Happy Mother’s Day from Tablespoons and teaspoons 

On behalf of Tablespoonsandteaspoons we want to wish all mothers are very happy Mother’s Day.  

My mother was a main inspiration to creating tablespoonsandteaspoons.  When she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2010, we were on a mission to find the best foods that would help treat the disease. This mission led to my thesis in 2014 the assessed current research on health literacy on rheumatic arthritis patients. 

This year as requested by my mother she wanted a home cooked meal. So to knock two birds with one stone I did research and found a get gift idea…

These homemade bouquet dumplings. The rose dumplings were made with pork and the leaves were made with vegetables.  

The total cost to make this creative gift is under $20. 

Meatless Monday – Purple Potatoes

Happy Monday! Happy First Day of Spring! It’s almost midnight and its been weeks since my last post.  For the past several weeks I’ve been recovering from a herniated disc where sitting in one position was absolutely painful.  On a brighter note, I’ve been working on mastering several dishes and reading more culinary cookbooks and science research for inspiration.  But…

Back to business.  It’s Meatless Monday and I want to add that since March 1st I’ve given up meat for forty (40) days for Lent.  So for the next several weeks, majority of my posts will be mostly vegetarians and/or vegan.

For today, we will be focusing on one of the healthiest potatoes to consume: The Purple Potato.  One weekend, I went to Fairway with my parents and came across a bag of small purple potatoes for $2.50 so I brought a bag because I heard really good things about them.  During this research journey, I came across this image below from Dr. Axe summarizing the benefits of consuming purple potatoes.

PurplePotatoGraphic

After reading Dr. Axe’s summary on purple potatoes, I did a little investigation on to additional evidence based research within the last five (5) years.  The following confirmed:

  1. Purple potatoes contained high level of anthocyanins, which prevent inflammation and inhibit cancer growth especially breast cancer, gastric cancer and colon adenocarcinoma (Sugata, M, Lin CY, and Shih, YC, 2016).
  2. Another study showed that baked potato extracts have reduced colon cancer stem cell growth along and lowered the number of tumors (Charepalli, et al, 2015)
  3. Anti-microbial potential against Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa especially during consumption (Ombra, MN, 2015).

After the investigation of this native South American crop, I came across a recipe from Chef Aaron Sanchez, who by the way is this year’s honoree for the 12th Annual Taste of Hope.

1 bag of small Peruvian purple potatoes = 70 calories for 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons.

8 tablespoons of olive oil = 120 calories/tablespoon (Pantry)

1 tablespoon of dried oregano = 15 calories/tablespoon

1 tablespoon of minced garlic = 15 calories/tablespoon

Dash of ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of dried cilantro = 5 calories/tablepoon

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Overall taste of the potatoes were good and very flavorful especially with the olive oil, garlic, oregano and cilantro mixture.  Plus all four mixture components carry health benefits as well.  This is a very healthy, filling and budget friendly dish that can be consumed more than once.  Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Flashback Friday – Dosas

Happy Friday! Although it is National Dessert Day, I have been fascinated about the popular Indian street food – Dosa.  When I first saw this dish, I was overwhelmed by the how big it is.  It is mostly served as a meal for a good part of the day.  Personally I have consumed it as an early dinner.

Dosas also known as Dosai is an ancient Tamil dish.  This gluten free, vegetarian street food dish is made up of rice and lentils.  Therefore, there are health benefits in its consumption.   Dosas are a good source of carbohydrates and protein that will last the whole day.  It is a lengthy process to make dosas and I don’t think that I will be making one anytime soon.  Therefore, I will be leaving this up to the pros.

Recently, I have had the experience of consuming this vegetarian dish at two places in New York City.   One famous spot world is Saravana Bhavan.  There are two locations in New York City (Manhattan).  This restaurant does not need an introduction because it is well known throughout India; the establishment of this franchise was made a controversial person who is banned from leaving India because he was convicted of murder.  This is to show that as long the food is good it does not matter where it originated from. But if you don’t want to be traumatized,  I visited another spot, which is located in Queens called Hillside Dosa Hutt.  This neighborhood spot is in the heart of the Indian community. The cashier that served us was hospitable and knowledgeable about Dosas.  Hillside Dosa Hutt was recently listed on the Eater list of the top 60 cheap eats places in NYC. 

Hillside Dosa Hutt – Marsala Dosa $5.50 (Top Left) and Paneer Bhurji Masala Dosa $9.00 (Bottom left) Saravana Bhavan $9.99- Marsala Dosa (Top right)  and Onion Chili Rava Dosa $10.99 (Bottom right)

Portions of each dosa were huge. I have not been able to finish a whole dosa in one sitting.  If you want more variety then Saravan Bhavan is the place to go, but for a quick meal on a budget then Hillside Dosa Hutt will suffice. 

 

 

 

Flashback Friday – Pho Bang 

Happy Friday! One of my family’s favorite spots to eat on a lazy night of cooking is Pho Bang, a Vietnamese restaurant in Elmhurst, NY. This restaurant also has several locations, one in Flushing and the other in Chinatown. The restaurant accepts cash only but it is a great family spot especially for quick and cheap family dinners. The dishes are not only cheap, but it has been recognized as one of the top restaurants in Elmhurst by Zagat.

My father would end up with the bill and from my recollection of the costs the total including tax was less than $30 for three people.  Even better the portions are family style! 

