Uncooked Farro

Why I Make a Different Type of New Year’s Resolution

Uncooked Farro

Farro

New Year’s Resolution

I like starting the year with new goals. After the fun of the holidays I’m ready to work on self improvement. Somehow I  often find making a New Year’s resolution seems too big, and perhaps too easy to abandon. If I’m realistic, I’m more likely to stick with small changes.

Fresh Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

My Blog

I started this blog in order to share my success with losing weight through intermittent fasting. Although I only struggled with weight loss for a few years, I couldn’t envision success with the long-term deprivation imposed by conventional diets. I also found all the measuring a little annoying. Nevertheless, I make better choices, because a conventional diet forced me to learn more about nutrition, portions and calories.

Uncooked Brown Rice

Brown Rice

A Different Type of Resolution

I have always liked what most people describe as “health food.” I also enjoy desserts, pate, steak frites and cheeseburgers. While too much rich food is obviously unhealthy, the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates took me by surprise. Whole grains do eventually break down into sugar, but because they do so at a slower rate, they are significantly healthier. Replacing foods made with white flour for whole grains  was the first and easiest lifestyle change I made.

Uncooked Freekah, Farro and Brown Rice, Part of My Resolution to Switch to Whole Grains

Freekah, Farro and Brown Rice

Sugar

Most people aren’t surprised to discover that too much sugar leads to weight gain. It’s the amount of sugar in foods that aren’t dessert that is surprising. In fact many packaged products associated with healthy eating, such as yogurt and granola bars are high in sugar. This slideshow highlights the types of products that often have high levels of hidden sugar. Once I was aware of where to look, making better supermarket choices was pretty easy.

Avocado Toast with Chili Flakes

Avocado Toast

Clean out the Pantry

Start the year by throwing out unhealthy foods in the refrigerator and pantry. Stock the shelves with whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables. Plan some easy homemade snacks like avocado toast or smoothies.  Get more ideas on how to maintain your enthusiasm for new lifestyle changes on the post, 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home on The Happy Art of Moving.

Fresh Blueberries

Blueberries

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has become a popular way of losing weight. There are several methods that have proved successful. When I first discovered the concept, it was through the 5/2 Diet (AKA – Alternate Day Fasting,) This plan allows only 500 ( for women) or 600 ( for men) calories a day, on two non-consecutive days a week. On my first blog post, A Healthy Way to Lose WeightI described my experience with intermittent fasting. It works, but managing hunger is hard at first. Try my 500 Calorie Intermittent Fast Meal Plan. Spreading out the calories made it easier for me adjust. I am now more likely to use the Leangains method, which involves sixteen hours of fasting. This intermittent fast diet plan seems easier because most of the fasting occurs while I am asleep; I just skip breakfast.  This Daily Burn article describes three other intermittent fasting methods. Find the approach that will work with your life.

 

 

 

 

How to Make Delicious Hot Chocolate and Cocoa

Bittersweet Chocolate for Hot Chocolate

Bittersweet Chocolate

Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa

What’s the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? Seemingly similar, the differences are in fact significant. Although both are satisfying hot drinks; cocoa is a low calorie treat that can be enjoyed any time. Hot chocolate is not the same. Made from melted chocolate, It ‘s richer consistency elevates it to a dessert.

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is filling, easy to make, and contains both calcium and protein. If you have trouble sleeping it’s an excellent way to end of the evening. Substitute almond milk to bring the calorie count in this hot cocoa recipe even lower. There is no need for packaged cocoa mixes. Cocoa powder, sugar and milk are all you need. The biggest decision is natural or Dutch process cocoa powder.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa

Natural Cocoa Powder

Natural cocoa powder has a stronger taste. Similar to chocolate bars, the flavor of the cocoa depends on the producer. I find cocoa with a deep strong flavor the most satisfying. Try different brands to find the flavor profile you like best. Natural cocoa powder is a good choice when adding bold accompaniments such as chili pepper or peppermint to the drink.

Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

Dutch Process Cocoa Powder has a mellow smooth flavor. It is less common, but is the hot cocoa generally preferred by children. It pairs well with subtle flavorings such as vanilla.

