Archive for the 'Healthy Eating' Category
This recipe looks like it has a lot of steps (and it does), but the steps are all fast and easy and if you start with a premade crust, your pizza will be done in no time. However, before you go straight to using a store bought crust, let me spend a second convincing you of how easy it is to make it at home, especially if you have a kitchen aid. You literally just put everything in the mixer and blend. If you’re really lazy (as I often am), you can even let those last two minutes of kneading happen in the mixer. I also always use the mixing bowl to let the dough rise in. I just take it out for second, oil the bowl, replace and rise.
Whenever I make pizza dough, I almost always also make a double batch and then par bake the left over dough and freeze it for later use, it’s like having “store bought” pizza dough at home and ready to use all the time. You can also make the dough ahead and store it in your fridge covered in an oiled bowl or a storage bag for up to two days. If this is still too much work for you, I recommend asking your local pizza joint to buy some fresh dough from them. You can usually get some for a few bucks, and the results are totally worth it.
For this recipe, I do par bake the dough, since the topped pizza doesn’t have to stay in the oven for very long, but for traditional marinara sauce pizza, I just use the dough in it’s completely raw form.
As for the two sauces in the recipe, both are fascinatingly simple, in one you just blend all the ingredient, and the other, you let sit on the stove for a little while, while your pizza is baking, and both sauces are excellent to have on hand. I always make homemade pesto in the summer months when basil is abundant, but during the winter, I like to use arugula, which stays relatively inexpensive and is easy to get all year long. The peppery flavor is perfect with the sweet pears and I spoon it on fresh to get the full impact of the arugula. The sauce is also great to use like traditional pesto on pasta, or to top roasted potatoes, spread on to sandwiches, or spooned onto roasted chicken, fish, or a good steak.
The honey balsamic reduction is just as versatile, and I often use it to jazz up grilled chicken or to top bruschetta or roasted veggies.
Once you have all the pieces ready, it really is just assemble and bake. The ingredients are few and simple and so each one really shines. You get the smoky notes of bacon and creamy tartness of the goat cheese with the bright peppery arugula all there to support the sweet complexity of the Comice pears.
This is an easy recipe to have in your back pocket for a quick meal to have for guests, and the bacon can easily be replaced with toasted walnuts for an equally delicious vegetarian option. The walnuts and pears are so good together, that it’s sure to please even your most devout carnivores.
1 large pizza crust
1 large Comice pear, thinly sliced
12 oz. goat cheese crumbled
8 oz. thickly sliced bacon, cut into 2 in. squares (about 5-6 slices)
(or 1 c toasted walnuts, for a vegetarian version)
1 c. Arugula Pesto
3-4 T Honey Balsamic Glaze
Preheat oven to 475°F
Prepare a 14 or 16 in. pizza pan by lightly coating with cooking spray or scantly dusting with cornmeal
Roll out pizza crust thinly and place on prepared pan.
Par bake crust for 4-5 minutes on 475°F
Meanwhile, cut bacon into large 2 in. pieces and cook on medium high heat until lightly browned, but not cooked completely. Bacon will continue to cook and further crisp in the oven.
Once crust is par baked, crumble on goat cheese then evenly place on the bacon and thinly sliced Comice pears.
Baked at 475°F for 7-9 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and pears are golden around the edges and roasted through.
Remove from oven and let cool for a minute before spooning on arugula pesto and drizzling on the honey balsamic glaze.
Pizza Dough: makes 2, 14 -16 in. thin crust pizzas
1 T (or 1 package) or dry yeast
½ c warm water
1 t. sugar
3 – 3 ½ c All Purpose Flour
2 t salt
¾ c milk
¼ c olive oil
Mix yeast, warm water, and sugar in a small bowl and let proof for approximately 5 minutes or until the yeast starts to bubble.
In a medium sized mixing bowl or in a kitchen aid with a dough hook or similar appliance with a dough attachment, blend flour and salt, then after yeast is proofed, mix in remaining ingredients starting on low to medium speed, then increasing to a faster speed till all ingredients are well combined or until the dough forms a ball and begins to slightly pull away from the sides.
Remove from the bowl onto a slightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about an hour or until the dough has approximately doubled in size.
After the dough has risen, punch it down, divide in two and it’s ready to use.
