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Archive for Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

TIP OF THE DAY: The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen

We are encouraged to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily for health and nutrition; but the items we buy are often heavily coated with pesticides residue. A quick rinse them doesn’t remove all of them; a sustained rinse under cold water with a light scrub from a vegetable brush is better. We use this special antimicrobial sponge; it’s easier to use than a conventional vegetable brush.

One reason to buy organic produce is to avoid these potentially harmful chemicals—especially for children and people with compromised health. Animal studies indicate toxicity that disrupts the normal functioning of the nervous and endocrine system, and increases risks of cancer.

Each year the Environmental Working Group releases a list of produce with the most pesticides—The Dirty Dozen—and the least pesticides—The Clean 15. Here’s the Executive Summary of the most recent report.

Pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration are analyzed, and result in rankings for the most popular fresh produce items. Blueberries and snap peas showed sharply different results for domestic-grown and imported. Here’s the list of the 50 most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables.
 

THE DIRTY DOZEN

These are the results of the 2015 ranking of the produce with the greatest amount of pesticide residue. The list actually shows 15, not 12: The last three items were next in line and have been added to the list because of their popularity. Foods are listed in order of pesticide amount.

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  •    

    Apple Varieties

    Celery Stalks With Leaves

    Top: An apple a day…is covered with residual pesticide. Photo courtesy US Apples. Bottom: Celery has more pesticide residue than any other vegetable. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.

  • Spinach
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Snap Peas (Imported)
  • Potatoes
  • + Hot Peppers
  • + Kale
  • + Collard Greens
  •  

    Hass Avocado

    Green Cabbage

    Avocado is the fruit with the least pesticide; cabbage is the most residual-free vegetable. (Photos: Avocado Board and Good Eggs).

     

    THE CLEAN FIFTEEN

    These fruits and vegetables are listed in order of least residue.

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes
  •  
    DOWNLOAD A POCKET COPY OF THE GUIDE AT EWG.com.
     
    _______________________________
    *A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the U.S. is produced from genetically engineered seedstock. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid GE produce.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Creamed Spinach Without The Cream

    March 26th is National Spinach Day, honoring the most iron-rich vegetable, the reason Popeye was strong to the finish. Many people name Creamed Spinach as their favorite way to enjoy the vegetable—along with a juicy steak. It’s a steakhouse staple.

    To help tone down the richness a bit, some steakhouses are making their Creamed Spinach without cream. Chicken stock, flour and butter are substituted for the heavy cream or cream cheese.

    Executive Chef Eddie Advilyi from Angus Club Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan is one of the steakhouse chefs turning out Creamless Creamed Spinach (we’ve also had the dish at Benjamin Steakhouse). Chef Eddie shares his recipe with us:

    RECIPE: CREAMLESS CREAMED SPINACH

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base*
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (substitute black pepper)
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup of melted butter
  •  
    _________________________________
    *Chicken base is a highly concentrated stock available in powder or cube form.

     
    Preparation

    1. BOIL or steam the chopped spinach and drain well.

    2. ADD the other ingredients. Mix until it becomes creamy, about 5 minutes.
     
     
    MORE WAYS TO ENJOY SPINACH

  • Pxali, Georgian spinach dip with walnuts
  • Savory Spinach Bread Pudding
  • Spanakoita, Greek spinach pie
  • Spinach & Artichoke Dip
  • Spinach & Grapefruit Salad
  • 13 Ways To Use Spinach Dip
  • Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip
  •  

    Creamless Creamed Spinach

    Ribeye, Creamed Spinach

    Fresh Spinach

    Top: Creamless Creamed Spinach at Benjamin Steakhouse. Center: Ribeye steak with Creamless Creamed Spinach at Angus Club Steakhouse. Bottom: Fresh spinach from Good Eggs.

