Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sweet & Spicy Sun Butter Kelp Noodles With Cabbage & Avocado {Featured on Mind Body Green}

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Sometimes, only noodles will do. If you’re craving a big bowl of hearty, starchy noodles, but don’t want to deal with a bellyache later, try these super satisfying sweet and spicy Sun Butter kelp noodles. They may seem strange at first, but kelp noodles mimic the shape and feel of regular noodles, and pack way more healthy benefits than their gluten-laden counterparts.

Made from sea vegetables, kelp noodles help to alkalize your body, promoting immune health and detoxifying your whole system. They also bolster your thyroid gland, and give your metabolism a little kick. Plus, you don’t even need to cook them! Kelp noodles make quick, healthy meals a breeze, and make delicious leftovers the next day.

They have a pretty neutral taste on their own, so this kicky Sun Butter sauce makes them a real treat. If you have leftover sauce, drizzle it over some roasted broccoli, dress your kale leaves with it, or toss it with some chick peas and roast them for an awesome snack.

For the recipe, visit Mind Body Green.

Skip the Pizza Takeout & Make your Own at Home

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You might ask, why bother making your own pizza at home when we live in the center of the tri-state pizza trifecta? We’re surrounded by some of the best pizza places in the country, serving up perfect pies around the clock. But if you want something a little more bespoke, a little more home-made, a little different than the standard order pie, then making your pizza at home fits the bill. While more involved than dialing up your corner pizza place, making your own pizza is fun, pretty simple, and gives you major bragging rights. It’s a foolproof way to impress your guests at a dinner party, and fun to make for a big group. Making pizza at home also provides a fantastic way to empty your fridge. Get creative with a combination of vegetables, cheese, even random leftovers (roasted brussels sprouts? sesame chicken? tikka masala?).  Just follow the tips, suggestions, and recipe ideas below to ensure you’re not calling in an emergency pizza delivery.

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First, decide how you want to approach the dough situation. You have several options:

  1. Go the store-bought route. This is ideal if you’re short on time and need your pizza tonight. You can usually find balls of dough in plastic wrap near the shredded cheese and ricotta.
  2. Buy dough from your favorite pizza place. Most will sell you some dough no problem. Why not go right to the source?
  3. Make your own dough. This involves an overnight rise for the best and most flavorful dough, but hardly more effort than making up a cake batter. For a fantastic NY style pizza crust, follow this recipe on Feeling Foodish.

Next, pick your sauce and topping combination. You can always stick with the classics, but the sky’s the limit for getting creative. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Autumn Harvest Pizza- with roasted sweet potatoes, apples, onions, sage, garlic, and parmesan (recipe below).
  2. Sweet Potato Kale Pizza– with roasted red onions and mozzarella.
  3. Fig, Rosemary & Parmesan Pizza – if figs are out of season, you can replace them with pears or other stone fruits.
  4. Roasted Fennel & Taleggio Pizza – with parmesan and chopped toasted hazelnuts.
  5. Apple Cheddar Pizza – with roasted leeks and garlic.
  6. Green Eggs & Ham Pizza – with crumbled bacon, a cracked egg baked on top, and a handful of peppery arugula added before serving.

Finally, decide how to cook your masterpiece. You have a few options, some better than others:

  1. If all else fails, and you’ve got no other options, you can bake your pizza in the oven on a plain old baking sheet. You won’t get that desirable pizza place crust, but it’ll still be delicious and still impress. Just preheat your oven on full blast with your sheet pan in there too, getting everything as hot as possible to encourage a crispy, tender crust.
  2. You can shell out for a pizza stone. These usually run between 10 and 50 bucks. Either stone or ceramic, they hold heat better than metal, and absorb moisture to promote a crispy crust.
  3. For the best results, and the most bang for your buck, invest in this baking steel from Baking Steel. While slightly more pricy than a pizza stone, its quality and efficiency, and broad application in your kitchen will make it worth every penny. Since steel conducts and holds heat better than a brick oven’s stone, you can cook your pizza at a lower temperature, resulting in that holy grail crust that’s both crispy and tender. And since most home ovens can’t get above 500 degrees, the pizza steel is your best bet for creating that wood-fire pizza effect. These steels come pre-seasoned with organic oil, and require little care or maintenance after that. They’re practically indestructible, and you can use them on your outdoor grill for everything from pizza to salmon fillets to romaine lettuce. I thought my pizzas turned out pretty well before using the steel, but now that I’ve tried it there’s no going back. I’ve just never recreated that wood-fire oven crust at home, despite my best efforts. With just one simple tweak, I’ve taken my pizzas from mediocre to restaurant quality (if I do say so myself). Sweetening the deal, for every steel purchased, Baking Steel donates a portion of the profits from each baking steel to The Greater Boston Food Bank. That amounted to over 54,00 meals donated last year alone! This definitely a company you can feel good about supporting.

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For the Autumn Harvest Pizza recipe, visit Devil Gourmet.

Apples: Where to Pick Them & What What to Do With Them

It’s officially fall, and apple season is upon us. In the tri-state area we are fortunate enough to live in close proximity to dozens of lovely apple orchards. Some orchards are lovelier than others, so I’ve compiled a list of standout orchards well worth the trip. Hopefully you can skip the long lines, sub-par apples, and mediocre orchards in your apple picking quest.

Naturally Grown Cortland Apples from Matarazzo's

Naturally Grown Cortland Apples from Matarazzo’s

Once you get your apple bounty home, you’ll have a million and one ways to use them, aside from a perfect ready-made snack. To help you make some decisions, I’ve got a few suggestions outside the usual suspects of pie and cider.  So pick your orchard, gather some friends and family, and enjoy the gorgeous fall weather while getting your fill of deliciously seasonal apples.

Where to Pick Them:

  1. Wightman’s Farms: Located in Morristown, this farm (usually) offers a bit of a respite from the crowds. If you’ve got an aversion to lines, this might be your best bet. Pick apples and pumpkins, ride some hay rides, and get lost in the corn field maze. If you’re lucky you might catch the last of their crop of peaches, and can also find fresh seasonal produce and cider and cider doughnuts.
  2. Hillview Farms: This orchard in Gillette, NJ, takes you up to their apple trees on a tractor ride, and also offers hay rides on weekends for an extra fee. You can pick pumpkins to carve up for Halloween, stock up on farm fresh produce, and get your fall fix with apple cider doughnuts, cider, and seasonal pies.
  3. Terhune Orchards: Wine tasting and apple picking might just be my favorite fall combination. Terhune orchards, located in Princeton, NJ, boasts free family fun weekends, where kids can meet farm animals, explore the corn maze, listen to story hour, and pick their fill of apples and pumpkins. Adults can enjoy award-winning wines grown right on the farm.
  4. Silverman’s Farm: A bit of a haul, but worth the drive. Located in Connecticut, Silverman’s will send you up the hill on a hay ride to their prized orchards dating back to 1920. Pick your apples, and enjoy a selection of gourmet food at the market. They also have a petting zoo.
  5. Masker Orchards: Just over the border in Warwick, NY, Masker’s orchards date back over 100 years. They also have a fantastic selection of local honey.
  6. Battle View Orchards: Just a short ride away in Freehold, NJ, this orchard will provide you with recipe suggestions to best use the varieties of apples you’ve picked. They offer thirteen varieties of apples.
  7. Sun High Orchards: Located in Randolph, NJ, this orchard offers the luxe service of bringing along an apple expert to help you pick the best and most ripe apples, ensuring you take home only the cream of the crop. They also offer hay rides around their property, and you can pick pumpkins through October. Stock up on seasonal produce, local crafts, apple cider, baked goods, fresh pies baked in a huge beehive oven right in front of you, and visit with some friendly farm animals.
  8. Matarazzos’ Farmers Market: A mainstay in North Caldwell, the Matarazzo family has taken to the road with their Jersey Fresh produce including nearly a dozen varieties of local apples, plus a wide variety of produce. On Saturdays they’re at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, Sundays at the Ramsey Farmers’s Market. Follow them on Facebook to find out which market they’ll attend the rest of the week.

