Sunday, January 20, 2013

Whole Foods Cooking Class

I'm on a mission people!  This healthy living business is opening my eyes to so many wonderful foods that I didn't know I was going to love.  I've been trying for a while to introduce a meatless meal once a week and I've met resistance.  My husband and I both grew up with meat and potatoes and very limited vegetables.  I do remember my parents being on a health kick once and I still make one of the pasta salad recipes that they made way back then.

Keith's family had a foster home when he was growing up and they had 20 or more mouths to feed each day so they had lots of tomato based pasta recipes.  I think this is why he's so picky with his food choices now.

Can I just tell you how excited I am about Quinoa? It's pronounced KEEN-wah and it's amazing. Protein, fiber and it's so filling!

My friend Heather and I went to Whole Foods yesterday to a free cooking class.  Did you know that they do these?  It was so much fun and very informative.  Both dishes had zero meat in them and were made without oil.  I can't wait to try this technique at home.  Lisa, Whole Foods Healthy Eating Specialist, was a great teacher!  She answered our questions and explained things really well.  Lisa also gave us an onion cutting lesson!  I've been doing it wrong my entire life.

Many of the ingredients used in these recipes came from the frozen food department of Whole Foods.  Did you know you can buy cooked quinoa and rice frozen?  You just dump it in your pan.  So quick and easy for those of you that say you have no time to cook.  Another awesome thing we discovered.  Kale in the freezer section.  Ready to throw into your pan and it won't go bad.

Curried Cauliflower with Kale, Cashews, Raisins and Quinoa
 from Lisa at Whole Foods Belmar

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated or minced
1 cup vegetable broth, divided into two 1/2 cup portions
2 tsp curry powder 
1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
1 bunch green kale, washed, ribs removed and thinly sliced
1 cup raw whole cashews
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced

Heat a large saute pan over high heat until very hot and water dances when you throw it in the pan. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until they start to caramelize a bit.

Add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute to prevent them from burning. Whisk 1/2 cup of broth with curry and pour into the pan.

Add cauliflower, kale and quinoa to the pan.  Stir well to combine.  Add the second amount of broth and let cook until the kale is wilted and the cauliflower is soft but not mushy.  Add a little water to the pan if you are running low of liquid.

Salt to taste and serve with a garnish of sliced green onions.

It's confession time.  I'm afraid of WHOLE PINEAPPLES.  I've never bought a fresh pineapple because I honestly don't know how to get all of that prickly stuff off.  Lisa showed us a super easy way to cut and core the pineapple and I'm excited to buy one and make this next dish for my family.

A tip from Lisa:  Rinse your beans very well to remove the enzymes that make you gassy.   Also, if you regularly eat beans...your body will adapt and the music will stop.  I think I'm going to start rinsing my Fiber One bars.

Ginger-Pineapple Rice with Aduki Beans and Avocado
 from Lisa at Whole Foods Belmar

1/2 red onion, diced
2 tsp ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable stock, plus 1/2 cup set aside
lemon grass
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 can Aduki Beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 tsp fresh mint, minced
2 tsp fresh basil, minced
1 hot chili (such as a serano), minced
1 Avocado, diced
2 tbsp lime juice and the zest if you'd like
2 tbsp white miso
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat a large saute pan over very high heat until water dances when you throw it in the pan. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, add ginger and garlic.  Saute for another minute to prevent it from burning.

Add 1/4 cup of broth to the pan, stir.

Add brown rice, aduki beans and pineapple to the pan and stir.  Whisk together the miso, cayenne and 1/2 cup of broth.  Pour into the pan and stir.  Add herbs.

Scoop avocado out of the shell and toss in a bowl with lime juice to prevent browning.

Season with salt to taste and serve garnished with avocado on top of a leafy green salad or along a piece of chicken or fish.