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How The Naked South makes dinner easy, fun, and light

There are two things I’m always looking to do to make dinner fun, easy, and not too heavy: 1. Turn appetizers into meals, and 2. Make it on the grill. This recipe accomplishes both. Anyone who doesn’t despise mushrooms enjoys them stuffed. (I’ve heard those mushroom-hating people are out there, but I choose to believe that’s an urban myth, because who could truly despise mushrooms?) Stuffed things are just superior to non-stuffed things in general. Quail, pizza crusts, stockings — all benefit from adding the word stuffed. Mushrooms are no exception. These were inspired by my love for pizza and my love for not feeling how I do after I eat pizza.

Key Components:

I’m so excited to talk to you about coconut aminos. This product is truly amazing (until research comes out that it’s bad, which is always possible).  It’s the sap tapped directly out of the coconut tree and aged with sea salt, creating a sort of sweet and salty soy sauce without the soy. It’s naturally abundant in 17 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), B-vitamins, vitamin C, minerals, and a probiotic! And it tastes delicious, addictingly so. In case you’re wondering, amino acids are important because they repair and rebuild muscle tissue, help to enhance overall brain and nervous system function, and assist in boosting the immune system and physical energy levels. Find it next to the soy sauce and tamari in health food stores such as Earth Origins and Whole Foods.

Millet is an underutilized, gluten-free grain that is as versatile as it healthy. It can be soft and creamy or slightly crunchy and fluffy, depending on how you cook it. One thing that sets millet apart from other healthy grains is its particularly high content of magnesium, which research shows can lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.

If you are someone who doesn’t consider mushrooms a favorite food, you may want to reconsider. Mushrooms are so good for you. Most interestingly, research is finding that Portobello mushrooms provide vitamin B12, which is typically reserved for animal products and is an important vitamin to include if you’re eating more vegetarian meals. Mushrooms are amazing for immune system support and are anti-inflammatory. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant boosting phytonutrients.

Millet-Stuffed Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Yield: Makes 4 mushrooms

Millet-Stuffed Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 packed cup arugula, lightly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cooked millet (or cooked quinoa)
  • 4 large Portobello caps, gently wiped clean
  • Basil, for serving
  • Toasted rustic bread, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. To cook the millet: Rinse ½ cup millet thoroughly. Combine with 1 cup water and pinch salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat, place dry paper towels under lid and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
  2. Combine tomatoes, arugula, olive oil, coconut aminos, and garlic in a large bowl. Add cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add cooked millet (or quinoa) to tomato mixture and toss to combine.
  3. Prepare a grill for medium heat. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Fill each with tomato-millet mixture and carefully transfer to grill.
  4. Cover grill and cook until cheese melts, about 4 minutes. (This can also be made in an oven set to broil. Arrange mushrooms on a baking sheet and transfer to oven and cook until cheese melts.) Top with basil leaves and serve over toasted bread, if desired..
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/how-the-naked-south-makes-dinner-easy-fun-and-light/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

 

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Marcello’s Grilled Pompano Livornese

marcelloGrilledPompano

Makes 2 servings

2 fresh pompano fillets (6–8 ounces each)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for fish
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
½ cup fish or vegetable broth
6 large Gulf shrimp
Fresh basil, for serving

Heat grill to high. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper and lightly brush with oil. Grill fish until lightly charred on each side, about 1½ minutes per side, it should not be fully cooked. Set fish aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet big enough to hold both fillets over medium heat. Add garlic, olives, and capers. Once garlic begins to brown, add tomatoes and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add fish fillets and shrimp, cover and cook until shrimp are cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

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Grilled Feta & Veggie Kebabs

grilledFetaVegKebab

Makes 6 kebabs

1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
1 lemon, zested, halved lengthwise, and sliced
1 head radicchio, cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
1 (8-ounce) package imported feta cheese, cut into 1½-inch chunks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
6 (12-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Heat grill to high. Thread tomatoes, zucchini, lemon slices, and radicchio onto skewers, distributing ingredients evenly. Place kebabs and feta chunks on a platter, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with lemon zest and rosemary. Brush grill lightly with oil. Grill kebabs and feta chunks, turning once, until browned, about 4 minutes.

