Gluttonous and Good For You!

Gluttonous and Good For You!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kale Salad with Lemon, Pecorino Romano, and Toasted Walnuts



Only in the past couple of years have I discovered how awesome kale is. When talking about dark leafy greens, the nutritional powerhouse that is kale resides on top. My favorite way to prepare kale had been making chips out of them. The standard procedure consisted of lightly coating the whole kale leaves, stalk removed, season, and bake in oven at low temperature until crisp. Delicious, but too oily for me to call healthy. Then I kept hearing more about kale salad, where the kale is broken down by acid and then dressed. Hm. I usually steer clear of putting any acid into any green vegetables, knowing that breaks down chlorophyll, along with the nutritional content and flavor, as well as transforming it into a drab olive green.

Somehow kale salad works on a few different levels. First off, it is delicious. The preparation proves to be super easy without having to cook anything, with the exception of maybe toasting some nuts. This salad gets better upon refrigeration, whereas traditional salads which turn to mush. Even after 4 days of sitting in the fridge, it tasted just as fresh as the first day I made it. I decided to use an Italian approach to this salad, using lemon juice for the acid, lemon zest for brightness, Pecorino Romano cheese (sheep milk, lactose-free), toasted walnuts, and olive oil. My favorite cheese right now is Pecorino Romano, with its perfect balance of salty with that distinctive sheep cheese flavor.

Ingredients:
1 bunch of Lacinato/dinosaur kale
2 lemons, juice of (zest before juicing)
1 lemon, zest of
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper, chili flakes to taste

Procedure:
Wash the kale well. Remove stalk, and chiffonade into thin strips. Place in a large (preferably glass) bowl. Zest one of the lemons, and put aside. Juice both lemons, put 1/2 the juice in with the kale (the other 1/2 set aside) and massage thoroughly with clean hands. Cover bowl and place in fridge.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining lemon juice, the lemon zest, grated garlic, romano cheese, walnuts, olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili flake. Mix and taste. Adjust seasonings for you preference. Add this dressing to the messaged kale and toss well until completely combined. Store in fridge and serve as needed. Makes 4-6 servings. That simple.

-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Sensational Sides Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The spring food we're focusing on here are green salads. On twitter, we're tagging #SensationalSides. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board:
http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/. Here are delicious green salad recipes from our other network bloggers:


Creative Culinary: Mixed Greens with Smoked Mozzarella and a Warm Roasted Garlic Dressing
The Cultural Dish:
Three Quick and Easy Salad Recipes
Napa Farmhouse 1885:
Salad Greens with Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Red or Green:
Salad Greens with Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
The Heritage Cook:
Chopped Steakhouse-Style Salad (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious:
Southwestern Salad
Taste with the Eyes:
Teacher Appreciation Farmers Market Salad
Swing Eats:
Kale Salad with Lemon, Pecorino Romano, and Toasted Walnuts
Virtually Homemade:
Spinach and Bacon Salad
Domesticate Me:
8 Gorgeous Green Salads for Spring
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:
Arugula and Grapefruit Salad
Dishin & Dishes:
Tangle Thai Rainbow Salad
Homemade Delish:
Grilled Pineapple Spinach Salad
FN Dish:
Why Side Salads Are the Best Salads

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stir-Fried Quinoa with Chinese Vegetables



To be honest, I never heard of quinoa (pronounced: keen-wah) before my Celiac diagnosis. After my initial consultation with a dietitian, 12 years ago, I discovered a whole new world of grains that are gluten-free: quinoa, millet, buckwheat, teff, and so many others. They all have unique texture and taste as well as power-packed with nutrients. Quinoa has become one of my standbys. Quinoa is an ancient, super-food from South America. It contains about 14% protein and all of the essential amino acids your body needs, i.e, it is a complete protein. Important tip with quinoa: it must be RINSED well with water (using a fine mesh sieve/strainer) before cooking it. There's this weird smelling enzyme that coats it and can be strong and wreck your senses. It is so worth the effort.

