Midweek Delicacy: Mediterranean Roasted Chicken with Pearl Couscous Salad

Roasted Chicken with Yellow Squash & Tomatoes

Mediterranean Night

The best part of creating these recipes is sharing the food and experiences with friends. From the last Meatball-off one of my guests set up a challenge for me.  He created a list of parameters I had to stick to for the next dish. His pallet wasn’t keen on a couple of things, no onions, nothing spicy and no pepper. Three things which I love. Something else which stood out for me of his likes and dislikes was his dislike of tomatoes except as a Marinara sauce, or in other cooked forms. This is a complaint I hear often, it usually has to do with eating mass-produced out of season tomatoes versus buying them in season locally grown.

Out of season vegetables don’t have the same values in vitamins, flavor, or natural color. Tomatoes show these sins the most often being flavorless with a mealy texture. During winter times I like to use homemade summer bottled/canned tomatoes, but I don’t always have them on hand. It is now early spring and we can start to find good vine ripened tomatoes in the stores. Be sure to smell them before you buy them. The ones with the stronger smells have the best flavor. Organic tomatoes have the best texture and flavor. Baking also helps bring out the flavors of the tomatoes and they go amazingly well with yellow squash.

My inspiration for creating a mediterranean meal came from my memory of an onion free couscous salad I created years ago for a client, who needed an alternative grain. My original recipe used mint instead of parsley. The change makes for a perfect bite when combined with the roasted chicken with yellow squash and tomatoes bringing out the best flavors in both dishes.

Happy eating friends!

Ingrid

IngredientsIngredients

Serves 4


Roasted Chicken with Yellow Squash & Tomatoes

4 chicken breast halves, cleaned without skin and bone (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 teaspoons fresh Oregano, chopped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons of a dry White Wine, like a Pinot Grigio (use any cooking wine or substitute with a white vinegar)

Pearl Couscous with Cucumber and LemonCous Cous Salad
1 Cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 packet Feta Cheese, cut into bite 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 3/4 cups water
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Pearl Couscous 10oz (sometimes known as Israeli couscous)
1 Lemon
16 oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
1 Garlic cloves, chopped

Tip: If you make this salad to stand on its own, substitute mint for the parsley.

Roasted Chicken with Yellow Squash & Tomatoes PreparationRoasted Chicken with Yellow Squash & Tomatoes

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°. Pat chicken dry and season with 3/4 salt.
  2. In a large baking dish place chicken breast, yellow squash, Tomatoes, garlic, oregano, parsley and olive oil. Mix by hand so everything is evenly coated and distributed. Cook in oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Add white wine, baste and cook for another 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Israeli Couscous Salad PreparationToasted Cous Cous

  1. In a 2- to 3-quart wide heavy saucepan over moderate heat, pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook garlic and couscous stirring frequently, until the couscous and garlic appear slightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add water and salt bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl add all the feta, cucumbers, parsley and olives.
  4. Mix in the cooked couscous.
  5. Grate the lemon rind over the salad. Be sure not to grate the white part of the rind. Add the juice from the lemon. Then add the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well and serve.

Tip: The salad can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.Israeli Cous Cous

What’s the Verdict on Sodium – Yeah or Na?

salt2

There has been a lot of talk in recent years over the dangers of excessive salt consumption, so should we be trying to eliminate sodium from our diets as much as possible? Recent evidence says no. In fact, having too little sodium poses many of the same health risks as having too much.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Low-Salt Diets May Pose Health Risks, Study Finds"

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Low-Salt Diets May Pose Health Risks, Study Finds”

The German Society for Nutrition (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung – DGE) recommends a daily intake of no more than 6 grams or 2 teaspoons of salt – almost double the maximum advised by the American Heart Association. The USDA also recommends consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, roughly one 1 teaspoon of salt, per day. This discrepancy is probably in part due to the fact that the US has a greater obesity problem than Germany, making the government more anxious to promote healthy habits. Another thing to consider, though, is that a lower limit implies that sodium is generally ‘bad for you,’ whereas the German government also seems more convinced of the benefits of sodium when taken in moderation.

