This week's 'What I Eat' focuses on making good food go 'bad.' Intrigued? Read on......
Breakfast - Fried Radishes and Toast
I know, I'm eating a lot of fried radishes these days! What can I say, I really enjoy eating them for breakfast. I don't like eating radishes raw, and I don't find they mix all that well in other dishes. The toast is made from gluten-free bread and buttery spread. Generally, I'm making a concerted effort to move towards vegan gluten-free bread (this Sunflower Flax Rice Bread) and olive oil & balsamic vinegar instead of margarine.
Lunch - Black Bean Quesadilla
It's hard to take a good picture of a quesadilla! They are, however, delicious and easy!
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
One can black beans
3 zucchini, sliced
175g Daiya Cheese
1 green chilli, finely chopped
large handful coriander, roughly chopped
1) Fry the onion in half the olive oil for about 5 mins or until soft. Stir through the garlic and cumin. Cook over a low heat for 1 min more. Add the beans and a few tbsp of water. Heat through, then mash up with the back of a fork.
2) Meanwhile, toss the zucchini slices in the remaining oil. Cook for a couple of minutes each side until tender.
3) Mix the cheese, chilli, and coriander in a bowl. Spread the bean purée over half of the tortillas. Lay over zucchini slices and scatter with cheese mixture. Top with the remaining tortillas, pressing the two together. Cook in batches in the hot griddle pan, carefully turning, for about 1-2 mins each side or until the cheese has begun to melt and the tortillas are crisp. Serve in wedges.
Original recipe here.
Dinner - Beans, Carrots, and Brown Rice in Honey Mustard Sauce
-navy beans, rinsed from a can
-organic carrots, sliced and steamed
I just dumped the ingredients into a small saucepan and warming them up while stirring. I'm guessing at the quantities here, you can adjust to taste.
-2 tbsp. yellow mustard
-2 tbsp. honey
-4 tbsp. olive oil
This sauce was a hit! I'd never made it before, but I was told it tasted just like what you'd get at a restaurant. It's especially helpful for making vegetables palatable to children.
I made this dinner in a rice cooker that has a steamer basket that rests on the top. I'm quite certain that the non-stick coating of the steamer isn't an ideal cooking surface, but sometimes it's just easier to make a whole meal in one pot/appliance.
I've been doing a lot of research in the last few months about fermentation. I often prescribe probiotics to patients to repopulate their bodies with beneficial bacteria. Probiotics bring significant health benefits. If you would like a taste of the research, click here. Our bacterial flora is depleted by toxins, antibiotics, altered pH levels, lack of exposure to beneficial bacteria, etc. We, in the western/developed world, suffer from more osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc. One difference is that we, as a rule, don't eat many fermented foods. Fermented foods can serve as both carriers of beneficial bacteria and food for the bacteria we're already carrying. As I'm sure many of you know, we are composed of more bacteria than our very own cells! Back in the day, fermentation was (also) used for the very practical purpose of stopping food from going bad (and enjoying alcohol). If you're like me, you'll immediately start wondering if the fermentation of alcohol is beneficial to bacterial flora. The short answer is no (but it is complicated).
So, I've decided to get into fermentation, and I'm starting with a 'ginger bug!' The ginger bug is a fermentation base that you can grow at home and use for carbonating your own drinks. I've mixed together two tablespoons of water, two tablespoons of grated ginger, and two tablespoons of brown sugar (pictured above). The water is supposed to be something other than city water because the chlorine content can kill the bacteria, but I settled on using city water that had been left out so that some of the chlorine could escape (more on this topic in a future post). People have strong opinions about what kind of sugar you should use, I chose brown sugar because it's what I had on hand. The plan is to feed the ginger bug for the next five days, with exactly the same ingredients each day, until it is fully fermented and ready to go. Going forward, I should be able to keep it in the fridge, feed it weekly, and use some of it each time I want to make a carbonated beverage. My understanding is that most of the sugar is used to feed the yeast, that causes the fermentation, as opposed to sweetening the drink. Check back next week to see how my fermentation adventure goes!
Breakfast - Coconut Yogurt with Berries and Hemp Hearts
Every once in a while, as a treat, I buy a container of So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk. This time, I bought the strawberry flavour. Can anyone out there remember if they used to call it yogurt? It's funny, when I was buying it at the grocery store a woman made fun of the product, saying something along the lines that the word 'cultured' on the label was designed to make it seem fancier to shoppers. I don't think she realized that the word cultured meant that it was teeming with bacteria. I topped all the 'culture' with organic raspberries (thawed from frozen), and hemp hearts.
Lunch - Burrito
I put black beans, (previously) steamed zucchini, Daiya 'mozzarella style shreds', and homegrown sprouts inside of a brown rice tortilla that had been warmed in a frying pan. Delicious and easy! I do not want to mislead anyone, the tortillas DO NOT hold together as well as wheat tortillas, but they allow you to have 3/4 of a regular burrito-eating experience, which is good enough for me!
