Monthly Archives: January 2013

Yummy + Healthy + Easy Recipes from Foodie Cleanse 2013

I love trying new recipes, but half of them don’t make it into my binder of standbys. They must pass three tests: 1) Be outrageously good; 2) Be very to fairly easy; 3) Not result in me having to clean every dish I own.

This was the second year that I have done Bon Appetit Magazine’s Foodie Cleanse. It’s fun, it resets me after the holidays and it pushes me to try dishes that I wouldn’t otherwise make. Last year, just seven recipes made the cut. Many others were unduly complicated and had ingredients that I struggled to find, even here in Los Angeles!!! Crossroads of the world!

This year, they kept it simpler and I certainly appreciated that. Here are all the recipes and foods that I’ll definitely continue munching on through 2013:

This was the pair of recipes that really knocked my socks off – and they’re vegetarian!

Cod + Greens: It seems that you can season cod any old way and pair it with bok choy or chard or collard greens and you simply can’t go wrong. Plus cod makes the very short list of recommended/approved seafoods on the Seafood Watch list! Download their free app or order the pocket guide.

Smoked paprika: A spice that packs a wallop. I got it for one recipe, then started sprinkling it on my deviled eggs.

Black rice It is exactly what it says it is. It’s easy and a good trick to have up your sleeve for a dinner party. I easily found a bag at Ranch 99.

Clams – Clams are really easy!

Sake steamed clams – Totally different flavors that my typical cooking. Served w/ Bok Choy w/Chili-Black Bean paste – Wow, does that stuff pack a wallop! If you don’t like spicy, don’t use this sauce. Very tasty.

Salmon + Lentils – A classic combo for a reason

Confetti lentils – I did all the veggies in the food processor and made this using Trader Joe’s cooked lentils and it was a snap.

Squash – The tomato and squash soup was pretty good, but ultimately I like both separately so you can fully enjoy the tomato or fully enjoy the squash. However, I did like the cooking method used – putting a few cloves of garlic under the squash half, then baking it. Smelled and tasted delicious!

Salad + Fruit + Nuts + Goat Cheese – You can’t go wrong. So delicious, so fancy looking.

Radicchio and Persimmon Salad with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese – Looks super fancy!

Toss 4 cups radicchio and 1 Fuyu persimmon (the flat variety), peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks, with 1½ Tbsp. Sherry Vinaigrette. Top with ½ oz. crumbled goat cheese and 2 Tbsp. toasted hazelnuts. You can substitute arugula, spinach, or a good dark salad mix for the radicchio, and use walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds in place of the hazelnuts.

Curry – This was already a standby for me, as it should be for every working mom in America. A can of coconut milk, a dollop of curry paste and any mix of veggies or meats. You can’t go wrong!! I often put in potatoes, but had never tried sweet potatoes…not bad.

To take to the office

Smoked salmon on rye crisps with avocado – The avocado actually tastes better than cream cheese…go figure.

Winter Citrus Salad – I eviscerated a grapefruit and mixed the chunks with halves of orange slices. A great mid-morning snack.

And a bonus recipe: Ahi or cod or halibut with Bok Choy (Serves 2)

The back story: I accidentally bought ahi tuna instead of cod. I love seared ahi, but my boyfriend does not, so I had to devise a way to prepare this. I found this recipe, which happened to have a very simple, but very delicious sauce that I plan to use for years to come. I also had a recipe that I had been meaning to try for a while – Miso-glazed halibut. I did the two different meals and this is the best of both:

Ingredients

  • Enough fish for two people – fillets, medium thickness
  • 1 lb. of baby bok choy – the smallest you can find (then you don’t have to cut it up)
  • 1 bunch of green onions (scallions)
  • Fresh ginger – piece the size of your hand
  • Garlic
  • 1 lime
  • White miso (you can get this anywhere, even Safeway, just ask – it’s usually near the refrigerator with the tofu)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce

Miso Glaze – Whisk together.

  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoon bottled or fresh minced ginger

Spread the glaze over the fish, both sides. Then put the fish on tin foil and broil in the oven for 7-8 minutes. Keep an eye on it and flip it when you think you should – when its just turning brown around the edges.

Bok Choy

Mix together:

  • 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (or 2 teaspoons of wheat-free tamari for gluten-free option)
  • 1 Tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

Cut up 5 green onions, split the white part and the green part. Use a pot with a lid. Bring 1/4 c. of water to a boil, toss in the bok choy, turn down the heat to medium, cover and steam for 3 minutes. After that, take the lid off, toss in the white part of the green onions and keep cooking for a few more minutes, until all the water boils off. Add the sauce and serve immediately with the fish on top and rice on the side. Garnish with sesame seeds and the green part of the green onions.

