Thursday, March 12, 2009

EPA recap

(smokey white beans with parsley)

I truly enjoyed the folks from the Sam Nunn Federal Center (thanks to Kaiser Permanente, the EPA and the SSA). What a great crowd (a great food loving crowd, that is)! This Life Chef lunch and learn session focused on international flavors for healthful and delicious side dishes (or vegetarian entrees).

We made Smokey White Beans, which people swear has smoked meat but really is illuminated by Spanish smoked paprika and cumin, Mediterranean Black Rice Salad featuring whole grain goodness, and Broken Noodles with Edamame and Asian Vegetables (a gluten free, low carb pasta dish).

Mediterranean Black Rice Salad

This cold dish uses a Japonica rice blend, featuring the whole grain goodness of mahogany and black rice. If you're as tired of brown rice as I am, this blend is a welcome addition to your pantry. It's earthy, nutty, sweet and hearty! Add in some traditional Mediterranean ingredients like lemon, fennel, sundried tomatoes (skip the oil-packed variety and reconstitute your own to control the fat content), tons of fresh parsley and more, and you have a flavorful, healthful side dish that is also an excellent use of leftover rice!

1 cup Lundberg Black Japonica Rice
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes , rehydrated in boiling water and drained
1 cup of black olives, sliced
1 seedless cucumber, peeled adn diced
1/4 cup goat cheese or feta cheese
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
juice from 1 lemon
1/2cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/2 cup onion, small dice
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts for garnish

Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil. Sir in the rice, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until rice is tender. Rinse rice under cold water to stop cooking and remove excess starch. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine fennel, onion and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes while rice is cooking.

Add all of the ingredients, except the goat cheese and pine nuts, to the fennel-onion mixture, stirring to incorporate. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours.

Stir prior to serving and garnish with goat cheese and pine nuts.

Broken Noodles w Edamame & Asian Veggies

This dish inverts the garnish-to-pasta ratio for those who love their pasta but can't do all the carbs. Here, pasta is a garnish in the dish, instead of the focus. And as an added bonus, I used gluten free pasta, made from quinoa and corn, for those who are minimizing or eliminating wheat gluten from their diets. Locally, the pasta was purchased at the DeKalb Farmers Market (see picture below). If you are fine with wheat, substitute a whole wheat or buckwheat (soba) pasta for this dish.

4 oz Ancient Harvest Quinoa Supergrain Linguine (gluten free pasta)
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
2" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 small nappa cabbage, sliced crosswise into ribbons
1 cup edamame (soy beans), thawed
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil, divided
1 Tbsp wheat free soy sauce (or organic tamari, shoyu, low sodium soy sauce)

Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Break linguine into 2" pieces and add to boiling water. Cook, stirring once or twice, for about 6 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of sesame oil and set aside.

Meanwhile heat 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a pot or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Add edamame, garlic, red pell pepper and garlic, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cabbage, soy sauce and continue cooking until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the pasta and the ramaining 1 Tbsp of sesame oil.

Transfer to a serving dis and garnish with black sesame seeds.