Tag: reciperedux

Pantry Power! Chickpea pumpkin curry from scratch

We’ve all been there

No time to run to the store, not much in the way of fresh veggies on hand, and dinner approaching by the minute.  That scenario is precisely why I recommend keeping a stocked pantry of versatile staples and a Pinterest account at the ready!  A pantry should take you way past spices and dried herbs – think canned foods, dried foods, and yes even frozen and refrigerator foods that have a long shelf life.  I used a combo of all of the above to make a delicious pumpkin chickpea curry, and served it over some leftover bulk-cooked quinoa I’d prepared on the weekend.

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When in doubt, make a curry

Or a soup, or casserole – all are fantastic with a grain, canned veggies, and long-lasting onions and garlic.  I had defrosted some pumpkin I pureed and froze last fall and needed to use it up (part of it went into bread and scones), and had an open can of coconut milk from a batch of muffins I’d popped in earlier that morning…leftovers everywhere!  Pumpkin and coconut are the base ingredients for a delicious Thai curry I’ve made before, so I scrounged a few other necessities up and had a full dinner with some leftover for lunch the next day in no time.

Chickpea Pumpkin Curry

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin works great)
  • 1-1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large (28-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped or pureed (or a can of diced tomatoes; I used some cherry tomatoes I had on the counter)
  • 1-2 cups broth of choice
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 Tbsp oil
  • cashews and cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F; toast the chickpeas on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil for 10-15 minutes (you could just add them in, but I wanted mine to have more texture).  Heat the remaining oil to medium high in a large pot on the stove, add the onions and cook until translucent, then add garlic and spices and stir while cooking for 2-3 minutes, until spices are fragrant and toasted.  Add coconut milk, pumpkin, tomato, and broth and stir to combine; reduce heat to low and put a lid on to allow to cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add toasted chickpeas.  Serve warm over rice or quinoa, garnish with cashews and cilantro.

How the pros do it

This month’s RecipeRedux roundup is full of meals we made with what was on hand – be sure to check out other posts for ideas and inspiration to Iron Chef it up in your kitchen tonight!recipe-redux-linky-logo

Plant-powered lunch bowl: farro, shaved brussels sprouts, and fermented beets

Bowls are the new salad

I’m a HUGE fan of a well-balanced lunch bowl.  They’re easy to pack to bring to work, and the options are limitless – which is why I am really excited that they’re this month’s RecipeRedux theme!  I can’t wait to see all the other members’ combos (links below) and give folks some inspiration for lunches that taste and feel awesome.

How to Bowl

Here’s my guide to building a bowl from scratch:

  1. Pick a base: a whole grain (quinoa or millet work well), rice, or legume like lentils or beans – aim for 1/2 cup

  2. Pick your greens: kale, spinach, collards, lettuces – 1-2 cups

  3. Pick 2 proteins: cheese, diced meats, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds – roughly 20g worth; consult the labels to make sure it adds up

  4. Add 2 other veggies (green beans, diced pepper, onion, tomatoes, even a cooked diced sweet potato) – roughly a cup total

  5. Herbs + acid + oil (chopped fresh basil or cilantro, lime or lemon juice, and olive or grapeseed oil) – about 2 Tbsp

I recently brought a bowl to a potluck – they make fantastic side dishes, too!  I cooked up farro, which is wheat’s higher-protein cousin (not gluten free!), then added:

  • Chopped roasted carrots
  • Raw edamame
  • Shaved raw brussels sprouts (I used a mandolin)
  • Fermented beets (my first ferment!)
  • Feta cheese
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chopped pecans
  • Pomegranate arils (alleluia, it’s pom season again!)

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Gorgeous colors, right?  And the result:

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I dressed it with some rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and EVOO – the ingredients themselves had so much richness and diversity in flavor, texture, and temperature that it didn’t need much!  If I weren’t going to a potluck, I’d have stored all the ingredients separately and made different combos through the week for lunch – here’s what a single serving looks like:

img_4313img_4316YUM.  Try your own – what’s your fav combo?  And don’t forget to check out the rest below!


Recipe Redux: simple breakfast salad

Put an egg on it!

There are over 50,000 instagram photos with the #putaneggonit tag – and rightly so!  Eggs are one of my favorite and most misunderstood sources of protein, and from risotto to burgers to pastas to soups to toast, there are few savory foods that you actually can’t put an egg on.  They are the gold standard for protein, matching the essential amino acids humans need very closely, a concept also known as “biological value.”  All the micronutrients they contain – B12, riboflavin, selenium, and a bit of vitamin D – and about half the egg’s protein are found in the yolk, so never opt for just the whites!  Yes, there’s cholesterol there too, but pairing the eggs with high fiber foods like veggies and whole grains will prevent some of the cholesterol’s absorption, and most of your body’s cholesterol comes from what your liver makes, anyway.

