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Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens TapenadeKristen Miglore and Merrill Stubbs of the Food52 crew swung through Philadelphia a couple weeks ago to promote their newest book, Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. 

My friend and fellow Philly food blogger, Emily, and I jumped at the opportunity, of course, to go hear them speak. And afterwards, we gushed over the ten trillion genius recipes we had to recreate from the book.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

This was spun off of one of those recipes, the famous Food52 posted “Broccoli Cooked Forever” from Chef Roy Finamore. It was a strange-sounding idea that involved cooking broccoli for, well, forever (2 hours) and adding in a bunch of olive oil and anchovies. Sounds…errr…kinda gross, right? Yeah, that was my thought, too.

Yet, the ladies from Food52, a food site I absolutely adore, were raving about this creation. So much so that they’ve bestowed it with the title of “genius”. The commenters on the online version of the recipe, (it can be found in the cookbook as well), were raving about it too. Naturally, I was intrigued and had to try it for myself.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

Intrigued — but with no available broccoli in my house. Yet, vested with a TON of tough summer greens growing in my garden. And so began the birth of this recipe, which I might have to label as an unforeseen amazement…if not downright ingenious.

Slow Cooked Garlic and Greens Tapenade

What better way to beat late season toughness out of greens than to cook them forever? Okay, so in my version, I only make you sit through 60 minutes of cooking time because, let’s be real, while broccoli might reach the consistency of butter, collard greens aren’t ever going to get there. They will, however, reach a buttery, super tender texture, which can be achieved within just an hour of simmer time. Voila.

Placed on top of crusty bread with a grating of fresh Parm and a few chopped tomatoes to cut the richness of the olive oil, I think this may have become my new greens go-to. I’ll definitely be making this dish again soon.

Trust me, it may sound a little strange,but I promise, it’s…brilliant!(?)

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My New Roots’ Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Life-Changing Bread

More than a handful of my friends have made this bread. Nearly all of my fellow let’s get in the kitchen, anytime, anywhere friends have made this bread. And pretty much my entire food blogging world has mentioned, created, and/or featured this recipe in some form.

Published a little over two years ago, it was about time I tried this illustrious Life-Changing Loaf of Bread for myself. Here I am. Another blogger to declare this recipe is awesome. And despite it’s cult following, I admit it was a bit to my surprise.

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Sure, I’ve heard everyone rave about how great this is. But as I was stirring up a bread pan’s worth of nuts and seeds, I found myself a bit skeptical. I knew this thing was going to be dense, and what I didn’t know was how that would play out into its finished form. I wasn’t even sure how it’d come together to ever fully form a loaf. I mean, what was this foreign psyllium husk ingredient, anyways? Could a few Tbsp. really bind a bunch of nuts into a loaf of bread? After finding it in the supplement aisle, the lady at Whole Foods told me psyllium husk is often used to help make you go..

Life-Changing BreadAnyway, when I finally got my first loaf out of the oven and cooled down enough to eat, it proved itself in no time. Yes, it’s dense, but incredibly delicious. Especially in its toasted form, as  many other food blogs assured me prior to making. “Toast it!” So toast I did, and slathered it with jam. I would recommend you do the same.

The toaster (I’d recommend a toaster oven, if you have one) pulls out an extra intensity of flavor from the already slightly browned nuts and seeds. Delish. Again, pair with jelly, or go for the savory route with some crisp radishes and a very thin spread of avocado.


This bread + spring + good cup of coffee + morning breakfast spent outside…now that might just make it to a life-changing status. Head over to My New Roots for the recipe!

Jerusalem’s Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

One of my roommates recently picked up the Jerusalem cookbook. It’s always been one of my favorites to peruse, along with Ottolenghi’s other book, Plenty. I’ve never owned either of the books but have many friends who do, and from their pages, I have loved pretty much every recipe I’ve had the pleasure of helping to recreate.

Mediterranean cuisine may just be my favorite. And Jerusalem is packed with quality ingredients that bring this style of eating to life.

Winter Butternut

The first Ottolenghi recipe I ever made was essentially the non-pureed form of the one typed out below. That initial dish, a baked butternut and roasted red onion side, is one I make often. It introduced me to the heavenly combination of creamy tahini and nutty squash, which I knew wouldn’t let me down in this recipe.

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Here, that duo is topped with an intriguing addition – date syrup, or as an alternate, molasses. The cookbook explains that date syrup is an intense, natural popular sweetener in the Middle East, and is great for salad dressings, to sweeten stews, or to drizzle over morning porridge. While I am curious to seek that out, the recipe says that the date syrup can be also be swapped for molasses. I decided to go with the latter, one, out of convenience, but also two, because I love molasses yet feel it’s a rather underutilized ingredient in my kitchen. It, too, felt like a surprise ingredient for the dish, and I thought it worked quite well.

Winter Still Life

Creamy and intense, this essentially turns tahini into something that I would eat by the spoonful. However, it’s rich, and is even better when smeared across a crusty bread. Next time, I might add cayenne for some heat, and possibly even a bit of lime or balsamic to cut it a little bit further. Overall though, this was a hit, and would certainly act as a conversation starter if serving to guests. It has this whole sweet-meets-savory dynamic that begs for questions, and also double dipping. Definitely adding this one to the repeat list. Again, another one from Jerusalem that doesn’t disappoint.

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread Continue Reading…

Butternut Brie Sandwiches with Caramelized Shallots and Arugula

Butternut Brie Sandwiches with Caramelized Shallots and Arugula

I don’t do a ton of dairy.

However, like s’mores around a campfire, butternut and brie is one of my all-time favorite autumn combinations. I don’t eat it often, but when I do, I’m a happy camper.

Butternut Brie Sandwiches with Caramelized Shallots and Arugula

There’s something about the natural nuttiness of butternut squash that lends itself well to the buttery, slight earthiness of brie. Melt the one onto the softness of the other, and magic happens.

Throw in some caramelized shallots and a crusty bread to offset that cream, and true sandwich sorcery is cast.

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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…