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Greek Chicken Kebabs with Tzatziki Sauce

greekKebab

Makes 6 kebabs

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into
1½-inch chunks
1 large red onion, cut into 1½-inch wedges
2 bell peppers (red and yellow), cut into
1½-inch wedges
24 pitted Kalamata olives, for serving
Fresh parsley, for serving
6 (12-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, and cumin in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces and toss well to coat chicken. Cover and transfer to refrigerator for at least 1 hour, up to 4 hours.

Heat grill to medium-high. Thread chicken, onion, and peppers onto skewers, distributing ingredients evenly.

Brush grill lightly with oil. Grill kebabs for about 10 minutes, turning once, until chicken and veggies are cooked through and nicely charred. Transfer to serving platter and top with olives and parsley. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

QUICK TZATZIKI SAUCE:

Combine 1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt, 1 English cucumber (seeded, finely grated, and drained), 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.

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Cast Iron Snapper and Grilled Fingerlings & Corn Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

castIronSnapper

Makes 4 servings

2 (2 pound) snapper fillets, skin on and scored
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 pound mixed fingerling potatoes
1¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
3 ears sweet yellow corn
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Meyer lemons zested and juiced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ pound baby arugula

Create a two-zone indirect fire in grill by banking charcoal on one side. Alternately, light only half the flames of a gas grill set to high. Place cast iron skillet over direct heat on grill to get hot. Season fish with salt and pepper and set aside.

Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stack 2 large pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold edges up to make a cooking tray for potatoes. Transfer potatoes to foil tray and place on grill over indirect heat. (Add a splash of beer if you’re feeling frisky.) You want to cook the potatoes slowly then move to high heat to get some grill marks. Repeat this same process with corn. Once corn and potatoes are cooked, set aside to cool.

In the meantime, make the Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. Combine mustard, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisking constantly, slowly add ½ cup vegetable oil and ¼ cup olive oil. Keep whisking vigorously until emulsified.

To cook fish, add ½ cup vegetable oil to hot skillet and wait until oil just begins to smoke. Carefully place snapper in skillet, skin side down. You are looking to get the skin crispy. Cook, skin side down, for about 2 minutes. Turn fish over and transfer skillet to indirect heat zone. The skillet will continue to cook the flesh side of the fish.

Remove corn kernels from cobs and slice charred potatoes. Transfer to a large bowl and add arugula. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette until everything is evenly coated.

To serve, transfer salad to serving dish and place snapper on top.

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Corvina with Fresh Eggs, Spicy Mascarpone & Crispy Bagel Chips

corvinaEggs2

Makes 4 servings

4 golden corvina fillets or other white, flakey fish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup sliced chives
¾ cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sriracha sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
4 assorted bagels, thinly sliced and toasted on grill
10 sprigs tender, fresh dill, for serving

Create a two-zone indirect fire in grill by banking charcoal on one side. Alternately, light only half the flames of a gas grill set to high. Stack 2 large pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold edges up to make a cooking tray for fish. Set foil tray over indirect heat on grill. Place fish in foil and season with salt and pepper. Add wine and butter and cover with a flipped over skillet or another sheet of aluminum foil.

Heat nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast iron skillet on same area of grill. Add oil and beaten eggs to hot pan. Use a rubber spatula to gently scramble eggs in smooth turning motions. Pull pan away from grill just as the eggs set, they will continue to cook. Fold in fresh chives. Once fish is firm and easy flakes apart when pierced with a fork, remove from grill. Flake fish into bite size pieces and add to eggs.

To serve, combine mascarpone, sriracha, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Place eggs and fish on a warm platter, dollop with spicy mascarpone cheese and garnish all around with crispy bagel chips, dill sprigs, and lemon wedges.

corvinaEggs

corvinaEggs3

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Steamed Grouper with Corn, Tomatoes & Basil

steamedGrouper2

RECIPE BY CHARLOTTE ABRAMS
PHOTOS BY KATHRYN BRASS- PIPER

Makes 2 servings

½ cup fresh corn kernels
½ cup halved grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon lightly chopped basil, plus more for serving
1 small clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 (6-ounce) grouper fillets
½ lemon, plus zest for serving
2 tablespoons butter, cut into
4 pieces Crusty bread, for serving

Heat oven to 400°.

Combine corn, tomato, basil, and garlic in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut 2 pieces of 16-inch-long parchment paper. Fold each in half lengthwise and unfold. Divide corn-tomato mixture evenly between parchment, arranging along one side of the fold. Top with fish and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon over fish and top with 2 pieces of butter.

Fold parchment over fish leaving space for steam to circulate. Seal by making small, overlapping folds around edges. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes, packets will puff up.

To serve, immediately transfer packet to a serving dish and cut open releasing steam. Sprinkle with basil and lemon zest. Serve with bread to sop up juices.

NOTE: I highly recommend purchasing a nut milk bag, it makes the process of homemade mylks much easier. A variety of choices can be found online.

4 STEPS TO BAGGING YOUR FISH

steamedGrouper

  1. Fold 16-inch piece of parchment in half lengthwise. Place corn-tomato mixture along one side of fold.
  2. Place fish over tomato-corn mixture, squeeze lemon over fish, and top with butter.
  3. Fold parchment over fish leaving space for steam to circulate.
  4. Seal pouch by making small, overlapping folds around edges.
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A sandwich for Dad from The Naked South

The first grouper reuben I ever tried was at a small, homey-type restaurant called Dominick’s in Ft. Pierce, a favorite place for my grandpa to take me when I’d come home for a visit. The fish was crispy fried, the bread was buttery, it was dripping with Russian dressing, and came topped with a mound of coleslaw. It was one of the best sandwiches I’d ever had. That was in the early 2000s. For many years after that I started custom-ordering it at restaurants that had the components on the menu, but not the actual grouper (or mahi would do) reuben.

Eventually I started seeing the sandwich on most Florida-style menus with minor variations: coleslaw or sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing or Russian, fried fish or blackened. I’m not sure who’s responsible for the original masterpiece (I’ve heard it’s Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa) but I’ve gone and made my own version. Turns out, when done at home, this flavor bomb of a sandwich can be just as nutritious as it is tasty.

grouper reuben and a beer

Key Components:

Raw sauerkraut is one of the healthiest foods you can put into your stomach. Fermented foods are well-documented as being probiotic powerhouses. The healthy bacteria improves your immune system (90% of your immune function is located in your gut), improves digestion, and helps produce serotonin, making you happier too. Why raw and not canned? The high heat of the canning process may destroy a lot of the probiotics as well as other vital nutrients, so seek out raw when possible. Try Beagle Bay, Sarasota’s own organic, raw sauerkraut available at Whole Foods and Earth Origins. Adding fermented foods to your daily diet is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health.

Rye is a nutrient-dense grain with many health benefits, including regulating blood sugar, helping with weight loss, and reducing breast cancer risk. It does contain gluten, however, so if you’re avoiding gluten, this is not a grain for you. A quality rye bread is typically a mix of rye and wheat flour with caraway seeds. Most grocery store varieties use very little rye and add sugar, making it a not-so-smart choice. To keep rye bread a healthy choice, seek out a local baker who sticks with traditional methods, such as Bavarian Bread Co. in Sarasota.

Grilled Grouper Reuben

Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches

Grilled Grouper Reuben

Ingredients

    For the Russian-ish dressing:
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise/Veganaise)
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • For the sandwiches:
  • 1 cup raw sauerkraut, drained (such as Beagle Bay)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 pound grouper, cut into 4 (4-ounce) filets
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 8 slices swiss cheese
  • Olive oil, for grilling

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. To make the sandwiches, combine sauerkraut, carrot, and ¼ cup dressing in a medium bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Season fish with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Transfer fish to grill and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 12–17 minutes depending on thickness of fish. You'll know it's done when juices start to surface and fish flakes easily when pierced with a knife.
  4. Add bread to grill and toast on one side.
  5. To assemble sandwiches, spread dressing on non-grilled side of each piece of bread. Top with fish, sauerkraut mixture, cheese, and top with remaining slices bread. Transfer to grill and cover to quickly melt cheese. Serve immediately.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/grilled-grouper-reuben-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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What to grill for a long weekend in The Naked South

Whenever I contemplate becoming a sworn vegetarian, I think of shrimp. Shrimp make me happy. Maybe because my grandma (the love of my life) has a thing for them, too. And Ursula. Remember that scene in The Little Mermaid when Ursula grabs the lazy shrimp (or shrimp-looking creature anyway) that didn’t scurry away from her approaching hand and devours it? That part always made me hungry. And like many women in their 30s, The Little Mermaid and my grandma are pretty much responsible for the person I am today.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, I figured it was time to take matters into my own tentacles (that one was for the true fans) and make a grilled dish that both my grandma and I will be more than happy to sink our teeth into. Plus, Florida peaches are still going strong, so get them while you can. I’ve been finding them at the Farmers’ Market, Whole Foods, and Detwiler’s.

Key Components: 

Herbs like cilantro and basil are time-honored for being antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and supporting heart health. Making a chimichurri or pesto sauce is a great way to get a concentration of these healthy benefits. 

Shrimp are a surprisingly healthy choice when choosing animal proteins. Most notably is their high concentration of the antioxidant selenium, which prevents cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Although shrimp are high in cholesterol, recent research has not concluded whether or not shrimp should be avoided because of cholesterol levels. It is known, however, that shrimp have a beneficial ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, which is important in combating obesity and high blood pressure. Eating animal proteins in moderation is always the best way to limit health concerns. To find out which shrimp are the most environmentally friendly, visit seafoodwatch.org. 

Rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, peaches are among the most beneficial fruits. Especially the skin. This can be tricky, though, as peaches are often heavily sprayed with pesticides to protect the sweet, delicate flesh from bugs. And finding organic peaches can be a challenge. I recommend seeking out a local farmer who opts not to spray their fruit. King Family Farm in Bradenton is a good resource, but not always easy to get your hands on. If you can’t find someone who doesn’t spray, then you may want to peel the skin off to minimize exposure, or scrub the peaches well to at least get the residue off the surface. Since the season is so short, I accept the pesticide risk and enjoy one of nature’s most delicious fruits. I think you should, too.  

Grilled Shrimp and Peaches with Basil Chimichurri

Yield: Makes 2 main course servings, or 4 as an appetizer or accompaniment

Grilled Shrimp and Peaches with Basil Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup packed basil
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 peaches, pitted and quartered
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine basil, cilantro, oil, scallions, garlic, lemon juice, water, and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set chimichurri aside.
  2. Heat grill to high. Thread shrimp and peaches on grill-safe skewers. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Grill until shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
  3. Arrange skewers on a serving platter and drizzle with chimichurri.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/what-to-grill-for-a-long-weekend-in-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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The secret’s in the crust in The Naked South

Like tacos and sweet treats, pizza is a recurring item in our house. It’s adaptable, fun to eat, and comforting. I’ve been seeing alternative crust pizza recipes circulating for years — ones that avoid white flour,  gluten, or grains in general. And I’ve tried most of them with less-than-exciting results. Until now.

This cauliflower-based version is an instant favorite. Does it taste like cauliflower? Yes. Does it have the texture of a traditional pizza parlor pizza? No. Is it amazing? Yes. It’s sturdy enough to eat with your hands and the texture (because of the cheese in the dough) is chewy and satisfying. If you get past the fact that the “dough” requires the use of a food processor, then it becomes a very simple recipe, much faster and easier than a traditional homemade pizza dough. Plus, it’s wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and guilt-free. With this many veggies in your pizza, what’s there to feel guilty about?! 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Key Components:

Cauliflower is such a gem of a vegetable. From subbing for grains in salads (see my recipe for Cauliflower Couscous) and pizza to fighting cancer, this vegetable rocks.

Cheese is heavily debated in the world of nutrition. There are many reasons why people are avoiding dairy these days: environmental and animal welfare concerns, lactose intolerance, and casein (milk protein) sensitivities, to name a few. But there are also studies that suggest the consumption of cheese has its benefits, such as stabilizing blood sugar and preventing type 2 diabetes. Either way, I currently can’t live without it. As with all animal products, quality (and sometimes moderation) is key to making it a healthy choice. Seek out cheeses made with milk from grass-fed cows, preferably organic and raw when available. If you’re concerned about a cow milk sensitivity, try cheeses made from goat and sheep’s milk. 

Almond flour is simply almonds ground into a fine meal. Almonds support heart health and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. You can find it in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets. 

Garbanzo bean flour is ground garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Chickpeas are one of my very favorite foods for their versatility, protein, fiber, and positive effect on blood sugar. Find this in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets as well.

Flaxseeds are an omega-3 and fiber powerhouse, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. They also contain high amounts of lignans which have antioxidant and estrogen regulatory qualities. With a wholesome, nutty flavor, they’re perfect for baked goods, including pizza dough. Find them with the supplements or in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets.

I’ve gushed over arugula before in a Beet & Salmon Open-Face Sandwich recipe. In a nutshell, it’s loaded with antioxidants, the most of any other salad green. Plus it has a peppery bite that keeps me coming back for more.  The fresher, the better, so buy local when possible.

Cherry tomatoes are my favorite tomato and have always been the variety I most often purchase. So I was very pleased to discover that they are one of the most nutrient-dense of all tomatoes! In general, smaller and darker tomatoes have more lycopene and vitamin C than their relatives. Purchasing local and organic tomatoes is pretty important to preserve their nutrients and reduce exposure to toxins. Luckily, they are easy to find in our area!

Cauliflower-Crust Pizza with Tomatoes, Arugula and Squash Blossoms

Yield: Makes 1 (13-by-10-inch) pizza, about 4 servings

 Cauliflower-Crust Pizza with Tomatoes, Arugula and Squash Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
  • ½ cup almond flour/meal
  • ¼ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 or so squash blossoms, petals only
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese or cubed fresh mozzarella
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • Handful fresh basil, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine cauliflower florets and 1 cup grated cheese in bowl of a food process. Pulse until finely chopped and wet.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, flaxseed, garlic, salt, and eggs. Mix well until you can from a very wet ball.
  4. Press dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet into a rustic 13-by-10-inch pizza. Bake until browned and firm, about 25 minutes.
  5. To prepare squash blossoms, cut off bottom ½-inch and discard, reserving petals.
  6. Top baked crust with remaining cheese, tomatoes, arugula, and squash blossom petals. Dot with ricotta, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Return to oven until cheese is melted and browned in spots, 15–20 minutes. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano and basil and serve.

Notes

The toppings on this pizza can be changed up to suit your tastes. I designed this recipe around what's currently in season in Sarasota, but you can do whatever you want. Swap out arugula for spinach, or squash blossoms for thinly sliced zucchini -- just have fun and make it good!

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/the-secrets-in-the-crust-in-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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Lamb Kefta

lambKefta

Makes 6–8 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds ground lamb
1 small onion, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for cooking

PREPARATION

Thoroughly combine lamb with all the herbs and spices in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat grill to medium-high and brush with vegetable oil. Form each portion of lamb mixture into a small sausage shape. Insert skewer lengthwise into each portion. Brush with vegetable oil and grill, turning occasionally, until just cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

Serve with rice, if desired.

NOTE: Grilling skewered ground meat can be tricky if not prepared. Make sure your grill is well-seasoned and plenty hot to prevent sticking. If sticking does occur, use a sturdy, heat-proof spatula to flip and move the skewers to keep them in one piece.

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Seared Scallops over Grilled Cream Corn and Jalapeno “Risotto Style”

searedScallops

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup white wine (something you’re drinking with dinner, see note)
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons oil, divided
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed and minced
3 ears corn, grilled and removed from cob
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
12 (U/10) scallops, cleaned and dried thoroughly
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

Place white wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced by half. Add heavy cream and reduce by half again; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, jalapeno, and season with salt and pepper. Add grilled corn and toss together. Add ¾ cup of the winecream mixture. Bring to a simmer and reduce to the consistency of a soupy cream corn. Add cheese and taste for seasoning. Keep warm while preparing scallops.

Season both sides of cleaned and dried scallops with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat. Add each scallop to skillet and hold down for a few seconds to get a nice sear on them. Carefully flip scallops to the other side and repeat. Add butter and kill the heat.

To serve, evenly distribute the creamed corn between large bowls and top with scallops. Garnish with a touch more Parmesan cheese and microgreens, if desired.

NOTE: The chef recommends pairing this with a Sauvignon Blanc, such as Murphy-Goode, or a sweeter Chardonnay, such as Sonoma- Cutrer.

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Spring Pea & Mint Pasta with Goat’s Milk Ricotta

springPeaPasta

RECIPE BY CHARLOTTE ABRAMS
PHOTO BY KATHRYN BRASS- PIPER

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces dried Mafaldine pasta, broken in half
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
1½ teaspoons sea salt
4½ cups water
12 ounces sugar snap peas, stem ends snapped
6 ounces frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
1 cup Goat’s Milk Ricotta (or store-bought ricotta), room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

Combine pasta, garlic, butter, 1½ teaspoons salt, and water in a large, straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and continue to cook until pasta is al dente and water has reduced to a sauce-like consistency, 2–3 minutes.

Quickly add peas and stir to warm through. Add mint and toss to combine. Divide among 4 bowls and top with ricotta and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

GOAT’S MILK RICOTTA

Makes about 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

4 cups whole goat’s milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

PREPARATION

Combine milk and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Warm milk, stirring often with a rubber spatula to prevent scorching, until it reaches 180°.

Remove from heat and briefly stir in vinegar and lemon juice. Let sit undisturbed while curds form, about 5 minutes.

Set a sieve over a large bowl and line with cheesecloth. Carefully transfer the curds to sieve and let drain briefly. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

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A tribute to Sarasota’s delicious diversity by The Naked South

Growing up in Florida has many advantages: year-round flip-flop wearing, citrus and tropical fruit trees growing in the backyard, airboats, and … diversity. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Florida … diverse?? Florida may have a podunk reputation, but compared to other less-cultured areas we have variety, at least where food is concerned. Especially here in Sarasota. Our beautiful beaches and no-snow guarantee attract all makes and models of foodies, some of whom bring the amazing foods of their culinary heritage — and for that I’m very grateful.

Thai food is an example of a cuisine that if I had grown up in, say, Chesterfield, Missouri (this is a dig at my husband), I may not be as familiar with the ingredients and techniques of Thai cooking — and then life wouldn’t be nearly as delicious. This recipe brings the fragrant, rich, and healthy flavors of Thai into your kitchen. And it’s ready in a snap!

Cashew-Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl 2

Key components:

Coconut milk is made by processing grated coconut meat from a mature, brown coconut with water to extract the “milk.” It is quite rich, creamy, and high in a healthy saturated fat called lauric acid. Lauric acid is healthy for you because it raises good cholesterol (HDL), which works to remove bad cholesterol from the bloodstream and helps to prevent heart disease. Plus, coconut milk tastes awesome and helps keep you satiated. 

Red curry paste can be found in the international isle of most grocery stores. It’s loaded with a concentration of amazing spices including ginger, lemongrass, and red chilis. Let me list a few of the reasons why spices = awesome: immune support, nasal decongestant, anti-bacterial, helps lower blood pressure, and rich in antioxidants. Don’t be afraid to spice up your food!

I like switching up the grains I eat and feed my family, never relying on one too often and always focusing on whole grains. Brown rice pasta is one of my family’s favorites. Quality brands are made from just brown rice and water. If your body can tolerate grains, this is a good one. It’s rich in fiber, manganese (which aids the nervous system), and selenium (which protects the colon), and is just as full of phytonutrients as vegetables and fruits. 

Cashews, like most nuts, are good for your heart and help prevent weight gain. Purchase raw cashews and do the toasting yourself. Exposing nuts to high heat can damage the healthy oils. Same goes for cashew butter: Look for raw or lightly-toasted cashew butter in order to maintain its healthful qualities.

The broccoli, carrots, zucchini, basil, and cilantro used in this recipe are in season locally and available at the Farmers’ Market.

 

Cashew-Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Cashew-Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, plus more for serving
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini, thickly sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 8 ounces cooked brown rice spaghetti (or noodle of choice)
  • ½ cup cashews, lightly toasted
  • Gochugang (Korean red pepper powder) or red pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine coconut milk, broth, curry paste, cashew butter, and tamari in a medium bowl. Set coconut milk mixture aside.
  2. Warm oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk mixture, increase heat, and bring to a simmer. Add a basil, cilantro, broccoli, zucchini, and carrots.
  4. Simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
  5. To serve, fill bowls with noodles and top with vegetable-curry mixture. Add cashews and gochugang to taste. Garnish with herbs.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/a-tribute-to-sarasotas-delicious-diversity-by-the-naked-south/

 

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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It’s taco night in The Naked South

Tacos are a regularly featured item in my house, from grilled shrimp and fish to spicy cauliflower and corn. This particular taco recipe plays into my slaw obsession. I love slaws and how simply you can change them up depending on what’s in season. Right now organic corn from Worden Farm is available at the Sarasota Farmers’ Market and it is delicious. I’m totally hooked and having a lot of fun coming up with fun ways to eat it. Such is the case with this crunchy, very simple slaw placed on top of classic guacamole and stuffed into grilled tortilla shells. It’s the latest addition to my taco repertoire.


Key Components
 

Purple (or red) cabbage is in season right now. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s awesome for you too. Cabbage is full of glucosinolates, which studies show detoxify the body and stop the growth of cancer cells. Plus, since it’s the red/purple variety, it’s a powerhouse of antioxidants — six times more than green cabbage! When eaten fresh from the market, it’s sweet, crunchy, and guaranteed to be loaded with nutrients.

I absolutely love corn. It has a bad reputation among the health-conscious for being heavily sprayed with pesticides, high in starch, and potentially genetically modified. But I’m too in love with it to let those concerns stop me from enjoying it. In fact, I think corn’s pretty great: It provides a good amount of fiber, phytonutrients, several B vitamins, and magnesium. That’s enough for me! I recommend buying organically to avoid those pesky pesticides and GMO issues. Shoot for local whenever possible, as it loses its nutrients (and flavor) rapidly once picked.

Pinto beans (and all beans) are extremely healthy. We should all be eating more beans. Firstly, they are loaded with antioxidants, even more than cauliflower or carrots. They’re also known to combat high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Beans are high in fiber and protein too. No, not a complete protein like eggs or meat. But when paired with a grain (like the corn and rice in this recipe) all the essential amino acids are present to form a complete protein — no meat required!

Avocados are one of my favorite foods in the whole world, rich in healthy fats that lower bad cholesterol and keep us satiated and happy. They taste great, look great, and make us feel great. I love them. I have to shamefully admit, however, that I prefer the Haas variety over the ones we grow in Florida. I’m so sorry, Florida avocado growers! Please forgive me!

Guaco Tacos with Corn, Cabbage and Bean Slaw

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Guaco Tacos with Corn, Cabbage and Bean Slaw

Ingredients

    For the slaw:
  • ½ small head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 4 ears organic corn, grilled and cut off cob
  • 1½ cups cooked pinto beans
  • Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the guacamole:
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • Sea salt
  • For taco assembly:
  • 8 sprouted corn tortillas, grilled
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Hot sauce, optional

Instructions

  1. To make slaw, combine cabbage, corn, beans, cilantro, and scallions in a large bowl. Toss with lime juice, a drizzle of oil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. For guacamole, mash meat of avocados with lemon juice and garlic until smooth. Stir in cumin and tomato. Season with salt.
  3. To serve tacos, fill each tortilla shell with rice and guacamole. Top with slaw and sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired.

Notes

To enhance the flavor of the brown rice, replace half of the required cooking water with vegetable broth.

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/its-taco-night-in-the-naked-south/
 

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

 
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