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Archive for 2011

TIP OF THE DAY: Healthy Soup

It’s winter, it’s cold and soup is warm comfort.

It’s also Healthy Food Month at THE NIBBLE; so combining both concepts, we’ve got healthy soup recipes for you.

Starting with 10 tips for “enlightened soupmaking,” you’ll see that you don’t need to sacrifice flavor to make family favorites and dinner party soups.

The Hot & Sour Soup in the photo is incredibly flavorful, is much more exciting than restaurant versions, and has only 143 calories per serving. It takes a mere half-hour to prepare.

So, get out the stock pot and start cooking!

Hot & Sour soup. Photo courtesy Turner
Publishing Company.

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RECIPE: Horseradish Hummus

A horseradish rush in hummus. Buy it
or make it. Photo courtesy Tribe Hummus.

Like horseradish? Add it to your hummus.

Several hummus manufacturers make hummus with horseradish, although it’s not as easy to find as more mainstream flavors like garlic hummus and red pepper hummus.

Lucky us: One of our local markets had a stack of Tribe Hummus With Freshly Ground Horseradish. (And here’s a $1.00 coupon for any flavor.) It is heady with horseradish, and we love it.

If you don’t have a favorite hummus recipe, here’s one from Nanoosh Mediterranean Hummus Bars & Counters in New York City. Or, for instant gratification, buy plain hummus and add well-drained prepared horseradish to taste.

HUMMUS RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound raw chickpeas/garbanzos/ceci (you can use canned, precooked chickpeas but from-scratch tastes better)
  • 1/3 pound tahini paste/tahina
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt
  • Optional: 1/4 cup special flavor, puréed horseradish (ground root or highly-drained prepared horseradish), lightly-cooked red pepper, olives, sundried tomato; or
  • Spice to taste: basil, chipotle, crushed red pepper, garlic, lemon zest or other favorite

 

Preparation
1. Soak the chickpeas in water a day ahead.
2. Cook the chickpeas in boiling water for approximately 2 hours. Drain and chill the chickpeas.
3. Place the chickpeas in a food processor with the other ingredients. Process until smooth.
4. Taste and adjust to taste by adding lemon juice, water, salt and/or flavoring/spice/herb.

Since this recipe makes approximately two pounds of hummus, or four of the larger store containers, you can divide the batch and make up to four different flavors.

More horseradish ideas:

  • Breakfast: Add prepared horseradish to scrambled eggs, omelets and hash brown potatoes before cooking. Add a spoonful to the hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict. Or serve as a condiment.
  • Lunch: Add prepared horseradish to mayonnaise for sandwiches or to vinaigrette or other salad dressing. Mix with ketchup for spicy ketchup, and mix with sour cream for your baked potato. Add a heaping spoonful to ready-made deli items such as cole slaw, baked beans and potato salad.
  • Dinner: substitute prepared horseradish for butter and salt as a vegetable topper. Add one (or two) spoonfuls to canned or homemade soups. Mash horseradish with potatoes or mix with low-fat sour cream for a quick baked potato topping.

Horseradish is good for you. Its use as a remedy for illness dates to the ancient Egypt—most popularly to clear breathing passages that are congested from colds. Horseradish contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. The spice and heat come from mustard oil (the root is in the same family as mustard), which, as with mustard seed, is released when it is ground.

And horseradish is high in glucosinolates and phytonutrients, potential cancer-fighting agents that have shown in clinical studies to keep tumor growth under control and reduce the chance of developing new tumors.

 

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RECIPE: Eat Your Spinach (With Garlic!)

Another better-eating tip for the New Year: make sure to eat your daily requirement of fruits and veggies.

The old “Five A Day” rule has been replaced, recognizing that age and activity level have a greater bearing on what you should consume. For example, women ages 19 to 50 who are moderately active should have two servings of fruit and three servings of veggies a day.

Here’s an informative site from the Produce For Better Health Foundation, that explains what a “portion” is and has charts for how many portions you need.

Put a calendar on your refrigerator door and write out what fruits and vegetables you’ll eat on a daily basis. You can print out blank calendar pages at Printable2012Calendar.com. (If you read this in a different year, just change the date from 2012l.)

 

Photo of spinach courtesy VegetablesGrowing.com.

And start the new year with a easy sautéed spinach recipe from one of the great American chefs, Chef Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar & Grill in New York City. The simple yet tasty ingredients include nutrition-rich, high-antioxidant spinach; heart-healthy olive oil; and garlic, another powerful antioxidant.

SPINACH IN GARLIC BUTTER/GARLIC OIL

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch spinach (you can substitute chard or collard greens)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter, olive oil or cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil for finishing
  • Crushed chili flakes (optional)
     
    Preparation
    1. Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot, over high heat. Add spinach and stir until just wilted, approximately 1 minute.

    2. Season with salt and pepper. Remove spinach with a slotted spoon and spread out on a tray to cool. Gently squeeze out the excess water and set aside.

    3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or other cooking oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook slowly in oil until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.

    4. Add spinach, raise heat and cook until just warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a little extra virgin olive oil and crushed chili flakes.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Snack On Hard-Boiled Eggs

    A 70-calorie snack with 6 grams of protein.
    Photo courtesy American Egg Board.

    Have you awakened with a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier?

    Snack on hard-cooked eggs. Most people call them hard-boiled eggs, but the proper term is hard-cooked: The eggs are not boiled. After the water comes to a boil, the eggs are removed from the stove to cook in the water.

    But boiled or hard-cooked, January is National Egg Month. According to the American Egg Board, one large egg contains about 70 calories and 6 grams of protein, 12.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV) for protein.

    Eggs are an all-natural food that are packed with nutrients. One egg has 13 essential vitamins, unsaturated fats, antioxidants and high-quality protein—all for 70 calories. Egg protein is the highest quality protein of any food. One egg, any size, is equal to one ounce of lean meat, poultry, fish or seafood.

    High-quality proteins are foods that are high in protein and low in saturated fat. They provide all the essential amino acids the body needs to function properly and to develop, build and maintain muscles. Animal proteins such as lean pork, skinless poultry, lowfat and nonfat dairy products and eggs are examples.

    Beyond weight management, egg nutrients help with muscle strength, brain function, eye health and a healthy pregnancy.

    Convinced? Here’s an easy way to integrate hard-cooked eggs, a healthy snack, into your life:

    • Every Sunday, hard-cook a dozen eggs. You can leave them in the shell or peel the entire dozen and keep them in an airtight container. If you leave them in the shell, you should still put the eggs in an airtight container (or in a bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap), since the shells are very porous and will absorb refrigerator odors.
    • Here’s how to make perfect eggs.
    • Enjoy an egg for a quick snack at home, or take one on the road. Cooked eggs are delicious as is, but you can bring packets of salt, pepper, mustard, soy sauce or other condiments. In the office, we enjoy our egg snack with a bit of Dijon mustard, fresh-cracked pepper, hot sauce or salsa.

     

    Instead of grabbing a snack with empty carbs, too much fat, sugar and/or sodium, you’ll have made an eggcellent choice.

    What about eggs and cholesterol? If you have high cholesterol, discuss how many you can eat with your healthcare provider. Everybody else: enjoy and read these egg cholesterol facts.

     

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