Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Chinese Broccoli {Gai Lan} with Oyster Sauce

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

We went CRAY.

Four days with the Fam Bam celebrating Tết, my adorable niece Kaelani’s first trip to Southern Cali, and our monthly Sunday Family Dinner.

Yup…it was crazy and also delicious.

But really, that’s how my family (both immediate and HUGE extended) have always celebrated with each other. Through the process of cooking, eating and sharing our specialty dishes – we reminisce on old memories, loved ones who are no longer with us and just laugh…A LOT.

And since I indulged a bit much during the festivities, it’s time to add a bit more greens and light proteins back into the daily regiment. Gai Lan with Oyster Sauce is a quick and satisfying way to get those dark greens in and can be done in just a few minutes. Gai Lan is also known as Chinese Broccoli and incidentally, is eaten during the Lunar New Year for luck.

And although it has nothing to do with gai lan, you better believe I had to include pics of our little Kaelani Simone. WE’RE SMITTEN!  ❤

Kaelani

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Chinese Broccoli {Gai Lan} with Oyster Sauce
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon minced ginger
1 pound Chinese broccoli, washed and trimmed
½ cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 15 seconds. Add in the broccoli and cook for 1 minute before pouring in the vegetable stock. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Transfer the broccoli to a plate.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the liquids from the wok with the oyster sauce, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Drizzle the sauce over the broccoli and serve warm.

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Poultry · Salads · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Cobb Salad – Taste the Rainbow

Cobb Salad

I made a Rainbow.

Well….a huge salad that looked like a Rainbow.

Cobb Salad

And the thing is….I wasn’t intending to write about it but after I assembled everything, I said to myself:

“Damn. That is a good-looking bowl o’ goodness.”

Cobb Salad

So here it is.

My Cobb Salad.

Nothing crazy, nothing shocking but darn delicious. And like all great Foodies and Nutritionists will tell ya –each meal should cover the Rainbow.

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Cobb Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Salad
5 cups roughly chopped Romaine lettuce
1 cup arugula leaves
1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1 small avocado, diced
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (I like to use orange and yellow peppers)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup diced grilled chicken
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 crispy bacon strips, roughly chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients of the vinaigrette. Taste and add more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. (I also like to add the ingredients into a mason jar and shake it up–it’s a wonderful alternative to emulsify the vinaigrette but it serves as the perfect storage vessel for the remaining dressing.)

In a large bowl, add the Romaine lettuce and arugula. Add enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. Toss to evenly cover and plate between two bowls.

Divide the remaining ingredients between the two bowls. Serve additional vinaigrette alongside each bowl. Enjoy!

Vegetables/Vegetarian

Spring Risotto – Spring has Sprung!

Spring Risotto

Spring has sprung–and boy do I have a plateful of deliciousness that screams of spring flavors.

Creamy, cheesy risotto with leeks, peas and asparagus. The whole plate is then showered with parmesan and bright lemon zest.

Mega drools….

Spring Risotto

You could really throw whatever fresh veggies that your local market or farmers’ stands may have available. Zucchinis, mushrooms, chard and spinach would be rad options. As for cooking liquids, I opted to use some white wine and chicken stock in the risotto but if you want to go with a purely vegetarian route, a well flavored vegetable stock would also work well.

Spring Risotto

Have a delectable weekend, Folks!

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Spring Risotto
Serves approximately 4

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks, thoroughly washed and dried
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more to garnish
1 cup peas
1 cup blanched asparagus tips
kosher salt
black pepper
fresh lemon zest

Heat the chicken stock in a medum saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until softened and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme leaves, rice and stir quickly until the rice is well coated and opaque—about 1 minute.  Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid is nearly all evaporated.

Ladle in 1 cup of the chicken broth into the rice. Simmer and slowly stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to simmer and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy–approximately 25 minutes in total.

Stir in Parmesan cheese until the cheese has melted. Gently fold in the peas and asparagus tips. Check for seasonings and adjust with the kosher salt and pepper.

Spoon the risotto into dishes. Grate additional parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle fresh lemon zest over each dish. Serve immediately.

 

Vegetables/Vegetarian

Quick & Easy Vegetable Quinoa Wraps

Vegetable Quinoa Wraps

These past few weeks have been B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I’ve barely had the chance to catch my breath, let alone spend any quality time cooking. So when I do find a few moments when I can whip something together, I rely on quick dishes that are still yummy but don’t require a lot of effort–and especially those that don’t make too many dirty dishes!

These Vegetable Quinoa Wraps totally fit that bill!

