Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Revelation in Kale

I've been easing into the kale trend over the past year or two, throwing a few leaves into a smoothie here, roasting a few respectable kale chips there. But nothing kale-related has really blown me away until today, when I made Eat, Live, Run's recipe for kale and brussels sprouts salad. Not a combination I was expecting would be amazing, but I'm trying to open up my salad repertoire. And here's a confession - I detest brussels sprouts. I've only ever had them one way in my life that I liked, in a curry recipe a friend made once. But guess what, this recipe is great. Raw brussels sprouts, like raw broccoli, taste nothing like the cooked version. Which for me is a good thing. Shredded, crunchy veggies and roasted almonds marry nicely with a tangy yet slightly sweet dressing, and salty Spanish manchego cheese adds a further level of complexity. (I altered the original version slightly, substituting a hard Spanish manchego cheese for parmesan.)

If you've been on the fence about kale, or are looking for a salad that's a little different from the usual, make this recipe... it will definitely go into regular rotation in my household now.

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

4 cups roughly chopped kale (she calls for lacinato or "dinosaur" kale, I just used
8 large, uncooked brussels sprouts, sliced extremely thin
1/3 cup roughly chopped almonds
3 heaping tablespoons freshly grated Spanish Manchego cheese or Parmesan
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp red wine vinegar
2 squeezes honey

salt & pepper to taste


Toast the roughly chopped almonds just until golden brown. Remove to cool.

Toss chopped kale and thinly sliced brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Add almonds and cheese, toss again.

For the dressing, mix together olive oil, vinegar, honey, and salt & pepper to taste in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad - I only used about 2/3 of it - and mix well. Keeps up to five days in the refrigerator.


15 minutes

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Basque Garbanzo Beans

Looking for a delicious vegetarian entree this week? Look no further than this recipe. In a Dutch oven, you saute a lot of onions and garlic with spices, add broth, then bake, uncovered, in the oven for about 50 minutes. Somehow in the process, the chickpeas turn all nutty and caramelized, with just enough sauce for mopping up with a good sourdough baguette. I found this one through a Chowhound post... and it does not disappoint.

Basque Garbanzo Beans

3 Tblsp olive oil
2 med onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional - keep this out if you have little kids or don't like it hot)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder (or similar)
1 Tblsp. dried coriander powder
2 bay leaves
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
2 14.5-oz cans chicken or vegetable broth
10 saffron threads, soaked in a little warm water

Preheat oven to 450 F. In a Dutch oven or other oven-proof dish that can also go on the stovetop, heat the oil on medium. Add onions, garlic, spices, and bay leaves, and sauté for about 5 minutes (till translucent and fragrant).
Add garbanzos, broth, saffron, salt, and pepper. Cover and bring to boil. Uncover and transfer to oven. Bake until beans are soft and liquid is reduced, about 45-50 minutes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Almond butter chocolate chip cookies

I found another out-of-this world cookie recipe, which is both gluten free and vegan. It produces the most amazing chocolate chip cookies, crunchy on the outside, slightly soft on the inside. It's got flaxseed in it, instead of an egg. It just has to be good for you. (Minus all the sugar, of course).

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups oats
1 10-oz bag dark chocolate chips
1 cup almond butter
2 Tblsp ground flax mixed with 6 Tblsp warm water
2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender, mix the oil, almond butter and sugars until well blended. Add vanilla and flax/water mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix together oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.

If you want these to be pretty, roll small balls of dough and place three inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet tray. Do not flatten dough balls. If you don't care about pretty, just drop by spoonfuls with a little space between them. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffy. Let cool for a minute on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Peach Crumble

What to do with the last of the summer peaches? Make peach crumble, of course. This is a recipe I always google and then make whichever one has the highest ratings, though finally I've found one that I've adapted for peaches, which I think is going to stay my permanent recipe. You could substitute plums (as in the original recipe) or other fruit, depending on the season. (Pears would be nice in just a few months).

For the peaches:
2 Tbsp. lightly packed brown sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
6-7 peaches, peeled, seeded, and sliced

For the topping:
Between 1/2 & 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, beaten well
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F.

Mix the first four ingredients together, then toss with sliced peaches. Spread in an ungreased 9" pie plate.

Mix topping: sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Pour in beaten egg and mix with your fingers to incorporate, making small and large particles. Sprinkle over the peaches.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve with ice cream.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Chocolate Chip Blondies

I've made this recipe a couple times now, and it always disappears in less than a day. I couldn't quite believe the claims: basically a chocolate chip cookie bar that tasted delicious and was actually made with chickpeas, instead of flour?

It's true. And I love the idea that the chickpeas must be better for you than plain old white flour. And there are no eggs or milk, so this must also be vegan. Don't worry about what's in it - just make it for people and fool them. Make it for your kid and feel virtuous.

