Clams are reliable sources of iron, vitamin C, and Omega-3 fatty acids. One 3 oz. serving of clams contains 130% of your daily value (DV) of iron. You can take an easy step in order to help your body absorb this iron—I’ll explain later in this post. Clams do not contain mercury, which is a concern for some. They are high in sodium, which is important to note, for those watching their blood pressure closely. I don’t recommend drinking clam broth straight after cooking clams because it's extremely salty. However, do yourself a favor: save the broth and use it to flavor other dishes later. (This is yet another reason why you should make sure your clams are grit-free by washing them carefully prior to cooking them.) I'll even provide a recipe of a veggie dish cooked using the clam broth yielded from this post's recipe.
2 dozen fresh small clams (I used Middle Neck clams from the Chesapeake Bay)
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 12-oz cheap American lager i.e. Bud Light
2/3 tbsp. Trader Joe’s habanero hot sauce
1 medium garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. diced white onion
2 tsp. Trader Joe’s Italian Style Soffritto Seasoning Blend
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 slice of fresh lemon (NOT pre-packaged lemon juice) – approx. 1 cm. thick
Thoroughly rinse and drain the clams to remove any dirt. I use veggie wash such as Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Fruit & Vegetable Wash for this. (By the way, I only use produce wash as a surfactant for really grimy foods such as celery, potatoes, root vegetables, and shellfish.) The FDA recommends you don't use packaged produce wash, by the way.
Saute the garlic and onion in the butter until browned using the saute feature of the Instant Pot*. (My Instant Pot heats very quickly on the saute feature so I’m mindful of that and turn it off if it gets too hot.) Once the garlic and onion is almost browned, turn it off and add the habanero sauce to the garlic/onion/butter mixture and stir. Next, slowly pour in 12 oz. of American lager, being careful not to burn yourself by hot butter splashing up. I found I prefer Bud Light in this recipe better than Miller Light. If you're wondering why I chose beer over white wine, it's because I'm not a wine guy, so I decided to see how the clams turned out cooked with beer!
Add the Italian Soffrito seasoning and black pepper, then place the clams in the Instant Pot. Close the lid, make sure the valve is set to the “sealing” position, turn the Instant Pot on, and set it to “manual” with its time set to 1 minute. Once the cooking cycle is completed, release the pressure manually and remove the clams carefully using tongs or the like.
Discard any unopened clams. Squeeze a slice of lemon over each clam and into the broth. If you don’t have a fresh lemon, don’t even bother making this recipe! The vitamin C in the lemons will help your body absorb the iron in the clams, as well as releases their sweet flavor. Bon appetit!
Last but not least, empty your kitchen trash can. You don’t want to leave the clam shells sitting around in your kitchen for 12 hours! Once the broth cools, consider storing it for later use i.e. freeze it in a Ziploc bag. Stay tuned for a veggie recipe that will make you want to steam clams, if for nothing else than their juice.
*If you don't have an Instant Pot, steam the clams using your steamer per the manufacturer's instructions for steaming clams.
#soffritto #steamedclamsrecipe #middleneckclams #Italianstylesoffritoseasoningblend #soffrittosecretweapon #cookssecretweapon #beerclams #beersteamedclams #ironrichfood #steamedclams
If you’re one of those well-intentioned people who finds themselves buying fresh produce but lets it go to waste, keeping frozen fruits and vegetables on-hand in the freezer can help. Produce from the frozen section is oftentimes more nutritious than its fresh counterparts in grocery stores. It can help you reduce your household food waste, saving you time and money, as well as reduce your environmental impact.
Pictured: frozen organic broccoli was the hero in a vegetarian dish I tossed together this past week featuring organic firm tofu, fresh red bell pepper, yellow onion, carrots, and soba noodles.
Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables by Jessica Ball, MS, RD explains further how eating frozen veggies can help us improve our diets.