Sodium is an essential nutrient because it supports nerve function and muscle performance and stabilizes blood pressure, and a study published last August suggests that cutting too much from a person’s diet can be harmful. The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study monitored the sodium intake of participants over the course of several months or years and found that those who consumed less than 3 grams of sodium per day were at a heightened risk for heart attack and other cardiovascular complications as compared to those who consumed 3-6 grams – albeit still a lower risk than those whose daily intakes exceeded 6 grams. The reason sodium insufficiency is problematic is that, when there is too much water or too little sodium in the bloodstream, the body tries to regulate blood pressure by generating more lipids and hormones, the effort of which actually raises blood pressure. Hyponatremia, as the condition is called, can arise from dehydration, hyperhydration, liver or kidney disease, or a low salt diet. While its symptoms are typically muscle cramps, vomiting, fatigue, and headache – so, relatively mild – more severe complications can include cerebral  or pulmonary edema and even death. High-performance athletes are at heightened risk for developing hyponatremia because their bodies sweat out a lot of salt. The elderly are also at risk because they are more likely to have other medical conditions or be on medications that can contribute to the condition, with more serious consequences because of their fragile physical state.

salt

After reading all that, it is important to bear in mind that too much salt is not good for you either. Salt is addictive and dehydrates your body, causing your heart to work harder to pump blood, which increases your blood pressure and risk of overworking the organ into a heart attack. So, as with most things in life, the key is moderation. I wholeheartedly support any advice to eat fewer processed foods and more potassium, which lowers blood pressure – but don’t go to the extreme. Sodium is called an essential nutrient for a reason.

Remember to take health recommendations with a grain of salt (pun intended). Don’t ruin food for yourself by being preoccupied with exact nutritional figures – just strive for balance.

Eva

Midweek Delicacy: Meatball-off Vegetarian vs Meat with Spaghetti

Meatball-off

Vegetarian-ballsThis past weekend my Italian friend, James Zipadelli @ jameszipadelli.com, and I had a Meatball-off where we came up with unique meatball recipes and put them to a taste off. James created amazing vegan-balls, which would fool most meat eaters. In honor of spring,  I used ground lamb beef rather than what traditional three meats. Both versions can be made at the same time to accommodate both meat eaters and vegetarians as long as you separate the sauces when finishing off the “meat”-balls.

Although these meatballs are unusual, from these recipes you will have the core pieces to make your own variations easily and produce a fantastic family dinner. Serve with a simple arugula, Radicchio salad with homemade dressing of olive oil and fresh lemon. You can combine the leftovers for a different kind of pasta dish to have later in the week.

Personally, I thought both dishes were amazing. Create them yourselves and you be the judge. Share the pictures of your creations on Instagram.

Happy eating friends!

Ingrid

IngredientsIngredients

Serves 4-6


For the Meatballs:  makes 14-16 
1 pound ground Lamb
1 pound ground Turkey (or ground Beef  80/20)
1/2 cup fresh Breadcrumbs, 4 slices, crusts removed – use bread starting to go stale (optional)
1/2 cup seasoned dry Breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg (optional)
1 extra-large Egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the Vegan-balls: makes 10James Zipadelli
1 roll Gimme Lean Veggie Beef, cut into 10 – 1″ equal rounds
1 Green Bell-Pepper, finely chopped
1 Tomato, finely chopped
1 White Onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 cup seasoned dry Breadcrumbs

 For the sauce: makes 6-8
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 cloves of Garlic, lightly smashed
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (26-ounce) package Tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree
2 (26-ounce) packages Tomatoes, or plum tomatoes chopped
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Basil, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
2 whole Bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

PreparationTomato Sauce

Start with preparation of Tomato Sauce

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add the garlic and saute over medium heat for 1 minute. (For heat add chili flakes when you add the garlic.)
  2. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Cook until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, paste, 1/2 the parsley, bay leaves salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes.

