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!
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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