Category Archives: Leafy Greens

Vibrant Collard Green Rice and Bean Rolls

I really like collard greens. I grew up in the South, well if you can count Florida as “the south”, as eclectically diverse as it is. My grandmother cooked them down until very soft, but only in water so they weren’t unhealthy. She had a jar of spicy jalapeno vinegar to splash on them and they were so filling and satisfying. You don’t need to cook them down so much to enjoy them as so many people are catching on to the delights of gently steamed or shredded raw collard greens. For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked Brown or Bhutanese Red rice (preferably organic when cooking with rice)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (can use chicken stock or water)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (Chick peas), drained
  • ½ cup minced celery
  • ½ cup  prepared cole slaw (cabbage and carrots)
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted black olives (can substitute green if you prefer, I like Cerignola olives particularly)
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup vegan soy mayonnaise (can substitute thick strained plain Greek style yogurt)
  • 1-2 teaspoons your favorite seasoning blend (Jane’s Crazy salt is always a winner)
  • 8 collard green leaves, washed and dried

To make the collard wraps:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with the broth and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then you want to reduce the heat  to a gentle simmer on low, covered, for approximately 40-50 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and soft.
  2. Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the collard leaves. Mix well and set aside to cool.
  3. To prepare the collard leaves, you will need to trim off the stems. You can do this by laying each leaf out on a cutting board and running a small paring knife down the thick central stem in a V-shape towards the middle of the leaf. You do not want to cut the entire leaf in half, just remove the thick vein and stem.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat and add 2 or 3 collard leaves. Boil for a minute or two, until dark green and tender. Remove with tongs and transfer to a colander to drain and cool. Repeat with remaining leaves.
  5. Take a cooled collard leaf and lay it stem side facing up. Place 1 cup of rice-bean mixture in the center and roll the collard leaf around the filling to make a wrap. Do this for the rest of the collard greens.

This serves 4 people with 2 wraps each. I recommend a bright and tangy Tahini dipping sauce with this.

Tahini Saice

  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste easily found in a grocery store)
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)

Combine the ingredients in a food processor or a blender and whiz together into a nice dressing consistency. Adjust the seasoning to your liking, and thickness by adding a little water if you want to thin it out.

 

Salmon Cakes with Bitter Lettuce and Fennel Salad

These salmon cakes are a breeze to make with a food processor. I enjoy the contrast of the robust and fatty salmon against the bitter greens and sweet, pungent fennel root. Fennel pairs so well with citrus as well and I have included the use of orange segments in the salad, as well as pomegranate seeds for a tangy crunch.

For the Salmon Cakes you will need:

  • 1.5 pounds of fresh or frozen and thawed wild caught salmon (pat dry with a paper towel) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced herbs such as tarragon or parsley or both
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise or soy mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt to taste, about 3/4 teaspoon
  • freshly ground pepper about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper or old bay seasoning
  • Olive oil to brush onto the salmon cakes, about 1/4 cup

To prepare pre-heat the oven to 400°F and have a sheet pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ready to bake the salmon cakes.

In a food processor add the cut up salmon and pulse until you have small, fine bits, but not a paste. You want a little under 1/4 inch chunks. In a bowl combine some of the  Panko breadcrumbs and the herbs, lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon and seasonings. About 3 tablespoons of Panko just for texture. Once the salmon is processed add it to this mixture and fold it all together well. Now you are ready to form the salmon cakes into disks about 3 inches or less across and about an inch high.

The remaining Panko crumbs can be put onto a plate to use to coat the cakes as you form them. Just press them gently into the crumbs as you shape them and try to get an even coating. You should be able to get about 8 cakes at this size, with 2 cakes being served per person.

With a pastry brush or grill brush gently brush some olive oil over the formed salmon cakes and set them onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes until done. They should be firm and lightly golden brown on top.

Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the bitter greens and fennel salad.

For the salad you will need:

  • 1 small bulb of fennel root, washed and shaved on a mandolin or thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange segments, supreme is preferred
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 cups mixed greens such as radicchio, mizuna, and endive
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons good Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Mix the dressing ingredients in the bottom of the salad bowl you will be using and whisk well until incorporated. Then toss the salad ingredients well with the mixed dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Serve 2 salmon cakes each on top of a plate of this delicious salad and enjoy!

