Dried Orange Peel

Dried Orange Peel

Mise en place Wellness

Dried Orange Peel: Before you peel or cut your organic oranges, remove the thin strips with a peeler. Place the strips separately on a towel/paper towel in an open dish. Leave them out to dry for 3-4 days. Once they are completely dry, put them airtight jar.  Dried orange peels have a deep flavor which are a great ingredient for savory or sweet recipes. You can zest or grind the peels or add them whole into sauces or stews.

For my autumn-winter smoothies, which during the cooler temperatures I consume close to room temperature, I toss in half an orange strip, a generous amount of cinnamon and at least a 1/2-inch slice of ginger. Orange peel helps improve digestion and sluggishness in the gut, and ginger and cinnamon are both warming spices that make the smoothie more digestible during the season.

Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

Mains & Sides Recipe

There are many variations of this dish of Turkish origin. This stuffed eggplant, or Imam Bayildi, is a variation of a recipe from Aglaia Kremezi. What I love about it is the hearty flavor of adding walnuts and pecorino to the stuffing. And, making your own favorite tomato sauce (I make mine with olive oil, onions, garlic and desired spices) will make this even better. Typically the eggplant stems are left on, but the eggplants I had on were too big and round to fit in my baking dish.

  • ­­­­2 eggplants
  • Salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, halved, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, chopped or coarsely ground
  • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino
  • 1 large tomato, ripe heirloom if available or beefsteak, cut into 6 to 8 slices
  • ¾ cup homemade tomato sauce
  • parsley for garnish

Slice eggplants in half lengthwise, preferably keeping part of the stem. Diagonally score flesh in both directions with a knife. Salt eggplants generously and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Rinse eggplants under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place eggplants on the sheet with cut side up. Brush eggplants with olive oil on both sides. Bake eggplants for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden. Put eggplants aside to cool, but keep the oven warm.

In a deep skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and 1 tsp salt and sauté until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté until soft. Next, add garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove skillet from heat. Add the cumin, Aleppo pepper, walnuts and cheese. Mix the filling and adjust seasoning as needed.

Line a deep baking dish with parchment paper and brush the paper with olive oil. Line the paper with the sliced tomato and place the eggplants on the tomatoes. The eggplants should fit snugly in the dish. Using a spoon, press into the softened eggplant flesh to create indentations for the stuffing. Fill each eggplant with the stuffing and top each with 3 Tbs of tomato sauce. Pour the remaining sauce around the eggplants. Drizzle the eggplants with 1 to 2 Tbs olive oil. Bake eggplants for 40 to 45 minutes, until bubbling and slightly browned on top. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

This is a hearty meal and if using larger eggplants, one eggplant half may be more than enough. It works great for leftovers and tastes even better the next day.

 

Get Regular Smoothie

Get Regular Smoothie

Beverage Recipe

Lemon serves as a tonic for the liver and can aid in daily digestion. That, combined with the fiber in this smoothie can help things get back on track. This also has a good dose of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system.

  • ­­­­2 plums
  • 2 dates
  • Juice of 1 lemon plus zest from ½ of lemon
  • Handful of hazelnuts
  • 1-2 kale leaves
  • 2-3 inch cucumber slice
  • 1 celery stalk
  • Protein power
  • Splash nut milk
  • Water to desired consistency
  • Greens powder (optional)

Blend and enjoy!

Vibrant Quinoa Salad

Vibrant Quinoa Salad

Appetizers & Salads Mains & Sides Recipe

I posted this recipe over a year ago, but it wasn’t under a typical recipe heading. So, I’m reposting it. I created this as a tasty Summer/Spring salad, but it’s great for during any warm weather spell.

Combine the following chopped herbs in food processor with 1/3 cup or more olive oil. Add lemon or vinegar if desired,

  • 1 bunch cilantro
, packed
  • 1/2 cup parsley
, loose
  • 1/4 cup each dill, mint & tarragon

Mix with the following:

  • 2 cups (more/less as desired) cooked quinoa
  • small sautéed onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • generous handful of arugula, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste; I also added cumin
  • feta, optional

If you don’t like the taste of tarragon, you could skip it or experiment with another herb…basil, sorrel, lemon thyme.

Enjoy!

 

Eggplant

Health Wellness

I didn’t learn to appreciate eggplants until my 30’s. My initial exposure to eating eggplant was in heavier dishes, such as eggplant parmesan or moussaka. I wasn’t able to recognize or appreciate the flavor until trying baba ganoush. It took me awhile to experiment with making and cooking eggplant dishes, but now I try to make something with eggplant about twice a month when they are in season.

A kin to the tomato, bell pepper and potato, the eggplant is a nightshade that grows hanging from the vines of a plant. It is technically a fruit but is classified as a vegetable. The eggplant tastes bitter and slightly sweet (but it slows the absorption of blood sugar and is a useful regulator of glucose and insulin activity in the body.) Ayurveda considers it as heating. Chinese medicine considers it to be cooling (clearing heat) and to remove blood stagnation.

As for nutrients, eggplants are an overall source of many vitamins and minerals. They contain fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, and vitamins C, K and B6. Eggplants are also loaded with antioxidants, which are known to help defend a variety of diseases and conditions. One study found that eggplant skin is loaded with a potent phytonutrient and antioxidant called nasusin, which is an antioxidant that protects brain cells from free radicals and damage.

