Tag Archives: healthy food

Build A Better Breakfast with Spinach Three Ways and British Tomatoes

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Spinach Three Ways and British Steamed Tomatoes

Ah, morning. Even if I’ll be doing the same things I did yesterday, it is a chance to start them over, do better, and feel like this library/essay/walk to town just might be more exciting than it has been the last 150 days. So how can I begin this day of infinite possibilities with a bowl of cereal?

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  “What do you say, Piglet?”

    “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.  – A. MILNE, Winnie-the-Pooh

Yes, Winnie-the-Pooh understands that what we eat, especially in the morning, is intertwined with what kind of life we build for ourselves.

My first breakfast in England featured the two side dishes I will be bringing back with me: steamed spinach and steamed breakfast tomatoes. Below are three ways to make the spinach (which really can and should be eaten with any meal), and one way to make the simple, healthy, but incredibly delicious breakfast tomatoes.

British Breakfast Tomatoes

Ingredients:

Any number of tomatoes you desire (probably 2 per person)

Salt

Step 1. Fill a pot ¼ way up with hot water. Allow to boil. Prepare a small steaming colander

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Step 2. Add the tomatoes whole to the colander in the pot, (you should just remove the small circle where the stem attached at the top of the tomato). Put a lid on top and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft, slightly wrinkled, and the skin begins to come away from the flesh

Step 3. Peel away the skin, if it doesn’t want to come off, they weren’t cooked long enough

Serve whole with a sprinkle of salt

Spinach Three Ways (for any time a day)

Ingredients:

Between 2 and 3 cups of spinach (it will shrink as it cooks)

2 tsp. olive oil

The foundational step will always be to steam the spinach. I put it into a small steaming colander, and then put the colander into a pot filled ¼ way up with water, then put on a lid and steam for only 1 or 2 minutes. Goal is to have it half cooked, because you’ll giving it a quick fry in the pan later.

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And now? Infinite possibilities

Simple Chili Spinach

Ingredients:

2-4 green finger chilies

(After steaming the spinach)

Step 1. Heat a pan on medium, add 1 or 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil to a pan and add between 2 and 4 chopped green finger chilies (I typically would add 3 – just depends on how spicy you like your food) Allow the chilies to cook for a minute

Step 2. Add steamed spinach and salt, stir and cook together for 30 more seconds, and serve

Enjoy!

Simple Garlic Steamed Spinach

Ingredients:

1 small clove garlic

optional tsp. lemon juice

Step 1. Add the 1 or 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil to a pre-heated pan. Add the chopped garlic clove and cook on medium for 1 to 2 minutes (depending on heat of the pan), or until any of the pieces begins to turn gold

Step 2. Add the spinach and salt, stir and cook together for 30 more seconds, and serve

Spiced Onion Spinach

Ingredients:

½ onion

1 green finger chili

½ tsp. cumin seeds (or ¼ tsp. cumin powder)

¼ tsp. red chili powder

¼ tsp. turmeric

salt

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(After steaming your spinach)

Step 1. Chop the onion and put it into a pre-heated pan or pot with about 2 tsp. water. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes on medium.

Step 2. Add the 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil and the cumin seeds (if using cumin powder, don’t add it yet. Just add the oil) Allow to cook 1 minute more, then add chopped green chili. Cook 1 more minute

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Step 3. Add all the spices, and stir with salt to taste.

Step 4. Add steamed spinach, stir and cook together for 30 more seconds, and serve

Enjoy!

Bonus recipe, a quick way to make scrambled eggs more interesting!

Ingredients:

½ tsp cumin seeds

Just add the cumin seeds to 1 or 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil once the oil is hot enough to make the seeds ‘pop’.

Then scramble your eggs into the cumin seeds like you normally do.

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Voila! Excitement for breakfast!

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The Go To Healthy Pasta – Alla Checca

The Go To Healthy Pasta – Alla CheccaImage

I have been in a love affair with the tomato since about seven, when I first began carefully, joyfully slicing about 12 tomatoes at a time to make my alla checca. So on essay days (3 days each week when I devote myself distracted body, exhausted mind, and aching soul to my computer and a stack of books, a stack I spent the previous 3 days reading), I will probably make this simple, quick to cook pasta dish.

Ingredients for a 1 Person Serving:

4 tomatoes (yes 4! No questions, because 4 tomatoes is my idea of a one person serving of a la checca)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

As much pasta as you like

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Simply slice the tomatoes into tiny pieces (below see the evolution of tomato from whole to small)

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Mix the olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped fresh basil with the tomatoes and add your cooked pasta of choice. It’s that easy. You don’t have to cook anything except the pasta. I made my version with gnocchi- which cooks in under 3 minutes- so we can spend less time cooking and more time eating before we all get back to whatever books, projects, or daily grind is ahead of us.

Take a well-deserved break and enjoy your meal!