I make quinoa up as pilafs, tabbouleh, steamed. This time, I let my fridge dictate what method to use for my quinoa love. I saw small bok choy, giant shiitake mushrooms, and green onions. I worked at a Chinese restaurant for 10 years and still influences how I shop for (shopping at Asian markets regularly) and cook my food. Yes, why not - stir-fried quinoa?! It's like the new Chinese Peruvian fusion cuisine that's becoming so hot: the Chinese immigrants from the 19th century influencing traditional Peruvian food. It worked! Such a different take on "fried rice" that feels new, healthy, interesting, reinvented. This recipe is a multi-step recipe and it's important to follow the directions in the right order for the best results. Even though this is a side dish, I will contest that this dish can stand on its own.

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa (rinsed well with water as mentioned above)
1 1/2 cups water or broth (of your choice)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon of coconut or vegetable oil (not olive oil, it will burn)
4-5 large shiitake sliced mushrooms (fresh! or regular fresh button type)
1/4 cup of Chinese cooking wine (I like the sweet kind with this)
1 medium bok choy, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 stalks green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon chili sauce
about 1/4 cup of extra liquid as needed (water, broth)
salt and pepper to taste (yes, you can add soy sauce if you feel it is truly necessary)
extra sesame oil to finish as desired

Directions:

  1. Cook the rinsed quinoa in 1 1/2 times the volume of water in a covered medium saucepan over low heat until absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with fork and allow to cool uncovered.
  2. Heat up wok on medium high heat. Scramble egg with a splash of water, a pinch of salt, white pepper (if you have it) in a small bowl or cup with a fork. Put sesame oil in hot wok, swirl. Pour in egg, swirl and cook it as a thin layer without getting brown. Turn over once until just barely cooked. Cut heat. Cut into small strips/pieces and put in a cool bowl/plate and put aside.
  3. In that same wok heat up the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in sliced mushrooms and saute. Add in the wine, stirring constantly. Allow to get a good brown to them - good flavor. Add in the white parts of the bok choy, green onions, garlic, and chili sauce. Saute until those are slightly cooked down. Then add in the green sections of the bok choy and green onions with stirring. Once wilted, add in the quinoa. Stir, stir, stir. Add in liquid as needed if too dry. Trust your judgement. Taste for seasoning. Adjust salt, pepper, heat per your preferences. Cut the heat. Add in the scrambled egg and toss. Toss in a little sesame oil. Enjoy. Serves 4 healthy portions.
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Sensational Sides Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The spring food we're focusing on here are grains.  On twitter, we're tagging #SensationalSides. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/. Here are delicious good to the grain recipes from our other network bloggers:

Weelicious: Mushroom Barley
Virtually Homemade:
Easy Yellow Rice
Feed Me Phoebe:
Maple-Chia Overnight Oatmeal
The Wimpy Vegetarian:
Mujadara with Roasted Tomatoes and Greens
Jeanette's Healthy Living:
Indian Spiced Quinoa Pilaf with Peas
The Heritage Cook:
White and Wild Rice Pilaf
The Mom 100:
Red Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Artichoke Hearts and Olives
Napa Farmhouse 1885:
Wild Mushroom, Sweet Pepper & Leek Risotto
Red or Green:
Spicy Barley Risotto
Taste with the Eyes:
Brown Rice Noodles paired with Tamarind Fish
The Cultural Dish:
Three Ways to Make Risotto
Creative Culinary:
Rice and Egg Bowl with Salmon and Peas
Swing Eats:
Stir-Fried Quinoa with Chinese Vegetables
FN Dish:
5 Quirky Grain Switch-Ups You Gotta Try

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus with Rosemary



The flavor imparted to asparagus by roasting is usually overlooked. Roasted potatoes with rosemary remains a standard in my culinary repertoire for many years.  Why not combine the two in one winning side dish? As an Angeleno, I love to go to at least one farmer's market a week. The produce in Southern California blows my mind. This week I picked up a tiny bag of fingerling potatoes and a beautiful bunch of asparagus from the same vendor. Asparagus can hold their own against roasting and rosemary, just not the same time in the oven as potatoes. And the rosemary I was able to source from my yard. Really, it's impossible to over roast the potatoes. I love them on the crispy side. Only about five minutes is needed to roast the asparagus. Note on the potatoes: don't be tempted to use the red-skinned ones, they have too much sugar - will not cook up right in the oven and will burn.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 1 bunch asparagus, fibrous ends removed
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

