Seared Tuna Crostini with Summer Herbs and Tomatoes

Tuna Crostini with Green Goddess | #pkwayThe snow and cold just keep on coming here in Boston, which means it’s time to bring a little summer into your life. Sure, I adore my winter farmers’ market—local food high five!—but woman can not live on root vegetables alone.

And who doesn’t love crostini? Sure, there’s the typical variant with tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto Genovese, a summer favorite. I also adore French radish sandwich-style, with its herb butter and crisp radishes as colorful as they are delicious. And let’s not forget about avocado with parsley-pistachio pesto and arugula. Whether toasted or not, a crusty baguette really is the perfect foil for all kinds of divine toppings that can be adjusted to suit season and taste.

Today’s recipe was inspired by a warm summer’s day when I was headed to the Berkshires with my husband to hear the Boston Sympony Orchestra present Beethoven’s glorious Ninth Symphony at Tanglewood. It was the perfect opportunity to have a picnic worthy of the music, setting, and company.*

I had a batch of freshly made green goddess dressing in the refrigerator, so little else was required to prepare this dish. I toasted thinly sliced French bread seasoned with olive oil and black pepper as shown here and quickly seared salt and pepper-ed tuna to rare. (Here’s more on how to sear fish alongside some farm to fork food facts about tuna.) I prepared a simple topping of sliced cherry tomatoes, parsley, scallion, and Kalamata olives tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and S & P, a burst of acidity and color to complete the dish.

I packed up everything to go, along with the ingredients for my cucumber basil sparkler, and we were off! When we had settled into our spot on the lawn, I poured our drinks and assembled the crostini with a slather of Green Goddess, leaf of arugula, slice of tuna, and spoonful of tomato-olive garnish.

Seared Tuna Crostini | #pkwayOf course this dish is best when sweet summer tomatoes and herbs are in season, but it works just as well whenever you just need a little sunshine on your plate.

And sometimes that’s in the middle of winter.

* Beethoven not required.

_____

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Green Goddess (The Dressing, Not Me)

Dreaming of a summer day? Let your inner goddess out to play!

Creamy Herb and Avocado Dressing | PK WayThe alluring sounding “Green Goddess” is so called due to its pretty hue, as you might have guessed. Though actually the name came before the color, as the recipe was created based on a 1920s Broadway play of the same title. (Who knew?) And the dressing’s origins go back even further, to the times of Louis XIII with its sauce au vert.

Trivia aside, this herbaceous treat remains a popular salad accoutrement here in the US. I love making it in the summer, when it features fresh herbs from the local farmers market. But let’s face it: this dressing is just too darn good to eat only in August, and its other main ingredients—avocado, lemon, olive oil—aren’t local, anyway. So taste wins out with today’s post, a promise of warmer days to come.

If you’ve never made Green Goddess at home, you may be surprised to see anchovies in the recipe. As with Caesar dressing, the flavor is not really noticeable unless you choose to add more or layer some on top of the salad. But anchovies are absolutely the je ne sais quoi in the dressing, adding complexity and depth to what is otherwise a simple creamy herb and avocado dressing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though, so if you’re sure you don’t want anchovies, or simply prefer a vegetarian version, just leave them out.

But if you are feeling adventurous, and want to give the dressing a fabulous umami flavor boost (not to mention a nice dose of omega-3 fatty acids), keep in those little fishies and give this dreaming-of-summer recipe a try.

* * * * *

Ingredients & Instructions

  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup scallions, rough chop, both white and green parts
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 cup chives, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and quartered
  • Juice from 1 lemon (about 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 2-3 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy oil (optional—and only if you love anchovies)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Blend everything but the dairy together in a food processor until homogeneous and smooth. Pulse in the sour cream and mayonnaise until combined. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and adjust ingredients as desired. (I often add more lemon juice and/or olive oil.)

Note. If you’d like to lighten the calorie load a bit, you can sub in low-fat mayo and/or sour cream, or even nonfat yogurt. Even so, there are about 350 calories in one large avocado—albeit loaded in heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, fiber, and minerals. For these reasons, Green Goddess dressing is obviously a lot more energy dense than basic oil and vinegar, which is my everyday salad accompaniment. So whatever dairy you include in your version, definitely file this recipe under “moderation,” just as you would with other indulgent dressings (like, say, blue cheese).

