Category Archives: Healthy Snacks

Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean And Cilantro

Photo of Lima bean and cilantro dip ingredients: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Ingredients: 32 oz can large lima beans, drained, 1/2 cup olive oil, 7 turns in a pepper mill, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

It’s a well known fact in my family that my mother cannot cook to save her life. In my fifteen years of knowing her, I only have two, very grim memories of consuming her “creations,” both of which involve eggs-gone-wrong. It will only be in times of great despair that I wish to eat what she cooks. I love you mom, but you can’t cook.

This summer, my parents opened up a bed and breakfast, “Cliff Walk Cottage on The Sea,” and I have been working on some recipes which can be served as pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres. I have a recipe for a “Lima Bean and Cilantro Salad” in my book, “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.,” that can easily be turned into a dip. This recipe only calls for measuring, counting, and opening some cans. It’s so simple, even my mom might be able to master it. Just kidding.

As Ina Garten would say, “How easy is that?”

Photo of Lima bean and cilantro dip: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor.

Photo of Lima bean and cilantro dip: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Pulse together until combined. Spread onto warm baguette and serve.

Photo of Hors d'oeuvres at Cliffwalk Cottage On The Sea: www.SATgourmet.com for blog post, "Dips And Spreads: Lima Bean and Cilantro," on www.SATgourmet.com, by author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T., Charis Freiman-Mendel.

Lima bean and cilantro dip served at Cliffwalk Cottage On The Sea.

Happy Cooking,

Charis

Book Review: Ripe

Photo of cover of cookbook "Ripe" by Cheryl Sternman Rule for book review by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."

Ripe, a PAEAN to produce, is the product of a collaboration between an omnivore food writer and a pescaterian photographer. I had to spend a good amount of time with this book to figure out exactly how to characterize it. It’s a cookbook, but not really. It’s a photo essay, but not really. It’s a handbook of fun food facts and healthy eating ideas, but not really. Actually, it’s all of the above. It finally hit me that the book doesn’t neatly fit into any once category. It’s really a love poem celebrating the wonders of fruits and vegetables. The book has an unintended, extra added bonus for SATgourmet followers: some seriously good vocabulary.

Photograph of honeydew salad with poppy seed dressing by photographer Paulette Phlipot for cookbook "Ripe" review by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."

Ripe: Honeydew Salad With Poppyseed Dressing

In her introduction to the book, author Cheryl Sternman Rule declares that being a food marm is not her intention: most likely you already know the importance of healthy eating. Her mission is to help you find the joy and beauty of produce, experience flavorful dishes, and spark your imagination to create some recipes of your own.

Photo of colors of the rainbow or electromagnetic spectrum known as "Roy G. Biv" for Charis Freiman-Mendel review of cookbook "Ripe"

Rainbow of food colors in "Ripe" AKA "Roy G. Biv" AKA the electromagnetic spectrum.

The book is organized by color rather than season, which is unusual for a produce-focused cookbook. Sternman Rule features 76 fruits and vegetables in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, purple/blue and white (which physics students such as me will recognize as “Roy G. Biv”). Each one is introduced with chatty insights and observations by the author, followed by a recipe and a “simple uses” suggestion.

Photograph of toasted edamame with garlic chili oil recipe by photographer Paulette Phlipot for review of cookbook "Ripe" by Charis Freiman-Mendel

Ripe: Toasted Nori Edamame With Garlic-Chili Oil

Most of the recipes are easy to prepare and range from fairly standard (Grilled Asparagus With Chopped Egg and Champagne Vinaigrette, Ginger Cashew Cauliflower, Peanut Strewn Purple Cabbage Slaw), to unique and different (Jicama with Peanut Sriracha Dip, Cremini Farro Hash with Poached Eggs, Persimmon Apple Radicchio Stacks). Photographer Paulette Phlipot’s painstakingly perfect images show REVERENCE for food. Have a look and I promise, the pictures will make your mouth water.