#frozenversusfresh #veggie #integrativehealth #wellness #nutrition #nutritioneducation #functionalnutrition #functionalmedicine #nutrients #lowsodium #lowfat #fiber #jessicaball #jessicaballMSRD
According to the Trader Joe’s web site, “A soffritto is a blend of aromatics that are indispensable in a cook’s kitchen.” Trader Joe's Italian Style Soffrito Seasoning Blend is already indispensable in my kitchen. Thank goodness there are 154 servings in each jar of this blend, and I look forward to creating my own blend, too.
The quickest way to get soffrito into your belly is to sprinkle it into olive oil and use it as a dip. However, olive oil contains 120 calories per tablespoon (1 serving), and the soffritto/EVOO combo is so delicious that it’s very tempting to have more than one serving. Once I put soffritto into oil I found myself cursing myself for not bringing bread and crackers into the home. Which lead me to purchase a loaf of Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane (classic Italian bread), and their Pita Bite crackers. It’s really a slippery slope once the Soffritto hits the oil. The soffritto oil is delicious on top of Trader Joe’s Fried Ravioli. But see, here I went from not owning bread to pouring EVOO on fried ravioli. My excuse for this kind of behavior is the pandemic and it being winter.
Another use for the Italian Style Soffritto seasoning is to roll it into your pizza dough or flatbread dough. Pictured is a hastily-made small pizza I made for myself using Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pizza Dough with soffritto in the dough. The toppings on this version are red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, white onion, TJ’s pizza sauce (refrigerated version), and shredded mozzarella (with soffritto and garlic powder in the crust.) The edges are a little rough because I never have the patience to let the dough sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes as recommended, and my rolling pin is about the size of a carrot. To speed things up, I cheat a little by placing the dough on top of the stove when the oven (below it) is pre-heating. While I don’t require a gluten free diet, I prefer the gluten free version over regular pizza dough. I’m kicking myself that I waited so long to try the gluten free dough. The rice in it reminds me of rice crackers.
The author receives no promotional compensation from Trader Joe's.
#Italianstylesoffritto #soffritto #Italianseasoning #Italianseasoningblend
A search on Trader Joe’s web site this week yielded zero search results for “hasselback,” meaning I couldn’t find hide nor hair about their popular-during-the-winter-holidays 2020 hasselback potatoes on their site. Some people are crazy for this product, and I wondered why because it’s a frozen baked potato seasoned with two of the most basic potato ingredients ever—butter and salt.
I did a little research and experimentation of my own. Turns out, the cut of the potato makes it a Hasselback. According to John Duxbury of SwedishFood.com, Hasselback potatoes originated in a restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden, in the 1940s or 1950s. Now, most people probably use Russet potatoes for this roasted recipe, but I bought a very large red potato and decided to Hasselback it.
I struggle to finish most dishes with potatoes, feeling they are too starchy or heavy. While potatoes may be boring to some, they contain some valuable nutrients including potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and fiber, so they have their place. Red potatoes have less carbs than Russet potatoes. Because potatoes are a blank slate, you can either upgrade your potato dish by adding nutrients and cooking them certain ways, or you can negate their nutritional value depending on how you cook them and what you add to them. One should leave the skin on potatoes whenever possible since the minerals concentrate in the skin.
Cutting the potato Hasselback-style is the tricky part because you have to be careful not to cut the potato all the way through. I placed a set of tongs in front of my potato so that when I cut it the tongs blocked my hand from cutting all the way down. More so, they acted as a reminder to me with each slice I made. I don’t swear by the tong method, though, because the tongs prevented me from cutting down enough. I should have cut my potato probably a half inch deeper to really allow airflow. Some resources suggest placing one’s potato in a flat wooden spoon to cut it. (I happen to be sans wooden spoon at the moment.) By cutting the potato Hasselback style, it fans out when it’s roasting in the oven, getting each piece crispy if you do it right!
