Archives for posts with tag: healthy

let’s be honest, i am a card carrying omnivore, and with the exception of maybe eggplant and okra, i love most food and will eat just about anything. that being said, i am also health and environmentally conscious, so i am always looking to find different ways to limit my meat intake, but also not lose the all important protein factor.

eat food. not too much. mostly plants. -michael pollan, in defense of food

i have always loved curries, whether it is indian or southeast asian, and often think of them as being, at the very least, a vegetarian option, so it was easily enough to make one vegan, plus i am always looking to incorporate more turmeric into my diet. also, i think because of the spices and coconut milk this recipe has a lot of flavor, and with the lentils and peas you get the protein. i don’t miss the meat.

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ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small cauliflower (with leaves, if possible), chopped in the small florets and pieces
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized disks
  • 2 cups baby potatoes, cut in half or bite-sized
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp madras curry
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste, i like it spicy)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, more if needed
  • 1/2 cup mixed lentils (any kind will work just adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

instructions:

heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium high heat. it should be enough to cover the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven. i use my 7.25 qt le crueset. add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. stir in the cauliflower, carrots, and potatoes with a few generous sprinkles of salt, and several grinds of fresh ground pepper.

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let cook about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies start to brown a bit, and a fond starts to form on the bottom of the pan. add the ginger, turmeric, and tomato paste. mix to combine.

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add the dried spices and mix in well until all of the veggies are covered.

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add the vegetable stock, and use a wooden spoon to scrap the fond off the bottom of the pan. add the lentils, bring to a boil, and then add the coconut milk. bring to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are done, about 20-40 minutes depending. it should be the consistency of a thick stew, but you can add a little more vegetable stock if it thickens too much, or would prefer it a little more soup like. add salt to taste.

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add the lemon zest, juice and peas at the end, allowing enough time for them to warm, about 5 minutes. stir in the cilantro off heat.

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serve with basmati rice.

makes about 8 cups.

hat tip to my friend arik for this recipe. he is one of my best friends, and among many other amazing things, a great culinary wizard. he made this dish for me years ago, and it is still a favorite to this day. i often make it to top a salad of little gems with spicy glazed pecans, gorgonzola + honey mustard dressing, but it also pairs well with a side of cole slaw and mexican grilled corn. although, this recipe uses boneless skinless breasts, cooked on a grill pan indoors, i have marinated whole chicken parts and put them on the grill outside, and has turned out delicious as well.

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ingredients:

  • boneless and skinless chicken breasts (sliced into cutlets if too thick)
  • garlic, at least one clove per breast, sliced thin
  • fresh ginger, at least one tbsp per pair of breasts, minced
  • limes, the juice of one per pair of breasts
  • serrano chile, one per pair of breasts, sliced thin
  • cilantro (optional. i had some on hand, so added it.)
  • olive oil, enough to coat
  • salt + pepper, to taste

sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the breasts. put all of the ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag, making sure to distribute the marinade evenly. place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

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heat up a grill pan if you have one, but i’m sure a regular skillet would do the trick too. i like to add the bits of garlic, ginger and serrano to the pan as well. depending on the thickness of the breasts, cook each side 5-10 minutes. once out of the pan, let them rest for 5 minutes to keep in the juices.

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note: i’ve made this with kumquats instead of the lime and serrano, for a less spicy but still citrusy version.

 

 

another episode of ‘cleanin’ out my fridge’: the brussels sprouts edition.

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yesterday after my trip to the farmers market, i was putting away my veggies, and came across a bag of these cruciferous vegetables from a couple weeks ago that i needed to use.

i have a few different ways i like to prepare these wee cabbages. simply roasting them with olive oil, salt and pepper is easy enough, but recently i have been slicing them thin, sautéing with olive oil, shallot, fresh lemon juice, tossing with pecorino romano, toasted sliced almonds, and finishing with a little bit of red wine vinegar. this was my inspiration for this soup.

of course, when i am cooking from the hip, i often don’t actually write down amounts as i go, or take photos, so the list of ingredients will be approximations, and you only get the one photo.

ingredients:

