Subjectively, I love radishes, and why not? They come in so many varieties, are quite versatile and can be enjoyed at all meals...if given the chance. When I was a child, I usually picked around them on veggie platters because I thought carrots were sweeter and above all else tastier. But as I've grown, I realized I didn't give them much of a chance. No one in traditional Midwest cookery (MN country living) prepared recipes with radish. Instead, they were, and still are, typically eaten raw with ranch dip.
-Yes, you know what I'm talking about-
It wasn't until I moved out of my hometown & into a more diverse city, Minneapolis, when my appreciation and taste for radish developed. They began appearing in salads, thinly sliced, used as a garnish for fish, and were beautifully orchestrated in slaws.
Quickly, I discovered the versatility from working in restaurants throughout MN, IL and France and while traveling/eating in Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and South America. Many varieties include, but are not limited to, watermelon, white icicle, French Breakfast, easter egg, daikon, & black Spanish. What you typically find in bodegas or on veggie platters in the states are called cherry belle's. They all have different notes of flavor, but typically exhibit a horseradish-like-bite and crunch. Each differ in pungency, spice and sweetness. Nowadays, you may even find some of the more obscure varieties mentioned in your local co-op or farmer's market. Most are available year-round and are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, Fe, and folic acid.
Here are pictures I pulled from the world wide web to give a visual look at the plethora of radish varieties, something I bet you are missing out on...
Image on left is from Specialty Produce and the remaining are Dorling Kindersley Limited photos
Images are from Specialty Produce
This is a super quickie; by the time you finish grilling the radishes, you'll have the dip complete. The best part is you could make this recipe with just about any root vegetable (or variety of radish) and/or alternate herbs in the dip for vastly different flavor profiles. Even the lemon could be swapped out for lime, orange, grapefruit, tangelo...so many options!
grilled radish & yogurt
-my version of a veggie platter with radish-
1 bunch radish, cleaned and sliced in half (I used French breakfast here)
1 tsp olive oil
s & p to taste
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
2 tbsp. garlic chives (flowers included, if possible), chopped
zest & jus from 1 lemon
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1. heat grill to medium low
2. toss radish with olive oil, s & p and grill for a few minutes on each side until tender -or- to your desire (I like some to be crispy)
3. meanwhile, mix your dip ingredients in a bowl until well combined
4. serve & eat when radish are cooked
s & p* salt and pepper
This is a great appetizer or side and can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
-Another idea! Grill the radish and mix with grains, greens or have as a side with lamb, chicken or fish.
......so what do you say? will you give radish a chance
This past weekend was absolutely beautiful in Duluth; the sun has never felt so good! With that said, I didn't want to spend all my time in the kitchen slaving away over the stove. I wanted something without having to use a heating element for too long -rice noodles only need a few minutes to cook- that's also refreshing and light. After digging through my pantry and fridge, it came to me, shrimp noodle salad!
There are many ways to prepare this recipe with ease and little effort, such as using cooked, cleaned shrimp, pre-mixed salad greens, or using a salad dressing from your fridge. Except in this recipe, the vinaigrette is a sinch and doesn't require much effort.
Make sure to devein the shrimpy's if it has not been done. You might think, "Devein...what does that mean?" Well, the vein in question is actually the digestive tract of the shrimp, so you can image why you'd want to remove it. Simply take a pairing knife and run it along the backside of the shrimp in the center. You'll see the black vein (you may be able to see it in the image on the left) just beneath the surface. Pull the vein out and toss. The finished product looks like the one on the left. Much cleaner and tastier.
Recipe serves 2, easily can be doubled or multiplied
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
12 large-jumbo sized shrimp*
1/2 cup cucumbers, aka cukes, medium-diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, julienne cut (thin strips)
2 oz. rice noodles, cooked according to package
4 cups mixed greens, cut to bite-size
S & P to taste
2 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted for more flavor
3 drops hot chili oil, or more
*Note: Shrimp come in a many non-standardized sizes, meaning what one store labels "large" might be labeled "jumbo" at another store. Therefore, it's best to go by count. If you read further, I've put together a chart on count/pound which may be more useful. A typical serving/meal is anywhere from 2-4 oz. Do the math to plan your meal if you want to get real precise.
1. Juice 1/2 lime and combine with half the cilantro and cooked, deveined shrimp. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes - 1 hour (if you're patient); however, you're welcome to skip the marinade for sake of time.
2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a jar with a closed lid & shake vigorously.
