Salsa Verde, Italian Style

This recipe for Italian salsa verde — not to be confused with the spicy Mexican sauce of the same name — comes from the Food section of the Miami Herald.  Salsa Verde is bright with herbs and deeply flavored with olive oil, garlic, capers, lemon, and sometimes anchovies.  It’s full of flavor and packs a ton of nutrition from pathogen fighting herbs.

There’s no long simmering or blending required. You simply whisk the ingredients together until you reach the consistency of a loose pesto.  This sauce is versatile: add it to a salad, use as a dip, top fish or meat after cooking or grilling.

Here are some tips:

• When zesting a lemon, avoid the bitter white pith beneath. The zest brightens the flavor of the sauce. A Microplane zester is an excellent tool for the job.

• Feel free to vary proportions. I tend to use less oil for a thicker consistency when I serve salsa verde alongside roasted meats and grilled vegetables, and more oil with fish or chicken.  Here’s the recipe along with a serving suggestion: wild caught salmon!

Fancy restaurant food is even better when it's easy to make at home!

Fancy restaurant food is even better when it’s easy to make at home!

Crispy Salmon with Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 salmon fillets (about 2 pounds total), skin removed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 lemon wedges, for garnish

Procedure:

Mix the herbs with the capers, garlic, lemon zest and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat in a large nonstick pan. Cook salmon in a single layer until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn, season with salt and pepper, and cook other side until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir lemon juice into herb mixture. To serve, place a salmon fillet on each plate and top with the sauce. Serve garnished with lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Wine Country Cooking” by Joanne Weir (Time-Life $27.50).

Per serving: 341 calories (68 percent from fat), 25.6 g fat (5 g saturated, 11.2 g monounsaturated), 67 mg cholesterol, 25.4 g protein, 1.4 g carbohydrates, 0.4 g fiber, 203 mg sodium.

Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-author of “Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.”

Spring Salad! Celery and Radishs With Gorgonzola

Here’s a Candida diet friendly recipe I found in the New York Times and it’s prefect for Spring!  Martha Rose Shulman is the author of The Very Best of Recipes for Healthso check her book out if you like her style:

For this salad, use the delicate hearts, or inner stalks, of celery.  Slice both the celery and radishes very thin; it goes faster than you’d think but you can use a food processor to speed up the process.

Watermelon radishes are pretty enough to eat.

Watermelon radishes are pretty enough to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds celery hearts (about 2), stalks separated, rinsed, dried and sliced very thin (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced very thin (if they are very round and fat, cut them in half lengthwise and slice half-moons)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 ounce gorgonzola, crumbled (about 1/4 cup) (you can substitute other blue cheeses like Roquefort)
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (original recipe calls for sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the celery, radishes, parsley, chives, walnuts and gorgonzola in a salad bowl. Toss with the vinegar, olive oil and walnut oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and serve.

Advance preparation: The salad will hold for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Toss again before serving. It is a good salad for a buffet as it will remain crunchy.

Nutritional information per serving: 136 calories; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 milligrams cholesterol; 4 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 117 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 2 grams protein

Original recipe HERE!

Carrot Ginger Soup

It’s that time of year again: I have about 20 pounds of carrots in my refrigerator from my Dad’s garden and our friends at Woven Roots Farm.  I also have about as much free time as…wait, what’s that?  Since the first week in September I have been busy and busier and I can’t complain about it one bit.  So this week’s recipe is all about carrots, and quickly!

My husband Dana and my brother Brian and I started selling our Fire Cider in stores around the Berkshires last September.  We have gotten so much support from so many people and local businesses (no, they are not the same thing!) all over the Berkshires and beyond: we are now officially in every state in New England and even Ohio.  It’s been a pretty amazing year for the three of us.  This fall for our one year anniversary we exhibited at the Big E for 6 days, handing out over 15,000 samples of our tonic.  This has led to us working pretty much nonstop for the past 4 weeks and counting.

One thing that has kept us going (aside from the Fire Cider, of course) has been sitting down for a home cooked meal together, at least a few times a week.  I am so used to cooking almost all of the food we eat that it’s been kind of a shock all this eating on the go- grabbing prepared food at the Co-op or The Creamery and  eating in restaurants at the end of a long workday, too tired to cook, or even go to our garden to harvest food.  So I feel reassured that once again, home cooking with farm fresh foods is the way to go for health, best flavor and my sanity as well.

