Discovery: Sea Kelp Noodles

1 04 2012

Birds are singing, guess it’s time to go outside and take the ‘once gorgeous holiday planters’ apart. Spring is here! Well sort of, Calgary spring anyhow. Time to at least ponder what we’re going to do in the yard this year, cause some stuff is still frozen and snow will arrive again I’m sure.

Stuck in the house on a recent cold day, time to experiment. I bought sea kelp noodles from Real Raw Food awhile back. Remember to check them out for all your nut and seed needs. I blogged here about them. Not a regular accompaniment to the dinner table, sea kelp noodles took some getting use to. I used them in place of rice in a veggie bowl dish and well, they were good. Strangely crunchy, they have no flavour on their own, but pick up the flavours of what you add to them or cook them in. In this case it was yummy miso gravy. It made the meal altogether lighter. I read a lot about the goodness sea vegetables have, iodine, a multitude of vitamins and other minerals. I haven’t seen these anywhere in town, but have only looked at Planet Organic, maybe Community sells them? Let me know if you see them. There is a bunch of stuff you can do with them, I think salads and stir-fry’s make the most sense from a texture perspective. I’d try them again for sure.

This veggie bowl recipe is so simple. I didn’t make my own miso gravy, although I know it is better than bottled, but hey, this is quick and good for you. I buy Naam Miso Gravy from Planet. For two veggie bowls:

  • Marinade a block of tofu, cut into triangles. Cut the block in half lengthwise, then into four squares and then cut those into triangles. Marinade them in 1/4 cup of Bragg’s (or Tamari) 1 tbsp Sesame Oil, 2 tsp ground coriander, fresh cracked pepper and enough filtered water to cover the tofu. Let it sit in the marinade for a couple of hours if possible. The longer it sits the better the flavour. You won’t use it all up but keep in the fridge for the next meal or two.
  • Slice thick a small eggplant, red or yellow pepper and one firm tomato. Brush them with a bit of olive oil. Grill 8 slices of tofu and the veggies while you heat 1/2 cup or so of miso gravy on very low heat, stirring now and then, don’t let it bubble. Grill everything so there are grill marks – you might need to grill the tomato a little less so it’s still a bit firm. I use a stove top grill, a good investment!
  • For the sea kelp, I cut them up with scissors, heated a pan and stir-fried them with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of water, covered and let warm and soften a bit. Tossing now and then.

  • To serve it up, in a big bowl add the sea kelp noodles, arrange the veggies and tofu slices on top, drizzle with the miso gravy and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

  • Now if this sea kelp idea is a bit funky to you, make some flavourful brown basmati or jasmine rice instead. This is a super comforting dish.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat

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Cleansing Kitchery

26 02 2012

Happy Sunday once again. It’s a snowy one here but a good day for CBC podcasts and to cook up a pot of Kitchery. I am honestly surprised I hadn’t shared this recipe with you before. For the yogis out there, they’d know it, especially if you’ve been to practice in India. Kitchery is a very basic meal of ghee, mung beans, brown rice and herbs. It is a staple for doing panchakarma which is an ayurvedic whole body cleanse. And when I say whole body, I mean from the nasal passages to bowel to skin. It is quite intense and meant to balance. During the cleanse (about a week or so) you eat nourishing and very easily digested foods, namely kitchery. I’ve talked about a mono-diet on this blog before and it’s my experience that it is a good way to stick to healthful living. Cooking a one pot soup or quinoa salad and eating it every day for lunch or dinner ensures you are eating well and it is just so convenient when you are busy, which most of us are. Last week was an insanely busy week of work with ordered in lunches and dinner events which didn’t end on the weekend with two more dinner outings. Fun but I am finished with eating out for a bit ;). A pot of kitchery will do the trick this week to balance body and mind.

