Kumat Salad

Kumat Salad

Kamut (pronounced ka-moot) is a trademarked name given to khorasan wheat, thought to be the cousin of durum wheat as they both belong to the Triticum turgidum family. Kamut has a rich and buttery flavor, it’s easy for the body to digest, and very similar to bulgar wheat as it has more proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and amino acids than common wheat. It also has a clear advantage compared to modern wheat because it contains up to 40 percent more protein, is richer in zinc, magnesium and selenium as well as many polyphenols and fatty acids. You could say it’s a superfood, easy to cook and cheap and full of nutrition. To be honest I use kamut 2 to 3 times a week instead of brown rice or whole wheat pasta, I just love the mouth feel of this great product, so add some strawberries infused with balsamic and brown sugar, freshly chopped herbs and top with creamy goat cheese and crispy leeks. It’s a wonderful recipe my dear – and its healthy!!!!

Additional information – Kamut is an excellent crop for organic farming because it produces high-quality wheat without the need for artificial fertilizers or pesticides — this is because the crop has a high tolerance for diverse organic conditions, and similar to other cereals, it yields well.

Kumat salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups kamut

4 cups low in sodium vegetable stock

2 cups strawberries, hauled and cut into quarters

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 leek, washed and cut into thin strips (optional)

1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint

3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup goats cheese, crumbled

How to cook:

Place a large saucepan over a medium heat on the stove, add kamut and stock, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed and the kamut is tender. Remove the pan from the stove, and allow the kamut to cool.

Place the strawberries in a small bowl, pour over the balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with brown sugar, and allow to macerate for at least 15 minutes while the kamut cools.

Take a frying pan and place on a medium to high heat, pour in the oil, when hot cook the strips of leek in batches until crispy, remove and place on dish paper to absorb the oil.

To assemble, take a large salad bowl, spoon in the cold kamut, stir in the chopped herbs, oil, and cheese, scatter over the strawberries and top with the crispy leeks.

 

Flaked poached salmon with arugula salad and soft boiled eggs

Flaked poached salmon with arugula salad and soft boiled eggs

To help beat heart disease and improve brain function you need a good source of Omega-3’s in your diet. One of the absolute best sources of this important nutrient comes from wild salmon. Omega-3’s within salmon help combat against inflammation, improve blood circulation, help with memory loss and help to control blood sugar levels within the body. Salmon is an oily fish from the same family as trout, char and grayling or otherwise known as the Salmonidae family. Many species of salmon have been introduced to the lake Great Lakes of North America and the Patagonia region of South America. Salmon are anadromous which means they hatch in fresh water then migrate to the salt waters of the ocean, they then return normally to the exact same spot they were hatched to spawn (This is folklore, but actual studies tracking salmon have found this to be mainly true. A portion of a returning salmon run may stray and spawn in different freshwater systems.) The flesh of Salmon is generally orange to red, although white-fleshed wild salmon with white-black skin color occurs. The natural color of salmon results from carotenoid pigments, largely astaxanthin, but also canthaxanthin, the carotenoids pigments come from the salmon eating mainly krill as its main source of food, which is so important to the creation of Omega-3’s, as only wild salmon contain a healthy supply of Omega-3’s compared to farm-raised salmon that feed only on grain.

Flaked poached salmon with arugula salad and soft boiled eggs

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4x 4oz wild Alaskan salmon fillets

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut into rounds

4 sprigs of thyme

8 sprigs of dill

4 star anise

4 shallots, roughly chopped

¼ cup white wine

¼ cup Pernod

½ cup low in-sodium fish stock

Arugula salad

Ingredients:

8 cups arugula

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely diced

1 lemon, juiced

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 soft boiled eggs

How to make:

Season the salmon with the salt and pepper on both sides. Place the slices of lemon, thyme sprigs, dill sprigs, star anise and shallots in a pan along with the white wine, Pernod and fish stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes before adding the seasoned salmon

Poach the salmon for 3-4 minutes, then turn the fillets over and cook for 3-4 minutes longer.

For the salad, simply place the arugula in a bowl and add the extra virgin olive oil, shallots, lemon juice and seasoning, toss lightly to coat

To serve, put 2 cups of salad in each bowl, garnish with a soft boiled egg, remove the salmon from the pan and flake each portion up into small pieces and add to the salad and serve.

 

Shaved Radish, pomegranate, pistachio nuts and mint

Shaved Radish, pomegranate, pistachio nuts and mint

Serves 4

You can always find these little gems of goodness year round in your local food store, so why not make a simple yet delightful salad out of them. The common radish dates back to pre-Roman times, is part of the Brassicaceae family (The family contains 372 genera and 4060 accepted spices). With a beautiful red outer color and round ball like shape this edible root vegetable has only 16 calories to a ½ cup with a moderate amount of vitamin C (18% of your Daily Value) but is busting with flavor. The radish normally takes a side role in a dish, just like a garnish, but today let’s gives it center stage and show off its talents. Supporting actors in this dish are a little extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, chopped mint, 1 cup of pomegranate seeds and an appearance from our crispy pistachio nuts to finish the lineup. Easy to make, with few ingredients, little time to prepare and tastes fabulous, always my type of FOOD.

Go on give it a try – you know you want too!!!!

Ingredients:

½ cup pistachio nuts

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint

Pre-heat 350’F

How to make:

Place the pistachio nuts on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, tossing once to brown evenly (be careful not to burn) remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then lightly crush.

Whisk together the oil and lime juice and add the mint.

Take a large platter or salad bowl toss in the radishes, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, season with salt and pepper if needed, pour over the dressing and serve.

 

Bring in the New Year with a lobster & shrimp salad

Bring in the New Year with a lobster & shrimp salad

It’s the start of the new year again, the time that most of us decide to lose weight and get in shape. This time of year, we are all filled with hope and courage to take on anything that’s in our path to reach success. If you’re in that place needing to lose weight, please don’t jump on the latest fad diet, and think wisely before you begin. What is your goal? To lose weight or to be healthier? The two sound like they go hand in hand and they should. But following a trendy diet that removes all together one of the essentials of a good diet like fat, carbohydrates or protein can lead to one feeling miserable and unhealthy. Yes, let’s cut back on simple carbohydrates like cakes, pasties, cereals filled with corn syrup or white sugar, yes reduce saturated fat from your daily diet and yes reduce the huge amount of protein we consume to a more normal rate (Americans eat on average 3x more animal protein than any other county in the world). But moderation is the key to everything, balancing your calories to the amount of energy you use each day will lead to weight loss at a slow rate which is the healthy option.

I follow a mainly plant based diet these days, 80% of my diet comes from vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, whole grains and 20% from lean proteins such as fish or shellfish and a small amount of processed foods. I’ve been able to maintain my current body weight for the past four years and I feel 35 not 53. My annual physical in December shows my blood work is excellent, my blood pressure is 115 over 75 and my resting heart rate is at 55, so in my mind I’m feeding my body the right nutrition and giving myself the right amount of exercise I need each day to be in the best possible shape for my age.

So, make small changes, like instead of using mayo use Greek yoghurt, instead of eating an 8oz steak cut back to 6oz., or better still order fish or seafood, and use less dressing on your salad. Try adding more vegetables and fruits to your normal eating routine, this in itself will add more fiber to your diet. I’m a great believer in eating the foods you like but having a smaller portion of them, as it also helps your digestion and you’re not eating a huge amount of food at any one time, especially in the evening. Walk more, because it really is the best exercise going and it costs nothing but your time. If you have limited time, then park the car further away from work or further down the grocery parking lot, just to get you use your legs more and breath some fresh air and get some sun. Vitamin D really only comes from sun light, 10 minutes of direct sun is all you need to feel great and happy which in itself promotes more positive feelings, and gives you a better chance to reach your ideal weight and health goals. Good luck and I hope 2018 brings you health happiness and love.

