Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Hazelnuts

Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized OnionsStill searching for the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving? Look no further, The Nutrition Doctor has got you covered. Here I take three separate elements—roasted Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, and toasted hazelnuts—and put them together in a tantalizing way that will make people stand up and cheer.

Well, maybe not cheer, exactly, but it will certainly wow your guests who still have nightmares about overcooked sprouts, a smelly mess that no one wants to eat.

Nothing too difficult about this recipe at all. A few ingredients and three simple steps and you’re done. And you really don’t have to measure anything here, just use whatever amounts you need based upon the number you’re feeding—a handful per person, say—and go from there. Experienced cooks can put together these elements using their own methods while beginners can click on the links for more detailed info on how to roast Brussels sprouts and caramelize onions. It’s super easy, so if you’ve never done it before don’t let that stop you.

Also, prepare to be amazed.

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Ingredients: Brussels sprouts, onions, extra-virgin olive oil, thyme, hazelnuts (aka, filberts), kosher or sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.

1. Caramelize the onions. Slice onions thinly; I use about 3 or 4 large yellow ones because they shrink down considerably when cooking and extra can be saved in the fridge or freezer for another time. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan to medium-low and add onions, cooking until soft and sweet. (More here.)

Caramelized Onions

2. Roast the Brussels sprouts. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, toss sprouts with olive oil, season with S&P, and cook for about 20 minutes. (More here.)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

3. Toast the hazelnuts. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and throw a towel over them for a minute or so then rub off the skins; no need to remove them all, since they add color and texture to the dish. Chop coarsely, leaving some whole.

Toasted Hazelnuts

4. Mix it all together. Put sprouts, onions, and nuts together in a bowl in whatever proportion pleases you and mix until combined. Taste and reseason with additional salt and pepper as needed. Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with additional nuts. Feel free to top with an extra drizzle of olive oil for richness and/or a splash of vinegar (sherry, wine, balsamic, whatever) for zing if you like. Or, you could get even fancier with a maple dijon vinaigrette, which is fabulous but not at all necessary.

Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Onions with Hazelnuts

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Gluten-free? Check. Paleo? Check. Vegetarian? Check. Vegan? Check. Healthy? Check. Planet-friendly? Check. Scrumptious? Double check. Beyond being a crowd-pleaser for veggie-loving folks, this recipe also fits beautifully into the diets of your friends and family with specific dietary preferences.

And on the nutritional front, these little green bundles, like its headless cousin kale, are a source of a great many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K, C, folate, B 6, B 1, manganese, copper, and potassium. They have about 60 calories per cup (before the olive oil and other ingredients, that is) and are particularly high in glucosinolates, a powerful group of phytonutrients important in cancer prevention and DNA protection. Put that together with the minerals and heart-healthy unsaturated fats in filberts and the flavonoids and anthocyanins in onions—which are more of those mighty phytonutrients—and you’ve got a salacious and satiating side dish for Thanksgiving, or any day.

So move over, kale. Step aside, cauliflower. It’s time Brussels sprouts started getting their due respect on the dinner table, and this dish gives them the starring role they deserve.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twittercheck out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. 

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public healthShe brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book Foods for Health is onsale at your local bookstores and here.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Another Cruciferous Revelation)

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts PlatedMy first-ever post on roasted Brussels sprouts was, well, long. Who wants to read all that when all you need is a go-to Brussels sprouts recipe for Thanksgiving, or any day?

Of course, if you do wish to read that piece—and I thank you for that—it’s here. But if not, today’s brief post is dedicated to the recipe alone. In four easy steps, you will be acquainted with the easiest tried-and-true way to enjoy Brussels sprouts, and they can be eaten alone or included in various wonderful dishes like kale and Brussels sprouts salad with maple dijon vinaigretteswordfish picatta with smashed cauliflower and caramelized Brussels sprouts; or seared scallops with roasted squash, Brussels sprouts, and cranberry beans. All of these are delicious autumn-themed meals featuring this adorable little cabbage.

The magic begins in a white hot oven, so get in the kitchen, turn up the heat, and let’s get cooking.

1. Wash Brussels sprouts. Use as many as you like. (They keep fine in the fridge for additional uses.)

Bowl of Raw Brussels Sprouts

2. Place washed sprouts on a baking sheet, cutting the large ones in half. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss with your fingers until coated. (There should not be extra oil pooling on the sheet.)