 Tip: If making both kinds of meatballs separate the sauce before starting the next part splitting half into another sauce pan. Be sure each pan has equal parts of garlic and bay leaves.

Second start preparation of the Meatballs / Vegan-balls

For Meatballs:

  1. Place the ground meats, both breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork.
  2. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2″ meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
  3. Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil.
  4. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil without crowding and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork about 10 minutes for each batch.
  5. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.

For Vegan-balls:Vegan Balls

  1. Combine the onion, tomato, pepper, parsley. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Place the 10 cut rounds of the veggie beef in front of you. Scoop up a handful of the veggie mix and combine with one round of the veggie mix shaping into a 2″ ball.
  3. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate or flat surface and lightly coat each ball.
  4. Pour 1/2 olive oil in medium sized skillet and heat on medium heat.
  5. Place 1/2 the vegan-balls in the skillet. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until browned.
  6. Flip to other side and cook for 5 more minutes, until browned. Return to plate covered with paper towel. Cook second batch.

Finishing up the sauce & dish:

  1. To the sauce add in basil, oregano, last 1/2 of the parsley reserved for sauce.
  2. Return the meatballs / vegan-balls to the sauce,  cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes. (For the sauce with the real meat make sure the meatballs are cooked through.)
  3. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti with fresh grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley.

Meatball-off

Midweek Delicacy: Greek Yogurt with Coffee Fig Compote Breakfast

Fig Compote Breakfast

Fig Compote BreakfastThis dish was born out of a craving for a healthy desert. After eating my fill with family this past weekend, I was still craving something sweet. What we had I knew would send me over the edge. My grandmother offered coffee to help with digestion. The hunger for something sweet that wouldn’t expand in my stomach and leave me feeling with guilt kept me thinking.

Figs are very nutritional having natural sugars, high in fiber, and important minerals such a potassium. My grandmother’s coffee inspired me towards doing a compote. Vanilla and coffee bring out a wonderful flavor from the figs. The Greek yogurt is a good fit because of its thickness. Granola rounds out this healthy breakfast making this a great start to the day. Careful you will feel an extra step in your stride from the coffee.

Happy eating friends!

Ingrid

Fig Compote IngredientsIngredients:

Serves 4


1 1/4 cup fresh brewed Coffee
7 oz. pkg. dried Mission Figs, stems removed and figs quartered (or 12 Fresh Figs)
1/4 c. Honey (preferably clear local honey)
1 Vanilla pod bean or 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon Cardamom powder or 1 whole Cardamom (optional)
1/8 teaspoon Whole Cloves (optional)
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
24oz Traditional Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup Granola

Preparation:IMG_0514

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the coffee, figs, honey, spices and orange zest.
  2. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the pan. Add the vanilla pod, then bring to a rapid boil and cook until reduced 3/4 cup
  3. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, remove figs from pan and set aside.
  5. Simmer liquid an additional 5 minutes, uncovered, over medium heat until reduced and syrupy.
  6. Combine figs and syrup and allow to cool to room temperature on the counter. Be sure to remove the vanilla bean, cloves and any other whole seasons you may have put in. Then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. Serve over one 2-3 medium spoonfuls of Greek yogurt. Add granola.

Tip: Change it up, use slightly under-ripe fresh figs.

Tip: If you want to keep this a desert substitute the yogurt with vanilla ice cream. Still add the granola for some extra crunch.Fig Compote

Midweek Delicacy: Coconut Steel Cut Oats & Roasted Fruit

Steel-cut Oats with Coconut Milk & Roasted Pears


My go to healthy breakfast during the week is always Steel Cut oats. When I eat them I have more energy, feel light and ready to do anything; never mind that they flatten my tummy and make me look a little more svelte when coupled with a good workout. My favorite brand has a shortcut recipe so that I can have them with ease and not spend a half hour in the mornings cooking. I have mastered getting them creamy and flavorful with water and spices but they never felt like a treat until now.