If you like you could substitute 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar for pomegranate molasses if you can find it. Also adding toasted walnuts would be an excellent addition to this salad.

Serves-4

 

 

Kale and Lentil Salad

Red Lentils are quick to cook, and very filling. This salad can be served warm as a side dish, or chilled until cool and eaten as a cold salad. You will need:

  • 2 cups red lentils, cooked and drained
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons good vinegar such as balsamic or sherry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • wedge of lemon
  • 1/4 cup Dinosaur kale, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • fresh basil, minced or chiffonade
  • 3 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts or other nuts like hazelnut
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To prepare the salad have your ingredients ready and warm a skillet or sauté pan gently over medium heat and warm the oil and garlic until it softens, about 3 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure no sticking or burning. Add your vinegar and kale and wilt the kale, stirring to coat the greens with the warm garlic dressing. Once wilted remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix this with the basil and nuts and tomatoes while still warm but not hot. Squeeze a little lemon over the salad and toss gently ensuring an even coating. You may serve this chilled or warm as it is and it is a lovely summer dish. This is excellent with a grilled fish as an entrée.   Serves-4

Simply delicious collard green salad

I want to share a recipe from one of my favorite cooks and authors Robin Asbell.

Her Collard Green Waldorf salad is perfect for winter. Check out her site for more information about this recipe, and great pictures on how to prepare the collard greens.  Here is the link to her website and the recipe as follows:

 

Collard Green Waldorf Salad

A great thing about using resilient leaves like these in a salad is that you can dress it and serve it for days. Like coleslaw, it just gets more tender as it sits.

Makes about 4 cups

1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and saved for juice or other use

2 tablespoons Meyer or other lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil

1/4 cup vegan or other mayo

1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup

2 ribs celery, split lengthwise and then chopped

1 large Honeycrisp or other apple, chopped

1/2 large carrot, grated

1/2 cup toasted broken walnuts

 

On your cutting board, roll up the stemmed leaves and slice thinly. Place in a large bowl and add the lemon, olive oil and salt, and massage until the greens are deep green and shrink to about 2/3 their original volume. In a cup, stir the mayo and agave or maple, and add to the greens. Add the celery, apple, carrots and toss to coat. Stir in most of the walnuts, saving some to sprinkle on top at serving.

Golden Borscht

Farm fresh beets
High in Betalians and Phytonutrients

I really enjoy making Borscht. A traditional Russian soup that is said to be the reason for so many centenarians living there! A big pot of iron-rich soup that is satisfying and fortifying. Now that the end of Summer is here and Fall is peeking around the corner markets are rich with golden beets, red beets and chioggia beets.

Beetroots are chock full of phytonutrients called Betalains‘. There are two main types of betalains in beetroot: betacynins (red-violet) and betaxanthins (yellow). Both are a water soluble type of betalains found only in a few of the worlds foods like: prickly pear fruit, beets, beet greens, swiss chard, quinoa and amaranth.

These nutrients help strengthen your cells and keep them healthy and strong against bad bacteria and disease. The phytonutrients in beets are strongly anti-inflammatory. Which is wonderful news for you because all autoimmune disorders are associated with, or caused by chronic inflammation.

Betalains in particular contain water soluble fiber that helps reduce LDL cholesterol, as well as cartenoids and flavonoids which help keep cholesterol from being deposited in the arteries. They protect the cells of the liver and brain from toxins, as well as containing both potassium and magnesium.

When you buy beets, you want to look for small or medium-sized beets whose roots are firm, smooth-skinned and deep in color. Smaller, younger beets may be so tender that peeling won’t be needed after they are cooked. Avoid beets that have spots, bruises or soft, wet areas, all of which indicate spoilage. Shriveled or squishy should also be avoided as these are signs that the roots are old and will be too fibrous.While the quality of the greens does not reflect that of the roots, if you are going to consume this very nutritious part of the plant, look for greens that appear fresh, tender, and have a lively green color.

To keep the greens, cut the majority of the greens and their stems from the beet roots, so they do not pull moisture away from the root. Leave about two inches of the stem attached to prevent the roots from “bleeding.” Do not wash beets before storing. Place in a plastic bag and wrap the bag tightly around the beets, squeezing out as much of the air from the bag as possible, and place in refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 weeks. Raw beets do not freeze well, but cooked ones will.

