Tag Archives: food

meatless monday: try this, this and this

via vogue.com

via vogue.com

wear this: a fresh pair of jeans.

via aloha.com

via aloha.com

make this: raw superfood bites.

matcha latte, some succulents, matcha bar, brooklyn.

matcha latte, some succulents, matcha bar, brooklyn.

drink this: a matcha latte. earthy, soothing, healthy. from matcha bar in williamsburg.

wednesday wisdom: spotted on the L train, 7:46pm, chipotle takeout, college nostalgia

sara little yoga blog nyc george saunders
(George Saunders is a writer/mentor/friend/former professor at Syracuse/MacArthur Genius/one of Time’s 100 most influential people.)

meatless monday: strawberry bruschetta grilled cheese

via foodiecrush.

via foodiecrush.

At first, I saw this food-porny photo on Pinterest and thought, “What a load of ridiculousness.” It’s a classic pin for my “Recipes I Think I Will Make But Never Will Obviously” board. Strawberries and brie and bread. Who needs all that in one bite?

Then I remembered: I am a human girl. I need that in my life.

And I also remembered: in two weeks time, I’ll be off having a girl’s weekend in an adorable coastal town north of Boston, and I will make this for brunch. And no one will fight me on it.

Strawberry Bruschetta Grilled Cheese
via Foodie Crush

8 thinly sliced pieces of sourdough baguette
4 tbsp. butter
4 large strawberries, chopped (about 1 c.)
4 large basil leaves, slivered
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
kosher salt and pepper
8 oz. brie cheese

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread, then flip the bread buttered side down and repeat with the other 6 slices.

Add chopped strawberries to a small bowl, sprinkle with basil and dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Mix gently then top with lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

Slice the brie and spread on unbuttered sides of the bread. Spoon a generous amount of the strawberry mixture on 4 pieces of the brie-topped bread. Place strawberry stacked bread, buttered side down, in a non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat and top with the other slice of buttered bread. Cover with lid and let cook for 3-4 min. or until golden.

Reduce heat to medium and flip sandwich to the other side and cook for 2-3 min. or until bread is toasty golden and the cheese has melted. Enjoy hot.

meatless monday: the summer edition

summa-summa-summa-TIME.

summa-summa-summa-TIME.

It’s summer. It’s margarita salad season. Get excited.

Summer food is really about assembling vs. actual cooking. Let fresh, beautiful produce take center stage and you don’t need a lot else. All you really need to add for an easy, light, flavorful meatless meal is something from each category:

A big pile of greens
A grain (Israeli couscous, quinoa, orzo)
Something creamy (avocado, goat cheese, feta)
Something tangy (dried cranberries, cherries)
Something crunchy (cashews, sunflower seeds)
A citrusy element (lemon zest, balsamic orange vinaigrette)

Mix it all up. Boom. Dinner.

In case that’s just too non-specific for you, a roundup of other tried-and-true summer yummies:

Israeli couscous with grilled summer squash (via fancyfoodfancy)

Watermelon, mint and feta salad (via myself)

Corn, tomato, pepper salad with cheese tortellini (via Serious Eats)

Grilled pineapple with honey, lime and cinnamon (via SkinnyTaste)

Cilantro salad (via 101cookbooks)

Coconut lime granita (me again)

Top it off with a summer cocktail or a little homemade lemonade. Preferably served in a mason jar. Happy summer. xx

feast & famine: alternate day fasting

sara little yoga blog nyc feast famine
A burger and fries one day, sucking on a piece of lettuce the next. This is dieting in 2013. The latest (and greatest?) new trend/controversy in waist-line management is ADF, Alternate Day Fasting, which sounds like it has potential as the perfect weight loss plan for lazy girls and guys. Exactly how safe (and effective) is it?

ADF is all the rage, the weight loss approach that takes yo-yo dieting to the extreme. Basically, ADF (the British version is the 5:2 diet) involves a 24-hour cycle of eating normal amounts of foods (2,000 calories), followed by 24 hours of serious calorie restriction, with no more than 500 total on fasting days. The theory goes that all the misery of fasting becomes more bearable, knowing that after a day spent starving yourself (literally), you get to eat whatever you want. And that includes a milkshake. In other words, you’re only on a “diet” half of the time, while the other half hardly feels, or looks like, a diet at all.

