Tag Archives: healthy

portobello mushroom sliders & roasted red pepper pesto

my weekend
greyout
raves
new friends (thanks nick)
sunny san diego: always brings out the BEAST in me
eyes closed, bass pounding, menthol cigs and the heavy weight of a hand on my shoulder
my arms, back, neck, thighs
good vibes
consequences now

this classy recipe makes up for my weekend behavior

Balsamic-Marinated Portobello Mushroom Sliders with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
& Raw Kale Salad

2 large portobello mushrooms, gills scooped out, quartered
good balsamic vinegar
thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
dinner rolls or mini brioche buns, brushed with olive oil (and garlic salt!)
spinach or arugula
asparagus cut in thirds
parmesan cheese
1 large red pepper (or a jar of roasted red peppers in oil)
8 – 9 large fresh basil leaves
1bsp lemon
1 tbsp roasted pinenuts
e.v.olive oil, salt, pepper
kale, stem removed, sliced
avocado
dried cranberries
slivered almonds
soy sauce
scallions, sliced 

in a mortar & pestle, crush a few leaves from a sprig of thyme and a clove of garlic with about 3 – 4 tbsp of good olive oil. whisk in about 1.5 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. drizzle over portobello mushrooms, toss, and leave alone to marinate. Toss asparagus and arugula, separately, in olive oil, splash of lemon juice, s/p.
meanwhile, in an oven at 350F or over a gas stove, char the red peppers, when cooled, peel. Or take 1 pepper from a jar of roasted peppers and place in a small blender. add basil, pinenuts, lemon juice, and a good drizzle of olive oil (3 tbsp). blend until smooth. add olive oil, salt and pepper as needed. Set aside
roast asparagus at 350F for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan, roast for another 5 minutes.
in a grill pan or over a grill, grill mushrooms and bread

meanwhile, toss kale, cranberries, almonds, avocados and scallions in 2:1 parts olive oil and soy sauce. add pepper as needed.

to assemble, roasted asparagus, arugula, mushrooms, dollop of red-pepper pesto, and a slice of avocado
serve the kale salad on the side

PINKIES UP, LADIES

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chicken & veg soup

So pollution has been pretty bad here in Shanghai for the last few days.
and I have been, to say the least, smoking a lot
got sick last week with a fever and cough and paid a visit to a local Chinese hospital
questionable cleanliness…
went home, made some chicken soup, special soy milk tea and passed out for the day

needless to say, i’ve been going out at it again.
keep ’em crossed that the cough doesn’t return.

chicken & vegetable soup

1 large carrot, cubed
1 cucumber
1/2 onion, sliced
(6 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced)
helpful serving of spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
5 large cherry tomatoes, halved
1tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 liter (about 4 – 5 cups) lemon-soaked water (or salt-free chicken broth)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
(1 chorizo or spicy italian sausage)
(1/2 c. brown rice)
1 bay leaf
s/p/olio

in a large pot, brown chicken and chorizo in 1/2 tbsp olive oil. remove and set aside. in the same pot, sweat onion, carrot, & garlic until fragrant. celery at this point would be nice too. add meat back in and saute. slowly add broth or water. add thyme and bay leaf(or any bouquet garni) along with tomatoes and brown rice. bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer. add salt to taste. simmer for an hour or more. 20 minutes before serving, add shiitake & cucumber; continue to simmer until cucumber is softened. add spinach and wilt.
ladle into large bowl and serve with a piece of crusty bread & fresh mint tea.

love,
k

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Autumnal Root-Vegetable, Chickpea, and Squash Curry with Coconut Rice

I hope all you Americans voted yesterday in the midterm elections! Aside from politics, November is also the official start of the Holidays… aka OVER-EATING. Oh no! It’s okay, we will be careful this year. ha. ha.

Anyways, what’s so great about the Fall is the array of vegetables that are available now and that are in season. A great way to eat sustainably is to eat locally, thereby eating in-season produce. As we enter winter, less fresh vegetables will be available (to my northern and east-coast neighbors) BUT storable vegetables, including root vegetables and squash will remain popular. Let’s not forget frozen vegetables which retain a lot of nutrition, dried spices, and a variety of canned produce; all of which are incredibly important when fresh options that you want are out of season or are too expensive.

Today’s recipe is a late fall recipe which I think is more appropriate for other states because we Californians are still experiencing 80 – 90 degree weather in the midst of an encroaching winter. I love this curry because it really exemplifies how wonderful root vegetables are. It has incredibly complex and developed flavors from slow-cooking, and is good for you. Despite having such an extensive ingredient list, this curry is a mostly set-it-and-forget-it recipe. You can definitely just dump everything in a deep pan and saute it but having made it both ways, using a slow-cooker is absolutely the way to go as all the vegetables were incredibly buttery and there was no sign of powdery potatoes.

BTW, check out my bad-ass jack-o-lantern (although it started to get some cracks in it). That was about 4 hours of work and a bloody thumb. I composted the innards!

By the time I took this (I was working on Halloween!), there was a huge ball of fuzzy mold growing in there and only realize after I dumped a flashlight in there. So nasty.

Autumnal Root-Vegetable Curry with Coconut Rice
Serves 6 – 10

for all canned items, try to find no-salt added or low-sodium
3 tablespoons Madras Curry Powder (spicier, better flavor, imo)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled

(optional: 1/2 jalapeno or serrano, seeds removed)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
—–
1 large yukon gold potato (some people love sweet potatoes/yams), chopped into 1 inch pieces
3 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped in quarters
2 c. banana squash (they’re in the supermarket sliced into pre-packaged slices because they grow up to 4 feet in length), chopped, or substitute with butternut
1 14 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo) drained
1/2 to whole 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/3 c. frozen peas, defrosted
3/4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
1 bag fresh spinach
1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
1/2 c. packed fresh coriander, chopped

For the rice:
2 c. brown basmati rice, soaked for 20 minutes and drained
3 c. water (or a combination of water and left-over vegetable stock and coconut juice)
1/2 c. coconut milk (omit if using juice)
1 bay leaf

1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c. fresh coriander, chopped

In a food-processor, combine the first set of ingredients from the Madras curry powder to the vegetable stock. Process until smooth, adding salt slowly. Heat a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Add the processed sauce and saute until it has reduced. Pretty much running your spoon through it will leave a streak. Boil for a minute until fragrant. Add onions and carrots, saute until they just begin to soften. Remove from heat and add to the slow-cooker. Combine the rest of the vegetables and 3/4 c. vegetable stock. Toss until combined, adding more salt as needed. I added another tablespoon and a tsp black pepper.

Cook, covered, in a slow-cooker for 6 hours on high or until vegetables are tender.

For the rice, bring coconut milk, water, bay leaf, and rice to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 30 minutes, until water has been absorbed. I used an Asian rice cooker and did not let the rice soak in water before hand. Brown basmati takes significantly longer and a bit more water than normal brown rice so I had to set it for two rounds in the cooker although it may come out amazingly with 1 round for others. Others, when cooking over the stove, may let it boil for 5 – 10 minutes longer before reducing the heat. When done, toss with coriander and set aside.

Check potatoes, they will be firm but oh-so buttery and delicious. Stir in about half a bag of spinach, fresh coriander, until wilted, and 1/2 14 oz can of coconut milk. Serve over hot basmati rice.

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Quinoa Spaghetti and Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

It’s fall! Well, sort of because we had two days of hundred-degree weather. Yeah, I love California. Last week, I started keeping a food journal to keep what I was munching on in check and I apparently do a lot of snacking… I’m not overweight or unhealthy by any means. In fact, I’m actually pretty skinny. However, it’s been a goal to get rid of the layer of fat masking the abs that I know I have. I can do it! Mindless eating is an unhealthy habit regardless of your weight or what your health goals are. If it weren’t for my highly active life, I’m sure I’ll have gained a significant amount of weight. Baha.

Anyways, every so often I crave a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. I don’t know why. There’s something about a simple bowl of tomato sauce over pasta that makes me so very happy and satisfied even if spaghetti isn’t really the best thing for you. However, I’ve made this lower in fat and in bad-carbs, and upped the veggies and lean-protein. And, seriously, quinoa pasta isn’t like whole-wheat pasta. It has pretty much the same consistency as normal white pasta but is so much better for you (and it’s actually whole-grain). Get it for you, get it for your family and you’ll all benefit.

Quinoa Spaghetti and Turkey-Pesto Meatballs
Serves 4
Tomato Sauce:
2 large carrots, diced
1/2 onion diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 28oz can of tomatoes pref. San Marzano
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
~1 lb spaghetti

Meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey (or meat combo)
1/3 c. minced onion
2 tbsp prepared pesto OR 1/4 c. minced parsely
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan
1/3 c. (italian) bread (about 1 – 1.5 slices) soaked in a splash of milk, crumbled, or panko
(1 clove garlic minced)
2 eggwhites or 1 whole egg

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small skillet, saute the 1/3 c. of onions for the meatballs until glossy and slightly translucent. Add garlic, if using, and saute until fragrant. Transfer into a large mixing bowl and mix together rest of the ingredients with your hands. Shape into about golf-ball size balls and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, turning half-way through, if desired.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, take 1/2 – 3/4 of the can, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your sauce, and puree it in a large food processor with parsley (You can add some basil if you like. I didn’t have parsley!) and add dried herbs, slowly. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add your pasta. Keep an eye on it!

