Category: 38 Healthiest Ingredients

Salmon with Avocado-Almond Salsa on Kale and Brown Rice

Salmon with Avocado-Almond Salsa on Kale and Brown Rice

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There are lots of arguable lists of “super foods” or the “20 best foods you can eat” and I’m all over them, particularly right after the Super Bowl–why not? Any or all of them are probably useful if you’re trying to improve your health; choose one that speaks to you and eat up.  Somehow an amalgamated list of “super foods” sits most easily for me to remember lately and I try to eat and serve at least one of them every day. Sometimes, if I eat my homemade granola, for instance, I get several at one time!  My list currently looks like this:

Continue reading “Salmon with Avocado-Almond Salsa on Kale and Brown Rice”

One-Pot Pasta with Salmon and Vegetables or Good Friday Supper in a Bowl

One-Pot Pasta with Salmon and Vegetables or Good Friday Supper in a Bowl

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There’s something down-to-earth, cozy, and comfortable about one-pot meals.  Particularly one-pot meals that include pasta, vegetables, and protein.  The Mexican cooks have it all with their sopas secas, which include the ubiquitous  “Mexican Rice,” but also include pots of pasta or even lentils and occasionally beans.  Sopa seca means dry soup and, to our ears and cooking hearts, just means you only put enough liquid in the dry rice, pasta, lentils, or beans, to cook the ingredients–no more.  In other words, if you cooked pasta in the traditional way, you’d cook it in a large pot of boiling water and drain it.  Here, you use just enough liquid (broth or water) to get everything tender and creamy without the addition of cream.  Though a scoop of sour cream often wouldn’t go amiss.

For Good Friday — or any night when time is of the essence and meat isn’t on the menu — try this quick and easy one-pot dinner I made using leftover salmon the other night.  If you have no leftover protein, you can, while the pasta simmers, quickly cook up a small piece of salmon or even a couple of chicken thighs if you’re indulging in “meat.” Alternately, you could put small fresh pieces of salmon into the pot for the last few minutes.  (I haven’t tried this, but I’m guessing it would work.)

I’ll give directions rather than a recipe because you absolutely make this with what you have on hand.  Basically you’ll cook about four cups chopped vegetables in oil with garlic, add a pound of broken pasta and a quart of broth, and cook it all until it’s done, stirring in already-cooked salmon right at the end.   If you have no salmon, or don’t eat fish, skip it; it’ll be a lovely vegetarian meal.  Season the whole pot with lots of fresh chopped parsley or basil or whatever fresh soft herb you have.  Leftovers are epic.  Here’s a clearer idea as long as you remember the vegetables can be switched out for your own choices:

Continue reading “One-Pot Pasta with Salmon and Vegetables or Good Friday Supper in a Bowl”

It Might as Well Be Spring Soup — Lusty Vegan Fare

It Might as Well Be Spring Soup — Lusty Vegan Fare

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Disclaimer June, 2014 :  I  have used the term “lusty vegan” in my blogs without knowing a book by that name was going to be published; I naively thought it was my own phrase.  Just so you know.  Not a thief!

In Colorado, spring comes in fits and starts, swirling itself in and out through March, April, and sometimes May.  There are warm days where we heat up the grill at five pm followed by frozen hoarfrost mornings perfect for stew-making.  We, unlike most of the northern United States, have truly fine days long before the real start of spring; January and February can breed 55 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit afternoons when the windows are thrown open for the stagnant winter aromas to dissipate into sweet, albeit temporary, breezes floating down from the mountains.  A cook who lives within the seasons and responds accordingly often doesn’t know what to do but be exceedingly spontaneous and keep a daily eye on the weather channel.

