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Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

One of our favorite vegetables for Fall and Winter is fennel. It’s subtle anise flavor, lends a  certain sweetness that complements this season’s cooking perfectly. The best part about this root vegetable is it’s versatility. It can be eaten roasted, sautéed, braised or raw. While the white bulb is the most used part of this vegetable, don’t throw away the stems — they can be used to subtly flavor soups and stocks. The feathery fronds that sprout from the tops can be used as a finishing herb or added to salads and sauces. When it comes to flavor and bang for your buck, fennel is definitely the seasonal produce that packs a punch! Here are some of our favorite ways to use this Fall gem:

KEEP IT RAW
One of our go-to salads this time of year is an explosion of flavors and textures and it all starts with thinly shaved fennel (to shave it thinly, we recommend a hand-held slicer like the Kyocera ones – great tool to have in your kitchen). Then we have halved grapes, thinly shaved apples and leaves of watercress. We toss the whole thing lightly in a maple vinaigrette (maple, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil). This is a salad that makes you want to eat salads.

SWAP IT OUT
A great way to start using fennel is to swap it out for onions. Any time a recipe starts with some sautéed onions and garlic try using some fennel and garlic instead – you’ll notice it’s sweet, rich flavor in the background of dish. For instance, try caramelizing it in some butter and thyme in place of caramelized onions…..you’ll be eating this sweet concoction right out of the pan!

BRAISED & BROWNED
Leave it to the French to figure out the most luscious way to prepare fennel: braised in buttery stock and finish in the oven with cheese. To do this, cut the stalks off the fennel and then cut the bulb in quarters. Place in a pot with a couple pats of butter and enough stock to just barely cover the fennel. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender. Strain out the soft fennel and place in a shallow baking dish. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan or Gruyère cheese and some salt and pepper. Bake at 450 until golden and melted. A vegetable has never tasted so good!

Join us for our popular Global Comfort Food class to learn an amazing Fennel, Bread and Tomato Soup recipe that is perfect for cold Winter nights. If you already have Thanksgiving on the brain, we have you covered with our annual Thanksgiving 101 class, where we’ll demonstrate how to create a Brioche Dressing with Caramelized Fennel, Fuji Apples and Pancetta that is sure to become a family favorite!!

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It’s that time of year when eating well is on everyone’s mind. For many that means cutting things out of our diets: calories, fat, sugar, carbs. I not only find all of that deprivation depressing, but also ultimately leading to disappointment. Certainly cutting back on excessive calories and fat makes sense after a holiday season that is packed with both and that can be a great way to jump-start the year. But in the interest of sticking to your resolutions past February, I like to focus on what I should be eating MORE of, not less of. This means focusing on nutritionally dense food. So often we look at food as the bad guy, the temptation, the thing that makes us lose our willpower and self-respect at the same time. Yikes! That’s a lot of power to give to a fried potato. What about looking at food as a way of getting all the nutrition we need to be healthy and happy? Looking at various food items not only in terms of taste, but also in terms of all the good stuff they hold is a great step toward letting food back into your life as a friend, not an enemy.

In practical terms, this means looking at a scoop of peanut butter not only as a delicious snack but also as brain-food that’s full of protein. An orange is not only sweet and full of flavor but also supplies a decent portion of your daily dose of vitamin C. With this in mind, I’ve put together a salad that is chock full of protein, vitamins and nutrients…AND it tastes amazing! If you’re someone who thinks salads are boring, this is the salad for you! It’s tangy, spicy, crunchy and satisfying. It’s also full of protein and fiber from the black beans and peanuts, vitamin C from the bell pepper, folate from the cabbage, lycopene from the tomatoes – it’s a super-food power punch. Best of all, it’s easy to make and actually gets better as it sits in the fridge overnight. It will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge, but it never seems to last that long in my house. Maybe this salad will even make you forget about the French fry you “can’t” have.

We’ll be making a lot of this salad over the next few months as part of our cooking demonstrations with Vitality City. We’re also kicking off the new year with a series of Healthy Living Cooking Classes with Health Coach Eugenie Mason on topics that range from detoxing to gluten-free comfort foods to healthy food your kids will love.

Peanut & Black Bean Salad with Spicy Cilantro-Lime Dressing

serves 6 as a side dish

2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed very well and drained

1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts

2 cups halved baby tomatoes

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

3 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 jalapeno

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss together the beans, peanuts, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and cabbage.

Cut the jalapeno in half and scrape out the seeds (OR leave them in if you like it spicy!). Cut the jalapeno into small pieces and place into a blender. Add the cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Blend until smooth. Toss the salad with the dressing. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Enjoy immediately OR refrigerate for up to 5 days (it gets better as it sits!).

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