Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’
46F was our high today. With sprinkly rain and gloomy clouds. On April 23. That is cold, friends! Winter has not seemed to get the memo: GO AWAY. The trees are blooming, the birds are singing, the clocks have changed, and my sweaters are looking worn and tired. I have a new spring dress that is begging to be worn. The weather is just not cooperating with me here! Where is SPRING?
The only thing that can make a dreary and cold day better is soup, and this one hit the spot! This soup was inspired by a recent trip to the Asian food market. I was excited to see inexpensive Kabocha squash, so picked one up along with a bag of baby Bok choy. As I paid for my purchases, the squash rang up as “Japanese pumpkin.” And the idea for what would become of the Kabocha squash was born: miso soup! The bok choy and the squash seemed to be natural soup add-ins, and the mushrooms were a last minute thought to add texture and more body. Tofu would also be a natural addition, but I did not have any on hand and do not always love how soggy it gets in leftover soup. I used a “minute miso” paste to create this soup, which made prep minimal. I have never worked with real miso paste, so am not quite sure what modifications that would add, but most bottles come with general instructions on how to create the basic miso broth! Overall, this soup comes together in 35-40 minutes, with most of the cook time added from the roasted squash.
Is your town’s weather uncooperative as well? Then give this soup a try!
Kabocha, Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy Miso Soup
Vegan, serves 4 as main course or 6-8 as starter
1 clove garlic, minced
8-oz package white button mushrooms, sliced
6 heads baby Bok choy, stems cut off with leaves roughly quartered and separated
1 kabocha squash, sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup miso paste
4 cups hot water
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
Half the kabocha squash, and then cut into slices. Toss lightly with half of the sesame seed oil, then lightly salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400F oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute sliced mushrooms in garlic and remaining sesame seed oil. Add the soy sauce, then cook until half of the liquid is absorbed. Add the bok choy, then turn off heat.
Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a kettle. Measure out 1/4 cup miso paste and add to a large 4-cup measure. Add boiling water to bring the total volume to 4 cups. Stir, then pour over the vegetable mixture. Stir the greens until they are well wilted.
Once the kabocha squash is finished roasting, remove from oven and gently peel back the skin with a fork. Cut into chunks and add to soup. Bring soup back to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir and serve warm.
My most recent rotation left me with a lot of free time. Desperately needed free time. I had literally been praying for weeks, “I just need time to relax and recover!” Yet, when I got my free time (finally), I had no idea what to do with it! I realized I have been so busy for the past year that I had forgotten how to “waste time” or just sit and be. I lost track of what my hobbies were, what I would do for fun or to relax. I ended up sleeping a lot, working out a little, and watching TV more than I care to admit. However, after 3 weeks, I finally feel back to “me”. I am reading a book for fun again. I have caught up on the news. I know at least one recent event not related to health care. I have caught up with friends, with family, with blogs.
And I have created. This might possibly be one of the best recipes to come out of my kitchen to date. I made it twice before getting it right to share with you. It was inspired by two different lasagnas prepared by friends – one a twist on traditional lasagna with an Indian flare, and one made gluten-free with zucchini noodles. I decided to combine both ideas with my own vegetarian flare, and the results were DELICIOUS. Seriously. My roommate and two house guests would agree. Every bite sings softly with curry and a hint of spice, with the warmth and comfort of traditional lasagna. Better yet, it is incredibly healthy with zucchini for “noodles”, tempeh in place of ground beef, and a lot less cheese than you would normally expect.
The best part of this recipe is its adaptability. If you are a carnivore, you can easily use 8 oz. ground turkey or chicken in place of the tempeh. If you like your pasta, use noodles instead! Add more chili flakes if you really want that spicy factor. A note on the tempeh– a quick Google search informs me that there are gluten-free varieties. The kind I used had some barley grains and so technically wouldn’t be safe for the gluten intolerant. However, if you are both gluten-free and vegetarian, there are varieties that exist and are safe for you! If you haven’t explored tempeh before, I would also recommend adventuring to the store and trying it. The flavor is mild and the texture mimics ground meat well in this dish. Have fun with this recipe and enjoy letting your creativity flow in the kitchen!
