Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Unrecipe of the Week: Paleo Hummus

February 22, 2016

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Sometimes, when I want to eat something I know I shouldn’t, I ask myself which I want more: flat sculpted abs, or that treat. While the answer varies wildly, right now I am hedging towards the first choice. Flatter abs, more energy and less stomach aches to be precise. The only way I know how to achieve all that is to go back to the extreme version of Paleo that I was on successfully last summer.You can read about it starting here.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say it is a little harder in the winter. Harder to go out in the cold to buy all the foods I need to have on hand to make this work. Harder to be seduced by all the fresh produce lining the stalls in Union Square, when there are only a few vendors selling the basics. Due to the fact that I don’t like meat, it is much harder to get that warm, comforting feeling that we all want in the winter. Most of the time it isn’t really that difficult to eat this way if I am prepared. I can have all the vegetables, fruit, poultry and fish I want. But in eliminating legumes, grains, and dairy along with sugar and alchohol, sometimes it just gets dull. I mean, giving up all beans, dairy and grains for an almost vegatarian is a bit of a sacrifice. Just one of those categories would open up the menu choices dramatically.

I stumbled upon a recipe for Paleo hummas on Livin Paleo, and had to give it try. The chickpeas are replaced by, of all things, CAULIFLOWER! Is there anything that ball of white florets can’t do? It is truly the chameleon of the vegetable world. It can fake us out for mashed potatoes and rice, masquerade as a pizza crust, and stand in for a steak. This time, it acts as a base for a creamy, somehwhat spicy hummus.

Cauliflower Hummus: (adapted from Livin Paleo)

Clean one head of cauliflower and separate it into florets. Toss it lightly in olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Peel a couple of cloves of garlic and and toss them in. Roast in a 500 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until soft.

Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic into the food processor and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 cup of tahini and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Blend until smooth. At this point you can adjust the seasonings to taste, adding a little more lemon,garlic, tahini, salt or cumin to the mixture.

Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy with cut vegetables.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Roasted Chicken

February 19, 2016

There is very little that evokes good old home cooking more than a whole roasted chicken. They take a little longer to make than many recipes that utilize chicken parts, but most of that time is spent in the oven. There are lots of ways to roast a chicken, and this method seems to yield that desired “juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside” ratio that we love. This is perfect Sunday dinner with the promise of leftovers to ease you into the week.

Start with a good quality chicken that is fresh, not frozen, and free of hormones and pesticides. Opt for organic, if possible.

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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and remove the “innards” that are often stored in the cavity. Pat the chicken dry, and place it in a roasting pan, sprayed with cooking spray for easy clean up later.

Gently lift the skin and slide a few cloves of garlic between the skin and breast meat. Rub the bird all over with a little olive oil and a mixture of salt, pepper and paprika. Cut the ends off of a lemon and slip it into the cavity along with some garlic cloves. Sprinkle the chicken with fresh rosemary or thyme leaves, and toss some into the cavity. You can vary the seasonings, omit the lemon or change up the herbs to your liking

Place the chicken into the hot oven, breast side up. We like to add some baby potatoes to the pan to roast along with the chicken. You can also add chunks of carrots or onions if you like.  Cook for about 20 minutes, and then adjust the temperature down to 375, and roast another 50-60 minutes or so, until done. The rule of thumb is that the bird should roast about 20 minutes per pound once the temperature is reduced, but depending on size and fat content (a free range chicken will roast more quickly than a conventionally farmed one,) it could vary.
The chicken is done when the juices run clear, the thighs and wings move easily when jiggled, and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

Let the chicken rest for 10- 15 minutes before cutting it to allow the juices to settle. Remove the lemon from the cavity and squirt the juice on the chicken before serving and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

January 25, 2016

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New York is experiencing a blizzard today, and everyone is longing for something warm, and hearty. Slow days like this call for slow cooking. This dish has all the right elements for a snow day. It comes together in no time, and fills the house with a delicious aroma of things to come. It is also made from things I have on hand since venturing out to the grocery store is not really an option.

This is one of the easiest ways to use the slow cooker, as this pulled pork requires no marinating, no pre-searing of the meat and almost no mess. Simply place the pork tenderloin in  the slow cooker, add the one bowl sauce, and let it cook. Later, the tender, juicy meat can be shredded and served on fluffy brioche buns for a comfort food sandwich that everyone will enjoy.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork: ( adapted from Le Creme de la Crumb)

Place a pork tenderloin into the slow cooker bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of honey, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Add a couple of diced garlic cloves and about 1/2 of a small onion finely diced. Sprinkle the pork with a black pepper and pour the sauce over it.
Cover, and cook at high for about 4 1/2 -5 hours.

Drain the sauce into a sauce pan and bring to a slow boil. Mix together a tablespoon of cornstarch and a some water until it forms a smooth paste. Whisk a little at a time into the sauce, and let it simmer for a few minutes until thickened.

