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Dinner

Quintessential California Prawn Salad

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Quintessential California Prawn Salad

This simple salad is a personal favorite when I’m low on time and energy. And, depending on your personal preference, it can be made even easier with a few cheat-items! In all it’s glory, the from-scratch recipe is as follows: Ginger Turmeric Vinaigrette This is a great dressing to kick start your week and detox from the wildness of the weekend; turmeric is a natural detoxifier and anti-inflammatory that will help to clear your liver of toxins and raw garlic is an antimicrobial good for immune boosting and blood purifying.

½ shallot, diced 2-3 tbs apple cider vinegar ¼ cup olive oil ½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp fresh ginger, chopped finely 1 tsp honey 1 tsp lemon juice Pinch of salt Pepper to taste

Combine the dressing ingredients and shake aggressively to emulsify.

** This is an easy way to boost your salad any day of the week – feel free to make leftovers, they only get better with time! **

For the Salad: 10 frozen, raw WILD shrimp 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ loose cup parsley, chopped ½ -1 avocado, cubed 1 grapefruit (or your favorite citrus), supremed Baby spinach, wild arugula, shredded kale (aka your favorite salad greens) Seasonal option: ½ a head of raw fennel bulb, sliced very thin adds a fresh California bite to this dish! Salt and pepper to taste

Pull the shrimp out of the freezer and soak in room temperature water to defrost. This can be done while you’re getting ready to go out or just winding down after a long day. Takes about 10 minutes. Once defrosted, begin by taking the shell off the shrimp and throwing away.

Next, heat 1 Tbs good olive or coconut oil over medium to low heat in a sauté pan and add your minced garlic. Once softened, add the shrimp and cook until just pink.

*Pro Tip* - for perfect shrimp cook shrimp "low and slow" only flipping once. Be careful not to overcook – good quality shrimp is okay to eat a little bit underdone so don’t worry about undercooking, just try to avoid the rubbery texture of overcooked seafood.

*Pro Tip #2* If the weather permits, take this party outside! BBQing your shrimp will add a flavorful smoke to the dish.

Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan, toss with parsley, salt and pepper and set aside.

While your shrimp are cooking, you can prepare your salad. Toss the greens, avocado chunks and citrus supremes with your turmeric dressing and add the shrimp on top.

That’s it. Easy.

If, however, you don’t have the time (or perhaps the culinary inclination), this recipe can be even further simplified by using a store bought dressing. Just be sure to choose a bottled dressing that uses real olive oil – it will make all the difference. My personal favorite for jarred dressing are the Bragg Brand vinaigrettes.

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They call me Miss Bi-Bim-Bastic

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They call me Miss Bi-Bim-Bastic

Korean food is my is my weakness: spicy meats, fermented ban chan, and that smokey hair smell that does not wash out for weeks.  I love it all, but could do with a little less greasy. So as you can imagine, I do a fair amount of research/ reading/ kitchen tinkering on Korean home cooking. Vegetarian Bim Bim Bop is a fantastic and easy recipe to spice up your weeknight's. Use the quinoa/ greens as a base and get creative with your favorite toppings.  I have shared with you a few of my favorite toppings, but any veggie sautéed with a little fresh ginger and garlic will go beautifully.

Weeknight Bi Bim Bop

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooked quinoa

6 cups mixed greens, baby spinach or arugula.

6-12 Shitake mushrooms

1 Japanese eggplant

3-5 radishes radishes

Favorite greens

6 cherry tomatoes

1/2 avocado

Kimchee (store bought or homemade no MSG.)

2 eggs

1/2 cup rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar

Fresh garlic

Fresh ginger

1 Tbs sesame oil

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs. Soy sauce, tamari or Braggs Amino Acids

Cook your quinoa using the 2:1 ratio: 2 cups water for every one cup quinoa. It cooks just like rice in about 15 minutes. If you'd like to soak your grains before hand, adjust your ratio to 1:1.