Eggs for breakfast…lunch, or dinner, or snacks…

I usually aim to eat about a dozen eggs a week myself.  On mornings when I’m not at the farm (ie, waking up at 6!) and I get to sleep in a little, I’ll usually have an egg-based breakfast. (These are from my instagram feed over the past year!)

I’m lucky that PVF also does eggs, so I know the chickens personally (and they eat veggie scraps we grow!), but if you want to figure out how the eggs you buy at the grocery store are grown, brush up on some key definitions first.

Road trip to New England

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I took a long weekend to visit Vermont and Maine…it was a ton of driving, and he threatened to stop at every Wendy’s we passed.  Luckily, I found a sweet little breakfast spot after we broke camp the first morning called No. Six Depot that satisfied the requirements of being quick, having good coffee, and offering some kind of nutritious breakfast in the pre-brunching hours.  Any menu that offers veggies in the AM is good in my books, and I ordered this lovely salad:

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Since the RecipeRedux theme this month is food inspired by vacationing, I thought I’d share my take on a breakfast salad with eggs.  The eggs from Six Depot were perfectly cooked, and had a creamy tangyness to them that I thought might be a hint of vinegar, so I tried it this time with great results!  The trick is to fry the egg on one side (not too high to avoid browning), then flip and just after the whites have fully congealed, add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar. The rest is just assembly; greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and I added quinoa and parmesan cheese!

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The Blue Waldorf – a salad with an elegant twist

Walnut week comes to an end

This is the third and final walnut recipe I’m putting out – for now!  I love a challenge and a feature ingredient assignment, because just having a few guidelines makes recipe development a lot easier.  And it’s great to see the roundup of everyone’s recipes at the end…TheRecipeRedux is the best for that because everyone featured looks at food through the lens of nutrition AND flavor. Be sure to browse the gallery at the end of the post!

Walnuts are not only incredibly nutrient dense, they can go sweet, savory or even both ways at the same time (as in this recipe).   They pair particularly well with apples and berries at the same time as getting lots of flavor depth from spices like cumin and coriander.  A classic Waldorf salad called for chopped apples and grapes; my version ups the fancy factor by using thinner julienned slices, adding jicama, and blueberries instead of grapes.  The walnuts are spiced with a salty-sweet-savory combo that offers a lot of flavor depth to this summer recipe favorite – bring it to your next potluck picnic!

IMG_3800The Blue Waldorf

Ingredients

Spiced Nuts

  • 1 c raw walnuts
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp oil

Salad

  • 2 apples – one sweet like Fuji, one tart like Granny Smith
  • 1 c chopped spiced walnuts (from above, cooled)
  • 1 c jicama slivers
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

Dressing

  • 1/4 c mayo
  • 1/4 c greek yog
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • dash salt & pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.  Toss walnuts with oil, mix spices separately and then toss with walnuts to coat.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and cool.  To make the salad, use a mandolin or julienne by hand to cut apples and jicama into slivers.  Add to the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients and whisk to blend, pour over the rest of salad.  Serve over greens or alone.

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I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


RecipeRedux Walnut Contest: a new dip you can impress with!

A nut a day!

I am an avid believer that everyone should be eating at least a serving of nuts or seeds daily, so I was excited when California Walnuts sponsored a contest for RecipeRedux…there will be some amazing recipes in this roundup, I promise!  Walnuts contain 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, all of which amounts to a great snack (one palmful) at your desk or on the go.  I’m entering a few times, so stay tuned this week for a couple of walnut recipes – they sent 2 pounds of walnuts and a silicone baking sheet liner which was enough to keep me in the kitchen all afternoon yesterday.

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My new favorite spread

I wanted to try some new things and reinvent some classics, so I started doing some searching and came upon one that intrigued me: muhammara.  It originates in Syria, and there are lots of variations but all seem to contain walnuts, roasted red peppers, and some sort of smoky flavor.  The idea of walnuts and red peppers together seemed a little strange to me, but I’ll try anything once!  And I’m so glad I did: this is a better-than-hummus spread that people will be delighted by (and surprised to learn the secret ingredient!).  PLEASE TRY THIS.  Seriously delicious, and incredibly nutrient rich – perfect for dipping or as a sauce on a quinoa bowl.
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Spicy Muhammara

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c walnuts
  • 1 c roast red peppers, drained
  • 1/4 c + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 lemon’s juice
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • dash salt
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions

Place all ingredients (except basil and the 2T olive oil) in a food processor or high powered blender and puree until smooth.  Garnish with olive oil and basil.

