I am not a dietitian, I am a Research and Development Chef with a Nutritional Concentration. This site is based on opinions I've formed through my research and experience working for manufactured food processors.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Soul Toast'in Bean Soup

On chilly December days like today, I crave hot soup to the core. Here's a simple recipe that will take you back to sledding with the family, followed by cold toes next to the fireplace, and a hot mug of bean soup.

Soak a combination of various beans for several hours or overnight. 

Make a stock with either pork, chicken or vegetables. Make sure the bones come from a reputable source. Beans have an affinity with pork, and the flavor combination is succulent.

Strain the stock and reserve any meat tidbits from the bones. Add the soaked beans and the meat back to the strained stock. If you have some carrots or celery laying around, chop them up pretty small and add them in too. Bring the contents to a boil and simmer for 1-2 hours depending on the hardness of your beans. Don't season the soup until the beans have softened. Seasoning, especially salt will slow the cooking process of the beans down and if the stock reduces too much over the long cooking time, it may end up being too salty.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

...and then the bomb was dropped.

Eatocracy, just released a report originally announced by consumers reports concerning the bacterial contamination of an alarmingly large amount (69%) of US pork products. Unfortunately, some of my favorite grocery stores made the list. Apparently the bacteria, which is known as Yersinia enterocolitica, is also resistant to many antibiotics. SCARY. 

Want to avoid scares like this? Buy your meat from a trusted local farmer. I do.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Homestyle Ranch Dressing

Ok...I admit it. I'm an American and I LOVE ranch dressing...but only the good stuff. Amazingly, it doesn't take much to recreate the real deal in your own kitchen. Even without all of the preservatives that inferior store bought versions contain, this concoction lasted about a week in my refrigerator.  All you need is some sour cream, buttermilk, and some fresh herbs. Here's my recipe:

1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp fresh chives, minced
2 tbsp shallots, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper TT

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for an hour or two prior to enjoying. Voilà!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Take a look at my bounty from the Green City Farmer's market this morning. I made sure I got there bright and early in order to get the "good" tomatoes. Check out these stunning heirlooms from Iron Creek Farm:

I've been waiting for these babies all winter!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Arugula Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Nothing screams spring like this tasty arugula salad. First I tossed the arugula in a light sweet mustard dressing, than I added fresh strawberries, walnuts, avocado's and this to-die-for goat cheese from Prairie Fruits Farm:

Here's the recipe for the dressing:

1 TBSP honey mustard (substitute with honey and mustard if you need to)
3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 TBSP lemon
2 TBSP champagne vinegar (substitute with any mildly sweet vinegar)
salt & pepper

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Smoothie of the week

Why is this Buddha so smiley? Not only has he made peace with himself and with the rest of the world...he is about to drink the tastiest fruit smoothie ever! I'm not sure it is possible to fool the enlightened one but I snuck in 4 leaves of Vitamin A & Vitamin C rich romaine leaves (they also are a good source of iron and calcium). Here is the recipe:

1 Banana
4 Leaves Romain Lettuce
1 Mango
Splash of Pineapple Juice

Blend, pour, sip

“Peace is the highest bliss.” - Buddha

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dosas make everybody happy

Dosa's are a South Indian delight enjoyed since the 6th century A.D. Not only are they fun to eat, these vegan treats are gluten free, dairy, egg free, and very healthy. Dosa recipes involve fermenting lentil beans and rice. This process increases the vitamin B and Vitamin C content (Dr J. S., December 2006). For more information and a complete recipe, click here 

Dr J. S. (December 2006). "Traditional Indian Foods: Physio-Chemical Aspects".PFNDAI Bulletin: 3.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Killer Burger Recipe

Sometimes there are no two ways about it...you just gotta have a burger. Whether it's that whiff of grilled red meat you smelled on your way home from work or that juicy patty you saw on T.V. What ever it is, once you get the urge there's no turning back. This happens to me about 3 times a year. Lately, I've been running over to my new favorite burger joint on Chicago and Wells called Farmhouse. This comfy, yet lively craft tavern, is a farm to table concept with a local seasonal focus on craft beer, food and liquor. The bartender told me that the grass-fed, organic beef is ground in-house...sold! They also have my favorite yooper delicacy; the pastie

If you feel like grilling up your own burger at home, here is a tasty recipe I threw together. My favorite cooking method for burgers is over charcoal but sometimes we must make concessions in life. I live in a high rise so that = no gas, and no balcony pour moi.  I made mine on an electric grill but a grill pan or cast iron skillet on the stove works well also.  

