Food Is Not Your Enemy

Butternut Squash Soup With Parmesan and Sage
September 23, 2013, 11:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Here’s a recipe for a yummy butternut squash soup…

Serves 6.

1 medium butternut squash

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock, or water

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1/2-3/4 cup whole milk

12 whole fresh sage leaves

6 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Halve the squash and scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy pulp. Use a large knife to cut away and discard the tough skin. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch chunks. There should be about 6 cups. Set aside.

Heat the butter in a medium pot or soup kettle. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the squash and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes more. 

Add the stock or water, salt, and white pepper to taste. You can also throw in a parmesan cheese rind for extra richness. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the cheese rind if you used one and discard it.

Transfer the squash mixture to a blender. Add 1/2 cup milk and puree, working in batches. (You can also use an immersion blender directly in the pot.) 

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with 2 whole sage leaves. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese over each bowl and serve.


(Recipe courtesy of “The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook” by Jack Bishop)

Forbidden Rice With Onions and Garlic
January 28, 2013, 12:58 pm
Filed under: Grains, Recipes | Tags: , , , , ,

Have you ever tried black rice, a.k.a. “forbidden” rice? It’s a delicious and healthy whole grain that I’ve recently started making as a side dish. I’ve prepared it a couple of different ways at this point; here’s my favorite method:

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup forbidden black rice, rinsed

1 3/4 cup water

1/2 strip kombu seaweed


Warm the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for one minute more. Add the dry rice and saute for a few minutes, until you hear sizzling. Pour the water into the pan along with the kombu and cover. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for five minutes. Remove the kombu and discard it. Fluff the rice with a fork, salt to taste, and serve.

Veggie Burgers
May 23, 2012, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Grains, Mushrooms, Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: ,

Best veggie burgers ever, courtesy of my friend Barbara.

3/4 cup bulgur wheat

1 grated zucchini

1 onion, chopped

10 oz. mushrooms, chopped

1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg

2 Tbs tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Form the mixture into 4-5 patties. Bake the patties on a greased baking sheet for 20-25 minutes.

Pasta With Meat Sauce
May 1, 2012, 10:08 am
Filed under: Meat, Recipes | Tags: , ,

Since I’m normally such a recipe-follower when it comes time to cook, I feel really proud of this meat sauce that I’ve been making lately, as it’s my own concoction.

1 lb. of ground beef, preferably grass-fed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 28 oz can/box of crushed or chopped tomatoes (I use the boxed Pomi tomatoes)

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 tsp oregano

Few basil leaves, fresh or dried

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Saute the ground beef in a skillet until no longer pink. While the beef cooks, in a separate pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the carrots and onion for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it turns golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beef into the pot, then add the tomatoes, wine, oregano, basil (rip the leaves up if fresh), and salt and pepper. Simmer for one hour, partially covered. Add the parsley, stir, then serve over your favorite pasta. (Bionaturae whole wheat pasta is my choice!)



Chocolate Coconut Banana Smoothie
July 26, 2011, 5:03 pm
Filed under: Fruits, nuts, Recipes | Tags: , ,

Just tried this new combination of ingredients and found it makes a great and very filling smoothie–the kind of thing that will be enough for breakfast.

1 banana

7-10 raw cocoa beans

2 tbsp. Nutiva brand Coconut Manna (pureed coconut, basically)

1 tbsp. almond butter

1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

A few ice cubes

Put all ingredients in the blender. Blend until desired consistency is reached.

Sweet, rich, and delicious! Plus, super good for you–lots of fiber, antioxidants, and immune-building compounds.

The Benefits of Bone Broth
April 29, 2011, 9:42 am
Filed under: Books, Meat, Recipes | Tags: , , , ,

Ever seen the ingredients on a package of bouillon cubes? Each cube is basically a chemical cocktail of MSG, partially hydrogenated oil, salt, sugar, and TBHQ, a preservative that is a form of butane (lighter fluid).

This isn’t what our grandmothers used to make chicken soup.

Unfortunately, as we’ve turned more and more toward pre-packaged convenience foods like bouillon, Americans have just about lost the art of making homemade soup stock from chicken, beef, or fish bones. “Who has the time?” we say. Or, “Why bother?”

Healthy food–some of it, anyway–can take some time to prepare. But the health benefits you’ll reap from a homemade stock make it well worth your time and effort.

In her influential cookbook “Nourishing Traditions,” Sally Fallon Morell posits, after extensive research into the nutritional value of traditional foodways, that meat stocks are extremely good for us. They contain the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables as electrolytes, in a form that is easily absorbed into the body. Stocks also contain plenty of natural gelatin, which is a digestive aid that has been used to successfully treat such digestive disorders as colitis and Crohn’s disease. Gelatin also allows our bodies to more fully utilize the proteins we ingest. Another important compound found in meat stock is collagen, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments, and also essential for strong bones. And fish stocks boiled with fish heads are particularly nourishing to the thyroid gland (the fish heads contain the fish thyroid, which adds thyroid hormone into the soup).