3. Slice remaining half of lime into wedges for garnish - extra squeeze of lime is always nice -
4. Toss cucumbers, bell pepper, noodles, greens and shrimp with vinaigrette; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
General chart showing counts per pound, where the "U" means "under" or "less than"
chart is from cookingfishmonger.com
Looking through my posts, I realized I am missing a very important category, SWEETS! And even though I preach about whole foods and nutrition, I believe one should treat themselves. What I love to do is read through cookbooks, find interesting & delicious sounding recipes, and tweak them to be healthier. This doesn't always work, but more often than not, it does! With this recipe, I explored honey cake, traditionally eaten for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Typically, it's made using only all-purpose flour and at least double the sugar. Below, you'll find my version made with rye flour and half the amount of sugar. There's no need to have so much sugar in this recipe since there's enough natural sweetness coming from the honey.
I enjoy eating this for breakfast with a soft-ripened cheese and fresh fruit to balance out the meal, but it makes for a great dessert. If an after dinner sweet is more your style, try serving it with a rose & cherry preserve or have it with orange marmalade and yoghurt dollop. And if you need something creamier and rich, have with vanilla ice cream.
makes 2 loaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
2 tsp. rounded baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
2/3 cup honey
6 tbsp safflower oil
1 1/4 cup coffee, brewed [i prefer french press] & cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preparation: preheat oven to 350F
1. mix all-purpose and rye flour with baking soda & cardamom in a small bowl
2. in another mixing bowl of a stand mixer [or one suitable for a hand mixer] whisk together sugar, salt, eggs, honey, oil, coffee, and vanilla.
3. gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until thoroughly combined
4. divide evenly and pour into two prepared, buttered 9" x 5" loaf pans
5. bake for 50-60 minutes until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the center of the layer comes out clean
(side, serves 6-8)
4 cups black beans, cooked
2 burdock roots, cleaned, peeled, diced 1/4" coins
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a 4 qt pot, bring water to boil with the burdock root and a pinch of salt. Once to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook 15 minutes, until tender. Drain off liquid and set aside.
2. Return the quart pot to the burner, add oil and saute onion until translucent. Add burdock root, beans and adjust seasonings.
1 cup lotus cut into thin wedges
1/2 carrot, shredded
1 small daikon, shaved ~1 cup loosely packed
1/2 cup cilantro, cleaned
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 each lime, freshly squeezed
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a mixing bowl, combine lotus root, carrot, daikon, & cilantro.
2. Drizzle sesame, lime and olive oil over the mix and toss until well-combined. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.
-I like to put this on fish tacos and burgers for an extra crunch.
Last night I had a brilliant idea to write about mushrooms, which included a story on one of my go-to meals while living in St. Paul as a student at Le Cordon Bleu. At the time, I was eating a lovely salad with a side of cooked lentils when my mind switched gears and pondered the idea of writing a piece on pulses, lentils specifically. But the next morning, when I woke up to write, I opened my e-mail to find a message from a friend asking about fiddlehead nutrition. The week before I had done research on fiddleheads, so they were on my mind, but I was also frustrated over how little, reliable information was available. Rather than waver between mushrooms or lentils, I decided ...why not fiddleheads!?!
Fiddleheads in the northern region of the U.S. are of the Ostrich Fern variety, but there are many others available throughout the world, including parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. This year, the first of the ferns I ate were purchased at my local farmers market, but I soon realized how copious they were nearby and throughout northern MN. Originally, my intentions while foraging, were to hunt for morel mushrooms, but I still haven't found a single shroom. Instead, I have been finding these lovely ferns grow wild from Duluth to Jenkins to Waukenabo, MN. They are super easy to find this time of year, and foraging is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, so get outside today and look!
Nutritionally speaking, the research on fiddleheads is sparse. Some websites postulate, "high in Omega-3 and 6," while others say, "high in iron and fibre," or that they have lots of antioxidants. After a bit of digging, I did find a couple reputable sources to confirm the nutritional profile. Importantly, one must pay attention to the preparation when assessing the nutritional makeup, since cooking denatures proteins, which alters nutrient composition. For example, when fiddleheads are frozen, the amount of protein, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and potassium decreases when compared to it's raw form. See below for nutritional profile from the USDA, SelfNutritionData website on raw fiddleheads.
When frozen, boiled, then drained..... (this information from the Canadian Nutrient File)
the nutritional profile slightly changes.
One resource reported that many ferns contain an enzyme, which breaks downs thiamine (another important vitamin). It can eventually lead to beriberi if consumed in extreme excess. As is the case with most foods, LESS is more. Eat in moderation.
When cooking Ostrich Ferns, be sure to boil for at least 10 minutes so you do not get sick. Naturally, they are toxic, so be sure to boil before you saute.
