Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

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yet another chili oil (la jiao jiang)

May 13, 2020

Chili oil is one of my favorite foods! My two favorite chili oil recipes are this caramelized onion la jiao jiang – sweet and hot – and this dandanmian chili oil, which is complex and flavorful. Both are very highly recommended.

I can easily eat an entire batch in no time – dipping dumplings, drowning noodles in it, drizzled over congee or grits, on fish, and even making no-mayo chicken salad with a Chinese black vinegar and chili oil vinaigrette.

I wanted to try something new, so I tried China Sichuan Food’s la jiao jiang‘s recipe!

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7 tablespoons red pepper flakes (can toast in skillet before crushing)
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
1 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup more for adjusting

spices:
1 thumb ginger
2 bay leaves
3 star anise
1 bark Chinese cinnamon
3 scallion whites
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
4 cloves
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 Amomum tsao-ko ,Cao Guo
3 amomum kravanh ,White Dou Kou

Instructions

Heat the spices in oil over the slowest fire for around 5 minutes until the scallion white becomes slightly brown and you can smell the strong aroma. Filter all the spices out and leave the oil in the pot.
Place around 5 tablespoons of red pepper powder in a bowl.
Re-heat the oil in the pot until slightly smoky and then pour half of the hot oil over the red pepper powder. Rest the left oil for 5 minutes.
Add another 2 tablespoons of red pepper powder, 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seed and 1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn in the bowl. Add the leftover oil.

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So, here’s my issue. Heating spices in oil on the LOWEST heat for only five minutes resulted in very little of the spice flavor absorbing into the oil! I definitely recommend the method from the dan dan noodles chili oil, which first requires the oil to get up to temperature (on medium-low, not low heat) before adding the spices.

Next time, I will combine these recipes – using the extra spices like cumin, fennel, clove, and bay, but using the dandan chili oil method.

Of course, this chili oil is good – All Chili Oil is Beautiful – but my next plan is to combine all these chili oils into one perfect recipe. Complex from the Chinese five spice kick, super numbing (this chili oil calls for only 1/4t. Sichuan peppercorns, when this one calls for TWO TABLESPOONS,) and highly potent.

Stay tuned for the ultimate chili oil recipe – I’ll develop a recipe once I run out of this huge batch!

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saliva chicken (kou shui ji)

May 1, 2020

NO, there is NO spit in this!

“Mouthwatering” and “saliva” definitely don’t have the same connotation in English.

Literal translations are great.

Don’t be turned off by the name. Call it MOUTHWATERING CHICKEN if you prefer. If you like the combination of savory, sweet, sour, and spicy in your Chinese food, this is DEFINITELY a recipe to try!

Without a doubt my new favorite chicken salad…. and NO mayonnaise! Adding this to my “rotation” tag! Thanks to the mala market for this fantastic recipe.

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2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
chili oil (with lots of flakes)**
4 tablespoons chicken juices from steaming, cooled
3 tablespoons Zhenjiang rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese sesame paste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sichuan pepper oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper (see note)
Garnish of crushed roasted peanuts, roasted sesame seeds and scallion

– Prepare chicken however you like. Traditionally, you would pour Shaoxing wine, grated ginger, and salt over the chicken, and steam for thirty minutes. (I reseasoned my cast iron, so I roasted it on super high heat with Shaoxing wine.)

– Mix together the ingredients for the sauce: chili oil with flakes, chicken juices, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame paste, sesame oil, Sichuan pepper oil and ground Sichuan pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.

– Pour sauce over cold chicken. I served this with Chinese style rice noodles, like a cold chicken and pasta salad.

** quantity of chili oil depends heavily on how spicy your batch is! If you’re using a mild chili oil from a bottle, you could probably add the half-cup this recipe initially called for. I used my own extremely spicy homemade chili oil, and a quarter-cup was more than sufficient!