Eating together is one of those things that is full of intangibles and is so very important to any family, be it your group of friends, your roommates or your parents, siblings and kids.  When we eat together we have a chance, maybe the only time all day or all week, when we are all doing the same thing, at the same time, together.  When we share a meal we have prepared together we share the energy and love we put into the food and we all receive the benefits.  Eating together is community building 101.  Speaking of the energy we get from our food, eating root vegetables helps me to to feel more grounded and connected to the earth, especially during times when I’m really busy!  This easy soup recipe calls for 3 root veggies: ginger, onion and carrots with some fresh herbs for a very colorful and nutrient dense meal.

This soup takes about 15 minutes of actual cooking time, with about 30 minutes of simmering and cooling, so make a double batch and save some for later in the week when you have less time to cook.  You can use the downtime while the soup simmers to sauté some greens in garlic and olive oil for a well-rounded, brightly colored meal that will surely leave you and your family feeling nourished, brighter and healthier.

Carrot and Ginger Soup with a swirl of cream or coconut milk, perfect fall food!

Serves 4 – Cooking Time 15 minutes – Total Time- 40 Minutes

Ingredients

 

Enough olive oil or coconut oil for sautéing the onion

medium yellow onion, sliced

1 & 1/2  pounds  carrots, cut into 1/4-inch rounds

4  cups  vegetable or mushroom broth

1  tablespoon or more fresh  grated ginger

1 1/2  teaspoons  salt

1/4  teaspoon black pepper or more to taste

Optional:

1/2  cup  heavy cream (Highlawn Farm!) or coconut milk

Fresh herbs for garnish: chopped parsley or dill

Procedure

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir in the carrots, broth, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes.

Using a wand blender or a vented stand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return to pot and warm, if necessary, over medium heat.

If you want to add cream: whisk the cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in a pinch of salt and chopped fresh herbs. Divide the soup among individual bowls and top with the herb cream.

For the coconut milk: use organic, canned coconut milk (not the light stuff, it just has water added) and blend well so that it is smooth.  Add the chopped herbs and serve the soup with ¼ cup swirled into each bowl.

If you are on a strict no sugar diet, try making this version of the soup using lots of leeks and just a few carrots for color and mild sweetness.

Fresh Made Mayonnaise

It’s no secret that I love mayonnaise.  When I first started on the Candida diet, I stopped eating mayonnaise since, at the time, I couldn’t find organic mayo that was free of added sugar and vinegar.   Now, so many of my recipes use this versatile, egg based condiment that I thought it was about time to put up a recipe for making your own.   From a cost perspective, making your own mayonnaise is cheaper and pretty easy as well.  My brother will usually make the mayonnaise type garlic sauce that we traditionally eat with seafood stew on Christmas Eve.  It takes him about 10 minutes and it’s the best, nothing compares to fresh made mayo!  There is a garlic mayo version at the end of the recipe along with some other ideas for making your mayonnaise more flavorful and healthy, too.  The key is to slowly, slowly add the oil and to make sure it’s completely incorporated before adding more.

For the oil: I recommend using a neutral oil like sunflower seed or grape seed oil for a traditional mayonnaise.  Use a mix of half neutral oil and half mild tasting olive oil, or all olive oil, for a more flavorful mayo.   And lastly, use only farm fresh eggs, but you already knew I was going to say that!

Farm fresh eggs are not pasteurized and come in all shapes, sizes and colors!

The following is a recipe from a blog in San Francisco called Bay Area Bites and you can find the original post here.

Ingredients for 1 and 1/4 cups of Mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard or dry mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grape seed or other neutral-tasting oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup mild olive oil

Homemade mayonnaise is usually more yellow in color than the store bought stuff.

Preparation:
1. Using a blender or whisk, mix together egg yolks, salt, mustard, and lemon juice until just frothy.

2. In a very thin, steady stream, add oil while whisking or blending on low-speed. This is the most important step: you must add the oil in a very thin stream, a small amount at a time.  If you add too much at once the mayo will not thicken!  If your mayonnaise doesn’t thicken, that’s ok, it makes a great Caesar dressing in its thinner state, just add a few cloves of pressed garlic, have a salad and then go slower with the oil next time.

If using a blender, stop as the mixture thickens and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Continue adding oil until the mixture is as thick as you want; the more oil you add, the more solid your mayonnaise will be.

3. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon, mustard, or salt as needed. Chill until needed.

Garlic Mayonnaise: Add 1-2 crushed cloves of fresh garlic to the egg yolk mixture. (If making by hand, mince garlic finely before using.) Smokey paprika is also a nice addition to the garlic.

