May 29th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
If you’re getting ready for a Memorial Day or summertime picnic and need a last-minute dish to cool down your barbecue favorites, here’s a super fruit salad recipe that’s fast and easy to make. All of the ingredients are readily available at your local organic food store.
Poppy Seed Fruit Salad
Makes: 6 servings
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 1 cup strawberries, halved
- 1 cup cubed pineapple
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup cubed watermelon
- In a large bowl, mix honey, limeade concentrate and poppy seeds.
- Carefully toss in fruits.
What could be easier? Have a safe holiday.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Suddenly Salad
Read More:Poppy Seed Fruit Salad
February 1st, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Many soup recipes like the one featured in this week’s Organic Authority Cooking School call for fiber-rich dried beans. If you’re pressed for time, you can substitute canned organic beans, which provide an easy shortcut. I find, however, that you sacrifice a bit of flavor, and your beans may turn mushy. If you do take this route, always drain the beans before adding them to your soup.
Dried beans require soaking time before you add them to a soup or other dish. There are two key reasons:
- You soften the beans by rehydrating them.
- You eliminate some of the natural substances that cause gas or flatulence, thereby facilitating digestion.
Method #1: Overnight Soak
Place your beans in a pot. Cover them with cold water (about 4 inches about bean level). Leave them on the kitchen counter overnight, allowing them to soak for at least 12 hours. Drain the pot before adding the beans to your soup.
Method #2: Quick Boil
You can accelerate the soaking process with quick-boiling. Add beans to a pot, covering them with cold water (again, about 4 inches above bean level). Bring them to a boil, and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them stand, covered, for about an hour. Drain the pot before adding the beans to your soup.
Organic Shopping List
This week’s recipe, which will be posted on Friday, calls for 1/2 cup dried black beans (also called “turtle” beans) or 1½ cups canned black beans (drained). Why the difference in proportion? Dried beans will triple in size when you cook them.
January’s Organic Authority Cooking School
Welcome to Organic Authority’s Cooking School!
When You Can’t Find Organic Ingredients…
Homemade Organic Tortilla Strips
Hot Trend: Organic Chili Peppers
The Recipe: Latin Tomato and Huitlacoche Soup
Read More:Cooking with Organic Dried Beans
January 12th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Photo: North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission, Inc.
“Of all of the spices, I find cardamom one of the most intriguing and impressive, with its distinctive floral aroma and unique clean flavor,” says Al Goetze, chief spice buyer for McCormick & Company, Inc. “Cardamom has a rich history, which originated in the tropical rainforests of Southern India. References to cardamom are found in Hindu scriptures dating back thousands of years. New plantings spread the cultivation to Sri Lanka and Guatemala; however, India remains a major producer—and the largest consumer—of cardamom.”
Each 6′ to 9′ plant has multiple stems, Goetze notes, that “yield the ribbed pods containing the cardamom seeds. Each pod has four to six tiny dark seeds, which are the source of cardamom’s wonderful perfume-like aroma and taste. To ensure minimal loss of color and splitting, immature parrot-green pods are picked just prior to them turning yellow and opening. The pods are then carefully dried in hot air chambers for 16 hours. The cuisines of India and the Middle East favor the whole, immature green pods, which represent about half the crop. Fully ripened yellow pods contain the mature seeds, which have the highest volatile oil content and flavor. They are highly prized for use here in the States.”
Goetze and his family enjoy the following recipe this time of year.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Pecan Streusel Topping
Makes 8 servings
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place sweet potatoes and apples in large saucepan. Add cold water to cover 1″ over sweet potatoes. Bring to boil on high heat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
- Drain well and return to saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons softened butter, vanilla, 1 teaspoon of the cardamom and salt. Mash until well blended and smooth.
- Spoon into lightly greased 1½-quart casserole dish.
- Mix brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter and remaining 1 teaspoon cardamom in small bowl until coarse crumbs form. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
- Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through.
Read More About Cardamom
A Passage to India
White Hot Chocolate
Read More:Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Pecan Streusel Topping
December 1st, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant has been a fixture in the New York City theater district since 1944, when it was founded by Pasquale “Patsy” Scognamillo. Since then, the restaurant has had only three chefs: the late Patsy himself, his son Joe and grandson Sal, who has manned the kitchen for the last 15 years.
Patsy’s has enjoyed a loyal following over the last half-century, attracting celebrities like Tom Hanks, Madonna, George Clooney, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Robert De Niro. In fact, it was Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant. (Family members still stop by when they’re in town.)
When I put out a call for organic Brussels sprouts recipes just before Thanksgiving, Sal Scognamillo offered to share the following with Organic Authority readers:
Brussels Sprouts Pasta
Makes 1 serving
3 cups Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons safflower oil
1 cup chopped leeks
1/2 cup chopped sweet red peppers
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pasta of your choice (one serving)
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Trim ends of Brussels sprouts. Steam them in boiling water until just tender. Drain.
- Heat butter and oil in a pan. Sauté the leeks.
- Add the peppers and Brussels sprouts, stirring until just golden on the edges.
- Add the soy sauce and let stand, covered, while you cook the pasta.
- In a bowl, toss pasta with parsley and grated cheese.
- Add the cooked vegetables. Serve immediately, while hot.
Please check out other top chefs’ recipes for Brussels sprouts:
Read More:A Delicious Organic Pasta Dish
November 17th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Having put out a call to chefs for holiday Brussels sprouts recipes, I was contacted by Lyle Davis, co-owner of Big Bang Catering, a company that operates out of Pastures of Plenty Farm—a 35-acre organic cut-flower and vegetable farm in Longmont, Colorado.
All of Big Bang’s menu choices are made from the freshest ingredients available—locally grown and organic, whenever possible.
Lyle wants to share his special Brussels sprouts recipe with Organic Authority readers.
Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Hazelnuts and Lemon-Garlic Sauce
Serves 6 to 8
2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, cut in half
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
- Trim the Brussels sprouts’ stems and remove any tough or yellowing outer leaves.
- Blanch in boiling salted water for 5 to 7 minutes or until al dente. Plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over a medium heat. Sauté garlic until softened.
- Squeeze lemon juice into the pan through a sieve. Whisk the sauce.
- Add Brussels sprouts and toss until thoroughly coated and heated.
- Season to taste.
- Add nuts just before serving.
Read More:Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Hazelnuts and Lemon-Garlic Sauce
November 15th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Yesterday, Lachlan Sands, associate chef instructor at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, California, explained how to select the best organic Brussels sprouts and their basic preparation. If you have trouble finding organic Brussels sprouts in your area, log onto Local Harvest, where you can search for organic farmers’ markets in your area.
“Because they are part of the cabbage and mustard family [Brassica], the flavors that best complement Brussels sprouts are mustard, bacon and onions,” Chef Sands tells Organic Authority. “Traditionally, they are served with a heavy béchamel or cheese sauce. This is the ‘Classical French Way of Hiding Icky Smells.’ ”
But if you cook your Brussels sprouts properly, using the deliciously simple preparation Chef Sands outlines below, you won’t need a thick sauce to mask unpleasant aromas.
Note: Because you follow an organic lifestyle, Organic Authority recommends using certified organic ingredients, when available, in all recipes to minimize your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Brussels Sprouts with Mustard and Shallots
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1 gallon boiling water
2 quarts ice water
2 ounces vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sour cream (optional)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Cut an “X” into the flat stem of the sprout. Cut 1/4” into the sprout.
- Add the Kosher salt to the boiling water. When it is dissolved, add the sprouts.
- When tender (5–7 minutes), remove the sprouts and quickly cool them in the ice water. It is better to pull them out too early than too late. You can always cook them a little more, if needed.
- Drain sprouts and halve them lengthwise.
- In a 10” sauté pan, sweat the garlic and shallots in vegetable oil over a medium-low heat until they become translucent (just a few minutes).
- Add chicken broth and mustard. Allow to thicken slightly.
- Add the sour cream and sprouts. Reduce the heat and allow the Brussels sprouts to warm through.
- Season with salt and pepper before serving.
“Taste the sprouts before you add them to your sauce,” Chef Sands advises. “If they have a green or raw flavor, cook them for 1–2 minutes in the sauce. Otherwise, just warm them up.”
Read More:Holiday Brussels Sprouts with Mustard and Shallots