Food For Thought – May 1st, 2014

Don’t you just love this kid?  Oh, and the T-shirt too.

Lettuce Turnip The BeetOr how about this one…

Lettuce 2

Artist Elektra designs these tanks and T’s.  You can find them on Etsy.

lettuce tank

 

This Week From The Food Blogosphere: May 2nd, 2014

15 Spring Crock Pot Dinners

15 Fresh Spring Dinners You Can Make In A Slow Cooker

Food Heaven Made Easy

Food Heaven Made Easy

If you are looking for healthy, flavorful plant-based recipes as well as nutrition and dietary tips, check out the Food Heaven Made Easy website.  “Nutri Nerds” Wendy and Jess provide lots of food and nutrition information through their web series.  Wendy is a self-described “nutritionista” and Jess is a register dietician.   Through their website, YouTube web series and Tumblr blog, you can find information on everything from the importance of fiber in your diet to fuel for your workouts.

This week, I discovered their website and a recipe I want to try.  It’s a “pasta” using wide strips of zucchini for noodles and sauced with a pesto of avocados, basil and garlic.  Under 200 calories and just a little bit over $1.00 per serving.

Avocado Pesto with Zucchini Pasta from the Food Heaven Made Easy website and blog

Avocado Pesto with Zucchini Pasta from the Food Heaven Made Easy website and blog

It’s Cinco De Mayo! Celebrate with Margarita Chicken!

Margarita-Chicken-with-Mango-Avocado-Salsa-Labeled

Margarita Chicken with Mango and Avocado Salsa

This Week From The Food Blogosphere: April 25th, 2014

ationshjp

 

14 Habits of People With A Healthy Relationship To Food

lifehack-420x339

8 Cooking Hack Videos That Are Almost Too Good To Be True! from delish.com

Don't you miss the Magical Meatball Tour food truck?!

Too bad The Magical Meatball Tour is no longer in operation…

The Star’s 4th Annual Food Truck Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 2nd at 18th and McGee streets.

This Week from the Food Blogosphere: April 14th, 2014

Here are some informative and fun posts from the Huffington Post blog.

Healthy lunch

10 Food Hacks for Workplace Wellness

Chipotle

The 15 Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains

Stanley Tucci, Marc Anthony, Tony Shalhoub and The Timpano from The Big Night

Stanley Tucci, Marc Anthony, Tony Shalhoub and The Timpano from The Big Night

Is your food taste similar to celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow’s?  Or are you more of a Stanley Tucci kind of guy?  Definitely not scientific, the quiz is just kinda fun.  I took it and the result is Stanley.  Which makes total sense because The Big Night is one of my favorite movies.  And someday, I’m going to tackle making that Timpano.  If you don’t know what a timpano is, you probably don’t want to.

Quiz: Who Is Your Celebrity Foodie Twin

Hot and Healthy Trends: Cauliflower Is The New Kale

Purple and orange cauliflower2013 was the year of cronuts, popped grains, ramen noodle bowls, sriacha…and kale.  Kale could be found on salad bars, blended into smoothies and baked into crunchy chips.

But in 2014, blogs everywhere are declaring kale is so last year. CAULIFLOWER is the new kale according to Christine Couvelier, executive chef and global culinary trendologist.

Why cauliflower?

  • It’s versatile: it can be grilled, broiled, steamed and mashed.  It can be cooked whole or sliced into steaks.  It can also be sliced into florets.  And…it comes in COLORS!
  • It’s nutritious: it is very high in Vitamin C.
  • It’s healthy: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, heart healthy, digestive aid, etc.

CauliflowerWhen you purchase white cauliflower, it should be perfectly white.  Also, if it is well covered with leaves, it tends to be fresher.  When you get it home, put it in a plastic or paper bag, stem side down.  It should last about a week.

If you are looking for new recipes to try, here’s one with cauliflower steaks.

 

cauliflower steaks

 

This recipe is excellent for several reasons.  It’s relatively quick and easy.  It has great flavor.  And the health benefits cover everything from controlling blood sugar and pressure, aiding in the prevention of cancer, killing bacteria, decreasing cholesterol and increasing iron levels.

Recipe from the Kitchn

Other suggestions for cauliflower:

  • blended into soups such as the potato soup we featured a few months ago.
  • steamed and pureed to be served as a replacement for mashed potatoes
  • pickled and served as a side dish
  • steamed and chopped finely before blending in with macaroni and cheese

One of my favorite ways is using it in kitchen sink soup.  I take whatever leftover vegetables I have in the fridge, saute them in EVOO with some garlic and onions, add a large can of pureed tomatoes (low-sodium) and some chicken or vegetable stock.  Once the vegetables are tender, I add about a handful of pasta noodles.

Start thinking of all the ways you can work cauliflower into your current menu of meals.

Tabbouleh Salad

Mayo Clinic Tabbouleh Salad (Contributed by Tamara Czaplicki)

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup bulgur (cracked wheat), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup diced, seeded tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions or green onions
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 4 black olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the bulgur.  Cover and let stand until the bulgur is tender and the liquid is completely absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the bulgur and the remaining ingredients. Toss gently just until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve chilled.

Nutritional Analysis

  • Total fat 4 g
  • Calories 101
  • Protein 2 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Total carbohydrate 16 g
  • Dietary fiber 4 g
  • Monounsaturated fat 3 g
  • Saturated fat 0.5 g
  • Sodium 60 mg
Photo credit: Mayo Clinic

Photo credit: Mayo Clinic

 

Recipe Renovation: Chicken Salad Sandwich

Makes 4 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup red grapes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tbsp toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallion
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Several grates of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices multi-grain bread
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes

To cook the chicken, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken and simmer for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from water and cool completely. When cool, cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a bowl with the grapes, walnuts, dill, scallions, yogurt, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

To assemble the sandwiches, place 4 slices of bread on a work surface. For each sandwich, top with 1/2 cup arugula, 1/2 cup chicken salad, 1/4 cup sliced radishes and another piece of bread.

Carlton’s Suggestions for Substitutions:

  • Chicken – Boiling the chicken is the suggested method.  This is to lower fat and sodium content.  However, boiled chicken can be dry if cooked too long – and flavorless.  An alternate method would be to salt and pepper the chicken & boil in low sodium chicken stock for more flavor.  However, you could just as easily saute the chicken in stock or olive oil.  Or bake the chicken.  But if you need to save time, use rotisserie chicken.
  • Also think about using turkey or shrimp instead of chicken.
  • Despite their health benefits, both the arugula and radish are peppery and pungent.   In place of the radish, some shredded carrots, mixed in with the salad, would provide enough crunch. And a mesclun mix or a red lettuce could replace the arugula.

Chicken Salad Sandwich from Epicruious

Nutritional Analysis:

Per Sandwich:

Calories 260, protein 23 g, total fat 6 g, carbohydrates 28 g, sodium 460 mg, fiber 5 g

Nutritional analysis provided by The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook

Recipe from The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook: Mega-nutritious Meals that are Inspired, Delicious and Fad-free by Tina Ruggiero, M.S., R.D., photography by Bill Bettencourt. Copyright © 2013 Tina Ruggiero. First published in 2013 by Page Street Publishing.

 

Recipe Renovation: Carlton’s Shrimp and Grits

General Tso's Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken

If you love a certain type of food or have a favorite dish, it’s always fun to find out which restaurant makes the best.  For awhile, I was in search of the best General Tso’s Chicken (it was New Peking in Westport) Then, I was in search of the best crab cakes (it was Avenues Bistro) .

Lobster and Crab Cakes

Lobster and Crab Cakes (photo credit: Carlton Logan)

Then, it was the best fried calamari (Ingredient).

Calamari

Fried Calamari from Ingredient (photo credit: Carlton Logan)

Lately, it’s shrimp and grits.  I recently tried this dish at Louie’s Wine Dive in Brookside – it was GOOD.  But even better? Rye takes it to a whole new level…creamy, cheesy, almost-smooth grits… perfectly cooked shrimp… and flavorful pulled pork!

But I wanted to create my own  (lighter) version.  Traditionally, this Southern dish has lots of fat and sodium.  One recipe I found has 574 calories, 37 grams of fat and almost 1,600 mg of sodium.  So the challenge was to create my own recipe, keeping the richness and flavor and decreasing all the bad stuff.

C's shrimp and cheese grits

My lighter version of shrimp and grits

Carlton’s Lighter Shrimp and Grits

Serves 6 people

Grits:

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 ½ cups of low sodium, low-fat chicken stock (I use Trader Joe’s Organic)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup of uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Shrimp

  • 2 slices of low sodium bacon
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped or minced garlic
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 pound raw, deveined  shrimp (26/30 or 30/35 count)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1/3 cup of sliced scallions

1. Bring water, stock and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk in grits; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cover. Keep warm.

2. Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Add white onion, garlic, and tomatoes to pan; cook 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown , stirring frequently. Add shrimp and red pepper; cook 3 minutes. Combine stock and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add broth/flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve shrimp mixture with grits.  Top with green onions and crumbled bacon.

Nutritional Analysis

  • Calories: 237.4
  • Total Fat: 8.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: .7g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 129.1mg
  • Sodium: 343.9
  • Potassium: 204.1mg
  • Total Carbs: 19.8g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
  • Sugars: 1.2g
  • Protein: 22.7g
  • Vitamin A: 8.4%
  • Vitamin B-12: 16.6%
  • Vitamin B-6: 5.6%
  • Vitamin C: 7.0%
  • Vitamin D: 28.7%
  • Calcium: 15.8%
  • Etc.

Variations:

  • Omitting the bacon will reduce the fat and sodium.  Or if you don’t want to omit the bacon, turkey bacon might be a healthier alternative.  Just cook it long enough to crisp it.  Bacon in this recipe adds flavor and texture.  But also keep in mind, if you use bacon, it renders very little fat.  You may want to consider a tablespoon of olive oil to saute the onions.
  • Substituting 2 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese in the grits results will lose 20 calories, 2 grams of fat and about 75 mg of sodium
  • Substituting 1 cup of low sodium shredded Cheddar cheese for the Parmesan will increase calories by about 30, increase fat by 2 grams and increase the sodium by 100 mg

Edible Art: Happy Valentine’s Day!

beetroots salad3

Salad with cheese, walnuts and heart shaped beet slices. (Photo credit: artforyourwallpaper)

valentines-day-food-6-1

Salad of watermelon hearts with mint leaves (photo credit: otchipotchi)

Heart shaped oven roased potatoes

Heart shaped oven roasted potatoes

Recipe for oven roasted potatoes

(photo credit: trendseve)

(photo credit: trendseve)

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