vegetables

Steam / Sautéed Vegetables - The Easiest Way to Prepare Flavorful, Al Dente Veggies

Steam / Sautéed Vegetables - The Easiest Way to Prepare Flavorful, Al Dente Veggies

The best things often happen out of sheer necessity, or like I've said before, laziness :) I grew up being told that boiling vegetables took all of the nutrition out of them, and so as I got older and started to cook for myself, I started cooking vegetables this way. I would heat a large skillet with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, add my vegetables, and a few splashes of chicken broth (always keep a few cartons stocked!) and seasoning. I would cover the vegetables so that the broth would steam the veggies and give them a bit of a "head start". This worked - steaming them for a few minutes would cook them just through, and then I would remove the lid and sauté the veg to get some color on them. 

To step it up, you could use this basic method and switch up the seasoning or sauces you use. My favorite combo is to skip the salt and add oyster sauce while the vegetables are steaming. Once the broth evaporates, the oyster sauce cooks down and helps to add nice toasty, flavorful bits to the ends of your greens. I've also used this method to cook Maple Glazed Carrots in minutes on the stove for the holidays. In that recipe, you steam the carrots in broth and salt, and then sauté with some maple syrup, black pepper, flaky sea salt, a bit of butter, and finish with parsley. You get the idea - this is a simple master recipe that you can use and adapt to your liking. 

Little did I know that this seemingly made-up method of cooking vegetables is known as steam/sautéing. I am glad that it's actually a thing! I hope you give it a try - here's a quick video recipe and guide! Let's get cookin

Broiled Honey Soy Salmon

Broiled Honey Soy Salmon

My absolute favorite way of preparing salmon is broiling. I only recently discovered this method over this past year or so. As my kitchen in my Hong Kong apartment is simply equipped with a hot plate, microwave, and toaster oven, I have really learned some new cooking techniques. For the first 4-6 months I had been living here, I didn't touch the toaster oven. I grew up with a toaster oven but we only really used it for well, toasting things. English Muffins, melting cheese, etc. I don't know why it took me so long to realize that a toaster oven can do everything a real oven can. Bake, roast, broil. It's incredible and the reason why there have been so many toaster oven recipes on the blog this year, lol! 

Broiling salmon sounds so...aggressive. However, once you've got the timing down pat, you are in for the flakiest, butteriest (is that a word?), moist, and tender salmon ever. The amount of time needed to broil a piece of salmon simply depends on its size (and thickness). I find that a normal fillet takes between 5-8 minutes. The finished fish will be firm but still bounce back to the touch. Any time I have broiled it beyond 8 minutes, the flesh will lean towards rubbery and over-cooked. Again, play with timing for yourself.

My favorite preparation for salmon is simply salt and pepper, and then served with tons of lemon juice after it's cooked. I feel like simple seasoning allows the real flavor of the fish to come out, especially when it's perfectly cooked. And of course, you need a ton of acid with fish. Today I'm sharing a simple classic marinade for salmon that you can enjoy with brown rice and veggies. Simply whisk it together and marinade the fish for at least half an hour. Of course, the longer the better. When it comes time to cook, prepare everything else in the meal first, since the fish will only take 5-8 minutes. You can prepare more marinade on the side, to warm and thicken for serving if you'd like. 

Microwave Sweet Potato Mash

Microwave Sweet Potato Mash

I've been making Sweet Potato Mash this way since high school. Some of my favorite recipes come about from a bit of laziness. :) This method really celebrates the sweet potato for all of its natural beauty and can be made while you're making the rest of your meal. Here in my apartment in Hong Kong, I have one induction plate, vs 6 burners at home in the States. This has really changed the way I cook, especially when it comes to timing and the order in which I cook things. It's nice to have the option to prepare a satisfying side dish like this one, in the microwave while I cook something else on the induction plate.

The incredible sweetness of the flesh on its own blows my mind every time. Normally, I just prepare the mashed sweet potato with flaky sea salt and cracked black pepper, but today I'll show you how adding a bit of freshly grated ginger and a dash of cinnamon can elevate this simple side dish to something really special. There's no need to add tons of cream or fancy ingredients when the flavor of the sweet potato is so vibrant on its own.

Crack Broccoli - The Best Broccoli You'll Ever Eat

Crack Broccoli - The Best Broccoli You'll Ever Eat

This is the best broccoli you'll ever eat. Roasting is such a delicious way to prepare veggies, and broccoli absolutely transforms when cooked in a hot oven. They turn golden brown, the stalks turn tender, and their flavor is enhanced. When roasting any vegetables, it's super simple: don't be afraid of oil & salt! Don't skimp, and toss the vegetables so that they're properly coated in oil and seasoning. 

