recipe

Oatmeal with Shiitakes, Black Garlic, and Miso

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Happy Monday. How’s your week starting off? I’m so glad that the conference I was at last week only went through Saturday, as I definitely needed Sunday to recharge and get set up for the week ahead. This one is packed.

It’s amazing what two glasses of wine can do to me now. Sunday morning I needed a few remedies…

Since I had plans for some late-morning Zumba, I didn’t want to eat too early and be starving in the middle of class, but I also didn’t want to feel weighed down by a huge breakfast.  So, after running some errands and doing a little food prep for the week, I made a new savory oatmeal concoction that definitely bears repeating. It was the perfect mix of proteins, fats, and carbs to get me through an hour of dancing/laughing at myself.

shiitake oatsBlack garlic is a fermented product that’s very mild, smooth, and a little sweet. You can eat it spread on bread, blended into sauces, or cooked into all kinds of dishes. It’s a great way to bring together sweet, salty, and umami flavors. I just get mine at Trader Joe’s but if you can’t find it near you, just sub roasted roasted garlic.

Ingredients

For the Black Garlic-Miso Paste:

  • I head black garlic
  • 1 tsp white or red miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • a few drops water to thin, if needed

For the Mushrooms:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 4 oz container sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

For the Oats

  • 1/3 c rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • a dash of sea salt (optional)
  • 2/3 c water

Directions

  1. Whisk together black garlic, miso, sesame oil and water or process in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan or skillet. Sauté shallot until translucent. Add scallion and cook until soft.
  3. Add shiitakes. Cook until soft.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the oats, flax, sea salt, and water either in the microwave (~2 minutes) or on the stove until liquid is absorbed.
  5. Stir a spoonful of the black garlic paste into the oats until incorporated. Top with half the mushroom mixture and a poached egg.

What does two glasses of wine do to you? Any favorite breakfasts lately?

Sweet and Savory Tofu

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IMG_4949So, my meat-loving friends out there, the title of this post probably just made you roll your eyes, huh? I know because I totally rolled my eyes at myself while typing it. I’ll be honest, making tofu sound appealing, especially when all you have to work with is numbers and letters, is no easy feat. Sucking as much as I do at food photography certainly doesn’t help. However, tofu happens to have the potential to be delicious—and healthy, offering up protein and calcium while also being low in fat (saturated fat, in particular).

For those of us born with an “earthy” tooth (which sometimes goes hand-in-hand with the mushroom/umami tooth), it seems perfectly logical to crave tofu on occasion. Like mushrooms, tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you cook and serve it with, so it helps to keep that in mind when figuring out what the hell to do with it.

While cleaning out old photo files, I found myself salivating over some of the tofu dishes I’d prepared in years past. Consider the source, obviously. As a flexitarian-friendly dietitian, I’m probably more likely than some to go, “I want to put that weird, white block of soy in my mouth,” but hey.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap tofu in a small towel (paper towel is fine) to squeeze out excess moisture. Cut into cubes and place in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Whisk together molasses, olive oil, soy sauce,and spices. Pour over tofu and toss well.
  3. Spread tofu on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook until crispy on the outside,  about 40-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Enjoy hot or cold with whatever you damn well please.

Do you like tofu? If yes, what’s your favorite way to eat it? 

Plum-Tahini Oatmeal

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plum tahini oatsGood morning! How’s your week so far? After spending yesterday working on a writing project, catching up on laundry, and taking care of some other day-to-day things, I’m heading into the hospital for a few hours to finish up some training and then heading out to NJ to give a presentation on nutrition and skin health as part of a fun fitness event! Typical of me, I’m more nervous about what to wear than about the presentation itself—I’m of those weirdos who likes speaking in front of big groups, even though I do blush if called on in cooking classes and the like.

Lately, I’ve really been digging plum oatmeal topped with tahini and honey. In the past year, this has become one of those breakfasts that I make so often, I kind of assumed I had written a recipe post. Not so, apparently. Let’s remedy that.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 plum, sliced and chopped into small pieces
  • a few raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c liquid egg whites or 1 egg (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp honey (or bee pollen)

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil. Stir in oats, flax, plum, raisins and spices. Lower heat.
  2. Cook ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. When water is almost all absorbed, add the egg whites, if using, and whisk 2-3 minutes.
  4. Cover pot with a lid for ~5 minutes.
  5. Enjoy hot and topped with tahini and honey or bee pollen.

What’s one of your favorite breakfasts? 

Sausage and Kale Soup and Why I need a new pasta shape

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One of my favorite jokes of all time goes something like this:

Two sausages were sizzling in a frying pan. One sausage said to the other, “It sure is hot in here!”

The other sausage said, “Oh my god, it’s a talking sausage!”

Anyway.

No matter how old I get, the word “sausage” will probably always make me giggle a little bit—for obvious reasons. There’s really no way around it. I have accepted this about myself.

sausage and kale pastaI first got the idea for this soup from a recipe I saw on How Sweet It Is, which calls for spicy Italian sausage and whole wheat orecchiette. However, instead of pasta, I decided to use up some brown rice that had been in my cupboard for well over a year.

