Story by DANNY SEO • Photographs by ARMANDO RAFAEL Food Styling by EUGENE JHO • Prop Styling by NIDIA CUEVA
Brown-Bag Popcorn Three Ways:
If you like the convenience of microwave popcorn but not trans fats, give these a try. Regular brown paper bags work great, and you won’t have to worry about what evils lurk inside your popcorn bag.
FOR BROWN-BAG POPCORN:
1⁄4 cup popcorn kernels
1 lunch-size brown paper bag
1. Place the kernels in the brown paper bag and fold down the top two or three times to close.
2. Microwave on high until the popping slows down, about 4 minutes.
FOR CHIPOTLE & MAPLE POPCORN:
1⁄2 cup organic maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 300 ̊F. Pour the prepared popcorn onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, olive oil, chipotle seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring just until combined.
3. Drizzle the syrup mixture evenly over the popcorn. Toss with a rubber spatula to coat thoroughly.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
FOR TRUFFLE & PARMESAN POPCORN:
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1⁄2 teaspoon truffle oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Salt
1. While the popcorn is still hot, sprinkle the cheese, truffle oil, parsley, and salt to taste into the brown bag.
2. Reseal the bag, shake to combine, and serve.
FOR PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA POPCORN:
1⁄2 cup honey
1⁄4 cup organic maple syrup 1⁄2 cup raw peanut butter
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup dried banana chips 1⁄4 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 300 ̊F. Place the prepared popcorn on parchment lined baking sheet.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the honey, maple syrup, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir over medium heat until smooth. 3. Drizzle the syrup mixture evenly over the popcorn and sprinkle with the banana chips and chocolate chips. Toss with a rubber spatula to coat thoroughly. 4. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
Za’atar Cacik Dip with Crudités
MAKES 11⁄2 CUPS
1 small English cucumber
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint 1 teaspoon za’atar 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil Julienne slices of zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, broccoli, carrots
1. Halve and seed the cucumber, then grate. Place in a colander and drain well.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the drained cucumber, yogurt, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the mint. Transfer to a serving bowl and arrange the vegetables around it.
3. To serve, drizzle the dip with the oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon mint.
Baked Sweet Potato Croquettes with Chive Aïoli
MAKES 20 CROQUETTES AND 1⁄2 CUP AÏOLI
Good to know: If the aioli—essentially a homemade mayonnaise— intimidates you, go ahead and use store-bought mayo as the base. That said, I promise this is easy and tastes a whole lot better, too.
FOR THE CROQUETTES
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup fresh goat cheese
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 to 21⁄2 cups gluten-free bread crumbs
FOR THE AÏOLI
1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste 1⁄4 cup canola oil 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1. Make the croquettes. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium pot with cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, place the lid askew, and simmer until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain, return the potatoes to the pot, and let cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F. Line abaking sheet with parchment paper and grease with olive oil. 3. In a large bowl, use a fork to mash together the sweet potatoes, the egg, goat cheese, Parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley, and 3⁄4 cup of the bread crumbs. The mixture should be a little sticky but firm enough to hold together; mix in more bread crumbs, if needed. 4. Place 1 cup bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
5. Scoop out tablespoon-size croquettes and form into patties with your hands. Dredge both sides of the croquettes in the bread crumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake the croquettes for 15 minutes; flip and cook for another 15 minutes. 7. While the croquettes are baking, make the accompanying aïoli. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. While whisking continually, slowly stream in the canola oil, followed by the olive oil. Stir in the chives. Season with a bit more salt or lemon juice to taste.
Tropical Guacamole with Spirulina
MAKES 3 CUPS
Good to know: Spirulina is a blue-green algae, usually sold in powder form, that first took off (no pun intended) when astronauts in space used it as a dietary supplement. It’s easy to understand why it’s NASA-approved: Spirulina is rich in protein, vitamin B-12, and iron. It’s also rich in chlorophyll, which is believed to remove toxins from the body.
4 Hass avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 cup finely diced pineapple
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (1⁄2 cup) 1⁄2 small red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice (from 4 limes), or more to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro 1 tablespoon spirulina powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1. Mash the avocados in a large bowl. Stir in the pineapple, mango, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, spirulina, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. 2. Transfer the guacamole to a serving dish. Taste and season with additional salt and lime juice, if needed.
Crispy Parmesan Cauliflower Tots
MAKES 16 TOTS
1 pound organic frozen cauliflower florets
1⁄2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 large egg
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400 ̊F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with some olive oil. 2. Microwave the cauliflower according to the package directions, and cool to room temperature. 3. Place the cauliflower on a clean dishtowel or piece of cheesecloth. Roll it up and wring to extract as much moisture from the cauliflower as you can. 4. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and break apart the florets with your hands. Add the bread crumbs, cheese, egg, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper. Using your hands, mix until the mixture holds together. 5. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop the cauliflower onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to roll each scoop into an oval-shaped tot. 6. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, turn the tots over, and bake for another 15 minutes to crisp the other side. Serve warm.