Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Green and Yellow Summer Squash Carpaccio Salad - A Review and Giveaway of Veggies for Carnivores

Zucchini Carpaccio with Baby Arugula and Spicy Globe Basil.

Lora Krulak, the lifestyle author of the vibrantly healthy cookbook, Veggies for Carnivores, Moving Vegetables to the Center of the Plate (Changing Lives Press) is blessed with an effervescence one would think is only available through the popping of a pill.  But Lora's energy is the creative combustion of what she prepares in the kitchen through recipes that are as innovative as they are simple.  I highly recommend her Zucchini Carpaccio. It has repeatedly dazzled me with its colorful presentation and flavors.  It makes an elegant appetizer when plated, but can also be piled high in a salad bowl for casual dining.              

A world traveler, Lora spent some time with me to discuss her culinary style, why it works for her, and how it can work for you, too, even if you are a meat eater.  (Details on the giveaway are below.)

Q:  Why Veggies for Carnivores?  What is the concept, and what are your goals in sharing the recipes you have developed in this cookbook?   Are you a carnivore who eats veggies?  What is a typical daily menu for you?

A: The goal behind Veggies for Carnivores is to show readers how to flip their vegetable ratio. I illustrate how vegetable-centric meals don't have to focus on tofu or beans and can be delicious - beautiful meals that can either complement a "carnivore's creation" or easily stand on their own. I'd also like to teach my readers how to use the recipes as starting points for their own creations, to learn techniques allowing them to incorporate more vegetables into their daily routines.

Regarding my own eating habits, I'm a vegetarian, mostly. I do eat fish and sometimes eat sheep or goat cheese. I can go weeks without eating any animal protein and not really notice.

I'm a creature of habit and will go through phases with foods. I'll find something I like to eat and will have to eat it every day. I recently went through a hummus phase and I'm pretty sure I ate it for lunch, snack and dinner every day for six months.

On a typical day for me is a breakfast of avocado, lacuma powder and dried mulberries, but I always have my green juice first. Lunch normally is a salad of some sort, and dinner is a vegetable and perhaps grilled fish or a roasted squash. Sometimes it's just soup and salad. My weakness lately is frozen yogurt. I like to make it myself, which is easy to do in a Vitamix.

Q: Tell me about your background. You have a degree from Parsons. You've mentioned that it has been very helpful in getting you to the place you are today. How have you applied your formal education to the career path you have now chosen?

A: You wouldn't think a BFA would have much to do with cooking or nutrition, but to me it's been the most useful training. I studied graphic design so I was trained to think in layers and in 2D. A professor at Parsons once taught me that if you limit yourself to two typefaces and only use those two with no other elements, you'll be able to design anything. I did that for 6 months. So when I was faced with food intolerances and began to re-create recipes, I applied that principle to cooking. I call it "creating in a small box." I actually approach everything that way. I find it easier to be more creative when I limit ingredients or choices. Anyone can create a masterpiece if given everything. Creating one with almost nothing makes cooking and eating more fun, don't you think?

Q: You have mentioned food intolerances. Which ones do you suffer from? What suggestions could you offer to those who do about making wise decisions to accommodate their own particular dietary requirements?

A: I am sensitive to dairy and wheat. I also avoid soy, but that is mostly by choice. As far as accommodating one's own dietary requirements, it's easier than you'd think. Many people approach food intolerances and allergies as if it's a difficult task or a prison sentence. In fact, it's really quite liberating and opens up a whole world of possibilities. Nowadays there are so many more products available, and restaurants are very accommodating to almost any eating style. When beginning to eliminate certain foods, the taste buds actually become more acute and awakened, so you may find you enjoy food more. My advice would be, try indulging in the plant kingdom first before reaching out to substitutes. Meaning, look into roasting a sweet potato and topping it with a homemade tomato sauce and grilled veggies before looking for a gluten-free pizza. Not that there's anything wrong with gluten-free pizza, but nature provided us with a whole rainbow of choices so why not look there first?