Green Goddess Dressing | PK Way

* * * * *

Wow, is this dressing ever good! Crazy good!

And calling it a “dressing” really sells it short, since it makes a sensational dip for fresh veggies or whole wheat pita chips or a ravishing spread for all kinds of mouth-watering dishes. Just you wait.

So won’t you join me in celebrating your inner goddess?

Every once in a while she definitely deserves a chance to come out and play.

_____

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Heavenly Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet Potato Hash and Egg | PK NewbyRemember those sweet potatoes I roasted up all nice a few weeks back? I promised they were the beginning of many beautiful things, like my sherried sweet potato and crab bisque. Today’s recipe tosses them with a few spices and throws on a sunny-side up, crispy-edged fried egg: Brunch is served.

Or perhaps increase your portions a bit, throw on two eggs, and make it dinner.

Whenever you like to eat dishes like these, you’ll love the combination of sweetly spiced sweet potatoes and crunchy peppers, a meal that is as colorful and nutritious as it is delicious.

Runny yolk optional.

* * * * *

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup poblano pepper, chopped (or green bell)
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, rough chop
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cups roasted sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon harissa (optional)
  • Pinch cayenne (optional)
  • Additional chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

Heat the olive oil over medium heat then add onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until cooked. Stir in garlic, parsley, paprika, and cumin until fragrant, about 1 minute, then mix in sweet potatoes and harissa (if using). Once potatoes are fully coated and heated through, taste and reseason as desired.

Especially delicious when served with a fried egg.

And a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and scatter of fresh parsley are always welcomed, too.

Sweet Potato Hash | PK Newby

* * * * *

Hashes are made with all kinds of different spices to suit mood and palate. A very basic version of mine just includes veggies like these mixed with garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. Or you can keep with Italian-American flavors like parsley, oregano, basil, and the like. Today I’m featuring the warm spices that I love and add a little harissa at the end for extra oomph. It’s like a sweet potato version of shakshuka. (Of sorts.) You don’t really need the harissa, and I’ve made this dish plenty of times without it. But if you are into it and have it on hand, go ahead and try it.

I think you’ll be happy you did.

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

 

Artichoke Hummus on Whole Grain Bread: A Perfect Lunch or Snack

Are you making your own hummus yet? I’ve got two fabulous recipes—garlicky artichoke and roasted red pepper—and even a short cooking video to show you just how simple it is. And takes literally five minutes.

If you haven’t yet tried it, perhaps you need a little food porn to inspire? No problem. Let me introduce you to this sexy little number: artichoke hummus slathered on whole grain bread and topped with juicy cherry tomatoes and crisp cucumbers, a drizzle of olive oil, crack of pepper, and sprinkle of sea salt to bring out the taste.

Artichoke Hummus Sandwich

You’re welcome.

Truth is, I really had no intention of making this into its own blog post. What’s there to say that I haven’t already said before about this delicious garbanzo spread, after all. But I decided to share it with you today after this quick pic from yesterday’s afternoon snack got so much love on my Facebook page.

Whether people just needed a burst of spring colors and summery flavors in the middle of another New England snow storm, or just love hummus as much as I do, I can’t be sure.

But, man, was that ever tasty.

If you’re not yet making your own hummus, it’s time.

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Caramelized Onion and Brussels Sprouts “Grandma Pie” (That’s Pizza, Folks)

Caramelized Onion and Brussels Sprouts Pizza | PK WayFriday night is weekly pizza night for many people, which is the inspiration behind today’s post. That said, once-every-seven-days is probably too much than is good for your health, in my opinion. Especially if you’re doing the traditional processed food toppings on a highly refined white bread crust—not to mention all that deliciously ooey-gooey cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I love pizza, as evidenced by a few recipes here on my blog like heirloom pizza Margherita; white pizza with garlicky herbed ricotta, artichokes, and arugula; white pizza with swiss chard, white beans, and caramelized onions (and its sister, pesto pizza, with the same toppings); and “the best of both worlds” red and white pizza. So there’s certainly room for enjoying this Italian favorite in moderation in my world. Once a month, say, or even less? There’s no hard and fast rule here, but let your weight, health stats, and good sense be your guide.

In any case, today’s scrumptious so-called “Grandma” pie (of sorts) was born from a side dish, believe it or not, when I scattered leftover roasted Brussels sprouts and caramelized onions atop a garlicky layer of ricotta cheese. I know, it’s not that different from a few of the other pizza recipes already up here but, well, whatever. I obviously have a thing for caramelized onions. (Who doesn’t?)

