pasta, the process can be as free-form and improvisational as you want. No recipes needed. In fact, think ‘Operation Fridge Clear Out’. Cooking spaghetti squash is as easy as making regular spaghetti noodles. But, you just need to allow for longer cooking time, about 40 minutes at 375° F, either whole or cut in two. (For step-by-step instructions, see above link.)

Spaghetti Squash with OilSpaghetti Squash Strands4 TIPS TO DELICIOUS SPAGHETTI SQUASH DISHES

  • Preparation: drain off excess water. For the best and most pasta-like  results, place the strands in a strainer and press out as much excess water as you can. This step is optional. But, it’s worth the effort, especially if you are cooking the squash ahead of time and/or are not using a fat-based sauce, such as a marinara.
  • Dressing: go fat! Due to the high water content of spaghetti squash, I prefer fat-based sauces. Healthy fats in moderation will help modulate the blood sugar response and increase satiety as will adding in some protein. Or, indulge with a little browned butter. Try these!
  • Seasoning: go bold! Like regular pasta noodles, spaghetti squash provides is a neutral vehicle for any variety of flavors. But, unlike regular pasta noodles, the spaghetti squash pulp won’t absorb the sauce and its flavors very well. And, these noodles don’t have much flavor of their own other than a slightly sweet earthiness. So, go a bit more bold with your seasoning than you might with regular pasta.
    Try these seasonings!

    • Basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
    • Black pepper, Cinnamon, chili flakes, nutmeg
    • Garlic, onions, scallions
    • Soy sauce or shoyu
    • Tomatoes (sun-dried or paste)
  • Add contrasting textures. Fold different textures into the strands and on top of the dish. These variations in texture gives makes the dish chewy similar to al dente pasta. Try these additions and toppings!
    • sautéed mushrooms
    • Toasted, chopped nuts, such as hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
    • Bread crumbs or panko (regular or gluten-free).
    • Beans, such as adzuki, black, garbanzo or kidney
    • Cheese, such as mozzarella, parmesan or Gruyère

Cacio Y Pepe Spaghetti SquashCacio y Pepe-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Olive oil and garlic
Seasonings: A generous amount of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions and shiitake mushrooms, roasted and shopped walnuts
Garnish: Italian parsley and basil

Spaghetti squash with mushrooms

Spaghetti Squash with Cinnamon-Nutmeg Vegan Cream Sauce and Nuts

Base: Cashew cream sauce
Seasonings: Cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions and shiitake mushrooms, toasted and chopped walnuts.
Garnish: Italian parsley

Spaghetti Squash with Indian Sauce

Indian-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Store-bought Indian simmer sauce (Maya Kaimal brand)
Additions: Garbanzo beans
Garnish: Cilantro or Thai Basil

Spaghetti Squash with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Southern Italy-Inspired Spaghetti Squash

Base: Olive oil, garlic and tomato paste
Seasonings: Red chili pepper flakes, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: sautéed onions, chopped or pureed sun-dried tomatoes
Garnish: Italian parsley or Basil

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

Spaghetti Squash Tossed with Avocado Pesto and Kale

Base: Vegan avocado pesto
Seasonings: Lemon, garlic, black pepper and sea salt
Additions: Wilted kale
Garnish: Basil and roasted, chopped pecans

REFERENCES:

  • USDA National Nutrient Database
  • Page, Karen. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2014.

How do you like to prepare spaghetti squash? Share a tip! Leave a comment below.

 

Dairy-Free Cacao Fudgsicles

Healthy FudgsiclesFudgsicles were one of my favorite summer cool treats. There was something about the way they slowly morphed from a frozen solid into creamy, chocolate pudding. Unfortunately, three of the top six ingredients in those fudgsicles are sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Keep reading the label and you will find other goodies, such as cellulose gum and polysorbate 80. No thank you.

The good news is that it is incredibly easy to make fudgsicles that are actually healthy. These fudgiscles also have the rich, creamy texture, which makes a fudgsicle a fudgsicle.  No dairy. No gluten. No cooking. No kidding! Continue reading

7 Healthy 4th of July Salads

Want to balance your holiday indulgences with some flavorful, yet healthy salads? Look no more. Following are some tasty, dairy-free and gluten-free options for your picnics and BBQs all summer long. From kale to coleslaw to quinoa and everything in between. Here’s to independence from boring deli salads! Continue reading

How to Make Jalapeño Infused Tequila

Jalapeno Infused Tequila After Two Weeks

JALAPENO INFUSED TEQUILA RECIPE

When a festive cocktail is in order, I think spicy and make jalapeño infused tequila. Select jalapeños which are small or medium in size. The younger peppers will have much more heat than the larger, older ones, which may show signs of shrivelling. Consider starting with only 2 or 3 peppers the first time if you do not want a strong infusion.

