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Foodist Approved: Shrimp Skewers with Grilled Tomatoes, Avocado, and Peaches

by | Jun 16, 2015
shrimp skewers

shrimp skewers

I did a little dance this week out of excitement as my husband and I got to eat our first cherry tomatoes of the season from our garden. Doing so inspired me to come up with a fun summer recipe for tomatoes besides my usual Caprese salad.

These vibrant, Mexican-themed skewers threaded with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and peaches highlight the season’s best flavors. The shrimp pairs perfectly with the grilled, juicy fruit for a light summer dinner (yes, tomatoes and avocados are fruit).

Whip together a creamy, sweet and spicy sauce for drizzling over the skewers by reserving some of the marinade and stirring it into whole milk yogurt. I like to serve seafood kebabs on top of rice with a side of salad greens.

Because the shrimp cook up in a matter of minutes, I grill them on separate skewers from the fruits and veggies. Don’t forget to soak your wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes prior to getting started to prevent them from burning.

No grill? No problemo. You can simply stir-fry the avocado, peaches, and tomatoes in a little olive oil, add in the shrimp and cook until no longer opaque, and then stir in enough marinade to coat.

Happy summer, Summer Tomato readers! Eat lots of tomatoes and enjoy the sunshine!

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Foodist Approved: Kamut Salad with Strawberries, Arugula, and Blue Cheese

by | May 26, 2015
Kamut salad with strawberries

Kamut salad with strawberries

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Maria Speck while she was on tour for her new book, Simply Ancient Grains. Maria’s passion for inspiring Americans to broaden their grain-repertoire is contagious. Despite being in the thick of recipe testing for my book, I was inspired to try a few of her recipes. I was thrilled when Maria happily agreed to let me share one of her favorite whole grain salad recipes on Summer Tomato.

In the recipe below, I’ve made a few adaptations to Maria’s original. Her Kamut salad is made with oranges, orange peel, leeks, and raisins, but to put to good use the produce available at the farmers market right now, I decided to give the salad a spring makeover. I swapped out the oranges for strawberries and used fresh arugula instead of the cooked leeks. I also decided to skip the raisins since my strawberries were super sweet. Lastly, I swapped lemon zest for the orange zest in the original recipe.

When I asked Maria if she was okay with my spring interpretation of her recipe she wrote, “I love it! Why not? That’s what cooking is all about.” Adore that. Feel free to experiment with your own adaptations—and if you do, share them here.

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How I Learned to Cook Without Recipes

by | Apr 29, 2015

Going away to college was a huge shock for me.

I was so neurotic about food at the time that I refused to live in the dorms and pay for the required school meal plan. So I got an apartment with some friends and attempted to feed myself for the first time in my life.

Oh boy.

For the first few months I ate out every meal. In Berkeley this was fun since there’s so much great food, but the novelty eventually wore off.

I also didn’t appreciate the extra 25 pounds that all seemed to pile onto my thighs. So I decided to start making more meals at home.

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Foodist Approved: Grilled Spring Veggie Salad with Farro

by | Apr 23, 2015
Grilled Spring Veggie Salad with Farro

Grilled Spring Veggie Salad with Farro

Now that the nights are staying warmer, we’ve finally rolled out our trusty grill. Over the years, it’s become tradition in our household that when it comes to grilling, my husband, Andy, takes over.

I’m not sure why I’ve never intercepted. He likes his meat charred until it resembles an inedible hockey puck, while I prefer my meat to come off the grill retaining some amount of life.

Recently, Andy was on the road, and I decided to fire up the grill all by my lonesome. To my delight, I discovered there’s something deeply satisfying about manning a grill. Sorry honey—from now on I’m the grill master.

I filled the grill grate with an assortment of seasonal veggies that I had simply drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. The asparagus, zucchini, and squash all turned out sweet and juicy with just the perfect amount of flavorful charring.

The best part was there were no pans to scrub after I devoured dinner.

Next time you’re grilling, cook up an extra large batch of your favorite seasonal vegetables—get creative with the assortment. Serve them the first night hot, right off the grill and the next day toss the leftovers into this satisfying salad and call it lunch or dinner.

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Poached Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto

by | Apr 8, 2015
Poached salmon with roasted asparagus and cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto

Poached salmon with roasted asparagus and cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto

Kathryn Matthews is a New York City-based Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a well-published food and health writer, whose work has appeared in many publications from The New York Times to O, The Oprah Magazine. A former restaurant reviewer and alum of The French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, she is passionate about yummy-tasting food—and a firm believer that cooking for yourself is a first step toward better health. Kathryn is also the founder of The Nourished Epicurean, a recipe-driven blog about healthy living. As a nutrition health coach, she helps clients improve their health—and increase their energy—through diet and lifestyle changes.

Every year, around mid-March, I feel a sudden and intense shift in my food cravings. I’m like that woman, who, jonesing for her fix (a carton of rocky road ice cream, a super-sized bag of chips, or other wanton desire) finds herself driving to the nearest Seven-Eleven in her robe and bunny slippers.

In my case, my cravings have me speed-walking (since I live in New York City) to the nearest Whole Foods Market, where I heed a primitive urge to “forage” through the produce section until I find asparagus and cilantro and to “spear” some wild-caught salmon from the fish case.

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Foodist Approved: Braised Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

by | Mar 25, 2015
Braised chicken with asparagus and mushrooms

Braised chicken with asparagus and mushrooms

Braising is my preferred method of cooking meat as of late. A quick sear followed by an effortless simmer ensures meat so tender that even my toothless nine-month-old devours it.

The flavors in this braised chicken dish were inspired by the start of spring. Move over root vegetables—asparagus are now stealing the limelight at the farmers market. The white wine lends a refreshing citrusy accent and the herbs de provence are reminiscent of spring flowers.*

The best part about this recipe is being able to accomplish every step, from the searing to the simmering to cooking the veggies and creating a sop-it-up sauce, in just one pot (the family member appointed to dish-duty will thank you).

The right pot is key in this recipe. If you’re not yet the proud owner of a Dutch or French oven, which is a large enameled cast-iron pot with a lid, then you should definitely consider investing in this worthwhile culinary wonder. I’m partial to Le Creuset French ovens, but there are less expensive brands out there too.

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Foodist Approved: Maple Pecan Nut Butter

by | Mar 4, 2015
maple pecan nut butter

maple pecan nut butter

I have an affinity for nut butters. My freshman year of college, when I was running an insane amount of miles and living in the dismal dorms, I used to keep a jar of peanut butter by my bed. My roommate, to this day, still teases me about my by-the-spoonful, middle-of-the-night peanut butter snacking habit.

Years later when I worked in Geneva, Switzerland I kept a jar of almond butter in my desk drawer at work. Once again my nut butter snacking habit provided much entertainment. My co-workers thought it was hilariously odd that I ate almond butter imported from the US slathered on apples. Lucky for me, I never had to share, and they had no idea what they were missing out on.

Despite the ridicule over the years, nut butter spread on fruit or swirled into yogurt remains my beloved afternoon snack. After discovering that I could make a better butter at home, I’ve been experimenting with endless flavor combinations.

Compared to store-bought ones homemade nut butters have a richer nuttiness and deeper flavor, all of which adds up to some serious snacking satisfaction.

This Maple Pecan Nut Butter of mine is my new love. It only takes a small amount of maple syrup to bring to life the innate sweetness of the pecans. Adding almonds to the mix saves on cost without taking away from the butter’s better-than-pie goodness.

Serve it anyway you like: mash into a baked yam (trust me on this one!), swirl into whole milk yogurt, serve on top of baked apples or poached pears or simply slather on bananas, apple slices or thick slices of toast.

Homemade is more perishable than store-bought, so it’s best to make in small batches. Or better yet, make a large batch and freeze any amount that you can salvage from immediate consumption.

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3 Reasons to Meal Plan + a Quick Guide to Getting Started

by | Feb 25, 2015

pea soup

JULES CLANCY loves keeping things simple, especially in the kitchen. She has a degree in food science and blogs about healthy meals made easy at www.thestonesoup.com.

3 Reasons to Meal Plan + a Quick Guide to Getting Started

by Jules Clancy

When I was first getting into cooking in my early 20s, I spent loads of time planning my meals each week. I’d pore over cookbooks and magazines, and write lengthy shopping lists. I actually enjoyed it in a funny way, but as life got busier my meal planning habit was one of the casualties.

I found myself falling into the trap of either picking something up on the way home from work or, more often than I’d like to admit, getting takeout or going to a restaurant.

Over time, I realized that having some sort of plan and shopping on a weekly basis was not only better for my waistline, it was also easier on my wallet. But the best discovery was that meal planning didn’t have to be as time consuming as I’d originally thought.

These days I only spend a few minutes a week on meal planning. I’m not kidding.

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Are You Paying Too Much for Fresh Food?

by | Feb 16, 2015

 

One of the most common criticisms of my work here at Summer Tomato is that the lifestyle I promote is not available to everybody. That fresh food is a luxury only available to those with the resources to procure it and the time to prepare it.

Sadly, this is true. But it is only part of the story.

These accusations of elitism are based on the assumption that since fresh food has a higher price tag than processed food, promoting it as the best means to better health discriminates against those who can’t afford it.

Blame the science, shoot the messenger.

To get to the real problem we need to ask what sets the price tag. Why is the food from smaller farms at my local farmers market more pricey than the mass produced industrial food most people eat?

Is it because small, family farmers are greedy? Are they preying off the ignorance of rich people seeking the latest kale and beet juice trend?

Or are the prices of industrial food––even produce––artificially cheap?

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Foodist Approved: Anytime Frittata with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

by | Feb 11, 2015
fritatta sweet potato and spinach

fritatta sweet potato and spinach

Word is out. I’m co-authoring a cookbook for runners with Shalane Flanagan, Olympic medalist, world-class marathoner and world-class friend.

I could not have envisioned a better partner in crime for my first book. Shalane has been an inspiration to me since I met her 14 years ago at our first day of cross-country practice at UNC. She’s one of the toughest women I know and also happens to have an incredible approach to eating for nourishment and enjoyment.

The ironic thing about writing a cookbook is that I too have days when I just don’t have time to cook. You’d think I’d be swimming in amazing meals, but the truth is I have weeks where I’m testing five variations of the same energy bar day after day.

On those days, I revert to dinners that can be prepped in 15 minutes max.

A frittata packed with seasonal veggies is one of my quick go-to’s. This hearty frittata, loaded with sweet potatoes and spinach, has saved me on many late nights.

I’ll admit, last week I ate it for lunch and dinner followed by polishing off the remaining slice for breakfast the next day. Hence the name Anytime Frittata. Enjoy!

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