By Marian Pierson
Quick: Choose between steamed broccoli and potato chips.
It's a tough call. The internal battle between eating what's healthy and what's satisfying is familiar to all of us.
Steamed broccoli is the smart choice. After all, we're told to consume two cups each of fruit and vegetables a day. But why does healthy produce have to be so boring?
It doesn't! Consider this the end of your struggle.
Carolina Woman has rounded up recipes that transform ordinary summer crops into unexpectedly delicious hors d'oeuvres, drinks, side dishes and entrees.
The key to these dishes is mixing in other yummy ingredients and experimenting with different flavors and textures.
124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body
1 ripe, medium avocado
1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups stemmed spinach leaves, tightly packed
1 teaspoon sea salt
Slice the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh into a food processor.
Add the onion and lemon juice to the food processor along with the spinach leaves and salt. Process until relatively smooth, 60 to 90 seconds. Expect the texture to retain bits of spinach flecks and fiber.
Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Makes about 2 cups
Hot and Spicy
3 medium zucchini, peeled and cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup raw tahini
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 1/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon sea salt or your favorite herbal seasoning salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use 1/4 teaspoon for a milder “bite”)
Put the zucchini, scallions, tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and cayenne in a food processor and blend until thick and creamy, about 60 seconds.
Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to1 week.
Makes about 2-1/4 cups
Fresh From the Farm
A Year of Recipes and Stories
Peppermint Lemonade Soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup (loosely packed) peppermint leaves, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
1-1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (from 6 to 7
lemons), plus 1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise
4 cups plain seltzer water
Make a mint-infused simple syrup: Put the sugar, water and mint leaves in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and remove from the heat. Let cool completely to room temperature. Strain the mint leaves and reserve the simple syrup. (If making ahead, refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
Arrange a few ice cubes, a lemon slice or two and a mint sprig in each of six tall glasses. Combine the simple syrup, lemon juice and seltzer in a pitcher, mix well, and pour over the ice in each glass.
(Alternatively, if you are not serving six people at once, combine only the lemon juice and simple syrup and portion one-sixth of it, which is about a generous 1/3 cup, into each glass at a time. Add 3/4 cup cold seltzer water to each glass.)
Stir lightly and serve right away.
Makes 6 servings
Deviled Eggs With Spinach, Basil & Toasted Pine Nut Pesto
Hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-1/2 teaspoons Spinach, Basil & Toasted Pine Nut Pesto (recipe follows) drained of excess olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
12 tiny fresh basil leaves, for garnish
12 whole toasted pine nuts, for garnish
Gently scoop or squeeze out the yolk from each egg half.
Arrange the whites on a plate.
In a small bowl, combine the yolks, mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and several grinds of fresh pepper and mash until you get a smooth, pale-green filling. Using a small spoon or mini spatula, spoon or dollop the mixture evenly back into the egg white halves. Garnish each half with a basil leaf and a pine nut.
Makes 12 deviled eggs
— — Spinach, Basil & Toasted Pine Nut Pesto — —
1 large clove garlic
1-1/2 cups packed fresh baby spinach leaves, stemmed, washed and dried
1-1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more if needed
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In the bowl of a food processor, process the garlic clove until it is minced. Add the spinach, basil, pine nuts and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until finely chopped.
Add the Parmigiano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, several grinds of fresh pepper and the lemon juice, and process until well combined.
With the motor running, gradually pour the remaining olive oil through the feed tube and process until you get a nice smooth pesto. If the pesto is too thick, add a bit more olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get the ideal consistency.
Makes 1-1/2 cups
Muffin Tin Chef
101 Savory Snacks, Adorable Appetizers,
Enticing Entrees & Delicious Desserts
Apple and Sausage Mini Quiches
7 ounces (1/2 package) puff pastry, thawed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup cooked chorizo sausage, finely chopped
1 small apple, finely diced
2 ounces camembert or brie cheese, diced
2 teaspoons grainy or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 24 mini-muffin cups with butter. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut 24 (2-inch) rounds using a cookie cutter, a 1/4-cup measure, or similar object about the size of the top of a mini-muffin cup.
Carefully press the pastry rounds into the prepared muffin cups, making sure the bottoms are flat. Poke the bottoms with a fork to prevent puffing.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and stir in the sausage, apple, cheese, mustard, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture among the pastry cups and bake until the eggs are puffed and set, about 15 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before unmolding.
Makes 6 to 12 servings
Chicken-Rice Cabbage Roll
3/4 cup Wehani rice
or other brown rice
1-1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon grapeseed
or canola oil
1 pound ground chicken
or turkey breast
1 large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
12 savory cabbage leaves
5 plum (Roma) tomatoes
3 green onions, green and white parts, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup tightly packed chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
For the Cabbage Rolls: Bring the rice and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken or turkey, onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken or turkey is browned throughout, then carefully drain away any excess liquid. Stir in the cooked rice and the mozzarella cheese.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. In batches, blanch the cabbage leaves in the hot water for 1 to 2 minutes to soften slightly and then plunge into the ice water. Drain and slice off the tough lower spine of each cabbage leaf. Press the cabbage leaves into 12 medium muffin cups and fill each cup with the chicken or turkey mixture. Fold over the tops of the leaves to seal. Bake for about 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the leaves. While the rolls bake, prepare the sauce. When the rolls are done, let cool for about 5 minutes, and invert to unmold.