I coated the potato with olive oil, then roasted my potato on parchment paper for about 70 minutes at 420 degrees F. (This would be an ideal application for olive oil spray.) As I was making it, I remembered why I don’t bake or roast potatoes often—they take a long time in the oven which uses a lot of energy. I was so hungry by the time the potato was done that I took some of the crispiest outside pieces, placed them in a dish, and just totally smothered them with TJ’s Green Goddess dressing and some fresh chopped cilantro. (Don’t judge--I like cilantro stems and see no reason to eat only the leaves.) TJ’s Green Goddess dressing has avocado, green onion, basil, parsley, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar—all the good stuff and none of the bad.
The next morning, I enjoyed another 1/3 of the potato. (It was a big potato!) I happened to have some marinated roasted pork tenderloin on hand, so I cut some slices of cooked pork, placed them between the potato slices, and heated it all up the microwave. I topped it again with Green Goddess, cilantro, and a dash of sea salt. A nice breakfast! Now, what to do with the last third of the potato?
#hasselbackpotato #hasselbackpotatoes #hasselback #potato #redpotato #swedishpotatoes #traderjoeshasselbackpotatoes #traderjoesgreengoddesssaladdressing #greengoddess
12/25/2020: Merry Christmas! As I write this, it’s Christmas morning and I’m excited to share this recipe with you. My family isn’t gathering for Christmas this year since we’re socially-distancing to stay safe, but this is the “star” dish I would've been the most excited about preparing and sharing with them. Maybe by Easter 2021 we can enjoy a holiday meal together again.
Oysters contain vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, plus immunity-boosting protein, zinc, selenium, iron and vitamin D. They’re a low-calorie food—six medium Eastern oysters (i.e. the kind from the Chesapeake Bay) contain under 50 calories. Rosemary is the flavor I notice the most in this honey Aleppo sauce, while honey complements the oysters’ brininess with its sweet flavor. The Aleppo pepper gives these saltwater bivalves a little punch, but it’s not overly spicy and won’t overpower them nor singe your taste buds. If there's one item I discovered at Trader Joe's in 2020 that I must have on-hand at all times, it's the Trader Joe's Honey Aleppo Sauce, no question. Baking the oysters in olive oil (the first ingredient in the honey Aleppo sauce) is a healthier option than frying them.
6 medium-size oysters, out of their shells, washed & drained
Approx. 5 TBSP Trader Joe’s Honey Aleppo Sauce
Approx. 1 oz. Trader Joe’s Japanese Style Panko Breadcrumbs (approx. 1/7th of the bag)
1/3 tsp. California garlic powder
Dash of ground Himalayan pink sea salt crystals (to taste)
Dash of freshly ground black peppercorns (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 405 degrees F. Marinate the oysters in the Trader Joe’s honey Aleppo sauce for 5-10 minutes. Put the panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish suitable for dipping the oysters into. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs. (Go easy on the salt!) Dip the oysters in the panko breadcrumb mixture, covering both sides of each oyster. Place the oysters on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add panko to any spots that became bare in moving the oysters. Bake the oysters for 20-25 minutes at 405 degrees F, until most of the panko is golden brown. Allow to cool down for a couple minutes, and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving--a perfect snack or appetizer!
#oysters #easternoysters #chesapeakebayoysters #aleppopeppers #halabypeppers #middleeasternpeppers #honeyalepposauce #traderjoeshoneyalepposauce #oysters #bakedoysters #immunityboostingnutrients #healthyseafoodpreparation #traderjoes
Romanesco broccoli may be intimidating at first because of its intricate fractal shape. However, don't fear the Romanesco--just get it! Romanesco broccoli doesn't have an extraordinary taste despite its dramatic display of mathematical beauty and bright green color. It tastes like cauliflower and broccoli, with a texture similar to both. A recipe for either cauliflower or broccoli would work with Romanesco broccoli, so perhaps a favorite recipe for either one would be a good place to start your Romanesco exploration. I've included a simple recipe below that I came up with and liked.