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

Creamy Horseradish Dressing

A bit of silken tofu gives this creamy horseradish dressing such a luscious texture you won’t believe it’s vegan. Freshly grated horseradish delivers not only another source of cruciferous goodness but also gives this dressing a very distinct flair. If you really want to make it zesty, add more horseradish. For best results, either use a

You can find fresh horseradish in the produce section of most grocery stores. For best results, either use a microplane, or finely chop the horseradish after grating, if you’re not using a blender. To prevent drying out, wrap unused horseradish in a damp towel. It will keep for at least a month refrigerated. 

Grated Horseradish Dressing

CREAMY HORSERADISH DRESSING

Adapted from Natural Gourmet Institute
Yield: approximately 1 cup

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon peeled, freshly grated horseradish
  • 1/2 pound silken tofu (squeeze out extra water)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea miso
  • 1/4 cup soy milk or other dairy alternatives
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Tabasco or hot sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the Tabasco, salt and black pepper. Process until the dressing is creamy and smooth. Add salt, black pepper and Tabasco to taste and blend again until incorporated.

 

 

 

White Bean Miso Soup with Citrus

White Bean Miso Soup

You must try this White Bean Miso Soup recipe recipe at some point. Because at some point, it will be just what your body needs. Let me explain.

I first tried this soup during a baking class at Natural Gourmet Institute. After hours of baking and sampling, baking and sampling and more baking and sampling, the class was on a collective sugar buzz. Knowingly, the chef had made this miso soup to counterbalance the sugar. Satisfying, grounding and nourishing, the miso soup quickly became more popular than the baked goods. Ying and Yang. It worked. So, for these reasons, miso soup is comforting, not just on a cold day, but is generally a welcome treat on its own and especially after overconsumption. Continue reading

5 Reasons to Love Seaweed

Seaweed Love

While you might not order seaweed beyond sushi rolls or stock it in your pantry, you’re probably eating it —more than you know. Edible seaweeds, also known as sea vegetables, are frequently used in ice creams, consumer baked goods, salad dressings -and of course, nut milks (most brands except Whole Foods 360). But, if you’re not intentionally including seaweed in your diet —should you? Maybe.

I’ve been starting to work with edible seaweeds, also known as sea vegetables. Check out these 5 interesting facts about our green, brown and red friends under the sea and ideas for introducing them into your diet. Welcome to Seaweed 101!

Continue reading

Turmeric Golden Milk Basics

Turmeric Golden MilkTurmeric Golden Milk, the classic Ayurvedic beverage, is known for its many therapeutic benefits. While an array of Golden Milk recipes exist, the key ingredient is always turmeric, often with ginger, both of which are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. In fact, thousands of research studies on just turmeric and its most active constituent, curcumin, show it may be beneficial in preventing and/or treating over six hundred health conditions. And turmeric, also known as ‘Indian Solid Gold’ has been found comparable to fourteen various drugs and medications —without adverse side effects, even at doses up to 8,000 mg per day (about one rounded teaspoon of dried turmeric).

Given the impressive data on turmeric’s benefits to nearly every bodily system, I try to incorporate turmeric into my daily cooking, not just the occasional curry dish. I’ve grown fond of the drink, finding it equally welcome and as comforting in the morning as it is before bed. Start or end the day golden —or both!

Following are options for making Turmeric Golden Milk, which provide flexibility depending on what ingredients you prefer and keep on hand. They also provide preparation options geared towards trying the recipe once or want convenience tips to make it quickly on a regular basis.

urmeric Golden Milk Ingredients

TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK COMPONENTS:

  • Milk Base: To maximize the anti-inflammatory benefits, use a non-dairy milk alternative, such as almond, rice or hemp milk, etc. or use coconut milk.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is added as a fat source to aid absorption of the turmeric. This is not necessary if using coconut milk, due to the higher fat content.
  • Turmeric: Either fresh turmeric root or dried, ground turmeric will work. I prefer the fresh root as it gives a freshness to the drink while the powdered form can bring a bitterness in higher quantities. To prepare a small quantity of fresh turmeric, simply grate the unpeeled root using a microplane or process in a high-speed blender.
    Convenience Tip: Make frozen Turmeric Cubes
  • Ginger: Optional, but highly recommended. It not only adds anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, the flavor nicely balances out any bitterness of the turmeric. If using, I strongly prefer the fresh root, rather than ground ginger. To quickly make a small batch of ginger juice, simply grate a 3-4 inch knob of ginger using a microplane or ginger grater, then use a spoon or spatula to press the juice through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
    Convenience Tip: Make frozen Ginger Juice Cubes
  • Sweetener: This recipe uses Medjool dates. If using Deglet Noor dates, you will need a few more as these are smaller and have less natural sweetness. I like using dates as they provide added minerals as well as fiber, which also thickens the drink. You can also use honey or coconut sugar. Start with 1 teaspoon per cup and add more to taste.
    Convenience Tip: Make Date Paste

