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Posts tagged ‘Healthy Eating’

Not So Plump Dumpling

Dumplings with Winter Farmer's Market Veggies (and Siracha of Course)

Everyone loves a good dumpling, but if you’re just ordering from the Chinese place around the corner, chances are their veggie dumplings will be made with thick dough, and filled with little more than cabbage. This appitizer is suprisingly easy to make at home with store-bought wonton wrappers, and it’s possible you can even have a healthy, flavor-filled batch ready before take out could arrive at your door.

You can get pretty creative with how you stuff your dumplings, just decide if the ingredients need to be cooked prior to filling (steaming only takes about 5 minutes, and you want the filling to be soft… so if it won’t be soft (or for a protein, cooked) in 5 minutes give it a quick saute), and then give them a quick chop in the food processor. Even in the winter you can find amazing greens and root vegetables that are in season, and incredibly nutritious (and of course, delicious).

For my dumplings I used some of the amazing produce I got yesterday at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. I got Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farm. The Pioppini have a great peppery flavor, and are an excellent addition to stir-frys as well.

Shiitake and Pioppini Mushrooms from John D. Madura Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket

I also diced, and sautéed some Sweet Potato. I also quickly sautéed the Baby Bok Choy, even though it was super tender, I just wanted to make sure the bottoms of the leaves had no crunch in the dumpling.

Baby Bok Choy

While the ingredients cooked, I made a sauce based on a Mark Bittman recipe for Steamed Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai . A simple mixture of Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Rice Wine, Scallions, and Fresh Ginger this sauce will hold the ingredients together in the dumpling, as well as serve as a dipping sauce later.

I gave the cooked ingredients a quick pulse in the food processor along with a few tablespoons of the sauce.

Fill the won-ton wrappers with about a teaspoon of the mixture. Moisten the edges with water, fold in half to make a triangle, and crimp the edges just like a pie crust. To make a Shu-Mai shape, just gather the edges around the center instead of folding, pleating the edges, but leaving some filling exposed.

Steam for about 5 minutes (until wrapper is completely tender), or give a quick pan sear like I did.

For Sauce:

1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1 T Rice Wine
1 T Sesame oil
1 T Minced Ginger (or more… to taste)*
1/4 Cup Chopped Scallions (White only)

*To peel ginger try using a spoon, much easier!


I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly.

Jam and Baguette, with toasted Walnuts and Patches of Star fresh Chevre from Union Square Farmer's Market

Last night, after doing our butchering detail in class, Chef Remy gave us a quick lesson on pickling, and gave me this delicious recipe for Raspberry, Black Pepper, and Balsamic Jam. While raspberries are obviously not in season for us here in the Northeast, I just had to share this simple but outstanding jam. The balsamic plays up the tartness of the berries, and the black pepper adds a surprising bite. We sampled some with fresh baguette and chevre, which was absolutely amazing. The jam has so much flavor it really should be paired with a mild cheese, I’m also looking forward to experimenting with it with some dessert flavors (very dark chocolate?) We’re thinking of serving it with johnnycakes in our Southern-style buffet in a few weeks.

Cooking the jam...

Raspberry, Black Pepper & Balsamic Jam
(Makes about 2 quarts… easy to adjust for smaller batches)

2 500g bags frozen raspberries
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 kg (about 2.2 lbs) granulated sugar
2 T ground black pepper
3 oz (1/4 c) good Balsamic Vinegar

-If raspberries are frozen solid, heat these in a large sauce pot first.
-Add sugar while stirring.
-After all sugar has been mixed in, add the pepper and Balsamic Vinegar.
-Keep mixture at a low simmer until it begins to thicken (about 15 mins). Keep in mind that because no pectin is being used for this recipe it will be a loose jam. Add more sugar to thicken up the jam if it doesn’t reach a syrup-like consistency after 30 minutes over low heat.

-To make a smaller batch, the important ratio to remember is equal parts fruit and sugar, adjust the black pepper and balsamic to taste.