-Dakota

The Sock ‘em Scramble and THE BEST BREAKFAST SANDWICH IN THE WORLD

The Sock ‘em Scramble and THE BEST BREAKFAST SANDWICH IN THE WORLD

Ingredients to make 2 sandwiches:

A batch of chimichurri (see yesterday’s post)

½ onion

½ red pepper

5 eggs

4 slices good fresh sourdough or baguette bread

1 avocado

a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

salt (to taste)

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To begin, take a deep breath and explain to yourself that yes, actually cutting two vegetables for morning eggs is worth the time. Breakfast should be a meal to savor, because as you take a bite of the fluffiest scrambled eggs you’ll ever get, with slices of creamy avocado, hugged lovingly by two slices of fresh bread, you’ll know that it’s going to be a good day.

Step 1. Chop the onion and pepper. Put the diced onion in a pan with about 1 tablespoon of water (you could immediately add a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil, but I think beginning the onions in water is healthier). Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

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Step 2. After five minutes, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the red pepper. Cook until onions are beginning to turn gold (between 2 to 5 more minutes)

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Step 3. Add your eggs and scramble with salt to taste

Step 4. Toast your bread and slather the two sandwiches with chimichurri, pile them with mountains of scrambled eggs, add avocado slices and give yourself a much deserved round of applause for putting so much time into breakfast

There you have it. A heavenly sandwich and the secret to better, healthier, almost-reached-your-5-vegetables-a-day-goal-and-it’s-only-morning breakfast

Note: The Sock ‘em Scramble can go without the red pepper, but if you’re going to eat eggs, just take an extra 7 minutes to go to scramble heaven and add the onion into your morning routine.

Now go enjoy you’re day on a satisfied stomach

-Dakota

Dreamy Chimichurri

My dreams have changed a little after 5 months in England. Thanks to British cooking techniques like the oh-so-popular ‘salt on every 2 in 5 potatoes’, I went into spice withdrawal fast. I watched my favorite food drift away across the Atlantic: Adios avocados. Goodbye salsa. Where are you chilies?

You can keep the castles, princes, and sunset romances in meadows, please just give me a bowl of something SPICY

Here’s my goes-with-everything, incredibly delicious sauce to spice it up

Chimichurri of DreamsImage

Ingredients

½ cup cilantro

½ cup parsley

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon or lime

1 clove garlic

3 dried red chili peppers (alternatively about a ½ teaspoon of red chili flakes)

2 spicy green finger chilies or 1 jalapeño

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon water

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Just blend this list in a blender or food processor!Image

It’s a heavy ingredient list, yes. But these individual ingredients come together to make the most delicious, flavorful, party-in-your-mouth chimichurri that you will have. Use it as a salad dressing. Put it on your fish tacos. Add it to beans for flavor. Put it on hummus (“Are you mad woman? On hummus?!” – you might be thinking. Well maybe I am mad, but they add chimichurri to falafel and hummus in Israel. It’s the perfect spice + lemon acidity to warm up heavy hummus) My favorite idea? We’ll use it as a spread on THE BEST BREAKFAST SANDWICH IN THE WORLD, coming tomorrow to this blog and your stomachs

-Happy Eating

Dakota

Rainy Day Tomato Soup

Just when I thought winter had finally retreated, it comes back with rainstorms and a cold wind. I feel like this http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com/post/48693968924/when-i-start-feeling-like-summer-is-coming-and-suddenly

But! There is a bright side, because when the weather outside is frightful… let us cook let us cook let us cook!

Today’s Menu: Rainy Day Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

10 tomatoes

1 carrot

1 small onion (yellow)

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup worth of vegetable or chicken stock + 1 cup plain water

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

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Step 1. Steam the tomatoes in a pot until soft, about 15 minutes.

Step 2. Chop onion and carrot and cook on medium with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (what is carrot doing in my tomato soup? You may be asking. Making it sweeter! I would reply) Image

Step 3. Add 1 clove of chopped garlic to mixture and wait for it to turn golden. (Also enjoy the glorious smell that is now infusing your kitchen) The carrot/onion/garlic mixture should soften and be caramelizing. Add the broth and water. It will start looking like this:Image

Step 4. Rinse Tomatoes in cold water so they begin to cool down enough to peel off the skin

Step 5. Make two slits in the bottom or top of the tomatoes, making an x. You’ll “undress” the tomatoes easily by pulling the skin away. If the skin won’t come off, the tomatoes weren’t cooked long enough. Image

Step 6. Mash the tomatoes into the carrot, onion, and broth mixture and cook for an additional 15 minutes on a low to medium heat with the paprika and salt added. The tomatoes should have broken apart and become part of the liquid now.

Step 7. Allow to cool, blend in a food processor or blender and serve with basil or parsley

Simple (ish) healthy, and colorful. Best served with a book and a seat by the window.