Thursday, August 30, 2012

Turkish Eggplant

I love this time of year when the gardens and farmers markets are just overflowing with colorful vegetables. I'm a sucker for new and exciting vegetables that I've never tried, so you can imagine my giddiness when I spotted these Turkish eggplants. When I brought them home, I thought they were too pretty to eat, so I took some pictures of them and waited until the right time to use them. Time went by and I knew I needed to use them soon before they shriveled up.
I ended up stuffing them with a delicious herbed quinoa mixture with some olives and chickpeas mixed in. It really was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I cut the tops off of these pretty little orbs and scooped out some of the seedy flesh and salted the insides really well to ward off any bitterness. I let them sit all salty for 30 minutes or so while I prepared the filling. Then, I quickly rinsed some of the salt out of them, wiped them dry, and drizzled them all over with some olive oil. I baked them in the oven unstuffed until they were tender, then filled them with the quinoa stuffing mixture and served them with some goat feta sprinkled on top.  Alas, I have no picture of the final meal because my apartment was too dark to get a decent shot and they were so tasty that we finished them that night. I didn't even write down a recipe for the quinoa stuffing, but really, you can stuff them with anything.
So, no recipe today, but I'll leave you with this message instead: Try something new and exciting and be creative with it. If it turns out not-so-tasty, it's totally ok. But if it turns out delicious, then it's totally worth it. Enjoy the end of summer, everyone!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Soba Noodle Miso Soup

Here's a quick little recipe of you're in the mood for something light, savory, and nourishing. If you haven't tried soba noodles before, now is the time to do so! They are a type of Japanese noodle made with buckwheat flour. Because buckwheat is a whole grain, it contains so many nutrients, including flavonoids, magnesium, and fiber. The nutrition of buckwheat noodles doesn't even compare nutrient-devoid refined white noodles. And, buckwheat is gluten-free! The noodles have a great texture and mild flavor, which allows them to pair well with a variety of sauces. I used them here in this miso soup and I was in love.

Soba Noodle Miso Soup (serves 2)

1/4 lb of 100% buckwheat soba noodles, cooked as directed, drained, and set aside
2 cups water
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (you can add more or less to taste to your liking)
2-3 tbs miso paste of your choice (you can add more or less to taste to your liking)
half a block of organic tofu, cut into small cubes
steamed vegetables of your choice (baby bok choy, snow peas, carrots, shredded Napa cabbage, etc.)
sesame seeds and scallions for garnish

1. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a simmer. Add the grated fresh ginger and stir. In a small bowl, add the miso paste and a few tablespoons of the hot simmering water. Mix thoroughly until the miso is no longer clumpy. Add this to the pot of simmering water and turn of the heat immediately. Taste and add more miso if you like it salty.

2. Divide the cooked soba noodles between two soup bowls. Add the cubed tofu to each bowl, along with the vegetables of your choice. Ladle the miso broth into each bowl and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eat the Rainbow

Somewhere in the plant kingdom there is a remedy for everything.
                                                          -James A. Duke, Ph.D., ethnobotanist
I've been reading a lot about food's ability to prevent and cure disease and the take home message is simple. The more colorful vegetables and fruits you consume, the healthier you will be. Eat from every color of the rainbow every single day and you will live a long and healthy life. Your kitchen and your plate should be full of fresh, colorful, vibrant produce. It's as easy as can be this time of year.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coconut, Blueberry, & Almond Granola

There's nothing like some good, old fashioned granola. The stuff that at one time was the food that only hippies ate. In fact, that's probably why those hippie people were seen as 'crunchy' people. Well you know what? I'm a granola-loving, veggie-munching crunchy person and I'm not ashamed in the slightest.  Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade and if I was around in the 60's, I most certainly would have been a hippie.
Once you make your own granola, you'll never go back to the store-bought stuff. And you're doing yourself a favor by going the homemade route. The store bought granola (no matter how natural it claims to be) is full of sugar and unhealthy fats. You might as well be eating Fruit Loops. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but believe me when I say that homemade granola is so much better! And the best part is that you can add whatever you want to it. In this recipe, I added shredded coconut, dried blueberries, and slivered almonds. But feel free to add any type of nut and fruit combination imaginable! Dried mango and macadamia nut? Goji berry and walnut? Cinnamon raisin with dried apples? Go crazy! Serve it on top of fresh fruit (I sprinkled it over figs, here, and it was incredible) or your favorite yogurt and you have yourself a beautiful breakfast or snack.
Coconut, Blueberry, and Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup slivered almonds
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
1 cup dried blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut flakes, almonds, coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt. Stir well until everything is evenly coated. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir the oat mixture. Return it back to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven again, stir it one more time, and return it to the oven for another 5 minutes. It should be golden brown, but keep an eye on it because it can go from perfect to burnt very quickly.

2.  Remove from the oven and press the granola evenly with a spatula. Let cool and add the dried blueberries. Allow the granola to cool completely before storing in airtight containers. It can be stored at room temperature.

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