     
    THE HISTORY OF SPINACH

    Spinach (Spinacia oleracea), is native to central and western Asia (think ancient Persia). It is a member of the botanical family Amaranthaceae, which also includes amaranth, beet, chard, lamb’s quarters (mache) and quinoa, plus numerous flowering house and garden plants.

    At some point, spinach was introduced to India and subsequently to Nepal. It arrived in China around 647 C.E., where it was known as “Persian vegetable.”

    It became a popular vegetable in the Arab Mediterranean, and in 827 was brought to Italy by the Saracens. It arrived in Spain by the latter part of the 12th century, and in Germany by the 13th century.

    Spinach first appeared in England and France in the 14th century and quickly became popular because it could be harvested in early spring, when other vegetables were scarce.

    Spinach was supposedly the favorite vegetable of Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589), wife of King Henry II of France. Dishes served on a bed of spinach are known as “Florentine” after her birthplace, Florence. Florentine dishes are sometimes served with Mornay sauce, a béchamel sauce with cheese (usually Gruyère and Parmesan).

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Perfect Baked Potato

    We really miss our mother’s baked potatoes. Mom was a potato fan and made a simple preparation every night, rotating among baked, boiled with parsley butter, French fried and mashed (for Sunday brunch, hash browns; for special occasions, potato pancakes).

    Among this group, what we no longer come across—or make at home—is her baked potato with a super-crisp skin. We liked the outside as much as the inside. But in the interest of time, we’ve been baking our potatoes in the microwave. They’re O.K., but not memorable. In fact, they steam rather than bake, impacting the texture. This also happens when you wrap a potato in foil before baking.

    So yesterday we turned on the oven and made baked potatoes with Mom’s favorite toppings: butter and sour cream topped with fresh-ground black pepper and minced fresh chives.

     
    RECIPE: BAKED POTATO WITH A CRISP SKIN

    Ingredients

  • Russet potatoes (Idaho baking potatoes)
  • Olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toppings (see below)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Rinse the potatoes under running water and pat dry. Pierce each potato 5 times with the tines of a fork.

    2. RUB the potatoes with oil, sprinkle with salt and a bit of pepper, and place on a baking sheet/in a baking pan;

    3. BAKE for 45 minutes and test for doneness: a cake tester should go in without resistance. If you want even crisper skin, raise the oven to 400°F for the last 15 minutes,

    4. REMOVE from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting a vent across the top.

    5. SERVE with a variety of toppings.
     
    BAKED POTATO TOPPINGS

    One of our favorite party foods is a baked potato bar with lots of different toppings:

     

    Baked Potato & Toppings

    Baked Potato Toppings

    Top: Fresh from the oven and waiting to be topped. Bottom: Different baked potato toppings. Can you choose just one? Photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

  • Butter, plain Greek yogurt, sour cream
  • Chili, guacamole
  • Diced broccoli florets, caramelized onions, corn kernels, sautéed mushrooms, sliced jalapeños, sliced olives, sliced scallions
  • Crumbled bacon, crumbled cheese (blue, feta, goat), grated Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • Herbs (basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley), hot pepper sauce, salsa, stewed tomatoes
  •  
    Or, try these recipes:

  • Bruschetta Baked Potato: 2 medium tomatoes diced, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, 2 cloves (1 teaspoon) of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss together in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Optional: Add chopped chicken to Bruschetta topping.
  • Classic Baked Potato: 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon fresh chives chopped. Mix all ingredients except 1 tablespoon of chives in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Garnish with remaining chives.
  • Lemon Herb Yogurt Baked Potato: 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Garnish with dill sprigs.
  • Mediterranean Baked Potato: 1 container (6 ounces) feta cheese, 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced drained olives, 1 medium tomato diced (optional), salt and pepper to taste. Toss together in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes.
  • Pico de Gallo Baked Potato: 1/2 cup pre-made pico de gallo or mix 1 medium tomato diced, 1 small onion finely chopped, 1 green onion chopped, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and spoon on top of potatoes. Garnish with extra cilantro.
  •  
    MORE BASKED POTATO IDEAS

  • Beets & Feta Cheese Baked Potatoes
  • Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potatoes
  • Leftovers-Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Zig Zag Baked Potatoes
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF POTATOES & THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF POTATOES

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Burrata Salad For Spring

    Admission: We are addicted to burrata, a filled ball of mozzarella. When we discovered it 20 years ago, it was only carried by a few U.S. cheese shops, in cities with direct flights from Italy, its place of origin.