Real Vanilla

Vanilla

Hot Chocolate

I find the rich taste of European style hot chocolate incomparable. Melted dark chocolate is definitely my idea of a decadent pleasure. Truly a dessert compared to the watery drinks made from packaged mixes. Don’t pass up the opportunity to try it at Café Angelina in Paris or Rivoire in Florence.

Warmed Milk

Milk

Hot Chocolate Chicago

Wherever I am, I try the hot chocolate if it is made in the European style. Though I’m often disappointed, I’ve found a few places that make phenomenal chocolate drinks. Fortunately one of them is here in Chicago. At chef Mindy Segal’s Hot Chocolate, she creates drinks that vary the flavors and balance of chocolates. My favorites are the black & tan: 1/3 hot fudge, 2/3 medium hot chocolate and the half & half: half espresso and half dark hot chocolate. With the help of Ina Garten I have tried to recreate her recipes.

NYC Hot Chocolate

Another incredible spot for hot chocolate is the City Bakery in Manhattan. Both the plain and the flavored choices are delicious. Their drinks sustained me on many cold winter days.

Measuring Spoon of Sugar

Sugar

Cocoa Recipe Inspiration

My cocoa recipe is inspired by a number of cocoa boxes and leaves room for improvisation. I find that a deep rich tasting cocoa creates a drink that doesn’t require much sweetening. I use no more than 1 part sugar to 2 parts cocoa and sometimes less. Also adding a touch of vanilla adds complexity to the taste. Although I often substitute maple syrup for sugar and almond milk for cow’s milk, hot chocolate drinks are my exception. I use skim milk so I can enjoy the unsullied flavor of the chocolate.

Espresso Coffee

Espresso

Cocoa and Espresso

If I want something sweet in the afternoon adding a couple of shots of espresso to my cocoa is a favorite pick me up. Since mocha cappuccinos are often made with chocolate syrup I call my drink a cocoa espresso. 

Instant Espresso

Instant Espresso Powder

Homemade Hot Chocolate

My goto hot chocolate recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It uses equal proportions of bittersweet and milk chocolate. My recipes for medium and dark hot chocolate are variations of her recipe with inspiration from Mindy Segal.

Flavorings

Chocolate is the perfect canvas for added flavors. Some of my favorite additions are crushed peppermint, caramel, peanut butter or hot fudge. I also like Mexican hot chocolate made with cinnamon and a hint of chili powder. Flavored syrups are another way to add flavor and color. They can usually be purchased at coffee bars and gourmet stores.

Winter Recipe Ideas

If you want some other ideas for winter comfort food, try my recipes for salmon with mushrooms or oatmeal with nut butter. If you have time for winter travel, consider Quebec. Read about all the fun things to do in my post, Winter in Quebec.

Recipes

Cocoa

Serves 1

2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup nonfat milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

Mix cocoa powder sugar and vanilla to form a paste. Add a touch of milk if it is still powdery. Warm the milk until is simmers but does not boil. Slowly stir the milk into the cocoa mixture.

 

Cocoa Espresso

Serves 1

Add two shots of espresso to the above recipe.

 

Medium Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

1¼ cups whole milk

1 cup half and half

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

2 ounces semi-sweer chocolate chips

1½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder

Use a saucepan to heat the milk and the half and half until tiny bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. When the chocolate is melted add the sugar, vanilla and espresso powder. Whisk until all the ingredients are completely combined. Reheat to serving temperature. Again be careful not to let the hot chocolate boil. Serve alone or with your favorite topping.

 

Dark Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

1¼ cups whole milk

1 cup half and half

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon instant espresso powder

Use a saucepan to heat the milk and the half and half until tiny bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. When the chocolate is melted add the sugar, vanilla and espresso powder. Whisk until all the ingredients are completely combined. Reheat to serving temperature. Again be careful not to let the hot chocolate boil. Serve alone or with your favorite topping.

 

Black and Tan

Hot fudge

Medium hot chocolate

Whipped cream

Fill a 1/3 of a mug with hot fudge. Top with medium hot chocolate. Serve with whipped cream.

 

Half and Half

Espresso

Dark hot chocolate

Whipped cream

Fill a mug with two shots of espresso. Top with dark hot chocolate

 

 

 

Turkey Enchiladas

What to Do With Holiday Leftovers?