In the meantime, use forks to shred the pork. Alternatively, you can toss it into the electric mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix on a low speed until it shreds. (It is easier, but you have to wash another bowl, and frankly, who wants to do that? But to each his own!)

Serve on toasted brioche buns and enjoy!

Photo: Spencer Jones Glasshouse Assignment

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Unrecipe of the Week: Confit

January 6, 2016

 

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Confit is a word that often turns up on restaurant menus, confounding the diner. Simply put, confit, ( pronounced kon- FEE,) means “to preserve,” in French.

Classically pertaining to duck, confit is the process of slowly cooking a food in a liquid that is inhospitable to bacteria growth. With meats and vegetables, it is some form of pure fat. For fruit, it is a concentrated sugar syrup. Once the food is slow cooked in its liquid, it has a shelf, or refrigerator life that is extended.

When food is fried in oil at a high temperature, the result is crisp surface acheived in a short period of time. With a confit, the oil is heated to a much lower temperature, during a longer period of time.

This week, we are making confits from garlic and shallots. These preserved alliums add a mellow flavor to meats and vegetables and the oil they are cooked in add a subtle taste to dressings and sautés.

They are easy to make, and great to have on hand to add dimension to simple week night dishes. While the instructions are interchangeable,we prefer to prepare them separately to keep the flavors pure.

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Peel several heads of garlic or shallots and cover them with olive oil so that they are fully submerged with at least  1/2″-1″ of oil on top. For about 2 or 3 pounds of shallots, you will use about 3 cups of oil.  Add several sprigs of fresh herbs, such as thyme or rosemary, and a bay leaf or two, depending on the quantity you are making. Some people like to add a little diced hot peppers to give the confit some heat. Place in a 300 degree oven for about an hour, until the cloves become somewhat brown, but are still very soft. The time it takes to cook will be determined by the quantity. Start taking a look at the 40 minute mark if you making a small amount.

Conversely, this can be done on the stovetop, simmering the oil at a low heat until the garlic or shallots are soft and slightly brown.

Cool, and store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use. The confit should last several weeks and up to 2 months.

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Avocado Salad Dressing

June 22, 2015

Today, I officially got tired of my regular repertoire of vinaigrettes. I have been making them for so long, that I was craving something with a little more texture to pour over my greens. We love avocado, so it was only fitting that I used it to create a creamy, flavorful dressing without any eggs or mayonaise. You can use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to make this silky smooth avocado dressing in a matter of minutes.

Avocado Dressing:

Scoop the flesh out of a ripe avocado and discard the skin and pit. Add the juice of one lemon, and a small clove of garlic, and puree. Drizzle in olive oil until the dressing smoothes out and becomes thin enough to pour over a salad. Add salt and crushed red pepper to taste, and enjoy on top of the salad of your choice.

To customize this basic dressing, add fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro and puree them until they are mixed into the dressing.

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Greek Shrimp

April 16, 2015

We love shrimp at our house. It is low in calories, cooks up quickly, and adapts well to a variety of preparations. This unrecipe was adapted from Ina Garten, one of my all time favorite chefs, known for her fresh, simple and very tasty cuisine.

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Greek Shrimp With Fennel and Feta Cheese:

Core and dice the bulb end of fennel and saute in olive oil until it is starting to soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely diced and stir another minute. Pour some dry white wine ( 1/2 cup or so) into the pan and cook until the liquid reduces by about half. Add a can or box of diced tomatoes in their liquid, a dollop of tomato paste, and spoonful of dried oregano. Continue to cook at medium/low heat for another 10-15 minutes to create a rich, chunky sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange a pound of peeled and deviened shrimp on top of the sauce, and sprinkle it with crumbled feta cheese. Mix together a cup of breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and the zest of one lemon with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the mixture over the shrimp and feta. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the shrimp have turned pink and opaque, and the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown, but not burnt.

Squeeze a little lemon over the dish and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Turning a New Leaf

January 21, 2015

This year, kale has been touted as a superfood that is nutritionally superior to all others. It’s popularity has reached a fever pitch, to the point that it’s trendiness is starting to wear on us.

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For those of your kale obsessed foodies, we have some big news.

The Center for Disease Control just released a ranking of 47 fruits and vegetables based on their nutritional value. The CDC took into consideration the amount of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamins.

I’m sorry to tell you that kale ranked 15th on the list. I know you’re devastated. But, alas, there are even healthier greens to explore. It’s ok. You might find one you like better, and you can start a new trend of your own.

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Watercress took the #1 spot, with Chinese cabbage, chard, and beet greens coming in next. Spinach ranked #5 followed by chicory, leaf lettuce and parsley. Romaine lettuce is 9th and the #10 spot goes to collard greens. With leafy greens taking the top 16 spots, it seems you can’t go wrong if you go green.
Of the foods tested, 41 of the 47 were classified as “powerhouses”, which are strongly associated with reducing chronic disease.

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Those that did not make the list are garlic, onion, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and tangerines. While still healthy choices, they failed to meet the team’s criteria for classification as a powerhouse fruit or vegetable.