Q: You occasionally use ingredients like yacon, which is not widely known. What is it, why is it valuable to incorporate into recipes, and where can cooks locate these kinds of special items to stock in their pantries? 

A: Yacon is a low glycemic sweetener much like coconut sugar. It tastes a bit like molasses but is not as deep in flavor. I like it because it's filled with friendly bacteria for the gut, and that's a good thing! As far as looking for alternative sweeteners, I think it's important to find a few that you like and just use them. If you have a library of sweeteners, you can play with them in your cooking. I use maple syrup in my guacamole. It sounds strange but tastes fantastic. I'd never have thought of it had I only been a refined white sugar and brown sugar user.

Amazon sells a lot of alternative ingredients, but I also source items from therawfoodworld.com or sunfood.com. 

Q: What cooking shows do you watch and why do you enjoy them? 

A: I do watch cooking shows - not often, but when I do I find I can't stop. I really enjoy the Cooking Channel. It has a slew of different chefs, and shows that many have never heard of like "Hook Line and Dinner" and "The Beekman Boys," and I love the Debi Mazar show with her Italian husband and family. Very charming! Of course, I still indulge in Ina Garten and Giada. I mostly watch for inspiration - there's very little that I'll cook verbatim, but I like to look for inspiration, and also tips on how to present on-camera. Oh, and I love Anthony Bourdain's show, but then I'm a traveler at heart. 

Q: Since you have traveled all over the world, you've enjoyed many diverse cuisines. If you could envision yourself retired decades down the road living abroad, which country would you be inclined to settle in and why? 

A: Without a doubt, on an island in Greece. I have a bit of a "Mama Mia/Le Grande Bleu" fantasy. I absolutely love Greek food and every time I've visited, my body feels so good. The way Greek food is prepared just agrees with me. It's light and never overcooked, over-seasoned or over-oiled. 

Q: There is a lot of debate over what is the best diet for us to aspire to. How do we find our way through all the arguments for and against each option to arrange something on our own plates that we can live with, be nourished by, and take pleasure in eating? 

A: It is a great debate, isn't it? I truly believe that if your baseline is a vegetable-centric way of life, and then you follow your taste buds after that, you're going to end up in a very healthy, balanced place. We'll never be perfect and, quite frankly, who wants to be? It's too much work! But a diet of real, whole foods that don't come in foil wrappers, that have one ingredient (as Michael Pollan says so eloquently) will lead you to exactly where your body wants to be. 

ZUCCHINI CARPACCIO - Recipe reprinted by permission and courtesy of the author. ©2012 Lora Krulak.

INGREDIENTS

2 small green zucchinis, sliced thin
2 small yellow squash, sliced thin
1/2 cup basil leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil (plus a splash more to drizzle on top)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (lime is also delicious on this)
 Sea salt and pepper to taste
Large handful (about 1cup) of arugula
5 ounces Pecorino Romano (or parmigan/Parmesan if that is your preference)

METHOD

1. Slice zucchini diagonally into thin slices with mandoline.
2. Arrange them on the plate so they overlap.
3. Sprinkle the basil leaves over the veggies.
4. Top with combined olive oil and lemon juice; sprinkle generously with sea salt and black pepper.
5. Allow the flavors to marinate and soften for at least 20 minutes.
6. Toss the arugula leaves with the remainder of the olive oil and lemon juice and place on top of the zucchini to serve.
7. Delicious served with shaved Pecorino Romano.

VARIATIONS

• Substitute with mushroom, carrot, radish, beet.
• Any firm vegetable that can be sliced with the mandoline.
• Shave any cheese or vegan cheese on top.

GIVEAWAY

To enter the random drawing for a free copy of Veggies for Carnivores, Moving Vegetables to the Center of the Plate, please leave a comment below with your full name.  The deadline for the drawing is June 10.  The winner will be announced on June 11.  The giveaway is open to all readers worldwide with the exceptions of my personal friends and family. 

