Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eggplant and Red Pepper Salad

I thought my physical strength had not been changed since I was a teenager. I was wrong. After two decades have passed I am no longer a teenager and I cannot run like I used to. But I still considered I was physically in good shape. I recently realized I was totally wrong and I need to work out more.

A few months ago, I started playing soccer and joining tournaments with ladies over 30’s. At a glance, these ladies look like just women next door. But I was mistaken. They (some are over 50’s!!!) are extremely energetic and move like I used to when I was a teenager.

So I continue my vegetarian diet and hopefully I will get into good shape for the games. Here is one of the vegetarian dishes I like. Broil eggplants and red peppers and peel the skin off. Chop the eggplants and red peppers and mix them. Add copped parsley and green onion. Pour a lot of olive oil and lemon juice and mix with the mixture. Season it with salt and pepper. If you like, mix with ground garlic. This dish is very refreshing and can be a great side dish for Thanksgiving ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leek with Rice

Since my cholesterol level was more than I expected, I have started strict vegetarian diet. I thought it would be a torture because I love meat. But I started liking it. I enjoy trying vegetables I have never tasted before. Indeed, I am amazed by some vegetables, which are really delicious.

A several years ago, when a book, “French Women Don't Get Fat", was introduced, my girlfriend cooked leek soup. She said the recipe was from this book. The sweet taste of leek has fascinated me since then.

A few years later, my husband taught me this leek with rice dish. It is very simple and healthy, yet very yummy. Sauté chopped leek, garlic and onion well. Add rice and cook them until the rice becomes soft. Add chopped dill and season with salt and pepper. Greek people usually eat this dish with feta cheese. I often spread Parmesan cheese on the top of this dish.

Leek helps lower the bad cholesterol. I should cook this healthy vegetable more often!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fried Tofu

One of the things I am proud of was my cholesterol level, which had been 170 for years. I ate various vegetables, soybeans and soybean products. Also I avoided red meat and fried food. Of course, I worked out a lot.

However, the result of my recent blood exam shows that my cholesterol level increased! My doctor said, “Don’t worry! It is still below the red sign. It just indicates you are aged.” No way! So I decided to say “Good bye” (at this moment) to juice Cajun sausages and delicious fried food.

Perhaps, I should temporary farewell to one of my favorite dishes, which is fried tofu. Simple coat it with potato starch and fry them with oil. Pour soy sauce and ginger juice over the hot fried tofu. Yummy!

My “Back to 170” program has already started. While I am looking at this delicious fried tofu picture, I determine I will do it in order to have this dish again!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Onion and Japanese Basil (Shiso) Salad with Tofu

Recently I found ponzu, a citrus seasoned soy sauce/dressing in a local supermarket. I just did not expect I would find one of the must-have Japanese seasonings if you cook Japanese food. I am very excited and eager to use this seasoning.

It is very hot in Louisiana, which causes me to lose my appetite. I do not want to eat oily or heavy food. So I decide to make simple salad using ponzu. I used my favorite herb, shiso, and onion for it. You can eat this salad with cooled/hot tofu, which has a lot of healthy benefits. It is amazing that I can eat a few cup of rice with this simple and delicious salad.

1 onion, thinly sliced
10 Japanese basil (Shiso) leaves
3 tablespoons of dried bonito flakes
3-4 tablespoons of ponzu

1. Wash shiso leaves and pad with paper towel. Thinly slice the leaves.
2. Soak the sliced onion in the cold water for about 15 minutes. Drain them well.
3. Mix the onion slices, shiso, dried bonito flakes, and ponzu. Leave them in a refrigerator for 30 minutes or more.
4. Serve it on drained tofu!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Granola Bar

I hardly eat or make desserts unless there is a special occasion. The other day, I was invited to a social event where tasting snacks and chatting are main activities. I brought my homemade granola bars for the party.

It might be not a good idea to bring these bars because they started melting under the hot weather. However, I received a lot of compliments about my simple homemade snack. Many people asked me the recipe. I am pleased to share it with you here :)

Ingredients (8x8 inch pan):
3 cups of granola, pumpkin seeds, chopped dry fruits, or nuts, etc
60 g of marshmallows
50 g of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of honey

1. Place the marshmallows and unsalted butter in a bowl and let them melt completely using a microwave.
2. Add the granola and honey in the bowl. Mix them well.
3. Grease a flat pan (I used 8x8 inch pan). Place the mixture in the pan. Lay a wax paper on the top of the mixture and press into the bottom of the pan evenly.
4. Refrigerate it for 15 to 30 minutes. Cut into bars.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes

I tasted heirloom tomatoes for the first time last year. I had seen them in stores before but never tried them. This was because they were quite expensive comparing with other tomatoes. In addition, their black, yellow and green colors and strange shapes looked artificial to me.

Last year I found out heirloom tomatoes was introduced before 1920’s. They are non-hybrid and have a genuine tomato aroma and taste. After I tried them, I cannot think of buying other tomatoes when heirloom tomatoes are available.

I kept some heirloom tomato’s seeds from the tomatoes I ate and this spring I planted in my vegetable garden. It is time to harvest. The more ugly figures and weird colors they are, the better their taste are. Hope I can harvest enough to preserve some for winter!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Star Fried Bitter Melon with Pork, Egg, and Onion

Last year I planted two bitter melon plants in my garden. Unfortunately I was able to harvest only a few bitter melons. However, this spring I found ten bitter melon plants coming up from the soil. It seemed some fruits dropped the seeds last year and came up! They grew and I already picked up 6 or 7 fruits and more to come!

Bitter melon is extremely high in vitamin C. Recent studies show bitter melon can be effective for treating diabetes. Lately supplements of bitter melon are available, which regulate blood sugar level.

The taste of this vegetable is very bitter. But this can be addictive. I usually star-fry bitter melon with pork or chicken, eggs and onion. This dish gives you not only a delicious flavor but also many of the healthy benefits.