Smoothie Update: Coconut Water & Mint

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Hey, so I read all your comments on my smoothie post and you all have good smoothie ideas (though spinach in a smoothie still skeeves me out). The other day I had an idea of my own: instead of adding orange juice to my smoothie, I added a little box of coconut water. My goal was to make it taste like the coconut-infused smoothie from The Parker in Palm Springs and, sadly, the coconut water didn’t have that effect. (I’m thinking coconut sorbet might do the trick, or coconut milk.) Still: since coconut water is good for you, it was probably a smart choice. The best part was I added some fresh mint this time around and that really made things interesting. So give coconut water and fresh mint a try in your next smoothie… it’s refreshing!

Creamy Creamless Cauliflower Soup

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Sometimes it takes a person’s wild enthusiasm to get you to try a recipe that doesn’t immediately jump off the page. Take, for example, Paul Bertolli’s cauliflower soup. After I declared my love for cauliflower in this Cauliflower Casserole post, a commenter named Eliza said, “If you love cauliflower, you should try Paul Bertolli’s Cauliflower Soup, especially with the spring crop of cauliflower beginning to show up in the farmers markets. This soup is rich, creamy (without any cream) yet fresh tasting. Only 4 ingredients – olive oil, onion, cauliflower and water – make magic.” The recipe didn’t sell me, but Eliza did. So I tried it.

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Build Your Own Vegetable Curry

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Healthy dinners don’t fare very well if you refer to them as healthy dinners. You might know in your head that it’s a healthy dinner, but if you call it that, forget about it, everyone at the table’s going to groan.

So do what I do: package a healthy dinner inside a package everyone already knows. For example, make a vegetable curry. When you hear the word “curry” you think “oooh flavor, spice, heat, Tim Curry, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, toucha-toucha-toucha-touch me.” The best part is: once you have the basic technique down, you can apply it to a wide variety of vegetables. Let me show you what I mean.

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Anything Goes Salad

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After my New York Public Library event with Deb Perelman (there were 230 people there!), I’m rethinking my whole blog.

Somehow, through my aggressive questioning, I forced Deb to give up her blogging secrets. And the one that’s really staying with me the most is the fact that she cooks during the day to have daylight for her photos. That’s why her blog pictures always look so good. It doesn’t happen at night. My blog happens at night. Again, I have to rethink everything.

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Farmer’s Market Wild Rice Salad with Miso Dressing

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It’s funny how, when a partner goes away on a trip, you start to cook things that you wouldn’t cook if they were there. For many people, that might be something really decadent (rib-eye for one, for example) but for me, lately, I move in the other direction: I go healthy.

Which is not to say that I don’t cook healthy when Craig is here (see: Craig’s Quinoa Conversion) but that it usually takes some convincing. So now that he’s in Seattle for the week, I decided to make a healthy dinner too healthy-sounding for him to accept. Turns out it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made in a long time.

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How Do You Not Weigh 500 Pounds?

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If there’s one question I get asked all the time, whether in my blog comments or over Twitter, it’s: “How do you not weigh 500 pounds?”

It’s usually in response to a post about a very decadent meal or a recipe that involves several sticks of butter (like Craig’s birthday cake). The question implies that food with lots of butter or meals with lots of heavy courses are somehow responsible for massive weight gain; it ignores one’s own agency in the matter, assuming that when one bakes a cake with five sticks of butter that one is therefore going to consume several sticks of butter. If you visualize those five sticks of butter spread throughout a giant two layer cake, however, and then you cut an individual slice out of it, you come to realize that one piece of that cake represents just a few tablespoons of butter. And therein lies the answer.

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Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad (with Yogurt and Herbs)

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The scene? My kitchen. The day? Last Thursday. The idea? Take everything out of my refrigerator–fresh mozzarella, a red onion, scallions, celery, parsley, dill, a nectarine (ok, that wasn’t in the refrigerator, it was on the counter)–and make dinner. I didn’t know what I was going to make but then I had a thought: “What if I make a pasta salad? And what if that pasta salad is kind of healthy? What if I uses Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and lots of these fresh herbs to perk it up?”

Ladies and gentlemen: a star was born.

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Wheat Berry Salad

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There are two kinds of cravings: the bad kind and the good kind. Most of us are familiar with the bad kind: it sends us to Dunkin’ Donuts at 2 AM, keen on devouring a stale toasted coconut doughnut beneath the fluorescent glare. It’s the craving that forces hamburgers when you should be thinking salad, it’s the craving that tells you to add cream to that tomato sauce to make it oh-that-much-more decadent. And lots of cheese. And to make brownies for dessert which you serve with vanilla ice cream.

So, yes, we all know that craving. But every now and then a different kind of craving comes along; it’s a rare craving, the kind of craving that if it happens to you, count yourself among the lucky: it’s a craving to eat something heathy. When this happens, the clouds part, the sun beats down on your face and a choir of angels bursts into song. Should you have this craving, there’s no better place to turn than to my friend Heidi’s excellent cookbook, Super Natural Cooking.

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