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If It Makes You Healthy



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About The Authors

By Sheryl Crow, Chuck White and Mary Goodbody

SHERYL CROW is an accomplished singer-songwriter and musician who has won nine Grammy awards and sold more than 31 million albums. She has performed with the Rolling Stones and has sung duets with Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Sting, and countless others. She... More

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EXCERPT

IF IT MAKES YOU HEALTHY (Chapter One)Appetizers and Snacks

Bruschetta with Tofu Spread and Summer Vegetables

Roasted Summer Vegetable Panini with Goat Cheese

Lime-Kissed Stuffed Avocados

Cashew Butter and Fruit “Caviar”

Fried Green Tomato “BLT”

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Roma Tomato Soup Shooters

Zucchini Muffins

Watermelon Margaritas

Bruschetta with Tofu Spread and Summer Vegetables

CHUCK: Classic bruschetta, made by topping garlic-rubbed toast with sliced tomatoes, basil, and onions, can’t be beat in the summer when vegetables and herbs are at their height of ripeness, and this recipe is no exception. The tofu spread bursts with flavors that complement the tomatoes and cukes, while the pickled red onions add their own special hints of sweet and sour. The tofu spread is endlessly versatile, as it can be daubed on other sandwiches or served with crackers as a dip. Serves 8

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed, see Try Cooking with Tofu

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup light olive oil (or 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons canola oil)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 slices whole-grain bread, lightly toasted

4 to 5 medium-size ripe tomatoes, preferably organic, cored and sliced

16 slices English cucumber

½ cup Pickled Red Onions

¼ cup roughly chopped assorted fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley, and chives

Cut the pressed tofu into small chunks and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the lemon juice, parsley, mustard, and garlic powder and pulse 10 to 15 times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then pulse for about 15 seconds.

With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the oil through the feed tube into the tofu mixture, blending until it is the consistency of mayonnaise, 2 to 3 minutes. If necessary, thin the tofu with water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and pulse to mix. Set aside until ready to use, or transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of tofu spread on each slice of toast. Top with the tomato and cucumber slices and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top each open-faced sandwich with pickled onions and a generous sprinkling of fresh herbs.

Try Cooking with Tofu

Also called bean curd, tofu is sold according to texture: silken, soft, medium, firm, and extra-firm. It’s ivory colored and mild tasting—and for those who eat it regularly, it’s just about a perfect protein.

Tofu nearly always is sold packed in water and before it’s cooked, it should be drained, rinsed, and drained again. It usually comes in one-pound blocks and for some recipes should be weighted (pressed) for about an hour. To do so, put the drained tofu on top of several layers of paper towels on a plate, top it with another plate, and set a can or heavy pan that weighs about a pound on top of the plate. Let this construction stand for about an hour, during which time excess moisture will be released.

Roasted Summer Vegetable Panini with Goat Cheese

CHUCK: A roasted vegetable panini is a welcome light lunch, afternoon snack, or quick preconcert meal. I make them with just about any and all vegetables—Sheryl never complains!—but this mixture of peppers, squash, and mushrooms is one of our favorites. The balsamic vinegar gives the veggies deep-throated sweetness, while the goat cheese provides delicious creaminess and eliminates the need for any sort of mayonnaise or other dressing. Serves 4

2 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded, membranes removed, and julienned

1 large yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

1 large zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on the panini

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 whole-grain or whole-wheat French baguettes, about 12 inches long

4 to 6 ounces soft goat cheese

1½ cups fresh spinach

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly oil it with olive oil.

In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms, bell pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini together. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and vinegar and toss to coat evenly. Add the thyme and garlic powder and season to taste with salt and pepper, tossing to evenly distribute the seasonings.

Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender and their colors have perked up. There is no need to stir the vegetables as they roast.

Meanwhile, slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Spread the goat cheese on the top half of each.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Arrange the roasted vegetables on the bottom half of each baguette and top with spinach. Press the tops of the baguettes on the spinach and cut each sandwich in half for 4 sandwiches.

Line the baking sheet with a fresh sheet of foil and put the halved baguettes on the center of the baking sheet. Brush the top of the sandwiches with olive oil and then top with a sheet of foil.

