Thursday, November 29, 2018

Red Cabbage Salad With Dates And Oranges

I love salads that have both sweet and sour ingredients, and I wanted to try using dates as the sweet one. They turned out to be a good complement to the oranges and the balsamic vinegar.

Cabbage, oranges, and almonds all contribute potassium and calcium that we need to keep our blood pressure low. Almonds are rich in the same healthy monounsaturated fat that is found in olive oil, as well as contributing protein, and phytosterols that block cholesterol absorption. Walnut oil is rich in the omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid, that is associated with protection against heart disease.

  • Finely shredded red cabbage (1/2 large or 1 small cabbage)
  • Orange segments from 3 oranges plus any juice from the oranges
  • ~ 1/3 cup almonds
  • 4 large Medjool dates, chopped into pea-sized pieces
  • roasted walnut oil, 2-4 tablespoons (La Tourangelle is a great California brand)
  • balsamic vinegar, 2-4 tablespoons
  • salt

Using a large, sharp knife, cut red cabbage in half, then shave fine pieces off of the cut surface. Peel the oranges with a sharp paring knife, cutting from the top and removing most of the white membrane, in a circle until you have a long strip of peel. Cut each segment out by cutting close to the membrane on each side.

Roast whole almonds in an ungreased pan over low heat or in the oven at about 400 degrees, for ~ 5 minutes, until lightly toasted tasting. Chop coarsely. Remove pit from dates and chop into pieces the size of large peas.
Combine orange segments, juice, dates, and almonds with cabbage. Add walnut oil one tablespoon at a time, until cabbage is barely coated.

Add balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon at a time, tossing well with each addition, until salad tastes nicely tangy. Sprinkle sparingly with salt, toss, and serve.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Couscous and Chick Pea Salad

This recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant’s “Simple Suppers”. I use whole wheat couscous instead of ‘regular’ - couscous is the only grain product that tastes exactly the same to me in both versions.

Since all you need is 10 minutes, boiling water, and a bowl, couscous is definitely the easiest whole grain starch to prepare. The chickpeas in this dish add protein, which is the best appetite suppressant, and the oil will give you energy for hours. Adding generous amounts of chopped greens like parsley or mint will help boost your iron (and vitamin C) intake to increase strength and energy.

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous (from a health food store)
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 lemon or 2 Meyer lemons
  • 3 tablespoons or more olive oil
  • 1¼ cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • black olives, pitted and cut in half- e.g. Kalamata (optional)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint (optional)

The amounts of these ingredients can be increased or decreased as you like- this recipe works well with many variations.

Put couscous and salt in a bowl, pour boiling water over it, cover, sit 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and break up lumps.

Grate lemon peel, juice lemon, and mix with oil. Toss with couscous. Add remaining ingredients, mix well, and salt to taste. Add more oil and lemon if desired.

Serve immediately, or store in fridge for flavors to deepen. Preferably take it out of the fridge an hour before serving to come to room temperature.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Spaghetti Squash with Sage and Walnuts

This dish is so much fun to eat, especially when I'm craving pasta with a sauce and I don't want to eat too much starch. It's so aromatic and full of fall flavors. Makes for a great Mediterranean entree but if there are more people, it's a great side dish for meaty dishes. Plus, it's so easy to make!
  • 1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 15 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Serves 6 as a starter.
    Here's how to prepare this gorgeous Mediterranean dish:
    1. Preheat the oven to 400.
    2. Place the squash on a cutting board. Using a large, very sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seed with a spoon and discard.
    3. Place the squash halves on a roasting rack and season with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 sage leaves in the hollowed -out core of each half.
    4. Bake the squash on the oven's middle rack until the flesh is just soft, about an hour (or longer, it all depends on your oven).  Remove the squash and let it cool until you can work with the flesh comfortably, about 15 minutes.
    5. Using a fork, scrape the meat of the squash away from the skin, so that you get fluffy spaghetti-like strands. Reserve these and discard the skins. This can be made ahead of time, stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.
    6. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the walnuts. Toast the nuts and allow the butter to bubble, about 1 minute.
    7. Add the sage leaves. When the leaves release their aroma and begin to crackle in the pan, add the squash and stir to coat it with the flavored butter. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat until the squash is warm, stirring frequently so the flavors get inside the squash.  Season with the rest of the salt and pepper, or to your taste.
    8. Serve on a large plate or platter, topped with the cheese.

    Thursday, November 15, 2018

    Roasted Red Pepper Salad

    This salad is so tasty, a great side dish for grilled meats or as a first course. Spread it on sliced bread.  On it's own our spread chevre cheese on the bread followed by the peppers. Whichever way you use it, it'll be unique and delicious!
    • 6 red bell peppers
    • 1/2 cup fine-quality extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
    • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
    • 1 teaspoon chopped Italian parsley
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    Serves up to 6 people.

    Here you go ...

    Preheat broiler. Broil the peppers, turning them frequently, until the skin has blackened on all sides. Spread the peppers on a baking sheet so they can cool to room temperature.

    When the peppers are cool enough to handle, cut them from top to bottom. Scrape away  the seeds from the insides, then turn each half over scrape away the charred skin. Cut the peppers lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Put them into a bowl.  To the bowl add oil, raisins, nuts, parsley and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir. Marinate for at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.

    Thursday, November 8, 2018

    The Most Amazing Tomato Salad!

    This tomato salad should only be made during the tomato season, it is a crowd pleaser, enjoyed by adults and teenagers alike!!  You may double it if you wish. Enjoy!
    • 6 to 8 in-season tomatoes, washed, cored and cut into anyway you like them.
    • about 1/2 cup fine-quality olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into slivers
    • 4 or to your taste, garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    • 8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn
    • sea salt to taste, Maldon Sea salt is great!
    • 1/2  or more teaspoon dried oregano
    Serves 6.

    To tomatoes add oil and vinegar, then onions, garlic and basil. Spoon onto a serving plate,
    sprinkle with oregano, add the salt, mix, add more oregano and basil and if you want, more salt.

    Thursday, November 1, 2018

    Spicy Grilled Shrimp

    Another Mediterranean dish I love - I make it all summer long, and sometimes even in the winter!
    • 2 pounds large shrimp
    • 1 large clove garlic
    • 1 tablespoon coarse salt (less if you prefer)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon paprika ( if you can get smoked sweet Spanish)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    Makes 4 servings but can be doubled!!

    Peel the shrimp, or buy already peeled. Mince the garlic with the salt, mix it with the cayenne and paprika, then make it into a paste with the olive oil and lemon juice. Mix the sauce over the shrimp. Let the shrimp come to room temperature while you turn your grill on or use your broiler. Grill or broil the shrimp on each side for 2 to 3 minutes., serve immediately or at room temperature.