Turkey Enchiladas

Turkey Enchiladas

Holiday Leftovers

What to do with holiday leftovers? For years I would pour over articles looking for new ideas. I always got good bread and mayo for sandwiches. After that I struggled.

Turkey

Turkey at Christmas always makes me think of a Christmas Carol. I like the idea of recreating a traditional meal going back to the time of Dickens. Nevertheless, the dryness of turkey demands strong seasoning to bring it to life. Stir-frying and fried rice are good solutions if you need a meal for a crowd. I’ve tried making turkey soup from leftovers, but I find it pales in comparison to the sweetness and delicacy of chicken.

Cloves and Oregano for Turkey Enchiladas

Cloves and Oregano

Turkey Enchiladas

My favorite post-holiday meal is turkey enchiladas, so I am republishing my recipe. I think the wild game taste of turkey is best paired with bold flavors. Also, no one in my house notices that they’re having turkey again when it’s enveloped in fragrant spices and covered in cheese. Although I usually rely on Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday for Mexican Food ideas, this recipe is partly derived from an article in The New York Times food section.

Avocado for Turkey Enchiladas

Avocado

Holiday Ideas

If you are still looking for an easy holiday side dish, try my recipe for twice-baked potatoes. Also for a last minute hostess gift, try my recipe for lavender sugar.

Recipe

Turkey Enchiladas

Serves 4 –5

Sauce

1 16 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes

1 14 oz. can tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon oregano

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

A pinch ground cloves

A pinch of fresh ground pepper

 

2 Tablespoons canola oil

2 cups turkey

10 corn tortillas

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese

1 avocado, chopped

sour cream

Greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish

Blend sauce ingredients to make a puree. Heat I tablespoon of canola oil to medium high in a frying pan. Add the sauce all at once and fry, stirring constantly for approximately five minutes. The sauce is done when it has thickened and turned orange.

Preheat oven to 350F. Shred the cheese and grease the casserole dish. Chop the avocado.

Coat the turkey in sauce and warm over medium low heat. Dip the tortillas in the sauce. Heat the other tablespoon of canola oil in a small frying pan. Fry each tortilla for a few minutes on each side, then fold and fill with warmed turkey. Add more oil if necessary. Layer filled tortillas in the casserole dish. Top with grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Cheese should be melted and bubbling. Garnish with avocado and sour cream.

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Avocado

Miso Chicken Ramen

Why Chicken Ramen is the Best Chicken Soup

Miso Chicken Ramen

Chicken Ramen

Chicken Ramen

Have you tried chicken ramen? I hadn’t, until I made it at home. A soup often associated with pork; especially since pork belly – filled Momofuku Ramen ignited the current US craze.

Before Momofuku

Ramen shops  are not a new concept. They have long been a fixture of urban areas with Japanese populations. I first discovered them in midtown Manhattan. As a new graduate, I was drawn by both the tasty soups, and the enormous portions. One bowl was enough for two meals.

 Spinach

Fresh Spinach

Cold Remedy

Getting a cold saps my energy.  Nevertheless I still want homemade chicken soup to take away my chills. My traditional shortcut to a flavorful chicken soup, is to simmer a store-bought roast chicken carcass in broth with some aromatics. I then add the leftover shredded chicken, steamed vegetables and some egg noodles. Fortunately, I recently tried Justin Chapple’s Miso Chicken Ramen recipe, in this month’s Food & Wine. A quick weeknight dinner; it’s also the fastest chicken soup I have ever made.

Shredded Chicken for Miso Chicken Ramen

Shredded Chicken

Making Ramen at Home

Famous ramen shops are known for the depth of flavor in their long-simmering broths. I will not pretend that this recipe competes with the complexity of those soups. However, what I love about it, is how quickly a tasty broth is created from just the ingredients in my pantry.

Miso

White Miso

Chicken Ramen Hacks

Ramen Hacks is the colloquial term for improving the taste of packaged ramen, usually with Asian sauces. This recipe takes that idea, and elevates it by including fresh ingredients as well. Miso, chicken broth, soy and Sriracha form the backbone of the soup. The poached chicken breast and fresh vegetables make it a memorable meal. Since my family does not care for boiled eggs, my hack on this recipe eliminates them, and includes corn (frozen, if fresh isn’t available) and fresh spinach. I have to admit to a certain glee in taking the ramen wheat noodles out of their cellophane wrapping and transforming them into this delicious dish.  Too bad I didn’t about ramen hacks in college.

