Tag: healthy but tasty

Black Pepper Steak

I really like black pepper. As a kid, I used to shake a bunch of blackpepper onto my New England Clam Chowder at Souplantation (Sweet Tomatoes in the South), and would put tons and tons on my scrambled eggs at church retreats (so much that sometimes I contemplated unscrewing the cap for a bit). Aside: Looking back, I realize that one of the contributors to me furiously shaking the black pepper was its loss of intensity due to being pre-ground. If you don’t yet have a pepper mill, do yourself a favor and buy 1) a pepper mill 2) whole peppercorns. As you know, whole spices keep much better than ground spices, so do yourself a favor and jump on my whole spice bandwagon! My peppercorns have lasted indefinitely, and I never regret having to grind them fresh because of how superior they are in taste.

When I staged at the French restaurant, one of the now-former garde manger cooks informed me, rather authoritatively, that black pepper was supposed to be an accent, not a main flavor. Though I agreed that one should not add so much black pepper in dishes so that it overwhelms the other flavors, it made me kind of sad that black pepper is not more often the star in the dish. Two memorable food items include the black pepper filet mignon on Chinese banquet menus, and black pepper sauce at Hong Kong-style cafes in the San Gabriel Valley like Regent or
Garden Cafe.

When I first made this dish in May, I had some flank steak to use up, and the poor celery was getting limp from too much time in the fridge. This time, I was equipped with delicious skirt steak, and fresh peppers from the CSA.

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Zucchini and hazelnut salad

For the past birthdays and Christmases, my mom has been getting me cookbooks. This year, my mom got me Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi for my birthday. Thanks, mommy!

I am sick at home and wanted something easy to make. I feel very blessed to have so many generous co-workers who share their spring and summer bounty with me. Terry gave us two pounds of gorgeous and plump asparagus, which we ate in the form of shaved asparagus, and steamed with fried egg.

This past week, my co-worker Patti gifted me with a beautiful bag of large-leafed, plump basil, and a gorgeous mix of greens including green and red leaf lettuces and Tuscan kale. Oh, and spring onions, too! My boss got a mix of lettuces from another co-worker, and we have dubbed these kindly folks our farmer fairies. Sounds about right.

My first instinct when Patti handed me the lovely basil was to buy tomato and mozzarella to eat with our lovely extra-virgin olive oil from Los Olivos, CA, but my second thought was to try to use up what we had.  I remembered that we have a stockpile of hazelnuts from Costco in the freezer, as well as zucchini that needed to be used up. Aha, Yotam, thanks for saving the day!

The combination of the semi-licoricey basil, toasty hazelnuts, and juicy zucchini…is quite something. What a great way to use up lots of basil!

Zucchini and hazelnut salad

adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi
serves 1 generously

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Black Bean Burgers, Cabbage Slaw and French Fries

“Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart,
the more you eat the more you fart,
the more you fart the better you feel,
So eat your beans with every meal”

Besides the catchy song, there are three reasons Tim and I eat beans:
1) We like how they taste
2) They have lots of fiber- think digestion and fullness level! 🙂
3) They are less expensive than meat per serving

I wouldn’t compare the texture of these black bean burgers to that of hamburgers, but they are quite tasty! They remind me of the solid and toasty form of black bean soup.

Black Bean Burgers
There ARE buns beneath the black bean burger and avocado..

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