Brussels Sprouts Before

3. Roast at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes until tender and browned in places., tossing half-way through cooking. Some of the leaves may become charred, becoming crunchy and delicious (and, occasionally, too charred, tasting burnt; discard those ones).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

4. Spoon into a serving dish and enjoy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Plated

That’s all, folks. Easy as can be.

Stay tuned for how I used this particular batch in some upcoming recipes. And, for more dishes starring veggies to adorn your Thanksgiving table, from cauliflower to squash, stuffing to desserts, please visit my recipes page.

Thanks for reading, and happy cooking!

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twittercheck out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. 

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public healthShe brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book Foods for Health is onsale at your local bookstores and here.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Getting Retro with Waldorf Salad: A Modern Take on the Classic

Waldorf SaladSome of my readers may not be familiar with this dish, which is decidedly old-school. In fact, Waldorf salad was created at the turn of the twentieth century. It was particularly popular in the early 1900s, even getting a shout-out in Cole Porter’s classic song “You’re the Top” from Anything Goes (1934) alongside Shakespeare and Mickey Mouse. Waldorf salad also played a starring role in one of the episodes of the 1979 British sitcom Fawlty Towers

Perhaps due to its tasty simplicity featuring common ingredients like apples and walnuts, it continues to be passed down the generations. And why not? There’s nothing not to like about this classic, and it’s a fine way to celebrate all those crisp autumn apples of varying colors and flavors. Just select a few varieties that make you happy—leave that pretty skin loaded with fiber and phytonutrients on, please—and add a few more ingredients for a dish that can be made in less than ten minutes. My recipe modernizes the salad with additional vegetables and herbs to give it a nutrition and flavor boost, and there’s plenty of room for you to play, too, to create your own perfect Waldorf salad fit for twenty-first century families.

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Ingredients

  • 2 apples
  • Hakurei turnips (sweet salad turnips)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (approximately from 1/3 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon scallions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, rough chop
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon raisins (I prefer golden)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pecans, toasted, rough chop
  • 1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon agave nectar (or honey) (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions and Notes

Chop the unpeeled apples and turnips into bite-sized chunks and toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice. (I generally choose one sweet and one tart apple; use whatever you want.) Stir in scallions, celery, parsley, mayonnaise, yogurt, raisins, and nuts. Add a shake of vinegar and small squirt of agave, season with freshly ground pepper and a few pinches of salt, and mix. Taste and adjust: final amounts of vinegar, lemon juice, and agave (if using) will be dictated by how sweet or tart the apples you selected were as well as your own preferences. Personally, I enjoy a salad with tang so I often squeeze in a bit more lemon juice. Garnish with lemon zest, a few nuts, or a scatter of parsley and scallions, as desired.

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Sure, you can just toss some apples together with yogurt and nuts perhaps like you would with any fruit for a simple snack or dessert. But putting a few additional ingredients together creates something … special. I include scrumptious turnips because they’re always at my farmers market this time of year. This small and sweet variety is perfect in any kind of autumn salad and has the same texture as a very crisp apple with none of the bitterness of its larger counterpart. Perfect complement.

There are so many other options to keep things interesting and suit your taste. Swap red or yellow onion for scallions; switch pistachios or walnuts for pecans; add kale, broccoli, or cauliflower for color and texture; or toss in and handful of grapes, as those keeping with the traditional recipe are wont to do. And you could ditch the mayo if you prefer and just use yogurt, perhaps with crème fraiche or sour cream for tang. I often include a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, too.

A small bowl of Waldorf salad makes a super breakfast, snack, or dessert, but with all of these vegetables I find it also makes a really nice light lunch when served atop a bed of greens. Peppery arugula is perfect (as pictured) but anything works, really, from sweet spinach to pretty red leaf lettuce; choose whatever you have on hand.

Modern Waldorf Salad

Here’s to the classics!

There’s a reason they’re still around, and getting creative makes them a fun and worthwhile addition to your meal-time repertoire, even now.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twittercheck out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. 

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public healthShe brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. 

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce: A Revelation

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with CaramelSure, you can carve a pumpkin for Halloween and toast its seeds up all nice for a healthy snack or salad topping. But a pumpkin is far more than a decoration, and its orange flesh rich in nutrients like alpha- and beta-carotene and soluble fiber can be enjoyed in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Think: Thai pumpkin soup with cashews, coconut, and curryspinach salad with pomegranates and pepitas; and pumpkin bread with dark chocolate chunks and pecans.

And then there’s this sexy little number, a dessert so divine it will make a bread pudding lover out of you, just as it did me.