    Today, America’s cheese makers are turning out their own burrata: just as creamy, milky and delicious as the imports. You don’t have to hunt for it, either: It’s at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets!

    Cheesemakers from coast to coast are delivering their burrata to stores and restaurants. Burrata is made by (among others) Belfiore, DiStefano and Gioia in California; Maplebrook Farm in Vermont; Lioni Latticini in Brooklyn; and the retailer DiBruno Bros. in Philadelphia. In the middle of the country is Belgioioso Cheese of Wisconsin, possibly the largest domestic producer of burrata.

    It is also made by restaurant chefs. One has provided a recipe is below).

    One of the more popular ways to enjoy burrata is in the center of a green salad, with crusty garlic toast. We can eat the whole burrata on salad for lunch.

    RECIPE: SPRING BURRATA SALAD

    This Burrata Salad from Good Eggs in San Francisco is oh-so-delicious. It takes just 5 minutes active time, 10 minutes total time.

    Ingredients For 1-2 Servings

  • 8 ounces burrata cheese
  • 1 cup of basil, chives, parsley or a mixture
  • 3 cups of baby greens
  • 1 watermelon radish, peeled and sliced thinly into half-moons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  •    

    Burrata Salad  Recipe

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/burrata spring salad goodeggs 230r

    Top: A popular Italian burrata salad with frisée, radicchio and prosciutto, at David Burke Fromagerie. Bottom: Spring salad at Good Eggs.

     
    Preparation

    1. DRAIN the burrata in a colander lined with a paper towel—you don’t want to pierce the skin of the burrata, but you do want any extra whey (the watery stuff) to drain off. While it drains…

    2. TOAST the sourdough bread until golden brown. Rub the finished toasts with a halved garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil.

    3. FILL a bowl with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Add the herbs, radish and greens and toss with the dressing.

    4. SLICE or tear the burrata into large chunks over the top of the greens. Serve with the garlic toast and a peppermill for freshly-ground black pepper.
     
    Springtime Variations

    Add or substitute other spring:

  • Asparagus
  • Cardoons, fiddlehead ferns, nettles
  • Chives, garlic scapes, ramps
  • Fennel, radicchio
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Pea greens, peas, pea pods, snow peas
  •  
    We love the combined flavors of tomato and burrata. When vine-ripened tomatoes aren’t in season, use cherry or grape tomatoes, sundries tomatoes or roasted red pepper (pimento).

    Lovers of Caprese Salad can add some fresh basil.

     

    Burrata Salad

    Burrata Dessert

    Top: from Chalk Point Kitchen in New York City. Bottom: Peaches with burrata, honey and pistachio nuts from Eat Wisconsin Cheese. Here’s the recipe.

     

    BURRATA FOR DESSERT

    You can also serve burrata for the cheese course or for dessert. Add spring fruits: blackberries, black mission figs, lychees and strawberries.

    Drizzle with honey and garnish with pistachios or other favorite nut(s). It’s so elegant, yet so easy to prepare.

    May we suggest including a glass of dessert wine? They often have peachy, honey notes that are a perfect pairing.
     
    WHAT IS BURRATA?

    Burrata is a “filled” mozzarella, a specialty of the Apulia region of Italy, the “heel of the boot.” The word means “buttery” in Italian.

    A hollow ball of buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) is filled with panna, cream that contains scraps of mozzarella left over from mozzarella-making. It seems like very fine-grained ricotta.