Pizza night indeed.

* * * * *

Ingredients and Instructions

You will need: One pizza crust (choose what you like, though I strongly encourage going whole grain); 32-ounce container of part-skim ricotta cheese; fresh garlic, parsley, basil, and other herbs of choice; Parmigiana and mozzarella (go for Buffalo!) cheeses; roasted Brussels sprouts; caramelized onions; salt, freshly ground black pepper, and olive oil.

1. Caramelize the onions & roast the sprouts. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to begin by making caramelized onions on the stovetop, as shown here. At the same time, you can roast your Brussels sprouts. The finished veggies look like this:

Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Onions| PIzza2. Mix up the herbed ricotta. There’s no need for exact measurements here, as in much of cooking, just mix the ricotta with a couple of drizzles of olive oil, a few crushed cloves of garlic, and the chopped fresh herbs of your choice; season with black pepper; let sit 10 minutes or so to allow the flavors to come out; and readjust. It’s really just flavoring the ricotta cheese to make it extra tasty.

Herbed Ricotta Cheese | PK Pizza

3. Prepare the cheeses. Grate 1/4 cup fresh Parmigiana Reggiano cheese (it’s always better this way). Slice about 4 ounces of mozzarella.

Brussels Sprouts and Cheese | Pizza 1

4. Assemble the pizza. Coat a rectangular baking pan/cookie sheet lightly with olive oil, stretch out the dough, and pre-bake for 7 minutes at 425 degrees F. (You can skip this step but this method creates a less dense dough in my oven.) Spread the ricotta cheese layer over the crust (you will have some left over), leaving a nice edge for fingers, then scatter with 1/8 cup grated parm. Top with mozzarella, sprouts, and onions.

Brussels Sprouts Pizza | Pre-cook5. Bake. Return the pizza to the oven for 7-10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly, brown, and crispy in some places.

Caramelized Onion and Brussels Sprouts Pizza | PK Newby

Serve with remaining parmigiana cheese and crushed red pepper (if desired).

* * * * *

I hope you will have a “Who knew Brussels sprouts were so good on pizza?!” reaction to this recipe. I sure did. But don’t forget a big part of the story, which is that this dish was born out of leftovers. So much of my cooking style—as I mention all the time but it’s always worth reminding you—is making things in big batches to eat, freeze, eat again, eat again, and then morph into something new. Sure, you can start making this pizza from the beginning, but caramelized onions take a while and you may not be up for that. Perhaps easier—and certainly faster come pizza time—to make roasted brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and toasted hazelnuts for a meal and save the extra veggies for pizza night. Or keep your caramelized onions in the freezer so you always have them on hand; they bring a world of goodness to pretty much everything.

Brussels Sprouts and Caramelized Onions White Pizza | PK Newby

Oh, and by the way, I had never heard of the phrase “Grandma Pie” until reading about it in Bon Appétit last fall. You can read more about it here.

Or, you know, just eat it.

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup: A Mediterranean Take on an American Classic

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato SoupFor the past several weeks now I’ve been traveling around the world showcasing some incredibly tasty—and spicy!—cuisine, from Vietnam to the Middle East, Thailand to Mexico. Today I’m returning to a dish that is more familiar to most. It’s a Mediterranean take on a classic American favorite, cream of tomato soup. It has many fewer ingredients and steps than recipes I’ve recently created, which is important because not everyone is interested in chopping tons of vegetables and searching the stores for exotic spices.

And I feel exactly that way sometimes, too.

Enter today’s soul-warming soup. It’s the perfect dish to bring us closer to traditional home comforts and ideal for simple weekday meals. You just need a few familiar veggies and common items you’ve likely got hanging around your home and you’re twenty-five minutes away from a creamy, rich, gorgeously-hued soup appearing on your supper table.

So, so good.

* * * * *

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oilTomato and Red Pepper Soup
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon basil, dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
  • Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 28 ounces chopped or crushed canned tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, either homemade or no-sodium store-bought
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, fresh
  • Goat’s cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and spices until fragrant, about 45 seconds, then add in the roasted red peppers and tomatoes. (Roast a pepper using one of the methods here or just use a high-quality jarred product form the store.) Cook 5 minutes over low heat to bring the flavors together, then add the stock and bring up to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then use a hand blender to purée the soup until smooth. Stir in fresh thyme and cream and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Taste and reseason with salt and pepper as desired.

