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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blood Orange Salad with Arugula and Walnuts


This light little salad packs a flavorful punch. The curious and complex flavors come from sweet and sour blood oranges, bitter and spicy arugula, creamy walnuts, sharp red onion, salty olives, and savory blue cheese. This salad is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Because blue cheese and walnuts add protein and healthy fat, this dish could be a complete meal.

This recipe yields 4 to 6 small portions if you want to serve it as an appetizer or salad course, or at least two larger portions you could serve as a main course.

If you don't have arugula, you could substitute another flavorful green like parsley, watercress, radicchio, or endive, or a combination of greens. If you prefer goat cheese to blue, use that instead, and feel free to use any kind of vinegar you like. (If you use balsamic vinegar, omit the honey.) If you can't find blood oranges, use a combination of grapefruit and oranges.

I toasted the walnuts for some extra warmth, a deeper flavor, and a creamier texture. The healthy fats inside are fragile, so they should only be toasted using low heat for a short period of time, just until they become warm and fragrant.

For a vegan variation, omit the blue cheese. The salad will still be delicious without it.

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn
2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 packed cups of baby arugula 
2 blood oranges, peeled, pulled apart into quarters, and cut in cross section into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup pitted and quartered Kalamata olives
1/2 cup raw walnuts, toasted briefly over low heat
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  1. In a small mixing whisk together the vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk in the oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl toss together the arugula, blood oranges, onion, olives, and walnuts.
  3. Arrange the mixture on a serving plate. Garnish with blue cheese. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

An Ode to Bone Broth

Bone broth has been revered as both food and medicine since ancient times. The nutrients and protein in bone broth are particularly well absorbed and they support the growth and repair of connective tissues in the body including bones, joints, blood vessels, and skin. The gelatin acts as a digestive aid and the amino acids support the body's natural detoxification mechanisms.

Bone broth can be consumed regularly as a winter tonic or used as a healthy and flavorful base for soups, stews, and sauces. It’s always been popular with gourmet chefs, serious home cooks, and grandmas, but now bone broth is trending. Even New Yorkers can be spotted sipping it on the street from to-go cups instead of coffee.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate Honey


I usually drink my espresso unsweetened, with a splash of cream, but on special rare occasions I stir in a spoonful of chocolate honey to make my own version of a mocha. But this delicious sauce isn't just for coffee. Chocolate honey makes a nice addition to any Valentine's Day dessert. Drizzle it over a fresh fruit platter. Or coconut ice cream. Or bananas sautéed in butter with or without a splash of rum. Or pumpkin custard. Or your loved one.

This simple chocolate sauce contains only 3 ingredients -- cocoa powder, honey, and cinnamon -- so it's free of sugars, syrups, flavoring, and other additives. The cinnamon adds a bit of warmth as well as some health benefits.  It's been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, improve blood sugar control, and promote detoxification.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ginger Coconut Soup for Colds and Flu


This soup is delicious, whether you're sick or not. Many of the ingredients -- including ginger, onion, mushrooms, garlic, chili pepper, bone broth, and fermented foods -- add flavor as well as health benefits, boosting immunity and helping the body fight off viruses that cause colds and flu.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ginger Lemon Sore Throat Pops


These spicy-sweet ice cold pops are the perfect thing for sore throats. They're easy to make and besides water, you only need three ingredients: ginger, lemon, and honey.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Méranie's Martinique Vinaigrette


Travel always inspires my cooking. Inevitably, all vacations come to an end, which is always bittersweet for me. I feel sad that it's over but excited to cook again in my own kitchen and inspired to create dishes like the ones I loved while I was there. My recent travels to visit my husband's family in Martinique were no different.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Tofu with Ginger, Peanuts, and Scallion


Shake off heavy holiday meals in favor of this light but delicious meatless dish. It really does have it all: protein, healthy fat, leafy greens, and anti-inflammatory spices that enhance the body's natural detoxification mechanisms. By itself, tofu doesn't have a lot of flavor, but when you combine it with ginger, garlic, peanuts, scallion, and cilantro, it becomes irresistible. Even skeptical carnivores will ask for more.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Beaujolais-Braised Cabbage with Cranberries


This slow-cooked, sweet and sour cabbage has such a silky texture. Red wine and cranberries add a tart and fruity flavor, which is balanced by a touch of honey and a splash of vinegar. This dish is especially festive during the holidays.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bone Broth Gravy


Bone broth gravy is rich, flavorful, and nutritious. Unlike other gravies, this one is thickened with roasted onions, which gives it a creamy texture and a complex, slightly sweet flavor. I make this gravy to go with braised bone-in meats that make their own bone broth.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pecans


This colorful salad makes a healthy holiday side dish. It's full of antioxidants and fiber from the cranberries and kale, and healthy fats from the pecans and anchovies.