August 13th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Cucumbers on the grill?
Absolutely! They’re even better when freshly picked from your organic garden.
Today’s recipe pairs English cucumbers with juicy tomatoes, and prep time is minimal. Use a grill basket to prevent veggies from slipping through the grate.
All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Warm Tomato and Cucumber Salad
1 English cucumber
Olive-oil nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper, to taste
Your favorite Italian dressing
- Cut tomatoes into wedges.
- Slice cucumber into 1/2-inch slices.
- Spray veggies generously with olive-oil nonstick cooking spray for extra flavor and browning. Spray grill basket, as well.
- Place vegetables in basket. Grill until lightly browned, tossing occasionally, about 4 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toss with salad greens and Italian dressing.
Recipe courtesy of PAM Organic Cooking Spray. Photo: La Grande Farmers’ Market.
Read More:Warm Tomato and Cucumber Salad
August 5th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Convincing children to eat their veggies can be challenging, so Chicago-based registered dietitian Jodie Shield encourages parents to get creative.
Tell your kids to play with their food, urges Shield, coauthor of The American Dietetic Association Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids.
You can combine snack time with playtime by creating veggie critters as afterschool treats.
Here’s what you’ll need to make an organic Cauliflower Caterpillar:
1 packet ranch dressing mix
2 tubs (8 oz. each) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 unpeeled cucumber, sliced thinly
1 carrot, shredded
Red bell pepper, cut into small, triangular pieces
- Add the dressing mix to the cream cheese. Stir until well combined to create “glue.”
- Create the caterpillar’s body by placing 3 cauliflower florets on a plate and gluing cucumber slices between them .
- Attach shredded carrots for legs and asparagus for antennae.
- Glue pepper triangles to caterpillar’s head to create eyes.
- Use remaining “glue” for dipping, and store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Photo courtesy of Hidden Valley
Read More:Kid Food: Make an Organic Cauliflower Caterpillar
August 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
You have only about 3 more weeks to take advantage of Whole Foods Market’s sustainable swordfish catch.
To inspire you, here’s one of the natural and organic food chain’s deliciously simple recipes, featuring a zesty Italian sauce.
If sustainable swordfish is unavailable in your area, you can substitute a firm white fish like Pacific halibut.
Sicilian-Style Swordfish with Pasta and Capers
8 ounces whole-wheat linguine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups diced fresh or canned tomatoes, with all juices
2½ tablespoons drained capers
1 pound swordfish, skin removed, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until just golden around the edges, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in pepper flakes first, then tomatoes and capers. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add swordfish and stir into sauce. Cover skillet and simmer, stirring gently once or twice, until chunks of fish are almost opaque in the center, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
- Drain pasta, transfer to a platter or large bowl, ladle sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with basil.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market
Read More:Sicilian-Style Swordfish with Pasta and Capers
July 23rd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
“Healthy” and “breakfast sandwich” tend to be an oxymoron, especially when you review popular fast-food menu items:
- Burger King Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit: 420 calories, 25 g fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 1,360 mg sodium
- Sonic Breakfast Toaster Sandwich with Bacon: 532 calories, 32.4 g fat, 323 mg cholesterol, 1,441 mg sodium
- McDonald’s Egg McMuffin: 300 calories, 12 g fat, 260 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium
By comparison, today’s recipe for a Spicy Egg, Turkey Bacon & Cheese Breakfast Muffin contains only 226 calories, 6 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol and 534 mg sodium. The lean protein (17 g), high-fiber carbohydrates and healthy fats—an ideal nutritional trifecta—will leave you feeling satisfied, with fewer cravings throughout the day.
Substitute turkey bacon for its high-fat pork cousin, says exercise physiologist Bob Greene, Oprah Winfrey’s personal trainer and author of several books, including The Best Life Diet Cookbook. He also forsakes egg yolks and cooks with egg whites, which have no fat or cholesterol and half the calories.
The recipe’s prep time is 10 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Spicy Egg, Turkey Bacon & Cheese Breakfast Muffin
Makes 2 servings
1 cup (8 ounces) egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cayenne hot pepper sauce
1/8 cup (half an ounce) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 slices uncured turkey bacon, cut in half crosswise
2 whole-wheat English muffins, split
- Spray a 10-inch skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat.
