Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer pasta dish for July 4th weekend

Rigatoni with Grilled Peppers and Spinach, sprinkled with Parmesan and Basil

Cook a pound of pasta as usual. Set aside half a cup of the pasta water. Cut 1 yellow and 1 red pepper and 1 red onion into thin round slices. Grill with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. After the veges. become tender, toss them into the cooked pasta. Add a Tbsp. of basil leaves and a bunch of baby spinach. Add a Tbsp. of olive oil. If you need some sauce, take a few vine-ripened tomatoes, cook them until most of the water dries out, add salt to taste, then add to the pasta bowl. Finally add 1 more Tbsp. of basil leaves and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of fresh, grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guacamole Recipe

Few people dislike guacamole. I read this wonder fleshy vegetable is not only rich in monosaturated fat but also in Vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin B6, as well as folate, copper and potassium. Also in dietary fibre.

Here's how I prepare the dip for my home made Tortilla chips.

Pick 2 medium sized tender guacamole
1 small red onion, diced
1 medium sized vine ripened tomato, diced
2 cloves minced or garlic puree
3-4 seeded jalapenos, diced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. fresh coriander chopped fine
Salt to taste

Cut and mash guacamole with a fork. Mix the rest of the ingredients and serve with your Tortillas. Since mangoes are in season, you may add chopped mangoes to the mix as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What kind of a day is it? Spicy? Maybe Sweet?

It is quite therapeutic. I mean food shopping. However, I need a variety. There is no fun in being the same, doing the same, eating the same. This world is a lot about diversity whether we like it or not. The same goes for food and food shopping. Forget about going into one grocery store and buying the same things week after week. Very dull indeed. Besides you don't find the exotic in a regular, Schnucks or Giant. To add some spice in your food habits, visit the bazaars, the Italian market, the asian markets or as they say in my neck of the woods Global Markets.

The aisles in these stores or markets have varieties of unusual spices and vegetables. Of course, for the carnivores there are more varieties. Just once a week out-of-the-ordinary shopping can kick it up a notch on your dinner table.

So, what kind of a day is it today? Chinese Lo mein or fried rice, Italian Fettucini Alfredo or Paratha Kurma? Or, a day of just salads and desserts?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Black Bean Sauce for your asian cooking

This is a great sauce for stir-fry vegetables or Lo mein. I have tried it with Tofu and vegetables as well.

1 cup canola oil
1/3 cup fermented black beans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 bunches of scallions, white and green parts, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the beans, garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until the mixture has softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the oil and wine, decrease the heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is reduced by three quarters, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.

Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and purée it at high speed while adding the remaining 3/4 cup of oil. Stir the purée back into the remaining mixture and cool completely. Use or store. Lasts 2 weeks, refrigerated.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why should I do it?

In recent years, doctors in the U.S. have been big advocates of Vitamin D3. Among other things, it is supposed to regulate neuromuscular function, reduce inflammation, maintain healthy bones, balance overall health, aid in proper functioning of kidneys including the body's immunity to ward off cancer.

That is plenty reason why one should take this popular health pill. My doctor convinced me and I am on to anything related to good health as many of you know. If you are reading this, go ahead trust me. Get those Vitamin D3s and wait to see magic happen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One day a week is all you need

It seems to be catching on- one meatless day a week. At my workshops people often ask me how to avoid eating meat and where to begin. The first step is already conquered. That is, the willingness to become healthy.

My answer to them is always begin with one meatless meal, then move on to two, then three until you are able to get to make it to one day. As many have seen and tasted, you can have a variety of nutritious meals day after day without having to repeat anything or be bored.

For vegetarian meal recipes, please check out my site.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Warming up before exercise

I never know what kind of exercise or stretching is good for warming up without getting tired before the actual routine begins.

I generally start out with about 20 mins. of stairmaster. By the time 20mins. pass, I am beat. I have literally no wind in me for weights and strength exercises. I do a few and then I am ready to collapse. Should I just do 10 mins. first and do the next 10 mins. after weights? I have tried that and am never happy or motivated to go back to stairmaster after weights. So, I just leave weights for last.

