Pan-Sauted Corn

15 Aug

Have I mentioned yet what a huge fan I am of fresh summer corn? It’s true.

I went to visit family down in Delaware this weekend and came back laden down with corn, tomatoes (real Southern tomatoes! The very best!), and cherries.  And some gluten-free cheese biscuits to freeze and enjoy later.

I’ve been busy making good use of my produce. Dinner last night included an abundance of sliced tomatoes, with only salt and pepper to spruce them up. Tonight’s dinner included corn sauted in a bit of butter and finished off with smoked paprika. The sweetness of the corn is a lovely contract to the tartness of the paprika. Yum.

PAN-SAUTED CORN
Serves 2

2 cobs of corn, cut off the cob
1 tsp butter (could also use olive oil)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt to taste

In a saucepan, bring water to boil and add corn. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain with a fine mesh strainer. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and add cor. Stir around to coat with butter and then create one single layer of corn. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir again and then create one layer. Cook another 2-3 minutes until the corn starts ‘popping’. (Not like pop corn, but you’ll see/hear it!). Cut off the heat and sprinkle the paprika over the corn. Stir and cook for one minutes ot release the flavor.

Serve hot or warm, as a side dish.

Corn Pudding Redux

10 Aug


I’ve made many corn puddings in my life, but none as delicious as this. For those of you who aren’t from the South, corn pudding is classic comfort food. It’s like creamed corn and a quiche got married and had a baby. It’s filling, but light. Tasty, but not over the top. The perfect summer food. Best of all, it’s super easy to make (and only has four ingredients).

I like to serve it on hot nights as the main dish with an array of veggies — this time with steamed asparagus and sliced tomatoes.

Why is this particular recipe so good? Well, I doubled the amount of corn and added some cheese. And not just any cheese, but Trader Joe’s blend of smoked cheeses. Which sounds weird, but it’s oh so good. The result was creamy and cheesy — almost mac and cheese-esque.

I failed to get a great picture of it, but hopefully you get the gist and will be inspired to try it too!

THE BEST-EVER CORN PUDDING
(gluten-free and vegetarian)
serves 4

5 organic eggs
2 cups milk (2% or whole)
5 ears of corn, cut off the cob
3/4 c shredded cheese (smoked gouda or sharp cheddar are best)
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in milk until blended. Add corn and stir. Pour into a baking pan (6×6? 6×7? Basically, half the size of a regular casserole dish). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for another 20 minutes, until top is bubbly and slightly browned. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Back-To-School for Your Body

8 Aug

Here’s the thing about summer:  It’s waaay easier to fit fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet — sometimes, without really trying.  But it’s also way easier to fit in more BBQs, cook-outs, picnics, after-work cocktails, etc. So for many of us, by the end of the summer, our bodies need a break.

Sound familiar?

Enter the Spark! Wellness Reboot, a 5-day detox designed with YOU in mind.  Well, to be fair, it was originally designed by me and fellow health coach Andrea Moss so that we could gently detox a few times a year. But it worked so well that we decided to make it available to all. (Good thing, cause it was named one of the top three cleanses in NYC!)

When I said “detox,” I don’t mean one of those crazy diets where you have nothing but lemon juice and cayenne pepper or are hungry all the time. Au contraire. I, along with everyone else I know, really enjoy eating. So for this detox, that’s what we do: eat lots of whole, healthy foods. Your body (and your skinny jeans) will say thank you.

Don’t want to take my word for it?

