Sunday, February 7, 2010

food superstars

hi all,

i created a cheat-sheet of food superstars that i don't eat as much as i should for my fridge, so i am encouraged to eat/shop healthier. (by no means is the list exhaustive.)

i try to incorporate several of the items in my diet everyday. it's easy to! for example, i throw in a a clove of finely minced garlic and a touch of turmeric in my eggs. you could also toss in flax seeds and honey into your oatmeal.

food superstars:

produce: nuts/grains:
- pears - steel cut oats
- apples - barley
- garlic (1 clove daily) - flax seed
- pomegranate - brown rice
- blueberries - almonds
- kiwi - lentils
- red grapefruit - quinoa
- beets - red kidney beans
- cabbage - edamame
- swiss chard
- blueberries
- spinach
- seasonal squash

omega 3's: misc:
- wild caught fish - unsweetened apple butter
- sardines - pumpkin seeds
- avocado - green tea
- prunes
spices: - raw, local honey
- cinnamon
- turmeric

any smart ideas on how to incorporate pumpkin seeds or sardines into your normal diet?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

an old favorite

this time i added a handful of chopped parsley for color and some fresh flavor!

what comfort food is keeping you warm?

Friday, November 27, 2009

pumpkin-banana mousse tart

happy thanksgiving!

thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! family, cooking, eating, food-induced-comas, cheesy family it all!

i love this ina garten twist on traditional pumpkin pie. there are layers of flavors and a delicious crust that beats regular pumpkin pie :) who would've thought pumpkin and banana go so well together?! i think i need to try my hand at a pumpkin-banana BREAD!

although the components may seem cumbersome, TRUST ME--it's worth doing it all from scratch. the payoff is high!

the barefoot contessa loves sugar more than i do, so i've modified some of the measurements, methods, and ingredients (yuck to orange zest):


- 14 graham crackers (finely ground in a food processor)
- 0- 1/5 cup white sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 stick unsalted butter (melted)

- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 can pure pumpkin puree (15 oz)
- 0 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark), lightly packed
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tsps unflavored gelatin
- 1 ripe banana, finely mashed (the riper, the stronger the taste; so pick based on your level of love for bananas)
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream

1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well.
2. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan; press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake 10 minutes, 350 degrees and then let cool. (for a pretty presentation, use a springform pan.
3. For the filling, combine the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot (double boiler), about 5 minutes. Mix well.
4. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them (so they don't scramble), then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well.
5. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.
6. In a separate bowl, dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin and banana,to the pumpkin mixture double-boiler and mix well. Set aside to cool.
7. Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
8. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell.
9. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
10. Share and enjoy!

What did you bake this Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 13, 2009

underutilized foods: brussels sprouts

a group of my foodie friends and i decided to start using "underutilized ingredients" in our home-cookings. we have a list and we're on our way to working through it. these long-lost cousins deserve to be eaten, too! :)

this week: brussels sprouts. since they're in season, they're everywhere! i bought a good-sized brussels sprout tree for $2 at iovine's! it's super cute and fun to look at. tonight, i decided to quickly blanch and saute a few handfuls of whole sprouts in brown butter. i found this recipe that i loosely used. instead of measuring anything out, i basically seasoned to taste.

- 2 handfuls of brussels sprouts, yellow outer leaves removed
- salted boiling water
- about 2 tablespoons of butter
- salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and lemon juice to taste

1. add brussels sprouts to boiling pot of salted water
2. blanch sprouts only for 1-2 minutes until they turn bright green
4. remove sprouts and drain
5. melt butter and pepper in saute pan until browned
6. add sprouts to brown butter pan; warm for a few minutes. toss with a squeeze of lemon juice.
7. add salt to taste
8. enjoy!

i found the recipe to be fresh and tasty, but a little lacking in flavor. perhaps, next time i will sprinkle some salty cheese? brussels sprout eaters: what can i do to give these more flavor without adding more butter or salt?

next up: roasted brussels sprouts (mmm crispy!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

a spoonful of honey

so, like many americans i suffer from seasonal allergies. growing up, i remember my family mentioning the mention of honey in the Qur'an. my aunt has been touting the brilliance of honey for various ailments.

so this past summer i decided to try eating a spoonful of LOCAL, RAW honey every day in hopes of lessening my symptoms. i dunno about everyone else, but i can certainly say that my seasonal allergies have DRAMATICALLY decreased! if not causation, there is definitely a correlation between the two for me.

here is some lit on the benefits of honey:

if you're in philly, the Bee Natural stand sells loads of local, seasonal and raw honey at Reading Terminal Market.

i encourage you to at least try it out. what do you have to lose?

gluttonous marathon

this weekend alia was visiting from dc. with a foodie cohort, she (we) were determined to eat our way through philly. my stomach is still recovering from the delicious marathon. highlights:

friday night: kati rolls and butter chicken from tiffin

sat night: rangoon

9am: breakfast at morning glory
3:30pm: jasmine tea and dessert from tartes at home.
8pm: 5-course tasting at little fish

phew. we finished strong last night! now i am ready to "detox" with apples and yogurt and greens this week :-p

pita sandwiches

my go-to on-the-go meal is a stuffed pita sandwich: it's warm, easy, flavorful and crunchy. i can substitute any of the ingredients with whatever i have in my fridge--i'm still using up leftovers from my party.

here's how i'm currently making my pita sandwiches:

- whole wheat pita bread
- zesty garlic hummus
- thinly sliced cucumbers
- roasted red tomatoes in oil

1. warm up pita in toaster oven
2. cut in half to create 2 pita pockets
4. stuff with hummus, cucumbers and roasted tomatoes
5. enjoy!