Greening Apples at Matarazzo's

Greening Apples at Matarazzo’s

What to Do With Them: Unusual Suggestions to Use up Your Apple Bounty

  • Apple cheddar panini (add-on some bacon if you’re feeling especially decadent)
  • Apple onion tarts (use pre-made puff pastry for a super simple dish)
  • Cheddar and apple stuffed chicken breasts (maybe wait for the government shutdown to end before you try this one…)
  • Apple cheddar pizza with toasted pecans
  • Apple butternut squash soup
  • Apple, cheddar, and caramelized onion quesadillas
  • Apple cinnamon french toast
  • Cranberry apple crostata
  • Calvados and ginger fizz (recipe below)

For the full article, visit Devil Gourmet.

Quinoa Sushi with Sweet Potato & Avocado {gluten free & vegan}

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Sushi is one of the most celebrated dishes in Japanese cuisine, both in Japan and around the world. Originally a pure and healthy food comprised of rice, nori, and unadulterated fish, many restaurants have taken sushi down an unhealthy path, complete with deep-fried ingredients, heavy mayo based sauces, and an excess of unnecessary ingredients. This revamped version of the original brings sushi back into the healthy fold, with an extra boost from unexpected ingredients. Quinoa, a super grain once considered as valuable as gold for the Incas of South America, packs a seriously healthy punch. As one of the only non-animal sources of complete protein, quinoa includes all nine essential amino acids, along with ample amounts of fiber, iron, lysine, magnesium, and riboflavin. Quinoa makes for an easy rice substitution, and gives you so much more nutritional bang for your buck. The sweet potatoes included in this recipe give you a big boost of vitamin A and beta carotene, and the healthy fats in the avocado help your body absorb all the great nutrients. I suggest tamari rather than soy sauce because of its lower sodium content and absence of wheat, which bothers people with a gluten intolerance. It also has a smoother, richer flavor, and definitely merits a try. These rolls make for a perfect simple meal or a great option for a dinner party. Just set out the components, and let everyone build their own rolls. They’re also a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables and try out new flavors.

You can now easily buy quinoa in Japan in regular supermarkets. It’s sold under the name キヌア.

This recipe makes two rolls, but can easily be doubled or tripled depending on how many people you’re feeding.

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For the recipe, visit Geo Blue’s Healthy Travel Blog.

Healthy International Recipe: Argentine Asado & Chimichurri

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Due to its vastly differing cultural regions, traditional food spans a broad range throughout Argentina. Italian influences bring pasta and gelato, Welsh communities bring teahouses and scones, Spanish influences bring empanadas. But one traditional style of food is represented countrywide: the asado, or barbecued meat. Beef is the most common meat to hit the barbecue, due to the vast ranges of cattle ranges in Argentina. High quality, grass-fed beef provides protein, iron, and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and if cooked in a thoughtful way, holds a place in a healthy, balanced diet. While grilling steak is the most popular method in Argentina, using your oven to broil the steak on each side gives a similar crust to the meat, without all the harmful carcinogens produced on the grill. Chimichurri sauce delivers a big punch of tangy, zesty flavor, with very little fat. Green herbs and garlic offer brightness, and vinegar helps cut through the richness of the steak. Serve this traditional steak and chimichurri sauce along with some roasted vegetables, and you’ll have a traditional Argentine meal that’s also healthy and balanced.

For the recipe, visit GeoBlue’s Healthy Travel Blog.

