Spicy Cajun Cabbage

Cabbage is one of the most under-appreciated members of the brassica family (which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and chard).

All the brassicas have powerful anti-cancer properties, with a phenomenal ability to neutralize free radicals.  An extra incentive to include cabbage in your diet is the positive effect it has on estrogen metabolism.  Low rates of breast cancer in Eastern Europe fueled research into the phytonutrient compounds called indoles, which boost the ratio of “good” estrogens in both men and women.

If that weren’t enough, cabbage delivers a big chunk of the daily vitamins and minerals we need, as well plenty of fiber.  It’s delicious both cooked and in slaw (although over-cooking releases an unpleasant sulfurous odor).  One note of caution: people with hypo-active thyroids should eat cabbage in moderation.

Spicy Cajun Cabbage

Ingredients:

Cabbage Close Up

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed and minced
  • 1 small head green cabbage, shredded

Add butter and oil to hot skillet over medium heat; then add onion.  Saute onion for a few minutes, then add garlic.  Saute a few minutes more (until soft), and add the shredded cabbage.  Keep turning over cabbage for 3 to 4 minutes; add the spices.  Keep stirring until cabbage is tender and aromatic, and done to your taste – probably about another 4 to 5 minutes.

 

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Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

Delicious, versatile and easy to make, hummus is a healthy and inexpensive way to dress up a veggie plate, add body to a salad dressing or use as sandwich spread. This is a mild, tasty hummus you can use all year round – and it has a good balance of protein, fiber, unsaturated fat, minerals & vitamins.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 scrubbed carrotsbigstock-Hummus--27098909
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 thick slice raw ginger
  • 1 dried red chili (optional)*
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seed
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini*
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. In the morning, put 1 cup of dried chickpeas to soak in 2 -3 cups of filtered water.
  2. In the evening, drain the chickpeas and place in a heavy pot with: water, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, raw ginger, red chili, and cumin seed.
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat & cook for up to an hour.  The goal is tender but not mushy.
  4. Discard the vegetables and drain off the liquid into a measuring cup.  Put the cooked chickpeas in a blender with: lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper, and 2-4 tbsp of the reserved liquid.
  5. Blend until creamy; add more salt if necessary.  If you have leftover liquid, you can use it in other recipes (when cooking rice or soup, for example) – or give it to a houseplant!
  6. Serve garnished with minced parsley and red pepper, & maybe a drizzle of olive oil.

Some variations:

  • Garlic lovers can add 1 – 2 cloves of raw garlic; blend well!
  • Roasted red pepper makes a colorful and tasty addition
  • Mix in minced basil or spinach for a green version
  • Try making this with white beans instead of chickpeas

*Available at Indian grocery stores

posted in Recipes, Uncategorized, Veggies

Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. peanut or almond butterAsian Salad
  • 2 tbsp. hot water
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey,optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1- 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, optional
  • small handful of chopped peanuts or almonds, optional
  • salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

 

In a large bowl, mash together the nut butter and hot water until they form a smooth paste.  Mix in vinegar, agave syrup, salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Add the cabbage in 2 cup increments, mixing well after each addition. Add red pepper to taste. Cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, visiting it every hour or two to give it a good stir. If desired, sprinkle the nuts on top right before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.    Serves 4-6.

 

Adapted from Still Life with Menu Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

 

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Roasted Cauliflower with Green Herb Sauce

Spring is a great time to try vegetables in a new way.  We think of cauliflower as a winter vegetable but it transitions beautifully to spring in a zesty green sauce.  It is also a good source of numerous B vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber.

 

Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower with Green Herb Sauce*

Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, whole

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped

1/2 tsp garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  Place whole head of cauliflower on parchment lined-sheet.

Brush cauliflower with 1/4 cup olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper.

Pull short sides of parchment over cauliflower and fold one ends over other a few times to seal.  Fold long ends of parchment under cauliflower to create a packet.  Roast until knife-tender, about 40 minutes.  Tear open parchment at top, roast for 15-20 minutes more until golden brown.

In a small bowl, stir together parsley, cilantro, garlic, mustard, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 cup of olive oi.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Serve cauliflower warm, accompanied by sauce on the side.

*Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living tm

 

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Delicious, Nutritious Dandelion Greens

dandelion leaves isolated on white

A relative of the sunflower, the humble dandelion packs a hefty nutritional punch as a spring tonic: it supports digestion, reduces swelling and inflammation, and is used by herbalists to treat skin conditions like eczema and acne. One cup of raw dandelion greens out-performs broccoli in Vitamins A and K, besides being rich in calcium and iron.

 

 

Dandelion greens add a nice bite to a spring salad, and can be used exactly as you would bok choy or other greens.

 

 

 

Here’s a lovely Italian-flavored recipe:

A side dish of swiss chard cooked in olive oil with garlic and c

 

3 pounds dandelion greens, tough lower stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3- 5 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

 

 

Cook greens in a large pot of boiling, lightly salted water, uncovered, until ribs are tender. Depending on your taste, this can take from 5 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking and drain well, gently pressing out excess water.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic and red-pepper flakes, stirring, until pale golden, about 45 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, then add greens and sea salt and sauté until coated with oil and heated through, about 4 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.

 

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Roasted, Broiled or Baked Tomatoes and Tomatillos

 

Roasted, Broiled or Baked Tomatoes

This is great for green or under-ripe tomatoes.  However you cook them, you will want to remove the core.  For broiled or roasted tomatoes, slice them in half horizontally, or in 3/4″ thick slices.  

Ingredients:

  • Green or under-ripe tomatoesSlow-Roasted Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper to taste

 Optional Extras:

  • Thyme, rosemary
  • Capers
  • Crumbled feta cheese

1. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large glass baking dish.  Add the cut tomatoes, and coat them in the oil.  For broiled tomatoes, make sure the cut side faces up; for roast tomatoes, you want the cut side down.

2. Some nice variations are to add a few teaspoons of pickled capers (in this case, omit any salt) and/or some sliced or smashed fresh garlic.  Thyme and/or rosemary add extra flavor.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Broil for about 10 – 15 minutes.  If you are baking them, cook at 400 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes.  For oven-roasting, you will cook them for 1 – 2 hours at 325 degrees.  Feta is wonderful on these, but again you will want to be careful not to over-salt them before cooking.

 

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Broiled or Baked Tomatillos

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 pounds fresh tomatillosFresh Homemade Salsa Verde

Optional Extras:

  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 – 3 serrano chiles
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro 
  • salt, cumin seeds, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to broil (or 400 degrees if you prefer to bake).
  2. Shuck the outer skin of the tomatillos; the skin will feel a little sticky.  Rinse the tomatillos and roll them in a kitchen towel to dry.
  3. Slice them in half horizontally and toss them with a light coating of olive oil.  A pump spray works well for this,  Put them cut side down in a large glass baking dish.
  4. I like to add a sprinkling of cumin seeds and 2 – 3 peeled, slightly smashed garlic cloves for extra flavor.
  5. For salsa, throw in 2 or 3 serrano chiles (cut off the tops; you can de-seed them if you want a milder salsa).
  6. If you are broiling, slide them under the broiler unit for 5 – 8 minutes, then turn them over.  Cook another 5 minutes or so; the skin side will be blistered.  Your broiler may be hotter and faster, so watch them!
  7. If baking, between 8 to 10 minutes per side will do.  You won’t get the smokey charred taste, but they will still be delicious.
  8. Cool, peel if desired (the skin will slide off easily).
  9. Process in the blender for salsa, adding salt to taste.  1/2 fresh white onion and 1/2 bunch cilantro are great additions also.
  10. I like these roughly chopped as an addition to polenta or baked cheese grits, or in a Mexican-flavored chicken soup.

 

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Tabbouleh Salad

TaboulehIngredients:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup (or more) parsley
  • 1/2 cup seedless cucumbers, cubed
  • 3/4 cup tomato, cubed

  1. Whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper and salt together in a small bowl, then add the bulgur wheat. Let soak for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, depending on the coarseness of your bulgur and how soft you want it.
  2. Wash and dry parsley. Remove the stems if you don’t like them; chop all finely.
  3. In a large bowl, combine parsley, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Add the soaked bulgur along with the dressing and toss everything together.
  4. Tabouleh tastes wonderfully fresh the day it’s made.  If you let it sit overnight, the flavors have a chance to meld and it tastes even better.

