Goodbye, L.A. Hello, LA

Goodbye, L.A. Hello, LA // Eat Your Greens

Oh, hello. It’s been awhile.

If you’ve done the pregnancy math, you’ll know that I had a baby in early June — a son! my beautiful boy — which would be reason enough for a blog hiatus. But then life turned upside-down a couple more times when, hilariously and improbably, five weeks after our baby was born Rob booked a part as a series regular on a spin-off of the most popular TV drama on the planet. A show that shoots in New Orleans. That needed him to be in New Orleans by the end of that week. For an indefinite amount of time.

For the next six weeks, I was alone with a newborn, a dog, a cat, an apartment that needed to be packed up and moved across the country, and my spinning, exhausted mind. It was without a doubt the most confusing six weeks of my life, full of gut-wrenching loneliness and terror, but also a huge, blinding love for my new son, as well as for my family and friends, who went all in and helped me in a thousand big and small ways that I will remember and feel grateful for to my dying day.

Somehow I survived. And now I live in New Orleans. It’s been three weeks and our new life still doesn’t quite feel real.

NOLA eating at The Company Burger

NOLA eating at The Company Burger

After this summer’s kick in the throat, I’m very slowly getting back into the kitchen, feeling creaky and uncertain, but glad to be there. I miss my bountiful California farmers market and restaurant menus with plenty of veggie options, but I’m also excited to be living in a city with such a vibrant food culture and looking forward to soaking it in, one buttery, bready, blackened bite at a time.

So look for the return of recipes soon, and in the meantime if you have any recommendations for places to eat, shop for ingredients or just check out in NOLA, let me know!

Reunited!

Reunited!

Thai-Style Roasted Kabocha Squash with Crispy Shallots

Thai-Style Roasted Kabocha Squash with Crispy Shallots from Eat Your Greens

First of all, thank you for all your kind comments in response to my big news! It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks as I traveled to Columbus, OH to spend a week brainstorming and cooking and geeking out on kitchen minutiae with my fellow editors at The Kitchn on our annual retreat, then on to Massachusetts to spend some time with Rob’s family. We got home just in time for me to start the new school semester on the same day that we found out another piece of big news: we’re having a boy!

Despite my return to the time-crunch of balancing work and school, I’ve been motivated to cook a lot since getting back to town. My diet always goes out of whack when I travel and there is no better reset button than a solid week of home-cooked, veggie-heavy meals. I like making big batches of roasted vegetables that I can eat throughout the week as a snack or alongside a sandwich at lunch or a quick omelet at dinner.

Thai-Style Roasted Kabocha Squash with Crispy Shallots from Eat Your Greens

But plain roasted veggies need a little jazzing up once in awhile. Last winter I was all about tossing them with my favorite miso-lime dressing, but this year my new obsession is eating them “Thai-style,” flecked with crispy shallots that roast alongside the vegetables, dressed with a combination of citrus, rice vinegar and funky fish sauce, and tossed with a big handful of cilantro.

Thai-Style Roasted Kabocha Squash with Crispy Shallots from Eat Your Greens

I was inspired by a roasted potato dish I tried at Forage, one of my favorite local spots, and while the original was freaking delicious, there is no need to confine yourself to white potatoes. Or kabocha squash, for that matter — it’s just what I happened to have on hand. I’ve tried this recipe with cauliflower, brussels sprouts and other winter squash like butternut as well, and all are tasty. (Cauliflower is especially good.)

Bonus tip: here’s why I use my ugliest, gnarliest baking sheet to roast vegetables — and why you should too!

Let me be clear: this is not actually related to any Thai dish that I know of, but the flavors are particularly Southeast Asian, in that bright umami way that brings a little sunshine into even the darkest winter weather. We’re doing all right in the sunshine department here in Southern California, but if you live somewhere that could use some light, see if this recipe helps you dream of warmer days.

{ read more }

A Surprise Pomelo and Some Big News

2014_01_06-PinkPomelo

This was supposed to be a post about prepping pomelo to eat as a healthy snack in the winter, inspired by my mom and stepdad, who are living in Shanghai and probably snacking on peeled pomelo at this very moment.

This was supposed to be a post about pomelo and also about my big news.

