Try This— Root to Stalk Cooking

I don’t want to look back on my life and think, I could’ve eaten that. Anyone that’s ever tended their own vegetable garden, or paid those hefty price tags for organic vegetables knows the pain of throwing those perfectly green stalks into the compost heap. The amount of care we take and the amount of money we spend to have fresh, organic vegetables in our kitchens is reason enough to adopt the philosophy of root to stalk cooking. The most convincing reason though is that we’ve been robbing ourselves of some pretty vital nutrients and unexpectedly rich flavors without even knowing it. While every home cook knows that vegetable scraps can make the perfect broth, it’s totally easy to overlook the other awesome root to stem cooking techniques. You must try this!

Cauliflower doesn’t have to be cut into florets. Instead, you can slice straight through the stem to create ‘cauliflower steaks’ to roast in the oven or sear in a pan with tomatoes, black olives, and capers

Leeks have those dark green tops that take longer to cook, but transform into a braising green with a slight onion flavor that gives a richness to egg dishes

Beet greens look and taste like a cross between beets and chard (earthy and sharp) and are delicious sautéed and added to a whole-grain salad (think quinoa or cous cous) with pickled beets, goat cheese, and walnuts

Radishes come with peppery-tasting leaves that you can use as salad greens tossed with sweet corn, tomatoes, and a creamy dressing, along with the radishes themselves.

Broccoli stalks used to never make it to my plate. But the silky, dark leaves surrounding broccoli stalks cook like spinach and taste like the sweetest broccoli you’ve ever had. The stalk itself can be peeled leaving the sweet and crunchy part of the stem which is just a perfect addition to a stir fry

Fennel fronds and stems are sweeter than the white bulbs and have a stronger anise flavor. If you like licorice, you can thinly slice the stems and candy them, or head in a savory direction and toss them in a salad with sliced fennel bulbs, shaved Parmesan, lemon juice, and olive oil

These tips and more delicious recipes can be found in Tara Duggan’s Root to Stalk Cooking available on Amazon.

Try This— Vegetarian Lebanese Stew

I’d rather spend half an hour rearranging things in the dishwasher to fit in that last mug than spend the 20 seconds it would take to wash it by hand. Are you sure you want to turn me loose on meal planning? Ok. Let’s go! If my dishwasher ambition tells you anything, it’s that I crave efficiency. I like the idea of making a big meal on a Sunday evening and eating the leftovers throughout the week. Cook once, eat all week. I’ve found that when the weather is as cold as it’s been, there’s nothing more satisfying than a piping hot bowl of stew. Served over rice, mashed potatoes, with a side salad, or as a stand alone meal, vegetarian stews are probably the easiest weeknight meal you can make.

In the past, I’ve always just sliced up root vegetables and dumped them in a slow cooker with some pre-made soup (carrots, turnips, parsnips, onions, potatoes, and yams, with a butternut squash soup base is my favorite). Totally easy way to make a stew, but after a while it can get a little boring. I decided to play with some Middle Eastern flavors in the stew I made last night and I’m so glad I did! Oregano, mint, and cinnamon take this stew to new heights. It’s hearty, stick-to-your-ribs good, yet still seems fresh and lighter than most stews. You must try this!

Lebanese Vegetarian Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped. You pick the colors. I like green peppers in this stew
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced.
  • 3 baking potatoes, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16 ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 26.46 ounce box of Pomi Strained Tomatoes or a 28 ounce can of tomato puree
  • 13 ounces or a generous 1-1/2 cups of canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of white wine or a couple of splashes of dry vermouth (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • Drizzle of honey or about a teaspoon of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Rub it between your fingers to release the flavor.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried marjoram (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint
  • A couple of pinches of ground cinnamon
  • Olive oil for cooking and drizzling
  • Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a large dutch oven or an oven safe pot with a lid, saute the onions and bell pepper on medium to medium high heat with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Once the pepper and onions are soft, add the potatoes, garlic, chickpeas, white beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, wine/vermouth, sugar, dried herbs, spices, bay leaves and more salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a gentle boil. Immediately turn down the heat, simmer, covered for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • After 5 minutes of stove top simmering, place the pot in the oven and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • When the stew is finished cooking, remove bay leaves.
  • Adjust the salt and pepper. Also add a pinch more of dried oregano, mint and cinnamon.
  • Serve with rice or a salad and a dollop of sour cream.
  • Enjoy!

