Monday, October 27, 2014

Basic Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

For all ya basic girls out there, here's a seasonal recipe to get you out of that grind. It's your favorite peanut butter banana smoothies recipe with an autumnal twist. And you know what? It's only 6 ingredients that you 90% already have and it takes less than 3 minutes. Everybody got time for that. Really, it's an easy post work out go to.

Here goes.

Basic Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
1 banana, ripe
1/3 cup ice
1.5 tbs peanut butter
1/3 cup 1% milk*
1/4 cup raw oats
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
2. Blend until smooth.

✓ whole grains
✓ fruit
✓ protein
✓ fiber
✓ potassium 
✓ unsaturated fats 

*I'm old school, so I still drink cow's milk. But feel free to substitute this ingredient with soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. I guarantee you it will be just as delicious.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Community cooking class at the Teaching Kitchen of Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine

Happy Food Day!

I am now almost two months in to my dietetic internship at Tulane. This week I was rotating at the Center for Culinary Medicine, which just opened on 300 N. Broad Street in the same building as Whole Foods and Liberty's Kitchen. The center hosts a multitude of events and one of the ongoing projects are the community cooking classes. These classes run for a six week session, where participants work in small groups with first year med students to make 2-3 recipes. Each group is assigned different recipes, so it's a buffet feast by the end of each evening. 

So two nights ago, I worked with two guys in making a quinoa lettuce wrap with the best spicy peanut sauce and an unbelievably easy to make super creamy chocolate banana ice cream. You got to try these recipes yourself to get how delicious and healthy they are! 

Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup
Quinoa, uncooked
1 cup
1/2 each
Red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 each
Red onion, diced small
2 tbsp
Cilantro, minced
4 cloves
Garlic, minced
2 tbsp
Lime juice
To taste
Black pepper
24 leaves
Bibb lettuce

Peanut Sauce:
1 tbsp                 
2 tbsp                 
Low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp        
Peanut butter
1 tbsp                 
Lime juice
1 tbsp                 
To taste      
Black pepper
1 tsp

1. Gather all ingredients and equipment.
2. In a small saucepan combine quinoa and water. Cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, approximately 10 minutes. If water is low and quinoa sticks to the bottom of the pan, add 2 tablespoons of water until it is finished cooking.
3. Place quinoa in a medium-sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients for filling and stir until well mixed.
4. To create wrap, lay one lettuce leaf flat and place 2 tablespoons of quinoa mixture in center. Spread mixture slightly and roll leaf into a cigar shape.
5. For peanut sauce: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and serve as a dipping sauce with lettuce wraps.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
4 each
2 tbsp
Banana, frozen, overripe
Cocoa powder 

1.    Remove bananas from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-7 minute.
2.    Add bananas and cocoa powder to blender.
3.    Blend until smooth and creamy. It takes a while. Keep blending!
4.    Enjoy immediately.

Both recipes and a lot more can be found here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐

Now that it's chillier out (70 degrees and sunny with a light breeze is sweater weather here in New Orleans), it's time for a spicy recipe! I asked my grandmother the secrets on making mapo tofu. It's something that I don't necessarily order because it's so common, but also because it's hard to get the right authentic Sichuan taste down. My grandmother is from Hunan, which also prides itself in eating spicy food 24/7, so she knows the ins and outs. 

One of the main things I didn't know about mapo tofu is that traditionally, it is made with beef. I always thought it was ground pork. Also, the sichuan spice is made from two different peppers: heaving facing (Sichuan) pepper and Sichuan peppercorn. The former provides the spice and the latter delivers the distinct numbing factor. 

Recently I also made this recipe for my vegetarian friend, Henok, that's Ethiopian and can handle his spice. He accidentally bit into a pepper, and it was a bad idea. Anyways, for the vegetarian version, I instead of beef I used fresh shiitake mushrooms. 

In the photo above, I made the mapo tofu with ground beef I got from Lilac Hedge Farm's meat CSA. Dare to be adventurous with your ground beef. Anyways, hope you enjoy one of my go-to recipes. And be very careful with how many peppers you throw in! 

