Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not-So-Dirty South Rice Bowls- Simple, Light, and Delicious (Vegan Adaptable)

Southern meals are known for their colorful expressions and robust flavors in food and drink.  I personally love anything that awakens the senses of my eyes, nose, and mouth; however I have to be conscientious of all the fat and calories that sometimes come with traditional, Southern cuisine. With that, I came up with this Southern-inspired dinner that brings the flavor I desire to my friends and family, without the unwanted extras. This recipe is so easy to prepare, and is inexpensive in cost per serving.

Not-So -"Dirty South" Rice Bowls


4 5-ounce Salmon (chicken, talapia, or tofu) steak
1 tsp of melted butter w/ 2 tsp of olive oil (extra virgin)
2 tsp of squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp of warmed honey
2-3 tsp of worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of soy sauce
1/2 cup of diced sweet onion
1/2 cup of diced red pepper
1/2 cup of diced green pepper
1/2 cup of chopped okra
1/2 cup of sweet yellow corn
2 cups of brown or jasmine rice
Blackening Seasoning:
1 tsp of smoked paprika, or chipoltle paprika
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black ground pepper
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
* you can also buy a pre-packaged blackening seasoning from your local grocery store.

Pre-heat oven to "high" broil.  Rack should be placed low in the oven.
Rinse Salmon and pat Salmon Completely dry with paper towels
Melt butter and honey in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Stir olive oil, lemon juice, and blackening seasoning into the butter and honey mixture
Place salmon steaks in pan with aluminum foil, sprayed with nonstick spay or oil
Brush or pour mixture of seasoning and oil onto each piece of salmon, evenly.
Broil in oven, uncovered for 6-8 minutes, for thinner pieces; 8-10 minutes for thicker

(Vegan option)

(More photos below)

Marinate extra firm tofu in Braggs Amino Acids or soy sauce for 1-hour, drain completely, and proceed with directions for salmon.
Saute okra, corn, peppers, in 2tbs of extra virgin olive oil
Add Worcestershire and soy sauces; stir
Add brown rice and toss. Remove from heat
(optional) 1/2 14 oz can of stewed tomatoes, well drained.
Serve with sliced tomatoes or side salad
See photos

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Soul Food = Food for Life? You'll Be Amazed! (Recipe w/ images)

"Soul Food" refers to types of foods which are traditional to African-Americans in the South.  These foods consist of crops brought to the Americas on slave ships during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Okra (gumbo), black-eye peas (cow peas), and peanuts (groundnuts; goobers) were some of the most popular crops brought to the Americas from Africa. Traditional African-American foods, later became celebrated for their intense flavor, a result of creative preparation with limited food resources.  What surprises many is that many of these traditional foods for the soul, are actually some of the healthiest foods for the human body! 

Here's a list of some of my favorite super soul foods:

Black-Eye Peas- packed with potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, iron, and fiber.

Collard Greens- considered one of the world's greatest super foods!  Connected with cancer prevention as supportive of the body's detox system. Packed with vitamins C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and other anti-oxidants. Contains anti-inflammatory properties (vitamin K), and is believed to have cholesterol-lowering properties as it is a natural digestive aid.

Okra- rich source of protein, calcium, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, beta-carotene, and lutein.

Sweet Potato (Yam)- a rich complex carb (the good kind), fiber, and beta-carotene. Extremely high amounts of vitamins C and B-6, iron, and calcium. 

Here's one of my favorite 'simply sensational' soul food meals:

Tricked -Out Black-Eye Peas w/ Veggies (served over Jasmine rice)

2 tbsp of oil (extra virgin olive or canola)
2 cups of chicken/vegetable/vegan mock chicken broth
4 cups of pre-soaked or frozen black-eye peas
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
1 cup of chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves/ tbsp of chopped garlic
1 cup of chopped yellow (or sweet) onion
2 cups of diced tomato, or 2 14-oz cans of stewed tomatoes (drained)

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil; toss celery, onions, peppers,  and garlic on med-high heat until  slightly cooked...

Add carrots...

Add black-eye peas & broth...

Add stewed or chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer 
15-20 (frozen peas) 40-45 (fresh, pre-soaked peas)

Serve over brown/ Jasmine rice (2 parts water:1 part rice)

Done & Delicious!

To learn more about the history of traditional African-American foods...
Dr. Joseph E. Holloway, PhD, professor at California State University Northridge, provides a full history of traditional African-American foods with definitions in his essay, "African Crops and Slave Cuisine", on the Slavery in America website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last Minute Dinner Save: Bringing Basic 'Sexy' Back to Valentine's Day Dinner

Last Minute Dinner Save:   
Bringing Basic 'Sexy' Back to Valentine's Day Dinner 

Just watch, learn, and do! Directions follow- beginning to end.

In the beginning...

Cut marinated tofu, firm seafood, poultry, or meat...

Chop veggies and herbs (sweet basil, sweet onion, red and green bell pepper)...

Threaded Skewers: veggies/ seafood/ poultry/ meat onto bamboo skewers (pre-soaked in warm salt water for 15 minutes).  

Getting It Started...

Arranged Marinated Kabobs on pan. Set under med-high broil for 15 minutes- turning every 4 minutes...

Aromatic Jasmine Rice Infused w/ Rosemary (1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, one sprig of rosemary, brought to a boil, reduced to a simmer for 12, remove from heat, do NOT touch/ open for an additional 5 minutes....


Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad w/ French Loaf Toasted w/ Olive Oil.


Chopped. Simple...

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Ground Pepper- for brushing and dipping.

Simplistic Arrangement...

Drop-Dead Cream and Belgium Chocolate Mousse:  Hazelnut and cocoa, mixed equally with whipped topping- preferably one with whole ingredients.

Dropped in flaky pastry cups, topped with fresh raspberry slices. Garnished with strawberry slices and mint...


I'm done...!

Salad/ Appetizer


Main Course

Sweet Bites/ Finale

Simple. Delicious. Done.