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Red Beet Salad recipe with orange, feta cheese, mint

Red Beet Salad recipe with orange, feta cheese and mint, what’s not to love. To begin with, the taste and texture followed by health benefits and support of detoxification. The idea of eating and cleansing suits me fine with these five reasons.

  1. Colour attraction, deep burgundy red (all natural beetroot juice is a red food and beverages colouring).
  2. Sweet slight earthy taste and crunchy texture
  3. antioxidants
  4. anti-inflammatory
  5. detoxification

 Whether you roast it whole, blend into a classic soup or drink as juice like the Olympians does – beetroot is low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals and packed with powerful antioxidants – a health-food titan. (source link: BBC Good Food – Beetroots)

And that sums it up why I keep buying this power food with this recipe I finally had the whole family fully agreeing not to overlook this green but to make this Red Beet Salad with orange, feta cheese and mint recipe more often. The Beetroot has achieved superfood status, according to scientist claimed beetroot juice is capable of boosting athletic performance. Read more: “Boom time for beetroot” DailyMail online article.

Beetroot Salad Orange, Feta, Mint 1

Red Beet Salad preparations

For the balsamic mustard dressing with fresh herbs, I choose to add a Dutch touch with “Groninger mosterd, grof & pittig” whole seed, grainy mustard for a different flavour and sharpness complementing the beets. I used to whisk everything together but it is much easier to put all dressing ingredients in a jar and give it a good shake, the dressing will thicken nicely blending everything together.

Red Beet salad Orange, Feta, Mint 2

Red Beet Salad with Orange, Feta Cheese, Mint

Pour the dressing over the beets first and mix before tossing in the orange segments, as you can see on the photo image the beet juice bleeds very quickly coating everything in red. What you can’t see, smell or taste, unfortunately, is the ‘cheese’, at the local Turkish supermarket shop I bought their artisan-made sheep cheese for the first time and it was so much better than the standard supermarket packed versions.

Butter Beans simple Italian style recipe

Pulses have found their way regularly in our weekly dinners and compared to our childhood boring brown and white beans, cooking with spices and herbs sure brightens our palate and lifts up the taste for more. Recycling in the house by reusing various glass jars filled with all kinds of dried beans in plain sight, in stead of storing in the cupboard makes it invisible and forgotten easily. Now I am in the habit of quickly grabbing a bean variety and letting it soak overnight to a maximum of two days if cooking plans changes or I prepare them and store them in the fridge or freezer. For example making re-fried beans recipe for breakfast burrito’s, dip, salads or as a side dish.

I’ve just re-stocked buying soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, black-eyed beans and while at it, brought home a bag of butter beans as new addition. Haven’t prepared these creamy whites in a long time, the butter bean is a well-rounded source of nutrition, rich in protein, fiber, iron and B vitamins. Hardly any fat and all these nutrients combined will provide you with everything you need to lose weight, build muscle and feel energetic.

“Lima beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other legumes. In addition to lowering cholesterol, lima beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, lima beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. You may already be familiar with beans’ fiber and protein, but this is far from all lima beans have to offer.” (source:whfoods.org)

Butter Beans aka Lima beans

Dried butter beans or Lima beans

For dried beans how-to cooking instructions click on the link for instructions.

Style variations:

With the Italian style recipe here you can easily vary by using Chinese cooking wine, Chinese (or Thai) soybean sauce, Chinese mushroom soy sauce, fresh or dried peppers or other oriental spices as garam masala the variations are endless. Garnish with coriander, spring onion instead for an Asian finish.

Butter Beans Italian style

Butter bean simple Italian style recipe

More Butter Beans nutritional information and links:

Blackbeans Jumble Recipe

Blackbeans Jumble, our Monday night one-pot dinner creation influenced by Creole Jambalaya. The origin of Jambalaya apparently derives from the Provencal which is spoken in the South of France, the word “jambalaia” refers to a mishmash or mix-up. Talking about fusion, diversity and cooking, you definitely will find it in Creole cooking, this cuisine is a living proof of all the descendants of early settlers.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is recognized as a unique style of cooking, which makes use of the “Holy Trinity” (in this case, chopped celery, bell peppers, and onions), but has a great variety of European, French, Caribbean, African, and American influences.

