Archive | February, 2013

Flora’s seasonal recipe: Vegetable soup

13 Feb

photo-6I am not a trained chef. My food intuition comes from my upbringing.

I spent countless hours in the kitchen with my mom who hailed from a small town outside of Florence, Italy. Like many mothers before her who cooked with their children, she bestowed her heritage onto me through her food.

There was never a lack of food options in our home. It seemed as though something was always on the stove, in the oven or already cooked, cooled and in the fridge.

Out of all occasions, feeling sick with the sniffles, cough, fever etc…always meant that I was in for some sort of homemade soup. After each spoonful I slurped down I started to feel better.

Here’s a recipe for a simple – no frills vegetable soup for when you or your loved ones are feeling under the weather. Hopefully this will bring some rosiness to your cheeks and some energy back into your body.

Serves 4 big bowls of soup

Ingredients: (use veggies that are lying around your fridge)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 large yellow onion, cubed
  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed and sliced
  • 1 medium beet, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into rounds
  • 3 swiss chard leaves, stems separated from leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups water

Directions:

Prep your ingredients: cube onions, smash and slice garlic, cube your beet, slice your carrots into rounds, remove the stems from the leaves of your swiss chard then thickly chop the stems, roll the leaves then cut them into long ribbons.

Over medium heat add olive oil, then add garlic and onions, a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the rest of your veggies, leaving the swiss chard leaves to the end. Stir it up so that all of the flavors mingle. Add water, another pinch of sea salt and your bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil, then down to a slow simmer with the lid slightly ajar. Let simmer for 1 hour, or until all veggies are cooked.

If you’re feeling like you can handle cheese (dairy can affect mucuous) then top off your soup bowl with freshly grated parmiggiano reggiano.

You will feel better with every spoonful!

forbidden rice

11 Feb

20589-chinese-black-riceThank goodness forbidden rice is no longer forbidden!

Forbidden rice also known as black rice (and the rice that Chinese Emperors ate to enhance their longevity), is a delicious option for those looking to add color, flavor and nutrients to their everyday meals.

Directions:

It’s easy too, since it cooks up like brown rice with the 1:2 ratio of rice to water. All you need to do is bring water to a boil, add the rice, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until the water has been soaked up. That’s all!

As you watch the rice cook you will notice it’s dark purple hues, thanks to the antioxidant called anthocyanin, the same antioxidant that’s present in blueberries, cranberries, acai and eggplant. Black rice is also a great source of iron, zinc, fiber and contains 18 amino acids.

Eat it hot as a risotto, use it as the rice in chicken fried rice, or as a pudding stewed in coconut milk. Try it cold in a salad with butternut squash and herbs, or mango and peanuts, even bell peppers in a tamari – sesame oil dressing.

All of this to say, try out some black rice for yourself! You will be pleasantly surprised.

Photo courtesy of nyu.edu

winter warmth

8 Feb

5970453735_7d2055c449“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

As the coastal blizzard heads our way, and we find ourselves taking shelter inside, make a cup of tea or hot cocoa, spend time with your loved ones, contemplate a delicious and hearty meal to share and bundle up.

All of this in anticipation for the next days snowy adventures, warm comforting meals and memories.

Photo courtesy of The Nick Page

chicken fried rice

6 Feb

2208031777_5cf431d135Chicken fried rice makes for a kid-friendly meal, and also acts as a blank slate making room for lots of cooking creativity.

Add this recipe to your dinner repertoire and your kids will thank you!

We have first-hand proof from our students that this recipe comes out fantastically delicious, boasting two thumbs up in the cafeteria.

Here is how we make it in our kitchen:

Ingredients:
  • Brown rice, 4 cups (cooked the day before for best results)
  • Chicken breast, 2 lbs
  • Carrots, .3 cups
  • Celery, .3 cups
  • Eggs, 4
  • Yellow onions, .25 cups
  • Fresh frozen peas, .3 cups
  • Bok choy, .3 cups
  • Napa cabbage, .3 cups
  • Cooking oil (olive or canola), 2 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Tamari, 2 tablespoons
  • Black pepper, 1 pinch
  • Kosher salt, 1 pinch
Marinade for chicken:
  • Tamari, 1 cup
  • Rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon
  • Cornstarch (optional), 1 teaspoon
  • Cooking oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Sesame oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Black pepper, 1 pinch
  • Kosher salt, 1 pinch

Directions:

Scramble eggs, set aside. Place diced raw chicken in marinade for twenty minutes (or overnight if you so inclined). In a skillet heat cooking oil over medium heat. Place chicken in the skillet, and cook until lightly browned. Add all vegetables, cook until tender. Add in cooked rice, then add in sesame oil, tamari, salt, pepper. Stir constantly. Add in egg mixture, stir until eggs are completely cooked. Taste and season to your liking.
Photo courtesy of patrickwoodward

suggestions for picky eaters

4 Feb

Picky EatersFeeling defeated in trying to get your children to eat healthy?

Perhaps it’s the texture, color or consistency of a food that discourages them from eating it, or simply an aversion to specific foods?

Your children are not alone, picky eating is a very common phase for growing children. In fact, research has shown that the average child needs to be repeatedly exposed to new foods before forming an honest opinion on it.

When introducing your child to a new or healthy food, have patience. It may take more than a few times of trying the newly introduced food before your child accepts it. A great way to help children ease into the introduction is by working new food into your typical family meals. Some favorites of ours include:

Cannellini puree: Makes for a great addition to various kid-friendly foods such as mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, tomato sauce, or to thicken up soups. It will add in some extra protein and fiber into your everyday meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • herbs and spices of choice

Directions:

Blend until smooth.

Carrot puree: Add this puree to your favorite tomato sauce, mac and cheese, muffin or pancake recipe. A wonderful way to add more vitamin A and folate to your meals.

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrot stalks, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Put sweet potatoes and carrots into a pot, add enough cold water to cover. Boil for 30 minutes or until soft. Drain, then add into your food processor with 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth.

What strategies have you come up with to add nutrients into the diets of your picky eaters?

Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC

Recipes adapted from Parenting.com