It's been a little while - life getting in the way and such. What comes with absence, is experience of a different kind. This time in the form of worldly travel, which included my personal favorite - trying new foods! Now, I'm no stranger to smoked paprika and the Spanish certainly aren't. During our week in southern Spain, we tasted many dishes with its subtle, yet evident flavor including paella and grilled pulpo (octopus tentacle). I happened upon a spice store in Seville and picked up a few grams of pimenton ahumado (a generic but still very tasty, smoked paprika). Upon further investigation, apparently the best paprika comes from the La Vera region in Spain near the Tietar River valley. If you are looking to add this spice to your collection, might I suggest investing in pimenton de la Vera - the most legit of the legit smoked paprikas.
Adding a deep, woodsy flavor to any dish, consider using in meat rubs, on scrambled eggs, or baste a turkey with it! In my case, I've altered a shrimp dish that's in the current rotation. Recipe below:
(Smoked) Paprika Spiced Shrimp with Citrus Quinoa Salad, serves 3:
1/2 cup white quinoa
1 cup filtered water
3/4 lb. wild shrimp, peeled/deveined
1 TB olive oil
1/2 TB smoked paprika
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 1/2 TB fresh orange juice
1/2 TB raw honey
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
1 TB chopped cilantro
1/8-1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
Dry toast the quinoa in your small saucepan for 5 minutes until a nutty aroma is noticed. Add the water to the pan and bring the quinoa/water to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover pan, and simmer about 13-15 minutes, or until liquid is well absorbed. Set aside.
Thread shrimp onto skewers. Brush lightly with 1/2 TB of olive oil. Then mix smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, and the ground red pepper in a small bowl. Coat the shrimp evenly with the seasoning. Grill shrimp on skewers for 2-4 minutes per side, or until shrimp turn pink. *Alternatively, you can saute the shrimp in a pan in the olive oil if it isn't grilling season (hint, it currently isn't).
Mix the OJ, remaining oil, honey, remaining sea salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add cooked quinoa, shrimp off the skewers, tangerine slices, and cilantro and toss to mix. Sprinkle with toasted almond slices and serve.
I love a good soup this time of year. Seriously, nothing is more satisfying; soups feel so nourishing to the body and the soul. Cooler temps mean our bodies crave warmth and heaviness. Soups are a great way to deliver this, with the added bonus of being easy on our digestive system. This recipe is adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook, an all vegetarian recipe book many of you may be familiar with. This soup combines cooler-weather vegetable cauliflower with a (gasp) white potato, and (double gasp) cheese! For this recipe I used shredded raw milk cheddar cheese from Organic Pastures.
1 medium-largeish potato, peeled and diced
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into florets (reserve 1 1/2 cups of the florets to the side).
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 cups water
2 cups (packed) grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup full fat milk
1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
Fresh black pepper to taste
1. Place the potato, cauliflower florets (except for 1 1/2 c. reserved), carrot, garlic, onion, sea salt, and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until veggies are tender (approximately 20 minutes). Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor, and transfer back to the soup pot.
2. Steam the reserved cauliflower pieces until just tender. Add these to the puree along with the remaining ingredients. Heat gently and serve!
A common question from my clients is: 'Should I be taking a probiotic pill?' Let's start with what even is a probiotic and where do I get it from?
It's that time of year - you know when the weather warms, people congregate to be outside and enjoy the company and the food that defines summers. I've got a busy few days ahead, complete with a barbecue, a themed book club event, and countdown to fireworks. I love contributing to these events, looking and finding just the right dish to make. It doesn't always turn out, but half the fun is the process. Today's menu is includes Fiesta Brown Rice. Tomorrow's I'm looking at a medieval pottage stew (veggies and grains - we're eating like peasants). And the firework finale will include my favorite summer salad. Recipe accompanies.
Avocado, Tomato, Corn Salad
2 c. cooked corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1-2 avocados (depending on size), cut into 1/2" cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. finely diced onion
4 TB olive oil
1 tsp. grated lime zest
2 TB fresh lime juice
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Combine corn, avocado, tomatoes, and onion in a large bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients in another bowl, pour over the salad, and gently toss to mix.
