White Beans with Black Olive Vinaigrette

 

BLOG_July 28, 2014This is a truly simple vegan salad that is delicious on its own or mixed into a green salad. Makes a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

White Beans with Black Olive Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Canal House Cooking
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pitted black olives
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • S/P
  • 2 cans cooked cannellini beans
  • Lettuce, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix together all ingredients from garlic to red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Season with S/P. Add the beans and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve atop lettuce or a tossed salad, or eat on its own.

 

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America’s Test Kitchen Tabbouleh

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It’s July – holy shit, how did that happen? Summer is going by way too fast! I’ve been traveling and we recently adopted a rescue puppy so things have been a bit crazy around here.

It’s hot, and I’m pretty exhausted, so easy, cool, refreshing salads like this are my perfect summertime lunch. Fresh, homemade tabbouleh is so delicious – I love it stuffed in pita bread! Enjoy!

*I’ve listed the cooking time as 30 minutes, which is the active time – plan on another 1hr 30 mins for standing time.

America’s Test Kitchen Tabbouleh
Author: America’s Test Kitchen
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 medium round tomatoes, about one pound
  • salt
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 cup medium grind bulgur (this is the most common “size” of bulgur)
  • 2 lemons
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Core the 3 tomatoes and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss tomatoes and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Transfer to a fine-mesh strainer, set strainer in bowl and let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile chop enough parsley to yield 1/2 cup. Set aside. Thinly slice the scallions. Set aside. Juice the 2 lemons to yield 1/4 cup juice. Set aside.
  3. Once tomatoes have finished draining, rinse the bulgur in fine-mesh strainer under cold water. Drain well. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in 2 tbsp. of the lemon juice and 2 tbsp. of the juice drained from the tomatoes.
  4. Let stand until grains begin to soften, about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Whisk remaining 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 6 tbsp. olive oil, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add drained tomatoes, soaked bulgur, chopped parsley, chopped mint, and scallions. Toss gently to combine.
  6. Cover and let stand at room temperature until flavors have blended and bulgur is tender, about 1 hour. Toss to recombine, season with S/P to taste, and serve.

 

How to Create Healthy, Satisfying Lunch Salads in Four Easy Steps

 

I just finished up a huge lunch made by my Spanish mother-in-law so this seems like a suitable post at the moment. I’m on vacation so healthy lunch is not a priority, but come next week I will be back to eating healthy, satisfying lunches and this is something I’ve wanted to share with you guys for some time.

As a teacher I don’t have the option of going out for lunch during the work week.  In my former life as an attorney I often took long lunches outside the office. Although there are times I miss having this option, I tend to eat much healthier lunches because I bring mine to work each day.

Lunch is by far the easiest way for me to infuse my diet with good, low-fat eating. I’ve tried really hard to create good breakfast habits, and although I’ve been fairly successful with smoothies or juicing in the morning, I often go through periods of wanting nothing but coffee at my normal 7am “gotta hit the road” time. Lunch, however, is something I am always ready to devour and I find healthy salads really satisfying mid-day.

I’ve found there are two really important keys to keeping up a good healthy lunch habit –

1. Make and pack your lunches Sunday before the work week. Salads are simple to create but require a great deal of washing and chopping. Doing all of this just once before the week starts ensures you will have lunch available each day with no additional effort.

and

2. Mix it up! If you have the same thing each week you will get bored and be more likely to eat out, or stick something in the microwave.

So, here are my easy steps for creating healthy lunch salads you can enjoy each week. On Sundays I set up five tupper ware containers and follow these steps, dividing the ingredients into each container and voilà I have lunch done for the entire week.

ONE: Pick a base. This is your main ingredient and these are some of my favorite options:

 

*Lettuce/Greens

There are so many varieties out there so you don’t always need to stick to one type. I love baby kale, arugula, baby spinach, and romaine. And they are great all mixed together too. One note, if you use lettuce as your base make sure you DRY the lettuce really well after washing. Otherwise it will make the salads soggy. I wash, dry, and chop at one time and never have problems with packing five lunches at a time so long as I dry the lettuce well. Or I simply divide lettuce from a convenient container like those above (and shame on me, I rarely wash boxed lettuces so I hope they actually do wash three times :)).

*Whole grains 

Barley, bulgur, farro, quinoa, couscous, Israeli couscous (my favorite!) and rice are all great, hearty options if you want a grain base. You can also do a mix of greens and grains.

TWO: Add chopped vegetables.

This is self-explanatory, but there are really so many options so don’t limit yourself to cucumber and tomato. I love the new varieties of petite bell peppers out now. Mushrooms, raw corn cut off the cob, snow peas and other raw vegetables are all great options. Again, make sure you dry all ingredients well, especially the mushrooms.

 

THREE: Add-ins.

This is my favorite way to add variety to my salads. Some wonderful options to provide texture and taste:

Olives

Marinated vegetables like baby artichokes

Fruit, dried and fresh

Beans

Crumbled cooked tempeh or tofu

Nuts

Cheese

Scoop of hummus (pack it separately)

Sliced meats

Tuna or other fish

FOUR: Decide on a dressing.

