Showing posts with label seasonal eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seasonal eating. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Eating With The Seasons: Part 1

Eating With the Seasons: A 3-part series of Winter Recipes that will Warm & Nourish You

All it takes is a change in the color of the leaves or a nippy, fall-like breeze in the air for the seasonal buzz to begin. Before we know it, pumpkin spice lattes, warm apple cider, and corn roasted on the grill are all around us. As the weather gets colder still, peppermint mochas and roasted hazelnuts take center stage. 

Over time, we seem to have lost touch with the Earth’s natural cycles. The changing array of wonderful foods and flavors available each month of the year provide built-in variety to our diets. Do you know what foods are most abundant during the winter months? Prepare to learn how eating with the seasons can improve both the state of your health-and your wallet! Over the next week, 3 winter recipes-and their nutritional merits, will be showcased to get you started.

Beets, which grow well in the cool spring and fall temperatures, are in season from June through late October. Rich in the phytonutrient betalain, beets are a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox agent. Beets are a good source of fiber and low in calories. One cup of fresh beets has only 60 calories, 0 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, 13 grams of carbohydrate, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Besides steaming or roasting, beets can also be pureed in a food processor to make this delicious and seasonal hummus recipe adapted from The Primalist. 

 Beet Hummus
  • 3/4 pound beets, roasted in foil for 1 hour @ 400 degrees and then peeled
  • 3 tablespoon sesame tahini
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  1.  Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. 
  2. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  
Guest post by Melissa!
Melissa, a senior dietetics major and varsity athlete at Miami University, has been interning at Grass Roots Nutrition since October. She views food as fuel, but enjoys showing people how to make healthy real food menu items that taste delicious as well. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Splendid Salads: watermelon mint feta salad

Splendid Salads: watermelon mint feta salad

Nothing says summer quite like watermelon. And with the staying power of seedless watermelon, spitting seeds into the back yard is going to be "one of those things I did when I was a kid". Plain watermelon is excellent, but watermelon also makes for a great ingredient in salads and salsas. I love this salad because it had great balance with the sweet fruit and the salty cheese and a great punch of freshness with the mint.

This salad is best made right before you eat it; the salt from the feta draws water from the watermelon cubes and can make your bowl a bit soupy. If you need to prepare in advance, simply cube the watermelon and mince the mint and toss everything together just before serving.

There flavors combined are bold; so how much you wish you wish to use will be personal preference. For my salad, I used 1/4 of a medium sized watermelon, about 4 ounces of feta cheese and about 1 cup of chopped mint, but that is just a guide. Start with less cheese and mint as you can always add more!

Gather your ingredients

Cube watermelon
Add feta and fresh mint
Stir together and dive in!

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cooking techniques: how to blanch vegetables

Cooking techniques: how to blanch vegetables

What is blanching? Blanching vegetables is a simple cooking technique that includes cooking vegetables very briefly in boiling water and then submerging them in ice-water or running them under cold water to stop the cooking. You're left with very brightly colored vegetables that are like al dente pasta; crisp tender and lovely. You have also taken apart (ie denatured) the enzymes in the vegetables, so they'll stay fresh for longer.

I demonstrated this technique with asparagus, but it works well with green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots too!

What do you do with these veggies? Lots of things; blanched vegetables make a great base for simple salads when tossed with a vinegarette. Blanched veggies also look prettier on a vegetable tray; you can try dipping them into balsamic black bean hummus.

You can also use this technique to prepare vegetables for storage in the freezer. If you didn't take the time to blanch the produce, it wouldn't last as long in the freezer. Place blanched veggies into zip top bags and remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. By saving seasonal produce for later, we get to take advantage of the produce at its peak of freshness and nutrition and best price.

I also like to pop an over-easy egg on top of blanched veggies for a simple meal.

Trim ends from veggies

Drop into boiling water just long enough to develop bright color and to soften

Run under cold water or submerge in ice water; your veggies are ready to go!
Blanched asparagus topped with an over-easy egg and feta cheese
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Monday, July 23, 2012

All about pesto - food of the gods

Pesto - food of the gods - what a great way to start the week!

Pesto is so delicious! Born in northern Italy, pesto is traditionally made with fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan. What was once done by hand using a mortar and pestal is now accomplished in moments using a food processor or blender. 

You may have noticed, though, that pine nuts can be pricy! Per pound, pine nuts can be up there with selling your kidney or your first born child. I think that pesto is just as delicious when made with toasted almonds, and a lot more affordable. So, grab a huge bunch of basil from your back yard garden, your herb pot or local farmers market and whip up some pesto to use now and freeze some for later.

Another money saving tip? Ok! If you don't have quite the volume of fresh basil you'd like, you can stretch this recipe using fresh spinach or arugula (aka rocket if you're on the other side of the pond).

To toast your nuts, simply place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and stir around a bit until they smell good. You're not going to see too much change in color until it is too late and they're scorched. Let your nose tell you when they're done and don't walk away from the stove. 

This recipe is really accomplished by "touch and feel", so exact measurements aren't given. Some folks like pesto more cheesy than others, some like it to be thinned with more olive oil, others skip the garlic. Up to you!

Basil Pesto - a big batch

Toasted nuts (1/4 to 1/2 a cup per big batch)
Fresh basil, augmented with spinach, if needed (Fill up the food processor container)
Parmesan cheese (1/4 to 1/2 a cup per big batch
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil (about a cup)

Toasted almonds
Food processor stuffed with fresh basil
Handful of Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper
Drizzling in olive oil
Fresh basil from the garden: future pesto!

Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top of fresh pesto to prevent browning
Pesto served on toast with goat cheese, an egg and tomato

Where to use my pesto? The possibilities are truly endless, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Tossed with hot or cold pasta, rice, barley, quinoa or gnocchi
  • tossed with hot or cold zucchini pasta
  • Stirred into scrambled eggs or tofu
  • Drizzled onto a fried egg
  • Thinned with balsamic vinegar to dress salads and roasted vegetables
  • Mashed into potatoes
  • Tossed with freshly popped popcorn
  • Schmeared onto a bagel with cream-cheese
  • As a substitute for mayo/mustard on your favorite sandwiches or subs
  • Drizzled onto hot soup or cold gazpacho
  • Take your grilled cheese up a notch
  • Mixed into tuna, egg or chicken salad
  • Spread on toast with goat cheese
  • Spread onto cream cheese for a quick party dip for crackers, pretzels or crisp breads
  • Marinate your chicken before grilling or baking
  • As a sauce base for your homemade pizza or drizzled on top after baking...or both
  • Tossed with blanched green beans, broccoli or cauliflower
  • On a spoon...

All about storage
In the fridge: pour a thin layer to cover your fresh pesto to prevent excessive browning
In the freezer: scoop pesto into small jars (leaving room for expansion) or spread into an ice-cube tray to freeze smaller portions

Nut allergies?
Try this with toasted soy "nuts" 
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