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Foody Health

Chia Pudding with Blueberries

This month, we’re featuring simple salads. Today’s crunchy salad would be perfect to bring along to picnics or to pack ahead for lunch. Giulia from Audrey’s shows us how…

Crunchy Chicken Salad
by Giulia Doyle of Audrey’s

It’s that time of the year again when we want to shed our jackets and indulge in fresh salads. While I enjoy a classic Caesar, or a good romaine with buttermilk dressing, I also like to make salads that are not found on everyday menus. And if the dressing calls for coconut milk, then I’m even more inclined to try it. This is a delicious salad — the dressing adds brightness and the chicken and nuts provide you with some filling protein. This salad also keeps really well, so feel free to make it ahead for a potluck or Sunday lunch. Enjoy.

Recipe: Crunchy Chicken Salad
Serves 4

You’ll need:

3 cups shredded Chinese cabbage
3 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots (lengthwise to get soft curls)
1 cup unsalted cashews
1/4 cup chopped chives (try cutting with scissors)
1 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
1 cup torn cilantro leaves
4 small red thai chilies, seeds removed and finely sliced (optional if you don’t like spice)
4 fully cooked chicken breasts, cut into slices

For the coconut lime dressing:

1 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp of fish sauce
4 tbsp of lime juice
2 tbsp of coconut sugar

Combine cabbage, carrot, cashews, chives, mint, cilantro and chicken in a large bowl and toss gently to combine.

In a measuring cup, combine coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Stir well to combine. Pour half the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Divide between plates and top with chilies. Add more dressing to taste.

I like to make a lot of dressing and keep some in fridge to dip veggies in or pour over rice, but you can half the dressing recipe if you want to. Beware of the chilies, as they are very spicy. After slicing them, wash your hands very well and don’t touch your eyes or nose. If you prefer a little less spice, sprinkle the finished salad with dried chili flakes instead.

Thank you so much, Giulia! This looks amazing.

P.S. More recipes, including a breakfast salad and a chopped salad.

(Photos and recipe by Giulia Doyle. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for her help with this series.)


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Lemony Spaghetti with Peas and Ricotta

In the summer, you can’t go wrong with a fresh Greek salad. So, today, we’re happy to share a delicious twist on it: a Greek salad on the grill. Here, Julia Sherman (author of the beautiful cookbook Salad for President ) shows us how it’s done…

Greek Salad on the Grill
From Julia Sherman’s Salad for President

This salad proves that rules are meant to be broken. I have always considered the classic Greek salad to be the platonic ideal. I balk at fancy upgrades since the cheap red wine vinegar, kalamata olives and romaine are fundamental to the dish. Hell, I even prefer stuffed grape leaves from a can to those from the deli counter. Then one day I had a few grape leaves left over in the fridge, and I tossed them on the grill to warm them up. The oil-marinated leaves crisped, the rice steamed and softened inside and I had somehow managed to improve upon my favorite snack. With the rules out the window, I tossed all the veggies on the grill (save the cucumbers and tomatoes), and it worked. It’s not a replacement for the fresh Greek salad, but with the old-school Greek diners becoming a thing of the past, this is a fun variation to make at home.

Greek Salad on the Grill
Serves 4

You’ll need:

4 hearts of romaine, bottoms trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
1 small red onion, cut into rounds 1/4-inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
One 6 oz slab feta cheese, 1-inch thick
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
8 to 10 canned or fresh vegetarian stuffed grape leaves (dolmas)
1 medium ripe heirloom tomato, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 to 3 small Kirby or Persian cucumbers, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 or 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional, but highly recommended)
Pepperoncini (optional)
Red wine vinegar
Sea salt
Breadsticks or Melba toast (optional)

Prepare a charcoal fire, heating until the coals turn white.

While the coals are heating, brush the romaine and onion rounds with oil and season with kosher salt, pepper and the oregano. Place the feta and the olives on a rectangular piece of aluminum foil and fold the edges upward to create a shallow boat. Drizzle them with oil. (Tossing the cheese on the grill is optional, but it’s a nice way to warm it up before serving. Feta sticks to the grill, so be sure to use foil if you decide to do this step.)

Spray the grill grate with cooking oil or brush with vegetable oil.

Place the stuffed grape leaves, romaine, onion and feta/olive packet on the grill and cook until the vegetables have a nice light char on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. The feta should be warm throughout. Remove from the grill with tongs.

On a large platter, make a bed of the grilled romaine (keeping the halves intact) and top with the tomato, cucumbers, grilled onion, olives and stuffed grape leaves. Cut the feta into one-inch cubes and toss them on top. Drizzle the whole mess generously with oil and season very lightly with sea salt (the olives, feta and anchovies add lots of salt already) and black pepper to taste.