Calvados & Ginger Fizz {the perfect autumn cocktail}

photoCooler weather and darker evenings call for a warming and spicy cocktail to usher in the new season. This calvados and ginger fizz brings two favorite fall flavors into one glass. Sweet, tart apple and spicy, warming ginger marry perfectly, coming together in this well-balanced and super fresh tasting drink. It’s the perfect way to use up a dearth of apples after a trip to the orchard or farmer’s market. While the autumn leaves around the glasses are definitely optional, they certainly drive the seasonal feeling home, and make the cocktails feel extra special.

First, make the Ginger Simple Syrup:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dark honey
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 orange, zested

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water and the honey and bring up to a boil. Stir until the honey dissolves into the water, then remove from the heat.
  2. Add the ginger, vanilla, and orange zest, and let this mixture steep for at least 15 minutes, 30 if you have the time.
  3. Strain the mixture and transfer to a glass jar. This will keep in the fridge for a week or so.

Next, build your cocktails:

Ingredients: (Makes 2 cocktails, easily doubled)

  • 1 tart apple, skin on, thinly sliced horizontally (I like gala, pink lady, or honey crisp apples, but use whatever you like)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (add more or less depending on how tart you want your cocktail)
  • 4 tablespoons ginger simple syrup
  • 3/4 cup Calvados
  • 1 can ginger ale
  • ice cubes for shaking

Directions:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add your apple slices, saving 2 slices for garnishes.
  2. Add the maple syrup and lemon juice, and muddle the mix until the apples break up and mash together.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, and give everything a good shake until chilled and well combined. Pour into two glasses, and top up with the ginger ale.
  4. Top each glass with a reserved apple slice, and enjoy!

 

 

Autumn Kale & Quinoa Salad {Featured on Mind Body Green}

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Nourish yourself from the inside out with this warm and comforting kale and quinoa salad. Quinoa offers complete protein to help you power through the darkening days, and kale boasts enough calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene to help you fend off pesky colds. The dried cranberries give this salad a sweet and sour tang, and the slivered almonds provide crunch and texture.

This recipe also serves as the perfect vehicle for whatever leftovers you’ve got hanging around. Add some cooked sweet potato, some sliced avocado, or some sauteed chick peas for a delicious and satiating meal. With minimal effort, you’ve got a doubl- duty recipe; put your leftovers into glass jars and take them for lunch the next day.

Visit Mind Body Green for the recipe.

Fig & Pistachio Coconut Cheesecake {gluten free & raw}

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Twenty minutes of effort, a freezer, and some humble ingredients, and you’ll have this show-stopping dessert that’ll fool everyone. Not only is this cheesecake gluten-free, but it’s also raw, and can easily be made vegan and dairy free. But don’t worry, the look and taste of this cheesecake belie none of these healthy attributes. It tastes creamy, nutty, and all around dreamy. The figs look gorgeous against the white filling, but any bright, seasonal fruit will do.

Active time: 20 minutes  Freezing time: 1 hour

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
  • 3/4 cups pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  1. Add all the ingredients to your food processor and blitz to combine. You should have a uniform, slightly chunky mixture that pinches together easily.
  2. Press this mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan lined with parchment paper. Put the crust in the freezer while you get on with the filling.

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche (if you want to keep this recipe vegan, just add 1/2 cup of your favorite vegan yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • pinch of salt
  1. Add all your filling ingredients to your food processor and blitz everything together until you have a smooth, creamy, fluffy mixture. Have a taste, and see if you need to add more honey for sweetness.
  2. Pour your filling over your crust, smooth the top, and return to the freezer for an hour or so.

To Assemble for Serving:

  • 1 cup figs (if figs are out of season, you can replace them easily with cherries, blood oranges, plumbs, pears, whatever you like)
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios
  1. Remove the springform pan and transfer your cake to a serving platter. Slice your figs in half and arrange them on top of the cake. Sprinkle over the coconut and pistachios and enjoy!
  2. Store this cake covered in the fridge or freezer.