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I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


7-ingredient sesame ginger noodle bowl sauce

What’s better in spring than a cold noodle bowl?

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FINALLY spring is here, and the fresh spring ingredients are starting to pop up on the shelves.  Crisp beans, tender asparagus, leafy greens…which all sound like great ingredients for a noodle bowl, if you ask me!  This month’s RecipeRedux theme is 7 ingredients or less, and my Asian-inspired noodle bowl sauce fits the bill.  I made them for Gracy’s self care group on Sunday, and used my go-to format of a make-your-own bar so people could choose which elements to add.  (And as always, I chose EVERYTHING!)

But the sauce!  It’s delicious. Savory, nutty, salty, and tangy – and very forgiving.  I often use rough measurements and it always ends up just fine…make a big batch and taste as you go to adapt it!

IMG_3360Sesame ginger noodle bowl sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c sesame oil
  • 1/4 c soy sauce (can substitute soy-free aminos or homemade soy sauce)
  • 2″ fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp tahini (double if skipping nut butter)
  • 1 lemon’s juice
  • 1 clove garlic

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor; mixture will be thick.  Drizzle in 1/4c -1/2 cup water until desired consistency is reached.  Taste and tell!  You could add a hit of hot sauce, a pinch of sugar, or more of any of the ingredients you want to play up.

Click the frog for other RecipeRedux 7-ingredient recipes for fast, healthy dishes!

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A Friendsgiving feast (+pistachio pumpkin biscotti)

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Happy Friendsgiving!

Yesterday I hosted my 11th Friendsgiving, which is a tradition I’ve loved since college.  Throwing an open-house style potluck with lots of friends is a no-fail way to have a great time, and this year was no exception!

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Along with this pecan pie, I also made biscotti. This month’s RecipeRedux theme is “creative quick breads,” and since biscotti are technically  a quick bread (leavened without yeast), I figured these fit!  Click the blue frog at the bottom of the post to see all the other healthier-for-the-holidays quick bread recipes from members.

No fewer than 3 different people at the party asked who made them, so they are as delicious as they are pretty!  Wrap some up in a cellophane bag with a nice ribbon, pair with a mug and you have a lovely hostess gift this holiday season. 😉

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Like the mug?  Check out StonewarebySarah for handcrafted gifts – lots of new items listed!

Pistachio pumpkin biscotti (adapted from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces shelled pistachios
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine dry ingredients (through pistachios) in a mixing bowl and whisk until evenly mixed.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla together, then add to dry ingredients.  Stir to combine, then used hands to knead into a ball.  Break into two even pieces and shape each into a flattened log.  Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment for 45 minutes, then remove and cool for 20.  Lower oven temp to 300F.  Slice rolls into 1/2 inch-thick pieces, lay out on baking sheet, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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RecipeRedux: National Nut Day!

I guess there’s really a day for everything these days, isn’t there?  Really though, I try to encourage everyone to eat nuts on a daily basis – a handful is a serving, they’re high in protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats, and they can be stored at room temperature.  The perfect snack, breakfast component, and wonderful in dishes sweet and savory alike.   Easy to store and portion in the office, the car, your purse…and there’s got to be a seasoning mix to please everyone out there!  Ok – my ode to nuts is over, but definitely worth consideration if you aren’t already eating them regularly!

What if I’m allergic?

Turn to seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax…these have generally the same nutrient profile as nuts, but are different enough that most people with nut allergies aren’t triggered.  Make sure to check with your doctor if you aren’t sure which allergies you have!

Back to nuts

This recipe packs everything that tastes good about fall into one bite: pumpkin, pumpkin spice, apple, and almonds!  Add chocolate chips if you want a sweeter treat, and sub maple syrup for brown sugar if you have it on hand.  Delicious enough for dessert, but healthy enough for breakfast (try enjoying with plain greek yogurt!) – my favorite kind of recipe.  Don’t forget to check out the other nutty recipes by clicking the blue frog at the end of the post!

Pumpkin spice almond bars

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1 c slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 apple, diced (keep skin on for more fiber!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spray an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, chocolate chips, apple, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  4. In a blender combine the sugar, banana, and pumpkin puree until smooth.
  5. Add pumpkin mixture to oat mixture and stir until all the oats are coated.
  6. Place oat mixture into the prepared pan and spread to be flat and even, packing down with the back of a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Let the bars cool, and cut into desired size (makes 10 snack sized bars).

