Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Life Chef Classes

Hi everyone. There's a lot going on as we head into summer, but I hope to see you soon at some of these Life Chef events as you continue making healthy eating a part of your lifestyle. Also check out for new recipes and links to the latest Food News that can impact your well being. Be on the lookout for articles by your Life Chef in Sevananda's CoOptions Newsletter, as well as Real Health and Poz magazines as the summer months progress. New Life Chef videos will be forthcoming this summer as well. And keep up-to-date with my musings, whereabouts, latest food projects (including What's for Dinner?) and more by following me on Twitter @ChefAsata. I hope to see you soon!

Yours in Health and Good Taste,
Asata Reid, Life Chef

New Life Chef Classes

"Natural Foods 102: Food for Connoisseurs"
Wed. June 3, noon - 2p.m. @ Sevananda Natural Foods Market
We will explore some of the more "exotic" ingredients carried at Sevananda and make recipes that bring the world of healthful ingredients into your daily diet. For more information call Sevananda at 404-681-2831

Join Chef Asata for a FREE cooking demo
Sat. June 6, 10 a.m. - noon @ the Green Market @ Piedmont Park
presented by Kaiser Permanente

Art of Healthy Cooking
Thurs. June 11, 7-9 p.m.
Kaiser Permanente Alpharetta Medical Facility
3550 Preston Ridge Dr. Alpharetta, GA 30005
(404) 365-0966

"What's Cooking?" Thrill of the Grill

Sat. Jun 13, 10 a.m. - noon @ Sevananda Natural Foods Market
We’ll celebrate the thrill of the grill with marinades and spice rubs, vegetables that taste great on the barbecue, healthy side dishes to excite any picnic goers and some of the fantastic meatless options that are carried right here in Sevananda.

In-Store Demo
Mon. June 15, noon - 2p.m. @ Sevananda Natural Foods Market
FREE Sample a selection from this month's "What's Cooking?" class and sign up for next month's class.

Kids Can Cook
Wed. June 17 and June 24, 2-3:30 p.m. @ FitNFun Conscious Kids Summer Camp
Find out more about this great summer camp at Panola Mountain
by contacting the Children's Wellness Network

Kids in the Kitchen
10 - 11 a.m., Tues. July 7 @ Atlanta Fulton County Public Library Headquarters
Central Library's Children's Department ages 8-12. FREE w limited seating
One Margaret Mitchell Square Atlanta, GA 30303 RSVP @ 404.730.1845

Cooking Demos @ the National Black Arts Festival
July 31- Aug 2
Times and Locations to be announced

Food for Thought

Here's some reading I've been doing. I share a lot of this on Twitter @ChefAsata, but thought I'd do a collective post here for those who aren't on Twitter (which is a LOT of people). This is an interesting world we live in and I'm always open to learning, seeing new points of view and stimulating some critical thinking. Enjoy!

Join @ChefAsata for a FREE cooking demo on June 6 @ the Green Market @PiedmontPark presented by Kaiser Permanente

Who's king now? - King Corn, meet Big Oil -
RT @food_democracy

Food poisoning sux. Play it safe. Now that summer's here, leftover food safety is especially important! RT @savvyveg

Now that's FRESH! Meeting, Then Eating, the Goat RT @nytimesdining

5 Cancer-Fighting Garden Herbs RT @savvyveg via @namaste_vayo

Study points 2 common pesticides & pollutants. Is the Environment Making Us Fat and Sick? RT @OrganicConsumer

Technique talk. Practical guide to sous vide cooking RT @eatwelloften

Stellar! Home made butter. Total 'why didn't I think of that?' moment! RT @JenniferPerillo

10 Tips to Help You Grill Like a Man RT @easy_appetizers

Why a calorie isn’t just a calorie RT @fitdelicious

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Melon and Feta Cheese Salad

This fresh and delicious salad was created for the May 9 "What's Cooking?" Class at Sevananda Natural Foods Market as part of the "Foods for Women's Health" class. Using some of the sweetest, ripest melons I've seen this spring, it was a big hit. As the season progresses from spring to summer, substitute watermelon and blueberries for the cantaloupe and honeydew. Feel free to experiment with herbs like mint and parsley and substitute smoked or fresh mozzarella, goat cheese or tofuti soy-feta as well.

Melon and Feta Salad
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
juice from 2 limes
1/2 cantaloupe melon
1/2 honeydew melon
1/2 pint strawberries, halved
1 bunch cilantro
6 oz crumbled feta cheese

In a large bowl, combine onion, lime juice, salt and pepper and allow to marinate. Meanwhile seed, peel and dice the melons into bite sized pieces. Add melons, cilantro to the marinated onions and toss well. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sesame Garlic Long Beans

Long beans w chickenNot only does this vegetable dish cook up quickly, but it's also a nice change from the standard green beans. A little spicy, definitely savory and pretty on the plate. Here you see the long beans tied in knots and served along with soy-marinated chicken breasts.

Sesame Garlic Long Beans
1 lb long beans (or green beans)
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp red pepper flake
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp white sesame seeds (toasted or raw)

Bring a pot of salty water to a boil, and blanch the long beans until they are crisp tender with an emerald green color. Shock in icy cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and set aside. You may tie bunches of 3-4 long beans together into knots for a pretty presentation.

