Flashback Friday – Chinese Noodle Soup Adventures

Since the temperature plummeted last week, I’ve been having cravings for noodle soup made from Chinese handmade noodles or homemade ramen specifically.  What I love about these noodles is that I don’t have the knowledge that the noodles are processed, what I mean is that it does not contain the durum wheat, which has been documented as a source for weight gain and obesity.  In addition to the healthy appearing noodles, the broth is made to perfection especially on a cold winter night.  

Below are places I’ve had ramen and or homemade Chinese Noodle soup that it’s worth the money spent and it’s filling. 

Mixed Lamb Noodle Soup $8 Uncle Zhou Elmhurst

Spicy Chicken Ramen Soup – $6.95 Cafe Water Water Street NYC

Beef Stew Hand Drawn Noodle Soup – Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House – Elmhurst

Wonton Hand Drawn Noodle Soup – Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House

Kuu Chili Ramen $14 with House Sake $6 during happy hour – Kuu Ramen – Financial District NYC

Mixed Lamb Noodle Soup $8 – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst, NY

Spicy Beef Knife shaved noodle soup – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst NY

Knife shaped noodles – Uncle Zhou – Elmhurst NY

Meatless Monday – Udon Miso Noodle Soup

Happy Meatless Monday! Can’t believe October is almost ending and before we know 2017 is going to end and I am playing catch up with game plan recipes that we made this year to date.

On my New Year’s Day – Sunday Game Plan post there were a list of good luck foods to consume during the New Year.  One of these lucky foods is buckwheat noodles especially soba noodles.  Unfortunately, I ended up getting udon noodles, which also contains buckwheat.  In Japan, people consume long buckwheat noodles to signify good fortune.    Confession, I did not end my making the Udon Miso Noodle Soup until well after New Years due to leftovers and lack of room in my refrigerator.

Udon Noodles – introduced in the 9th century by the Buddhist priest Kudai is made up of buckwheat, which is considered a type of complex carbohydrates, which is documented to help with weight loss and prevent diabetes & heart disease.  They are also:

  • low in calories
  • easily digested – udon dissolves faster than regular pasta & three times faster than beef
  • due to its easy digestion and dissolving properties, it helps retain heat in the extremities during winter because blood is not rushing to the stomach.
  • contains four kinds of vitamin B:
    • Thiamine (Vitamin B1): plays a huge role in metabolism preventing headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, nerve damage, brain disorders, especially Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), and memory disorders e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, stress, inflammation and vision problems e.g. glaucoma.
    • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): prevents cancers, migraines and hair/skin damage
    • Niacin (Vitamin B3): plays a role in improving cholesterol levels, lowering heart disease risks, joint pain, treating diabetes, preventing acne, headaches, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, memory loss, depression, motion sickness, insomnia, muscle weakness, digestive problems, alcohol dependence and erectile dysfunction.
    • Folate (Vitamin B9): plays a critical role in healthy pregnancy by preventing neural tube defects, which causes spina bifida, anencephaly, malformations of the limbs and heart complications, prevents cancers, anemia, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

So finally, here’s my recipe for Udon Miso Noodle Soup:

Obviously, I did not provide a calorie count for each of the ingredients because I cooked this dish in bulk (Serves 4 people).

2.5 cups of water

Left over mushrooms and kale (part of the spinach & greens family) (Mushrooms were 0.69 per package at Aldi, and kale was 0.99/lb on sale at local supermarket)

3 tablespoons of Yamajirushi Awase Miso ($4 lasts about a year)

1 package of Sunrise Extra Firm Tofu, cubed ($1.50 at Good Fortune Asian Supermarket)

1 red onion, sliced ($1.49 a bag at Good Fortune Asian Supermarket)

1 package of udon noodle (approximately  $3 or less if on sale for a pack at any Asian Supermarket)

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Meatless Monday – 2 ingredients – Sauteed spinach & Garlic

Here’s a quick pick-me-up that is cheap, healthy, gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian side dish.  Recently I brought a bag of Dole Baby Spinach, on sale at Shop & Shop (buy 1 get 1 free) and homemade minced garlic (thank you dad) and put a quick side dish together.

