Recently, I have come to the conclusion that my favorite squash/pumpkin to roast is the acorn squash. I had never cooked an acorn squash before this fall; it happened as one of my “impulse” vegetable purchases one day when David was away and I was cooking for myself, and the acorn squash looked appealing and it also wasn’t too big. I went home, sliced up the squash, tossed the slices in olive oil, seasoned them and roasted them… and they were SO GOOD. What I love about roasted acorn squash is that the squash has a lovely, natural sweetness to it, and when roasted, it has an almost creamy texture that is still light, an almost custard mouth-feel without any density or heaviness. Adding a sprinkling of cinnamon brings out the sweetness of the squash, while the chili slices give them a fiery kick. The squash is great cold, too, and makes for a delicious veggie leftover “snack.”
I like to get organic acorn squash, because I keep the skin on, which I think is delicious roasted. And here’s how I roast them:
One of my favorite vegetable is an eggplant. Sometimes, when I feel like having a simple vegetarian dinner and taking a break from protein, eggplant is a great option, because they are so satisfying. Recently, my go-to way to cook eggplants is by roasting them in the oven with garlic and chili. Roasted in large slices, the eggplants are almost like vegetarian “steaks” packed full of flavor. I love how the garlic slices are crispy, while the heat from the chili adds a nice kick to the creaminess of the eggplants. I can eat so much of these eggplants, I don’t miss having my usual protein main (although David still needs to have a main protein component, of course).
Over the summer, we went to Yonkers for the day for a local foods and drinks event. There, we ate sausages made by Hudson Valley Harvest, which were delicious. Luckily, I recently discovered that I can get the sausages on Fresh Direct. Our favorite is the chorizo.
The chorizo is great on their own, but can also be mixed into dishes… like a hash. When I had a lot of beets and sweet potato in the fridge, some chorizo, eggs, and not much else, I combined them together for a dish that I think is great for breakfast as well as dinner. Continue reading
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope those of you who are celebrating the holiday have very safe and smooth travels to wherever you are headed.
Today I baked my paleo pumpkin pie, among other things we will bring to Eleanor and Michael’s house for Thanksgiving. This weekend, I hope to *finally* catch up on my blogging (it’s been a while) so please stay tuned!!!
A couple of weeks ago, grass-fed boneless ribeye steaks were on sale at Whole Foods — so of course, we bought some. Instead of cooking the steaks as we normally do (simply, with salt and pepper), this time I marinated the steaks overnight. The result was deliciously flavorful, juicy steaks, perfect with vegetables or over a salad. I sliced the steaks up thinly so that we could enjoy all the delicious grass-fed good fats!
We’re loving kale salads these days, so I’m always on trying to come up with new ways to “dress” the healthy greens. I recently came up with a simple dressing that worked very well. I added some toasted pecans in the salad, since they were so nice in the “Red (Purple) Salad” I’ve made before. I think the pecans add a nice earthy flavor as well as texture, and complements the heat from the serrano chili. The salad pairs well with meat, such as a pork chop, but it’s also great on its own. It keeps well and tasted great the next day, too!
Continuing with our infusing more “purple” vegetables in our lives, I decided to pick up a radicchio to use in the vegetable accompaniment for dinner. I already had a couple of organic Chinese eggplants, red onions and purple garlic from the farmers’ market, as well as shiitake mushrooms, in the fridge, so I decided to put them all together in a “stir-fry.” Chinese eggplants have a much thinner skin than normal eggplants, so they are great for stir-frying because they will cook through more easily. Radicchio adds a nice bitterness to all the “umami” from the mushrooms, onions and eggplant. I added some basil from our garden at the end, which gave the vegetables a nice aromatic lift and freshness. The result was a kind of light, tomato-less ratatouille, and we had it as an accompaniment to a simply grilled coho salmon — delicious!
Having been inspired by Jo Robinson’s book, in which we learned that purple vegetables are great for you, I have been compulsively buying purple/red vegetables when they look good at the super market or, even better, at the local farmers’ market on the weekends. Last night, I made a refreshing and summery salad from red cabbage, red kale, red onions, basil and toasted pecans dressed in a lemon tahini dressing. The recipe yields quite a lot of salad, but trust me, you will eat it, it is so light and delicious! The salad will keep for a day or two in an airtight container.
Recently David began reading a book that is having an enormous influence on how we buy, cook and eat fruits and vegetables — and so I thought I’d share it with you. Written by Jo Robinson and called “Eating on the Wild Side,” the book examines the nutritional history and fruits and vegetables, what impact generations of farming and selective breeding have had on produce, and how we can best “forage” the modern day (super)markets to best eat fruits and vegetables to increase one’s health benefits.
NPR did an interview with Jo Robinson, which you can find here.
We love the information provided by this book, and enthusiastically recommend it! We truly feel like we are making smarter, more informed and healthier choices in how we eat fruit and vegetables.
Here are a few gems of knowledge we’ve gained from the book so far:
- Blueberries: eat more of them. They have the potential to slow brain aging, fight cancer and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Frozen blueberries are almost as good as fresh ones — cooking blueberries (and many other types of berries) increases the berries’ nutritional content as “the heat rearranges the structure of the phytonutrients and also makes them more bioavailable.”
- Apples: in general for red apples, the redder the apple the more sun exposure it’s had, which means the more phytonutrients it has — and so better for you. Granny Smith apples, however, are among the most nutritious varieties available in regular supermarkets. Eat the skin and try to buy organic.
- Garlic: best to way to use garlic is to mince it, or, even better, microplane it and rest for 10 minutes without heat (i.e. don’t cook it) in order to create more Allicin (it’s most active beneficial phytonutrient).
- Blue/dark purple is your friend: whether potatoes, corn, kale, berries or carrots — dark purple, is a great signifier of high phytonutrient content.
- Tomatoes: smaller is better and tomatoes that are darker red in color have more lycopene. To maximize health benefits go for the small, darker red tomatoes (cherry and grape tomatoes are the best). Cooking tomatoes for more than 30 minutes can more than double your uptake of lycopene (as in a pasta sauce).
Happy healthy eating!
An old friend of mine just launched a wonderful, progressive and world-friendly business, which I’d like to introduce here. Although the business doesn’t have anything directly to do with recipes or paleo-eating, this new venture embraces the idea of making smart choices that reflect one’s values and goals, just as we try to do with health and diet. The company is called SWICH and it helps people identify, shop and invest in “better” businesses, helping people spend money on business that share their values. Do check out the website and video here. You can also check out the SWICH blog, where new “better businesses” are introduced.