Packaged RamenRamen Shops

If you want to learn more about ramen, and where to find some popular ramen shops read my post, Ramen: New York, Chicago and How it Became so Popular.

More Remedies

Also if you need more ideas about cold and flu remedies, read my article about treating cold and flu symptoms on 30Seconds.com.

Holidays

If you still have gifts to buy, check out my holiday gift guide. Or if you are creative, try my suggestions for easy homemade gifts from your kitchen.

 

 

 

Chocolate Rugelah

Why Chocolate and Apricot Jam Make the Best Rugelah

Chocolate Rugelah

Chocolate Apricot Rugelah

Chocolate Apricot Rugelah

With Hanukkah around the corner I am starting to plan my menu. Latkes, of course and apple sauce, and for dessert: chocolate apricot rugelah. Since devising a recipe that included the flavors of my beloved Sacher torte last year, it has become my favorite. While you may have a rugelah recipe you treasure, I am certain that the combination of chocolate and apricot jam is what sets this recipe apart. So this week I am republishing my post about it’s invention.

Holidays

My family celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas; boughs of pine, lights and a menorah decorated our living room. My mother loved bringing family and friends together for dinner and holidays. Many of the recipes I create and photograph are inspired by the food from her table.

Chocolate

I love dessert, particularly chocolate. My mother shared my passion and introduced me to the decadent delights of Viennese pastry and chocolate soufflé.

Rugelah

Rugelah was a staple of family occasions, always a favorite despite its simple filling of finely chopped nuts. The layered dough somehow elevated it beyond a cookie to a pastry.

Viennese Inspiration

It wasn’t until I moved to New York City that I tasted rugelah that included the chocolate and jam I always loved in Viennese Sacher tortes. My recipe is an attempt to recreate these bakery treats it owes a great debt to Gourmet magazine and the book Gourmet Today edited by Ruth Reichl.

Dough

Experienced pie bakers will love this easy recipe. Although I have little skill with a rolling pin, this wonderful dough developed into marvelously flaky pastry.

Inspiration

For other dessert ideas try my recipes for tiramisu or hot chocolate. If you need food gift ideas, or gifts for foodies or cooks, check out my gift guide.

Recipe

Chocolate Apricot Rugelah 

Makes approximately 3 ½ dozen cookies, special equipment – parchment paper

Active time: 40 minutes, start to finish 9 ¼ hours – Requires Chilling

 

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, softened

8 oz. cream cheese softened

½ cup, plus 8 teaspoons sugar

4 teaspoons ground Saigon cinnamon

1 cup apricot preserves

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup pulverized walnuts

Half and half for brushing the cookies

 

Instructions

Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. When they are thoroughly combined stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a 7 x 5 inch rectangle and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the middle of the oven (325 F if using a convection oven.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out the chilled dough and cut it into 4 pieces. Rewrap 3 pieces and return them to the refrigerator. Cover the work surface and rolling pin with flour before rolling out the dough. Roll out the first piece into a 12 x 8 inch rectangle. Place the finished dough on a baking tray covered with a piece of parchment  and refrigerate. Repeat this process with each piece of dough, layering the parchment papers on top of each other on the tray in the refrigerator.

Combine sugar and cinnamon.

Put walnuts in a large freezer bag. Smash the walnuts with a rolling pin or large metal spoon until pulverized.

Take 1 dough rectangle on parchment out of the refrigerator. Work with the long side of the dough. Spread ¼ cup apricot preserves over the dough with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/8 cup pulverized walnuts over the jam. Sprinkle with ¼ cup cinnamon sugar. Roll into a log using the parchment as an aid. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pinch the ends closed and fold them under to keep the filling from spilling out. Make the other three pastry logs, and place them 1 inch apart on the baking tray.

Brush each log with half and half and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar. Using a sharp knife cut ¾ of the way through the dough on an angle at 1 – inch intervals, exposing a spiral of dough (if dough has become to soft to cut return to the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes.)