Indian Spiced Zucchini Tempeh Lasagna
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large white onion, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp corriander seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
8 oz package tempeh
2 medium zucchini
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
In a large pan, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until onions are very soft and begin to lightly brown, about 7 minutes or more. Stir the spices directly into the onions over low heat. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and continue to cook over low heat. Meanwhile, in a small pan coated with cooking spray, crumble the tempeh. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to slightly brown the crumbles. Stir the tempeh into the tomato sauce and reduce to lowest heat. Cook until the sauce is thick.
Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into long, thin “noodles” using a mandolin set on the intermediate thickness. In a separate bowl, combine goat cheese and yogurt until smooth. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Begin with 2 layers of zucchini slices to create the bottom layer. Top with half of the tempeh mixture, and then another 2 layers of zucchini. (I criss-crossed my layers to create a better faux noodle). Spread the middle zucchini layer with half of the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining tempeh and another zucchini layer, and then coat the top with the remaining cheese mixture. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until the inside is bubbling and the edges are lightly crisp. Cut into 4 squares and serve.
Recipes come to you in the strangest and most inappropriate of places… the shower, during exams, during church… However, after a long time of feeling stuck in a rut in the kitchen, I was thankful for some new ideas this weekend! When I first started receiving my Boston Organics box, I would often have no clue what to do with some of the vegetables. Collard greens, kale, delicata squash? I had never seen some of these things! In fact, my lack of random veggie knowledge is what introduced me to the blog world. However, this is my third fall receiving the box, so few veggies take me by surprise anymore. This has led to me repeating recipes (not always a bad thing) and feeling rather un-creative in the kitchen. Lately, I have started playing with new spices and flavor profiles instead of new veggies to keep my meals interesting! And thus, this recipe was born.
I originally wanted to use peas to mimic an Indian rice dish that a friend of mine makes, but none were to be found in my freezer. I saw, instead, a half of a zucchini leftover from another dish that was just begging to be finished. Summer and fall squash does not make for the most seasonal of combinations, so replace as you wish with peas or some other green veggie! The candied ginger is homemade and adds a great sweetness, and together with the cranberries play off well from the spicy garam masala. The Indian flare takes this out of my comfort zone, from more typical Italian and American herbs to a more exotic (to me) flavor profile. A sprinkle or two of goat cheese would also be welcomed if you aren’t looking to keep this vegan! This recipe invites playfulness, so try it the next time you are looking for some kitchen fun!
Stuffed Delicata Squash
2 medium delicata squash (about 1 lb)
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 tbsp candied ginger, minced
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1/2 cup chickpeas
1 tbsp garam masala
pinch salt to taste
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Mix with shredded zucchini, ginger, cranberries, chickpeas and garam masala. Adjust salt to taste. Split delicate squash in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and stringy insides with a spoon. (You can save the seeds to roast like pumpkin seeds, but there is a lot of string to pick through). Fill each squash with several spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture. Add a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish and cover. Bake in a 350F oven, covered, for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Serve as a main dish with a side salad or as a side for a special meal! (Note: the delicata squash has a “delicate” skin that can be eaten!)
Some days, comfort food is a necessity. Specifically, rainy days filled with grumpy patients, impossible automated phone calls, and traffic. After a rather benign but somehow still intolerable Friday, I dreamed up this comforting pasta bake while stuck in traffic on my way home. I had a bunch of leftover tidbits of ingredients from my Girl’s Night and a lot of leafy greens from my Boston Organics box that seemed to scream out for a creamy pasta dish. At first, I had an idea to make a grown-up version of my Mom’s amazing mac n’ cheese, which was inspired by our favorite white pizza. However, I saw the tomatoes and sauce calling out to be used and morphed this into a Tomato Basil Pasta bake. (I will have to come back to that other idea though!) To me, comfort equates to carbs and cheese, but done in a way that avoids the bloaty, to0-full feeling that plagues me after most rich pastas. For this dish, the ricotta adds the rich creaminess without making it too heavy, and the 1:1 pasta and greens ratio helps make this a healthier version of a typical cheesey pasta. Try this the next time a long day at work leaves you craving comfort!
