Behold the cranberry, a beautiful little berry that beckons with its deep red color, petite shape and merry, seasonal presence. It’s hard not to end up with a bag of cranberries in your cart when they’re displayed on every corner of the supermarket. But once you get fresh cranberries home, what the heck do you do with them?
Cranberries are a challenging fruit. On one hand, they’re loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese and are good for urinary tract and gastrointestinal health. On the other hand, the word “tart” is an understatement. But instead of considering this a drawback, think of cranberries as the ultimate palate cleanser. The tangy, tart flavor is a refreshing break when you’re eating heavy holiday food. If you accept cranberries for what they are and stop trying to change them by dumping tons sugar on top, you might be surprised by how addictive they become.
It’s an undeniable fact that homemade recipes usually don’t taste exactly the same as a store-bought version of the same food. This is most clearly the case with processed foods, which are especially hard to re-create exactly in a home kitchen. This is a good thing – do you really want your kitchen pantry stocked with ingredients like soybean oil, phosphoric acid, monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium phosphate and the most mysterious ingredient of all, “artificial flavors”? These ingredients are only half of what you would need to make Ranch dressing that tastes exactly like it was poured from a shelf-stable bottle.
Ranch dressing is a much-loved condiment, one that many people remember fondly after they stop eating processed foods. But honestly, is the odd way that bottled Ranch dressing coats your tongue and the weird, metallic aftertaste something you really, truly miss?
The summer grilling season is upon us, which means we have a full-on craving for meat slathered in BBQ sauce and grilled to crispy, caramelized perfection. In anticipation of firing up the grill, we’ve been searching for the perfect BBQ sauce and a quick scan of the grocery store aisle confirmed exactly what we expected: if we wanted a perfect sauce, we were going to have to make it ourselves.
When we say “perfect” BBQ sauce, we mean one without high fructose corn syrup, loads of granulated sugar and other unnecessary ingredients like caramel color, modified food starch and preservatives. To avoid all of these things in BBQ sauce, you pretty much have to make it yourself. This didn’t deter our plans to grill. Making Primal BBQ sauce is quick and easy and can be made from ingredients many of us already have in our kitchen.
Steamed clams, mussels and scallops in a bowl of warm broth is a simple seafood supper we enjoy most months of the year, but when summer rolls around we like to chill our shellfish down. But before we chill, we grill.
The reason is simple – why stand at a stove in a stuffy kitchen when you can grill under the sun (or stars)? We’re hard pressed to think of a type of protein or vegetable that can’t be grilled and shellfish is one of the easiest. Mussels, clams and scallops take only a few minutes to cook on the grill. They can be eaten hot, of course, but why eat hot food on a hot day when you can eat something cool and refreshing?
Artichokes are not the most welcoming food in the produce department. With their odd shape, dull green color and layers of prickly armor it’s a wonder humans started eating them at all. Luckily, some poor soul a long time ago was hungry enough to try them and since Roman times the artichoke has not only been embraced, it has had a reputation of being a gourmet delicacy.
There is something oddly decadent about artichokes, even though they descend from the lowly thistle family, the flavor is quite mild and there isn’t an ounce of fat to be found. Maybe it’s because artichokes seem so difficult to cook (and eat, for that matter) that people save them for special occasions. But don’t be intimidated and definitely don’t relegate artichokes to the “special occasion” category. First of all, they’re not that hard to cook. Secondly, artichokes contain almost as many antioxidants as berries and are high in vitamin C, folic acid, magnesium, fiber, and flavonoids. These power-houses of nutrition can be served as an appetizer or side dish and are great in salads.
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