*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

*LUNCHBOX—Not All Salads Are Created Equal*
Recipe: Vegetarian “Nicoise” Salad

April 12, 2013

I’m not a fan of taking a “lunch break” when I’m at work. I much prefer to eat while I’m working and then go for a walk to clear my head, get some (somewhat) fresh air—I live in LA after all—and recharge my battery for the afternoon. Because of this, I almost always bring lunch from home. In this new “Lunchbox” series of posts, I’ll share with you all the recipes and tips I’ve compiled for creating healthful and easy lunches that hold up well and are packed with flavor.

I have very strict requirements for my work lunches that I almost always follow (rules are meant to be broken, of course!). First, the lunches can’t be messy. Try eating BBQ chicken while going through your emails: this is not conducive to productivity or cleanliness. Second, they have to be some combination of low-fat, low-carb, vegan or vegetarian. I’d rather save my indulgent meals for the weekend when I can enjoy them. Third, most of the prep work has to be done on Monday when I do my cooking for the week.

Lastly, and most importantly, my work lunches have to be full of fiber. This is a trick I’ve discovered after years of experimentation. Grain- and/or protein-centric meals do not keep me full for the day. If I eat a turkey sandwich, I’ll be hungry an hour later. So instead, I generally eat salads. That may sound counterintuitive, but the right kind of salad can fill you up without making you feel groggy or adding on extra calories. 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

*THE CRISIS OF AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM*
Recipe: Avocado & Arugula Grilled Cheese

August 4, 2012

The foundation of American culture and government is the inalienable rights of the individual. Isn’t it the greatest twist of irony, then, that rampant individualism seems these days to be bringing about the downfall of our economy and society?

It’s a crisis of individualism.

The most obvious example of this is the current economic situation. Despite disagreement among economists over what caused the recession, we can all agree there is one common thread: greed. The Wall Street crisis, the subprime mortgage crisis, the debt crisis—all brought about because of people wanting to make and spend money using money they don’t have and didn’t earn. Americans seem to have bought into (no pun intended) this irrational idea that they have a right to purchase whatever they want, eat whatever they want, and use as much energy as they want without consequences for themselves or others. 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