2. bring a pot of water to a boil, add the cleaned ferns and boil for 10 minutes
3. drain off the water
4. heat a pan with olive oil; add garlic, fiddleheads and a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes
Serving Suggestions: I like to add these to lentils, sausage, eggs or on toasted bread with cheese. They are packed with flavor and are ohhhh so delicious. I simply cannot get enough - at least until the end of the month when the season ends - Look below to see how I've enjoyed them.
How it works: Due to peanut oils high amount of monounsaturated (good) fat, and low amount of saturated (bad) fat, it is believed to prevent heart disease. However, studies show it also clogs arteries, and, would instead, increase the risk.
Allergies: Peanut oil can cause serious allergic reactions to those who are allergic to peanuts, soybeans and other members of the Fabaceae plant family. Be sure consult with your allergist/physician before consuming if you suspect an allergy or are allergic to other plants within the same family. In the US, refined peanut oil is exempt from allergen labeling laws. See new guidelines on peanut allergy prevention following the recipe to learn more.
-Information from Natural Medicine Database
Peanut versatility as Food:
The possibilities are endless, truly. Peanut oil is often used in cooking because of it's high smoke point and high resistance to rancidity. Many different cultures incorporate peanuts into their cuisine from soups and sauces to desserts and snacks: Latin America, Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Africa, East Africa and North America. I encourage you to explore dishes like boiled peanuts from China or maafe (meat stew) from Malian in West Africa.
Peanut Sauce Recipe
Makes 1 quart sauce
2" by 2" knob ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups peanut butter
2 1/2 cups water
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 whole serrano, minced with seeds
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp smoked hot paprika
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
Preparation: Put all ingredients into a 2-quart sauce pan and heat. Mix until thoroughly combined and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes on the stove-top.
Uses: as a sauce for Spring rolls, stir-fry's, raw veggies, and more! This recipe is extremely versatile, so get creative with it!
New Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Sponsored Expert Panel published it's new results in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (amongst other journals). Three new guidelines are outlined below and is based on clinical features reflecting the risk of having or developing peanut allergy and provide recommendations accordingly.
"Guideline #1 recommends that the highest risk infants — those with severe eczema and/or egg allergy (see definitions below) — be introduced to peanut as early as 4-6 months of age, following successful feeding of other solid food(s) to ensure the infant is developmentally ready.Allergy testing is strongly advised prior to peanut introduction for this group. The preferred test is the SPT, but the guideline also allows for blood testing for peanut-specific IgE (sIgE), which is more widely available (see figure, right-click to enlarge). Allergy tests for multiple foods are not recommended because of their poor positive predictive value.
The guideline also recommends home or physician-supervised feeding or exclusion of peanut based on the test results. If a blood test is used to screen and is positive to peanut (sIgE ≥ 0.35 kUA/L), referral to a specialist with training and experience to perform and interpret the peanut SPT and to safely perform medically supervised feeding tests is advised. The guideline discusses the manner of peanut introduction according to the test results, whether at home or under physician supervision.
Additionally, the amount to feed weekly is discussed. Based on what was done in the LEAP study, 6-7 grams of peanut protein is given over three or more feedings per week. The LEAP study had infants eat this amount to age 5 years. In studies following up on the LEAP trial, this approach resulted in durable protection, was safe, did not affect duration or frequency of breastfeeding, and did not influence growth or nutrition.
Guideline #2 suggests that infants with mild to moderate eczema, a group also at increased risk of peanut allergy, should be introduced to peanut “around 6 months of age, in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices, to reduce the risk of peanut allergy.” These infants may have peanut introduced at home following successful ingestion of other solid food(s) without an in-office evaluation, although an evaluation can be considered.
Guideline #3 addresses infants without eczema or food allergy who are not at increased risk, suggesting that peanut be introduced “freely” into the diet together with other solid foods and in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices.
Purposeful early feeding of peanut is a reversal from the 2000 AAP recommendations that suggested high-risk infants avoid peanut to age 3 years. The avoidance advice was rescinded in the 2008 AAP clinical report Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas (Pediatrics. 2008;121:183-191; http://bit.ly/2hDuw1f), which concluded: “Although solid foods should not be introduced before 4 to 6 months of age, there is no current convincing evidence that delaying their introduction beyond this period has a significant protective effect ...”
The new guidelines go further by promoting early ingestion for the highest risk infants. Evaluation and peanut introduction for this highest risk group at 4-6 months is conveniently timed with routine pediatric health care office visits, allowing for identification of infants at risk and discussion of the approach. Additionally, it is less likely for younger infants to have positive allergy tests to peanut. However, the guideline emphasizes that if the 4- to 6-month time period is missed for any reason, peanut should be introduced to infants older than 6 months as they also are anticipated to benefit (the LEAP study included infants 4 up to 11 months of age).
