Sunday, December 21, 2014

Green Crab Salad

After yoga a few Monday evenings ago, I wanted to eat something refreshing (it's still 70 degrees in New Orleans on most days) to refuel. Because chicken and tuna salad are too basic, I came up with a light and delicious salad using crab meat. It's a great burst of flavor, mix of textures, and goes great on sourdough bread, over a bed or arugula, in a whole wheat wrap, or even pressed in an English muffin with cheese. And as always, I had to add my New Orleans twist and used pecans, Creole mustard, green onion, and Cajun seasoning. I need that heat now!

Green Crab Salad (serves 6)
1 cup crab meat, shredded
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup green grapes, halved
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, roasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tbs mayonnaise - I used olive oil mayo for the first time
1 tbs mustard - I also used Creole mustard for the first time
1/4 tsp Cajun Seasoning (Slap Ya Mama, hot)
1 tbs lemon juice

1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Refrigerate or serve immediately

✓ unsaturated fats
✓ fiber
✓ protein 
✓ vegetables
✓ fruit

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lüke, New Orleans

If you like big, cheap, juicy, meaty oysters, then Louisiana is the place to be. They're not as sweet as West Coast and they're not as briny as the Northeast, but they sure are plump. And for 75 cents a pop? You know I'm there. 

This weekend, Carlo and Rosalyn visited from New York. I of course brought them to Willie Mae's, and then Rosalyn found a place with an oyster happy hour daily from 3-6 pm for 75 cents a half shell. That is an absolute steal. So the three of us obviously got 4 dozen. They were fresh, delicious, and went surprisingly well with saltines. 

333 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Eating local in New Orleans: Quinoa Shrimp Mirliton

Last week I taught an afterschool 4th grade nutrition class at the International School in the Garden District. The topic my partner and I chose was eating local foods. We led a discussion on what is a farmers market and why you should shop there for your produce and what seasonal food are down here in Louisiana. We taught them how eating food from your region not only helps support local farmers, but local foods are fresher and taste better. We made a harvest calendar and split the students into groups where they were each assigned a season and to design a meal where they used season ingredients. The kids thought up of summer berry lemon smoothies, fall produce gumbo, veggie pizza, satsuma fruit salad, persimmon blueberry pie… they were incredibly creative. 

So what's mirliton? The New York Times recently published an article on the most Googled Thanksgiving food by state. New York was stuffed artichoke, lol, but Louisiana’s was shrimp mirliton, something I have never heard of in my life. Apparently mirliton is a local squash and is also known as the Latin American chayote. I tried it for the first time at a holiday party I accidentally stumbled upon in my building last week, and it was great. And I needed to make it. 

I first made my own spice packs... yes, I am that Louisiana. You can buy these spice packs at grocery stores, which are basically the holy trinity (celery, bell peppers, onions) pre-cut with shallots, parsley, and garlic. I picked up a couple of mirliton, a bag of Louisiana shrimp, and a Creole tomato from Rouse's. Because I am in a dietetics program, I can't help but make recipes healthier, so instead of bread crumbs, I decided to use quinoa. Not going to lie, my Cajun quinoa shrimp dressing is the best you will ever have. 

Quinoa Shrimp Mirliton (serves 4)
1/3 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped 
1/3 cup onion, chopped 
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbs parsley, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 stalks green onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked  
1 cup shrimp, deveined and chopped 
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs canola oil
1/2 tsp Cajun spice (Slap Ya Mama, hot) 

1. Boil mirliton in a pot for 30-45 minutes or until soft. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out meat. Set aside. 
2. Preheat oven to 350F. 
3. In a large pan, sautee celery, peppers, garlic, green onion, parsley, shallots, garlic, and Cajun spice in canola oil. Once browned, add the tomato and tomato paste.
4. Mix in quinoa and shrimp. Sautee until shrimp is cooked. 
5. Scoop an ample amount of the dressing into the mirliton and bake for 30-35 minutes. 

✓ fiber
✓ vegetables
✓ protein 

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Now that I live in Murray Hill, actually recently renamed Rose Hill, I've become a regular at several local restaurants (not that I'm ever in the city). But when I am home, it's almost certain that my family will default to Mishima whenever we don't want to cook dinner or whenever we can't decide what we want to eat. The space is intimate; the restaurant seats no more than twenty or so people. The chef prides himself in using traditional preparation methods and the freshest ingredients, and the waitresses are the friendliest and recognize every face to come in.

We always start with appetizers, so here are a few of my favorites:

  • uni on the half shell
  • crawfish salad roll
  • fried shrimp
  • horse mackerel tataki 
  • avocado salad
  • clam or lobster miso soup
  • mushroom soup

For sashimi and sushi, you can always ask what's fresh or if the chef has any recommendations. Sometimes it's giant clam or striped jack. Others times it can be amberjack or fatty yellowtail. I love their entrees (at lunch and dinner time) because I can always use a miso broiled salmon or grilled yellowtail neck served with brown rice, calm miso soup, and their seasonal sides, salad, and pickled radish. My brother always gets a dragon roll and a shrimp tempura roll, so keep in mind that there are modern Americanized rolls for you to get as well.

... I just pretty much listed their entire menu didn't I? But just a heads up, their menu is constantly changing due to what's available seasonally, so don't go looking for crawfish in the winter or mushroom soup in the summer. Below are some of the many photos I have taken at Mishima. Hope you enjoy the simplicity and freshness of the menu as much as I do!

164 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Coca-Cola Braised Collard Greens

Monday remedy: red beans, alligator sausage pasta,
herb roasted parmesan cauliflower, and collard greens.

When I was in Atlanta with my family back in August, I did the necessary pilgrimages to the Georgia Aquarium and Coca Cola World. At the end of the tour, we were given free bottles of Coke. I've had them in my fridge since then for a rainy day, but I just really don't drink soda. I also hate to see things go to waste, so I had to get creative. Living in the south, I eat a lot of foods that aren't common or regional to.. New York City. But because I'm working on the full immersion, I made a delicious recipe to incorporate all this southern greatness into my life. 

Coca-Cola Braised Collard Greens (serves 4-6)
2 bunches collard greens, ribbed and chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 tbs canola oil
8 oz Coca-Cola
4 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

1. Sautee the chopped onion with canola oil on high heat. Once browned, mix in collard greens. 
2. Once greens are cooking and bright green, add Coca-Cola, balsamic vinegar, and salt/pepper. 
3. Simmer on low heat for 25-30 min, stirring occasionally (every 5 minutes). Cook until desired tenderness.