Red Lentil Penne with Gorgonzola Sauce, Walnut, Apple, Mint

Red Lentil Penne with Gorgonzola Sauce, Walnut, Apple, Mint #glutenfree

Red Lentil Penne, Gorgonzola Sauce
Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Walnut, Fresh Mint

Gorgonzola, Granny Smith apples, and toasted walnuts have a particular affinity for each other. Here they are paired with gluten-free penne for a satisfying wholesome meal with higher protein, higher fiber, and lower net carbs. Explore Cuisine penne is made in Italy and comprised of only two ingredients: organic red lentil flour (73%) and organic brown rice flour (27%). Cool mint adds a note of freshness and counterbalance to the rich gorgonzola sauce while apple cut into allumette shape makes for a jaunty presentation.

Gluten-Free Red Lentil Penne Recipe

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Black Bean Spaghetti for the Whole Family #meatless #glutenfree

Black Bean Spaghetti for the Whole Family #meatless #glutenfree

Black Bean Spaghetti for the Whole Family

The nutritional facts are hard to believe, until one realizes that this spaghetti really isn’t pasta at all, but black beans masquerading as noodles.

Black Bean Spaghetti is made from 92% black beans and 8% water and has 25 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber in every serving. Generally, dried pastas have 5 to 7 grams of protein and 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving. Black bean spaghetti’s taste is mild while the tooth is delightfully chewy.

The whole family will benefit from organic noodles packed with higher protein and fiber, and lower net carbs. Cook the spaghetti about seven minutes then plate two ways: A buttery-cheesy “caterpillar” will appeal to the kids while black bean spaghetti topped with a complementary avocado mash and fresh salsa will be a big hit with the adults.

Black Bean Spaghetti Recipes

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Mandilli di Seta al Pesto {Handkerchief Pasta} #glutenfree

Mandilli di Seta al Pesto (Handkerchief Pasta) #glutenfree

~ Mandilli di Seta al Pesto ~
Silk Handkerchief Pasta with Creamy-Style Pesto
Edible Begonia, Basil, and Pecorino Romano Garnish

Imagine a pasta that is a gorgeous shade of olive green, higher in fiber and lower in net carbs than traditional noodles. One that is full of plant-based pea protein, organic, and gluten-free. My friends at Explore Cuisine make such an extraordinary noodle. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour.

Usually used for lasagna recipes, here the rectangular green lentil sheets stand in for handkerchief pasta in a beautiful mandilli di seta adorned with edible begonias. The basil pesto is an elegant creamy-style, unlike its more grainy rustic cousin. The method of plating mandilli di seta is also unique – pasta handkerchiefs are dipped in the pesto, coating the entire noodle with the dreamy sauce, then they are artfully folded onto the plate.

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Simple & Elegant: Grilled Veal Chops & Baby Broccoli

How to Grill Veal Chops and Baby Broccoli

Grilled Veal Rib Chops & Baby Broccoli

A simple preparation is definitely best for letting the natural virtues of this premium cut shine through. Veal rib chops sliced from the middle of the rack are super tender with an elegant flavor, they need no major enhancement. A brief marination in naturally fermented soy sauce and olive oil deepens the umami qualities of the crusty exterior.

The young beef steers are milk-fed and humanely-raised, allowed to move freely in small groups. Where grass-fed veal is more like beef, here milk-fed veal is paler in color, much more tender, and milder in flavor.

While they are quite pricey for everyday dining, don’t wait for a special occasion to give these exceptional chops a try – at least once this summer!

Grilled Veal Chops & Baby Broccoli Recipe

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Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Do we really need another roast chicken recipe? Or more kale?

Let me tell you why we do.

First, perfect roast chicken is just that. Perfect. Crispy skin, juicy, flavorful. Second, healthful kale has two textures – the kale cooked under the chicken is tender, the kale surrounding the chicken is crunchy. Below the kale is a layer of velvety cannellini beans bathed in olive oil and chicken juices with oregano, thyme, and onion playing supporting roles.

Beyond deliciousness, this casserole is super-easy to prepare, economical, loaded with protein and fiber, nutritious, and low-carb too. Dinner tonight?

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Eat Flowers, Be Happy (Edible Flower Salad)

Edible Flower Salad with Wild Strawberries and Grape Tomatoes

Edible Flower Salad
Wild Strawberries, Grape Tomatoes, Chrysanthemum Greens
Texas Tarragon, Borage, Marigold, Lemon Thyme, Chive Blossoms

In honor of the first days of summer and the unveiling of a new category to my website menu, I present this EDIBLE FLOWER salad. A trip to one of our best local Farmers Markets, plus a stop at my favorite Korean supermarket, and a bit of foraging in my own garden resulted in a one-of-a-kind salad that just screams summer. Every ingredient has a purpose in the flavor/texture/color profile.

Wild strawberries and sweet little grape tomatoes have a particularly delightful affinity for each other. Their red color contrasts with the exotic greens. Radish brings peppery flavors while roasted sunflower seeds add salty flavors – eliminating the need for additional salt and pepper. Kimjaban, crunchy roasted seaweed takes the place of croutons while adding sweet and salty notes.

