Food: BOTANICA

A  healthful restaurant & market in L.A.

Botanica’s Salsa Verde  Photo: Atelier Doré.

The restaurant uses this recipe to spoon over cooked Japanese sweet potatoes (purple skinned with white flesh kind).  But you can use the salsa for multiple uses; fish especially. Spoon generously over the potatoes or fish.  Garnish with cilantro. Yum!

Salsa Verde

Makes about 1½ cups

1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (tender stems are okay, too!)
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (ditto)
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup delicious olive oil
Sea salt

Place shallots and sherry vinegar in a medium jar, stir, and set aside to soak for 15 minutes. Drain the vinegar (we think this gives just the right amount of acidity) and reserve (in case you want to add it back in for more acidity), then add the rest of the ingredients to the jar and stir well. Add a nice pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Stir again and taste: You’re looking for a balance of acid, salinity, and herby freshness. If it tastes too harsh, add a few more splashes of olive oil. If you want it punchier, add a bit of the vinegar back in. It’ll keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks, but the chances of it lasting that long are slim!

LA is a veritable Eden, and the vegetables and fruits that we’re able to buy locally never fail to amaze us. What better way to eat than to celebrate what’s beneath our noses? If we can inspire someone to get excited about produce, or to shop at the farmers’ market — that feels influential.

Taken from Atelier Doré, an integrated creative studio + website @ http://www.atelierdore.com/

Self-care Sunday Scramble

Always scrambling for new healthy breakfast ideas, my gut feeling said that this would be an excellent choice.  Made with good-for-you *kimchi and leftover vegetables topped over wilted spinach it was!

photo/recipe – d. king

Story at-a-glance
*Kimchi is a fermented blend of cabbage, chili peppers, garlic, scallions, and other spices often eaten with every meal in Korea.  Rich in vitamins A and C due to its fermentation process, it is also rich in beneficial gut-boosting lactobacilli bacteria. Kimchi has potent antioxidative and immune-stimulating activities along with anti-obesity effects and more more.  Basically it is a super healthy additive or mid afternoon snack on its own.  

As it turns out I was not so imaginative using kimchi in a scramble as I thought because there is a ton of recipes out there.

How-to:

First wilt a handful of spinach in butter.  Set aside.

In same frypan stir in chopped red pepper, broccoli, green onion + parsley.  Then add some kimchi (amount depending on how much you like – it’s a required taste but I actually love it). I also added some freshly grated carrot (optional).

In another small bowl beat with a fork two free-range eggs.  When vegetables are tender, add the eggs and mix together. Top over spinach.

Notes: for sides instead of making homefried potatoes I steamed yams then mashed with a little (grass fed) butter, sliced avocado with sesame seeds and baked beans.

woodbrine3Do you like kimchi?

 

Food: Sustainable Sablefish in Asian Marinade

Sablefish in this marinade

is truly one of my all time favourite dishes.

With its rich and buttery flavour, Sablefish is considered a delicacy by chefs across the country.  This recipe takes barely no time to prepare, ready in minutes and then disappears almost instantly.

Sablefish has a high oil content which allows it to be cooked at high temperatures. It also makes this fish an ideal source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which many health experts suggest reduces the risk of heart disease.  AND the taste is unbeatable.

You can alter this made up recipe depending on how many people you’re serving.  This is for two:

In a small dish mix equal amounts (1 tsp. each) of sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, fresh grated ginger & sake (the alcohol burns off when cooking but you can omit this).  To the bowl add a little less amount of chili oil + yuzu hot sauce (a vinegar/citrus japanese sauce).  Mix together.  Pour over two equal size pieces of Sablefish and let sit in fridge for several hours.

When ready to *cook, pat the fish dry and bake in pyrex plate (350F) until done – about 10 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out easily. Top with sesame seeds (optional; I used “everything but the bagel” seasoning which also has sea salt, garlic + onion and gives fish an extra tasty crunch).  This one is available at Trader Joe’s.

With the added sesame seeds. Sides: buttered acorn squash, steamed local asparagus + vegetable casserole.

*This time I did not bake the fish.  I used my (almost untouched) George Foreman Grill on highest heat sprayed with a little coconut oil (and did not pat the fish too dry so it would not stick).  Left for a couple minutes, it was seared perfectly on both sides and came out intact and it tasted amazing.  Just in case you happen to have forgotten about the GFG, it can still work magic (and not just for grilled cheese sandwiches).