    Cut into the ball and the cream oozes out. While both buttery and creamy it is not overly rich; just overly delicious.

    Burata imported from Italy it’s traditionally wrapped in a green leaf, the fronds of an Italian plant called asphodel, in the lily family.

    The leaves are an indicator of freshness: As long as the leaves are still fresh and green, the cheese within is still fresh. Dried-out leaves mean a cheese is past its prime.

    Because it travels, the cheese also wrapped in a clear plastic bag to catch the natural liquid that drains from it.

    Here’s more about burrata cheese and the history of burrata.

     

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE BURRATA

    If you can find mozzarella curd, you can make your own. This recipe is from Chef Todd Andrews of restaurant Anella.
     
    Ingredients For An 8-Ounce Ball

  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella curd
  • 1 cup cream
  •  
    Preparation

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s one of several burrata videos on YouTube.

    1, CUT the mozzarella curd in half, setting one half aside. Grate the other half with a cheese grater into a bowl and mix well with the cream until smooth, creamy and completely incorporated. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Place the filling in the fridge until ready to use.

    2. HEAT a pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, turn the heat off and wait five minutes. When water is just cool enough to be able to touch with your bare hands, drop the remaining half of mozzarella curd into the water. Remove with tongs after about five minutes, and press flat against one hand with the other hand.

    3. TAKE the mozzarella in both hands and stretch it across one hand until even. With an ice cream scoop, scoop a heaping amount of the filling into the center of the cheese. Stretch the cheese around the filling, pulling it toward the center of the filling until completely stuffed. It’s ready to serve!

    4. SERVE with extra virgin olive oil and fresh pepper.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Idaho Potatoes

    Idaho potatoes are not a variety of potato; the term refers to any potato grown in Idaho.

    Idaho became known for its quality potatoes thanks to a growing season of warm days and cool nights, plenty of mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil. These factors combine to give Idaho potatoes a unique texture and taste.

    While some people think of Idaho potatoes as russets (bottom row), four key varieties are grown in the state:

  • Fingerling potatoes in red (French Fingerling variety), purple (Purple Peruvian) and yellow (Russian Banana), top 3 rows
  • Red potatoes (Cal Red, Red La Soda and Norland varieties), fourth row
  • Gold potatoes (Yukon Gold and Yukon Gem varieties), fifth row
  • Russet potatoes (Burbank and Norkotah varieties), bottom row
  •  
    Discover more, including lots of recipes, at IdahoPotato.com.
     
    FOOD TRIVIA: WHY ARE POTATOES CALLED SPUDS?

     

    Idaho Potatoes

    The Idaho Potato Commission created this collage of potatoes in the shape of Idaho.

     
    Originally, a spud was a short knife or dagger, probably from the Dutch spyd. The first written reference we have dates to about 1440.

    The term evolved to include a sharp, narrow spade used to dig up potatoes and other root crops. In the mid 18th century, the term caught on as slang for the potato itself.

      

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    RECIPE: Cabbage Slaw With Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette

    Putting our money where our mouth is, our follow-up to Make Cabbage The New Kale is this recipe for an alterntive to cole slaw.

    Instead of mayonnaise, it uses a vinaigrette flavored with lime juice and cumin.

    RECIPE: CABBAGE SLAW WITH CUMIN-LIME VINAIGRETTE

    Who needs mayonnaise? This cabbage slaw recipe, from Quinciple.com, is a fresh take on the conventional cole slaw recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 1 head cabbage, cored and thin sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  •  

    Cabbage Slaw With Lime

    It’s this simple to make your own cabbage slaw. This mayo-free recipe is from Quinciple.com.

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the cabbage in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients and pour the dressing over the cabbage.

