Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Get Well Soon Remedies

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or expert, by any means. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

It's the worst time of the year: allergy season. Since being GF, my frequency of being sick has decreased significantly, but that doesn't mean I'm totally free of sickness now and then! Although some of you may think I'm crazy, I stray away from over-the-counter medications and doctor visits, unless its really serious (obviously). I like to approach my ailments in a more "natural" manner. This is not for everyone, as many people are looking to make symptoms go away ASAP, which is all OTC meds can do. However, they don't "solve" the problem. This is one of many reasons that I take the holistic approach. I was raised this way too, so I've gathered a handful of remedies along the way (as well as a few new ones) which I'll share below!

  1. Plenty of fluids// This one may seem obvious, but a lot of people tend to ignore this when they get sick, especially if they're relying on meds. You need plenty of liquids anyways to function on a daily basis, so an even higher level is needed when sick. Water is obviously the best, but tea and ginger ale (with out HFCS) are also great. I'm also a big fan of raw pressed juice when I'm sick with ingredients like raw ginger, lemon, cayenne and garlic.
  2. Medicinal teas// This is the best way I've found to relieve cold symptoms. Just drink mug after mug of tea, and you will soon be feeling better. Traditional medicinals is my favorite brand of tea for wellness, and Gypsy Cold Care is my favorite. I love that the ingredients are 100% herbs, and it really shows! Yogi tea also makes some great, less expensive wellness teas. Want to make your own teas? This turmeric tea is easy and detoxifying, as well as this detox mint tea
  3. Neti pot// Have you heard of the Neti pot? I was honestly suspicious when I first heard about them, but now I swear by them. When sick, I do it once a day until my congestion clears up, which usually happens quickly. It's a little awkward at first, but it really does the trick!
  4. Medicinal Tablets/Drops// I have been taking echinacea drops when sick since I was a kid and they always work. Whenever I felt like something was coming on, I would take the recommended dosage (very small) mixed with water before bed, and I would feel much better the next day. I also like to take wellness tablets when I feel something coming on. These are what I call "preventative methods", which helps your chances of actually becoming sick even less.
  5. Rest// This is maybe one of the most important things I do, even when I'm working or going to school full time: rest. Your body needs it. Sometimes it may be easy to power through feeling crappy, but other times your body really needs a break. 
  6. Raw garlic/ginger// Yes, that's right. Raw garlic is packed with powerful anti-oxidants that prevent colds and can kill some strains of bacteria. If you're SUPER brave, mince a clove or two of raw garlic and eat it up. I've done this before and it's incredibly hard due to the insane pungency of raw garlic. Raw ginger also has similar properties and it's a little bit easier to eat. Other spicy foods with cayenne pepper or jalapenos can also be used to relieve allergy/cold symptoms. And don't forget citrus! Vitamin C is one of the best ways to kick a cold out.
  7. SOUP!// Okay this one is obvious, and obviously my favorite way. Here are my stand-by sick soup recipes: chunky celery soup with garlicky pestomiso soup, and Indian tomato soup. And now my recipe for my favorite soup while being sick!

Get Well Soon Miso Ramen
  • 1 package GF ramen (or regular ramen)
  • suggested amount of water
  • 2-3 cloves of raw garlic, minced or thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS raw ginger, peeled and minced
  • large handfuls of spinach or kale (optional)
  • sriracha or other hot Asian chile paste
  • 1-2 eggs fried or chopped silken tofu (for vegan)
  • Korean kimchi (optional)
  1. Prepare ramen according to package directions.
  2. When you stir in the flavor packet, add the garlic, ginger, and greens (if using).
  3. Fry your eggs or chop your tofu and spoon on top of ramen.
  4. Drizzle generously with sriracha and spoon on kimchi (if using). Enjoy and feel better!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Qu'est-ce que c'est?//Miso Paste

Welcome to a new series on Infinite Zest: Qu'est-ce que c'est? In this series, I will choose products that seem daunting or frivolous, that can actually be used in many different ways in your kitchen. If you have a suggestion or a product you're curious about, leave me a comment. Let's get started!


