Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Japanese Ramen Noodles

If you have known me for a long time, or you've been reading this, or my old blog (www.theenlightenedchef.blogspot.com), then you know that I used to live in Tokyo, Japan for a couple of years. I loved Japan, and I especially loved the cuisine. One of my favorite things while there was to visit the small, local (every neighborhood seemed to have at least one) Ramen Shops that seemed to be everywhere. Each shop I visited had its own proprietary and "secret recipe" for their noodles and the soup broth in which they were served.

Thus, it has taken me a long time to find and tweak a recipe for fresh Ramen noodles that I consider share-worthy. I have finally found that recipe. Before you begin, you need to know a few things.

One of the key ingredients to making Ramen chewy is a substance called Lye Water. What is Lye, you ask? Lye Water (sometimes called “Lime Water") is caustic or corrosive liquid, which means it can corrode or ‘eat away’ solid objects. It is also a poison. If it is used in the wrong way, it can injure people or make people sick. Lye Water is used in many different ways by different groups of people. It tends to be used:to soften food or add flavour when cooking meat, fish, rice,noodles and/or vegetables like corn, beans, maize or okra. So you can see now that this substance needs to be handled with great respect and care. It must be measured exactly and not left out around children or pets. 
Now that you are in the know; here are a few other items you need: a scale that weighs grams (this is an EXACT SCIENCE), a stand mixer, a pasta roller/cutter, and a good quality strainer.Here we go:

Ramen Noodles
480g All Purpose Flour
120g Bread (High Gluten) Flour
1tsp Salt
1 cup of cool distilled water
2tsp. (10 grams) Lye water mixed into 90g cool distilled water

Place the flours and the salt into the bowl if a stand mixer, with the dough hook attachment in place. Mix the lye water mixture and plain water together. With the mixer running at speed 3, pour in the water. Allow the dough to knead for 10 minutes. This will produce a dry, tight dough. 

Cut the dough into 6 pieces, dust them with flour, and wrap each ball in plastic. Allow the dough to rest for 4-5 hours in the fridge. If your dough turns yellow to green don't panic, this is normal and the color will disappear during the cooking process. 

Flatten your dough balls into small rectangles and run each ball, one by one through a dough roller until you reach the #4 thickness. You should have strips 2 1/2 to 3 feet long. Ramen is supposed to be long in order to really enjoy the art of slurping it up with chop sticks.

Cut the dough strips with the spaghetti cutter attachment. 

Toss your ramen liberally in flour to prevent sticking. 

Bring your largest pot, half full of water to a roaring boil. Add half of the Ramen and cook EXACTLY two minutes. Don't worry that the water stops boiling when you add the noodles. it will heat back up in a few seconds. Reapeat with your remaining noodles.

Once your timer goes off, pour the noodles into a large strainer and rinse them thoroughly until they are cooled and no longer feel 'slimy'. 

This is how you know you removed the lye from the cooked noodles. Place the Ramen into 6 Ramen soup bowls, add a strong meaty stock, and top with your favorite Ramen soup Toppings. Slurp and enjoy!!!    
My favorite Raman toppings: blanced baby bokchoy, sweet corn, roast pork loin, medium boiled egg, and shiitake.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Carne Asada "street" tacos

I have noticed a lot of excitement for, and the addition of, Mexican "street tacos" to many menus here in the USA. Perhaps it is because of the foodie-type Travel Shows on the Travel Chanel that are so popular. I have seen them highlighted on Anthony Bourdain's show more than once, and from more than one Latin American Country to our south...yes, my friends, there is more than Mexico down there!

What makes a taco a "street taco"? you ask...Epicurious defines TACO thusly: taco [tah-KOH] A Mexican-style "sandwich" consisting of a folded corn TORTILLA filled with various ingredients such as beef, pork, chicken, CHORIZO sausage, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, onion, GUACAMOLE, REFRIED BEANS and SALSA. Most tacos in the United States are made with crisp (fried) tortilla shells, but there are also "soft" (pliable) versions. The latter are more likely to be found in the Southwest and California. Tacos may be eaten as an entrée or snack.  © Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/tools/fooddictionary/search#ixzz1ypYp7mq7

So far as I can tell the only difference between a run-of-the-mill taco and a street taco is the location from whence you bought it! If you bought it from a Taco Stand or Food Truck on the Street...it's a "street taco", if you made it at home, or got it in a restaurant-NOT!!! That's right. All those expensive new menu items, are basically just a sales gimmick, and a very lucrative one at that!