Spinach has many health properties, which were previously mentioned on a past Meatless Monday post.  In addition, spinach has one of the highest if not the highest level of folate, which helps prevent depression, neural tube disorders during pregnancy, and dementia.

 

Garlic has been considered to be medicine food especially in India and China.  It was used to aid respiration and digestion.  It helps reduce inflammation and even prevent cancers.  It also contains neuroprotective properties that helps with visual memory and performing executive functions.  It is also an immune system booster, which helps treat colds and flu.  It helps with high blood pressure and may help treat diabetes.

1 bag of Dole Baby Spinach, washed = 20 calories for 3 cups.

2 tablespoons of minced garlic = 30 calories

  1. Spray the pan with cooking spray

2. Add minced garlic and saute until starts becoming golden brown

3. Stir in spinach gradually until wilted

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At various Chinese restaurants I’ve eaten at, this dish or any other green vegetable dish and garlic would cost over $10 (family style) and they use vegetable oil, which is less healthier than olive oil, and grapeseed oil.  This dish can be made with other vegetables such as bok choy and watercress.

 

Meatless Monday – 3 ingredient broccoli slaw

Happy Monday, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted a recipe here. 

Recently, during my food exploration, I visited Trader Joe’s and they were selling a 12 oz. bag of organic broccoli slaw for only $1.69.  In addition, my boyfriend and his friends visited Apple Festival at the Harbes Family Farm where he gave me Blondie apples, gala apples and honey crisp apples. Finally, I found leftover unopened pack of Dole Caesar Dressing Vinegrette from Caesar Salad Kit.  

With the three ingredients, one of each kind of apple was diced.  All of the broccoli slaw and apples are combined.  The dish was completed with the Caesar Dressing. 

It’s simple, quick way to utilize leftovers while using fresh healthy, organic ingredients. 

Meatless Monday – Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant Week Summer 2017 Game Plan

Happy Monday! With halfway through NYC restaurant week, I’m playing catch up. Over the last 3-4 weeks, I’ve been thoroughly reviewing 337 out of the 390 menus for this season’s restaurant week. This week I will be blogging my picks that I believe is the best bang for your buck.  

In addition, if you have an American Express credit card you can register your card to get an extra $5 off your meal purchase of $35 or more for up to 4x for restaurant week.  

If you have instagram you can take pictures of your prix fixe course and tag #NYCrestaurantweek for a daily chance of winning a $50 gift card. 

So let’s get to it:

Since it is Meatless Monday, I came up with seven (7) participating restaurants that you can enjoy a three course vegetarian meal for either $29 or $42. 

Here’s the game plan for vegetarians who want to enjoy NYC restaurant week:

Three course Prix Fixe Vegetarian Options picks for NYC Restaurant Week.

1) Acme – $42 3-course  dinner    

    Appetizer: Caesar Salad

    Entree: Baked Rigatoni 

    Dessert: Affrogato

2) Casa Lever – $42 3-course dinner 

    Appetizer: Caprese or Insalata Di  Barbabietole

    Entree: Gnudi or Cacio e Pepe or Arrabbiata

    Dessert: Mix Your Berries or Formaggi

3) Distilled NY – $29 brunch (Sunday)

     Appetizer: Housemade Granola or Fresh Start Salad

     Entree: Mushroom and Cheese Enchilada

     Dessert: Blueberry Semolina Cake or Earl Grey Panna Gotta

4) Empellon Taqueria – $42 dinner 

     Appetizer: Little Gem Lettuce with Toasted Corn or Carrots with Achiote and Coconut Crema

     Entree: Mixed Mushrooms with Pasilla Chile taco or Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Almond 

     Dessert: Passion Fruit Curd with Citrus, Mezcal and Meringue. 