While your quinoa cooks, use the time to prepare each topping.  It is best done consecutively, using the same pan. This will allow you to tweak the flavor on each topping while, moving quickly through the process.

*Thinly slice the radishes and add them to  1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar for a quick pickle. Marinate them for 15 mins. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds when serving.

*Roast the Eggplant in an oven at 400.  Slice eggplant in half and then cut diagonal slices into the flesh of each half. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of sesame oil and salt and pepper. Roast for aprox 30 mins.

* Saute the shitake mushrooms with 1 tsp sesame oil,  1 tsp of freshly chopped ginger and 1 tsp of freshly chopped garlic. Remove and set aside.

* Add 1 Tbs sliced onions to the same pan and cook until soft. Then add your chopped greens, stir briefly, then add 2 Tbs water.   Cover with a lid and cook for 2 more mins. Remove, drizzle with 1 tsp of rice vinegar. and set aside. Remove any extra liquid left in pan.

* Now is your chance to add your favorite veggie.  Slice it and throw it in the pan with 1 tsp of soy sauce. Zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potato would all be great toppings.

When the quinoa is ready, you are set to assemble your Bi Bim Bop.  Using two bowls for serving, add 1 cups of quinoa and 1-3 cups of salad greens side by side in each bowl. Top the quinoa/ greens base with small piles of your many, prepared toppings.  Add prepared kimchee, and an option for Nori (seaweed) sheets. For an extra protein boost (6 grams in 1 egg) and Bi Bim Bop authenticity, fry or poach an egg (using no more than 1/2 tsp oil) and place it in the center of your masterpiece.

잘 먹겠습니다

(bon appétit)

The Skinny

Variety is the spice of life! The more variety you have in your daily vegetables, the more nutrients you're getting in your diet. Each vegetable offers a unique and important vitamin or mineral. For example: radishes contain high levels of folic acid and vitamin C, making them great for your skin and powerful cancer fighters; Shitake mushrooms are the king of the medicinal mushroom world. They contain all the B-vitamins and many trace minerals such as manganese, selenium and zinc. They are best known for their strong immune boosting properties and cardiovascular support. Eggplant, while sometimes controversial as a member of the nightshade family (best avoided for people with arthritis), has strong levels of the antioxidant nasunin which can protect the cells from oxidative damage. Etc.....

The bottom line is, eating a rainbow of veggies with bring you greater health.  Rather then relaying on multivitamins, first aim to meet your daily nutrient requirements from a full dose of colorful vegetables.

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Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

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Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

You are not truly a grill master until you have learned the ropes of the vegetable. Grilled vegetables on their own, or along side your protein, make any meal more gourmet, diverse and more nutritious. In this recipe inspired from the San Francisco Chronicle, the vegetables are paired with a flavorful miso dipping sauce which is frankly so good you'll  find yourself dipping much more than vegetables in it.

Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup white miso

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled)

2 teaspoons of garlic (aprox. 2 cloves)

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tables spoons mirin (*can be substituted with 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs white wine or sake, and 1 tsp honey*)

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 olive oil

1 pound of broccolini

Yellow squash, cut lengthwise

1 medium carrots, peeled and sliced length wise

Olive oil as needed

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place the miso, ginger, garlic, vinegar and mirin in a food processor  or blender. Blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Combine the sesame oil and olive oil in a measuring cup and mix together. Slowly drizzle the oil into the miso mixture as you continue to blend it. Taste and adjust to your taste if needed with black pepper and sea salt. Garnish the sesame seeds

Meanwhile heat the grill to medium-high, clean and oil it. Wash and slice all your vegetables as needed and toss with olive or coconut oil and salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables until tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve with the miso dipping sauce and impress all your grill master friends!

The Skinny

When you eat animal proteins like eggs, meat, poultry, or fish, your stomach produces hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin to digest them in the ideal, highly acidic conditions. When you eat carbohydrates your body produces an alkaline environment. When eating protein and carbohydrates together the acid and alkaline environments cancel each other out, making it difficult to digest anything effectively. By eating non-starchy vegetables alongside your protein, you ensure better digestion and proper nutrient absorption.

For more on the principles of check out the Body Ecology Diet.

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Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

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Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

One of the challenges of turning a dish healthy is how to replace dairy. I'm always looking to replace saturated fats with something that still tastes rich and creamy. Behold cashew cream! This magical trick takes raw cashews and turns them into a cream that will enhance almost any dish, sweet or savory.

The key to making good cashew cream is to soak the cashews thoroughly beforehand; this will make for easy blending. It’s also essential to use raw cashews, as roasted ones won’t boast the same neutral flavor or blend up as well. Depending on how much water you add, it can be quite thick — like the texture of ricotta — or thin enough to resemble heavy cream. It demands very little effort — all you need is a food processor or a high-speed blender — and it’s incredibly versatile. Add a little maple syrup, and it becomes a sweet dessert cream. Add some miso or salt and a touch of lemon, and the cream (or crème, if you want to be fancy) turns savory. Mix in lemon juice, some sea salt, and a little Dijon mustard and you've got a vegan alfredo. Add some cocoa powder and vanilla, and you've made a vegan ganache. Your cream will last at least four days in the fridge, and can be frozen as well. Curious about what to do with cashew cream, other than simply eating it with a spoon? Here are a few of my favorite applications:

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Serves six

INGREDIENTS 2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound 4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup of cashew cream Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup coconut milk 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, thyme leaves

1/2 Tbs of rosemary

Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews

½ cup water

Juice of 1 lemon

Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS

To begin, soak your cashews in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight, then drain and rinse. To make your cashew cream, place all ingredients in a blender and blend at high-speed until smooth and creamy.  Your cashew cream can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.

To make your gratin, Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly grease a casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, use a mandoline (or a sharp knife) to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less.

Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl, add the chopped rosemary.

Now you are going to build your gratin by layering the squash, potatoes and cashew cream in your dish. Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them, just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top that layer with half of your cashew cream. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the cashew cream. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the coconut milk over the entire dish.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns.

Scatter on the fresh basil or thyme before serving.

Serve with a big green salad!

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Breakfast for Dinner: The Big Green Omelet

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Breakfast for Dinner: The Big Green Omelet

This herb- and green-laden egg dish is a delicious celebration of spring and a great way to get your protein and veggies in one beautiful dish. Get creative by using whatever greens and fresh herbs you have on hand. You could also add shitake mushrooms, shaved zucchini or shredded carrots.  Serve it with homemade sauerkraut, salsa or avocado. It is also wonderful cold for lunch the next day. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

6 eggs

2 Tbs coconut oil (or cold pressed olive oil.)

1 large spring onion (shallots & leeks are also good options.)

1 lb greens (nettles, spinach, kale or arugula or a mixture work well), blanched and chopped

½- 1 small Serrano chili, diced

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 350 if you do not want to flip your eggs part way through cooking.

Heat a 2 Tbsp of coconut oil in a cast-iron pan (or any other non-stick pan which can go into the oven.).  Add onions over medium heat, salt well, and cook 5 minutes until tender and translucent.  Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in large bowl.  Blanch your greens by dropping them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  Add blanched and chopped greens and the herbs to the beat eggs. It will seem like a ridiculous amount of greens, but that is the point.  Add the cooled onions and more salt and mix well.

Re-heat pan over medium-high heat. Add egg mixtures and let cook 7-10 minutes until almost completely set. The middle will still be damp.  Don't let the bottom burn and adjust heat accordingly.  When the eggs are almost completely set you can either slide it onto a plate and then flip it back into the pan to cook the top for 2-3 minutes or you can slide the whole pan unto the pre-heated oven and cook it for 2-3 minutes until set but not too firm.

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How to Roast Chicken (and then eat it all week.)

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How to Roast Chicken (and then eat it all week.)

The very best roasting technique comes from one of the very best chefs in California: Thomas Keller of French Laundry. Luckily, it is also very simple and very rewarding.  Learn this recipe by heart and you will never go wrong.