 

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posted in Recipes, Salads, Uncategorized, Veggies

The Amazing Green Drink

Spinach And Apple Smoothie

3 – 4 leaves fresh kale You can use spinach, collard greens (I add extra apple with these), romaine lettuce, parsley, cilantro, or any combination.  Beet greens, chard, mint and mustard greens do not work well!
2 stalks celery Celery is #2 on the “Dirty Dozen” list, so please buy organic if you possibly can.
½ large green apple Apples are #1 on the list!!  Go to http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/  for more info.You can use the whole apple if you like more sweetness.
½ avocado I like the smaller Hass avocadoes best, but use what you have!
½ large cucumber(or 1 small) No need to peel these, unless they have wax on the skin.
¼” slice fresh ginger You don’t have to peel this if the skin is fresh and unblemished.
2 dates Trader Joes has these at a pretty good price, but it’s also worth looking in Asian or Indian groceries.

 

Add filtered water to about halfway up the blender container.  Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.  You may need to put a kitchen towel under your blender if it vibrates a lot.  You need a good blender for this, but don’t be surprised if the dates don’t completely blend.

This will make 2 tall glasses – drink it all, or share!  It does not keep well, although you can store it for 12 – 24 hours in an opaque glass jar in the refrigerator.

posted in Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized, Veggies

Kohlrabi Salad

Cooling salads are perfect for the kind of weather we’ve been having, but salads don’t always have to rely on a base of greens. Here’s a fun salad based on a slightly unusual but very tasty “tuber” – a change of pace from the old standby potato salad!

Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables I have often looked at – and passed right on by. Once it showed up in my CSA share, though, I was stuck!  I had to find out more. Turns out it’s not a tuber, or even really a root vegetable – but it’s definitely edible! More than that, it’s quite tasty and very refreshing!

The purple and green varieties are interchangeable.  Just cut off all the branches, and peel off the skin with a sharp knife.

Kohlrabi Salad

bigstock-kohlrabi-growing-on-vegetable--35465660

You will need:

  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 1/2 sweet non-mushy apple (unpeeled)
  • 1 peeled carrot
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Asian red chili sauce (optional)
  • 2-3 sprigs cilantro, minced fine
  • salt to taste
  1. Cut the peeled kohlrabi into matchstick pieces.  This is much easier if you have a mandoline.  You can also shred it on the large-holed side of a box grater.
  2. Using the same method as above, matchstick (or shred) the apple and carrot, add to bowl.
  3. Add sesame oil, rice vinegar, red chili sauce, cilantro, and salt to taste.
  4. Toss together.
  5. Chill before serving.

Variations:

  • Add very finely sliced or minced red pepper for more color
  • Try ume vinegar instead of rice vinegar
  • Marinate a pressed garlic clove in the oil for 24 hours before making the salad (you can add the garlic or discard it)

Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, kohlrabi is a good source of thiamine, folate, magnesium and phosphorous.  It’s high in fiber, and contains Vitamins C & B6, potassium, copper and manganese.   In a hurry?  Just shred it and dress it with ume vinegar – a quick, cooling addition to your summer repertoire.

posted in Recipes, Salads, Uncategorized, Veggies

Kale Chips

Did you hear about Dave Letterman saying, “Hats off to kale chips”? Kind of astounding, right? but great! So here’s how you make them for yourself – cheap, easy, and pretty fun.

Bed of ornamental cabbage, or kale, focus on white leaves

Let’s face it, kale is not everybody’s go-to vegetable.

But it is surprisingly versatile, and can be surprisingly tasty.  It also holds up well to a few days in the refrigerator. Another plus, for those of us who like to garden past tomato season, is that it’s pretty easy to grow. That’s why you’ll see so many ornamental varieties, like the lacy white and purple versions on the top.

The ruffled edge variety is the most common in the markets, but you’ll see what’s often called “Tuscan kale” as well.  Italian cooking uses kale in some classic soups, and many kale recipes use parmesan or goat cheese as an extra enrichment. Whether you use the ruffled or Tuscan variety for your chips, wash the leaves thoroughly & cut out the stems.  I like to roll the washed leaves in a kitchen towel to get them really dry – it helps the oil adhere to the leaves.
Wooden dish of roasted kale chips on a colorful table clothTear the dried kale into bitesize (about 2”) pieces, and toss them with a very light coating of olive oil and a good dose of freshly ground sea salt or kosher salt.  Spread them out onto baking sheets in a single layer.  Bake at 300 degrees about 15 to 20 minutes, moving them around on the sheets a few times as they cook.  You may need to adjust time and temperature for your oven; persevere!

posted in Recipes, Uncategorized, Veggies