Tomato Basil Pasta Bake
1/2 box whole wheat rotini
1 large bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
4 on-the vine tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup fat-free ricotta
1/2 cup low sodium pasta sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 +1/4 cup parmesan cheese, separated
1 tbsp basil, chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to directions, but stop 1-2 minutes shy of recommended cooking time for very al dente pasta. Meanwhile, prepare the kale and place in your pasta strainer. Strain your pasta over the kale, allowing the hot water to slightly steam the kale. (You don’t want to cook it, just soften it so that it stirs into the pasta better). In a separate bowl, mix together the remainder of the ingredients, except for separated 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Mix in the pasta and kale. Stir until well combined. Pour into an 8×8 brownie pan coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes or until heated through and the cheese has fully melted. Cut into rough squares and serve!
Life has had more than a few new adventures for me in the last several months. I passed the first step of my board exams, started my third year clerkships (and completed the two hardest rotations!), and have begun to transition from being a book-based student to an apprentice. My days look dramatically different, and there has had to be some change to accommodate that. While I will never fully be able to settle into routine since my clerkships rotate on a close to monthly basis, I am starting to get the hang of “going to work” every day. I have never been happier to wake up each morning, excited to see what challenges face me and new things there are to learn. My days might be long and arduous, but even on the most difficult of days I know that I have made the right decision.
My personal life has also started to change as well. I have been dating my boyfriend for 5 months now and could not be happier. He has been a friend and constant source of encouragement for me as I face the shifting demands of third year of medical school. While we are best friends and have a lot in common, our thoughts on food are pretty opposite. He is a carnivore by nature and would be happy eating steak and eggs for the rest of his life if he could. He has been following the Paleo diet for the past few months, successfully losing 20+ pounds and gaining a substantial amount of muscle. This has forced me to do some reading and further research into healthy diets, and has left me with a softer and more moderate view towards food choices. My view on vegetables will never change: they are the cornerstone of a healthy diet, whether you are trying to lose or sustain your weight. However, there is good evidence to support that a sugar and carbohydrate heavy diet can be just as dangerous as a diet rich in red meat. I have also learned that diets lower in dairy consumption have also been shown to be healthier. My conclusion, not far off from where I started, is that life is all about balance. A healthy lifestyle is more than what we put in our body, it is also about gaining joy from what we eat and with whom we share our meals. Where does that leave me? I guess I am moving towards a more “flexitarian” lifestyle. I still cook and eat vegetarian/vegan meals at home. My diet is still based off of real foods. I have started using less dairy and wheat and have shifted to more whole grains like quinoa and farro. When I am in a giving mood, I will make my boyfriend a “side” of meat. When we go out, I will often choose the seafood option from the menu, since these tend to be healthier, less cheese-laden, and more creative. Living in New England means there is too much good, locally caught seafood to pass up. I am learning to let go of the rigid definitions of healthy eating that I have held, and to embrace enjoying food more fully as a cultural and creative outlet.
Outside of the hospital, I have still had time for a few fun adventures. To tie up a wordy post, I will leave you with a few pictures of the summer I squeezed in around rotations!
Sometimes, there is nothing more satisfying than making a delicious and healthy gourmet meal at home after a long day at work. Other times, I cannot stand to be on my feet for two more minutes and will gladly eat eggs or chips and salsa for dinner. Needless to say, my attitude towards cooking has been slightly bipolar over the past month while on my surgery rotation. The mornings are early, the days run long, and it is a physically demanding job. After running around on my feet all day, standing perfectly still while retracting or driving the camera in the OR, and constantly being questioned to flesh out my comprehension of disease and surgical interventions, more often than not I come home completely exhausted.