Proponents suggest ADF makes the ever-popular fasting/cleansing approach more sustainable for long-term benefits. It also gives you some power over your social calendar, since you’re only “dieting” every other day (ever been the Bummer Buddy on a juice cleanse and gone out with your friends? Not. Fun.). Other possible benefits, according to Ariane Hundt, a nutritionist, personal trainer, and founder of the Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp: on fasting days, the digestive system gets a rest, blood sugar levels balance out, and energy levels can be regulated without an onslaught of sugar and starches. “With fasting, you can teach your body to become more sensitive to calories from sugar and starches, so that when you do eat them, you’ll have a more negative response,” says Hundt. “You learn to dislike those foods and create an aversion rather than seeing them as a treat.”

And further evidence shows weight loss has occurred in ADF participants, as is the case whenever you restrict caloric intake, say most experts.

But what are the long-term effects of this binge/deprive approach to food? And can someone even diet this way as a lifestyle? Studies are inconclusive at the moment, and experts who weigh in tend to agree that this type of eating only reinforces an extreme relationship with food, an “all or nothing” approach. “If you were to eat a lot of sugary calories one day and then none the next, you would simply undo a bad day of eating without making any true progress. Hence, fasting for a day would be a wasted effort,” Hundt says.

With no focus on nutrition, ADF disregards any guidelines for replenishing those essential nutrients on your “eating days” that are clearly not taken in on your “fasting days.” “This approach simply doesn’t teach you about the impact of foods on your body,” adds Hundt. “You don’t learn anything about food and health, and you don’t learn how to eat properly to create a healthy body and mind. It simply perpetuates the diet model, which isn’t working in the long run.”

My take? I’m certainly not an anti-fasting fascist, and have fasted a number of times, for different reasons. But this diet not only bolsters an unhealthy, extreme relationship to food through a punishment/reward mentality, it also fails to teach anything about good nutrition, or the actual effects of food on the body. I’m all about finding balance, and there’s nothing balanced about starving yourself one day… and gorging on a large meat lover’s pizza the next.

not-so-meatless days: the trouble with meatless

oh fer shame! image via abends.wordpress.com

oh fer shame! image via abends.wordpress.com

Whenever it’s time for the president’s State of the Union address, I make it a point to do a personal State of the Union: The Body Edition. That means I make the annual rounds to my various medical practitioners to check up on all the various things we’re supposed to keep tabs on: blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney/liver functionality, suspicious freckles, woman stuff. Just good common sense. Let me not bore you with my own moderately obsessive pride in my super excellent resting heart rate (not to mention “Cholesterol levels people kill for.” Doesn’t it feel good when your doc praises you?). Reviewing my most recent blood work with my physician revealed something less-than-super-excellent: extremely low levels of Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D. We’re talking borderline pernicious anemia low.

Low levels of iron and B12 mean that oxygen is not efficiently delivered from the lungs to our muscles, resulting in fatigue and weakness; other issues include digestive ailments and mood changes. I’m really not an alarmist about these kinds of things (and iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the United States, according to the CDC), but my doctor wanted to send me to a hematologist that second for an IV iron transfusion (!). No no no thank you. Although iron and B12 are better absorbed directly through the blood rather than through the stomach, I promised to incorporate more iron-, B12-, and D-rich foods into my life. (She also wanted to do a B12 shot, but did you know there’s a B12 injection shortage in the U.S. right now? It’s crazy hard to find!).

Guess where all of this is leading? The most iron- and B12-rich foods are from animals (good news: the very best source of Vitamin D, however, is sunshine! Sounds like magic! Yay!). Most of you who know me well know that I’m the world’s worst vegetarian anyway, especially in recent months. I guess there’s a good reason I’ve been craving meat lately: the body is wise and knows what it’s lacking.

