Monday, January 26, 2015

Quick Ratatouille with Gnocchi 

This is something good to make when you don't have a lot of time, or money. 

16 oz package of gnocchi
1/2 jar pasta sauce
1/2 onion
1/2 large eggplant
1 zucchini
1 small red bell pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine optional
Bed of greens
Nutritional yeast (optional)

Salt the eggplant by cutting it into chunks, putting it in a colander, and sprinkling it liberally with salt. Leave this in the sink while you prep the other ingredients because it will release water. Next, slice the onions and sauté in the olive oil. While the onions are cooking, slice the zucchini and bell pepper. Add them to the onions and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes. Rinse the excess salt off the eggplant and add that to the pan, sauté for an additional few minutes. Next, add the pasta sauce and approximately 1/2 a cup of red wine (or water if you prefer). Put the lid on the mixture and leave it to simmer so that the vegetables can absorb the flavors. While that's cooking, proceed to heat water for gnocchi. Once boiling, add the gnocchi and cook for about three minutes until the gnocchi is hot all the way through. When done, drain it through the colander, add it to the pan of vegetables and stir thoroughly. Serve on a bed of greens with nutritional yeast and black pepper to taste. 

Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa and Pomegranate

I adapted this recipe from Thug Kitchen. They use cranberries, but I had some leftover pomegranate seeds that I needed to use up, which I think worked out better. I'm a bit remiss because I don't remember the exact measurements that I used for everything, I just eye-balled it. 

Quinoa, about 2 cups cooked
8oz brussels sprouts, halved
Seeds from half a pomegranate
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Handful of silvered almonds 
Fresh ground black pepper

Take some pre-made quinoa, or whip some up in a rice cooker. Next, take 8oz of brussels sprouts, halve them, and roast them at 400 degrees in copious quantities of olive oil, sea salt, and 4 cloves of crushed garlic. When the brussels sprouts are beginning to brown around the edges, remove from the oven, and toss with the quinoa, pomegranate seeds, and almonds. Next, add lemon juice, additional olive oil, salt, and pepper while mixing thoroughly. Keep tasting it until the seasoning seems right. You can serve this hot or cold with virtually anything. 

Orange Cranberry Muffins

This is a really good festive recipe for the holiday season when fresh cranberries are available. You can use rehydrated dried cranberries if you want. But, really, why would you? I suggest that you just best to wait until fresh cranberries are available to make these. Fresh cranberries are just so tangy and delicious, and urban legend has it that they are packed with Vitamin C, although I haven't actually taken the time to verify this because, ultimately, I eat them for the delicious flavor, not for the nutrients. This recipe makes about 9 muffins, or you can pour the batter into a load pan to make sweet cranberry orange loaf cake. If you like, when the recipe is out of the oven and cooled, you can dust it with powdered sugar. These are a big hit, and are quite sweet but are sufficiently healthy-tasting that they can reasonably be served for breakfast. 

3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
 Zest of a large orange
1 1/2 C fresh cranberries

Rinse and the cranberries and slice them into halves. Mix wet ingredients together, then slowly add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Finally, fold in the cranberries and decant the batter into a greased muffin or loaf pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 18 minutes if making muffins. For a loaf, cook for 45 minutes.  

Product Review: Fishless Filet

The Republic of V is a vegan store on University Ave, Berkeley. The have all kinds of tasty things I haven't tried before, including this new product by Gardein. I was raised on fish sticks because my Dad worked in a fish stick factory when I was growing up. Consequently, I was overcome with a wave of nostalgia when I saw these. 

Sadly, they are not that great. It's not that they're bad, it's just that they're not that good either. The texture is more tofu-y than anything else, and the flavor was totally bland and nondescript. I found that they're mostly good as a substrate for ketchup or BBQ sauce, tartare would work well too. 4/10

Friday, May 16, 2014


When summer's here, it's time to break out the gazpacho. Serve it cold with some crusty bread. 

3 lbs tomatoes
Medium cucumber
Red bell pepper
Small yellow onion
2 slices white bread
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tsp salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Basil leaves
(Tabasco sauce)

Core and stem the tomatoes, then finely chop them along with the onion, bell pepper and cucumber. Separate one quarter of the chopped vegetables and set them aside. Put the rest of the chopped vegetables in the food processor with the garlic, salt, vinegar, and bread. Blend thoroughly until the soup is smooth, then add the olive oil. Pouring the olive oil into the blender slowly and allowing it to get fully incorporated will give the gazpacho a creamier texture. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Take the chopped vegetables that were set aside and stir them into the soup to give it a chunkier texture.  If you fancy it, add a couple of splashes of hot sauce to taste. Refrigerate overnight. Top with ground black pepper before serving and use basil to garnish.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This recipe makes an enormous amount of tabbouleh, probably 6 large servings. If you want to make a more modest quantity, you will have to adjust the quantities accordingly.

1 cup dried quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups parsley
1 cup mint
1 lemon
5 scallions (green parts only)
12oz cherry tomatoes
Lots of salt

Place one cup of rinsed quinoa, two cups of water, one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt into your rice cooker (or following the cooking instructions on the box). Cook on the "white rice" setting while you prep the other ingredients. 

Slice the cherry tomatoes, juice the lemon and finely chop the herbs and scallions. If you are following a low-FODMAP diet, discard the white parts of the scallions. If not, you can use the whole thing. Once the quinoa has thoroughly cooled, add it to a large mixing bowl and stir in the other ingredients, adding the salt slowly as you go.  

This will keep well in the fridge for 4 days. It's also a great dish to take to a potluck or picnic and contains way more protein than regular tabbouleh. 

Flavored Water

As part of getting healthy for the new year, I'm trying to stay well-hydrated. These flavored waters are definitely going to help. Keep 'em in the fridge so there's always something cool, calorie-free, caffeine-free and alcohol-free to enjoy. 

Today I made cucumber/parsley, strawberry, lemon/mint.

Zero calories.