Photograph of eggplant romesco rigatoni by paulette phlipot for cookbook "ripe" review by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

Ripe: Eggplant Romesco Rigatoni

The most unique and possibly most useful aspect of the book is the “Simple Uses” suggestion that follows each recipe. The list of 3 practical uses and/or flavor ingredient combinations is meant to prod the inner chef out of your culinary comfort zone and help you get creative.

Photograph of Radicchio salad by paulette Phlipot for cookbook "Ripe" review by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."
Ripe: Radicchio Salad WIth Tahini Lemon Drizzle

If food is your muse, this is your book.

“Ripe” is available nationwide in bookstores and through online booksellers.

Charis

Thanks to Cheryl Sternman Rule for the LITANY of SAT vocabulary in her book.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Perhaps there’s no point in MALIGNING a peach to build  up a nectarine: both fruits have plenty to offer and similar culinary applications.”
  •  “Given blueberries’ DIMINUTIVE size, you can pile them on with irresponsible, reckless abandon.”
  1. PAEAN = praise
  2. REVERENCE = respect
  3. LITANY = catalogue
  4. MALIGN = berate
  5. DIMINUTIVE = small

Homemade Ginger Candy For Mother’s Day

Tagxedo tag cloud of the word "Mother" for Mother's Day blog on homemade ginger candy recipe by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Word cloud of "Mother" in 115 languages.

Handmade Mother’s Day gifts are a great way to MAINTAIN tradition while adding a personal touch that says, “I love you sooooooo much, Mom!” My mother has a collection of cards I made for her every year while I was in lower and middle school, so this year I went with homemade candy.

Photo of ginger candy on a plate for Mother's Day blog on homemade candy by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

The finished product: ginger candy is chewy and delicious.

Ginger candy is a sweet treat that can be prepared in advance and stored until the big day, which this year, is Sunday, May 13th. It’s easy to make and offers all of the health benefits of ginger. Ginger contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is an ancient treatment for many MALADIES, including digestive problems, nausea, and cramps.

Here’s a very simple recipe for ginger candy that Mom will enjoy and appreciate:

Photo of sliced ginger cooking in pan for Mother's Day blog on homemade ginger candy recipe by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Simmer the sliced ginger.

Photo of ginger candy recipe for Mother's Day blog on homemade ginger candy recipe by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

 

 

 

 

Photo of simmering ginger in saucepan with sugar and ginger water to be added, for Mother's Day blog on homemade ginger candy recipe by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Measure the sugar and ginger water.

 

Photo of sugar being added to simmering ginger in pan for Mother's Day blog on homemade ginger candy recipe by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Adding sugar to the simmering ginger.

 

 

 

Photo of simmering ginger with liquified sugar cooking in pan for Mother's Day blog on homemade ginger candy recipe by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

The sugar liquefies, reduces, crystallizes: careful not to burn!

Photo of ginger candy on wax paper for Mother's Day blog on homemade ginger candy recipe by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Let the ginger candy cool on wax paper before serving or storing.

Fun facts about Mother’s Day:

  • Ancient festivals of motherhood honored female DIETIES and ICONS
  • “Mothering Day,” the first to honor actual humans, began about 400 years ago, by DECREE, in England
  • In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson APPENDED the list of national observances to include Mother’s Day

Ginger candy tastes great and is good for you… not too many sweets can claim that!
Charis

  • MAINTAIN = preserve
  • MALADY =illness
  • DEITY = goddess
  • ICON =representation
  • APPEND = add

Seeing Red On Earth Day Means Enjoying Tomatoes

Earth Day poster from national republic for post by charis freiman-mendel, author of "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."

Go green on Earth Day and everyday.

April 22nd is Earth Day, a celebration of our beautiful planet and sustainable living. It’s a great time to thnk about eating healthy, nutritious food, organic whenever possible. In honor of Earth Day, here are two tomato recipes and a bunch of tomato fun facts.

Recipe for Tomato Pudding Cockaigne adapted from the Joy of Cooking for post by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of 'Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T."
This recipe adds sweetness to savory tomatoes. You can use 1 1/2 cups of toasted bread cubes instead of the bread crumbs. Add 1/4 cup orange juice to make it more sweet.