Dressing is not tossed with the salad mix, so the flower petals look fresh-picked and the seaweed retains its crisp texture. The dressing consists of three distinct high-quality oils – fruity olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and fiery chili oil that are balanced by aged balsamic vinegar. Using chopsticks, diners can coat the salad ingredients with the oils and vinegar. And they just may want to reserve a bit of the syrupy balsamic vinegar to pair with that last wild strawberry for a grand finale.

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Grilled Chicken Cutlets, Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce

Grilled Chicken Cutlets, Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce

Grilled Chicken Cutlets
Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce

Grilled chicken breasts can be pretty boring, right? But here, a vivacious sweet cherry pepper sauce adds bright tangy flavor and a pop of color to simple chicken cutlets. Serve the smoky juicy chicken over mixed greens, and the sauce doubles as a dressing.

In fact, this sauce has so much personality that the chicken needs no marinade. Just coat the cutlets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then toss them on a hot grill. An efficient cook could have this fabulous low-carb dish prepped and plated in less than 15 minutes. Here’s to summer grilling season!

Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce Recipe

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Southwest-Style Shakshuka with Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Shakshuka, the breakfast/lunch dish that originated in Tunisia that’s wildly popular in Israel, is a perfect brunch item. It is easy to prepare in a single pan but takes a bit more time than weekday fried eggs and toast. The skillet doubles as the serving dish, and makes a terrific presentation on the buffet.

This now-global egg and tomato skillet dish has many incarnations – made with a myriad of ingredients such as sausage, feta, bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices depending on geography and the seasons.

Epazote in garden

Inspired by my garden overflowing with epazote, I decided to make shakshuka with a Southwestern influence. Epazote is often paired with beans for its natural carminative properties. The saw-toothed epazote leaves give the shakshuka a unique aroma and flavor. I have fallen in love with this herb and its intriguing bouquet which is strangely reminiscent of, if you can believe it, kerosene. Here, spicy tomato sauce is simmered with pinto beans and epazote, then topped with eggs. Once cooked, the whole thing is garnished with avocado slices, cilantro and scallions.

Smoky charred corn tortillas and sour cream

It can be served on its own or as tacos with smoky charred corn tortillas and sour cream.

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

For the Memorial Day holiday, try this vegetarian shakshuka for brunch, and save the meat for a big barbecue later in the day.

Memorial Day

My Memorial Day

Every year at the end of May, it is our duty to honor those who have laid down their lives to defend our freedom and ensure our liberty. Simultaneously we celebrate Memorial Day weekend as the official start of the summer grilling season. So in addition to serving awesome grilled foods and refreshing drinks, we proudly display the American flag and observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM to honor and remember those who have died in service to our nation. We turn on the television to watch the President lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and we listen with respect as a lone bugler plays the languid 24-note melancholy bugle call known as Taps.

“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
Abraham Lincoln

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
John F. Kennedy

“Memorial Day is a day of ceremonies and speeches. Throughout America today, we honor the dead of our wars. We recall their valor and their sacrifices. We remember they gave their lives so that others might live.”
Ronald Reagan

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Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots, Cilantro Dill Pesto #glutenfreevegan

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots, Cilantro Dill Pesto

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots
Cilantro Dill Pesto

My health-minded friends at Explore Cuisine have just released a new line of Pulse Pastas.  Certified vegan, organic, and gluten-free – their Pulse Pastas are made in Italy into spaghetti, penne, fusilli, and lasagne shapes.

Pulses are part of the legume family, the term “pulse” referring to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.

Made of chickpeas, red lentils, or green lentils these noodles are much more than a gluten-free pasta substitute, they are smart choice for the chef to savvy home cook, and they make a perfect dish for everyone at the table. Packed with protein, high in potassium, with lower net carbs, and a good source of fiber – beyond the health benefits, these noodles have an impressive taste, texture, and color.

Here, chickpea spaghetti is paired with carrots that have been roasted and slightly caramelized for depth of flavor. The carrots were spiralized for a nifty presentation. Fresh and herby, with bright lemon and zippy garlic flavor – the cilantro dill pesto complements the roasted carrots. It is a simple but very tasty and healthful dish.

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots Recipe

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Succulent Fresh Fish and Spring Produce

Fresh-Caught Pan-Fried Yellowtail, Garlic Butter Petite Peas and Green Beans, Toasted Pine Nuts, Tarragon, Mint, Parsley, Meyer Lemon Hummus Drizzle

Fresh-Caught Pan-Fried Yellowtail
Garlic Butter Peas and Green Beans
Toasted Pine Nuts
Tarragon, Mint, Parsley
Meyer Lemon Hummus Drizzle

Neither succulent fresh fish nor fresh spring produce need much embellishment. Although the addition of lots of fresh green herbs and a drizzle of meyer lemon hummus doesn’t hurt. The verdant colors of spring make the dish pop. Where pine nuts, parsley, and lemon juice are a classic pairing with hummus – here all these flavors and textures lend a supporting role to the fish and vegetables. The ubiquitous dip is equally fabulous as a sauce for fish.

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