1.5 lbs grass-fed, pasture raised, organic beef (85%)
4 shiitake mushrooms, diced
2-3 TBSP red onion, minced
1 TBSP soy sauce  
1 TBSP ketchup
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt tt
black pepper tt
1 egg 
1 TBSP olive oil
spray oil

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to high. Saute the onion and mushrooms in the oil just until soft. Season with salt and pepper and add the soy sauce. Reduce the liquid until it is almost dry, remove from heat and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the beef, seasonings, ketchup, and egg. Then incorporate the ingredients from the pan into the burger mixture. Make 4 nice patties.

Spray the grill with a little oil to prevent any sticking and lay out the patties. Grill for 2 minutes and than turn the patties 90 degrees to make nice cross hatch grill marks. Continue to grill for an additional 2 minutes than flip. Repeat the grill mark exercise above. If you take the burger off of the grill now it will probably be around rare or medium rare doneness. For medium leave it on for 1-2 more minutes, and for well 1-2 additional minutes. The more well done the meat, the firmer the patty will feel when you push your finger into it. You can use a meat thermometer for assistance if you wish, 130 degrees for rare to 165 degrees for well. To be safe though, most guidelines recommended you cook your burger to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My favorite stir-fry

I took a trip to Chinatown yesterday and picked up some great stir-fry ingredients. Here is a basic, but delicious recipe that anyone can make:

Asian noodles (some are healthier than others, read the label)
baby bok choy
shiitake mushrooms
lotus root
edamame peas (frozen)
fresh pea shoots
tofu (again, read the label)
1-3 cloves garlic depending on your preference, minced
1-3 inches of ginger depending on your preference, minced or grated
chili paste or dried chili's tt
1-2 TBSP sesame oil 
3 TBSP Oyster sauce
water for desired consistancy
peanuts, optional

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. Remember some items take longer to cook than others. First start the broccoli and mushrooms, than add the ginger and garlic. Once these are ready toss in all of the other vegetables. At this point I like to add the chili paste, than the oyster sauce and water. While all of this is going on cook the noodles (or rice). Be sure not to overcook the veggies, they should hold their shape and color well. Serve over noodles. 


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Cows

This is a great story, watch this video I saw on Cnn. It shows cows sleeping comfortably on water beds. The added comfort results in higher quality milk. I also read an article on Live Science which states that naming cows increases their milk yield. See, all these cows really want is a little love and respect.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blast away that cold with this spicy Asian soup!

In our house we fight our colds head on with spicy soup. Here is a great recipe that I just made for the sickies in my house. If you can't taste anything due to a stuffy nose, have no fear. Your taste buds are sure to awaken to this dish.

Don't worry if you don't have all of the ingredients:   

 2 quarts Veggie or Chicken Stock (if you use my veggie stock recipe omit the beets)
1-2 pints assorted mushrooms
3 Carrots, sliced thin
3 Celery stalks, sliced thin
A bunch of scallions, cut on a bias
Small handful watercress
1 cup water chestnuts
2 TBSP fresh ginger
1 TBSP pounded lemon grass
1 green chili
One small bunch baby bok choy, cut into bite size strips
dried red chili's tt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup baby corn
Asian noodles, cooked
soy sauce tt
oyster sauce tt
lemon or lime juice tt
salt & white pepper tt

*Garnish with fresh cilantro

Bring the stock to a boil and add the carrots, celery and mushrooms. Boil for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the noodles, lemon juice and cilantro) and reduce the heat to medium temperature. Continue to cook for 30 minutes checking for seasoning periodically. In the mean time boil some water and cook the noodles. Put the noodles into each individual bowl, cover with soup and garnish with cilantro and lemon juice.

Happy slurping!