Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meals From the Heart Cafe, New Orleans

Last week when I was working at Ochsner's cardiac rehab facility, there was a lot of discussion on finding places to eat out that wouldn't take too much of a toll on your blood pressure/ cholesterol/ heart/ body. My preceptor highly recommended Meals From the Heart Cafe in the French Market and especially their crab cake. 

The cafe prides themselves in offering heart healthy fresh foods with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options. I talked to the people behind the counter, and they told me that they are in the works of putting something together with the new VA hospital complex opening on Canal because of their heart healthy menu options.

When I sat down, I was offered a clementine. I ordered a carrot orange ginger juice and I had to try the crab cake passion, which is pure lump crabmeat served with fresh mixed greens, ripe tomatoes and house garlic-lemon Remoulade sauce. It was a delicious post-run lunch and the perfect time of year to walk around the French Market to get a jump start on Christmas shopping. 

So if you ever need a break from all the fried, smothered, and southern food in NOLA, definitely stop by Meals From the Heart for a refreshing and satisfyingly light meal. 

Meals From the Heart Cafe
1100 N. Peters St., #13 / French Market
New Orleans, LA

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Alligator Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Orecchiette

It's official. This is the third time I've posted a variation of this recipe. This is my rainy or cold day go-to lazy done in 15 minutes recipe: alligator sausage broccoli rabe orecchiette. It all started with the original Italian sausage at a New Year's Eve party in Long Island and then a another with lamb sausage from a farm in New England. So now that I'm in New Orleans, I undoubtedly needed to whip up a batch when I found alligator sausage at my local Winn Dixie's. 

This week for my rotations, I have been working at Ochsner cardiac rehab. I had to teach a class of patients about fiber and how to increase fiber in the diet. As y'all know, fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds and helps your intestines in maintaining digestive health. One of the main teaching points was the incorporate fiber into every meal and snack, so for a pasta recipe, you can try using whole wheat pasta or including vegetables in the sauce. In this case, I used broccoli rabe (1 cup cooked, 6.6 gm of fiber) and snow peas (1/2 cup cooked, 3.5 gm of fiber). It adds texture, color, and flavor into the dish. 

Alligator Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Orecchiette
6 oz alligator sausage, uncased and cut into half inch pieces
6 oz orecchiette
1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
1 cup snow peas (I used frozen) 
5 cloves of garlic, diced
6 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the orecchiette, remember to salt the water. Once it is cooked, drain it and toss with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. In a pan heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic and shallots.
3. Once browned, add the cut sausage. When the sausage is about half cooked, insert the broccoli rabe. Sautee until cooked.
4. Add the pasta and peas to the sausage and broccoli rabe and toss until thoroughly mixed.
5. Add fresh black pepper to taste.

✓ fiber
✓ vegetables
✓ protein 
✓ unsaturated fats 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pineapple ginger soy marinated wings

The best part about a homemade meal is the leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!

When I was a kid, every time my mom asked me what I wanted for dinner, I would respond with marinated wings. Who wouldn't like savory tender chicken wings with meat that comes right off the bones? The pineapple adds a little sweet and sour, and the ginger provides a mean kick.  Yup, this is all I wanted to eat every day of second grade. 

Last week, I prepared Regen a home cooked Chinese meal that included a lesson on how to hold chopsticks. I made black pepper beef with bell peppers, sauteed Shanghai bok choy, and my favorite chicken wing recipe served (upon his request) with brown rice. It was a much needed comfort food dinner. My mom probably hasn't made this recipe in more than decade, so I drew upon her usual kitchen flavors and pretty much improvised until I got the taste that I distinctly remember from my younger years. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do! 

Pineapple ginger soy marinated wings
1 lb chicken wings
1 8oz can sliced pineapple in juice, cut
6 cloves garlic, slivered
1 knob ginger, sliced
2 tbs canola oil
1/2 cup chicken broth

*Chicken marinade: 
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1/3 cup shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Leave wings in marinade in the refrigerator over night or for at least 8-12 hours. 
2. In a nonstick sauce pan, brown the ginger and garlic in canola oil on high heat. 
3. Add the wings and cook until it changes color or slightly seared. 
4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer with lid slightly on. Mix in the pineapple once sauce is at a light boil. 
5. Simmer for about half an hour or until a utensil easily pokes through the meat. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


NOLA Po-boys | 908 Bourbon Street New Orleans, LA

Not gonna lie, I'm pretty pissed that I was not informed that yesterday was national sandwich day. I talk about sandwiches and how much I love eating sandwiches all the time. But good thing I have this innate intuition and got myself a fried oyster po-boy yesterday instead of the staple Monday red beans and rice.

Now let me tell you how much I love po-boys. Every since I moved to New Orleans, I must've eaten three of them a week for the first two weeks. It was becoming a little too much, so now I average once a week. But at least all them po-boys got me started on my current exercise grind. Po-boys are obscenely simple. All you need is some fresh French bread, fried seafood, and I preferred mine dressed, so smother on that mayonnaise with some lettuce and tomato. That's it. There are of course variations that set apart the amateurs from the big leagues, such as the Sriracha/Tabasco mayonnaise the toasted bread, the melted American cheese, or the blackened catfish. But really, unless the bread is horrendously stale, a po-boy is always what I need. Here's a quick list of some of the po-boys I've eaten in the past two and a half months. I still have a many places I need to hit up, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. Also there's no ranking yet, but when I have the best po-boy of my life, I will be sure to make it known.

  • Acme Oyster House - Peacemaker po-boy for the win. Fried shrimp and oyster with tabasco mayo. All you need is this with a gumbo and some charbroiled oysters. 
  • Domilise's Po-boy & Bar- This place has raving reviews, but I'll be the first to admit that it's overrated and over priced. Though there was more than enough shrimp to fir another half a sandwich, the bread was tough. Unrelated: their dressing includes mustard. 
  • Joey K's - I had a fried catfish and shrimp po-boy and it was delicious, but I do wish I tried their local specials instead. Will be sure to visit again. 
  • Guy's Po-boys - Get the bomb. Grilled catfish and shrimp with melted cheese on their thin tender loaf. It's the bomb. 
  • NOLA Po-boys - Had a great fried crawfish po-boy, but the real highlight was Henok's vegetarian po-boy made with sauteed vegetables. 
  • Sandwich World - I was out in the middle of nowhere and needed a po-boy fix, and this was just on the side of the road. My shrimp po-boy was overflowing and I devoured more than half of it in my car before my drive back downtown. This place loves LSU. 
  • Stanley Restaurant - This one is special because I always get the eggs Stanley on French bread. Their fried oysters are on point. 

Domilise's Po-boy and Bar | 5240 Annunciation Street New Orleans, LA

Guy's Po-Boys | 5259 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA

Stanley Restaurant | 547 Saint Ann Street New Orleans, LA

Sandwich World | 10800 Highway 3125 Gramercy, LA

Acme Oyster House | 724 Iberville Street New Orleans, LA

Joey K's | 3001 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA

Always having a good time when I'm with a po-boy.