In a large frying pan, saute onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring to prevent burning. When onions are soft and translucent, add two cloves of garlic and saute until fragrant, lightly browned and no longer raw. Add your tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the can that was reserved. Place meatballs in sauce and allow them to simmer with the sauce for 4 – 5 minutes to incorporate some flavor. Spoon sauce and meatballs over al dente pasta. YUM YUM!

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Gnocchi with Basil-Pesto, Chicken, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Pasta dishes are my idea of comfort dishes– they’re usually cheesy or herby or tomato-y and are filled with instant carbohydrates waiting to be stored into fat cells until I work them off at the gym.

Alone. But not today!

I’m a lone-wolf at the gym but the boyfriend and I are working on my irrational paranoia of seeing people that I know (including him) at the gym derived from probably low-self esteem from freshman-year weight gain, birth control, and an overall decrease in fitness, health, and happiness last year. I love being at the gym: exercising and getting disgustingly sweaty so I need to at least be able to see someone and be fine with it and not let their opinions affect what I do despite whether or not they exist or not. So I’m lucky to have someone to help me out, stay healthy, busy, and to grow from. Love, love, love it.

Since I’m going to be heading to the gym and today, being the worse day, schedule-wise, to cook, I decided to go with a pasta dish. High in carbohydrates (~40g, 16 – 20% DV) from the gnocchi (in moderation, pasta is great!) and only about 355 – 400 calories per ~ 2 cup serving, this is a great energy source, simple, and is incredibly F L E X I B L E. I love pesto with fresh shrimp and blanched asparagus. Usually, I would make my own basil-pesto to control sodium levels but store-bought pesto (with olive oil) is perfectly fine! I also used shredded rotisserie chicken made with NO SALT and pre-made vacuum-packed gnocchi. I’m what you call a TIME-SAVER.

Gnocchi with Basil-Pesto, Chicken, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 2
1/2 package freeze-dried potato gnocchi
4 – 5 sun-dried tomatoes
1 – 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
shredded leftover roast chicken (~1/4 c.)
2 shallots, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced

Basil Pesto Sauce:
2 c. packed fresh basil
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/4 c. pecorino or parmesan, grated
1 clove garlic
s/p

In a small food processor, blend all ingredients in Basil-Pesto Sauce until smooth. Season as needed. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak sun-dried tomatoes in simmering water and a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar for 4-5 minutes, drain, and chop into slivers or bite-sized pieces. Bring medium pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook gnocchi until each potato dumpling rises. Remove, drain, and keep warm. Reserve a little cooking water.

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil. Sweat chopped shallots then add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Saute until garlic is fragrant, but not burnt. Add shredded chicken, basil-pesto sauce, gnocchi, and a couple tablespoons of reserved pasta water. Cook until everything is warmed through. If desired, until gnocchi shows a little caramelization. Season with pepper, if needed. Spoon 2 cup serving sizes into bowls and garnish with fresh basil and shredded cheese, if desired.

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Bulgar Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise

summer summer summer!

Sorry for the hiatus but I’ve been having a busy, busy summer: finishing tough summer classes, work as a barista, study abroad confusion, and a quick visit to the dating scene after ending a 2-year relationship but got scooped up again. Within all that, I feel so much lighter: I’ve been treating my body better– working out and getting out– as well as eating less meat and more sustainably. I feel accomplished for the first time in a long time.

Frozen veggie burgers are always kind of lame— the good ones are expensive and the bad ones taste like cardboard. These burgers are definitely meatless but that doesn’t mean it skimps on flavor and zest. The lime mayo is an absolute addition: the contrasting citrus notes with the spicy, earthy cumin served open-faced on a piece of toast. It’s a fork-and-knife burger and it’s delicious not to mention nutritious! Bulgar is a form of whole-wheat that you just cook like rice and is high in protein which is great for vegetarians. The burgers also have beans which is high in fiber and protein. This is a protein-packed meal. It’s great with HOME-GROWN BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES (yes, I’m totally bragging about those deliciously juicy tomatoes I grew), arugula (tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and s/p), and onion sprouts.