//Miso is a traditional Japanese paste made from fermenting soybeans with salt, fungi and other ingredients like chickpeas, brown rice or barley. There are many types of miso paste, but the three main categories are brown, white/yellow and red. Red has the most flavor, while white is the mildest and brown sits somewhere in the middle. Not all brands of miso are gluten-free, so be sure to check your ingredients when purchasing.

//Salty, bold, umami, slightly bitter, comforting.

//Miso, and most fermented foods, have tons of nutritional benefits. It is claimed to be a high source of B12 and is good to eat when you are sick. However, miso does contain quite a bit of salt, so please avoid miso if you have issues sodium or use it sparingly. I usually leave salt out of a recipe that uses a decent amount of miso.

//Depending on your tastes, miso comes in a variety of flavors with varying levels of "strength". My favorite brand that I stick by is Miso Master because it is local to NC (Asheville) and the flavor is always wonderful. I have tried both the chickpea and brown rice miso, and they're both great. Brown rice has a stronger flavor, so I use less in recipes but the chickpea is mild. When recipes call for miso paste, they are usually referring to yellow/white miso paste (or chickpea) because it's mild. However, there are some recipes that specifically call for red miso paste because of the strength of its flavor. Miso costs about $8 a tub, but it will last you at least a year, depending on how much you use it.

//There are literally hundreds of different ways to use miso paste! Pictured above is my personal favorite: miso soba noodle soup. One of my other favorite ways is to roast winter vegetables in a miso dressing: this one is with sesame and this one is with harissa. It's also a great ingredient for salad dressings to make a bold flavor, or mix it with vegan mayo and lemon juice for a delicious aioli to eat with fries. Miso paste is not just for Asian food, so try it in different ways! Here are some more ideas from around the Web:

-creamy vegan miso alfredo//Vegan Yack Attack
-salmon en papillote with miso butter//Wild Greens and Sardines

Still have questions? Leave a comment below!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

We went to the beach last weekend, so I packed us some chicky tuna salad sandwiches from Isa Does It. These were so easy to make, filling and delicious! And they honestly did taste like tuna/chicken salad to me, although the base is made from chickpeas and sunflower seeds. I will definitely be making these again!

If you haven't been to Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh yet, you must go! This is the third time I've been there and it was incredible (as always)! I went with a lighter entree this time and I was not disappointed. I ordered these nori rolls with raw beets, ginger sauce, raw sesame kale salad and sashimi tofu. I could eat an entire plate of this tofu because it's sooo good. 

The Saint Forgot: Gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Campari, fresh lemon, graepfruit and lavender bitters. This was certainly one of the best cocktails I've ever had. We also tried The Edison (fennel syrup, gin, lemon, orange, dry vermouth) and The Covington flip (Cruzan 9 spiced rum, sweet potato syrup, local egg, lemon, black walnut bitters). I've never had a flip before (usually made with raw pasteurized eggs) but it was incredible!

View from our condo!

I rarely get cravings for tomato soup, but this spicy chickpea tomato soup really hit the spot! The spices seem complex, but they really come together in the end for a wonderfully spiced soup. And it's easy enough to make on a weeknight! I served this with GF bread slathered with roasted garlic hummus, paprika and nutritional yeast.

The salad of the week was this chopped power salad with baked tofu and a miso-almond dressing. This made for a very satisfying and health dinner for a busy night! I loved the dressing, but I will probably double it next time. The baked tofu is also delicious, so don't skip out on it. I love eating red cabbage but I always have a hard time figuring out what to do with all of it!

