Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Fresh Figs

Check out this recipe and more on the new site!

This recipe came to me out of sheer chance.  Funny how sometimes I brainstorm to try to create a "perfect" recipe and it turns out just "ok." Other times the perfect recipe just presents itself to me and is better than anything I could have planned.  This is one of those perfect serendipitous recipes.

Sam and I were hungry at my parents house with a bag of groceries I had intended to take home.  Between what we found in the grocery bag and ingredients from my parents sparse kitchen, I made what turned out to be the best salad I had ever had.

Lentils are a favorite of mine.  And if you are a vegetarian, I highly recommend you make yourself familiar with these bad boys.  Lentils are a great source of B-Vitamins and protein which many vegetarians are not getting enough of.  But on top of that, they are loaded with fiber.  Fiber is what keeps you full and what keeps your digestive system running smoothly.  If you are new to lentils try them in soups.  They add great texture to vegetable soups and lentil soups, such as Dal, are delicious and very affordable and easy to make.

Make sure you try this recipe while figs are still in season.  Once they are out of season, you could make this without them or use dried figs or raisins, but nothing can replace the light and sweet flavor of fresh figs.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad
Makes two large salads


2/3 cup cooked lentils, we used brown but any variety works
1 large cooked beet, cubed
1/2 avocado, cubed
5-6 fresh figs
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup artichoke hearts
1/3 cup feta or goat cheese
1  handful fresh greens, we used a mix but arugula or spinach would be especially nice
1 tbsp olive oil
balsamic vinegar to taste (about 2 tbsp)
black pepper
celtic sea salt

Combine all ingredients and serve.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Maple Vanilla Baked Pears

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It's time to face it: summer is ending.  Every year my heart breaks as I realize that the days are getting shorter, farmers' market season is dwindling (oh how I miss NYC where the markets are year round), and the cold weather is creeping in.  But this year I'm not gonna let it get me down.  This year I'm fully embracing autumn.  I'm getting excited about all things fall: cool weather, leaves, changing...I've even picked a few apples already.

I also made this delicious dessert using one of my favorite fall foods.  This simple way of preparing pears is so easy you won't believe it.  I would highly recommend using this recipe when entertaining because it requires so little preparation and is really hard to mess up.  Plus, it is incredibly delicious.

I should admit here, in the past I have not been the biggest fan of pears.  They just never really appealed to me that much.  I found the texture a bit mealy and just rarely chose them over other fruit. But I've come around.  They have a refreshing sweetness you just can't find in an apple.  And that mealiness?  It's some serious fiber providing more satiety and helping to balance blood sugar.  And think twice before you peel your pears.  The skin is packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytonutrients that support a healthy immune system and fight inflammation.


Serves 2

2 pears (any variety will work)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean scraped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice and core pears and place face up in a baking sheet. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour this mixture over the pears and bake for 20 minutes.  Flip pears and spoon the juices in the pan on top of them. Return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes.  Serve with coconut milk, mascarpone, or ice cream as a dessert or over yogurt or porridge for breakfast.