See the complete report here.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Healthy Preparation

November 6, 2014

There are lots of healthy foods out there and you can’t go wrong with fresh, seasonal produce.

But did you know that the way you prepare them may actually up the nutritional benefits of some of your favorite foods?
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We often cut our carrots, since looking like Bugs Bunny has never been our thing. Even those store bought baby carrots have been put through a machine to shave them down into smaller, more manageable bites. Studies have found that cutting carrots increases the surface size allowing some of the vital nutrients to seep out. Cooking them increases the bioavailability of the antioxident rich carotenoids. Wash and peel carrots and toss them whole into soups, stews or roast them in the oven, to get the most benefit from eating them.

Garlic crusher

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibiotic properties, and is thought to decrease blood pressure.Allicin does not naturally occur in the garlic bulb, but is produced when the garlic is crushed, or finely diced. Allicin is a bit flightily, and begins to degrade the moment it is created. Cooking helps that process along, and microwaving destroys it completely. For maximum health benefits, add a little finely diced raw garlic to cooked food, if the flavor is not too strong for your taste.

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Broccoli is a popular vegetable, and can be an effective cancer preventer. How you cook it however, determines just how much of those cancer fighters are present. Steaming is the only method that preserves or possibly increases those properties. Frying and boiling were found to be the worst. Find steamed broccoli a bit dull? Researchers also found that adding spicy foods upped the cancer fighting ante. Go ahead and steam it, and toss it in a spicy sauce!

Eating your vegetables, no matter how they are prepared is a win. Knowing how to get the most from them is a triumph!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Oops Soup

October 17, 2014

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry . Today’s dish really is an unrecipe: in fact, not only did I use the “little of this and a bit of that” method, I didn’t even intend it to be soup!

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It all began in the vegetable market, when I had a taste for something hearty, yet vegetarian. Autumnal flavors were on my mind, and zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms sounded like a good start.

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I sautéed an onion and some garlic with the mushrooms, and added some italian herbs. Sounds good, right? Well, it all went astray from there. As I tossed chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes on top of it in the slow cooker , I had some second thoughts. I wondered if 5 hours in the slow cooker might make them soft. I wondered if they might give off too much liquid. I added a can of beans to make the stew heartier, and hopefully thicken up what I realized was going to be a pot of mushy vegetables. I turned on the cooker and went about my business. When I came back a few hours later, I had just that: a pot of bland, starting to get quite mushy vegetables. They had given off quite a bit of liquid, but not enough to make soup. I added some stock and some canned tomatoes to the pot and let it cook it’s little heart out. When it was done, I pureed it into a rich, flavorful soup. It’s sort of a riff on a classic minestrone, and a little drizzle of olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese provided the perfect finishing touch. All’s well that ends well!

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Winter Vegetable Stew Soup:

Dice one medium onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, and sauté them in olive oil until soft. Add some sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to brown. Add a healthy amount of dried oregano, basil and a bay leaf, and place in the slow cooker. Pile on chunks of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes. ( I used 2 zucchini, 1 medium eggplant and 3 large tomatoes.) Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add 1 can of beans, rinsed, ( I used chickpeas ) and set the slow cooker for about 5 hours. Check it a few hours in, give it a stir and realize this is going to be mediocre at best. Add a little vegetable stock, if necessary, and a can of diced San Marzano tomatoes. Let it cook until the timer goes off.

Puree the mixture, and taste to correct seasonings. If it is too thick, add a little more stock.  To serve, place in soup bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and a dollop of grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy, knowing that good cooks can salvage almost anything!

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Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Chicken With Chickpeas in a Spicy Harissa Sauce

October 6, 2014

This is a hearty dish that warms your soul on a dreary autumn day. Sautéed chicken is seared and then braised in the oven in a Moroccan inspired spicy tomato sauce. It holds it’s own as a vegetarian option as well. Simply leave out the chicken and substitute vegetable broth for a savory chickpea stew.

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While a more traditional interpretation uses chicken thighs, we liked lightening it up a bit with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Chicken With Chickpeas in a Spicy Harissa Sauce:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and cook them in a little olive oil in an oven proof skillet until both sides are brown. Remove them and put them on a plate. Set aside.

Add a diced onion and a couple of cloves of diced garlic to the pan, and sauté until softened. Add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to the pan and stir. Add 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed), about 1/2 cup of chicken broth and a couple of tablespoons of harissa paste* to the pan. Bring to a simmer and place the chicken back into the skillet. Transfer to the oven, and roast until the chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

Serve on a bed of rice (we used cauliflower rice which is the perfect foil for the spiciness and low in calories) and enjoy!

*Harissa paste is a blend of hot peppers and olive oil, garlic, and aromatic spices such as cumin and coriander. It is available at fine grocery stores in the international foods aisle. We bought ours in a jar at Whole Foods. Each type of harissa is different, so adjust the quantity to accommodate your palette.

photo: Glasshouse Images


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