I like to add the vegetables to the kitchery instead of steaming them on the side, which is quite normal. One pot stop. You can add whatever vegetables you like, I grabbed what was at the market yesterday. I add asafoetida to this recipe and to some Indian dishes when cooking without onions and garlic. If you read this blog often you’ll know that onions and garlic are not usually considered a calming (sattvic food), so when cleansing, we eliminate them. Asafoetida is a herb used in India and some Middle Eastern countries and known to support digestion. It stinks so bad though, I keep mine double zip-locked! You only need the smallest of a pinch to get the flavour and benefit. If you don’t have it, no worries, but look for it in your Indian grocery.

  • 1/2 cup Mung Beans, soaked for awhile or up to over night
  • 1 tbsp Ghee (I use my favourite coconut oil-ghee blend)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Basmati or Jasmine Rice, rinsed
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 inch grated Ginger
  • 6 cups of filtered Water
  • 1 cube low sodium Veggie Stock
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (or to taste)
  • Pinch Asafoetida
  • 2 cups chopped Carrots
  • 2 cups chopped Parsnips
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower, cut to small florets
  • 1 bunch Dinosaur Kale, de-stemmed and chopped

Heat the ghee in a soup pot, add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds, the cardamom and ginger. Stir until they become aromatic, a couple of minutes. Add the mung beans, rice, water, salt, veggie stock, turmeric and asafoetida. Bring to a boil, then let simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Add the veggies, except for the kale, cook stirring now and then, for 30 minutes. The rice and mung beans should be softening by now and water absorbing. Add the kale, cook covered until the rest of the water is absorbed and kale cooked, about 15 minutes. You may need to add a bit more water, just keep an eye on it.

Wishing you a healthful week,

Eat well, Be well,

Nat





Lunch at Work v.5 – Rice Salad Bowl

6 06 2011

How has your week started off? Soggy if you’re in Calgary. I was going to blog again about the miracle lettuce yesterday. I took a picture of the little greens yesterday morning and was convinced they hadn’t grown since the first picture was taken almost two weeks ago. Well after a day in the sun low and behold I swear the miracle lettuce grew (and everything else around me). So, I’ll give it another soggy week and see what happens. I sowed some lettuce seeds right beside it though so I have a control group and something to compare. 🙂

Lots going on in the food world these days. An important debate we must pay attention to is the conservative governments work to end the Wheat Board in Canada. Listen to a podcast on CBC about it here. There are two very different sides to this story and although it didn’t make much press prior to the federal election, it sure is now. I continue to research this issue – it and the GMO challenges companies like Monsanto create makes for the business of food something to stay alert to. See my last post on the geopolitics of food.

Recently I heard a great story on CBC Calgary on how to truly buy community supported and wild sourced salmon. Karen Anderson, a CBC regular and city ‘food finder’, brings us Skipper Otto’s Wild BC Salmon in this podcast. I know I don’t talk meat on this blog often, but renewable, local sourced foods are important, especially if you eat meat (for articles about this read Mark Bittman in the NYTimes here). I will think about signing up with the Skipper. You can follow the fishing season on his blog.

Well, I couldn’t just give away a recipe without directing you to a few bigger issues, so there you have it and now here’s a recipe for work. I am a bit notorious when it comes to eating this. I hadn’t blogged about it because it seemed lame, but I am sharing it because it is healthy, lasts a week, packs well and in a pinch fills the belly and keeps you satisfied. I have said that I am a mono-dieter at times, this is a good example of a lunch I don’t think much about and when I am busy, comes in very handy, over and over again. Use your imagination on this one, the options are endless (hence why I eat it so regularly).

