YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Lemon-Sesame Kale Salad

A kale celebration for kale lovers everywhere (!). If you don’t happen to have any kale right now, you can still make this salad with any other greens growing in your garden or sitting in your fridge. Radicchio is a good addition, too. Do I post a lot of recipes for kale? Maybe. But I know hardly anyone who eats enough green, leafy vegetables. What’s the deal with green leaves? They’re basically a nutrition powerhouse, with loads of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, you name it. Exactly like taking a multivitamin. But without the constipation.
  • 1 head of kale
  • 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and diced)
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced 
  • 2 cups (1 can) chickpeas, rinsed well and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds (shelled) for garnish
Dressing:
  • 1 /2 cup tahini 
  • 3 /4 cup water
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove (med-large), minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare the veggies and beans, and toss into a large bowl.  Set aside.
2. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, adding a bit of water drop by drop (one teaspoon at a time) if necessary. Remember the water in the veggies will thin the dressing further.
3. Pour the dressing into the vegetables, mix gently, and serve immediately.  Garnish with sunflower seeds.
A prior version of this recipe comes (with many thanks) from Angela at vegangela.com.

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Beautifully Red Cabbage Salad

Welcome to lunch for a week with spicy, crunchy, sour power! When I saw this recipe I knew right away that it had a future in my kitchen! Even still, cabbage is one of those foods that is highly underrated — especially the red kind. But go ahead and make some for you, your gang, and your co-workers! You’ll be very happy you did.

1 small head of red cabbage, cored
2 bunches flat-leaf Italian parsley, rinsed well and chopped finely
1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), rinsed well and sliced thinly
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best, but not essential)
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (separate whites & yolks if you’re inclined)
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped coarsely
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

1. Cut the cabbage into small chunks, and process in small batches in a food processor (short, quick pulses) just a few times until chopped roughly. Avoid overprocessing or you will have raw cabbage soup.
2. Empty chopped cabbage into a large bowl, and mix in parsley and onions.
3. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss thoroughly.
4. Sprinkle with nuts and chopped eggs. Serves 4-6.

Thank you to the incomparable Blender Girl for a prior version of this recipe.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Haminados for Passover!

Haminados are one of my all-time favorite Passover recipes! Simple, sublime and delicious, they have been a staple at the Passover tables of Mediterranean Jewish communities for millennia! Check out this recipe and you’ll see why. Whether you make this dish in your crockpot or oven, it takes just a few minutes to toss it together and get things cooking.

12 whole eggs, in their shells
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Kosher salt
4 whole onions, including their skins
1 tsp. olive oil
1-2 quarts cool water

Slice the whole onions, skins and all, into quarters. Pack the eggs and onions into a crock pot or a medium-sized, tightly covered dish. Add salt, pepper and olive oil. Pour in cool water to cover the eggs completely, and turn heat to low (crockpot) or 200 F (oven). Cook at least 8 hours, or up to 12 hours if you’re busy. Check the water periodically to make sure it stays at or close to the top of the eggs. When you’re ready, drain, rinse and peel the eggs you’re planning to eat right away, and refrigerate the rest for later. Discard the onions, hopefully in your compost pile if you’ve got one!


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Fennel Vegetable Soup

The folks where I work are always coming up with the most sublimely delicious recipes. This is one. If you’ve never eaten fennel, you are in for a delicious treat. Raw, it’s crunchy and sweet, a bit like celery with a faint whiff of licorice. Cooked it’s a different vegetable altogether. A great addition to any vegetable soup recipe, it is a total team player, happily absorbing other flavors from the pot at the same time as it shares its own. Fennel comes in bulbs, and the easiest way to cut it up, no matter how you intend to use it, is to slice it in half from top to bottom, and then to slice the half-bulb into thin blades, all of equal length and width, as you work around the bulb.

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 ribs celery, rinsed and sliced very thin
1 medium bulb fennel (sliced, top to bottom around the bulb, into thin blades)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups kale, washed VERY well, deveined and shredded
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, until softening, stirring often. 2. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and fennel. Stir often, approx 5 minutes more, until vegetables begin to wilt.
3. Add tomatoes, kale, 5 cups water, salt and pepper.
4. Allow to boil, immediately reduce heat to medium, and simmer 25-30 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Stir in the parsley and serve. Serves 4.