  • 3 cups brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 leek, white part cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced small
  • 3 celery stalks, diced small
  • 4 carrots, diced small
  • 2 tsp fresh savory, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups stock (i used homemade turkey stock)
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped coarse (optional)
  • cream, to taste
  • salt + pepper, to taste

garnish:

  • toasted sliced almonds
  • pecorino romano, grated
  • chives, minced
  • red wine vinegar, drizzle

in a large dutch oven, heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. add the brussels sprouts, some salt and pepper, and cook until soft and browning. add the leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, savory and a little more olive oil, salt and pepper. combine and allow to cook down a bit. add the wine, and scrape off any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. add the stock, bring to a boil, and then let simmer over medium-low heat until all the veggies are soft. this is when i added the spinach. honestly, i doubt that it added much flavor wise, but i had a little bit in the fridge that was just beginning to wilt, and thought it might add a little green color back into the soup, which it did. once the spinach becomes soft, but hasn’t lost it’s color, i turned off the heat. i used a hand blender to purée the soup until creamy. (i’m sure a regular blender or food processor would do the same thing.) slowly add cream to your liking.

garnish with almonds, pecorino romano, chives and drizzle with red wine vinegar. enjoy!

serves 4.

today i woke up with a touch of a sore throat, my head was stuffy, and my eyes a bit goopy. ugh. did i just catch the cold that has been going around? great.

i discovered blossom vietnamese restaurant pretty early on living in downtown los angeles. since it is only a few blocks away, and has reasonably priced, quality, tasty food, i go there often. a few years ago, i got the start of what was in the makings of being a pretty bad cold. i hardly ever get sick, but when i do all i want is hot, steamy, spicy, brothy chicken soup. i remembered that blossom had phở ga on the menu, so i got on my trusty steed and biked up there.

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i must have sounded worse than i thought, or sniffled a bunch when i ordered, because the man taking my order asked if i was sick? then asked if i liked ginger and garlic? he said he would put some extra in, and that i should add it to the broth, and that it will help me feel better. i had heard of the wonders of garlic and ginger in the past, and i knew homemade broths are very healthy for you, but had pretty much thought that chicken soup wasn’t going to cure my cold, it would just make me feel better and comfort me. i was wrong. the next day my cold was gone.

good broth will resurrect the dead. -south american proverb

the chicken is juicy and never over-cooked. the broth is steamy and flavorful. the bean sprouts, thai basil, jalapeño, lime, ginger and garlic are fresh and plentiful.

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all together with a little hoisin and sriracha hot sauce makes a big bowl of delicious medicine.

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so today when i woke up feeling crummy, i got on my trusty steed once again, went a few blocks west up winston street, and ordered what i now call ‘the cold killer’: phở ga with extra ginger and garlic. needless to say i am already feeling better.

blossom vietnamese • 426 s. main street, la, ca 90013 • 323-623-1973

i have been working a lot lately, and although there is way too much food provided for us, it just isn’t that healthy all the time. also, we are basically on our own for lunch, so rather than spending at least $10 a day going to the warner brothers commissary, or a nearby restaurant like chipotle, i have been trying to bring my lunch. for tomorrow, i merged a bit of extra pre-cooked chicken and peas that were leftover extras from a pot pie i made last weekend, with some fresh green onions, peppers and lime that i picked up at the farmers market, added a bit of ‘below the border’ spices, olive oil and a touch of white wine vinegar.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup orzo (dry), cooked and rinsed cold
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked, cooled and cubed small
  • 1 cup fresh peas, blanched
  • 1/4  cup red pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 lime, juiced

to taste:

  • olive oil (1 tbsp?)
  • white wine vinegar (a splash)
  • cumin (lots)
  • chili powder (1 tsp?)
  • s+p

mix all the ingredients together, and then to your own taste add the olive oil, vinegar, cumin, chili powder and s+p.

at least i know one of my meals will be healthy, and made with mostly organic, local and fresh ingredients. for breakfast, i can only hope they don’t tempt me with ‘crack’ bacon.

makes 2 servings, or about 2.5 cups. approximately 400 calories per serving.

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