64 posts categorized " Recipes "

SAYEH'S LIVING SALAD SHIRAZI! 20 Aug 2014

Sayehll

Despite the chill that's arrived in the air in the morning, and the leaves which are already changing color outside of my window, I refuse to accept that summer is over. We still have a month left, and I need to squeeze every last drop out of it to steel myself against the coats and scarves I'll be wearing before too long. And there's nothing that's more summer on a plate than this simple salad, named after a city in Iran, that's almost more condiment than salad. You can eat it with a hard boiled egg in the morning for a simple, fresh breakfast. Put it on top of a bed of quinoa with chickpeas for a clean, filling lunch, or serve it alongside a cool, greek-style yogurt, basmati rice and chicken kabobs for dinner. Any which way, it will be a reminder that summer is still here and fall can wait. 

Ingredients

2 large, ripe juicy tomatoes

4 small (or 3 medium) Persian cucumbers, or 1.5 English/hothouse cucumbers (don't go traditional, waxy cucumber here--it makes a major difference)

1 small-medium onion (any color works)

A generous splash of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons)

The juice of 2 limes

Dried mint (optional, but delish)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dice the tomato, cucumber, and onion to a 1/2 inch dice. Top with olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and a generous sprinkle of dried mint and toss well. You can eat it straight away, but I find that it's better after some time in the fridge, left to cool, and for the flavors to really marry, and get into the salad. 

See you in class!

KELP CHIPS! 18 Aug 2014

Kelp

If you like kale chips give kelp chips a try!  I used to buy seaweed snacks, but I found that it's so easy to DIY, or self-kelp at home.

In moderation, kelp is one of the healthiest foods available to us: It's low in calories, carbohydrates and fat, and high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are important in muscle and bone growth. The sea veggie also provides zinc and selenium, and many other minerals and amino acids.  Kelp also contains melatonin which enhances sleep.  

Kelp contains Iodine and studies have shown that Iodine is the key to  a healthy thyroid and metabolism.  Iodine is more abundant in kelp than in almost any other plant or animal. Iodine is critical to thyroid function, protects us against radiation, prevents infection, and helps scavenge free radicals. The correlation between sea veggies and cancer rates are pretty interesting - Breast cancer rates are lower in Japan than in western countries, and this may be due to seaweed consumption.

Ingredients:  mild Maine freshwater kelp, olive oil spray and salt 

Directions:  Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, then spray paper with coconut or olive oil  (I used foil just for looks).  Tear or cut kelp into medium-sized strips, sprinkle with salt(optional) and place in oven for 15 minutes.

Images via Lauren

COCONUT JERKY! 30 Jun 2014

Jerky

This recipe leaves Mars begging (above) for more.  It's meat and hormone-free and tastes just like candy.  I use Exotic Superfoods young coconut meat, but you can DIY and purchase 5-6 young coconuts and extract the meat utilizing a Coco Jack.

If you like it savory…
Ingredients: 1 half bag of Exotic Superfoods young coconut meat (you can buy it by the single, $10 bag at Whole Foods) 1/2 cup of Braggs or Tamari, 1tsp olive oil & 1tbsp nutritional yeast

If you like it sweet…
Ingredients: 1 half bag of Exotic Superfoods young coconut meat, 1 tbsp coconut sugar & coconut oil spray

Directions:  Slice coconut meat into thin strips and then dehydrate for 4-6 hours at 118 degrees.  If you don’t have a dehydrator, set your oven at its lowest temperature, place the coconut on a rack and place a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it slightly open. The surface should feel dry, but you want it to still be chewy on the inside.

Images via Lauren

LAUREN'S BEAUTY BREAKFAST 23 Jun 2014

Monday's Breakfast

Good Morning!  Looking for something hearty and filling that will re-set and power you through your Monday?  This is my go-to dish pre-photoshoot or bikini.  Protein-packed and nutrient-rich, Lauren's Beauty Breakfast is a nod to our Lithe Escape breakfast (subbing a kale variety for Caribbean callaloo):  1 egg, 2 egg whites, and two hand fulls of fresh-picked kale sauteed in olive oil and Braggs Liquid Aminos.   

Image via Lauren

NO-BAKE WATERMELON CAKE! 29 May 2014

Watermeloncake

I can't take credit for this one - My girlfriend Abbie's sister, Pam (she's an ex-Eagles cheerleader and mom of 4 babes all under 7 years old!) whipped this up after seeing it on Pintrest.  You can make this a pinch and it makes a BIG impact; Everyone will love it! 