For the Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse several time until well combined but still slightly chunky. Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot. Serve over the cabbage rolls.
Makes 6 servings
Indian Cooking Unfolded
A Master Class in Indian Cooking, with 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup almond slivers or slices, ground
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
Canola oil for pan-frying
1 pound eggplant, stem discarded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Pour the buttermilk into a shallow bowl or pie plate. Thoroughly combine the chickpea flour, almonds, cayenne and salt in another shallow bowl or pie plate.
Line a plate with paper towels to ready it for draining the crisped eggplant slices.
Pour oil to a depth of 1/8 inch in a large nonstick skillet or a well-seasoned cast-iron pan and heat over medium heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, take 4 to 6 slices of the eggplant and dunk them in the buttermilk. Make sure they are well coated, and the buttermilk has formed a thick, paint-like sheen. Dredge each slice on both sides in the spiced chickpea flour. (Make sure the coating adheres well to the eggplant's surface.)
Gently add the dredged eggplant to the oil. You want to hear the instant sear and sizzle of the coating, which is essential in making the bottom crisp. Cook the slices until reddish-brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the slices to the paper towel-lined plate to drain. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels. Add more oil to the skillet and heat it before repeating with the remaining eggplant slices.
Serve the eggplant slices immediately. They are optimum in texture when served right away but will keep if placed on a rack in an oven that has been pre-heated to 200 degrees. The goal is to make sure you don't let the eggplant get soggy and 15 to 20 minutes is about the limit for keeping them warm. Even though the eggplant slices are perfectly edible when cold and soggy, do enjoy them piping hot.
Makes about a dozen slices (serves 4 as a side)
Sweet Corn With Toasted Coconut
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 to 3 dried red cayenne chiles, stems discarded
1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut shreds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cups sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 medium-size tomato, cored and finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot (when you can hold the palm of your hand close to the bottom of the skillet you will feel the heat), usually after 2 to 4 minutes, add the coriander seeds and chiles. The seeds will start to crackle a bit and turn reddish brown and the chiles will blacken slightly, after 1 to 2 minutes.
Quickly add the coconut and keep stirring constantly as the coconut will start to brown and smell nutty almost instantly and impart a slight oily sheen.
Transfer the spicy coconut to a small bowl or plate to cool. Keeping the coconut mixture in the skillet will burn the blend, making it unpalatable.
Pour the oil in the hot skillet. It will instantly appear to shimmer. Add the mustard seeds, cover the skillet and cook until the seeds have stopped popping (not unlike popcorn), about 30 seconds. Immediately add the onion and stir-fry until light brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the corn and 1/2 cup of water. Stir once or twice and cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and let the corn cook gently, stirring occasionally, until it is still juicy sweet when tasted and not overly cooked, 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer the cool, red, spiced coconut to a spice grinder (you can also use a coffee grinder) and grind it to the consistency of slightly coarse black pepper.
Add the ground coconut spice blend to the corn along with the tomato and salt. Let it all simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomato is warmed through, about 1 minute.
Serve the corn warm.
Makes 4 cups; serves 4 to 6
Everyday Thai Cooking
Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes
Pineapple Fried Rice
1 whole pineapple
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Pinch of ground white pepper
2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, finely sliced
1 fresh hot red or green chili, preferably Thai (deseeded if you prefer less heat), finely sliced
3 cups cooked and chilled Thai jasmine rice
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
1 cup cubed cooked shrimp
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh
coriander leaves (cilantro) plus more
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise and cut the fruit from the middle, leaving shell halves intact. Cut out the eyes and core. Set the shell halves aside. Dice the fruit. Dry the diced pineapple with paper towels and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pinch of pepper.
Heat 1/2 of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook eggs, stirring, until set but still moist. Transfer eggs to a plate. Wash and thoroughly dry the wok or skillet.
Heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, shallots and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, chicken, shrimp, peas and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the reserved eggs, pineapple, fresh coriander leaves and mint; stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Scoop the fried rice into the pineapple shells and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Chinese Broccoli and Cashew Nuts
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh hot red or green chili, preferably Thai (deseeded if you prefer less heat),
12 ounces Chinese broccoli, end of stems trimmed
1 teaspoon cooking sherry
1/4 cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons palm or brown sugar
1/4 cup cashew nuts
Heat the oil in the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the Chinese broccoli and sherry and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock, close the lid and let cook for 4-5 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.
Add the oyster sauce and palm sugar; stir-fry, tossing to coat, for 1 minute. Dish onto a serving platter and cut the broccoli into 3 sections with kitchen shears. Toss with cashews and serve immediately with jasmine rice.
Makes 4 servings