Yoga and Nutrition
Sunday
Oct092011

Requisite fall recipes, #4

My friend Carey offered a brilliant idea yesterday -- try serving this with a sweet pumpkin ravioli. Oh yes.

RECIPE #4: Sauteed Swiss Chard with Garbanzos and Pepitas

Ingredients

1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained

½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), hulled

 

Preparation

1) Heat olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, cut thick stems off of chard, discarding any tough pieces, and slice leaves and thinner stems into wide strips.

3) Add chard to saucepan and stir to coat with oil. Cook until just tender, about 7 minutes.

4) Remove from heat, and stir in chick peas and pepitas.

Saturday
Oct082011

Requisite fall recipes, #3

Baked apples: easy peasy lemon squeezy!

RECIPE #3: Sugar and Spice Fresh Baked Apples

Ingredients

2-3 apples, each cored and cut into large wedges*

2 tsp brown sugar

1 Tbs crushed or finely chopped slivered almonds

½ tsp cinnamon

pinch ground nutmeg

 

Preparation

1)  In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almonds. Set aside.

2) Fill an 8 x 8” Pyrex or glass baking dish ½-inch deep with water.  Place apple wedges in single layer in water.

3) Microwave apples on high for 2-3 minutes, or until soft.

4) Remove apples from baking dish with slotted spoon, place into serving bowl.

5) Add brown sugar and spice mixture, and mix to evenly coat apple slices. Serve warm.

* Look for NY State harvested apples at your local grocery store or green market in the fall. Any apple variety will work well in this recipe, including McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Cortland, and Empire.

Friday
Oct072011

Requisite fall recipes, #2

A hearty, healthy, easy, and delicious pasta dish. (AKA, any excuse for olives and artisanal cheese!)

 

RECIPE #2: Whole Wheat Fusilli with Arugula and Goat Cheese
 

Ingredients

½ lb (about 8 oz) whole wheat fusilli (or gemelli or other similar spiral-shaped pasta)
6 oz goat cheese*
½ cup extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
3 cups fresh arugula
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Calamata or black olives, pitted
2 Tbs coarsely chopped walnuts
Ground black pepper

 
Preparation

1) Fill a large pot with cold water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.
2) In a separate small bowl, crumble together goat cheese and drained tofu. Set aside.
3) Cook pasta until just tender, then drain.  Immediately after draining, toss pasta with arugula and olive oil. The greens should gently wilt from the heat of the pasta as you mix them together.
4) Stir tofu and cheese into pasta, mix thoroughly. Add olives and walnuts.
5) Finish with black pepper, to taste.
 
*Local artisanal producers include Lively Run Goat Dairy, Nettle Meadow Farm, and Coach Farm. Look for these cheeses at stores such as Whole Foods, Murray’s Cheese Shop, or your local gourmet grocery.

Thursday
Oct062011

Requisite fall recipes, #1

Fall strikes me as bittersweet. I'm a summer girl at heart, and I mourn the seasonal loss of my sandals and easy little dresses, not to mention fresh tomatoes. But I do love fall vegetables, and turning on the oven (especially on those chilly nights before the heat is cranking in my old apartment building!) is a treat again.

I'll be posting an original recipe daily for the next several days. Feedback welcome below, as always.

Enjoy!

 

RECIPE 1: Super Simple Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes

½ lb carrots

½ lb parsnips

1 lb fingerling potatoes (any variety of colors)

5-6 cloves garlic

2 Tbs + 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

 

Preparation

1) Preheat oven to 350* F. Prepare 2 large baking sheets with 1 Tbs olive oil each, spread to coat surface.

2) Rinse vegetables well. Peel carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips.

3) Cut sweet potatoes and parsnips into small chunks (about 1 x 2”).  Cut carrots in halves or thirds. If necessary, cut fingerlings in half. The vegetables pieces should all be roughly the same size to ensure even cooking.

4) Toss vegetables and garlic with ¼ cup olive oil to coat, then place in single layer on baking sheets.

5) Roast for 25 minutes or until vegetables are just soft, and edges brown. Remove and flip, toss, or shake vegetables on sheets, about halfway through cooking.

6) Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste.

Wednesday
Sep282011

The joy of cooking -- and just assembling.

In a recent piece in the New York Times, "Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?" Mark Bittman highlights some challenges...  

"The ubiquity, convenience and habit-forming appeal of hyperprocessed foods have largely drowned out the alternatives: there are five fast-food for every supermarket in the United States; in recent decades the adjusted for inflation price of fresh produce has increased by 40 percent while the price of soda and processed food has decreased by as much as 30 percent; and nearly inconceivable resources go into encouraging consumption in restaurants: fast-food companies spent $4.2 billion on marketing in 2009."

Nevertheless, he makes the case that preparing meals at home is more cost-effective for persons of all incomes.

To me, the key words are "preparing meals at home," which is different from "cooking," per se.

Let's face it: For many people, cooking is intimidating. Bittman explains how it can be seen as a chore, too. One more thing to do at the end of a long day. It does take more time than grabbing a cheeseburger from a drive-thru. But can we afford to NOT do it, given the realities of our economy (not to mention public health)?

Honestly, I don't "cook" much at home. I do prepare and "assemble" a lot, though. It sounds easier, right? In many cases, it is easier. Boiling some whole wheat linguine, tossing it with broccoli and chard you've just steamed in the microwave, adding defrosted edamame, and topping it all with olive oil and a few slices of Parmesan might not be what some people call "cooking." But it is preparing a meal, putting together good, whole-food ingredients, and coming out with a finished product that offers wonderful nutritional value and (personal taste depending) a lot of deliciousness.

There are tremendous options. Even if you don't want to get as elaborate as the above meal, I promise it's not scary to wash some kale leaves, then add walnuts and grapes for a tasty salad. You don't even have to make the dressing yourself.

Maybe it won't solve the dilemma of what to eat at every meal, for every person or family, but a little "assembling" can go a long way.