Is red meat bad for you? (+grilled flat iron steak + peach salsa)

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I received beef product mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Beef Checkoff and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Red meat: how much is too much?

Some people will tell you that any amount of red meat is unhealthy.  Some will tell you a diet of mostly meat is the way to go – so who’s right?  The truth is probably somewhere between the two: in the US, we eat a LOT of meat, and a healthy diet is all about balance.  We rank 3rd in world beef consumption at 85.5  pounds/person/year consumed (behind Uruguay and Argentina, in case you were curious), and the hamburger is basically synonymous with American food culture.

I believe the problem with way we eat red meat in this country is threefold: in context, amount, and source.  Context: most meals are based on meat and refined grains/fried foods (hamburger on a roll, steak and fries, meatballs over pasta, etc).  Amount: portions are huge!  Source: cheap meat is cheap because the animals were fed inexpensive grains, which alters the nutrient content from those fed a grass-based diet quite a lot.  If you change the context (a balanced meal, with lots of produce), the amount (small, to reflect that you don’t need much and 30-40g of protein is ideal for digestion/absorption), and the source (choosing grass-fed meat with a higher amount of omega-3’s), the healthfulness of the meal is drastically increased.  Eating meat this way, for a few meals a week, is good way to practice moderation while still enjoying the variety of cuts and luxury of availability we have!

For this recipe (part of a RecipeRedux contest), I wanted to combine some unexpected flavors: the sweetness of peach salsa with savory meat – it’s the onion and cilantro that really take it over the top!  I got my flat-iron steak from Country Vittles, a farm near my hometown about 2 hours north of DC.  The cattle spend their life from birth on the farm, and are grass-fed by the family who have generations in the business.  What I love most about buying from them (and all the market vendors) is that you can ask questions, hear the story, and get tips directly from the people who are doing the farming.

They were sold out of the skirt or flank steak I wanted by the time I got to them last week, but suggested using the flat iron instead, and it worked perfectly.  At $13/lb, it was one of their less expensive cuts, and I know that sounds like a lot – but remember, meat should be expensive!  It’s extremely labor and resource intensive, and reflects more closely the real price of eating animals (that you don’t have to go out and hunt yourself!).  A little reverence & gratitude for the life of the animal who provided it might also be in order!

So here it is: the recipe!  I’d love to hear your thoughts on eating meat, eating meat with fruit, and how you find balance…and don’t forget to check out the rest of the beef recipes by clicking the blue frog!

Grilled flat-iron steak and peach salsa

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces flat-iron, skirt, or flank steak
  • 4 lg peaches
  • 1 lg onion
  • 3 banana peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro
Directions

How to grill (or broil) the perfect steak:

  1. preheat grill to high; ensure that grates are well-oiled
  2. dab meat dry with a paper towel, then season with salt & pepper
  3. with grill hot (~450F), lay the meat down and close the lid
  4. cook for 5 minutes, then open grill and flip, close lid then cook for 5 more minutes (this will be rare; cook longer for medium or well-done)
  5. remove from the grill and place on a plate.  Allow to rest for 8-10 minutes (crucial step!)
  6. slice against the grain (make cuts perpendicular to the direction the muscle runs)

Dice and combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl to make the salsa.  Serve over strips of steak. (8 ounces raw meat should serve 2 servings of 3 ounces each cooked; salsa will yield 4-5 cups and is excellent as a dip for chips, too!)

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Farmer’s market recipe of the month: babaghanoush!

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This month’s RecipeRedux theme is produce from farmer’s markets or CSAs – my favorite kind!  I work for a farmer in my Columbia Heights neighborhood, and it’s one of my favorite parts of summer.  A place I get to talk about food, obtain beautiful produce, and share samples with people?  Sign me up!  Early on, I tried to provide handouts with my recipes on them, but copies are expensive and paper gets dirty/blows away/requires pre-printing, so I switched to sending out a monthly e-newsletter of all the recipes I sample (you can sign up here!).

This month, I made a tried-and-true favorite: babaghanoush!  It’s basically eggplant dip, and made with the same ingredients as hummus, but the cooked eggplant gives a delicious, silky texture.  Incredibly easy to make, and best served with cucumbers or even endive leaves (veggies on veggies!), this is a go-to for summer entertaining with a Mediterranean twist.  Also great as a spread for sandwiches or wraps! (Be sure to click the blue frog at the bottom to see all the ways Redux members used produce in recipes for some healthy inspiration!)

Babaghanoush

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1-2 Tbsp tahini or other mild nut or seed butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Slice the tops off the eggplant and then in half down the long side.  Sprinkle with salt, and grill, roast or microwave until the flesh is soft.  Puree with all remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor.

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