Thursday, December 2, 2010

Now that's a Miso Soup!


This is one of my most favorite soups. I love to make a big pot of this on a Monday night and eat it throughout the week. It's a healthy yet a HEARTY soup with shiitake  mushrooms, baby bok choy, tofu and shirataki noodles - made from a blend of tofu and Konjac flour, which comes from the roots of the yam-like Konjac plant grown in Japan and China. Feel free to add other favorite veggies such as kale or spinach.

NOW THAT'S A MISO SOUP!
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
1/3 cup of scallions sliced thin (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
8 cups of water
2 cups of dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup of light miso paste
1 to 2 bundles of baby bok choy
1 package of Shirataki Noodles
1 12 oz package of tofu cut into 1/2  - 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add all of the white parts of the scallions and most of the green, reserving a few tablespoons of the green for garnishing. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Right when the pot is about to boil, bring heat down to medium low. Add the miso paste and stir it in well so there are no clumps. Add the shiitake mushrooms while stirring occasionally, letting them soften and expand (about 30 minutes). Peel off the leafs of the baby bok choy and add to the pot (1 to 2 bundles depending on how much you want). Drain and rinse the shirataki noodles, then zap in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the cubed tofu to the pot. Take the noodles out of the microwave and drain in strainer one more time. Add the noodles into the pot of soup and stir until all the ingredients are mixed well. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mediterranean "Paella", made with cauliflower rice

I have been searching for a way to make a healthy version of Paella for a while now. I recently became inspired by one of my favorite food bloggers, Elana from elanaspantry.com - who had posted a recipe for cauliflower rice. I have made "mash potatoes" before with cauliflower but never thought that it could serve as a rice substitute. I went to whole foods today after work and decided to wing it - and wow did it work out! This is a perfect recipe to add favorite flavors and ingredients of your own once you have made the "rice". This will work great with chicken or tofu if you want a vegetarian version. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

MEDITERRANEAN "PAELLA"
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 small onion
1 small green pepper
1/2 cup of celery chopped
3 tablespoons of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 tablespoons of "I can't believe it's not butter" (or any other butter substitute)
1/2 cup of sliced black olives
1/2 cup of sliced smoked sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1/2 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp
4 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter substitute over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the garlic, onion and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent and becomes fragrant. While that's cooking, add 1/4 of the chopped cauliflower to a food processor or a blender on the "chop" option. (You don't want to add all the cauliflower at once because it wont chop well). Remove the chopped cauliflower from blender to a separate bowl. Continue to add the cauliflower in 1/4 portions until chopped to the consistency of rice. Put all chopped cauliflower aside in the bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the chopped basil to the skillet and continue to stir all ingredients together. Add the cauliflower a little bit at a time until all liquid is absorbed ( you may not need to use all the cauliflower - if so, save it for another recipe). Add 2 tablespoons of butter substitute and toss all incredients together. Add the olives and sun dried tomatoes. While this is cooking, in a separate skillet add 2 tablespoons of butter substitute over medium heat. Add the last tablespoon of garlic and saute until fragrant. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and then add to the skillet. Cook until pink (about 5 minutes). Once cooked, pour the smaller skillet into the large one. Toss shrimp around in mixture and let all the flavors combine, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the pine nuts. Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

White Wine Spritzer


A refreshing summer drink, or year-round drink if you live in Miami : )
Great for the boat, or sitting pool-side in the sunshine.

WHITE WINE SPRITZER
1 bottle of white wine (use a chardonnay for a more profound flavor, or a sauvignon blanc for a more subtle flavor)
3 cups of club soda (NOT Seltzer, which is full of sugar)
1 lemon
1 lime

Fill a pitcher with the wine and club soda. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one of the halves into the pitcher. Do the same with the lime. Cut the remaining lime and lemon into slices and pour in pitcher. Fill your glass or cup with ice and pour yourself a delicious and refreshing drink!

Miso Chilean Sea Bass


This is one of my most favorite dishes to make....and eat. It's one of those recipes that you make when you want to impress. It's extremely simple, and tastes like a five-star restaurant prepared it. It's a bit reminiscent of the famous "black cod with miso" entree at Nobu. Except the Chilean sea bass gives a more flaky texture and the fresh lemon zest brightens the flavor of the dish. The sea bass caramelizes to perfection upon broiling and will melt in your mouth. This will be your go-to recipe over and over again. Enjoy!

MISO CHILEAN SEA BASS
4 fillets of Chilean sea bass (3/4 to 1 in. thick, about 8oz. each)
1/4 cup of white miso paste
1/8 cup of mirin
1/8 cup of sake
1 1/2 tablespoons of splenda
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

In a shallow glass baking dish or lidded container, wisk together the miso, mirin, sake, splenda and ginger until smooth. Add the sea bass and coat evenly so each fillet is covered. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the broiler. Remove sea bass from the marinade (reserve marinade). Place fillets on a lightly pam-sprayed  broiler pan. Broil 2-3 inches from the heat source until browned and caramelized with crusty edges (about 4 minutes). Turn fillets over and brush each fillet with the rest of the marinade. Broil until browned - about 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the fish so the top does burn. (Depending on the strength of your oven, you may need to cook the fish a little further away from the heat source). Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grilled Tofu Summer Salad



This is a perfect salad to serve on a summer night or during an outdoor BBQ. The grill provides a great smokey flavor along with the smoked sun-dried tomatoes.  The roasted corn and white beans remind me of summer and the fresh herbs provide for a refreshing and light salad full of flavor. This is a great staple dish that you will make over and over again. Also is great with chicken or any other lean meat such as flank steak or pork.


