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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Oreos really are like crack, how genetics impact being vegan, and how to get teens to quit junk food

by | Oct 28, 2016
For the Love of Food

For the Love of Food

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

This week Oreos really are like crack, how genetics impact being vegan, and how to get teens to quit junk food.

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

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Foodist Approved: Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

by | Jun 14, 2016
farmers market quinoa salad

farmers market quinoa salad

The ingredients in this hearty grain salad celebrate the start of summer and the opening of farmers markets across the country. This quinoa salad is packed with a power combo of kale, sugar snap peas, and radishes and is tossed with a bright lemony vinaigrette.

The secret that takes this salad from good to great is adding finely grated lemon zest to the vinaigrette. The zest brightens the other flavors and creates a beautiful flavor profile.

A microplane zester is an inexpensive tool worthy of adding to your kitchen gadget collection. Otherwise a paring knife can be used to carefully remove the zest from the pith. This will give you large pieces of zest that then need to be minced finely. Lemon zest adds exceptional flavor to everything from dressings to marinades to baked goods.

I’ll admit it. I made this salad three times this week! The first night for recipe testing, the next night for dinner at grandma’s house, and a couple nights later for a dinner party with friends. It was an acclaimed winner at every event.

Top this salad with a soft-boiled egg for a quick, nourishing meal or serve as a side with grilled steak for a no-stress dinner party.

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Foodist Approved: Sweet Pea Soup with Parsley and Chèvre Recipe

by | Feb 16, 2016
Sweet Pea Soup with Parsley and Chevre

Sweet Pea Soup with Parsley and Chevre

Spring is just around the corner, but with the recent snowstorms across the country sunshine may feel hopelessly out of reach. Fear not.

Get into the kitchen and make soup to rejuvenate your soul. Plus, Souping is the New Juicing—the perfect way to squeeze more veggies into your life.

This pea soup only requires a 15-minute simmer, making it a front-runner for weeknight dinners. Add a little sautéed Italian sausage to transform it into a hearty meal and no other sides are needed.

Chèvre (goat’s cheese) is my go-to for adding creamy richness to soups without the use of heavy cream. Goat cheese is much easier to digest than cream, and it lends a tart, tangy, earthy flavor that turns this nourishing vegetable soup into a showstopper.

Get fancy and top each bowl with homemade croutons to add irresistible crunch.

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Foodist Approved: Roasted Butternut Squash, Farro and Kale Salad Recipe

by | Dec 22, 2015
Butternut, farro and kale salad

Butternut, farro and kale salad

This delicious salad with roasted butternut squash, farro and kale has become my family’s go-to nourishing winter salad to fight the onslaught of cold viruses.

One bowlful has it all going on: crisp kale, sweet butternut, hearty farro, salty Parmesan, and an addicting homemade dressing. It’s chockfull of vitamins and minerals including C, K, A, calcium, magnesium, and potassium—all enhanced by the enzyme-rich apple cider vinaigrette. But of course the best reason to eat it is that it’s delicious.

Prepping a butternut squash requires a good quality chef’s knife and a little muscle power (learn the best technique here), or many grocery stores sell it freshly cubed to save you time. You’ll just want to chop the cubes into smaller 1/2-inch pieces for guaranteed roasting perfection.

Make this colorful salad as an impressive side dish on a Sunday night then stowaway the leftovers for a work lunch that will be the envy of the office.

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Foodist Approved: Black Rice Porridge with Sautéed Apples Recipe

by | Nov 17, 2015
black rice breakfast bowl

black rice breakfast bowl

Porridge made from black rice, also called “forbidden rice,” is a creative and delicious alternative to oatmeal.

This recipe was inspired by a memorable brunch I had a couple months ago at a tiny neighborhood restaurant, The Sudra, in SE Portland. The Sudra is beloved for its vegan, deeply spiced Indian cuisine.

Black rice has a rich, nutty flavor, chewy texture, and powerful color, while sautéed apples spiked with cinnamon and cardamom take on a beautiful crimson hue, making this bowl impressive enough to serve for weekend brunch.

You can use any type of milk, but for a creamy treat I recommend making it with rich coconut milk. Unsweetened canned coconut milk is available at most grocery stores.

To be able to prepare this breakfast in less than 15 minutes, cook the rice the night before while you’re cleaning up from dinner.

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Foodist Approved: Radicchio Salad with Roasted Figs and Walnuts

by | Sep 22, 2015

roasted fig salad kopecky 2 edit sm

Since figs are in season just once a year, for a short period when summer fades into fall, this is the salad I’m devouring right now. The bitter radicchio paired with the sweet, caramelized, roasted figs and the salty crumbles of goat cheese satisfies every craving in one forkful.

Figs are one of those rare fruits that producers haven’t yet figured out how to grow out of season, ship from halfway around the world, or pick under-ripe and store for months on end. Therefore the figs you’re seeing right now at your grocery store or farmers market are at peak perfection.

Transform this salad into a nourishing meal, perfect for lunch or dinner, by tossing in a cup of cooked farro, wheat berries, or brown rice.

When figs are not in season, pears or grapes make impressive stand-ins.

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Foodist Approved: Simple Roasted Tomato Marinara

by | Aug 18, 2015

roasted tomatoes sm

Being that this is Summer Tomato and that tomatoes are at their peak flavor right now, I’m going to teach you how to make a swoon-worthy Simple Roasted Tomato Marinara sauce that you can savor now and stow-away for winter.

Roasting the tomatoes prior to pureeing them concentrates the flavor and results in a perfectly balanced tomato sauce that, unlike most store-bought marinaras, doesn’t need to be loaded with sugar.

For the richest flavor, we highly recommend getting the tomatoes from the farmers market, or better yet, your own backyard. Most of the tomatoes sold in grocery stores have been bred for shelf-life and picked under-ripe, resulting in an unremarkable and less nourishing tomato.

To preserve tomatoes for winter, you need not get out the canning equipment. This sauce freezes beautifully and can be easily stored in re-sealable freezer bags (I highly recommend making a double batch). If you want to freeze your sauce in glass jars, just make sure the jar is straight-sided and that you leave room for the contents to expand when frozen.

Come December when the days are shorter and colder, you’ll want to hug me when you remember that the essence of summer is hiding in your freezer.

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Foodist Approved: Lebanese-style Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Quinoa

by | Jul 21, 2015
Grilled eggplant with chickpeas and tomatoes

Grilled eggplant with chickpeas and tomatoes

Vegans, vegetarians, and vegetable aficionados rejoice—you need not be a meat-lover to have fun grilling this summer. Vibrant vegetables (and fruit!) can benefit from the sear of a hot grill as much as a juicy burger or steak.

Thick slabs of eggplant brushed with olive oil and spices, transform into melt-in-your-mouth goodness when charred to perfection.

Grilling is faster than cooking on the stovetop and it requires less cleanup. Ready to get your grill on?! Here are a few tips to get you started:

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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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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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