- Add egg whites, and stir in hot pepper sauce.
- As eggs start to set, use a spatula to lift edges, letting uncooked whites flow to the bottom of the skillet. Cook until whites are set, but still moist.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese atop the egg whites. Fold over the omelet so the cheese melts in the middle.
- Place turkey bacon on a microwave-safe plate, and cover it with a paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 to 40 seconds, or until warmed.
- Toast each English muffin half. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture atop two toasted muffins.
- Top each with one piece of cooked turkey bacon and the remaining toasted muffin halves.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Better’n Eggs/ARA
Read More:Build a Healthy, Organic Breakfast Sandwich
July 19th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Organic tomatoes and zucchini are top seasonal produce picks, and they marry as well as Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne (minus the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll).
In the hands of former Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani, executive chef/owner of L.A. hotspots Firenze Osteria and Café Firenze Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar, they’re the foundation for today’s savory appetizer.
As the photo illustrates, Viviani’s Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Salad is a restaurant-quality dish, with vertical stacks of veggies and cheese that are pleasing to both the palate and eyes.
Best of all, the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store—and many are likely on display at your local farmers’ market.
Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Salad
6 Roma tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper (to taste)
2 balls of buffalo mozzarella (6 ounces each), cut into 3/4-inch slices
Approximately 10 large leaves of fresh basil
Shaved Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Cut tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices.
- Cut zucchini lengthwise into 1/8-inch ribbons.
- Season both with minced garlic, salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil.
- Roast on grill, with cut side up, for about 10 minutes, or until evenly roasted.
- Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- To assemble the salad, place the tomato, zucchini (folded) and mozzarella on top of each other, like a tower, with a basil leaf in between layers. Season layers with salt, pepper and a drizzle of dressing.
- Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Photo courtesy of Bertolli
Read More:Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Salad
July 18th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Craving a Poached Pear Salad (Insalata di Pere), featuring mixed greens, blue cheese, candied walnuts, Chianti-poached pears and balsamic dressing?
You can follow it up with an entrée of Butternut Squash Ravioli (Tortellacci di Zucca), composed of fresh butternut squash and ricotta ravioli, a brown butter-sage cream sauce, freshly ground black pepper and shaved Parmigiano cheese.
How about ending your meal with a pistachio-encrusted Homemade Italian Cannoli, filled with ricotta cheese and chocolate chips, and dusted with powdered sugar?
If you’re in Los Angeles, you’re in luck. These are some of my favorite picks at Firenze Osteria, where Top Chef Season 5 contestant Fabio Viviani (above) serves as executive chef/owner. He also runs Café Firenze Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar in nearby Moorpark, where you can enjoy one of 18 “signature,” “luxury” and “dessert” martinis, including Pear Tinis, Blueberry Martinis, Key Lime Pie Martinis and Cosmopolitans. (The Poached Pear Salad, Butternut Squash Ravioli and Homemade Italian Cannoli are also on the menu.)
Viviani, who trained in his native Italy, recently coauthored the Café Firenze Cookbook, and even a cursory look through its pages will prove the man loves his olive oil. Chalk it up to the kitchen staple’s versatility, flavor and health benefits. Rich in polyphenols (antioxidants) that help fight against cancer, heart-healthy olive oil can be swapped for high-fat butter. Just substitute 3/4 teaspoon olive oil for every 1 teaspoon butter, which will cut the fat in recipes by 25%.
Here are some of Viviani’s favorite ways to use olive oil:
- Serve a simple appetizer of fresh bread with extra-virgin olive oil. Pour the oil into a shallow bowl for dipping, and season with cracked pepper or fresh herbs.
- Create a simple, yet flavorful, marinade of olive oil combined with either lemon juice or wine vinegar. Use it to flavor meats, poultry and fish.
- Give your favorite unsalted nuts a fine coating of extra-light olive oil. (You can toss them in a paper bag.) Add a sprinkle of salt.
Tune in tomorrow for one of Viviani’s special recipes: Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Salad.