The soup is terrific on its own, or you can garnish with a crumble of chèvre, more fresh pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil for extra-special treatment.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

* * * * *

Stunning, right?

And it’s as wonderful as it looks.

No excuse at all not to get this simply delicious dish into your repertoire.

Like this? Then you’ll definitely like my basic cream of tomato soup, which is even easier and starts from either canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, or even leftover tomato sauce—your choice! And there’s a cooking video showing you how-to 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 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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

 © 2015 The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Hearty Mexican Vegetable Soup: Begin with Leftovers, Reduce Food Waste

In the words of the famous chef James Beard, “It is true thrift to use the best ingredients available and to waste nothing.”

Mexican Cauliflower SoupSounds like my kitchen, where I often start with farm-fresh, local ingredients and global spices to bring you delicious dishes. Using leftovers creatively and employing parts of the plant you might otherwise overlook to reduce food waste are considerations, too. Not to mention it just makes good sense to use every part of the vegetable you can to stretch your food dollar. It’s also efficient: I’ve said it before and I’ll remind you again that I do not cook every day, because I, like you, get super busy with life. Indeed, the more I write, teach, speak, and talk about food, the less I actually cook. And when I do take the time, I often eat the same thing several days in a row, happily—and usually end up playing with leftovers around day three to make something new.

Today’s recipe showcases all of these themes by starting with leftover Mexican cauliflower, (or even just roasted cauliflower, really). Simply sauté a few additional vegetables for your soup base, toss in your chopped cauliflower greens and stems—parts that most people toss but are perfectly edible—and add some stock, beans, and seasonings.

The result is this satisfying vegetable soup, redolent with warm and spicy Mexican flavors, chunks of cauliflower and peppers bobbing in a super savory broth.

Dinner is served.

* * * * *

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped (omit if you don’t like heat)
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (as above)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of cauliflower cores and leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or beer)
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade, or no-salt broth or bouillion
  • 4 cups leftover Mexican cauliflower
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup pinto beans
  • Juice from 1 lime, freshly squeezed
  • 2/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Drizzle or two of agave nectar (optional)

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium, add onions and peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, chop the cauliflower leaves and cores. (It’s fine if it isn’t 6 cups, I just happened to have that much from earlier cauliflower dishes that I was saving for this purpose. Just use what you’ve got.)

Cauliflower Cores and Leaves

2. Once the onion-pepper mixture is cooked, stir in spices and garlic until fragrant, about 45 seconds, then add cauliflower stems and leaves. Stir over medium-low heat an additional 10 minutes, until stems have softened.

Mexican Vegetable Soup Base

3. Deglaze the pan with wine (or beer) and stir in 6 cups of the vegetable stock. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

Mexican Soup Broth

4. Add the leftover Mexican cauliflower, lime juice, tomatoes, beans, and cilantro.

Mexican Vegetable Soup | PK Newby

5. Stir to combine, then simmer a final 10 minutes or so to allow everything to come together. Add more stock to thin if desired. Taste and reseason with salt, pepper, and spices; you may want a touch of agave (for balance, not sweetness).

Mexican Vegetable Soup | PK Way

Cooking Options. You could omit all the extra veggies and just mix up your leftover cauliflower with broth and reseason, no problem. (I just like cooking, is all.) Alternatively, you could make this entire dish starting from basic roasted cauliflower and just add more of the other ingredients and spices to your liking.

* * * * *

This soup is incredibly satiating—cauliflower really fills you up!—and I enjoy this broth-based variation since my cauliflower-based soups are usually blended and creamy. You might actually call this a Mexican cauliflower soup, since cauliflower is the dominant vegetable, as you can see. Even so, I found the dish ends up taking on more of a hearty vegetable soup flavor by the time you add everything else.

Whatever you call it, make it to please your palate. I sometimes include frozen corn kernels to this soup, or add a carrot and celery when I’m sautéing the veggies; black or white beans may also show up. Add tomato paste for a richer, more tomato-ey flavor, or even purée some of it if that brings a smile to your face. Garnish with a bit of sour cream to add a touch of richness and mellow the spiciness. Or toss on a few corn chips for crunch (like I do for my tortilla soup). Or keep it simple and bright with a scatter of fresh cilantro, pictured below. As when making any soup, simply adjust the ingredients, seasonings, and garnishes in a way that makes you say “Mmmm…”

Hearty Mexican Soup | PK Newby

Because if dishes like this don’t inspire you to make planet-friendly food that helps you save money, reduce waste, conserve time, and get you and your kids eating more veggies, then what’s the point?

