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.

 

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.

Summer on a Plate: Caprese, Meet Peaches

It doesn’t get much prettier or simpler than this. In a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, this ravishing play on caprese salad screams summer with the addition of juicy peaches. The traditional ingredients of tomato, mozzarella, and basil still shine, but including sweet stone fruit brings a burst of color and flavor that just may make you swoon.

Caprese Salad wiht Peaches

Simply slice your favorite tomato—heirlooms are glorious, if you can find them—and serve with peach wedges and shards of fresh mozzarella. I had a bit of extra basil oil, which is why the cheese has flecks of green, but you needn’t bother. (Though the addition of pesto is always an option on this kind of salad, as shown here.) Tuck in a few leaves of basil and season with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper; a drizzle of balsamic is always delicious, too, pictured below.

Caprese Salad wiht Peaches and Balsamic

Okay, fine, yes, I just wanted to include another photo of this salad because it’s so luscious.

And I really have very little else to say, other than to encourage you to take advantage of local and seasonal produce while you can. The tomatoes, peaches, and basil came from my local farmers’ market, which makes all the difference when it comes to taste. You can have fun with the salad by mixing up the variety and color of the tomatoes, the type of cheese, and even the herbs and stone fruit you use: make it delicious, your way.

And do make it soon.

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.

Blueberry Ginger Scones: Simply Scrumptious

Blueberry Ginger SconeI’m always sad when strawberry season ends. Happily, the berry love keeps coming when other delightful summer berries next appear at my local farmers’ market. Enter the blueberry, that little fruit which packs a big nutritional punch due to its incredibly high antioxidant capacity thanks in part to anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found mainly in the skins and give blueberries their romantic dusky hue.

Blueberries are my favorite berry to munch on right out of the carton or throw on cold breakfast cereal or oatmeal. They also make starring appearances in muffins of the corn or bran persuasion, not to mention pancakes. Blueberries bring beauty and flavor to salads, too, like in my arugula salad with quinoa, blueberries, and Marcona almonds.

In today’s recipe (obviously filed under the “moderation” chapter of Cooking and Eating the P.K. Way), I fold blueberries into scones alongside candied ginger. And, to be clear, the ginger is just as important to this glorious pastry as are the blueberries. Together, the winning combination of sweet blueberries and slightly spicy ginger comes together in one of the tastiest scones I’ve ever eaten.

Don’t believe me? Just try it yourself.

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Blueberry Ginger SconesIngredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon heavy cream, separated
  • 1 teaspoon Demerara or other sugar (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together dry ingredients. Add diced butter into the mixture and combine using a fork or pastry knife until the butter is the size of small peas. Fold in blueberries and ginger to coat with the flour mixture. Add cream and stir with a fork just until flour is fully incorporated. The dough will be sticky. Lightly flour your hands and gather it together into a ball, then shape it into a disc about 1 inch tall and 6 inches wide on a floured surface. Use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the dough with the remaining 1 teaspoon of cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar, if desired. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 4 pieces. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet an inch apart and bake 15-20 minutes, until risen and lightly browned. Let cool approximately 10 minutes before eating.

Makes 4 large scones. (Had I fully realized how large they were I would have probably cut my disc into 5 or 6.)

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It had been ages since I’ve made scones, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was with outcome. This recipe is a “cream” scone, as you glean from the egg-less ingredients. Because of that, the texture is incredibly rich and tender, more cake-y than bread-like. While no one would argue that a fresh blueberry scone all on its own isn’t delicious, the addition of candied ginger took these scones to a whole new level of greatness. You can use crystallized if you prefer, though candied tends to be a bit softer and works especially well in baked goods (like in my ginger snaps).Blueberry Scone Plated

There was another reason I made this particular recipe, too. You see, if you follow my blog you know that I am in love with white whole wheat flour, a whole grain counterpart to refined flour that provides a softer texture than traditional whole wheat flour but with the same health benefits. I’ve used it in all kinds of baked goods with excellent results, like brownies, chocolate zucchini breadpumpkin bread, and biscotti. This recipe begged me for white whole wheat flour and would doubtless yield a wonderful scone. However, I decided to conduct a little experiment here with you to examine the question directly: Is a scone made with white whole wheat flour truly as good as its refined grain counterpart?

We shall see, my friends. We shall see. Stay tuned for later this summer when I remake these scones and share the results.

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.

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.

Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round-Up: It’s a Mexican Fiesta!

Gallery

This gallery contains 20 photos.

Cinco de Mayo is the perfect time to post a colorful collage of some of my go-to Mexican dishes. Peruse the food porn, then check out the recipe list and links that follow for a tantalizing list of appetizers, dips, … Continue reading

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.

A Big Salad for Supper Goes to Southeast Asia

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 daily food porn, links to recipes, and insights on current nutrition news, please like my page on Facebook. Thanks for reading!

Thai Salad

An inadvertent salad theme has emerged on my blog these past few weeks. Of course, it’s not unusual. I am a salad fiend, as my regular readers well know, and am always anxious to share the love. And when you eat salad as often as I, getting creative with global flavors keeps things interesting.

Sexy, even.

Peanut Dressing

Click on pic for the recipe for this amazing peanut dressing, perfect as a salad dressing or satay sauce.

There are a number of things needed for salad to take the starring role at your dinner table, however. Ingredients like beans, nuts, and so forth all help and are discussed in my “Spring into Salad!” post here. Today’s salad puts some of these ideas to work in a supper-sized version of a simple Thai salad that gets additional protein and yum from pan-seared tofu, avocado, and a hard-cooked egg. Red pepper and scallions add flavor and color and all lie atop a bed of glorious salad greens like spinach and kale. The traditional peanut dressing is key, and the recipe can be found here.

Not only is this salad super tasty, but it’s a real boon to your health in all of its plant-based goodness. It also has a lower impact on the environment than carnivorous choices. It’s perfect for Meatless Monday—or any day—so grab your dinner plate, fill it with greens, and pile on ingredients that make you happy. Don’t forget to toss on a few peanuts for garnish and crunch, too.

And by all means do not forgo the dressing. It’s what makes the salad so sensational (and will help you feel full). This zesty salad sauce has just enough body to hang on to the lettuces but isn’t at all gloppy. It’s spicy-sweet flavor can go as hot as you like, or not at all. Sure, this creamy vinaigrette adds calories, but this is dinner, after all, and the fat comes from heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids like those found in peanut butter and peanut oil. (For more on my love of peanut butter and its health impacts, click here).

Beautiful to look at, too, eh? Perhaps like a lovely bloom growing in the tropical climate of Thailand?

Thai Salad

Well, who knows. I don’t recall seeing any flower that looked like that in Koh Samui or Phuket, but, regardless, enjoy!

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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. 

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