“Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself.”
Sheltering in place these past few months has certainly given us many opportunities to cook. We’re cooking a lot, whether it’s perfecting omelets, making one-pot meals or executing grand kitchen projects, such as baking sourdough bread, exploring fermentation or making big batches of soup. I’m guessing that along the way, you, too, have also discovered the joy of cooking and connecting with food. To engage in meal preparation can often be a great de-stresser. It keeps us centered in the moment, while activating and delighting each of our senses with visuals, aromas, tastes, touch and sounds. At these times, home cooking truly becomes a recipe for living a life well lived.
Along with versatility and flavor, cauliflower also brings its superfood pedigree to the table. As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower belongs to the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards. Each of these vegetables offers numerous anti-inflammatory benefits as well as support for our cardiovascular and digestive systems.
Cauliflower earns recognition as a superfood by being an excellent source of vitamins B6, C and K along with folate and pantothenic acid. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and manganese. And, along with minimal calories, cauliflower proves to be a good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3, in addition to protein, niacin and magnesium. Whew, that’s a superfood!
An almost effortless recipe for amazing sweet potatoes. And a complete contrast from the hot oven method we’ve all used to roast sweet potatoes. Game changing actually, the way long, slow roasting at 275º enhances both the sweetness and texture of sweet potatoes. Israeli chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov developed Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic Labneh (strained yogurt) after being inspired by a meal he enjoyed in Tel Aviv. Lucky for the rest of us, he’s shared his inspiration.
SLOW ROASTED TO PERFECTION
Saveur Magazine explains that slow roasting “will convert more starches into sugars and caramelize more of those sugars for deeper browned flavor.”
Although usually associated with Thanksgiving, nutrient- and fiber-rich sweet potatoes deserve a place on our plate throughout the year.
Two joys of the harvest season include both biting into crisp and juicy new-crop apples and pears, and inhaling their unmistakably rich aroma when they’re baking. Most of us take for granted fall’s abundance and huge variety of apples and pears. Perhaps we forget that, along with their many colors, shapes, sizes, textures and sweet-to-tart tastes, apples and pears are also superbly nourishing.
AN APPLE A DAY… We all know the rest of this maxim. And, recent research finds that as long as you eat the peel, an apple a day does indeed help keep the doctor away. As with both apples and pears, the majority of their vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients are found in their peel. Peel the skin and you peel away much of what makes them so healthy—their fiber, nutrition and phytonutrients. Plus, aesthetically, the contrast of the peel with the flesh adds a welcome contrast of color and texture.
Lime Miso Cabbage Slaw puts a new spin on the classic American coleslaw with its fusion of Asian miso, rice vinegar, ginger and toasted sesame oil with Southwestern poblano peppers, cilantro and lime juice. Enjoy it as a delicious side salad for picnics and barbecues, a colorful and crunchy addition to tacos, and as a main dish salad. With cabbage as its star ingredient, fresh, crisp, flavorful, creamy and healthful Lime Miso Cabbage Slaw becomes a salad for all seasons.
Cabbage—Another Super-Healthy Cruciferous Vegetable
Both purple (for some reason called “red” cabbage) and green cabbage belong to the same food family and are closely related to nutritional power houses kale, broccoli, collards and Brussels sprouts. Actually, 2000 years ago, European wild cabbages didn’t form a head as they do today, and looked more like leafy kale and collards.
Living in Montana, we wait all year for Flathead cherry season. Throughout the state, Flathead cherries reign supreme. Memories are made from eating these luscious, large, dark, firm, meaty, juicy, and sweet-with-a-touch-of-tart cherries. You definitely can’t—nor would you want to—eat just one.
Although dark, sweet cherries from Washington have begun appearing in our local markets, we’ll begin seeing Flathead cherries a little later than usual this year, in late July.
Crunchy, sweet, nutritionally rich carrots appear on most every dip and vegetable platter. Yet, we never see carrots as the star. With today’s recipe, that’s what’s happening. Stand aside hummus, there’s a new dip in town. Rich, flavorful, light and vibrant, Roasted Carrot Tahini Dip is equally satisfying whether spread on a leaf of baby romaine, served as a dip with crudités, or enjoyed from a spoon as a quick pick-me-up.
Yes, you can find carrots in markets throughout the year. Though the freshest and most flavorful, locally grown carrots are available from June through October. Choose carrots with the deepest orange color for the greatest amount of beta-carotene. Generally, carrots with the largest diameters will be the sweetest, as they have a larger core, which is where the carrot’s sugar is concentrated. With organically grown carrots, there is no need to peel them, just wash them well.
Our Montana Winter temperatures usually stay with us long past spring’s official March starting date. So, I offer a new recipe to you for a hearty salad to help brighten the days until spring actually arrives.
Colorful, satisfying and deeply flavored Roasted Beet & Carrot Lentil Salad plays the natural sweetness of roasted beets and carrots against a backdrop of robust and firm-textured French green (le Puy) lentils. The roasted carrots add brightness. Fresh parsley, mint and scallions bring freshness. Crumbled goat cheese or feta give a touch of creaminess. And to top it off, the refreshingly tart and Tangy Orange Mustard Vinaigrette makes this salad especially delicious.
TThe idea came to me a couple of weeks ago while enjoying a bowl of vegetable soup. Hmm, I thought, this soup would be perfect over a scoop of quinoa. Maybe even toasted quinoa. Interesting thought considering that I’d never before tasted toasted quinoa.
I made a small batch, toasting the quinoa in the same pan I would cook it in. The smell was incredible, the color change promising, and adding the boiling water exciting. The depth of flavor was rich, earthy, nutty, and fabulous, the texture amazingly light and fluffy.
I have never before used such words and adjectives to describe quinoa—and I love quinoa and have since before the turn of the century (something else I doubt I’ve ever said before). Toasted Quinoa may be my new best friend. I’m guessing it will become yours, too.
It often takes a number of tries to get a recipe “right,” meaning I like it a lot and it’s ready to share. Definitely the case with this recipe for Honey-Roasted Apples. I experimented with different ways of cutting the apples, different varieties of apples, different flavorings, and different cooking temperatures. The night I photographed and ate an entire batch of Honey-Roasted Apples for dinner, I knew I had a winner. They were fragrant, complex, flavorful, tender, easy, and oh so delicious. A word of warning—only make Honey-Roasted Apples when there are other people around so you can share them!
Beginning in September, a few friends brought me bags of just-picked apples from their trees. These crisp, fragrant, juicy apples, in unknown varieties, came in colors from yellow to pale green to deep red. When I experimented with roasting them, some split open while others, looking great on the outside, had turned mushy on their inside.