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Despite snow still appearing on an at least weekly basis, I have for weeks been dreaming of spring vegetables and a new soup to celebrate them.  It’s not that we have any spring vegetables cropping up (good pun) in Colorado Springs; we have so little rain that locally-grown vegetables are like gold.  And where we live, up on the mesa, it’s bedrock, bobcats, coyotes, deer, and bears.  If you had the good luck to get anything to grow, you could be sure something not-so-human would be eating it.  I grow copious amounts of herbs in pots and often have cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets on the deck.  That’s about it; that’s all I can protect from the wildlife.

below:  one of our local young and scrawny bucks making his way through our back garden

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Still–the idea of spring food is dear to my heart and I have lovely memories of the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market and its bounty.  (In Saint Paul, the Farmer’s Market is still selling winter products, I’m sure.  Way too early to plant, though they’re all dreaming and many are starting seeds indoors.)  Happy spring vegetables like fennel, asparagus, and leeks deserve their very own dishes with luscious and copious amounts of fresh herbs to encourage them along.  While I love asparagus soup ( and who doesn’t), adore leek and potato soup (same thing), and will put sautéed spicy fennel on just about anything, I kept thinking of a soup that featured all of them. Together.

Continue reading “It Might as Well Be Spring Soup — Lusty Vegan Fare”

Salmon on Lentil Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Greens

Salmon on Lentil Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Greens

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Sometimes it’s all in the name. Too long and no one looks further as it might take too much time. As in Steak Arrabbiata on Leek-Smothered Greens with Garlic-Kissed Wild Mushrooms. Too simple and we pass it by; we already know how to do that.  As in Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes. Too esoteric and it’s a loser because who wants to make one more trip to a specialty store or spend time mastering an expensive or time-consuming, seldom-needed technique.  As in Sous Vide Pheasant with Sautéed Leek Rye Rolls and Steam-Fried Homegrown Micro Greens.

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(above:  making the lentil risotto)

But Salmon on Lentil Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Greens (served with a perfect Cristom Oregon Pinot Noir–see below) just couldn’t be anything else.  I’ve made it twice in the past two days and the only thing I could change is the risotto bit.  We could possibly just say lentils, but you’d be thinking about boiling a bunch of lentils in a big pot of liquid and that just isn’t the way it is, so the name stands.  You’ll just need to try it to see what you think of this whole meal in a bowl.  Oftentimes folks choose a wine to go with a dish or a meal.  In this case, I chose the wine first — I knew I wanted to bring an Oregon Pinot to this party — and custom-created a dish to go with it.  This is a fun process for me and it’s one I often follow in restaurants. I check out the wine list first, choose my wine, and then look and see what dish will compliment it.

(below: our wine group tasting with Steve Doerner, Winemaker–second from right with beard and in brimmed hat– at Cristom, a favorite Oregon winery, in 2010)

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This dish, used as first course for 15– here offered as a hearty main course for 8–was created to be taken to an Open the Bottle party hosted by dear friends, Drew and Jill Robinson (Drew did the wine pairings for my book).

(below:  a WSJ quote about OTBN a couple of years ago)

“Memories – making them and reveling in them – is what Open the Bottle Night (OTBN) is all about. OTBN is just around the corner: Saturday, Feb. 26. We created OTBN in 1999 for a simple reason: All of us have that one bottle of wine that is so special to us that we plan to open it on an important occasion, but never do. On OTBN, as a world-wide community, we prepare a special meal, finally open that bottle, and celebrate the memories.”

Continue reading “Salmon on Lentil Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Greens”

Surf and Turf Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Fennel and Maple-Orange Vinaigrette

Surf and Turf Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Fennel and Maple-Orange Vinaigrette

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My daughter-in-law, Jami,  pregnant with our granddaughter, hasn’t had much appetite.  I said to her, “What sounds good?”  She said, “I’m supposed to be eating more red meat, but I just don’t feel like eating.  I loved that salmon you made last week.”  So I made the salmon (or Dave did–on the grill) and also a couple of strip steaks.  She loves cauliflower, so that, too was on the menu–steamed and topped with a generous grating of sharp cheddar. (No leftover cauliflower!)  A pot of jasmine rice finished out the meal, as Jami is Gluten-Free.