Raw blueberry cheesecake from Whole Foods

While "rice and beans" is a traditionally Mexican dish, this Italian variation is possibly my new favorite way to eat rice and beans! It takes less than 30 minutes and the flavors are incredible. I added a few cloves of thinly sliced garlic for extra flavor, since there wasn't any included in the recipe. The lemon zest seems like an odd choice, but it adds so much flavor to the overall dish! I also used kale instead of spinach.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

This week, I made some delicious scrambled eggs with garlicky swiss chard and harissa powder. I just sauteed chopped garlic cloves and chard stems in oil until softened, then added the swiss chard leaves. I mixed together 2 eggs with some almond milk, harissa powder and salt. Pour over the swiss chard and scramble until cooked.

Yesterday was Mike's birthday, but this weekend I threw him a surprise Star Wars party. I'm so happy that he was 100% clueless about the party! I always make cupcakes for parties, but I've had my eye on these meyer lemon yoda cookies. These cookies was amazing for GF and they stayed soft and chewy the next day. The best part is the homemade meyer lemon curd which is SO easy to make and it tastes like lemon meringue pie. These cookies were delicious!

Special breakfast brunch for Mike this weekend: eggs over easy, garlicky sauteed Swiss chard and wonder fries with green onions and miso mayo. 

We've been eating a lot of salads lately and this quinoa tabbouleh salad hit the spot! It had lots of fresh mint, parsley, and the pomegranate molasses was amazing! This salad is a great crisp and refreshing dish for any weeknight or a light dinner. It also gets better when it sits in the fridge for day.

Savory tea...What?? I know it may seem odd, but it was actually very delicious and relaxing. I'd like to experiment cooking with this sometime, maybe making a lazy soup with some cooked rice and vegetables. They have other varieties like tomato mint, cabbage beet, and fennel parsley. I can't wait to try the other flavors!

I've been trying to cook from cookbooks lately, and this creamy sun-dried tomato pasta was INSANELY good. This comes from the book Isa Does It, which is definitely one of my favorite cookbooks. You braise the red onions and broccoli in red wine and garlic, which creates an amazing sauce that is then mixed with a vegan cashew cream. I used GF brown rice pasta for this recipe.

 Last night, Ashley and I went to a macaron class at Savory Spice Shop! We got to see how the macaron batter is made, we practiced piping on baking sheets, then we learned how to make Swiss Meringue buttercream (dairy-free). The best part was getting to assemble macaron shells with different fillings (and taking them home...and eating them...). We had so much fun and it was such an informative class! I'm definitely not as afraid to make macarons now!

Here are the shell varieties we had: chocolate, pistachio, coconut, raspberry and lavender. Filling varieties: plain Swiss meringue, espresso Swiss meringue, vanilla bean pear jam, and lemon curd. They were SO good!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

This is one thing I've been wanting to make for a long time: African peanut stew. I've seen many recipes for it with different variations, like adding quinoa, cilantro, etc. After buying Angela's first cookbook, I vowed to finally try her recipe for African peanut stew because it looks so delicious! And it did not disappoint! This stew came together in no time and it's SO good. Would be perfect for a cold day, which hopefully NC is done with for now! But it still makes a great hearty, healthy stew for a weeknight. 

I've had my ice cream maker for about a year now, and this is only the second time I've made ice cream! I definitely want to start using it more because I forget how easy it is to make vegan ice cream. This time, I made coconut mint with fresh mint and coconut milk. The fresh mint gives it a very different flavor than with mint extract. I loved it with the chocolate sauce (which didn't really melt) and it was SO easy. I will definitely make this again!

I've been eyeing these cocktails for a while and finally decided to try my own spin on them. For mine, I did: 1 shot vodka and some torn fresh mint in a cocktail shaker with ice. After shaking, I poured it in a glass and topped with mango kombucha. For Mike's: 1 shot coconut/whipped rum over ice in a shaker with a generous drizzle of sriracha and torn fresh mint. After shaking, I poured it in a glass and topped with mango kombucha. I can't wait to experiment with other kombucha cocktails! 

So I finally started loving cabbage, and now I'm a little obsessed, but now I'm trying to get us to eat it every week. It has so many health benefits that we'd be crazy not to! I made this Asian rainbow salad with spicy mango dressing and sesame broiled tofu for dinner this week. These salads were HUGE! It took me a solid 20-25 minutes just to eat one! It's filled with napa and red cabbages, romaine, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, chopped red onion, chopped carrots, cucumber, and cilantro. The dressing is awesome and spicy, but on the second day I also used some bottled GF peanut sauce which was also great. I will post the sesame tofu recipe from Isa Does It because it's my favorite, quick way to make tofu:

Preheat oven to broiler (high setting). Chop a block of tofu into 8 pieces widthwise (press tofu if you have time). On a dinner plate, mix 3 TBS (GF) soy sauce and 2 TBS sesame oil. Dredge each tofu slice in this mixture and place on baking tray. Broil, 3-5 minutes on each side, being careful it doesn't burn and flipping after the first 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into any shape

More easy meals this week: lentils with spicy tomatoes over polenta with harissa! This was super filling, easy to make, and the polenta was delicious. I skipped the 8 hour setting time for polenta and just served it mushy and warm like it is (because I am supremely lazy, or a student). To make it vegan, I skipped the cheese and used a mix of vegan butter, veg broth, garlic powder, salt + red pepper flakes to add flavor to my polenta. I will definitely use more harissa powder next time because it wasn't very spicy to me.

I love love love trying new spices. Here's a few that maybe you haven't tried yet: garam masala (favorite), za'atar, berbere, coriander, harissa, chinese 5-spice, herbes de provence, Jamaican curry powder, panch phoron. Do any of these ring a bell? I guess when all you do in your free time is cook/bake/read food blogs/read cookbooks/read about food, you start to become familiar with these weird things. So yes, I love buying spices and I finally went to my local Savory Spice Shop to register for a class when I came across panch phoron. Panch Phoron is a Bengali spice blend of (essentially) cumin seeds, mustard, fennel, fenugreek and other delicious spices. I used it in this DELICIOUS cauliflower red lentil dal, which is possibly my new favorite Indian dish. This spice blend has so many layers of flavor that change through out eating this dish. I seriously can't wait to try other spices and other dishes with panch phoron. My advice about new spices is give it a shot! Buy the smallest amount possible (I bought 2 oz of panch phoron for $2) and try it out. You will be amazed at what new flavors you discover!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

These little gems are something my best friend Ashley and I have been making for years. But this time, I added a few extra ingredients and used some 'traditional' deviled egg ingredients too. I hated deviled eggs for most of my life, which is odd for a Southern gal, but after making them on my own a few times I've grown to love them. I have to admit, these were breakfast for Mike and I this weekend after Ashley gave us a carton of hard-boiled eggs (leftover from April Fool's day pranks). If you serve them with Cajun home fries, no one would judge you 
(because we totally did too)

Sriracha Deviled Eggs
Yields 12

- 6 eggs, hard-boiled (make sure they're cold)
-1 green onion; light green/white parts sliced and dark green parts reserved for garnish
-1 TBS vegan mayo (or plain hummus, if you hate mayo)
-1/4-1/2 tsp yellow mustard
-1 tsp (or more) of sriracha (we used about 2 tsp)
-1 TBS minced fresh cilantro
-pinch of garlic powder

  1. Remove the hard-boiled egg yolks and place in a bowl. You should be able to pop them out easily. Be sure to keep the egg white in tact! (I tore one or two)
  2. Mash the yolks with a fork until crumbly and no big pieces remain.
  3. Add the green onion (white and light green parts only), mayo or hummus, mustard, sriracha, cilantro and garlic powder. Stir, while mashing, until everything is incorporated. Taste and adjust spice level and seasonings to your liking.
  4. Spoon (or if you're Martha Stewart, pipe with a piping bag) the filling back into the egg. I use a teaspoon measurement for this which worked great.
  5. Garnish with dark green onion slices and extra sriracha. Dig in!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Dark & Shirley

This drink was created after a craving for kraken and grenadine. Lately, I've been alternating between burly temples and GF beer. I love grenadine, but wanted something a little different. So the dark and shirley was born: a cross between a burly temple and a dark n' stormy.

