Monday, March 22, 2010

Fennel Salad with Asparagus and Pine Nuts



Whenever I see a fennel bulb in the produce isle, this salad I once had several years ago in Melbourne comes to mind. Simple ingredients, fennel, cabbage, asparagus and pine nuts. Crunchy, flavorful, great texture and summery light!

Ingredients (makes 2-3 large servings):
1 fennel bulb, greens cut off
1/3 of a small head of white cabbage
salt, pepper
1/2 bundle of green asparagus
2-3 TB toasted pine nuts

Using a mandoline, shred the fennel into paper-thin slices; do the same with the cabbage. Mix both shredded vegetables gently with your hands in a bowl; also fold in some salt and pepper. Cover the bowl, and let marinate in the fridge overnight (the salt will flavor the salad and also draw some of the liquid from the vegetables making it moist).  Before serving, blanche the asparagus in hot water for 3-4 min, and cut into 1/2 - 1 inch long pieces. Add into the salad, and mix well and gently. Serve with freshly toasted pine nuts, and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Macrobiotic Mac and Cheese



Mac and cheese is such a staple of fast, kid-friendly kitchen, but can it go window-shopping for being macrobiotic? We'll try.... For a few years, I've been a huge fan of the Fiber Gourmet pasta. They contain a high amount of a special zero-calorie fiber (a whopping 18g per serving); this brings down the calories (only 140kcal for 2 oz of dry pasta, while regular pasta is 200kcal at 2oz) and leaves you full and satisfied for 5-6 hours. Otherwise, the texture and taste is just like any other good Italian pasta. A miracle product. I typically cook an entire package of their mac and cheese product, which makes 3 portions. Reheating a portion, I mix in vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, corn or even a veggie burger. This time I went, well, macrobiotic. 

Ingredients:
1 portion of mac and cheese
1/2 serving of pre-blanched kale
1/2 small onion, diced
3 fresh shitake mushroom, sliced
3 fresh enoki mushroom, sliced
1/4 cup of water
1/2 TB Chipotle BBQ sauce (or teriyaki sauce)
1/2 TB hot sauce (I used a Korean hot pepper paste)
1 ts red miso


In a dry heavy skillet, heat up the onion and mushrooms, until the onions are translucent and the shitake are slightly charred. Add in the water, the chipotle BBQ sauce and the hot sauce, and mix well. Simmer for 1-2 min, and add in the mac and cheese and the kale. Mix gently. On low-medium heat, simmer for a few minutes until the pasta and kale are reheated. Before serving, mix in the miso to the 'macrobiotic mac and cheese' (if necessary add a bit of water for the miso to dissolve better). Tasty!





Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sauteed Escarole with Bacon and Blue Cheese



The escarole had been waiting for my attention for a few days; I also had picked up a package of smoked country bacon ends recently, and there it was, lunch.

1/3 head of escarole, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
1-2 pieces of thick cut smoked country bacon, cut into small cubes
splash of white wine
salt, pepper
1 TB of crumbled blue cheese

Heat a heavy skillet on low-medium heat, and wait until the bacon releases the fat and gets crispy. Remove the crispy bacon from the pan. Add the escarole to the pan, and add a splash of white wine, salt and pepper (easy on the salt, since the bacon is salty, and also the blue cheese!). Heat for 3-4 min until the escarole is wilted, but still has a slight crunch. Serve the escarole with blue cheese and the crisp bacon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mango Pineapple Smoothie



Bright as the early spring this year: a smoothie made with fresh mango, fresh pineapple, lemon juice and some Yoplait Banana cream cake yogurt.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Radicchio with Spicy Peanut Dressing and Baked Tofu



Lucy from theactorsdiet blog recently posted this video link about the kale salad with spicy peanut dressing served by Cafe M. on her blog. It looked like a versatile, tasty dressing and dipping sauce. I made some changes to the original recipe (like adding Sriracha sauce for more heat and red miso for more depth), and it tastes fantastic.

Spicy Peanut Dressing:
1 TB chopped garlic
1 TB minced fresh ginger
3 TB mirin
2 TB agave nectar
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 TB chili powder
1 TB Sriracha sauce
1/2 small jar of chunky peanut butter (I like JIF)
1 TB red miso (potentially low-salt)
1 cup water

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Fill into a mason jar, and store in the fridge.

Salad:
1 small head radicchio, cut into stripes
1/3 cup garlic lupine beans
1 slice home-made or store-bought baked tofu

Cut the radicchio into stripes, and serve with lupine beans and baked tofu. Drizzle with spicy peanut sauce.



Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Variations on Smoothies

Lately, I have been making quite a few smoothies. It rapidly became clear which ones are my favorites, and I started to vary from there, based on veggies and fruits in my fridge and freezer. So, here is my TOP SMOOTHIE List.

Green Goddess Smoothie
2 handfuls of fresh spinach or baby spinach
1 cup nonfat yoghurt
1/2 banana

optional: add a handful of fresh arugula salad -- great taste

Green Goodess Smoothie II
2 handfuls of fresh spinach or baby spinach
1 cup nonfat yoghurt
1/2 tart apple (like granny smith, unpeeled, but washed)

Sunrise Mango Smoothie
1 fresh mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1 orange, peeled
juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
1 apple

Raspberry Greek Yogurt Smoothie
1/2 cup of non-fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 banana 
agave nectar.