However, sometimes cooking a meal at home is exactly what the doctor ordered to remedy a stressful day. Cooking is my creative outlet. A place where I can experiment and the results will only cost food. The kitchen is now a place where I am confident that I know that I am competent, a feeling that is fleeting as a third year student. This recipe was born from a stressful day on my surgery rotation. My friend came for dinner to vent about our day, and we found solace and comfort in the creative process and constant attention that this risotto required. I have seen red wine risottos before, and had good results using farro as a base in the past, so decided to combine a few recipes I have made in the past to achieve this most delicious result. Hands down, this is the best recipe I have made all summer. It is perfect for the chilly fall evenings that are creeping around the corner, and can fix even the worst of bad days in just a few bites. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
Red Wine Risotto with Farro and Mushrooms
8oz package mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup farro (or arborio rice)
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups veg stock
1 tbsp dried parsley
shredded Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
Begin by heating garlic and olive oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms for several minutes, until they begin to soften. Add 1/4 cup red wine and simmer until liquid reduces. In a separate pot, saute onions in remaining olive oil. Add farro and remaining red wine. When all liquid has absorbed, add 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Add the broth in 1/2 cup increments until all of the broth has been added and absorbed. The farro should have a chewy but soft consistency when fully cooked. Stir in the mushrooms and parsley. Heat through for 2-3 more minutes. Serve over wilted spinach with Parmesan cheese to taste.
It has been a while since I have posted, and even longer since I have joined a WIAW party! Forgive me, friends, but sometimes life is just really busy! My day-to-day routine is dramatically different from what it was just a short few months ago, so I thought it would be fun to give you a peek into my new life as a 3rd year medical student. (It is official now since I found out today that I PASSED MY BOARDS!) My days are long and busy, and there is not always as much time for cooking, running, and relaxing as I would like, but I would not trade this experience for anything. Enough with the chatter, let’s get to the food! (Forgive the phone pictures – I forgot my camera!)
I am a morning person by nature, but let’s be real. This is an awful hour of the morning to wake up! I am awake, showered, and out the door by 6am, 6 days a week. Thank God for coffee!
I am on an “away rotation” right now, so I have a 45 minute commute out of the city every morning. The good thing is that I drive opposite of the traffic patterns, leave before rush hour starts and come home at the tail end of it, and carpool with 2 classmates so that I have good car conversation.
I eat my breakfast as I am grabbing my white coat and stethoscope before rounds. I try to eat as close to rounds as possible, since they can often mean hours on your feet with little break. Breakfast lately has either been peanut butter and jelly roll-ups or peanut butter and banana overnight oatmeal. The protein from the peanut butter helps keep me going through a busy morning! I always have a granola bar in my white coat pocket just in case, since it would be pretty embarrassing to pass out in a patient’s room on rounds… Not like that almost happened to me on my first day or anything… My oatmeal kept me full until lunch today, so I squirreled the granola bar away for later.
Each day, we have our lectures over lunch break, or noon conference. (Ironically, noon conference starts at 12:30, but I just show up as told ;)) Lunch is provided on occasion, but most days I bring my own food. Hummus wraps and leftover dinners are my standard items, and I have started eating my bigger meal during the lunch hour so I have enough energy for a busy afternoon. Today, I had some leftover whole wheat pasta with homemade tomato-basil sauce and zucchini. It was filling and delicious, even though the carbs left me pretty sleepy. (Whoever decided a lunch conference is a good idea promptly forgot their days as an overly tired student/resident…)
I am trying to stick to one cup of coffee a day, so have switched to black tea when I need an afternoon boost. Today was just one of those days. I picked at some cherries while I did some research and wrote my progress notes.
The workday ends around 5pm, unless you are admitting patients or haven’t finished your notes for the day. After letting the overnight resident know about my patients, I am on the road. Most days, I am too hungry to survive the commute back home, so I keep fruit or a granola bar on hand. Today was a granola bar day since I knew I wanted to run when I got home.
It has been harder for me to find time to exercise with 12 hour days and commuting, but I have been trying to run 2-3 days a week. My runs are short, between 2 or 3 miles, and are unfortunately less of a priority than they used to be. On days that I don’t exercise, I get some studying done or catch up with friends or chores. I appreciate any time I have to clear my head and my lungs, though, so even today’s short 1.5 miles was satisfying. I followed that up with some ballet barre exercises and light weights at home.