    2. TOSS well to coat. If you have the time, let the slaw sit in the fridge for a half hour to allow the flavors to meld.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Cabbage The New Kale

    Head Of Cabbage

    Head Of Red Cabbage

    Savoy Cabbage

    Bok Choy (White Cabbage)

    Head Of Napa Cabbage

    Top: Familiar green cabbage. Second: Purple cabbage (other varieties are red). Bottom: Savoy cabbage. Third: Savoy cabbage. Fourth: Bok choy or white cabbage. Photos courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco. Bottom: Napa or Chinese cabbage. Photo courtesy MG Produce.

     

    St. Patrick’s Day evokes corned beef and cabbage—a dish the Irish learned in America, by the way, from immigrant Jews on New York’s Lower East Side. But we’d like to use the occasion for a plea:

    Make cabbage the new kale. Even if you’re not tired of trendy kale, we sure are.

    We’re turning back the clock. We were a cabbage lover before we ever heard of kale. Cole slaw and Nana’s stuffed cabbage were favorites while we were still in kindergarten. Next came sauerkraut on hot dogs and the braised red cabbage served with Sauerbraten, the German classic that marinates beef in vinegar or wine.

  • Cabbage is sharp and crunchy when served raw in salads and slaws. Unlike lettuce, it doesn’t wilt under dressing.
  • It becomes soft and suppple when braised over low heat, made into soup or cooked in casseroles. Heat brings out some sweetness.
  • It is both crisp and tender when grilled or added to stir-frys.
  • It plays well with other vegetables: brassicas, root vegetables, potatoes.
  •  
    CABBAGE VS. KALE

    Like kale, cabbage is a brassica (cruciferous vegetable), packed with anticarcinogen antioxidants.

    It even has fewer calories. Here’s a nutritional comparison.

    Eat This Not That highlights 10 greens that are healthier than kale. (This article, based on a report from the Centers For Disease Control [CDC], begs the question: When will chard become the next supergreen?)

    Finally, it’s a much more versatile ingredient, as you’ll discover when you keep reading.
     
    TYPES OF CABBAGE

    With these choices, it doesn’t get dull:

  • Bok choy/white cabbage, crisp, broad, white stems with a nutty nuance; tender, deep green leaves that taste not unlike spinach.
  • Green cabbage, ubiquitous, slightly peppery when raw.
  • Red/purple cabbage, slightly earthier than green cabbage.
  • Savoy cabbage, deeper green color, beautifully crinkled leaves, thinner leaves with mild flavor.
  • Napa† cabbage/Chinese cabbage, oblong shape with frilly, sweeter, softer leaves.
  •  
    You can use them interchangeably in recipes where the cabbage is chopped or sliced, like cole slaw or soup. The round heads are interchangeable, except when color or texture is important.

    While they do have different flavors, bok choy and napa cabbage are interchangeable in stir-fries and braises.

  • Bok choy is white-stemmed with dark green leaves; napa cabbage is pale green with crinkly leaves.
  • Napa cabbage has a very mild flavor along with a peppery kick. Bok choy has a stronger flavor, similar to green cabbage.
  •  
    WAYS TO USE CABBAGE

    For starters:

  • Baked cabbage chips (recipe)
  • Casseroles
  • Lettuce cup substitute
  • Sandwich wraps
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sides
  • Slaws
  • Soups and stews
  • Stuffed cabbage
  •  
    Emeril’s favorite cabbage recipe has bacon and is simmered in beer.

    We’d love to know your favorite cabbage recipe.

    _______________________________
    *The Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables includes arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, horseradish/wasabi, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rapeseed/canola, rapini, rutabaga and turnips, among others.

    †Here, “napa” does not refer to California’s Napa Valley. The word originates from a Japanese term that refers to the leaves of vegetables that are edible. The variety originated near Beijing, China.

     

     
    RECIPE: THAI STEAK SALAD WITH RED CABBAGE

    In addition to Thai salads with cabbage and stuffed cabbage, we now regularly make cabbage wraps.

    Thanks to Quinciple, a weekly curated delivery of farmer’s market produce, for this recipe.