Mapo Tofu (serves 3-4)
1 tbs canola oil
5 cloves garlic
3 sprigs scallion, diced (separate the tops and the ends) 
2 tbs spicy soy bean paste
1 pack tofu, firm
1/2 lb ground beef, marinated* or shiitake mushrooms (OR both??)
6-8 heaven facing peppers
1/3 tsp Sichuan peppercorn, crushed
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1. In a deep pan, heat oil with garlic, scallion ends, and heaven facing peppers on high heat. 
2. Once garlic and scallions are browned (make sure the peppers don't turn a dark brown), add spicy soy bean paste and mix well.
3. Stir in the ground beef (or mushrooms). 
4. Once about 70% cooked, add in the tofu and simmer on low heat with lid ajar for 15 min to an hour.  
5. 5 minutes before serving, stir in the crushed peppercorn, sesame oil, and chopped scallion tops. 

*Beef marinade:
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1/4 cup shaoxing rice wine
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Atlanta, Georgia: Flying Biscuit, Vortex, & Majestic Diner

Over the weekend I visited Atlanta, Georgia for the second time. I stayed with a good friend Vic near Emory, who I also had the pleasure of traveling to IstanbulBudapestVienna, and Prague with a couple winters ago. Knowing that I love food, he planned an ambitious schedule packed with southern food and Atlanta favorites. 

After getting into Atlanta well past midnight the evening before (for the record, it was a 475 mile drive from New Orleans), I needed a strong breakfast to get me going. We picked up Fukuko, who was visiting from Hong Kong for TomorrowWorld, and headed straight to brunch at The Flying Biscuit. 

I ordered the High Flyer, a generous feast featuring two sunny side up eggs, chicken breakfast sausage, "creamy dreamy grits," plus an organic oatmeal pancake topped with warm peach compote. I of course had it with an unsweetened iced tea and a unexpectedly 16oz pineapple mimosa. I don't know how anyone finishes this by themselves. And though the biscuit was good, the star of the show was most definitely the creamy dreamy grits. I could have had 3 bowls of that plain. Runner up is their whole wheat French toast that's served with homemade raspberry sauce and honey cream. 

The Flying Biscuit
1655 McLendon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA

 I had no idea that there was such a strong street art culture in Atlanta. I was so impressed with the quality of the murals and disappointed that New York is quickly losing this culture. Vic showed us Krog Street tunnel and we took a walk around Cabbagetown, where we admired the colorful houses and stunning painted walls. When I have the money, I will most definitely be commissioning murals all over Manhattan. 

Vic works at The Neon Company, who produces many of the iconic neon signs seen around Atlanta. This is another reason why ATL was amazing. I don't know why, but I've always loved the aesthetic of neon signs and here, they're everywhere. It was closed over the weekend, but I will definitely need to stay on a weekday next time to check out his work space. 

Good thing Vic brought us for a walking tour of Cabbagetown to work off that breakfast because dinner at Vortex is no joke. After an hour long wait, I was utterly famished. 

We started with the fried zucchini slices, which were undoubtedly A+. Who knew zucchini would taste so good with ranch dressing? Fukuko and I both ordered the Steak House, a half pound sirloin beef burger topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms, swiss and cheddar cheese, and Vortex steak sauce. I had mine medium rare topped with an egg and served with sweet potato waffle fries (skip the marshmallow goo sauce). Fukuko ordered hers with their perfectly crispy tater tots. Vic toyed with the idea of getting another Coronary Bypass burger (think bacon plus cheese plus egg) , but opted for the Holy Guacamole burger instead. 

It was tough, and no one talked for the entire meal. But we did it. 

Fun fact: I drank two 32 ounce unsweetened iced teas at this meal. 

Vortex Bar & Grill
438 Moreland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA

Our final stop at 4am on Sunday was Majestic Diner. It was between this or Waffle House, and we opted for the slightly classier definitely pricier Majestic Diner. You can see the diner from a far with its iconic neon exterior lighting up the entire street corner. 

Inside, this place was packed. We actually had to wait 20 minutes for a table. But let's be real, who doesn't want breakfast food all day? 24 hours is definitely the way to go for a diner. Fukuko and I shared a grilled ham and cheese, hashbrowns (a la Waffle House style), and grits. I of course had to order a vanilla milkshake. It's the only way to go. Vic's friends had a delicious looking patty melt and a corned beef hash. Solid choices all around. 

With only one full day in Atlanta, I'd say we did a real good job packing in three full meals, albeit it took us a span of 17 hours. We actually needed all of it to fuel us for the long night out. And I woke up hungry. But next time (yes, I'm for sure going back again) I definitely have to hit up Gladys Knight's for some fried chicken and waffles. 

Majestic Diner
1031 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA