Wrapped in Indonesian Flair….

I typically arrive home, post-workout around 8:00 or 9:00 pm each night and at times I don’t have a meal readily prepared.  This is a problem because after a long ride or hard run I need food fast.  Perhaps some of you can relate to the following scenario:
Girl works all day.
Girl flies home grabs a banana, water and changes clothes to workout.
Post-workout girl comes home STARVING.
Girl turns into a ravenous crazy woman scanning the cupboard or fridge to eat whatever is quick and appealing….NOT GOOD!

This week I was prepared and did some meal planning, huzzah!   After work I went for a bike ride, hit up my yoga class then came home to eat a Chicken Satè Wrap (in a civil, non-crazy woman, like manner).  I stumbled upon the recipe on the ever addicting and current hinderance to a good nights sleep, Pinterest!  It’s protein-packed and brimming with flavor and crunchy veggies; all good things for a post-workout quick fix and refueler!

Chicken Satè Wraps
Photo by Michelle

The most time-consuming part is cooking the chicken.  I chose to use a whole organic chicken because it’s the most bang for your buck providing enough meat for a few meals and homemade stock (filled with mineral-dense nutrients which help build healthy bones and joints).  For those not wanting to cook a whole chicken, chicken breast would be a great substitute and as a last resort a rotisserie chicken (skin removed and shredded).

Chicken Satè Wraps

adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
4 servings (1 serving= 1 wrap)

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (I used Braggs Liquid Amino Acid)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (I used a whole organic chicken)
  • 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas (I skipped the fat-free and used whole wheat tortillas)
  • 1 1/3 cups packaged angel hair slaw

Preparation

If using a whole bird, follow these directions first, otherwise move on to the next paragraph.
First, fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil.  Take the whole chicken and scrub clean with kosher salt.  Stuff the cavity of the bird with a spoonful of chopped ginger, a spoonful of garlic and a few green onions.  To the pot of boiling water add some whole or chopped carrot, a bunch of parsley, one whole onion quartered, four cloves garlic, a bay leaf, a few curry leaves, salt, black pepper and red pepper.  Bring to boil again and add the chicken, breast side down.  Cover and simmer for at least 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Next, prepare a large bowl of ice water.  When the chicken is done cooking remove it from the stock pot and plunge it into the ice water (this stops the chicken from cooking and creates tender meat).  Once cooled, remove skin and shred.  Drain the stock and safe for future use.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray (or coconut oil). Add carrots and onions; sauté 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through pepper); cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chicken; cook 1 minute, stirring to coat. Remove from heat; cool. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla, and top each with 1/3 cup angel hair slaw. Roll up. Cover and chill.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 321
  • Calories from fat: 28%
  • Fat: 10.1g
  • Saturated fat: 3.3g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 2.1g
  • Protein: 24.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 25.5g
  • Fiber: 4.3g
  • Cholesterol: 49mg
  • Iron: 0.9mg
  • Sodium: 844mg
  • Calcium: 37mg

Ful Mudammas

Throughout college I worked part-time at a local Mediterranean restaurant, The Pita House.  The restaurant locale resides in an eclectic neighborhood with a good mix of college kids, families, hipsters and hippies.  I was able to walk to work everyday, worked along-side my BF Brooke and donned a self-fashioned turban with a kanga from Brazil…it was highly fashionable for my then, bohemian self (and a heck of lot better than a hairnet!)  My uncle humorously referred to me as, Erykah Badon’t…funny guy!

I like to fashion my turban high like this, with dangly earrings. It's all in the twist!

The Pita House is owned by a local family, The Shatara’s who became a second family to me.  They are a wonderfully social, loud, adventurous family with great food tastes and open hearts.  From them I learned some great recipes, shway shway Arabic, how to dance the Dabke and how to sip Ouzo and smoke hookah.  When I worked mornings we typically shared a breakfast and Turkish coffee, which was a right start to the day!

A popular Mediterranean breakfast is Ful Mudammas (simmered Fava Beans.)  This dish is often referred to as Egypt’s national dish but you will find several takes on Ful throughout the Mid-East.  At The Pita House we used canned fava beans which were warmed and topped with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley.  The ancient way of preparing Ful, which means fava and Mudammas, which means buried, is to take fava beans in a sealed pot of water and bury it under hot coals to cook.