Bring in the New Year with a lobster & shrimp salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 granny smith apple, cored and quarter

1 lemon, juice of

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider

½ cup low fat Greek yogurt

1/2lb freshly cooked lobster meat, roughly chopped

1/2lb cook shrimp, roughly chopped

1 head butter lettuce, cored removed and leaves separated

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon

How to make

Cut the apple into thins slices, place into a bowl and toss with the lemon juice.

In another bowl mix together the red onion, olive oil and cider, season with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then mix in the yogurt.

In a large salad bowl add the lobster and shrimp, followed by the dressing, toss to coat evenly, then add the apples and lettuce, and toss to mix.

To serve, arrange on individual plates, dividing equally so everyone gets the same amount of lobster and shrimp, sprinkle over the chopped herbs and finish with a twist of freshly ground black pepper, serve.

 

Broccolini goats cheese and ancient grain salad

Broccolini goats cheese and ancient grain salad

Broccolini, broccoli and broccoli rabe. The names are so similar it’s easy to get confused as they are all green vegetables, which doesn’t help much. But they are each quite different in flavor, texture and how we can cook them to how we use them as either a side, a salad, roasted or steamed. All three are very versatile, highly nutritious, and big flavored choices found in cuisines around the world. In my opinion I consider them superfoods at a fraction of the cost of other so called superfoods. Mixing broccolini with another outstanding nutritional powerhouse such as ancient grains make this entrée a complete clean meal that the whole family will truly benefit from and hopefully enjoy.

Brocconlini which is a member of the brassica family which include bok choy, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard and kohlrabi are all excellent sources of the anticancer fighting nutrients called isothiocyanates which help neutralize carcinogens in the body. Studies have shown that isothiocyanates help prevent lung and esophageal cancer and can help lower the risk of other cancers found in the gut. So it’s fair to say eat your greens and make the brassica family part of everyday eating.

Broccolini goats cheese and ancient grain salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup ancient grains

2 cups low sodium vegetable stock

1 lemon, juice and zest of

4 cups broccolini

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup pine nuts

½ cup goats cheese, crumbled

¼ teaspoon chili flakes

¼ teaspoon cumin

Dressing:

1 lemon, zest and juice of

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon mint leaves

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon parsley leaves

How to make:

Place the ancient grains into a saucepan and the stock, zest and lemon juice, place on the stove bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil, add the broccolini and boil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain well and set aside keep warm.

For the dressing, place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

In a large salad bowl, combine the broccolini, tomatoes, ancient grains, raisins and herb dressing.

Sprinkle over the chili flakes, cumin, and goat’s cheese, lightly toss to coat, serve and enjoy!!!! This dish is great hot or cold.

 

Thai Crab & Mango Salad

Thai Crab & Mango Salad

Serves 4

Simple fresh ingredients make for the best family meals in my book. If you can eat more whole foods and less processed foods, you’ll feel better; lose unwanted body fat and look good. It also makes for better overall health physically and mentally for you and the entire family. This dish has a lot of ingredients mostly purchased from my local Asian market, but its well worth the time and effort to make this recipe as the aroma, taste and multiple textures are amazing.

The fresh combinations of crab, mango, lemon grass, sesame seed leaves, Thai red chili, ginger, mint and cilantro are amazing in themselves but when you add fragrant Thai fish sauce, sesame seeds, garlic, and lime juice, we are talking overkill for your taste buds. It’s fresh deliciousness will have you craving for more – Yes please – enjoy.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

2 cups white crab meat

4 cups baby spinach or arugula

1 large ripe mango peeled and sliced into strips (buy at your local Asian market to get the best and most juicy mango you can find)

1 stem lemon grass, ends trimmed and outer layer discarded, inner stem very finely sliced

3 sesame seed leaves (Asian market) rolled into a cigar shape and very finely shredded

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts

For the dressing:

2 small fresh Thai red chilies, halved and deseeded and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

3 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

3 tablespoon freshly chopped mint

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 limes, zest and juice of

1 level teaspoon dark brown sugar

How to make:

Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients together into a small bowl, whisk together.

Place the crab meat in a medium size bowl and pour over ¾ of the dressing, stir to combine together.