    Ingredients For 1-3 Servings‡

  • 1 sirloin steak
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup red or purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound baby greens
  • ¼ cup mixed fresh cilantro and mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SEASON the steak generously on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet with just a few drops of oil in it, sear the steak on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, or longer for more well-done beef. Sirloin tastes best when cooked hot and fast to medium rare. Let the steak cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

    2. WHISK together the juice from the lime, the soy sauce, fish sauce, shallot and olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

    3. SLICE the steak thinly. Toss the greens and cabbage with the dressing. Divide the salad between two plates and top with the steak. Garnish with the mint, cilantro and peanuts.

     

    Thai Steak Salad

    Cabbage Wrap Sandwiches

    Top photo: Thai Steak Salad with red cabbage from Quinciple. Bottom: Savoy cabbage wraps, served with spicy peanut dipping sauce. Here’s the recipe from AHouseInTheHills.com.

     
    __________________________
    ‡Depending on whether you plan to serve the salad as a first course or a main.

      

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    RECIPE: Eggplant & Tomatoes With Indian Seasonings

    Eggplant and tomato dishes have found their way into world cuisines: ratatouille and tian in France; caponata from Sicily; Middle Eastern eggplant, tomato and chickpea casserole; among so many others.

    In this recipe, Maya Kaimal, the doyenne of fine prepared Indian foods in the U.S., adds layers of flavor with Indian spices. Slices of fried eggplant are folded into a spicy tomato sauce. Use a nonstick skillet to minimize the amount of oil needed for frying.

    You don’t have to wait until tomato season to enjoy this recipe. You can use canned tomatoes, and fresh in the summer. (We use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes in the off season.)

    Find more of Maya’s authentic recipes at MayaKaimal.com.

    RECIPE: EGGPLANT & TOMATOES WITH INDIAN SPICES

    Use a heart-healthy oil (coconut oil, olive oil, Malaysian palm oil) and this is a “good for you” way to eat your veggies. Prep time is 40 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 thin Japanese* eggplants cut into ¼-inch rounds (about 4 cups)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water as needed
  •  
    For The Spice Mixture

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ____________________
    *You can substitute a standard Italian eggplant, cut into ¾-inch chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add enough eggplant to cover the pan in a single layer. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more oil as needed for each batch to prevent sticking.

     

    Eggplant & Tomato Recipe

    Brown Mustard Seeds

    Fennel Seeds

    Top: Eggplant in a spicy tomato sauce. Photo courtesy Maya Kaimal. Center: Brown mustard seeds from Maille. Bottom: Fennel seeds from SilkRoadSpices.ca.

     
    2. WIPE the pan clean. Over medium-high heat, heat the mustard and fennel seeds in 1 tablespoon oil until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt and spice mixture. Continue frying over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes turn orange and pieces break down to form a soft paste, about 5 minutes.

    3. ADD the reserved eggplant and stir very gently to combine with the tomato mixture. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the eggplant is cooked through, adding water in small amounts if the mixture becomes too dry. Taste and add salt as desired.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Uses For Extra Shallots

    Shallot Vinaigrette Recipe

    Shallots

    Oysters With Mignonette Sauce

    Top: Shallot vinaigrette, a French classic
    from Good Eggs. Center: Shallot bulbs have
    individual cloves, like garlic bulbs; photo
    courtesy Burpee. Bottom: Mignonette sauce
    for oysters is shallot vinaigrette without the
    oil.

     

    While they are a staple in France, most Americans don’t keep a store of shallots in the kitchen. Shallots tend to be that specialty onion you purchase for a particular recipe.

    If you buy them for a particular recipe and have a extra shallots, what should you do with them?

  • Milder than onions, they are easy to add to salads, omelets, roasted vegetables and other recipes.
  • You can caramelize them or fry them into a crispy shallot garnish.
  • Use them to top a burger, bruschetta or a pizza, raw or sautéed.
  • Two classic French recipes are shallot vinaigrette and mignonette sauce for oysters. The difference: mignonette sauce has no oil.
  •  
    RECIPE: SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

    Prep time is 5 minutes, active time is 20 minutes.

    You can double or triple the recipe and keep the extra in the fridge.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 small shallots, minced (tiny dice, 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    A shallot is different from other onions in that the bulb is made up of individual cloves like a bulb of garlic, its close cousin.

    The technique for dicing shallots and onions is to leave the root end of the bulb or clove intact while you cut. This keeps the bulb together so you can cut pieces that are uniform in size. Here’s a video showing how to peel, slice, dice and chop shallots.

    1. COMBINE the vinegar and minced shallots in a small bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

    2. ADD the olive oil and a pinch of salt, and whisk together until well-combined.

    3. TASTE and add another pinch of salt and pepper as desired.

     
    CRISPY FRIED SHALLOT GARNISH

    Use these to garnish anything savory. We add them to plain grilled fish, meat and poultry for a bit of pizzazz.

    Ingredients

  • ½ pound shallots (about 6), peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LINE a large plate with paper towels. In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer and lightly smoke.

    2. ADD the shallots and cook, stirring often, until light golden brown, about 7-9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to the paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

     

    WHAT ARE SHALLOTS

    Shallots are an allium, a member of the same botanic species as chives, garlic, leeks, onions and scallions/green onions. They are a milder type of onion, imparting a subtle flavor to recipes. Like garlic, shallots can be separated into cloves.

    Shallots are preferred by French chefs, because their mild flavor doesn’t overpower the other flavors in a dish. Unlike onion flavor, which can be prominent, shallots are a quieter member of the ensemble of ingredients.
     
    Meet The Genus

    The Allium genus comprises some favorite flavor ingredients:

  • Chive: Allium schoenoprasum
  • Garlic: Allium sativum
  • Green onion/scallion: Allium cepa var. cepa
  • Leek: Allium ampeloprasum
  • Onion and spring onion*: Allium cepa
  • Shallot: Allium cepa var. aggregatum
  •  

    Fried Shallot Garnish RecipeFried Shallots

    A crispy fried shallot garnish tops sautéed baby greens. Here’s the recipe from ItsNotEasyEatingGreen.com.

     
    The botanical family is Amaryllidaceae, which contains mainly perennial flowering bulbs such as amaryllis and other lillies, daffodil and tuberose. Allium genus members are also bulbs and also flower, but not in the same, showy way that engenders garden and home decoration.
     
    HERE ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ONIONS.
     
    *Spring onions are immature onions, harvested early in the season.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sauté Your Greens

    How To Saute Greens

    Green Garlic

    TOP: You can sauté greens in 2-4 minutes,
    with some onion, garlic and olive oil. What
    looks like red-tipped green onions are red
    spring onions, a close relative (see the
    differences below). The green garlic
    tops and bottoms have been minced.
    BOTTOM: Green garlic, available in the
    spring, looks like scallions (but you won’t be
    fooled—the nose knows!). Photos courtesy
    Good Eggs.

     

    Your recommended daily fill of vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, mashed or puréed. A glass of a 100% vegetable juice counts as a serving.
     
    YOUR CHOICE OF VEGGIES

    The USDA organizes vegetables into five subgroups. Your daily servings can come from any of them, although a mixture is best for rounded nutrition:

  • Dark-green vegetables
  • Starchy vegetables, including white potatoes and grains
  • Red and orange vegetables, including sweet potatoes
  • Beans and peas
  • Other (bean sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, green cabbage, lettuce, green/wax beans, mushroom, onion, yellow squash/zucchini, etc.)
  •  
    Women and teen girls should consume 2-1/2 cups daily, men and teen boys, three cups. Younger children get a bit less.

    The USDA has handy charts at ChoseMyPlate.com, including the quantity of each option that constitutes a serving—1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens, for example.

    We’re happy to eat our green, red and orange vegetables steamed. When we have more time, we roast root vegetables.
     