Over the meal, which Jami ate if not with abandon, at least with appetite, we talked baby names.  Samantha came up, as did Gwendolyn.  Aileen was uttered.  “What Celtic names do you know?”  Well, I couldn’t think of many Celtic names, but I did tell her the names of our grandmothers, just for fun:

  • Lela
  • May
  • Leona
  • Laura (pronounced Lara)

They of course already knew their own grandmother’s names, though I later realized that two of them shared the middle name Jean. Continue reading “Surf and Turf Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Fennel and Maple-Orange Vinaigrette”

38 Power Foods, Week 37 — Wild Salmon — Salmon with Kale on Pea Risotto

38 Power Foods, Week 37 — Wild Salmon — Salmon with Kale on Pea Risotto

If you’re looking for a fish meal for Good Friday –or a different salmon recipe– this is your day.  While it takes a few more minutes than simply grilling some fish and putting together a salad, it’s well worth it.  Think creamy-dreamy risotto to which you’ve added some spring peas.  Surround it with some quickly crisped healthy green kale and top with a tender filet of salmon.  Lemon, along with some minced fresh onion, adds the best touch over all at the end.  Here’s how….

Continue reading “38 Power Foods, Week 37 — Wild Salmon — Salmon with Kale on Pea Risotto”

38 Power Foods, Week 35 — Yogurt — Smoked Salmon Frittata with Horseradish Yogurt and Irish Scones

38 Power Foods, Week 35 — Yogurt — Smoked Salmon Frittata with Horseradish Yogurt and Irish Scones

This is also A Week of St. Pat’s Recipes, Friday…

There’s nothing like a scone.  You can pronounce it skone or skahn, as does my friend, Marie, who’s from South Africa:

“I asked the maid in dulcet tone
To order me a buttered scone
The silly girl has been and gone
And ordered me a buttered scone.”

Long or short “o,” however  you say scone, make a pot of tea while the scones bake and be sure your butter is softened–or  your cream whipped, if you like that.  My barely sweet little scones are a good foil for a savory frittata without moving all the way to sugar-high coffee cakes or Danish, which are more time-consuming at any rate.   Along with some sliced (or grilled) tomatoes or a bit of salad, they round out a gorgeous brunch or lunch.  If it’s brunch, you might stretch the occasion to include an Irish coffee for St. Patrick’s Day or another special Sunday.

Today’s frittata, laced with smoked salmon (an Irish specialty) and sautéed shallots and mushrooms, is topped with a horseradish yogurt sauce to highlight 38 Power Foods tribute to healthy, luscious yogurt:

1/4 cup Greek yogurt + 1 tablespoon grated horseradish–Lovely for an omelet or grilled salmon.

One cup of yogurt provides nearly 45% of your daily calcium needs, plenty of protein, many B vitamins, and minerals such as potassium and phosphorous.  Best of all, though, is yogurt’s rich and healthful assortment of live bacteria that may help maintain the digestive system, boost the immune system, prevent yeast infections, and lower cholesterol.  Calorie counts, as well as many other things, vary greatly between brands, but Chobani plain Greek yogurt is about 130 calories per cups and has 15 grams of protein.

 

smoked salmon frittata with horseradish yogurt
4 generous servings or 8 smaller ones

I used potatoes cooked the night before. If you need to cook potatoes, start with that.  A quick way would be to microwave for 2 minutes or so and thensauté them with the shallots and mushrooms.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch crushed rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 4 ounces thickly cut mushrooms (any)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes, or a mixture
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch x 1 – 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Irish cheddar, shredded; divided (1/4 cup in the frittata and 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt/ I like Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated horseradish
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced

In a large sauté pan (12-14 inches in diameter), heat over medium flame the butter, oil, rosemary and pepper for one minute.  Add the shallots and mushrooms; cook until softened, about three minutes.
Add cooked potatoes and cook another minute or two until potatoes are hot.

While the veg cooks:  In a medium bowl, beat or whisk eggs with salt and stir in salmon and cheese.  Pour egg mixture into pan and cook 3 minutes or until eggs are about half-set.

