To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Garlic Ginger Dressing

Everyone is always telling us to eat more veggies, but a lot of people don't like the taste of some of the things that are best for them. Here's one of my favorite homemade dressings and a few recommendations for how to use it.

Garlic Ginger Dressing
2 tbsp minced ginger
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup water

Mix all in an empty pickle jar, close the lid, shake, and store in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving each time.

The salad I usually make with this dressing contains 4 stalks asparagus (grilled and then chilled), thinly sliced carrots (about 2 handfuls), romaine lettuce, mixed greens, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Sometimes, I add bean sprouts (if they're fresh) or the "tree top" parts of broccoli. Pour about 1/2 tbsp of the dressing over top in a lidded, plastic carrier and shake to combine well with all elements of the salad. Pour out into a nice shallow bowl (or whatever you choose to serve in). Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for a garnish.

Go on, have a peace. Have a mouthful. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Party Poppers

For those of you who do not know my friend Lira - the talented and wondrous Lira Kellerman (see website) - she is getting engaged. Normally, when someone I adore finds someone they adore, I am very happy for them. In this case, the someone I adore found someone she adores who also happens to be one of my dearest friends. The very happy has officially been squared. So, of course, when I was asked to provide a snack for their engagement party, I answered an unequivocal yes. I would have said yes if she'd asked me to roast a rack of lamb and grow mint leaves for the jelly, but - luckily for me - she had something smaller and sweeter in mind.

The party poppers are so easy to make - so versatile and so delicious - that they are perfect for any occasion. They are sweet and salty, so in a room full of crackers and cakes, they straddle the line of desserts and savories. Awesome, right?

Here's a simple recipe that you should guard and keep as a secret for yourself. :) Everyone deserves a tasty secret.

Party Poppers
(serves a room full of people)

1 bag salted pretzels (the normal pretzel shape)
2 small bags of Rolos
(Note: you can replace the Rolos with basically any chocolate candy - KitKat bars are good. So are Reeses. Also: candied ginger, caramel drops, and dried cherries.)

There are a couple of options on how to pull this off, but I am sharing the easiest possible method. If you want the more complex versions, I am willing to share them. Privately. *winkwink* Secrets, secrets...

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay out pretzels to cover the entire space of the parchment paper. Unwrap and halve your Rolos. Place 1 half Rolo on each pretzel until all the pretzels have a partner. Bake for 2 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet carefully - use oven gloves if you have them - and let cool on the counter for 2 minutes. Then carefully transfer the parchment paper covered in melty pretzels into your refrigerator. Let cool for ~20 minutes. In the meantime, you can re-parchment the cookie sheet and start in on your next batch until all the pretzels are chocolate covered and cooling in parchment paper layers in your fridge. Serve cold or room temperature and enjoy. :)

Warning: On this blog, I try to make things that are guilt-free. And these are. In small quantities. The trouble is that they're mildly addictive and you can't make just a few. You have to make a massive batch. So. Serve them at parties, freeze them, and use them as an opportunity to practice your willpower and portion control - those are skills that need to be worked out just the same as your muscles anyway. :) Go on, have a peace.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Miso-glazed Tilapia

A friend of mine was coming for dinner and asked for something "healthy". "My dear friend," I tutted, "when have I made anything else?" I put my thinking cap on and decided to try my hand at one of my favorite dishes. This fish dish, I accompanied with a cold seaweed salad to set off the subtle flavors.

Miso-glazed Tilapia
(5 servings)

1/2 c sake
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c red miso paste
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp pepper (or more, to taste)
5 filets tilapia (you could make this recipe with any white fish)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare a lipped cookie dish with parchment paper.

Blend the ingredients in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Then place the filets in a deep sided dish and pour the marinade over them, making sure they are well-covered. Allow them to settle in for about 20 minutes.

Place the fish on the cookie sheet and drizzle whatever marinade is left in the marinating dish over top of them. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve.

Hijiki Salad
(4 servings)

1 cup dried hijiki seaweed
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sliced green onions
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
4 persian cucumbers, chopped fine
salt and pepper, to taste

Placed the dried hijiki in a small bowl (I used a cereal bowl). Pour warm water (not boiling!) over top the seaweed and let sit for 15 minutes - until the seaweed softens. Drain the seaweed well.

Meanwhile, mix the other ingredients in another mixing bowl. When the seaweed is done, add to the mixing bowl and toss well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy. :)

Go on! Have a peace!

Nunchuck Stuffed Mushrooms

These delectable stuffed mushrooms are served with a kick. I made them to go with a miso-glazed tilapia and hijiki salad, so they have a little asian flavor to them. They are terribly delicious! I served them as an appetizer, but they would make an equally palatable party snack.

Nunchuck Stuffed Mushrooms

16 oz white mushrooms
2 tbsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 stalk bok choy, chopped fine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp low sodium Tamari
1/2 tsp salt
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 half lemon, juiced
1 handful garlic croutons (or plain - whatever you prefer), crushed
14 oz crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven 375 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the mushroom stems and set them to the side in a bowl. Make sure there is ample space in each mushroom cap for a spoonful of filling and place any excess mushroom removed for this into the same bowl with the stems. Place the prepared caps on the cookie sheet.
Heat canola oil in a skillet at medium-low heat. Saute garlic, ginger, and bell peppers for 3-5 minutes. Don't let the garlic or the ginger burn, keep stirring.
Chop the mushroom stems, etc. into finely diced bits and add them to the skillet, along with the chopped bok choy. Cook until the liquid evaporates - about 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from heat.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the sesame oil, tamari, salt, crumbled croutons, green onions, lemon juice, and goat cheese. Add the contents of the skillet to the bowl and combine thoroughly. You want the goat cheese to melt completely due to the heat of the items from the skillet.
Using a small spoon, stuff the mushroom caps.
Bake for 20 minutes and serve.

Go on. Have a peace!

Back with a Bang

Happy new year! Greetings to those of you who travelled through my absent holiday period and are still checking in for delectable recipes with a healthful twist! As I mentioned before, I spent the last little while wandering about Argentina, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and - yes, it's true - Antarctica. All this on a wonderful boat called the Prince Albert II, run by Silverseas (except for the Argentina bit). I have been traveling and tasting and returned chock full of nifty ideas to put forth in the kitchen.

"Enough!", you say. Get to the good stuff!

I will, I will. Stuffed mushrooms and miso-glazed fish and yummy hijiki salad are all coming your way. But in the meanwhile, I thought I'd give you a tiny taste of my last few weeks with a little photo array. Enjoy!

Want more? Take a gander at my Flickr. Go on, have a peace!