    But we rarely sauté all those tasty, leafy, good-for-you “cooking greens” (as compared to salad greens).

    Our friends at Good Eggs, a premium grocery delivery service in San Francisco, nudged us a bit by sending us these tips and recipe.
     
    HOW TO SAUTÉ GREENS

    Use this sauté technique with any and all leafy cooking greens—broccoli rabe, chard, collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, etc.—plus garlic and onions. Sauté the greens in olive oil with the garlic and onions and you’ve got a simple, delicious side.

     
    Don’t hesitate to sauté a medley: Mixed greens give you more flavors to enjoy.

    This is your opportunity to try greens you haven’t had before. You’re bound to enjoy anything sautéed with onions and garlic.

    Ingredients

  • 1 bunch leafy greens, chopped roughly to bite size
  • 1 spring onion including the tops, thinly sliced (substitute green onion—see the differences below)
  • ½ green garlic, white and pale green parts sliced thin*
  • Pinch of salt
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Optional: pinch of chile flakes
  • ____________________
    *If you can find green garlic at a farmers market or upscale produce store, grab it. It looks like scallions (see photo above) but smells like garlic. It’s the baby plant before it matures into the papery-covered bulb of cloves. Otherwise, substitute one or two cloves of garlic, minced.

     

    Preparation

    1. COVER the bottom of a large sauté pan or skillet with olive oil, and place it over medium-heat. Add the garlic, onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions are translucent but before they turn golden brown. While the garlic and onions cook…

    2. PLACE the greens in a colander and rinse quickly with cold water. Shake off the excess but don’t worry about patting dry: a bit of water clinging to the greens will help in the cooking.

    3. TURN the heat to high, add a pinch of chile flakes, then add the greens. Once the greens are in the pan, move them around with a pair of tongs and add a pinch of salt.

    4. SAUTÉ until the greens are just tender, 2-4 minutes (taste to determine). If all of the water has evaporated before then, add a splash of water. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and salt to taste.
     
    MEET THE ALLIUM GENUS

    Green onion (scallion) and spring onion are different members of the Allium genus, the “onion genus.”

  • Green onions and scallions are different names for the same species. They are either harvested very young from the regular, bulb-forming onions, or are other varieties that never form bulbs. Green onions are milder than other onion varieties; the green tops are milder than the bulbs. The bulbs can be red or white, with white being most commonly found.
  • Spring onions look similar to scallions, but have a base of small round bulbs at the base. They are planted in the fall and then harvested in the spring, hence the name. Spring onions are more intense than green onions, but milder than regular onions. As with green onions, the bulbs can be red or white.
  •  

    Raw  Broccoli Rabe

    Baby Red Chard

    Raw Mustard Greens

    Top: Broccoli rabe, called rapini in Italian. Center: Baby red chard. Bottom: Red mustard greens. Photos courtesy Good Eggs.

  • More confusion: new spring garlic, known as green garlic, can easily be confused with green onions. The are an immature version of the standard cured garlic bulbs (the harvested bulbs are hung up to dry). Good Eggs advises: As the bulb matures, the garlic greens die off. The mature bulbs re harvested in the fall, having developed a number of cloves surrounded by papery cellulose layers. Green garlic has a sweeter, milder flavor than when the mature, cured bulbs.
  • However, as different English-speaking countries use different words to describe something, green onions are called spring onions in the U.K. and Canada. It’s easy to determine what they are in your vocabulary: green onions have a straight bulb at the bottom, spring onions have a round bulb.
  •  
    Here are all the different types of onions.
     
    ALL IN THE FAMILY

    Well, all in the Allium genus (the family is Amaryllidaceae):

  • Chive: Allium schoenoprasum
  • Garlic: Allium sativum
  • Green onion/scallion: Allium cepa var. cepa
  • Leek: Allium ampeloprasum
  • Onion: Allium cepa
  • Shallot: Allium cepa var. aggregatum
  •   

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