Most days I simply leave a wedge of lemon in each salad container and I have a bottle of olive oil at work – I use those to dress my salads. But I also love to make vinaigrettes with fresh herbs. I do this by simply processing fresh herbs, S/P, lemon, and olive oil in a small food processor until smooth (much like a pesto, but not as thick). Again, to prevent the salad from becoming soggy you should pack the dressing separately. Mason jars are great. Bring one to work and use your dressing throughout the week. If you buy a dressing make sure to read the labels closely so you don’t ruin your beautiful, healthy salad with unhealthy wasted calories.

See here for instructions on making frozen herb patties you can use to make dressing even when you are out of fresh herbs. Summer is approaching so that’s the time to preserve all the beautiful herbs popping up in the sun. Enjoy!

 

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Bacon, Eggs, and Leeks

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner … I love a recipe that works any time of the day.  And even better, it’s done in under 20 minutes. If you’ve never tried leeks I highly recommend them. They look like giant green onions, but are much more mild than a traditional onion. They are extremely healthy, and if you don’t eat much in the garlic and onion family you should try these to still get some of the great nutritional benefits of this plant family.

You will need a skillet with a lid for this recipe – the steam from the cover will cook the eggs without flipping. Vegetarians can simply omit the bacon or substitute with a vegetarian option.

Bacon, Eggs, and Leeks

Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Martha Stewart
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 4-6 large leeks, sliced, discard the soft dark green parts
  • 4 eggs, cracked in individual bowls
  • Chives, sliced – optional
Instructions
  1. Cook 6 slices of bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove from heat, drain on paper towels, and crumble; set aside.
  2. Saute the sliced leeks in the bacon fat until soft. Make 4 wells in the skillet and plop each egg into one of the wells. Cover and cook until just set, about 5 minutes. Top with the crumbled bacon and serve immediately; garnish with fresh chives if you desire.

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How to – Perfect, Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

hard boiled eggs

We eat a lot of eggs around here. So much so that we are seriously considering buying our own little chicks and setting up a coop in our backyard.  I’ve heard they are fun to raise and believe that farm-fresh eggs are healthier and much more ethical.  Anyone out there have backyard chickens? Tips for us as we start our research? Please share!

In my opinion, eggs are the ultimate versatile food. You can literally have them for any meal and I think they are perfect for people trying to enjoy more meatless meals because they are so filling. I hard boil eggs often for salads, sandwiches, and simple snacks. I just love a sliced hard boiled egg with a sprinkling of fresh cracked salt and pepper or a drizzle of Sriracha.

hard boiled eggs1

But I love my hard boiled eggs cooked well – no ugly green rings around the yolk, perfectly creamy yolks, and whole, intact glossy whites. Here’s the method I use to produce perfect hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel. The key with hard boiled eggs is to follow this closely – fresh eggs, too much time boiling, or too little water can all cause less than perfect eggs.

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You will need: 

Eggs at room temp

*I always try to use eggs that I’ve had for about a week because fresh eggs are more difficult to peel. Ideally 7-10 days in the fridge before using for hard boiled eggs. If you try to cook really fresh eggs in this manner you will have difficulty peeling them regardless of what method you use.

Water

A deep sided pan/pot and a large bowl for the ice bath

Salt

hard boiled eggs2

STEP 1 – PREP EGGS

Place the eggs in a pot with cold water that completely covers the eggs with an inch of extra water minimum. Do not start the eggs in boiling water, let them cook gradually in cold water.

hard boiled eggs3

STEP 2 – SALT EGGS

Add one teaspoon salt to the water – this helps with peeling and does not impact taste.

STEP 3 – BOIL

Bring the water to a boil over high heat and let boil for one minute.

hard boiled eggs4

STEP 4 – REST OFF HEAT

Remove the pot from the heat and cover it with a lid. Let rest off the heat for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the egg. A standard large-sized egg should take about 12 minutes, adjust accordingly if your egg is smaller or bigger.

STEP 5 – ICE BATH AND PEEL

Remove the eggs from the hot water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water and ice cubes. Once cooled, about 5 minutes, crack in several spots and peel. Use the water from the bowl or the faucet to help you.

 hard boiled eggs5

 

How to – Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
 
Author: Q&DK
5 steps to perfect hard boiled eggs!
Ingredients
  • Eggs
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. STEP 1 – PREP EGGS
  2. Place the eggs in a pot with cold water that completely covers the eggs with an inch of extra water minimum. Do not start the eggs in boiling water, let them cook gradually in cold water.
  3. STEP 2 – SALT EGGS
  4. Add one teaspoon salt to the water – this helps with peeling and does not impact taste.
  5. STEP 3 – BOIL
  6. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and let boil for one minute.
  7. STEP 4 – REST OFF HEAT
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and cover it with a lid. Let rest off the heat for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the egg. A standard large sized egg should take about 12 minutes, adjust accordingly if your egg is smaller or bigger.
  9. STEP 5 – ICE BATH AND PEEL
  10. Remove the eggs from the hot water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water and ice cubes. Once cooled, about 5 minutes, crack in several spots and peel. Use the water from the bowl or the faucet to help you.