Friday, May 27, 2016

Pesto Brussels Sprouts and Black Bean Pasta

When I decided to reduce my intake of pasta to steer clear of refined flours and prevent weight gain as I age, the main thing I missed was pasta with pesto. Although pesto tastes great in other contexts, I still longed for the pasta pesto experience. After I discovered black bean spaghetti, I came up with this recipe, which satisfies my pasta pesto cravings. I can eat an enormous plate of this stuff and feel great about having devoured mostly vegetables.


4 oz. uncooked black bean spaghetti
Water as per instructions on the spaghetti
2-3 lbs. Brussels sprouts
¼ c. vegetable broth (or water)
2 tbsp. olive oil
¾ c. pesto
5 oz. grated Parmesan cheese for topping


Trim and slice the Brussels sprouts into slivers.

Bring water to a boil according to the instructions on the black bean spaghetti (may vary according to brand).

Put the vegetable broth and olive oil into a deep dish frying pan. Add the Brussels sprouts, cover the pan, and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes until tender but still crunchy. Use your judgment about when they are done. Do not overcook. You may need to add more vegetable broth to keep the sprouts from sticking to the pan. Turn them frequently.

While the sprouts are cooking, boil the black bean spaghetti. When it is done, drain it and rinse it with cool water.

When the sprouts and pasta are cooked, add the pasta to the pan with the sprouts. It takes some work to combine these two together. Toss them lightly until they are combined. Then add the pesto and mix it in evenly. (See my recipe for homemade pesto.)

This dish does not need to be served piping hot, but you can reheat it in the pan, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, if you want it hotter. Add a little extra olive oil to the pan to prevent sticking.

Serve topped with grated Parmesan. (Hot pepper flakes are also tasty with this dish if you like to spice things up.) 

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Parmesan

Brussels sprouts have a bad reputation. Many people won’t go near them because they have never experienced sprouts cooked with love. I invite you to be creative in adding other vegetables to this basic recipe.


2-3 lbs. Brussels sprouts
¼ c. vegetable broth (or water)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large crushed clove of garlic
3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil (optional)
¼ tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
8 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Suggested other vegetables to include:  red peppers, mushrooms, green beans, red onions, chives


Trim and slice the Brussels sprouts into slivers. If you are adding other vegetables, also chop those into small pieces. Put the vegetable broth and olive oil into a deep dish frying pan. Add the crushed garlic, basil, pepper, salt, and vegetables. Cover the pan and simmer the vegetables on low heat for about 10 minutes until tender but still crunchy. Use your judgment about when they are done. You may need to add more vegetable broth to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Turn them frequently. Do not overcook the vegetables as this is the main reason why people think they don’t care for Brussels sprouts.

Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles with Garlic and Parmesan

I bought a contraption called a spiralizer and it changed my life. I spiralize all different vegetables and use them instead of pasta to make some of my favorite pasta dishes. The best one of all in my opinion, however, is zucchini. I spiralize zucchini and put pesto on it, or just plain olive oil and garlic, and I’m in heaven. Here is a basic spiralized zucchini recipe. You do need the spiralizer to do this correctly. I know of no substitute. 


4 cups spiralized zucchini (loosely packed)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. vegetable broth (or water)
1 large clove crushed garlic
¼ c. chopped fresh basil (or 1 tbsp. dried basil)
½ c. coarsely grated Parmesan cheese


Put the olive oil and vegetable broth (or water) into a deep dish frying pan. Add the spiralized zucchini, crushed garlic, and chopped basil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the zucchini is done to your taste. I like it a little crispy. Be sure not to cook it too long or it will get soggy. Keep a close eye on it. When it’s done, remove it from the heat and serve immediately. Sprinkle the cheese on top and toss it so it melts in. You can add a little more olive oil at the end if desired.

Chopped, fresh tomatoes are a nice addition to this dish. Either cook the tomatoes with the other vegetables or add them raw at the last minute. Some of my favorite variations on this recipe are 1) putting pesto on the “zoodles,” 2) putting drained marinated artichoke hearts on the “zoodles,” 3) putting sun-dried tomatoes on the “zoodles.” You can make a colorful dish by spiralizing a few carrots or butternut squash pieces and steaming them in with the “zoodles.” Thinly sliced red pepper and/or mushrooms are also a great addition. Have fun with this one!

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mango Avocado Salsa

You don’t even need chips for this salsa, you can eat it by the spoonful. The mangoes make it sweet and it goes especially well with a spicy main dish, such as beans or enchiladas.


1 mango
1 large avocado (or 2 small)
2 large tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper (remove all seeds)
¼ c. onions or scallions
½ c. cilantro
Juice from one lime


Cut the mango and vegetables up into small pieces. This salsa works well if the ingredients are coarsely chopped so don’t spend too much time trying to cut them up into tiny pieces. Once you mix the ingredients together, set the salsa aside in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes for the juices to flow.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Walnut Whiskey Cake

The ground walnuts give this cake a lovely texture and the whiskey adds a super unusual flavor. It won’t get you drunk, just happy.


2 c. brown rice flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
4 eggs
¼ c. whiskey
½ c. whole milk
¾ c. maple syrup
½ c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped walnuts

Topping:  4 tbsp. butter, 4 tbsp. whiskey, ¼ c. maple syrup


Chop the walnuts. Melt the butter. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The topping can be made later while the cake is baking.

Pour the mixture into a greased and floured tube pan and bake for 1 hour at 350°. (The gluten-free version may take a little more than an hour. Keep testing with a knife until the knife comes out clean.)

When the cake is almost done baking, melt the butter and combine it with the whiskey and maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a slow boil (to burn off the alcohol content in the whiskey) and then turn off the burner.

When the cake comes out of the oven, leave it in the tube pan and pour the butter/syrup/whiskey topping over the cake so that it soaks in. Let it stand for 20 minutes. Then turn the cake out on a plate. Try serving with fresh fruit, such as berries or peaches.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hand-Cranked Ice Cream

Making homemade ice cream was one of our favorite things to do when we had a bunch of people over while our children were growing up. We had enough people to crank the ice cream and it was heavenly. The children loved everything about it – cranking it and eating it. Here is a recipe that will work in old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream makers. This recipe will yield a little bit more than half a gallon of ice cream. Multiply the ingredients to make a larger quantity. Note that you need to scald the milk in advance and then let it cool down, which requires some advance planning.


2 quarts whole milk
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1½ c. honey
4 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt

For the ice cream making process you will need salt used specifically for an ice cream maker and a bag of ice.


Scald the milk in a large pot, allow it to cool, and then refrigerate it. I usually scald it a day in advance and pour it into canning jars. Scalding the milk causes the milk crystals to form into ice cream with a nice texture. The flavor will be the same whether you scald the milk or not. I suggest you dissolve the honey into the milk while it’s hot. You can also substitute maple syrup for the honey, and this is runnier so will blend into the milk more easily if you don’t dissolve it into hot milk in advance. You do have to scald the milk in advance and cool it back down because you can’t make ice cream with warm milk. (Ice cream will happen without scalding the milk but the texture might be less than desirable.)

Note that this recipe works fine with “lactose-free” milk. There is actually no such thing as lactose-free milk. This milk actually contains lactase enzyme to help digest the lactose. So you could simply use regular milk and take a lactase enzyme tablet. (The higher the fat content of the milk, the less problem the lactose-intolerant person will have with it.)

To make the ice cream, combine all the ingredients in the canister of the ice cream maker, insert the beater, close it up. Put crushed ice around the canister and sprinkle the salt on top of the ice. Start cranking. Usually it takes about 20 minutes to crank a batch of ice cream. When it starts to feel stiff and hard to crank then it’s probably done. You can always open it up to check and then close it up and keep cranking if you want the ice cream thicker.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blueberry Galette (Gluten-Free)

This dessert is simpler to make than a double-crust pie and perfect for a small group dinner party. For larger groups make more galettes! This recipe works with many other fruit fillings, such as other kinds of  berries, peaches, and cherries. A lovely combo is cherries and raspberries. 


1¼  c. brown rice flour
¼ tsp. xanthum gum (do not be tempted to go overboard on the xanthum gum)
½ tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. maple syrup
grated rind from ½ lemon
8 tbsp. (4 ounces) butter (semi-soft)
¼ c. full-fat sour cream
3-4 tbsp. cold water
            For the glaze:  beaten yolk from 1 egg
2 c. blueberries
3-4 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. cornstarch
Juice of half a lemon


Combine the flour, xanthum gum, lemon rind, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter (using a pastry cutter or two knives) until it is about the size of peas. Add the sour cream and maple syrup and blend in. Add cold water a little at a time until the dough holds together (but is not sticky-gooey). Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes before rolling it out.

Combine the cornstarch with the lemon juice until it is all dissolved. Add the honey (or maple syrup if you prefer). Stir together and set aside. Wash and de-stem blueberries. Set them aside separate from the lemon juice mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Assembly:  Roll the dough out on a large cutting board covered with a piece of parchment paper. Roll to about ¼-inch of thickness, or about 14 inches across. Put the blueberries in the center of the circle of dough, leaving about 2 inches of border all the way around. Fold the dough up over the berries all the way around to contain them within the middle of the galette. Pinch the dough as needed to seal the blueberries in the center. Dust excess flour and dough from around the edges of the galette. Separate the egg yolk from the white, put a drop of water in the yolk, and brush the dough with egg yolk. Lift the parchment containing the galette and place it on a cookie sheet. Pour the lemon juice, cornstarch, and honey mixture evenly into the middle of the galette to coat the blueberries. Put it immediately into the oven (before the wet ingredients soak the dough) and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Upon removal from the oven, allow the galette to cool for 5 minutes and then slide it off onto a plate for serving.

If you eat wheat, you can make a traditional whole wheat crust rather than the gluten-free version. It will be easier to work with, but just follow the same directions.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!