The Dark & Shirley

  • ice
  • 1 shot grenadine  (for a stronger drink, use 1/2 shot grenadine)
  • 1 shot Kraken spiced black rum
  • ginger ale/ginger beer (ginger beer for more spice)
  • lime wedge (optional)

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add 3-4 cubes of ice, grenadine and rum. Shake vigorously.
  2. Pour, with ice into a short glass. Add ginger ale/beer to top off. Serve with a squeeze of lime.
  3. If you want a more "traditionally served" dark n' stormy type drink: shake the grenadine and black rum together. Get a glass with some ice. Pour ginger beer in. Add the grenadine/rum on top. Serve with lime

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

I've been craving bibimbap recently, so I finally got around to making some. The great thing about bibimbap is you can you seriously put anything in it and it's awesome. For this version, I used cooked short grain brown rice (jasmine would also work), sliced cucumbers (feel free to pickle them!), sliced + steamed sweet potatoes, sliced radishes, sliced green onions, miso horseradish kimchi, fried eggs + sriracha. If you want a 'real' recipe: vegetarian sweet potato bibimbap, with crispy tofu + kale and with pickled cucumbers + black rice

We love pasta, but I always want to try different variations on it. Last week I adapted this lemon garlic cream pasta to be GF/V. I used 1/2 almond milk instead of cream, no cheese, and GF pasta. This pasta is SO easy to make and such a great variation on basic "red" pasta. Next time I will definitely add greens, which I forgot. I also added a bit of vegan butter at the end to make it a little more decadent. 

Raw burritos we got at Lunas Living Kitchen in Charlotte this weekend! They were made of collard wraps, raw cauliflower rice, raw "refried" sunflower seeds, pico de gallo, guacamole, raw hot sauce, and a raw salad with brazil nut "parm". This was SO good, but definitely not cheap. I can't wait to try re-creating this at home!

Also from the raw restaurant: raw lemon raspberry cheesecake topped with microgreens + raspberries. I will definitely be trying my hand at raw desserts/food soon! Eating at Luna's really inspired me to branch out with more raw foods.

This is officially my new favorite vegan sandwich: blackened tempeh sandwiches with sriracha mayo, lettuce + tomato. This tempeh is so easy to make because it requires no marinating, just a dry rub/oiling process. The flavors of the blackening spice reminds me a lot of spicy chicken sandwiches that I used to love, but this is obviously the cruelty-free and healthy version! I can't wait to make these all the time in the summer.

I love recipes that are I can add fridge items to. I almost always have ingredients to make this rainbow rice + beans, as it turns out, which makes me really happy. I try to always have frozen organic peas and corn in my freezer, rice in the pantry, and these spices are pretty much always in my spice drawer. I used chickpeas instead of black beans because that's all I had, and I also added a thinly sliced jalapeno. The spices are a strange mix, but they work very well: coriander, mustard seed, oregano, fresh cumin seed, vegan soy sauce + vegan worcestershire. 

Since the weather is finally warmer, I've been trying to make us eat more salads lately. This rainbow jeweled beauty is a crunchy peanut quinoa Thai salad with peanut dressing. It was super easy to make and very satisfying on a warm day! I don't eat enough red cabbage, so I'm trying to try different recipes with it now. Also, because I had just returned home from a business exam, I used this GF peanut sauce with a squeeze of lime instead of making the dressing.

I think it's a common misconception that making ethnic food at home is complicated. This is funny to me because making ethnic food at home is almost always easier to make than other recipes. This Indian butter tofu took 30 minutes to make and it was cheaper, healthier, and tastier than any Indian food I've ever had a restaurant. Don't fear making ethnic food at home! I feel like I have more freedom making this at home, mostly because most restaurants do not have GF options.