All Posts By Alia Akkam

5 Alternative Burgers Worth Flipping For

by in Healthy Recipes, August 31, 2014

vegan burger
Even if you hold the beef and spring for an alternative protein, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor. Just in time for Labor Day grilling, these five unconventional patties are ready to step up to the bun.

Vegan Lentil Burgers (above)
Don’t let the lentil-spinach mixture fool you. There’s nothing hippie-crunchy-tasting about these delicious meat-free patties. Give them a whirl on the grill — or a quick pan-fry session — then tuck them into whole-grain buns with a wallop of spicy mustard. Read more

The 10 Best Comeback Foods (and the Chefs Who Love Them)

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Trends, August 28, 2014

brussels sprout
They used to be the stuff that fueled childhood nightmares: forkfuls of overcooked broccoli or endless orbs of bitter Brussels sprouts that had to be endured in order to tackle, finally, the chocolate ice cream. But today’s renditions of green vegetables don’t require nose-holding or the camouflage of cheese in order to win over legions of fans. From the once-maligned spinach that only Popeye fancied to the leafy kale that went on to wildly successful oversaturation, here’s a passel of formerly shunned vegetables (and a few equally undesirable fruits) that chefs have helped give miraculous makeovers. Read more

Adding the Yum Factor to Gluten-Free Cooking

by in Cookbooks, August 21, 2014

quinoa

Six years ago, Erin Scott was the happy, food-loving owner of a lifestyle boutique in Oakland, Calif., when she discovered she had celiac disease. The diagnosis transformed her life — not just her eating habits but her career. Instead of wallowing in the downsides of a newfound gluten-free existence, she launched the (now-popular) blog Yummy Supper, spending her days tinkering in the kitchen and taking vibrant photos of the concoctions she made for her family, which includes two gluten-intolerant children.

That passion for creative cooking, and her determination to make “flavorful, seasonal, food that just tastes good,” has spawned the just-arrived Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore, with dishes like quinoa tabbouleh (recipe below) and zucchini ribbon “pasta” — not to mention sweets such as pluot parfaits with sunflower seeds.

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How to Make Deliciously Crunchy Faux-Fried Chicken

by in Healthy Recipes, August 3, 2014

oven-fried chicken
As much as we’d all love to dive into a bucket of glistening fried chicken on the regular, we know that eating the bird in other forms is generally a healthier bet. But not all hope is lost: With the right recipe, baking can elicit the same desirable crunch as the deep fryer. Here are four.

Oven Fried Chicken (above)
Marinate a mess of chicken legs and thighs in an uplifting blend of lemon zest, milk, sugar, cayenne, rosemary and garlic cloves. When the pieces are nice and chilled from a two-hour refrigerator session, shroud them in a mix of baked whole-wheat breadcrumbs and yellow cornmeal. Then, for a savory finish, get some Parmesan and chopped rosemary up in there.

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7 Easy Salads Starring 7 Summer Vegetables

by in Healthy Recipes, July 20, 2014

cherry tomato salad

Tomatoes? Check. Corn and cucumber? Double check. The next time you overdo it at the farmers market, you know what to do: Let’s get some salad up in here!

Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk Dressing (above, from Food Network Magazine)
Basil and garlic elicit their savory side, but these little tomatoes, tossed in buttermilk-sour cream dressing, also know how to sweet-talk.

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7 Ways to Fire Up Summer Vegetables

by in Healthy Recipes, July 13, 2014

grilled ratatouille
Just a few minutes of scorching heat will transform any farmers market find into charred, perfectly smoky bliss.

Grilled Ratatouille Salad (above, from Food Network Magazine)
A swirl of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and rings of red bell pepper and red onion —  combined with olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh basil — turn this dish into a colorful, barbecue-perfect side salad. Read more

7 Ways to Amp Up Grilled Chicken

by in Healthy Recipes, June 22, 2014

grilled chicken with green pea sauce
Poor grilled chicken. Often considered bland and dry, the lean, good-for-you protein gets a bad rap. But these versions — abounding in herbs, spices and other flavor-forward add-ins — ensure that everyone’s summer staple is truly grill-tastic. 

Grilled Honey Glazed Chicken with Green Pea and Mint Sauce (above)
Solely brushed with honey and balsamic vinegar, these golden-brown chicken breasts are loaded with flavor. But a drizzle of vivid pea-mint-cilantro puree adds an herbaceous jolt.

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5 Ways to Fire Up Fruit This Summer

by in Healthy Recipes, June 15, 2014

grilled plums

Feasting on fresh fruit is always a summertime ritual, but try roasting some of that just-plucked bounty or throwing it onto the grill until it’s nice and charred. Intense heat adds rich new layers of flavor, deepening and caramelizing sugars. With these vibrant recipes, there’s more incentive to keep the grill’s flames going, long after the turkey burgers have been demolished.

Grilled Plums with Spiced Walnut Yogurt Sauce (above)
Forgo that everyday berry parfait, and spring for this juicy plum dish instead. The fruit is draped in Greek yogurt that is brightened with honey, orange juice and grated orange zest — and warmed by cinnamon and toasted walnuts.

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7 Healthy Takes on Summery Seafood

by in Healthy Recipes, June 1, 2014

fish taco
You may have plunked a few salmon burgers on the grill last weekend, but typically meat gets all the glory at Memorial Day barbecues. These light, healthy fish dishes are exactly what you’ll crave as the warm-weather months heat up. 

Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa (above, from Food Network Magazine)
The chipotle-chile powder-dusted sea bass stuffed inside these corn tortillas is jacked up even more by the presence of jalapeno-red onion-cilantro salsa. But, a burst of refreshing watermelon cools it all down. 

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The Next Big Thing in the Produce Aisle: Tiny Vegetables.

by in Trends, May 26, 2014

baby vegetables
Baby corn has long been a stir-fry staple, and those so-named baby carrots have become the obligatory sidekick to hummus. But small vegetables only seem to betting bigger — at least in supermarkets and restaurants. Earlier this year, California’s Shanley Farms introduced “single-serving” avocados (trademark name: Gator Eggs) sold in clever packages reminiscent of egg cartons. Produce titan Green Giant sells Little Gem Lettuce Hearts, a lettuce hybrid that resembles romaine in miniature. Not to mention the countless iterations of baby broccoli — in fact, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale — that appear in grocery stores everywhere. Are bitty vegetables merely an eye-catching novelty or are there culinary benefits to downsized produce?

At least for chefs, the most desirable baby vegetables are generally the ones that are indeed babies — that is, harvested young. “When grown well and picked fresh, baby vegetables eat beautifully,” says Aimee Olexy, chef and owner of Talula’s Garden and Talula’s Daily, in Philadelphia. “Often tender and sweet, they require less overall cooking and retain a more perky mouthfeel and appeal on the plate. Young baby peas and beets are almost always wonderful, and a dainty little treat worth the work,” she says.

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