Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Warm glass noodles and edamame

I had a bag of frozen edamame on hand that I was debating what to do with, and I came across this wonderful recipe in the cookbook Plenty.  I'm guessing that most people associate edamame with what's generally served at japanese izakayas(pubs) - the one where you have to pop it out of the shell to eat, but edamame, with all of it's omega 3 and vitamin A goodness, can be great incorporated into other dishes too.

This Warm glass noodles and edamame dish is originally vegetarian (not to mention gluten-free), but I added some chicken to it, so that I can up the protein level and make it into a more substantial main dish. Whether with or without any meat in it, the dish has some amazing flavors.  And as Cy would attest, it's really difficult to stop after just one bowl!

Warm glass noodles and edamame
adapted from Plenty
Serves 4

Ingredients: noodles
2tbsp..sunflower oil
3.........garlic cloves, crushed
2.5c....shelled,cooked edamame onions (thinly sliced)
1.........fresh red chile, finely chopped
3tbsp...chopped cilantro
3tbsp...fresh mint, shredded
3tbsp...sesame seeds, toasted
1lb......chicken breast or thighs, cooked

(for sauce)
2tbsp...grated fresh ginger
juices of 4 limes
3tbsp...peanut oil
2tbsp...sugar (or you can use some Mirin)
2tsp.....tamarind pulp or paste (optional)
2tsp.....tamari (I was out so I substituted with soy sauce)


1) Soak noodles in hot water for 5min or until soft.  (don't let them get soggy!) Drain, and dry.

2) Make the sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients in a bowl.

3) Heat sunflower oil in large pan and add garlic.  When it turns golden, pan from heat and add noodles and sauce and gently stir together.

4) Add most of the edamame and onions, chile, cilantro, and mint.  Add in the cooked chicken here if you would like.  Stir everything together and return pan to heat until just warmed through.  Season with salt and pepper.

5)  Pile on platter and scatter remaining edamame and sesame seeds.  Garnish with cilantro leaves and ENJOY!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Warm Rainbow Chard Salad with Cannellini Beans

Had I known as a child, the existence of Rainbow Chard, I think I may have taken more interest in vegetables.  It's vegetable eye candy! I love the variety of vibrant colors.  And though I realize that Rainbow Chard is not really one plant (how cool would that be?), but rather a mixture of different colored varieties of Swiss Chard, it's still a fun vegetable to cook with.

Not to mention, it's another one of those super veggies with chock full of nutrients.  And even more exciting, is the fact that some animal studies show that syringic acid, one of chard's flavonoids, has the ability to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. Alpha-glucosidase is an enzyme used to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. When this enzyme gets inhibited, fewer carbs get broken down and blood sugar is able to stay more steady. This blood sugar-steadying process seems to be particularly true following a meal. Which means Chard should be in every Diabetic's...actually everyone's diet!

It doesn't end there, extracts of chard have also been studied for their effect on pancreatic cells.  And it seems that chard extract can help pancreatic cells to regenerate and continue producing insulin.
If you'd like, you can read more about it here.

Now my only question is, why haven't I been eating more Chard!

Now this following recipe was given to me by a friend.  She brought it over to one of our dinners one night and I couldn't get enough.  So I had to ask her for the recipe, which she has generously provided.  I hope everyone has an opportunity to make it because it's really a delicious way to enjoy Chard.

Rainbow Chard with Cannellini Beans
Serves 2-4


1.5-2lbs....Rainbow Chard (or regular chard, or kale)
1 small onion, finely diced
1.5tbsp.....Olive oil
2 plump garlic cloves, finely diced
1pinch.....Red pepper flakes
2tbsp........Rosemary leaves, chopped
1/2cup......Dry white wine*I used Masala since I was out of white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
1.5cups.....cooked cannellini beans (or Great northern) *don't forget to rinse well if canned!
Freshly grated Parmesan


1)  Wash and chop Chard into pieces (including the stems).  Simmer Chard (or Kale) in large salted pot of water until just tender.  Approximately 8min.  **Consistency is important! You want the greens to be just tender but still maintain a little crispiness, so check often.

