Note: A slightly-modified version of this post is also a guest post on guest post on Lazaro Cooks! … what can I say? I’m busy, swamped, ready to sell my favorite blender for a slow-paced afternoon – whatever you dear readers call having no free time nowadays. Gotta milk whatever I write, right? Thanks for having me as a guest poster on your admirable blog, Lazaro!
As many of you know, I became a registered dietitian last July and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the nutrition profession. Upon introducing myself to others as a registered dietitian, people will typically ask me some version of the same question. What do you think that question is? Is it:
(a) “By golly, Jessie, how do you stand eating rabbit food all day long?”
(b) “What’s a registered dietitian? (Or, even better: “What’s a registered dianitian?” )
(c) “Will you avert your gaze from the fried chicken I am cradling in my hand?”
(d) “How should I eat?”
Okay, I need to confess: I’ve been asked versions of ALL these questions; however, what’s the question I’ve been asked the most? If you answered (d), a high-five and hearty pat on the back for you!
So, what’s my answer? A short version: eat real food. By real food, I mean unprocessed, perishable foods composing a diet that consists mostly of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, and a small amount of healthy fats. Notice I said “perishable” – some packaged foods will have the word “fresh” emblazoned on the front, but you aren’t fooled, right? And, notice I said “mostly” – I subscribe to the “always, sometimes” diet.
…”Ah, ha!” you say, “This girl, RD is passing off Michael Pollan‘s words as her own!” True, Michael Pollan’s “Eat Food” mantra brought the current fixation with packaged and processed foods over fresh and unprocessed foods to public prominence. Yet, people have been thinking about – and, even better, unconsciously choosing – real foods for time immemorial. We have reached an age where people must turn to experts for guidance on how to eat. Strange, yes? I will do my part, of course, but I mourn the loss of unconsciously healthy food choices.
Luckily, we dietitians have people like Lazaro helping to spread the word! Think of Lazaro as my RD sidekick, if you will. His commitment to using fresh, sustainable ingredients in creative ways is part of a trend that I am thrilled to see across the blog world and into the real world. With a little work, I believe we can return to making healthier food choices without a second thought. The choice is OURS.
What can a hungry health- and eco-concious cook do right now? Why, make dishes like “I Choose YOU! Shrimp Scampi“, of course!
Unfortunately, most shrimp consumed in the U.S. are imported from other countries where regulations concerning production are poorly controlled. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want eat contaminated shrimp if I can help it. I choose U.S.-caught shrimp whenever possible – yes, domestic shrimp often is more expensive than imported shrimp, but I have made a conscious choice to enjoy foods that are better for my health and for the environment. For a good guide on ocean-friendly seafood, check out this link.
8 oz. shrimp, domestic if possible
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter (omit if desired)
Red pepper flakes
Whole wheat pasta or brown rice, cooked
Cook pasta or rice and arrange on warm plates. Defrost shrimp if necessary and make sure shrimp are very dry. Place flour on large plate and mix in smoked paprika if desired (I add the paprika when I want to give the shrimp a little kick). Lightly dredge shrimp in flour and place on another plate.
Place a frying pan over high heat until very hot. Add oil and butter and allow butter to melt. Add shrimp immediately and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning once halfway through. Don’t overcook! Remove shrimp to the plates with pasta or rice and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the frying pan if necessary and place over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for no more than 30 seconds. Drizzle garlic/oil mixture over shrimp and pasta/rice, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and torn fresh parsley. Squeeze lemon over all if desired.
Serve immediately and enjoy! I often eat this dish with grilled summer squash or sautéed Swiss chard.
To all you dear readers: keep it real! Peace.
Q: What’s your food philosophy?
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Strange things are afoot in the THIH household.
Bonnie has mastered the use of a “burrow bed“:
Maddie shows off how evolutionarily advanced she is by relaxing with her belly exposed:
And Jessie is heating up the new kitchen:
What’s that, Jessie? Why, it’s my entry for Denise‘s and Lazaro‘s Quickies Noodle Challenge, of course!