Canned Fava Beans
Photo by Michelle

This evening I finished a run and needed something fresh and fast to eat, so I turned to Ful.  It’s packed with protein and fiber and I added an array of vegetables to freshen it up!  Typically Ful is served with pita bread but I was out, so I substituted some locally homemade wheat tortillas.

Ful Mudammas
Photo by Michelle

Not an authentic Ful recipe but a great tasting post-workout replenisher!

Ful Mudammas on the Fly

1 can Fava Beans, pureed
1 Persian or Kirby cucumber, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 Hungarian Pepper, chopped
Few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
Few cloves of garlic, minced
Juice from half a lemon
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste
2 Whole Wheat Tortillas, quartered or Fresh Pita Bread

First, open and drain the canned Fava Beans.  Then heat the Fava Beans in a pan on the stove top.  When heated through puree in a food processor, blender or by hand with a potato masher.  Place in a bowl to serve and garnish with the garlic, vegetables, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste.  Slice the Tortillas or Bread into serving sized pieces and use to scoop up the warm Ful!

I also recommend trying the authentic version which I will share from my cookbook, Mediterranean The Beautiful Cookbook .

Ful Mudammas

2 cups dried fava beans
5-6 cups water, to cover
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
salt
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
lemon wedges
olive oil
fresh ground pepper
pita bread
beid hamine (recipe below)

In a bowl combine the fava beans and water to cover generously and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.  Drain.
Place the beans in a saucepan and add the water making sure the beans are covered.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, 2-5 hours.  The cooking time will depend on the age and the size of the beans.  When the beans are ready, add the garlic, cumin and salt to taste.
ladle into bowls.  Set out the parsley, lemon wedges, oil, beid hamine and prepare for diners to add as they like.  Pass the pita.


Beid Hamine
Long Cooked Eggs with Onion Skins

6 eggs
skins from 6-10 yellow onions
2 cups coffee grounds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place the eggs in a saucepan.  Tuck the onion skins around them so that all the surfaces are covered.  Add the coffee grounds and then water to cover by 2 in. and the oil (which prevents the water from evaporating).  Cover and simmer over very low heat for 6-8 hours.

The Singapore Airlines serves it!

Singapore’s National Dish a local delight….Hainanese Steamed Chicken Rice

Served up to passers-by at food stalls and carts this dish is also easily prepared at home.  It was introduced to me by my co-worker (Sophia) who grew up in Indonesia, she said that her mother would prepare it for her when she felt under the weather…a promise to cure-all ills!  After she shared the recipe I see why, it’s simple, and includes foods that heal:  ginger, capsicum, garlic, onion, cilantro and a whole chicken with bones and all to create broth, (which if you’ve read my post about oxtail, then you know how great cooking with bones can be!)  A great snippet from The Weston A. Price Foundation,

“Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily-not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”

In the past this dish was common peasant food and is now a specialty throughout Singapore.  Like many great dishes though, Singapore is not its birthplace.  This dish originated long ago in Hainan, an island in the South China sea, also known as China’s smallest province.  There, it is prepared with older, fatter chickens which bring about more oil to the dish.  The chicken is boiled in a pork and bone broth…this style of broth is used again and again only topping off with water when necessary keeping it mineral and nutrient dense.  As time carried on the dish was also passed on to different cultures, tweaking it to their own likenesses until it somehow reached it’s all time fame in Singapore.

I highly recommend trying this recipe because the aroma is sensational and the taste is even better!  I cooked mine according to my co-worker’s description, via word of mouth….a great way to experiment and cook!  This is how my Hainanese Steamed Chicken Rice came out:

Hainanese Steamed Chicken Rice
photo by michelle.
Hainanese Steamed Chicken Rice
photo by michelle.


