I got very inspired late last night reading a beautiful cookbook “The Food of Taiwan” by Cathy Erway. Since it was late and I probably shouldn’t have been eating OR cooking, I picked a pretty quick recipe, Noodles with Minced Pork and Fermented Bean Sauce. Most of the ingredients are common pantry items and things you would find in the refrigerator.

The ingredients waiting to be tossed

The ingredients waiting to be tossed

I made a few intentional and some unintentional substitutions, which I’ll list below. Took about 45 minutes including prep and cooking. Makes about 4 servings.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp oil (vegetable or peanut) (I forgot this completely)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp fried shallots (I used fresh shallots instead)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweet bean sauce (I used hoisin sauce)
  • 2 tsps cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 to 2 tsp dark soy sauce

Noodles

  • 1 pound wheat noodles
  • 1/2 cup fresh or thawed edamame
  • 2 cups packed bok choy or napa cabbage leaves (I used bok choy)

For Serving

  • 1/4 cup black rice vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts (I only had canned and they did not taste good, so skipped these)
  • 1 cup julienned cucumbers

Method for the sauce:Fermented Bean Sauce

Heat the tablespoon of oil in your wok over medium heat and add the pork fat. Sprinkle with salt and sir-fry for about 1 minute. Then add the shallots, garlic and sugar and incorporate together. Stir in the sweet bean sauce. Separately stir together the cornstarch and water. Once the pork mixture is bubbling, add the cornstarch mixture, stirring until it thickens, ~10 seconds. Taste and season accordingly, soy sauce optional.

Method for noodles:

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.  Next bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and also prepare a bowl of ice water and keep to the side. Drop the edamame in and cook for 3-4 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drop the bok choy or cabbage into the boiling water for up to a minute. Remove and transfer to the ice bath to cool. When greens are cooled, shred them.

For serving:

Makes about 4 servings

Makes about 4 servings

Arrange your noodles in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the vinegar around. Ladle the pork sauce on top of the noodles. Then add all of the veggies to the top of the sauce. Toss everything together and serve. According to Ms. Erway, the dish is supposed to be lukewarm.

The dish was extremely tasty, and was a nice mix of protein, fat and carbs. Good dose of vegetables and the is not the star of the dish, but rather plays a supporting role. Definitely left me feeling satisfied. My only comment is that I like my food with a lot more heat, so I added a good dose of sriracha sauce just before serving.

The Food of Taiwan by Cathy Erway

The Food of Taiwan by Cathy Erway

Delicious Sumo Citrus fruit

Delicious Sumo Citrus fruit

I did a double take when I saw the name “sumo” as I was perusing the produce section of Whole Foods. Was this another crazy marketing ploy? First the “Paleo” section at the salad bar and now this! But it seems there is a type of mandarin orange called a Sumo Citrus. It looks a lot like those Ugly Fruits I always see but never buy (too ugly). But, any fruit named after a variation of the squat (and dead lift), not to mention a super cool sport where the athletes get to eat 10,000 calories a day is okay by me.

My sumo lunchbox from back when I was too old to be using a lunchbox.

My sumo lunchbox from back when I was too old to be using a lunchbox.

Apparently the sumo citrus (also known as Dekopon) have been in the U.S. for at least a few years and there is only a small window of time when they are available. The nutrition stats are similar to that of any orange, loads of vitamin C and potassium. Calories would be on the higher side than a normal sized mandarin orange due to its enormous size. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this fruit though. They are sweet, but, not cloyingly so and barely any acidic notes.

Best of all, you can tell scurvy to go bye bye!

Spruce up dull roasted vegetables by adding lots of color and flavor

Spruce up dull roasted vegetables by adding lots of color and flavor

I have to admit, I am not a huge carrot fan. I like them well enough, but, I don’t go out of my way to eat them regularly (I know deep in my soul this is probably a holdover from a long ago experiment with the Atkins diet, for shame!) They are a staple in my house though as a raw snack, usually with hummus and every so often they will be the steamed veggie of the night.

