Most people I know are intimidated by dark leafy greens. They buy them because they should, yet the greens always seem to end up either in a vase as a bouquet or permanently exiled to the hinterlands of the fridge. Here’s a better solution. Sauté your greens in olive oil and garlic. Toss in some cherry tomatoes for color, or caramelized onions and a few raisins for sweetness. My friend said her 4-year old ate these greens and said they tasted like candy. Now that’s a kid with a bright future!
Cauliflower is a wonderful vegetable that’s full of excellent cancer-fighting enzymes, yet it’s sorely in need of a PR campaign. That’s because most people steam cauliflower, which makes the kitchen smell like a stink bomb detonated. Either that or, like my dad, they eat cauliflower raw and tasteless as crudités (in his case, dipped in Russian dressing). The secret is to roast cauliflower. Not only does this avoid the sulfur smell, it also produces an unbelievably sweet flavor.
One of my favorite gatherings is the Food as Medicine conference, which brings together hundreds of nutritionally minded physicians, nurses, and other wellness professionals. I cook for the attendees, and while they often kindly tell me how much they learn from me, it definitely goes both ways. In fact, this recipe was inspired by Dr. Joel Evans, who is attracted to nutrition from both a scientific and an aesthetic viewpoint and loves to speak about the colors of food having a tangible relation to their healing qualities. There is a school of thought—and increasing scientific evidence—that the more vibrant the color, the more nutrition there is to be found in a food. As an ode to Joel, I set out to create the most colorful salad I could, using purple beets, orange carrots, and fresh mint. If I’d had a vegetable crisper instead of a box of crayons as a kid, this salad would have been the result. You can substitute lemon or lime juice for the orange juice.
White Italian kidney beans make a delicious, hearty base for a soup. Add a dollop of pesto and some freshly grated Parmesan and I personally guarantee that everyone at the table will melt before your eyes.