Heat olive oil and sesame oil in a large skillet or on a flat top. Toss the long beans, garlic and pepper flake in the oil and cook until the garlic is tender and begins to brown. Remove to serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Marinated Chicken with Braised Baby Bok Choy

Baby bok choyThis is a great dish for grill day. Throw the chicken on the grill and the bok choy are "braised" on the stove top for a fast vegetable accompaniment.

Marinated Chicken with Braised Baby Bok Choy

For the Chicken
1 ½ to 2 lbs of chicken breasts
¼ cup miso tamari or soy sauce
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated

For the Bok Choy
2 lbs baby bok choy, ends trimmed, separated
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4-1/2 cup water

To marinate chicken, combine miso tamari, lemon grass, garlic and ginger in a large bowl. Toss the chicken in to coat and let marinate 20 minutes or up to overnight.

Cook chicken on a preheated grill or griddle five minutes on each side or until no longer pink in the middle (depends on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Those pterodactyl breasts from YDFM can cook for 20 mins!) :et cook chicken breasts sit to redistribute the juices.

To "braise" bok choy, heat water with soy sauce and agave nectar in a large pot until simmering. Stir in the bok choy and crushed red pepper and continue cooking over med-high heat until all of the liquid evaporates and the bok choy is lightly glazed. If using large bok choy, separate the greens from whites and cook the whites first for 3-5 minutes, and stir in the greens toward the end of cooking (the last 3-5 minutes) just to wilt until tender.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts and serve over a bed of the bok choy. Garnish the dish with crushed toasted peanuts or sesame seeds.

Chilled Udon Noodle salad, Gingered Shiitakes and Green Onions

Chilled udon salad with shiitakesThis is a quick and easy meal that would even benefit from the addition of silken tofu or cool edamame, or leftover meat like shredded pork or chicken or even shrimp. Bring this to the next hot-day pot luck as a cool side dish and a tasty alternative to that same ol' same ol' pasta salad. Fresh herbs give it a lovely freshness so use whatever is on hand: cilantro, basil, mint. Also give your serving a squeeze of fresh lime juice for a bright finish!

Chilled Udon Noodle salad, Gingered Shiitakes and Green Onions
1 pkg dried udon noodles
1 red bell pepper
2 pints shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-5 scallions, whites and greens separated
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1-2 Tbsp miso tamari or soy sauce
2 handfulls of cilantro, roughly chopped

Cook noodles according to package directions until just al dente. Rinse with cold water, drain and toss with 1 Tbsp of the dark sesame oil. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet and sauté mushrooms with scallion whites, garlic and ginger. Add remaining sesame oil and miso tamari (or soy sauce). Cook until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Toss bell pepper and mushroom mixture into the noodles and garnish with sliced scallion greens and cilantro. Refrigerate or serve immediately. If refrigerated, check seasonings prior to serving, and moisten with a little more sesame oil and/or soy sauce as needed.

Turkey Lemongrass Pot Stickers with Asian Cabbage Slaw


Fried dumplings are delicious. And usually filled with pork and deep fried. My pork-a-thon version of pot stickers and dumplings can be found HERE.

But for the last TASTY II class with Spicy Wife, I wanted to make them just a wee bit healthier and slightly less labor intensive, so I used ground turkey here and pan-fry them (think saute). You can omit even more fat by skipping the sesame oil in the filling, and baking or even steaming your pot stickers. Still the addition of lemongrass, garlic, ginger and scallions keeps the flavor out of this world! A touch of crushed red pepper brings just enough heat to warm you through.

Turkey Lemongrass Pot Stickers with Asian Cabbage Slaw

For Pot Stickers
1 lb ground turkey (not purely breast meat b/c it’s too dry)
1 pkg pot sticker or wonton wrappers
1 stalk lemongrass, white part, minced
2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, green and whites, sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp miso tamari or soy sauce

Heat 1-2 Tbsp oil in a skillet and cook the turkey with garlic, lemongrass and scallion together. As the turkey browns stir in ginger and crushed red pepper, sesame oil and soy sauce. Set aside and let cool, draining off any excess liquid.

Once the turkey mixture is cool, lay out 3-6 pot sticker or dumpling wrappers on a dry cutting board, and place 1 tsp of the turkey mixture on the center of each.

Dampen the edge of half the wrapper with a wet finger.

Fold the wrappers in half (diagonally if they are square) and pinch to crimp the wrapper shut. Continue until you use all of the wrappers.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan or on a flat top. Cook pot stickers on each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.

For Slaw

2 cups savoy or nappa cabbage, shredded
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
2 cups mung bean sprouts (or any other sprout)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 scallions, sliced
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
3 Tbsp dark sesame oil
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup sweet rice wine
¼ rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp black sesame seeds

Combine sesame oil, soy sauce, sweet rice wine, rice wine vinegar in a small bowl to make dressing.

Toss together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl with just enough dressing to coat the slaw. Reserve the rest as a dip for the pot stickers.

To serve, place the slaw on a platter, sprinkle with the sesame seeds, top with the warm pot stickers and served the dip on the side.