Tomato Pudding is an ANACHRONISM. Most people have never heard of it, much less tasted it. I got this recipe from my Mom’s friend, Judi Hirsch, who got it from her Mom via the original Joy of Cooking, which was published in 1931! The recipe is no longer included in recent editions of the cookbook. Use heirloom tomatoes for this recipe if you really want to honor history.

Photo of variety of heirloom tomatoes for Earth Day Tomatoes blog by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

Heirloom tomatoes

Here are some tomato fun facts, some of which I recently shared with “Mike The Gardener,” who blogs at www.AveragePersonGardening.com, sells seeds and offers a Seeds-Of-The-Month Club:

  • Tomatoes were declared a vegetable by the Supreme Court in 1893 in Nix v. Hedden (biologically, they’re really fruit!)
  • Storing tomatoes at room temperature preserves their flavor better than refrigeration
  • If your tomatoes taste like cardboard, they were probably picked too early and ripened with ethylene (vine ripened and organic are much more flavorful!)
  • Tomatoes are the number one vegetable grown in home (non-commercial) gardens
  • Cooking tomatoes makes their antioxidants more easily digested (especially if you use olive oil)

Here’s my recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes, from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. It works as a side dish or appetizer.

Fried Green Tomatoes recipe from "Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T." by Charis Freiman-Mendel

This is not exactly the healthiest dish on Planet Earth, but it tastes great!

Earth Day participants cooking with tomatoes can enjoy an ARRAY of shapes, sizes and color.  Sizes vary from the  5mm Tomberry tomato, through the cherry, grape, plum, and Roma, all the way up to the large beefsteak. Tomatoes come in a rainbow of color options, including yellow, orange, pink, green, black, white, multicolor and striped. Enjoy your tomatoes raw, cooked, canned, and in drinks.

Try to make every day Earth Day!

Thanks for the recipe and the bit of cookbook history, Judi!

Charis

  • ANACHRONISM = out of place in time
  • ARRAY = collection

World’s Healthiest Fruit Bowl Recipe

Photo of fruit bowl for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Healthy fruit makes for a great tasting and nutritious breakfast!

Being at boarding school makes me COVET the fruit bowls my Mom used to make me everyday for breakfast. I consider the fruit bowl my CONSECRATED breakfast. If you are SOLICITOUS about your health, then you just found your answer. This recipe will fill your vitamin and mineral nutrition quotient. Berries are best, but the fruit choices are completely optional, so feel free to get creative with ingredients. Chia seeds have lots of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Almond milk has lots of vitamins and calcium.

Photo of fruit bowl ingredients for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Ingredients: 3 oz blueberries, 1/2 grapefruit (peeled and chopped into 3/4" slices), 1 kiwi (diced), 10 grapes, 1/2 banana (diced), 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 tbsp ground chia powder, 1 cup almond milk.

Photo of chopped kiwi for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Photo of chopped bananas for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Photo of chopped grapefruit for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Photo of coconut flakes and chia powder for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Sprinkle in the chia powder, which is optional, and the coconut flakes.

Photo of almond milk and chia powder for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

Add in the almond milk... last step!

Photo of completed fruit bowl for blog on www.SATgourmet.com of world's healthiest fruit bowl, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel, author of Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.

The finished product! Super healthy eating.

Healthy eating,

Charis

  • COVET = desire
  • CONSECRATED = holy, made holy
  • SOLICITOUS  = concerned

Easy Passover Ashkenazi Charoset

Photo of raw ingredients to make easy passover ashkenazi charoset by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Raw ingredients for easy Passover Ashkenazi charoset. Aquidneck honey is the best!

Every Passover seder includes charoset, a sweet, fruity mixture that SIGNIFIES the mortar that ancient Jews used for building, while enslaved in Egypt. That’s where the UNIFORMITY stops. There are many traditional varieties of charoset, each reflecting the fruits and nuts that were readily available in the specific location that Passover was celebrated.