Top with the anchovies and pepperoncini, if using. Serve with red wine vinegar and oil on the side, plus breadsticks or Melba toast if you want to make a nod to the salad’s roots.

Thank you so much, Julia! Your new cookbook is a work of art.

P.S. More recipes, including a peach and tomato panzanella and a corn salad.

(Reprinted from Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists. Copyright 2017 by Julia Sherman. Photo by Julia Sherman. Published by Abrams. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for editing this series.)


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Drinks Foody

Easy Lemon Pudding

This lemon pudding couldn’t be easier. It’s made with just four ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

All you do is warm everything up, then let the pudding set. It’s like magic.

Elegant, simple, and with a velvety texture that is positively dreamy, this lemon pudding is perfect for Easter dinner, Mother’s Day brunch, and everything in between.

The recipe is a modern adaptation of a medieval drink called a posset, which was popular from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century. This was a hot milk or cream mixture thickened with acidic wine or cider. It was considered medicinal for treating a cold or flu. Syllabubs, another sweet frothy drink, are closely related.

History lesson over! Lemon posset is fast becoming a trendy dessert, especially in Britain.

The magic is in the thick cream, reduced slightly, and combined with tart lemon juice. The two interact to form an exquisite creamy consistency, especially after you strain out the little bits of zest.

Look through your cupboard for pretty stemmed glasses if you want to be fancy, and make this for your next party!

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Chicken Breasts with Mustard Cream

This elegant dish is so easy to make, it’s almost criminal. But luckily, I don’t think anyone will get in trouble just for making really special chicken fit for anything from a weeknight meal to a dinner party — even if it does only take a half an hour.

The first trick is to brown the chicken in a mix of butter and oil. This gives you the best combination of flavor and browning for your chicken.

If the breasts are slightly thick (which they probably will be), they won’t cook all the way through at this point. That is a good thing! Place them on a baking sheet and let them gently finish cooking in the oven while you make the sauce.

For that sauce, just add some wine to the skillet and let it reduce by half. Don’t worry about exact measurements here, so just eyeball it. Most of the alcohol evaporates at this point and just leaves flavor and acidity behind.

Next, add some cream to the pan. Don’t skimp and try to use half and half. You need the fat in the cream to keep the sauce smooth.

Last but not least, stir in the mustard, capers and parsley. Spoon this over your (now finished) chicken, and serve!

Oh, and try not to lick the plate

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Date Caramel Sauce

A crisp, crunchy, and tart apple dipped in sweet caramel sauce just feels like fall to me. I thought it would be a great idea to make a healthier version of a caramel dip so I could eat this as a snack instead of dessert!

This no-cook vegan dip comes together quickly and is made from just a few simple ingredients: dates, vanilla, and coconut cream.

Dates make this dip naturally sweet, and soaking them in water before pureeing turns them into a creamy sauce.

I use Medjool dates for my caramel sauce. These are quite sweet and moist, and are readily available year-round. Look for containers of them in the produce sections of most grocery stores and buy the plumpest ones you can find.

If you are lucky enough to find Halawy dates, get them! They make a soft and creamy caramel sauce that tastes exactly like butterscotch.

If I am serving this with apples, I soak the slices of apple in a little water with lemon so that they don’t brown. If you’re skipping the apples, you can add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the caramel dip to add a bit of brightness and cut down the sweetness, if you like.

For an even creamier dip, add a couple of tablespoons of coconut cream. You can buy cans of actual coconut cream (just make sure not to buy the sweetened kind), or you can refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight and then scoop out the solid coconut cream that rises to the top of the can. Save the rest for curries, creamy soups, or smoothies.

Serve your date caramel with apples, pears, strawberries or any other favorite fruit. You can even stir it into plain yogurt or spread it on your morning toast!

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Foody Health

Turmeric Cauliflower Curry

Many years ago, I ran a vegetarian restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana. One of our Indian friends and customers gave me this recipe, which I’ve revised over the years. (Thank you, Santosh, wherever you are!)

This is a nice curry for a weeknight since it doesn’t involve too much heavy lifting. There are many versions in India, of course, but this one makes a substantial vegetarian meal.

The official name for this dish is “shahi” cauliflower curry. The word shahi roughly translates as “royal,” and it is indeed a royal dish!

Turmeric is the lead spice in this curry. It’s what gives the curry its sunny yellow color, and is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s the superfood of spices.

By the way, here’s a good trick for cutting apart the cauliflower, which I learned on the job at my first restaurant near Woodstock, New York. Our friendly neighbor, chef, and mentor taught us to cut a deep cross at the base and then separate the head into quarters. Slice away the core and outer leaves. Then, with a paring knife, cut between the little “branches” to make florets.

