Saturday, September 6, 2014

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

original here

Make in a blender, pour it into 5 or 6 glass 12 oz bottles (with screw caps), and carry one every day in your purse. It's a serving of vegetables I can eat on the run, without utensils. Otherwise, I'd eat croissants. I get so hungry.

You probably don't need a recipe, but sometimes I do. The most basic gazpacho is a bag of tomatoes, a cucumber, some vinegar (red is traditional but they're all fine), some salt, some garlic, and some almonds or oil. You cannot lose. Also traditional: a red bell pepper and a piece of stale bread. I always add some Tabasco-ish sauce or a jalepeno. If you have a good blender, chop nothing and peel nothing (besides trimming off any woody stems).

There's a lot of soluble fiber in this so you might want to re-blender it after a few days (if you're serving it to somebody else).

OK--this is a fancy yellow version from a West Hollywood chef. I've never even tried the fancy steps (like blanching and peeling the tomatoes, peeling the cucumbers, or straining the soup--or measuring) and you cannot go wrong.

  1. 2 1/2 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes 
  2. 3 Persian cucumbers or 1 hothouse cucumber
  3. 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and cut in half
  4. 4 cilantro sprigs, plus 12 cilantro leaves
  5. 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  7. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  8. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  9. 3 tablespoons diced red or orange sweet pepper
  10. 3 tablespoons diced red onion
  11. 18 small cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  12. Super-good extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  13. Blanch the yellow tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Cool the tomatoes in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes. Use your fingers to slip off their skins. Remove the cores and coarsely chop the tomatoes, saving all of the juice. Reserve the ice water.
  14. Seed and dice 3 tablespoons of unpeeled cucumber, as prettily as you can manage, for the garnish. Peel and coarsely chop the remaining cucumbers.
  15. Place half of the yellow tomatoes, the coarsely chopped cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro sprigs, garlic, vinegar and olive oil in a blender with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and some pepper. Process at the lowest speed until broken down. Turn the speed up to high and puree until the soup is completely smooth. If the soup is too thick, add a little of the reserved ice water. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Taste for seasoning. Repeat with the rest of the soup ingredients. Chill the soup in the refrigerator until it's very cold.
  16. Toss the diced sweet pepper, onion and cucumber together in a small bowl. Pour the gazpacho into 6 chilled soup bowls and scatter the pepper mixture over the soup. Season the cherry tomatoes with salt and pepper and place 6 cherry tomato halves and 2 cilantro leaves at the center of each bowl. Finish each soup with a drizzle of super-good olive oil. To serve family-style, place the soup in a chilled tureen or pretty pitcher and garnish with the cherry tomato halves and cilantro; pass the diced vegetables on the side.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chocolate Mint Vegetable Popsicles

This fills one set of 6 Tovolo ice pop molds. Last summer, these were the major source of vegetables in my diet

Magic Mint Chocolate Smoothie

1 cup milk of choice
1 cup mild leaves, such as spinach
1 cup chopped vegetables
1 frozen banana
6-10 drops stevia
10-15 drops peppermint extract (use less if using peppermint oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 cup ice cubes

Blend on high until smooth.

You can use almost any mild vegetable:
beet greens
broccoli stalks
cauliflower (stalks and head)
mild mushrooms (these add a strong flavor, try only a tiny bit at a time)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Antonia's Kale Chips (cheesy style)

my friend Antonia came up with this, I think by reverse-engineering an ingredients list. The interesting thing about this recipe is that it ends up tasting like it's coated in parmesan cheese and pizza sauce! (it's not.) Unami mystery. Anyway, try it--it tastes better than you'd expect

1 c sunflower seeds
2 scallions
1 TB miso (or more)
1 red bell pepper
just enough water to make the blender spin

Make sure the kale has been washed and dried. If kale is wet it will take much longer to cook the chips.

Put everything else in the blender and blend away.

Put the kale in a bowl and coat the kale.

Oil some cookie sheets (or use silpats, or parchment paper). Spread the kale out on cookie sheets and bake until completely crisp and dry.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Balsamic Bean Dip with Fresh Veggies

I love taste tests. They are in my top favorite modes of eating--up there with holidays. I'd started to get into making hummus myself, and so some friends and I did a massive homemade hummus taste test. We killed ourselves doing it right. We narrowed our choices down to about 15 different recipes and made them all exactly as they were written, and some of them included steps that were really tedious.
As a freebie at the end, I added this one. I didn't think it would be anything terrific, but it was so easy. Blend a can of beans with some vinegar? Sure.

Well, imagine our horror when this humble recipe tested just as well or better than all the flavors and varieties of hummus we'd been working so hard to make. The outrage! It was so good and so easy. It requires 1 minute of prep, 1 minute of washing the dishes. I was so irritated to think how much time I'd wasted trying to track down the best brand of tahini, or hand-peeling the chickpeas, etc. I've never bothered to make hummus again.