I did find a GREAT GUIDE to Mexican Street Tacos on MEXCONNECT ( http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/2098-wrap-it-up-a-guide-to-mexican-street-tacos-part-i ) if you feel like reading up a bit further on the topic.

Here is my recipe for Mexican "Street Tacos" that will make everyone you serve them to beg for more! (You can add some cayenne pepper, and jalapanos to the strew if you like, but I have a little kid, so the spicy stuff gets served on the side as chimichuri, and pickled japs.)

Tacos Carne Asada
1Lb. stew beef (you can use pork butt if you prefer carnitas)
2 Tbs. Mexican Rub*see below (or my entry on 6/25/11)
1 small onion-julianned
3 cloves garlic-minced
1- 14oz. can diced tomatoes
1 beef bouillon cube, or 1/4 cup demiglaze
2 cups water
Toss the beef and the rub together and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, brown the onions over medium high heat. Add the garlic, and cook over low for 2-3 minutes until the mixture become very fragrant.

Add the beef and turn the burner to high. Spread the beef out so that it has full contact with the pan. Allow to brown on one side. With a pair of tongs, turn the meat over so that it can brown evenly on the opposit side.

Add the last thee ingredients and turn the heat down to low and allow the mixture to simmer for about 2 hours-add extra water as needed. If you have a crockpot you can transfer everything over and allow the mixture to cook on low 5-6 hours.

Once the beef have become very tender, remove it with a slotted spoon. Allow the meat to cool slightly-and with your fingers-break it up into shreaded bits. Put the meat back into the pot, turn the heat as high as it will go, and with the cover off allow most of the liquid to evaporate. You should be left with a very thick stew-like mixture. (Sometimes I add a little lime juice to brighten up the heavy flavor of the carne at the very end, but it's not 100% required.)

Warm a few corn tortillas in a cast iron skillet.

Fill each one with beef and any other taco garnishes you prefer. We use: Sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce, fresh salsa, chimichuri, and jalapanos.

*Mexi-baja rub
2 Tbs. Smoked Paprika
1 tsp each-ground cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, garlic powder, lemon zest
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pork BBQ; Carolina Style

This week I did something that I have never done outside of one of my restaurants; I made a slow roasted pork BBQ at home.

In the southeastern USA Barbecue (or BBQ as I like to say) is a noun. If you are invited to someone's home in the south for barbecue, it will be some form of pork, slow-roasted or smoked, and served fork-shredded with several sauces on the side from which you can choose. Usually there are some burger buns, and cabbage slaw offered as well so that you can make a barbecue sandwich: The slaw is a MUST on the traditional sandwich. The condiments are of some dispute between the Carolina. In North Carolina the population likes a thin vinegar based sauce, while in South Carolina people like a mustard based sauce. Some people do like the thick tomato and molasses type of barbecue sauce, but I think Carolinians call those people "Yankees"!!!

I made both sauces for my barbecue yesterday, as I love the vinegar based sauce-having spent many years in Hickory, NC-and the Hubby loves the mustard one. Please note that this is a very hands-on two day process, so allow yourself some free time for this one. And don't send me emails about how cooking on the grill, or open flame, or using the smoker is best. This is just one recipe that can be used year-round, no matter the weather; which is why I use it...Here is the recipe:

Chef Julie's Porkalicious BBQ

4 Lb. bone-in shoulder roast (you can use boneless if you prefer)
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper

Mix the salt, sugar, and pepper together. Completely encrust the pork with the salt mix. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow to rest 12-24 hours in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 275F (250F for convection). Remove the roast from the plastic wrap and place is a roasting pan.

Cook 7-8 hours, basting the pork with its own juices every 20 minutes after 4 hours time.

Allow the roast to rest for 30-45 minutes on the counter, remove the bone (it will pop right out with no resistance if the roast is cooked properly).

 Shred the meat with two forks and place in a bowl or on a serving platter.

You can reheat it in the oven or the microwave if you like. Serve with Cabbage slaw and barbecue sauces.

