Friday, March 28, 2014

Warming Up Your Salad Days

Salads make a great lunch.  For those who like the sexy feeling of a slender physique, salads are still supreme (when there is quality dressing in small amounts).  Cooling and full of vegetables, salads are a wholesome habit. The problem for many people, is their idea of what a salad is. 

Like any dish, it's all what you are exposed to that will bring an image into your mind.  So you maybe you think a bowl of boring lettuce, with a few raw bites on top is a salad.  That sounds like rabbit food to me too.  Some people think of a tiny stark plate with several stalks of asparagus and slivers of radish.  If you're having salad for main dish it can be a great big beautiful creation with lots of vegetables, a protein and even incorporate a grain.

If you are in Los Angeles right now, and it's 80 degrees and sunny, then salad with carrots, lettuce, tomato, avocado black beans and brown rice might sound pretty good.  If you are in Minnesota where more snow is expected despite spring showing up on the calendar, that might sound chilling.  So what can you do to mix things up and still get the lush benefits of a salad for lunch? (or dinner)

One solution is to leave the lettuce crunchy, but roast some of the heartier vegetables, like fennel and carrots.  Use a toaster oven with it's self timing switch and you can roast while doing other things and not worry about them.  Add a little fresh mint or thyme into the roasted vegetables when you toss with oil and a pinch of salt.  (400 degrees for 25 minutes in the toaster oven works great in a Pyrex dish.) Roasting is a warming cooking style and helps to balance the cooling ingredients like lettuce.

Another salad might be chopping green onions and carrots and mixing them into hot, just cooked quinoa.  Serve on a bed of greens and topped with fish, chicken or seitan.    Mix things up like spring does with some warm, some cool, and enjoy your salads by being playful with constantly changing the ingredients. 

You'll be so happy in your body when bikini season rolls around, and won't feel a bit of guilt when you want to indulge in some of your favorite treats.  These are your salad days...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Eat Like an Oscar Winner (gluten free, macrobiotic, vegan, vegetarian, recipe...)

And the gold goes to.....

A lovely Italian pancake called farinata or sometimes socca.  Typically it is made in a cast iron skillet on the stove or baked in the oven.  I actually found toaster oven sized cast iron at the cooking shop, but I stuck with using my Ikea Pyrex for this, and it worked perfectly.  It also made a lovely Oscar night dinner with savory baked tofu (from Trader Joe's), garlicky greens and zucchini, and dessert.  When you skim any foam off the chickpea batter, then you do not have to worry about flatulence later.  (and you can enjoy dessert which is always a draw for me.)  My pancake is square simply because of being baked in that pan but use round if it makes it more fun for you.

Toaster Oven Farinata for one:

1/2 Cup Garbanzo bean flour
1 Cup warm water
generous pinch of sea salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
generous pinch of chopped rosemary (Optional)

Whisk together the water and flour and leave on the counter for 2 hours or more.
Skim any foam off the top.
Whisk in the sea salt and oil and pour into oiled pan.
Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

(This also makes a nice pizza crust...)

For your Oscar winning body, let go of those old school foods that don't serve you, and make choices that do.