Meantime, in  a small ramekin, whisk together the yogurt and horseradish; top with a grind of black pepper.  Set aside.

Place pan in oven and let bake another 3-5 minutes or until eggs are set to your liking. Watch carefully at this point.  Remove to a large cutting board, by banging pan on the counter a time or two to loosen eggs, and turning over quickly with a gentle slam to get the frittata onto the board upside down.  Sprinkle with the other 1/4 cup of the cheese and let sit a minute before cutting into fourths or eighths, like a pie.  Serve hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold with yogurt sauce and sliced or grilled tomatoes.

Just out of the oven–the top is barely firm.
Bang and turn it out upside down onto a large board.  Top with cheese.
Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm, at room temp, or cold.

 
Notes:  Frittata is an Italian word for omelet  and is usually an open-faced omelet with vegetables and/or meats.   While frittata ingredients are often cooked from scratch, it’s useful and expedient to use leftovers such as sliced ham or prosciutto, cooked shrimp,  sautéed potatoes or asparagus, etc.  Many people cook their  frittatas totally stovetop; I prefer to start them on the stove and finish them in the oven–watching carefully to make sure they’re not over-cooked.

Frittatas are lovely leftover, julienned, for snacks with drinks or on an antipasti platter.  They also make a great sandwich for someone just starved at next morning’s breakfast.
 

I spent some time once on a sheep farm in Ireland.  Lovely.  Green.

irish fruit scones   adapted for American kitchens
                                                          original recipe by Edmund Cronin, THATCH COTTAGE, County Kerry

  •  8 ounces all purpose, unbleached flour (1 3/4 cups approx.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) butter
  • 50 g (2 ounces or 1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 75 g (3 ounces or 1/2 cup) sultanas (raisins)–I used currants
  • 1/4 pint/ 125 ml (1/2 cup approx) milk       
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 F/ gas mark 7)
  2. Lightly grease a small baking sheet.
  3. Mix together flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in sugar and raisins or currants.
  4. Add milk and mix to produce a soft dough.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured board or counter and knead about a minute until well-combined and holding together.
  6. Roll out dough to about 3/4-inch thick.  Using a floured 2-inch cutter, cut scones into rounds and place on baking tray.
  7. Brush with milk to glaze.
  8. Bake 12 minutes or until done to your liking; I like them a bit crisp on the outside.
  9. Remove scones to a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature with soft butter. (The Irish might serve these with whipped cream rather than butter.)

Buy a little package of Irish butter for these scones. You’ll be glad you did.  Cows in Ireland are happy, happy campers and they make transcendent butter.

Patted out dough waiting to be cut with a floured cutter or knife.

Baker’s notes:  I used a food processor fitted with a steel blade for steps 1-4, but I turned the mixture out and did the rest by hand, including working in the last of the milk.  The dried fruit would be chopped finely if you continued in the food processor much longer.  To do the whole thing by hand or with a pastry cutter would be fairly quick and simple, as well.  Some cooks would just use their hands to get the butter into the flour; I find it melts too much from the heat of my hands and prefer a metal cutting force of some sort–either the pastry cutter or the food processor blade.

Scone Song…

I made these scones Thursday for lunch (we need natural light for photography) and we –well, mostly Dave — gobbled them right up.  You could eat a lot of these; mine were small.  I’m making them again for Dave’s monthly men’s breakfast at church.  I made the dough, patted it into a round, wrapped it tightly in plastic, and refrigerated it.  My plan is to bake them and send them warm to the guys.  I’ll let you  know how it turns out.  I, however, have no butter to go with them because I stupidly left out butter on the table from having friends over.  Miss Gab ate all of it and then got into the soft cooking butter I keep on the counter in the kitchen.

aka BUTTER GIRL

beat beat beat

People always talk about the green in Ireland; I loved the oh-so-blue sky:

You can order smoked Irish salmon via Burren’s (North County Clare) from anywhere in the world here. or call T: +353 65 7074432.