Chocolate-Chip Blondies

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground flaxseed or ground oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 pan. In a food processor, mix all ingredients except chocolate chips until smooth. Stir in chips. Put dough in pan, spreading out to edges until top is very smooth. Bake 30 minutes, refraining from leaving them in longer even if they look undercooked. Cut into squares. Eat. Repeat.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What's for dinner? Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry & Vegan Banana Bread

It's been one of those weeks, and it's only Monday. Two days of torrential rain from a tropical storm. A child with stomach troubles all last week, and several nights with only 5 hours or less sleep. I've been determined to redouble my efforts to make as much healthy food for my family as possible. I was planning to make a stir fry to use up some leftover cut vegetables we had in the fridge, and I came across this recipe, which called for ingredients I had on hand. Then I noticed that the bananas I had were starting to overripen, so I Googled recipes for healthy banana bread. I do this kind of thing all the time, to mixed results, but this time, both recipes were winners. Both recipes are easy, healthy and delicious - the stir fry satisfies the urge for take out but is much healthier, while the banana bread satisfies the sweet tooth, only without added sugar. I plan to make them again.

I have to also say how impressed I am that cooks have modified classic recipes to make them vegan, gluten free, etc. so you can barely tell the difference. This delicious banana bread tastes, well, like banana bread.

Here's how I modified the chicken with broccoli:

1 Tblsp vegetable oil
1 Tblsp sesame oil
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 cups vegetables of your choice (I used a mix of broccoli florets, sliced carrots, peas in the pod, and baby bella mushrooms)


1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch

First, assemble sauce ingredients, mixing ingredients in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Saute chicken about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add onion and other vegetables, stir and fry another 5 minutes. Add sauce ingredients, put lid over all, bring to simmer then turn heat to low, cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Enjoy over brown rice for maximum healthiness.

Awesome Vegan, No Addded Sugar Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups mashed banana (preferably overripe)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped dates
2 tbsp ground flax seed + 6 tbsp water
1-2 tbsp sesame seeds

Did you know that flax seed and water act as an egg substitute? In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seed and water, setting aside until it thickens slightly.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and dates. Add banana and flax seed mixture, mixing until flour is integrated. Place in an oiled bread loaf pan, bake 50-60 minutes until golden brown, and toothpick inserted in bread comes out clean.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Protein Bars

I've been looking for a good protein bar recipe - I have a favorite granola bar recipe that is good but always seems to fall apart, so I wanted something that would hold together and would be good for a quick burst of energy before workouts, or for something to help rebuild tired muscles after a workout. Problem is, many of the protein bar recipes seem to be filled with weird stuff. And when I'd make them, they would taste, well, on the odd side. But I've found one that I think will reduce my dependency on purchasing Cliff bars forever. And it's very easy to make. I was a little deterred by the fact that it was a no-cook recipe, but it actually tastes pretty good. You could add things, too - a couple spoonfuls of flaxseed or anything else you'd like to see in a protein bar.

Protein Bars

2 cups regular oats
1 cup whey protein (I used Whole Foods vanilla flavor)
2 Tblsp. ground flaxseed
1/3 cup cranberries
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2-3 Tblsp. peanut butter or almond butter
1/8 cup agave
1/4 cup milk (could be almond or soy)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup applesauce

Mix first six ingredients in a bowl. In a separate microwaveable bowl, mix the next six ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. If not melted, microwave another 15 seconds.
Mix wet and dry ingredients together and press into an 8x11 pan covered with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then cut into bar shapes. Store individually wrapped in the refrigerator.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oreo truffles

Recently a friend gave me a truffle - hard chocolate shell on the outside, and what almost tasted like a half-cooked brownie on the inside. It was insanely good. So good, in fact, that I was shocked to hear that Oreos were the main ingredient.

I'm not a huge fan about Oreo cookies - they're good, but they don't evoke feelings of childhood nostalgia or anything. But I didn't let that stand in my way of making these. This dessert looks and tastes complicated but is pretty easy to make, so you can impress your friends if you take them to a party.

What you'll need:

1 package Oreos, minus 6-8 cookies
1 package cream cheese, softened to room temp (I used low-fat with good results)

1-2 bars of good semi-sweet chocolate (I had one Ghiradelli bar and for the rest used about a cup of Ghiradelli chips)
1 tablespoon butter or butter substitute
milk if necessary
1 white chocolate bar, optional

Throw the Oreos into a food processor and process them until they turn to crumbs. Throw in the bar of cream cheese and mix thoroughly. Then, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, roll the mixture into balls. Stick in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate over a double boiler, then add butter. If it starts to harden up, mix in some milk. (I didn't use the double boiler and this happened).

After 20 minutes have passed, one by one, dip Oreo balls into chocolate and place back on parchment. Stick in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so. If you like, you can melt the white chocolate for drizzling on top, then refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Eat. Enjoy. Impress friends.

(I think these taste better chilled - then they maintain the integrity between the chocolate coating and the filling within)...