Arugula Pesto: makes approximately 2 ½ c of finished pesto
2 c packed arugula (approx. a 5 oz. container)
¾ c extra virgin olive oil
½ c freshly grated parmesean
½ c toasted pine nuts
2 T lemon juice (about half of a large lemon)
1 small clove garlic
salt to taste
Wash and dry your arugula well. Even a few teaspoons of water left on the leaves will substantially water down the flavor of your pesto.
To toast the pine nuts, place nuts in a dry sauté pan on medium high heat shaking or stirring the nuts continuously until they are lightly browned in color and their aroma intensifies.
Place all ingredients except the olive oil into a blender or food processor (I prefer a food processor), and pulse while drizzling the olive oil in a slow but steady stream.
You are looking for a smooth, but not liquid consistency. The sauce should be of medium thickness, adjust with more or less olive oil (or lemon juice) to your desired consistency.
Honey Balsamic Glaze:
1 c balsamic vinegar
¼ c honey
Place ingredients in a small saucepan and on medium heat reduce by half.
The sauce will thicken as it reduces and should coat the back of a spoon when done. Be careful when it’s cooking not to get it on your skin as the reduced sugars in both the honey and balsamic will act like caramel and can stick to and burn your skin.
The reduction will thicken more as it cools and you may need to reheat it on low heat before using if it thickens too significantly.
About the Author
A former baker, chef, caterer, and a forever foodie, John is now a writer and essayist, who has written for newspapers and magazines across the country, and enjoys spending his spare time traveling and collecting bow ties.
I love the onset of fall – the leaves start turning, the orchards begin to fill with fruit, and the crisp autumn air gives me an excuse to break out my grandmother’s old quilts. But the start of fall also means that school’s started again, the busyness of the holidays are starting to begin, and the mourning of the freshness of summer.
During any seasonal transition there’s always so much to do, and so I like the ease of this recipe. Besides a little bit of chopping and the dressing (which you can make ahead and keep on hand for this and other salads) it’s a fast dump and mix recipe, impressive enough to make for guests, but easy enough to have any day of the week. Packed with veggies and protein, I’ll have 2 or 3 of the lettuce cups as a light but filling lunch, or add in some steamed white or brown rice to make it a complete dinner. It’s also a great make a head appetizer for a dinner party. Just keep the filling and lettuce cups separate till you’re ready to serve. The flavors only get better with time.
I’ve discovered, it’s also a great “add-in” recipe that you could add-in or substitute any leftover vegetables you might have around the house. The Asian pears are a great subtle background flavor for almost anything – red peppers, cucumbers, radishes, avocado – while still holding their distinct sweetness and crispness. Try substituting peanuts or crispy wonton strips for the almonds, or serving the whole mix on a toasted baguette smeared with a little Brie instead of in the lettuce cups. The possibilities are nearly endless. And when I don’t want to grill my own chicken, I’ve been known to just pick up an already roasted one at the grocery store and use that or even left over flank steak as a way to make the recipe even faster and easier.
Beside the ease, fun, and unexpected flavor profiles, I also love this recipe, because it’s a last harbinger of summer. There will be time for roasted apples and freshly pressed cider in the months to come, but while I can, I like extending the brightness and vigor for just a little bit longer as I make my way into fall.
Chicken & Asian Pear Slaw in Lettuce Cups with Sesame-Ginger Dressing (serves 2)
¼ c rice vinegar
1 T grated ginger
2 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce (if you don’t have fish sauce, add another T of soy sauce)
2 T sesame oil
1 T vegetable or canola oil
1 T honey
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lg. Asian sliced thinly
1 grilled chicken breast shredded – a scant 2 cups
1 lg. carrot julienned
3 scallons sliced on the diagonal
¼ c slivered almonds (reserve a few for garnish)
1 head Boston or butter lettuce washed, dried, and divided into “cups”
sliced avocado for garnish (optional)
1. In a large mixing bowl (we’re just going to use the same bowl to toss our slaw in) place all dressing ingredients together and mix. I’ve found that using a microplane or the smallest side on any boxed grater will give you the best results with your ginger. When mixing, the dressing will remain “broken” and not imulsify, that’s the way it should be.