Ashkenazi charoset reflects my Eastern European (Polish) heritage, but our Passover table will also contain Sephardic charoset to honor our Costa Rican and Colombian guests. Sephardic charoset typically includes a mix of dried apricots, figs, dates and other fruits and nuts that are INDIGENOUS to warmer climates. Whole Foods catered our Sephardic charoset, which contains figs and pistachio nuts.

Ashkenazi Charoset

  • 5 gala apples
  • 1¼ cup chopped walnuts        
  • 1 cup sweet Passover wine
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp lemon juice

Chop the apples into 1/4″ cubes. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes before refrigerating.

Serve with matzoh.

photo of ingredients combined in bowl to make easy passover ashkenazi charoset by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Photo of easy passover ashkenazi charoset by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Prepare the charoset 1 - 2 days before Passover to let the flavors blend.

Passover is a celebration of freedom. I hope you and your friends and family enjoy your meal together.

Happy Passover!

Charis

  • SIGNIFY = symbolize
  • UNIFORMITY = similarity
  • INDIGENOUS = native

Hummus From Scratch

Photo of raw chickpeas for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Raw organic chickpeas

Canned food may be contaminated by BPA, so I updated the hummus recipe in “Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.” using raw chickpeas. It takes planning to make the hummus from scratch because the chickpeas have to soak for many hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried organic chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • ¼ cup organic tahini
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp EVOO + more for drizzling
  • 1 cup parsley, shredded + more for garnish
  • ½ tsp cumin + more for garnish
  • ½ tsp salt + more to taste
Photo of raw chickpeas submerged in a bowl of water for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

The chickpeas float until they absorb water, then become submerged

 Prep:

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight for 15 hours. Drain the water and soak them again, covered in fresh water, for 3 hours. Drain the chickpeas and rinse with fresh water.
  • Place the chickpeas in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 1½ hours. Remove the foam and peels that form and float on the boiling water. Drain, saving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend into a thick paste. Add cooking water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until the desired texture, smooth and creamy.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Transfer the hummus to a bowl and chill. Dust with cumin, drizzle with EVOO, and garnish with parsley just before serving.
Photo of raw chickpeas cooking in pot for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Skim the foam and peels from the pot as needed

Photo of all ingredients in a food processor for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor

Photo of hummus finished product for hummus from scratch recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Hummus from scratch, the finished product

Here’s the fun fact blurb for the “”Nancy’s Hummus With Pita Chips” recipe in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.:

Fun fact blurb for hummus recipe from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. by Charis Freiman-Mendel

Hummus recipe fun fact blurb

Try to figure out the vocab in context before you take the match test. The correct answers are listed alphabetically in the vocabulary word list on this website.

Vocabulary match test for hummus recipe fun fact blurb from Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. by Charis Freiman-Mendel

The vocabulary match test for the hummus fun fact blurb

Hummus is high in protein so it’s a great dish for vegetarians. It’s delicious and the recipe can be varied to include your favorite herbs and spices.

Charis

Steamed Bok Choy, Mushrooms And Shallots

Use organic produce if possible

This recipe for Steamed Bok Choy, Mushrooms and Shallots is a variation of the Steamed Bok Choy and Collard Greens recipe in Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T. No ingredient is SACROSANCT in cooking . . . you can always substitute and still end up with a great dish.

 

“Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and CALDRON bubble.” (Thanks to William Shakespeare and Macbeth for SAT vocab and to my brother Ross for helping me out with the quotation).

I chose to use vegetable broth this time

Chicken broth is a good ALTERNATIVE to my choice of vegetable.

The finished product is sooooo tasty and delicious

Steamed bok choy, portobello mushrooms and shallots can be served as a healthy snack, side dish, or, over rice as a main dish.

Don’t forget my kale chips for your Superbowl party!

