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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hearty Lentil Soup

I heard this recipe on a radio show last year. When you're looking for a healthy, cheap, easy meal that keeps you warm on cold fall and winter days and nights, this is it.

1 1/2 cups Lentils cooked and drained
1 carrot chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 small onion chopped
3 potatoes chopped
a handful of cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
cumin 1/2 tsp

In a large pot sautee the onions for a few minutes with 2 tbsp olive oil until translucent. Then add carrot and potatoes and cumin. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Then add tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste and cook until carrots and potatoes are tender. Add cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Easy But Delicious Tomato Sauce

Back in my residency days I ate alot of pasta. I remember one friend of mine always saying that she would never buy a jar of tomato sauce as it never tasted as good as making it from scratch. I didn't really catch on to this until this past year when I began making sauce from fresh tomatoes in season. There is truly no comparison and it's not all that hard to make. Here's a basic recipe. Once you get the basic sauce down, you can add vegetables, herbs, capers, olives, really whatever you like.

3 pounds fresh tomatoes(preferably in season)
1 clove garlic minced
1 medium yellow or white onion diced
2 tbsp pure olive oil
1 carrot diced
1 celery stalk diced
red pepper flakes 1/4 tsp
1/2 cup water
kosher salt

First the tomatoes need to be peeled and seeded. You can always start with 16 oz. of canned diced or crushed tomatoes if they are not in season, but if you have the fresh ones, here's what you do: drop each tomato in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove and place in cold water, the skin will now easily come off. Next remove all the seeds from the tomato. This is a messy job but makes the sauce much sweeter.

Place olive oil in large saucepan and heat med high. Drop in the onions and sautee for 5 minutes until translucent, then add carrot and celery for a minute. Next add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water and red pepper flakes. Simmer medium low for 45 minutes. That's it. I like to use a hand blender and make the sauce smooth at this point but you can keep it chunky as well. Season with salt as needed. Keeps for about a week in the fridge or you can freeze it in small containers and use as needed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I am often reminded of a quote I heard from the great chef Alice Waters when she described(I believe) why she opened a restaurant and happened to spark a movement in helathy eating. She said "I was looking for flavor." Flavor is what most food lacks these days, or in some cases flavors are all the same. When we cook at home we use a variety of seasonings, vegetables and aromatics that bring the food alive. If I can pass along one secret to healthy cooking it would be to look for healthy recipes with intense vibrant flavors. Sure plain steamed vegetables are boring, but egglplant covered in pesto or tapenade vinagrette or roasted cauliflower with turmeric are a whole different story. A few dressings that I recently tried are excellent ways to dress up grilled or sauteed vegetables. Here they are:

Olive Tapenade

A full flavored spread or dressing that is extremely versatile.


1 cup good pitted kalamata olives

1 tablespoon anchovies minced

1 clove garlic minced

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

lemon zest

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped capers

Blend all ingredients except olive oil in food processor for a few seconds, then slowly add olive oil and process until smooth.

Basil Pesto

Great on pasta as well as tomatoes, zucchini, squash, just about any vegetable.

1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1 tablespoon toasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor blend the basil, walnuts, garlic for a few pulses, then slowly add the olive oil and process for about a minute. This keeps in the fridge for a few weeks unless you eat it all up!!