December 20th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
With Christmas less than a week away, keep meals simple, fresh and organic. This salad is a delicious mélange of fruits and vegetables. Tune in tomorrow for its companion dish, Fruity Couscous Salad.
Spinach Salad with Pineapple Chile Vinaigrette
- 4 large slices watermelon, cut into triangles (16 pieces)
- 6 cups spinach leaves
- 1 large orange, peeled and sliced into 8 thin rounds
- 1/2 fresh avocado, cut into 8 slices, cut again into cubes
- 16 large canned black ripe olives
- 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- Toward the back of each serving plate, arrange 4 watermelon triangles.
- Arrange 1½ cups of spinach in front of the watermelon. Top with 2 slices of orange, 1/4 of the avocado cubes, 4 olives and 1 tablespoon black beans.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, chili powder and mayonnaise.
- Drizzle salads with 2 tablespoons of dressing.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Produce for Better Health Foundation
Read More:Spinach Salad with Pineapple Chile Vinaigrette
December 8th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Vinegar is a must-have ingredient for intriguing salad dressings, and this week’s recipe is no exception.
The extended vinegar family includes favorites like apple cider, balsamic, rice, wine and white distilled vinegars. Each variety offers its own distinct flavor and appeal.
All of the ingredients in this recipe should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Spinach and Baby Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Plum Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese
- 1 bunch baby beets
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 lb. baby spinach
- 1 small red onion, peeled, sliced and caramelized
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 to 5 dried plums, snipped
- 1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients with whisk; set aside.
- Rinse and scrub baby beets. Trim each end; place in small saucepan with water to cover. Add white vinegar. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
- Place spinach in large bowl with onions and mint. Cut beets into quarters and add to salad. Top with goat cheese and hazelnuts. Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette; toss and serve immediately.
Recipe and photo courtesy of The Vinegar Institute
Read More:Spinach and Baby Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Plum Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese
September 1st, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Our end-of-the-week recipe features a hearty salad that will satisfy summer appetites and enliven fall menus.
Fall is distinctive for dishes that showcase fragrant fruits like pears. The freshest organic produce offers a sensory pleasure that enhances any dining experience.
Wilted Greens With Pinot Pears
Makes 4 servings
- 2 strips bacon
- 2 pears, cored and cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
- 6 cups chopped greens, such as red Swiss chard
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain all but 1 tablespoon fat.
- Add pears, honey and vinegar. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Stir in wine. Cook until wine is absorbed by pears.
- Stir in chard. Cook and stir until just barely wilted.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates, and top with crumbled bacon and blue cheese.
- Pair this salad with the same Pinot Noir used in the sauce.
Note: Because you are committed to organic living, OrganicAuthority.com recommends using certified organic foods, when available, in all recipes to maximize flavor and nutrition, while minimizing your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Mirassou Winery
Read More:Wilted Greens With Pinot Pears
August 18th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
I savored my first Vidalia onion more than 15 years ago during a business trip to Atlanta. I soon learned these Georgia treasures were mild enough to be eaten like apples, and a colleague sent me home with a 10-lb. bag.
These days, Vidalias are often my top onion choice, adding a distinctive sweetness to any recipe. They’re rich in vitamin C and fat-, cholesterol- and sodium-free. Weight Watchers even chose Vidalia onions as its pick of the season in the spring.
This easy-to-prepare recipe, adapted from The Vidalia Sweet Onion Lovers Cookbook, combines some of summer’s favorite flavors. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Corn, Tomato & Vidalia Onion Salad
Makes 4 servings
- 1½ cups diced ripe tomatoes
- 1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
- 2 medium ears fresh corn, cooked and cooled (or 1 cup cooked frozen kernels)
- 15 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes and onion.
- Scrape corn and juice off cobs to make about 1 cup; add to tomato mixture.
- Shred basil leaves; add to tomato mixture.
- In a small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine vinegar, oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix well or shake to combine. Add to tomato mixture; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Photo by Lori Grice
Read More:Corn, Tomato & Vidalia Onion Salad
May 11th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Yesterday, I alerted you to a Dateline NBC report on the safety of bagged salads. (Please click here so you have the background information.)
Correspondent Lea Thompson pointed out that 6 million bags of salad are sold each day. Most of us believe they’re ready to eat, without having to wash the greens—especially if you buy them in an organic food store. But officials are concerned about lettuce safety, and it has little to do with the pesticides and fertilizers that worry organic consumers.
“Over the last five years or so, we have noticed a real increase in the number of [E. coli] outbreaks that were traced back to fresh produce,” Dr. Robert Brackett, the FDA’s head of food safety, told Thompson. There are many sources for potential infection: the fields in which lettuce is grown, the bathroom habits of workers who handle produce and conditions in processing/shipping plants. Chopped lettuce, in particular, may be more vulnerable to contamination because of the way it’s prepared for packaging.
Experts suspect E. coli outbreaks are most often the result of farm or creek water that has been contaminated with animal feces. According to Thompson, “scientists believe E. coli bacteria might have been absorbed by the lettuce plant’s root system. If that happens, washing the lettuce won’t do any good—the E. coli is already growing inside.”
The United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, not surprisingly, dismisses this as unproven speculation, pointing the finger instead at shippers and grocery store workers who handle bagged salad. (This would mean the outside of the bag was contaminated.) The CDC, however, found E. coli that matched the strain that sickened people inside a bag of salad. FDA officials believe growers need to take greater care and responsibility.
If you buy bagged salad, the FDA urges the following:
Wash the greens, even if the bag states they have been prewashed or are “ready to eat.”
Don’t touch lettuce after you’ve handled raw meat—another way to spread E. coli.
Always refrigerate greens, and check package expiration dates before serving.
Photo courtesy of NBC
Read More:Bagged Salad Risks: Part 2
May 10th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Yesterday, I provided a super salad recipe for your Mother’s Day menu. But if you rely on bagged greens when preparing salads, you need to know about a report that recently aired on Dateline NBC.
Chief Consumer Correspondent Lea Thompson (left) revealed 26 people in three states became ill after eating bagged lettuce. Amber Brister, 11, was hospitalized with kidney failure, requiring dialysis and blood transfusions to clear toxins from her body and fight life-threatening infection.
The problem wasn’t limited to Amber, Thompson reported. A 54-year-old man in nearby Minneapolis was sick for several days before being rushed to his local hospital with excruciating pain and hemorrhaging from his colon. Within three days, 10 more cases were reported.
At this point, physicians suspected their patients’ problems were linked to contaminated food. Per protocol, they called in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for assistance. Experts suspected E. coli 0157:H7—a bacterium usually associated with eating undercooked ground beef.
The real culprit, however, was bagged salad—the No. 2 cause of E. coli-related foodborne illness. Infection presents with stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome—the condition that leads to kidney failure. According to MDH, patients typically become ill two to five days after eating contaminated food.
The CDC then issued a warning about bagged salad risks and a voluntary recall for specific brands. In the meantime, 26 people in three states had suffered lettuce-induced illness.
Now for the big question: Would eating organic lettuce have prevented this problem? Not necessarily. Tune in tomorrow for the reasons why you need to be careful with any bagged salad—organic or nonorganic.
Photo courtesy of NBC
Read More:Are Bagged Salads Hazardous to Your Health?
May 9th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Here’s a recipe that’s both nutritious and delicious, and you can prepare it for your Mother’s Day feast even if you’re not an experienced cook. All of the ingredients are available at your local organic and natural food store.
Enrico Colavita, a fourth-generation olive oil producer, recommends extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, steak rubs and marinades because of its superb flavor and aroma. It is produced from freshly harvested olives pressed without the use of chemicals or heat. Straight from the bottle, or combined with coarse salt, crushed peppercorns or fresh herbs, it also makes a superb dipping oil for bread.
Baby Greens with Shallot, Orange & Red Wine Dressing
Total preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings
- 3 tablespoons Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cups mixed baby salad greens
- Combine wine, orange juice, shallot, orange peel, salt and pepper in large bowl; gradually whisk in olive oil until blended.
- Add salad greens to bowl; toss to coat evenly.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Colavita Olive Oil and Sutter Home Winery
Read More:Baby Greens with Shallot, Orange & Red Wine Dressing
May 5th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Yesterday, we covered container gardening for readers who lack sufficient yard space. Today, Stori Snyder, assistant director of the Hilltop Garden and Nature Center at Indiana University Bloomington, provides additional tips on adding tomatoes and vegetables to the mix.
A tomato plant can grow well in a 5-gallon bucket, Snyder says. Plants come in many varieties, although compact ones grow better in containers and require less staking. Cherry and pear tomatoes look great in hanging baskets, she adds. Note: Tomatoes mature at different rates, so organic gardeners may want to select varieties that ripen at different times or that are indeterminate (ripening repeatedly until it becomes too cold).
Carrots and radishes grow quickly. Snyder recommends choosing “companion plants,” which grow well together because one plant provides the soil with a nutrient the other plant needs, and vice versa. Carrots and tomatoes are companion plants, she explains, as are roses and garlic. Basil and tomatoes are a dynamic duo with considerable aesthetic appeal. “They smell fantastic,” she says, and the variety of colors is interesting: yellow tomatoes and purple basil, for example.
Read More:Organic Gardening: Anyone Can Grow a Salad
December 13th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
The Virtual Salad Bar
You decide to take a break from your holiday shopping or go out with the gang for a quick lunch. Your best bet: the salad bar at your favorite organic restaurant or natural foods market.
But making the right choices as you navigate your way through the lettuce, tomatoes, cheeses and dressings is critical if you’re watching your waistline. Pile on too much of a good thing, and you’ll be in for a high-calorie, high-fat or high-sodium surprise.
Registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake, a clinical assistant professor of nutrition at Boston University and author of “Eat Right The E.A.S.Y. Way,” has created an online Virtual Salad Bar that allows you to fill your plate with lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, green peppers, beets, garbanzo beans, olives, broccoli, tuna and three bean salads, hummus, feta and Parmesan cheeses, croutons and your choice of dressing.
As you drag each selection onto your plate, the program totals meal values: calories, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, carbohydrates and fiber. You also receive helpful tips as you click on each ingredient: Red cabbage, for example, is a “crunchy way to fight lung and prostate cancers,” while “creamy dressings don’t spread well, so you could end up using tons.”
My salad weighed in at a respectable 420 calories, with 8 grams of fiber (pretty good!), but I wasn’t pleased to see the 1,012 milligrams of sodium I would have consumed, courtesy of the beets, Parmesan cheese, ranch dressing and croutons. Food for thought—and a great visual way to teach both children and adults about the nutritional pitfalls of today’s salad bars.
Read More:Smart Choices at the Organic Salad Bar