F.T.C. Disclosure -  I received a free, unsolicited review copy of this book.  The giveaway copy was purchased by me and will be shipped worldwide at my expense. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Weekend Herb Blogging #425 - The Round-Up


Welcome to Weekend Herb Blogging #425.

I am happy to present an intriguing assortment of recipes that either feature novel ingredients or novel uses of ingredients. All will peek your interest and prompt your appetites. Thanks to Haalo of Cook Almost Anything for continuing to keep WHB's burners glowing (or on the hob, as she might say).  Haalo's Italian edition of WHB appears here for your reading pleasure.

Thanks to all who shared their delicious, creative recipes this week.  I know I want to load up my plate with something from everyone.

Lucia of Torta di Rose is currently hosting WHB #426


1Cristina

4Terry

 3Haalo

 4Simona

ArtichokeSemolinaCasseroleFinal172

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cherry Tomatoes - Black and White Wednesday #97

CherryTomatoesBWWSimona72dpi

For salad, for sauce, for Simona's Black and White Wednesday #97.

BWW is a weekly photography event featuring all that is culinary without the color.  Ci's page on Cindystar has the details on how to join and/or host this easy and fun gallery. 

Simona, this week's host, will present the latest collection tomorrow.  Stayed tuned over at Briciole.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Easy Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce for Weekend Herb Blogging #346 Hosted Here

Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce 

To skin or not to skin.  That is the question which cooks are poised to ponder when considering whether to blanch and skin their fresh summer tomatoes or forgo the process, as easy as it is, in favor of ever more leisure in their summer dishes.

Although it used to be a given with me to remove tomato skins, I learned, out of sheer sloth, that cherry tomatoes, with their thin skins and small seed quantity, make for a great, thick slush of flavor when very slowly simmered in an ample amount of olive oil.

The removal of tomato skins has always been at the discretion of the cook and personal taste.  While sheets of thick skins aren't quite palatable, the result of tiny fruit yields a sauce more like paste with a texture that is nary distinguishable when building a meal of distinctively shaped pasta topped with shredded Parmesan cheese.

This recipe is ideal for those big hauls of little red baubles which you've collected at your markets but didn't get a chance to fuss with. It is likely that they are a little passed their prime in terms of aesthetics for salads, but their slightly wrinkled skins do not impact their use in sauces. Greater issue would be taken at bruises or outright decay, for which the compost bin is the only answer.

This recipe can be as uncomplicated as the joining of just two ingredients, or as embellished with herbs and other seasonings as you choose.

Summer cooking is meant to keep you out of that dreadfully hot kitchen as much as possible, so put the burner on the lowest flicker of flame, and kick your feet up while dinner virtually cooks itself.

Easy Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce - My own recipe
Makes 2 Cups (Recipe can easily be doubled.)

Ingredients

2 pounds cherry tomatoes, rinsed, stem ends nicked out with sharp knife
1/3 cup olive oil

Optional extras (any or all):

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, oregano, rosemary and/or 1 bay leaf
1/3 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method

Cut tomatoes in half cross or lengthwise. Warm oil over low heat in large, preferably non-stick skillet until it shimmers and thins (about 5 seconds). If you are using garlic and/or herbs, stir into oil right before evenly adding tomatoes.  Increase heat to medium and bring to boil.  If you truly want to remove the skins, now is the time to do it before the sauce breaks down and thickens.  Fork tines are best to pull them off.
Reduce heat to very low, periodically stirring, until most of liquid has evaporated. This will take time; allow at least 45 minutes. The volume will be reduced by two-thirds.  Although the tomatoes will break down considerably, if there are any knots, they can be pressed out easily with a potato masher.  Season with salt and/or black pepper if desired.  Serve immediately over very hot, well-shaped pasta, such as rotini or radiatore. ~

 Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce



This is my contribution to Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging #346, which is being hosted by me this week.  To participate, follow the # 346 link for full details on Cook Almost Anything, Haalo's stylish and prolific blog.

