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Black Bean Burgers and Raw “Pad Thai” Salad

10 Nov

So… eventually I may blog about my recent 21-day juice fast, but I am still processing the clarity and insights I gained and can’t seem to articulate just how powerful the experience was. The fast gave me time to really analyze not just my personal relationship with food (stress eating, reward eating, boredom eating, any-excuse-to eating, etc), but allowed me to see beyond  the ritualistic nature of the act of eating  and the sensory pleasures of taste, texture, fullness, etc., to appreciate life beyond “the swallow” – foreign concepts like the beauty of hunger and the inner-workings of my body on a hyper-nutrient rich diet. I will be repeating the fast in January, and perhaps by then I will understand things more and blog my way through it…

But until then, one of the most prevalent externalizations of the fast was my desire to incorporate more nutrient dense recipes into the whole family’s foodie experience in a way that Captain, with a devil-may-care-never-gain-a pound-in 12-years attitude about food, and the now 3-year old East Side Plinkas would appreciate and perhaps not even notice… could it be done?

This first amazing dinner (recipe to follow) actually received a “Woah” upon first bite from Captain, and the true test of YUM… a complete silence that fell over the table as everyone was eating. This will be a new Castle of Chaos regular.

Black Bean Burgers

1C dry black beans (or 2- 15oz cans)

1/2 small onion, diced

1/2 bulb garlic, minced (4-5 cloves)

1 beet root, diced

1/4 C quinoa

3/4 C  water

1/2 can of tomato paste or 1/4C ketchup

1Tbsp chili powder

1/8-1/4 C fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

coconut oil (for cooking)

Preparation: Soak beans overnight or for a minimum of 10 hours, boil until soft, drain and let cool to warm. If using canned beans, just drain and rinse. In a separate pan, boil quinoa and diced beet root together in 3/4C water (or mushroom broth is nice!) for 15 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool to warm. There should not be any extra liquid, but if there is, drain it off. Mash the beans, making sure that there are no whole bean pieces left (whole beans will cause your patties to crumble). Add the beetroot and quinoa mixture. Stir in all other ingredients – onion, garlic, cilantro,  tomato paste, spices. Salt and pepper to taste. Form patties and cook over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Use a sparing amount of coconut oil to prevent sticking and form a nice crust on the surface. Makes 8-10 burgers.

Dress and assemble your burger:  we like Ezekiel sprouted grain English Muffins, avocado or guacamole, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles… whatever you would put on a regular burger. I do like to make my own pickles: slice organic cucumber and soak for 2 hours in Cou-Sushi vinegar. So crisp, fresh, and yummy.

a work in progress

Raw “Pad Thai” Salad

Note: this salad does not actually contain Pad Thai noodles – it is a completely raw veggie preparation.

2 large zucchini (courgette)

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 yellow bell pepper, julienned

handful of bean sprouts

1/4 C green onion, chopped (chives)

1 lime, juiced

1/4 C sweet thai chili sauce

1/2 C cashews, crushed or chopped

Preparation: using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchinis into long, ultra-thin, noodle-like strips. Add bean sprouts, breaking them into manageable pieces as you go (I break them 3 or 4 times). Add red and yellow bell peppers, and green onion. Pour the juice of 1 lime over the salad and add the sweet Thai chili sauce as you stir, holding back on the sauce so it isn’t too soupy. Toss and serve, topping with cashews as you plate. (If the cashews are added early, they will get soggy and lose flavor). This salad is delicious served immediately, but also keeps for up to 3 days in the fridge, so we just keep pulling it out for sides and snacks until it is gone. Note: after the salad starts to “settle”, it does develop a “juice”, so serve with tongs… don’t just pour it out on a plate!

Salad additions:

Have some extra veggies in the fridge? Try mixing these in for variety:

shredded carrot

shredded cabbage (white or purple)

dried chili pepper flakes

fresh jalapeno slices (if you like it spicy)

fresh minced garilc

trade peanut or macadamia for cashew

top with dried coconut (unsweetened) or pork floss (non-veg ingredient, but oh so good with it)

use your imagination!

