Red Rice, Yellow Cauli

30 07 2012

Time to embrace color.  Red Himalayan rice comes from Southeast Asia.  Yellow Cauliflower is colored with the golden hue of Indian curry powder.  Make sense out of two perplexing ingredients.

Serves 4

2 cups red rice

1 white onion, diced

2 tablespoons curry powder, home-made or pre-made

1 large head yellow cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To cook the rice: In a small pot, cover rice with a couple inches of water.  Simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.  Turn off heat, fluff, and keep covered until cauliflower is ready.

Meanwhile, to make your Yellow Cauli:  Place onion, curry powder, and 1/2 cup of water in a large saute pan.  Sweat gently over medium heat until onions are soft and the liquid becomes paste-like.  Add cauliflower to the pan and stir well to coat in the yellow curry paste.  Cover and reduce heat to low to steam cauliflower.  Cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add cilantro and stir well to combine.

Serve a big scoop of yellow cauliflower over a huge mound of red rice.  Enjoy!

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Cracked Wheat Greek Salad

9 07 2012

Cracked wheat is a low-maintenance whole grain.  How to cook?  Just soak in warm tap water.  No need to turn on the stove.  Now that’s what I call easy.

Serves 6

2 cups cracked wheat (also called bulgur)

1 red onion, diced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 seedless cucumber, diced

1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 lemon, zest and juice

1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Place cracked wheat in a large bowl.  Cover with 4 cups of hot tap water.  Let sit while preparing other ingredients.  The longer it sits, the softer the cracked wheat will get.  You don’t need to cook the cracked wheat.  Just let it sit in the warm water.

Add all other ingredients to the cracked wheat.  Toss well to combine.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Best let sit overnight for flavors to marry.  Serve chilled.





Fear Not Carbs

3 07 2012

Recent tidbits in the media have reiterated the strengths of eating a Plant-centric diet.
Check out this fun video featuring some of our favorite diet guru.  Dr. Atkins is on there, as well as the writer of the Paleo Solution and some other low-carb heavy hitters:

Low-Carb vs Plant-Based

I’m usually not one to judge by someone’s personal appearance, but I highly doubt that ripped Cross Fit junkies would be motivated by the Paleo grandfather, Loren Cordain.
Beyond carbs, though, what is most important is eating whole foods.  So many times we think of “carbs” as the refined foods that have added sugars and fats.  We think of processed breads, cookies, crackers, pastries, doughnuts, and fries.  None of these are whole foods.  They have been stripped of fiber, protein, and nutrients and fortified with fats, oils, and flavorings to seem like food.  These are food imposters.

Whole carbs are plants.  They are whole grains (rice, oats, quinoa, corn).  They are potatoes (loaded with fiber, nutrients, and even protein and fat).  They are beans and legumes.  They are fruits.  They are complex, which means the body breaks them down slowly so that it can absorb all of their goodness without spiking blood sugar levels or raising insulin.

Even Women’s Health spent some time to quiet some of the myths of meatless eating:

5 Vegetarian Myths

The coolest thing I like on this list is that a Plant-Based diet is often more diverse then a meat-inclusive diet.  I think back to my chicken days.  The same chicken, 4 different ways, week after week.  Now, I eat all colors and sizes of grains.  I’m cooking beans I never knew existed.  I’m tasting different varieties of dark greens, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, spices, and more.  And if I do eat chicken?  Well, it tastes the same as it always did — boring.

Good luck, Plant-friendly eaters.  Please keep me posted on the progress.  May the plants be with you!





Purple Sticky Rice Pudding

22 06 2012

This addictive dish works for both breakfast or dessert.  With natural sweetness from bananas and the rich flavor of vanilla bean, you can eat till the purple rice runs dry.

Serves 6

2 cups short grain purple sticky rice (if unavailable, substitute with short grain brown rice or steel cut oats)

2 cups blueberries

2 bananas

2 vanilla beans, seeds and pods (see how to do it here)

4 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir vigorously to release the starches in the rice.  Cook until rice is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Stir every 10 minutes or so to release more of the starches.  If mixture becomes to dry, simply add more water.