The addendum guidelines represent an update to the 2010 comprehensive food allergy guidelines published by a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-sponsored expert panel (http://bit.ly/2gTLoSF). They reflect the work of a coordinating committee and expert panel representing 26 professional organizations, including the Academy, advocacy groups and federal agencies, which evaluated a literature review prepared by the NIAID.
Definitions in the addendum guidelines
Severe eczema is defined as persistent or frequently recurring eczema with typical morphology and distribution, assessed as severe by a health care provider and requiring frequent need for prescription-strength topical corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors or other anti-inflammatory agents despite appropriate use of emollients.
Egg allergy is defined as a history of an allergic reaction to egg and a skin prick test wheal diameter of ≥3 millimeters with egg white extract or a positive oral egg food challenge.
Dr. Sicherer represented the Academy on the guideline coordinating committee and was a member of the expert panel. He is past chair of the AAP Section on Allergy and Immunology Executive Committee."
Copyright © 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics
While living in Chicago, I was part of a cookbook club at Read it and Eat on the first Tuesday of each month. Together, our group voted on a cookbook for the month, then we signed up for a recipe to prepare for the group from the book. Truly, it was something I looked forward to every month. I met amazing people, shared stories, tried new recipes, & talked about we tasted/enjoyed/would have done differently with the recipe.
The recipe which follows is a spin off from Sprouted Kitchen's Quinoa Collard Wraps. Since collard greens were not available, I chose Napa cabbage instead. After talking with people, I've realized many people are uneasy about substituting ingredients. Either because they don't know what ingredients would be make good replacers or simply because they do not feel comfortable. Often people will prepare something else and not consider what they could use instead. As you cook more often and branch out in your diet, you'll find similarities amongst many foods. What's the worst that could happen? You can learn from your mistakes and try something else next time. Remember to have fun with your food and think outside the box.
Looking for something that's light, easy and a crowd pleaser? These bites are best enjoyed as an appetizer but make for a great snack or small, savory dessert. Initially, I wanted to roast plums (did this once before and it was heavenly), but since they are not in season and could not be found in Duluth, I chose Bosc pears. Pear season begins in the summer and continues throughout winter, but if you live in a larger city, you will likely find them year round. Unlike most fruit, pears are best picked unripe, and then left to ripen off the tree. Buy pears when they are still hard and leave on the counter to ripen and do not store in a plastic bag.
Roasted Pear Crostini
2 Bosc pears, small diced with skins
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp warm honey
8 fresh thyme sprigs, stems and greens separated
1 cup (5.3 oz) siggi’s skyr vanilla*
1/2 whole-grain baguette
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
*Plain or orange/ginger are two other flavors that pair nicely
If you want to learn more about the different varieties, here are the top 10.
For detailed information on each pear, click here to learn more about nutrition, seasonality, ripening, culinary uses and history (images from USAPears.org).
Once I found out about Siggi's cooking contest for RD's, I knew I had to apply. My initial problem was deciding on a recipe to submit, but then I discovered I could enter unlimited recipes! I took a poll with some friends, and most agreed I should submit my Kofte & yogurt sauce recipe. There were two others in the running, so those will be next. Until I get more time to execute the others, please enjoy this simple dish.
Most often, Kofte (lamb meatballs) are made with bread crumbs or substituted with a grain, but in this recipe, I went with the idea that less is more. As a result, the end product is more delicate to work with, so be gentle when browning the meatballs. You also may notice I did not add herbs in the lamb mix. However, this is intentional since the sauce is meant to be herbaceous and complimentary with the lamb. Had I added, say, fresh dill into the meatballs, then the dill would've dominated and perhaps drowned out the other flavors.
Lamb Kofte (Meatballs) with Yogurt Sauce
Lamb Meatballs Ingredients:
1 pound ground lamb
1 onion, grated
1 tsp. toasted fennel seeds, ground
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Pinch mace (optional: substitute cinnamon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp. canola oil
Yogurt Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup (5.3oz) Siggi’s plain skyr, 0%
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (for extra flavor, add minced lemon rind)
2 Tbsp. shallot, minced
Pinch kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
When all components are complete, assemble lamb with sauce.
Eat with grilled naan or flatbread (drizzled in olive oil and za’atar), fresh mixed greens with sliced radish, & cucumber slices.
After a long day of work, I was finally able to relax. And make LASAGNA! It's one of my favorite dishes to prepare....and eat. Who doesn't love the complexity of a something so saucy and delicious?