Healthy, Delicious, and Dangerously Addictive: Hampton Chutney Co.’s Dosa

Seasonal Dosa at Hampton Chutney Co.

It was a gray February morning, a Sunday. It was wet– whether it was snow or freezing rain I couldn’t tell, but I walked down the cobblestones of Prince Street hoping I could avoid a fall long enough to reach an eating establishment without the usual weekend brunch wait.

Between Broadway and Lafayette, I recognized the familiar grass-green sign hanging above the Hampton Chutney Co., and shuffled a bit faster to get inside.

The Hampton Chutney Co.’s original location is in Amagansett, NY, and while in high school, especially when heading out to Montauk to surf in the summer (or working next door at the surf shop), Hampton Chutney was always one of my favorite spots to stop for lunch. While the Soho location doesn’t have the charm of the swinging screen door, or outdoor picnic benches, and omnipresent wind-chimes– it does have the same mellow meditation soundtrack of indian chants, and of course, what is really important, the ever-so-addicting dosa.

A dosa is an Indian take on the crepe, made with rice batter and black lentils. It is very light, and more crisp than the French classic– but the inside is still slightly tender and chewy. It is filled with a variety of savory items, the most traditional is the Masala Dosa ($7.95) with spiced potatoes– but Hampton Chutney offers many combinations like Avocado, Tomato, arugula, Jack Cheese, and Grilled Chicken ($11.95), a Seasonal Dosa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Portobello Mushroom, arugula, and Jack Cheese ($10.95), they even have a Breakfast Dosa made with Two Eggs, Spinach, Roasted Tomato, and Jack Cheese ($8.95).

Each Dosa is served with a choice of Cilantro, Curry, Mango, Tomato, Peanut, or Seasonal Pumpkin chutney. These chutneys are also available for purchase, and are a really great way to spice up weekday lunches on sandwiches and salads, or even used alone as a dip. Out of habit, no matter which dosa I get, I always seem to go with the Mango Chutney. It is the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with just a little heat. With the flavors in the Seasonal Dosa, in hindsight, I should have gone for a more mild flavor, that would have complemented the flavors a bit more (maybe the pumpkin?).

Daily soups are also offered, as well as the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had (on sourdough with tomato and avocado… yum!). And as for drinks, they don’t offer bloody marys on Sundays, but I was happy with their warming Cardamom Coffee with more than a hint of spice. They also have delicious Chai Tea (iced and hot), and Mango Lassis, a light yogurt drink with mango that is a meal in itself. The freshly baked cookies (especially the White Chocolate Macadamia) where also a favorite of my friends and I, although I didn’t get one during this visit.

Any quick and inexpensive meal that can transport me back to a summer afternoon in the Hamptons in the middle of February is certainly one I’d recommend to anyone, whether they are familiar with the Hamptons location or not. With so many variations, the dosa makes a great breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack that is super healthy and offers something unique if you are tired of sandwiches and wraps. There is also a location on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue between 82nd and 83rd, and both NYC locations deliver.

The Hampton Chutney Co.
68 Prince St (Between Broadway and Lafayette)
464 Amsterdam Ave. (Between 82nd and 83rd)
Amagansett Square, Main St, Amagansett, NY

Candle Cafe: Vegan Farm to Table on the Upper East Side

Soba Noodle Salad with sprouts, shiitakes, edamame, carrots, daikon, snap peas, red cabbage, and sesame seeds with a creamy wasabi dressing

Sandwiched between Le Steak on one end of the block, and J.G. Melon (home to arguably the best burgers in Manhattan) on the other, is the Candle Cafe one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city. The cafe is always very crowded, and pretty noisy (the constantly running juicer in front of the restaurant accounts for most of this), but the healthy, tasty dishes in this casual dining spot are well worth a few minute wait.

There is one menu for both lunch and dinner that changes seasonally at this farm-to-table restaurant, but some items are staples year round like the delicious Mezze Plate with hummus, quinoa tabouli, olives, warm parata bread and homemade wonderfully tart and sweet lemon-date chutney. Daily specials are always offered, including one or more soups, a salad, and a wrap (these specials are updated everyday on the website if you’re ordering take-out or delivery).

BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potato Sandwich with wilted kale, grilled red onion, and a shallot sage aioli

There is a great selection of salads ranging from a vegan take on the classic caesar salad, to Asian-inspired flavors in the Soba Noodle Salad pictured at the beginning of the post. There are also several sandwiches, including my favorite, the BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato Sandwich. This savory sandwich is served warm, and has a great blend of texture and flavor. The shallot sage aioli complements without overpowering, and I always find myself using all of it, probably counteracting anything that was healthy about the dish.

Heartier entrees such as a stir fry, veggie lasagna, and pomegranate Grilled Tofu with garlic-shallot-potato mash, sautéed greens and crispy sage with roasted vegetable gravy and parsley oil are available and are all priced under $20.

The juice bar also serves up several different varieties of fresh juices and smoothies which are available to-go. Wine and beer is served at the cafe as well.

While this type of cuisine is not for everyone, even many skeptical friends of mine have really enjoyed the creative use of vegetarian proteins. The chefs have done an amazing job of giving the soy products on the menu texture and flavor beyond your average tofu– but the veggie-centric selection may be a bit daunting for a date with your burger-loving boyfriend (right Annie and Billy?) The smell of wheat-grass and ginger when you enter may turn some off from the start.

If you are interested in the Candle Cafe’s cuisine but are looking for a more upscale dining experience, try their sister restaurant Candle 79 just around the corner. Worlds apart from the bright lights, chatter, close tables, and hum of the juicer, Candle 79 offers a quiet, elegant atmosphere, with many more menu choices (still 100% vegan).

Candle Cafe
1307 Third Ave (Between 74th & 75th st)
(212) 472-0970

Candle 79
154 e. 79th st (at Lexington)
(212) 537-7179

The Dragon Bowl at Angelika Kitchen: So Perfect it Gets it’s Very Own Post.

Photo: NYMag

“Oh, you’re one of those people.” My Chef Instructor replied, and rolled his eyes at me, after I told him how excited I was for salad day at the French Culinary Institute. After bechamel, hollandaise, and duck confit, I was craving some serious green-age. Maybe it is weird, but by the end of the week especially, I am always craving something heavy on the vegetables. Angelika Kitchen is one of the oldest, and probably my favorite vegan restaurant in the city. With a diverse and creative menu, always focusing on seasonal produce, I (almost) always find myself ordering the same thing. Sure, it is a little boring in comparison to the some of the dinner specials– like the “Nut A-Stew About Nothing” an African inspired ground nut stew featuring roasted cauliflower, sweet potatoes, green peppers, turnips & tomatoes, simmered with ground peanuts, coriander, cinnamon, cumin & cayenne; topped with spiced tempeh croutons, & served with a brown rice-teff blend. But, still, I remain faithful to their famed Dragon Bowl.

Dragon Bowl

The Dragon Bowl is composed of rice, beans, tofu, sea vegetables & steamed vegetables; and served with your choice of dressing. The dressings include the House dressing, a puree of tahini, scallions & parsley, Tangy Basil, Black Sesame– with wasabi, garlic &toasted sesame oil, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Creamy Carrot– with ginger & dill, and Brown Rice Gravy– Brown rice flour roux with a savory blend of herbs, spices & tamari. My favorite is the Black Sesame, a really garlicky delicious mix that goes really well with the asian-inspired dish.

The veggies change seasonally, the greens are usually kale, chard, or bok choy, and last night the vegetables were a blend of winter squashes. The regular portion is just $13, and is the perfect amount of food if you’re hungry (if you’re really hungry try some of their breads and spreads). The bowl also is available in a half portion, which especially if your party gets some appetizers, is the perfect amount of food, and only $9. The Dragon Bargain ($18) and Wee Dragon Bargain ($14) include the bowl (of half bowl) plus a cup of soup and a bread and spread.