Sometimes we play with these things for a little while, put them away and then forget about them.  Now I’m re-imagining useful ways to use my older cookware like the grill, the slow cooker and clay pot.  It’s fun.

Photos + Recipe: d. king

 

 

Food: the versatile rice bowl

I’ve rekindled my love for rice bowls.  Not only nutritious & delicious but easy to make.

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

vegetarian coconut rice bowl

It’s a good way to use up all kinds of leftovers. Energize your meal with protein: chicken, salmon or steak. Substitute quinoa or noodles instead of rice as a base and play with a variety of different veggies and dressings to turn it Mexican, Indian, Asian+ for endless possibilities.

Let’s try unlikely combos.  Let’s eat things that are good.  Let’s eat things that make us feel good.

Vegetarian Coconut Rice Bowl Recipe

Yield: 4  bowls

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed
* 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
* 1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
* 2 limes
* 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
* 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
* 1/2 cup frozen edamame
* 2 scallions, finely sliced
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the rinsed rice in a rice cooker. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk to the cooker, and 1 1/4 cup water & cook.

When the rice is done, add the juice of half a lime along with 1/2 cup cilantro. Stir.

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they become tender and dark brown, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and bell pepper; season with salt and pepper and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger; sauté for about another minute.

Now add the remaining coconut milk, edamame, remaining cilantro, scallions & another good squeeze of lime juice. Let it simmer 3 minutes, or until the edamame warms through.

Serve over coconut rice garnished with more scallions and fresh lime wedges.

Here’s a growing fast food chain I really like:

Freshii is a (fairly new to Vancouver) fast food restaurant chain that specializes in healthy rice bowls, salads, juices and smoothies.  I recently stumbled upon it when I was hangry (that place when you’re really hungry, bordering on the verge of cranky anger) and enjoyed the *Oaxaca bowl very much.  I wondered why there were not more fast food places like it. The story behind it is interesting blending fashion & food.

Matthew Corrin is the founder & CEO of Freshii.  While working in New York City for fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Matthew was inspired by “mom-and-pop” delis with fresh food but lackluster branding & service. He sought to “add magic to the fresh food business” & brand the commodity of fresh food not unlike Starbucks branded the coffee bean. He’s a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Canada’s Top 40 under 40, Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 under 30, and Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals Restaurateur of the Year. In 2005, he founded Freshii.

Oaxaca Bowl

my Oaxaca Bowl

*brown rice & kale, avocado, beet slaw, black beans, corn, salsa fresca, crispy wontons, lime wedge, spicy yogurt sauce (1927 W. 4th in Kits).

Source for vegetarian recipe: bevcooks.com

Inspiring Cooks

Last night I was in a room full of intriguing people to celebrate a season of sharing, hope and inspiration at *Inspire Health’s inaugural gala. Everyone was there to support those living with Cancer.
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The perfect evening marked an important milestone with the launch of a gorgeous cookbook entitled “Inspired Cooking” featuring 21 of Canada’s finest chefs.  Four of the featured chefs were on hand to take everyone on an amazing culinary experience, as we sipped on some of the best wines BC has to offer from the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association.inspiregala2

While guests perused the desirable silent auction items during reception, servers  were floating around the room with the most delicious canapés from local Meinhardt (one of the sponsors).

There was live entertainment along with some moving testimonies of patients who have contributed their stories to the book, with the hopes that it will inspire change for others.

Each of the four courses were excellent in taste and presentation but my two standouts were:
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Entrée: Slow Cooked salmon, ginger scented sweet potato, black garlic, tomato and shitake dashi Chef Warren Barr, The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Tofino Paired with Church and State – Coyote Bowl Syrahinspiregala3

Dessert: (picture did not serve it justice) Frozen lemon, turmeric pudding with coconut cream and chia seeds *As featured in Inspired Cooking Baker Jackie Kai Ellis, Beaucoup Bakery & Café, Vancouver.  Paired with Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery – Dry Rock Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay

foodart2

Some of the live auction items were amazing.  Here’s a sample of something I wanted to bid on but unfortunately someone else beat me to it.

A weekend to Tofino in 5-star luxury Flights for two to spectacular Tofino compliments of Orca Air, with two nights at the Wickaninnish Inn in a deluxe suite, with fireplace, soaker tub and balcony offering a forested beach view looking out at the ocean. Then enjoy a 3-course dinner at the Point Restaurant, home of refined west coast cuisine, where Chef Warren Bar and his culinary team offer to you their most innovative creations.
inspiregala1

*Inspire Health was founded by two medical doctors in 1997 with the intention of providing person-centred care to support health and well-being for people living with cancer and their families.  They provide patients with knowledge, tools and services to support their overall health, during and after standard cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and medications.  All of their recommendations and programs are safely integrated with a person’s standard treatments.