I actually decided to throw out the orecchiette in there because it finally dawned on me that almost all of the not very many relationships I’ve had in the past few years ended within days of sharing a meal that contained said orecchiette, and well, f*** that. It’s 2014. I need a new pasta shape in my life. Energetically speaking, I’m sure there’s something not good about eating pasta that looks like ears, maybe to do with hearing/listening/being heard. I don’t know—I’m over-thinking this, clearly. Let’s just say I’m ready to actually learn from my mistakes by not making bad-karma-pasta anymore. Maybe I also should enforce a new rule about not making pasta too early in a relationship, since the one that did not end with orecchiette ended with ravioli.

But back to the soup…To up the fiber content, I added some green lentils and used less sausage. Speaking of sausage (let’s see how many times I can say “sausage” in one post), I went with a couple Trader Joe’s roasted garlic chicken sausages for this recipe, but you can use whatever kind you want. Turkey sausage, beef sausage, pork sausage, mystery sausage…

You can also play around with using different greens if kale’s not your thing or if you got spooked by that article you read a few weeks ago.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 cooked sausages, cut into half-moon shapes
  • ~8 cups water or broth
  • 1 bunch kale or other greens

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot. add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and leek. Cook until onion is translucent and veggies begin to soften.
  2. Stir in spices, lentils, rice, and sausage. Cook another minute or two before adding liquid.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in kale. Allow to simmer ~30 minutes.

What’s your favorite joke? Does “sausage” make you giggle? Which pasta shape should I try next? 

Chickpeas, Mushrooms, and Kale in Spicy Tomato Sauce

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spicy chickpea mushroom stewYou can tell you’re reached “a certain age” (which has nothing to do with numbers) when you go to parties and all anyone talks about is food and cooking. To be fair, this party in question was a cookie exchange hosted by someone I went to grad school and did my dietetic internship with, and the guest list included some of my other friends from school, so of course RDs are gonna talk food together.

Anyway, after hearing my friend Natalie’s plans for a spicy stew she was making for dinner that night, I went home and whipped up something similar using what I had lying around. It’s kind of similar to my favorite post-Christmas detox dish, but soupier and spicier—perfect for a cold January night!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale and/or spinach
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Directions: 

1.Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and shallot. Sauté until fragrant and shallot is translucent.

2.Add greens and cook until they start to wilt. Add spices.

3.Add mushrooms. Cook until they begin to soften. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer ~5 minutes.

4.Add chickpeas. Mix everything well and cook until greens are wilted and chickpeas are nice and hot. If desired, cook on low until sauce has thickened up.

 

Red Lentil Chili

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Yesterday was cold.

I had the day off from my clinical job, but I had some other work to do that was going to require some time in front of the computer. Because I had day-off brain, I kept finding things to do instead of sitting down to my to-do-list items. Naturally, one of those things was to make soup.

Red Lentil ChiliI was thinking about making red lentil soup from this recipe, but I was also sort of in the mood for chili. So…this happened. Because red lentils cook so quickly, this comes together in no time at all. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner for the wintertime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1 c red lentils, dry
  • 4-5 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1 24-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 3 c spinach, fresh or thawed from frozen

Directions: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and celery. Cook a few minutes until fragrant and onion begins to turn translucent. Add spices and cook another 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add squash and lentils. Toss well. Cook a few minutes to coat and then add water. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and spinach. Simmer another 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy hot topped with a little goat cheese—or, you know, slightly more traditional chili toppings. This would also be great over brown rice or quinoa.

What’s one of your favorite cold-weather weeknight meals? 

Gnocchi with Brussels and Bacon

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So. I know I was just talking about Jay Z and Beyonce’s Vegan Journey the other day (PS—don’t know why I keep calling it that), but because I am on no such quest, here’s a recipe with bacon in it. And cheese.

I feel like gnocchi gets a bad reputation for being a calorie bomb because it’s so often bathed in cream sauce and oil. Though I wouldn’t call it objectively healthy, it’s not really any better or worse than any white pasta—a  3/4 cup serving has around 200 calories and 3 grams of protein with a lot of carbs but negligible fiber. It really depends on preparation. It can be dressed up in an angel costume just as easily as in a devil costume, so why not go the “good” route? Or at least err on the side of lesser evil.

gnocchi with brussels sproutsYou don’t have to break the calorie bank with this recipe (Wow, did I really just say “calorie bank?” And “calorie bomb?” Don’t worry—my blog hasn’t been hacked by a fembot dietitian; I’m just a little under-caffeinated), but you still get lots of flavor for your nutrition buck (really, I swear—I just need some coffee). Using very little oil, swapping in uncured bacon for the nitrate-happy stuff, and finishing it off with just a dash of truffle salt and a sprinkle of grated pecorino or parm makes this a delicious comfort without the food-guilt-coma.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 2 slices uncured bacon, cooked
  • 1.5 c gnocchi
  • 1 tbsp grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • Truffle salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook 4-5 minutes or until gnocchi float to surface. Strain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Sauté shallot and garlic 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add brussels sprouts.
  3. Cook until sprouts are a bright green and softened. Add bacon and gnocchi. Toss well to coat. Season with a dash of truffle salt and toss again.
  4. Serve hot with 1-2 tsp grated cheese on top.

For a vegetarian version, use tempeh bacon. To make this vegan, you can try adding nutritional yeast instead of cheese, though I can’t vouch for the flavor combination.

Here’s another of favorite non-vegetarian gnocchi dish

Do you like gnocchi? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?