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.

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

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: 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)
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.

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


  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: 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.


  • 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

  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: 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
  • 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
  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: 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
Perfect Deviled Eggs 5 Ways
FN Dish:
5 Fuss-Free Easter Side Dishes