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

Pulses and legumes

I love one-pot dishes, mixing ingredients and blending of spices they are ideal to finish up whatever vegetable is leftover on my kitchen counter. Adding pulses and legumes to your diet is very healthy since beans are considered protein-rich super food. Beans are low-glycemic, high-fiber, high-protein and packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Not to mention very convenient to cook and to add to your weekly meal plan. Beans help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and as a bonus helps to lower your weight.

Double value for health and grocery shopping budget to buy dried beans instead of cans or jars, a bag of beans is very economic, because it triples in quantity. One dried cup yields 2½­- 3½­ cups soaked beans, enough to feed a family of 4-6 persons. Just soak a cup overnight (1-2 days max, refreshing water in between) to let them well double in size, transfer to a pressure cooker and depending the bean and quantity you only have to cook 7-10 min tops and the beans are ready to be used in dishes or as ingredient of a recipe. For an overview of beans with image and description click here.

Black eyed beans

Black eyed beans

Digestion aid

Not everyone has the same experience but it is a well known side effect of eating beans resulting in flatulence, because beans contain raffinose which is a starch that is poorly digested due to a lack of the enzyme galactosidase. In aid to reduce increased intestinal gas production, there are several ways to avoid bean flatulence;

  1. Pre-soak overnight up to 24 hour, rinse in between (48 hours max otherwise it will ferment instead!) is a must and cook them well, the beans must be entirely soft without any hard bits.
  2. Add a knife tip – pinch of baking soda to the soak water of dried beans before cooking, this will significantly decreases the content of the raffinose family of sugars.
  3. From our time in India, were lentils are staple food we learned from Indian cooking to add asfoetida aka ‘hing’ as a digestive aid, this little tub is on our spice rack among Indian spices. In many Indian recipes it includes turmeric and ginger both are digestives spices as well.
  4. Other spices are cloves, cinnamon, and garlic are potent in reducing gas.
  5. According to a Huffington Post article, adding a piece of seaweed (Kombu or Wakame) will make the beans more digestible. Seaweed is another well known power food and it adds an extra depth as part of flavoring the beans as well aid for digestion 

Chili con Carne is a well known recipe with kidney or brown beans, Blackbeans Jumble is made with blackeyed beans and this recipe has creole influences but was mainly inspired by leftover greens, the use of spices like smoked paprika powder and cumin makes it interesting. You can add peppers if you like the heat or leave them out, by omitting the meat it will become a full vegan dish.

Blackbeans as comfort food

Blackbeans as comfort food

Flat beans stir-fry with ground pork & bean sauce, recipe

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Flat beans are in season now for € 0,99 p/kg, fresh bright green, smooth skin, crunchy and string less, flat beans belong to the same group as runner beans. Flat beans here in The Netherlands/Europe are cooked, boiled or steamed, although I do not know many cooks who will use this unless they have a steamer appliance or steamer-oven otherwise too much hassle. My favorite way of cooking is stir-frying, the cutting up takes more time than cooking in a wok or saute pan/flatware.

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Day before I had prepared fresh aubergines with SiChuan chilibean paste and I only needed half a package of ground pork meat, so I had some leftover ground meat to be used.

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When I refer to soybean paste, I realized it can be confusing especially since I have 4 kinds of bean sauce. Three as shown in the picture above; the first one is a Taiwanese brand, the two glass jars Chinese and the fourth one missing is a Thai version (a photo will appear in another dish soon). Now for tonight’s dinner I only used bean sauce, the middle jar but if I would be cooking with chicken or dou fu I would mix bean and hot bean sauce together for an even stronger flavor.

Flat beans stir-fried with ground pork & bean sauce

To speed up cooking even more, you could zap the bean in the microwave for 5-7min (depending microwave power), we like a crunchier texture so never pass beyond 7 min otherwise even stir-frying will make them wilt even more. With cutting up the vegetables, cooking the rice (2-3pers) and stir-frying this dish dinner is served with 15- 20 minutes tops.

