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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cranberry Raspberry Sauce


Because cranberry sauce has so many possibilities, it's one of my favorite foods to reinvent every Thanksgiving. This time I added raspberries and sweetened it only with dates, which is a first. For many people, cranberry sauce usually requires large amounts of sugar to be palatable, but this recipe calls only for four dates and it's not only palatable it's absolutely delicious. This is truly a whole foods recipe with no added sweetener. It keeps well in the fridge so make it now and it will be ready when you are.

A little bit of liquid is required to cook the cranberries, and I used cognac. There are plenty of other good options, including orange juice, cranberry juice, brandy, port, or red wine, like a fruity Beaujolias Nouveau (the new vintage just came out). You could even use water.

I like my sauce chunky, so I dried and ground the dates before adding them, to be sure that tiny pieces would end up in each and every bite, giving it a consistent flavor. If you prefer a smooth sauce and plan to puree it at the end, don't bother. Just chop up the pitted dates and throw them in with the cranberries. 

Yield: 1 ⅔ cups

4 dates, halved and pitted
8 ounces fresh cranberries, about 2 heaping cups
1/4 cup cognac
1/2 cup thawed frozen raspberries and their juices 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the dates on a baking sheet or oven-proof dish, cut-side up. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the dates and allow then to cool completely. You can do this step in advance, whenever you have the oven on.
  2. Pulse the baked, cooled dates in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Avoid processing them too much or they will form a sticky paste that will be hard to scrape out. 
  3. Add the cranberries, cognac, and finely chopped dates to a sauce pan and cover. Warm the mixture over low heat, occasionally stirring or shaking the pan to make sure the berries aren't sticking to the bottom. Cook the mixture until the cranberries burst open and form a sauce, about 30 minutes. If the mixture starts to stick, add some juice from the raspberries or a splash of water, just enough to counter any dryness. 
  4. Once the cranberries have broken down into a sauce, remove it from the heat and stir in the raspberries. Allow it to cool to room temperature, or cool it slightly if you want to serve it warm. Before you do, taste it for seasoning and make any adjustments. (You can add a pinch of sea salt but I found it unnecessary.) Serve the sauce immediately or transfer to an air-tight glass container and store it in the fridge for future use.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Stuffed Portabellas


Stuffing vegetables is an easy way to incorporate inexpensive cuts of pasture-raised meat into your diet. It's also a good way to make meat more of a condiment than a main ingredient in plant-based diets. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower


Romanesco cauliflower is both beautiful and healthy. Show off its striking twists and twirls by simply roasting it in wedges. Roasting cauliflower gives it a delicious, nutty flavor. If you don't have Romanesco cauliflower, use any variety you have.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lavender Salt


Autumn is the season to dry fresh herbs that won't last the winter, like lavender flowers. You can savor them all winter long with this unusual condiment. Use it as a finishing salt for lamb, chicken, scallops, roasted vegetables, fresh fruit, and chocolate desserts. Incorporate it into French-style vinaigrettes and dishes that contain lemon, which pairs so well with lavender.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sweet and Sour BBQ Tofu Lettuce Wraps


Looking for a new take-along lunch? This meal is light and healthy but also filling. And it travels well.

Serve it one night as an appetizer alongside a pile of fresh lettuce leaves. Each person can spoon some of the tofu mixture onto a lettuce leaf, then wrap it up and eat it. Take the leftovers for lunch the following day. Pack the lettuce leaves and tofu mixture separately, and re-heat the tofu mixture or eat it cold. Either way it's a winner.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Easy Grain-Free Apple Crumble


This recipe was inspired by a recent apple-picking trip in the Hudson Valley.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Healthy Halloween Fudge Bites


This fudge only has two ingredients -- 72% dark chocolate and coconut milk -- and two toppings -- dried peaches and raw walnuts. There's no added sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream, or sweetened condensed milk, so, eaten in moderation, it's a healthy treat. It's also easy to make and kids can help.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Curried Peas with Tomatoes and Tofu


This dish was inspired by Curry Made's recipe for Indian Spiced Peas with Tomatoes and Dill. It contains some of the same flavors you'd find in an Indian curry -- like coriander, cumin, garlic, and chili pepper -- as well as the fresh flavors of dill, cilantro, and sweet cherry tomatoes.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Endive Salad with Octopus and Feta


Bitter leafy green vegetables are in season now and they are so good for us. They're on my list of the top 12 detox foods and good sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Curly endive -- also known as frisée -- adds structure to this dish, supporting dense chunks of octopus, feta cheese, olives, and cherry tomatoes.  Serve this colorful salad as a colorful starter or a light but filling main dish.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Marinated Corn Salad


Make this colorful and flavorful salad while fresh sweet corn is still in season. I don't eat a lot of grains or starchy foods, but fresh sweet corn is hard to resist, so I enjoy it in moderation when I find it at the farmers market.