2) Drain the greens, flash with cold water and put aside.

3) In a large pan, heat olive oil, and cook onions with the garlic, red pepper flakes, and rosemary leaves until transparent - approximately 3min. Then add the white wine and reduce until it's a little syrupy.

4) Add the beans and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Finish with some lemon juice.

5) When serving, pour the beans into a dish and top with the greens.  Sprinkle with some shaved or grated Parmesan and ENJOY! (Serve warm or at room temperature)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Royal Potato Salad

My current favorite cookbook is Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  His collection of recipes, some of which are from his New Vegetarian column in The Guardian, are all amazingly fresh and vibrant.  With heavy influences from Asia and the Middle East, all of his recipes offer an exciting combination of flavors - even meat lovers, like Cy, won't be disappointed ;)

This Royal potato salad is definitely not your typical full-of-mayo potato salad.  It bursts with flavor from all the fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and mint. It's easy to make ahead and keep in the fridge for a quick lunch, great as a side for dinner, and perfect for a nice outdoor picnic.  

adapted from the cookbook Plenty
serves 4-6

1.5lbs...Potatoes *you can use Royal, or really any kind that's preferably firm
1cup.....Petite Peas *frozen works fine here
12-15....Quail Eggs
1cup.....Basil leaves
1/2cup...Parsley leaves
1/3cup...Pine Nuts *you can replace pine nuts with any kind of nut really (almond, walnuts, etc)
1/2cup...Shredded Parmesan cheese
2............Garlic cloves, crushed
1cup......Olive oil
1/2tsp....White wine vinegar
A bunch of Mint leaves, finely chopped


1.  Place quail eggs in a pot with plenty of water and bring to a boil.  Cook for approx. 1-2min depending on how runny or cooked you want to yolks.  Flash with cold water and peel the shell carefully.

2.  Flash boil the peas for approx. 30seconds in boiling water.  Drain and put aside.

3.  Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces and cook in a pot of boiling water for approximately 15min.  or until you can just pierce with a fork (you don't want potatoes to be too soft) T

4.  While the potatoes are cooking, make pesto with the basil, parsley, and pine nuts, parmesan, and olive oil.  Add everything in a food processor and blend until you get a runny pesto.  

5.  Carefully mix the pesto, the vinegar, the shredded mint, and peas with the potatoes in a bowl.  Then carefully fold in the quail eggs (cut in halves).  Add salt and pepper - taste to adjust.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cy's Broccoli Salad

We often make a big batch of Cy's favorite Broccoli Salad to have during the week.  I think this has pretty much become his trademark salad and he often makes it for potlucks and dinners.  It's simple, healthy, and makes a great lunch during the week...another one of those versatile recipes that can be altered with what you have on hand.

I've always liked broccoli, but I've tended to dismiss it as an "ordinary" vegetable.  Nothing as exciting as say an artichoke?   But did you know that Broccoli has amazing beneficial qualities for your health?  

Like other cruciferous veggies, when you chew broccoli, isothiocyanates are produced.  This byproduct can help eliminate carcinogens in your body before they can cause genetic damage.  Not only this, Broccoli also produces sulforaphane, which has been shown to help repair damage to your blood vessels caused by important for diabetics!  I'm sorry the nerdy science major in me tends to get very excited over information like this...if you want to read more, check out this article.

It's best not to overcook broccoli and lose it's amazing nutritional value, so this salad is the perfect way to get your dose of broccoli. 

Cy's Broccoli Salad

Ingredients (Serves 4):

Broccoli...2-3 small bunches
Grape Tomatoes....1 cup
Basil...a handful
Chopped Nuts...1/2 cup  **I used pecans, but you can use almonds, walnuts, whatever floats your boat!
Dijon Mustard...1 tsp
Honey...1 tbsp
Olive Oil...1/4 cup
White Wine Vinegar...4 tbsp
Lemon Juice...4 tbsp
Salt & taste


1.   Toast Nuts.
2.   Mix Mustard, Honey, Vinegar, and Lemon Juice.  Stream in Oil, whisking constantly. 
3.   Add Salt & Pepper to taste.  Set dressing aside.
4.   Wash and chop Broccoli (including stems) into small bite size pieces.
5.  Halve grape or cherry tomatoes.
6.  Chiffonade (fancy way of saying chop) the basil. 
7.  Toss broccoli, basil, nuts, and tomato mix into the bowl with the dressing.  Toss and let sit in the fridge for at least   30min.

