I’ll admit it; I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to chili. Most people have one chili powder blend in their pantry. I have four, all of which I buy online at wholespice.com: Chili Powder Dark; ancho chili powder; Chili California Powder; and Chili New Mexico Powder. You get the idea. But my recipe tester Catherine was having none of it when I suggested this recipe include all four of my chili powder blends. “No,” she said. “I have one blend, just like any other normal person. Either this is going test well with one blend, or it’s not going to fly at all.” Fortunately, it achieved the correct flying altitude with just one blend—whichever one you happen to have on hand—but if you want all three (I can’t resist), look at the Cook’s Note. I love this chili straight up, topped with avocado-cilantro cream, while Catherine likes it best topped with poached eggs. Talk about a protein hit! And for a brain boost, there’s nothing like the choline that both black beans and eggs provide.
Sometimes it’s just fun to play with your food. I want people to eat omega-3 rich wild salmon— it’s great for heart and brain health—and this recipe is a blast. The salmon is cubed, threaded onto skewers, baked for a few minutes, and voilà: instant salmon kebabs. The Asian pesto, with ginger, cilantro, and mint, makes the skewers a kick to eat. I like this dish served with Watercress, Purple Cabbage, and Edamame Salad with Toasted Sesame Seeds. Talk about a color blast!
You know the feeling: it’s late, you’ve had a long day, you’re a tad hungry, but you’re really not up for anything more than a kitchen drive-by. What’s easy, fast, tasty and healthy? Scrambled eggs! Here’s the key to success: cook your eggs low and slow and they’ll come out perfect (ignore this advice at your own rubbery egg peril). Heat the pan first, drizzle in oil or melt the butter or ghee, then turn down the flame and pour in the eggs (sometimes I even take the pan off the flame for the egg-pouring and initial whipping phase). Do it right and your eggs will have that perfect velvety feel.
A guest recipe by Stefanie Sacks
MAKES 8 SERVINGS
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, small dice
1 very small butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded, diced small
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
2 cups arborio rice
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth, can also use water for lighter flavor
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Peel butternut squash. Cut in half, de-seed then dice into small cubes.
In a medium pot, heat olive oil on medium and add garlic onion, squash and rosemary and sauté for 5 minutes stirring regularly. Then add rice and mix well.
Start by pouring 2 cups of liquid into pot making sure to stir frequently until absorbed. Repeat with another 2 cups of broth, then a final 2 cups (entire process should take about 20 minutes). Turn off heat, add parmesan and gently mix. Finish with salt and pepper.
Reprinted with permission from What the Fork are you Eating? An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate. Copyright © 2014 by Stefanie Sacks, TarcherPerigee, a division of Penguin Random House.
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There’s something about a chicken and broccoli stir-fry that screams “Chinese take-out!” But this is a healthier and tastier recipe than your standard MSG-fest, so let’s call it “Chinese take-in.” The dark meat’s slightly higher fat content makes for a flavorful, moist dish, so people with throat or mouth issues may find it easier to chew and swallow (though if you prefer, you can substitute an equivalent amount of breast meat). The sauce is thickened with kudzu root, a phenomenal anticancer plant, which is a lot more desirable than the cornstarch found in most carry-out fare. Plus, the sauce blend of tamari, lime juice, ginger, and maple syrup is so delicious that you’ll be able to take that Chinese restaurant off speed dial.