Posts tagged healthy
Monday, April 20, 2009

cabbage with hot sauce

spicy cabbage

I feel like spring is toying with my emotions. It’s playing tricks on me giving me sunshine and warmth for a few days, and then turning cold and wet. We’re not having a fine romance I imagined it to be this year – and I feel led on by the season. I keep saying it’s my favorite season, but I’m beginning to question why? It’s never quite as warm as I remember it – perhaps my memory paints past events in better light.

To all of you who wrote lovely comments to me in my last entry and those of you who reached out personally – thank you. I’m so grateful for your thoughts and wishes and so moved by them. I’m hoping for the best – and time will tell.

spicy cabbage

With everything that’s been swirling around me recently, I’ve been a bit lackluster in the kitchen. Just not the same energy after a long day of work and a challenging run in the park. I get home with barely enough time to repack my gym bag, make a few calls and read a few pages. I’m still waiting on some news and it makes following most directions a bit of a challenge. With such lazy approach to cooking as of late, my kitchen has seen quite a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches pass through. I cannot think of a better make-shift meal that comes together in mere seconds, nourishes, fills, and delights. Yes, delights. In fact, I’m pretty much okay having peanut butter sandwiches just about every day. I’m a bit of a peanut butter fanatic, if you must know.

spicy cabbage

Strangely, however, a food blog where I regale you with tales of my peanut butter consumption doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as a food blog where you see various dishes across your screen. The latter seems more appealing and this is where I need to pick up slack. Despite my resistance to pick up a knife and turn on the stove, not all dishes come with pages of instructions and some cook themselves in mere minute resulting in glorious, comforting and wholesome meals. Like this spicy cabbage. Like peanut butter, I’m afraid I could eat this every day (and have eaten it for many days now).

Ever since attending Molly’s wonderful reading of her beautiful book “A Homemade Life”, I’ve been kind of obsessed with this cabbage. She mentioned it during Q&A and I couldn’t get it out of my head. When I made it, I was floored with how easy and delicious it was. I made more the next night. And the next. And… you get the idea. In fact, as I write this, a gourmet dinner a few hours away, I kind of want to just ditch dinner, go home and make a heaping bowl if this, plop a fried egg on top and eat it with a thick slice of crusty bread. Oh and while I’m being so hedonistic, I’d pour myself a glass of red wine and away we go! And since it’s raining and cold outside, this is the perfect meal for a night like this one. If I am feeling particularly decadent, I would even put some Sasha Dobson on to complete the experience. But, sigh, dinner out awaits me (I should be ashamed to even complain!) and so the cabbage must until tomorrow to be made again.

Continue reading cabbage with hot sauce.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

chestnut-apple soup

chestnut apple soup

While winter is quickly receding and signs of spring are beginning to emerge (or so I hope), I still want you to go and make this soup. As soon as possible. Tonight even perhaps. I’m sure you had a nice dinner planned, but it’ll have to wait – this soup is worth it. I promise you, you’ll thank me later. After you lick the bowl clean.

chestnut apple soup

To say I build my entire dinner around it on Oscar night, would be an understatement. This soup alone made me want to throw a smallish dinner party for a few close friends and since I couldn’t invite people over just to serve them soup and call it a day, I had to come up with the rest of the menu. But this is the soup that started it all. Oh, and we ate this for dessert. It’s a tough existence, I know.

chestnut apple soup

Some people are huge fans of sweeter soups and if you are, you will love this. But I know those who like their soups savory, won’t be able to resist the earthiness of the chestnut perfectly complemented by the apple. A few thyme leaves add some color and contrast to the flavors. The soup comes together in little time and with a few whirrs of a hand blender, you are left with a smooth, velvety texture that sparkles on your palate with a dollop of crème fraîche. If you want to keep this soup vegan, you can omit the dairy.

chestnut apple soup

For nights when you have to entertain and come away looking like a fancy-pants chef, this soup is a must. Of course, you’ll be secretly pleased that instead of slaving for hours in the kitchen you spent a mere half an hour putting this together. Let this be our little secret then.

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Continue reading chestnut-apple soup.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

curried carrot ginger soup with pepitas, cilantro oil and a homemade spicy marshmallow

curried carrot ginger soup

One of the best things about eating at a great restaurant is that in addition to eating a well-prepared meal, you sort of become inspired. You go home with the flavors still lingering on your palate and you wonder for days on end how to recreated it in your kitchen. There’s the kabocha squash with leek ravioli with my name on it brewing in the depths of my mind. And I will make it before the season is out, mark my words. Not a day goes by that I haven’t thought about those ravioli with the fried ricotta and pine nuts in brown butter. [At this point, I slide of my office chair and fall to the floor. THUD.]

So where were we? Oh that’s right restaurants, inspiration, recreating the food at home. Of course. Let’s get back to the matter at hand, shall we?

curried carrot ginger soup

A few weeks ago a friend of mine and I went to check out this relatively new, well-reviewed restaurant in the East Village/Nolita area, whose focus was on Colonial influenced food. While our meal was nothing short of excellent, the highlight of the meal was this cardamom carrot soup we ordered as an appetizer. The carrot soup arrived, garnished with toasted pepitas (swoon), drizzled with cilantro oil (double swoon) and (takes deep breath) topped with a homemade chili marshmallow a little oozy and melty around its perimeter. [THUD] That’s me falling out of my chair again.