Last week I saw a tweet by @yummololaberry for Women’s Health Australia. She had a wonderful picture of Coconut Porridge with Roasted Pears and I wanted to try it. Making this recipe became quite an adventure. I walked to 3 bookstores and quite a few health food stores to see if they had the magazine, but only the US version was available, which doesn’t have her recipe. I didn’t fare any better online. I was willing to get the magazine with the recipe, but not a year’s subscription. So after spending half a day searching, I laughed to myself realizing I had everything I needed, the title had told me enough. I decided to make my own version since I would have made them with Steel Cut oats instead of regular oats being  they are my favorite, and least likely to be GMO oats.  I still can’t believe how wonderful it came out. Thank you @yummololaberry for inspiring me. I hope this recipe inspires you to make a delicious treat that tastes sinful but is incredibly healthy.

Happy eating friends!

Ingrid

Ingredients

Serves 4


2 cups of Coconut MilkCoconut Steel-cut Oats Ingredients
2 cups of Water
1 cup of Steel-cut Oats or regular Oats
1 Cinnamon Stick or 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon Powder
2 Cloves (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Dash of Salt

Tip: For this recipe do not use instant oats only regular. 

Toppings
Slivered Almonds
dried Cranberries
Raisins

Roasted Fruit
2 Pears or Apples, halved and cored (I leave the skin on for nutrition. The flavor does not change)
1 tablespoon Butter – reserve half for fruit
Cinnamon Powder

Roasted Pears/Apples PreparationRoasted Pears

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450º. Butter a medium-sized baking dish with half of the butter.
  2. Puncture the pears or apples with a fork a few times on the skin side. Sprinkle with cinnamon on the cut side.
  3. Arrange the fruit in the prepared baking dish, cut side down. Cook for 15 minutes then flip. Add the butter to the cut out center and cook for another 15-20 minutes until fruit is tender and golden brown.

Tip: If you don’t like to leave the skin on lower the oven temperature 25º to 425º F and skip puncturing the fruit.

 Coconut Steel Cut Oats PreparationCoconut Steel-cut Oats

  1. In medium sauce pan put in water, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, cloves, dash of salt and vanilla extract. Bring to a rolling boil then add the Oats, stir well.
  2. Once the porridge is smooth and starts to thicken, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Before serving remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.
  4. Serve with Toppings and roasted fruit. Add maple syrup or honey for sweetness.

Hint: See picture on right to see what the porridge should look like when it starts to thicken  and when to reduce the heat.

How Seafood Sustains Modern Slavery

Thai fishing ship

“Our products come fresh from the hands of overworked, malnourished slaves.” No one would ever want to buy food from somewhere with that statement on its label. The sad truth, though, is that thousands of consumers worldwide unknowingly finance a Burmese slave trade just by buying seafood.

Shrimp pastaAccording to a new report by the Associated Press, hundreds if not thousands of Burmese workers have been trafficked through Thailand to fish in the waters around the island of Benjina, Indonesia. On the boats, slaves subsist on minimal portions of curried rice and unsanitary water, work at least 20 hours a day for little to no pay, and are subject to physical punishment if they complain or try to rest*. Their catch is sent back to Thailand for commercial sale, whence it is seamlessly mixed with legally-caught seafood and distributed across Asia as well as to Europe and the USA. Since roughly one-fifth of Thailand’s $7 billion annual seafood exports are to the US (importing $1.5 billion worth in 2013-14, according to NOAA), slave-sourced seafood can work its way into any stage of the American food supply. The untraceable, ‘tainted’ fish may be sold as-is in grocery stores, incorporated into processed and pre-packaged foods, or even served in high-class restaurants.

The governments of Thailand and Indonesia are, of course, aware of the problem and working against it. Thailand is in the process of creating a national registry of illegal migrant workers, while Indonesia has temporarily prohibited most fishing as it tries to rid its waters of foreign poachers. Meanwhile, the US Department of State blacklisted Thailand for human trafficking violations in 2014, but the wrist-slap does not seem to have had any effect. The AP also asked for comments from a few major food companies, who declared that “they were taking steps to prevent forced labor, such as working with human rights groups to hold subcontractors accountable.” However, some smaller seafood distributors commented on how difficult it is for their companies to guarantee the cleanliness of their supply when it comes from hundreds of thousands of miles away.

Fish marketIf this exposé proves one thing, it is the importance of knowing where you get your food. The picturesque idea of personally knowing the farmer who grows your vegetables and raises your meat is pretty idealistic, but by buying domestically- if not regionally-sourced goods, you can at least guarantee that slaves weren’t involved in providing your dinner. Although the economics and ecological soundness of ‘going local,’ undoubtedly one of the biggest food trends of the decade, have been rightfully questioned, this is one regard in which the farmers’ market is definitely a better bet than the grocery store. Hopefully, the combination of government intervention and consumer pressure – i.e. buying more local seafood – will bring an end to this disturbing problem.

Ignorance is bliss, but staying informed makes change possible.

Eva

*Read the full AP article for more details about the slaves’ conditions and responses from various corporations that have been linked to the slavery

Midweek Delicacy: Chipotle Bean Tacos vs Fish Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce

Beans vs Fish Tacos

Whether you prefer a vegetarian meal or one with a meat protein, both of these recipes will knock your socks off. They are well-balanced incorporating vegetables, textures and you can use up any bitter greens which are starting to go to create a fantastic Chimichurri sauce.

Last week I posted a recipe here @Saynotofoodwaste, which used parsley and arugula for my salad.  Even after sharing the meal Chimichurri Saucewith a friend I had plenty of salad left over. So of course, I couldn’t get to eat all my greens before they started looking a little wilted. Chimichurri is a wonderful sauce that will brighten any dish. The oil and vinegar will keep the herbs preserved well past their sell buy date especially if frozen.

Give these recipes a try, and let me know which you prefer.

Happy eating friends!

Ingrid


IngredientsIngredients

Serves 4 – 6


Chipotle Bean Tacos
2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Chipotles in Adobo
2 tablespoons Cumin powder
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
2 Radishes, thinly sliced
1 Lime, cut into wedges for garnish
2oz Queso blanco, for garnish (you can also use Cojita cheese, or Feta cheese)
6-8 Corn Tortillas
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Sliced Avocado for garnish
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Fish Tacos
1lb Firm White Fish, such as tilapia, snapper, cod, mahi mahi, or catfish (be sure to grab the fish listed as sustainably caught)
2 Limes, 1 cut into wedges for garnish & 1 to marinate fish & slaw
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon Chili powder
1/2 small head Red Cabbage, thinly sliced for slaw
1 Roma Tomato, cubed
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2oz Queso blanco, for garnish (you can also use Cojita cheese, or Feta cheese)
6-8 Corn Tortillas
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Chimichurri Sauce – to use as garnish and marinade
1 cup packed fresh Parsley (double if you are not using cilantro)
1 cup packed fresh Cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves (or 4 teaspoons dried oregano)
1/2 cup packed wilting bitter greens, such as mustard, mizuna, or arugula
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Freshly ground black pepper

Hint:You can use wilting  parsley or cilantro but be sure to get some fresh herbs to add. For this weeks post my parsley was wilting so I used fresh cilantro to complete the sauce. 

Chipotle Bean Taco PreparationChipotle Beans

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Hint: if you like the heat remove one chipotle pepper and roughly chop then add to the pan to taste.
  2. Add the beans to the pan, 1 cup of water and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally and smashing the beans against the edge of the pan. 
  3. Warm the tortillas by heating a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tortilla at a time, flipping to warm both sides, about 3 minutes total. Wrap the warm tortillas in a clean dishcloth and set aside.
  4. Serve the black bean filling in the tortillas and top with Queso Blanco, radishes,  slivered avocado, and chimichurri sauce. Have lime wedges on the side.

Tip: Freeze the extra chipotles and adobo to add a spicy smoky flavor to any dish.