Rice Salad Bowl

  • 4 cups Cooked Brown Rice of your choice (or half quinoa or grain of your choice; try soaking the rice for a day, makes the cooking time way quicker)
  • 1 can Organic Beans of your choice (garbanzo, black, pinto, butter, kidney, etc, etc)
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup Celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup Red or Green Bell Peppers, diced
  • Add any kind of veggies you like, fennel, broccoli, radishes, sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, mushrooms, cooked yams, zucchini, etc, etc.
  • Season with something simple like Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Salt and Pepper or chop up Parsley, Basil, Cilantro, what ever you have. Add your favourite salad dressing, but keep it natural.
I mix the rice, veggies and spices/herbs together in a big bowl and refrigerate that. I scoop it into my lunch container each night and add the dressing. It packs well so no need to refrigerate. I sometimes saute or steam some of the veggies first and then mix things up. Recently I sautéed almond meal (from making almond butter) with some veggies and added it to the rice. Make it your own, whatever you like. If you keep the dressing simple you are adding a very clean, healthy and whole food meal to your day that fills you up and feels good.
Eat well, Be well
Nat




Quick Thai Curry

22 11 2010

The theme around here continues to be comfort foods, and being so cold and snowy right now, this is an easy sell. We love curry of any kind, and for us it is a comfort food. As a wedding gift we received green and red Thai Curry bases purchased at Williams and Sonoma. Although I can’t find it on the website, I think they still sell it in the store, but it’s been a long time since I was there to see. It is the best Thai curry base I have used (including ones bought in asian markets). It is made from whole ingredients and you can see the lemon grass and lime leaves crushed up in it. I prefer making Thai curries from scratch, but when you are in the mood and don’t have all the ingredients, these bases are a comfort food saver. As for Indian curry bases, I tend not to use them. Unlike Thai, Indian curry ingredients are easy to keep around the house, lemon grass and lime leaves, key ingredients in Thai, do not keep well (unless you know a secret and want to share it with me).

Saturday night the weather was a mere -20 degrees Celsius, and this has gone on for a week now, so what to make for dinner? A warm Thai Curry. Here is an easy recipe and how I use the same recipe for a shrimp version and then convert it to a veggie dish for left overs. Always thinking ahead to lunch for the week 🙂

Quick Thai Curry

  • 1 cup of Jasmine or Basmati Rice (cook it with a few tbsp of dried or fresh grated coconut, we had some fresh coconut in the fridge, it was a great addition to the rice)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 3-4 Carrots, sliced on an angle
  • 3-4 Stalks Celery, sliced on an angle
  • 1 Large Zucchini, sliced in half rounds (I would use eggplant too, but couldn’t find any that night)
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 2-3 tbsp Green or Red Curry Base, depending on level of spice
  • 12 large Shrimp, tail on
  • 1 package Snow Peas (hard to find organic, so I wash them really well, eh)
  • 1 can Chick Peas

Cut all of the vegetables so they are about the same thickness. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil on medium high heat in a wok or large pot. Add the carrots, celery and pepper, stir fry until the start to soften but are still firm, about 10 min. Add the zucchini, stir fry until the zucchini start to soften, 5-10 min, they might even caramelize a bit. Add the coconut milk and curry base, stir well. Add the shrimp and snow peas, continue cooking on medium heat until the shrimp are cooked and the coconut milk thickens, about 10 min. Shrimp are cooked when they are opaque and no longer pink. Serve over the rice, removing all of the shrimp. There should be plenty of veggies and some sauce left, add the chick peas to it, voila, lunch is served. Of course you can skip the shrimp completely and just add the chick peas, I do this with all sorts of veggies and curry through the winter.

Eat well, Be well (stay warm),

Nat





Lunch at Work v.1

17 07 2010

At work, not sure what to eat? I have said before that buying lunch while working is more of a treat then a necessity, at least that is how I approach it. I am not a fan of buying lunch every day especially if the choices are less than desirable and unhealthy. I do my best to pack food to work where ever I go. I eat a lot in the day and not so much at night, and this helps with sleep, digestion and getting up to practice.

I got a comment (thanks Heather) for ideas for packing lunch to work. For this I am going to start a blog series called Lunch at Work, with new versions as they come to mind. I eat a fairly ‘mono-diet’ so it might be awhile before the next one. The recipe i’ll share today can be changed so many ways so experiment! I started a new contract assignment two weeks ago and between friends in town, yoga workshops, Stampede and adjusting everything else I was doing and adding in an additional 8 hours of work a day, lunch preparations were tough, but I made it through. Here’s the low down on surviving a crazy two weeks and an idea for lunch.

Breakfast: This stayed consistent, green smoothie packed with me. 1 banana, 1 pear+1/2 cup of ice or 3/4 cup frozen berries, 2-3 cups of raw spinach or kale. Blend together until smooth, go.

Second breakfast (lately, sometimes eaten at lunch): 1/2 cup sprouted oat groats or kamut, cooked with a bit of cinnamon. 2 tbsp toasted nuts, drizzle of agave syrup. See previous post Kamut for Breakfast. I make two portions at a time, ready in the fridge, eaten cold, no need to stop and make oatmeal.

Lunch: The best thing I brought to lunch was a rice salad. I did buy lunch a couple of times. The deli/cafe at my client is really good. They have lots of healthy selections and soup options.

Rice Salad: Cook 1 cup of whole grain, brown or mixed rice. I love this one from Planet Organic bulk, it takes about 45 min to cook. You can keep the cooked rice in the fridge and make a fresh salad each night, or even add with some dinner left overs. It’s important to eat whole grains through the day, it is long-lasting energy and high in fibre = better metabolism.

To 1/2 cup of cooked rice I added 1/3 cup mixed beans (canned or pick up your favourite mixed bean salad from a deli, planet has a few good ones), diced veggies like carrots, red/yellow pepper, cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, cilantro and sprouts. I had a few olives left over so I added those one day. Another day I added cubed goat gouda I had in the fridge. Toasted pine nuts left from a bean dish I made tasted yummy. For dressing, make it simple, olive oil and apple cider vinegar, fresh cracked pepper. Eat cold on the go.

Afternoon: Always, always, an apple. I love apples and I can’t wait to start buying delicious organic apples from BC this summer. As well I pack a ‘power cookie’. I make dozens at a time and keep in the freezer and in a jar on the counter. That recipe another time.

Eat well, be well,

Nat





Lazy Saturday Lunch

29 05 2010

As Tony took what was left of the basement to the eco-dump (where all your old building material is separated into it’s applicable heaps) I finished up some work and made lunch for when he got home. I didn’t feel like cooking but felt like a warm and healthful bowl of something. In this case you look in the fridge, take stock and create. I figured I could make a veggie, chickpea dish with the Lemon Tahini dip/sauce (see earlier post on tahini) that is a staple around here.

I steamed a bunch of chopped carrots for 5 min, added broccoli florets to it in the last minute and drained the lot and added it all back to the pot. I added half a can of chickpeas, 2 big blobs of tahini, juice of a lemon, splash of apple cider vinegar, cracked pepper and pinch of salt and warmed it on the stove on medium. I added a bit of water to ensure it was saucy. I spooned it into a bowl and although I had no rice (and realized this would have been great with soaked wild rice, no cooking required, oh well, next time), I grabbed a handful of pita chips and put them on the side. Lunch is served. Filled our tummy’s and gave us energy to do more work around the house.

Eat well, be well,

Nat





More Sprouts

14 05 2010

Here is a great lunch that includes sprouts, so easy to throw on whatever you like. I had 1/2 cup of brown rice left over, warmed that up and placed into a bowl. I warmed up Lemon Tahini dip, mixed it with some chickpeas and added that to the rice bowl (can’t see them in the picture but they are under the veggies). Over the stove I steamed  carrots, broccoli and curly kale and added that to the bowl. Sliced up a few black olives and sprinkled the whole thing with sprouts (those are the Spring Salad Mix), sesame seeds and fresh ground pepper. You could give the bowl a squeeze of lemon if you’d like and Voila! Healthful lunch on the fly.

Eat well, Be well,

Nat