The Challenge? I quote: Prepare a noodle dish of your choice. It can be your unique twist on a classic like Mee Goreng, Pad Thai, Char Kuay Teow, Laksa, Fettucine Alfredo, Chicken Noodle Soup, Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, Mac and Cheese, Soba, Udon, …. or a concoction of your very own creation, making its debut here. Use any type of noodle or pasta and ingredients you wish. It can be vegetarian, vegan or piled with meat, fried in a wok, baked in an oven, swimming in soup or broth or sweetened for a dessert. What we’re looking for is a delicious sounding and interesting twist or creation. Think outside the box, turn cooking conventions on their ears, try something you normally wouldn’t. The most appealing and interesting or unexpected entry, wins!
The prize? Denise’s cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night (check out a preview of the book here). I have been drooling over the prospect of getting this awesome cookbook, so here goes!
This recipe is a take-off on a green noodle and shrimp dish served at a family friend-owned restaurant in my old hometown. But, before we get to the recipe, we must perform the most important step: naming! You may remember my entry for the first Quickies Challenge: Acorn Squash Cradles Avocado, Feta, Tomato, and Egg (a.k.a. Stuffed Acorn Squash). Can I top myself, recipe name-wise?
My Sweet Tart: Colorful Noodles Wrap Around Crispy Shrimp ‘n’ Chinese Sausage
8 oz. dried noodles of choice, preferably colorful (or else the recipe title doesn’t work, see?)
1/4 tsp each coriander seeds, black mustard seeds, fenugreek, tumeric, and sweet curry
1/2 tsp black peppercorns (I used Tellicherry)
1/2 inch ginger
3 tsp canola oil, divided
1 13.5 oz. can light coconut milk
2 drops coconut extract (key!)
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 cup green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Chinese sausage, thinly sliced
~24 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (don’t count them out – guess! Isn’t that a freeing feeling? :) )
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Peel the ginger. Don’t forget to use the spoon trick (rub edge of the spoon against the skin). Mince or grate ginger using your favorite method (mine is using this inexplicably fish-shaped ginger grater, one of many single-use items in our kitchen).
Whenever I use spices in a recipe, I usually try to hold all the spices containers in one hand. Can I do it with SIX containers?
Why yes, yes I can.
Have I ever showed you our spice rack? Peter built it.
Place peppercorns, coriander, mustard seeds, and fenugreek into a grinder. What’s fenugreek, you ask?
Fenugreek is a plant in which both the seeds and leaves are used as flavoring (I used the leaves in this recipe). The leaves are slightly bitter and pungent in smell. A little goes a long way, so a pinch will suffice.
Grind spices. Combine with curry powder and turmeric (optional).
You can toast the spice mix in a hot pan if you like a stronger flavor. I left the mix untoasted for this recipe. Meanwhile, cook pasta. As I mentioned earlier, this recipe was inspired by a dish with green noodles. The closest I could find in our limited grocery store was this pasta:
Normally I avoid refined-grain products masquerading as health food, but, hey, this pasta is green and orange! :D
Back to the recipe: Heat 1 tsp oil in a medium saucepan or saucier and add ginger. Saute one minute. Add coconut milk, sour cream, coconut extract, and spice mix. Mix really well to incorporate the sour cream.
I love noodles!
At this point, you can add cornstarch to thicken the sauce if you desire, or you can leave it as is.
Thinly slice your Chinese sausage and acknowledge that Chinese sausage is a sometimes food in which a little goes a long way.
Add Chinese sausage and cook through. Turn off heat and add green beans. Don’t let the green beans get too hot or they will cook!
While the sauce is heating, prepare your shrimp: place flour on a plate and dredge the shrimp in the flour.
Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in frying pan over high heat (or if you have an induction burner, you can turn that baby up to level 7 or 8 to make the shrimp crispy). Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, or until cooked through, turning once halfway through.
Assemble, bask, and devour.
Even Maddies wants a taste:
Why did I call this recipe “My Sweet Tart“? Peter and I both agree that this sauce is incredible: sweet from the coconut milk, tart from the sour cream, slightly spicy from the spices, and with an occasional crunch from the green beans and crispy shrimp. I’m glad I made a big batch of the sauce – future meals are calling its name!
So, there you have it! Recipe, I send you out into the world, in hopes that you may bring me the ultimate prize – or at least a happy tummy or two.
Q: What’s YOUR favorite noodle dish?
P.S. After reading Nicole‘s gentle insistence that everyone make these life-changing maple snickerdoodle cookies, I succumbed to pressure and happily baked a batch (with the addition of chocolate in a few cookies).
Yep. They were good.
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