Except that when I cut into the giant citrus that was sold to me at the farmers market as pomelo, it turned out not to be the usual white pomelo I was expecting, but some type of pink pomelo. Pomelo flesh is usually sweet, yellow and dry-ish, so it is easy to separate into segments and store in a container in the fridge for snacking throughout the week. This pink specimen was juicy and drippy, so separating the flesh was a messy, ugly business that I took care of over the sink, eating almost the whole thing as I did. It was nothing to post about; it wasn’t pretty, though it was delicious. { read more }

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad with Miso-Maple Dressing

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad from Eat Your Greens

I thought I knew the quick and healthy weeknight meal game. It involved some extra work on the weekends, making beans in the slow cooker and freezing them. Or making a big batch of brown rice or other whole grains and freezing them in portions. I had healthy, long-cooking ingredients ready to go on even the busiest night.

And then I got a pressure cooker. And it has changed the game.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent most of your life picturing a rattling pot suddenly exploding its contents over the ceiling whenever you heard the words pressure cooker. But the truth is that modern pressure cookers are a lot safer and quieter than those of the past, and cooks around the world use them to safely and reliable cook ingredients that would normally take hours in a matter of minutes.

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad from Eat Your Greens

Still not convinced? I can cook perfect brown rice in 20 minutes. I can cook (soaked) dry beans in 12 minutes. TWELVE MINUTES.

I might have never had my eyes opened to the wonders of a pressure cooker if I hadn’t received one to review for The Kitchn, but now I’m such a convert, I’m immediately buying another should the company request that I return theirs. (It happens sometimes.) In the meantime, I’m cooking with it as often as I can, finally digging into some of the beans and grains that have been languishing in my cupboard because I wasn’t ready to commit to their long cooking times.

Like these rye berries, which I bought on a whim at Whole Foods. (You know about my whole grain hoarding problem.) Wheat berries, rye berries and other whole grains like this typically take at least an hour of simmering to become chewy and edible. In the pressure cooker, they took 22 minutes.

Warm Rye Berry, Roasted Pumpkin & Kale Salad from Eat Your Greens

While the rye berries cooked, I roasted some cubes of pumpkin and washed half a bunch of kale. Yellow miso paste, rice vinegar, walnut oil and a little maple syrup combined into a salty-sweet dressing that soaked into all warm grains and vegetables, making a hearty salad with a lot of different textures to enjoy: soft squash, chewy rye berries and the crunch of chopped almonds.

Even if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can just cook the grains in a regular pot on the stove, or you can substitute a quicker-cooking grain like pearl barley. This salad tastes even better the longer it sits, so the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day.

And someone had better warn Rob…I think I might be falling in love with my pressure cooker. { read more }

Friday Links: September 20, 2013

Friday Links September 20 2013 / Eat Your Greens

If you live in the LA area, get thee to Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. So good. (Follow me on Instagram: anjaliruth)

 

What I’ve been reading:

When Teams Lose, Fans Tackle Fatty Foods – New York Times

Mr. Richichi’s eating habits, joined at the waistline with the N.F.L., were reflected in a recent study that investigated whether a football team’s outcome had an effect on what fans ate the day after a game.

 

Just What The Doctor Ordered: Med Students Team With Chefs - NPR

“We basically learn how to take care of patients when things go wrong, which is sad,” says Neha Solanki, a fourth-year medical student at Tulane. “I think that we need to learn how to be able to make nutritious meals and to discuss diet in an educated manner.”

 

What Are Food Labels You Can Trust? Sorting Helpful Claims from Ridiculous Ones on Nutrition Facts Panels – EatingWell

Surprisingly, it’s not the uninformed consumer who succumbs to healthy-sounding or healthy-looking products. The people who are most influenced “are the people who care about the food being ­organic, or pesticide-free, or free-range, or fat-free, or non-GMO,” says Wansink. In other words, you.

 

Surviving Whole Foods – Huffington Post

The fact that I’m at Whole Foods on a Sunday finally sinks in when I join the end of the line…halfway down the dog food aisle. I suddenly realize that I’m dying to get out of this store. Maybe it’s the lonely feeling of being a carnivore in a sea of vegans, or the newfound knowledge that some people’s dogs eat better than I do, but mostly I think it’s the fact that Yanni has been playing literally this entire time.

 

What I’ve been writing (at The Kitchn):

Put Down the Takeout Menu: 75+ Pantry Dinner Recipes for a Busy Week

5 Very Real, Very Sad Lunches from Sad Desk Lunch

I’m Tossing My Kitchen Sponge! What’s the Best Dish Brush to Buy?

 

What I’ve been thinking about cooking:

Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes with Chipotle Mayo – Food52

Fresh Corn Grits with Oil-Poached Tomatoes – A Sweet Spoonful

Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Squash and Chorizo – Inquiring Chef

 

Have a great weekend!