Thank you to ClevelandClinicwellness.com for a prior version of this beautiful recipe.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Lebanese Potato Kugel

Once again, my dear friend and talented cook Judith has outdone herself. Potato kugel (translated loosely as “pudding,” but much more Yorkshire than chocolate), was a mainstay of my childhood. Last weekend she completely surprised (!) me, creating her own version of this recipe that is so familiar and dear to me, and which I grew up eating on many holidays and other special occasions. My Grandma Rosie had her own special way of making potato kugel; she taught my mom to make it, and that’s how I learned. Grandma Rosie’s version would have you heating the oil in a square glass Pyrex pan in the oven, carefully pouring the potato batter directly into the hot pan with spitting hot olive oil, and then sprinkling a little more oil on top prior to cooking it, but Judith’s version gives you a little more control over the crust.

This is one of those recipes whose flavor creates a memory that stays with you for years. As my grandma Rosie would have put it, it takes a little bit of potchky-ing (fussing) but, as Judith puts it, it’s “A labor of love you won’t regret.”

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, shredded
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/3 cup garbanzo or fava bean flour
1/2 cup cilantro (plus more for garnish if desired), chopped coarsely
1/2 cup green onion, finely sliced
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper
water to mix

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, except the water.
2. Add water as needed to absorb chick pea flour, so that the mixture is wet but sticks together (fairly solid). Too wet is better than too dry, fyi, so if you are unsure, err on the side of more water.
3. Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add a generous slick of olive oil (approx 2 Tbsp.), and spoon potato mixture into the pan, spreading it into an even layer. Allow to cook 3-4 minutes, reduce flame to medium, and allow to brown.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Once the sides of the kugel begin to crisp, slide a knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen, reduce the flame to low, and allow to cook 10-15 minutes more. This time, slide a sharp spatula under and around the edges to loosen it from the pan.
5. Flip the kugel by placing a serving plate atop the skillet, and then flipping so the cooked side faces up. Return empty skillet to the fire, turn up heat to medium-high. Add remaining olive oil, allow to heat thoroughly, and slide kugel, now raw side down, back into the skillet. Allow to cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, and
6. Transfer the entire skillet to the preheated oven. Cook 15-20 minutes until done. Use a sharp knife to check the center of the kugel for doneness.
7. Flip the kugel onto a cutting board or platter, and slice into 8 or more wedges. Serve with a few slices of brisket, a squeeze of lime, more fresh chopped cilantro, a sprinkle of salt, a crumble of queso fresca, a drizzle of Mexican crema, or straight up. Your choice.

Thank you, Judith. Hearty appetite!


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Feminista White Beans

Here’s a recipe served throughout the Middle East by families, the families who love them, and the families who love to feed them. All kinds of families.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, peeled & minced (approx. 1 med-large onion)
  • 1/2 cup celery, rinsed & minced (approx. 2 medium stalks)
  • 16-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 3 cups canned white beans (navy beans or cannellini), drained and rinsed well
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil

Heat olive oil to medium-high in a large, deep skillet. Add onion and celery, lower heat to medium, and sauté until translucent and turning golden.

Add crushed tomatoes, honey, and paprika to the skillet, and stir gently until mixed. Continue to heat until mixture is simmering. Stir in the beans. Add a pinch or two of salt and a few shakes (or grinds) of black pepper.

Cover and simmer over very low heat for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and basil just before serving. Serves 6-8 hungry feminists (and their families).

A prior version of this recipe was published at www.vegkitchen.com. Thanks!


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Momofuku’s Soy-Sauce-Soaked Eggs

This recipe is in honor of our seventeen lovely new chicks, who arrived in November and moved out to the big-girl coop this past weekend to join the gold-laced Wyandottes who’ve been with us for about three years now. The little girls won’t be laying for a little while yet, but their pale pink combs are starting to color and fill out! Once they begin to lay, we’ll have dozens and dozens of eggs!

Every once in a while you come across an amazing, new recipe, something you’ve never heard of before but which sounds extraordinarily wonderful. This is one of those recipes, and you can thank the wonderful food blog, food52, for a prior version of this recipe.

To quote the author, “What I like best is that these eggs can be used in a thousand different ways: They are perfect for breakfast, for a midafternoon snack, sliced onto an English muffin or a plate of arugula, and more.”

To quote me, “Oh come on, you know you’re just gonna open that jar, slip out a gorgeous egg, and nibble it right down to your fingers!” Yes, I know this recipe has sugar, but I didn’t want to substitute honey in case it affects its 4-week refrigerator life. If, on the other hand, you plan to eat them all within a few days, then go ahead and try it with the substitution.

6 large eggs
6 tbsp. warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar into the water until completely dissolved. Stir in the sherry vinegar and tamari.

Set a large pot of water up to boil. Carefully lower the eggs into the pot, and cook for exactly 6 minutes and 50 seconds, stirring slowly for the first 90 seconds to distribute the heat evenly.

Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice. At the end of the cooking time, transfer the eggs as quickly as possible into the ice bath. Once they are cool, peel them under the water. This should help to keep the outsides perfectly smooth.

Place the eggs in a bowl or jar filled with the soy sauce, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours. To make sure the eggs remain completely submerged, you may need to cover the bowl with a small plate if necessary. Remove the eggs from the marinade, and serve.

Two interesting facts: #1 As long as you keep them refrigerated in a tightly sealed container, the eggs will keep for up to 4 weeks. #2 You can save the soy sauce for a second batch of eggs.

To serve, cut the eggs in half lengthwise and season lightly with fresh black pepper. Bon appetit!


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Golden Beets

Last week we went to the West Side Market and brought home a big fat bunch of gorgeous golden beets. I was so pleased with how they turned out. We had a great big bowl full of golden beets, and they lasted four days while we ate them with everything! That’s because this recipe goes great with roasted chicken, thick tangy yogurt, scrambled eggs, a bowl of lentil soup, or greens sauteed in olive oil. Basically, everything. 

3-4 medium beets
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (yes, I like more)
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
scant 1/4 cup white vinegar

Boil freshly scrubbed beets until you can slide a cake tester in and out with just about no resistance. Turn off the heat, and allow the pot to cool completely.

Peel cool beets with your fingers under running water. The peels should mostly slide off easily, and then scrape off any stubborn remaining bits with the edge of a sharp knife. Slice off the ends, and cut up the beets into 1/2-inch cubes.

Using a whisk or fork, mix together the vinegar, pepper, salt, and honey until the honey is completely dissolved. Pour over the beets, and stir well. Makes 6-8 servings.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Asian Cabbage Slaw

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending the evening with a wonderful group of new friends. The fire was crackling, the food and wine were wonderful, the company was delicious, and I had such a nice time. This Asian Cabbage Slaw was one of the inspired dishes we enjoyed together. I could tell you all kinds of reasons that this salad is so good for you, like the Vitamin C, and the heat from the capsaicin, and the benefits of acid, but the fact of the matter is that the best reason to make this is because it’s really good. Enjoy!

3 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger, peeled
2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Asian fish sauce (skip this if you are vegan, and increase soy sauce to 3 tsp.)
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. chaat masala (use garam masala if you cannot find this)
1/4 tsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 pound green cabbage, cored and shredded finely
6 scallions, thinly sliced (discard the dark green part)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped finely
1/ cup mint leaves, chopped finely
2 avocadoes, peeled, pitted, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced for garnish
1 1/4 cup roasted, salted cashews, chopped coarsely
microgreens for garnish

Whisk together the lime juice and honey in a large serving bowl, followed by the sriracha, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, chaat masala, cumin, salt, and pepper. [Stop here, and store dressing in the refrigerator overnight if desired.] Add cabbage, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, mint, avocadoes and 1 cup of cashews. Toss thoroughly. Garnish with avocado, cashews, and greens.

Thank you to Food & Wine for this exotic and wonderful recipe.


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Nut & Seed Bread Not For the Birds

1 cup raw almonds*
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup whole flax seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
5 eggs
1 ½ tsp. salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. Chop all the nuts and seeds into comfortably bite-sized bits. Not like a meal (e.g., almond meal) or a butter (e.g., peanut butter), but small pieces. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl, empty into the loaf pan, and level the top.
  4. Bake at 325F for 60 minutes. The finished loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Slice very THIN slices, and slather with your choice of nut butters, preserves, avocado, smoked salmon, sliced turkey, butter, cheddar, or whatever your heart desires.

*To customize, keep a ratio of 2 cups of nuts to 4-5 cups of seeds.

Thank you to ehow for posting this interesting recipe from Danish chef and blogger Kirstin Uhrenholdt and the staff at Kong Hans restaurant in Copenhagen!