Hainanese Steamed Chicken Rice
Translated from Sophia Jomono:

Ingredient List
1 whole organic chicken
Garlic
Ginger
Green Onions
Rice
Fish Sauce
Soy/Tamari

Sesame Oil
Cilantro
Hard-boiled egg
Avocado
Lime
Chili Sauce
Salt and Pepper

Chicken
Use a 1 whole organic chicken with skin and scrub it clean and rub generously with salt
Bring a stew pot of water to boil
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with garlic, ginger and green onion
Drop the whole stuffed chicken into the boiling pot of water, breast side down.
Add salt and fresh black pepper (I’m big on flavor so sometimes I also added a pinch more garlic and ginger)
Bring to a boil then let simmer for at least 40 minutes/until chicken is done.
When the chicken is through cooking remove it from the pot (SAVE THE STOCK) and submerge the chicken into an ice water, this will stop the cooking and result in a moist bird.
Remove from ice bath and shred or carve chicken (I shredded mine)

Rice
In a hot pan add a few swirls of sesame oil
Then saute about 4 cloves garlic and an 1-1/2 or so piece of ginger (do not brown, just until tender)
Add 2 cups of uncooked rice (I used Jasmine, but you can use your preference) and cook and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add a few splashes of fish sauce and soy sauce/tamari to taste
Next add about 2 1/2 cups of the reserved chicken broth, and some more salt and pepper
Bring the rice to boil then put the lid on and let simmer until done
*If you have a rice cooker then use that because the rice probably turns out to perfection…can you tell I don’t have one 🙂

Accoutrements
While the rice is cooking you prepare the following:
Cilantro, chopped
Green Onion, chopped
Avocado, sliced
Hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Limes, wedged
Chili Garlic Sauce ( I use store-bought–It’s called Chili Garlic Sauce with a Rooster Tùòng Òt Tòi Viet-Nam)
Fish Sauce
Soy or Tamari Sauce

To Serve
When the rice is finished if you feel it’s necessary season with more soy sauce.
Pile rice on a serving dish, top with the cooked chicken then adorn with the chopped cilantro and green onion.  Surround the dish with sliced hard-boiled eggs, avocado and lime wedges.  Add a dollop of chili sauce on top and EAT!

For those of you who like a little more structure I am also including a great link to The Steamy Kitchen where intern Jess provides a wonderful step by step photographed recipe for Hainanese Chicken Rice, click here!

You can’t stop the “beet”….

As Bill Cosby stated, “nobody ever says, can I have your beets?”  I categorize beets as an acquired taste, something to the effect of your very first beer!  I recall as a child being served the ‘tinny’ taste of beets straight from the can….and I was NOT a fan!  However, I grew up, my tastes changed and I tried ‘real’ beets not from a can and I like them!  (Not to knock canned beets….they are useful in a pinch but do have a different taste.)

Beets are really a beautiful vegetable ranging from bright yellow to beat red 🙂 They are also very healthy veggies, they contain certain phytonutrients that provide detoxification, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  As with most vegetables, cooking time reduces the effect of phytonutrients but this is especially so with beets.  Nutritionists suggest steaming beets no longer than 15-20 min and keep roasted beets to under 1 hour.  They are actually pretty good raw too, emitting an earthier flavor.

A favorite beet recipe of mine is Borscht…I enjoy it hot or cold and crave it throughout the year.  A recipe will definitely be featured here in the future!  Those Russians knew what they were doing when it came to beet soup!

This past summer a few friends and I took part in a local CSA share.  The farm (Trillium Haven Farm) provided us with an abundance of veggies from May-October.  It was a great way to try new veggies and share recipes!  At one point I came home with red cabbage, carrots, beets, radishes and green onion.  I stared at the veggies on my counter and immediately thought of borscht and was inspired to create the following salad.  So, the next time you are faced with beets try a spin on this!

Beet Salad
photo by michelle.


Beet Salad

Raw beets, peeled and grated  (if you prefer your beets cooked allow them to cool before grating.)
Red Cabbage, shredded
Green Cabbage, shredded
Raw Carrots, peeled and grated
Radishes, sliced and halved
Fresh Dill, chopped
Green Onions, chopped
Hard Boiled Eggs, sliced
Sour Cream
Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil
Fresh Squeeze of Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

Grab yourself a big bowl and clear a workspace to grate, chop and shred!  Add all the vegetables (beets, carrot, cabbage, radish) to the bowl.  In a smaller bowl whisk together 1 part oil to 2 parts vinegar (beets need a bold vinaigrette to balance their sweetness) once emulsified, add to the vegetables.  Squeeze the juice from a few lemon wedges to taste and salt and pepper the vegetables.  Slice the hard-boiled eggs and arrange atop the vegetable mixture.  Garnish with fresh chopped dill, green onions and add a dollop of sour cream.