Do not get frightened by this post; it comes across as intimidating, but need not be. In fact, you could make just one component of the lasagna. Carrot top pesto or tomato sauce is extremely versatile. Put it on noodles, quinoa, raw veggies like radish...the possibilities are endless, really. The noodles can also be made into a different shapes like spaghetti or even ravioli.
Now, to being:
prepares 1 lb pasta, fresh
3 cups flour
2 pinches of salt, kosher
1/2 cup roasted carnival squash
1 Tablespoon water
2 tablespoons olive oil
When preparing the pasta, keep in mind it's no different than a simple pasta recipe but without the squash. The only additional steps are to roast and puree the squash (allow to cool before use). Make a well with the sifted flour and salt. Crack both eggs into the well, as well as the squash and water. With a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. As it begins to form a ball, add the oil. Knead for 8-10 minutes and adjust accordingly with flour and water. Allow to rest and cover for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
With your pasta roller, roll out 3 sheets (the size of the pan) for the bottom layer to number 4. The remaining lasagna noodles are best rolled to number 5. Dry and boil for about three minutes. If you don't have a drying rack, improvise. See the pictures below for inspiration. Cool and lay flat (gently brush oil to cooked noodles to prevent tearing).
To make it more fun, sip on a beautiful Pinot Noir and take your time. This isn't a race. Enjoy yourself, and your food.
Carrot Top Pesto:
Prepares about 5 cups depending on desired consistency
1/2 cup toasted, pepitas
3/4 cup dried pie pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup toasted sprouted walnuts
2 cups packed carrot tops (stems removed)
6 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh basil
3 ounces of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
8 roasted garlic cloves
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparation: Toast all nuts/seeds and blend in processor. Add garlic and pulse, careful not to pulse too much. Proceed and add spinach, basil and carrot tops in batches. Then add cheese. Very slowly pour the oils into the mixture as you process. Add the water the same way, streaming it into the vibrant green blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Words of advice:
Basic Tomato Sauce:
Yields 3 1/2 quarts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 - 28 ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
4 ounces tomato paste
5 cloves garlice
1 pinch smoked Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dried basil
In a sauce pot, sweat onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for 60 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and from heat. Puree with an immersion blender and adjust seasonings.
Prepares one large 9x13" pan
1 eggplant, flame roasted on stove top then pureed (skins removed)
1/2 kabocha squash, cubed and roasted (350F for 45 minutes with 2 T. oil, salt and pepper)
16 ounces ricotta
2 ounces Pecorino Romano
3 cups shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 375F
Oil the lasagna pan and layer the thicker (#4) lasagna noodles on the bottom. Spread the roasted eggplant on the noodles. Follow with cubed kabocha squash. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, add next layer of lasagna noodles. Spread pesto onto, followed by another layer of squash. Ladle tomato sauce, then top with noodles. Next comes more cheese, the ricotta. Then yet again, a layer of noodles. Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on top the noodles and sprinkle Asiago Romano to finish. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes, until done.
A while ago, I went to one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago called Ruxbin. It's a fantastically small, cozy place where you experience exotic flavors, like smoked octopus, black fermented chickpeas and JACKFRUIT. When I say a while ago, I mean about a year...but I could not, would not forget the jackfruit. It was unlike anything I've had, mimicking pulled pork in texture. The dish was jackfruit tacos and it's seriously been on my mind since. Sadly, it's taken me this long to make my own attempt at creating a similar dish.
I was especially motivated to create this dish because of my food allergy to pork. Usually I swap out pork for another protein except turkey (yes, another food allergy) and call it a day. But pulled pork is truly a texture I miss, and jackfruit, when cooked, does offer a similar mouth feel.
Finding fresh jackfruit may be an issue for some (well, most in our part of the world), so you may want to get canned in your local Asian market (order on-line for those in remote locations). Canned jackfruit is definitely the way to go if you're pressed for time or want to take a short-cut. I like the brined jackfruit (lower right picture) versus the syrup packed jackfruit (left).
If you go on-line and type in health benefits of jackfruit, you'll see a magnitude of benefits; however, it can be misleading and inaccurate. Various websites tout 'healthy skin, boots immune system, increases energy, prevents anemia, strenghten bones, maintains healthy vision, relieves constipation, & lowers blood pressure,' Using my natural medicine database, a comprehensive database of natural medicines speaking towards the efficacy, claims, use and drug/nutrient interactions using science based evidence, I looked up jackfruit.
may have a sedative effect
can attenuate increases in blood glucose after meals
has zero interactions with food and lab tests
cross-allergenicity: jackfruit might cause allergic rxn in individuals sensitive to birch pollen
might lower blood glucose levels - if diabetic, adjusting dosage may be necessary
evidence suggests extracts of jackfruit have antibacterial effects
anti-diabetic effects: jackfruit leaf extract taken orally may attenuate postprandial % increases in blood glucose in patients with diabetes
some antifungal activity found
evidence suggests jackfruit, particularly the seeds, exhibit immunostimulative effects (enhances immune system)
(findings from Natural Medicines, search: Jackfruit, obtained 4/17/17)
Now that you know a bit more about jackfruit and it's potential health benefits, onto the recipe!
