vegetable rainbow nest with a poached egg

Kicked off the first day of May with the Whole30 challenge! Why? Well, because I need to hit the reset button on my body. Ever since I started working at The Food Network, I’ve managed to gain back all the weight (and then some ><) that I’d lost while hustling as a line cook in The NoMad Hotel kitchen. No surprise there since the smell of sweet and salty temptations waft through the halls of our Chelsea Market office every. Single. Day. And apparently, at least according to my scale, I’ve been “tasting” one too many “small-bites” of every creation coming out of the FN Kitchen…

For this colorful recipe here, a stroll through your local farmer’s market will most likely provide you with all of the ingredients you need! If you don’t have one, I do recommend purchasing a mandoline to help slice all of the vegetables. Alternatively, a vegetable peeler could work as well.

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Ingredients:

Carefully pass the carrots, radish, and asparagus through the mandoline to get them into thin slices. Arrange in a circular shape on a plate to form the “nest.” Place the poached egg in the center of the nest. Drizzle the flavored olive oil from the poached shiitake mushrooms in olive recipe over the visible parts of the nest, being sure to drop a few shiitake slices and roasted garlic. Serve with a crack of freshly ground black pepper.

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spinach & mushroom quinoa

So when did Meatless Mondays become a thing? I’ve heard of it, and occasionally practiced it, but I never really knew where it originated from. Until today. After a quick research online, I’ve learned that Meatless Mondays was launched in 2003 by The Monday Campaigns; the non-profit group that is also credited with several other Healthy Monday initiatives such as Move It Monday – how cute! Anyway, as found on their website, the goal of Meatless Mondays is “to reduce meat consumption by 15% for our personal health and the health of the planet.” I can stand behind that!

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Ingredients:

  • tricolor quinoa
  • spinach
  • cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • shallot, finely diced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon, for juice (optional)
  • parmesan cheese, for grating (optional)

Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and cook in a pot over the stove, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, by bringing the water to a boil and then lowering to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the excess water has evaporated and the germs (the nutrient packed little white rings) are visible.
  2. When the quinoa is almost done cooking, start sweating the finely diced shallots in olive oil until translucent in a large pan.
  3. Add the cremini mushroom slices to the pan with the shallots, without overcrowding, and saute until browned. Turn off the heat.
  4. By now the quinoa should be done. Drop a large handful of spinach in a layer over the cooked mushrooms before scooping the cooked quinoa out of the pot and into the pan over the spinach. The residual heat from the mushrooms and the quinoa should wilt the spinach.
  5. Toss everything in the pan together, seasoning to taste with salt and an optional squeeze of lemon juice.
  6. I also grated in some parmesan cheese, but that’s just a personal preference. Feel free to tinker with the recipe as you wish!

spam musubi

One of my favorite ways to eat spam is in spam musubi; a Hawaiian dish which is basically a block of gorgeously fried spam pressed on or in between rice and then wrapped with a strip of seaweed. No, I do not know what spam is – and I do not want to know because this treat is wayyy too delicious to give up! Feel free to add additional ingredients to customize your musubi. As you can see in the picture below, I’ve added some eggs into the mix, along with a sprinkling of Bubu Arare (Rice Crackers) for crunch and a line of Kewpie Mayonnaise because I can, because I wanted to, but mainly because it just takes the musubi to a whole another level!

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Ingredients:

  • sushi rice
  • spam
  • seaweed
  • scrambled egg (optional)
  • bubu arare (optional)
  • kewpie mayo (optional)

Directions:

  1. First you make a batch of sushi rice following this sushi rice recipe.
  2. While the rice is cooking up, remove the block of spam from the container (this might require a ton of banging) and then cut them into 1/4 inch slabs. Fry these slices of spam in a flat stovetop pan until they are seared and crispy on both sides.
  3. When both the spam and the rice are ready, scoop enough rice to cover half of the seaweed (or all of it!) and place the spam on top of the rice. Layer on any additional optional toppings you desire.
  4. To finish, roll the spam in a similar fashion as you would following these sushi rolling tips and seal with rice. Easy and yummy!

musubi

 

 

 

 

 

black bean rotini fiesta

With the weather finally warming up again, I’m starting to think about my summer bod more and more. For me, this involves contemplating dusting off my running shoes and hitting the streets – yet to happen – and collecting all of my willpower to resist the sugar and butter cravings that I’ve been letting myself succumb to over the holidays. To fight the cravings, I’ve been filling up my grocery cart with fruits and vegetables to make me feel guilty about eating anything else when there’s plenty of good produce slowly deteriorating every day in my fridge. I think it’s working? Though what would I give for a cronut right now…

Anyways, out of curiosity, Phil and I had purchased a bag of organic, gluten free black bean rotini from Trader Joe’s that has been sitting on our pantry shelf for a few weeks now. I didn’t know what to do with it for a while, but seeing the peppers, tomatoes, and red onions in our fridge inspired me to put together a fiesta-themed dish because black beans –> Mexican food –> fiesta! At least that’s how my train of thought went.

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Ingredients:

  • black bean rotini
  • sausage or chorizo, coined
  • bell peppers, medium dice (the more colors the better!)
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • jalapeños, small dice
  • red onion, diced
  • corn, cooked and off the cob
  • peas, cooked
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • any blend of cheese for topping

Directions:

  1. Cook the rotini as per the instructions on the package and drain when al dente. In the meantime, get your knife work done for all of the vegetables.
  2. Heat up some oil in a pan and lightly sear the sausage or chorizo.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the rotini, sausage or chorizo, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, jalapeños, red onions, corn, and peas with enough olive oil to lightly coat the rotini. Season to taste with salt while tossing.
  4. Top the black bean rotini fiesta mix with any blend of cheese to finish.
  5. Get your party on.

pan-seared salmon w/ sautéed hericots verts & garlic

This simple lunch (or dinner!) will take you less than 30 minutes to put together. For the salmon, follow this pan-seared salmon recipe to get the salmon going while you cook up the hericots verts following the recipe below.

salmon greens

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