I don’t know about you, but, this long winter has been causing me some serious vegetable burnout, so I finally caved in and bought some of those colorful carrots I keep seeing in the food store. I know those colors provide some serious antioxidant powerhouse nutrition. I didn’t realize how gorgeous they would be as part of a meal! When I threw them in with a few other vegetables, I honestly felt like I was looking at a fruit salad. The only thing missing was a watermelon basket.

Recipe:

1-2 servings

Ingredients

4 carrots, peeled and cut into ~ 1/2 inch slices (I used purple, orange and yellow)

2 large stalks of celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices

5 medium radishes, quartered

2 pearl onions

1-2 tsp coconut oil (smeared along bottom of roasting pan)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2- Chop all vegetables while oven is heating up.

3- Smear coconut oil along the bottom of roasting pan and add vegetables to pan

4- Shake the vegetables around in the pan until they are somewhat coated with coconut oil

5- Roast vegetables ~20-30 minutes, or until fork tender.

6- Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to use the Pink Himalayan salt for the big crystals and a little crunch.

This whole dish clocks in at less than 200 calories and a very respectable 9 grams of fiber! Not to mention over 250% of your RDA for Vitamin A. Your night vision will thank you.

Two of these a day and no worries!

Two of these a day and no worries!

The European Food Safety Authority has said that 400 mg of caffeine per day is not a safety concern, WOO HOO! There is a 98 page draft assessment which you can peruse to get the details on caffeine’s effects on different age populations,

Source:

EFSA: 400mg of caffeine a day is safe.

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+ , 16-Jan-2015

Looks good to me, I’d probably skip the Fage and just add some Sriracha, but if you don’t follow paleo, yogurt is cool

My Life Journey, unscripted and unrated...

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Not in the mood for a heavy dinner and want to feel super clean in the morning? Here is a a healthy natural diuretic mix!

– 3 steamed artichokes  – steam for an hour , then let cool , eat the leaves and work hard for that super high anti-oxidant heart!

– wok up a bunch of asparagus and a red pepper in a tablespoon of EVO with garlic and add a tablespoon of Fage 0% yogurt on top for a little kick.

Yummy in the Tummy!

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Chock full of vitamins C, A and K, you can’t afford not to add this food into your diet. It’s a member of the cruciferous family of veggies (ya know your broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts) 2015/01/img_6941.jpg
These baby Bok Choy cooked up nice and fast in a sauté pan. I used about a teaspoon of coconut oil, sautéed the garlic for a minute or two and then added the Bok Choy (after rinsing and cutting off the bottoms).
I also threw in some red onion for color and drizzled sriracha sauce on before eating. Really delicious, low calorie mid-afternoon snack.

Paleo NoodlesI’ve been experimenting with the Paleo diet lately to see how it feels, and it feels really good. I know it’s not a new diet plan, especially being all “caveman”-like, but, I never gave it much thought before on account of it seeming so difficult to follow. No grains, no dairy, no processed sugar. ARGHHHHH.

That always seemed hard to do, but, forays into intermittent fasting kind of opened the door to me thinking following this kind of diet plan is not so hard after all.

And actually I have made these kinds of noodles before, and was very excited to see a recipe for them in a paleo cookbook. Only a couple of changes to the sauce, peanuts are a no-no on the paleo diet, but all other nuts and seeds are okay.

Paleo Noodles (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

2 large zucchinis

1 clove garlic

Juice of one lime

Red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (not paleo ingredient)

1/4 cup sunflower seed butter

1/4 cup almond milk

Method

1. Julienne the zucchini via a mandoline into noodles, set aside

2. Mix all ingredients from garlic to almond milk in a food processor to make a sauce, add almond milk after all ingredients have been blended.

3. Pour the sauce over the noodles, distribute evenly over all the noodles.

I added leftover chicken to the noodles, but, any protein will do or even some cut up veggies.

~125 calories, 450 mg potassium, 5 g/protein, 32 mg/vitamin C per serving