Cilantro Cucumber Mayonnaise: Replace lemon juice with lime juice. After mayonnaise has thickened, add 3/4 cup cilantro leaves and 1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber. Puree in blender until smooth.

Herb Mayonnaise: When mayonnaise has thickened, add 1/2 cup fresh parsley and 1/4 cup single or mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon, mint, or chives. Puree in blender until smooth.

Curried Roasted Cauliflower

Here’s another quick and simple recipe.  If you don’t have all the spices listed, don’t worry, use what you have, it will still be awesome!

Roasted cauliflower with Indian spices, chopped cilantro and mayo-sriracha dipping sauce.

Chop one head of cauliflower into more or less even pieces.

Toss in a large bowl with:

enough olive oil or melted ghee to coat

Add equal amounts of: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, your favorite curry powder and mashed coriander seeds

a dash of asafoetida

and as much sriracha as you like.

Mix well to coat evenly.

Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast at 350 for 20-25 min. til cooked through but not mushy.

Crispify under the broiler for a few minutes at the end.

Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

Dana made a mayo/sriracha dipping sauce to go with the roasted curried cauliflower, awesome!

Roasted Baby Leeks with Thyme

Baby leeks dressed up in olive oil, garlic and thyme.

Baby leeks are just small leeks and there are two things that are exciting about them: a) the fact that they haven’t had the time to develop many green leaves or the fibrous structure that can sometimes make them stringy, and b) they’re definitely sweeter.   Also, Dana and I have an abundant crop of baby leeks since we planted them from seed, late in the season.  We harvested some yesterday and will pull the rest out soon, with pictures to follow, of course!

The purpose of quickly boiling them in water and then roasting them, as I’ve done in this recipe, is to make them deliciously soft and then to caramelize them so they develop a robustness that makes them wonderful served over or next to fish and meat. They will also add an interesting flavor to pastas or soups. You can do everything in the method below in advance apart from roasting them, so when it’s time to eat, all you need to do is flash them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

20 baby leeks
olive oil
red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

Procedure:

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Lightly trim both ends and peel back the first or second layer of leaves and discard.

Drop the leeks in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes to soften – this is called blanching.

Drain them well (if there’s too much water in them they won’t roast properly) and toss in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, the chopped thyme leaves and the garlic.

Arrange the leeks in one layer in a baking pan or earthenware dish and roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes until golden and almost caramelized. Keep your eye on them – they will go from golden to burned quickly!

Serve as a side, with fish or meat, or add to a soup before you puree it for extra amazing flavor.

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver in his book Cook With Jamie

Happy Thanksgiving!

Smokey Cilantro Romanesco

Romanesco, the cruciferous family's model vegetable!

Romanesco is similar to broccoli and cauliflower and so you can substitute either of those vegetables in this recipe.  Dana and I have a lot of romanesco growing in our gardens and will be selling some to local restaurants in the coming weeks. This very cool looking plant was first discovered in Italy in the 16th century.  It has a mild flavor similar to cauliflower but it certainly sets itself apart from the rest of the cruciferous veggies with its’ chartreuse coloring and cool growth pattern that makes a logarithmic spiral.

A head of romanesco chopped in half. You can see the individual branches that make up the spiral head.

For this easy roasted meal you’ll need a head of romanesco or cauliflower, chopped into 2-3 inch pieces.  Set your oven to 365.

Then, on a large, shallow baking sheet, mix the chopped romanesco pieces with enough olive oil to coat, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, hot paprika, ground chipotle pepper and salt, to taste.

Use your hands to mix everything together.   Make sure to lick your fingers when you are done mixing, if it tastes good, pop the tray in the oven.  If not, adjust the seasonings and repeat!

Oven ready: well oiled, seasoned and tossed.

While the Romanesco roasts in the oven at 365, roughly chop a handful of fresh cilantro.

Grate some cheese, I used smoked Grafton cheddar from the Berkshire Co-op, the smokey cheese went perfectly with the hot smokey chipotle and the paprika.

The Romanesco can take anywhere from 20-35 minutes, so cook it til it’s done and finish it under the broiler if it needs more browning but not much more cooking.  You want it to be browned on the outside but with a bit of crunch left inside.

The addition of shredded smoked cheddar really makes the dish!

Finally, toss the finished romanesco with the chopped cilantro, a splash of fresh lime, and the shredded cheese.  Eat immediately and enjoy any leftovers hot or cold the next day.

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