Charis

  • SACROSANCT = sacred
  • CALDRON = large pot
  • ALTERNATIVE = substitute

Superbowl Superfood: Kale Chips

Photo of lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale for blog post on superbowl superfood kale chips by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Lacinato (dinosaur kale) has an embossed texture and is slightly less bitter than traditional curly kale

Consider baking kale chips if you’re hosting a Superbowl party. Kale chips are quick and easy to make, taste great and can be a healthy addition to your menu whether you’re watching the game on the big screen or at a tailgate party. It may take some COERCION to convince RELUCTANT guests who were expecting burgers and fries to go green. The ones who CAPITULATE will be glad they did.

If you are a diehard Italophile like me, you love lacinato kale, a staple of Neapolitan cooking. It’s classified as an heirloom plant because it’s no longer cultivated on a large scale. I enjoy the texture and taste of this superfood much more than the common VARIANT, curly kale.

Photo of kale chips recipe for blog post on superbowl superfood kale chips by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Photo of lacinato kale with two types of seasonings, walnut oil and cayenne pepper, or olive oil with curry powder and cumin, for blog post on superbowl superfood kale chips by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

I made half of my batch with walnut oil and cayenne pepper, and the other half with olive oil, curry powder and cumin

Photo of torn pieces of lacinato kale in salad spinner for drying, for blog post on superbowl superfood kale chips by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Dry the torn kale with a salad spinner or paper towels. Do not discard the central ribs...chop them into 1" pieces and add to your salad.

Photo of seasoned kale pieces laying on baking sheet, for blog post on superbowl superfood kale chips by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

It's o.k. to crowd the seasoned kale pieces on the baking sheet

Torn kale leaves can be arranged on the baking sheet with the edges tightly CONTIGUOUS, but keep them all on one layer for even cooking.

Photo of baked kale chips, ready to serve, for blog post on superbowl superfood kale chips by charis freiman-mendel, author of cook your way through the s.a.t.

Option: crush the baked kale chips and toss with freshly popped popcorn

New England Patriots vs. New York Giants . . . that’s tough for someone like me, who has roots in both of those places!

Charis

  • VARIANT = alternative
  • COERCION = pressure
  • RELUCTANT = opposed
  • CAPITULATE = surrender
  • CONTIGUOUS = touching

Coleslaw Is A Cure For Holiday Overindulgence

Photo of cabbage patch for blog post on coleslaw recipe and coleslaw dressing recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

Cabbage has a short (3 month) harvest cycle and is easy for farmers to grow, which makes it inexpensive

Cabbage is a superfood which offers an ESTIMABLE array of health benefits and for chefs needing to ECONOMIZE, can be had at a modest price. As long as shredded raw cabbage is used as the NUCLEUS,  the salad will QUALIFY as cole slaw, even when other vegetables and fruits are added. Prepare the coleslaw and dressing in advance of the meal (even overnight) to allow the flavors to MELD.

Photo of shredded red cabbage in a bowl for blog post on coleslaw recipe and coleslaw dressing recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

Core and shred half of a head of red cabbage and place in large bowl . . .this time I shredded by hand, but you can also use a food processor or mandoline

Photo of a half green cabbage, shredded on a cutting board, for blog post on coleslaw recipe and coleslaw dressing recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

Core and shred half of a head of green cabbage

Photo of raw ingredients for coleslaw in a bowl before dressing added, for blog post on coleslaw recipe and coleslaw dressing recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

Peel and shred 2 large carrots and combine all ingredients in a large bowl

Coleslaw Dressing:
(for 1 medium head of cabbage, shredded)

  • 1 ½ c mayonnaise
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for an hour. Dress and toss the slaw and serve.

Photo of coleslaw with dressing in large white bowl ready to serve for blog post on coleslaw recipe and coleslaw dressing recipe by charis freiman-mendel, author of "cook your way through the s.a.t."

Refrigerate leftovers and the taste gets better and better during the next few days

  • ESTIMABLE = respectable
  • ECONOMIZE = cut cost
  • NUCLEUS = center
  • QUALIFY = meet the requirements for
  • MELD = blend

Have a healthy new year!

Charis

For more great vocab and recipes, order Cook Your Way Through The S.A.T.