The best-dressed salads, steamed and roasted vegetables, pasta and even nachos are all wearing homemade ranch dressing: It ain’t an American classic for nothing. Add jalapeno, chipotle, roasted garlic or finely minced kimchi to up the ante.
You know the saying, “Manners maketh man”? Well, it is my firm belief that dressings maketh salad. This might not be strictly true, but dressings and sauces can certainly be deal-breakers.
Dressings and sauces are the pearl necklace, Louboutins, or Hermes scarf to a simple salad. Or they should be. It’s that just-so accoutrement that if got wrong ruins the whole look – or taste, but if spot-on is dead-right. And not showy about it. Plain iceberg with a fab homemade dressing will always beat a fancy plate of heritage this and thats dressed with emulsifier- and thickener-filled shop bought. Always.
Making your own dressing or sauce – this one does double duty – is the ultimate in culinary control. Which I like. Compare a shop-bought hollandaise with a homemade one. Or a strident yet weirdly sweet jar pasta sauce with your own, stirred-with-love effort. No comparison. Dressings are even easier. And have just as much impact. Get that acid to oil balance just right and you have a friend for life. The 3:1 ratio of oil to acid is where good dressings begin. Continue reading
The love child of Middle Eastern shakshuka and good old Italian fat-bomb, Eggplant Parm. But healthier, obvs. PS This MUST be served with garlic bread.
What is your first proper food memory? Mine is not the vague memory of being fed by my mother from a melamine plate decorated with fairytale mushrooms and fairies. Nor is it when I theatrically upended a full bowl of spaghetti onto my head. In a restaurant (I had wanted mashed potatoes). My first real food memory is from my grandparent’s garden.
I remember it deeply – almost viscerally – because of the smell: damp red earth steaming in the sudden sun after a rain shower. I must have been about two or three, and we had gone into the orderly mid-summer garden, with its even rows of towering, waving sweetcorn, sprawling scrolls of watermelon vines and squashes, climbing beans of purple, green and cream, to pluck just-ripe tomatoes for our dinner.
My Mimi taught me not to yank the warm, slightly prickly fruit from the plant, but to pinch above where it joins the vine so as to bring the aroma of the plant into the house. I learned from an early age that the aroma that we all love about tomatoes – the earthy, herbaceous, raw green notes prized as a scent in perfume making – is from the stem itself. The humble stem. I learned by her side that tomatoes are best just picked and eaten sliced with a dime store knife, served on a plain china plate, adorned with only a pinch of salt. Later, much later, I elaborated this to a dribble of best olive oil. I think she might have used olive oil for earaches only. This was in Tennessee, after all. Continue reading
Tempeh – fermented whole soy cakes – is extremely nutritious but not well-known in the West. This easy recipe makes this healthy, vegan protein much more accessible with a delicious miso and ginger glaze. Griddle or pan-fry and enjoy with the simple, spicy lime-dressed salad.
Tempeh is a true ugly duckling of the food world. I mean, just look at it. Not pretty.
Not as scary as it looks!
If you get past the kind of “brainy” looks of this cultured and whole form of soy there is also a matter of texture. Kind of odd. I can’t really compare it to anything in Western food traditions. Maybe a kind of bread-meat hybrid??
But, if you can see beyond the curious nature of this culinary oddbod, you will be handsomely rewarded. Where Western-style soy products are often not particularly healthy – very highly processed with some not always healthy compounds; mostly genetically engineered – tempeh is widely seen as much the healthiest way to consume soy. The many phytonutrients are further enhanced and made bioavailable (absorbed by the body) by fermentation. This is why we detect a “fresh bread” aroma when working with tempeh – until it is smothered in miso and sweet ginger glaze! Continue reading
What do you do when you crave nachos AND a Greek salad? Make this crunchy plate of tangy Greek salad vegetables over crispy pitta chips, that’s what. Have as a solo lunch or shared snack.
These past few weeks have seen me playing about with recipes for an upcoming eBook. I’ve never done an eBook (have you? Is it easy, or did you pull out your hair?) and I think I am procrastinating taking it to a local web designer by conjuring up yet more food to make and faff about shooting. Story of my life. Continue reading
While watermelon and feta are perfectly fine, do yourself a favour and opt for cool, creamy yogurt next time. And while you are at it, why not add some tomatoes and fry some rosemary leaves too. Breakfast heaven, or sexy-as-hell – and ridiculously easy – buffet salad. Your call.
**If you are reading this on any site other than kelliesfoodtoglow.com this is against international copyright law and against my expressed wishes.**
Most of my breakfasts are of the savoury persuasion: variations of avocado toast (don’t judge); poached egg with pan-blistered tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms; a kind of glorified raita thing, with smoked salmon added in; shakshuka if it is the weekend; even stir-fries, with leftover grains and veggies (usually with a shake of Cholula’s hot sauce, or a wake-up smack of rose harissa).
Or, I might go sweet for breakfast. Or sweet for me, with a fruit-topped bowl of homemade granola, a modest stack of gluten-free pancakes (I may post my teff ones soon – a BIG success), or a wholegrain waffle or three.
As a person who pretty much wakes up hungry, I like to put some thought into that first meal rather than mindlessly dump “enriched” white carbs into a bowl. I can’t remember the last time I had a commercial cereal. And it would probably be sometime in the mid-1980s when breakfast was a muffin (likely to be bran, which was a big thing at the time). Not because I am the food police, but because plain, processed carbs actively make me hungry. Hungrier than when I started. Which is weird, I guess. I would have to eat far more than the serving size to fill up enough not to be ravenous an hour later. Is that you too? Continue reading
Granola made light and almost fluffy – not two words we associate with granola, huh? – with the addition of quinoa puffs. We love it not only for breakfast but as a wholesome snack the whole family will enjoy. Tastes great coating a frozen chocolate covered banana. Just saying.
Feel free to skip on down to the recipe, but if you are a blogger you might wish to read on…
For the past couple of months my heart has been heavy. With something akin to dread I have checked my phone, my laptop….my quickened pulse. If you are a fellow blogger, slogging away creating content of which you are proud to share with others, perhaps you have felt this heaviness, this weariness, this dread.
In late May I discovered that a site was taking my blog posts – lock stock and barrel. Continue reading
Liven up your grain salad bowls with a punchy, smoky, ginger-tahini dressing and some rather interesting add ins – gorgeous dried golden berries, roasted eggplant and, um, the ubiquitous but awesome kale. A perfect phytonutrient-rich salad for now – and tomorrow’s lunch. Naturally vegan and gluten-free. Add roasted or boiled chickpeas, lentils or nuts to up the protein count.
**If you are reading this on the website Easy Low Cal Recipes, this is without my permission and against my expressed wishes.**
Tomorrow I have the pleasure of starting a new class at the cancer support centre where I work. And I am really looking forward to it. I love the planning and the shopping for new cooking and teaching opportunities, as well as donning my apron and actually practising what I am going to be preaching.
The best job in the world: I lead nutrition workshops, as well as contribute to the teaching on another course, and see individuals too. But what I do a lot of is cook: three-course lunches every week for my own groups, as well as post-cancer treatment support groups. Because the group participants change every few weeks, I could legit get away with making the same things week in and week out. But frankly I would go out of my brain with boredom making the same recipes, with only the changing seasons offering creative respite. I quite admire restaurant chefs who can manage to cook a barely rotating menu day in and day out. It would drive me insane. Continue reading
For a supposedly simple salad, tabbouleh, staple of deli counters around the world, has a lot of rules.
“It’s all about the parsley,” most purists say.
“Don’t cook the bulgur wheat, just soak it in the dressing,” say others.
“For heaven’s sake, soak the grains in two changes of water then dry it in the oven, or the texture will be ALL WRONG.”
“Oh, and by the way, it’s spelled ‘tabouli‘.”
Reading through recipes on the Interwebs there really does seem to be a lot of strong opinion out there. And even more variations after the basics of cracked wheat (argument over what size grains), parsley, lemon and olive oil are considered. Tomatoes are usual, but not universal. Cucumbers are common, but again, arguments over what kind. Onions – spring versus red versus brown versus not at all. To mint, or not to mint. What about spices, other vegetables, seeds?
Besides the usual staples of olive oil, pasta, oats and, um, avocados there are a few things I always have in my kitchen: coconut milk powder, onions, limes and a restaurant’s worth of spices. I don’t use these every day of course, but it is comforting to know that they are there, ready to inspire me should I have no actual plan for feeding self or family (which is surprisingly frequent). With these ingredients to hand I know I am a few vegetables – or 10 – away from dinner. In this case a slurpy, comforting curry.
Today’s curry started out in Sri Lanka, but with a few extra ingredients it gradually moved west across the Indian Ocean to Thailand. All without needing a passport.
Truthfully it is more “inspired by” than authentic but I don’t think it is any the worse for this fact. Continue reading
This is a partnered post.
If, like me, you are more likely to associate risotto with the typical cooler months than with July, then you may be surprised to see this recipe.
A proper risotto does after all involve standing over a hot stove, attending a gently bubbling pot until the requisite creaminess is attained – not something to be recommended when you are already a bit hot and bothered.
But many of us in the UK are right now dodging in and out of blustery, hair-mussing showers, shivering in our sandals and sleeveless tanks. Was it ever thus. Continue reading