Foodist Approved: Gluten-Free PB&J Cookie Bites

by | Apr 2, 2014
PBJ Cookie Bites

PB&J Cookie Bites

Friends keep asking me to share stories about crazy pregnancy cravings. I hate to disappoint—I haven’t experienced any middle of the night I-need-to-eat-a-pickle-right-this-moment cravings. But since month one, I have had this strong desire to eat childhood favorites. One of those has been good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Of course, nobody needs a recipe for PB&J. So, instead, I’ve put a healthy and decadent twist on this classic lunchbox staple. This recipe combines my renewed love affair with PB&J with my always-present appreciation for homemade cookies.

“Healthy and decadent.” It might sound contradictory, but these cookies are truly just that. Thanks to the coconut oil and peanut butter, they are satisfyingly rich and flaky, and on the healthy spectrum, these PB&J Cookie Bites are free of refined sugars and high in protein. Another bonus—they’re also free of common allergens including gluten, dairy and eggs.

Unlike many gluten-free recipes that require three different kinds of flour, this recipe is super easy to master. Since only minimal ingredients are needed, you won’t be tempted to pick up a package of overly sweet store-bought cookies instead of baking your own.

Tip: Invest in a small ice cream scooper. It’s the easiest way to make perfect little round cookies that don’t fall apart the second you try to remove them from the pan.

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Foodist Approved: Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

by | Feb 12, 2014
Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

Roasted Parsnip and Cauliflower Hummus

I love making homemade hummus, but I don’t always love the process of soaking and simmering the chickpeas for hours in advance. Plus beans just don’t seem to agree with everyone (if you know what I mean).

So I decided to concoct a bean-free hummus with seasonal roasted vegetables. I chose parsnips and cauliflower to keep the creamy white of traditional hummus, and to lend an earthy, crave-worthy sweetness to this seasonal spread.

This recipe is a 2-for-1. The first step yields an alluring tray of roasted veggies that you’ll want to snack on right out of the oven. That’s fine! Go ahead and relish—just make sure to set aside two and a half cups of them for the hummus. Otherwise the whole batch might get demolished by hungry peeps.

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Foodist Approved: Southern Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens and Quinoa Salad

by | Jan 1, 2014
Black-eyed peas and collard greens quinoa salad

Black-eyed peas with collard greens and quinoa salad

This recipe is inspired by my Southern roots. In the South we eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day for good luck. Tradition says that eating these cute beans leads to a prosperous year.

Typically this dish is cooked in pork fat. I decided to skip the oink and instead created a vibrant salad. After all the holiday overindulging we need a little help detoxifying our digestive systems.

This recipe contains plenty of foods rich in fiber and phytonutrients, two things crucial to cleaning the ol’ pipes of toxins. You can make it ahead and pack for lunch all week to ensure you start your year right.

Here’s to a delicious 2014!
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Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

by | Dec 18, 2013
Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

Foodist Approved: Maple Coconut Macaroons

As I wrote in my previous post, the holidays are a time to indulge a little. So I asked Darya what she thought about mixing things up from our usual recipes packed with green veggies.

Darya’s response?

It’s a freaking treat and it’s the holidays, enjoy it already.”

Love it! So in honor of that, get excited! We’re about to make some very beautiful coconut macaroons, one of my favorite sweet indulgences. These macaroons (with chocolate drizzled on top) remind me so much of Samoas Girl Scout cookies, did you ever eat those as a kid? They were my favorite.

But, of course, seeing that this is Summer Tomato, these aren’t your typical store-bought coconut macaroons loaded with a pound of white sugar. I just couldn’t go that low.

My macaroons are made with real maple syrup and are free of refined sugar. And I promise you they’re not just as good as your usual macaroons, but better!

I love macaroons because they’re small and satisfying. And if you want, you can drizzle them in chocolate and sprinkle with crushed pistachios to make an extra fancy treat, one perfect for impressing your holiday guests.

And just in case you need one more excuse to indulge, did you know coconut is high in fiber, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals?

P.S. My macaroons are also gluten-free. Just make sure you’re buying gluten-free chocolate chips if you have an intolerance.
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Foodist Approved: Nutty Sunrise Granola

by | Sep 18, 2013
Nutty Sunrise Granola

Nutty Sunrise Granola

Big news!

I’m thrilled to announce that Elyse Kopecky has officially joined the Summer Tomato team as our new recipe developer. Elyse is a whole foods chef and marketing consultant based in Portland, Oregon, who studied health-supportive culinary arts at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York.