2. Prep all salad ingredients, slicing each thinly. To julienne the carrot, first cut the carrot into a manageable length, then into small “planks”. Then stack 3 or 4 planks at a time and cut across length wise.If you have the time, try toasting your almonds by putting them in a small sauté pan for a few minutes on medium high heat until they’re lightly browned and intensify in scent.
3. Mix ingredients together with the dressing, and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the flavors to marry while you prep your lettuce. While washing, make sure to dry the leaves thoroughly as to not water down the dressing.
4. Fill each lettuce cups generously with about half a cup of the slaw, garnishing with some of your reserved almonds and some sliced avocado and additional sliced scallion if desired.
About the Author
A former baker, chef, caterer, and a forever foodie, John is now a writer and essayist, who has written for newspapers and magazines across the country, and enjoys spending his spare time traveling and collecting bow ties.
1 small apple
1 small celery rib, sliced
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 small onion, chopped
1 (7-ounce) can tuna
1 Tbsp. fresh dill weed (or 1 tsp. dried dill weed)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 small pita pockets
4 large lettuce leaves
1) Core and chop the apple into a medium-size bowl. Add celery and sprinkle with lemon juice. Add onion. Drain tuna and add to bowl with dill and mayonnaise. Mix well. Cut the top off each pita bread and place a lettuce leaf in each. Stuff with tuna mixture. Serve.
2) Prep time: 15 minutes
3) Recipe courtesy of US Apple AssociationNo comments
The 4000 year old “Persian Apple”
Little known to many, peaches originated in China approximately 2000 B.C. The scientific name for peaches, Prunus persica, originated from an early European belief that peaches came from Persia (nowIran). In fact they were brought over on the Silk Road from Asia to the Greater Mesopotamia andMediterranean regions before Christian times.
The ancient Romans called peaches “Persian Apples” for the country that introduced the fruit to the West. The peach was brought to Americaby Spanish explorers in the 16th century, and then to England and France in the 17th century. Numerous Native American tribes are credited with distributing the peach tree across theUnited States, taking seeds with them and planting as they traveled through the country.
According to Chinese legend, the peach was said to be consumed by immortals for its ability to prolong life for all who ate them. The peach often is an important part of Chinese tradition and is symbolic of long life.
As well, due to its sweetness and soft texture, the ancient Chinese used “peach” as a slang word for “young bride” and in many cultures has remained as a way to define pretty young women. The terms “peachy” and “peachy keen” in English are representative of this.
Peach trees are the second most commonly cultivated fruit trees in the world, after apple trees. TodayChina,Greece,Italy and America are major producers of peaches. California, South Carolina and Georgia are the largest peach producers within theUnited States. They thrive in climates with mild, cool winters and a lot of summer heat, which help lend to the fruit’s intense sweetness.
A medium sized peach has only 35 calories, making it a perfect snack or dessert. They are also excellent sources of fiber, Vitamins A, C and E, and phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants ridding the body of free radicals and are great for one’s skin.No comments
This just in! Summer is a great time to enjoy tasty fresh fruit! That’s right, you can celebrate fresh fruit and vegetables by adding a tasty fruit to each meal. Whether it’s as a main course, side dish or a tasty dessert, fruit is a great part of your diet. Below are five ideas on adding tasty fruit into your day. Enjoy!
Apple Slice Snack: A great idea for any time of year! Start the day by coring and slicing two apples. Take two Ziploc bags and put an apple into each bag. Put them in the fridge and use as a nice cold snack during the day or grab one for your drive in the afternoon!
Cubed Tomatoes: Yes tomatoes are fruit and the great thing about this fruit is that it goes great with most dinner dishes. Whether you are eating Enchiladas, Spaghetti, or a tasty garden, salad cube a tomato up and serve it as a topping to any of these dishes. The flavor and acidity of the tomato adds a great taste combination for any palate.
Fruit Salad: A great treat for breakfast or dessert is a delicious fruit salad that is simple and easy to make. Find a small watermelon, a cantaloupe, a honeydew melon, and a carton of strawberries. Cube the melons and slice the strawberries. Mix them together gently in a bowl. Quickly put them in the fridge to chill. That’s it. Now you have a perfect summer breakfast side dish or dessert for a nice summer evening.
Frozen Blueberries: Summer is generally warm. A great way to enjoy a nice cool treat is to freeze blueberries! Either pick or purchase enough blueberries to fill a one pound Ziploc freezer bag. Rinse the blueberries and let them dry for about fifteen minutes. Place the blueberries in the Ziploc freezer bag and place them in your freezer. After one day any time you want a sweet icy cool treat, grab a handful or fill a bowl and enjoy the tasty flavor. Perfect for a summer afternoon and for kids!
Fruit Recipes: One of our favorite things to cook here at The Fruit Company is main courses that involve a strong fruit flavor. A recent recipe that we made here and featured on our blog was a tasty Pan-Seared Pork (or Chicken) with a Pineapple-Kiwi Salsa. This mixture of fruit and protein was a delightful main course that had a great balance between the ingredients! Try it out and see for yourself!No comments
One of the world’s most popular tropical fruits, the Mango comes in many sizes, shapes and colors and can be prepared in ways you’ve never considered.
50% of the world’s tropical fruit are mangoes, so goes without saying that there are innumerable means in which people of many countries have come up with to consume the sweet, juicy fruits.
The mango is native to southern Asia and is now grown throughout the world’s equatorial regions, including Central and South America, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. While there is limited production of mangoes in theUnited States, the vast majority of the mangoes consumed in North America come fromMexico and Puerto Rico.
Mangoes range in color from green to scarlet to vivid yellow, depending on the variety. The flesh consistency and flavor also varies with the mango type, but the most commonly consumed mangoes in the US have a very sweet, creamy and juicy flesh. Occasionally the flesh can be more fibrous than others, but the best mangoes, such as the Champagne Mangoes we send with the Exotica HarvestClub, are renowned for their consistency and lack of stringiness.
Besides eating fresh, one of the most common uses for mangoes is in chutney, which inIndiais much tarter than what we’re accustomed to here. They use sour, unripe mangoes, hot chilies and limes. In fact the super sour, unripe mangoes are very popular around the world, especially when accompanied with salt and/or chili powder. Street vendors inMexicooften sell the fruit on a stick dipped in a mixture of chili and salt. Mangoes are a key ingredient in muesli and oat granola. In Southeast Asiathe fruit is pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar. There the mango is also served on top of sweet rice as a dessert.
You can also use mangoes to make juice, as filler for pies, blended with milk and ice for milkshakes, or mashed into ice cream.
Besides being incredibly delicious, mangoes are wonderful for you. One mango has nearly half your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, as well as being rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. One mango has only 70 calories and, due to its high water content, is rather refreshing. So go ahead and indulge!1 comment
The Golden Supreme Apple is one of the most popular and enduring apple varieties worldwide, and for just cause. Tasting mellow and sweet with a gentle tang, its slightly crisp texture and striking pale yellow color have garnered many lifelong fans. It can be difficult to find a perfect Golden as they are thin skinned and bruise very easily. Your best bet is enjoying one soon after harvest, when they are bursting with a warm and agreeable flavor and crispness.
West Virginia’s Clay County is reportedly the first place where these Golden
s were grown, as they were discovered there as a chance seedling in 1890. They were originally known as Mullin’s Yellow Seedling, but were renamed in 1916 and the rest is delicious history.
While eating a Golden fresh is always the best way to enjoy the full extent of its flavor, the delicate apples also do remarkably well in fresh cut salads as they resist browning. They also make great baking apples, especially as they’re so sweet that you don’t need as much sugar when using them in pies and desserts.
To go along with the celebration of American Heart Month, we decided to create a healthy, yet tasty dish. Our main dish was roasted salmon with a shallot grapefruit sauce, and we decided to kick it up a notch and include a side order of watercress salad with grapefruit, olives, and fried sage.
According to the American Heart Association, fish should be eaten twice a week as part of a healthy diet. Loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein, salmon has been shown to benefit everything from cholesterol to brain function. Combine this with the healthy citrus power of grapefruit, throw in a little ginger and honey, and you have a delicious and healthy meal everyone will enjoy.
For those that find the flavor of grapefruit a little overpowering, I would recommend cutting the segments into smaller pieces, maybe one inch or smaller. The sauce is delectable but deceivingly rich, a little goes a long way. And while the directions don’t state this, wrapping the salmon in foil to bake will help it from drying out and give you a few extra minutes to finish cooking your sauce.
If you have trouble finding watercress you can substitute with arugula. For those of you on the east coast or in the south you can find watercress at most grocery stores and markets. We are not as lucky in the Northwest. This salad is a wonderful blend of ingredients and a nice twist on a tradition dinner or garden salad. One word of warning however is that fresh sage (especially fried) is very strong; set it to the side and let your diners add to taste.
Roasted Salmon with Shallot Grapefruit Sauce Ingredients
- 4 skinless salmon fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 ruby red grapefruits
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 1/2 teaspoons honey
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Season the salmon with 1/4 teaspoon salt, place in a baking dish and roast until cooked through, about 18 minutes.
3. While the salmon is cooking prepare the sauce. Cut 1 of the grapefruits into sections by cutting off the top and bottom of the fruit, then standing it on 1 end, cut down the skin to remove the pith and peel. Then, with a paring knife, remove each segment of fruit from its casing and cut the segments in half. Set the segment pieces aside. Juice the other grapefruit and set the juice aside.
4. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger, grapefruit juice, honey, and cayenne pepper and bring to simmer. Cook until sauce is reduced by about half about, 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and season with salt, to taste. Right before serving, toss the grapefruit pieces and basil into the sauce. Put the salmon onto a serving dish. Spoon sauce over the salmon and serve.
Watercress Salad with Grapefruit, Olives, and Fried Sage Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
- 1 grapefruit, peel and pith cut off
- 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic cloves, crushed with the flat side of a large knife
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 bunch watercress (4 ounces), tough stems discarded
- 1/4 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted
1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add sage, and turn with a wooden spoon to coat in oil. Cook until crisp but not brown, about 30 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
2. Set a fine sieve over a bowl. Working over sieve to catch juices in bowl, cut grapefruit segments from membranes, letting them fall into sieve. Squeeze remaining juice from membranes through sieve into bowl. Coarsely chop or break grapefruit segments into 1-inch pieces.
3. Stir together 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice, the vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisking constantly, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a slow, steady stream and then whisk until emulsified.
4. Just before serving, remove garlic from vinaigrette. Toss watercress with grapefruit, olives, and vinaigrette. Garnish with sage leaves.
Everyone likes fruit; some people love it. And then there are people like us, people who live fruit. It’s in our cereal in the morning, our conversations during the day, and our dreams at night. We’ve long given up using months and seasons to track the time. We just go by what’s in season: its apple harvest, its pear season, its blueberry picking time.
And during the holidays, when apples and pears are at their most divine, we can’t help ourselves. We up our intake, eating our fair share and then some. We find new ways to enjoy fruit: dried, candied, chocolate covered, as decoration (more on that next week) and our latest obsession, for dinner. And if you know anything about us, it’s that we’re not talking about a fruit salad or a regrettable jello concoction. We’re talking dinner, main course, the pièce de résistance.
Last year, we created a Thanksgiving feast centered around a different variety of fruit and posted it on the blog. We figured best case scenario, people use some of the recipes and start cooking with fruit more. Worst case scenario? Two Thanksgivings. It was win, win from the beginning.
The menu was as follows:
Pomegranate Glazed Turkey
Pear, Apple, and Cranberry Pie
To say that it was delicious would be wrong. It was all sorts of delicious. And in the end, that gigantic meal in all it’s glory produced not a single leftover. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it…
All of which is to say that we’re doing it again. This year, we’ll be cooking up a Christmas feast with five savory courses and one dessert, all incorporating fruit in a big way. We’ll be posting the pictures and our play-by-play in the upcoming newsletter, but we wanted to go ahead and post the recipes here a little early so that they have time to marinate. Let the mouthwatering commence!No comments
Curried Persimmon Soup
Below you’ll find a list of ingredients necessary for making Curried Persimmon Soup. I’ve taken the liberty of adding “love” to the list because it is often said to be a secret ingredient. It is no longer a secret. (To those who did not want others to know about adding “love”, your rein of soup tyranny is over).
3½ Lbs of peeled Fuyu Persimmons
½ cup minced Onion
1½ T minced fresh Garlic
5 cups of Reduced Sodium Chicken Stock
Love Read more1 comment