So my Meatless Mondays, which I am still pretty diligent about following, have slipped up recently. A little roast chicken here, a bite of fish there. It’s a slippery slope to full-blown meatmania, to be sure. But as my doctor looked up from my charts and into my pathetic, pale winter face, she uttered a phrase that I simply couldn’t argue with: “You really just need a big ol’ steak once and a while.”

Amen, I guess? I dunno. I’m not going to pretend that my steak tastes like guilt and shame. Because it actually tastes damn good. Yes, I struggle with some mixed feelings about a foray back into the meatworld, all related to my political and emotional stance on how animals raised for food are treated in this world. I’m committed to keeping plants and produce the majority of my plate. I’m committed to supporting humanely treated, hormone-free, organic meat whenever possible. I’m committed to taking iron and B12 supplements. And I’m determined to help myself feel better and therefore, be of better service to others.

And guess what? An unexpected, peculiar bonus I noticed: this heathen has started saying a silent grace before meals now. Who would’ve known a little pork chop could turn me back to prayer, thanks for your energy, thanks for your life? There’s spirit in all living things.

Here’s what my research tells me:

Best meat sources of iron:
beef, lamb, ham, turkey, chicken, veal, pork, dried beef, liver, liverwurst, eggs (yolks), shrimp, clams, scallops, oysters, tuna, sardines, haddock, mackerel

Best non-meat sources of iron:
spinach, sweet potato, peas, broccoli, string beans, beet greens, dandelion greens, collards, kale, chard, enriched rice, dried apricots

Best meat sources of B12:
clams, oysters, mussels, liver, caviar, octopus, fish, crab, lobster, beef, lamb

Best non-meat sources of B12 (B12 only exists in animal products):
cheese, eggs, milk

Best source of D, hands down:
sunshine!

meatless monday: the (new) most beautiful food magazine in the world

.

If you’ve been a lazy cook all summer (and I’ll be the first to point a finger at myself), you’ll need a little inspiration and you’ll have no choice but to pick up Gather Journal, the last little publication on food and photography you’ll ever need in your life. I collect magazines like the apocalypse is tomorrow, and as I idly leafed through this inaugural issue last week, my heart was floating. An appropriate feeling, as each issue centers around a theme and a season (summer 2012 is “float”).

from the pages: lotus root.

Experiencing this magazine is cathartic. Elegant and simple design compliment equally elegant and simple recipes. Astounding photography (both food and landscape), entice you to think big and small: the close-up of a poached egg floating in boiling water is all detail and intimacy; turn the thick, rough page, and a sweeping desert scene dotted with milkweed take you beyond your meal to the world at large.

salts!

What’s more, this mag was chock full of amazing recipes I’m dying to make (spiced lotus chips, grilled bread with ricotta and peas, shaved asparagus salad), dedicates 18 full pages to salt (be still my salty heart!), and contains a sweet love letter to Cheetos.

not your grandma’s brittle.

Gather was the kick in the butt I needed to get back in my kitchen after a too-long hiatus. So yesterday, I whipped up our traditional Sunday nachos (only appropriate during football season) and curled up with my little family to enjoy this post-nacho treat, straight from Gather’s newly minted pages: Salted Peanut Brittle.

final product. success (plus extra salt).

Salted Peanut Brittle
adapted from Gather Journal
serves 6 to 8

2 c. sugar (SL: I used light brown)
1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 c. unsalted, roasted peanuts
1 tsp. flaky sea salt (SL: I used Pink Himalayan)
olive oil for brushing

In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and water over medium heat gently stirring to help dissolve sugar. Once the sugar has begun to melt, increase heat to medium-high and boil, swirling pan occasionally without stirring. Have a small cup of cold water and a pastry brush handy to wash down any sugar crystals from the side of the pan. Meanwhile, grease a baking sheet and heat-proof spatula with olive oil.

Once sugar has reached a golden amber color and is dissolved, quickly add the baking soda, kosher salt and butter. Be careful, the mixture will bubble up furiously! Give the pan a few swirls and remove from the heat. Add the peanuts and quickly stir to incorporate using your greased, heat-proof spatula. Immediately spread the brittle onto the greased baking sheet and sprinkle with flaky salt. Cool completely.