Avocado, Grapefruit, Beet and Fennel Salad

In this polar vortex of a winter I have found it hard to eat many salads. By the time dinner rolls around I am not only exhausted but am also craving hearty, comforting foods. Make that hearty, comforting, easy to prepare foods! Most nights I have been dining on a simple roasted sweet potato with some sautéed greens…or something along those lines. When I feel like something a little more exciting I have been making a large bowl of this salad. If I roast the beets and fennel ahead of time it take me only minutes to throw together and is oh so satisfying.

This salad combines three of my favorite foods- grapefruit, beets and avocado. Throw a little roasted fennel into the mix and I am in heaven! I could eat this every night. Especially right now when grapefruits are at their peak and are so sweet and delicious-not bitter at all!

Avocado, Grapefruit, Beet and Fennel Salad

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 3 medium beets
  • 1 grapefruit
  • sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Trim the fronds and bottom off the fennel bulbs, then slice in half length wise. Cut each half into approximately 1/2″ semi-circles.
  3. Trim the tops and bottom of the beets and cut them into medium sized chunks
  4. Place the fennel and beets on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until both the beets and fennel are tender-about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Peel the grapefruit and cut into small sections.
  6. Slice the avocado into wedges.
  7. Once the fennel and beets have roasted and cooled toss all the ingredients gently in a small bowl so the grapefruit juice can coat the others.
  8. Season with sea salt and serve.
Grilled Romaine with Spicy Avocado Dressing

With a very small person in the house who needs most of my attention, dinners have been fairly simple affairs the past few months. By the time Hermione goes to sleep at night the last thing I want to do is start cooking a complicated meal. I am much more interested in quickly ingesting something fresh and healthy so I can get some sleep myself before she wakes up and needs me. Fortunately the Hamptons are overrun with farm stands selling produce so fresh it needs little manipulation from me to turn it into a meal.

I am also lucky that Doug loves grilling (is their a man that doesn’t?) which makes summer dinners even easier! Is there anything better than freshly grilled food eaten outdoors on a summer night? Perhaps if you throw a chilled glass of rose into the mix!

Grilling romaine is a fun way to play around with your salad. I love it paired with the creamy, spicy avocado dressing!

Grilled Romaine with Spicy Avocado Dressing

  • 2 hearts of romaine
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • sea salt
  1. Heat a charcoal grill or grill pan
  2. Using your hand lightly rub the outside of each romaine heart with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Grill the romaine until lightly brown on all sides
  4. Top with Spicy Avocado Dressing before serving

Spicy Avocado Dressing

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 jalepeno sliced, seeds removed
  •  1 medium avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  sea salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or Vitamix until smooth
  2. Add more water to thin out dressing if necessary
  3. Adjust spiciness to taste

 

Brussels Sprout and Avocado Salad

Since letting the world know I am knocked up I have been getting a ton of questions about my diet.  Most frequently I get asked, “have you had any cravings or aversions?” My slightly boring answer is no. Despite what a few friends predicted I have not found myself face deep in a bag of potato chips, French fries or bagels. I have not been making secret trips to Shake Shack for burgers and milkshakes (gross!). I haven’t even been turned off from my daily green juice as so many thought I would be. In fact, my food desires have changed very little since becoming pregnant. I still drink a ton of green juice every morning and I still usually have nutrient dense green smoothies for lunch. Yes, there are foods that turn me off but they are the same ones that have always turned me off- meat, dairy, grains, sugar, processed junk etc!

If I have anything at all that resembles a craving it is for even more vegetables than I usually consume. All my body seems to want to eat are plants, plants, and more plants! In an effort to change up my at home dinner routine I have been experimenting with different salads most nights. This recent combination of fennel, Brussels sprouts and avocado has been a real winner. The avocado gives me a much needed dose of healthy fat (good for baby’s brain development!), and adds a delicious creamy layer to an otherwise crunchy salad. This delicious salad is sure to be a hit whether you are expecting or not!

Brussels Sprout and Avocado Salad

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts leaves
  • 1/2 fennel bulb shaved on a mandolin
  • 1/2 an avocado sliced
  • 1 T pumpkin seeds
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2-4 drops liquid stevia
  • sea salt
  1. Combine olive oil, lemon juice and stevia in a small bowl.
  2. Toss the brussels sprout leaves, pumpkin seeds and shaved fennel with the dressing and a pinch of sea salt.
  3. Arrange on a platter and add sliced avocado just before serving.
12/20
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Apple Fennel and Arugula Salad

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband! While Doug may not be as enthusiastic about birthday celebrations as I am, he still let me organize a little get together tonight to toast him. If I had my way we would be having much more of a party (perhaps involving ice-skating?) but it is his birthday after all so I (against my will) respected his wishes to keep things very low key.