curried carrot ginger soup

Ok, so. The soup. By now, most of you reading this site, know that I possess a love for soup that runs so deep you’d be hard-pressed to find a comparison for it. I know soup is a little bit grandmotherly, like strained peas or oatmeal, but I love it unabashedly. Soup is warmth. Soup is comfort. Soup is a glorious thing that you spoon and taste and feel like you’ve a warm blanket on your lap. And since I so over winter at this point, soup makes me feel one day closer to spring.

curried carrot ginger soup

What can I say to you about this soup? Well, you must know I love it because I recreated it at home mere weeks after trying it at a restaurant. But I also added a few things – gave it a little bit more mystery and caché if you will, but adding ginger, orange juice and curry. The original soup was heavily focused on cardamom, which I loved, but I wanted a little more depth. I wanted cardamom and that secondary aftertaste you feel with a slight curry flavor. I liked it even better than the original soup and will definitely make it again before the season is out – it is unbelievably comforting and is a cinch to make. You can puree it in a blender, but I must tell you that my new immersion blender is a thing of beauty. That little gadget is SO powerful and easy to use, that you’d want to get this if only because you will be looking at fewer pots to clean afterwards. A sink that has fewer dirty dishes – to me, that’s the ultimate inspiration!

Continue reading curried carrot ginger soup with pepitas, cilantro oil and a homemade spicy marshmallow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

roasted cauliflower with indian spices and yogurt dressing

roasted cauliflower with indian spices and yogurt dip

Sometimes, I operate under the delusion that I have excellent time management skills, that I can multi-task and that no goal is unattainable. Take this roasted cauliflower, for example. I wanted to share it with you before I left for my vacation to L.A., but I got a bit distracted and failed to do much of anything. And then I thought I might even write about this while on my vacation, but who was I kidding? Not that I didn’t have an opportunity – L.A. was rainy for the 4 out of the 6 days. So much for their eternal sunshine.

Continue reading roasted cauliflower with indian spices and yogurt dressing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

tofu stir-fry with spinach and okra

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

It pains me to say this – but the cookies must take a break for a bit. My pants have told me this as well as the fact that I went through a total of twenty pounds of butter making treats for work. Twenty. Pounds. Of. Butter. And there are still butter reserves in my freezer, it’s like a mini-China in there. I promised the butter I would not abandon it forever, but a breather is much needed after the month of decadent and sweet treats.

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

In addition to me swearing off cookies for awhile (let’s see how long that lasts), I also signed up for a half marathon in a few months to keep myself honest and motivated. While it’s both exciting and intimidating, I know it’s very achievable if I stick to a training routine with some discipline.

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

I first made this stir-fry a few days ago as I was trying to save wilting spinach and sad-looking okra and was attempting my hand at something moderately healthy – and it was delicious. I threw in some ginger and spices for an added kick and served the vegetables over some brown rice. I know that not everyone likes okra – and it is a tough vegetable to love. A little slimy, without much flavor, okra is like an ugly step-child of the vegetable family. But it readily absorbs other flavors and envelops the dish in softness, which to me tastes comforting – perfect for a winter meal.

tofu, spinach and okra stirfry

And if tofu is not your thing, throw in some chicken instead, or other vegetables you might like. It’s a stir-fry so really – just about anything goes. Except for, maybe, cookies?

Continue reading tofu stir-fry with spinach and okra.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

sauteed brussels sprouts

Well, it’s the night before Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what happened between October 31 and today, but whoo-boy did it go fast. I look back and all that I can clearly remember is working a lot, getting’ down at a couple of bar mitzvahs (I vaguely recall something about tequila shots) all this peppered with infrequent gym visits and some hours, not nearly enough to my liking, spent in the kitchen under the glowing artificial light. I’ve been talking to my lens a lot too – I’m trying to make it do things it’s simply not designed to, and alas, this awesome, great lens will someday be mine, but for its hefty price tag, not just yet. And a good flash would be a great thing too, but also in due time.

For a Russian expat, I took to Thanksgiving like a fish in water. Our first year in America, I made my mother have a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner. We cooked our turkey, but unfortunately, in our ignorance and poverty, we used only a pop-up timer cooking a free turkey that my Dad received from his employer. Needless to say, the turkey (being free and pumped with hormones and whatever, in addition to the timer that guarantees your turkey will be dry) tasted like pressed wood chips and we decided that Americans were silly for having to consume this crap year in and year out. And yet, we persisted in cooking the turkey each November, never quite getting the desired results until I found that magic recipe – that silver bullet. Oh, I’ll be writing up about that too.

DSC_0015-1

For various reasons, the holiday has been a favorite of mine, not the least of which is because my favorite foods are served at the dinner table. But really, a holiday that has nothing to do with shopping, or presents, or the ever-growing consumerism – a holiday that focuses on togetherness and gratitude, what’s not to love? For years now, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving dinners for friends, first in college, and then later in New York. Each year the party would grow larger and larger until last year, when it all culminated with a thirty-one person feast! And this year? Well, work got the best of me. I’m sad to report, that I am one tired radish. And so I didn’t want to make plans, or commit, or host or do anything. I wanted to play it by ear and a few days ago KS and I decided to have a Thanksgiving for two. Just us, the turkey and a few other favorite dishes of ours. We’re very excited and we can’t wait to make all that delicious food. In fact, the cranberry sauce is already hanging out in the fridge, waiting to meet its turkey.

I hope you all have a wonderful, delicious and comforting holiday. I wish you all moist, juicy turkeys, flavorful stuffings, oozing, delicious pies. Below is one of my favorite recipes for Brussels sprouts, which I’ll be cooking up tomorrow, albeit in a different form, but this dish, which can be prepared minutes before you sit down to dinner, makes for a delicious side. Happy Thanksgiving!

Continue reading sauteed brussels sprouts.