Monthly Archives:

March 2013

Roasted Red Onion and Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

Easter in my family’s house is rarely traditional. Deviled eggs will always be on the table, but that’s about the only consistency we’ve got going. Lucky for me, I like variation, and I like deviled eggs too.

At the peak freak-out-about-life age of 22, the biggest surprise every year is whether there will be an Easter basket waiting in my old room. When there is, I still freak out in joy. Even at 32, 42, 52 years of age, I’m doubtful that being surprised with chocolate will ever get old. At least I hope not. That’s a youthful consistency I hope to keep forever. (Although, I did request for a basket of contact solution this year, too.)

Anyway, so every year I’m faced with a dilemma of what to bring for Easter. As a cook, of course I want to whip something up, but guessing on the year’s menu is never easy. It’s never like “Grace, you make the green beans. Your sister’s making the mac & cheese. And I’m making the ham.” Likely, none of those classic items will show up on the table (though, my sister does make some killer mac & cheese). It’s usually more of a situation of me pondering over what I should pair with the obscure soup my mom’s making or the Indian feast she’s whipping up, etc. etc.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Onions

This year she mentioned salmon, so I’m thinking of whipping out this recipe. It’s super simple and quickly pulls together. Plus, its colors shine of spring. Red onions have really been winning me over lately.

Feel free to add some shaved Parmesan on top if you feel like jazzing these up once out of the oven.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

Although it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet here in Philly, I’m kicking off the season with a fresh start – starting now. I’ve got some pretty exciting things coming up (hello trip to France!). And also some rather crazy changes happening as we move into one of my all-time favorite seasons. I’ll fill you in on posts to come. For now, let’s talk about one of the latest transformations to happen, aka, the bright new feel of this site!

Sorry that it has been down the past few days, but Food-Fitness-FreshAir is back, and, in case you haven’t noticed, with a spankin’ new design. I’m happy to say both my blog and I are kicking off the season feeling fresh. We’ll be celebrating the early spring cleaning with the recipe below. It in itself makes me want to grab my party hat.

Hands down, these are the best muffins I’ve had in a long time. And all of their star ingredients make them a healthy choice, too.

The chocolate-infused recipe is 100% whole wheat, but stays incredibly moist from the bananas, yogurt and tahini. Yes, tahini. This is the secret ingredient that adds an interesting depth of flavor to these muffins. Though it’s likely you’d only be able to pinpoint it if told it was in there. Even more importantly, the tahini keeps these muffins butter-free, relying on the naturally heart-healthy fats of sesame seeds instead. Combined with the omegas from the walnuts, this is one stellar choice when you need an on-the-go snack. After the first bite, you’ll want to celebrate too.

Click here for recipe…

Baked Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce

Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce

Another salmon recipe coming your way. This one’s surely graced the blog before, but seeing as though it’s a definite go-to of mine, I felt it worthy of a second post.

There’s something about yogurt (esp. Greek) that turns recipes into effortless creations. Overnight oats, stuffed baked potatoes, and this “cream sauce”, formed from a handful of ingredients stirred together in a bowl, are all great examples. Here, yogurt makes a surprisingly smooth, rich-feeling sauce without any heavy cream or butter needed. Another reason why the ingredient shines in my kitchen – it’s a trickster in all the right ways.

When it comes to the kitchen, there are definitely good occasions to be tricked and bad ones. Finding an empty pizza box put back in the fridge – killer. Discovering your cupcake is stuffed with peanut butter mousse – win. I’d say turning low-fat yogurt into a successful, creamy sauce undoubtedly goes on the plus side. You tell me your thoughts after giving this one a try.

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Pickled Carrots and Ginger

Pickled Carrots

Whenever I go over to my friend Katie’s house, she’s always cooking up something interesting. A few weeks ago, it was fried pickles with a spicy aioli sauce. Last week, I was sampling fresh pickled carrots she popped out from the fridge and jarred pickled green tomatoes from last fall’s crop. Both briny occasions were delish in distinctly different ways.

Like myself, Katie grew up with two foodie parents, so naturally we get along quite well. She is the one to convince me why fiddlehead ferns will be an essential crop of our small, urban garden. And why the banning of raw milk is downright silly.

Katie lives, with ten others, in an old, colossal Philly row-home.  Equipped with more bedrooms than I can count, and a Butler’s staircase leading to the kitchen, they’ve fittingly deemed it “The Mansion”. If I could handle that style of living, you know I’d be there living and cooking with Katie. Dawn to beyond midnight, someone’s always stewing something on the stove of The Mansion. I could definitely get into that.

Anyway, as I’ve said, there’s been a lot of pickling going down after Katie got her boyfriend a whole book on the subject. His latest project: homemade sauerkraut. They introduced me to the fact that fresh pickles (aka, the kind that don’t involve any canning), are actually incredibly simple to make. Naturally, it didn’t take long till I was at home making my own.

After sifting through the internet, most recipes I found stuck strictly with dill. However, for me it was the cumin in Katie’s carrots that made them stand out, which is how this recipe was born. I ended up combining the two flavors, and then added some ginger to create one heck of a winter-themed pickle. If you can handle the heat — which does get dulled by the pickling process — the ginger slices make a great after-dinner, digestive-aiding treat.

For more on the subject, check out Katie and Greg’s post on DIY pickling!

Click here for recipe…

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

Kale Chips

I was pretty much appalled when my friend came over and asked me what exactly kale was. In my world, it’s nearly impossible to understand how someone could not have ever tasted, or at the very least read about, this ubiquitous green.

I did grow up in a family that gardened and harvested a ton of kale, and who also insisted on eating it all times of the day, everyday, breakfast included. I mean, sure, I wouldn’t expect every person to call that normal. But after 2012, when kale became the the Jennifer Lawrence of the food industry, I just didn’t see how her question was possible. I guess it wasn’t too much of a disappointment when she didn’t fall head-over-heels for these kale chips. However, I can happily say I got her to eat not just one, but six of them — even with a potato chip option on the table too.

Kale

When baked into chips, I could easily eat a whole bunch of kale in one day. After being popped in the oven, the leafy bouquet you get from the store quickly dwindles down to fill just a medium-sized bowl. Aside from its decrease in size, it’s easy to forget you’re eating a whole bowl of healthy greens when snacking on something comparable to junk food. The friend I mentioned above might call me a weirdo, but I’d take kale chips over potato chips nearly any day of the week. They really resemble little of what you’d expect if given a bowl of steamed kale to compare. Although, I happen to love steamed kale too.

This recipe in particular helps to deliver an even further junk food vibe by adding a traditional salt & vinegar flavor combination. Sure, kale chips have been done a trillion times before. If you follow my blog or are any food-inclined person aside from my friend, you’ve probably heard of/tasted/baked them multiple times at this point. However, there are so many variations you can try that I find they never get old. Kale chips are simply one of life’s greatest snacks, in far more aspects than one. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of vinegar varieties.  The balsamic adds a slightly sweeter kick than with your traditional salt & vinegar chips, so if you want your kale to fully compare, consider using white vinegar instead.

Click here for recipe…

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