This recipes makes a pretty big pot of stew. If you’re cooking for yourself, you can place the leftovers in mason jars and store for up to a week in the refrigerator, and up to 2 months in the freezer. Bonus: If you’re feeling like you want a pot pie (and really who doesn’t?), this stew makes the perfect filling. Just pour this into your pie pan and bake. Seriously, how easy is that?!

Pro tip: I prefer to use Pomi tomato products because they come in a box instead of a can, and somehow always retain a garden fresh flavor.

recipe adapted from Vintage Kitchen

Food Trends to Watch For in 2018

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Fact: The closest I came to dieting in 2017 was when I deleted some of the food photos from my phone gallery. I’ll admit, when I’m talking about dieting here, I’m almost never talking about weight loss. What I am talking about is the way diet totally effects how we feel.  I’m here to tell you that skinny vegetarians can feel like crap too. Take it from me. I’m also here to tell you that big girls can be amazingly fit. Case in point: this fierce yogi. So, with less of an emphasis on weight, nutrition and health take center stage. This year, we can expect to see some super nutritious additions to last year’s growing list of healthy food trends. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally ready! Seriously, after a steady diet of cake, sweet, sugar, pastry, and cocktail since Halloween, I’m determined to start this new year off right. Let’s take a look!

2018 Food Trends

Whole Foods Predicts…

Whole Foods just released their annual report on food trends, giving us a clue as to what we’ll be seeing a lot of this year. Plant based products, floral flavors, mushrooms (anyone ready for a mushroom coffee?!), airy snacks like jicama crisps, root to stem recipes (zero food waste, hello!), and both Middle Eastern (mmm, Halloumi Burgers) and Filipino cuisine are all set to have a huge impact on 2018.

the dairy aisle gets some help from Sweden

Last year, while I was in Stockholm, I had one of the best lattes ever, y’all. I went to this coffee shop called Snickarbacken7 in the Norrmalm neighborhood. Anybody that knows me knows that me ordering a latte is always a production. Vanilla soy latte, one pump of vanilla and light on the foam. I’m trying to buy coffee, not air bubbles and simple syrup. Does that make me picky? Anyway, Snickarbacken7 didn’t have any soy milk, and I was so over almond milk and coconut milk lattes the second I tried them. The barista offered me an oat milk latte instead. YOOOOOOO!!! Oat milk is absolutely amazing. Creamy, subtly sweet, and easily my new favorite dairy alternative milk. Look for the Swedish company Oatly to hit US shelves in February.

Move over, matcha, Make Room for Moringa.

While matcha has made it’s rounds in everything from lattes to must-have beauty products over the last few years and while it doesn’t show signs of stopping, get ready to see a lot more moringa. Moringa is made from the leaves of the moringa tree, a plant native to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder that has a deliciously earthy flavor, not so different from matcha, but with comparable anti-inflammatory properties to turmeric. This year, you’ll see moringa in smoothies, nourishment bowls, health bars, and even lattes. Moringa powder is readily available on amazon making it easy for a home cook to experiment with it’s unique flavor.

The next big thing after Instant Pot

In 2017, our Instagram feeds were flooded with delicious Instant Pot creations. That versatile little kitchen appliance combined the capabilities of a pressure cooker, steamer, slow cooker, and skillet into one convenient device. The Instant Pot gave us healthy meals in a fraction of the time, using a fraction of the energy. What it didn’t give us was fried food. Um. We need fried food. Enter the air fryer. What sets fried food apart is that familiar crunchy texture we all love. What makes it unhealthy is the loads of oil we have to use to get that tasty crunch. The air fryer remedies all of that by evenly circulating air around your temptation of choice, giving you that fried food comfort without all the guilt. These gadgets aren’t exactly new, but more and more companies are joining the trend and offering more affordable options. If you wanna go for broke because fried food is your happy place, you can opt for the pricier, latest version of the Phillips Air Fryer. A more frugal version is yours for under $100 here.

I’m so excited for this year! You guys! 2018! Can you believe it?