Vegetable Quinoa Wraps

What’s great about a dish like this is that anything goes! You can throw whatever you have on hand in these wraps–veggies, proteins, starches, herbs…whatever tickles your fancy. I like to use quinoa as a base because it is high in protein and packed with fiber. It’s fluffy and pairs well with the crunchy raw veggies.

And you know what? All of this goodness can be done in about 25 minutes! You can maximize your time by chopping the veggies while the quinoa cooks so when it’s done, it’s just a matter of assembly. Plus, the wraps are great in sack lunches or picnics since they are served at room temperature.

Delish? CHECK!

Quick? CHECK!

Minimal mess? ABSOLUTELY!

I’m totally into it.

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Vegetable Quinoa Wraps
Makes 8 wraps

Ingredients:

1 cup dry quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup diced shallots
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cups vegetable stock
½ cup roasted corn
1 small red bell pepper, diced
½ cup edamame beans
¼ cup finely diced red onion
½ cup diced and seeded tomatoes
½ chopped fresh cilantro leaves
kosher salt and black pepper
8 large tortillas
salsa
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (optional)

Using a fine mesh strainer, thoroughly rinse the quinoa under cool water. Gently shake the strainer so that the quinoa is drained.

In a medium size pot, heat the olive oil and cook the shallots until softened and translucent. Add in the garlic, jalapeno, thyme, red chili flakes and quinoa. Stir and cook for 1 minute before pouring in the vegetable stock. Turn up the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the contents to simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the liquids have all absorbed. Remove the pot from the stove and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the cover and use a fork to fluff the quinoa.

Add the corn, edamame, bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes and cilantro to the pot. Gently fold the ingredients together and season with kosher salt and pepper as needed.

Begin assembling the wraps. Lay one tortilla on a flat surface. Spoon 1/8 of the quinoa mixture in an even line in the middle of the tortilla. Top with a few spoonfuls of salsa and cheese. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and firmly roll up the wrap. Repeat with the remainder of the tortillas and filling. Enjoy!

Salads · Side Dish · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

I’ve received a bunch of recipe inquiries about the salad we gobbled up during our last Family Dinner.

And I can’t blame ya because it was DEE-LISH!

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

My niece and seester prepared the dish using Ina Garten’s recipe for a Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad and it was a WINNER! It packed a huge punch of flavor from the abundance of herbs, feta cheese and citrus. It was extremely bright and would be a fab dish to enjoy on a warm day with a glass of pinot grigio and chunk of freshly baked bread. MMMMM!

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

We didn’t have fresh basil on hand and ended up omitting it. Truth be told, I didn’t really miss it—but I’m sure it would be wonderful with it.

Oh that Ina…..she knocks it out of the park—AGAIN! Think she needs a new bestie in the form of a quirky Vietnamese gal?

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Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients:

10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and 1/2-inch-diced
1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and 1/2-inch-diced
1 can or jar (12 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
8 ounces good feta cheese
Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion.

Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently.

Recipe from Ina Garten

Drinks

Green Smoothies & Eggs-ellent News

Green Smoothies

Well Friends, with all of the festivities and celebrations from the holidays it’s high time for me to return to my regular workout schedule and pump up the less indulgent meals. Sometimes that can be easier said than done but I find that instead of trying to completely overhaul one’s diet, you can take small steps towards healthier eating.

You may recall my obsession with juicing. It really is delicious and is a great way to supplement your veggies intake. But often times the challenge with juicing is that you need a large bulk of produce to get a small glass of goodness. That can be kind of pricey this time of year so instead of my Green Juices I switch over to Green Smoothies. I’m still able to use spinach which is quite cost effective in my area year round and add frozen berries, Greek Yogurt and other goodies. I love making these quick Green Smoothies for breakfast or prior to a run.

And now I’m happy to share my EGGS-ellent news….


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Beginning this month I’ll be blogging for our friends over at Safest Choice® Eggs!

Safest Choice® Eggs are all natural and are pasteurized “in-shell” through a water bath method. Since this process helps to eliminate the risk of Salmonella, I use them in my recipes where eggs are purposely undercooked or raw. And the great news for my fellow Southern California peeps is that Safest Choice® Eggs are now carried in Albertsons stores.

So keep an eye out as I’ll be contributing monthly eggs-ellent recipes and posts over at Safest Choice® Eggs!

And with that Friends, Eat well!

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Green Smoothies
Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 cups spinach leaves
1 cup frozen berries
1 ripe banana
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup crushed ice
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Add all ingredients to a blender. Pulse several times to break down the frozen berries and continue blending until smooth.