Hummus

hummusHummus is very easy to make, and it’s a delicious and nutritious snack. You can jazz it up with your choice of accoutrements, like red bell pepper, chili pepper, garlic, etc. The key is having a food processor to do the heavy work.

Ingredients:

1 large can garbanzos (chick peas)
lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste (or 3 garlic cloves)

Create a paste with the ingredients by grinding them on high in a food processor until you get a creamy texture. Serve with crackers.

Enjoy!

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Fish and Chips–Without the Chips

fish in batterIf you want to make fish and chips without the added heaviness of the chips, here’s a quick and easy dinner idea. I substitute the chips with caprese.

Ingredients:

1 bag of basa filets
1 cup whole wheat flour
salt and pepper (desired amount)
1 egg, beaten
seltzer (enough to create a paste-like batter)
a dash of skim milk
sprinkling of paprika (optional)

Heat up your choice of cooking oil in a large skillet. Prepare the batter by mixing the flour, egg, milk, seltzer, salt and pepper, and paprika in a large bowl. Cut the basa filets in half, coat each piece in the batter, and fry each side of the filets until the batter becomes firm and crispy.

For the caprese:

Cut 2 large tomatoes into slices and place in a serving dish. Slice a ball of fresh mozzarrella into enough slivers to cover all available tomato slices. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.

Enjoy!

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Blondies

BlondiesMy husband loves blondies, and I love to make them for him. It’s a great dessert/snack. I use whole wheat flour and flax seed to try to be a little healthy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil (I suggest vegetable or coconut)
1 egg
pinch of salt
chocolate chips (desired amount)
2 heaping tbsp. peanut butter
flax seed (desired amount)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan with oil. Mix flour, sugar, oil, and egg in the baking pan by hand until you get a consistent dough. Add the other ingredients and mix some more to get the dough consistent again. Shape the dough into a loaf in the middle of a pan (if you use a big pan); it will eventually flatten out. Bake for about 20 min.

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Ramen

RamenGood old ramen noodles off the shelf can make a great base for a satisfying meal. Enhance with some protein and vegetable and top with an egg, and you’ve got something delightful.

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 ramen packet
ham (desired amount), cubed
spinach (desired amount)
1 egg

Boil the water. Add the ramen powder mix, stir, then add the ham and spinach and noodles. Poach an egg on top.

I like the noodles to absorb all the broth, but most people don’t, so take the pot off the heat according to desired broth amount.

Enjoy!

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Carrots and Conch

carrots and conch
Here’s a nice lunch or dinner idea if you want to keep things light. I used the leftover salsa from our huevos rancheros the other day.

Ingredients:

2/3 small bag of baby carrots
2 big chunks of conch
leftover salsa (optional, ~4 tbsp.)
Caribbean fish spice to taste (substitute w/ salt and pepper or all spice)
4 small brie chunks (optional)

Ground the carrots and conch in a food processor until you get a couscous-like texture. Heat the mix on the stove with olive oil, add the salsa, fish spice and brie. The brie will not melt completely, so biting into a chunk makes for a pleasant surprise.

Enjoy!

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Huevos Rancheros

Image

Wishing all my readers a happy start to the work week. It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Here’s something new, thanks to my hubby, who is turning out to be quite good in the kitchen. He was trolling around for brunch ideas Sunday morning and decided on huevos rancheros. It was delicious.

We went all out and made our own sour cream and chips.

Huevos Rancheros:

1 red pepper, sliced
2 scotch bonnets (or jalapenos), diced
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 head of garlic, diced
1 chorizo sausage, chopped (if you don’t have the traditional ground form)
1/2 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
4 eggs, sunny-side up
1/4-1/2 bar sharp cheddar cheese, grated
cilantro for garnish
avocado, sliced

Saute the red pepper, scotch bonnet, onion, and garlic in your choice of cooking oil until soft. Stir in the black beans and kidney beans, then the cheese. Fry up the eggs in a separate pan and add on top of the whole mix. Serve with garnish of cilantro and avocado on the side.

For the salsa:

3 plum tomatoes
1 small onion
1/2 head of garlic
1 scotch bonnet
salt to taste
vinegar to taste

Put the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get salsa-like texture. You can stir the salsa into the huevos rancheros mix prior to the egg topping, or you can have it as a side.

For the chips:

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Coat a sheet pan with olive oil. Take 2 whole-wheat wraps, cut them up into chip-size pieces, and place on the sheet. Cook in oven for about 10 min., or until the chips get crunchy.

For the sour cream:

Pour heavy cream into a small bowl in the desired amount. Beat in dabs of vinegar until you get whipped consistency.

Enjoy!

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Awakening the Senses

Illustration by Aileen Torres

We all need to food to live. But those who love food understand its power–not just to feed the human machine but to awaken the senses. And when the senses are awake, then the soul is alive.

That may sound like mystical mumbo jumbo to some people, but food can have a transformative power that is visible in the moment, as long as you’re aware enough to see.

I was on lunch break recently at Pho 75, a hole-in-the-wall foodie-haven Vietnamese noodle place. It has cafeteria-style seating, and I happened to sit two elongated tables away from someone who caught my attention. It wasn’t that she was loud; she had the looks of a mousy girl. What struck me about her was the obvious enjoyment she was having with her food. She had ordered a large bowl of pho, and she was slurping the noodles, squirting sriracha and sipping the broth with total attention. She had the glow of pleasure on her face and a constant smile that was constrained only by the fact that she was consistently putting food into her mouth. It was a solitary joy, as if there were nothing else in the universe but her and what was in front of her. And in that universe lied a sense of discovery, the thrill, the delight of something new, or perhaps a constant love renewed again and again with each contact.

If you’ve ever cooked for yourself and viewed it as something greater than merely putting food in your stomach, or if you’ve ever cooked as an act of sharing, as opposed to obligation, then you, too, understand this transformative power. The attention that you give to the practical art of creation–that is love, that is care. In the complexity of our lives, this should be the common thread; elemental, radical and essential. Pure love, pure joy.

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