Health, Hedonism & All the Delicious Things In Between
Category Archives: On the Job
Cold pasta salad tends to be the saddest and least exciting summer picnic side. For one thing, it’s usually one of the few dishes that doesn’t involve mayo. And if it does, well then, it just might be one of the only dishes in my book that shouldn’t. Regardless of this dismal red gingham pasta landscape, when I was growing up, my mom made a bomb cold pasta salad that used fresh tomatoes and basil, and just a little balsamic. It tasted bright and egregiously garlicky—a far cry from the usual deli aisle limp, tart fusilli with kidney beans and mysterious chopped meats.
Healthy cooking on a budget is hard if you don’t have the time to commit to it. So often I hear from my cooking class students that they buy all this produce, use part of it, and then leave the remaining half a head of broccoli to die a slow death in the fridge. The next time they cook, perhaps a week or two later, they’re less inclined to invest in fresh, healthy vegetables because they’re afraid, unlike those canned beans and bags of white rice, that it won’t last. As a self-proclaimed lazy cook, I’m all for cutting corners if it allows you to spend time at the stove instead of browsing Seamless Web. And luckily for all you busy folks, there’s a new wave of meal services that take the hassle out of planning and shopping for dinner. … Continue reading
When people think of healthy finger food, cheese and butter are not necessarily the first things that come to mind. But my philosophy is always to eat a lot of good with a little bad. Healthy food is always best when you can’t tell it’s healthy. After all, you don’t want to be responsible for the one finger food tray that no one wants to pounce on even after 5 glasses of eggnog. Last week I shared one of two healthy finger food recipes that I developed for President Cheese’s new site, these healthy stuffed mushrooms. The second recipe is a butternut version of my favorite squash toasts from Dan Kluger at ABC Kitchen. I serve mine on gluten-free bread and instead of slathering the bottom with ricotta, I top the squash mixture with a helping of gooey Président® Manchego … Continue reading
Perhaps it says something about my continued stubbornness when it comes to table manners, but finger food is my favorite type of food. I remember at family holiday parties my tendency to find the door that all the cater waiters come out of and post-up right outside of it. I’ve been known to embrace similar tactics in adulthood, especially at weddings, when come cocktail hour I’m hangry enough to pounce headfirst into a tray of crab cakes. But now that I’m gluten-free and try to eat a more balanced diet, there are fewer trays that I’m able to attack. Last holiday season, I found this to be an incredibly depressing reality of my new finger food loving existence. But it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as you’re the one designing what goes out that swinging kitchen door.
I realize that I’ve spent a good chunk of my time here this past year attempting to quinoa-fy things. It’s honest, important work. Especially if the fruits of your labor include quinoa fried rice and tabouli. But I can’t say that it’s always particularly challenging. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or Nathan Myhrvold) to swap out cooked rice or bulgar wheat for one of their healthier, gluten-free grain friends. So when I got back to New York this fall, I wanted to really experiment—to push my quinoafication to the next level. I wanted to make something crazy. Something like quinoa paella. I’ve been dabbling in paella preparations since my early days in the kitchen. You can see the proof by way of a scallop and chorizo paella in my cookbook. The technique is fairly simple: you sauté rice in … Continue reading
It’s sometimes a surprise to me what recipes take off, and which ones fade into the obscurity of my archives. This gluten-free healthy sesame chicken recipe was the food blog equivalent of a blockbuster success. People are still making it in droves and commenting on how it turned out (yay!). But I can’t say that I consider it to be my most creative comfort food adaptation. Sometimes simplicity wins out and you just have to give the people what they want. Other times, I say f*%k that and cook what I feel like cooking, which often includes putting weird things like Swiss Chard and hemp seeds in a shrimp stir fry recipe. For the final dish I developed for Vitamin Shoppe, I decided to do another riff on that ever popular sesame chicken dish. Instead of chicken, I used shrimp … Continue reading
One of my favorite dishes to teach is this marinated kale avocado salad. Sure, by now most New Yorkers are such fanatics they’ve probably converted their shampoo, face cream, and bed sheets to products with some derivative of kale. But I’m always surprised by how few people know how to easily remove the stems and cut the leaves to get the thin, beautiful ribbons, they’re used to seeing in the restaurant kale salads of their dreams. It’s for this reason that I decided to develop a kale avocado salad for my Vitamin Shoppe pantry to plate class. To give the recipe a new flavor from my past kale efforts, I used coconut oil, toasted coconut, and liquid aminos for a slight Asian vibe. One of my favorite new healthy local spots is Nourish Kitchen + Table. Their detox kale salad … Continue reading
Earlier this summer, I began working on a project with the Vitamin Shoppe to find easy ways to incorporate some of their healthy pantry products into everyday recipes. It was my first time working with some of these items, including the specialty ingredient in this mango lassi recipe: aloe juice. I have vague memories of seeing bottles of aloe water in my mom’s fridge growing up, so I was not surprised to find out that it primarily benefits your digestive health. Alone in the glass, it’s pungent and intense. But diluted with some water, you get that great aloe fragrance on the tongue and your every day agua becomes all the more refreshing. It’s probably a good thing that the taste is so concentrated, because a little goes a long way with this stuff and you don’t want to overdue … Continue reading