Sep 212013
 

Brussel Sprouts + Figs + Toasted Almonds + Manchego + Dijon Vinaigrette. Need I say more?
IMG_6674
I’m pretty excited about this salad. It’s the perfect fall salad with just the right mix of textures and flavors (crunchy, soft, sweet, savory). It’s pretty easy to make too since there is no cooking involved. Only on disclaimer–if you’re like me and don’t have a mandolin to shred the sprouts, this may be slightly less fun of a process for you.
IMG_6683
Nutritional Highlights: Since it looks like a teeny tiny cabbage, it’s not surprising that they’re in the same cruciferous veggie fam as cabbage. Within this powerful group, which also includes kale, cauliflower, mustard greens, and broccoli, brussel sprouts actually have THE MOST glucosinolates which are powerful cancer fighting antioxidants. By serving them raw in this salad, you preserve all these nutrients and ensure none of them are lost in the cooking process. Figs make this salad even healthier, by adding fiber and potassium. Almonds add some protein and healthy fat. And Manchego, oh well cheese is just delicious who cares if it’s healthy.
IMG_6684
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Shaved Brussel Sprout and Fig Salad with Toasted Almonds and Manchego
serves about 4
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What’s in it:
Salad:
4 cups Brussels sprouts (use larger sprouts if possible)
1/3 cup shaved or shredded manchego (can also substitute pecorino romano)
8-10 fresh figs, quartered
1/3 cup roughly chopped almonds, toasted and salted

Dressing:
Juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil

How to make it:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.
2. Trim the Brussels sprouts, cutting off the hard root end. Using a mandoline, shave the sprouts one at a time. If you don’t have a mandolin, halve them and slice as thinly as possible. When you’re done, use your fingers to separate the leaves so that the shredded sprouts are like a fine slaw.
3. Put the sprouts in a serving bowl toss gently with the dressing (you may not need it all). Fold in the shredded cheese and top with figs and almonds. Taste and adjust seasonings and dressing if necessary. Enjoy!

Note: I think it’s even better if you toss the sprouts only with the dressing about an hour before serving so they soften a bit. Then add in the other ingredients right before serving.

Sep 112013
 

I cook so often, that it is relatively rare that I use an ingredient I never have used before. Well, this was an exception. This was my very first scallop endeavour, and I have to say it went pretty darn well. Not sure why I was scared of the little guys. Maybe it was the risk of overcooking, or the need to get the perfectly seared crust, but either way I discovered there’s nothing to be afraid of (except maybe the price tag).
IMG_6621
I also used this recipe as an excuse to get a last use of my favorite summer ingredients-corn and tomatoes. This succotash was incredibly flavorful and was the perfect base for my scallops. See you next year cute little cherry tomatoes from the farmers market…I’ll miss you more than you know.
IMG_6612
Nutritional Highlights: Scallops are really high in protein, selenium, phosphorus, and B12. This B12 is especially important because it helps protect our cardiovascular system from damage by converting this bad chemical (homocystine) into something harmless. Pretty impressive, huh? Corn and tomatoes are also packed with nutrients like vitamin C. Serve this dish along with a little salad and you have a super healthy summer meal.
IMG_6634
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Seared Scallops with Tomato-Corn Succotash
adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
Serves 4
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What’s in it:

  • 2lb scallops (ask for dry scallops!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil, plus 3 leaves julienned for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon butter

How to Make it:
1. Rinse the scallops under cold water and place between paper towels so they will dry completely. (Note: make sure you buy DRY scallops, because these will be the only kind to get a great sear).

2. Meanwhile, make your succotash. In large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium flame. Saute the onion slowly until translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and corn and continue to saute until the corn is bright yellow and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for another few minutes until the corn is beginning to caramelize. Turn the heat down to low and add the tomatoes. Stir slowly until the tomatoes heated through, but have not begun to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon and the basil off the heat, and transfer to a platter.
NOTE: the corn can be served warm or at room temperature if you want to make it in advance.

3. Clean out skillet and heat one tablespoon of olive oil over a high flame. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the butter. Gently pat the scallops with a paper towel to make sure they are nice and dry and season them with salt on one side. When the butter is melted and the pan is smoking, add the scallops, making sure not to crowd the pan (you may need to do this in 2 or 3 batches). Turn the pan to keep the butter and oil evenly distributed, but DO NOT move the scallops until they have properly browned, about 2-3 minutes depending on the size of your scallops. When they have a good sear (dark brown crust), flip them and cook for another minute. The scallops should still be slightly translucent in the center–if they are opaque throughout, they will likely be overcooked by the time you serve them. Remove finished scallops to the corn platter, making sure to put the beautiful seared side facing up. Repeat with the remaining scallops.

4. Place scallops over the succotash, squeeze a little extra lemon juice over the scallops and garnish with julienned basil. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
IMG_6638

Sep 022013
 

Labor day has come and gone, which to me signals the end of summer. As much as I’m excited for the return of sweaters, boots, and brussel sprouts, I’m still feeling like summer has gone way too quickly. So, I made this super healthy farro dish, with tons of grilled summer vegetables and those last heirloom tomatoes of the season mixed in.
IMG_6472
The recipe is simple, as it always should be when you are working with really great, fresh, produce. Cook some farro, grill some veggies (with a garlic-herb-oil rub), toss it all together, and top with some fresh herbs. That’s all it takes. Veggies Before:
IMG_6437
Veggies After:
IMG_6456
Nutritional Highlights: Farro is a pretty underrated grain in my opinion. It’s sort of similar to rice or barely, but with a nuttier flavor and texture. It has tons of fiber (more than brown rice), magnesium, and also vitamins A, B, C, and E. Although it’s not gluten free, it is lower in gluten than a lot of other grains, making it easier to digest for those with an intolerance. You know how to make it even healthier? Mix it with a ton of freshly grilled summer veggies packed with nutrients and enjoy!
IMG_6480
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Farro with Grilled Summer Vegetables
4-6 servings
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What’s in it:
8 oz quick cooking farro (I suppose you can use the non quick kind as well)
2 cups roughly chopped heirloom tomatoes
Vegetables for grilling (I used eggplant, summer squash, scallions, corn, and peppers)
2 large cloves garlic
Fresh basil
Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper (and maybe some chili flakes)
Optional: cheese of your choosing (goat, parmesan, or feta would all be great)

How to make it:
1. Cook the farro according to directions (quick cooking kind only takes 10 minutes but full length farro takes a bit longer).
2. Meanwhile, focus on grilling your veggies. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 2 cloves minced garlic and season generously with salt, pepper, and optional chili flakes for heat. Brush your grilled veggies with the garlic oil and grill over medium-high heat. Grilling time varies for different veggies and depending on if you’re using a grill pan or real grill. Just watch them and take them off when they have nice grill lines and are softened but not mushy. Sorry, no exact science here!
3. Allow vegetables to cool and cut them into bite sized chunks.
4. Combine the farro, grilled vegetables, and heirloom tomatoes. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with lots of fresh julienned basil and cheese if you’re using it. Enjoy this fresh summer dish as a side or vegetarian main!
IMG_6466