Directions:
  1. Heat up oven to 375F. Clean, dry, and cut the fingerlings in half lengthwise. In a baking pan, combine the cut fingerlings, olive oil, and salt. Arrange the fingerlings cut side up. This way there's no need to turn them while cooking. Allow to turn golden brown, about 15-25 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven. Cut the asparagus into ~2" segments on only the tender part. Toss in the pepper and rosemary, and more salt if need to taste. Again, arrange the fingerlings cut side up. Return to oven for about 5 minutes until the asparagus are very deep green. Remove and serve. Makes about 4 servings.

-Erin Swing
 Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Sensational Sides Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The spring food we're focusing on here are asparagus sides. On twitter, we're tagging #SensationalSides. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/. Here are delicious recipes for asparagus side dishes:


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Greek Spinach Casserole (gluten-free)



The Greeks know how to do Easter.  Spanakopita is a staple for Greek Easter, along with all the lamb.  I also call this delicious treat spanakopita Minus The -Opita  What the what?! You know, the Greek spinach pie with the phyllo - spanakopita without the phyllo. "Pita" means pie in Greek.... So I guess it's really more like Greek spinach casserole, but spanakopita minus the -opita sounds like more fun to me.  I make this for just about every holiday and party that I'm asked to bring food throughout the whole year. This is super easy to make and everyone loves it. Better still, it is gluten-free, and can be served at any temperature. Since this recipe uses such few ingredients, the quality is paramount. Use fresh baby spinach, nice and tender green onions/scallions, and the best sheep's milk feta you can find. Please, for the love of god, don't ever buy the pre-crumbled feta. My favorite feta is the French sheep's milk feta cheese at Costco, which is super-affordable. Costco is a great place to buy the spinach, too.

This would complement my Italian Style Smashed Potatoes well.

Greek Spinach Casserole
Ingredients:
  • olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • spinach, fresh, 1 pound
  • salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • pepper, black &/or white, 1/2 teaspoon
  • dill, 1/2 teaspoon dry or 1 teaspoon fresh
  • oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dry (optional)
  • green onions/scallions, 1 bunch
  • sheep's milk feta, 1/2 pound / 8 ounces
  • eggs, 4 large, lightly scrambled
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray a brownie pan (8x8). I used my work-horse toaster oven.
  2. Heat up a large saute/fry pan or wok over medium heat. I find a wok works best, because it's kind of a bowl and reduces the need to get out a large mixing bowl. Put in the olive oil. Grab a large handful of the spinach, chop up the spinach into thick strips and immediately add into the wok. Saute with a spatula, and repeat this process handful by handful until gone. This way the moisture has time and space to cook off before adding in more spinach and you aren't overwhelmed with too much on the cutting board. Chop and cook as you go is the way to go. Add in the salt, pepper, dill, oregano and mix well. Chop up the scallions, white end first, add into the wok. Follow with the green part of the scallions, chopped. Turn off the heat. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
  3. Make sure the spinach mixture is not piping hot. Crumble up the feta coarsely and far from perfect and add into the spinach mixture and gently fold in. This is the time to add in taste, before adding in the eggs! Adjust seasonings as needed. Add in the eggs and carefully fold in mixture until somewhat homogeneous.
  4. Turn into the lightly oiled pan, smooth top with silicone spatula/spoon, and cook in a preheated (toaster) oven at 375F degrees for about 30 minutes. The top will turn a nice brown color. Allow to cool before cutting and serving. Makes about 9-12 portions, depending how you cut it.
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Sensational Sides Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The spring food we're focusing on here are Easter sides.  On twitter, we're tagging #SensationalSides. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board:
http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/. Here are delicious recipes for Easter side dishes:

Feed Me Phoebe: Green Goddess Avocado Toasts with Roasted Spring Vegetables and Tahini Sauce
Dishing with Divya:
Thai Roasted Vegetables with Peanut Coconut Sauce
Haute Apple Pie:
Smoked Gouda Scalloped Potatoes
Food for 7 stages of Life:
Spicy Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The Recipe Specialist:
Spring Vegetable Tart
Napa Farmhouse 1885:
Ceviche Appetizer
Red or Green:
Taos Cowboy Caviar
Creative Culinary:
Avocado and Orange Chopped Salad with Orange Honey Mustard Dressing
Swing Eats:
Greek Spinach Casserole (gluten-free)
Dishin & Dishes:
Deviled Egg And Avocado Dip
Daily*Dishin:
Perfect Deviled Eggs 5 Ways
FN Dish:
5 Fuss-Free Easter Side Dishes

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Italian Style Smashed Potatoes


As an Irish girl, I love potatoes. When presented with this week's sensational sides theme of mashed, I knew was going to make potatoes. Italian smashed potatoes have become one of my favorite way to mash potatoes. It's just boiled unpeeled red potatoes with Italian parsley, a good Italian hard cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Remember, all those nutritional goodies are in the skins. They go with everything. So simple. The amount of these ingredients listed below is a mere suggestion.

Ingredients:
2 pounds of red skinned potatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 pound of really good pecorino romano or Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Rinse, clean, and cut the potatoes into roughly equivalent chunks to ensure even cooking. Place them in a medium to large sauce pot with salted water. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Boil under fork tender, about 15 minutes. Remove about a cup of the water before draining if need when smashing.

Smash/mash drained potatoes with the olive oil. Try not to over mash them. I personally like a chunkier texture. Add some of the reserved water if you want a creamier, looser consistency. Using a spoon add and mix in the parsley, cheese, and salt and pepper. As always, season to your taste preference.
 
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Sensational Sides Food Fest. Check out The FN Dish. The spring food we're focusing on here is anything "mashed." On twitter, we're tagging #SensationalSides.  Here’s the link to our Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/.  Here are smashing mashed other delicious recipes:
 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mexican Cocoa Brownies with an Almond & Pepitas Crust (gluten-free)



When I think of brownies, I think of dense, fudge-y, chocolate "cake" with that thin layer on top. I love that thin layer on top. So in developing a recipe for a complex brownie, I made sure nothing would be on top. What is that thin layer? People call it a meringue layer: the proteins from the egg whites combining with the sugar and migrating to the top during the baking process. However, I have seen this with vegan brownie recipes I have made. Maybe in general, a film of protein and sugar forming on top. A syneresis as I would call it as a scientist. (A good example is the liquid whey that separates out on top of yogurt.)

I decided to go the Mexican spiced chocolate route, using cinnamon, chili powders, coffee, nuts, and seeds to add depth and complexity. But at first, I pondered, "How am I going to incorporate the seeds and nuts?" I know, make a crust. This will give a unique texture to the brownies without interfering with that special thin meringue layer and giving an emphasis on what I chose: marcona almonds and pepitas. The marcona almonds are skin-free and make it easier to work with. Given, the crust makes for more work and a double bake with crisping up the crust first, cooling, then adding in the brown batter. So. Worth. It. I bet you have never had a brown like this. My friends told me this is their new favorite. The ratio of these brownie were (roughly) 2 parts eggs : 4 parts sugar : 2 parts butter : 1 part cocoa powder : 0.6 parts flour.

Ingredients:

Crust:
50 grams marcona or any almonds
50 grams pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
25 grams brown sugar
25 grams butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of chipotle powder, cayenne
salt to tast


Brownies:
200 grams sugar
200 grams brown sugar
113 grams natural cocoa powder
30 grams GF oat flour
30 grams tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 teaspoons Nescafe instant coffee
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla (if possible)
4 large eggs (200 grams), room temperature, mixed well
226 grams (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled


Procedure:
Crust:
  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • In a processor, combine the almonds, pepitas, brown sugar, seasonings and pulse until coarse like gravel. Add in the melted butter and pulse again until completely incorporated.
  • Turn out into brownie pan (8"x8") into a thin, 1/4", layer and pack well.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Brownies:
  • In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, flours, seasonings (all the dry ingredients) and mix very thoroughly.
  • Add in the eggs, butter, and vanilla all at once and mix with a wooden or silicone spoon until uniform.
  • Pour the batter evenly and slowly onto the cooled almond and pepitas crust.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes or until only a tiny amount of chocolate is visible when a toothpick is inserted and removed from the center.
  • Cool on a rack and cut when mostly cooled. Store in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge.
Trust me, they disappear fast.

