YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Summer Corn Salad

Now that fresh corn is starting to show up at the local markets, it’s time to put it to work! Feel free to double this recipe, or to put aside some of your corn kernels in the freezer so you can make this recipe in a few months, when you are feeling like you really need a taste of summer.

3 ears of fresh corn on the cob
1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped finely
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Sriracha
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp. crumbled feta (optional)
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp. each salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Stand each of the three corn cobs vertically in the center hole of a bundt pan, and use a very sharp knife to carefully slice the kernels right into the pan.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, and add the corn kernels. Brown 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula or wooden spoon, until the corn is beginning to pop and turn slightly brown.

3. Add the red pepper, and cook 2-3 minutes more, but don’t overcook. The peppers should still retain some crunch. Remove pan from heat, and add Sriracha. Mix well.

4. Add the parsley, cheese (optional), salt, and black pepper. Mix again, and set aside until mealtime. Squeeze the lime into the corn salad just before serving.

p.s. We like to toss our spent cobs into the chicken coop, and then let the girls finish up the job, pecking away until not a speck of corn remains.

Many thanks to food52 for a prior version of this wonderful summer spectacle.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Mario Batali’s Radishes Al Cartoccio

I’m gonna take a guess that you’ve always eaten your radishes fresh and raw, like in salads. I can certainly promise you that was the case for me up until just a couple of years ago. But then I began to cook them, and it was a whole new game. Like onions, cooked radishes release their bite to ease into a lovely, complex kind of sweetness with an entirely new set of flavors.

Here’s a little gift of a recipe from the great chef Mario Batali. Its name, Radishes Al Cartoccio, means that the radishes are wrapped and then cooked inside a package, in this case foil. I’ve also seen salmon cooked al cartoccio, as in this wonderful recipe from Cook for Your Life.

I even remember making burgers this way, as a kid. Preparations for going camping included a pile of packets consisting of hamburger patties from the previous year’s steer, thick slices of onion and green pepper, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. We placed them in the cooler for the ride, and then tossed them into the coals as soon as the fire was established. This was our traditional first evening meal while camping.

You can make all kinds of things al cartoccio — let your imagination steam away.

2 pounds large mixed radishes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. summer savory leaves, finely chopped (substitute fresh thyme if you want)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Cut two sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, approx. 16 x 12-inch, and lay them out with the short ends toward you.
3. Combine the radishes, onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and savory in a large bowl. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently and mix well.
4. Divide the mixture in two, placing half in the center of each piece of foil. Fold the short foil edges up and over the mixture, doubling over the edges twice to form a tight seal. Then fold up the side edges in the same way to form two tightly sealed packets.
5. Place both packets on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter, and allow to rest for 10 minutes, unopened.
6. Bring the platter to the table, and then slice open the packets right at the table for dramatic effect. You can use tongs for the radishes, but remember to include a serving spoon to collect the juices.

Serves 8-10 (side dish).


Celebrate!

Here’s one of my all-time favorite posts, reposted from July 4, 2010:

 

It’s the fourth of July today, and my sibs and I have converged on the family home for the great annual bash. On and off since yesterday evening, five strapping grandsons have been carrying cartons of beer, wine, soda, water, and iced tea up to the deck, where great drums of ice stand ready to receive them all.

I walked upstairs this morning to see my mother arranging a mountain of rolls, just collected from the local Italian bakery, in a huge, blue-striped-cloth-napkin-lined basket. My dad was outside using his kaboda, a mini-tractor, to position grills, chairs, and recycling bins. Tall piles of burgers (from our own steer) were thawing in the kitchen, and my mother’s delicious homemade cole slaw and potato salad were blending their flavors in the refrigerator. The gorgeous, cool green cabbages for the cole slaw were harvested from my mom’s garden last night. An early morning, last-minute trip down to the vegetable garden has yielded the last of the season’s lettuce greens. My assignment is to cut and arrange trays of peaches, plums, and mangos for the celebration. I have blueberries, raspberries and cherries to add, too. Raspberries are ripening all over my parents’ farm this time of year.

Across the street, our neighbors Connie & Duane are in the process of composing several magnificent marinated salads, and my mouth is watering as I contemplate the taste of them. Just the other night, to give you an example of the spectacles for which Connie & Duane are known, they arrived for a different meal with a large tray laden with mounds of marinated asparagus on one side, haricot verts on the other, triangles of sharp Parmigiana, leaves of basil and lettuce, and thickly cut tomatoes sprinkled with fresh oregano and fresh black pepper. Humble and generous, they would have you believe they tossed it together in just a few minutes. Connie is the daughter of a fireworks scion from the Midwest, a fact which always makes me feel like we have fourth-of-July royalty in our midst.

I like to embed recipes in my stories, and here’s one for a delicious homemade ranch dressing without secret ingredients: Add the following to a blender or food processor: 6 Tbsp. sour cream, 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise, 1 chopped green onion, 1 tsp. each honey and mustard, 1 Tbsp. chopped celery leaves, 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar, 2 chopped garlic cloves, and salt and fresh pepper to taste. Puree the ingredients for a minute, and add shredded Parmesan for more taste if desired. This dressing may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

In a few hours, the holiday table will be piled high with cornucopias of plenty. I saw the fixings for a gallon of black bean, corn, and cilantro salsa on my sister-in-law’s counter yesterday morning. If we’re lucky, Aunt Gerda will show with a bowl of the same creamy arborio rice pudding she brought to my wedding 30 years ago. Libby always brings one of her beautiful fruit pies, some years peach and other years strawberry-rhubarb, and sometimes she brings her guitar, too. My sister, a cantor, has also invited a bunch of her musician friends. So in addition to the great sights and smells, there should also be some great sounds coming from here in a little while. Food is not the only thing by which we will be nourished today. The music, food and friendship should last late into the night.

I indulged a desire for a bucket of silly bands to share with all the children we’re expecting today, and I picked out a few of the red, white and blue ones for myself. Ever since the grandparents taught a bunch of their grandchildren to play cribbage a few years ago, and then began to attend competitions together, the big kids have been honing their skills. So some of them will definitely be spending the afternoon playing cribbage inside, in the air-conditioned living room. The annual soccer game will convene down in the field, and it will most likely end with a large influx of young people doing cannonballs right into the pool. I expect that the pool will see even more activity than usual today, with temperatures expected to reach the mid 90’s.

I hope you enjoy your celebrations, large and small, this week.

————————————————————–

When we no longer have good cooking in the world, we will have no literature, nor high and sharp intelligence, nor friendly gatherings, nor social harmony.  Marie-Antoine Carême

Eat wonderful meals brimming with taste. Dance, drink, laugh, love. Think Zorba the Greek meets Julia Child.
W.C. Willett

Eating with the fullest pleasure — pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance — is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.  Wendell Berry

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.  Erma Bombeck

 


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Roasted Onions

Today I have in mind a recipe for a simply different idea: roasted onions. Can you ever have too many onions in the pantry? Probably not. But, just in case, here’s one way to use up a whole bunch, all at the same time!

4 medium-sized, whole yellow onions, peels ON
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
balsamic vinegar

Turn the oven to 425F, and place the rack all the way down, on the bottom-most rung. Slice the whole onions in half, width-wise, and toss them into either a large plastic bag or a large bowl with a lid. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil. Close the bag or bowl, and shake until well mixed. Remove the onion halves and place each, cut side down, on a baking sheet with an edge. Roast the onions approximately 25 minutes until tender and golden. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar for extra zing. These roasted onions are really, reeeeeally good, and they add a special something to every meal you can imagine, whether simple or fancy, indoors or out, like barbecue, or an omelette, or a bowl of greens, beans and brown rice.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Conner’s Own Spectacular Granola

Karma is when you discover that the yoga course for which you registered (how silly to think that it was solely in order to learn yoga!) brings you to Conner Speigner, a gifted chef from Cleveland, Ohio. 

Conner learned her craft at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. She is proud to share that her world travels and adoption of a plant-based diet led her to discover her personal mission: to heal with food, and to prove that nutritious is delicious! You won’t find any arguments from me. This granola really is delicious. Try sprinkling it on coconut milk yogurt the way Conner does, or feel free to use it however you like.

1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 apples
1 orange, peeled
all the zest of that peeled orange
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup

1. Soak the walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds for 8 to 12 hours (overnight is good). Drain the nuts and seeds, blend in a food processor until you have a minced texture (do not overblend or you’ll end up with nut butter), and remove to a large bowl. Set the mixture aside.
2. Place the fruits, lemon juice, and maple syrup in the food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Add the fruit mixture to the nut mixture, and combine well.
4. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a dehydrator tray, and dehydrate 36-48 hours at 115F.

If you do not have a dehydrator, use your oven as follows: Spread a thin layer of mixture on cookie sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silpat (silicone mat). Bake at 200 F (or the lowest temperature) for at least 2 hours. Leave the oven door cracked open for approximately 6 more hours. If you do this right before bed, the granola should be perfect by morning!

Conner is currently employed as a chef at The Root Cafe, located in Lakewood on the west side of Cleveland, where she serves up organic, local, vegetarian, vegan, and raw vegan fare. If you’d like to learn more about what Conner can do for you, you can reach her at connerspeignerAToutlook.com.


Reply to Kirsten

Comment: I am reading that you eat potato salad in the morning. I was surprised…not much protein in that ? But my question is…in the Calgary Herald there was an article about breakfast, which mentioned you and oats. How do you prepare steel cut oats ? Soak overnight w how much apple cider vinegar ? And do you rinse it off in the morning or eat the vinegar? Thanks! Kirsten

Hi Kirsten

I’m not sure which potato salad you’re referring to because there are a few. Can you give me the posting date? Perhaps you’re referring to the Simplest Salad that I posted just a few weeks ago on April 30th? If so, the ingredients include a potato, cucumbers, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt, and fresh herbs. Although it’s certainly not what I would characterize as a high-protein meal, it is a highly nourishing one, with tons of phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and nourishing fats of more than one kind, along with enough protein to get me through til lunch. So give that a try, and don’t measure its value by protein content alone.

