Friday Links: February 22, 2013

Friday Links: February 22, 2013 / Eat Your Greens

This is the kind of book you find around the apartment when you’re married to a nerd. (Follow me on Instagram: anjaliruth.)

 

What I’ve been reading:

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food – New York Times *

“This,” Witherly said, “is one of the most marvelously constructed foods on the planet, in terms of pure pleasure.” He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff’s uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. “It’s called vanishing caloric density,” Witherly said. “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.”

 

Doctors who cook say they give better nutrition advice – Chicago Tribune

“The conceptual mode for this program was influenced by the observation that for healthcare professionals, practicing a healthful behavior oneself (eg, exercise, wearing a seat belt) is a powerful predictor of counseling patients about these same behaviors,” researchers wrote in a letter in the Monday issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn. Internal Medicine.

 

Fish Get Stoned, Too – Mother Jones

The scientists found that perch exposed to wastewater tainted with low and high concentrations of the drug—amounts mimicking both initial exposure and potential accumulation in fish tissue over time—showed significant changes in behavior: The fish became less social, more active, bolder, and scarfed down zooplankton faster and earlier than the control group. In other words, the fish got stoned.

 

Why Four Workouts a Week May Be Better Than Six – New York Times

But the women who had been assigned to exercise six times per week were now expending considerably less daily energy than they had been at the experiment’s start, the equivalent of almost 200 fewer calories each day, even though they were exercising so assiduously.

 

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

Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn**

Creamy Butternut Squash Orzotto (Barley Risotto) with Toasted Pecans

…and thinking about cooking:

 Roasted Cauliflower and Onion Soup – The First Mess

Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries with Chermoula Yogurt – My New Roots

 

If you read one thing this weekend, make it this.

** If you cook one thing this weekend, make it this.

Shoyu Tamago (Soy Sauce Eggs)

Shoyu Tamago (Soy Sauce Egg) / Eat Your Greens

One thing I learned about while living in Japan was relentless repetition in pursuit of perfection. You do something again and again and again and again, until it is imprinted in every fiber of your being, and then you do it some more. Perfection can never be reached, but it’s possible to get pretty damn close if you do something every day for decades. (Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi and you’ll get the idea.)

I started pursuing hard-boiled egg perfection in Japan. And while I’ll never be able to say I’ve reached it, I think I’ve gotten pretty damn close.

If you want to make the perfect hard-boiled egg, buy the best large eggs you can afford. Keep them in the refrigerator for at least a week. (Older eggs are much easier to peel.) Place however many eggs you want to boil in a pot and cover them with at least an inch of cold water. Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the eggs sit for 7 to 10 minutes. I like the slightly-soft-in-the-middle yolk of the 7-minute egg; if you like your yolk firmly cooked, let your egg sit for the full 10. Pour out the hot water and run the eggs under cold water until cooled.

Repeat each morning for breakfast and every day you will be a little closer to perfection.

You also might be a little sick of plain hard-boiled eggs. So I present shoyu tamago, or soy sauce eggs, which are dressed up with a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. They’re a little salty, a little sour and a little sweet — not nearly as intense as a pickled egg, but with some of the same charms.

Shoyu tamago are a staple of Japanese lunchboxes, but they also make a great snack, or accompaniment to a beer or white wine spritzer. Or maybe two spritzers, if you’re pursuing white wine spritzer perfection. Not that I’d know anything about that.
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Hot and Sour Kimchi and Quinoa Stew

Hot & Sour Kimchi and Quinoa Stew / Eat Your Greens

Since I started working from home, I’ve developed a minor obsession with lunches that can be pulled together in 15 minutes or less. We don’t usually keep cold cuts on hand, so that usually means some sort of canned fish salad (better than it sounds) or a mishmash of whatever odds and ends I have in the fridge.

Sometimes the mishmash is legit. This was one of those times.

Hot & Sour Kimchi and Quinoa Stew / Eat Your Greens

Mix one aging package of Trader Joe’s kimchi — it’s pretty good! — with a container of leftover cooked quinoa, a handful of chopped kale and a swirl of Korean red pepper paste, and cover it all with some water. That’s it: a spicy, sour, warming stew perfect for a rainy day lunch.

A poached egg or some cubes of tofu would make this a more filling option for dinner. Whatever you choose, you’re better off eating this particular stew in the privacy of your own home. Kimchi has the power to make enemies in work kitchens. Of course, if you and your co-workers are already enemies, by all means — fire the next shot with this kimchi-based soup. Or bring a canned fish salad. People love that.
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Friday Links: February 8, 2013

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February in L.A.  Yup. (Follow me on Instagram: anjaliruth.)

 

What I’ve been reading:

Getting Into Your Exercise Groove - The New York Times

But a series of recent studies involving runners, walkers, metronomes and virtual reality curtains suggests that while the tug of physiological laziness is strong, it can be controlled, or at least tweaked, with some conscious effort — and perhaps your iPhone playlist.

 

The Lovely Hill: Where People Live Longer and Happier - The Atlantic

People who eat foods associated with a Mediterranean diet also experienced less negative emotions like being afraid, nervous, upset, irritable, scared, hostile, and distressed. The more people ate those foods that are more typically American — specifically, red meat, sweets, and fast food — the less of these positive emotions they felt.

 

Stone Age Stew? Soup Making May Be Older Than We’d Thought - NPR

Neanderthals, ancient human relatives that lived from around 200,000 to 28,000 years ago, would have needed boiling technology to render fat from animal bones to supplement their diet of lean meat, so that they could have avoided death by protein poisoning.

 

Betty on The Today Show! – Meet the Shannons
My friends Annie and Dan Shannon just came out with a book! Betty Goes Vegan is full of recipes for vegan comfort food and includes lots of fun stories from one of my favorite couples. And they were on The Today Show this week!

 

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

Shaved Fennel, Roasted Tomato & Pistachio Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing 

Korean Chicken Sliders with Braised Kale & Kimchi

Roasted Feta Cheese with Fig-Thyme Compote

Creamy Dairy-Free Fish Chowder

…and thinking about cooking:

Mini Vegetarian Pot Pies – Flourishing Foodie

Lemon Curd Tart With Raw Coconut Crust – Whole Family Fare

The Other Half of the Equation

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I love January. I love that feeling of fresh starts, anything-is-possible and refocusing on what really matters. And of course I love that everyone spends the month talking about eating better and healthier, holiday regrets be damned.

It doesn’t bother me if everything I strive for in January isn’t done by December. What matters is the striving.

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Last semester was really hard. Between school and writing, I filled myself to the brim, with no real day off during the week. The first thing to go when time was short was exercise. Rob and I had to cancel our membership at our beloved CrossFit gym when I started grad school and although my school has an incredible gym, I’ve come to the unfortunate realization that I’m not very good at motivating myself when it comes to fitness. I’m just a sedentary, introverted bookworm at heart. Movement and gym machines and leaving the house just don’t come naturally.

But I like running. I like running, but I’ve never stuck with running. In 2013, I want to change that. The first step: signing up for a 5k in March with my friend Meg. It’s small, it’s just a “fun run,” it’s nothing compared to what the triathloners at the same event have to do. But it’s still something.

And if these high school girls circa 1899 can get in shape while wearing long, woolen black dresses, I can suck it up and run 3 miles.

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(Images: Library of Congress)