Garnish with diced mangos or apricots.





Berry Oatmeal in a Jar

19 06 2012

Who has time for breakfast?  Make a full supply of these Sunday night for Breakfast-on-the-go all week.  Or, do like me, and chow on these for a post-workout refuel.

Makes 6 jars

3  cups oats (thick-rolled have a nice chewiness)

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 tablespoon grated nutmeg

3 cups berries, any variety, let your nose and eyes choose

6 mason jars (holds at least 2 cups each)

Clean out jars.  Open lids.  Place 1/2 cup oats in each jar.  Combine the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a small bowl, then even disperse among the jars (about 1 tablespoon in each jar).  If you have Pumpkin Pie spice mix on hand, this will also work.  Evenly disperse the berries among the jars.  Frozen berries or cherries also work.  Add enough water to each of the jars to cover the oats and come almost to the lip of the jar, about 1 1/2 cups.  Screw the lids on the jars, and refrigerate.

To enjoy: Simply screw the lid off the jar, microwave for a minute, stir, then another 30 seconds.  Enjoy warm.

The longer the oats soak in the water, the softer they’ll get.  Feel free to add in chopped, toasted nuts or fresh vanilla seeds for extra flavor.





Easy Chard and Quinoa

12 06 2012

This quick dish is a great easy lunch or a tasty afternoon snack.  Enjoy warm or cold.  Add toasted sunflower seeds and currants for more flavor.

1 cup quinoa

1 bunch rainbow chard

2 sweet onions

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Place quinoa in a small pot and cover with 2 inches of water.  Simmer, covered, until soft, about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook your chard.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat.  To cook your chard, remove the stems from the leaves of the chard.  Slice the stems into bite-sized pieces.  Cut the two onions into bite-sized pieces.  Add onion and chard stems to the hot pan.  Saute until the onion starts to caramelize (turn brown), about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.  Meanwhile, chop chard leaves.  When onions have caramelized slightly and chard stems have softened, add balsamic vinegar.  Scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan and turn heat to medium-low.  Add chopped chard leaves to pan, cover, and cook just until leaves start to wilt, about 5 minutes.

Quinoa should be done about now.  Remove the lid from the pan, taste to make sure the quinoa is soft.  Fluff quinoa with a fork and add to the chard mixture.  Season with plenty of freshly-ground black and pepper and salt to taste.





Quinoa Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

4 06 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Serves 4

Anaheim peppers get their name from Anaheim, California. Their long, slender shape make them the perfect size for stuffing and snacking. Experiment with different varieties of peppers like Cubanelle, Poblano, or even just plain ‘ole bell.

8 Anaheim peppers (or 4 bell peppers)

½ cup tricolor quinoa, raw

1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 red onion, diced

1 tablepsoon paprika

1 tablespoon chile powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ cup corn kernels

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lime, zest and juice

Heat oven to 350. Make like the Queen of Hearts and decapitate the peppers “Off with their heads!” Use your fingers to remove the seeds. Place on a baking sheet and pop into the oven to soften, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small pot on the stove. Cover and simmer until quinoa is soft, about 20 minutes.

 

While that is all happening, prepare the rest of your stuffing. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, and onion and saute. Cook until the peppers and onions start to brown, about 5 minutes. If they begin to burn, add a couple tablespoons of water to slow the cooking. Once the peppers and onions start to brown, add the paprika, chile powder, and cumin. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until you can smell the spices, about 5 minutes. Again, add water as needed to prevent burning. Add the corn kernels, and garlic. Cook just until garlic softens, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lime zest and juice.

At this point, the quinoa and roasting peppers should be ready. Add the quinoa to your stuffing mixture. Spoon mixture into Anaheim peppers. Return peppers to oven to finish cooking, about 5 more minutes. Enjoy with fresh tomato salsa or guacamole.

To make extras, simply stuff all of your peppers and place in the fridge. Reheat in an oven or microwave just before enjoying. These also freeze really well for future snacking.