You see, I used to loathe bread pudding before I discovered this recipe and made it my own. I was sadly reminded of the reason for my detest last Friday night when my husband and I ordered one, thinking it would be like this plate of lusciousness. Instead, it was a starchy hunk of tasteless white bread that I scowled at in disapproval.

Very disappointing.

Tragic, really.

So I immediately baked up my unbelievably moist pumpkin bread pudding with sticky caramel and dreamy whipped cream to supplant that horrid food memory and bring back the love.

And now I share it with you.

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups puréed fresh pumpkin (or canned with no added salt or seasonings)
  • 1 cup packed Muscovado sugar (or dark brown)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 10 cups whole grain bread, cut into 1/2 -3/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I prefer golden)

Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce

  • 1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed (or light brown)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for teetotalers)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Roast pumpkin as directed in this short cooking video here. When cool, remove the flesh from the skin (it should pull away easily if it is adequately cooked) and purée in a food processor until smooth. Measure out 2 cups and save the rest for another purpose; it freezes beautifully. 

Make pudding. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl then add half and half, pumpkin, sugar, spices, and vanilla extract, whisking fully until blended. (You can use a hand beater if you prefer, though it’s really not necessary.) Gently fold in the bread and raisins until the cubes are saturated with the custard. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased glass or porcelain baking dish; let stand 15 minutes. Custard should be largely absorbed with some liquid remaining. Bake until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Prepare caramel. Heat sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts, then whisk until fully combined. Add bourbon and salt and stir until smooth. Whisk in cream until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste—don’t burn your tongue!—and add more salt and/or hourbon as desired. Sauce will thicken as it cools and can be reheated over low heat when ready to serve the pudding.

Whip cream. Freshly whipped cream is a decadent addition to this dessert, a light yet velvety richness that perfectly complements the pudding and caramel. I’m going to go ahead and say it’s necessary. Simply beat 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla until soft peaks form.

Drizzle caramel sauce on a plate creatively then top with a serving of pudding and dollop of whipped cream; a sprinkle of cinnamon here or there is optional. (See three additional plating ideas here.)

Note: This is a big recipe that serves about 8-10 people, ideal for a dinner party or holiday; leftovers can be frozen for another occasion. Or halve the portions for a recipe that serves 4.

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Truth be told, I first wrote about pumpkin bread pudding a couple of years ago, and the original story and a few good photos are here. But that post was mostly a story, and I’ve since gotten better about writing up my recipes. And—trust me—this one you need to try.

No, the whole grain bread and fresh pumpkin doesn’t make my recipe healthy, of course, in light of all that cream and sugar. Come on now. Yet it gives me such joy swapping whole grain bread for highly refined white with no deleterious impact on flavor. I’ve made this dessert for enough guests at this point to say with conviction that no one will be the wiser. Indeed, the nuttiness of a high-quality whole grain bread melds beautifully with the rich fall flavors of the dish.

While pumpkin bread pudding isn’t a show stopper in appearance—big brownish lump that it is—do not let looks deceive: it’s the ménages-à-trois of the pudding together with the salted caramel and cream that make this one of the most sumptuous autumn desserts out there.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel

Hello, lover.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twittercheck out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. Thanks for reading!

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book Foods for Heath is now published and can be bought here. 

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Autumn Harvest Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette (Video)

Autumn Harvest SaladAutumn abounds with hearty greens, lively herbs, crisp apples and pears, and squashes of all shapes and sizes. Here in Boston we’re also lucky enough to be seeing the final crop of sweet tomatoes and summer corn. It truly is a cornucopia of goodness at the local farmers’ markets, which makes for terrific eating that’s good for you and the planet, too.

Today’s salad features roasted butternut squash, rosemary onions, and dried cranberries. The salad sings with a zesty maple Dijon vinaigrette. Watch the video of me whipping it up at the Boston Local Food Festival and learn more about why salad dressing and nuts are so nutritious.

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Ingredients

  • 6 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 large onion, large chop (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, rough mince
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, split, or more
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (reduced sugar if possible)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4-6 tablespoons vegetable oil (olive, canola, or grape seed)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon chive blossoms, minced, or regular chives
  • Mixed lettuces, about 8 cups (arugula, mustard greens, kale, etc.)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

Roast the squash. Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Remove the peel and seeds from the squash and cut into fork-friendly chunks. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO, season with salt and pepper, and mix to coat, using more if needed. Spread squash onto a baking sheet and roast about 20 minutes, tossing once, until softened. Don’t overcook, since you want the squash to retain its shape and have a pleasing texture for the salad. (Note: extra squash works fantastically in roasted butternut squash soup.)