Thanks to Haalo for allowing me the easy fun of hosting WHB for many different editions throughout the years.  I will have my round-up online Monday, August 13, New York time.

I look forward to your creative, talented, and delicious recipes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend Herb Blogging #306 - The Round-Up

The only dismaying thing about staying up late to put the finishing touches on presenting a flavorful and colorful array of creative recipes, is that I want a little bite of something before bed. My kitchen, however, is retired for the night, so I'm going to march myself down the hall to brush my teeth, but not before I thank each of you for sharing your grand menu ideas for Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging. Thanks to Haalo, and Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, the creator of this event, I've hosted WHB many times over the years. I enjoy it just as much as ever, and know that many others feel the same way. 306 weeks of non-stop deliciousness can't be wrong. Just ask Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu, who's currently hosting WHB #307.

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An earthy vegetable, a sexy fruit, and a salty cheese
create a brown-bag lunch that you can never tire of.


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Slaw of cabbage takes on new tastes and textures
when roasted and seasoned in an Asian style.

An Italian gardener harvests dazzling herbs, spices,
and chiles to grind into a powder that crosses continents.

Asian Aromatic Mixture
Graziana - Erbe in Cucina
Italy

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Just because the pesto was a party pooper doesn't
mean all is lost when the hostess clears her table.

White Bean Basil Pesto
Janet - The Taste Space
Canada

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Slim slices of champignon are dotted with pools of
melted cheese prepared in an authentic Italian kitchen.


Baked in a simple pastry-crust cradle, the brightest blue
fruit bursts forth with deep purple flesh and sweet juices.

Powerful pandan aroma makes Malaysian magic for
a dessert full of cool ingredients that are served hot.


It all boils down to an Indian condiment when cantaloupe is
combined in a pot with seasonings that are sweet, sour, and hot.

Melon Chutney
Brii - Brii is Home
Italy

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Italian flat green beans flat out work in a stove-top
stew rich in warm, seasonal colors with a tender bite.


Creamy crescents of alligator pears are dusted with
spices for a healthy, quick snack or prelude to a full meal.

Marinated Avocado
Anh - A Food Lover's Journey
Australia

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Never heard of Cardoons? Well, you'll be animated to learn of
these unique celery-like stalks from a cook in the know.

Chicken Sausage with Cardoon Sauté
Chris - Mele Cotte
U.S.A.

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Southern hospitality is rich enough, but
sometimes you can't help but guild the lily.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Herb Blogging #306 Hosted Here

Turks Turban Squash
Turks Turban Squash, as edible as it is decorative.

While I am happy as always to be hosting Weekend Herb Blogging, the very long-running, popular, and easy-to-join weekly event, I am having a heck of a time choosing which vegetable, fruit, or any other plant-based ingredient to prepare my recipe post. Decisions seem to be especially difficult in the fall since there are dozens of varieties of squash and apples alone, in addition to pears, Brussels sprouts, turnips, sweet potatoes and yams, and cranberries.

But I am not worried. There is plenty of time left to prepare something sweet or savory to meet the deadline of 3:00 p.m. Utah time, tomorrow, October 24. The rules are easy to follow, and the possible choices, a fraction of which I just praised, qualify for participation. For the full details, please take a look at this page, prepared by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once, who is mistress of this event.

I thank Haalo for the opportunity to host again, as well as those special, talented cooks and bakers who have already sent me their delightful recipe posts. I am very much looking forward to compiling the round-up, which will be online Monday evening, October 25, New York time. I'll see you soon!

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(On a short, separate note, I am still working through visiting all the BWW posts I have received over the last two weeks. My wireless internet signal has been very weak, with frequent, frustrating crashes daily, but my efficiency will improve greatly once Scott installs a new router gizmo tomorrow. If that doesn't work, I'm commandeering *his* computer. Thank you for your patience.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Weekend Herb Blogging #299 - The Round-Up




Although I have hosted many, many events in the last four years, Weekend Herb Blogging will always hold a special place for me. Given the breadth of ingredients from which to choose from, the creativity and discoveries are limitless. It is always pure pleasure when I hear from Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once to arrange yet another stint at hosting this fun and fanciful event.

