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Recipe and Drink Recommendations

Middle Eastern-Spiced Squash and Bean Stew
Adapted from
This hearty stew is comfort food at its best. Not heavy, but satisfying and full of healthy ingredients.

  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil, divided
  • 1 onion, large, minced
  • 2 carrots, large, minced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 red chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash (from 1 medium squash)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 14 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • plain whole milk yogurt, for garnish, optional
  • fresh mint, for garnish
  • cooked brown rice, for serving

Directions: Warm the coconut oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions, carrots, and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes, until slightly tender. Add the garlic, chiles, and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, tomato paste, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Stir in the squash and vegetable broth, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 30-40 minutes until the squash is tender. Add the chickpeas and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and zest. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Spoon a generous portion of stew over bowls of brown rice. Top with yogurt, if using, and fresh mint, and enjoy hot. 6 servings.

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Spicy Ground Pork and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Adapted from
This is the kind of simple, savory stir-fry that you’ll want to make over and over. It’s a versatile template for a meal, so you can substitute or add vegetables that you have on hand or are in season. Make a pot of rice, and you have a dinner that will please everyone.

  • 5 Tbs. peanut oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, warmed, divided
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, smooth, natural
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green chiles or jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 onion, medium, sliced
  • 1/4 napa cabbage, small, shredded
  • 4 carrots, peeled, julienned
  • 1/2 broccoli head, florets separated, stalks julienned
  • 1/3 cup peanuts, roasted, unsalted
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges

Directions: In a large wok or cast iron skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. When shimmering, add the pork and break it up with a spoon, cooking until cooked through and beginning to get crispy.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the chicken broth, the peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and chiles. Set aside.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pork to a bowl. Discard the fat from the pan. Add the last 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Scrape up any browned bits, then pour it into the bowl with the pork.
Add 4 tablespoons peanut oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cabbage, carrots, and broccoli florets and stalks. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Return the ground pork and the sauce to the pan. Use tongs to combine, and cook until heated through. Serve hot, topped with ground peanuts, with lime wedges on the side. 4 large servings.

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Kale Salad with Miso and Pistachios
Adapted from
Pistachios, sesame seeds, and a bright and vinegary miso dressing make this kale salad a bit different from the usual.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. kale, stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. sesame seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 Tbs. brown miso
  • 1 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, unsalted, roasted, chopped

Directions: Place the kale in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice and a good pinch of salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sesame seeds, miso, and brown sugar. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well to coat. Top with the scallions and pistachios, and serve. 6 servings.

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Sweet Potato Grilled Cheese
Adapted from www.twopeasandtheir
This sandwich gets everything right: roasted sweet potato, kale, Havarti cheese, sautéed red onions, and fresh rosemary. This is your go-to cold weather sandwich!

  • 1 sweet potato, medium, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, small sliced
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 6 oz. Havarti cheese, sliced
  • 2 Lacinato kale leaves, torn
  • 1/2 tsp. minced rosemary

Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place sweet potato in a bowl and toss with half of the olive oil. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Heat the last tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are meltingly tender, 8-10 minutes. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of the bread slices, then layer the cheese, sweet potatoes, sautéed red onion, and kale on the unbuttered side of two of the pieces of bread. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and a little salt and pepper. Top both sandwiches with the buttered bread with the butter facing out. Place sandwiches, buttered side down, on the hot skillet. Grill 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and cook another 2 minutes, until the cheese melts. Slice each sandwich in half and serve piping hot.

Star Recommends: Castano Monastrell—Cherry red with a violet shine, medium intensity robe. Intense fruit aroma with well matured fruits (blueberries, strawberries). Silky mouth with a good structure, balanced.

Hoppin’ John
Adapted from
Classic New Year’s fare, vegetarian version!

  • 1 1b. black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, large, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • cooked brown rice, for serving

Directions: Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté about 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and celery and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots, drained black-eyed peas, tomato sauce, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peas are creamy and tender. Add more water if too much liquid evaporates. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve hot, over rice. 8 servings.

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Shrimp with Kale and Shiitakes
Adapted from
Thanks to shiitake mushrooms,soy sauce, white wine, and garlic, this easy dish is intensely flavorful. Try serving over egg or udon noodles, or with steamed rice.

  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bunches Lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional

Directions: In a wide frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, until wilted and not quite tender. Push the vegetables off to one side of the pan and add the shrimp. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, white wine, and cream, if using, and toss to combine. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Serve hot. 4 servings.

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Fennel and Onion-Braised Pot Roast with Carrots
Adapted from
If you have the time, salt the chuck roast a full 24 hours before making this. Leftovers make marvelous sandwiches.

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. rolled chuck roast, salted all over and placed on a cooling rack over a tray, uncovered, in the fridge, at least 1 hour and up to 24 before cooking
  • black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup cored, trimmed, julienned fennel bulb
  • 1 1/2 cup peeled julienned yellow onion
  • 1 Tbs. minced rosemary
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • 3 cups carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • salt

Directions: Heat the oven to 325ºF. Season the roast liberally with black pepper. Heat a 4-quart enameled pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and tilt the pot to coat the bottom of the pot. Sear the roast until deep brown on all sides. Lower the heat if needed to prevent the oil from burning. Transfer to a tray.

Add the fennel and onion to the pot and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Sauté over medium-high heat until tender. Stir in the fennel seed and rosemary. When fragrant, pour in the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Return the roast to the pot, and nestle in amongst the vegetables and wine. Arrange the carrots around the roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover.

Place the covered pot in the oven and roast for 1 1/2-2 hours, until the meat is tender, but retains its shape when sliced. Remove roast and cover with aluminum foil, set aside. Place the pot over medium high heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the liquid by half. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Slice the roast and serve with the vegetables. Spoon the sauce on top. Enjoy! 4 servings.

Star Recommends: Chateau Giollebot Plaisance Bordeaux—Dark color and juicy nose. Velvety mouth. Ripe and fresh fruit with soft tannins backing up nicely the fruit and gives the wine a good long and elegant finish.

Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes
Adapted from
High in protein, gluten- and dairy-free, these pancakes cook up golden brown with crispy edges and a soft, custard-like center. They are very delicate while cooking, so be sure to keep the pancakes small so they’re easier to flip, and be patient when flipping them. See the note for ideas for variations.

  • 1 banana, medium, ripe
  • 2 eggs, large, whisked until frothy

Directions: Mash up the banana until there are no large lumps. Pour the eggs over the bananas and stir until completely incorporated. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter onto a hot skillet (the batter should sizzle when it hits the pan. If not, increase the heat just a bit). Cook about a minute, until the bottom of the pancakes are golden-brown and the edges begin to set. Very gently and slowly flip the pancakes—some uncooked batter will likely spill onto the pan, so just rest the pancake on top of it. Cook another minute, until the other side is golden-browned. Serve hot, with butter and maple syrup.
Note: While this recipe is amazing as written, it’s very adaptable. Add 1/8 teaspoon of baking powder for fluffier pancakes. Try butter or vegetable oil in the pan. Add cocoa powder or vanilla extract to the batter. When the pancakes are in the pan, add chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or fresh or frozen fruit to the uncooked side. 8 small pancakes.

Star Recommends: Mionetto Prosecco Organic—Delicate yellow in the glass, fine bubbles and smoothly effervescent. Delicately floral aromas of honeysuckle are followed by flavors of ripe yellow apples with only a hint of sweetness. The finish is clean with lingering apple flavors.

Banana Nut Bread
Adapted from
This banana bread is more a bread than a cake, and is just barely sweet. You can increase the sugar to 1 cup (or even 1 1/4 cup for a very sweet, dessert banana bread). Use very, very ripe bananas.

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 4-5 very ripe bananas, mashed (for 2 cups of purée)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted, but not hot
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 pound loaf pan, and set aside. Whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, use an immersion blender to blend the bananas until smooth. Stir in the sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Stir in half of the flour. Whisk in the almond milk and vinegar mixture, then use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining flour and the chopped walnuts. Stir just until combined, but be careful not to over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Invert onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely, then enjoy!
This bread will keep, loosely covered at room temperature, for up to three days. Makes 1 loaf.

Star Recommends: Conundrum By Caymus—Gloriously floral and aromatic white wine from California. The blend of many white grapes changes each year but the signature remains the same. Medium-bodied.

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