Our household is doing a Spring and Summer CSA share again this year (thank you, Way of Life Farm!) and we get so many lovely offerings. In the bag last week were Japanese (or Hakurei) turnips - smallish variety, white in color. What should I do with these?! Roasting them with miso came out great. See below for a quick and painless side dish that serves 4 easily.
2 lbs. Harukei turnips
3 TB white miso paste, divided
3 TB olive oil
Water for mixing
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut the turnips in uniform pieces. If the turnips are small, just cut them in half. If larger, quarter them. Cut the green parts off, but reserve them. Place turnips in a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 TB of miso and 2 TB of olive oil and a little water to make a smooth consistency. Pour this mixture over the turnips and toss to coat well.
Place the turnips in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating them half way through the baking time. Let cool out of the oven when done. Sprinkle with a big pinch of black pepper and add sea salt if necessary.
Meanwhile, rinse the green parts and roughly chop them. Heat a TB of olive oil in a large pan. Saute the chopped greens until they are lightly wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the rest of the miso paste and make sure the leaves become coated. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the warm greens to a large salad bowl and spread the roasted turnips on top. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Foolproofliving.com
A friend of mine shared these treats with me around Valentine's Day this year. I'd been dying for a chance to make and share them as well! I brought them to a family gathering on Friday and today there's only a couple left. I'll be making these again soon!
2 cups walnuts
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 cups soft Medjool (or Noor) dates, pitted
1 1/2 TB coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle of cinnamon
In a large food processor fitted with an 'S' blade, pulse walnuts and coconut until crumbly. Add in the dates, coconut oil, vanilla, and sea salt and process again until a sticky, uniform mixture is formed. This will take a few tries and spins and you will need to scrape sides down with a slim rubber spatula.
Scoop the mixture by heaping tablespoons, then roll to form balls. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place in the freezer to set for at least an hour.
*You can roll lightly in coconut before freezing for fancier-looking treats.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for longer.
Makes roughly 25 date treats.
Spring is a time of new beginnings, growth, and expansion, and is also a good time to cleanse. I'm highlighting mung beans in this post to showcase a detoxifying dish. Mung beans are traditionally used in Ayurvedic cooking and are cherished for providing a great level of nourishment without overburdening the digestion. They are a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and many minerals needed for various functions in the body. They are astringent and alkaline in nature, and when combined with Spring vegetables and herbs they create cleansing recipes.
There are so many types of rice - more than 40,000 to be exact! Do you ever wonder what type of rice is best for you and your body? Here, I'll break it down for you. At the end, I'll give my thoughts on how I use rice in my diet and what may make sense for you.
Short-grain, medium-grain, long-grain, black, white, brown, red, yellow! There are so many options and each rice has its own nutritional profile, benefits, and effects on the body.
White rice of varying kinds, is an economical and versatile addition to the table. It can be used in making sushi, pilafs, risottos, rice pudding. It does, however, get a lot of flack because of its processing. White rice goes through a complete milling and polishing process that removes naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals. The refining of the grain removes the husk, bran, and germ layers, which contains the majority of nutrients. Because of this, it has the highest starch & carbohydrate content (especially short grain white rice), and the highest glycemic index load (it makes your blood sugar rise the quickest). This also means it is more easily digested and tolerated by most people.
On the flip side, brown rice is a whole grain with only the outer hull removed. Because it is more 'in tact' and in its natural state, brown rice is a good source of fiber, minerals, antioxidants and has been studied to be an effective agent in the support against medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Since it contains more fiber than white rice, its glycemic index is lower, which means a slower rise in blood sugar. It has a slightly nutty taste and a different texture than white rice. It also happens to take longer to cook!
Black rice, or forbidden rice, is an heirloom variety with a great nutritional profile as well, including antioxidants (specifically anthocyanins) which are also found in blueberries and blackberries. I like cooking this rice with culinary coconut milk, and topping with slice mango for a delicious nutty Thai dish accompaniment.
Wild rice is actually not a rice at all, but a seed of a grass from a different botanical family! Wild rice is a great source of fiber, minerals, and B-vitamins. It is very nutrient dense and contains more amino acids than white rice. The texture is also quite different than white rice and the cooking time is longer, but with these benefits, I'd suggest giving it a try.
Sprouted rice, what's that? Sprouted grains are becoming a larger presence on the store shelves these days. They are also touted for being healthier than non-sprouted varieties. Sprouted rice is no different - it means the rice kernels have been sprouted (in the transition phase from seed to new plant) and then dried and bagged to sell. There is evidence that sprouting rice can increase its nutrients such as amino acids, soluble fiber, and B-vitamins. Sprouting also potentially increases the bioavailability of the rice, making it easier to digest and absorb. Sounds good, right?
So what is best? Out of all these amazing varieties, what to choose? Well, variety is the spice of life....
I like to change it up. I think there is a place for all of these types of rices, including the ones I didn't mention in detail (Himalayan Red rice anyone?). I do tend to use more wild rice and sprouted grains in general on my dinner plate. But even white rice has a place. White basmati rice, which is a great, quick-cooking option, actually has a lower glycemic index than all other white long-grain varieties. I find this to be very useful in the kitchen and the family loves it. When I have the prep and cooking time, I'll go for wild rice. Trader Joe's also has a Sprouted Rice Mix that includes brown, red, and black rice that is wonderful and I find myself buying quite often. Forbidden rice is an exotic antioxidant-rich choice. I'd suggest trying any of these and keep a rotation.
And lastly, to organic, or not to organic? We'll revisit this query in other posts, but with our current topic of rice; my answer is organic if you can. The reason? Rice has been studied and found to have some arsenic exposure from the soil it's grown in. Buying organic reduces this exposure, but still is not a guarantee. If you can find it and it fits in your budget, choose the organic option.
Jackson, B.P., Taylor, V.F., Karagas, M.R., et al. (2012). Arsenic, Organic Foods, and Brown Rice Syrup. Environmental Health Perspective Vol. 120 (5). pp. 623-626.
Tian, S., Nakamura, K., & Kayahara, H. (2004). Analysis of Phenolic Compounds in White Rice, Brown Rice, and Germinated Brown Rice. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry Vol. 52 (15). pp 4808-4813.
Kong, F., Moztop, H., Singh, P., et al. (2011). Physical Changes in White and Brown Rice During Simulated Gastric Digestion. Journal of Food Science Vol. 76 (6). pp E450-E457.
Do you ever wonder what oil to use in cooking? Baking? Grilling? I get asked this question a lot, as there are so many options these days. Here, I'll share my 'go-tos' as well as my 'nevers'.
My Valentine loooves sweets. Chocolate, especially. We usually have to compromise on desserts. I love those things as well, but I try to limit the sugar and the treats in general. I decided to try something new this year. MATCHA BROWNIES. Yes, they have chocolate. Yes, they're gluten-free. Yes, you can even make them dairy-free. Yes, they are full of antioxidants (from the green tea). But how do they taste? - rich, deep flavor. Denser texture. Not overly sweet. Could be chewier, but I'm not missing it. Overall, my Valentine approved. Recipe follows.
1 c. brown rice flour
1 c. almond flour (finely ground)
2 TB arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 c. cacao powder (you can also use cocoa powder in place, but cacao offers a bigger health benefit)
1 -1/2 TB matcha powder (Jade Monk is a great brand)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. real maple syrup
2 tsp. real vanilla
For melted chocolate:
1/3 c. of butter OR coconut oil
1/4 c. of unsweetened hemp or almond milk
4 oz. semi-sweet dark chocolate; vegan, if it suits you
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 pan.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter (or coconut oil) and heat the milk. I do this in a makeshift double broiler (made with a medium pot 1/4-full of water with a glass Pyrex bowl set inside, not touching the bottom).
- In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together.
- In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the eggs to this mixture.
- Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet, and stir well to combine.
- Pour the melted chocolate/butter mix over the mixed batter and stir gently until everything is mixed thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).
- Dust the top with extra matcha tea powder
- Let the brownies rest and cool for a few minutes, then cut into squares. They are best served warm, or re-warmed. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.
*This recipe was adapted from Jodi Moreno in Prevention.
Insights and Inspirations on nutrition, food, wellness, recipes, and more! All posts by Jaime Frinak.