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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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Poach A Perfect Egg

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Poach A Perfect Egg

I love, love, love poached eggs. I love the runny yolk on just about anything starting from breakfast, to vegetables, to leftovers. Many people fear the "home poach" and so they miss out on many an yolky recipe.  So here is a few tips, taught to me by my mother well before I could cook anything else, on poaching the perfect egg.

1) Start with a shallow pan and fill it with water (I usually poach eggs in a 2-quart saucepan filled with 2-3 inches of water.)

2)Add a splash of vinegar (1-2 Tbs.) to help hold the whites together.

3) Bring the water to a gentle simmer, then crack the eggs into the water.A fast simmer or a boil with break the eggs apart. I find that four minutes gives me an egg with firm whites and a runny yolk. Four and a half minutes is perfect if you want a yolk that's just starting to set. Five minutes works for times when I want a set yolk that is still custardy and soft.

Additional Tips

  • Use fresh eggs! The fresher the egg the more it will stay in tact when you simmer it.
  • Serve it HOT! Nothing worse than cold, runny eggs.

Voila! Breakfast is served.

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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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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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Put an egg on it.

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Put an egg on it.

Put An Egg On It If you haven’t yet noticed the trend, I love eggs! I love them because they are delicious and versatile, yes, but also because they pack a 6gm of protein punch into any meal.  I grew up on eggs from the chicken coop and my most nostalgic meals are egg-centered breakfasts: Mama’s eggs Benedict, rice pancakes and herb scrambles.  These days I try to add them into the more savory, later meals of the day: Poached eggs over rice, hard boiled in a salad, eggs in purgatory, poached eggs on roast asparagus and isn’t any left-over better with a fried egg on it?

Today we are going to do eggs the easy way. Its early, I just finished a boot-camp hill day and I am famished.  Here’s the drill: cook oatmeal on stovetop as usual, crack a whole egg into the nearly cooked oats and stir in. Eat as normal, but be energized and more satiated with the protein power of eggs.  Your welcome.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup rolled oats, or 5 grain steel cut.

(*note: this could also work with microwaved oatmeal if your in a pinch.)

1 cup water

1 egg

Insert favorite topping here: Milk, nuts, fruit, sweetener (if needed.)

Mine: almond milk, pumpkin seeds, crystallized ginger

DIRECTIONS

Bring water to a boil with a pinch of salt.

Add oats, stir in and reduce heat to a simmer

Cook until oats thicken (about 7-10 for rolled oats, 15 for steel cut.)

Crack in an egg and mix well.

Remove from heat, add toppings and enjoy.

The skinny:

For those of you who wish you could eat more eggs, but have been scared off by rumors of high cholesterol, think again.  More and more studies confirm that most of our cholesterol levels are dictated by what is created in the liver, and that blood cholesterol levels are hardly effected by dietary cholesterol as previously thought.

Not only are eggs protein dense, but they are packed full of vitamins k, vitamin D, B vitamins (especially B12), selenium, choline, betaine, and 6.3 grams of protein. Rather then damaging your heart, eggs actually have several heart healthy nutrients. Betaine, for example, works to lower homocysteine levels (which when are high, can damage the blood vessels of the heart.) Eggs are very high in choline which feeds our brains, by providing flexability and integrity to brain cells. This makes it particularly good for nursing mothers as choline will be essential for their babies brain development.

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Unda-Style Egg Wrap (Make this. You'll love it)

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Unda-Style Egg Wrap (Make this. You'll love it)

I have always loved Indian roti rolls and upon learning of the egg laden unda-style version, I have never looked back to my ways of ordering past.  Unda-style is when a egg (pre scrambled) is added to a hot skillet, let set (like an omelet), then topped with a piece of naan.  The result is an egg-y, crepe-like vehicle for transporting Indian food to mouth. Last month all of this changed. I came across a startling variation in one of my favorite cooking blogs 101 cookbooks, where the idea has been altered to substitute the naan, for a less dense carb- the tortilla.  Since then my I have made and remade this protein packed wrap with just about anything- tortillas, lavash, pita, sprouted bread, etc. and topped with whatever looks fresh in my refrigerator.

And upon completing this mornings, asparagus, spicy feta shallot version, I decided it was time to share.  Feast away friends and get ready to boost your breakfast

Asparagus Unda Wrap

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

1/4 shallot (thinly diced)

3 spears asparagus (sliced into 1 inch pieces)

1 handful of baby arugula or spinach.

1 Tbs Feta or goat cheese (I have been using Trader Jo's Chili Feta for a spicy kick)

2 eggs (scrambled and seasoned with S+P)

1 thin slice of whole wheat lavash flat bread, OR 1 side of a whole wheat pita pocket, OR whole wheat tortilla, etc.

DIRECTIONS

1) Heating 1 tsp oil in pan add shallots and let soften (approx. 30 sec.) Add asparagus and season lightly with salt and pepper.)

2) Put the asparagus aside on a plate and add the scrambled eggs to your smallest sauce pan.  Swirl them in the pan to spread out evenly.  Let set about 1 min.

3) Add your bread/tortilla/ pita directly on top of the egg and give it about 30 seconds to bind.  Flip egg/ bread completely over without breaking or folding (bread-side down on the pan) and let set another 10-30 seconds.

4) During these last 30 seconds, place the asparagus, cheese and arugula back in the pan on top of your egg creation.  When cooked through, slide the whole thing on to the plate, roll and devour.

*What variations have you tried?

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