Category Archives: Health/Nutrition

Asparagus Fry — With Mustard Seeds and Coconut

A simple saute of asparagus that gets dressed up with Indian flavors.
A simple saute of asparagus that gets dressed up with Indian flavors.

Spring may signal bountiful flowers. But for me, first and foremost, it brings asparagus.

I can barely contain myself when the first spears start showing up at the farmers markets. Because from then on out, I eat my fill of those sweet, thick spears every week until they disappear all too rapidly at the end of their short season.

Asparagus aren’t often highlighted in Indian cooking. So, when I spied a recipe for “Asparagus Fry” flavored with chilies, mustard seeds, and shredded coconut, I was all in.

This quick and easy recipe is from the new “Mindful Indian Meals,” of which I received a review copy.

It’s by San Franciscan Shivangi Rao, a designer and product manager in the healthcare industry, who founded the blog, Raody Recipes.

Growing up, Rao was plagued by digestive and cognitive autoimmune illnesses, which even impacted her ability to walk at one point. She eventually learned that certain foods triggered her symptoms, which led her to eliminate them. The only problem was many of them were the beloved foods she had grown up with: Indian sweets made with refined sugar; lentils high in starch; and rice and roti, both high in simple carbohydrates.

So, she set out on a path to reclaim those flavors that are so integral to her family and culture.

Read more

Sponsored Post: Crunchy, Delicious Pazazz Apple Pickles

You'll wonder how you ever lived without these pickled apples topping a sandwich.
You’ll wonder how you ever lived without these pickled apples topping a sandwich.

Sure, back in the day, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

But today’s more learned Peter Piper would surely pick a peck of pickled apples instead.

Especially in the form of these additive “Quick Bread-And-Butter Apple Pickles” that are made with Pazazz apples, that brilliantly ruby red variety with flashes of yellow-green, an arresting crunch, and a burst of sweet, tangy juiciness.

This snappy, late-season apple that’s descended from the popular Honeycrisp, is at its flavor peak now through June. Lucky for you, Pazazz apples are easy to find at Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons.

February is an especially appropriate time to indulge in them, too, because it’s National Cancer Prevention Month. Pazazz has partnered with the American Institute of Cancer Research to promote the benefits of a diet rich in foods high in fiber and antioxidants such as fresh apples that are thought to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

When enjoying apples, don’t toss the peel, a valuable prebiotic that induces the growth of good-for-you microorganisms to ensure a healthy gut.

Late-season Pazazz apples to enjoy now.
Late-season Pazazz apples to enjoy now.

Indeed, the flesh and peel star in this easy-as-it-gets pickled apple recipe. When I received a sample of Pazazz, I wouldn’t wait to highlight them in this genius recipe by Amy Traverso, food editor of Yankee Magazine.

Read more

Lightly Curried Lamb, Cabbage, and Barley Soup

A hearty, soul-soothing lamb and barley soup that's just what you want at this time of year.
A hearty, soul-soothing lamb and barley soup that’s just what you want at this time of year.

I joke that my husband likes to put together elaborate charts. Of his weekly workouts. Of his grilling exploits. Of, well, you name it.

Of course, he’ll then promptly misplace them, making them an exercise in futility in the end.

So, it comes as no surprise that in the early days of shelter-in-place, when everyone was growing green onions in a glass of water and attempting their first misshapen sourdough loaves, all panicked that it might very well be the only food they could lay their hands on, my husband suggested making an elaborate chart listing everything in our pantry in case we had to start rationing.

I just rolled my eyes.

Because I knew that with just the bags of dried beans and grains on our shelves alone, we had ample food — and good food — for months on end.

After all, that’s one of the greatest things about grains such as barley, farro, corn, quinoa, and oats. They are high in fiber, making them very satiating even in modest servings. Plus, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

On top of that, they’re a breeze to cook, and can fit into any meal or snack, no matter what time of day or year.

Need further convincing? Just pick up a copy of the new cookbook, “Grains for Every Season: Rethinking Our Way with Grains” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Joshua McFadden, founder of Submarine Hospitality in Portland, OR, where he owns Ava Gene’s, Cicoria, Takibi, and Tusk. He’s also bringing new life to a 50-acre Berny Farm in Springdale, OR. The book was written with Martha Homberg, former editor-in-chief of Fine Cooking magazine.

As McFadden notes, this cookbook doesn’t include recipes for every grain imaginable. Instead, he’s honed in on the ones that he believes are the most versatile in the kitchen.

Read more

A Visit to Gold Ridge Organic Farms

Asian pear apples grown at Gold Ridge Farms. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
Asian pear apples grown at Gold Ridge Farms. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Farmer Brooke Hazen knows every tree planted on his 88 acres in the rolling hills of Sebastopol. Not in the “Hi! How are you?” kind of way, he jokes. But in the truest sense of nurtured familiarity, having planted each and every one of them with the help of only one assistant.

He started his Gold Ridge Organic Farms in 2001 to create an edible wonderland. He’s more than succeeded, growing 13,000 olive trees of Spanish, Italian and French cultivars; 12,000 apple trees of 75 different varieties, including rare heirlooms; and a smattering of citrus, including Blood Oranges and Mandarin-Kumquats. All are grown organically, too.

You may very well know his apples already from his branded bags of Heirloom Apple Blend that are sold at Northern California Whole Foods. These treasure bags can contain such unusual antique varieties as Pitmaster Pineapple that actually tastes like pineapple, and Strawberry Parfait that — yes — tastes like strawberry. Indeed, Gold Ridge is one of the largest heirloom apple growers in California.

Farmer Brooke Hazen. (Photo by Dawn Heumann)
Farmer Brooke Hazen. (Photo by Dawn Heumann)

This month, you can get the opportunity to visit this wonderful farm for the first time.

Read more

The Superfood Cookie

Vegan and gluten-free Superfood Cookies in two sizes.
Vegan and gluten-free Superfood Cookies in two sizes.

Putting the words, “cookie” and “superfood,” together may seem like an oxymoron, if there ever was one.

But San Francisco’s Love + Chew has created a cookie with far more nutrition than most.

The company was started in 2018 by former tech employee Lauren Chew, a long-time vegetarian/vegan, who started baking gluten-free cookies when her step-mom adopted a completely plant-based diet.

Chew’s Superfood Cookie is certified vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO, with most of its ingredients sourced from California.

As a carnivore with an admitted sweet tooth, I’ve admittedly not always been a fan of vegan cookies that I’ve tried in the past. The texture of most has just been too unpleasantly gummy.

But The Superfood Cookie samples I received were a pleasant surprise. They’re not going to satisfy in the same way that a full-on, decadent, butter-laden chocolate-chunk cookie might. But for a sweet pick-me-up with fiber and protein, they hit the spot.

Read more
« Older Entries Recent Entries »