Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Stinging Nettles

In Product Spotlight on June 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

There’s something really fun about eating a wild plant that, when uncooked, causes burning poison ivy like pain.  But for you adventurous eaters out there, when cooked properly, this plant is not only nutritious but delicious!  The leaves have a mild flavor that is like spinach – only better!

Buy the Best

These are true delicacies and you will be hard pressed to find them anywhere other than local farmers markets (unless you forage for them yourself, which I don’t recommend). Word to the wise, make sure you always handle raw nettles with gloves.  The tiny stinging hairs will hurt and cause redness. When at the market look nettles that are vibrant green and firm.  Avoid those that look brown, yellow or wilted.

What to do with Nettles

Always handle raw nettles with gloves! Rinse them well and remove the stems.  You can leave the leaves whole, chopped or chiffonade.  If you’re still with me and haven’t been scared off, you can cook these guys as you would any leafy green.  You can blanch, steam, or sauté and add to a variety of meals like pastas, grains, frittatas, risottos or simply as an accompaniment to a hearty protein.

Adding Stinging Nettles to your Next Meal

  • Saute with shallots, butter and some red pepper and serve alongside grilled filet or chicken breast.
  • Add sautéed nettles to risotto with leeks and english peas.
  • Throw into a hearty brunch frittata with bell peppers, onions and mushrooms.
  • Make a pesto with nettles, spinach and ramps.  Try substituting the pine nuts for walnuts.



Meringue Towers with Almond Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Yield: 6

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

6 store-bought meringue nests (Whole Foods sells great ones)

1 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold

1 teaspoon powdered sugar

1 cup almonds, blanches, sliced

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 1/2 blackberries

2 tablespoons honey


Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and whip using a whisk or hand blender.  Whip until the cream starts to stiffen.  Add the powdered sugar.  Once the cream forms stiff peaks slowly fold in the almonds using a spatula.

Put the almond whipped cream inside and on top of the meringue nests.  Scatter the fresh fruit around and on top of each.  Drizzle the honey over the top and serve cold.

Popcorn with Mustard-Herb Butter

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Yield: 8

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

This takes an adult spin on a classic childlike snack. The mustard-herb butter will leave your guests asking you for the recipe!  The chives and thyme give that extra something. Not to mention, popcorn makes great party food that is actually good for you! Plain popcorn is full of fiber!

4 tablespoons canola or peanut oil

3/4 cup popcorn kernels

1/3 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 bunch fresh chives, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, steams removed


Heat oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven.  Add a few kernels and cover.  If they start to pop, add the rest of the corn and cover again.  Shake the pan a few times and keep popping the corn until there’s at least 5 seconds between each pop.  Pour the popcorn in to a large mixing bowl.

In the meantime, melt the better in a small saucepan.  Allow to cook until the butter turn light brown.  Whisk in the mustard and salt. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the popcorn and mix well using salad tongs.  Then slowly pour the rest over the popcorn till all is covered.  Season with herbs, toss and serve.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Yield: 3-4 cups

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried very well

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the oven rack in the upper 1/2 of the oven.

Pour chickpeas into a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 10 minutes then take out and shake the pan.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the chickpeas turn crisp.

Meanwhile, mix canola oil, paprikas, salt, zest, rosemary and thyme in a mixing bowl.  Add the chickpeas and toss until coated. Return the chickpeas to the baking sheet and bake for another 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

Turnip Chips with Spicy Paprika and Lime

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Yield: 8

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

This is a healthy alternative to store-bought potato chips.  They are very easy to make and experiment with the seasoning.  Try cayenne pepper or cumin.  They make great mates to white bean dip or humus. Best part, you can make these the day before and store in an air tight container. Perfect figure-friendly party food!

16 medium turnips, stems cut, well cleaned

3/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon Kosher salt or sea salt

1 tablespoon paprika

Squeeze of lime juice


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place both oven racks in the center of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use a mandoline to slice turnips 1/8 inch thick or no larger than two credit cards stacked together.  Toss the sliced turnips in a bowl with salt and canola oil.

Line in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake in over for 12 minutes.  Check often, remove from oven when the chips look light brown and crispy.

Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with lime juice.  Best if served warm.