For the soup you will need:

  • 2-medium sized golden beets, or 1-large one, peeled and small diced (or grated if you feel like it)
  • 2-Tablespoons yellow Miso paste
  • 1-small onion, minced
  • 1-large garlic clove, smashed
  • 2-cups beet greens, chopped (may substitute chard, collards or kale)
  • 1-medium carrot, peeled and small dice
  • 1-teaspoon sweet paprika (smoked paprika is  also good!)
  • 2-Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or grape seed oil
  • 4-cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you have reached the poultry part of the diet)
  • 1-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1-Tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
  • 2-teaspoons dried dill
  • 1-fresh bay leaf (dried is ok)
  • 1\2 cup plain Greek yogurt

In a large soup pot over medium heat, use the oil to sweat the carrot, onion, garlic. When just beginning to soften, add the beets, beet greens, bay leaf, paprika and dill. Stir well for about a minute and add the Miso paste. Cook for another five minutes and make sure to stir so the Miso doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pot. Add the beets and stock and stir again. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat to a low simmer. Let cook,uncovered,  stirring occasionally for another 15-20 minutes. Test for doneness and  stir in vinegar and season with salt and any extra pepper you may like to add.

To serve add a good dollop of Greek yogurt to the top of your bowl of Borscht. Feel free to stir it in.

Serves about-6

Variations: Use red beets and add 1-12oz can diced tomatoes, or 2 tablespoons tomato paste (instead of Miso) for a more traditional Borscht. You could also go full-stop, and add shredded red cabbage, about a cup, instead of (or in addition to) the greens.

Collard Greens

Collard greens, or Collards, as they’re known in the South, are typically prepared with bacon, or pork belly and braised or boiled for a long time until the texture is reminiscent of buttery Saag (a spinach dish in Indian cuisine cooked in ghee). The Collards you may have grown up on were most likely cooked in this manner, and usually retained a strong pork flavor that you either loved or hated, so you doused them in hot pepper vinegar or hot sauce!

Well Collard greens, and all leafy greens are so incredibly good for us. Yet they can be a little daunting, especially without the bacon to help things along. They have a very earthy, chlorophyll flavor to them with a slight bitterness that can actually be pleasing in the way endive is.

They can be eaten raw or cooked. With such hearty greens like collards some cooking really helps them along. 1 Cup of cooked and drained collards provides 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 308% vitamin A, 58% vitamin C, 27% calcium, 12% iron, and they are strongly anti-inflammatory. Good news for those suffering with chronic pain!

To start select your collards at the store or farmer market. The best way to wash them well is in a sink full of water. Swish well and shake loose all the dirt and grime so it falls to the bottom of the sink. Then you will want to either use a paring knife to cut the leaves off of the thick stem, or tear them off. It really doesn’t matter. I prefer to buy my vegetables organic as much as possible due to some of the genetically modified seeds out there.

You can eat collards raw in a salad like my kale salad, and they sure are going to give you a good chewing workout. This could be good for those of you missing your steaks on the diet. It is also very easy to do a quick saute or braise until it melts in your mouth from long, slow cooking. They also work well finely shredded tossed into a cole slaw.

Being that they are rich in iron, they tend to go well with citrus and acidic ingredients like vinegar. Adding citrus to iron rich foods helps in the absorption of the mineral during digestion. Ensuring you get the most out of it, as well as tasting great.

Since Autumn is fast approaching us I think it appropriate to offer you a stuffed squash recipe using Collard greens.

You will need:

  • 2 small Acorn squash
  • 2 cups collard greens, chopped
  • 1\2 cup wild rice
  • 1 1\2 cups water or stock
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh sage, chiffonade or finely minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium celery stalks, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion, about 1\2 large onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1\4 lemon ( a wedge)
  • 1 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
  • 3\4 cup Pecan halves
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees faranheit.
  2. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets.
  3. Cut the squash open from the stem to the base, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and lay the squash cut side down on the baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 Minutes, r until easily pierced with a paring knife. Remove from the oven when you can do this, and let the squash cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
  5. In a medium sauce pan cook the wild rice and collards in the water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmering, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes. The rice is done when the grain starts to split. If there is extra water leftover drain it out in a strainer.
  6. In a saute pan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the celery, onion, lemon thyme and sage until just softened.
  7. Stir in the parsley, black pepper, cayenne, allspice, and salt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  8. When the squash have cooled enough to handle, use a spoon to carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving a bit behind to keep the skins from tearing.
  9. In a large bowl mash the squash flesh and reserve.
  10. Select about 16 (4 per squash half) perfect pecans for a garnish, then use a food processor to grind the rest of the pecans to a fine texture.
  11. Add the processed pecans, to the reserved, mashed squash flesh, along with the sauted celery and onion mixture, and the wild rice.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
  12. Stuff the mixture into the pecan shells and garnish with the perfect pecan pieces you removed prior.
  13. Place all in a casserole or baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops feel firm to the touch.