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Cauliflower Tacos: Who Knew?

Cauliflower whaaaa???

Yeah, I hear that.

So I’ll let the photos do the talking.

So.

Total deliciousness, that’s what.

Beyond fabulous flavor, the “why” is pretty obvious, too.

These cruciferous-filled tacos are more nutritious and planet-friendlier than most of their meat-centric cousins given they’re composed of, well, cauliflower. My favorite white-headed crucifer is crazy low in calories and sublime when roasted. Tossing it with poblano, jalapeño, and chipotle peppers alongside tomatoes and pinto beans led to my creation of Mexican cauliflower, the inspiration behind today’s tacos and one helluva side dish.

All I did here was stuff that spicy mixture into a soft whole wheat tortilla—if you’ve not yet made the switch to whole grain products, do learn more why you should here—and topped it with diced avocado and cilantro. A scatter of cheese, spoonful of sour cream, and dice of onions add even more oomph.

And because who doesn’t love tacos?

Like this? Try my meaty meatless tacos or my lobster tacos with mango salsa. Or just click here to see a photo and recipe round-up of some of my Mexican favorites. And thanks for reading!

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Mexican Cauliflower: Hot and Healthy

Mexican Cauliflower and PeppersAh, roasted cauliflower. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Cauliflower in three colors, a work of edible art? Check. Sicilian style? Check. Smashed? Check. Indian curried? Check. Soup? Quadruple check: simple roasted, artichoke and leek, broccoli, and pesto parmigiana.

And I’ve even created a Super Bowl version where I drenched cauliflower with buffalo sauce and served it with blue cheese dressing.

Today, one of my favorite crucifers goes South of the Border when it’s dressed up all pretty with tomatoes, peppers, and pinto beans, a spicy side dish bursting with fiery Mexican flavors. And, no, this wasn’t planned specially for my recent “Bring on the Heat” series, but it certainly fits the bill with its three different varieties of peppers (poblano, jalapeño, and chipotle): watch the quantities as you go, taste often, and make it as hot—or not—as you like!

* * * * *

Ingredients

  • 2 medium heads of cauliflower, broken or chopped into chunks (about 10 cups)
  • ~1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped (or a combination of poblano and green bell)
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño, finely minced (discard seeds if you fear heat)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle peppers in adobo (1 of the chopped chipotle, 1 of just the sauce, or more of both if you want it even hotter)
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, unsalted (about 5 cups chopped; if using fresh you may want to add additional canned tomato sauce)
  • 2/3 cup pinto beans
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup beer (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish

Instructions

Roast the cauliflower. Chop the crucifer and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in a hot oven as directed here.

Roasted Cauliflower | PKWay

Sauté the vegetables and aromatics. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the oil over medium and cook the onion and peppers until softened, about 6 minutes. Mix in the garlic, seasonings, and salt until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

Mexican Cauliflower Veggies

Stir in tomatoes and beans. Pour in the canned tomatoes and beans and mix to combine, taking care not to crush the beans, then stir in the lime juice and beer. Simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. (Note that if you are using fresh tomatoes you will need to allow an extra 20 minutes or so for the raw tomatoes to cook and break down.)

Mexican Cauliflower Tomatoes

Fold in the roasted cauliflower. Stir the cauliflower and cilantro into the tomato mixture until everything comes together. Taste and reseason with salt, pepper, spices, and chipotles as desired.

Mexican Cauliflower | PKWayServe and enjoy. A scatter of cilantro (fresh coriander) brightens the dish and makes the colors pop, too.

Mexican Cauliflower | PK Newby

* * * * *

Mexican CauliflowerThis blog post is dedicated to my faithful and fabulous Facebook fans, many of whom begged for the recipe after drooling over my dinner last weekend. If you’re not a fan already, I’d love it if you gave my page a like here, where you’ll see daily updates on what I’m eating and drinking and learn the latest food(ie) and nutrition news.

I hope you all enjoy this incredibly tasty recipe, and do stay posted for how I put this spicy side dish to work in some inspired leftovers.