Bulgar Burgers with Lime Mayo
adapted from Gourmet Mag ’08
1/2 c. chopped onions, divided
1/2 c. bulgur wheat (fine – medium ground)

1 c. water
1 c. black beans (or pinto), rinsed and drained
1.5 tbsp (low-sodium) soy sauce
1/2 – 3/4 c. crushed walnuts (I used 1/2, but the recipe calls for 3/4)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c. packed cilantro springs (you can use parsley if you’re anti-cilantro, you freaks)
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 egg
1/8 c. bread crumbs, more if needed
(1/2 slice crumbled bread, if needed)
————————
1/4 c. light mayo
1/4 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 tsp lime juice
toast!
makes 4, 3.5 inch diameter patties

In a sauce pan, heat olive oil and cook 1/4 c. onion over medium heat until golden. Add bulgur and toast for a minute before adding water. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 – 18 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl. Mix in soy sauce and beans. In a large food processor, combine the bulgar mixture, walnuts, garlic, cilantro (add more if desired– same goes for spices), cumin, cayenne, egg, breadcrumbs and ~1/2 tsp pepper. Add salt, if needed, but I doubt it. Patties will be soft and if needed add more bread crumbs or freshly crumbled bread keeping in mind that they will chill in the freezer. Form rounded 1/2 c. scoops of patties. The best way is to form a ball in your palms and slap ’em until they’re like patties.

Chill for a minimum of 15 minutes. I froze mine overnight.

While the patties are chillin’, combine mayo, zest, and juice. Add more juice or zest to taste.

Brush patties with olive oil and grill patties, over medium-high heat, for 4 – 5 minutes per side. If you’ve only chilled the burgers for 15 minutes, you might need a perforated grill sheet to keep the patties from falling apart but mine held together on the grill perfectly. You can also cook them in a fry-pan or grill-pan if you don’t have a grill. RESIST THE URGE TO FLIP THEM! RESIST! That is why I didn’t do the grilling.

Toast yo’ bread. Smother tons of freaking delicious mayo on the bread and top with your favorite burger fixings.

Another option a lot of people are taking is making them into mini-burgs. They wrap it up in a pita with Mediterranean fixings and treat the patties like falafel as opposed to a burger. (Try it with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, crumbled goat cheese, and Tzatziki).

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Arugula-Mushroom Pizza

I had a final dinner with one of my besties before she went to San Diego to ignore me forever hahaha. Arugula-topped pizza is so light and fresh (for a pizza)– I just love the bitter, peppery arugula that’s slightly wilted from the hot and earthy pizza. So good. I’ll have a recipe for thin-crust pizza dough up as soon as I can because pillsbury isn’t cutting it. The both of us were in such a rush to make it to pick up the boys and watch Toy Story 3! WHICH WAS AWESOME! (Mostly because I hate when movies drag a series forever, i.e. Rambo 45, but this was legitly a good third installment).

Anyways, I can’t understand why the guys I know hate thin-crust. What’s their deal? Thin-crust is awesome, crunchy and like, the opposite of soft, fluffy, and ultimately soggy. that’s right. I said it. This is a light(er) pizza. I can’t have a heavy crust weighing it down.

Arugula-Mushroom Pizza
1 roll thin-crust pizza dough (homemade preferably)
tomato sauce
10 crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced
mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
parmesan cheese, thinly sliced in cheese grater
1 package baby arugula
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
(lemon juice)
(proscuitto)

Put sauce on crust, sparingly (preferably a parmesan-tomato sauce). When I’m in a hurry, I always get Buitoni’s Tomato-Herb Parmesan sauce. It’s amazing– otherwise, I’d make my own. Top with cheese, then onion and mushroom (and proscuitto, if using) and bake according to directions.

The arugula salad is so simple. Just add a few tablespoons of olive oil to barely coat each arugula leaf. Too much and it will taste too much like olive oil so add incrementally and taste. Be generous with salt but add a bit of pepper as arugula is already very, very peppery. Lastly, toss the salad with some thin sliced (or grated) parmesan. If desired, you can squeeze a very, very little bit of lemon juice to make the salad pop. It’s a very simple and one of the most basic dressings you will find for any type of lettuce– especially one for peppery arugula or dandelion greens. When you remove the pizza, generously top the pizza with arugula so that the heat wilts and cooks off a little peppery flavor, especially if you didn’t use baby arugula.

Serve with a side of fresh fruit salad (mango, strawberry, pineapple, grapes) and vanilla yogurt. 🙂

1 pound (or about 3 1/2 cups) high gluten flour
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
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