Roast the onions. Chop the onion—yellow, white, or Vidalia all work well—into large pieces. Give the fresh rosemary a rough mince. Drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil, add rosemary, season with salt and pepper, and toss together; use more oil if needed. (Like the squash, the onions should be lightly coated, but not greasy or dripping.) Spread onions onto a baking sheet and roast at the same time as the squash, about 12 minutes, tossing half-way through. Onions should be somewhat browned, soft, and translucent. (Caramelized onions are a great way to go, too.)

Make the dressing. While the vegetables are roasting, whisk Dijon, vinegar, and garlic together in a small bowl then stream in the oil until emulsified. I recommend adding about 4 tablespoons of oil and go from there; some people like a dressing with more vinegary zing while others prefer a milder taste. You can’t go back, so tasting is key before adding it all! Whisk in fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Put it together. When vegetables have cooled somewhat to warm or room temperature, you are ready to plate your salad. On a large serving platter, create a bed of greens that makes you happy. I encourage you to go for dark green and red for the greatest nutrition; the bitter crunch of kale or mustard greens works wonderfully to provide texture and contrast to the sweetness of the squash and cranberries. Spoon the squash over the greens then scatter with the roasted onions and dried cranberries. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and top with minced chive blossoms; regular chives work fine if you can’t find them. Let people serve themselves, and pass additional vinaigrette around the table.

Options. For a heartier salad, include nuts and seeds of your choosing, like toasted walnuts or spicy-sweet pumpkin seeds; a whole grain like quinoa, farro, or brown rice; or cooked beans. Crumbled goat or blue cheese also work really well. Less is more, so don’t add all of these at the same time, but with tasty toppings like these you can make this salad over and over again, adding new elements to suit your mood to keep things fun and interesting.

Serves 6-8 people, fewer if consuming as a stand-alone “big salad for supper.”

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This video was remixed from my cooking demo at the Boston Local Food Festival, where I made three other salads featuring health- and planet-friendly ingredients like pear and arugula with walnut vinaigrette. For more delectable recipes of all kinds, please visit my recipe page.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twittercheck out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. Thanks for reading!

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public healthShe brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book, Foods for Health, was published in September 2014 and can be purchased here.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

 

A Kale Tale: How I Fell in Love with the Headless Crucifer

Have you ever eaten kale, the headless crucifer? If you haven’t (or if you have and hated it), I beg you to keep reading, because I’ve had nothing short of a revelation and I’m down-right giddy about sharing it with you. Following is my kale tale.

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad: Who Knew?

It was an article in Bon Appétit by Molly Wizenberg that really got me thinking more seriously about this hearty vegetable. Kale never appeared on the family dinner table when I was a child, and my culinary endeavors as an adult were limited to soups, braising, and sautéing. Cooking seemed important to tame some of the bitterness that kale can have; the thought of eating kale raw had simply never occurred to me. Yes, me. The Nutrition Doctor.

Kale and Brussels sprouts salad, day 1: marcona almonds and pecorino cheese.

Well, you can imagine my skepticism when I stumbled across a recipe for kale and Brussels sprouts salad. Cooked kale was one thing, sure. But raw (I scoffed)? Who could possibly like that? Yet, glancing at the gargantuan head of kale I had just purchased from the farmers’ market, I quashed my negativity and decided to give it a shot. The dish did call for Brussels sprouts, almonds, pecorino, and a lively mustard vinaigrette, after all. How bad could it be?

And if you’re into health, kale is among the most nutritious veggies out there. I’ll bet you already knew that given its prominence as the “it” vegetable for the past several years (though cauliflower has given it a run for its money in 2014). For the record, the sensationalism of “super foods” is pretty silly: most nutrition scientists like me encourage consuming a wide variety of deeply colored vegetables to get a diverse array of nutrients rather than overdosing on just one thing. Keeps your plate more interesting, too; no need for a three-course meal featuring kale and only kale.

Anyway, kale (like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and so forth) is a cruciferous vegetable that has been associated with lowered blood cholesterol and decreased risk of some cancers. These effects are due in part to vitamins A, C, and K and minerals manganese and copper as well as bioactive components like flavonoids and glucosinolates that have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Kale is also a reasonable source of calcium, important for you non-dairy drinking folks. The nuts and olive oil in the salad are great sources of healthy monounsaturated fats; almonds are a rich source of many minerals, vitamin E, and fiber and nuts in general have been shown to lower cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

Let’s face it: this salad is nothing short of a nutritional powerhouse.