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You can substitute flat beans for runner beans and make this a vegetarian dish by omitting ground meat, variation are endless. You can even create a spicier version by mixing both the bean and hot bean sauce or adding a chili paste to enhance spiciness and leave out the bean sauce entirely. This recipe gives you a base to mix and match and experiment further to create your dish.

Rice with dried anchovies, quick stir-fry for lunch

With a few ingredients it is simple to make rice with dried anchovies in a tasty lunch, a quick stir-fry and your good to go. I had some leftover rice, dried anchovies and last bit of tempeh kering (Indonesian snack) to add an extra crunch to the dish. Have to make a new batch of Tempeh Kering or other dishes with tempeh, I am trying my hand to make tempeh at home. As soon as that experiment works I will post my findings accompanied with a dish.

Dried anchovies are versatile in Asian cooking, they are either used for broths like in Japanese, Korean soup and stews, appetizers. In Chinese home-cooking often combined with fatty dishes as in steamed Chinese style meatloaves. Or deep-fried called Ikan billis it accompanies Nasi Lemak, coconut infused rice wrapped in banana leaves. One of many favourite Singapore/Malaysian dishes. Sambal belacan ikan billis is another one, sambal belacan is a spicy chilli paste which can be added during cooking or eaten as condiment often served with Laksa. The more talk about food and we’re wandering away from our stir-fried rice.

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As shown on the photo, these are all the ingredients to start the stir-fry some leftover rice, egg, shallots, garlic, shrimp sauce/paste, chilli-soy paste, soy sauce with  Chinese cooking wine and a heated wok. For the photo I scattered some celery leaves on top, but it is tastier  with coriander and green onions unfortunately all finished it sure was time to shop for groceries too.

Rice with dried anchovies

A quick and easy stir-fry, an assembled dish of various ingredients it has literally a bit of China, Indonesia in it you’ll find the recipe in the box below.

Aubergine stuffed with minced lamb and spices

Greek/Turkish Stuffed Aubergine with minced Lamb and spices
Greek/Turkish Stuffed Aubergine with minced Lamb and spices

Had plans for MaPo DouFu, but the minced meat was Lamb mince, slight adjustment and a dive into the cupboard and fridge to see what else was available. On the left two shiny aubergines, a jar with tiny dried bird’s eye chilli peppers, a quick look in the cupboard with jingling spice bottles. Two bell peppers from the vegetable drawer, asked hubby to snip a big hand of fresh parsley from our potted garden outside. Love Greek and Turkish cuisines and thought it would be a nice surprise after a few days of Asian dishes, with most of the ingredients at home it is easy to fuse flavours and mix with spices. Creating a new dish or cooking a flavour is most of the time not ingenuity but missing an ingredient which forces you to substitute in the hope it fuses and blends all well together. If it does happy faces at the table, if not it will be voted out not to be repeated. Luckily this dish is a keeper, easy to prepare and adapts with all most all vegetables even a spinach version turned out tasty, so go figure.

Aubergine vegetarian version

If you want an aubergine vegetarian version just omit the meat and cook the vegetables or you may add one can of chickpeas instead. After cooking and filling the eggplant shells, you will have more than enough stuffing left over to enjoy the next day either for lunch or dinner.

Variations we like for the next meal as lunch or dinner ideas are:

  • Wrap in a tortilla as a burrito with extra lettuce or with rice.
  • Grill Turkish/Moroccan bread/Ciabatta layer with lettuce and top with eggplant stuffing
  • If you don’t have time to wait and bake the potato, zapp the spud in the microwave on full, cut a cross and pull it open top the eggplant stuffing on top with a dollop of yoghurt.
  • or if you happen to have some hummus, lavash and other dips you can have it as a snack too.

Share the food! Enjoy and send me a photo of your dish 🙂

Smashed Beetspuds hodge-podge:

Smashed Beetspuds, hodge-podge

Smashed potatoes with beets, bacon, garlic, onion & fennel seed

After visiting an entertaining seminar I biked home along with a late afternoon sun, but the temperature had dropped to 4°C and I was stone cold by the time I stepped into the house. Time to prep dinner quickly, hot with loads of carbs since everyone was dropping in hungry and on the run for sports night or other social activity.