With regard to the oatmeal, I was not aware that Calgary Herald had quoted me, but they left out an important bit of information. The recipe is 1/2 cup steel-cut oats, 1 cup water, and 1/4 tsp. vinegar (cider or white). Mix and leave on the counter at room temperature all night. No rinsing required. In the morning the oats will be cooked (by the acid), and a short heat-up in the microwave will be all that stands between you and breakfast. You will not taste the vinegar at all. Feel free to add raisins, milk, butter, honey, or anything else you would add to your oatmeal if you had cooked it on the stove for 30 minutes.

Thanks for reading YHIOYP.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Sweet Potato Brownies

I’ve heard of black bean brownies before, and I have even made them on occasion, but I had never heard of sweet potato brownies until a couple of weeks ago. This recipe comes from Katherine, a newly arrived co-worker who is committed to good health, running in the sunshine, and preparing delicious, nutritious food. Lucky for us! The amount of sweetness in this recipe makes it perfect for a special dessert, though I wouldn’t hesitate to eat it for breakfast, either. 

2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup smooth peanut (or almond) butter
1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a small cake pan with a bit of olive oil on your finger.

Warm the maple syrup in a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. Add peanut (or almond) butter, stirring until the nut mixture begins to take on a toasted smell. Turn off the heat, add sweet potato and cocoa powder, and mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Transfer the mixture to the cake pan, spread evenly, and bake for 20 minutes. Do not use a cake tester — you want it to still be very slightly damp. Allow to cool completely prior to cutting.

Yield: 9 squares


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red Lentils & Sweet Potatoes

I’m on a kick here. I think it might be the spinach. Or maybe the garam masala. It might be the orange vegetables and their phytonutrients. This recipe is slightly simpler than the chickpea-spinach curry one I posted a few weeks ago, but it’s also out of this world. The leftovers are so fantastic that you may decide to eat them for breakfast AND lunch, both.

1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled
1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (use 1/2 tsp. if they aren’t super fresh)
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup red lentils
4 cups fresh spinach
a pinch of salt

  1. Dice sweet potato into ½-inch cubes, and set aside.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup water plus 1 tsp. olive oil, and sauté onions and garlic for one minute.
  3. Add red pepper flakes and continue to cook until all the water has boiled off. Add turmeric and garam masala, and stir well.
  4. Add broth and sweet potatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, cover pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add red lentils, and simmer 7-10 min until lentils and sweet potatoes are both fully cooked. Add additional water as needed to keep ingredients moist.
  6. Add spinach and stir until soft.
  7. Add salt to taste and serve.

Serves 2.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Cherry-Chocolate Mousse

Looking for something cool to serve in small, elegant glasses on a warm evening? This lovely mix of fruits, almond and chocolate will make your heart sing and your eyes flutter. Promise.

1 small banana
12 ounces frozen cherries
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 oz. dark chocolate (70%), finely chopped

Combine the banana, cherries and almond butter in a food processor or high-speed blender. Puree until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chocolate, and spoon into bowls.

If you would like to try making a firm ice cream, freeze 2-3 hours, and then serve with a proper ice-cream scoop.

Serves 4.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Spinach & Chickpea Curry

Let this list of spices inspire you! Sure, you can reach for the curry powder in the spice cabinet, but wait! Don’t! You are not going to believe the difference between THAT and THIS. It’s diamonds vs. paste. Top shelf vs. moonshine. Everything you’ve ever wanted vs. anything you’ve ever settled for. You will be so grateful, and your tastebuds will, too.

If you’d like, you can serve this beautiful curry with a bowl of rice and a plateful of cucumber slices. The original recipe comes from So Vegan. So check it out.

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger, peeled and chopped roughly
4  large tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. hot chili powder
3 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup coconut cream
3 cups raw spinach
1 handful fresh coriander leaves
pinch of salt
1/2 fresh lemon
1 tsp. coconut oil for frying
sliced cucumber for garnish

1. Add onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes to a food processor and process until smooth.
2. Crush the mustard seeds and coriander seeds until fine, either with the side of a knife blade or a mortar & pestle.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat.
4. Fry the cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, mustard seeds, and chili powder for 2 min.
5. Add the onion and tomato mixture, stir well, and simmer on low heat for 20 min.
6. Add coconut cream and chickpeas, stir well, and heat for 3-5 min.
7. Add a pinch of salt, a drizzle of lemon juice, and a small handful of coriander.
8. Add all the spinach, and stir briefly until wilted.

Serves four.