Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kale Salad - Sort of Obsessed

For the past few months I've been sort of obsessed with kale.  While Max and I often enjoy kale roasted, I've been eating a ton of raw kale salad.  Kale is pretty much a super food, full of vitamins, antioxidants and goodness.  When I found a pre-chopped kale salad with cabbage and carrots at Whole Foods, I immediately snatched up a bag.  I loved it so much, I now go through about five bags a week. 
The recipe on the back of the bag recommends dressing the salad with extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, salt and pepper.  I followed directions the first time (sans the sugar, of course).
But, at this point, I just empty the bag of kale salad into a large mixing bowl, drizzle with a healthy amount of extra-virgin olive oil, splash with several dabs of rice vinegar (make sure to get unseasoned - it has less sugar), sprinkle with sea salt and dribble with just a little bit of toasted sesame oil and then toss to coat all the leaves.

The key is to let it sit for at least 30 minutes to let the leaves soften a bit.  I often mix the salad the night before I eat it. Mixed, raw kale salad will hold up for several days in the fridge.
For a super easy, full meal, I like to eat kale salad with a couple of chopped up hard-boiled eggs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Super Quick Stir Fry with Homemade Peanut Sauce

I started working on this recipe before leaving for our wedding, when time was rather scarce and the importance of a slim waistline was at an all-time high.  I've been consistently making this dish each week and it has become my favorite, busy-weeknight meal.  I don't even have to get out my favorite global for this meal - this is a no-chop dish people!
1 12-16 oz. bag broccoli
1/2 16 oz. bag snow or snap peas
2 garlic cloves (optional)
1 10 oz. bag shredded cabbage
1/3 cup raw peanut or almond butter*
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (unseasoned)
Dash stevia (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (optional)
Toasted sesame oil, for drizzling
*Buy peanut or almond butter that does not have added sugar or other ingredients, like Trader Joe's Raw Almond Butter made solely from raw almonds.
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil and heat on medium.  Add bag of broccoli, breaking up any extra large florets.  Sprinkle the broccoli with salt and toss to coat with oil.  Cover the skillet and steam until broccoli is just tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Combine nut butter, soy sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl.  Thin with water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is pourable.  If desired, add a dash of stevia and/or 1 teaspoon of ginger.

When broccoli is tender, add peas and garlic (if using) and stir fry an additional 2 minutes.
 Add the cabbage and turn to mix.
Pour sauce over vegetables and turn to combine. Cook until desired tenderness, 2 to 5 minutes longer. Season with salt if needed.  Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and serve warm.

In Phase 1 feel free to add some additional protein, such as shredded chicken.  In Phase 3, you can make the dish as is, without the cabbage and serve the stir fry on raw, shredded cabbage.  Max and I are able to finish most of this dish, but you could probably stretch it to 3 servings (or more if you add other protein).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Balsamic Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

I found this recipe, apparently adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, a couple years ago on smitten kitchen - a yummy, very non-Gundry, home-cooking weblog.  However, lucky for us, with the exception of the bread crumb topping (omitted here), this recipe works for us Gundry'ers.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (grass-fed)
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
Salt and pepper
6 oz pancetta, small dice (approx. 1.5 cups)*
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1.5 cups veal stock, rich chicken or vegetable broth, more if needed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
*I used about 4 oz. pancetta.  Be sure to ask for a thick slice of pancetta (approx. 1/4" to 1/2" thick) to dice into cubes.  I asked for a 1/4"-thick slice and received 1/4 lb of sliced pancetta.  The taste was still delicious, but I was a bit disappointed with my thin slices.  Trader Joe's sells a package of diced pancetta that would work well for this recipe.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter looks foamy.  Add Brussels, turning to coat in butter and olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute, turning frequently, until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add diced pancetta, saute, turning frequently until sprouts are fully browned, slightly softened and the pancetta is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes more.  Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase heat to high, add balsamic and stock.  Cook, turning frequently, until Brussels sprouts are glazed and tender, about 20 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve sprinkled with fresh, chopped parsley.
The result is a delicious, almost stew-like side dish.
I served it with smashed cauliflower.  Max wanted some more protein, so I served his plate with a sausage as well (recommended for those in Phase 1).  I thought the combination of the braised Brussels and smashed cauliflower was reminiscent of a rich Italian dish of stewed meat atop polenta.  It was a bit more work than simple roasted Brussels (which we also love), but well worth the effort.  
 I believe this recipe was intended for whole Brussels sprouts.  So, if you find this recipe too "smooshy" either use whole Brussels or cut down the cooking time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Salad with Mint & Grilled Shrimp

Upon returning from our oh-so-wonderful-didn't-want-to-come-home honeymoon, I noticed that our mint plant had flourished in our absence.  After not cooking for three weeks, I was inspired to conjure up a dish with this beautiful herb.  I dreamed up a refreshing spring salad with grilled shrimp - no doubt still thinking of all the delicious seafood we ate in the Yucatan.  

3 oz. baby spinach
3 Persian cucumbers, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped,
1/2 small red onion, minced
2 Tbsp mint, coarsely chopped
6-8 shrimp
High quality olive oil
Juice of half lemon
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Serves 2.
Peel, de-vein and rinse shrimp.  I left the tails on for a nice presentation.  Skewer the shrimp.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
I got these gorgeous, large shrimp at Whole Foods.
I always look for wild-caught seafood.
Chop cucumber, red bell pepper, artichoke hearts and red onion.  Combine chopped veggies, spinach, and most of the mint in a large bowl.  Drizzle generously with a high-quality olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze with juice of half a lemon.  Set aside.
Grill shrimp until cooked through and opaque - approximately 2 minutes per side.
Divide salad on two plates and top with grilled shrimp.  Garnish with the rest of the chopped mint, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and a splash of fresh lemon juice.
Spring on a plate - enjoy!