Tag Archives: lunch

Drink Up! Green Smoothie

2 Jul

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Well I finally gave green smoothies a whirl at home, and…they’re great!

I first started adding just a small handful of baby spinach into a smoothie, but now I’ve expanded to kale and purslane.

A few weeks ago, I got a deal at the farmer’s market: two huge bundles of greens for $5. I bought collards and kale. I cooked the collards, and used some of the kale for salads.  I washed, de-stemmed and tore the remaining kale leaves into pieces and stuck them in a ziplock bag in my freezer (my friend Brianna gave me that genius tip!). Now I have a cold green leafy veggie in my freezer for when the smoothie pangs hit (I would imagine that frozen kale is easy to toss into a soup or pasta recipe, too).

Having frozen smoothie ingredients on hand  (i.e. chopped kale, chopped banana, frozen fruit) is key to keeping things cold. Sometimes I add ice at the very end to get the smoothie extra cold, but it is not always necessary.

If you are wary of the greens, don’t worry because you can’t taste them, especially if you use strong fruits like banana or mango and a nut butter like peanut or almond. The greens just make the smoothie turn, well, green.

Tip: blend the greens with the liquid first. Get it really nice and blended before adding in the remaining fruits and accouterment. This helps decrease the leafiness of the greens. I just use a regular blender.

A half portion of this smoothie fills me up in the morning when I drink it with coffee. I also make the full serving for a light lunch before a workout. Experiment with different greens and fruits and add-ins like chia seeds. Have fun, stay cool, and drink up!

Drink Up! Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large portion, or 2 small snack-size portions

1 cup of greens (I used 3/4 cup frozen kale and 1/4 cup fresh purslane)

1 cup liquid (I used 3/4 cup low-fat milk and 1/4 cup Greek yogurt)

1 heaping cup of fruit (I used about 1 cup frozen banana pieces and 1 poached fig)

1 heaping tablespoon nut/seed butter (I used peanut butter, but almond butter is great in smoothies, too)

optional: Ice

optional: a sprinkle of chia seeds (I didn’t use any in this smoothie because purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids)

Blend the greens and the liquid in the blender. Get it nice and blended, may take 1-2 minutes. Next, add in the fruit and the nut/seed butter and the chia seeds (if using). Blend again to incorporate. If you want the smoothie extra cold, add in a few ice cubes and blend again. You can top the smoothie with extra chia seeds if you like.

 NOTE: The full recipe, if you use nut butter, could add up to 350-400 calories, making this smoothie more of a mini meal than a snack. 

Mustard Roasted Salmon with Asparagus and Fingerlings

29 Jun

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It’s hot here in New York, but I am still turning on the oven…for now. The temperature has not yet escalated to the point where I refuse to be in the kitchen under heat. So, a simple, roasted dinner I made.

As per my last post, I am trying to incorporate more fish into my diet. Salmon is in season in the summertime, and the pink, fatty fish looks so nice next to green and gold asparagus and fingerling potatoes.

I was in the Upper West Side area on a Friday afternoon, and after seeing every other person on the street with a shopping bag from New York City’s famous Zabar’s, I just had to go in and pick up some fish for dinner.

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The vegetables were from the Columbia greenmarket. Fingerlings are one of my favorite potato varieties. They really do look like little fingers! I had some leftover kale ribbons, so I spread my roasted vegetables on a small bed of raw kale.

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A no-fuss oven to plate dinner.

 

Mustard Roasted Salmon with Asparagus and Fingerlings

The salmon served 2, the vegetables served 4 (I saved for leftovers the next day)…you can always adjust the amounts if you want 

For the vegetables:

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed at the ends

10 fingerling potatoes, sliced in half the long way and sliced again if you want the smaller

1-2 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

For the fish:

1 large fillet of salmon (about 1/4 pound)

1/2 tablespoon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or lemon juice)

a pinch of each salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the potatoes on one half of the baking sheet, and the asparagus on the other half of the baking sheet in a single layer (if you can’t make a single layer, use 2 baking sheets). Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper (you can always use more later).