5. Felice 64 – $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Arancini (lunch), Crostone Ricotta (dinner)

    Entree: Spaghetti al Pesto or Fusilli so Ferretto 

    Dessert: Gelati e Sorbetti

6) La Pecora Blanca –  $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Cauliflower (lunch) or Toscano (dinner)

    Entree: Toscano (lunch) or Orata (dinner)

    Dessert: Ricotta Cheesecake

7) Sant Ambroeus Soho  $29 lunch/$42 dinner (best to go during lunch)

    Appetizer: Tofu “Ricotta”

    Entree: Linguine Cacio e Pepe

    Dessert: Torta Do Frutta

Out of the 7 restaurants, I’ve only eaten at Empellon Taqueria and their Brussels sprouts with Toasted Almond taco was so good but the portions are very small, definitely pricey for $14 for 2 tacos. 

Looking forward to blogging more restaurant options this week. Enjoy and stay tuned! 

Throwback Thursday – Taste of Hope Goes to Broadway

Early this week, I was invited by the co-chairs of the American Cancer Society Taste of Hope to attend and support the first ever Taste of Hope Goes to Broadway. It was a chill low key event filled with Broadway stars who did not recognize, but what is important is that money was raised and tickets were only $50 and it could be paid at the door. Admission included the opportunity to tour the newly renovated $6 million condo plus wines, and bites from Tolache and Delicatessen. Executive Chef Michael Ferraro led a team to present the delicious dishes that covered all types of eaters. The food presented were lean and healthy. 

Tacuba HK – Brisket Tacos

Delicatessen’s Duck dumplings and Tuna Tartare

It was great to reconnect with the management team and committee members who I’ve had the pleasure of working with during the planning of the 12th Annual Taste of Hope Committee.  

Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death. Funding and donations are critical to finding the cause and cure to the various cancers.  

To make a donation go to http://www.tasteofhopenyc.org. 

Meatless Monday – Game Plan – Meatless Budget Friendly Dishes Inspired by “Dinner with Georgia O’Keefe”

Two Mondays ago, on March 20, I’ve had the privilege to attend the launch of Assouline’s “Dinner with Georgia O’Keefe” at La Sirena located in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan.  The event was well attended by local TV personalities and celebrities such as Carla Hall from ABC The Chew, Nicky Hilton Rothchild, Timo Weiland, Prosper Assouline, and Alexandre Assouline. 

Artistic and natural images depicting the relationship between art and food were provided by Robyn Lea who was present to sign copies of the book.  Recipes from the cookbook utilizes local and traditional ingredients inspired by the artist’s relationship of food and the New Mexican landscape. 

More importantly I came there to explore and taste the food created by La Sirena’s Michelin starred chef Anthony Sasso. Cocktails were sponsored by VDKA600. 

The food was overall tasty and natural. The recipes provided appear to be user friendly and ingredients are health-friendly and accessible at any supermarket. Unfortunately I was unable to taste everything because of the sacrificial commitment to give up meat for Lent. 

Top: Miss Scarlet “O’Keefe” containing VD600Vodka in Mandarin orange. Bottom: The Tao Margherita

Chilled Gazpacho

Chickpea and Eggplant Casserole with Fresh Basil

Split Pea and Ham appetizer inspired from the Rancho de Abiquiu Split Pea and Ham recipe

Finger food version of the Spaghetti with Pesto Genovese

Steak tartare using ingredients from the Sizzling Bourbon steak with garlic and crushed peppercorn recipe

Pecan Delights

Finger foods inspired by recipes from the book

For the next two weeks, I will be seeking to test out the meatless version of this recipes such as the spaghetti and pesto Genovese and chickpea and eggplant casserole. 

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!

 

 

Throwback Thursday/Flashback Friday – Pork Dishes Filipino & Thai style 

Today’s first Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday post of 2017 is a double duo, filled with cultural and food experiences that I can identify with – Pork. 

Although pork is forbidden in some cultures, it is also one of the most popular types of meat in eastern Asia especially in the Philippines and Thailand. 

Pork, the product of the pig comes in a variety of forms and there are many ways of preparing them for consumption. 

In the New Year, one of the lucky foods to consume is pork because the pork is said to be rotund, which signifies prosperity. Since it is derived from the pig, the animal itself “roots forward” symbolizing progress.  Not only pork brings good luck it is also healthy. 

Health Benefits of consuming pork include: 

– Protein for growing and maintaining muscle

So, given this information for the occasion I decided to turn back time to several posts here as well as my own experiences to attempt a healthier yet authentic version of the Filipino adobo and Thai grilled pork (moo ping).  Better yet the cost to make both of these dishes was under $10 and it serves 4 people plus leftovers. 