This dish is a little time consuming but the beauty is that you can make it ahead and assemble the components and bake for a quick meal the next day. Or eat it cold!

Try Collards. You might love them. They will do your body and joints a world of good while they fill you up and help reduce your chronic pain.

Simply Kale Chips

Kale chips. Have you tried them? A great alternative to potato chips but often over-priced for a small package, and full of added ingredients to preserve freshness and add artificial flavor.

They couldn’t be easier to make at home however. All you need is:

1 bunch of Kale. Curly, or flat.

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt or Kosher for seasoning. And spices that you like, or leave it plain.

 

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your washed and dried Kale and either cut, with a sharp paring knife, or tear, the leaves off of the thick center vein. Make sure Kale is dried well. In a big bowl toss the Kale well with the olive oil, rubbing it in and then sprinkle the salt, rubbing it over the leaves with the oil. Lay the Kale out flat on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake until crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Check frequently as the edges tend to burn.

Alternately you could “dry” the Kale leaves in the exact same manner as above, with a lower oven temperature, for a longer time: such as 200 degrees Farenheit and let it “dry” until crisp about 2-4 hours. Even overnight. At such a low temperature like 200 degrees it’s very difficult to burn the leaves.

Once you have them, let them cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or so. Though I doubt they will make it week once you taste them!

Kale Salad with Creamy Ginger-Tahini Dressing

You have probably heard by now about Kale. How it is one of the new super foods. An all star leafy green that packs a powerful nutritional punch.

Just one cup of raw Kale ( and you can eat many, many cups if you like) has 6% Daily Value for Iron, 134% Vitamin C  ( helps absorb iron), 206% Vitamin A, 5% Folate, and 9% Calcium. Wow. I’m not done: it has 2 grams of protein per cup. Yep, you read right: protein in a leafy green! What’s more is that for you in particular it is strongly anti-inflammatory. Strongly. And very filling.

Tahini is sesame seed “butter” : ground sesame seeds, just like peanut or almond butter. It has a lot of oil from the seeds and is often used with chickpeas to make hummus. It is runnier than peanut or almond butter and that makes it easy to work with making dressings. 1 Tablespoon of Tahini has 3 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber, as well as 6% calcium and  2% iron. It also happens to make a delicious dressing for raw leafy greens.

You will need:

  • Bunch of organic Kale m washed well, stemmed and chopped in bite sized chunks
  • Tablespoon Tahini paste
  • 1 medium or large garlic clove, smashed with broad side of knife and ground into a paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic honey
  • 1 dash of cayenne pepper to taste (more if you like heat)
  • 1Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tamari, preferably organic
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • About a teaspoon freshly grated Ginger (more again if you like ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (regular works as well but raw has health benefits. I like Braggs brand)
  • 1 medium apple, organic, small dice
  • 1/4 bulb fennel, sliced very thin ( I use a small mandoline slicer)
  • Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese or parmesan style soy cheese

This makes a large salad, so it can be for up to 4 people or if you’re like me and are just hungry for some kale, just one person as a meal.

In a mixing bowl add the garlic, tahini, honey, cayenne, ginger, vinegar, tamari and whisk well to mix. Thin with the water to dressing consistency. Add lemon juice and stir well.

Next add kale and apples and fennel and mix well with tongs or you hands. You could mix in the parmesan or sprinkle on top. Like I said I eat this thing right out of the mixing bowl so I toss it Caesar style with the cheese and go to town on it!

Couldn’t be easier! And boy is it tasty. If you don’t like sesame or have an allergy try while miso paste instead of tahini, or even very firm tofu, about an ounce will do. You may have to adjust seasoning to saltiness.

I hope this inspires you to try kale raw. You might find it so satisfying and decide to add it regularly to your Pain Free Diet.