Mustard-based sauce

3/4 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup red wine or cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbs. brown sugar (optional)
1 Tsp. hot sauce (I like Frank's Original)
        Mix, chill, and serve.

Vinegar-based sauce

1 cup red wine or cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. ketchup
1 tsp. cayanne or red pepper flakes
1 tps. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. salt
Bring everything to a boil in a small sauce pan. Chill and serve.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


If you've been wondering where I've been of late, it is because I took a summer hiatus in order to move to Northern California. I have spent the summer exploring San Francisco, Sacramento, and the Wine Country!

Now that I have a new home, I was contemplating going back to my old BLOG at www.theenlightenedchef.blogspot.com but I have decided to stick with this address, as I am a southern Chef by training, and frankly, I just love this blog!

With all that said, today I started cooking again. I was feeling adventurous, so I made something that I have never attempted before; Dolmas. This is one of those foods that is slightly labor intensive, so be sure that you have a lot of time before you get started. here is the recipe:

Dolmas (Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves)

 16oz. jar of grape leaves-drained and rinsed of excess salt
1 1/2 cups ground lamb (pork works in a pinch)
2 cups finely minced onions
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
juice of one lemon

Mix everything together in a large non-reative bowl.

Line the bottom of a wide pot (a dutch oven works best) with a layer of grape leaves.

Stuff the Grape leaves one at a time. Place each leaf vein side up on a clean surface. Put 1-2 tablespoons of filling on the leaf nearest the stem. Fold the stem over the stuffing, then fold the two sides in and roll up the leaf like a small burrito. Place in a single tight layer in the pot, seam side down-repeat with a second layer if you need to.

Yes, that's me and my hands!

Drizzle a little olive oil over the dolmas, and add 2 cups of chicken broth.

Cover the top with another layer of grapes leaves. Place a heatproof plate on top to weight the dolmas down. Cover the pot, and simmer over low heat 35-40 minutes. There should be nearly no liquid left when they are done.

Serve hot, or refrigerate and serve cold later. These little guys keep 5-7 days in an airtight container.
Displaying IMG_1739.JPG
Cooked and ready to go in "mah bellay"!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

A few days ago, I hosted some friends for a mid-morning chat and some coffee. I decided to make my favorite "naughty foods", a half-homemade Coffee cake. I love this cake, for lots of reasons: It's easy, it's fast, you can serve it warm or cold, it is inexpensive to make, I always have everything in my pantry to whip one out on short notice, but mostly I love this cake BECAUSE IT IS SUPER DELICIOUS!!! Here is the recipe:

Half-Homemade Cinnamon Coffee Cake

5 Tbs. cold butter-cut into chunks
1/4 tsp. table salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup toasted chopped nuts of your choice (optional-I never add nuts to this recipe, but a lot of people like them!)
1 Box Yellow Cake mix +ingredients as needed per box instructions

In a food processor with the blade attachment in place, pour in the butter, salt, and both sugars. Turn the machine on and puree them together. Add the flour and pulse the machine on and off a few times, until you have a thick crumbly beach-sand texture. Pour into a bowl. Stir in the nuts of you are using them.

If you don't have a food processor (and lots of people don't these days)simply allow your butter to come to room temperature, and place everything into a big bowl and "squish' it all together with your hands: This is also a great job for a little kid (with clean hands) if you have one!

Place in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare a boxed yellow cake mix such as per the directions. Pour about 1/2 the cake mix into a greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cinnamon topping onto your cake mix in the pan. (You can omit this step, and just pour ALL of the cake batter into the pan and then sprinkle all of the topping over the cake if you prefer an easier route.)

Gently and SLOWLY pour the remaining cake mix over the top of the cinnamon mix to cover it. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon mix over the cake mix.

Place in the center of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. be sure to test the center of the cake with a toothpick before removing from the oven. Some of the cake batter might rise up and "fold over" some of the topping, don't worry! That is perfectly normal and it makes for a really beautiful effect once you slice into it.

Allow the cake to cool to a handle-able temperature, and serve with coffee, or tea!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chicken and Mushroom Wonton Soup

Today I had some leftover chicken to use up, so I made wontons with it for soup. Normally wontons are made with ground raw meat of some kind; such as chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, etc... The raw protein acts as a binder holding all the ingredients together, but since I used leftover, already cooked, chicken-I had to find another binder ingredient...enter leftover, cooked brown rice!