This roasted broccoli really wakes up the taste buds. Flaky sea salt, cracked black pepper, and thinly sliced garlic are the base for great seasoning, but what really brings this broccoli up a notch is the addition of shichimi. Shichimi Togarashi is a Japanese blend of seven spices that varies depending on the region or cook. The typical ingredients include sansho (Sichuan pepper), dried citrus peel, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, shiso, nori, hemp seeds, and chiles. This mixture is wonderful on meat, noodles, rice, and fried foods. I love adding shichimi to my eggs or on top of my avocado toast!

After the broccoli is roasted, finish it off with a good squeeze of lemon juice and fresh lemon zest for some good brightness and acid. The cake topper is tossing in shaved Parmesan cheese for some nuttiness. This recipe works well for regular weeknight dinners, or as a side for entertaining. There's no need to measure a ton of ingredients - just toss it all together and roast it off in the oven for 15 minutes :)

Low Carb Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

Low Carb Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

Garlicky, cheesy bread is pretty undeniable. Cauliflower crust is one of the most surprisingly delicious low carb, gluten free substitutes for bread. The cauli crust comes out fluffy and flavorful, and will wow your family - they won't know the difference :) I love dipping these cheesy breadsticks into marinara. Seriously so satisfying! 

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Crisps

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Crisps

The flavor of cauliflower is mild, and a bit sweet and creamy - it acts as a canvas for whatever . Roasting this veg is glorious, and let's face it; everything is better with cheese! This recipe is for a really delicious and addicting snack that is as simple as slicing florets of cauli, roasting them for 15-20 minutes, and then adding tons of cheese and fresh parsley. Baking grated Parmesan turns the warm, nutty cheese into salty crisps. These Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Crisps taste like one of my favorite indulgences - chips. The tender roasted cauliflower is perfectly seasoned, and the baked cheese gives them a nice crust. I could easily polish off a tray of these yummy cauliflower crisps :) Let's get cookin!

Eggplant Pizza

Eggplant Pizza

Eggplant pizza is the easiest way to satisfy your pizza cravings when you're trying to cut down on carbs! Using fresh eggplant as a "pizza crust" is a quick and tasty substitute; not to mention how cute they are!! Pizza is such a fun, hands-on meal to make with kids, and what better way to get some extra veggies into your families' diets than to use eggplant slices instead of dough :) 

Sweet Potato Toast

Sweet Potato Toast

Sweet Potato Toast is amazing!! It's so vibrant and colorful, and is a nutritious alternative to your regular wheat toast - not to mention it's paleo and gluten free! There are endless topping options, and today I'm sharing some yummy ideas with you to get you inspired. Sweet Potato Toast works with sweet or savory ingredients, and is so satisfying that a few of these make a wonderful meal. I'm all about using whatever you've got in the kitchen already, and the hearty, sweet flavor of the sweet potatoes is a great vessel for tons of versatility.

Honey Lime Summer Corn Salsa

Honey Lime Summer Corn Salsa

This is a bright and zesty recipe to enjoy some of summer's best produce!! It can be enjoyed with chips as a dip, or eaten as a summer salad. Golden brown kernels of corn come together with tomatoes, creamy avocado, red onion for bite, black beans, and tons of fresh cilantro in minutes, and are tossed with the most amazing Honey Lime Vinaigrette. This combo is seriously delicious - the combination of lime juice, earthy, warm cumin, honey, and extra virgin olive oil is the absolute perfect way to bind these ingredients together. The best part is that the flavor of the dip gets better as it sits - so it's great to have out during an event, or to make ahead for lunch! Let's get cookin! 

Quinoa Fried 'Rice'

Quinoa Fried 'Rice'

This is a protein-packed version of good ole fried rice that is the easiest way to use up leftovers in the fridge! Fried rice is a one of my favorite indulgences - there's something so easy and lazy about it. A one-stop-shop that has carbs, protein, and veggies all in one. I've been trying to cut down on carbs (lol so hard) and switching out rice with quinoa is the perfect for doing this. You can probably tell from the influx of quinoa recipes on the blog lately lol! 

I regularly make a variation of this dish every week, depending on whatever I've got in the fridge. Pan-fried tofu and quinoa are the mainstays; anything else is just a bonus! I love tossing in fresh broccoli, onions, and carrots, but you can use frozen veggies, chicken, shrimp, even leftover steak. The options are endless! I love using plum sauce as a little twist in my stir-fries. It's a viscous, light brown sweet and tangy sauce that is amazing with fried tofu, chicken, pork, etc. A mix of fresh ginger, oyster sauce, and plum sauce makes a wonderful sauce that clings to all the great ingredients in this dish. Let's get cookin :)