One Pot Roast Chicken

Inspired by In the Green Kitchen, Alice Waters

Serves 4-6

Salt and fresh-ground pepper

2 or 3 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

2-3 Tbls butter (or olive oil.)

3 potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

2 celery stalks, thickly sliced

4 large shallots

5 cloves garlic, whole and peeled.

1 lemon chopped in 1/2

Fennel, squash, turnips, parsnips or your favorite root vegetable

To begin, prepare the chicken by bringing to room temperature 1 hour before your ready to begin cooking.  Remove the giblets if kept inside, wash, dry well and heavily season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Preheat the over to 450.

Season the inside cavity as well and take a few sprigs of fresh herbs, 2 garlic cloves and 1/2 a lemon and place inside the chicken.  Truss your chicken by tying the legs together with string and tucking the wing tips up and under the back of the neck.

With your remaining fresh herbs, chop them loosely and mix with the butter or olive oil.  Using your fingers to pull the skin away from the bird, rub the butter herb mix between the chicken breast and the outside skin.  This will help you to create perfect crispy skin.

Toss your chopped vegetables with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, fresh pepper and whole, peeled garlic cloves.  Lay them in a deep roasting pan, making a space in the center for the chicken.  Take a long piece of tin foil and crumple and round it to make a ring for the chicken to sit on.  Place the ring in the center of the veggies and the chicken on top, breast side up.

Roast the chicken for 20 minutes before flipping over and roasting 20 more minutes with the breast side down.  Flip one last time, breast side up and lower the temperature to 400 for the last 20 minutes.  During the final 20 minutes continuously check the chicken every 5 minutes. The internal temp should read 160. Be sure to take the temperature where the breast and thigh meet.  If you do not have a meat thermometer, simply stick the tip of a knife where the breast and thigh meet. When the chicken is done the juices should run clear, not pink.

Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a cutting board or platter.  Allow to rest for 10- 15 minutes before carving.

And then eat it all week....

A roast chicken is one of those classic dishes that is so versatile you could transform the leftovers into at least 4 more dishes before you tire of it. Here are a few ideas:

Breakfast

  • Jook is a savory, Asian breakfast porrage. Make steel cut oats or polenta for the base and add shredded chicken, scallions, fresh ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil!
  • Sweet potato hash is a great way to start the day chop up 1/2  a sweet potato, onion, bell pepper and left over chicken.  While your at it, might as well poach an egg to go over the top.

Lunch

  • Transform your lunch time salad using your freshly roasted chicken. Add white beans, roasted fennel and toasted pine nuts for a delicious, filling salad.
  • I love a good chicken salad sandwich. Chop the leftover chicken and mix with yogurt or avocado to bind it. Then add curry, currents, sliced grapes and chopped walnuts. Serve open face on a hearty bread with arugula.

Dinner

  • Enchiladas or tacos: Shred the chicken, mix with cheese, black beans and fresh cilantro for enchiladas.  Or shred and sauté with kale, red bell pepper and chili flakes for fantastic taco filling. Serve with black beans and fresh avocado!
  • Chicken Soup is the most obvious choice for left over chicken, but get creative and try a chicken white bean chili or a chicken tortilla soup.

The Skinny

As we know chicken is a fantastic source of lean protein.It is also relitivly cheap to buy and easy to prepare. Chicken contains high levels of niacin, selenium, and vitamin B6. When cooked in a soup, chicken is an age old recipe known to boost the immune and fight the common cold. And in chinese medicine chicken is regarded as an energy booster and digestive support.

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Shiitake Meatloaf with Ginger Miso Glaze

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Shiitake Meatloaf with Ginger Miso Glaze

You may have noticed by now, but I have an innate Hawaiian desire to turn most dishes Asian.  Oatmeal? Why not Jook? Soup? Why not miso? Noodles? I want soba. So it's no surprise that I turned a recent turkey meatloaf into a shiitake ginger masterpiece (if I say so myself). It all started with a basket of "ugly shiitakes" from the Civic Center Farmers Market.  They sell these curly little buggers for half the price as the full, but they are just as fresh and flavorful.  Hardly a week goes by without a trip to the mushroom booth.

Shiitakes have a rich, smoky wood flavor and are a great addition to most anything.  I like them in stir fry's with tofu, miso soups, with braised meats, sauteed with garlic and sesame oil AND I love to save the stems in the freezer for a later-made soup stock.  Not to mention their numerous health benefits.

Combined with a package of frozen ground turkey meat (one of my frozen protein staples), and a few  staple asian spices I had on hand, I came out with a very simple, nourishing dinner. I served this  with sautéed spicy bok choy.

SHIITAKE MEATLOAF WITH GINGER MISO GLAZE

Ingredients: 

For the Loaf

  • 1  1/2 lb lean ground turkey (preferably organic)
  • 4-8 shiitake mushroom caps and stems removed
  • 3 tsp Fresh ginger, skinned and minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp sambal (optional)

For the Miso Glaze

  • 1 Tbs miso paste
  • 1 tsp mirin (or rice vinegar)
  • 1 Tbs honey

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Begin by putting your ground turkey into a large mixing bowl.  Using sesame oil, sauté your shallot and garlic until just cooked (about 1 minute.) Add shiitakes and ginger and saute until just cooked (about 5 mins.)

Add this mixture to ground turkey, along with your green onions and all the sauces (hoisin, tamari, honey, fish sauce and sambal). Mix all the  ingredients together.   Place the turkey mixture into a deep loaf pan (9X5).

To make the glaze simply whisk together the miso, honey and mirin.  Coat the turkey loaf with a layer of glaze, reserving some for a final coat when it comes out of the oven.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Pull from oven and coat with the remaining glaze. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Great with any kind of veggies!

The Skinny: Shiitakes are a super food!! They are most known for their ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease.  Interestingly, studies have actually shown that shiitakes can either increase or decrease immune activity, depending on what the body needs.  They have also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. To top it off, shiitakes are an excellent sources of selenium and polysaccharides and a very good source of vegetarian iron.

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Soba Noodles with Ginger Almond Sauce

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Soba Noodles with Ginger Almond Sauce

This is one of my all time favorite dinners. I found it in vegetarian times years ago and have been recreating and reinventing it ever since. It is both satisfying and rich, while still fresh and light.  I dress the nutty (and gluten free) soba noodles in an almond butter and ginger sauce (that evokes its Thai peanut sauce cousin), and then toss in fresh, raw veggies. If I’m craving extra protein, I love to add grilled prawns. *Best of all, this dinner can be made in 30 minutes.

EQUIPMENT

This recipe is MUCH easier with a food processor or blender, although could be done with a whisk and determination.

INGREDIENTS

6oz low sodium soba noodles

1/2 cup organic, unsalted almond butter

1/4 cup brown rice vinegar

1Tbs. honey, agave or maple syrup

2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce)

1 Tbs. pealed and chopped fresh ginger

1-2 cloves peeled garlic

1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. fresh lime zest

3/4 cup cilantro, divided and 1/2 cup saved fresh

Seasonal crunchy vegetables. I like:

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 small red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced

1/2 cup grated carrot

1 sliced green onion

Optional 2 Tbs chopped toasted almonds.

1/2 lb whole prawns

DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water (follow package instructions.) Rinse with cold water and set aside.

Meanwhile, puree in your food processor the almond butter, vinegar, honey, ginger, tamari, garlic, lime, lime zest and 1/4 cup cilantro. Blend until smooth using small amounts of warm water to thin if necessary.

If cooking shrimp lightly toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and grill or san sear until just pink.

Finally, toss together the noodles, almond sauce, remaining cilantro and fresh veggies.  Top with shrimp and serve warm.

This dish is excellent cold the next day, so be sure to make extra for tomorrow’s lunch!

THE SKINNY

Soba noodles are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour and sometimes flavored with green tea, mugwort, or seaweed. Soba in it’s true form is gluten free (but some varieties add gluten so be sure to check the packaging- Eden Foods has a 100% gluten free version.) Buckwheat gets its name for its resemblance to wheat berries, but in fact is a fruit seed.  Buckwheat is known to contain flavonoids known to lower blood pressure and protect the body from harmful cholesterol.  It contains very high-quality protein (containing all 8 amino acids), and high levels of magnesium and B vitamins.

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The Easiest Soup Imaginable

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The Easiest Soup Imaginable

I have an admission: I ate my jack-o-lantern.

I couldn't help myself!  I had all these beautiful pumpkin's on my porch staring in, begging not to be wasted.  So I did some research (turns out you can eat almost every pumpkin!) and I roasted up several varieties.

Keeping in-line with my recent soup fetish, I decided to blend this baby up into a creamy concoction.  What I ended with is the easiest fall soup imaginable.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 medium squash (Any kind will work: acorn, kambucha, butter nut, etc.)

1 can of light coconut milk

1 tablespoon of Thai red curry paste

½ cup diced onion

1 tablespoon of diced fresh ginger.

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or olive oil.)

Topping: Plain yogurt, pumpkin seeds, chili flakes.

DIRECTIONS

To begin preheat your oven to 400.  CAREFULLY cut the squash in half and place in a deep baking pan, skin side up.  Pour ½ cup of water in the pan with the squash.

Roast squash for 30-45 minuets or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Remove the pan from the oven and place on stovetop to cool.

While the squash is cooling, heat coconut oil in a deep soup pot. Add your diced onion and ginger and sauté until soft (about 3 minutes.) Add 1 Tbs. of curry paste and mix well. Add some chili flakes at this point if you want extra spice. Then scoop the pumpkin flesh into the pot and stir it well (breaking up the big pieces of squash). Pour in 1 can of coconut milk and mix together.   You can stop here and have a chunky soup, or you can blend this in your food processor little by little until it is smooth.  I think blended soups are fancy, so I opted for the latter.

Simmer soup (blended or not) for 5 minuets and its ready to eat.

Serve with 1 scoop of plain yogurt and sprinkled pumpkin seeds and chili flakes.

The Skinny: Pumpkins are full of carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and fiber! This low calorie squash will help you keep healthy eyes, bones strong, promote healthy digestion and a strong immune system! 

If you use the seeds (waste not, want not) you get a huge does of Omega 3's  manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds are at the top of the nutrition nut pile.  They are anti inflammatory (good for arthritis), protect from prostate cancer, lower cholesterol with their Phytosterols, and improve mood and stress coping. They are also very high in protein

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Poached Egg Miso

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Poached Egg Miso

Is it just me or did winter sneak up behind us, in the midst of our summer holiday?  True to San Francisco weather, we had  two precious weeks of 70 degrees, sunny park lunches, followed quickly with the a search for our wool hats and boot socks.  With the rainy weeks ahead I thought it the perfect time to talk soup. Those of you who know me, know that my relationship with soup has been a rocky road. My mom would always cook up big pots of everything-in-fridge-soup, that I would force down throughout the week. Resentful that I was once again face to face with the vegetables I had rejected so certainly just a week before. Once I was free to rule over my own kitchen, I vowed to ban all soups, stews and watery leftovers from my kitchen table.  But I admit, I have softened through the years. Maybe its due to chilly San Fran living, or that a blended soup offers something much more complex and intriguing. Or possibly that my 'ol mom was onto something and that I now recognize that soups are a great way to make a nourishing meal.  Whatever it is, I have turned a corner and am always looking for interesting new ways to make amends with my old enemy.

This week I was inspired by The Kitchn's  winter soup round-up and made this super easy, nourishing miso soup for dinner last week. It is the perfect prescription to rainy nights and fall colds and will leave you wishing your mom was around to fix you soup.

Poached Egg Miso 

INGREDENTS

2 quarts good broth

1/2 cup miso paste

One 12-ounce block soft tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 small bunch scallions, green tops sliced thin

Greens (I used spicy broccolini in this version but bok choi, chard, pea shoots or dandelion greens would be great.)