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown (45 minutes in a convection oven.) Transfer the tray of logs to a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Use a cutting board to cut through the logs and separate the cookies. The cookies last well for a week if kept in a room temperature airtight container.

Foodie Gift Spark Syrup French 75

When You Want to Get a Gift for a Foodie, and Some Food Gift Ideas

Foodie Gift Spark Syrup French 75

Spark Syrup French 75

Holidays

With the holidays only weeks away, it’s time to find something for the foodie or cook on your list. Even if no one you know fits that description, almost everyone likes to eat. I am both a cook and a foodie. I find these stores fascinating. If you don’t, let me share the highlights of what I have found. Here are some ideas for both tools and treats that can be puchased online.

Gifts for Cooks

One of my favorite stores is the Food52 shop. They always have something I need. Their charming, porcelain spoon rests are a perfect example. Somehow it’s the simple things I never think about buying. Hand thrown, and available in a range of colors they are less than $25. Since I don’t have as many baking supplies, I find it hard to resist the french rolling pins at Tagain shop, The Wooden Palate  Hand turned from a block of reclaimed Atlantic City boardwalk wood, they are both practical and displayable.

Foodie Gift French Rolling Pins on Taigan

French Rolling Pins from The Wooden Palate

Gifts for New Cooks

If the cooks on your list are just stocking their kitchen, something basic will be appreciated. My Immersion blender is one of my favorite appliances. I find making soup or sauce in a traditional blender an invitation to disaster. If I don’t burn myself putting the ingredients into the blender, hot liquid is sure to fly out. Immersion blenders don’t require the hot ingredients be transferred to another appliance, an exponential improvement. My device also serves as the motor for a mini-food processor. It’s a great invention. They are available at mall specialty stores such as Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma, as well as traditional department stores. For other useful, but less expensive gift ideas for cooks, I suggest: colorful silicone spatulas, tongs, or microplane zester graters.

Foodie gifts

Gifts for foodies range from the traditionally delicious to the more esoteric. My favorite online purveyor for both, is Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI. They have the best of everything. I admit to some hometown prejudice. I am a native of Michigan, and was a student in Ann Arbor in their early days.

Foodie Gift Artisanal Chanukah Gelt

Artisanal Chanukah Gelt

Chanukah Gifts

Since I celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas. I am always looking for some new additions to our celebrations. The Chanukah gelt featured in Zingerman’s online store sounds truly remarkable. Gold and silver dusted disks, they are made from dark chocolate with layers of crunchy sea salt. Kids may still enjoy the traditional, foil wrapped, milk chocolate version, but I can’t wait to try these, from local Chicago chocolatier, Veruca Chocolates.

Gifts for Entertaining

For a truly unusual gift, give something that is both delicious and a centerpiece. A 12 – inch hand painted, artisan chocolate nutcracker made in Charleston by award – winning Chistophe Chocolatier, and available on Taigan.com. I discovered the tradition of bringing sculptural chocolate as gifts, when traveling in Paris at Easter. I think they make lovely and original gifts. Another entertaining find from the Taigan online store is their fun selection of cocktail napkins.  I’m particularly fond of their cute crawling ants. Party giving can’t be easier when you have a supply of Spark Syrup’s Hibiscus Ginger Lime Syrup for holiday cocktails. A versatile syrup, I also add it to salad dressings and desserts. Try their recipe for Hibiscus Vinaigrette on my Southwestern salad. For readers in the Chicago area, follow my Instagram feed @measured_food_lover this week for a Spark Syrup’s Hibiscus Ginger Lime Syrup giveaway.

Foodie Gift Zingerman's Bacon Club

Zingerman’s Bacon Club

Gifts for Men

If your man has everything, give him food. Zingerman’s Bacon Club  includes chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon and Mario Batali among its fans. It has even been featured on the Food Network show, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. For after dinner gift ideas, give the wittily packaged dark chocolate bourbon-infused Golf Ball Truffles from Ziva chocolates. The tasty infusion will also please both the sportsmen and whisky lovers on your list.

Foodie Gift Dark Chocolate Bourbon - Infused Golf odie Gift Balls from Ziva Chocolates

Dark Chocolate Bourbon – Infused Golf Balls from Ziva Chocolates

Specialty Foodie Gifts

Everyone knows a coffee lover. For aficionados who worry about losing  the flavor of their newly roasted bean, buy Opaque Airtight Coffee Storage Containers from Food52. I also have some Zingerman’s food gifts that I rely on, such as their cheese passports. I’ve given the Mountain Cheese Passport,several times, but I’d be happy to receive any of them. Their gelato has also been a hit with members of my family, so I also recommend the  Custom Gelato Five – Pack. 

Foodie Gift Zingerman's Gelato

Zingerman’s Gelato

Holiday Entertaining

For ideas for treats to serve during the holidays, try my recipes for chocolate rugealah, medium hot chocolate and cocoa espresso.

Inside of a Pomegranate

How to Peal a Pomegranate and Why You Want to

Inside of a Pomegranate

Opening a Pomegranate

Pomegranate

I love the jewel-like quality of pomegranate seeds. Bright red orbs, they add instant glamour to any dish. Compared with other foods that bring to mind luxury, they are a steal.

Pomegranate for Holiday Entertaining

Pomegranate

Pomegranate Health Benefits

Pomegranates are good for you.  Packed with nutrients, they are approximately the size of an orange and contain dozens of tiny, juicy seeds. Pomegranate seeds, called arils contain fiber, vitamins and minerals. They also have two two unique components: punicalagins, powerful antioxidants, and punicic acid, a fatty acid linked to weight loss. Pomegranate juice benefits include helping treat conditions that inflame the joints, such as arthritis. It can also aid in the prevention of diseases caused by chronic inflammation, such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Jewel-like Pomegranate Seeds

Beautiful Pomegranate Seeds

History

Pomegranates are an ancient fruit. They are mentioned in the Book of Exodus and the Quran, as well as depicted on the walls of Egyptian tombs and Zoroastrian temples. They are also featured in Buddhist, Hindu and European art. Recognized throughout history for their dense nutrition and medicinal properties, they have come to symbolize abundance and eternal life.

Slicing a Pomegranate

Slicing Around the Circumference of the Pomegranate

How to Cut a Pomegranate

I have always been fascinated by pomegranates. As a child, the challenge of unearthing the seeds from each membrane was part of the fun. Since eating the seeds was my only goal, the messy process didn’t bother me. I now prefer not to be dyed red by the juice, and have searched for better methods. My favorite comes from this Martha Stewart video. Following her advice I choose fruit that are a deeply colored red-purple, and feel heavy for their size. I then cut through just the skin around the circumference. I can then pull the fruit apart with out losing any of the juice. Holding the pomegranate half cut side down over a large bowl, I tap on the skin with a soup spoon. Tapping all around the skin dislodges the seeds into the bowl. When one half is empty, I repeat the process with the second half.

Colorful Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate Recipes

Pomegranates are in season from September through January. The vibrant red color of the pretty seeds make them a go-to garnish for holiday dishes. Sweet-tart flavored, they complement both sweet and savory dishes. Although I am always putting pomegranate seeds in every kind of green, fruit, and grain salad, here are some other ideas about how to use them.  I find them lovely in cocktails or mock-tails. I also mix them into guacamole, or put them on top of hummus dip. Additionally, they are delicious in oatmeal or porridge or to balance the richness of dishes as disparate as short ribs  and cheesecake.

How to Open Pomegranate

How to Peal a Pomegranate

Winter Salad Recipe

I am reprinting my recipe for one of my favorite salads with pomegranate seeds from my post Starting the Holiday Season. For more holiday entertaining ideas try my recipes for a Blood Orange Negroni or Twice-Baked Potatoes.

Winter Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 handful arugula

2 handfuls spinach

½ a Honeycrisp apple

1 tablespoon pine nuts

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

 

Tahini Dressing

11/2 teaspoons tahini

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons Greek yogurt

Winter Salad with Pomegranate

Winter Salad

Layer vegetables, fruit and nuts into a wide bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk olive oil into the tahini, then slowly whisk in the lemon juice and yogurt until desired consistency. Taste and adjust flavor balance if necessary.

Spread a light layer of dressing along the inside of the bowl, to avoid overdressing. Mix dressing into the salad.