Recipe: Cauliflower cous cous with bacon

Caulflower Couscous

I firmly believe that cauliflower has experienced a renaissance because of the South Beach and Paleo diets. Both of these lifestyles embrace a wide variety of vegetables, and getting creative is crucial to keeping things exciting. In these lifestyles, cauliflower subs for starch in many different ways but especially mashed potatoes and, in this instance, pasta. Nutritionally, however, this white veggie is far from a starch. Loaded with vitamins C and B-12, it’s also high on the fiber list and even sports some protein. This recipe for faux “couscous” could also become a main course if you add some cooked chicken or ham.

Read more: Recipe: Cauliflower couscous with bacon

Wine review: Kim Crawford 2013 Pinot Gris New Zealand

One of the funny, ironic tidbits about Kim Crawford wines is that they aren’t produced by or owned by a female like many believe. The winery was founded by a super cool guy named Kim but he sold his eponymous wine brand over ten years ago (read about the history here). Quality suffered for a few years, especially after Winemaker Jules Taylor left in 2008, but current winemaker Anthony Walkenhorst appears firmly back on track with this 2013 Pinot Gris from the cool, green grassy lands of New Zealand.

Read more: Wine review: Kim Crawford 2013 Pinot Gris Malborough (New Zealand)

Five food books worth reading to get healthy

Eating on the Wild Side

I read about nutrition a lot. Almost obsessively. But there’s a good reason — the information in printed (and electronic) pages is how I learned to keep weight off and my health optimal, despite my daily food and wine gluttony. With the constant misinformation floating around our culture, it’s been helpful to read a myriad of opinions, test out theories and figure out what’s best for my bod. It has worked, so I’m sharing my recommended reading list of books which most dramatically influenced me in my quest to stay thin while eating and drinking for a living. Of course, I also gather helpful, healthful tidbits everywhere (including the Tufts University nutrition newsletter) but these books are the mainstays.

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Recipe: Blackened wild salmon with lemon and rub

Blackened salmon

Like chicken, salmon is thankfully super easy to cook. The only thing you have to be careful of is not to overcook the delicate flesh. I normally pull my salmon off the grill or pan when it’s still a little reddish-pink in the middle… it’s a consistency I enjoy. I’m also an advocate for wild salmon, and most are sourced from the Pacific Ocean. For flavor, texture, nutrients and color, king (or Chinook), sockeye and coho are all superior to any farmed salmon. But if that’s all you can find, don’t hold back

Read more: Recipe: Blackened wild salmon with lemon

In Season Now: Tomato recipes, how to choose, store and keep

Tomato Salad

Approaching September, tomatoes are coming on strong in the grocery stores and in home gardens across the nation. This crop is the #1 homegrown item since they’re pretty easy to grow and, well, homemade always tastes best. If you’re not a gardener, the rising popularity of farmer’s markets (finally!) also makes it easier to source delicious, vine-ripened tomatoes. Since these are my favorite veg… er.. fruit, I get a little excited about this. To choose the right ones and to keep these savory fruits fresh and scrumptious, here are a few tips plus some recipes to try with tomatoes.

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Red wine review: 2013 Trivento Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza

Trivento 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

It’s not often that a whole group of knowledgeable wine drinkers gasps when a bottle is revealed during a blind tasting. That happened when this Trivento 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon peaked out of the brown bag. The reason for the shock and awe? It only costs a humble $12. Yep. And its quality to value ratio is pretty impressive. As are its landholdings.

Read more: Red wine review: 2013 Trivento Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza

Wine review: Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling Wine

Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling Wine

The market for sparkling wine has exploded like demand for Bradjolina’s sold out French rosé. I’m happily seeing more bubblies now than ever before, especially from the west coast of the U.S. There are a couple of reasons why. One is that people are demanding them — mostly millennials seeking the unique and the bubbly. And two, the advent of “custom crush” facilities, now equipped with sparkling wine production equipment (a completely different way of making wine), are making it easier and less expensive to make these fun, effervescent grogs. Oregon’s Sokol Blosser has jumped onto the sparkling bandwagon with a refreshing, slightly sweet sparkling wine made with nine different grape varieties.

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Side Recipe: Roasted acorn squash tossed with spicy vinaigrette

Roasted Acorn Squash with Spicy Vinaigrette

Acorn squash is often a surprise “volunteer” arrival in my spring compost bin, when the scooped out seeds sprout with the warmth of the season. I’m able to grow a couple squashes before the plant realizes that summer heat is upon it and it goes dormant. Normally, acorn squash grows in winter but it’s available year-round. It’s a transplant from South America, where squash is abundant in the cooking and in the culture. Full of vitamins A, C, and B, they’re also rich with potassium, fiber and magnesium. This recipe takes a few more steps but it is well worth the effort. Eat the skin and all… it turns into a delicious, savory/sweet candy. The tart vinaigrette gives it a brightness that is not to be missed.

Read more: Side Recipe: Baked acorn squash tossed with spicy vinaigrette