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38 Power Foods is a Team Effort!

Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:

Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

All sites may not blog power foods each week.

Sing a new song; listen to Rob Leveridge,
Alyce

38 Power Foods, Week 34 — Eggs — Sriracha Eggs over Biscuits with Basil Salsa

38 Power Foods, Week 34 — Eggs — Sriracha Eggs over Biscuits with Basil Salsa

 

RELAXING ON THE WEEKEND…

Brunch is a loved meal that doesn’t get eaten nearly often enough. It spells S-L-O-W.  Relaxed.  No rush. Picking and choosing as in, “There’s too much to choose from!”  Shades of a string quartet bowing off in a corner.  An attractive guy in a long apron at your elbow, murmuring, “More coffee?  Champagne?”   Unfortunately, we go out for brunch most of the time–and spend a bundle, too.  We sort of assume it’s too much trouble to cook or maybe even to entertain midday on the weekends, but I enjoy it.  (Even for just two.)

Add to the pull toward the middle of the day menu that I am crazy about eggs.  One of my really good friends says, “I never met an egg I didn’t like.” That’s about the size of it.   If you don’t believe me, you’ll have to see some of the things I do with eggs.

This is my Oven-Baked Vegetable Soup with Poached Egg

 or my Porridged Eggs, which are eggs cooked in oats stove top:

You get the idea, right?

But take a look at today’s pretty little egg dish and…


To this fast meal,  you might add a little fruit salad and maybe a piece of coffee cake or pastry from the best bakery (chocolate mousse?) in town and you’re in business.  Bloody Marys and Mimosas (or some variation) are part of the conventional brunch wisdom, as is a vat of strong, perfect coffee and real cream.  A dash of Jack or brandy in the coffee might replace the marys and mimosas for some.  Even hot cocoa (mocha?) with a swig of brandy or a tot of Peppermint Schnapps would do the trick.  Don’t skip out on the fun drinks; they’re a big part of why people like to go out to those expensive, extravagant brunches at inns or hotels.   Set the table with your favorite things and pour a little pitcher of real cream.

Really quick real hot chocolate at my house:  To a microwave safe mug, add one ounce of good-quality bittersweet chocolate. (Just break it up; no need to grate) Add one teaspoon granulated sugar.   Pour in milk until the mug is about 3/4 full.  Microwave on full-power until hot–about two minutes in my microwave. (Don’t boil.) Whisk until smooth.  

Save yourself a few bucks and invite your sister or that neighbor you keep meaning to ask over.  There you go.  You have the entire Sunday afternoon to while away sipping that second (third) cup of coffee and dreaming about what you’re planting next month.

How about some dill?

And while you’re at it, you’re eating one of the thirty-eight power foods, eggs. One of the few foods with vitamin D, protein-packed, quick-cooking,  low-cal (90)  and inexpensive eggs are also loaded with B vitamins and lots of minerals.  There is little with which they don’t pair.  Eggs and asparagus are one of my most-loved combinations.

My Boiled Eggs and Asparagus on English Muffins with Cheese Sauce–perfect for Easter brunch.


My Dad called them (one of) nature’s perfect foods.  Read more about eggs here at The Incredible, Edible Egg. 

My friend Cathy’s “ladies” lay sexy-colored beauties. They’re just starting to “come on” with the longer light.

And while I love eggs, I don’t like chickens at all.  Here in Saint Paul, we can have chickens right in the city, but I’m not going there.  Cathy has to keep her ladies to herself and just share the eggs.  I trade her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or granola for a dozen of these lovelies.  I get the bargain.

 So call a friend for next Sunday at 12:00 and——

Chill the sparkler, set the table, and make the biscuits on Saturday.  Put on your brunch music:

 Product Details

Williams-Sonoma Presents Sunday Brunch

  and make….