Elyse Kopecky

Elyse Kopecky

Since the launch of Foodist I’ve been looking for new ways to grow and improve Summer Tomato, and thousands of you have made it clear that you want more Foodist Approved recipes. Elyse’s fabulous creations are the perfect mix of seasonal, nutritious and delicious, and are designed to be both simple enough to fit into your life and fun enough to keep you cooking.

You can expect new recipes from Elyse every other Wednesday, and your feedback is always welcome. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at freshabits.com and on Twitter @freshabits.

 

Bon appétit! 

Darya

Foodist Approved: Nutty Sunrise Granola 

by Elyse Kopecky

The food industry knows that very few of us have time to cook a nutritious breakfast, that’s why the cereal aisle runs the length of the grocery store. But any breakfast that you rip out of a package or grab from the glass counter at your go-to coffee joint probably has few redeeming nutritious qualities.

Even those fancy bags of “high-fiber,” “high-protein,” “whole-grain” granola that cost as much as a bottle of wine are full of ingredients that lack true sustenance. Often they have lots of added sugar marketed as “organic cane sugar” or “evaporated cane juice,” which is just a fancy (and deceptive) way of saying white sugar––the last thing we should be feeding our bodies first thing in the morning.

Here’s some good news.

Homemade granola is seriously easy to make and is a fabulous healthy breakfast option. I’ve baked many batches (enough to last me the year) to perfect this recipe, which is packed full of protein, loaded in omega-3s and balanced with whole grains. Of course it’s also full of nutty, cinnamon-y flavor with just the right amount of sweetness.

For the sweetener, I use brown rice syrup because it’s minimally processed and has a low glycemic index. Its consistency makes the oats and quinoa extra crunchy, which allows us to use less oil.

For an awesome weekday breakfast I suggest my Nutty Sunrise Granola sprinkled atop whole milk organic yogurt and chopped fresh fruit. Or enjoy it with unsweetened almond or hemp milk. And on those days when you’re rushing out that door, grab a small bag of granola to munch on at your desk.

Nutty mornings now won’t seem quite so bad!
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Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream (+ Cookbook Giveaway)

by | Sep 9, 2013
Velvety Mediterranean Gazpacho with Avocado Cream

Photo Credit: Leo Gong

Today I’m thrilled to share a recipe from The Longevity Kitchen, the fabulous new cookbook by Rebecca Katz, MS. Rebecca is a Marin-based nationally recognized cookbook author, nutrition expert and chef. She is the founder and director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal, which is dedicated to transforming lives through nutritional science and culinary alchemy. Her previous book, The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, is a two-time IACP award-winner.

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5-Minute Lunch: The Tastiest, Easiest, Healthiest Bean Salad on the Planet

by | Feb 22, 2012
Heirloom Bean Salad

Heirloom Bean Salad

This is a recipe that I rely on often, particularly when I’m short on time but don’t want to eat something unhealthy. As I’ve mentioned like a zillion times during my show, I think beans are one of the absolute best go-to foods when you want something tasty and satisfying.

Don’t worry, this is not one of those nasty 3 bean salads your well-meaning aunt brings to barbecues. When you start with good quality, dry beans they bring an amazingly creamy texture to a dish and are absolutely delicious. And if you prepare them properly by soaking them for a few hours beforehand, you also won’t get any of the digestive issues most of us associate with canned beans.

On that note, the title isn’t quite accurate. It assumes that, like me, you’ve spent a bit of time early in the week making a big batch of beans to add to the meals you make through Friday. That said, preparing the beans only takes 2-3 extra minutes of prep time, but there are a couple hours of waiting between the essential steps. If you use a pressure cooker it is even faster.

In a pinch, feel free to substitute lentils, which can be used similarly but cook up in only 20-30 minutes, depending on the size.

Today I made this recipe using only ingredients I already had in my fridge. I did this intentionally to show you how easy and versatile it is. But feel free to substitute any of the vegetables with ones you have or like better. It doesn’t matter which beans you use either, a simple black bean is also very lovely if you can’t find fancy heirloom beans.

This dish turns out different every time I make it, depending on what I have in the house, my mood and, of course, the season. In the summer, for example, I tend to use cucumber, French radish and a handful of arugula. Also feel free to experiment with different oils, vinegars, citrus, herbs, salts and spices (smoked paprika is a great addition).

I use this dish most often for a light lunch or substantial snack. It can be served warm or cold, or can be made into a full meal by adding a fried egg on top (or other protein) with a side of greens. This recipe is for a single serving, but it scales easily.

Heirloom Bean Salad With Winter Vegetables

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Pinquito beans
  • 2 small carrots or 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced lo bok or daikon
  • 1/2 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp freshly diced parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or nut oil
  • 2 tsp rice or red wine vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

If your beans aren’t already cooked, soak them overnight or at least 6 hours. Discard the soaking liquid, rinse several times then cook in beef, mushroom or vegetable stock until tender.