Made some Pork Katsu Curry with shredded lettuce - less carbs than rice;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

V-day has passed, but that doesn't mean that we can't indulge in a little bit of chocolate right? ;)

I'm not going to lie, if you really want the true brownie filled with butter and sugar, then you might want to try this recipe.  BUT if you're looking for a healthy alternative that can make you believe that you're biting into that sinful chocolate brownie, you've come to the right place.

This "brownie" recipe mainly uses blackbeans as its base and is sweetened with an apple and some honey.  I imagine that if you don't want to use honey, then you can replace it with some brown sugar, or a natural sugar alternative such as stevia.

Cy is not a big black bean fan, but this recipe passed his test.  You can't tell that it's made with black beans and it's nice and moist and chocolatey.  Perfect with a tall glass of milk...or if you can't do dairy, a glass of sugar-free coconut milk (my fav)!

Black Bean Brownies


Olive or Canola oil cooking spray
1oz...dark organic chocolate (70% cocoa or greater)
1.5c..soft-cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (can will also work)
1.......egg white
2tbsp.olive oil
1/4c...unsweetened cocoa powder
1tsp...espresso powder(optional)
1c......baking powder
1tsp...pure vanilla extract
1/4c...unsweetened applesauce **I didn't have applesauce so I just threw a small apple in the processor
1/3c...raw organic honey
1/3c...chopped toasted unsalted walnut


1) Preheat oven to 350.  Mist an 8inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

2)  Melt dark chocolate in a double broiler over low heat with one tablespoon of water mixed in. (Or if you're in a rush, you can zap in the microwave for about 20sec and stir)

3)  Combine all ingredients except for walnuts in a food processor and process until smooth.  Stir in walnuts.  (If you want to add some more chocolatey goodness, you can also stir in 1/4c of semi-sweet chocolate chips).  Pour mixture into baking dish.


4) Bake for about 30min, or until tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides.  Let cool, and ENJOY :)   

**The texture gets even better if you leave it covered in the fridge for at least 30min before consuming.  I topped them with a little bit of non-fat greek yogurt and some pomegranate seeds

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Happy V-day with "Healthy" Strawberry and Banana Muffins

Happy Valentine's Day!  I definitely don't believe that we need a holiday to show the people we care about how special they are...but, the day is a good excuse to make cute heart shaped goodies.

I happen to think that one of the best features of the muffin is its consistency.  And sometimes, you just want to sink your teeth into that warm soft cake in all of its carbolicious glory.  He won't admit to it, but I know Cy has those moments too.  So as a compromise, I tried to make a "healthier" version so that Cy can indulge too...and I can enjoy them with less guilt ;)

"Healthy" Strawberry Banana Muffins


1/4c...unsweetened applesauce
1/2c...plain yogurt
1tsp....vanilla extract
2-3.....bananas (mashed)
1c......almond meal
1/2c...whole wheat flour
1tsp...baking soda
1tbsp..ground cinnamon
1c.......fresh strawberries (chopped)


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 cup muffin tin with liners.

2) In a large bowl, mix together all wet ingredients (eggs, applesauce, yogurt, honey vanilla, and bananas).

3) In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients (almond meal, whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, and cinnamon).

4) Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  It's important not to overmix since we are using some wheat flour - this is the secret to fluffy muffins! 

5) Stir in the strawberries, and fill the muffin liners evenly with the batter. 

6) Bake for about 20min or until the muffin tops spring back when pressed lightly.  Let muffins cool and 

*I decorated mine with strawberry slices cut out to look like a heart ;)
*Also, this is another very versatile recipe.  If you don't have almond meal, feel free to use all wheat flour.  Or you can even add maybe a 1/4c of flax seeds instead of oats for some extra fiber.

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