Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD

As a dietitian, home cook, and enthusiast of all-things-delicious, I'm often asked, "so what do YOU eat?" Here's a blog to answer that very question! My hope is that you'll find (even just a little) inspiration from some of my favorite recipes, restaurants, party-ideas and food musings for your own happy, healthy, food-loving lifestyle.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Swordfish with Chimichurri

Chimichurri is often served over steak, but swordfish is another delicious pairing-- the fish's firm texture holds up on grill and its flavor to the strong herbs of the sauce. Anytime you're serving seafood at home, do your best to buy sustainably-caught fish from a reliable vendor (I bought the swordfish from Smart Fish Co at my local farmer's market- I buy from them every week and trust their taste and stock completely).

The Nutrition Rundown: Swordfish tastes great and is a lean protein choice, leaving behind the saturated fat in fattier pork and beef. The downside? Swordfish is a predatory fish making it higher in mercury than many smaller fish. If you love swordfish and other large predators like tuna and mackerel, avoid mercury-overconsumption by buying domestic (versus imported) and enjoying a moderate portion about once a month. Check out the Environmental Defense Fund for a guide to best and worst mercury choices.

Swordfish with Chimichurri
For the Chimichurri: 
4 garlic cloves
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the Swordfish: 
2 x 4-6oz swordfish steaks
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Place all ingredients for chimichurri in food processor and pulse to chop and combine. (If you don't have a food processor, finely chop/mince garlic, shallot, jalapeno, cilantro, and parsley. Stir together with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.) Set aside prepared sauce. 
  2. Preheat grill or grill-pan to medium-high. Rub swordfish with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on pan for ~4-5 minutes per side until cooked (if you want hash marks, twist 90 degrees about halfway through cooking each side). 
  3. Serve grilled swordfish topped with chimichurri. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fresh Pick of the Week: Heirloom Tomatoes

Photo from the Melrose Place Farmers Market
In most of the country, heirloom tomatoes are at the peak of their season (in Southern California, we're lucky enough to have these vine-ripened delicacies nearly year-round). So just what are these unusually shaped and splotchy tomato varietals?

Heirlooms are so named because their seeds can be easily passed down from gardener to gardener (and that's just what gardeners have done for centuries!). They grow "true to seed," meaning that when you replant the seeds of one plant, the new tomato plant will yield a similar fruit. Over the years, a number of varieties have taken favor, and you can check out the many colors, shapes, and taste descriptions here. While their often superior taste may be in part from their breed, it also is likely due to the fact that they are allowed to ripen on the vine, making them their peak of flavor and ripeness when they get to your plate. Heirloom tomatoes, unlike many commercial varieties, can split easily, making them more susceptible to spoilage. Choose intact fruits and use them shortly after purchase from the market or picking from your garden.

Enjoy heirloom slices alongside any summer dinner, chopped into fresh salsa or sauce, or try this fast, easy summer salad recipe:

Easy Heirloom Tomato Salad
Serves 4
2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 Persian cucumbers, sliced (these are small; you can also use ~1/2 your standard cucumber)
1/4 red onion, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Toss all ingredients in large bowl and enjoy! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Connie and Ted's

A New England style fresh fish bar in the middle of West Hollywood? Yes please! Connie and Ted's offers a great bar, raw bar, and uncomplicated seafood, all sustainably and freshly caught. Last Friday, we enjoyed sitting at the raw bar and asking every oyster question we'd had pent up for the last decade to the very knowledgeable shellfish "bartenders". As someone with lots of oyster-love and little oyster-know-how, the list that came with the chef's selections was a welcome cheat-sheet!

Here's a look at everything we enjoyed:

Chef's selection of a dozen oysters

My drink...someone else's dinner. Maybe crab next time?

Little Gem Lettuce
A great take on the classic wedge salad

Market Fish: Sea Bass with a side of Onion Rings (all shared!)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Endive, Artichoke & Fig Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Overdo it over the holiday weekend? Enjoy this light, refreshing salad, made with artichoke hearts and 2 forms of endive: frisee & radicchio. Endive varieties are similar to lettuce, though heartier and slightly bitter. Mixed with the vinaigrette and tossed with sweet figs, this salad is full of flavor! 

The Nutrition Rundown: An excellent source of vitamin A (for immune-health and vision) and a hefty dose of filling fiber. Get tons of flavor for not-too-many calories. 

Endive, Artichoke & Fig Salad with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
Serves 6

For vinaigrette:
Juice of 2 lemons
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
3 Tbs olive oil

For salad:
1 head frisee (aka curly endive), end removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 head Treviso (or Radicchio), end removed and sliced
1 ½ cups artichoke hearts, quartered (use steamed frozen or fresh, or drain canned)
3 Tbs toasted pine nuts
~5 figs, sliced

  1.  Make vinaigrette: whisk lemon juice, mustard, and garlic. Add salt and pepper. Continue whisking and slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture.
  2. Toss frisee, Treviso, artichoke hearts, and pine nuts in large bowl with vinaigrette. Add vinaigrette and toss. Taste and season salad with salt and pepper as needed.
  3.  Place sliced figs on top of salad. Serve cold or at room temperature. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 4th Dessert: Patriotic Berry Tart

A few years ago, I adapted this tart recipe from one I found in Real Simple .  It’s quick and easy and such a hit. Use any berries that are in season and play around with fun color combinations depending on your occasion.

The Nutrition Rundown: Fresh, seasonal berries add fiber, antioxidants, and yummy sweetness without too much added sugar. 

Patriotic Berry Tart
flour for the work surface
1 8-ounce sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 cups mixed berries

  1. Heat oven to 375° F. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the sheet of pastry and roll it into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Using the tip of a knife, score a 1-inch border around the pastry without cutting all the way through. Brush the border with the egg and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake until golden and puffed, 18 to 22 minutes.
  3. Using the tip of a knife, rescore the border of the cooked pastry without cutting all the way through. Gently press down on the center of the pastry sheet to flatten it. Let cool to room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the cream, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly within the borders of the pastry.
  5. Arrange the berries in a single layer over the filling and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar.