Gasp, I didn’t care for mushrooms until my mid-thirties. The simple suggestion of mushrooms sent shivers down my spine as a kid and I think I stubbornly carried that childhood aversion over into middle age. Well, that goodness I tried mushrooms again, over a decade ago. Mushrooms are super healthy, low calorie and high in important nutrients like b vitamins, selenium, copper, niacin, potassium, iron and phosphorous. It’s fine for taste purposes to put raw mushrooms on your salad, but the nutrients are best accessed through the heat of cooking!
So today, I’m sharing my easy side dish recipe for Truffle Mushroom and Thyme Quinoa that features sautéed mushrooms with a sprinkle of truffle salt. It’s hard to believe that such a super simple recipe can have such big flavor, but that’s the beauty of mushrooms – they marry with and magnify the flavor of whatever dish they are in. Continue reading →
‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!
Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!
Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.
I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!
So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!
Powerful good, those purple foods! No, no, not chemically-colorfied candies and goodies, but natural, wholesome fruits and vegetables from Mother Nature’s edible rainbow. If you’ve been passing up purple foods in the produce section, judging them too weird or trendy, it’s time to circle back! Load your basked from the prolific selection of purple foods available today including healthy-diet darlings like purple sweet potatoes (one of my favorite), purple cauliflower, purple carrots and long-time favorites such as purple grapes, eggplant, plums, berries and more.
Fittingly it’s a “P” word that makes purple foods so healthful – polyphenols! Purple fruits and vegetables are filled with polyphenols, important plant-based micronutrients which researchers say may help prevent degenerative diseases (like certain cancers) and protect your heart and overall cardiovascular health. One of the most abundant polyphenols in purple foods is a sub-classification named anthocyanins. Also found in foods like cocoa, nuts, olive oil and tea, anthocyanins are health-promoting, natural chemical compounds that aid in cell protection and healing. Nutritionists recommend include purple fruits and vegetables into your diet at least 4 to 5 days a week alongside dark green, orange and yellow foods for maximum benefits.
I love the Purple Asparagus from Friedas.com, it’s noticeably sweeter than it’s green siblings.Developed in Italy, the the large spears are purple-burgundy toned with a a creamy white interior.
Another one of my favorite foods with the good-for-you purple hue is a purple sweet potato. This dark tuber is royally delicious and once reserved only for the feasts of Incan kings in Peru. These days, purple potatoes reign supreme in the supermarket and, according to the USDA, can have in excess four times the antioxidant power of traditional white potatoes. Plus, potatoes of any color are such a great source of nutrition for athletes including complex carbohydrates to provide energy for workouts and potassium, iron, and other nutrients to help keep a hard-working body in balance. Eat them just like you would any other potato!
I also like to spiralize a purple sweet potato (or finely slice) my purple sweet potatoes and make healthy string fries. The easy recipe is featured below along with a few other links in my recipe collection that are popping with the power of PURPLE! Enjoy!
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to refocus on the remaining festival of eating that spans now through the New Year! There is more noshing and nibbling packed into the next 30 days than perhaps in the whole calendar year! With invited (and quite possible uninvited guests) dropping by with holiday cheer and hungry appetites, I like to have a few simple yet show-stopping appetizer recipes at my fingertips so that no one is disappointed.
My recipe for Blue Cheese, Pomegranate and Quinoa “Caviar” is an easy yet elegant addition to any gathering, whether you need sophisticated snacks to headline a cocktail party or as a prelude to a full-scale dinner party. Or, perhaps as an “I’m not cooking tonight” mini meal to enjoy with a bottle of wine in your fuzzy slippers after everyone heads home!
One of the treasures of this holiday hors d’oeuvres recipe is pomegranates. Pomegranates on their own are a quite festive fruit, the little arils inside resemble ruby-red jewels and taste decidedly more precious. When paired with a pleasingly pungent blue cheese and the almost nutty texture and taste of quinoa, you get a taste experience that I can describe no other way than Manheim steamroller for your Mouth – a modern orchestra of fa-la-la flavor!
While this holiday appetizer looks like it spent all day getting ready for a food glamour shot, it’s actually embarrassingly easy to make. All the ingredients are just tossed together in a bowl and then molded into a standard 6-ounce ramekin dish. If you’d like to do individual servings, mold with a mini melon baller or cookie dough scoop.
I’ve served this Christmas and New Year’s Eve party recipe on one of my favorite cracker; the nearly paper-thin wafers from 34º Crisps. However, you can use the cracker of your choice or even serve a dollop atop an apple or pear slice.
If you have leftovers, a big spoonful or two of Blue Cheese, Pomegranate and Quinoa “Caviar” is fantastic on a steak salad – especially with the Pomegranate Blueberry Vinaigrette. Enjoy!
So good, so good, you see! These slow-roasted balsamic tomatoes transform a simple salad, piece of crusty bread or unadorned eggs into a masterpiece of epic, mouthwatering proportions. You can also use them on pizzas, blend into sauce, serve on an anti-pasta platter or just pluck them right off the pan. Lust-worthy, luscious and loaded with flavor, these tomatoes are super easy to make — however, don’t rush the job, you’ll need at least an hour. The result of this patience is an intensified breadth and depth of flavor that is to die for. The other thing I love about this recipe is that nearly every type of tomato works beautifully, from Cherubs to Campari to Romas. Make a big batch, they keep well in the freezer!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and gently squeeze out seeds or scoop them with a spoon --leave as much as the flesh as possible.
Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the thyme. Roast tomatoes on center rack for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast tomatoes about 20 minutes more, or until caramelized.
Let tomatoes rest until reaching room temperature. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.