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Saturday, July 28, 2012

All-Purpose Marinade


All of the ingredients in this all-purpose marinade - onion, garlic, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and red wine - help prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds when you grill meats and cook them at high temperatures.

I also threw in some fresh oregano, as it happens to be taking over my window garden at the moment. Feel free to add an herb or two of your choosing to personalize the recipe.

To get the most anti-cancer and antioxidant benefits, pick a Pinot Noir wine. I used an inexpensive Bordeaux that I would also drink (Les Caves Joseph 2010, $4.99 at Trader Joe's).

This marinade goes well with grass-fed/pasture-raised beef, lamb, and pork. Vegetarians can use this sauce to marinate tofu, tempeh, and vegetables. If you're cooking poultry or fish, consider substituting dry white wine for the red.

½ cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ cup rosemary leaves, loosely packed (and other herbs like oregano if desired)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth.

Marinate meat for at least 6 hours or (ideally) overnight before cooking.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coconut Crusted Sole with Fresh Tomato Sauce


This is a healthy way to fry fish and a good use of summer tomatoes.
I used coconut oil because it can withstand high temperature cooking, and a flour-free coating made of dried coconut, fresh lemon zest, and fresh basil leaves. The end result is a flavorful, delicate, crispy crust that compliments perfectly the delicate Dover sole.

If you don't have Dover sole, you can use any non-toxic and sustainably harvested white fish or even shrimp. You can also substitute an organic lime for the lemon. If your citrus fruit isn't organic, omit the zest.

I've made this dish with and without a layer of beaten egg beneath the coconut coating. The egg wash helps the coating stick a little bit better, but in my opinion the real benefit is the difference in flavor. I can't explain why, but the finished dish tasted notably coconuttier when I added the egg wash.

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
16 medium fresh basil leaves (about 2 tbsp, packed) plus more for garnish
1 organic lemon, zested and cut into wedges
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground mixed peppercorns or substitute black pepper
2 tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil
1 egg (optional)
1 pound wild-caught Dover sole fillets, skinned and deboned, at room temperature
1 large tomato, diced into 1-centimeter cubes

In an electric grinder or food processor, pulse the coconut, basil, lemon zest, sea salt, and ground pepper until the mixture becomes a powder. Arrange it in a thin layer on a plate.

In a stainless steel or cast iron skillet, warm the coconut oil over medium heat until hot.

If you're using an egg wash, beat a whole egg with a pinch of sea salt and pour it into a shallow dish with the fish fillets. Pick up each fillet and allow any excess egg to drip off. Dip it into the coconut mixture and turn to coat it thoroughly. Place it directly into the hot skillet. It should sizzle if the oil is hot enough.

If you aren't using an egg wash, pat the fresh fish fillets mostly dry, then place each one in the coconut mixture and turn to coat it thoroughly before placing it directly into the hot skillet.

Cook the fish until the fillets are browned on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip them over and cook them through, browning the other side of each fillet.

Once they're fully cooked, transfer the sole fillets to a serving plate and cover them to keep warm. Allow a little ventilation to prevent the crispy coating from getting soggy.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chopped tomato to the skillet with a pinch of sea salt. Stir to incorporate any brown bits on the bottom of the pan into the juices of the tomato. Cook until the tomato has softened and the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 3 or 4  minutes.

Pour the sauce over the fish and garnish it with fresh basil. Serve the sole immediately with fresh lemon wedges.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

BLT in a Bowl


This kale salad is a lot like a BLT in a bowl. You'll find the classic flavors of bacon and tomato, but with a different leafy green vegetable: kale.

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and compounds that protect against cancer and help our livers detoxify our bodies.

This bread-free version of the classic BLT is good news for people who are allergic to gluten and those trying to eat fewer grains.
(Eating too many easily digestible carbohydrates like those found in bread can increase the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.)

If you don't have organic kale, or can't find it, substitute any other organic leafy green vegetable like Swiss chard or beet greens. If you can't find pasture-raised bacon, or if you don't eat bacon, add a few anchovies instead.

This kale salad can be served as a side dish, along with fish, chicken, beef, or lamb. Or make it a vegetarian main course by adding some chick peas or cubed tofu. This recipe makes 2 main course portions, or 4 to 5 side dish servings.

2 slices pasture-raised bacon
1 bunch organic kale, chopped
Sea sat
Ground peppercorn
2 cloves garlic
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 2 handfuls of tomatoes, halved)

Use a kitchen shears to cut the bacon into 1-centimeter pieces and drop them into a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Cook them over medium-low heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon starts to crisp.

Add half of the kale and sprinkle in some sea salt, then add the rest of the kale and a bit more sea salt. Cover and cook until the kale has wilted. If there isn't enough room in the skillet for all of your kale at once, allow the first half to cook down a bit before adding the rest.

Add the tomatoes and grate in the garlic cloves. Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, the tomatoes have started to break down, and the garlic flavor has softened.

Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cherry Watermelon Pops


Beat the heat with these cool pops full of summer fruit. They'll help you stay hydrated and give you a boost of antioxidants, which can help minimize damage by UV radiation from the sun.  You can mix them up in minutes and freeze them in a few hours.

Because there are no added sweeteners, it's important to use very ripe, naturally sweet fruit. If you can't find cherries and watermelon, substitute what ever looks best, like honeydew melon, organic peaches, organic strawberries, or organic blueberries.
This recipe makes 4 four-ounce pops.

1 cup pitted cherries
2 cups cubed watermelon

Add the fruit to a food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the mixture into the molds.

Freeze the pops for several hours until fully frozen.

To make removal easy, allow the pops to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before you unmold them. If you have a silicone or stainless steel popsicle mold, you can carefully run it under hot water to loosen the side before you remove the pops. If you have a plastic mold, never run it under hot water while food is inside. Allow it to sit at room temperature instead.