In the fridge was a packet pre-cooked beets, bacon lardons and we needed a filling so big potatoes or ‘spuds’. A different take on a local Dutch dish “Bieten Stamppot”; Dutch stuff ( ingredients ) + American influence (smashed potatoes) + Chinese cooking (moi) = Smashed Beetspuds! 🙂

Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are the two best-studied betalains from beets, and both have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. 

I am actually the only one who loves beets in our house and just telling they are highly nutritious root vegetables doesn’t cut it. You have to be inventive to balance the earthy ‘beets’ flavour into a nutritional and colourful dish. A Wednesday night hodgepodge, everything nice with sugar and spice with just a drop of balsamic vinegar and pinch of fennel seeds.

Instead of a pureé, opted  to ‘smash’ it and just give it a quick mix so it retains structure instead of a red pinkish mash-up. Unfortunately,the photo’s are not supporting my claim, but give the recipe a try I love to hear your comments or even better share your results send me a photo of your plate.

Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

A request from TinYee for “What’s for dinner?”, how about a quick stir-fry tender chicken with broccoli florets flashing out of the wok onto a plate. Let’s not forget to write down the Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe and post it please :-).

If you’re cooking for a family or friends this is a healthy and tasty dish to serve on the table. Chinese stir-frying and Asian cooking is all about setting up for flash cooking.

Chicken Broccoli stir-fry recipe is an easy budget-friendly dish and a crowd pleaser. All the ingredients can be easily substituted with other meat cuts and greens in season. Pork, lamb, beef (even fish, see note) with vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, Pak Soi or Chinese cabbage. Versatile and ideal to mix vegetables of what is left in the refrigerator and needs to be finished

 

Quick, easy and economic no leftovers of ingredients, whether you cook Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry for 4 persons or make 4 meals ahead for your weekly meal plan. Start with the preparation, cutting up the ingredients in bite-size pieces. Season the thinly sliced meat quickly set aside. blanch the vegetables and quickly into an ice-bath. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Cut up broccoli florets or other vegetables in equal bite-size pieces. Blanch the vegetables, short and quickly into an ice-bath. This will stop the cooking process. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Chicken broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

Tip:

Check the fridge if other ingrediënts can be chopped into the dish too. This help clearing and finishing into a colourful and healthy cooked meal. When stir-frying always add the hardest/toughest ingredients first and soft ingredients last into the wok.

Another Chinese stir-fry recipe is Flat beans with ground pork and bean sauce or try seafood suggestion Thai Red Curry Mussels Recipe.

Cooking notes:

  • This recipe is suitable to adapt for Keto, Paleo and diabetes diet.
  • For soy sauce gluten free options:
    • soy sauce choose tamari sauce (wheat free) as the closest substitution
    • Bragg liquid amino (purist would say nay because it’s not made with a natural fermentation but chemical process instead)
    • Coconut amino (a healthy soy substitute, made from coconut sap. It has a salty, slightly sweet flavour and is rich and dark in colour)
    • fish sauce (made from fermented fish/seafood although it is different it tastes as good). If there are none dietary restriction I often use both in cooking.
    • home-cook experiment, make your own instead. Will follow up soon with a discovery post.
  • Cooking oil
    • Olive oil use light, extra virgin is too heavy and will carry an after taste.
    • Sesame oil is only used for flavouring at the end, not intended for stir-frying, it burns too quickly and becomes bitter.
    • Coconut oil is mostly used in Keto and Paleo cooking.
  • Chicken seasoning powder in principle should be gluten free or use a vegetable powder as substitute
  • For vegan diet:
    • use fresh tofu
    • dried compressed soy flavour tofu
    • Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
    • Okara, when I make fresh soy milk the leftover soybean pulp is called Okara. Very nutritious and versatile to make pancakes or burgers.
    • Quorn
    • You can also buy a large variety mock soy meat packages at Chinese supermarkets.
  • Instead of meat, you can also substitute with fish fillets too. Coat the pieces in corn flour and fry them first, take out, continue with the recipe and add when almost done.
  • Cornstarch is what I standard use, next tapioca starch and tapioca flour or arrowroot.
  • Mushroom sauce (vegetarian) and oyster sauce are both used as extra flavour seasonings or omit.