GRILLED TOFU SUMMER SALAD
2 14 oz. packages of firm light tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 15 oz. can of yellow corn (make sure it's unsweetened)
1 16 oz. can of white beans
1/2 cup of chopped black olives
1/2 cup of smoked sun-dried tomatoes
3 cups of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons of chopped scallions
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
Salt
Pepper

*Side note: If you can't find the light version of firm tofu, just use the regular kind but make sure it's firm so it will grill nicely

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees and move oven rack to the top shelf. Lightly spray a rimmed cookie sheet with pam and spread out the drained corn evenly. Roast in the oven checking and flipping corn every so often until they start to brown slightly and become fragrant (about 15 minutes). Take out of the oven and let cool. Mix 2 cups of olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Spray grill pan with non-stick spray and pre-heat 300 degrees. Take half of the cubed tofu and add to the oil mixture. Using your hands, carefully toss the tofu making sure not to break the cubes. Add the tofu to the grill pan (spread out a bit so no piece is touching). Flip over each piece once grill marks form, turing a medium to dark brown color (about 2 minutes per side). Remove from grill onto a plate and let cool. Add the rest of the tofu to the oil mixture and repeat grilling steps. If you have leftover oil mixture, feel free to brush over the tofu before you flip to give more flavor. Once done grilling, set tofu aside to cool - you can expedite this by refrigerating. Next, drain and rinse white beans and add to a large serving bowl. Add olives, sun-dried tomatoes, corn, basil, scallions and toss until mixed. Add the cooled tofu to the bowl and then pour 1 cup of olive oil over mixture. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss salad until mixed well. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve cold.

Try serving with slice avocado - it's a great companion to this cool summer dish!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brussels Sprouts


A few months ago I went through an obsession with Brussel Sprouts. These little guys can taste so great it will blow your mind. I was dining at a favorite restaurant of mine here in Miami Beach called Meat Market on Lincoln Road. The side dishes they have at this places are so delicious I sometimes order a few as my meal....a personal favorite being the brussel sprouts. It had been a while since I had these little green balls and I was pleasantly satisfied at their caramelized flavor and crunch/crispy texture. Since this experience I have been making them frequently as a side dish with meat or fish and sometimes just when I want a delicious snack. When done right, brussel sprouts are almost like french fries or potato chips. When you roast these bad boys in the oven with olive oil and salt, they crisp up perfectly and all you want to do is munch on them like any other addicting finger snack. But hello - they are brussel sprouts! Who would of ever thought...

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
2 lbs. of brussel sprouts
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 tbs. of "I Can't Beleive It's Not Butter" spray (or an alternative fat free butter spray)
2 to 3 teaspoons of good quality sea salt
pepper to taste
Serves 2 side dish portions.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop off the bottom of the brussel sprouts and then cut in half lengthwise, peeling off any yellow-colored outside leafs. Toss the sprouts in a medium mixing bowl along with the olive oil, spray butter, salt and pepper. Spread brussel sprouts out evenly on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven on 400 degrees. Check the sprouts approximately every 5 minutes and stir around making sure they are not sticking to the cookie sheet. Roast for about 15 minutes or until they start to brown on the outside, caramelize, and crisp up. Remove from oven. Top with a few sprays of the fat free butter spray and toss around. Add any additional salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Caponata


I recently had this delicious Sicilian dish with my Mother - we had escaped to Naples, FL for a relaxing girl's weekend. One evening we went to a popular Italian restaurant and ordered a few things to split, one of which was Caponata. It was so good we ordered it a second time. This eggplant dish is traditionally served as an antipasto over toasted bread. However, it is just as wonderful as a side dish or as a relish to go alongside fish or meat. In my version below, I add toasted pine nuts to add a delicious nutty flavor. Instead of sugar, substitute splenda or truvia (whatever your preference is). Caponata has a perfect balance of sweet and salty and is best the second day when served cold.


CAPONATA
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomato with juices (no sugar or salt added)
4 tablespoons of raisins
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons of splenda or stevia (or whatever your preference is for a sugar substitute)
3/4 cup of chopped pitted green Italian olives
1 tablespoon of capers
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh chopped basil leaves to garnish on top (around 2 handfuls)
Serves up to 6 side-dish portions 


Start off toasting the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium to low heat. Using a spatula, flip the nuts around frequently so they do not burn or stick to skillet. When the nuts are fragrant and brown, take them off of the heat and transfer to a bowl and set aside. In a large deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the celery and cook for 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook until it begins to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and and saute until it becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes (along with the juices), the raisins, green olives and capers. While stirring frequently, simmer over medium to low heat until the flavors permeate and the mixture thickens (around 20 minutes). Stir in the vinegar, splenda, salt and pepper (may need to add more salt depending on preference). Stir in the toasted pine nuts. Transfer to a medium size serving bowl and top with the chopped fresh basil.
 

* Side note: As mentioned above, this dish is best when refrigerated overnight and served cold.