Angelika Cornbread and Tahini Spread

It makes a great lunch, or the perfect dinner– especially after the work week and sometimes not so great eating habits. My friend Annie and I enjoyed a meal there on Saturday, and she was so happy to have some nutrients after a day stuck is the office surrounded by sweets. Another plus is the restaurants BYOB policy– it makes it a great spot for a reasonable meal (that won’t bog you down, or put you in a food coma) before going out. Though no reservations are accepted I’ve never had to wait more than 15 minutes, even on a busy weekend.

Angelika Kitchen is located on 12th st between 2nd and 1st avenues. It is such a convienient location, and since I am always in the area, I stop in pretty often. Next time you’re in the area, I would make it a point to check it out, even if you are not a vegetarian, for a delicious Dragon Bowl, or any of their other menu items.

What’s in Season: Root Vegetables

Fall is a great time for food– not saying, of course, that the other seasons are not. These past few days of grey skies, cooler air, and lots of rain, have begged for warming home cooked meals, and some of my favorite autumn ingredients are likely to do just the trick. In Vermont I always looked forward to the vegetables that started coming into season right when we went back to school (and fruits, I can’t forget the apples!) But carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips, along with onions, fennel and winter squashes are some of the most hearty and tasty ingredients to work with for fall dishes.

There are many ways to prepare root veggies, but my favorite way to prepare them is by roasting them. One of the easiest ways to prepare these vegetables for a quick weeknight dinner, is to roast them in the oven with a small (4-6 lb) chicken. The best (and most simple recipe) I have found for a foolproof chicken dinner is Ina Garten’s Recipe for “Perfect Roast Chicken.” I added turnips, red bliss potatoes, and butternut squash to my vegetables. Parsnips could also be really nice. As long as you cut them uniformly, these veggies have pretty similar cooking times, and should cook evenly– so I recommend experimenting with whatever looks good at the farmer’s market. I used a Whole Foods Organic Free Range Chicken. Also, look for great fresh local poultry at the Union Square Farmer’s Market (sells out fairly quickly, especially on Saturday mornings).

I cooked this chicken tonight… but once again forgot to take a picture. Hopefully I’ll remember to photograph some of the leftovers ideas!

Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

Jeffery's Favorite!


1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Upcoming Events: Eat Drink Local Week

Click Here to find out more about the second annual Eat Drink Local week, a collaboration of Edible Communities, Grow NYC, and local restaurants, wineries, breweries, farmers, food artisans, and more. Described not just as a restaurant week, but as a get-to-know your local food market, farmer, and artisan food-maker week. Events feature locavore meals and deals, the Sotheby’s Vegetable Auction, the Stone Barns Harvest Fest, and more.

August Harvest on Shelter Island

Wildflowers for Sale on Shelter Island

Three weeks after my shoulder surgery, I am finally back in the kitchen–just in time to take advantage of the summer season’s peak harvest. August has so much to offer, and warm weather dishes practically cook themselves with ingredients straight from the farm-stand.

Cooking with one arm in a sling has proved to be quite challenging, so I’ve been sticking mainly to simple dishes, and lots of salads. Heirloom tomatoes are available and are tasty enough to sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat alone, or paired with basil and mozzarella cheese. Also, chopped with cucumbers, red onion, parsley, mint, with a little lemon juice and olive oil, a tomato salad is a great cold veggie side dish for grilled meats, or fish.

Sylvestor Manor Farm on Shelter Island has had some of the sweetest yellow cherry tomatoes I have ever tasted. They are so ripe and flavorful they make a delicious snack by themselves, or could be tossed into any salad or pasta dish. I roasted some with a bit of ground pepper, kosher salt, and olive oil just until they burst. Mixed with a tablespoon or so of fresh pesto, I put the mixture over chedder-dill buttermilk scones, and a poached egg (from Sylvestor Manor’s variety of chickens). Who needs hollandaise when you have pesto straight from the garden? For the scone recipe for this sweet and savory brunch dish, see the bottom of this post.