They’re an amazing group of people. Each year they support a minimum of 3,000 new patients, conduct 2,000 classes and provide over 25,000 clinical visits.

The support of the evening will allow Inspire Health to continue to offer evidence-based, patient centered supportive cancer care.

They certainly inspire me to do better.  Plus I cannot wait to attempt some of the recipes (including nearly 60 whole food ones) found in the book.

Cooking is an art and patience a virtue... Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love. – Keith Floyd, ‘A Feast of Floyd’

Photos: d. king

food – a twist (no pun intended) on 2 Avocado classics.

Did you know? Even though the avocado has a  green hue and savory taste, it is technically considered a fruit,  and even more specifically, a single-seeded berry.  Well if not, now you do.

Photo: Andrew Purcell; Food Styling by Carrie Purcell

Photo: Andrew Purcell; Food Styling by Carrie Purcell

Guacamole is always an easy, delicious hit as a part of any party spread. Who doesn’t love it? This version gives the classic Mexican dip an Asian twist, and calls for savory sesame, soy sauce, and chili-garlic paste to give it a real punch.

1) Spicy Sesame Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 4 medium ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 limes) fresh lime juice
  • 4 green onions, coarsely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I recommend himalayan pink)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mash avocados and lime juice with a fork or potato masher to desired consistency, leaving some chunks. Stir in green onions, cilantro, chili garlic paste, soy sauce, and salt.
  2. Garnish with sesame seeds and extra green onions, and serve immediately with tortilla chips. To make ahead, place plastic wrap directly on top of guacamole and leave one of the seeds in the bowl to prevent browning, and refrigerate.  Of course toss the seed when serving.

Source: Country Living

 2) Apple and Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwich by chef Julie Yoon

timthumb

The tart Granny Smith apple kind of disappears into the background and adds just the right amount of sweetness, as well as a great texture and refreshing crunch.  Trust me, along with the creamy cool avocado, it just works.

HOW TO:

CUT & TWIST: cut into the avocado lengthwise, producing two long avocado halves that are still connected in the middle by the seed. Next you take hold of both halves and twist them in opposite directions until they naturally separate.

Do you have a simple & delicious avocado recipe you’d like to share?

Food – Thai Tofu-Quinoa Salad

This healthy low-calorie, high-protein dish is simply delish!tofu2It makes a great lunch but can easily suffice as a side salad for dinner (especially with salmon or chicken).  Serves 4.  It’s only 330 calories per serving.

Ingredients:

Extra-Firm Tofu

Quinoa

2 Carrots

Red Cabbage

Frozen Edamame

Green Onion

Cilantro

Sauce:

Lime juice (from ½ a lime)

Natural Peanut Butter

*Tamari  (or low-sodium soy sauce)

Honey

Grated Ginger

2 Garlic Cloves

Hot Chili Flakes

Sesame Seeds

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with oil.  Arrange half of a 350g package of extra-firm tofu (patted dry and cut into 3/4  in. cubes) on prepared sheet.  Bake in centre of oven until tofu is golden brown – about 20 minutes.  Transer to a rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Cook ¾ cup rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan according to package directions.  Scoop quinoa into large bowl to cool completely, about 30 minutes.  You can also make this in advance, like a day or two ahead.

Whisk 2 Tbsp. lime juice (half of a regular size lime) with 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter, 1 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. Tamari, 2 tsp. honey, 2 tsp. finely grated ginger, 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves and ½ – 1 tsp. hot red chili flakes in a small bowl.  Set aside.tofu1

Stir 2 coarsely grated carrots into cooled quinoa along with 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage, 1 cup thawed frozen edamame, 1 thinly sliced green onion, ½ cup chopped cilantro, 4 tsp. toasted sesame seeds and cooled tofu.  Drizzle with dressing, then toss to coat.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Do you know the difference between Tamari & Soy?