1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar plus extra for drizzling
Oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes [or not]
Assorted crudités

Puree beans, olive oil, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Drizzle with tomato oil and a few drops of vinegar. Serve with crudités.

Three-Bean Salad

Another excuse to eat cumin.
I tend to keep ingredients like these in the pantry or in the freezer, so I can reload my lunch containers without much more effort than it takes to open a few cans and stir. Epicurious.

1 15-ounce can yellow hominy, rinsed, drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup drained canned kidney beans, rinsed
1 cup drained pinto beans, rinsed
4 large tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1 1/4 cups chopped red onion
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
(Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Serves 6.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

If you normally find quinoa repellent, try this cooking method. It produces a dry, fluffy version that's much more appetizing. Thanks again epicurious! Keeps well (pre-portioned in the fridge).

The secret of the success of this salad is the steaming of the quinoa. (The tradional cooking method for quinoa, boiling it in a measured amount of water, does not produce the light, fluffy texture that works so well in a salad.) This dish provides a complete protein and can stand alone as a luncheon or light supper entrée.
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 pickled jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
For dressing
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve.

In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeños, and coriander and toss well.

Make dressing:
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.
Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.


July 1994

Shredded Chipotle Chicken

My friend Keila taught me to make this--she's from Mexico City. It tastes complicated even though it's embarrassingly easy. I put it in green salads now, but it's also for rolling up in flautas or on tostadas, etc.

4-6 chicken breasts
chopped yellow onions
chopped tomatoes
1 can of chipotles
salt, to taste

Boil boneless chicken breasts in water with a little piece of onion. After cooked, remove from water and shred.

Caramelize onions and saute chopped tomatoes in a little oil with a sprinkling of salt.

Let cook for about 10 minutes (until tender).

Add chicken to mixture with 1 small can chipotles (or ½ can, or 1/4 can). Let cook until flavors meld, about 10 minutes.

Black, White & Red All Over Soup

I think this one comes from a National Junior League cookbook. I could eat it every day. (Keeps and packs up well)

1 (15.5oz) can white hominy, rinsed & drained
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 (14.5oz) can chili-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5oz) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Makes 5 ½ cups.

Garbanzo Bean Salad

This is one of the recipes that is keeping me alive. I owe it so much. Keeps really really well in the fridge and really well in a lunch box.
I cheat with the frozen cubes of cilantro and of garlic from Trader Joe's, etc.

This recipe can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.
2 15- to 16-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)
Serves 6.

Bon Appétit
August 1998

Cucumber Salad with Peanuts

this one is so simple but the jalapeno makes it taste complicated and fuller than it is. It lasts only a couple of days in the fridge so don't make too much in advance. Another epicurious find.

1 English cucumber (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 fresh jalapeño chili, or to taste, minced (wear rubber gloves)
2 tablespoons finely chopped salted peanuts
Seed cucumber and cut into 1/4-inch dice and in a bowl stir together with remaining ingredients. Season salad with salt and pepper.

April 1997

Curried Chicken Salad with Jicama

I took this one from the Whole Foods website. Obviously, scale down the fruit and ramp up the vegetables. Keeps well.

1 tsp canola oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch dice
1 cup 1/4-inch diced yellow onion
11/2 tsp curry powder
6 oz plain nonfat yogurt
2 TB fresh lime juice
1 cup 1/4-inch diced jicama, peeled
2 cup green seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 cup 1/4-inch diced red pepper

Heat canola oil in a non-stick skillet. Sauté chicken for three minutes over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté until translucent. Stir in curry powder. Sauté one minute over low heat. Remove chicken mixture from pan and place in refrigerator to cool completely. While chicken cools, prepare remaining ingredients. When chicken is cold, combine all ingredients.
Serves 4. Per 11 oz serving: 360 calories, 30 g protein, 15 g fat (2 g sat), 29 g carbohydrates, 65 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium.


Chickpea Salad

super-easy, tastes about how you would expect. Keeps well over the week (pre-portioned in those little 1/2 cup containers)

2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
2 TB lemon juice
1 TB low-sodium tamari
1/4 cup roasted pecans or walnuts
1 tsp Oriental seasoning (5-spice powder)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup jicama, coarsely grated
1 cup carrots, coarsely grated
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients and marinate at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bruschetta Chicken Dinner


1 tbsp extra virgin oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
3  ripe tomatoes - Chopped
2 small cloves garlic - Minced
1/4 c red onion - Chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves - Chopped
3 oz part skim mozzarella - diced
1.25 lbs (8 thin sliced) chicken cutlets

Combine onion, oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper. Set aside. In another bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic-oil mixture. Let is sit at least 10 minutes (even over-night). Add the cheese right before serving.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, and grill up. Top with bruschetta and enjoy! :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Rainbow Chard Slaw

A salad for fellow mayo-haters. My friend found this recipe on epicurious and since then, I've been eating it like it's my job.
Rainbow Chard is just coming into the markets now, in early spring
This salad is very, very good, the dressing is unusual, and it's sturdy enough that I can pack up my lunch salads for the entire week. Eating it requires a lot of chewing, which, for me, is part of the reward of eating. I bought all the extra weird special ingredients, and they're delicious.
Parentheses are the original author's, brackets are mine

  • 3 cups shredded or finely chopped Swiss chard
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped or slivered raw almonds (I like to soak them for 4 to 6 hours, time permitting) [not me--don't bother]
  • 1/4 cup macadamia-nut oil or olive oil (macadamia-nut oil gives this salad a unique flavor) 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Vegenaise (optional) [no! skip!]
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons xylitol or 1 packet stevia
  • 1/4 cup raw hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened blueberries
1. Combine chard, cabbage, carrot, and nuts in a large bowl.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine oil, vinegar, Vegenaise, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, and sweetener. Whisk until mixture is blended well.
3. Toss with salad mix.
4. Allow salad to refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving, if possible, so flavors can marry. (This salad actually tastes better the following day, after the flavors marry and the chard has a chance to absorb some of the dressing.)
5. Top with hemp seeds and dried blueberries.


From Epicurious, from a cookbook called The Omni Diet by Tana Amen

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chia Pudding

Chia Seeds are my new favorite super food! They fill me up and are stacked with healthy omega-3, antioxidants, protein, and pure greatness! They do add a new texture, which I love, but add as a warning for anyone who may be sensitive to textures.
This is a PERFECT dessert or on-the-go Breakfast. There are many variations, but here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!
                                                         ~ Becky Nielsen

MAIN Ingredients

1 c Almond Milk
3-4 Tbs Chia Seeds


1 tsp Vanilla 
1 T Honey / Aquava Nectar

2 Tbs Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Honey
   *OR Substitute Vanilla Almond Milk for Chocolate Almond Milk

(Pumpkin) - My Favorite :)
1/2 c Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 tsp vanilla
dash of Stevia (optional)

To get best results... 
Place all ingredients EXCEPT Chia seeds into a pint CANNING JAR. Add the Chia seeds last. Put lid on jar and screw closed until tight. Shake it for a few minutes. Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes (over night works GREAT for breakfast). Open and Enjoy!

Breakfast Green Smoothie

Seeing that veggies is our next Habit, I think this is a PERFECT time to share my Ultimate Green Smoothie recipe. :) It's one of my favorite breakfasts, and fills my belly until lunch. I hope you enjoy it!
                                                         ~Becky Nielsen


16 oz Water
1 Head Romaine Lettuce
1 c Spinach
3 Celery Stalks
1 Apple (cored)
1 Pear (cored)
1 Banana
1/2 Lemon (juiced)
1 c Ice

    *Add or take away ingredients to fit your taste*

Slowly add ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Drink and Enjoy!!

(This make a big batch, so a Vitamix or Ninja work really well. Cut recipe at least in 1/2 for lower powered blender)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Raw Red Pepper Dip

This is a fabulous Middle Eastern Dip that I try to keep stocked in the fridge at all times, and is a perfect go-to snack! By keeping all if the ingredients raw, we are getting a full boat of vitamins!! :)
                                                         ~Becky Nielsen

Photo by: Lucy Schaeffer


3 Red Peppers
1 C Raw Walnuts - Soaked for 15 Minutes
1 Med Garlic Clove - Peeled and Minced
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast 
3/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Powdered Stevia (optional)
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Cumin

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Adjust seasoning as desired.

Serve with raw veggies or pitas. Enjoy the Healthy Eating!!!

Salsa Walnut Lettuce Wrap

If I was on a deserted island with only one food choice - THIS would be it!!  This is one of my favorite foods for Lunches, and I love the fact that I can eat as many as I want and still feel great and healthy afterword! I hope you Enjoy!!
                                                                   ~ Becky Nielsen


2 C Walnuts 
1 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
1 ½ tsp. Chili Powder
1 ½ tsp. Ground Coriander
 Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
 2 tbsp.Tamari

6 large Romaine Lettuce leaves OR Collard Green leaves
Salsa or Pico De Gallo (Preferably Homemade) 

Process walnuts in food processor until coarsely ground. (I often chop up with a knife as well).
Combine walnuts in medium bowl with the other spices (cumin, chili powder, coriander, cayenne).
Stir in tamari. set aside. 

Place trimmed leaf down on cutting board. Spoon about ¼ cup walnut mixture in middle of leaf; top with desired salsa. Roll up leaf (burrito-style if preferred). Eat and Enjoy! And then Eat some more ;)