Ingredients:  1 whole watermelon, fruit (I prefer berries), and coconut whipped cream

How to make coconut whipped cream ( approx 1 1/4 cups): 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight, 1-2 tbsp powdered cane sugar & 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract. 

Open the can of coconut milk (I prefer Thai Kitchen brand due to it's thickness) and scoop the top layer of white creamy part of the coconut milk into a mixing bowl (I save the coconut water for smoothies). Blend the coconut milk with a hand mixer on high speed for 15-20 seconds, just until the mixture turns to liquid. Sift in the powdered sugar (to taste!) and mix until blended. Add the vanilla extract and blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy/creamy. Whipped coconut cream is best served immediately, but it can be stored in an air tight container for up to three days. It will harden in the fridge, so when ready to serve, simply blend with a hand mixer on high speed until creamy again. 

How to cut the watermelon and dress the cake: Cut the top and bottom off of a medium to large sized watermelon, then slice off the rind so you're left with a cylinder-shaped cake.  Place the cake on a plate, then layer the entire cake (or just the top) wth coconut whipped cream and top with fruit of your choice! 

Images via Lauren

BACKYARD OYSTERS! 22 May 2014

Oysters

Do you guys like Oysters?  I love them, especially during the summer.  I grew up eating Cape May Salts, and Eastern Oysters from the Chesapeake.  In college, I sorta became obsessed with South Carolina low country oyster boils, and post-college, I spent some time in San Fransisco and fell in love with the fresh, west coast oysters of Pt. Reyes and Tomales Bay.

So many people are afraid to do oysters at home, but with the right purveyor, anyone can do it!  Last Wednesday the Cooking Co-Op met up and we had oysters in Laurie and Stu's backyard.  The Oysters came from H.M. Terry Company, Inc. on Virgina's Eastern Shore at Hog Island Bay.  You can find them at Whole Foods - They're $.99 each, and they'll even shuck them for you!

Oysters hardly need a condiment, but Jess made an incredible, light Champagne-Vinegar Mignonette which is a nod to the glamorous side of oyster-eating. Nutritionally, oysters are high in protein, low in fat, contain Omega-3 fatty acids, and offer essential minerals, like iron, zinc, and copper, plus vitamin B12. With the Champagne-vinegar mignonette, they really are a healthy snack. Six medium sized oysters = 57 calories, 2g of fat, 3.3g of carbohydrates and 5.9 g of protein.

Jess's Champagne-Vinegar Mignonette

Ingredients: Minced shallots, equal parts red wine vinegar and champagne vinegar (approx 1/2 tsp shallot and 3 tbsp each of the vinegars). 

To Do: Mix all ingredients to taste, spoon a teaspoonful over your raw oysters and enjoy.

Images via Lauren

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 14 May 2014

Ll-7

Recently, I went to COOK, Philadelphia's Collaborative Kitchen Classroom, for a Persian food demonstration. The chef, Louisa Shafia, was the author of a cookbook I had been eyeing for some time called The New Persian Kitchen. I sat for 3 hours while I listened to Louisa (a Philly native, btw) describe her life with a Persian father and Jewish mother, and how she came to rediscover and fall in love with Persian cuisine and the heritage it so richly reflects. It was immediately clear to me that she had done extensive research on the history and provenance of classic Persian ingredients and the traditional dishes they comprise, yet it was her fresh riffs and personal interpretations of those dishes that delighted me the most. Other than Louisa, I was the only other Iranian in the room, and I have to say I was so unexpectedly moved by the experience. To be in a room full of Americans--of diverse backgrounds--all discussing Iran, and sampling its food was truly special, and made me incredibly proud and grateful. Needless to say, I came home with a volume of recipes that's been rocking my world ever since. 

One of the things I love most about Persian food, other than how delicious and healthy it is, is that it requires a kind of meditative assembly--both in preparing it and in eating it. Whole ingredients are often arranged beautifully on a plate--whole radishes, whole chunks of feta, whole raw herbs--yet they aren't considered garnishes, and there are no appetizers. Everything comes out together and is meant to be eaten with one another. Everything is a complimentary condiment of everything else. And that kind of eating--process eating, I call it--is my favorite. Taking a bit of this, and dipping it into a dollop of that...sprinkling a little of this onto a slice of that makes eating feel (to me) so much more communal and thoughtful--carefully considering what combinations you will arrange for your next bite.  And nothing makes me crave foods like this--foods that require more assembly than cooking (or assembly after the cooking)--than warm temps and summer months. 