I have some readers trained and certified in fitness. Hope to get an answer from one of you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Here's something to die for

Spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, olives and capers

Cook spaghetti as you would normally. For one pound of pasta, use the following measurements-

5 to 6 cloves of garlic diced and roasted in olive oil
Capers about 2 Tbsp. chopped coarsely
Olives pitted and chopped
Cook olives and capers in olive oil
Add red pepper flakes. Add about 5 large vine-ripened chopped fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes for better taste to the mix. Let tomatoes simmer for about 20 minutes until it the juices reduce.
Toast about 1/2 cup bread crumbs.

Mix everything with the cooked pasta. Server with fresh, grated parmesan cheese. You may add some fresh chopped parsely like about a tsp.

The taste is irresistible.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stay away from sprouts or spinach?

I am paranoid about sprays on our foods such as spinach and bean sprouts. My biggest fear is E-coli that has been found in spinach in the past.

Sprouts supposedly need warm and humid conditions that are perfect for the growth of bacteria as well. So, watch out. No amount of washing is enough to get rid of bacteria. There are ways to kill bacteria in other types of vegetables but no way to eliminate all harmful bacteria from spinach or sprouts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When you've had enough of restaurant meals...

Four days of last week were terrible food days. In the sense almost every meal was at a restaurant. Unavoidable reasons of course! Celebrating a graduation.

I'm going to consider that as a vacation and binging is a huge part of vacations. Is it not? Staying away from exercise? That's not part of it. Regardless, I did stay away from exercising. I will be at the gym this evening and the truth is going to show on the scale.

This week is going to be all about getting back on track, eating healthy and exercising. I could get back on track if I try just a little and that's exactly what I will do.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Purple Pig - Tapas with a twist

Talk about being unique and fresh. I was in Chicago celebrating a graduation and went to the restaurant called 'The Purple Pig'. It is hard to describe the cuisine. It was neither Italian, or Spanish, American, or Mediterranean. It was a mixed, thoughtful,artistic display and selection of designs and tastes. Quite simply fabulous.

What was I, a vegetarian doing in a restaurant named 'The Purple Pig'? Admittedly I was nervous. I had a ravenous appetite but still a bit sceptical as I entered the restaurant last Saturday night. The weather was as cold as a mild winter day. Meaning, we needed serious warm attire. We ordered a mix and match of salads and main dishes. I could only go for the 2 to 3 sides that had no meat. They were limited portions slightly larger than a Tapas plate but enough to leave you satisfied. Those who had meat dishes said they were splendid. The best part of the meal were the champagne, and the dessert the chef created especially for the graduate.

Here's a link to check it out - http://www.thepurplepigchicago.com

Monday, June 6, 2011

Carrot Chutney

This is an unusual chutney that goes great with idli and dosai.

Ingredients:
Grated carrots cooked
1 Tbsp. oil
Red chillies roasted in oil
Coriander seeds roasted in oil
Grated coconut
Salt
1 spoon of peanuts
1tsp. mustard seeds for ganish
1 Tbsp. curry leaves

Grind them all together to a paste. May add water if necessary. Add salt to taste. Garnish with mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Night Owls need to read this

At one point I thought I was the laziest person around since I just love to sleep and literally cannot function the next day if I had less than at least 6 hours of sleep. Eight hours is ideal and on a Saturday I'd love a little more if possible.

I am relieved to find out that it isn't abnormal to sleep so much; in fact it is needed. We have to fit in all the sleep we can when our health is still in tact. There are a host of health issues that can interfere with regular sleep and sometimes there are age-related reasons.

'A good night’s sleep is much more than a luxury. Its benefits include improvements in concentration, short-term memory, productivity, mood, sensitivity to pain and immune function', says a health expert. I think I should add that less sleep may also result in more snacking, in turn affecting our weight.