Romanesque broccoli is part of the cruciferous family, and is known by other names such as Romanesque cauliflower, broccoflower, and caulibroc. The cruciferous family of vegetables also includes brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, cabbage, collard greens, and other species, all of which are rich in nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and fiber. Eating cruciferous vegetables may have a positive effect on reducing one's cancer risk, or it may be that people who eat cruciferous veggies have other traits or behaviors that reduce their cancer risk, or both. Cruciferous vegetables such as Romanesque broccoli fall into the "dark-green" category of vegetables.
This gorgeous vegetable can be found fresh at grocery stores, specialty food retailers such as Trader Joe's, farmers' markets and stands, and the like. (Don't waste time looking for it frozen or canned.) Its growing season is comparatively short, so when you see it, buy it, as it won't be around for long--usually in the fall in the U.S. At specialty food retailers such as Trader Joe's, you'll typically only find it available for a day or two in their fresh produce section. Your best bet for the freshest veggies is your local farmers' market or farm stand/farm store. As I publish this, it's late in the season but this post will be ready for reference next year if the Romanesco has come and gone. Who knows, though, it's been an usually warm fall here in Maryland.
You'll want to allow a few extra minutes to break down your Romanesco broccoli in a manner that preserves its intricate fractal pattern, rather than "ricing" it or chopping it up too much. Here are some photos of how I broke down and roasted a half of a head of Romanesco broccoli. The other half, I shared with my mother (the week of Thanksgiving). I'm pleased to say when I pulled it out of my cooler she was perplexed--she'd never seen nor heard of it before, despite her considerable cooking experience and her love of Italy, Rome, and all things beautiful. I'm glad to have been able to share with her something new, and locally-grown from my rural, bay-side community.
Wash, drain, and pat the Romanesco broccoli dry. If any tips of the florets have grey spots, cut them off. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces in the shapes that you like the best. Combine the EVOO, lime juice, garlic, and black pepper in dish or a freezer bag, then add the broccoli and gently cover it in the mixture. Place broccoli pieces on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, being sure to not crowd the pan. Roast it at 420 degrees* F for 20 minutes or until it starts to brown.
Allow to cool down for several minutes, serve, and enjoy! Store any unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within 7 days.
*Parchment paper withstands heat up to 425 degrees F which is why I often roast items at 420 degrees F. I prefer to not use aluminum foil to cook.
#Romanesquebroccoli #Romanesquecauliflower #broccoflower #caulibroc #cruciferous #romanesco #fractalvegetable
Too many tomatoes? Try gazpacho! As summer nears its end and you have a garden, you may find yourself blessed with an abundance of tomatoes and wonder what to do with them. There’s only so much spaghetti sauce you can make. If you’ve got a food processor, fresh tomatoes, and you don’t feel like eating hot food since it’s still warm out, give gazpacho a try… especially if you like bloody marys! Gazpacho works well as a side dish with your favorite protein.
You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy gazpacho, a flavorful tomato soup prepared and served cold. It’s a recipe traditionally from Spain. This particular recipe is simple enough to be flavorful, yet it’s flexible and easy to adjust to your taste. Ripe tomatoes are key. If you don’t have a garden, buy local tomatoes if possible, rather from the grocery store, as they’ll have a greater chance of being ripe. Your tomatoes should have that summery garden aroma—if they don’t, they’ll impart less flavor to your gazpacho (or any recipe.) Store your tomatoes at room temperature; don’t refrigerate. Remember: it’s always best to start with less salt, pepper, and garlic, and then add more as you need after you taste it, than to prepare a recipe with too much.