10 oz jackfruit (canned: drain, rinse, pat dry)
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
kosher salt, pinch
4 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
1 pablano, seeded & small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. mustard seed
4 tsp. tomato powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 lime, half cut into wedges, remaining half juiced
Garnish: lime wedges, lettuce chopped, onion (raw) diced, carrot and daikon shaved, cilantro fresh
1. Toss jackfruit, paprika, salt, cayenne and salt in a bowl until the jackfruit is fully coated
2. Heat 2 Tbsp coconut oil in saute pan and add the jackfruit, cooking on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Turn down to low heat for another 30 min with a lid.
3. At this point, you can do one of two things. You can either use another saute pan while the jackfruit continues to cook or you can grab another saute pan and prepare the remaining ingredients. In your heated pan, add the remaining coconut oil. Once hot, add the onion, pablano, garlic, spices and lime juice. Cook until soft, combine with jackfruit, & adjust seasoning until your palate is satisfied.
4. Serve over heated tortillas (corn preferably) with garnish
Currently, I am in a place of transition, and am moving to Duluth, MN, leaving Chicago. A couple weeks ago, my father drove down from Sauk Rapids along with my mum and uncle. The move went great, but it left me kitchenless and reliant on friends. Truly I am thankful for their friendship and hospitality (Chris, Amy, Lynsey and Brian). As one last girls night with some of my closest Chicagoan friends, I asked to share one last meal. With the gloomy weather and chill in the air, I decided to express myself through a Brazilian fish stew (Moqueca Capixaba).
Six years ago, I moved to Chicago from a 3-month journey, primarily exploring Brazil. One of the worst snow storms hit the city as I arrived to the states, leaving me stranded. I knew I needed a new scene where I could grow professionally in both passions, food and nutrition, so I decided to stay. Soon I found a cheap apartment in Uptown, northern Chicago, and made it home. To bring this story full circle, I found it fitting to prepare a dish from my travels, which brought me to Chicago.
Moqueca Capixaba is a traditional fish stew from Bahia, Brazil with fish (cod, sea bass, shrimp), tomatoes, lime, peppers and coconut. Traditionally, it is cooked in a claypot, but was originally made in banana leaves many years ago. Slowly the stew evolved as the Spanish and Portuguese colonized Bahia, who later introduced the garlic, onions and cilantro.
Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca Capixaba)
1.5 lbs fish (cod, sea bass, shrimp) - cleaned and cut into 1" cubes if using filets
32 oz. tomatoes crushed or 5 fresh tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
32 oz. coconut water
1 large onion, cut into thin half-moons
2 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil is fine)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 fresno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
2 limes, 1 juiced & 1 cut into wedges for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cilantro, fresh for garnish
2 green onions sliced for garnish
Serve with cooked rice
I chose to cook my rice in coconut water with diced yellow onion. When the rice was cooked, I mixed in cilantro before serving.
1. In a large, heated pot, sautéed your onion in coconut oil. Once translucent, add garlic, bell and hot peppers, and spices.
2. Add the coconut water, tomatoes, tomato paste, and juice of one lime to the pot. Mix well and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
3. Adjust the heat to a simmer and add the fish. Larger cuts of fish will take longer (cod, sea bass) and will need 20-30 minutes while smaller crustaceans (shrimp) only require 5-8 minutes depending on size.
4. Assemble the garnish plate and cook rice (optional) on the side.
Note: you may substitute the coconut water with coconut milk for a richer flavor, add different hot peppers or adjust the consistency. If you prefer a thinner stew, add less liquid/coconut water and if you prefer a thicker stew, adjust and add more.
Recipes are guidelines, and you're the cook! Make it your own and adjust as you desire
Minted Pea Frittata
2 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
pinch freshly cracked black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 green onions
1 cup peas (if fresh, blanched and drained)
1 small bunch mint
Garnish: Yogurt and shredded mint
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat oil in a large pan and cook yellow onions and garlic. Once cooked for about 3 minutes, add peas.