Place the spinach leaves and mango into a large salad bowl, pour over the remaining dressing, toss to coat, then pile on the crab meat, sprinkle over the lemon grass, sesame leaves, chives, sesame seeds and chopped peanuts. Serve.

Easy to make Vegan Eggless Mayo & Ranch Dressing

Easy to make Vegan Eggless Mayo & Ranch Dressing

This homemade egg-free vegan mayonnaise recipe is made with chickpea water, Dijon mustard, sea salt, white wine vinegar and vegetable oil with a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Blending them all together gives you a delectable thick and creamy mayonnaise condiment to use on all your salads, sandwiches and homemade slaw dishes. Add a few more ingredients and turn it into an eggless ranch dressing that the whole family will enjoy and love.

Easy to make Vegan Eggless Mayo & Ranch Dressing

Yields 1 ¼ cups

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chickpea water

2 teaspoons Dijon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

How to make:

Blend all the ingredients together

 

Eggless Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ¼ cups eggless mayo

1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill

1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dash hot sauce

Salt to taste

How to make:

In a bowl, combine the garlic, eggless mayonnaise, parsley, dill, chives, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, paprika, cayenne and hot sauce, mix to combine, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed, chill before serving.

North African spiced roast cauliflower with couscous

North African spiced roast cauliflower with couscous

Ras el hanout is Arabic for “head of the shop” similar to our expression “top-shelf” which indicates the best quality or best assortment of mixed products. Ras el hanout is an mixture of North African spices which normally consist of 12 ingredients such as: cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. Some spices may be particular to a certain region or blend in Northern Africa, such as ash berries, chufa, grains of paradise, orris root, monk’s pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, fennel seed or aniseed, galangal, long pepper. This mixture of spices are normally rubbed into meats, skewered and grilled or dusted over fish and shellfish then oven roasted, or stirred into warm couscous or rice and served as a side.

One of my favorite vegetables is the crown of the cruciferous family, the regal cauliflower. Its broken into florets, then with red onions and bell peppers we rub ras el hanout into the skin then roast in a hot oven to crisp the outside while the inside remains tender. Couscous is mixed with fresh mint and cilantro, and served with chilled avocado and crunchy pistachios give added flavor and texture while the garlic yogurt cools down the spices to give a fragrant and aromatic Moroccan dish that looks stunning and tastes delicious.

As always easy, go on you can do it, give it a try!!!!

North African spiced roast cauliflower with couscous

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower, broken into florets

1 red pepper, roughly chopped

1 red onion, cut into eight’s

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ras el hanout

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup low in fat coconut yogurt

1 cup couscous

2 cups low in sodium vegetable stock

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped mint

1 avocado, stone removed, flesh sliced

2 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts

Set oven at 400’F

How to make:

Place the cauliflower, peppers and onions into a large zip lock bag, pour in the oil and sprinkle in the ras el hanout, zip the bag and gently massage the oil and spices into the vegetables.

Open the bag and tip out onto a sheet pan, spread the vegetables out, pop into the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven when charred and tender.

Add the garlic to the yogurt, whisk to combine and set aside.

Place the couscous into a medium size bowl, bring the stock to the boil and pour over the couscous, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the bowl and allow the couscous to sit for 10 minutes, then remove the plastic, using a fork fluff up the couscous and gentle stir in the chopped cilantro, mint and pistachios nuts.

To serve: Place the couscous onto a large platter, scatter over the roasted vegetables, slices of avocado and serve with the garlic coconut yogurt.

 

End of Summer Time Salad

As the summer ends and fall begins, it’s nice to take the last of my garden bounty and whatever is laying around in the fridge and bring back summer for one last day. Combining fresh produce with leftovers can be surprising and delightful in color, smell, taste and appearance. Green onions, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes from the garden are mixed with a bit of jalapeño, cilantro, some ears of corn, an avocado and apricots to make a nutrition packed end of summer salad.