Carla shopping for squash and peppers at the Manor farm-stand

Besides tomatoes and cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, onions, carrots, radishes, beets, corn, watermelon, and peaches are all in season.

I bought two baskets of peaches from Davis Peach Farm on the North Fork of Long Island (561 Hulse Landing Road, Wading River, NY) and have experimenting with different peach-berry crisps and pies. I have also been making simple salsa, and hope to jar a few bottles of chutney while the peaches are so amazingly ripe and widely available. I have never tasted peaches as sweet and juicy as those from Davis Peach Farm, and they were great for cooking with– they were so ripe the skin peeled right off (with less ripe peaches you can always boil them for about 30 seconds to make this easier).

Now that I am feeling much better, expect many more updates!

For the scones:
(Yields 8 ) (Unless you’re cooking for a large group, scones get stale very quickly, and I prefer making them in small batches to ensure freshness)

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold diced butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 lb extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used a 2 yr Vermont cheese)
1/2 cup minced fresh dill

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, and with a mixer add butter and mix on low-speed until the butter is pea-sized. Mix buttermilk and eggs separately, then add to dry mixture. Add cheddar and dill to dough. Knead for about one minute on well floured surface, and roll until dough is just less than 1 inch thick. Cut into triangles, brush tops with egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water). Bake on baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes. Line sheet with parchment paper for easy removal.

Also try this recipe with other savory ingredients (cheddar and chives, basil and sun-dried tomato…) and enjoy!

Lemon-Lavender Yogurt Cake

Lemon-Lavender Yogurt Cake with Fresh Lavender from Lavender by the Bay

I updated this recipe from Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa, with some local and organic ingredients including the fresh lavender I purchased during my recent visit to Lavender By the Bay. The cake was amazing. Really moist, extremely tart, and just a hint of the sweet and herbal taste of lavender. Great for a spring or summer treat.

Lemon-Lavender Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain goat’s milk yogurt from Red Hill Farms
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs (cage free, or farm fresh, I used some from neighbor’s chickens)
2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated (zest of 2 lemons)
1/2 cup fresh lavender
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

For the glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, lavender, and salt into 1 bowl.

In another large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set the lemon syrup aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar syrup over the cake and allow it to soak inches Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Father’s Day Granola

Jay enjoying his granola Sunday morning

My dad is a big eater. He really likes just about anything when it comes to food, but there are a few things he has said he couldn’t live without. The first is peanut butter. When there was a salmonella scare last year, and peanut butter was declared the source, he could only go three days without it. Crunchy is his favorite, and he usually buys it in bulk. The second is walnuts, which he also buys in bulk. He usually eats walnuts and blueberries over yogurt as a snack everyday. Anything like granola, trail mix, or any sort of nuts and berries, he considers “bird food,” and thinks it doesn’t matter how much he eats because it’s so healthy. Needless to say, he eats quite a bit of it.

So, I thought for Father’s Day, I’d keep him prepared for the next couple weeks of kayaking in the summer heat (my dad is the owner of a kayak touring company on Shelter Island, Shelter Island Kayak), I would make him a few batches of granola using his favorite ingredients. I made a Maple Walnut Cinnamon Blueberry batch, and a sweeter Peanut Butter Banana Honey batch for a great grab-and-go snack.

My dad loved both, and I’m guessing both 1.25 gallon bags will be empty in about two weeks tops. We’ll see. But the granola is easy to make and absolutely delicious, here are my recipes so you can make them for your dad, friends, family, or just yourself! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and especially you dad! Love you!

Maple-Walnut-Cinnamon-Blueberry Granola

3 cups oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup grade A Vermont maple syrup
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 container dried Michigan blueberries (I got mine from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup flax seed oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds

Peanut Butter-Banana-Honey Granola

3 cups oats
6 to 8 heaping tablespoons crunchy natural peanut butter
1 package banana chips
1/2 cup honey (I used local honey from the Hamptons Honey Co.)
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup flax oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

for both recipes, preheat oven at 300 degrees, and cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring about every 10-15 minutes to ensure it’s equally toasted.