*STRANGE CRAVINGS*
Recipe: Mushroom Soup

May 13, 2013

Most people crave things that are sugary or greasy or otherwise unhealthy. Chocolate cake, for example. Or French fries—did you know French fries are the First Lady’s guilty pleasure? I knew I liked her for reasons beyond her politics and dedication to tackling childhood obesity. Most people, including health conscious ones, crave junk food, or at least that’s what they are vocal about craving. I don’t generally crave junk food. Aside from French fries, which I want to eat about 90% of the time, my food cravings are a little on the unorthodox side.

For example, the other day I was driving home from work, sitting in traffic on what must be the worst freeway in LA and thinking about how incompetent my health insurance company is, when all of a sudden I felt this overpowering urge for a glass of grapefruit juice. The odd part is that I don’t ever drink grapefruit juice. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I smelled grapefruit. Now you could argue this was my body telling me I need vitamin C, but if that were the case wouldn’t I crave orange juice, which I used to drink every morning?

Some of my more frequent cravings include tomatoes, pasta with lentils and Swiss chard, dumplings, peach ice cream, and Trader Joe’s olive hummus. None of these foods are that high in sugar or dense in calories (ice cream aside, obviously), and they’re not engineered by the food industry to induce cravings. So why on earth do I wake up in the morning and immediately think about, for instance, roast chicken with tahini sauce? It’s like my body is in a perpetual state of hysterical pregnancy. Continue reading

*MALIGNED VEGETABLES*
Recipe: Pumpkin Hummus

October 8, 2012

I’ve read numerous articles in defense of maligned vegetables, the most memorable being Frank Bruni’s praise of broccoli. I would argue that mushrooms—not broccoli—have the worst reputation and most fervent detractors. But what about that vegetable everyone loves yet only eats once a year in its singular, seasonal manifestation made from overly sweetened and spiced canned goods?

Of course, I’m referring to pumpkin and pumpkin pie. You may be thinking “Wait! We’re much more creative with pumpkin these days! I’ve seen pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin quick bread, even a pumpkin milkshake.” But delve a little deeper and you’ll realize that all of these dishes are made with canned pumpkin, lots of sugar, and “pumpkin pie spices.”

I rarely see fresh pumpkin or savory pumpkin dishes on menus, and that’s really a shame because fresh pumpkin is a versatile, unique, and tasty addition to a number of dishes. Also, fresh pumpkin puree is incredibly easy to prepare and it makes a much better pie than the canned stuff. Continue reading

*DOUBLES*
Recipe: Double Mushroom Pasta & Double Jalapeño Hummus

September 24, 2012

The word “double” in the name of a recipe always elicits a sense of mischievous anticipation and entitlement from me. I feel like I’m 6 years old again and allowed to eat dessert before dinner. Please allow me to demonstrate this sentiment with a little experiment. First, read this list of food items:

  • Fudge Brownies
  • Brie
  • Apple Pie
  • French Fries

Continue reading

*THE DOCTOR’S ORDERS—Composed Salads*
Recipe: Albanian Tzatziki

August 10, 2012

This week we have another guest post from Dr. Ingrid Nelson. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the story and recipe as much as I did! Ingrid’s composed salad lends itself to both creativity and the use of leftovers. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!       -Chloe

The best fish I have ever eaten was a trout simply fried served on a white plate under a tree on the roof of a restaurant overlooking a cerulean blue river from where the trout had been plucked.  The flesh was firm and tasted of cold snowpack water, bright sun, and deep misty valleys planted with walnut trees.  In short, it tasted of where it came from—high in the Dinaric Alps of Albania.

When traveling, I have noticed that the best foods taste like where they come from.  I wasn’t a big fan of figs—mushy and sickly sweet was my opinion—until I picked one off of a tree in Montenegro and popped it whole into my mouth.  It literally exploded with delicately flavored nectar, soft flesh, and crisp little seeds that crackled when I bit into them.  I looked around the garden I was standing in.  There was hot sunshine and a cool salt breeze off the ocean scented by the flowering shrubs that grew around the fig tree.  My fig tasted exactly like this.  Since then, I have searched the specialty shops of Manhattan for an even vaguely similar experience, but without luck.  I guess it’s back to Montenegro for my next fig! Continue reading

*THAILAND TOP TEN*
Recipe: Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)

July 6, 2012

In September of 2009, I spent two weeks in Thailand. My friend and I flew to Bangkok, took the overnight train to Chiang Mai, and then flew to the south, stopping in Khao Sok and Ko Samui before returning to Bangkok. Here’s a list of my 10 favorite activities, sites, places to stay, and things to eat in the places I visited, along with a recipe for my favorite Thai dish, som tam.

Continue reading