OPTIONAL TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK INGREDIENTS: 

  • Black Pepper (Optional): Adding black pepper can increase the bioavailability of turmeric by as much 2000%. A little goes a long way and freshness is probably as important as quantity. So, either use freshly cracked black pepper or crush 3 or 4 black peppercorns before adding to the saucepan.
  • Arrowroot (Optional): Added for thickening the milk base. Simply add 1 tablespoon of arrowroot per cup of the cool liquid (almond milk, etc.), whisk until well combined, then add to the remainder of the drink mix as it is warming in the saucepan. No thickener is needed if using coconut milk.
  • Aromatics (Optional): 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cinnamon stick, 3-4 cardamom pods or others. Add one or more. These can be added to the liquid for more flavoring, infusing into the beverage as it is warmed on the stove top, then strained out before any blending and serving.

TIPS FOR MAKING TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK  

  • Do not let the Turmeric Golden Milk boil. You want to only heat the beverage to a simmer. Boiling will diminish the health benefits of the turmeric and ginger
  • Avoid stains! Turmeric is used as a textile dye. You will see why! Use a stainless steel whisk and/or rubber spatula when preparing the mixture. Avoid using wooden spoons or any cloths you don’t want to turn golden.
  • Golden Milk can be made in advance and kept in a refrigerated, air-tight stainless steel or glass container for several days. Then, simply reheat.
  • Turmeric is an acquired taste. Some people prefer to start with lower quantities of turmeric in the recipe and increase the amount gradually.
  • As is the case with so many herbs and spices, turmeric should be used with caution.
    • Individuals with gallstones should only take turmeric under the direction of their doctor.
    • Because turmeric slows blood-clotting, it should not be taken by those with clotting disorders or before surgery.
    • Excessive turmeric should be avoided in people with congestive heart failure.
    • Since turmeric is included in Ayurvedic formulas for birth control, women trying to become pregnant should limit their consumption of the spice.
    • Women who are pregnant or nursing should discuss using turmeric with their doctor.

TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK RECIPES

Yield: 3 servings

INGREDIENTS – ALMOND MILK VERSION:

  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pureed or grated fresh turmeric (or 2 teaspoons ground)
  • 1/4 cup ginger juice (juice from a 3-4″ piece of ginger)
  • 1/4 cup date paste or 6 Medjool dates, pitted, soaked for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional for improved turmeric absorption)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Dash sea salt

INGREDIENTS – COCONUT MILK VERSION:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup pureed or grated fresh turmeric (or 2 teaspoons ground)
  • 1/4 cup ginger juice (juice from a 3-4″ piece of ginger)
  • 1/4 cup date paste or 6 Medjool dates, pitted, soaked for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Dash sea salt

TURMERIC GOLD MILK DIRECTIONS:

  • If using date paste – Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until warm
  • If using soaked dates – Blend all ingredients (except aromatics, if using) in a blender until smooth. Then, heat the blended mixture in a saucepan with any aromatics (remove them before serving).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

How to Make Turmeric Anti-Inflammation Cubes
How to Make Ginger Juice – Without a Juicer
Three Ways to Get the Most From Turmeric

Have you tried Turmeric Golden Milk? If so, what do you think about it? If not, do you think you might give it a try? Please leave a comment below!

REFERENCES:

1] Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.

[2] “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. J Clin Immunol. 2007 Jan;27(1):19-35. Epub 2007 Jan 9.
[3] 
600 Reasons Turmeric May Be the World’s Most Important Herb
[4] Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75.
[5] Natural Products and Molecular Therapy, First International Conference. New York, NY: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1056, 2005.
[6] Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemoprotective agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anti-cancer Res. 2001; July-Aug 21:2895-2900.
[7] Is Turmeric As Effective As Fourteen Other Drugs? Sacred Plant’s Ingredient, Curcumin, Holds Key To Health Benefits? Medical Daily.
[8] Bioavailability of Curcumin: Problems and Promises Mol Pharmaceutics Vol. 4, NO. 6, 807-818
[9] Dietary turmeric potentially reduces the risk of cancer. 
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(12):3169-73.
[10] Turmeric Health Benefits: Have a Happy New Year With Turmeric. Andrew Weil, MD
[11] Why You Should Always Eat Pepper with Turmeric. Michael Greger, MD
[12] Biochemical Basis of Enhanced Drug Bioavailability by Peperine: Evidence that Peperine is a Potent Inhbitor of Drug Metabolism. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. Vol. 232, No. 1