      Note:  These eggs are just barely “spicy.”  If you like HOT, double or triple the Sriracha.

sriracha eggs over biscuits with basil salsa
Serves 2              doubles, triples, or quadruples easily

There are people who would marry you for these.
    • Basil Salsa (recipe below)
  • 2-4 biscuits (depending on how thick you’d like your bottom layer)*
  • 1 teaspoon butter, melted or olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated sharp cheddar or gouda cheese (optional), plus a bit for garnish
  1. Make basil salsa and set aside.
  2. Slice biscuits+ (in thin or thick layers-up to you) and divide between two serving plates.
  3. Place butter or olive oil in small skillet and heat over medium heat.
  4. Meantime, in a small bowl, beat together the eggs, Sriracha, salt, and a grind or two of black pepper. 
  5. Pour eggs into pan and let set briefly, stir to bring uncooked eggs up from the bottom.  Repeat until eggs are cooked to your liking. Stir in cheese.
  6. Divide eggs evenly over biscuits and top with basil salsa. Garnish with a bit of cheese and another grind of black pepper. 

*No biscuits?  English muffins or toasted leftover baguette are good substitutes.
+Don’t want to worry about rushing?  Make your biscuits the night before.  Heat briefly in the oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes.)
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Sriracha is a hot chili sauce named for the coastal port city in Thailand from which it hails. The general recipe for sriracha includes ground chiles, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, and was first developed to serve with seafood. (about.com)

 

 alyce’s basil salsa 
                               ***also tasty on chicken or fish tacos or plain grilled or poached white fish

  • 1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and spinach
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated or finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1 small tomato, chopped finely

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together gently.  Taste and adjust  seasonings.  (More onion? Garlic?) 

cook’s note I like this salsa without the heat of jalapeno, etc; it’s much fresher and the beautiful delicate basil is not overpowered by heat.  That said, add a bit of minced jalapeno if you like it. I opted for Sriracha in the eggs, which could be increased. You then have spicy topped by cool and fragrant–refreshing.

If you like this, you might also like my Poached Eggs on Grilled Cheddar Tomatoes

or my Egg+Egg White Omelet Filled with Cottage Cheese on Whole Wheat Toast

Say that three times real fast.

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38 Power Foods is a Team Effort!

Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:

Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

All sites may not blog power foods each week.

Are you a food blogger?  Join us:  Email Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
   
 Sing a new song because while the snow is still piled up, the sun is shining in the beautiful city of  Saint Paul, Minnesota,
Alyce

38 Power Foods, Week 33, Pumpkin Seeds — Acorn Squash Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Cumin Vinaigrette

38 Power Foods, Week 33, Pumpkin Seeds — Acorn Squash Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Cumin Vinaigrette

 

My favorite place for pumpkin seeds is in my mouth.  Preferably with salt or salt with cumin and cayenne.  I also like them on top of pumpkin soup. Texture! I put them in my pumpkin bread, too.  If you’re a jack-o-lantern carver, you probably have saved your seeds, cleaned and dried them, and roasted them in the oven for a treat in the days following Halloween when your teeth are still gritty from the sugar high night. (You can roast and eat the seeds from any kind of pumpkin at all.)

Alyce’s Pumpkin-Ginger Bread

I don’t think I actually was cognizant of the fact that pumpkin seeds were good for you for a very long time.  I probably just never thought of it.  Which is why blogging Power Foods is such a great idea for me.  Of course I know that seeds are healthy; I just didn’t spend much time thinking about the ones that came out of a pumpkin. I was more interested in getting the kids out trick-or-treating or in fixing English muffin pizzas topped with jack-o-lantern faces cut out of a slice of cheese…..or, later on, that big pot of chili.  But pumpkin seeds, like many other seeds, are fabulous treasure troves.  Read on:

When the ancient Aztecs snacked on pumpkin seeds, they were on to something:  Just a handful of these seeds offers a concentrated source of protein and energy-producing magnesium, along with generous amounts of immunity-protecting zinc. Abundant in phytosterols, which help lower cholesterol, pumpkin seeds also provide plenty of fiber when eaten in their shells.