Meanwhile in a medium bowl, beat the eggs with 2 water.
a) Add the eggs and 3/4 mint to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook, lifting the edges with a spatula to allow the uncooked eggs to flow to the bottom. When the frittata is partly cooked (7 minutes), sprinkle on the cheese and transfer pan to the oven.
b) Alternatively, one may use a spring form pan. If using this technique, in a bowl whisk eggs with mint, mustard, salt and pepper. Butter the pan and evenly spread the pea mixture on the bottom. After, pour the egg concoction over and sprinkle on the cheese.
Bake until golden, and set, about 10 minutes (check for doneness) for method a) and for about 15 minutes for method b). Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Garnish with remaining mint and yogurt.
(option to serve on cucumber rounds sliced and garnished with pea shoots)
Serve and eat!
Fat Tuesday, AKA Mardi Gras, came and went a couple weeks ago, but I thought it was still worthy of a post. Typically I get a paczki to celebrate the day if, and only if, a friend decides to share. Paczki's, pronounced 'PONtch-key' are Polish doughnut-like treats filled with everything from fresh fruit to creme and mousse and can be topped with powdered sugar, icing or chocolate. Doughnuts are really not my thing, but sometimes it can really hit the spot. This year I decided to order some myself at the Swedish bakery on Clarke. If you're a Chicagoan, you've probably heard they closed in February. Soooo, in light of the closure, I thought I needed to try something for my first and last visit.
Immediately after work on the Wednesday before Fat Tuesday, I biked in the sunny, 73 degree weather to the bakery and placed my order. When I arrived, I was delighted to find out they were also selling Kings Cake.
I find it terribly creepily funny that there's a mini trinket meant to symbolize baby Jesus hidden inside the cake. Fava beans are also used, but I really hope the Kings Cake I ordered has a baby Jesus. Whoever finds the trinket is said to have luck and prosperity and is designated the 'king' or 'queen' for the evening.
Most bakers put the baby on top the cake nowadays because they fear someone will cut into the cake and accidentally eat the baby. The Swedish bakery placed the baby on top, so I decided to take the baby and hide it in another cake....my birthday cake. When no one was looking, I swiped the cake, lifted it up from the bottom and shoved the baby underneath. No one noticed! Carefully, I cut the cake and passed out the slices. Low and behold, Mark was the lucky person to receive the baby. Guess he'll have to supply the Kings Cake for next year :)
Below is a list of Chicago spots that are selling paczki's (not sure on King's Cake) for a limited time. Many of them do sell in advance, so please inquire if interested. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a long line waiting for a taste. Be sure to check them out for next year.
Beverly Bakery and Cafe
Central Continental Bakery
Gene's Sausage Shop
Laramie Bakery and Deli
Marie's Cafe and Catering
Oak Mill Bakery
Orland Park Bakery
Old Warsaw Buffet
Red Apple Buffet
Sweet World Pastry
West Town Bakery
Ok, it starts like this.... I wanted pizza now. Not tomorrow or later tonight, but within the next couple hours. It seems like every recipe says the flavor is best the next day once the dough has time to rest. I didn't have the patience to wait until the follow day to quench my hunger. My craving needed to be had that night. I searched through my old blog and found my potato crust recipe from when I worked at Riverbend, a farm in Delano, MN. However, I didn't have all the ingredients. After looking through my pantry I decided I was going to experiment with two versions, one a classic thin-crust, and two a spelt potato crust. Both are made nearly the same with the exception of the second version where I combined mashed potatoes (red and yukon skin on) at the end.
Version #1 (makes one 12" pizza)
3/8 cup water, tepid
1/2 tsp. yeast
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. EVOO, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Version #2 (makes two 12" pizzas)
3/4 cup water, tepid
1 tsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. EVOO
1/2 cup mashed potato
(Add roasted garlic or herbs to the dough for another variation)
Instructions: Both versions are the same except for step #3
1. Combine yeast, water and sugar in a mixing bowl, and stir to dissolve the yeast. Allow to rest 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
2. In another bowl, add your salt and flour(s).
3. Combine wet with dry in a stand mixer and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or do by hand at least 50 turns. (Here's where you add the mash if you're making version #2)
4. The dough should feel moist and tacky. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour, covered with a clean kitchen towel.
5. After rising, use the dough or refrigerate. If you choose the later, you must let the dough come to temperature before shaping.
6. When you are ready to use the dough, form one at time (if using version 2). Also, be sure to check that oven....Is it set to 450F ? If you have a pizza stone, put it in the lower middle rack.
7. Form the dough into a large disk and stretch from the middle of the dough outwards on your silpat or parchment. Use the heal of your hand to press and gently stretch until it's 1/4" or less. If the dough starts to shrink, allow it to rest a few minutes and continue rolling.