As usual, this round-up does not fail to live up to expectations. You'll find many innovative recipes and novel ingredients that will either make you terribly hungry or curious...or both. Thanks to all who have participated. And thanks to Haalo for entrusting me with this very enduring food-blogging event.

Simona of Briciole is now hosting WHB #300. I do hope you can find the time to prepare something to send her way. I have been particularly under the gun lately, but I do have something special in mind to send to her by week's end. The more, the merrier.





Mint Sun Tea
Graciana - Erbe in Cucina

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Tomato Jam
Kalinda - Wheat-Free Meat Free

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blowing Hot and Cold - Green Chile Gazpacho Granita

GranitaFinalOriginalSmall

Depending on your proclivities, this frozen soup will either slap you in the face with refreshment or slap you down with mouth burn after one spoonful. I find it true that spice heat has a cooling effect when the actual weather temperature around you has you melting into a puddle on the pavement.

This recipe is very easy, but for the best icy results, a juice extractor is required. You can also prepare this in a blender, adding a cup of ice cubes for a traditional gazpacho, but it is critical that the hot chile pepper/s you use are added last, slowly and separately. If you dare to live dangerously and toss them in together, membranes, seeds and all, don't say I didn't warn you. While it may be hot outside, there might still be hell to pay.

Green Chile Gazpacho Granita
- My own recipe

Ingredients

1-2 hot green or yellow chile peppers (serrano, Thai, jalapeño, or Hungarian)
2 large unwaxed cucumbers
6 medium tomatillos
1 large green bell pepper
1 large white or yellow onion
1 large clove garlic
2 generous handfuls Italian flat-leaf parsley with stems
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon white or red cider vinegar
2-3 teaspoons salt, or more to taste

Method

Prep for juice extractor:

Stem the chiles and halve them lengthwise, optionally removing inner membrane and seeds; most of the heat is held in the membrane and seeds. (Per Sra's suggestion in her comment, wearing gloves while handling the chiles will avoid unintended transfer of volatile oils to your eyes and other delicate parts if you are not careful to wash your hands after contact.) Top and tail cucumbers, then quarter them lengthwise. Husk and rinse tomatillos under cold water until they are free of their sticky residue; nick out the stems with point of knife, then cut them in half. Stem and quarter bell pepper, removing large membrane core with attached seeds. Peel and quarter onion. Peel garlic clove.

Extract juice from chiles, keeping face away from collection cup (the fumes can be powerful). Transfer chile juice to a separate cup; reserve. Extract juice from all other vegetable ingredients, pouring them into a large glass, plastic, or stainless steel bowl. Stir in olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar. Add reserved chile juice incrementally by the half-teaspoon, stirring well and tasting after each addition until you reach a heat intensity that is noticeable yet you can still discern the other ingredients. Discard any leftover chile juice. Add salt incrementally as well, tasting after each addition.

Cover bowl tightly and place in freezer. You can either freeze it solid, then let sit on the counter for about 15 minutes, before you start raking it with a metal fork into chunky crystals, or you can periodically visit your freezer at 45-minute intervals to rake and stir the crystals back into the mixture. Freezing time will depend on your freezer setting and the depth of the bowl. The juice will freeze more quickly if you transfer it to a shallow glass baking dish.

Scoop granita into bowls. Serve immediately to maintain its icy crunch or let it sit for a few minutes to become slushy. Slush, by the quirky nature of melting ice, is actually colder than hard ice.