The awesome thing about this restaurant is their prep and presentation of their beef and abundance of vegetables. There are variety of pho to choose from, but we usually go with the Tai Chin Nam Gan Sach without the rice noodles, which is a beef soup with fresh eye round, navel, tendon and omosa. The dish comes with noodles, but we love the flavor of the beef broth plus it is carb free. The beef just cooks in the hot broth as it is served to maintain its tenderness. The vegetables of bean sprouts and mint with lemon enhanced the flavor of this refreshing hot soup. 

Another dish that we love to order is a specialty called Nam Nuong which grilled pork hash balls that come with picked carrots, shallot and radishes along with steamed rice wrappers and green leaf lettuce. This dish is refreshing and versatile where you can use the rice wrapper and place the ingredients in it. You can even go paleo and do without the rice wrapper and use the lettuce to make a wrap. 

Pho and Nam Nuong

Other dishes to try include their spring rolls which are made out of rice wrapper. Can’t go wrong with the summer roll, bun (rice vermecelli) dishes and grilled pork chops. 

Last month a fire broke into the restaurant. The restaurant is currently closed but it is undergoing renovations. Can’t wait to return to this restaurant once it opens again. In the meantime, check out the other Pho Bang restaurants in Flushing and Chinatown. 

Flashback Friday – Central Bar Happy Hour – NYC

Happy Friday!! A few months ago I stopped by my colleague’s happy hour birthday party at Central Bar, which is an Irish bar in NYC.  It was a Friday night during Lent, where I decided to give up cheese and can’t eat meat.  In addition, I was on a diet.  Given the situation, I was limited to what I can order.  After scrolling the menu and I was impressed of the happy hour drink specials.  So I decided to participate by ordering the following:

Sweet potato fries $6 – House made sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo

Spiked Arnold Palmer $6 (happy hour) and $9 regular price – Firefly Sweet tea Vodka  and housemade lemonade

20160226_190557Food and drink was worth the price for happy hour.  The Spiked Arnold Palmer was well-balanced with tea/lemonade mixture and the vodka.  The sweet potato fries were perfect to absorb the alcohol content.

Personally, I love sweet potato fries and I was inspired to make my own, but I came across a product when I visited Trader Joes for only $2.29 for a 15 oz. package.  The package serves 5 people and each serving size is 3 ounces.  Now 3 ounces is equivalent to 5 tablespoons.  The fries were very good and well coated.

Recently there was a video posted on Tasty on making sweet potato fries.  Below is my product of the recipe.  Texture was crispy as I was mixing in the garnishes of salt, cheese and parsley.  The addition of cornstarch definitely added crispiness to the fries.  I just need more practice on mastering this dish.  Meanwhile, I will definitely stick to ordering at a restaurant or bar especially at Central Bar.

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Sweet potato fries are a healthy snack.  The history and health benefits on consumption are posted on my Meatless Monday post, which was also National Potato Lover’s Day.

Now that Lent is over, I would definitely return to Central Bar and take advantage of the drink specials and their potentially health friendly meat/cheese dishes.

 

 

Throwback Thursday – Budget Date Night – Himalayan Yak

Happy Thursday!! A few weeks ago decided to finally try Himalayan cuisine.  I went on a date at Himalayan Yak located in Jackson Heights, Queens.  This restaurant is an eclectic mix of Chinese, Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine.  Side note: this restaurant was on the scene of ABC TV series Ugly Betty.

The first dish we ordered were “Momos”, which are Tibetan dumpling made of a thick dough containing meat and vegetables.  There are also vegetarian momos as well.  We ordered the steamed momos, one set comes with pork and vegetable ($7) and the other only had vegetables ($7.95).  The food is served with julienned pickled carrots, which were spicy along with three different sauces equivalent to condiments from an Indian restaurant.    These momos were good and the consistency of the dough makes it really filling.  It is definitely a great starter and safe dish to try.

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Momos – Tibetan dumplings

In addition to the momos, we decided to go adventurers by entering the world of “Yak”.  Yak meat is one of the healthiest and leanest meat (95%-97% lean), almost as equivalent as grass fed beef.   It is also low in fat and cholesterol than beef, skinless chicken breast and even salmon.  It may help with lower risk of heart disease and cholesterol.  However, my date was not there yet so we compromised with yak cheese ($6.50).   Given the price of the cheese we were anticipating a huge platter, but it did not appear that way.  This serving plate below looks small, but the texture of each piece of cheese was insulating and filling.  On a tasting level, it was equivalent to aged cheese that was overpowering, but the apple slices complimented the strong aftertaste.   Yak cheese has several health benefits since it is derived from grass fed yaks in the mountains of Nepal, the cheese carries more omega-3 fatty acids especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which help fight heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and even body fat gain.

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Yak Cheese

Finally, my adventurous Himalayan food journey did not end and talked my date into ordering the Nepalese dish – Sandeko Bandel ($6.95), which is smoked wild boar topped with lemon juices and spices.  The dish looked and tasted like bacon – to die for –

Wild boar is another piece of lean meat, but it is expensive to cook.  However, it has health benefits such as low calories, less fat, less saturated fat, low cholesterol, and higher protein content than beef, lamb, pork and chicken.

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Sandeko Bandel: Sliced smoked wild boar topped with lemon juices, chili powder and Sichuan pepper

Overall service was good, food was very good especially if one is on a budget.  Personally I would return to try their other dishes especially the Thali, Ngopa, and more yak.  If one wants a cheaper meal, go during lunchtime, and if you check in on Yelp.