8. When the crust is thin to your liking, use a bread peel or back side of a baking sheet to slide your pizza onto the pizza stone or sheet pan. Par-bake for 5 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and apply sauce followed by ingredients. Turn down your oven to 400F and cook for another 12 minutes or until the cheese browns.
10. Wait a couple minutes and EAT
If you're looking for something fun and healthy, try these fresh vegetarian spring rolls. They can be tedious to make, but I cannot get enough of these gems, and I believe they are 100% worth the effort. Make extras to have on hand for a snack the next day. Mark, my boyfriend, and I made 40 for a party the other weekend and they were a definite hit. We decided to make them only with veggies, but you're welcome to add fish, chicken, lamb, beef, pork, or tofu for added protein.
4 rice paper wraps
1 cup rice noodles, cooked
4 asparagus stalks, blanched
Assorted sweet bell peppers, julienne sliced (red, yellow, orange) - you'll only need a half total, so go with one if that's all you have
1/4 poblano, julienne sliced, seeds removed
1/4 carrot, julienne sliced
1/4 cup cilantro and/or mint
1/2 cup baby kale, torn into bite sized pieces
Peanut sauce - or other dipping sauces of your choosing
(Mark made the peanut sauce. Maybe I can convince him to share his recipe...)
1. Make sure all your ingredients are laid out, cut, and accessible. I find it easiest to use a place for rolling, but some prefer to use a cutting board or countertop.
2. Fill a wide pan big enough to lay your rice paper wrap inside without breaking; 10" frying pan works great! Gently lay one rice paper into the warm water and allow to soften. After a couple minutes, remove from the water and put onto your work surface.
3. Begin layering the ingredients in the lower middle of the wrap leaving enough space to fold the edges and roll, about 2" from the edges. Start with your herbs, greens, then rice noodles and veggies. Careful not to overfill the rolls; less is more.
4. Now, the folding part...this is where I wish I had taken step-by-step photos...alas, I'll do my best by explaining. The innards of the roll is ideally placed 2" from the lower left, bottom and right edges and 5" from the top of the wrapper (farthest from you). Fold the uncovered sides in and over the filling, then lift the bottom (closest to you) part of the wrapper on top. Roll and tug to tighten until it's complete.
Suggested Flavor Combos:
lobster with carrot, parsley, cucumber
shrimp, cucumber, mint, basil, cilantro
ginger tofu, carrot, bell pepper, cilantro
Words of caution: rice paper is delicate; be nice and gentle.
Wowza, I feel embarrassed about the lack of posts. My sincerest apologies, but I have much to show for my lack of appearance in the blogosphere. For instance, the completion of my Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition! Fear not Salt & Pepper fans, I am back, and with many new, exciting topics to cover. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to comment below and I'll be sure to address.
This morning, I woke up thinking about grains. How I'd love to make an easy porridge utilizing a variety of whole grains packed with fiber and nutrition. I dug through the cupboards and found three varieties with different mouth feel and textures.
Grain #1: Good ol' Reliable Oats
Classic but a goodie; oats have a sweet flavor and almost never have their bran and germ removed during processing. I use regular oats in this recipe, but you ought to know there are quick and instant oats that exist as well. These are varieties that are steamed and flattened. But, if you like a nuttier, chewier texture, choose steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are the entire oat kernel and cook 20 minutes, unlike the others, which cook in less time.
Grain #2: Red Quinoa
You can find quinoa in some colors (purple, black, white & red) and taste mildly different from one another. I chose the red variety for this recipe being it has a crunchier bite and stark red color for a visual appeal. Most quinoa should be rinsed before cooking to remove saponins, which is used to ward off insects. An important unique quality about this grain, it's a complete protein that contains all essential amino acids (n=9). Typically, plant proteins are said to be incomplete, which is unlike this source.
Quinoa cooks in 10-12 minutes.
Grain #3: Farro
There are three species of farro, einkorn, emmer, and spelt (smallest to largest,
L-->R); all types of hulled wheat. Emmer considered higher quality for cooking than the other two grains. In this recipe, I chose emmer and cooked as follows:
1. bring large pot of salted water to a boil
2. add farro and cook until al dente (25-35 minutes)
3. pass through sieve
Homemade Porridge My Way
1 cup oats, cooked
1/3 cup red quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup farro, cooked
8 red raspberries
2 dollops Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp toasted pecans
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1. combine all grains (oats, quinoa, farro) in a mixing bowl and salt to taste
2. layer a bowl with the following (in this order), grains, raspberries, yoghurt, drizzled honey, topped with pecans and seeds.
3. eat with spoon
Honestly, this is super easy recipe that's full of fiber and tasty. Swap out the grains, fresh fruit and other varieties of nuts and you'll have a different porridge everyday.