While eggplants contain decent amount of fiber, for some eggplants can irritate the digestive tract and are recommended to reduce or avoid if you have GI tract inflammation.

Shared recipes: Stuffed Eggplant

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

Beverage Recipe

This anti-inflammatory smoothie (pear, ginger, turmeric, greens, vitamin C) has a slight kick for digestion with the ginger. The cucumber and pear balance the digestive fire and add cooling properties that can be great for warmer weather or after a post-workout sweat.

  • ­­­­½ or more inch slice ginger
  • ¼ – ½ inch slice turmeric (or ½ tsp ground)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 pear
  • 3-inch cucumber slice
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lemon
  • Small handful of almonds
  • Handful of spinach
  • 7-10 mint leaves
  • Protein power
  • Splash water or orange juice

I like to occasionally add a generous pinch of cardamom or cinnamon. You can add a greens powder to this if you like. If you have issue with the pea-green color, skip the spinach.

Enjoy!

Brussel Sprouts with Pecorino and Walnuts

Brussel Sprouts with Pecorino and Walnuts

Appetizers & Salads Recipe

As the Fall season arrives, I am ready for sautéed or roasted brussel sprouts. However, early Fall in San Francisco feels like summer and I’m still wanting to make salads. This salad is well rounded with taste: brussel spouts – bitter; walnuts – astringent; pecorino romano – salty and sour. The same can be said for the dressing. If you want more brightness, you could add more lemon or reduce the mustard in the dressing. You could also add a fresh herb. This dish is also great the next day, and the brussel sprouts stay crisp.

• ¾ cup walnuts, whole
• 1 lb brussel sprouts
• ¼ cup pecorino romano cheese, plus 2-3 Tbs reserved
• salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
• 1 ½ Tbs Dijon mustard
• 1/3 cup olive oil

Lightly toast walnuts on low to medium heat stovetop, tossing often. Set aside to cool.

Trim the bottom of the brussel sprouts and thinly slice them. I used a knife

but a mandolin may slice them more evenly. Place thesprouts into a large bowl. For the dressing, whisk the last 3 ingredients with a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the brussel sprouts and mix well. Cover and put brussel sprout mixture in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Taste the sprouts and add more dressing if desired.

Coarsely chop the walnuts and grate the cheese.

Add ¾ of the walnuts and ¼ cup of the cheese to mixture and toss.

Extra dressing can be added or stored for another use.

Enjoy!

Balanced Breakfast Smoothie

Balanced Breakfast Smoothie

Beverage Recipe

This smoothie is good morning post-practice/workout fuel, and it carries me until the end of lunchtime teaching. It’s tridoshic and has a touch of everything: anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, detoxicants, protein, minerals, fiber and water regulators.

  • ­­­­Handful of spinach
  • 1-2 leaves kale or chard
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 5-7 mint leaves
  • 1-inch cucumber slice
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 3 figs
  • Scant cup watermelon
  • 2 Tbs rolled oats
  • Protein power
  • Splash almond milk or water
  • Greens powder (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Blend and enjoy!

Cucumber, Radish and Snap Pea Salad

Cucumber, Radish and Snap Pea Salad

Appetizers & Salads Mains & Sides Recipe

This is a vibrant vegetable salad that’s full of texture and a great pairing with many proteins or cold noodle dishes. (Try with the Mint, Cilantro and Green Onion Soba Noodles.) It tastes great fresh or the next day. Keep in mind that the next-day vegetables will taste pickled with the dressing combined. I like this salad with a bigger sour and astringent taste of vinegar. If you’re sensitive to vinegar, try adding half of the quantity first and adjust to taste.

  • ­­­­1 medium cucumber
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 1/3 lb snap peas
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs rice wine vinegar*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Lightly toast sesame seeds on low to medium heat stovetop, tossing often, until golden. Set aside to cool.

Trim peas as needed. In a medium saucepan, cook peas in boiling salted water for 30 to 60 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop peas from cooking.

Peel and deseed cucumber. Halve cucumber and radishes and cut unto ¼-inch thick slices. Cut the larger peas in half.

Combine vinegars, salt and sugar in small bowl. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve.

Toss vegetables, vinegar mixture and sesame seeds in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.

*If using seasoned vinegar, the additional salt and sugar may not be needed.

xo,

Julie

Soba Noodles with Mint, Cilantro & Green Onions

Soba Noodles with Mint, Cilantro & Green Onions

Mains & Sides Recipe

Soba Noodles with Mint, Cilantro & Green Onions

With the recent heat wave we had, I looked for recipes that were easy with minimal cooking. I found a soba noodles recipe and modified it below to my liking. Mint and cilantro are two favorite herbs that add a stimulating and cooling, respectively, effect to meals. They worked perfectly with this cold dish.

I paired this with the Cucumber, Radish and Snap Pea Salad (shown in photo.) If I were to pair the noodles with something less sour and astringent, I would add rice vinegar to the noodles. I’d start with a tablespoon and adjust from there.

  • ­­­­10 oz soba (buckwheat) noodles
  • 2 Tbs avocado oil
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook noodles in boiling water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain immediately in colander under cold water to stop noodles from cooking. Drain well and place in refrigerator.

For dressing, whisk together avocado oil, soy sauce, sugar and salt until sugar and salt are dissolved. Taste and adjust as needed.

Toss noodles with dressing, mint, cilantro and green onions. Add pepper to taste.

xo,

Julie