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another winning recipe from the mala market (and adapted by siggi at friedsig)

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Something about the toasted sesame paste combined with chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns is… well… mouthwatering. Literally. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

Chicken salads are great for so many reasons. Great for meal prep – it keeps well in the fridge, and travels well to work or school. Chicken is a very affordable source of protein. & my favorite reason – chicken salads are SO adaptable. Mayo, plain yogurt, leftover vinaigrette, chili oil…. dried or fresh fruit… seeds, nuts… a great way to use up the last pinch of something in your pantry. Plus, who doesn’t love having a backup meal in your fridge for those days you suddenly realize you only have twenty minutes before you have to leave the house?

If you prefer a more American style chicken salad, can I recommend this extremely popular and healthy chicken salad with spinach, apple, and dill?

If you hate healthy, this honey mustard chicken salad is just like the one from the deli section of the grocery store!

If you’re dairy-free, but don’t like chili oil, try this dairy-free coconut lime cilantro chicken salad: extremely creamy and rich, and very popular with my friends’ kids!

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roasted poblano and white bean soup

February 20, 2020

This recipe, from Rhubarb and Cod, is definitely my favorite new vegan recipe. It may not be a traditional Mexican soup, but it takes a LOT less time than traditional Mexican soups like menudo – and it can easily be made vegan!

Here’s my version, with LOTS of alterations – some due to cost, some to cut the prep time, and some just for my preferences in taste. Add any soup veggie to this (or anything that looks sad in the bottom of your produce drawer.) Anything from fennel root to potatoes would be delicious in this!

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3 poblanos (one or two if they’re spicy and fresh)

half a large onion
a few cloves of roasted or raw garlic
whatever veg you have in the house (carrots, celery, etc.)
half a can of corn, drained
white beans (two small cans, or about a cup of dried beans simmered in garlic and onion and stock. either way, use about 3c. cooked beans.)
a few fistfuls of spinach

spices, to taste:
smoked paprika
mexican oregano (you can sub marjoram or regular oregano)
cumin
coriander
cayenne or chipotle if your poblanos are mild
salt

vegetable or chicken stock

honey (opt.)

topping:
fresh lime juice
raw cilantro (opt.)
hot sauce (opt.)
goat cheese or plain yogurt (opt.)

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first, blister your poblano(s). grill them on a high heat, lay them directly on the burner of your gas stove, or roast at the highest heat in your oven. whichever method you choose, make sure that the skin is jet black. it should look worryingly blackened. rub off the black flakes – run under water if it’s taking too long.

in a soup pot, get some onions (and any hard veggies, like carrots) started over medium heat with whatever fat or oil you like for soups. olive oil, coconut oil, whatever.

when soft or caramelized, add any smaller or softer veggies, like corn, garlic, etc.

when everything looks great, add stock or broth, spices and herbs, and the cooked white beans.

taste it. if it’s great, add it all to a blender with the raw spinach and everything else. if you don’t like a blended soup (or don’t want to clean your blender, or don’t actually own a blender,) just leave it chunky! if you don’t have a blender, you can also mash the beans with a fork before adding.

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the original recipe is quite labor-intensive. roast canned corn? who has time for that?

this version was still delicious with much less hassle.

HIGHLY recommended!

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chinese twice-cooked fish

October 15, 2019

Craving some Chinese restaurant food? This uses only a few ingredients, but since they are fermented, the flavor is complex. Great, simple way to cook some fresh fish. Recipe by by Elaine, loosely based on a twice-cooked pork recipe.

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marinade:
1 fish fillet, around 600 grams
1 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
a little shredded ginger – original calls for “5-6 sheds”(?)
cornstarch for coating

stir-fry:
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 tbsp. red bean paste (doubanjiang)
1 tbsp. fermented black beans (dou-chi)
1 thumb ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chili pepper, shredded
scallions or garlic chives (one or two, or more to taste)
1 tbsp. light soy sauce

1. Cut the fish into pieces around 2cm thick. Add cooking wine, ginger shreds, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Set aside and marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle corn starch over fish – she suggests 1/4 c – until coated. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, until corn starch gets gummy.

