Mom: Cook, Nourish, Repeat.

Today we honor mothers and all they do. As a food blogger and dietitian, I’m grateful that my mother passed on her passion for nutrition and cooking to me. Starting at a very early age, simple food-related tasks, such as going to the grocery store with her, were treasured outings. She taught me how to select certain produce… what to look for and what to avoid. She would then give me my mission, “Now go pick out 6 nice onions.” Most likely, the time coaching me in the selection process took more time than it would have to pick out the produce herself. But, I loved being her assistant -especially when it came to making pies. I would ‘help’ her role out the dough with my 6-inch child’s rolling-pin. Continue reading

Hudson Valley Weekend

Culinary Institute of America

Photo credit: Culinary Institute of America

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Henry Hudson and his explorations were my only association  with the Hudson Valley. But, as a New Yorker (going on eight years -is it official yet?) I now realize why the 150-mile stretch above Manhattan is revered for more than its epic place in history and a verdant New York City escape. It is also a culinary mecca, considered by many to be the ‘Napa of the East’ as quoted in CIA alum, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. In fact, National Geographic Traveler proclaimed the region as ‘one of the top 20 destinations in the world’ in 2013. Two words: Road trip. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Mash with Maple Carmelized Onions & 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, inspiring this unique sweet potato mash recipe. Continue reading

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

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!

Fire Cider. It really IS all that!

Fire CiderI first came across Shire City Herbal’s Fire Cider while visiting the Berkshires. Being an apple cider vinegar enthusiast, the manufacture’s description intrigued me. ‘Fire Cider is whole foods medicine, vinegar perfected! It’s A Medicinal Tonic. It’s A Cocktail Mixer. It’s Both…and More!’ I was sold, until I saw the price. $12.99 for an 8 ounce bottle?! I’ll pass.

But, I kept seeing it on the shelves of independent health food stores and decided this tonic deserved a little research. According to the Huffington Post, “Fire Cider is one of those grandma-style cold and hangover remedies that is designed to be one part soothing, one part refreshing and one part BURNING-IT-OUT-OF-YOU.” The base of this product is raw, unpasteurized, living apple cider vinegar blended with raw wildflower honey and immune boosting, roots and fruits, such as oranges, lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, garlic, turmeric and Habanero pepper. Not your garden variety vinegar.

Then next time I saw it, I bought a bottle and tried it on the spot. This is not for the faint of heart, but it is zesty, invigorating and tasty! Fourth of July in a bottle. Every day I looked forward to a tablespoon treat. I also started adding a splash to soups and vegetables.The bottle was gone in a week. Clearly hooked on this vibrant tonic, I started researching recipes to make it at home to feed my habit in a more economical way. I recently found one from a noted herbalist. Stay tuned!

Have you tried Fire Cider? If so, how do you use it?