“The reboot is a great way to restart your healthier eating patterns. It reminds me how well my body does with extra vegetables and less sugar and caffeine. I feel satisfied because there are three meals that involve real foods, not just juices. By the end of the reboot I’d lost 5 lbs.” - Spring 2011 Reboot Participant

So here’s the deal:

September 12 – 16

RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE

Never Rebooted with us before? Here’s what you can expect:

Our 5-day Reboot is a a gentle, guided 5-day cleanse. Benefits of a Reboot include:

    • Reducing inflammation in the body caused by hidden food allergies or sensitivities
    • Taking a break from addictive and toxic foods that are difficult to digest
    • Boosting your energy and taking your metabolism to the next level
    • Shedding unwanted “fluff” weight

Your 5-day Reboot includes:

  •  5 days of step-by-step instructions and online group support
  • A detailed Reboot packet that includes menus, grocery lists, and delicious, simple recipes
  • Ongoing expert support, so you’re never alone through your Reboot experience

PLUS NEW BONUSES:

  • “Food That Boost Your Mood” and “How to Ditch the Diet Mentality” teleclasses ($50 value)
  • Healthy Desserts recipe booklet for after the Reboot

RATE: Regularly $79

Your Price: $68 early bird special — if you book by August 29!

Former cleansers or former clients: $58 — if you book by August 29!

RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE

When life gives you tomatoes…

3 Aug

Yesterday I made a brave decision.  I decided to make pasta for my boyfriend the day after we went to Babbo for his birthday dinner. For those of you unfamiliar with the restaurant, it’s one of the best places to get pasta in the city. (I wasn’t able to eat it, but based on the ‘nomnomnomnom’ I heard from his mouth while eating it–and the comment from the guy next to us–‘woah… it’s like an orgasm in my mouth!’–I assume it was amazing.)

Nonetheless, I found some organic heirloom baby tomatoes from Trader Joe’s and knew it they’d be perfect in a light summer pasta. Together with sweet corn and arugula, it just had to be good. Super summer-y. I loved the contrast between the al dente pasta, the fresh raw vegetables, and the sausage. All enrobed in a light white wine sauce. Yum.

SUPER SUMMER-Y PASTA
(gluten-free)
Serves 4

2.5 c brown rice pasta
2 fully cooked chicken sausages [I used TJ's basil sausages]
1 lb baby tomatoes, cut in half
1 cob corn, cut off the cob
1 large handful arugula, rinsed well and dried
1 c white wine [I used sauvignon blanc]
3/4 c chicken stock
1/2 tsp sriracha
salt and pepper to taste
shaved parmesan for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook pasta according to directions on box (usually 7-10 minutes).

In the meantime, cut the sausages into 1/4 in pieces, diagonally. In a frying pan, heat a bit of olive oil and saute the sausage until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add wine, chicken stock, and sriracha and cook on high until it has reduced quite a bit — about 5 minutes.You want about 1/4 c total sauce.

Drain pasta. Pour the sausage and sauce into the pot with the pasta. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with a bit of shaved parmesan on top.

Cooking for Two

1 Aug

Most people complain that it’s hard to cook for one.  Well, over the years I’ve gotten that one down pat. I can quickly whip up something that’s perfect for my mood at the moment, often with plenty of leftovers to eat for another meal.

For the past week, though, I’ve been cooking for two.  I’ve also been cooking in a kitchen that’s not my own.

At first, this frightened me. The idea of taking someone else’s food preferences into account seemed daunting. I cringed at the thought of having to make do in a less-than-perfectly-appointed kitchen. (Specifically, the kitchen wares I’ve been using include one frying pan, one sauce pan, a paring knife, and a spatula). Could I still make rice without my trusty rice cooker?! Would I still be able to chop vegetables without my santoku knife!?What if I needed more than two pans at once!?

At least there’s always take-out.

BUT I’m happy to report back that I have prevailed. Well, mostly. The first night I mis-estimated the amount of food we’d need and we were both a little hungry at the end. (In fact, my boyfriend supplemented his dinner with leftover homemade Pad Thai).

Aside from that misadventure, everything was okay. I just had to be creative. I managed not to burn my brown rice, despite the fact that the saucepan top had steam vents. I discovered that sauted mushrooms + a lot of white wine + some vegetable broth all cooked down for a while resulted in a delicious mushroom ragout that was perfect over coconut rice. I figured out that a saucepan can also be used as a mixing bowl for pancake batter. And a frying pan can be used to steam asparagus.