-Erin Swing

Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out The FN Dish. This week we're focusing on brownies. On twitter, we're tagging #ComfortFoodFeast. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/. Here are other amazing brownie recipes to try out from our other friends:

Dishing with Divya: Beetroot Brownies
Creative Culinary:
Chocolate Chip Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:
Brownies with Condensed Milk
Food for 7 Stages of Life:
Easy Eggless Brownies Recipe
The Mom 100:
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies
Napa Farmhouse 1885:
Chocolate Brownie Pie (GF and Sugar Free)
Taste with the Eyes:
Chili Chocolate Brownies with Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel
Swing Eats:
Mexican Cocoa Brownies with an Almond & Pepitas Crust (gluten-free)
FN Dish:
10 Ways to Revolutionize Your Brownie Intake

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins



I'm a sucker for bar food. Admit it, who is not? My favorite menu item is the loaded potato skins. Problem is, I cannot eat them safely as a celiac. Turns out they deep fry them before stuffing them with cheese and bacon before broiling and topping with sour cream and scallions. Wow, it's probably a good think I can't eat them - far from the healthiest menu choice. At the same token, I never considered making a homemade version of potato skins, since scooping out the baked potato seemed like a waste. Another favorite unhealthy potato recipe of mine is twice baked potatoes. The portion alone is twice too big. Ah, I know, split them in half, stuff with tasty healthier options and bake until crispy. The ultimate potato mash-up: a twice baked potato skin.

This version I stuffed with some of my tasty favorites: Gorgonzola cheese crumbles (a blue cheese), Greek yogurt, scallions, parsley, chives, olive oil, garlic salt, and black pepper. Get creative and try with your favorite flavor saturated ingredients like Parmesan, nutritional yeast, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes.... you get it. Flavors usually too strong on their own make great fillers without feeling the need for super fatty unhealthy ingredient choices. This recipe is for 2 generous servings using 1 russet potato. Scale up according. Note on type of potatoes: russet/Idaho is the only wise choice. No other type will work as well.

Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins with Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, Greek yogurt, scallions, parsley, chives, olive oil, garlic salt, and black pepper:

Ingredients:
  • russet/Idaho potato, 1 large, washed well
  • salt
  • Gorgonzola (blue cheese) crumbles, 1/2 cup
  • Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup
  • scallions (green onion), 1 stalk, chopped fine
  • herbs such as parsley and chives, 2 tablespoons, chopped fine
  • olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons
  • salt, black pepper, garlic salt to taste
Directions:
  • Preheat oven (toaster oven is perfect for this) to 375F. Wash the potato well. While it is still wet, generously sprinkle the whole surface of the potato with salt. This will make the skin extra crispy. Bake for about 45 minutes until crispy on the outside and fork tender, or it gives easily when squeezed. Allow to cool just until you can handle it safely using a clean hot pad.
  • Cut the potato in half lengthwise. Using a fork, carefully scrap out the insides into a mixing bowl. Try to keep away from the skin. Leave about a quarter of an inch lining for the skin. Place the hollowed out skins on a foil lined mini cooking sheet.
  • In the bowl with the potato "meat", mix in the cheese, yogurt, scallions, herbs, seasonings. Mix well. Taste. Adjust seasonings accordingly. Split the filling in half, and fill the potato skins. Put back in oven and bake until it starts browning, about 15 minutes.
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out The FN Dish. This week we're focusing on potatoes. On twitter, we're tagging #ComfortFoodFeastHere’s the link to our Pinterest board: http://pinterest.com/foodnetwork/lets-pull-up-a-chair/. Here are other amazing potato recipes to try out from our other friends: