Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Super Foods... why not?

Curry Broccoli (with Quinoa and Almonds!), Drizzle of
Almond oil and Gold leaf 

Hi family and friends!

I was perusing an article from Whole Foods a few days ago, highlighting the “10 Best Foods for Flat Abs.”  In no particular order, the “super foods” include: almonds, eggs, soy beans, apples, berries, leafy greens, yogurt, veggie soup, salmon and quinoa.  So why not present to you several recipes that are quick to prepare, abundant in vitamins, and leave one satisfied and lavishly filled with energy.

"Super Foods" - Spinach and Kale Salad,
Strawberries, Blackberries, EVOO, Salmon
with a Light Almond Crust
Roasted almonds are a great addition to a plethora of dishes, as well as constituting as healthy snack when a boost of energy is desired.  I generally purchase slivered or whole almonds in bulk in order to save monetary/financially, as well as the precious commodity of time.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, then toss almonds in a bowl with salt, cayenne pepper and almond/walnut/extra-virgin olive oil.  Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and allow to roast until golden brown.  This will only take a few minutes.  During the cooking process, remove the almonds from the oven, rearrange almonds to ensure a more uniform roasting, place back in oven and allow to finish cooking (may have to repeat that process several times in order to prevent the almonds on the outside from cooking faster and burning).

In order to save calories, one can omit the oils all together and cook on the stove top.  Simply toss the nuts in a small amount of salt and cayenne pepper and roast the nuts in a heavy saute pan on the stove top over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. 

"Super Foods"
Vegetable Soup - with Turkey and Quinoa
By cooking in large quantities, one saves time by having a single cleanup.  Store roasted almonds in the freezer in a Tupperware container in order to maintain freshness and to prevent freezer burn.  In order to incorporate the “10 Best Foods” listed above, here are several ideas how to enjoy the benefits of almonds:
0% Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese with fresh berries, apples and slivered almonds
Top fresh leafy greens of romaine hearts, kale and spinach with almonds
Trail mix of dried soy beans, almonds, dark chocolate and granola
Almond butter with fresh apple slices (I strongly recommend Honey Crisp when they are in season, as well as Pink Lady Apples or Granny Smith)
Frozen yogurt – many small frozen yogurt stores are popping up around the nation – almonds are a great topper to the fat-free dessert
Top fresh whole-wheat pasta or whole wheat rice with almonds and fresh vegetables
Roll white fish/salmon/lean proteins in ground almonds, then bake in the oven – healthy option compared to bread crumbs
Additions to soups (to add with Quinoa and act as a thickening agent… recipe below)

"Super Foods" - Baked Sea Bass with Almond Crust,
Whole Wheat Couscous/Quinoa Blend,
Edamame and Pomegranate Seeds
In regards to Vegetable soup… a traditional vegetable soup is a hearty option for a warm, winter soup.  Two of my favorite vegetables include broccoli and cauliflower.  However, the problem with most vegetarians?  They do not consume an adequate amount of protein (necessary in promoting hair and nail growth, as well as overall health and performance).

So what is the goal?  To make a vegetable soup that is healthy, as well as abundant in protein.  The problem with most cream soups falls directly in the name… cream.  Broccoli soup sounds healthy… right?  But many vegetable soups contain a “roux” in order to thicken the vegetables into a palate-pleasing mixture.  (A “roux” is used as a thickening agent in a soup… equal parts butter and flour).  However, through the process of trial and error, I learned how to replace a traditional French roux with a quinoa/almond blend.  Ergo… out with the flour and butter, in with the protein and quinoa.  Love it.

"Super Foods" - Mahi Mahi with
Rainbow Chard,  Almonds,
Asparagus and Edamame
Curried Broccoli Soup   (may also substitute cauliflower or mix the two vegetables)

2 lbs of broccoli – chopped into the florets
2 c. Quinoa – cooked
¼ c. Roasted Almonds – ground into powder (use food processor)
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. Curry powder
2 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. ground ginger

Bring a pot of salted hot water to a rolling boil.  Add broccoli and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).  In order to know when tender, slice the stalk of the florets with a knife.  If the knife glides through the stalk, then the broccoli is finished.  Drain the water, keeping 2 cups on reserve.  Using a hand-held emersion blender, begin to blend the broccoli, while adding vegetable stock (may use chicken stock if non-vegetarian… I prefer the taste of chicken stock).  Slowly incorporate the cooked Quinoa, as well as almond powder, cayenne pepper, curry powder, turmeric, and ginger while continuing to blend.  At this point, the consistency of the soup is determinant upon the individual making the soup.  If a thicker soup is desired, add more quinoa and ground almonds (these act as thickening agents).  If a more “brothy” soup is desired, add more stock.  Bring all ingredients to a boil, then allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Season with salt when desired consistency is obtained.
"Super Foods" - Baby Arugula, Quinoa, EVOO,
Roasted Almonds,Beets, Pomegranate Seeds,

In terms of presentation/toppings…
Fresh, steamed broccoli/cauliflower
Pepper Flakes
Whole Wheat pita chips/toasted whole wheat bread for croutons
Fat-Free cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Cooked salmon/shrimp
0% Plain Greek yogurt (this is one of my favorite options – allow the soup to be slightly creamier)
Roasted almonds/cashews/walnuts/pine nuts
Bacon (I know… it’s like panning for gold in soup… oh!  Speaking of…)
Gold leaf (got to)

Remember that our bodies use food as fuel.  You would not think of filling your most dependable car with the lowest-grade of gas… would you?  By incorporating fresh, organic fruit and vegetables into your daily diet, your body will perform at a more efficient and effective rate… heightened energy, clear skin, shining hair, amplified concentration and performance on the athletic field/business room.  I chose to create healthy dishes in order to teach others how to enjoy cooking, but also care for their bodies.  I encourage you to incorporate the list of ten “super foods” into your daily diet.  Does a body good.

All my love from Dallas, y’all,

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