Viviani photo courtesy of Bertolli
Read More:‘Top Chef’ Contestant Fabio Viviani Loves His Olive Oils
July 9th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
An all-natural sweetener, honey shouldn’t be limited to dessert recipes. As today’s recipe demonstrates, it works beautifully in salad dressings.
When shopping for honey, follow the same guidelines used for pure maple syrup: The lighter the color, the milder the flavor. And with more than 300 honey varieties available—from blueberry and buckwheat to orange blossom and wildflower—you’re sure to find a few favorites.
All of the salad’s ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store. Enjoy!
Citrus Salad with Avocado
Makes 6 servings
3 corn tortillas (6 inches wide)
1/3 cup 100% pure honey
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 avocado, sliced
- Preheat oven to 255°F.
- Slice tortillas into very thin strips. Dry strips by placing on a cookie sheet and baking for approximately 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Peel oranges and grapefruits. Section and seed them. Place in large bowl, and set aside.
- In small bowl, whisk together honey, raspberry vinegar, oil and salt. Pour over citrus sections, and toss gently.
- Top with avocado slices and tortilla strips.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the National Honey Board
Read More:Citrus Salad with Avocado
July 2nd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Nix the burgers and hot dogs this Fourth of July in favor of today’s more healthful, bun-free option.
Hearty portabella mushrooms can stand up to the heat of the backyard grill. In this recipe, they’re artfully topped with a savory tomato blend and garnished with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.
Prep time is 15 minutes, grilling time is 10 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store.
Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
Makes 6 servings (1 mushroom each)
1 can (14.5 ounces) Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 package fresh basil, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
6 large portabella mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (see note below)
Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Spray cold grill and utensils with cooking/grilling spray. Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Combine tomatoes, garlic and basil in medium bowl; blend well.
- Grill mushrooms, smooth side up, 5 minutes or until browned. Turn mushroom caps over.
- Spoon tomato mixture into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with nuts and cheese.
- Grill an additional 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender.
Note: You can easily toast nuts on the grill. Spray a small, cold ovenproof skillet with cooking/grilling spray. Heat skillet; add nuts. Toss until nuts are golden brown. Remove from heat.
Recipe and photo courtesy of PAM Organic Cooking Spray
Read More:Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
June 25th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Butter beans belong to the same family as lima beans, but each variety is slightly different.
Like lima beans, butter beans are large and flat, but they’re distinguished by their white or yellow color. Traditional lima beans are also large, but they’re quite green. The smaller varieties are often labeled “baby limas.”
Today’s picnic-ready salad recipe is chockfull of butter beans, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions and ham. Mustard and cilantro complete the flavor profile, creating a side dish that’s terrifically tasty.
All of the ingredients should be available at a well-stocked natural and organic food store. If you have any trouble finding butter beans, you can easily substitute lima beans.
Butter Bean Salad
Makes 8 servings
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 can (15 ounces) butter beans, drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
6 ounces sliced ham, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Mix mustard, oil and lemon juice until well blended; set aside.
- Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add mustard mixture; toss to coat. Cover.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Grey Poupon
Read More:Butter Bean Salad
June 23rd, 2010 - Scott Shaffer
Summer! Time for road trips and family vacations. But if you’re anything like me, it’s the time of the year that you feel the pull of fast-food restaurants. After all, they’re cheap, convenient, and filling, right?
Wrong. You might have heard that some McDonald’s toys were contaminated with cadmium, and Subway’s recent salmonella outbreak sickened at least 97 people. To me, dealing with food poisoning doesn’t seem cheap or convenient. As for filling, take a look at the Big Mac’s nutritional information and tell me if that’s what you want filling you or your family.
But don’t despair! There’s an easy and inexpensive solution: pack your own meals. It’s better for your body, your wallet, and the planet. If you do it right, it can be tastier, too! I’ve taken the initiative to compile some of our top recipes for road-trip-ready food.
- Grass-fed beef sandwiches with caramelized onions, horseradish cream, and arugula
- Simple organic egg salad
- Florida flounder sandwich with lime and sweet onion tartar sauce
- Easy organic coleslaw with dried cranberries
- Easy lentil salad with radicchio and veggies
- Spicy mango Asian salad
Enjoy your meals and your journey, and wave good-bye to fast food!
Read More:6 Easy, Healthy Recipes to Make for the Summer Road Trip