If you'd like to try this recipe with raw meat instead of cooked, just follow the recipe as written omitting the rice, and substituting in ground raw meat for the cooked chicken. Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy!

As well, this recipe makes 5 dozen wontons. I usually use between 10-12 in a batch of soup, and simply freeze the rest for later. They keep about 12 weeks once frozen.

Chinese Style Wontons for Soup

8 oz. cooked chicken
1 cup cooked brown rice (white rice will do)
12 oz. shiitake or crimini mushrooms-quartered
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1/2 cup onion-diced
4 cloves garlic-minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
60 wonton wrappers
1 egg beaten with 2 Tbs. cold water

In a food processor, with the blade attachment in place, add the mushrooms and pulse until they are finely chopped up and looks like fine beach pebbles.
Remove from the food processor and do the same to the chicken
(if you are using raw meat, process until you have a fine pastes), remove the chicken from the processor and add the rice. Run the food processor until you have a thick pasty rice mash (if you know what MOCHI is, then you want a coarse looking mochi). Pour your sesame oil- please don't substitute a different oil here-into a hot sauté pan and cook the onions over medium low heat until they are translucent and golden brown-stirring often. Add the garlic and the chopped mushrooms, turn the heat up to medium high and cook stirring occasionally for 4-7 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated from the mixture.
Add the ginger and chicken, toss to combine everything. Remove the chicken  and mushroom mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool to a workable temperature. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add the rice paste and gently mix with your very clean hands until you have a smooth uniform consistency that hold a ball shape when you squish a little in your hand.
Lay out 5-10 wonton skins on your clean work surface, brush with the egg wash and place about 1-1.5 tsp. of chicken mix in the center of each skin.
Fold into a triangle and then fold the points of the long side together to make a wonton. I have put a brief (and very, very rare Video) together for you to watch below.
Now, simply bring your favorite soup recipe to a simmer, drop in as many wontons as you like, and cook for 4-6 minutes.
serve, and feel the love!

You can store the Wontons you don't use in the freezer for up to 12 weeks. Simply lay in one layer on a cookie sheet to freeze the for about an hours. Then transfer to an airtight container for long-term storage.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Something not "Foodie"

Hi everyone!

This is the latest issue of Mount Pleasant Magazine, for which I am a contributing writer. I got asked to write two business profiles for this month's issue. They are a bit out of my genre as a Food Writer, and they definitely stretched my ability to write for businesses other than restaurants. I really enjoyed the challenge, and I hope you enjoy the articles. I am featured on pages 137, and 139 of the eIssue.

As sad as I am to be moving-in June-to California, I am so grateful to Denise James (the Executive Editor) for taking a chance, and taking me on! Thanks Denise, you are AMAZING, and I had so much fun working for you!!!

Oh yes, if anyone should be interested, you can SUBSCRIBE to Mt. Pleasant Magazine here: http://mountpleasantmagazine.com/contact/

Mount Pleasant March/April 2015 Magazine Online Green Edition


Now, I just hope that I can find a great publication out in the San Francisco Bay/Wine Country area for which to write that is a great as Mt. P Magazine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pasta al Pomodoro: easiest pasta EVER!!!

This is my favorite Humpday Dinner, Happy Wednesday, everyone!!!

Pasta al Pomodoro
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion minced (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic minced (about 2 Tbs.)
pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
28 oz. canned tomatoes-pureed in the blender
2 Tbs. freshly minced basil
3-5 qt. water seasoned with salt and olive oil
12 oz. pasta of choice (I use linguine, the magazine calls for bucatini or spaghetti)
2 Tb.s cubed butter
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan or pecorino cheese

my version with linguine and foccacia-Mmmmmmm!
Heat the oil over medium low in a 12" skillet. Add the onions and cook until very soft-about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 4 minutes until very fragrant. Add the red pepper and cook one minute more. Increase the heat to medium, and add the tomato puree. Cook stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, until the sauce is thicken up. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the basil, and set aside. Meanwhile, bring the seasoned water to a boil and add the pasta-cooking until about 2 minutes before it's done. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water. Heat the sauce over medium heat and add the water to loosen the sauce a bit, add the pasta and cook while stirring until pasta is done and al dente. Remove form the heat and stir in the butter, and cheese. Toss until cheese is melted into the sauce. Serve in the nicest pasta bowls you have-garnished with extra cheese and basil on top. ENJOY!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Balti Style Tofu with Field Peas

So, I've discovered that my adopted home state of California has some serious onion and garlic crops growing here. I love them both as they have great health benefits and just plain old fashioned taste fabulous! Here is one of my favorite curries. It's very spicy hot, so if you can't take the heat just remove the chilies. before we get to the recipe though here are a few health benefits to Indian Spices, Garlic and Onions for you to read about:

Turmeric has been proven to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. I have it on good authority from my very dear friend Premoj Thomas who is from the Gajirat region of India, that women there mix 1 tsp. of turmeric with a glass of warm sheep’s milk (I do it with cow’s milk myself), and drink this before bed to prevent puffy eyes in the morning. I’ve done it a few times and it seems to work. Only don’t drink this tonic more than 3 days in a row or your skin will actually start to turn YELLOW!!!
Garlic: Many people don't realize that an onion has almost as much medicinal value as garlic does. Battle wounds in WWI were treated with garlic juice. No standard medication can match Garlic on the cardiovascular scale. Garlic DEFINITELY reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and reduces internal clots which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Garlic reduces blood sugar and therefore helps diabetes sufferers. It may help eliminate lead and heavy metals in the blood stream, has helped leprosy patients, fights cancer, and helps aids patients.
Ginger: It is very good digestive aid, may ease menstrual cramps, help arthritis, is traditionally used in the orient for colds and flu and is excellent for reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and preventing internal blood clots.
Warnings: Large doses might cause miscarriage although there are no scientific reports backing this up.
Cayenne: It is a good digestive aid, can relieve infectious diarrhea, but can bring on noninfectious diarrhea if too many hot peppers are ingested, helps chronic pain when used externally, is the best shingles reliever, helps headaches, and tastes great!
Warnings: can burn the eyes, mouth and skin! Use caution when handling cayenne pepper.
Cinnamon: infusion of powdered herb, sprinkle on cuts and scrapes for treatment
Cinnamon is used for infection prevention, pain relief, and a digestive aid and may help calm the uterus
Warnings: when put on the skin may cause redness and burning.
Clove: It has been used for toothaches, oral hygiene, a digestive aid and an infection fighter. It is also used to treat hernia, ringworm and athletes foot.
Warnings: Children under the age of 2 should never be given clove for medicinal purposes. The oil may cause upset stomach when taken internally and rash when used externally.
Coriander: Used for indigestion, flatulence , and diarrhea and externally for muscle and joint pains.
Warnings: if coriander cause minor discomforts such as upset stomach use less or stop using it.

Onions are Beneficial for Your Health

Onions are beneficial to health
What would life be like without onions? The onion has been used as an ingredient in various dishes for thousands of years by many cultures around the world. World onion production is steadily increasing so that onion is now the second most important horticultural crop after tomatoes.

There are many different varieties of onion, red, yellow, white, and green, each with their own unique flavor, from very strong to mildly sweet. Onions can be eaten raw, cooked, fried, dried or roasted. They are commonly used to flavor dips, salads, soups, spreads, stir-fry and other dishes.

Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the lily family, the same family as garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots.There are over 600 species of Allium, distributed all over Europe, North America, Northern Africa and Asia. The plants can be used as ornamentals, vegetables, spices, or as medicine. There are over 120 different documented uses of the Alliums.

Onion and other Allium vegetables are characterized by their rich content of thiosulfinates, sulfides, sulfoxides, and other odoriferous sulfur compounds. The cysteine sulfoxides are primarily responsible for the onion flavor and produce the eye-irritating compounds that induce lacrimation. The thiosulfinates exhibit antimicrobial properties. Onion is effective against many bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella, and E. coli. Onion is not as potent as garlic since the sulfur compounds in onion are only about one-quarter the level found in garlic.

The Value of Onions

Onions have a variety of medicinal effects. Early American settlers used wild onions to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects. In Chinese medicine, onions have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.