Chili flakes

Kombu  (a seaweed that adds flavor, nutrients and digestibility to soups, grains and beans.)

For each  bowl:

1 cup cooked brown rice (or quinoa)

1 large egg

Soy sauce

Sambal (aka rooster sauce.)

Sesame oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour stock into a large saucepan.  Add a 3 inch piece of kombu to the cold stock and bring to a boil.  While stock is boiling ready the miso paste into a small bowl or measuring sup.  Add boiling stock to the miso and whisk until completely dissolved then combine with the stock.  Keep over low heat; do not let the broth boil after the miso has been added.

Stir in the tofu cubes and the sliced scallions, and heat just until warmed through.

Meanwhile add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil to a pan.  Once hot, add your greens and stir to evenly coat with sesame oil. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon- 1 teaspoon (depending on taste) over the greens, add a splash of water lower the heat and cover for aprox. 5 minuets or until the greens have wilted.

To prepare a bowl of soup Place 1 cup cooked white rice in each soup bowl. Poach an egg for each bowl of soup. (Alternatively, you can add an egg to a bowl of hot broth, cover it, and let stand for several minutes.)

Pour about 1 cup of miso soup over the rice in each bowl, place a poached egg on top and add wilted greens.  Serve with soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and sesame oil.

The Skinny

Seaweed is a super food you should be eating. The Japanese have been cooking with sea vegetables for centuries to enhance both the flavor and  nutrition of their dishes. Seaweed offers the broadest range of minerals of any food as they contain every single mineral found in the ocean. The highlights are iodine which support the thyroid, lignans which offer cancer prevention, funcan substances dramatically lower the inflammation in the body.  Seaweed also has theraputic levels of folic acid and magnesium which protect the heart, cardiovascular system and support women in menopause. And last but not least a broad range of B vitamins to decrease stress and anxiety.  (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Murray, 2005.)

Adding pieces of kombu to your soup stocks, grains and beans will allow the nutrients to be absorbed by the food.  You can also try dulce flakes as a seasoning and of course seaweed sheets for making sushi and wraps.

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Chipotle Squash Enchiladas

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Chipotle Squash Enchiladas

If your like me, your wondering what to do with all the beautiful squash in the fall/winter months.  Look no further with this warming and EASY enchilada recipe. I came up with this one night after receiving a kambucha squash in my CSA box.  I didn’t want to leave the house and wanted to use up groceries I had sitting around.  I called on my pantry for canned black beans and chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (you could substitute green chilies if you have that in your cupboard.) Once you get that squash roasted (20-30 mins.), you’ll have the whole thing in the oven in 15 minuets. Make it. Share it. And definitely top it with my cumin, cinnamon pumpkin seeds.

INGREDIENTS
You favorite winter squash (butternut, kambucha, acorn, etc.)
1 can of black beans (Drained and rinsed)
1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. 3-5 chopped chilies (depending on heat preference.)
baby spinach or kale
onions
garlic
salt/ pepper/ cumin
red enchilada sauce
tortillas
pumpkin seeds
greek yogurt
DIRECTIONS
Cut the squash in quarters.  Place skin side up in a backing pan with 2 inches of water.  Bake at 400 until soft. Aprox 20-30 mins. Let it cool.
Meanwhile sauté the onions and garlic. Season w/ salt pepper and cumin. Once translucent add to large bowl.
Add beans (rinsed), greens and chopped chipotle peppers to the bowl and mix the ingredients.
When the squash is cooled scoop the meat into the bowl with the mixture. Mix together.
To wrap enchiladas first pour the enchilada sauce into a wide base bowl.  Heat tortillas on a skillet  and then dip them in the sauce before adding filling (aprox. 3 TBS.) Roll enchiladas and place them in a shallow baking pan side by side.  Once pan is full cover with remaining sauce.
Bake for 20-30 mins.
Serve with dollop of greek yogurt and my cumin cinnamon pumpkin seeds.
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