Friday, July 31, 2009

International Coconut Shrimp with Quinoa

Some lovely friends/siblings recently sent me copious amounts of quinoa. I've been trying to find recipes for it online, but there just aren't enough. Last night we tried a really good turmeric version and I brought it into work today, where everyone remarked that it looks a lot like couscous. So I started wondering if I couldn't just find couscous recipes and use my beloved quinoa instead. Here is the result of my fantastic experiment tonight (which my husband said was the best quinoa recipe he's had to date!).

International Coconut Shrimp with Quinoa
(vaguely based on Rachel Ray's recipe)

1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cup stock
1 tbs. butter
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 cup shredded basil leaves
1 ½ lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 red pepper, thinly sliced into long strips
3 cloves garlic
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
3 small red chilies, minced with seeds
4 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
1 tbs (?) madras curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp dried basil
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup peas
1 large bunch of spinach, washed and chopped
Peanuts, chopped and unsalted (optional)

Combine stock, butter and lime zest in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and let simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until fully cooked, stirring occasionally. Add basil strips and lime juice from half the lime . Let stand.

Meanwhile heat oil in a pan and cook red pepper and the shrimp until it is pink on both sides. Add the garlic, ginger, chilies and scallions until fragrant. Add spices and let them fry for half a minute before adding coconut milk, peas and spinach. Sauce should be a light yellow, so add more curry powder if necessary. Continue cooking until the spinach is wilted, approximately 5 minutes.

Serve the shrimp curry over quinoa with the remainder of the lime juice drizzled on top. Garnish with chopped peanuts.

In 2004, the United States accused Ecuador, Thailand and India of selling shrimp below fair value prices in the American market. The accusation was overruled in 2008, much to the delight of this recipe which calls for ingredients from all three countries and, of course, shrimp.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ethiopian Cabbage

Not even sure where I got this recipe anymore, because I've been using it for almost a year now. The only "exotic" ingredients you need are turmeric, cumin seed and some spicy pepper (personally, I like 'em all!).

Almost Ethiopian Cabbage

2 small to medium potatoes, skin on, cubed (1 inch cubes)
½ small head of cabbage, chopped into 3 inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 2 inch sticks
1 cup of coarsely-chopped onions
1½ tbs. minced garlic
½ tsp. finely minced ginger
1 jalapeño, finely diced
1½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin seed, roasted
2 tbs. butter
1 cup chicken stock or water


Sauté the onions in butter until golden brown. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño. Add spices (turmeric & cumin seed) and fry for another minute.

Add the potatoes and carrots and stir, covering them with spices and onions. Add the stock and allow it to come to a simmer, add salt and stir.

Add the cabbage pieces; cover the pan and allow the cabbage to wilt for 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, stir in the wilted cabbage, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring often (every 5 minutes or so).

I seriously miss non-Japanese-food sometimes here, and this always hits the spot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The Holy Grail. The sword of Ameterasu. The stone used to kill Goliath. None of these treasures compare to homemade yeast-free bread. With honey.

Thanks to FussyFoodie for supplying this recipe which I tweaked. Hers is gluten-free too, but luckily I don't have to worry about that.

My friends here in Japan loaned me their bread maker because they say they don't use it in the summer. They even found some old directions in English which instructed me to use the "Quick Bread" setting for yeast-free bread.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups liquid (i.e. milk, rice milk, soy milk, etc)
  • 1 small packet of oats (45 grams)
  • honey
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add liquids. Add enough honey for your liking (you can eat the dough because there are no eggs and it's safe!) and the oats and mix thoroughly. Grease a bread maker pan with an oiled paper towel (I used olive oil), because the bread will stick pretty fiercely otherwise, and place dough inside. Set the bread maker to a yeast-free setting (such as "Quick Bread") and enjoy in a couple of hours!

Pictures coming soon.

Mine keeps turning out like a cake, but then again, there's no yeast so I'm not sure if I'll ever remedy this problem. But it tastes fantastic!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Japanese Style Flounder

I used to have a phobia of cooking fish, and yet it's my favorite thing to eat. Luckily, thanks to some wonderful women (not excluding men here, it's just that all my teachers have been ladies) I'm getting over that fear and even experimenting.

One of my English conversation students has a Japanese cooking class once a month that I attend. While the price is a bit steep at ¥2,000 ($20), it includes all the cooking materials and generally covers 4-6 recipes. Last month was simmered righteyed-flounder (karei) with maki and other Japanese yummies (including buns, which I can no longer eat).

The recipe we used calls for burdock root (gobo), which is hard to find outside of Japan, and sugar, which I can't really eat. So this is my low-sugar compromise and alcohol-free modification, which turned out amazing, much to my own surprise!

Delicious, healthy foods with few ingredients and simple preparation are honestly the best thing after a long day of work. Don't be fooled by the lack of a billion sauces. The flounder has a complicated flavor that sometimes hints at butter. And don't be shy about eating the fat on this fish; it melts in your mouth, and I am NOT a person who normally likes fat, even in sushi or other delicacies.

Simmered Flounder

4 medium sized flounder steak cuts with skin
1 cup of water
1/4 cup lite soy sauce
3 tsp. sugar
1 inch piece of ginger, cut into thin slices
1 sheet on aluminum foil
fresh or reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)
small bundles of green leafy veggies such as choy sum, spinach, etc. (optional)
finely shredded ginger and Japanese ginger (myoga) to garnish

Combine the water, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
Gently put the flounder steaks into the liquid, cover with both aluminum foil and top and reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes.
Add the optional mushrooms or veggies for the last two minutes. Don't cook for too long or they will absorb too much salt and become gross.
Remove top and foil and gently remove flounder steaks with a wide, flat spatula. Take care not to break them as they are now extremely tender and flaky. Remove veggies too!
Spoon a little liquid over each steak and serve with shredded ginger and myoga.

Even though this recipe has sugar, I cut the original amount in half and you don't exactly drink the sauce, so you're only ingesting a bit of it. Feel free to try Stevia, but make sure to tell me how it goes!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Breakfast shmeckfast

With cereal, toast, English muffins, bagels and coffee (because I don't like it black) cut out of my diet, I've recently struggled to think of anything to eat other than eggs. Plus, I worried about the cholesterol I was inflicting upon my body with a consistent two eggs every day.

But I found the solution! YOGURT! And it kills yeasties too (for when I slip up and accidentally find that some chocolate fell into my belly and feeds the beast).

Today's concoction was finally a success, because I don't like plain yogurt, but honey doesn't blend with everything. I mixed a bowl of yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a handful of pistachios and suddenly it felt like I was in Israel again.

Just a note, I know many people on the Candida diet don't eat honey, but I do. Honey, like yogurt, has lots of beautiful properties like being antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antifungal. According to Whole Foods, honey doesn't act like a regular sugar. In fact, our bodies (and even those bodies with diabetes) seem to benefit much more from honey than plain old sugar.

Additionally, the intuitive healer who first told me to stay off yeast and sugar three years ago told me honey was good for me. I followed her advice for about a year and felt great but started slipping to the point where I was miserable (i.e. a month ago). So I think her advice is pretty sound. Plus, her knowledge on the subject is much more extensive than a few internet articles.

Any other yeast-free, sugar-free breakfast ideas out there?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cream of Broccoli Soup (inspired from the internet)

4 cups water or stock
2 large heads of cauliflower
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 small potatoes, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder (omit if using stock)
1 cup cream
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Chop the broccoli, separating the florets from the stem. Bring the water to a boil in the larger of two pots, add the stem pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove stem pieces, reserving the water into a smaller pot, and place in a blender. While pureeing the stem pieces, cook the florets in the smaller pot for 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in the large pot. Add onions and potatoes. Once onions are clear, add the flour stirring constantly. After 30 seconds add the liquid from the small pot (reserving the florets) along with bouillon powder. Bring to a boil and back down to a simmer.
In the same blender as the broccoli stems, add roughly half of the onion/potato mixture, blending until very smooth. Return the entire contents of the blender to the large pot.
Add milk, cream, nutmeg and pepper.
Return broccoli florets to the soup.
Serve with some cream swirled in a pretty pattern. Sharp cheddar cheese is optional, but the soup is already quite thick and creamy.

Drusius, son of Roman Emperor Tiberius (14 BCE to 37 BCE) was the first recorded fanatic of broccoli, once gorging himself on it for an entire month until his bright green urine inspired a severe scolding from his father to stop “ living precariously.”

I felt so guilty after eating this, even though it had all edible stuff for me. Yeah for pretending that I'm cheating! Heated it up again for lunch today and it was just as good as the night before.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

will power

It all started with a cute kid offering me a cream puff... And suddenly, 4 days had passed and I had consumed a very concentrated amount of sugar in each. The 1/2 cream puff, a custard, a lemonade, and a chocolate latte seemed so innocuous at the time. Surely these small items couldn't do any damage, right? I'm past all that!

*Blaring buzzer noise* My skin noticed. My sweat glands noticed. My eyelid noticed. I'm like a walking, crusty, sweaty puffy mess. Ok, while that might be a bit of an exaggeration, I do feel pretty miserable.

Today was square one all over again. I celebrated with spicy cauliflower and sweet potato curry with lots of green tea (it feels like I'm cheating, but I'm not!).


Sweet Potato Curry
(Joy of Cooking)

¼ oil
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbs. minced ginger
1 tbs. minced garlic
2 tsp. curry power (Madras)
1¾ cups chickpeas, rinsed (1 can)
2 cups ½-inch cubes sweet potato, peeled
2 cups cauliflower florets (Mia adds more!)
1 cup 1-inch pieces green beans
1 cup chicken stock
½ tsp salt
ground black pepper
1 cup yogurt
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1-2 jalapeños, finely chopped
¼ cup cashews, roasted and unsalted

Heat oil and cumin seeds over medium heat until sizzling. Add ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring over low heat for 1 minute; do not brown.
Stir in curry power. Cook for 1 minute, then add chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, chicken stock, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender about 10 minutes.
Stir in yogurt and flour. Add jalapeños. Cook, stirring over low heat until heated through, but do not boil.
Top with cashews and serve over rice.

*Especially good topped with shelled, deveined shrimp sautéed in butter with turmeric, red pepper and lime juice.