Power Foods : 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of WHOLE LIVING MAGAZINE.

At 180 calories for 1/4 cup (32.25 grams), they pack a wallop calorically. That’s a lot of energy for a very small, portable amount of food.  Read more about pumpkin seed facts and nutrition here, but first make my…

acorn squash salad with pumpkin seeds and cumin vinaigrette
serves 2

  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 acorn squash, cooked*, cut in half, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ x 3″ pieces (approximate)
  • 1/2 lime, sliced
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roasted or toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  1. Mix spinach with cilantro.
  2. Divide spinach mixture and sliced squash between two salad plates, placing squash on top of spinach.
  3. Squeeze 1 or 1 lime slices over the vegetables and sprinkle salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the pumpkin seeds evenly and sprinkle salads with cheese.
  5. Drizzle with cumin vinaigrette. Garnish with slice of lime. Eat while squash is warm or at room temperature.

*To easily and quickly cook an acorn squash:  Cut it in half carefully and scrape out seeds and strings.  Put the halves in a 2-quart Pyrex dish,  drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high 3-5 minutes, testing after 3 minutes (and adding more time if needed) until squash is tender.  Let cool briefly, peel with a sharp knife, and slice into half-rounds.
(A half squash is simply fixed in the microwave in a cereal bowl topped with a salad plate.)

Of course you can also bake an acorn squash in the oven if you’d rather.

Cumin Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch each kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, ground cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Whisk the first five ingredients together in a small bowl.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking until well-combined or emulsified.  Taste and adjust seasonings by dipping a piece of spinach briefly into your vinaigrette.

 

{printable recipe}

inspiration from: Bon Appetit’s recipe for Pork Chops and Squash with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

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38 Power Foods is a group effort!  

Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:

Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

All sites may not blog power foods every week.
  
    Are you a food blogger? Join us! 

We’d like to have you as part of the group.  Get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:  Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com  

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soup cookbook update–recipe testing is about done
still editing

The hub testing “I Have a Spring Cold Chicken Noodle Soup”–he made it all by himself and said, “This is the best thing I ever made; it tastes just like your soup.”  That was the compliment…that I had transferred the taste to the page.  AH!

Tonight, several of the local testers for my soup book come together at my house to eat, drink, and share their results;  most out-of-town testers have emailed their recipe surveys.  I think we are eating eight or nine soups (a taste or two each), but we’re also trying a couple of the accompanying recipes–a tapenade salad with goat cheese toasts, as well as microwave individual flourless chocolate cakes that are done in around a minute each.  Think  of us tonight as the book appears to be coming together in a VERY  HAPPY, TASTY WAY!

Thanks to everyone who’s participated so far!  You know I love you! So cool for this food to no longer be only between me, my stove, my computer, and Dave’s tummy.

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As I write today, I listen to Carol King and James Taylor, Live at the Troubadour. 
For those of us of a certain age (or maybe anyone), this is good listening.

So good night, all you moonlight ladies.  Rock-a-bye sweet baby James.  Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose.  Won’t you let me go down in my dreams… and rock-a-bye sweet baby James?

My, this music has aged well.

Sing a new song,
Alyce

38 Power Foods, Week 31 — Walnuts — Leek-Fennel Soup with Walnut Pesto

38 Power Foods, Week 31 — Walnuts — Leek-Fennel Soup with Walnut Pesto

Hot!

I didn’t mean to do it, but you can see the steam billowing away from this hot Fennel-Leek Soup with Walnut Pesto.  Hearty without being heavy, this is a lovely light lunch with toasted baguette and cheese..

Left:  Roquefort                     Right:  Aged Provolone

or a lemony start to a special dinner.  Simple pictures are often best and this is no exception.  The soup pot ingredients are mostly fresh fennel, sliced leeks, chicken stock, and lemon juice–cooked up in about twenty minutes until the vegetables are just barely tender.   The only complexity involved, and it isn’t much, is a gremolata-like pesto made in the food processor using today’s power food, walnuts, along with lemon and parsley.  Traditional gremolata contains garlic, but I tossed that in the soup pot intead, so have named the topping a pesto.  You can call it what you like; I also call it good.