Doug’s real birthday wish was to spend the weekend with me and Maddy in Boston seeing a Celtics game, walking around the North End and watching football in his favorite Boston sports bars so tomorrow morning we are packing up the car and heading north. It is always special for us to spend time in the city where we first met (11 years ago!!!), especially for a romantic pre-Christmas/Birthday weekend. I love trips that involve car travel instead of airplanes, as they tend to be much less stressful! After the weekend we will head to his parents house in upstate New York to celebrate Christmas as we do each year.

For Christmas Eve dinner this year Doug’s mother asked for some suggestions for new, healthy recipes to include in the meal. It was very hard to limit myself to just a few ideas! For a healthful holiday dinner my favorite dishes are Cauliflower Puree, Curried Cauliflower with Pomegranate, and Truffle Roasted Brussels Sprouts. All of these dishes are easy to prepare, crowd pleasing, and compliment any holiday table. On top of these favorites I also wanted to send along a salad suggestion that felt both hearty and festive. Somehow a normal green salad just doesn’t seem right on Christmas Eve! This Apple Fennel and Arugula Salad has a nice balance of spicy and sweet with a lovely added crunch from the pumpkin seeds.. The extra dose of zinc that pumpkin seeds provide is an added bonus! If you have never used umeboshi plum vinegar I urge you to give it a try. Easily found in the Asian section of most markets it adds an extra dimension of “umami” to this dressing. Don’t stress if you don’t have any on hand, any type of vinegar works great here!

Happy Holidays!

Apple Fennel and Arugula Salad

  • 1 medium Pink Lady apple diced
  • 1/2 of a head of fennel shaved on a mandolin
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T umeboshi plum vinegar
  1. Toss the diced apples and shaved fennel w/ olive oil, lemon and umebishi
  2. Allow apple and fennel mixture to marinate in refridgerator for about 30 minutes.
  3. Place a handful of arugula on plate and top with apple/fennel mixture.
11/08
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Getting Back to Green

Getting Back to Green

Being out of my kitchen for a week is always an odd feeling. Whether it is because of a vacation, a busy week of dinners out, or displacement due to a hurricane (hopefully not a frequent occurrence!) not being able to eat food that I have created makes my body feel out of whack. My body craves the massive dose of greens I give it each day via juices, smoothies and salads. While I was able to get my greens in last week, they certainly were not as plentiful as usual.

I am lucky and grateful that things have started to revert to normal for me. Yesterday I was able to watch the fierce storm outside my window from the warmth of my kitchen. My heart truly goes out to those who were not as lucky.

Since returning home I have found myself not wanting to leave. This week I have tried to limit my outings, errands, and meetings and really focused on getting work done at home. Sometimes it is very nice to just be in one place. I have been making dinner at home almost every night this week and it has been such a treat! To satisfy my body’s massive cravings for greens I have started each dinner with variations on massaged kale salads. This recent version has a Mediterranean twist to it. The addition of capers and olives add an extra layer of flavor that really upgrades this salad from good to great!

 

Mediterranean Kale Salad

  • 2 cups shredded kale
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 T chopped green olives ( I love castelvetrano)
  • 1 T capers
  • 2 T hemp
  • sea salt
  1. Massage the kale with the lemon, avocado, cumin and salt.
  2.  Top with olives, capers and hemp seeds.
A Birthday Salad for My Sister

Happy Birthday to my sister! Betsey is significantly older than me and growing up I often looked to her for advice. In many cases she played the role of a second mother and would often try to convince me I was actually her baby! As we’ve grown up we have become close friends and the age gap seems to diminish with each year. I do however still go to her for advice now and then. Betsey always knows the best new novels to read, and the best restaurants to check out.

For over a year my sister was insisting I check out Tiny’s, a new-ish restaurant in our neighborhood that has become her favorite spot.  Despite Betsey’s promise of the best kale salad ever it took me forever to finally dine at Tiny’s. I finally did make it last spring and have been hooked on their kale salad ever since. It is really amazing, from the walnuts to the perfect maple vinaigrette. For Betsey’s birthday I created my own version of her favorite kale salad omitting the cheese Tiny’s uses and dressing it with a less sugary mustard vinaigrette. The result is a crisp fall salad, perfect for an early fall birthday!

Kale Salad with Apples and Walnuts

  • 2 cups kale ribs removed and ripped into small pieces
  • 1/2 of a pink lady apple diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  1. Massage the kale with the mustard vinaigrette
  2. Toss with apples, walnut and carrots

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 T organic dijon mustard
  • 10 drops liquid stevia
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl
  2. Adjust flavor to taste
09/11
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Remebering

Remebering

The weather has shifted. There is a chill in the air. This morning I woke up to a clear, blue Tuesday. Always a little eerie on this particular day. I have lived in downtown Manhattan since I was 14 years old and can remember the events of another beautiful Tuesday, eleven years ago like yesterday. I was in college in Boston at the time. On Tuesday mornings I had acting class at 9:30. I remember walking into the studio and hearing buzz about NYC, planes, and the WTC. Being a zealous student I was mildly annoyed at the chatter and wanted nothing more than to get down to work. A few minutes later it was clear that there would be no class that day, or for most of that week. I remember hours and hours spent at a friends apartment glued to the television. I remember desperately trying to get through to my mom in TriBeCa. I remember the relief when I finally did. I remember when the news came through that lower Manhattan would be closed to those without ID proving they resided there. My driver’s license had my Boston address on it. I would not be going home for many weeks. When I finally did you could still smell burning in the air. That lingered for a very long time.