So think about taking some time to make a stock once in a while. You can make a big batch and freeze it in small containers, so that you can just grab some when cooking sauces or soups at a future date. Here’s my husband’s recipe for chicken stock, which he makes every time we finish eating a roast chicken at home:

Homemade Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass, broken into pieces

1 onion, peeled and cut in half

2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

1/2 bunch parsley, whole stalks

Few pinches fresh or dried thyme

Few stalks fresh dill or 2 pinches dried

3 whole peppercorns

Put all ingredients together in a large pot. Cover with water, an inch above the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours, skimming off any foam that collects on top.

Let cool slightly. Strain into another pot. Smash down the solid ingredients in the strainer with a wooden spoon to squeeze out all the liquids. Discard the solid ingredients and let the stock cool in the refrigerator overnight.

Skim fat solids off the top. Return to the stove to a boil. Boil the stock until it is reduced by half. Once cool, store stock in the refrigerator (if you’ll be using it within a few days) or in the freezer in small containers.


How to Cook an Artichoke
January 7, 2011, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: ,

Artichokes are my absolute favorite vegetable. And they’re super easy to prepare. Simply wash your artichoke, then steam it for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then serve with melted butter, olive oil, or any dip/sauce of your choosing. If you have small kids who will be eating the artichoke, you’ll want to trim off the needles on the ends of the exterior leaves. But there’s no need to do this for adults unless they’re a little ham-fisted.

For more of my favorite foods/recipes, click here.

Delicious Green Smoothie
July 21, 2010, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Fruits, Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: , ,

Here’s a recipe for a super healthy green smoothie–you won’t even taste the veggies in it. A great way to get your daily greens!

1 granny smith apple (cored but keep skin on), or other sweet fruit of your choice like banana, watermelon, etc. (or a combination of fruits)
1 stalk celery, chopped
Handful of chopped romaine lettuce
1/4  avocado
Handful of fresh parsley leaves
About 1 cup water

Puree in blender.

Red Split Lentils with Cabbage
July 2, 2010, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Beans, Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: , ,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe; here’s one, for an Indian dish, that’s in very regular rotation in my house and which my kids particularly love. A couple of modifications: I use just 1/2 a jalapeno rather than the 1-2 that the recipe calls for so that the dish is relatively mild. And rather than fresh tomato, I use diced tomatoes from a box (Pomi brand is nice). I serve this over brown basmati rice.

Serves 4 to 6

200 g (7 oz.) red split lentils, picked over, washed and drained

1.2 liters (2 pints) water

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

3 oz. onions, peeled and cut into fine slices

225 g (8 oz.) cored and finely shredded cabbage

1 to 2 fresh, hot green chilies, finely sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 oz. tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger

Put the lentils and water into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that collects at the top. Add the turmeric and stir to mix. Cover, leaving the lid very slightly ajar, turn heat down to low, and simmer gently for 1 1/4 hours. Stir a few times during the last 30 minutes.

When the lentils cook, heat the oil in a 20 to 23 centimeter (8 to 9 inch) frying pan over medium heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 3 to 4 seconds. Now put in the garlic. As soon as the garlic pieces begin to brown, put in the onion, cabbage and green chilies. Stir and fry the cabbage mixture for about 10 minutes or until it begins to brown and turn slightly crisp. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Turn off the heat under the frying pan.

When the lentils have cooked for 1 1/4 hours, add the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, the tomato and ginger to the pot. Stir to mix. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture and any remaining oil in the frying pan. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.

Simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cabbage is heated through.

Recipe from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking”

Winging It in the Kitchen
February 27, 2010, 5:29 pm
Filed under: Beans, Grains, Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: , ,

Last night chef Kim Pistone came over and gave my husband and I a lesson in how to cook without using a recipe. Sounds simple, perhaps, but we are recipe slaves in my house. The thought of just “whipping something up” has always instilled fear in me.

In preparation for her visit, Kim suggested I head to the Park Slope Food Co-Op and just buy whatever looked good, and pick up anything we’d been thinking about trying but just didn’t know how to deal with. Enter rutabagas, budock root, and fresh turmeric. Plus we loaded our cart with other winter veggies like celery root, carrots, and potatoes, as well as lacinato kale, artichokes, some diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, and vegetable broth. We dumped all this stuff as well as any grains and beans we could find in our pantry onto our kitchen counter, and waited for Kim to tell us what to do.

It took what seemed like 60 seconds for Kim to declare that we would make roasted artichokes, a potato/celery root/rutabaga gratin (with some romano, goat gouda, and cheddar we dug out of our cheese drawer), millet with fresh turmeric and grated burdock, Hoppin’ John with our half-bag of black-eyed peas, roasted winter veggie medley, and a pasta sauce made with tomatoes, cannellini beans, kale, onions, and bacon.

Within a couple of hours, all this food was steaming on our counter, and all of it delicious. Kim explained to us that it’s just a matter of getting comfortable with what goes with what, and using some basic techniques that we pretty much already know (sauteeing, blanching, etc.).

It all felt nice and free and easy, and the session gave me the confidence to try going recipe-less on my own next time. I know more than I realized about preparing food, and now I also know how to properly hold a knife, thanks to Kim’s quick knife-skills lesson.

In addition to providing expert cooking instruction, Kim is also a caterer (she was the executive chef of last year’s Brooklyn Food Conference). If you’d like to work with Kim, you can e-mail her at