Sprouts are a great thing to grow at home! They are inexpensive and ridiculously nutrient-rich, along with adding loads of flavour to your dishes. I've shown above how I grow sprouts. I purchased a screen cut in the shape of the top of a mason jar (designed especially for growing sprouts). I soak the seeds, and them leave them in the jar turned upside down, rinsing them twice daily while the sprouts are growing. The advantage of my setup is that the sprouts don't come into contact with any plastic. The disadvantage is that the metal rim of the jar lid seems to rust a bit, and I can't grow a large quantity. You can also purchase a sprouting set that comes with multiple trays. These allow you to grow sprouts on different schedules, so that some are always available, and nothing rusts. The disadvantage of the trays is that I've only ever seen them made out of plastic, which means they will leach some contaminants into the sprouts (even if they are BPA free).
I've pictured sprouting seeds you can purchase below. However, please keep in mind you can sprout your own beans or seeds. For example, mung beans are a cheap food to sprout, and they have a lot of flavour!
Dinner - Lentils and Vegetables with Indian Seasoning
-one cauliflower, rinsed and chopped
-one red onion, minced
-a piece of ginger at least as big as your thumb, peeled and minced
-1/3 cup raisins (ideally, golden)
-1 tsp. ground cumin
Fry onion and ginger at a medium-high heat until they start to brown. Add cauliflower and turn heat down to medium-low, cook until soft (you can cover the pan). Add the cumin and raisins, cook for an additional 2-5 minutes.
-1 1/2 cups green lentils
-3 1/2 cups water
-2 tbsp. lemon juice
Check lentils for grains or stones, and rinse. Combine water and lentils and bring to a boil. Simmer until water is absorbed and lentils are soft. Add lemon juice.
Curried Sweet Potatoes
Steam two peeled and sliced sweet potatoes. Once soft, mash with one teaspoon of curry powder.
Breakfast - Steamed Sweet Potatoes and Beets
I placed peeled and sliced sweet potatoes and beets into a stainless steel steamer basket in a saucepan with water in the bottom, and steamed them until they were soft. I topped them with hemp hearts. This was a really good breakfast!
I've included a photo of the kind of steamer basket I use below. Full credit for the photo goes to Amazon.ca (and you can purchase the item pictured below by clicking here)
Lunch - Lentils
This was a really simple dish that I prepared in the morning while I was getting ready for work. Don't underestimate how tasty lentils are plain, or with very little additional flavour added. Lentils are easier to digest than beans, and easier to prepare because it isn't necessary to soak them (though I will get into the benefits of soaking and sprouting foods in a future post). You can also purchase pre-cooked lentils in a can.
1) Organic romaine lettuce - sliced
2) Brown rice
3) Lentils - I brought the following ingredients to a boil and then let them simmer until the water was absorbed and the lentils were soft
Dinner - Pizza!
I ordered a pesto pizza from Greco's (they don't seem to have their gluten-free options on the online menu). When I picked up the pizza they told me that they cook the pizza on a piece of parchment paper, which is a good measure to prevent against cross contamination.
Welcome to another week! I must admit that not all of today's meals are going to win any presentation awards, but they were all fast and delicious.
Breakfast - Vegetable Medley
-rounds of radish and carrot, sauteed in avocado oil, and topped with hemp hearts
-pickled red cabbage
Lunch - 'Re-fried Beans' with Guacamole
Usually my re-fried beans are a bit fancier, but I made this meal in a rush. The beans were made by frying finely chopped onion, adding a rinsed can of black beans, and then mashing the mixture together.
The guacamole was made with three ripe avocados, two cloves of garlic pressed through a garlic press, and about a tablespoon of lime juice, mashed together. I use a potato masher to mash food like this, its easier than a fork and easier to clean that an appliance.
I ate this on a bed of rice. I know it doesn't look all that good, but I promise it was quite delicious.
Dinner - Coconut Chickpea Curry
As is often the case, I threw this dish together with the ingredients I had available. It would have been even more delicious with some minced fresh ginger or curry powder, but it still worked out quite well!
-one onion, minced
-two cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
-three medium-sized carrots, peeled and diced
-can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped
-one can of coconut milk
-one can of chickpeas, rinsed
-one tbsp. ground cumin
-cilantro, as a garnish
Start by sauteing the onion and garlic in a bit of oil. Dump in the rest of the vegetables and the coconut milk and, after the mixture has heated up, simmer at a medium-low temperature until the vegetables become soft. Add the chickpeas and cumin and simmer until warm. Serve with fresh lime juice and cilantro.
What I Eat
I want to give you an idea of how to eat healthfully on a restricted diet, without a lot of work, by showing you how I eat! I eat strictly gluten-free. You'll find A LOT of veggies in this blog! I eat both fish and meat a few times a week (local and/or humane, whenever possible), and dairy when I'm visiting family and friends, or eating out. I hope you find this blog inspiring and interesting!