The Chef’s Take: John Fraser’s Grilled Squash Salad with Falafel Croutons

by in Chefs and Restaurants, September 24, 2014

Narcissa Summer Squash SaladAt Narcissa, André Balazs’ and Michelin-starred chef John Fraser’s buzz-worthy restaurant in The Standard Hotel in the East Village, ingredients are sourced from Balazs’ Hudson Valley Farm, and seasonality shines on the menu. The result: food that’s almost as beautiful as the people eating it.

Fraser, who just launched lunch in at Narcissa last week, explains that he tried to create a menu that would appeal to all kinds of appetites. “Some people indulge and want to eat and drink way too much, and others don’t want to feel like they are going to spend the afternoon in a food coma,” he said. “As I have gotten older, I have recognized that the way I eat dictates how I feel. I think about that when I create my menus.”

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Breakfast of the Month: Gluten-Free Pear Muffins

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, September 23, 2014

pear muffins
The wisp of crispness in the air is always a reliable prompt to get back into the kitchen. There is no better way to celebrate the beginning of fall than by baking something sweet and fragrant. These muffins fill the air with the aromas of cardamom, coconut, vanilla and pears. Not only are they gluten-free, but they are also vegan, naturally sweetened and whole-grain. They will most likely please everyone.

Chia seeds and ground flax, along with a little mashed banana, bind the batter and provide a moist and cakey backdrop for the cooked pears. The chia seeds also impart a lovely crunchy texture. Served with a cup of tea, the muffins make the perfect mid-morning or afternoon treat. Read more

5 Rosh Hashana Dishes with a Healthy Side

by in Healthy Holidays, September 22, 2014

poached pears
Much of the celebration surrounding the Jewish New Year, which begins Wednesday night, revolves around foods like the traditional apple dipped in honey, to signify a sweet new year. But there’s plenty of more room at the feast. Read more

7 Side Dishes Starring Fall Produce

by in Healthy Recipes, September 21, 2014

collard greens and squash
Yeah, you could be sad that summer is on it way out. But you could also be happy that fall is on its way — and brimming with tasty options.

Braised Collard Greens and Butternut Squash
Take a break from kale and cook up some collards, the Southern staple that happens to be a nutritional powerhouse. Sweet butternut squash tempers the bitterness of the greens while freshly grated ginger adds a surprising burst of flavor. Read more

A Creamy Broccoli Dip That’s a Healthy Winner

by in Scaling Back on Sodium, September 20, 2014

creamy broccoli dip
Fall not only means the start of football season — it also means the start of many Sunday meals getting replaced by chips and dip, salty bar snacks and microwave finger foods. But filling up while watching your favorite team doesn’t have to be a losing situation for your health. Nor does it have to keep you limited to raw vegetables from the crudites platter.

This year, replace high-sodium, store-bought spreads with a dip of your own creation — one that’s just as creamy and craveable and also a fun makeover of classic ranch dressing and vegetables.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by in Food News, September 19, 2014

bread and butter
In this week’s news: Comfort foods are found to be not so soothing; diet soda gets a gut check; and addiction programs quit with the sweets.

Cold Comfort for Comfort Food Fans
What’s your go-to food when you’re feeling down? Carbs? Ice cream? You might as well reach for the carrot sticks and celery — or not snack at all. A new study has found that scarfing down comfort foods doesn’t actually boost mood more than eating healthier foods — or no food — does. Bad moods go away, the researchers determined, whether we eat that big pile of cookies or not. “We found no justification for people to choose comfort foods when they are distressed,” the researchers concluded, adding that they hoped their findings would lead people to skip the high-cal indulgences and “focus on other, food-free methods of improving their mood.” Read more

8 Cleverly Bread-Free Sandwiches

by in Healthy Recipes, September 18, 2014

iceberg BLT
Whether you’re dialing down refined carbs, giving up gluten or watching your sodium intake (bread adds up on that front), these loaf-free sandwiches — most of which sub in vegetables in place of the usual buns, baguettes, wraps and rolls — all have one thing in common: They’ll satisfy any sandwich craving.

BLT (above)
Bun-less BLT? You heard that right — almost. Instead of playing its usual supporting role, iceberg lettuce steps up its game by sandwiching together this otherwise classic combo of crisp bacon, sliced tomatoes and zesty mayo. Read more

The Chef’s Take: Lentil, Avocado and Kale Salad from Franklin Becker

by in Chefs and Restaurants, September 17, 2014

lentil salad
In 1997, Franklin Becker was a 27-year-old chef whose star was on the rise. That same year, he was also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. The disease not only changed the way he ate, but it also changed the way he cooked. Becker, who was most recently the corporate chef of the EMM Group, overseeing menus for New York City restaurants Abe & Arthurs, CATCH and Lexington Brass, learned to use simple ingredients, to cook with more vegetables and to add flavor to food by using good fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocados.”I realized that if certain ingredients were bad for me to eat, they were probably not great for my guests to eat either,” Becker says.

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Dessert of the Month: Blackberry-Macadamia Ice Cream

by in Amy's Whole Food Cooking, September 16, 2014

blackberry ice cream
What better way to bid farewell to summer than with a bowl of delicious ice cream? Here, rich, creamy macadamia nuts are blended with fresh blackberries to create an irresistible marriage of texture and flavor. Most dairy-free ice creams are made with an all coconut-milk base, and with good reason: The richness of full-fat coconut milk is the perfect replacement for cream. The only downside, if you can call it that, is that the ice creams all taste like coconut. A base made from macadamia nuts offers a nice change of pace, and the nuts’ buttery flavor goes perfectly with the honey and vanilla. With only five ingredients (not counting the water!), this ice cream could not be simpler to make — you don’t even need to turn on the stove. Read more

Food Fight!: Soy Nut Butter vs. Sunflower Seed Butter

by in Food Fight, September 15, 2014

soy butter and sunflower seed butter
Which of these alterna-nut butters is the superior pick? Just in time for the back-to-school season, two sandwich spreads battle it out.  Read more