Serve this easy vegetarian curry with naan bread, cucumber raita, and a salad, and dinner is done!

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Best Ever Sloppy Joe

Just hearing the words “sloppy joe” from my mother used to send us kids into a tizzy. There was something wonderfully fun about getting to eat a burger/sandwich that was messy by design.

I first posted this recipe in 2008, after making it for my visiting young nephew. Sloppy joes really are a quintessential kid food, aren’t they?

After my nephew explained to me that he didn’t like tomatoes with his hamburger and he wanted his onions on top, and I explained to him that sloppy joes are made with the onions mixed in with the beef, and he eats spaghetti so what’s wrong with tomatoes, anyway?, he relented.

When called to dinner he ate the whole thing (with high praise), even though he had been making and eating s’mores all day.

Different pockets of the country have very different versions of what a “Sloppy Joe” is. The one I love is the one I’m presenting here—a sweet and tangy ground beef concoction that you ladle onto a hamburger bun. It’s a mess. It must be eaten with a fork.

What makes this sloppy joe extra special is that I’m starting with a “mirepoix” or sauté of minced carrots, onions, and celery. Then I brown the ground beef and pull everything together with a highly flavored tomato sauce. It’s one of my favorite recipes on the site, I hope you like it too!

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Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket

My family has always cooked our Passover brisket in the oven, low and slow. It’s delicious, but takes over three hours to make! This year, I wanted to see if I could speed up the process using a pressure cooker.

And you know what? You can.

Using a pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, you can make tender, deeply flavorful brisket with a thick, rich gravy in about half the time!

If you’re making this brisket recipe for Passover, be sure to buy a kosher brisket, along with “kosher for Passover” brands of red wine and ketchup.

If you are celebrating according to very strict kosher laws, you may also want to make sure your spices are designated “kosher for Passover.” Online stores like Rockland Kosher Supermarket are great resources for ingredients if you’re unable to track them down in your area.

The gravy gets lots of flavor from the seared meat, so whatever you do, don’t skip on that step! Give the brisket a good six minutes on each side so that it becomes deeply and thoroughly browned.

After the brisket is seared, quickly sauté the onions and garlic until they give up their liquid and the onions begin to brown. While they cook, scrape up any browned bits leftover from searing the brisket – these make the broth extra flavorful!

Oh, and one more great bonus of pressure cooking: You can make the gravy right in the pot! Use an immersion blender to whiz the onions and garlic into the cooking liquid, making a thick, rich gravy.

This also means zero stuck-on mess to clean up at the end of cooking. How much better does it get?

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Drinks Foody

Lavender Lemonade

For those of you suffering from sweltering summer heat, here’s a suggestion for a cooling drink, lavender-infused lemonade! Both lemons and lavender grow in abundance here (in California, and my backyard), so it was just a matter of time before they became acquainted.

Lavender is edible, though English lavender and Provence lavender are most often used for culinary purposes. Here’s the tip with lavender: it doesn’t take much. Use it sparingly, like rosemary (which would also be terrific in lemonade by the way).

Too much and your lemonade may taste like expensive soap. But just a little? Lovely.

Many thanks to my friend Kori Farrell who introduced me to this lavender lemonade!

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I’ll wear a sheath dress with a blazer

For Morenike Fajana, a public interest tenant lawyer, each workday can be different. Her daily schedule — appearing in court, meeting with clients, working in the office or going to see someone’s home — dictates what she wears. But no matter what, Morenike strives to look professional. “I already look young,” she says. “I’ve had clients ask if I was an intern. I don’t want them to be like, ‘Who is this person that I am trusting with my housing situation and my life?’” Ahead, she shows us five go-to outfits, including a fun weekend look…

“I studied abroad in London, which really influenced my style. There’s a culture of being a little more dressed up there that I found endearing; people seem to take clothes and fashion more seriously. The general look is very ‘smart,’ as they say in the U.K. — understated but chic. It’s also where I discovered Topshop. One day, on a whim, I checked out the men’s section, and they had really great blazers and sweaters. I found this jacket there, too. The key to wearing men’s clothing is to make all your other clothes form-fitting, so you’re not swimming in your outfit.

“My role is to represent tenants in Brooklyn Housing Court. (For example, I defend tenants in eviction cases and investigate landlords who may not be following the law.) When I go to court, I don’t like wearing a suit; it feels dowdy. So, as a way around it, I’ll wear a sheath dress with a blazer, and so do most of my female colleagues. A blazer is the key to making anything — even a sweater and leggings — look professional. The male lawyers wear suits, but change into khakis and button-ups when they get back to the office. It goes along with our work ethos. Because we’re a public interest non-profit representing low-income New Yorkers, we want to make sure our clients feel comfortable when they come in, not like we’re better than them or something.”