Try This— My Favorite 4 Healthy Christmas Brunch Recipes

I’m pretty bad at all those get fit, over-haul-your-diet kind of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve decided, instead, to end this year on a healthy note. Kind of a tall order considering Christmas cookies and New Year’s drinks, but I’m pretty determined to get a jump on all the healthy promises I make to myself come January 1st. The thing is, I like sweet and yummy. Is that a crime?! I think not. These recipes will have you thinking you’re in the Matrix because they’re so damn good, and so good for you. This is not a dream, Neo, it’s just Christmas brunch. You must try this!

Make Ahead Baked Gingerbread Pecan French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf hearty white bread, sliced
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup brewed gingerbread coffee (see note if you don’t have gingerbread coffee on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions

  1. Butter a baking dish generously.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, coffee, vanilla and spices.
  3. Arrange the bread in the baking dish in a staggered (staircase-like) manner.
  4. Pour the liquid over the top of the bread, fully coating each piece.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Take the plastic wrap off the baking dish and spoon whatever liquid has not been absorbed over the tops of the bread.
  8. Sprinkle the nuts and brown sugar on top and bake for 35-40 minutes until the liquid is cooked and the tops of the bread are starting to turn golden brown. You can broil for 1-2 minutes at the end for an even more toasted look.
  9. Remove from the oven, garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm with maple syrup and butter.

Winter Fruit Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 large ruby red grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 2-3 navel oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 2-3 medium pears, any variety, cored and sliced
  • 2 ripe persimmons, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, cut into thin ribbons, or torn into pieces

Directions

  1. Place the citrus fruit, pears, and persimmons into a serving bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and set aside.
  2. Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally. Working over a bowl set in the bottom of the kitchen sink, hold the pomegranate in your hand, cut-side down. Hit the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon. The seeds will fall from the membranes into the bowl. Fill the bowl with cool water. Any of the leftover membranes will rise to the top and can easily be separated from the seeds. Drain and sprinkle over the top of the other fruit.
  3. Sprinkle the fresh mint over the top and serve immediately.

Quinoa Granola With Cranberry and Pistachio

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well to remove bitterness and well-drained
  • 1/4 cup slivered raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the quinoa, almonds, pistachios,and flax seeds; stir well. Heat the maple syrup and the coconut oil in a small microwave-safe bowl on high for 20 seconds. Stir in the cinnamon, and salt then pour the wet ingredients over the dry and toss to coat.
  3. Spread the quinoa mixture in a thin layer overthe prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring twice during the cook time. Add the chopped cranberries during the last 5 minutes of cook time.
  4. Cool completely on the baking sheet, as it cools the granola will harden and begin to clump together. When cooled break up any large pieces of granola into small clusters and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve along side yogurt or with milk

Simple Kale Frittata

Ingredients

  • 8-10 kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 extra large (or 8 large) eggs
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk (non-dairy, unsweetened is fine)
  • a little water
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the kale well, dry and rip into pieces or cut into ribbons.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, 10-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet. Add the diced onion and cook until it softens and turns golden brown, about 15 minutes. (You can speed up the process by adding some water to the skillet and letting it evaporate as the onions cook.)
  3. Add the garlic and kale to the pan along with a little water to keep the kale from sticking to the pan. Continue cooking and season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the milk. Add a little more salt and pepper to the eggs. When the kale has wilted and cooked down, remove the pan from the heat and pour the eggs over the kale and rearrange as necessary so everything is evenly distributed in the pan.
  5. Place pan in the oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool slightly before cutting into wedges.
  6. Serve with home fries.

Source: Cafe Johnsonia and Hello Glow

5 Last Minute Vegetarian Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Menu

I love you all. I really do, but I have suffered through many a Thanksgiving hosted by well-meaning, non-vegetarian friends where the feast pickings were slim. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that my crusade against leaving your vegetarian guests hungry at Thanksgiving rages on. Last year I gave you some tips on how to not starve your vegetarian guests on Thanksgiving. Hopefully you heeded my advice, and had an amazing vegetarian friendly holiday. This year, I want to share some of my favorite last minute Thanksgiving recipes that are not only easy to prepare, but also super delicious!

Vegetarian Vegetable Stew

via The Curvy Carrot

Simple Pumpkin Soup

via Minimalist Baker

Mushroom Pot Pie

via Savory Simple

Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Balsamic Sage Brown Butter

via Salt and Wind

Mushroom & Stout Pot Pies with Sweet Potato crust

via First Mess