Some fun variations : Add cooked, drained lentils or shaved red cabbage or even Vidalia onion and dried cherries.

Vegan Thanksgiving recipes courtesy of Robin Asbell’s The New Vegetarian

Thanksgiving is upon us and I am proud to share these amazing recipes by a fantastic chef and author with whom I was acquainted when I lived in Minneapolis. Here are two easy recipes which pack a lot of nutrients, a teensy splurge factor, and are vegan! The recipes are from the book Big Vegan by Robin Asbell. I hope you will try them out and add something new to your table this Thanksgiving.

 

Homemade Mock Turkey Roast with Stuffing

For those of you who miss the turkey on holidays, or just want a home-style vegan meal anytime, this is a good way to mock up a bird. It’s really not much trouble, now that we can use gluten flour to make mock turkey with no kneading required—and lots of tasty, chewy goodness. Serve it with Basic Mushroom Gravy and all the traditional trimmings.

It’s great fun to share your vegan food with family and friends, so go for it. The salad will certainly win some converts. Enjoy!

Mock Turkey

2          tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½         cup/60 g minced onion

2          cloves garlic, minced

2          cups/255 g gluten flour

1          cup/115 g chickpea flour

½         cup nutritional yeast

1          tsp salt

6          oz/170 g reduced-fat or regular firm tofu, drained and pressed

1          cup/240 ml vegetable stock

¼         cup/60 ml tamari

½         tsp ground sage

Stuffing

1          cup/55 g cubed bread

1          tsp extra-virgin olive oil

½         cup/60 g chopped onion

¼         cup/60 ml vegetable stock

½         tsp ground sage

½         tsp dried thyme

½         tsp salt

2          tbsp walnuts, chopped

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The Mock Turkey in a Wide Loaf Shape

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/180° C/gas 4. Oil a 3- to 4-cup/720 to 960-ml metal bowl or a small loaf pan. Put a teapot of water on to simmer for the bain marie later.

2. To make the mock turkey: In a small sauté/frying pan, heat the oil, then sauté the onion and garlic until soft and sweet, 5 to 10 minutes. Mix together the flours, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl. In a blender or food processor, puree the tofu until very smooth. Add the stock, tamari, and sageto the tofu and blend. Add the onions and all the oil from the pan and puree. Stir the contents of the blender into the flour mixture until smooth. Scoop about two thirds of the dough into the oiled bowl.

3. To make the stuffing: Put the bread cubes in a medium bowl. Heat the oil in a small sauté/frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until soft and clear. Add the bread, stock, sage, thyme, and salt and stir until the bread is soft. Stir in the nuts.

4. Press the stuffing into a ball (or if you are using a loaf pan, into an oblong) and press it into the center of the mock turkey dough, then cover it with the remaining dough. Flatten the top, brush it with oil, and cover with foil. Put the bowl in a baking dish and pour in boiling water to make a bain marie. Carefully transfer it to the oven and bake for 2 hours. When the “turkey” is quite firm, take it out of the water bath, then put the bowl on a rack to cool. Run a paring knife around the edge to loosen it, then invert it onto a cutting board or platter. Slice the “turkey” and serve it with gravy and trimmings.

Big Salad with Caramelized Pumpkinseeds, Pears and Pomegranate

From The New Vegetarian (Chronicle Books)

Serves 6
This is a great wintertime salad, with the pomegranates that only appear around the holidays and pears and pumpkinseeds. To take seeds out of the pomegranate, cut through the skin from stem to tip, dividing the fruit in quarters. Hold it over a bowl and pull apart the sections, then tear apart the pieces, gently freeing the seeds.

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Score the skin in quarters, then break open

1 cup pumpkinseeds, raw
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large romaine lettuce, washed and dried
2 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 large bosc pears, sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh mint, optional
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice concentrate
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave or organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup toasted pumpkinseed oil
1 small pomegranate, arils (seeds) removed

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the pith around the arils floats in water….