I am starving most nights, and so gourmet dinners are currently infrequent on my menu. Most nights, I have a salad or pasta. Breakfast for dinner is always a good option, too. Tonight, I made Chelsey’s Over Easy Savory Oats With Kale, topped with some red chili flakes and extra nutritional yeast. I had a handful of unpictured almonds and raisins to cap off the night.
After a little more reading, packing my breakfast and lunch for the following day, and catching up with friends, I try to maintain a reasonable bed time of 10:30. No matter what time I fall asleep the night before, though, the next morning alarm still comes too early! Life is busy, but life is good. Happy Wednesday!
I am at the halfway point with my first rotation of my third year of medical school. I am starting off with one of the most time-consuming rotations – internal medicine. Despite the 6 day a week schedule, I have loved the rotation so far and am learning so much. I feel incredibly lucky to get to talk to people each day, to learn their stories and help be part of the team that figures out why they are sick and how they can get well. There are hard moments, and the days can be long, but the work is rewarding and challenging. The hardest part of this rotation is keeping up with friends and family. Weeknights are filled with studying, writing notes, and reading, and the one weekend day off is often filled with necessary life tasks like laundry and cleaning. However, you always need to eat and so I have found food the best way to stay in touch with friends over the past month!
My wonderful friend brought me a home-cooked meal at the end of a very long week in the middle of my rotation, and I was so incredibly grateful both for the delicious food and the lovely company. She made Lemon Thyme Farro following this recipe from The Pursuit of Hippiness, which we enjoyed with green beans on the side and fresh berries for dessert. (I was a bad tired blogger that night and forgot to take pictures!)
I also got to make homemade sweet potato ravioli with another med school friend, which were delicious but the recipe still needs tweaking before it is blog worthy. Rolling out the pasta dough gave us plenty of time to girl talk and swap rotation stories, so the fancy meal was worth the extra effort!
This post can’t end without a recipe! I had a few friends over for dinner on my most recent day off, and a dinner party was just what I needed to feel balanced and re-centered for another week on the wards. I made grilled polenta with a honey-balsamic reduction, caramelized onions, and goat cheese, which blew my taste buds away! The sweet and sour combination of the honey and goat cheese really gave this side a gourmet feel, and the results are much more impressive than the minimal effort this dish took. I would make this again in a heart beat!
Grilled Polenta with Honey Balsamic Reduction, Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
serves 3-4 as a side
1 polenta log, sliced into 1-in pieces
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 onions, caramelized
2-3 oz goat cheese
Before preparing this dish, make the caramelized onions. In a small sauce pan, combine honey and balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Stir; heat so that sauce thickens and reduces but does not boil. Do not cook for too long, as vinegar will reduce too far and become sticky and hard. Want a honey like consistency. Meanwhile, slice the polenta logs. Spray a griddle with cooking spray and heat to 350 degrees. Grill the polenta for 5 minutes per side. Heat the caramelized onions on the side of the griddle. When the polenta is crispy and has been cooked on both sides, pour reduction over the rounds. Allow to heat for 1 more minute. Transfer to a serving platter. Top with caramelized onions and a crumble of goat cheese. Serve warm.
The only thing better than cooking a great dinner is having leftovers for the next day or week. I frequently suffer from food boredom, though, so have become quite creative in repurposing some of my recipes into new grab-and-go lunch creations. I highlighted some of my leftover makeovers last summer, and figured I’d keep up with this mini-series again this summer! Hopefully there will be more to come!
This repurposing is simple: it is basically the previous night’s dinner all re-bundled grab-and-go style. All I did was take a few spoonfuls of the leftover curried quinoa with greens, a spoonful of caramelized sweet potatoes, some chopped cucumber, and a stripe of Greek yogurt and mango butter. I rolled this all up inside of a wrap and then rolled that in foil. This lunch was surprisingly filling, thanks to the protein from the quinoa and the Greek yogurt, and helped me conquer a busy Saturday afternoon on the wards!