Jamón Crudo con Palmitos y Tostones!

If you love entertaining as much as I do, then you understand how important appetizers are!  They are a subtle introduction to a meal, a way for guests to mingle and wet their appetite while not getting too full!  The following appetizers would be great accents to a Latin or Caribbean style meal.  Each dish is simple to prepare, look fabulous and most importantly taste amazing.
Continue reading “Jamón Crudo con Palmitos y Tostones!”

A dish with no name

This is one of my go to meals for colder weather months or when I’m short of time….it doesn’t have a name but it’s really, really good!  Not too posh yet not lacking in taste, this dish dazzles by being bright, colorful, crunchy and filling.  I actually borrowed upon the idea from a restaurant down my street called, Gaia Cafe.  It’s a lovely little brunch spot with mismatched tables and chairs, you serve your own coffee and can watch your food being made.  They serve up vegetarian-fare subsisting mostly of stir-frys, scrambles and overall yummy hodgepodges.

Now on to how you make this thing!  Because it is a stir fry you can change-up the veggies, herbs or flavors as you wish and it makes for great leftovers too.

photo by michelle.

I use the following ingredients:

Garlic, chopped

Onion, chopped

Ginger, grated

Tamari

Oil (I like to use Sesame for a nice nutty taste)

Red Cabbage, chopped

Kale or Spinach, chopped

Cauliflower, florets

Broccoli , florets

Basmati Rice, 1-2 cups

Greek Yogurt, some dollops

A mild white cheese such as mozzarella, for garnish

Green Onion to garnish

Start by preparing the rice…you know the drill boil water, dump in rice, boil, put on lid and simmer until perfectly fluffy (oh if only it came out perfect every time!)

Then take a big skillet, season it with oil and saute the onion, few cloves garlic and 2 inch piece of grated ginger.  Then add vegetables beginning with the firmest such as; broccoli, cauliflower, then red cabbage, followed by kale/spinach.  Water will need to be added sparingly to help steam the vegetables (if you have a steamer or a make-shift steamer it is perfectly fine to just steam the veg) at this time shake some tamari on the veg for flavor.  I really like flavor so I may use a few more shakes.  Saute or steam the vegetables until crisp, tender.

Next you are ready to serve this deliciousness so grab some plates for whomever you are feeding.  Start with the rice, then pile on the sautéed vegetables, sprinkle on some mozzarella or other fave mild cheese, add a dollop of greek yogurt and garnish with chopped green onions.  For those who really like tamari leave the bottle on the table so that they may dash some on accordingly!

Maybe someday it will have a name.

It’s Electrifying!

Who doesn’t love pre-dinner cocktails…much deserved when dinner isn’t on the table until 10pm!  Also a great way to keep company in good spirits and allows the cook to cook! (must remember this detail the next time my grandmother is cooking Thanksgiving dinner and 15 of us are all crowded around her in the kitchen!)

I had some girlfriends over the other night for dinner (which was served around 10pm)  and wanted to make a fun pre-dinner drink.  One of my friends was incorporating more fruits and veggies into her diet for this Lenten season and I recalled a lovely, eye-popping, Chartreuse green, kiwi mojito recipe from Rachael Ray’s magazine.  Super simple, super tasty and did I mention electrifying-ly gorgeous.  They were a hit!

Kiwi Mojito- photo by michelle.

This is the recipe I used in case any of you would like to try: Recipe from Rachel Ray Magazine2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peeled and coarsely chopped kiwis (from about two kiwis)
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
  • 4 mint leaves
  • ice
  • 2 ounces light rum

Directions

  • In mini food processor, puree kiwis and agave. In cocktail shaker, muddle mint leaves. Fill shaker with ice, then add rum and kiwi puree. Shake vigorously and strain into ice-filled glasses.