Put a second baking sheet over the top of the sandwiches and press down on the sheet to compress the sandwiches. (You can also top the sandwiches with a heavy saucepan or sauté pan to weight them.) Transfer both baking sheets to the oven and bake the panini for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bread is golden and crusty and the goat cheese is oozing from the sides of the sandwiches.

Carefully remove the panini from between the baking sheets and put on a cutting board. Cut the halves in half again.

Lime-Kissed Stuffed Avocados

CHUCK: I make these stuffed avocados pretty regularly when we’re on the road. Everyone loves them because just about everyone likes avocados and they are filling without being heavy—the perfect snack or light meal. Serves 4

4 ripe avocados

4 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons fresh store-bought salsa, preferably organic

Blue corn or flax seed tortillas, preferably organic

Cut the avocados into halves and remove pits. Carefully scoop the flesh from each avocado, leaving the skins intact so that you can refill them. Transfer the avocado flesh to a glass mixing bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and pepper and mash with a fork or potato masher. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Spoon the avocado back into the scooped-out skins. Garnish the top of each with a tablespoon of fresh salsa.

Serve with organic blue corn or flax seed tortillas.

Avocados, Avocados, Avocados

I repeat the word three times because Sheryl and I just can’t get enough. Luckily, they are easy to come by just about anywhere, with the large winter crops coming into the stores in January and February. To tell if an avocado is ripe, hold it in your hand and exert gentle pressure. It should give nicely, but not feel mushy (similar to determining the ripeness of a peach).

You can buy hard avocados and let them ripen on the counter, but that can take up to a week. To speed up the ripening process, place the avocados in a paper bag with an apple or banana, and they should ripen in a day or so. Avocados are packed with good stuff for your body: They may contain more fat than other fruits, but the fat is a “good” one—about 30 percent of each fruit consists of healthful monounsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol. Its rich folate content helps prevent strokes. Avocados are also high in oleic acid (as is olive oil), which guards against breast cancer. What else? Evidently certain nutrients are absorbed more effectively when avocados are part of a meal, and the fruit is a great source of vitamin E. It’s no small wonder both Sheryl and I like these glorious little powerhouses of great flavor and good health.

Cashew Butter and Fruit “Caviar”

CHUCK: What I love about this appetizer is how unexpected it is. The slightly tart fruit caviar—so called because the texture of the fruit-flavored tapioca resembles caviar—is served with homemade cashew butter. The result? Something like a very grownup peanut butter and jelly treat. Serves 15 to 20

Cashew Butter

2 cups roasted, unsalted cashews

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon agave nectar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

Fruit “Caviar”

3 cups sugar-free fruit juice, such as grape or apricot, preferably organic

½ cup uncooked tapioca pearls

30 to 40 melba toasts, crostini, or other small crackers

To make the cashew butter: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the cashews, lemon juice, agave nectar, and salt 2 to 3 times until the nuts are crumbled and starting to form a paste.

With the processor running, drizzle the oil into the nut mixture until it comes together into a smooth butter. This won’t be as smooth as creamy peanut butter but will have a little texture. If the butter is very thick, add a little water through the feed tube with the motor running, 1 teaspoon at a time. You should have about 2 cups of nut butter.

To make the caviar: In a small saucepan, bring the juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the juice until the amount reduces by a third, 7 to 8 minutes. When the juice is reduced to 2 cups, its flavor will be more intense.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring 2 quarts (8 cups) of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the tapioca and cook until softened and transparent, about 20 minutes. If you see a small white spot in the middle of the mass, it will soon disappear when the tapioca is removed from the heat.

Transfer the tapioca to a colander to drain for 30 to 45 seconds (do not press on the tapioca with a spoon or it will turn into mush). When as much liquid as possible has drained, transfer the tapioca to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the warm juice into the tapioca and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

To serve, spread about 1 teaspoon of cashew butter on melba toasts or crostini and top with about 1 teaspoon of the fruit caviar.

