ginger-lime kale with squash, chick peas & pomegranate

Apparently I can’t stop cooking and food blogging while on break from classes – the thrill of free time!

So I just discovered a new magazine called Clean Eating, which I might even consider subscribing to if they didn’t have a million and one recipes on their website. “Clean eating” isn’t some trendy fad or diet by the way; it just means consuming whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. I’m sure we could all use a little clean eating right now – I know I could – after a holiday full of more fatty, sugary, alcohol-y indulgences than a good nutrition student should admit to consuming.

This wintery super nutritious recipe caught my eye and it is actually eye-catching with its multitude of colors. If you’ve ever heard the advice that you should eat the colors of the rainbow every day, it’s true. Different colored foods provide a wide range of nutrients that complement each other and contribute to a balanced diet. For example in this meal you’ve got kale, loaded with Vitamin K, C, and A, butternut squash for Vitamin A and beta-carotenes, chick peas filled with protein, zinc, fiber, and folate, and pomegranate seeds, a superfood of vitamins and polyphenols. Between the pomegranate seeds and the lime and ginger, it was not only a rainbow of color but a taste and texture explosion! And without further ado, the recipe:

Ginger-lime kale

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss 2 cups of peeled, seeded, chopped butternut squash with 1/2 tsp of olive oil, spread on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes until tender. (Side note: I hate peeling and chopping squash – it’s extremely hard and I almost lost a fingertip to it last fall! Luckily the store across the street from me sells pre-peeled chopped squash). While the squash is in the oven, saute a diced medium onion in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes. Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger. After about 30 seconds add 2 bunches of washed sliced kale leaves and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add 1 1/2 cups of chick peas, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the squash, remove from the heat, stir in 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1 tbsp fresh lime juice, sprinkle with 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds, and serve! This can be served over rice, quinoa, or your choice of grain, or on its own. And to keep it tasting fresh when I take some to work for lunch tomorrow, I’ll bring the lime and pomegranate separately and add them after reheating.

Advertisements

wild rice salad

I made this for a baby shower potluck lunch at work yesterday. Very simple and good for a big group – but my wild rice salad came out looking nothing like the photo in the original recipe! The kind of rice I used (Lundberg Black Japonica) turned the entire thing dark purple. If you don’t want a dark purple salad, cook your white rice and wild rice separately, or buy normal wild rice that doesn’t “leak” color into the water.

Also, I substituted vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, since there are lots of vegetarians where I work. This actually makes the whole dish vegan, and you can make it gluten free by making your own broth or buying one that is labeled gluten free.

Wild Rice Salad


what’s-in-your-fridge asian salad

September. It’s that time of year again. I’m back to work and have started classes for my MS Nutrition program. So, as will be the case with many nights to come (apologies in advance for the serious decline in blog posts), I pulled myself away from my Biochem textbook and wondered what I could make for dinner that was fast and wouldn’t involve going to the store. I call this the What’s-In-Your-Fridge Asian Salad. This is what I did, but you can really substitute anything here for anything else, as long as it tastes good to you.

Boil vermicelli (rice noodles) for three minutes and then run under cold water. Using a mandolin (or just slice very thinly), slice cucumber, scallion, and red onion, and grate carrot. Arrange the rice noodles atop boston lettuce and baby spinach, and then pile the other veggies on top. Add dressing (1 tbs smooth peanut butter, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1/2 tbs sesame oil, 1 tbs mirin, 2 tbs soy sauce, and red pepper flakes to taste) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

It would be great with some grilled shrimp or chicken on top. And crumbled peanuts. But then it wouldn’t be a what’s-in-your-fridge salad, it would be a walk-to-the-grocery-store-and-buy-stuff salad. Try it! What’s in your fridge?

What’s-in-your-fridge Asian Salad


mustard & ginger pickled carrots

Anyone who knows me knows that, at times, I can lack patience. Give me 200 screaming/whining/complaining teenagers at work and I’ll be fine; but putting me in a traffic jam or expecting me to wait for baked goods to cool before sampling them is just going to end badly. I think this is the reason I’ve never made pickles. Who wants to wait six weeks for vegetables to be ready? I tried pickling cucumbers and cauliflower once using this delicious leftover juice from some pickled radishes my friend got me at Brooklyn Larder, but I ended up breaking down and eating them after about a week. So when I came across a recipe for quick pickling (overnight!) I had to try it. This is from the same magazine by the way, as the grilled strawberry shortcake.
There were several different pickling recipes in the article, and I chose to make the carrot one because I had most of the ingredients already. Peel 10-12 medium sized carrots and cut them into matchsticks – imperfection is fine. Prepare a pot containing 3 cups of water, 2 cups distilled white vinegar, 3 tbs sugar, 3 tbs kosher salt, 3 quarter-size thin slices of fresh ginger, 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced lengthwise, 3 tbs yellow mustard seeds, 1 tbs coriander seeds, and 1/4 tsp red chile flakes (side note- I did not actually have mustard seeds or coriander seeds so I substituted a grainy mustard which is almost all seeds anyway and ground coriander). Bring everything in the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for one minute. Then add the carrots and simmer for another 3 minutes or so. Let everything cool to room temperature and then chill overnight to let the flavors develop. Yes! Just one night.

mustard & ginger pickled carrots


raw food night

So I thought vegan week was a challenge but last night I tackled a three course 100% vegan RAW meal. My friend Rosi is doing a raw food diet cleanse for a week and I was very excited to have her over as my willing guinea pig. First of all, I’ll explain for those wondering “what’s the deal with raw foodism?” The raw food diet is based on the belief that the most nutritious food is uncooked, or heated to less than 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking can denature enzymes (which help us digest food, absorb nutrients, and slow the aging process), kill vital disease-fighting nutrients, and form potentially harmful compounds. Some people find it really beneficial and cleansing to eat raw for a week or two, though it can be harmful if done incorrectly for long periods of time.
Ok, now that you have the “why,” here comes the “what.” A thorough internet search for raw food recipes left me initially discouraged, as it seemed like 80% of them required using a food dehydrator for 10 to 12 hours. So I found this recipe for Raw Spinach Manicotti, which didn’t require any dehydrating, but still had some extensive commitment involved, as I had to soak sunflower seeds and sun dried tomatoes for 4-6 hours. Thank god for my awesome Cuisinart food processor (thanks mom!), which I used for almost every component of this meal! The sunflower seed “cheese” would not have fooled me in a blind taste test, but it was pretty good (I think lots of garlic did the trick) and the tomato sauce was great and I would even make that again for a regular pasta.

Raw spinach manicotti

I also made a side salad of jicama, cucumber, and mango tossed with lime juice, cayenne pepper, and sea salt… pretty much just because I was craving mango. Simple, fresh, summery.

Mango jicama salad

Chocolate avocado pudding

For dessert, I stole an idea from my friend Christy, Personal Trainer/Registered Dietitian/cook extraordinaire! Last fall she made this chocolate pudding using avocado and agave syrup and brought it to a potluck dinner. I know it sounds weird, but you can’t really taste the avocado and it’s the creamiest most delicious stuff ever. In a food processor, just throw in one ripe avocado, 1/4 cup agave nectar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup water, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/4 tsp sea salt. When Christy made it she added shredded coconut on top – I opted for fresh strawberries since I had them left over from the other night’s grilled strawberry shortcake.

So I could totally eat raw food recipes (not all the time) if they didn’t take all day to make. Maybe a raw food week is in my future… one day. A great experiment, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Rosi is feeling after a whole week of this!