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Lunch

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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Thai Chicken Slaw

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Thai Chicken Slaw

I am always looking for delicious & nutritious salads that are easily made and can satisfy all week. This is my latest obsession. I was inspired to make a dish that was both full of crispy, fresh, summer veggies and also high in protein (and as usual, looking to add an Asian spin).  So I took the route of a colorful slaw, added some flavorful chicken and spiked the whole thing with spicy Thai chilies and fresh herbs. Yum, I'm hooked. This dish is fantastic eaten as a side dish, for lunch behind my steering wheel, or reinvented into an incredible dinner as kimchee lettuce wraps.

THAI CHICKEN SLAW

Ingredients: 

  • 1 chicken breast and 1 thigh (pan roasted, cooled and then shredded)
  • 1 head of purple cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 radishes
  • Handful of mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 Serrano pepper, Thai red chilies or 1/2 a jalapeno (to taste), seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1" nub of fresh ginger
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-3 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp toasted cashews or peanuts
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Directions: 

Begin by seasoning and roasting the chicken.  Toss it with soy sauce and fresh ginger and roast at 350 F for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Set it aside to cool and then shred when it cools down enough to handle.

Shred your cabbage and carrots and add them to a very large mixing bowl. Slice radishes (and any other crunchy veggies you have on hand) and add them to the large bowl as well.

Create a dressing by mixing the shallots, cilantro, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and honey to a small jar with a lid.  Shake the heck out of it. When the dressing is well shaken, add 1/3 cup of olive oil and shake again. Shake it, shake it.

Add chicken to the big bowl and mix evenly into the veggies. Cover the whole thing with dressing and toss together thoroughly.

You can mix in the toasted nuts now, or save them until right before you eat.

Eat all week and in every way possible.

HINT: This salad is amazing served in a lettuce cup with kimchee!

The Skinny: Cabbage is part of the cruciferous family, best known for their anti-cancer properties (known as glucosinolates).  Other cruciferous are broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.  In fact, the anti-cancer effects are so well studied that it is one of the American Cancer Society's key dietary recommendations.  Beyond it's antioxidant qualities, cabbage also has very high levels of vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, biotin, calcium, and magnesium.  Cabbage also has an anti-bacterial effect which makes it particularly beneficial for healing peptic ulcers and indigestion. This is due to the strong amino acid L-Glutamine, which heals and regenerates the stomach lining.  And lastly, as with the rest of the cruciferous, cabbage protects and cleanses the liver. So eat it up, for a liver clean up!

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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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Egg Salad. Pure and Simple.

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Egg Salad. Pure and Simple.

Its "Unprocessed October" I am have been brain-storming ways to make whole-food and delicious lunches.  Today I called on an old friend: the egg salad sandwich. Its one of those classics that everyone loves but no one makes. I think this is the perfect time to revisit. Here is my spin: Egg Salad, Pure and Simple.

INGREDIENTS

2 hard boiled eggs

1 Tbsp of Plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp of unprocessed Dijon mustard

2 tsp of fresh herbs (today I used lemon thyme)

2-4 tsps of finely chopped shallots

rock salt and pepper to taste.

1/2 a piece of Trader Jo's Whole Wheat Lavash bread, (or another simply made bread.) For Paleo serve in lettuce cups.

Handful or wild arugula, lettuce, or mache

Home made pickles.

*NOTE: I like crunch in my egg salad so I generally throw in a small dice of whatever veggies I have available: cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, pickles, capers, etc. Chopped nuts can also be a nice addition.

*For an interesting variation try a curry powder, chopped apple and toasted pecans combination.

DIRECTIONS

Hard-boil your eggs (See directions below for a perfectly hard-boiled egg.)

In a bowl mix together shallot, mustard, yogurt and herbs.  Add the shelled eggs and roughly chop.

Fold the eggs and yogurt mixture together but allow it to stay course and not get too smooth.

If adding other veggies, fold them in also.

Serve over a salad, in a flat bread wrap or an open face dense rye bread sandwich. Add a spicy lettuce to contrast the creamy eggs and serve with home made (or fresh) pickles.

How To Perfectly Hard-Boil An Egg

1) Place eggs in a pot and cover with 2" of water.

2) Bring water to boil.

3) Once water boils, remove from heat momentarily and bring heat to medium. Place the eggs back on to simmer for 1 minute.

4) Remove pot from heat and let sit for 12 minutes. *NOTE: If cooking 5+ eggs, let sit for 15-20 minutes.

5) Rinse eggs under cold water. Ready to eat or save.

 

The Skinny

Yogurt has less fat and cholesterol then a vegetable-oil based mayonnaise. It can provide the creamy texture or moistness you are looking to add to a recipe. i.e- on tacos, in eggs, on sandwiches, in oatmeal, etc. Yogurt, unlike mayonnaise is a super food.  Yogurt can help improve digestion and immunity with its pro-biotic content; yogurt is a rich source of calcium; yogurt helps increase the bio-availability of other nutrients, yogurt supports healthy re-balance after antibiotics and yogurt is an excellent source of protein.

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World-famous, massaged kale salad!

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World-famous, massaged kale salad!

World famous? Well, maybe I am pushing it- but this indeed is my absolute favorite, scream from the roof tops, nutrition packed way to cook up this super food. Kale is part of the cruciferous family (related to the cabbage) and is touted as being one of the very most nutritious vegetable.  Kale is jam packed with carotenes, vitamins C, B6 and manganese, fiber and many minerals such as copper, iron and calcium. (Murray, 2005.)  Kale (and all cruciferous veggies) improve liver detoxification and have anti-cancer properties. So pick up a bunch at the next farmers market (it is always in season) and try on my massaged kale salad for size. Massaged Kale Salad

Raw kale salad is an easy, nutritious and adaptable recipe.  Feel free to alter dressing and additional ingredients to your tasting.

INGREDIENTS

1 bunches of lacinato/ dinosaur kale rinsed, de-boned and chopped into strips.

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon salt

4 tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1.     Put kale, olive oil, lemon and salt into bowl, then using hands massage the kale for 5 minutes to tenderize it.

2.     Then add the additional veggies, toss and let marinate for an 15 minutes or more.

3.     Additional options: avocado, shredded carrot, red bell pepper, shallot, parsley, sesame seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, fresh mint, tomatoes, kalamata olives, radish, splash of vinegar.

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