Roast the vegetables, checking after 10 minutes. The asparagus will be done before the potatoes. After 10-15 minutes, the asparagus will probably be done. Transfer the asparagus to a serving plate, re-distribute and spread the potatoes out on the baking sheet, and return the potatoes to the oven. They will cook for about 20 to 30 minutes more or until slightly golden and soft.

———-

Meanwhile, pat the salmon dry. Line your baking sheet (or pie pan!) with a rectangle of parchment paper. Place the salmon onto the parchment, skin side down.

Whisk together the mustard, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Spoon it over the salmon (you may not need all of it, save the rest for a vinaigrette…just don’t double dip your spoon). Roast the fish in the oven for about 10-20 minutes, checking oven so as not to overcook the salmon.

Sardine Pastas!

21 Jun

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 Brother/Sister Pasta with Sardines

I’m new to the whole “fish in tins” thing. Fresh fish is great, but I am picky about where it comes from, etc., etc., so I don’t buy it often. And even though I love my vegetarian-friendly chia seeds and ground flaxseeds, I always feel like I should be eating more fish.

(Re: the recent news about the updated recommendations for pregnant women and children to eat more fish…not that I am pregnant, or a child, but nonetheless, a little fish in the diet is good for the brain, the heart, the body)

I took a big step (for me) last year and started to eat canned tuna fish. Not bad. Not great. But I do it for my health, right? It’s good to change up the diet, add some variety to the mix. And you can keep it in the pantry to have on-hand.

This year, I am taking the “fish in tins” challenge. Bring it on sardines and anchovies. These smaller fish are supposed to be more sustainable, plus, anchovies can add a nice salty flavor to dishes and sauces, and sardines are a hot “super food” bursting with healthy omega-3 fat. A few months ago, I tried sardines from the tin for my first time. Last month, I bought anchovy paste and made my own version of fish sauce to go into a curry. I was definitely scared, but I persisted and came out strong in the end.

I can now say that I enjoy a nice pasta with sardines sprinkled throughout. I buy the boneless skinless sardines packed in olive oil. (I know, I’m not a true sardine fan until I can enjoy them skin, bones, and all, but this is a process…I’ll get there soon).

This was my first run at sardine pasta, adapted from Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders cookbook:

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Whole wheat fusilli pasta with broccoli rabe, pine nuts, golden raisins, and sardines. I added Parmesan on top. And it was SO good!

The sardines got added at the last minute before serving. The worst part about fish is the fishy smell, so I was pleased that the sardines had a very mild fishy smell only if they got too hot, but a smell so delicate that I was not offended.

I recently made a version of Ellie’s Pasta with Sardines with my brother. The pasta was a combination of Ellie’s recipe and my Throw Together Late Spring/Early Summer Pasta.

Instead of broccoli rabe, my brother and I used asparagus ribbons, fresh spring garlic, swiss chard, and cremini mushroom slices. We used toasted pine nuts, but no raisins this time.

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Brother/Sister Pasta with Sardines

Once you have the basic method down, you can always substitute your favorite vegetables and nuts/seeds. You can omit the raisins or keep them. Parmesan is optional, but I love the salty tufts on top of my pasta.

Don’t forget to always save your pasta water!

Pasta with Sardines and Vegetables

Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Makes about 4 servings

3 small tablespoons pine nuts (or whatever nut you like)

1 small bunch (3/4 lb. or so) of broccoli rabe (or a combination of whatever seasonal vegetables you have)

4 cloves garlic (in the spring, look for fresh garlic!)

1 can olive-oil packed sardines (Ellie uses 2, I just used 1…up to you; I like the boneless/skinless kind)

12 ounces whole-wheat or regular fusilli or spaghetti

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup raisins (optional)

salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste

grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, toast the pine nuts in dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Trim the tough ends from the broccoli rabe, then chop the rest, including the leaves, into 1/2-inch pieces (or, prepare/chop your other vegetables how you like). Roughly chop the garlic and drain the sardines.

Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than it says on the package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water *If using asparagus or zucchini ribbons, drop them into the pasta water 1-2 minutes before you drain the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet (you can use the same one you toasted the pine nuts in) over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli rabe, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until it is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the drained pasta to the vegetable skillet. Add the sardines, the raisins, the pasta cooking water, toasted pine nuts, and the salt/pepper/red pepper flakes. Turn the heat to medium-high and toss to warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. The sardines will break up as you toss. Serve each bowl with a little grated Parmesan on top.

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Pasta with Sardines Broccoli Rabe 

Mustard Greens and Grits

25 May

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Let’s step away from the convenient pre-washed, packaged spinach for a minute. It’s greens season, and there are bunches and bushels of young spring greens awaiting you at your local farmer’s market.

I’ve been reading through Jo Robinson’s Eating on the Wild Side, and she makes an interesting point about modern greens:

“Over the course of ten thousand years of agriculture, our farming ancestors managed to remove the bitterness from most of our greens. Unwittingly, though, when they removed the bitterness, they were also stripping away a host of highly beneficial phytonutrients that happen to have a bitter, astringent, or sour taste. Our mild-to-a-fault iceberg lettuce, for example, has one-fortieth as many bionutrients as bitter dandelion greens. Calcium is bitter as well, so the calcium content of our modern greens is also relatively low.”

Robinson also notes that to tone down bitter flavors, fat can help. One might, for example, add some avocado to a salad with bitter lettuce greens. Another option: *~bacon~*

Bacon + mustard greens nudged with creamy yellow corn grits. Bitter-creamy-toothy-savory goodness. A real spring comfort.

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Bacon gets sizzled in a pan (cast-iron or dutch oven preferable). A little onion for a little more bite.

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In batches, throw torn mustard greens  into the pan. They cook down quite a bit, so d0n’t be afraid to add the entire bunch. Cover with a lid to let the stems braise in their own liquid.

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While the bacon braised greens get going, cook the grits. It’s a 1 to 4 grits to liquid ratio. I used water. Boil the water, add the grits, stir. Done in roughly 5 minutes. Finish with freshly grated sharp cheddar and a little pat of butter.

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Mustard greens with bacon and onion, nudged and nestled with fluffy yellow grits.

You’re welcome.

Quick Mustard Greens With Bacon

makes about 3-4 servings

4 slices bacon, diced (I used Brooklyn Cured bacon)

1 bunch mustard greens (from Migliorelli Farms), torn into smallish pieces

1 small onion, chopped

splash of red wine vinegar

pinch of salt

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring every so often to brown the bacon. Add the onion and cook for another few minutes. *I needed to add a dash of canola oil here because my bacon was very lean.

Add the mustard greens to the pan in batches and saute until just wilted. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes, or until the greens have braised in their own liquid and the stems are slightly softened.

Uncover, add a splash of vinegar (helps reduce the bitterness of the mustard greens) and a pinch or two of salt. Serve nestled next to or on top of some creamy cheddar grits.

 

Cheddar Grits

makes about 4 servings

4 cups water

1 cup yellow corn grits (I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Corn Grits)

pinch salt

2-3 ounces grated cheddar

1 tablespoon butter

  • Bring water to a boil. Slowly add in the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, and stir for about 5-6 minutes or until thickened slightly and cooked.
  • Once the grits are cooked, add in a pinch of salt, the grated cheddar, and the butter. Stir to incorporate and melt.

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Spring Quinoa Salad with edible flowers

25 May

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Spring has sprung in New York City, and there is so much to eat!

Yesterday was my last “composting and healthy snacks” session for seniors with mild memory loss, in conjunction with The Memory Tree Program, Teachers College, and the Morningside Gardens Co-op. Read more about our first session and our Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote here.

The Memory Tree is New York City’s first program devoted to people with mild memory loss, and their family and caregivers.

This was the end (for now!) of a series of “Going Greener” workshops, continuing a previous project about nutrition, cooking, and farmer’s markets. The “Going Greener” project came about as a way to learn how to keep the world healthy, focusing specifically on composting and easy snacks. 

The series comprised 5 sessions, with each session consisting of a compost component, a media workshop, and a healthy snack and drink. Each week, we gave the seniors digital cameras to use so that they could document the colorful snacks and activities. We also made little youtube videos with the photographs. Check out some of the fun videos on our channel.

My main role was to find and/or develop our recipes, purchase the ingredients, and gather the necessary kitchen tools and gadgets . In other words, I was the official “Recipe Consultant.”

These were the 5 snacks and drinks:

1. Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote with Lemony Water

2. Carrot and Hummus “Sushi Sandwiches” with Cucumber “Spa Water”

3. Peanut Butter Oat Snack Bites with Minted Ice Cubes and Earl Grey Ice Tea

4. Mud Pudding aka Chocolate Tofu Pudding with Strawberries and Seltzer

5. Spring Quinoa Salad with Edible Flowers, Hummus Feta Toasts with Pansies, Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bites, and Sparkling Cider

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Edible flowers are fun to eat and beautiful to photograph, so we planted nasturtium seeds with the intention of eating them at the final session. I took a few seeds home to plant, too! If you have never tasted an edible flower, the flavor and texture are similar to a slightly peppery lettuce leaf.

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The final snack (it was more of a meal this time) was a Spring Quinoa Salad. All of the veggies were from the greenmarket: radishes (did you know radishes have about as much or more potassium as a banana?!), ramps, asparagus, and baby lettuces. We also found an assortment of edible flowers: broccoli rabe flowers, radish flowers, and arugula flowers.

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We chopped the radishes and ramps, and shaved the asparagus into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Then we tossed everything together with the quinoa, added crumbled feta cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. We scooped the quinoa onto a nice bed of lettuces and delicately topped everything with nasturtium.

We also sliced into a baguette, spread the bread rounds with hummus, and sprinkled feta and edible pansies over the top. The pansies were from a plant we bought at the greenmarket.Who knew you could eat pansies?

Before every snack or meal, we all would set the table and clink our glasses together, toasting to good food and good company. Cheers! And don’t forget to compost the food scraps.

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I didn’t get a picture of our blueberry frozen yogurt bites, but they were so easy and so good. I got inspired after seeing this recipe.

Also, if you are looking for more fun, spring veggie talk, check out this episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Spilled Milk Podcast. They talk about ramps, fiddleheads, pea shoots, and nettles.

And for more spring quinoa inspiration, check out Megan’s post on Elevating Lunch.

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Spring Salad with Edible Flowers

Quinoa is full of good-for-you protein and fiber, and it cooks in just minutes. Throw in some seasonal veggies and creamy cheese, and delicately dot with fresh herbs and nasturtium for a picture perfect spring salad! 

*This recipe is very much to your own taste. Once you have your quinoa base, throw in the suggested add-ins as you like! 

serves 4

1 cup quinoa

Seasonal veggies i.e. asparagus (shaved into ribbons), ramps or spring onions, radishes, baby lettuces…

Feta or soft goat cheese (about 2 oz. or so)

Edible flowers i.e. nasturtium, pansies, or broccoli rabe flowers/arugula flowers/radish flowers

Lemon, zest and juice

  • Rinse the quinoa and drain it. Cook the quinoa in a saucepan (2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa) for about 15 minutes or until cooked and fluffy. Put aside.
  • Chop the seasonal veggies into small pieces. If using, shave asparagus with a vegetable peeler (that way you can enjoy it raw).
  • Crumble the cheese.
  • Zest the lemon.
  • In a bowl, combine the cooked and cooled quinoa, the chopped veggies, the crumbled cheese, and the lemon zest. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and toss to combine.
  • Delicately place the edible flowers on top and serve!
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