Reminiscing on the past 3 months of summer, recounting all the happy days having dinner on the deck with my boys, I am amazed at how they have grown into young men. Jon spent the summer working tables at Flatiron restaurant in Davidson making new friends and gaining experience on the job. Matthew traveled with me to England to attend my nieces wedding; he stayed with his uncle and enjoyed the English summer before returning home in late August. My youngest son James aged 15 (and tallest in the family at 6’1”, long haired and goatee – nicknamed Jesus by his best friend Ben) started his first job as a pool attendant, working most days, enjoying hot humid days with the odd dip in the pool with his friends and making pocket money along the way. I have to admit I’m a very proud father as the boys all start back at school.

Summer days can always be replayed in your mind, but add a beautiful meal and the memories become reality again even if only for a brief moment in time. As fall begins it will be interesting to watch my boys over the next 3 months and see what exciting times await them. Enjoy your family time and happy memories.

End of Summer Time Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 fresh lime, juice & zest of

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

1 green onion, thinly sliced

½ jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro

Sea salt

Black pepper

1 cup cook shrimp

1 cup Edamame

1 cup fresh corn kernels (raw, from 2 ears)

2 Apricots or 2 North Carolina peaches, cut into thin wedges

1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 large orange bell pepper, finely julienned

1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:In a large bowl, whisk the lime zest and juice with the olive oil and honey; add the green onion, jalapeño and cilantro; season with salt and a twist of black pepper.Gently fold in the shrimp, edamame beans, corn, apricots, avocado, orange pepper and tomatoes. Place the finished salad into a large salad bowl or onto four serving plates and serve.

 

Mango, yuzu juice, chives, cilantro & jalapeño marinated red snapper

Mango, yuzu juice, chives, cilantro & jalapeño marinated red snapper

Have you ever eaten a great fish dish that’s been cooked to perfection? That’s truly a sign you have eaten in a great restaurant. Fish is one of the great tests of a chef’s skill because preparation and timing have to be just right. A minute or two off the perfect time could render it under cooked and raw or over cooked and dried out. This can scare people from cooking fish at home but, like any skill, it needs to be practiced over and over to get it right. Learning from mistakes is the best way to learn any skill so just practice – the more you try, the better you become. Remember cooking should be FUN, plus you get to eat your mistakes…

To me, cooking is a life skill that should be taught in every school from elementary to university. Cooking at home is the only way to eliminate the obesity crisis and a lot of the health problems we have in this country at the moment. Only by buying good quality food and preparing it yourself will you feel better, lose weight and be able to concentrate more on the good things in life. Processed foods contain too much fat, sugar, salt, colorants, preservatives and other additives that are making the nation fat, miserable and unhealthy!!!

OK, now that my moan for today is out of the way, back to what’s important – FOOD. The texture, smell and taste of this dish will have you coming back for more. I love preparing fish and seafood for dinner. It always brings me back to times by the beach with my parents or times when I’ve worked near the coast in a fine dining seafood restaurant or even the wonderful vacations I have traveled with my family. There is nothing like stepping into the culture of another country, even if it’s only for a few days. It’s so educational, made even better if it involves trying a local seafood platter of some sort or a freshly made traditional dish. With the popular sushi craze and Poke craze going on at the moment, it’s wonderful to create new and interesting flavors to go with different kinds of fish other than the normal tuna or salmon.

With this recipe, I’m using fresh red snapper, just make sure it’s really fresh, buy and prepare on the same day. Please don’t not buy and leave in the fridge until the weekend – use it on the same day! The best thing about this dish…there is no “cooking”.  If you measure everything out, it should turn out perfect just like a star chef would make it – enjoy!!!

Mango, yuzu juice, chives, cilantro & jalapeño marinated red snapper

Serves 4 to six

Ingredients:

1 cup mango, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4 tablespoons yuzu juice

4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons red yuzu kosho

1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

1 small jalapeño, cut into rounds

12oz red snapper flesh cut into ½ inch dice (but you can substitute salmon or tuna)

How to make:

Take the first eight ingredients and mix together in a medium size bowl.

Add the red snapper to the marinade, stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge to infuse for 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the fridge, remove plastic wrap and give one final stir and serve.

Serve with romaine lettuce leaves, flat bread, cooked brown rice, noodles or crackers.