Even though both sauces are similar in color and flavor, there are actually a number of differences between the two. While both soy sauce and tamari are byproducts of fermented soybeans, the main difference between the two is the presence of wheat. Many recipes that call for soy sauce often include a note to substitute tamari in its place to make the recipe gluten-free.tofu3

  • Tamari:  Little to no wheat (always double-check if avoiding gluten)
  • Soy Sauce:  Includes wheat (not gluten-free)

    Other Differences – Soy sauce and its many forms are found widely throughout Asia, but tamari is specifically a Japanese form of soy sauce, traditionally made as a byproduct of miso paste. The differences in production give each sauce its own unique flavor. Tamari has a darker color and richer flavor than the common Chinese soy sauce you may be more familiar with. It also tastes more balanced and less salty than the sometimes harsh bite of soy sauce, which makes it great for dipping.

Instead of keeping one or the other in your cupboard, consider stocking up on both sauces and experimenting with them in dishes that call for soy.

 

 

 

 

simply satisfying – healthy two bite brownie delights  

I was looking for a guilt free brownie recipebrownies when one literally fell into my lap when I was sitting at a coffee shop.

Two women attending the CHFA (Canadian Health Food Association) walked by and handed me this recipe.  It sounded too healthy to be good…but it so happens to be not only healthy but easy to make (no baking involved) and tastes very yummy.  This formula makes for a tiny amount – one dozen two-bite (or one big mouthful) brownies that look more like large size truffles.  I would double the recipe next time.  They freeze well too.  Enjoy!

¾ cup walnuts

7 medjool dates, pitted

¼ cup cacao powder (I used unsweetened)

½ tsp. vanilla bean powder (I like Cook’s – there’s no preservatives)

Pinch of salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Garnish: ¼ cup *shredded coconut

Process walnuts until fine.  Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Form into small balls with your hands and toss or roll in shredded coconut.  *(I bought a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes from the market and just shredded them in the food processor.  The less sugar the better.

I put them into tiny muffin tins that hold 12 and popped them into the freezer for about 5 minutes so they weren’t too soft.

Don’t let the small size fool you.  They are somewhat satiating and you don’t want to eat too many at once.  Each one (although healthy for a sweet treat) is about 95 calories.

The RAW Foundation Culinary Arts Institute is Canada’s leading raw food culinary school, home of The Raw Food Education Experts TM; located in the heart of Vancouver BC, Canada. We are devoted to educating on the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, inspiring and empowering foodies, home & professional chefs, health enthusiasts & healthcare professionals around the world; to prepare delicious, raw meals with ease and successfully share this passion with others, growing profitable businesses, make a positive impact, transform lives, doing what they love.

http://rawfoodfoundation.org/

 

Simply Satisfying – Superfood Salad in Citrus Ginger Vinaigrette

This has become one of my favorite salads that is like a meal on it’s own.quinoa3

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)—a tiny little seed with an ancient history—packs a big nutritional punch: It’s high in protein and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties, which is likely why it sustained people in South America’s Andes mountains (where quinoa grows best) for so long. Quinoa has a mild, slightly vegetal flavor and cooks up fluffy, like couscous, but is still slightly crunchy.  In this recipe we mix it up with healthy greens, nuts and a bit of dried fruit for a fulfilling and nourishing salad that will make a perfect lunch.

Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa (see directions on package).  You can also use a mix of sprouted brown rice.

½ cup each of the following: chopped kale, broccoli, cabbage, grated carrot (optional).

Add to your liking about ¼ cup of roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, sundried tomatoes, chopped kalamata olives.

Preparation

1. Using fine-mesh sieve, rinse quinoa well (if the quinoa isn’t pre-rinsed). In small saucepan, combine quinoa with 1-3/4 cups water or chicken/veggie stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until quinoa is translucent and all of the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove pan from heat; with fork, fluff quinoa. Let cool slightly. Gently stir in cranberries.

3. Mix into a large bowl all ingredients together.

4. For the vinaigrette, whisk together orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice and ginger. In thin steady stream, gradually whisk in oil. Whisk in salt an pepper.

5. Gently toss salad with vinaigrette until well coated.  Top with shredded cheese of your choice.

  • Citrus Ginger Vinaigrette:
  • 1 tbsp  (15 mL)  grated orange zest
  • 2 tbsp  (30 mL)  fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp  (30 mL)  fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup  (60 mL)  extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch each course sea salt and pepper

Of course this vinaigrette is only a suggestion – one of many.  Lemon poppyseed and sesame ginger are also excellent. Adding blueberries is nice too, especially in summer.

you can add corn & rinsed black beans for another version

Add corn & canned, rinsed black beans for another version

Do you have a favorite Quinoa Salad Recipe you’d like to share?