A lot of my clients find healthy cooking and eating daunting because it’s complicated. But it’s really not — and this week has forced me to re-prove it to myself. Healthy cooking is simple. It’s easy. A typical dinner for me is It’s a whole grain and lots of veggies and some sort of protein–usually all mixed (if not cooked) together.

But you do have to be brave enough to try. And to accept that you’ll probably make a few mistakes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned rice, even though I always follow the same procedure. But that’s okay — it’s all part of the fun.

For all of you cooks out there, what are some simple shortcuts or tips you have for the newbies among us?

 

And the winner is…

27 Jul

Thanks to everyone who entered to win a Good Habit gluten-free goodie bag!  I carefully tallied up the entries and used a random number generator to pick the winner:  MEREDITH!

The generous folks at Good Habit will be in touch soon via e-mail to set up the delivery. Congrats! I hope you love the deliciousness as much as I did.

Fake Pad Thai

26 Jul

 

I spent this weekend 1) watching most of Season Three of Mad Men on DVD; 2) Visiting G-Free, an all gluten-free grocery store on the Upper West Side, and 3) craving Thai food.

Before I go into my pad thai journey, a quick reminder about my Good Habit sample pack giveaway:  you only have one day left. I’m going to pick a winner tomorrow at 5pm. So hurry up and enter already!

Since going gluten-free, I’ve had a crazy craving for Asian food. Soy sauce, very sadly, is chock full of gluten. Since it’s fermented, it affects me even more — I can always tell when some has been slipped into my food. Luckily for me (and you!), there are options to replace soy sauce in cooking:  gluten-free tamari sauce, Bragg’s liquid aminos, and some sort of coconut protein (or something… I’ve only heard about it).

I decided I wanted to tackle pad thai, a dish I love and have always wanted to make. The recipes I’ve found are too intimidating — a pinch of this and a pinch of that:  all spices and sauces that I don’t have and would never use again. I eventually relinquished the notion that I’d make a totally legit pad thai and decided to just wing it.

Part of my winging it was laziness:  I didn’t feel like making the trek to a specialty store to buy tamarind paste and I forgot to get peanuts and cilantro, so I left those out too. Part of it was also my aversion to seafood, so fish sauce (normally a key ingredient) was also out.

To be clear, this is in no way authentic. I wouldn’t recommend serving it to anyone who considers themselves connoisseur of Thai food. (And it goes without saying that if you have Thai ancestry, this probably isn’t for you). That being said — it’s delish. It will hit the spot.

So without further ado…

FAKE PAD THAI
(gluten-free, can be vegan or vegetarian)

Three options:  you can add chicken, tofu, egg — all of the above or none of the above. I made mine with chicken and egg — if you want to sub in tofu, just follow the basic directions for the chicken.

1 chicken breast (or one package tofu)
8 oz Thai rice noodles
2 eggs, beaten
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 c mushrooms, sliced and cut in half
1 c sugar snap peas, cut in half
1/2 c hot water
6 tbsp agave nectar
7 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce, or Bragg’s, or the coconut stuff)
1 tsp sriracha
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 tbsp coconut oil (could also use olive oil)

In a large bowl, immerse noodles in very hot tap water.  Soak them for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to separate noodles, then drain.


In a large saucepan (or, if you’re trying to make this slightly more authentic, a wok), heat 1 tbsp coconut oil.  Add chicken and saute until cooked. Remove and dice.  (If using tofu, you’ll want to cube it beforehand and then saute).

While this cooks, combine the tamari, agave, hot water, sesame oil and sriracha. Blend well and set aside.

Add more coconut oil and add the shallot and mushrooms. Saute at medium-high for 2-3 minutes and then push to the side.Add a bit more oil and then add the eggs to one corner of the pan. Gently scramble (don’t overcook) and then push those to the side. Add the peas and saute for 1 minute.

Add the chicken and noodles and 1/3 of the sauce. Stir everything together and cook on high for one minute. Add the rest of the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Make sure everything is mixed together well (I used two ride paddles and tossed it like a salad).

Serve immediately. It’s supposed to be served with crushed peanuts and cilantro on top — I didn’t do this (laziness!), but I think it would have been better with it.

 

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