3. Add 1/4 cup of oil to a pan or wok on medium-high heat, and shallow fry the fish pieces until golden brown on surface. Move fish to plate; keep pan on heat.

4. Leave around 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, turn down heat, and fry doubanjiang for 1 minute until the red turns red. Add garlic, ginger and dou-chi and fry until aromatic.

5. Place chili peppers, scallion sections and garlic sprouts in. Fry until almost soft and return the fish, add light soy sauce and salt. Mix well. Serve immediately.

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recipe by china sichuan food and adapted by me, friedsig

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I love how this still allows some fish flavor to come through – it’s not deep-fried – and the shallow pan-fry allows the fish to stay moist and not overcook. The flavor isn’t exactly subtle, depending on your doubanjiang and other ingredients, so it’s nowhere near bland. Just right. (If you have some nasty frozen fish with a bad flavor, you may want to try something like fish cakes. If you’re set on this dish, though, you could probably beef up the flavor of this dish with chili oil, more scallions or garlic chives, more garlic, and more bean paste.) I splurged on some fresh lake trout, and still got plenty of fresh fish flavor since I reduced the chili and scallions. I also removed all the salt in the recipe because the ingredients are way more than salty enough for me, but of course, if you like it salty, add a pinch of salt.

Definitely recommended if you want something straddling the line between “healthy” and “fried”. Another keeper from Elaine!

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pan-roasted juniper and garlic brined pork chop

October 8, 2019

Pork chops are perfect seared off with just salt and pepper in a pan. However, if you want to boost the flavor of a pork chop with some sauerbraten-inspired spices, brining is an easy overnight treatment.

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Make the brine! Combine water with salt, sugar, a teaspoon of juniper berries, a pinch of whole black peppercorns, and a few cloves of raw garlic sliced in half. You can add a pinch of whole coriander seeds and allspice berries, and a few sprigs of thyme if you have them. I added some fennel seeds, too.

Heat in saucepan til simmering, then shut off heat.

When cool, pour over pork chops. refrigerate marinated pork chops 8-12 hrs.

The next day, preheat pan with grease or oil on stove top. If chops are thick, preheat oven, too, to 450.

Pan-sear dried chops over medium-high heat until pork chops develop some nice caramelization. Just a few minutes. turn up the heat if they turn gray instead of brown. If the chops are very thick, leave chops in pan and shove them in the oven for a few minutes or until they register at a temperature you’re comfortable with. Thin chops will easily reach a safe temperature on the stove in no time – don’t overcook.

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recipe by Brian Leth, from bon appetit, adapted here by friedsig

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The brine definitely flavored the pork chop. I would do this again. Served with cast-iron roasted fennel root and apple with caramelized onion and sage. Definitely tastes like fall. Sweet, comforting, and just complex enough. Has a subtle gin/sauerbraten flavor from the juniper and spices.

This adds some really nice German flavors to your Oktoberfest meal. Lower in sodium than knackwurst or brats, and (at least in my area) way more affordable. Don’t forget the Black Forest sweet-and-sour red cabbage or sweet-and-sour beet salad, German-style potato salad, and some good carbs like knäckerbrot and soft pretzels.

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fresh fennel and cucumber salad in yogurt sauce

September 26, 2019

One of my new favorite salads!

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fresh cucumber, chopped into bite-sized pieces
minced fresh fennel leaves

plain unsweetened yogurt
minced or jarred horseradish
fresh lemon or lime juice and/or zest
minced garlic
pinch of sugar (optional)
salt and pepper

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original recipe by cooking light and adapted by friedsig

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Experimenting a lot with fennel this week, after scoring a giant fennel root with tons of plant still attached. This was my favorite of all those recipes! This sweet horseradish yogurt dressing is addictive. My other favorite was the roast chicken with roasted fennel root and caramelized onion and garlic in a white wine and dijon sauce. Great fall recipe. The miso-sesame fennel salad is definitely decent, but I like how fresh and crisp the fennel stayed in the yogurt sauce compared with the miso-sesame.

