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.

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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.

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.

Artichoke Hummus: Super Easy, and Ready in Five Minutes

Artichoke HummusAh, hummus. Never really cared for it, truth be told. Like so many store-bought products, the flavor and quality varies greatly. (That’s my polite way of saying that it often sucks.) There are exceptions to this rule, like a particular brand at Trader Joe’s that I’ve been calling “crack hummus” because if it’s on hand, I can’t get enough.

That said, hummus is so easy to make at home, and I’ve come to prefer the fresher flavor and less homogeneous texture of my own recipe. I love beginning with dried beans—they’re not just for kindergarten art projects, you know—though my desire to eat hummus doesn’t always coincide with the extra time needed to start completely from scratch. Fortunately, both chick peas (garbanzo beans) and artichokes are handily found on the supermarket shelves, making this version of hummus even quicker to whip up at home. And I’m talking about five minutes here, folks, so grab yourself a no-salt added can of each and a few kitchen staples and let’s get cooking.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups chick peas, drained (save liquid)
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts, drained (save liquid)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

For more information on how to make hummus, you can watch this five-minute video. Basically, all you need to do is put everything together in the food processor, taste, and adjust the seasoning to suit your palate. Note that for the liquid you can use either the artichoke water or garbanzo liquid from the cans, assuming there was no salt added, or just use water. Start with the lower amounts of ingredients in the recipe and go from there; I often find myself adding a bit more lemon juice or water and an extra drizzle or two of olive oil.

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Note that while this hummus can be eaten immediately, the garlicky flavor that I adore really comes out once it’s hung out in the fridge for a while. Then it’s even better. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and give it a crack of pepper and serve with your favorite veggies for a scrumptious treat you can feel good about. And if you like this recipe, be sure to check out my other favorite kind of hummus, roasted red pepper. Either makes a fabulous sandwich, too.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

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 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.

For the Love of Strawberries: P.K.’s Recipe Round-Up

Strawberry Cartons

Just as the weather is heating up on the East Coast, so, too is the local bounty. Things start slowly here in New England but we’re finally seeing some serious vegetables and fruits at our farmers’ markets. And there’s no happier day for me than when strawberries appear on the stands. I adore summer strawberries and love to feature them on salads and in cocktails—and making strawberry ice cream (or gelato) is an annual tradition that simply must happen. Forget about the hard and flavorless pink variant you find off-season; you simply can’t beat a local summer strawberry, juicy and sweet. Check out the photos and find the links to the recipes at the bottom of the page.

Sure, strawberries are low in calories at only 46 calories per cup. And they’re a vitamin C powerhouse; rich in fiber and manganese; and loaded in phytonutrients (plant chemicals) like anthyocyanins and phenolic acids that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Good stuff, sure, but I eat them because they’re awesome.

Or drink them, as the case may be.

Enjoy the sweet taste of summer!

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 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. 

Strawberry Cartons

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

Sizzling Fish Fajitas with Mango Salsa: Colorful and Delicious

Welcome! I’m currently working on my second book and getting ready for my upcoming book tour for National Geographic’s Foods for Health. For more frequent updates on Cooking and Eating the P.K. Way, please become a fan on Facebook. And don’t forget to peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more!

Fish Fajitas with Mango SalsaDespite the long list of things I need to write (don’t even get me started), I often end up blogging about impromptu weeknight meals inspired by fresh seasonal ingredients—or whatever’s hanging around my fridge. In this instance, I had some leftover mango salsa from last week’s crab cakes (speaking of things on the list of “need to write”) that I wanted to feature in a different dish.

Mango salsa is sensational with soft lobster tacos or atop a simple piece of seared fish, but it had been some time since I’d made fajitas. Enter today’s dinner: sizzling fish fajitas with mango salsa, an amazing combination of meaty tilapia and the traditional mélange of peppers and onions stuffed into a warm whole wheat tortilla with sliced avocado.

Because I’ve written about fajitas before, today’s post is mainly cooking photos. Fajitas are easy to make, since you mainly sauté vegetables and whatever protein you’re using, but the marinade is the key ingredient that imparts the flavor you expect from this Mexican favorite; click here for more details. One of my Facebook fans claims this is one of her go-to recipes of mine. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as she does!

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Fish Fajitas Ingredients

Marinate veggies and fish for about 30-45 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so.

Mango Salsa and Avocado

While the veggies are marinating, mix your salsa and slice some avocado.

Sizzling Fish Fajitas

Sauté the veggies first, then remove and do the fish in the same pan. (Fish cooks more quickly.) Next time I’ll keep the fish whole and cut into strips afterward, since many of the pieces flaked off during cooking. Still delicious, though.