Ingredients: [Makes 4 large servings]
· 3 fresh, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
· 2 Roma tomatoes
· 1 small sweet onion – peeled
· 2 green bell peppers – seeds removed
· 1 English cucumber
· 2 tsp fresh garlic – minced
· 24 oz. tomato juice/strained tomatoes (no salt added)
· 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
· 1 Tbsp olive oil
· 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
· 1 tsp ground sea salt crystals
· ½ tsp ground black pepper
· ½ tsp ground cumin
Wash the vegetables (tomatoes and cucumbers are botanical fruits that are included under the umbrella term, “vegetable.”) Chop the tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers and onion. Mince the garlic but don’t make it too fine. Have an extra clove or two handy in case you’d like to add more to taste afterwards. Pulse each vegetable separately in the food processor in order to get each of them into an equal consistency, then combine in a large bowl. (Check out the photo of the finished gazpacho to see a sample consistency. I prefer mind a little chunky as opposed to liquefied.) Add the other ingredients to the bowl, stir well, and adjust the salt, pepper, garlic, and even the oil and vinegar to taste. Garnish with sliced cucumber, cilantro, basil, parsley—whatever you feel like! If you eat dairy you may like a bit of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt mixed in.
Once prepared, cover and store it in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Eat it prepared fresh, but know that as an added bonus, the flavors will develop more the next couple days. When serving it after refrigeration, you may want to place the gazpacho in [covered] serving bowls for about 30 min. to shake a little of the cold off—but don’t heat it up as it’s meant to be cold in order to be refreshing on a warm summer or early fall day.
Recipe time: 20-30 min.? Some gazpacho recipes say they take 10 min. to make. I take my time when preparing food, especially when working with raw foods and ready-to-eat foods that are uncooked. I wash my hands often. Gazpacho’s ingredients were traditionally hand-chopped, which is labor-intensive. I usually prefer recipes that don’t require a food processor, as many can’t afford one. (Mine was a gift years ago when a kind friend saw how much I loved being in the kitchen.) Currently I have an injury that affects my dominant hand, arm, and shoulder, so recipes that rely on a food processor have an extra appeal on certain days, although sometimes I even struggle with getting the parts of the food processor to align.
Cherries have a number of health benefits. You probably guessed they contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, but did you know they also contain the hormone melatonin which helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle? Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes, and cherries are lower than other fruits on the glycemic index, meaning they are less likely to cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar. Now, on to the smoothie recipe!
· 1.25 cups fresh sweet red cherries, pitted (organic if possible)
· 1/2 cup 100% red tart cherry juice (organic if possible)
· 1/3 cup organic vanilla bean nonfat Greek yogurt
· 1/2 tsp. organic Ceylon ground cinnamon
· 1 tsp. organic ground chia seed or chia seed
· Filtered water and 2-4 cubes of ice, as desired, to adjust consistency
Combine all ingredients except water in a blender or mixer. Blend for 20-30 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy. If too thick, add a few tablespoons of filtered water and re-blend for 5 seconds. Makes approx. one pint (16 oz.) of smoothie.
Examples of substitutions:
Frozen pitted cherries can be substituted for fresh cherries. The ground cinnamon does not have to be Ceylon cinnamon, although Ceylon cinnamon in particular is used to spice up desserts and sweet beverages. If you’ve not had Ceylon cinnamon in your spice cabinet, now might be a good time to try it! (Be sure to protect your cinnamon from light and moisture in an airtight container.) A non-dairy yogurt alternative can be substituted for those who don’t eat dairy, such as Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt Alternative. (By the way, maraschino cherries are highly processed and stored in a brine of sugar, FD&C red food dye and other chemicals that make them a Frankenfood—do not substitute these in this recipe.)
#nutrition #nutritioncoach #cherrysmoothierecipe #cinnamonsmoothierecipe #ceyloncinnamon #cinnamoncherry #cherrycinnamon #cherryvanilla #vanillacherry #cherrysmoothie #lowglycemic #melatonin #foodsourceofmelatonin #foodasmedicine #functionalnutrition #cherryseason #beachcombernutrition