I grew up watching my mother and grandmother toil in the kitchen for hours on end preparing vast Persian feasts (always preparing enough to accomomdate the possibility of unexpected guests or overfeeding the expected ones is the goal here). And although the memories are filled with the sounds of clanging pots, and the aromas of tons of fresh herbs, I have always been overwhelmed at the prospect of making my favorites on my own. The New Persian Kitchen, on the other hand, truly makes these dishes approachable and manageable, and dare I say, fool proof! Louisa even includes lots of tips and tricks to achieve the elusive Tahdig--the coveted golden rice left at the bottom of a pot--which typically takes serious practice. (I have yet to master it.) If you've been intrigued by, tried or enjoyed any of my own Persian recipes which I've featured on the blog in the past, you will love this book. 

The extra good news is that these dishes emphasize local, seasonal ingredients, good fats and are rife with herbs and spices, like turmeric, that boast a variety of healing properties. So for those of us gearing up for summer by taking part in the T-Minus 30 challenge, or just trying to clean up our eating in preparation of bikini season, not to worry, these recipes will leave you feeling light and clean and well on your way to your goals.

One of my favorites is the Cold Pistachio Soup with Mint and Leeks (Soup-e Pesteh)

Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 pound leeks, green and white parts, coarsely chopped
1 cup pistachios, shelled
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt
7 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
About 2 cups loosely packed fresh spearmint
Juice of 2 lemons
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until soft. Cook the leeks in batches, if they don’t all fit at once.

Stir in the pistachios, garlic, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the spearmint. Transfer to a blender, blend until smooth, and add salt to taste. Serve warm, or pour into a shallow baking dish and refrigerate for 2 hours, until thoroughly chilled. Season with lemon juice and pepper, and serve.

Enjoy! See you in class!

ME ON MONDAY (THE LITHE COOKING CO-OP)! 30 Apr 2014

Art

Smack in the middle of Lithe Spring Clean, two of my girlfriends and I got together and had a ton of fun with in the kitchen with spices.  If you're eating clean, the power of spices can really transform food and trick your taste buds.  When I think of spice these days, the name Lior Lev Sercarz is what comes to mind.  My sister-in-law, Laurie and my friend Jess (above) both know Lior personally, so it was really fun hearing stories about the blends that we were using. 

Known as the spice master to the stars, Lior Lev Sercarz has blended for names like Le Bernardin, Daniel and even Zahav here in Philly.  If you walk into his spice shop, La Boîte à Epice, Lior will happily talk you through spice, and then weather, and then whatever you like, really. We grabbed his new book, The Art of Blending, and made some incredible lamb and eggplant dishes using his Za'atar, Dali and Vadouvan blends. 

It was so fun to experiment in the kitchen; we cooked and shared, combining expertise, skills and supplies. Stay tuned for our next edition, and I'll be extending a special invitation to all of you! 

Images via Lauren

LAUREN'S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE! 23 Apr 2014

Mousse

Guys, this is SO good, and really easy to make.  My little loves it, too.  I cut artificial sweeteners out of my life back in college but this recipe really calls for a powdered sweetener - liquid sweeteners make this too soupy.  The only powdered sweetener that I prefer other than date sugar (which is natural) is Nectresse.

Ingredients:  1 can of thick, full-fat coconut milk (I prefer Thai kitchen), 1/4 cup of cacao powder, 4-6 packets of Nectresse (Stevia will do), 1 tsp of cacao nibs, 1/2 tsp of tocos, 1/2 tsp of mesquite, 1/2 tsp of maca.   

To Do:  Pour coconut milk in a bowl.  Stir in cacao powder, Nectresse, and all of your superfood powders until smooth.  Place bowl uncovered in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight!) until it becomes nice and thick.

Images of Mars and the mousse via Lauren

THE MARGARITA! 16 Apr 2014

Margarita

My brother-in-law Stu makes a killer Margarita without any sugar-laden mixers.  Give it a shot, it's a guaranteed  killer arm workout!

To make a pitcher, use equal parts Silver tequila, triple sec, and juice.  To make the juice, you'll want half fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 Roses lime juice and 1/4 orange, grapefruit, or pineapple juice.  Place ice cubes in rocks glasses, shake margarita mixture in a cocktail shaker, and then strain into rocks glasses and enjoy!

Top image via Stu and bottom image via Lauren

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