RACHEL’S TIP

Not all canola oils are built the same. look for organic, expeller-pressed oil to avoid chemical solvents and the potential presence of pesticide residues. Canola is ideal for high-heat cooking and has a neutral flavor.

Fried Green Tomato “BLT”

CHUCK: I came up with this recipe one Saturday when I was cruising the farmers’ market, looking for something to cook for Sheryl and some of her friends that evening. The tomatoes were at their peak, and so I decided to create an all-tomato meal. (I even picked up some tomato-strawberry ice cream.) This is a play on the classic BLT, but without the bread. I serve it as an appetizer, but it’s a salad that serves as a light meal, too. If you want to go vegan, use Smart Bacon and instead of the aioli, use vegan mayo jazzed up with lemon juice and garlic powder. Serves 4

Emulsion

½ cup seeded and diced very ripe tomatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons truffle oil

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

BLT

8 slices pancetta, thick-cut, nitrate-free turkey bacon, or Smart Bacon

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 large eggs, preferably omega-3 eggs

3 tablespoons milk

1½ cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup cornmeal

Eight ¼-inch-thick green tomato slices

Canola oil, preferably expeller-pressed, for frying

Assembly

4 to 5 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Aioli

3 cups baby spinach or arugula leaves

To make the emulsion: In a blender, pulse the tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste, 3 or 4 times or until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine the truffle and olive oils and slowly drizzle the oils into the blender through the feed tube while the blender is on medium speed. Pour the emulsion into a glass or plastic container, cover, and keep at room temperature.

To make the BLTs: Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lay the pancetta slices on a baking sheet and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy. There is no need to turn the pancetta during oven cooking. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a shallow bowl, season the all-purpose flour lightly with salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk. In a third bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat flour and cornmeal and season lightly.

Toss the green tomato slices, 1 at a time, in the flour to coat on both sides. Dip them in the egg wash and coat them with the cornmeal mixture. Gently transfer the tomato slices to a plate or shallow pan lined with foil or parchment paper and lay them in a single layer without touching each other.

To fry, pour enough canola oil into a deep skillet to measure between 1/4 and 1/2 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough for frying when the air directly above it shimmers. To test for doneness, drop a small cube of bread in the oil and if it sizzles and browns, the oil is ready. Another test is to sprinkle the oil with water to see if it will spatter and sizzle.

Fry the tomato slices, 1 or 2 at a time, in the hot oil, submerging them with long-handled tongs. Cook them, turning them once during frying, for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. (Alternatively, fry the tomatoes in a deep-fat fryer.)

Transfer the fried tomatoes to a paper towel–lined platter or baking sheet and while warm, season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside in a draft-free area of the kitchen or keep in the turned-off oven so that they don’t cool too quickly.

To assemble: Put a tomato slice on a salad plate. Spread a teaspoon or so of aioli on top of the tomato and then top with a slice of pancetta. Put a small handful of spinach or arugula on the pancetta and then lay a second strip of pancetta over the greens. Top with another teaspoon or so of aioli and then with a second tomato slice and more greens. Drizzle the tomato emulsion over the greens and around the plate. Repeat to make 4 BLTs.

RACHEL’S TIP

Extra-virgin olive oil isn’t the best choice for high-heat cooking. Compared to other oils it has a low smoke-point, and overheating releases carcinogens. For high-heat cooking with olive oil use extra-light or pure varieties.

Roasted Garlic Aioli

Makes about 1 2/3 cups

2 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons chopped roasted garlic, see How to Roast Garlic

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1¼ cups light olive oil or canola oil, preferably expeller-pressed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice, and mustard several times until mixed.

With the motor running, slowly drizzle the oil through the feed tube until the aioli thickens to the consistency of a very light mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the aioli to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

RACHEL’S TIP

Egg yolks contain choline, which may reduce breast cancer risk, and lutein, which supports eye health.