Pork Belly Adobo

The pork belly was sliced and marinated in 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of tamarind sauce, 4 tablespoons of datu puti, garlic, onions, ginger and bay leaves. The only addition added was star anise. The dish was marinated for 3-3.5 hours at room temperature.  The dish was prepared as described in one of my earliest post: Chicken Thigh Adobo

Moo Ping – Thai grilled pork

One of father’s favorite Thai dishes is moo ping, translated in Thai for grilled pork. Inspired by one of the best pork dishes at Ayada, I attempted to replicate the dish while keeping it healthy. 

Pork shoulder was sliced and marinated in garlic, cilantro, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar for 3-4 hours prior to grilling. Normally this dish is prepared in skewers. 

So today we covered a throwback recipe and a flashback dish at a restaurant to make two lucky cultural pork dishes for the New Year. Hopefully this double duo will help Tablespoonsandteaspoons progress to bigger and better 2017. Cheers! 

Meatless Monday/Traditional Tuesday – Sautéed Black Eyed Peas and Spinach 

Welcome to Tablespoonsandteaspoons first Meatless Monday post of 2017. As part of this week’s game plan, we will be exploring what is considered lucky New Year’s foods that is also beneficial for one’s health.  To start the year off, we will be working on another 5-ingredient dish that consists of two lucky foods that are also healthy: Black Eyed Peas and spinach.
Black eyed Peas – are the creamed colored bean with a black speckle on it almost resembling an eyeball. Consumption of this bean is considered good luck according to a Southern food tradition.  For New Years, eating black eyed peas symbolizes coins, which brings in good luck and prosperity for the year.

Consumption of black eyed peas also has several health benefits including:

  • Improving digestion and preventing constipation due to its high dietary fiber content
  • May prevent anemia due to its high folate content, which is partly responsible to producing red blood cells
  • May lower blood pressure thus potentially lower the risk of heart disease due to its high potassium, which balances blood pressure.
  • Helps protect vision and skin due to its high vitamin A content.

Spinach – is a vegetable that are relatives with Swiss chard, kale, .  Eating spinach or any greens on New Year’s is good luck because the green color resembles money.

Consuming spinach has many healthy properties making it one of the best foods to consume to prevent and potentially treat illnesses. These include:

  • Cancer prevention due to its high antioxidant & anti-carcinogrnic properties, protects the cells from DNA damage and oxidative stress.
  • Reduces inflammation associated with heart disease in the long run and due to its high antioxidant content.
  • Reduces cholesterol, improve circulation especially in blood vessels, and reduces blood pressure,
  • Helps maintain a strong immune system thus reducing inflammation and protects eyes, skin and teeth.
  • Helps protect against diabetes prior and even during diagnosis due to its protective steroid properties responsible for maintaining blood sugar levels in the body.
  • Preserve and even protect macular degeneration due to its high vitamin A and carotenoids content
  • Maintain strong bone due to its high vitamin K content, which also helps blood clots and reduces inflammation.
  • Help prevent skin cancer
  • Its high fiber content helps serves as a detox.
  • Protect and even reduce neurological damage
  • Contains magnesium which help regulate and control nerves and muscular functions

Given these two lucky and yet very healthy foods, here is a recipe that would be considered lucky while promoting good health.

Sautéed Black Eyed Peas and Spinach –

Serves at least 2

2 tablespoons of olive oil = 120 cal/tbsp.

1 tablespoons of minced garlic = 15 cal/tbsp.

1/2 red onion sliced = approx. 40 cal/100g

2 cups (32 tbsp.) spinach = 7 cal/16 tbsp.

1 can (15 oz.) Eden Organic black eyed peas = 90 cal/8 tbsp.

1) Sauté oil, garlic and onion for approximately 5 min.

2) Add spinach and stir until wilted (approximately 3-4 min).

3) Drain and rinse the canned black eyed peas (dried black eyed peas would be cheaper but due to time, we had to settle with the canned peas). Add them to the mixture. Stir until heated through.

Ready to serve.