Crispy Kale Chips

In Recipes on March 27, 2011 at 11:17 am

Yield: 6-8 servings (as a snack)

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

This might sounds a little strange, but these guys satisfy the salty crunchy craving of potato chips with out the fat.  Even better, they only take 20 minutes to prepare!

1 head of flat leaf kale (plain)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

Kosher salt

Red pepper flakes

Non-stick cooking spray

1 lemon, juiced


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the stems off each leaf and then remove the leaves from the center stems leaving only leafy greens behind. Toss the stems – they are tough and bitter.

Throughly wash the kale and dry using a dish towel or salad spinner.

Spread the dried kale in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the kale. Season liberally with kosher salt.  Add the red pepper flakes based on how spicy you would like the chips to be. Spray the kale with a non-stick cooking spray and place in the oven for 15 minutes until the kale is crispy and parmesan turns light brown.

Remove from oven and lightly drizzle with lemon juice.  Serve.

Garlic Kale

In Recipes on February 13, 2011 at 11:24 am

Yield: 8 servings

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Kale is king when it comes to nutritional value.  There are very few vegetable out there that pack the same vitamin punch as this leafy green.  Surprisingly, it also tastes delicious. It pairs wonderfully with garlic and is a great alternative to the more typical sauteed spinach.

3 pounds kale

Olive oil

8-10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Kosher salt


1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Using a knife, cut the leafy green part of the kale away from the course center vein and stem.  Rip the leaves into 2-3 inch pieces.  Wash well and set on paper towels to dry.  Do not dry totally.

Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large saute pan.  Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute until the garlic is fragrant and lightly brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and set aside

Add more oil if necessary and once the oil is hot again, add the kale.  Use a wooden spatula to push the kale around until it begins to wilt and then add more.  You will want to add all the kale.  Once it has begun to wilt, season with salt and pepper and red pepper.  Cook until all the leaves are completely wilted.

Add the garlic back to the kale and mix well.  Serve warm.

Mustard Mashed Potatoes

In Recipes on February 13, 2011 at 11:06 am

Yield: 8 servings

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

I love the mustard flavor that comes through in this version of mashed potatoes.  It’s an added surprise in a very well known dish.  The flavors also really blend wonderfully with the short ribs.  I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten, she suggests serving it with classic British bangers. Also a great way to eat these delish potatoes!

2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered

Kosher Salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup whole milk

6 ounces creme fraiche

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 teaspoons whole-grain mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

Freshly ground black pepper


Put potatoes in a large saucepan with 2 tablespoons of salt and enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes and return to the saucepan off the heat.

If you have a potato ricer, use it to mash the potatoes then mix in the remaining ingredients. If not, add the butter, milk, creme fraiche, mustards, pepper and use a hand held mixer to mash the potatoes.  Add at little extra milk if the potatoes still seem stiff and thick.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Feel free to add a bit more Dijon and whole grain mustard if you want a stronger mustard flavor.

Tortellini with Wild Mushroom Sauce

In Recipes on February 2, 2011 at 10:45 am

Yield: 24 hors d’oeuvres

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

2 ounces dried wild mushrooms, such as porchini, morel or chanterelle

1 8 ounce package dried or fresh cheese tortellini

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup shallots, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated


Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water.  Let sit for 20-30 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.  Drain the mushrooms and reserve the cooking liquid.  Give the mushrooms a rough chop and set aside.

Cook the tortellini in a pot of boiling, heavily salted water.  Cook until just al dente.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saute pan.  Add the shallots and saute until translucent.  Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of thyme, then saute for 3 minutes. Mix in one cup of mushroom liquid and heavy cream.  Bring to boil then reduce to simmer until the sauce has reached a light sauce consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta.  Return to the cooking pot and add the mushroom sauce.  Stir in parmesan cheese and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve in small bowls or shot glasses.  Garnish with chopped thyme.


Mixed Greens with French Vinaigrette

In Recipes on January 25, 2011 at 10:57 am

Yield: 4 Servings

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

This is a great basic recipe for French Vinaigrette.  Try substituting the Champagne Vinegar with White Wine Vinegar or Tarragon Vinegar.  Use a mild olive oil to avoid over powering the gorgeous mustard flavor.

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard

2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 – 1 cup olive oil


Mix vinegar, mustard, shallots, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Slowly add in olive oil while whisking constantly until the mixture has emulsified.  Adjust seasoning by adding salt, pepper or a bit more olive oil.

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