And if you are interested in food and nutrition, I’ll just put in a plug here for all Michael Pollan books, starting with “Food Rules.”

Food Rules: An Eater's ManualFood Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Both elegant and useful in its simplicity. I’ve read reams of books and articles on nutrition over the years and it sometimes feels like the more you know, the more confused you get. This small guide takes us directly to the heart of eating well: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I would absolutely put this in my friend’s X-mas stockings.

View all my reviews

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Sometimes the book isn’t better: Game of Thrones, I’m talking to you

Have you read “Game of Thrones”? Don’t bother. Unless you like reading screenplays. The book is so clearly written to have been picked up for production that as I read it, I often thought to myself – “Wow, this would be great with some striking visuals and an epic score to sweep me away on a wave of emotion.”

Let’s do a little compare and contrast. Here’s how the scene reads where Daenerys jumps into a fire, then emerges unscathed surrounded by baby dragons.

Book vs. Movie

“When the fired died at last and the ground became cool enough to walk upon, Ser Jorah Mormont found her amidst the ashes, surrounded by blackened logs and bits of glowing ember and the burnt bones of man and woman and stallion. She was naked, covered with soot, her clothes turned to ash, her beautiful hair all crisped way…yet she was unhurt…As Daenerys Targaryen rose to her feet, her black hissed, pale smoke venting from its mouth and nostrils. The other two pulled away from her breasts and added their voices to the call, translucent wings stirring unfolding and stirring the air, and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons.”

Click through to see the video – apparently not appropriate for all audiences due to female nudity…

See what I mean? Even though the book came first, it feels like something you’d pick up at the airport gift shop that says “The new book based on the hit movie!” rather than the other way around.

I don’t have a problem with that – but I’m not going to read any more. I’ll just see the TV show, thank you very much. I just hope the nudity is limited to the most attractive male characters.

In contrast, I recently saw the movie “Cloud Atlas,” which joins the elite club of movies that are as good as the books they are based upon, which to date only includes “The English Patient,” “Adaptation,” and perhaps “Harry Potter,” though that’s a longer conversation.

Among the literati, it has long been taken as eternal truth that “the book is always better.” That is no longer true. More so, that’s a pointless conversation to have. It is possible for the same story to make an excellent book, an excellent movie – heck, I would love to see the same story also become a graphic novel, an immersive online game, a radio play…whatever. Take full advantage of whatever format in which you’re working. All I care about is whether it’s a good story well told.

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A Cleanse for People Who Hate Cleanses

I am very, very anti-cleanse. I know – that’s practically un-American. When people gush to me about their amazing, soul-cleansing juice cleanse or bizarre cabbage soup colonics, I just bite my tongue. I love to eat and I ascribe to the Michael Pollan approach to diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” so I consider cleanses to be just another form of extreme, whacked out eating.

That is, until I spotted Bon Appetit’s “Foodie Cleanse.” The rules were not unreasonable (avoid dairy, caffeine, alcohol and sugar) and the food looked…like food. Rather than a strict regimen, it looked like a food adventure – a chance to reset myself after the holidays and try some recipes I’d never otherwise do.

Mmmm…Day 1.

I was not let down. Some of the recipes had ingredients that seemed impossible to track down within 10 miles of my house, which says a lot considering I live in the heart of LA. Some were needlessly complicated and time-consuming. But many were amazing and the whole endeavor was quite fun.

The only part missing was the social aspect so this year, I’m going full bore – following the recipes (for the most part) and writing about it each day whether just a few comments on the Bon Appetit page, posting some pics to my Facebook and doing a wrap-up right here. Join me!

Recipes from Foodie Cleanse 2011

Here’s the dishes from the cleanse I did last year that I would make again.

Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

A great alternative when you’re getting bored of oatmeal – 101 Cookbooks is a fantastic blog.

Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce  with Black-Eyed Pea Curry

WOW. Enough said.

Edamame Hummus

Different, but tasty.

Crudités

I need to remember to cut up veggies at the start of each week and put them in containers ready to go. Something about calling them “crudites” just makes them that much tastier and makes me that much classier.

Rye crisp crackers

SO good! A bit elusive, but definitely make my Top 10 list since they are tasty, healthy and don’t go stale very quickly.

Tuscan Kale Chips

Can’t believe this actually worked. Definitely not transportable, but definitely yummy.

Smoked salmon

This is on the approved list? My new favorite lunch.

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January 1, 2013 · 6:03 pm