On being “Caucasian”

24 Sep

I have often objected to being classified as Caucasian. What is it even supposed to mean? I have searched the globe tirelessly for a land called Caucasia and have not found it. There is no documentation of my ancestors originating from a country or region formerly known as Caucasia, either. Near as I can figure, it is just a way for the government to lump all of us crackers together.

But alas, I may have certainly found it! Continue reading

Recipe: Urban S’mores

22 Aug

OK – If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a bit of a Foodie. I am also a huge fan of the current food trend of taking comfort classics and dolling them up with modern ingredients and exotic flavors (ie: truffle french fries, jalapeno mac n’ cheese, chipotle caramel corn, etc). Perhaps, that is what makes this recipe one of my all-time faves – that and the fact that I made it up about 15 minutes ago. Continue reading

(near) Wordless Wednesday

28 Jun

No, we did not eat here…

FoFo is not a MoFo

15 Jun

When I started this blog, I opened a post category called “Foodie”.  Because I am. In every sense of the word. Living in Hong Kong, I imagined that all of my meals would be inspired – delectable dishes ready to hold their own against the droves of eatery options. As it turns out, that is not the case. I have been met with meal after meal of mediocrity, and have even begun to joke with my friends that the only way to be impressed is to have no expectations at all. Last Saturday, a group of us went to FoFo, by el Willy, in Central. Before the evening began, I teased on facebook, “Tell el Willy that el Izabeth is here and I will be the judge of tapas in Hong Kong…”As it turns out, I was impressed. Luckily, I didn’t spout off any pre-conceived verbal jabs, lest I be left with (62 degree, slow cooked) egg on my face. Continue reading

A word of advice: Never eat cotton candy in the rain.

2 Mar

I love cotton candy… LOVE it. It is probably one of my top 10 favorite things in the world (in which I rarely indulge). So, when we went to Hong Kong Disneyland last week and I saw it hanging in the kiosk, I knew there would be at least one wonderfully sticky-sweet moment to the day. HK Disneyland was great. Although it is a fraction of the size of one of the American parks, the twins are not yet two, so it is more than adequate for them. It was fun, the weather was beautiful, and the day was just what we needed to kick the twins jet-lagged schedules in the butt. Yes, it is a bit of a mind-bender to go see the Disney characters perform in Chinese. Even stranger… all the “princesses” are Western. And Tarzan… if you ever get a chance, go check out Tarzan. Wink.

By the way, Disney – the food at the two restaurants we tried STINKS! Blech! on both accounts. The kids wouldn’t eat either of the chicken or fish sandwiches at lunch. Thankfully, I brought my trusty Happy Baby squishy baby veg or my kids would have had french fries for lunch.

Once again, the “paparazzi” trailed us through the park. I can’t count the number of photos that were taken, but the kids are starting to get used to it. 20 months old and they are starting to pose;  just today, I caught TwinXY with my key fob, holding it up and pretend-pressing the button saying “sheeze” to TwinXX, who proceeded to turn 45 degrees and pose with hands on bent knees… reminiscent of Shirley Temple. Crazy. Now, as we stroller down city streets, they smile and wave, almost continuously, like miniature celebs “floating” in a never-ending parade. I don’t even want to know what this is going to do them as teenagers…

But I digress… the cotton candy. I was finally treated to my favorite fluffy, pink yum during the fireworks, which were lovely. Hong Kong has a sub-tropical climate. For anyone who doesn’t know what that means… =HUMID. Super, super humid. Humidity is water vapor trapped, hanging in the air. My fluff, which was supposed to melt in my mouth, was actually absorbing the humidity and melting before my eyes. It was a drippy, sticky, gummy pouf of spun sugar that (literally) had to be chewed. There were droplets of liquid pink everywhere. All over me, the kids, the stroller, the diaper bag. So again – never eat cotton candy in the rain… or in humidity… during a show at Sea World… while white-water rafting… you get the idea.

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