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Roma Tomato Soup Shooters

CHUCK: Forget about the pimento cheese sold in those small glass jars in the supermarket. With this recipe, you make it yourself. And it tastes intensely amazing. The combo brings back memories of classic lunches when I was a kid and my mom made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. You may not be familiar with pimento cheese sandwiches—I think pimento cheese is a Southern thing—but I make it with three kinds of cheeses from all parts of the country, so it’s immediately universal. I serve the sandwiches with a fancy little soup shooter dressed up with truffle oil to make it a party. Plastic or glass shot glasses are sold in party supply stores. And speaking of parties, this is not an everyday grilled cheese sandwich, simply because there is a lot of fat in the homemade pimento cheese. So save it for those times when you crave a grilled cheese sandwich extraordinaire. Serves 4

Pimento Cheese

¾ pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated

½ pound smoked Gouda, grated

½ pound Colby Jack, grated

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

One 4-ounce can pimentos, drained and diced

2 tablespoons finely chopped cocktail-size pimento-stuffed olives

2 teaspoons olive juice (from the olives)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or soy butter, softened

8 slices sourdough bread

1 recipe Roma Tomato Soup with Truffle Oil

To make the cheese: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cheddar, Gouda, and Jack cheeses. Fold in the mayonnaise, pimentos, olives, olive juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. Season to taste with salt.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up a little, and up to 1 week. Stir well before serving.

To make the sandwiches: Lightly butter each slice of bread. Spread the pimento cheese on 4 slices of the bread and top with the remaining 4 slices.

In a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, grill the sandwiches until nicely browned on each side, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. As they cook, press gently on the sandwiches with a metal spatula.

To serve, cut the crusts off the bread and cut each sandwich into 4 triangles. Ladle the soup into 2-to 3-ounce shot glasses (you might want to use a funnel for this). Serve with the sandwiches on the side.

RACHEL’S TIP

What makes sourdough bread so delicious is also what makes it nutritious: the lactic acid, which will prevent blood sugars from spiking dramatically. That makes sourdough a much better option than other white breads.

Zucchini Muffins

SHERYL: The first time Wyatt had one of Chuck’s zucchini muffins it was as if he’d died and gone to muffin heaven. I was thrilled, of course, because I knew he was actually eating zucchini without the fuss factor. Now, the first thing out of his mouth every morning is, “I want a keenie muffin!” Being the creature of habit that he is, I believe he would start every day with one of Chuck’s muffins, and the nice thing about it is that Mommy can make them, too! Makes 12 muffins

2 large eggs, preferably omega-3 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups grated fresh zucchini

2/3 cup canola oil, preferably expeller-pressed, plus more for greasing the muffin tins

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini, canola oil, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the zucchini mix and stir well. Finally, stir in the pecans and raisins.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with canola oil. Spoon the batter into the cups to fill them about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick or small knife inserted in a muffin comes out clean. (Alternatively, spoon the batter into a 8x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the top of the loaf cracks and a toothpick or small knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.)

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Then run a small paring knife around each muffin and remove them from the muffin tin.

RACHEL’S TIP

It’s easy to flub oil storage, which results in a loss of flavor and nutrients. even if stored under perfect conditions, many of the oil’s properties degrade entirely after only 12 months. To keep your oil healthful, flavorful, and safe, follow these rules:

Don’t buy more oil than you’ll use in six months.

Buy oils in tinted glass to protect against light exposure.

Pick bottles from the back of the shelf—again, less exposure to light.

Store oil in a cool, dark place or refrigerate after opening—less exposure to light…you get the point!

Watermelon Margaritas

CHUCK: These pretty, festive drinks are great in the summer when the melons are at their best. I first had them at Sheryl’s, made by Chuck Coorts, her farm manager. I was blown away by them and while I tweaked the recipe a little, the credit goes to the “other” Chuck. Serves 4

4½ cups peeled, diced seedless watermelon

¾ cup high-quality tequila (I prefer Patrón Silver tequila)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons triple sec

4 cups ice

In a blender, process half the watermelon, half the tequila, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of triple sec, and 2 cups of ice until smooth. Transfer to a pitcher.

Repeat with the remaining watermelon, tequila, sugar, lime juice, triple sec, and ice. Add this second batch to the first and refrigerate until ready to serve.

IF IT MAKES YOU HEALTHY Copyright © 2011 by Sheryl Crow and Chuck White.

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