Eleven years later I am still proud to call this neighborhood my home. If I open my windows and listen very closely I can hear the names of the fallen being read, as they are each year. I love this city, it is truly and extraordinary place to call home.

This grilled kale is extremely comforting to me. It is beautiful in it’s simplicity, the perfect dish for a clear, blue Tuesday.

Grilled Kale 
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • sea salt
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan rubbed with coconut oil
  2. Place as many kale leaves as will fit on the grill pan
  3. Grill for 2-3 minutes each side until crispy
  4. Top with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt before serving
Heirloom Tomato Tuesday

A few months ago a friend asked me why I didn’t have many recipes with tomatoes on my blog. It was April and the answer was obvious to me. I don’t eat tomatoes outside of the late summer months. Tomatoes are one of the fruits that just don’t taste at all the same when they are not perfectly in season. Few food experiences gross me out more than biting into a mealy, tasteless slice of tomato. Ugh!

As Sag Harbor’s Tomato Lady ( of the Tomato Lady Stand Est. 1973 ) says  “anyone selling (local) tomatoes in July is bringing them from somewhere else.” I have to agree with her. August tomatoes just taste better than anything you can get the rest of the year. As summer winds to an end I wanted to share my three favorite ways to eat local heirloom tomatoes. Enjoy!

 Heirloom Tomatoes with Basil and Sea Salt

  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 5-6 leaves of basil sliced thin
  • sea salt
  1. Cut the tomato into wedges and arrange on a plate
  2. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt
  3. Top with basil slices

Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Corn salad

  • 2 heirloom tomatoes of various colors
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 peach
  • 1/4 cup fresh corn removed from the cob (1 cob)
  • 4 basil leaves sliced thin
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  1. Cut onion into slices
  2. Cut tomatoes and peaches into wedges
  3. Arrange onion, peach and tomato slices on a platter
  4. Top with basil slices
  5. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt before serving

 

Heirloom Tomatoes and Avocado with Cilantro Pesto

 

  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 1 and 1/4  avocado
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a medium zucchini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  1. Slice the avocado ( reserve the 1/4 avocado for the pesto) and tomatoes into wedges and arrange on a plate
  2. In a blender combine the cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, zucchini and remaining avocado until smooth
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste
  4. Spoon the pesto over the tomato and avocado slices before serving

 

08/27
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Peach and Arugula Salad

I cannot pinpoint the exact moment, but sometime in the last two weeks I developed a peach obsession. It all started over a family dinner out one night. My stepmother mentioned she had bought the most delicious peaches at a farm stand in Bridgehampton (about 15 minutes away from me). She couldn’t recall the name of the stand but knew the location and raved about these peaches so much it peaked my curiosity. Then, that weekend at a lunch with my dad, Doug, and his parents my stepmother served some of the peaches she had been raving about. Wow! These were truly the best peaches I have EVER tasted. I had to find the stand and get some for myself.

Last week, on our way to the beach my sister and I ventured to Pike Farms‘ farm stand (we figured out the name!) to get some of the fabled peaches. They did not disappoint. I bought almost two bags full! Perfectly juicy without being too soft or mealy these were the “juice running down your chin” kind. Is anything more summery than eating a fresh peach on a hot day?

With an abundance of peaches in my kitchen I decide to do a little more than simply devour them whole. Served over a bed of spicy arugula and topped with lemon juice these peaches make a perfect late summer salad!


Peach and Arugula Salad

  • 1 medium peach (white or yellow)
  • big handful of argula
  • 1-2 T lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  1. Slice the peach into wedges
  2. Place the arugula on a plate and top with the peach slices
  3. Drizzle the lemon juice over the peaches and arugula and finish with sea salt and black pepper

 

Few meals make me happier than a huge green salad. No matter where I am eating be it at home or out I always, always start my meal with a salad of sorts. Even if it is just a basic green salad I know that I am doing something good for my body by eating it. My salads vary greatly but I do have a basic blueprint I like to follow to make sure my creation is both delicious and satisfyingly nutrient dense.

In my latest How To Video I show how I build a basic green salad base. Once you have a good base you can add anything you like to fill it out and fit your specific mood. For example I personally prefer a simple mix of lemon juice and stevia as a dressing, but if you like something a little more complex go for it! The options are endless so get creative!

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