Fish Fajitas

Serve fajita mixture on a large platter, allowing people to stuff and garnish as desired. (Chopped cilantro and soft tortillas not pictured.)

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Tilapia is terrific, budget-friendly, and sure to please kids and “I don’t like fish” adults alike because it is mildly flavored and looks and tastes almost like—you guessed it—chicken. It is, in fact, known in the food industry as “aquatic chicken.” Perhaps that’s why it is the fourth most consumed fish in the US, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Tilapia farmed in the US is ranked as a “best choice” when it comes to the environment especially when grown in closed recirculating systems.

Think all “farmed fish” are bad? Think again. The sustainability of fish populations and the environmental impact of seafood consumption are related to a wide variety of factors, and wild-caught fish—including local species—have their own set of problems; ecologically sound aquaculture is likely part of the solution to feeding a growing population, as discussed in this brief Worldwatch Institute report and this video. Tilapia does not have the same health benefits as fattier fish, which have far more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, but it is a lean protein low in calories with a smaller carbon footprint than terrestrial foods like poultry, beef, and lamb.

Of course, this meal could be easily reproduced using tofu or your favorite meat substitute, which would also be splendid. After all, the entire inspiration for this post was the salsa! But this particular combination of tilapia, onions, and peppers worked wonderfully, so give it a shot. Even if you think you don’t like fish.

Fajita Close-up

And enjoy!

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 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.

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

Move Over, Chicken Wings: Meet Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower and Blue Cheese DipNever heard of buffalo cauliflower?

Neither did I until a friend told me about a dish she had sampled in a favorite Port Washington hangout, Sullivan’s Quay. I, too, was a bit skeptical at first: how could cauliflower hold a candle to classic chicken wings? I no longer eat poultry, but back when I did I, like any American, adored sticky, meaty wings with their spicy sauce and drippy blue cheese dressing.

What’s not to like, after all? But when you think about it, isn’t anything drenched in hot sauce and blue cheese a party on your palate? Does it really need to be chicken?

These are the questions I contemplated for one or two seconds before getting on google for inspiration to create my own better-for-you-and-delicious-too—i.e., healthy hedonism—recipe for buffalo cauliflower. Today’s post is the titillating result.

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Buffalo Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • Few dashes of Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Grind of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick baking spray. Break cauliflower into florets; save the leaves and stalk for another use, like cauliflower soup. Whisk to together buttermilk, flour, Tabasco, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Coat cauliflower with the batter, tossing to cover all the pieces, and set on the cookie tray. Let dry for 10 minutes or so.

Buffalo Cauliflower Batter

Cook cauliflower for 25 minutes, tossing about half-way through. The cauliflower should be browned and crispy in a few places, but not mushy.

Buffalo Cauliflower Roasted

While the cauliflower is roasting, whisk together the vegetable oil, hot sauce, and Sriracha together in a saucepan; quickly bring to a boil then set aside. If you like things super saucy, or are using a large head of cauliflower, double the recipe.

Buffalo Sauce

When the cauliflower is done cooking, pour the sauce over the florets, tossing to cover completely. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes to allow sauce to set.

Buffalo Cauliflower

For an elegant and less labor intensive dish, simply toss the cooked cauliflower with crumbled blue cheese. I went traditional this time around and served my buffalo cauliflower with blue cheese dipping sauce. (This version is also much higher in calories, obviously.)

Buffalo Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Sauce

Cooking Notes

You can find many a recipe online for Buffalo cauliflower that does not use a batter. Roasted cauliflower on its own is divine, so I have no doubt that simply throwing the hot sauce on that would be great. I felt the batter provided a way for the sauce to adhere to the florets, but give it a shot without the batter if you’d like. A batter-less variant tossed with crumbled blue cheese will shave off a lot of calories and would retain the character of the dish, I think. Finally, do note that this sauce packs quite a punch. Use more oil and less hot sauce or—better—find a less spicy hot sauce to enjoy the dish without the heat.

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An insult to buffalo chicken wings? I think not. Just its heart- and planet-healthier cousin that certainly met this girl’s need for something hot and spicy drenched with creamy blue cheese goodness.

Make this recipe soon and let me know if you agree!

If you like what you see, please subscribe to the blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, ogle food porn on Pinterest, watch 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” (National Geographic) comes out September 9, 2014.

© 2014 P. K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor. All Rights Reserved.

Rockin’ Lobster Roll: My 300th Blog Post (Video Recipe)

Welcome! It’s been almost three years since I began blogging and this is my 300th article. It’s also the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, which I ran and finished last year. I celebrate food, life, and you with today’s video recipe dedicated to one of my favorite things, the lobster roll. Thanks for reading and watching!

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Lobster RollIt’s fitting, albeit somewhat coincidental, that my 300th blog post is dedicated to the lobster roll. That’s because my very first piece actually addressed the same subject just about this time of year in 2011 when I hosted a festive luncheon featuring lobster rolls paired with a strawberry, goat cheese, and sunflower seed salad and the season’s first rosé. I love lobster rolls, you see. Yet I am perpetually perplexed by why they so often suck, which I lament here. Though the classic lobster roll is spectacular all on its own, I’ve also created a scrumptious twist on the traditional with avocado and arugula micro greens. And here we are again today, with a video version for all of you visual learners. Or if you like the B-52s.

A turning point in my scientific career, 2011 was also the year I decided to pursue a new chapter dedicated to helping people translate scientifically-based principles of nutrition and sustainable eating to their plates in delectable ways on my blog and beyond. I’ve written widely about food and nutrition issues since then, whether with satire (e.g., eating local) or seriousness (e.g., GMOs, food technology). I’ve got my first book coming out with National Geographic this September, Foods for Health, and I’m currently working on my second, a cookbook with recipes and stories much in the style of this blog. Part of my mission is to challenge you to reconsider what you think you know about healthy eating and help you develop skills to identify accurate health information. But at the heart of it all is my passion for food, and I sincerely hope that my adoration of things delicious shines through everything I do.

So, without further adieu, I bring you today’s video blog dedicated to one of my favorite things in the world, a glorious lobster roll. It’s the perfect treat for this special occasion.

Thank you for reading and watching today, and over these past three years and three hundred blog posts. I am truly grateful.

If you like what you see, 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 P. K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor. All Rights Reserved.

 

Seared Scallops with Moroccan Spices, Red Lentils, and Sweet Potatoes

Welcome! I’m currently working on my second book, so my blog posts come less frequently than I’d like. For more regular updates on Cooking and Eating the P. K. Way, including food porn, links to recipes, and insights on current nutrition news, please like my page on Facebook. Note that FB has new algorithms that seriously limit how many fans see a given post, so make sure to select “Get Notifications” if you like my page. Thanks!

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Moroccan Soup with Scallop

I love entertaining but I don’t always have the time to create elaborate meals. And that’s okay, because not all dinner parties call for dishes that take days to prepare. Plus, I have a freezer full of all kinds of goodies suitable for both weeknight eating and guests alike. I always cook in bulk for exactly this reason so I’m able to call on my BFF for help whenever I need a hand getting dinner on the table.

(My freezer, that is.)

Enter today’s fabulous dish.

It began with a soul-warming red lentil and sweet potato soup I had in the freezer, a favorite that’s rich, filling, and packed in nutrition. I’m so excited about this soup that I even have a cooking video here to show you the how-to. Super easy to prepare—and it’s almost magical to watch your red lentils break down into a thick soup right before your very eyes! Inexpensive to make, too.

While terrific on is own perhaps with a spinach and pomegranate salad for a regular meal, it needed a bit of gussying up to make it suitable for a party, even if just a casual dinner and games get-together with friends. A succulent scallop would be the perfect addition, I decided.

To keep things simple, you can just give the mollusks a quick sear on a hot skillet after seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper. Alternatively, you could create one of my favorite spice mixtures with Middle Eastern and North African flavors that I use on all kinds of seafood.

In small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon each of cumin, paprika, chili powder, dry mustard powder, 1-2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/2-3/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and white pepper; a pinch or two of cayenne is optional for kick. (I’ve also added 1 teaspoon of dried ginger to this mix on occasion.) Go ahead, taste it. What you’re looking for are hints of sweetness, spice, and heat. If it’s not the right proportion for you, adjust to make it your own. It should be yummy, obviously, though keep in mind the spices are powdered and they won’t really show their true colors come until they are seared onto the scallops and the sugar caramelizes.

Pour the spices onto a plate and dip both sides of the scallop into the mixture to form a thin coat. (You’ll have enough spice for 6-8 scallops.) Sear in a bit of olive oil on a hot pan for about 2-3 minutes per side depending on size. Easy as can be. Just don’t overcook, lest you have something more akin to a rubber ball than a juicy scallop.

(If you’ve never seared scallops, learn more on how to cook seafood and check out two other recipes with seared scallops here and here.)

Ladle the lentil soup into a shallow bowl and set the scallop in the center. Garnish with a few micro greens—purple radish are what I used for color—chives, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a beautiful presentation.

Moroccan Seared Scallops

You could create a different proportion of soup to scallop if you like, treating the soup as more of a sauce at the bottom of the bowl and serving each guest three scallops instead of one. However you plate it, this dish is definitely dinner-party worthy. Especially when served with a beet, arugula, and orange salad and lemon and garlic roasted asparagus, and followed by stewed rhubarb and blackberries with mascarpone cream and toasted pine nuts.

I mean, hey, it was still a party.

If you like what you see here at Healthy Hedonism, 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 P. K. Newby. The Nutrition Doctor. All Rights Reserved.

Mouth-Watering Maple Season Stars Buttercream

Welcome! I’m currently working on my second book, so my blog posts come less frequently than I’d like. For more regular updates on Cooking and Eating the P.K. Way with food porn, links to recipes, and insights on current nutrition news, please like my page on Facebook. Thanks for reading!

Whoopie Pies

Weekend whoopie? Yes, please. Click on the pic for the recipe.

I’ve been on a serious salad kick on my blog these past few weeks. Here’s a round-up of recipes and why it’s time to “Spring into Salad!” in case you’re behind in reading or new to Healthy Hedonism. Salad is a pillar of my diet, and I write about it a lot. That said, it’s time to take a break from all that today with a post celebrating the joys of maple syrup.

I’ll bet I’m not the only one who thinks more about fall than spring when it comes to maple syrup. Perhaps that’s because maple blends so well with warm autumn favorites like cinnamon and cloves, apples and squash. Even so, ’tis spring that’s maple syrup season. It started late this year in Canada due to cold weather but the season is now in full swing here in New England.

In fact, it’s the country with the Maple Leaf on its flag—Canada—that produces more than 85% of the world’s maple syrup. Canadians take their “liquid gold” very seriously, and I was brought into the maple-loving club at an early age. (I grew up in New York but was born in Montréal.) I can remember visiting maple farms in the Canadian countryside as a little girl and seeing the trees slowly drip, drip, drip the amber sap into large vats then visiting the old wooden sugar shacks to watch it boil into thick maple syrup. You can bet we always brought some home with us straight from the farm, just as I do today from my own local markets.

Kale Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Kale salad + maple dijon vinaigrette. Click on the pic for the recipe.

Maple sugar candy was a special treat—my sister adores it—and my mom enjoys maple cream cookies. I don’t eat these foods much anymore but do love my maple syrup-drenched pancakes and French toast once in a while. And churning up a batch of luscious maple walnut ice cream is an annual tradition. (It’s my husband’s favorite.)

On the savory side, maple syrup also makes a ravishing salad dressing when combined with Dijon mustard. Learn how to whisk it up in five minutes in this cooking video, then use it on salads like kale and Brussels sprouts with Marcona almonds (left) or butternut squash, rosemary onion, and dried cranberries.

Oops, I said I was taking a break from salads.

Back to desserts.

I made maple buttercream for the first time a few years back when baking pumpkin whoopie pies. Common centers for these scrumptious cakes usually include marshmallow fluff, cream cheese icing, and the like. I ventured from tradition and thought maple buttercream would make the perfect filling.

Boy, was I right.

The original post on how I learned to love whoopie is here. Yet as I was just working on this recipe for my book and updating the photos on my blog, here’s a little preview to make your mouth water.

* * * * *

Maple Buttercream

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, cold, diced

Beat the egg yolks on high until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat maple syrup on medium high heat to about 200 degrees F, about 6 minutes. The syrup will boil down and thicken as it cooks; do not let it burn. Slowly and carefully stream the hot syrup down the side of the bowl into the yolks while continuing to whip the eggs on medium high until the syrup is incorporated, 2 minutes. Beat in the maple and vanilla extracts. Add the butter a couple of pieces at a time and beat on high until the mixture looks creamy and forms gentle peaks, about 5 to 8 minutes. Be patient. It takes time for the mixture to become buttercream, but it will.

And do not even think about using anything but pure maple syrup in this recipe.

* * * * *

I can not say enough about this buttercream, which is mind-blowingly good when sandwiched between two pumpkin whoopie pies. I’ve also served it on chocolate cupcakes with similar effects and eaten it by spoonfuls directly out of the bowl.

Buttercream is not an everyday food, of course. But it is certainly part of cooking and eating the P.K. Way, a food-loving lifestyle based on a plant-based diet that also includes fabulously rich comfort foods every now and again. I hope you love this buttercream as much as I—though make sure to keep it filed firmly under “moderation.”

Whoopie Pies with Buttercream

Also, do not make buttercream when you are alone in the house.

If you like what you see here at Healthy Hedonism, 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. NewbyP. K. Newby (“The Nutrition Doctor”) is an expert 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 P.K. Newby. Healthy Hedonism. All Rights Reserved.