Chimichurri Sauce Preparation

  1. Place parsley, cilantro, bitter greens, garlic, oregano, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper (to taste) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until finely chopped, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, about 1 minute total.
  2. With the motor running, add oil in a steady stream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Before serving, stir and season as needed. The chimichurri will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

FishFish Taco Preparation

  1. Place the fish on a large plate and squeeze half a lime over it. Add 1 tablespoon Chimichurri sauce, cumin, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper and turn the fish in the marinade until evenly coated. Cover, refrigerate and let marinate at least 15 minutes.
  2. Combine the cabbage, tomato and cilantro in a large bowl and squeeze half a lime over it. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary; set aside.
  3. Warm the tortillas by heating a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tortilla at a time, flipping to warm both sides, about 3 minutes total. Wrap the warm tortillas in a clean dishcloth and set aside while you prepare the fish.
  4. Set a large frying pan or grill pan over medium heat pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil add the onion and jalapeño pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. When the skillet is very hot add the fish. Sear for 4 minutes flip and cook for 4 more minutes or until the fish is done.
  6. Taste the slaw again and season as needed with more lime juice.
  7. Break up the fish and serve the fish in the taco. Top with slaw, cheese, and chimichurri sauce.  Have lime wedges on the side.Bean Tacos vs Fisch Tacos

California’s Drought Teaches Valuable Lessons about Water Use

cawater

Dining out in an Italian restaurant in California, you can probably expect to have a basket of fresh bread brought to your table within 15 minutes of being seated, as in most of the United States. If you’re waiting for a glass of water, though, you’re out of luck. In light of the state’s ongoing water shortage, California has passed a new series of water conservation measures which include a rule that prohibits restaurants from automatically serving drinking water. Patrons must now order a glass of water just as they would any other beverage, although they still get to enjoy the fact that it is free of charge.

Serve chilled.

Frankly, I find this directive a lot more sensible than the custom of immediately bringing water to people who might not even want it. I’ve long been frustrated by the way water gets treated as dispensable in dining establishments (as much as anywhere else). Just in January, I was at brunch with a friend in a restaurant that leaves water pitchers on the table to allow diners to refill their glasses at their leisure. When the waiter came to take our check after our meal, however, he instinctively grabbed my glass and filled it to the brim! I was shocked by the absurdity of it. Did he think I wanted to gulp down another 8 ounces just as I was preparing to leave? I doubt so. Rather, he just wanted to do his job: providing me with food and drink.

Restaurants train waiters to constantly refill glasses that have barely been sipped so as to impress their customers. Providing patrons with something before they even ask for it is supposed to demonstrate that the staff care about their clientele, know what it wants, and have means to supply it. However, there are plenty of eateries that don’t instantly offer water, and that’s probably because most of the appreciation on the customer’s part is subconscious. No rational person would criticize a restaurant for not providing water upon arrival. In other words, the practice is wholly unwarranted. It is a prime example of instant gratification at the hand of abundance – well, perceived abundance, considering that less than 1% of the Earth’s freshwater is actually available.

cawater3

While most Americans don’t pay much attention to their freshwater use, severe water shortages have forced states like California and Colorado to face the finiteness of their water supplies. California’s other water-conservation measures include limiting outdoor watering to twice a week and requiring hotel guests to ask to have their linens and towels washed, and farmers are even expecting to have to leave up to a million acres unplanted this year. My hope is that learning about these extremes will make Americans a little more mindful about their daily water use.

Next time a waiter tries to top off your glass, feel free to decline!

Eva

Annapurna – giver or taker of food?

We have a guest author, Fikari, who writes about all things water. For this Say No To Food Waste blog post she wrote about the importance of water in agriculture:

A12IMG_1379Small

                            Photo by Michael Siemann

Nepal, a landlocked country in South Asia, has 80% of its population involved in agriculture, which makes up almost half of the GDP. Once an exporter of rice, the country is now facing a food deficit (Encyclopedia of the Nations). The recent changes in weather have played a big hand in the destruction of the farmland and the lives of the farmers.

The Nepali government has made efforts to boost agriculture, including deployment of irrigation, improved seed varieties and chemical fertilizers. Yet, the weather decides the fate of the farmers. The region is prone to water-induced hazards, such as huge floods that destroy the crops and take many lives, which are then followed by dry spurts.

