26 January, 2011

Crispy Wedge Potatoes

When I was in college as a desperate attempt to lose 10 lbs, I did what any normal college girl would do. No, I didn’t cut out alcohol or drive thru windows, I turned to Dr. Atkins. For those of you who don’t know  Dr. Atkins, he invented the quick weight loss solution of cutting out ALL carbohydrates. So for two weeks, I put my roommates through hell because when you deplete your body of ALL carbs you become CRAZY. The day my roommates came home and found me basically licking the peanut butter jar clean (well bc I couldn’t have bread or apples) they demanded I call it quits. As soon as I touched a piece of bread to my lips, I instantly gained back the 6 or so pounds I lost. True story.

Now that I am older and much wiser, I understand the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates and their place in the balanced diet. And so today I share with you my favorite thing to do with a potato. You can use this as a side dish with almost anything you are having (breakfast burritos, steak on the grill, veggie burgers) just don’t forget to also have a side of greens.

Any kind of potatoes will do in this recipe; however, I often use the waxy  potatoes (red, new, yellow) instead of the russet as in my experience you can get a better crisp on them.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Wash potatoes and cut into uniform wedges .Toss with olive oil and seasoning of choice. Spread them out on a greased cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to flip them over and stir them around. Roast for another 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. Simple.

.*Note: They will get crispier if you give them room to breath on the cookie sheet instead of piling them on top of each other.  You can also put them in the microwave for about 4 minutes to get rid of their moisture content before roasting.

19 January, 2011

BBQ Salmon (Shrimp): Sleeping on a bed of quinoa

I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post that I have appropriately dubbed a novel.  

Chapter One: One of my goals this year is to try experimenting with new ingredients. I am using this goal to make new ingredient friends without abandoning my "BFF" ingredients. And with that being said, I have never cooked salmon. Say what? It's so SIMPLE. Now I know some folks have already decided that they don't like the intense taste of salmon which I understand. For me that feeling comes and goes depending on how its cooked (or not cooked, I love it raw). I recently had it BBQ'd and yum!

Chapter Two: Since I don't like my BBQ sauce with a side of high fructose corn syrup I was motivated to make my own. Say what? Fear not, it was simple. If you still insist you don't like salmon after trying barbecued then by all means please use shrimp in this recipe instead.

BBQ Sauce- Makes 10+ oz
(way more than you need so cut the recipe or get creative)
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 oz tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup + honey

Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and cook for about 10 minutes then add garlic. Once garlic is fragrant, add tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire and soy. After liquids are combined, add chili powder, cumin, and red pepper. Next add mustard and honey. Simmer on low for about 20-30 minutes.
Sprinkle the salmon with salt and top with about 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce. Put the salmon under the broiler and check it at 10 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. It usually takes between 12-20 minutes and you don't want to overcook it or it will be dry. Serve the salmon on top of the quinoa (see chapter three) with a side of avocado.

Chapter Three: I want to talk about quinoa (pronounced ˈkiːnwɑː). You can do your quick research on wikipedia . This amazing grain like product has been dubbed a "super food" by NASA due to its high protein and amino acids. The possibilities with this little guy are endless. Use it in the place of rice or any other grain, add it to salads, make it into a salad, or use it as a comfy bed. I promise to post specific ideas soon. Now, don't expect the taste to knock your socks off. Quinoa is a blank canvas like rice or pasta and you will ultimately determine the taste (no pressure). I should also note that it comes in different varieties/colors and my choice for this dish was red. Quinoa is becoming more readily available but if you can't find it boxed or in bulk at your local grocer you can buy online here.

Cooking Quinoa:
Rinse quinoa. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes or hot water for 10 minutes (this step can be skipped if you are short on time). Put quinoa in a saucepan and cover with water (2:1 ratio). Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 20 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.

You, me and quinoa lived happily ever after. The END.

12 January, 2011

Resolution Chili

New Year's Resolutions; we all make them and break them.This year to avoid the feeling of failure that surfaces after week three+ we should set attainable goals for ourselves. Resolve to make healthy changes that become habits for a balanced lifestyle. And by balanced I do mean eating a light dinner followed by dessert and working out longer followed by a few beers. So try a vegetarian dish, experiment with a new ingredient, play hard enough to sweat daily and be nice to yourself, your body and others.

To help you get started with these reasonable resolutions I am suggesting  a warm and comforting bowl of vegetarian chili. My husband and I used this recipe from Whole Foods to get us started. The Whole Foods website has great recipes that can help you accomplish your goals of living a fit, happy and balanced life.
Happy New Year!
Serves 6-8
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper,chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped chipotles
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
4.5 cups beans (kidney, black and pinto)
8-10 oz corn

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, peppers and garlic and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Add chipotles, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt, tomatoes and 3 cups of water.  Gently simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Add beans and corn and simmer an additional 30 minutes.