The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis. In addition, onion extracts are recognized by WHO for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis. Onions are known to decrease bronchial spasms. An onion extract was found to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients.

Onions are a very rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides. These oligomers stimulate the growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon. In addition, they can reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon.

Cardiovascular Help

Onions contain a number of sulfides similar to those found in garlic which may lower blood lipids and blood pressure. In India, communities that never consumed onions or garlic had blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels substantially higher, and blood clotting times shorter, than the communities that ate liberal amounts of garlic and onions. Onions are a rich source of flavonoids, substances known to provide protection against cardiovascular disease. Onions are also natural anticlotting agents since they possess substances with fibrinolytic activity and can suppress platelet-clumping. The anticlotting effect of onions closely correlates with their sulfur content.

Cancer Prevention

Onion extracts, rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumor growth. In central Georgia where Vidalia onions are grown, mortality rates from stomach cancer are about one-half the average level for the United States. Studies in Greece have shown a high consumption of onions, garlic and other allium herbs to be protective against stomach cancer.

Chinese with the highest intake of onions, garlic, and other Allium vegetables have a risk of stomach cancer 40 percent less than those with the lowest intake. Elderly Dutch men and women with the highest onion consumption (at least one-half onion/day) had one-half the level of stomach cancer compared with those consuming no onions at all.

Western Yellow, New York Bold, and Northern Red onions have the richest concentration of flavonoids and phenolics, providing them with the greatest antioxidant and anti-proliferative activity of 10 onions tested. The mild-tasting Western White and Vidalia onions had the lowest antioxidant content and lowest anti-proliferative activity. The consumer trend to increasingly purchase the less pungent, milder onion varieties may not be the best, since the onions with a stronger flavor and higher astringency appear to have superior health-promoting properties.

Use and Safety

Onions have a universal appeal. They are safely consumed by most people. However, consuming large quantities of onions can lead to stomach distress and gastrointestinal irritation that may result in nausea and diarrhea. There are no known interactions with drugs except that they can potentiate the action of anticoagulants.


Onions, and other Allium species, are highly valued herbs possessing culinary and medicinal value. Some of their beneficial properties are seen after long-term usage. Onion may be a useful herb for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially since they diminish the risk of blood clots. Onion also protects against stomach and other cancers, as well as protecting against certain infections. Onion can improve lung function, especially in asthmatics. The more pungent varieties of onion appear to possess the greatest concentration of health-promoting phytochemicals.
Author: Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD.

With all that said...Go out and eat some onions!!!!

Balti sauce with Tofu
2 onions-peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tbs. Tomato Paste
1 Chipotle Chili in Adobo sauce
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. Brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 Lb. extra firm tofu-cubed*
1-2 cups field peas or baby sweet peas
Place everything except the tofu into a blender (or a food processor) puree until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of thick pancake batter. Heat a 12-14 inch sauté pan to medium high heat. Pour in the onion mixture and allow it to simmer for 8-10 minutes until it’s reduced slightly and a bit thicker.  Add the tofu and peas, turn the heat to medium low,  and warm through-about five minutes. Serve with Rice or Naan bread.
*If Tofu is not your thing, simply substitute peeled shrimp, chicken meat, or pork.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Thai Glass Noodle Salad

Happy Friday!

I was introduced to this dish in Phuket, Thailand in 1995. It is so amazing and easy, that when I made for lunch today, I knew I had to share it with everyone!

Thai Glass Noodle Salad
for the salad:
4-6 ounces dried Bean Thread
2 cups veggies of your choice (I like snow pea pods, sliced baby carrots, and julienned red onions)
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro

for the dressing:
juice of 1 lime (about 3-4 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. fish sauce
2 Tbs. chili garlic sauce
1 garlic clove minced
1 Tbs. Sesame oil
3 Tbs. coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar works great too)
1 red Thai chili-sliced thinly (optional)

to assemble:
Cook the noodle according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, cut up you veggies. Place everything for the dressing in a bowl, and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. (TIP: if you want to take a little bitterness out of your snow pea pods, add them to the hot water with your bean threads).

Drain and rinse in cold water. Place in a nonreactive mixing bowl, and toss with veggies and dressing.

Serve, and feel the love!