As importantly, the bitterness of the kale coupled with the caramelized sweetness of the Brussels sprouts alongside the crunch of the almonds and the zing of the Dijon dressing creates a veritable party on the palate. The salad perfectly demonstrates the Healthy Hedonism philosophy that is Cooking and Eating the P.K. Way. I’m not saying it’s pumpkin whoopie pies with maple buttercream or anything—come on, that’s just sheer hedonism and I love it. But as far as salad goes, it rocked my world.

Kale and Brussels sprouts salad, day 2: roasted almonds, red onions, and cheese-free.

In fact, I ditched using the kale in a soup as planned and made it three times. In a row. I swapped caramelized Brussels sprouts for raw grated, since I love them and had some in the fridge. I also happen to think it looks prettier and provides a better contrast of textures and flavors. I’ll probably start getting creative by adding legumes or other proteins—garbanzos? white beans? grilled tofu? salmon?—to turn it into a stand-alone “big salad” main course. And, for the record, I’ve made the salad with and without cheese (right) and it’s great either way, so go ahead and go vegan on this one if you’re into that kind of thing, or if you just want to shave calories.

So that’s how I fell in love with raw kale. Something I never really considered much during the first several decades of my life has now become a go-to salad ingredient following inspiration from my local farmers’ market—there are many varieties of kale to enjoy—and a little encouragement from Bon Appétit. My story reminds us yet again of the importance of always being open to new things: new vegetables, new dishes, new salads, new spices, new ways of cooking and eating. Welcome all of it, and embrace it fully. And I hope I will continue to be of assistance and inspiration to you on your delicious journey towards better health.

After all, we’re in it together: you, me, and our new BFF, kale.

* * *

This article was written today in honor of National Kale Day, which apparently is a thing. It was excerpted from the original post and edited following its original publication on my blog in 2011. For many more kale-inspired recipes, salads, soups, and beyond, please visit my recipe page.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twittercheck out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. Thanks for reading!

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public healthShe brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book Foods for Health was just published and can be purchased here.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Cucumber Basil Sparkler: The Sweet Taste of Summer

Cucumber Basil SparklerThe calendar may read “autumn,” but the hot weather in Boston definitely says “summer.” Not to mention there are still crisp green cucumbers and sweet basil at my local farmers’ market. It just so happens that this drink is also featured in the summer menu of my new book National Geographic Foods for Health. (You can learn more about it here and buy it online here.) For all of these reasons, today is the perfect occasion to mix up a cucumber basil sparkler.

Now, if you’re new to my blog, a quick trip to the recipe page or this slideshow will quickly reveal my love of luscious libations of the alcoholic variety. Yet that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy creating tasty mocktails for those who don’t consume alcohol. (Or when it’s two o’clock in the afternoon.) You may even find that your kids enjoy this fizzy green drink, little more than homemade soda flavored with cucumber purée and lightly sweetened with basil simple syrup.

For the original story behind this recipe and the how-to, click here. Then grab a cucumber, basil, sparkling water, and lime, and you’ll be enjoying this refreshing drink in no time.

Cucumber Basil Sparkler

It really is divine, the sparkling essence of summer in a glass—and it doesn’t need alcohol to delight the palate.

But I won’t stop you from adding a shot of gin or vodka, either.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, ogle my food porn on Pinterest, watch my videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more.

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book was published on September 9, 2014 and she’s working on three others.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

 

From Farm to Fork, Why What You Eat Matters: Foods for Health Now On Sale!

I am excited to announce that my first book is now on sale here and will be available in stores around the country on September 9, 2014!

Foods for Health

Foods for Health is science-based (of course!) and filled with great food porn—and even includes a few of my very own photos like the one here. It’s a gorgeous, coffee-table type book that highlights 148 foods and explains the health and environmental impacts of each in a user-friendly fashion. I can’t wait until my cookbooks are published to help you bring salubrious and sustainable eating to your plate in delectable ways. Until then, peruse hundreds of recipes right here on my blog and keep checking back with The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen for fabulous dishes that will make you swoon.

I hope you’ll understand that I won’t have much time to write in the upcoming weeks with the beginning of the semester and book tour activities. (By the way, you can still register for From Farm to Fork: Why What You Eat Matters if you like, and it’s offered online so you don’t need to be in Boston.) In the meanwhile, I hope you pick up a copy of Foods for Health for your collection. Thank you for your support!