As walnuts are the nut grown where I live in Minnesota (there’s a black walnut tree right down the street),  I was happy to blog about them today!  Not only are they locally sourced and extra-heart-healthy goodies, they also improve brain function and are full of anti-oxidants. A good source of easy-to-carry protein, walnuts weigh in at about 185 calories per ounce (about 14 walnut halves.) While we think of walnut oil as special salad oil, in France, at least,  it was in years past used in lamps for light along with candles.  I happen to be reading a book just this week  From Here, You Can’t See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and its Restaurant, by Michael S. Sanders.  Just at the point were I stopped, a local duck farmer was explaining about walnut oil to the author, as many local gardens featured walnut trees and some farms still had walnut groves:

(100 years ago)…  And of course they force-fed geese, mostly for the fat, rather than for the meat.  FOR THE FAT!  Not for using in preservation, because pork fat is better than goose for that, but for cooking!  And the walnut oil, they burned in little lamps, a shallow dish with a wick suspended above — you see them in all the antique shops now — les calèmes.  They had walnut oil, back then, for lights.   Oh, people make such a big cheese of the walnut oil now, eh?  But it’s not that good, it goes rancid fast, and back then it was used almost entirely for lighting.  They had no petroleum yet, that was the next thing to come.  So they burned walnut oil or candles. 

Three things: walnut oil was and is probably used for a lot of things,  but it isn’t terribly useful for cooking per se as it’s heat-sensitive and burns easily.  Also, it does become rancid easily, so buy small quantities and store the oil in the refrigerator.  I have always stored walnuts in the freezer (up to a year); they keep only about a month on the pantry shelf.  Let them come to room temperature before using for baking.

Learn more about walnut here, but first make the soup!


   leek-fennel soup with walnut pesto  

The pesto ready to be made in the food processor.

                    
4 generous main-course servings 
6 small first course servings

      Cook’s Note:  While the soup cooks, make the pesto, and have it ready at the table. This soup is easily vegan if vegetable broth is used instead of chicken stock.  Without the toasted cheese accompaniment, it’s also gluten-free.

                                                                                                           
 for the soup:

  • 1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter
  • Pinch aleppo pepper (can substitute crushed red pepper), optional 
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 6 leeks, white and light green parts only, well cleaned, and sliced thinly
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 quart chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1-2 drops hot sauce, optional
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon–or to taste (you need to grate the peel for the pesto-do that first!)

 for the walnut pesto:

  • 1/4 cup each fresh parsley and walnut pieces-whole or in pieces
  • grated peel from 1/2 lemon  
  1.  In a 6 quart soup pot, heat the oil and butter with the pepper over medium heat.  Add the fennel, the leeks, carrot, celery, parsley, herbs, salt, and pepper.  Stir, cover and cook about ten minutes, stirring once or twice; turn heat down if browning too quickly.
  2. Add the garlic, stir, and cook two minutes. Pour in the stock and the white wine.  Season with hot sauce, if desired.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let cook another ten minutes or so until all vegetables are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto by placing all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or hand chopper and pulsing until finely ground like fresh breadcrumbs.  Place in a small serving bowl with a tiny spoon at the table.
  4.  When vegetables are tender, purée soup using an immersion blender or in batches in the food processor or blender.  Squeeze in about half of the lemon juice.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, adding the rest of the lemon juice if you like it.  I liked just a little more salt–this will depend on how salty your stock was. Serve hot with a small spoonful or two of the walnut pesto.

Disclaimer:  For vegan and gluten-free options, please check all ingredients in your own kitchen as some ingredients are available with different options from different manufacturers.  As always, check with your dietician with questions.  
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38 Power Foods is a group effort!   Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available.

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

All sites may not blog power foods every week.
 
    Are you a food blogger? Join us!

 Sing a new song,
Alyce