This is my very late contribution to No Croutons Required, the monthly vegetarian soup and salad event, created by Lisa of Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen and Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes. Lisa, host for this month, selected the theme of hot chile peppers. I thank dear Lisa for waiting on me. She will be publishing the round-up today. Do stop by to check out all the sizzling recipes. I have heard it on high authority that there is a very nice selection for all of us heat freaks out there. ; )

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend Herb Blogging #277 - The Round-Up


Big thanks to everyone for your great food and friendship. Weekend Herb Blogging has always been a special hosting pleasure for me, and this 277th edition has been no exception. The longevity of this event is tribute to Kalyn's foundation and Haalo's carrying of the torch. Your impressive and energetic talents complete the trinity.

Rachel of The Crispy Cook is now hosting WHB #278. She will be welcoming your recipes until close of the event on Sunday, April 10.

Should there be any errors or omissions, please know I will make the corrections as soon as I'm notified.

Thanks again!

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The manual labor of mortar and pestle is worth the grind for
a colorful confetti of complex spices in a vegetable toss.


Making quinoa for the first time? Make it green with
an envious mix of asparagus, peas, leeks, and mint.

Quinoa and Spring Vegetable Pilaf
Mary Katherine - MK's Kitchen
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.A.

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A frilly fringe of leaves from a particularly popular flower
are a healthy foliage for much of what might be ailing you.

Garland Chrysanthemum
Tigerfish - Teczcape - An Escape to Food
California, U.S.A.

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Bitter little gourds are less bitter pills to swallow when
they are charred and spiced and hissing in a skillet.

Sautéed Baby Bitter Gourd
Sra - When My Soup Came Alive
India

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Tender little leggy leaves enliven a North African
grain dish balanced with spices and sweetness.

Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad
Janet - The Taste Space
Toronto, Canada

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A square of juicy, fruity dessert is the plum-perfect
ending to a convivial, casual luncheon party.

Plum and Cinnamon Oat Slice
Johanna - Green Gourmet Giraffe
Melbourne, Australia

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Just when you thought it was safe to yawn at yet another pesto,
along comes Thai basil and coriander to recharge the sauce.

Pan-Fried Shrimp with Glass Noodles in Thai Basil and Coriander Pesto
ShuHan - Mummy, I Can Cook
London, U.K.

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A kumquat compote is the crowning golden glory
on a delicate cheesecake atop a biscuit base.

Kumquat, Vanilla and Ginger Cheesecake
Elly - Nutmegs, Seven
Oxford, U.K.

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Piled-high baked potatoes with nary a drop of dairy fool and
satisfy the diner expecting cheese, butter, or cream.

Potato Boats with "Sour Cream" and Herbs
Ricki - Diet, Desserts and Dogs
Toronto Area, Canada

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A sucker for spices grinds her own special blends into
powder potions that sprinkle magic flavors on many a dish.

Assorted Spice Medleys
Claudia - Honey from Rock
Hawaii, U.S.A.

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Smoked-up chile peppers pair well with sugary apricots
to finish fillets swimming in good taste and nutrition.

Roast Salmon with Sweet Chipotle Glaze
Joanne - Eats Well with Others
New York

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A simple stack of crepes napped in aromatic cream
makes for a serving that's a cut well above the rest.

Crepes Pie with Pancetta and Rosemary
Graziana - Erbe in Cucina
Italy

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A crush of fresh corn kernels is a sweet, golden nest
for a topping of salty cheese and quick ratatouille.

Sweet Corn Polenta
Haalo - Cook Almost Anything at Least Once
Melbourne, Australia

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The piquant flavor of piccata can lure away even the most
addicted from her online game of a frog and some balls.

Chicken Piccata
Annie and Nate - House of Annie
Kuching, Sarawakm, Malaysia

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The joys of one's garden yield handfuls of hale and hearty
kale to chop into a casserole bubbling with good health.

Gratin di Cavolo Riccio e Orzo (Kale and Barley Gratin)
Simona - Briciole
California, U.S.A.

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Hungering for something humble and homey? Buttered
griddle cakes should have you humming in no time.