Anyway – highly recommended.

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If you like a cucumber salad, try some of my other favorite cucumber recipes: a flavorful vegan charred onion and cucumber salad, a spicy sichuan cucumber salad, or a summery cucumber, lime, and mint salad

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lu rou fan (滷肉饭, Taiwanese braised pork belly)

August 23, 2019

One of the absolute best recipes of the year. Maybe the best pork belly of all-time? I love you, Woks of Life!

1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 oz. rock sugar (or about 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar) (or less is fine, too!)
1 small onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
8 shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 cups water
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

whole spices:
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 pieces dried tangerine peel
2 slices fresh ginger

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1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and blanch the chopped pork belly for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over low heat, and add the sugar. Cook the sugar until it starts to melt and then add the onions. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the onions for a minute. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another couple minutes.

3. Add the blanched pork, shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices (which should be tied in cheese cloth), along with the peeled hardboiled eggs and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

4. At this point the meat should be fall-apart tender. To finish the dish, remove the spice packet and turn up the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. This process should take about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but there should still be plenty of it left. Serve over steamed white rice.

by Judy @ the Woks of Life

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These flavors are so complex! The chewy shiitake texture was amazing with the melty sweet pork belly. We ate a ton of this with hot chili oil and rice. The flavors build and layer with every bite! Although these are traditional “five-spice” flavors, it tastes completely different than a five-spice powder without the fennel. It’s really its own unique flavor. The sauce came out thin, since we used low-salt tamari instead of thick dark soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar instead of rock sugar. Still amazing, even without the thick, sweet sauce. Without question a highly recommended dish.

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roasted tomato gazpacho

July 16, 2019

Roasting fresh summer tomatoes makes their flavor even more complex. If you have some sweet, one-note tomatoes, roasting them adds depth. Gazpacho adds everything a sweet tomato needs – acidity, and a little garlic and herb flavor.

If you are thinking, “Haven’t you already posted about roasting tomatoes?” – well, technically, yes, I posted a roasted tomato dip in 2011. This gazpacho is like a yogurt-free version of that dip that celebrates bright summer flavors.

Gazpacho is like salsa – everyone does it differently. BA’s recipe calls for shallots; Alton Brown’s calls for tomato juice and lime juice; Barefoot Contessa’s is mostly cucumber; Andrew Zimmern’s calls for a ton of Worcestershire.

Bloggers put everything from mango, to celery and sugar, to cumin, to a huge jalapeño in theirs.

I know everyone likes it chunky, but I’m tagging this with “soft foods” because I prefer a totally blended gazpacho. It’s such a refreshing incredible summer sipper.

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– a few pounds of sweet and acidic tomatoes
– a clove (two if they are small) of garlic
– sweet and/or hot peppers (optional)
roast above on 450 til roasty

cool, peel, then add to blender or giant mortar and pestle) with:
– splash of olive oil
– splash of Worcestershire
– half a cucumber (optional)
– red wine vinegar and/or lemon juice (any sour will do)
– whatever fresh herbs you have in the house (highly recommend fresh basil, dill, chives, and thyme, if you have it!)
– pinch of salt and pepper
– (optional, bloody mary style) a little grated horseradish, tabasco or other vinegary hot sauce, and extra splash of Worcestershire sauce

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recipe by friedsig, based on recipes from rozanne gold and food network magazine

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turkish-style braised eggplant

July 8, 2019

Craving something sweet, healthy, and vegan?

1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large tomato, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
¼ cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
black pepper
½ cup roughly chopped dill
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
pinch of sugar (optional) 1 teaspoon sugar (optional – the raisins make it very sweet!)
Thick yogurt, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Trim ends off the eggplant. With a vegetable peeler, cut off alternating strips of skin. Cut eggplant into 1-inch cubes, place in a colander over a large bowl and toss with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to 3 hours, rinse well and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible; do not break cubes up.

2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant cubes and move them around occasionally, until they are rather tender and somewhat browned, about 7 minutes. Remove from the pan with tongs, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan. Set aside.

3. Add remaining oil to the pan with the onions and pine nuts and stir occasionally, until the onions are transparent and some pine nuts are lightly browned, 7 or 8 minutes.

4. Return eggplant to the pan with the tomato, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, cumin and pepper. Mix well, then turn heat to low. Cover the pan and cook until the eggplant is very tender but still in distinct pieces, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring once or twice, until the liquid is somewhat thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from heat and let sit uncovered until it is at room temperature, about 45 minutes. Stir in the dill and parsley, adjust the seasonings to taste and serve, accompanied by yogurt and lemon wedges for squeezing.

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recipe by John Willoughby at the NYT

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I am firmly in the camp of people who never bothers to pan-fry eggplant. Why pan-fry, wasting all that time, when the eggplant just absorbs the oil? This method definitely worked, although the “7 minute pan-fry” was more like 17. The raisins and pine nuts meld perfectly with the other flavors. I cheaped out and skipped the dill and parsley, and it was still good. You can replace the pine nuts with lightly smashed walnuts or even peanuts. Even just a pared-down version of this – pinch of sugar and raisins, tons of eggplant and onions, a few nuts, fresh tomato, cinnamon, and cumin – would be incredible.

The salt cure really extracts a lot of the bitterness, but then again, I used super fresh eggplant from the farmers market that was nowhere near as bitter as the supermarket stuff. I think next time I’ll just roast the eggplant. It’ll turn the dish into more of an eggplant dip than distinct cubes of eggplant, but who cares? It’s easy.

Ended up eating this throughout the week as a dip with crackers, and had no problem finishing the whole thing.

Adding this one to my favorite aubergine / eggplant recipes. If you like the kick of sweetness to balance out the bitterness of the eggplant, this is in the top 3 that I would recommend, along with sweet and sour Indian eggplant, or Georgian-style eggplant stuffed with carrot and parsnip

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persian chopped salad

April 15, 2019

Shirazi salad, also known as Persian chopped salad, is an amazing bright, fresh, and summery vegan treat. It doesn’t get much healthier than this raw crunchy salad.

The only necessary ingredients here are a veggie or two, lemon or lime juice, and something herby. It’s too early in the season here for fresh garden herbs, but dry mint was great in this!

Chop any combination of the following:
raw fresh cucumbers
raw fresh tomatoes
raw onion
raw garlic
fresh hot chili pepper
fresh herbs like mint, parsley, or cilantro

Add chickpeas if you like. (I do!)

Dress with lemon or lime juice, and any combination of salt and pepper, dry or fresh mint, dry or fresh dill, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

(If you’re leaving out the fresh herbs, make sure to add extra citrus, and some dried herbs like dill-and-garlic seasoning or capitol hill blend!

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recipe adapted from a variety of sources, including Persian mama and Cleveland clinic.

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Similar to a fattoush or “Israeli salad” – this infinitely adaptable salad goes with everything. I highly recommend the chickpeas. Chickpeas add an interesting texture, and lots of protein and fiber!

If you like spicy, Sichuan cucumber salad is your best bet. But what if you want something clean and fresh, not doused in spicy oil? The dry mint in this recipe makes it super refreshing.

This is basically a textbook example of a “detox meal” – something that makes you feel alive again after a winter of eating junk food like super-greasy crispy fried tofu. Easy to make low-sodium, great for a potluck, and a great way to use local veggies from your backyard garden or your farmers’ market.

It doesn’t get much healthier than this!