Nepal’s Mohare Danda, captured in the pictures above, is a place touted for having the world’s best tracking routes and breathtaking sites. This is the location of Annapurna I, an enormous Himalayan massif 8091m. It is the 10th highest summit in the world and one of the 14 “eight-thousanders“. The name Annapurna in Sanskrit means the giver of food and nourishment (Wikipedia). When the snow in the mountains melts, the mountain water provides nourishment for the crops and Annapurna I truly lives up to its name.

Warmer weather might make that less true, bringing on more avalanches and harder climbing treks, but also floods. More moisture in the air will also bring insects and pests that will harm the land (UCA News).

More robust water management techniques are key to the survival of Nepal’s farmers and the availability of food for its people. Managing water resources is not easy task – it is typically catered to the location and has to be done bearing the natural resources and weather patterns in mind. However, things such as multiple cropping and using local natural products for organic pest controls can be useful tools for farmers. As with anything, education is key and the Nepali farmers need to be taught to be prepared for the imminent future. Without knowing what to do, the Annapurna region might turn into the annihilator of food.

Midweek Delicacy: Roasted Chicken & Kimchi Smashed Potatoes

Roasted Chicken & Kimchi Smashed Potatoes

Roasted Chicken & Kimchi Smashed PotatoesI made this dish once for a client who wanted a twist on everyday roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. I’ve added a salad and rice to complete the meal. You will find all but the rice in the instructions. To not waste any part of the Kimchi I used the liquid as part of the dressing. It gives a delightful taste to both the salad and the chicken with the potatoes making a wonderful naturally low-fat meal.

Many of you know Kimchi as something sold at asian markets and health-food stores all over. I have even found it at my local grocery store. It is a low-fat and high fiber red, fermented cabbage dish (occasionally, with radish) made with a mix of salt, vinegar, garlic, chile peppers and other spices. What people do not realize are its many benefits. Because it is fermented, like yogurt, it contains “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli that aids in digestion. Another by-product of the fermentation process are the probiotics which fight off various infections in your body.

Here are some other benefits you can gain from eating Kimchi. It lowers cholesterol levels, facilitates healthy body development and clear vision. Kimchi makes your outer appearance shine by producing radiant skin and shiny hair. A study done at the Chungnam National University discovered Chinese cabbage and radish are able to prevent stomach cancer as well. It slows down the aging process.  There are more benefits but such boosting your immunity and loosing weight. If none of these reasons entice you know when mixed with other things it can make for a delicious meal.

Happy eating friends!

Ingrid

IngredientsIMG_0276

Serves:4


2 Tablespoons Vegetable oil, divided
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
4-5 Large skin-on, bone-in Chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 16oz jar Napa Cabbage Kimchi, drained- reserve liquid
1 Tablespoon Rice vinegar (you can use a mild white vinegar)
4 Cups trimmed bitter greens (such as mustard, mizuna, or arugula)
1 Small handful Parsley, leaves finally chopped
1 1/2 Pounds small Potatoes medley
Salt  & freshly ground Pepper to taste

Kimchi Dressing  Salad w Kimchi dressing

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Toss potatoes and 1 tablespoon oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast turning once, until browned in spots, 10-15 minutes. (If you choose to add rice as well start it now)
  2. While the potatoes are roasting in a medium bowl rub chicken with garlic and season with paprika, salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken skin side down until golden brown and crisp, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Arrange chicken skin side up on baking sheet among potatoes. Roast until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes longer.
  4. Using a large wooden spoon, lightly smash potatoes. Scatter kimchi over potatoes and chicken; roast until kimchi is warm, about 5 minutes.
  5. Whisk reserved kimchi liquid, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl. Toss greens with half of dressing in medium sized bowl.
  6. Serve salad divided among plates with roasted chicken, kimchi and smashed potatoes. Drizzle remaining dressing over plates.

Roast Chicken & Kimchi Smashed Potatoes