Like, say, cauliflower tacos and hearty Mexican vegetable soup

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.

Chile Peppers Bounty | PKWay

Shakshuka (Eggs in Purgatory): Perfect for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner

Shakshuka | PK WaySome Americans may not be familiar with shaksh(o)uka, a spicy egg dish commonly consumed in the Middle East and North Africa. In the US and England shakshuka is sometimes referred to as “eggs in purgatory,” and the seasoning can tend toward Italian rather than Middle Eastern. My version keeps with the traditional flavors and features harissa, a key ingredient that packs on the heat. (And, yes, you can use a high-quality store-bought harissa if you don’t feel like making your own.) Of course, as with all things I share with you, the key is to get healthy dishes like this into your life in a way that works for you, so include herbs that tickle your fancy and turn up the heat as hot as you’d like.

Whatever you call it, whichever spices you choose, however fiery you make it, the result is always delicious—because what isn’t glorious about eggs gently poached in a richly flavored tomato sauce?

* * * * *

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup poblano pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced (remove seeds if desired)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to season vegetables
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 3/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • Big pinch dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, either canned or fresh, with their liquid
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white beans
  • 2 eggs
  • Chopped parsley (for garnish)

Instructions

Heat the olive oil over medium in a saucepan then add the onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic, harissa, and paprika until fully coated and fragrant, about 45 seconds. Mix in tomatoes, water, and white beans to combine and simmer over low heat until somewhat thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and reseason with salt, pepper, and spices as desired.

Shakshuka Sauce

Create a small ditch in the sauce for each egg (make sure you can’t see the bottom of the pan, though). Crack egg(s) into the hole, cover the pan, and simmer over low heat 3-5 minutes.

Raw Egg in Shakshuka

Cook until the egg whites are firm and the yolk is cooked to your desire. (Runny is best, to allow the warm yolk to mingle with the tomato sauce once it’s plated.)

 

Two Eggs in Purgatory | PK Way

Spoon the sauce with one egg each into a bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately. An extra sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil never hurt, either.

Note: The recipe as written will provide sauce for about two one-egg meals. For larger portions, serve two eggs per person. Double or triple the ingredients as written and make it in a large frying pan to serve a crowd.

* * * * *

Cooking & Eating Notes

I love making shakshuka in the summer, when fresh tomatoes, peppers, and herbs abound at the local farmers markets. Happily, however, canned tomatoes do a fine job—and in some ways are even better because the dish will come together a lot sooner rather than waiting for fresh tomatoes to break down and thicken. Either works!

Those familiar with the dish might note the unusual addition of white beans to my recipe. Most people don’t consume enough legumes for their health, and white beans pair beautifully with tomatoes. The beans add a pleasing texture contrast to the dish and also increase its satiating power due to the extra fiber and protein, which help you to feel full (hence manage your weight). Play around with the ingredients to suit your own palate; I sometimes include thinly sliced fennel for a fun change. Many people top shakshuka with crumbled feta or parmesan, which would obviously be delicious though I don’t find the cheese necessary to the dish.

I adore tomatoes and tomato sauce of all kinds, from Italian to Indian, so it will come as no surprise to my regular readers that shakshuka fits perfectly into my repertoire. Another reason I love this dish so much is because it’s perfect any time of day. I made this recipe as part of a recent interview on the science of breakfast to showcase the savory side of morning eating. Yet in my world, this dish is much more likely to appear on my supper table, perhaps with whole wheat pita or crusty whole grain bread and a salad to complete the meal. Eggs make a delectable dinner—quick, too!—and they appear on my evening menu in some way almost weekly. A few sliced oranges and pomegranates add a sweet and pretty note to your meal.

Shakshuka and Oranges | PK Way

 

Breakfast or brunch, lunch or dinner, whenever you choose to make shakshuka you are sure to please your tastebuds—and you can feel especially good about all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrrients you’re giving your body in this nutritious and satisfying plant-based meal.

And I think it goes without saying that it’s definitely a better choice than a donut.

Want to hear me talk more about shakshuka, and the science of breakfast in general? Click here to listen to the interview on Gastropod and read the article. And if you like this, you’ll probably like my sweet potato hash, too. 

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.

Dr. P. K. NPK Newbyewby 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 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 local bookstores and here.

Copyright © 2015 P.K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen. All Rights Reserved.