Place appropriate amount of beans in a bowl and add sliced vegetables, green onion and parsley. I tend to go heavy handed on the herbs because they add such a wonderful freshness, but feel free to experiment with the amount you like.

You’re welcome to mix the vinaigrette beforehand, but if you’re lazy like me feel free to just add oil and vinegar directly to the bowl, along with some salt and pepper and any other spices you choose.

Gently stir with a spoon, taking care not to damage the beans. Adjust salt and pepper and enjoy.

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Dosa’s Rasam “Fire Broth” Recipe

by | Feb 21, 2011
Dosa's Rasam

Dosa's Rasam

I’m absolutely delighted to be sharing this top secret recipe from the kitchen of one of my favorite restaurants, Dosa. I recently highlighted this recipe in an article I wrote about lentils and their health benefits for Edible SF, where you can read more about the soup.

Dosa owner Anjan Mitra is very protective of his recipes and I am eternally grateful to him for sharing this one for rasam, a spicy lentil soup. If you have a minute please stop by and thank him on Twitter (@dosasf) and Facebook.

If you’ve never explored Indian cooking, it’s a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with new spices and feel like a culinary badass. These recipes never cease to impress, and as much as I adore (and rely on) simple recipes, it’s fun to try something a little more challenging every now and then.

The hardest part of this recipe will be tracking down some of the more elusive ingredients. While the majority of the spices can be found at a regular grocery store, a few ingredients may require a trip to an Indian grocery or specialty store. For more info on the ingredients, check out my last article on rasam ingredients.

A few notes before you begin:

  1. You’ll need a spice grinder. A coffee grinder will work, but you’ll need to clean it well before using it again for coffee.
  2. Curry leaves are not necessary if you can’t locate them, but do not attempt to substitute curry powder.
  3. The better quality tomatoes you use, the better the recipe will turn out.
  4. This is meant to be spicy, but you can adjust the spice level depending on your tolerance by switching up the type and number of chilies you use.
  5. The lentils and the tamarind each require a 1 hr soak before cooking, so plan accordingly.
  6. Since some of the ingredients are difficult to find, once you have them you can make a large batch and freeze the rest in quart-sized containers.

Dosa’s Rasam “Fire Broth” Recipe

© DOSA May not be copied or distributed without prior written permission

Approximately 8 portions.  Naturally vegan & gluten-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. Toor dal (lentils) aka Pigeon Peas, available at most Indian grocery stores
  • 4 Organic red tomatoes cut and blended
  • 1 1/2 sq. inch Tamarind pulp (usually sold in blocks)
  • 1/2 Organic lemon
  • 1/4 c. Chopped cilantro
  • 6 Cloves of garlic
  • 5 Dried red chilies
  • 6-8 Fresh curry leaves (leave out if you can’t find them, do not use “curry powder”)
  • 4 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp Whole black peppercorns
  • 4 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp Asafetida (This stuff is very potent so don’t overdo it. Gluten-free versions with rice-flour are available.)
  • 10-11 c. Water
  • 1-2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt

Preparation:

Tamarind

  1. Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup of water for 1 hour.

Toor dal

  1. Soak to the Toor Dal in 1 cup of water for 1 hour.
  2. Add 5 additional cups to the Toor dal and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes on a medium flame or until grains are very soft and blending with the water. (Note from Darya: this took closer to 30 minutes for me)
  3. Let it cool for 5 mins, then blend the Toor dal with the water. (Note from Darya: a hand blender works well)

Garlic

  1. Crush whole garlic and grind into a paste (Note from Darya: use mortar and pestle or back of wooden spoon)

Powdered Spice Mixture

  1. Grind cumin, peppercorn and coriander seeds. It can stay relatively coarse, but should be fine enough to drink in the soup.
  2. You can use a coffee grinder, however, be sure to clean it thoroughly after use.

Tomatoes

  1. Cut and blend the tomatoes into a pulp. (Note from Darya: use a food processor or blender)

Cooking:

**Have all your ingredients ready since some of these steps are relatively quick

  1. Add a minimal amount of oil to coat the bottom of a soup pot.  Turn to medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, dried red chiles and curry leaves.
  3. Keep stirring for about 2 minutes. You’ll get the aromatic flavors of these ingredients.
  4. Add asafetida and keep stirring for another 30 seconds.  This has a very strong aroma of onion and garlic so make sure you don’t add too much.
  5. Add turmeric and crushed garlic paste. Lower the flame slightly and keep stirring to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn. Stir for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the raw garlic flavor has dissipated.
  6. Add the fresh tomato pulp.
  7. Add tamarind pulp with the water in which it’s been soaking.
  8. Stir and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on a medium flame.
  9. Add the powdered spice mixture.
  10. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on a medium flame.
  11. Stir intermittently. You’ll notice the aromatic flavors of the spices.
  12. Add the blended Toor dal (lentil) and stir.
  13. Add remaining water about 2 to 3 cups. You can add more or less water depending on how thin or thick you would like the soup. It’s flavorful enough to be served relatively thin.
  14. Add cilantro.
  15. Add salt.
  16. Squeeze 1/2 an organic lemon.
  17. Simmer for 10 minutes and stir intermittently. Do NOT boil or cook. When it starts to froth you’re done.
  18. Check salt and add to taste if needed. (Note from Darya: I added an extra 1/4 tsp to get the same taste as at the restaurant)

Serving:

  • This nutritious and flavorful soup has a grainy and coarse texture as a result of the coarsely blended spices.
  • Stir the pot before ladling the soup into a cup as the spices will settle to the bottom.
  • Serve hot and garnish with cilantro.
  • It can be drunk straight from a cup or even eaten with rice.
  • You won’t even notice it’s vegan and gluten-free!

HUGE thanks to Anjan and Dosa for sharing this amazing recipe.

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Healthy Pasta Substitute: Chickpeas (with recipe)

by | Sep 29, 2010
Chickpea Puttanesca

Chickpea Puttanesca

I’m generally not a big noodle fan. Homemade fresh pasta is great, but I rarely go through the trouble to make it myself. Also, pasta isn’t particularly healthy and I’m happy to keep it as a special occasion food.

But sauce is a different story. I love a chunky summer tomato puttanesca sauce. In the past I have made a big batch, put the first serving on rigatoni, then used the rest on whatever I happened to have in the fridge over the next few days. I’ve tried it on brown rice and quinoa (neither is particularly good), but one day all I had was some chickpeas I made in the pressure cooker.

This changed everything.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a perfect match to a thick Italian red sauce. At this point I actually prefer my puttanesca on chickpeas rather than pasta. And I feel way better after eating it. This is also a wonderful substitution if you are sensitive to gluten.

I doubt chickpeas would hold up as well with all sauces, but I think red sauces are safe. My guess is lighter sauces that rely more on the distinct flavor of pasta would prove disappointing. Pesto might be nice, but probably as more of a side dish than a main course.

This is a new version of my puttanesca recipe. In a pinch you can substitute a 28oz can of diced tomatoes for fresh ones.

Chickpea Puttanesca

(serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes (Early Girl or San Marzano are best), diced
  • 8 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2-3 tbsp good olive oil
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas

If you’re starting with dry chickpeas, soak 1 cup (or more) dry beans overnight. Cook in pressure cooker until tender ~20 min, or boil covered in a pot (~1 hr). The rest of the cooking takes about 20 minutes, so adjust accordingly. You can make these a day or two ahead as well.

Press or finely mince garlic and soak it in 1 tbsp of water in a small cup or bowl. Let sit 5-10 minutes.

Heat a large pan on medium and add 2 tbsp olive oil. When the olive oil swirls easily in the pan add anchovies, garlic mixture and chili flakes. Stir continuously until garlic just begins to brown, about 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and simmer.

Allow tomatoes to cook, stirring occasionally. If the tomatoes begin sticking to the bottom of the pan, add 1/4 cup water to thin the sauce. You may need to do this several times, depending on your tomatoes. When the tomatoes begin to soften, use a wooden spoon to crush them a bit in the pan to create smaller chunks.

After sauce has simmered about 12-15 minutes toss in capers, olives, and parsley. Mix to combine. I tossed in some excellent olive oil at this point to brighten it up. (Don’t bother with this if you only have cheap olive oil.)

Pepper is a nice addition, but salt is probably not necessary because of the anchovies.

Drain chickpeas and scoop about 1/2 cup into a bowl. Remember that chickpeas are much more filling than pasta, so you will likely need less than you think. Spoon over sauce generously. Serve immediately.

You may also enjoy Better Than Pasta Subtitutes: Summer Squash Noodle Recipe and Video

Have you tried beans as a pasta substitute?

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For The Love Of Food

by | Sep 24, 2010

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Many thoughtful stories on the internets this week. I love JC’s piece on clean eating and food dogma. And if you’re curious about genetically modified salmon or other foods, I’ve included some very informative links. Enjoy :)

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For a complete reading list join me on Digg. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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