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, check out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more.

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book comes out on September 9, 2014.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Heirloom Tomato, Mozzarella, and Pesto Sandwich: Summer on a Plate

Tomato and Mozzarella SandwichOkay, fine. Yes, I did also refer to my caprese salad with peaches as “summer on a plate.” I suppose it’s safe to say that almost everything I make these days is summer on a plate. Which means that seasonal delights like heirloom tomatoes and similar fare play a prominent role in my diet. Like Christmas for foodies (or something), summer tomatoes come but once a year—and I take full advantage.

Doesn’t mean you need to get all hot and bothered in the kitchen, though. (Unless you’re into that kind of thing, in which case I have plenty of splendid suggestions on my recipe page, including fresh tomato sauce.)

But if you’re like most people and prefer to keep things simple come August, this recipe is for you. Perfect for lunch, dinner, or a even a simple snack or hors d’oeuvre, the quintessential summer sandwich doesn’t get easier than slicing up a crusty baguette; spreading it with garlicky pesto (classic genovese or, for a change, parsley-pistachio); slabbing on tangy fresh mozzarella; and topping it with a thick slice of juicy tomato. Season with freshly cracked pepper and a bit of sea salt and tuck in a few leaves of basil here and there just for fun, perhaps an additional drizzle of olive oil. Pretty on the plate and a delight on the palate.

Sure, you can use a high-quality, store-bought pesto if you like. But why? if you’ve never made pesto from scratch before, now is the time. Fresh herbs abound at the local markets, sweet smelling and inexpensively priced. There’s a cooking video here to show you how, or a text version here; it takes all of five minutes. Go for it! As we like to say in New England, it’s wicked easy.

More importantly, it’s wicked delicious.

Heirloom Tomato and Pesto Sandwich

Since I’ve been blogging for the past three years, this may well be my shortest blog post ever. No reason to spend time reading about food, after all, or even writing about it. It’s summer! Get out there, enjoy it while it lasts, and savor the sweetness of the season by getting into the kitchen to bring summer onto your plate.

Looking for a title more tomato love? My other favorite sandwich features creamy garlic aioli and arugula. Or ditch the bread altogether and toss all the different colors of heirloom tomatoes you can find onto a plate for a pesto-laden caprese. More pesto-inspired ideas are here.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, check out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more.

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book comes out on September 9, 2014.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Whole Grain Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup

Blueberry Waffle BiteI’ve made waffles all of two times in my life, including today. I don’t often do the sweet thing for breakfast but I am working hard this summer to expand my cooking skills. And who knows when a waffle need might suddenly arise, after all; best to be prepared.

Ergo this blog post, which I’m writing now lest I soon forget. Because, not to boast, but I’m pretty impressed with this dish. Especially since I had to futz to create a recipe for two and only two waffles to maintain healthy portion management in our two-person household. (That’s why a bunch of the ingredients specify “heaping,” by the way, because you need the right balance of wet and dry ingredients to achieve the right texture and I wasn’t up for writing a recipe with 5/8 of an egg.)

What a treat! My white whole wheat flour with all of its whole grain goodness yet soft texture delivers yet again.These waffles were even lighter and fluffier than I expected (see the photo?), with crisp outer edges and terrific flavor. While these little babies would be delightful with the standard maple syrup, my homemade blueberry syrup using sweet, local berries made an outstanding accompaniment.

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Ingredients

  • Heaping 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 heaping teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • Pinch salt

Whisk together dry ingredients. Mix together beaten egg, melted butter, and milk and pour into dry mixture. Stir until the wet ingredients are incorporated, about 7-8 full strokes or so, and don’t over mix the batter; it’s okay if there are a few lumps. Let sit for 5 minutes while the waffle iron heats up. When hot, pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto the griddle, coming almost to the edges. Cook 3-5 minutes, until waffle is set and lightly browned. While the waffle is cooking, heat blueberries in a small saucepan over high heat until some begin to burst. Turn the heat down to medium and mash some of the blueberries to create a chunky sauce. Add the maple syrup and salt and stir to combine. Add a few more blueberries or a bit more maple syrup as desired to suit your taste. Makes 2 large round waffles. (I like splitting the pieces and serving as triangles; do as you wish.)

Waffles with Blueberry Maple Syrup

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I might have made waffles only twice in my life thus far, but I definitely see more waffles in my future.

If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, check out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more.

P.K. NewbyDr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Her first book comes out on September 9, 2014.

© 2014 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.