1. Make the pumpkinseed topping up to a week ahead. Heat the oil for a minute in a medium non-stick skillet. Add the pumpkinseeds and toss in the pan over high heat, until the seeds are popping and browning, about 3 minutes. Take off the heat and add the brown sugar and toss constantly until seeds are coated with melted sugar (careful-it will burn easily). Quickly mix in the spices and salt, then spread on a plate to cool. Cool completely and store in an air tight container until ready to use.
2. Make dressing in processor by mincing garlic and mint. Add pomegranate concentrate, lemon, honey and salt and pulse to mix. Gradually drizzle in oil with machine running.
3. Wash and dry romaine, then slice across the leaf in 1/2 inch wide strips. Arrange on plates or in bowl. Top with shallots, pears. Drizzle over the dressing and top with the pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds. Serve right away.

Nutty Curry-Stuffed Squashes

These colorful, single-serving squash halves are speckled with golden millet, green jalapeño, and crunchy nuts. Redolent of spice and a touch of coconut, they will draw your guests to the table by scent alone.

Serves 6

 

3          small sweet dumpling squash or mini pumpkins (about 13 oz/370 g each)

1          tsp canola oil

½         cup/60 g chopped onion

1          tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

1          tsp black mustard seeds

1          medium jalapeño, chopped

1          tsp whole cumin seeds

1          tsp ground coriander

¼         tsp ground turmeric

¼         tsp ground cinnamon

¼         cup/50 g millet

½         cup/120 ml coconut milk

½         tsp salt

½         cup/55 g raw cashews

½         cup/55 g whole almonds, toasted

2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut

 

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F/200° C/gas 6. Cut the squashes in half from the stem to the tip, or if you are using pumpkins that sit flat, cut off the tops as shown in the photo above. Scoop out the seeds and place them cut-side down on oiled baking sheets/trays. Bake for 10 minutes (they will not be completely cooked). Take the pans out and flip the squash halves over. When they have cooled, use a spoon to cut into the flesh, loosening it in spots but leaving it in the shell. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F/190° C/gas 5.

2. In a 2-qt/2-L saucepan, heat the oil and add the onion, ginger, and mustard seeds. Sauté over medium-high heat until the onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapeño, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon and stir until they are fragrant. Add the millet and stir to coat, then add the ¼ cup/60 ml water, the coconut milk, and salt and bring them to a boil. When it boils, cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the nuts, then stuff the mixture into the squashes. Sprinkle each with 1 tsp of coconut.

3. Bake the squashes until the filling is set and bubbling and the squashes are easily pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Let them cool slightly before serving.

Photo by Kate Sears

Baked Salmon “Lettuce” Wraps using Collard Greens

Leafy greens are powerful veggies. Packed with antioxidants, calcium, protein, fiber, iron, vitamins: K, C, B, D, as well as potassium. They are strongly anti-inflammatory as well as super low on the glycemic index. They are super easy to prepare and versatile. Used in soups, as a side dish, pickled, or raw in juices, smoothies, or in salads.

Pairing greens with a low fat protein like fish provides a very satisfying meal. I like to use baked salmon which has been chilled for a cold wrap with a nice tangy sauce or dressing.

Kale can be substituted for Collard greens, or turnip greens or even if you’re feeling spicy-Mustard greens.

Wash the greens well in a sink full of clean water, swishing well to allow loose dirt to fall to the bottom of the sink. Drain in a colander, or gently shake dry and pat with paper towels.  There will be a large stem which runs up the length of the leaf as a vein. Pinch the vein with one hand and gently fold the leaf over on itself grasping both sides with your other hand. Peel the vein and stem away holding the folded half to remove the tough stem. You can also just tear each side off of the central stem. Whatever works.

Using 2 Salmon fillets, bake them at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. If the white fat is coming up out of the tops of the fillets they are well done. If you would like to season the salmon use any of your favorite spices, or simply salt and pepper. I like to use a spicy mix of cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. I am also a fan of Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Seasoning salt. Cut cooked salmon into bite-sized chunks, or break apart into pieces with your hands.

Tangy Jicima Slaw

  • 1 large jicama , peeled, then julienned on a mandolin, or grated using a hand held grater or grate attachment on a food processor (easiest to work with if you cut the jicama in half first.)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, seeded, chopped, or julienned
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of Spanish paprika
  • Salt

Optional

  • 1/2 avocado chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

1 Toss together the jicama, bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, orange, and cilantro in a large serving bowl. Pour lime juice over all. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne and paprika. Season generously with salt.

2 Let sit a half an hour before serving.

You can use the Collard green leaf halves as a taco or lettuce wrap and pile on the tangy jicima slaw!