Food, Sides

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Miso Dressing

November 27, 2019
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH MAPLE MISO DRESSING

Roasted to a crisp perfection and finished with a hit of sweet & tangy, these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Miso Dressing are destined to become a dinnertime hit.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mild or sweet miso
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH MAPLE MISO DRESSING

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Coat Brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and arrange sprouts cut side down.
  • Roast Brussels sprouts on bottom rack, rotating sheet once, until tender and browned all over. (About 15–20 minutes.)
  • While Brussels are baking, whisk mustard, miso, maple syrup, and vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Gradually whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons oil until dressing is thick and fully blended, then whisk in 3 tablespoons water to thin. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Once Brussels sprouts are cool enough to touch, transfer to a platter and drizzle with miso dressing. (Note: this dressing is strong! Start by drizzling with half the dressing and add more if desired.) Enjoy!

Food, Sides

Mashed Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

November 26, 2019
MASHED OKINAWAN SWEET POTATOES

Unique, delicious, and rich in both hue and nutritional value, the Okinawan sweet potato is something to behold. With the help of a few pantry staples, you can transform this vibrant root vegetable into a crowd-pleasing recipe.

A brief history: unlike the rest of Asia, the Okinawan staple is not rice, but (you guessed it) the sweet potato, first introduced in the early 17th century through trade with the Netherlands. Okinawans also eat an abundance of green and yellow vegetables and various soy products. Although they do eat pork, fish and other meats, these are typically a small component of their overall consumption, which is mostly plant-based foods.

Okinawa is also one of the world’s Blue Zones. For more information on these fascinating regions, read my recent blog post here.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large purple potatoes, diced and boiled until just cooked through
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk (almond, hemp, or oat work too)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (Miyoko’s is my favorite! Earth Balance is great too.)
  • 2 tablespoons 100% maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Dice potatoes into medium-sized chunks and place in a large pot of water.
  • Place pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes until tender. (About 20 to 25 minutes.)
  • Drain potatoes and place back into the pot. Add soymilk, vegan butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Mash with a potato masher or with an electric hand mixer until desired consistency has been achieved. Enjoy!

Notes from the kitchen:

  • For creamier potatoes, add an additional 1/4 – 1/2 cups soymilk (or plant milk of choice).
  • For extra sweetness, add 1-2 additional tablespoons maple syrup.
  • Peel the potatoes and discard the skin before boiling if desired. For this recipe, I kept the skin intact.

Entree, Featured, Food

Okinawan-Inspired Miso Soup

November 21, 2019
OKINAWIN-INSPIRED MISO SOUP

Swimming with vegetables and rich, earthy flavors, this Okinawan-Inspired Miso Soup is hearty, filling and delicious. Inspired by my travels in Asia as well as my recent blog post, I hope this recipe finds it’s way into your kitchen and brings you as much joy as it does me. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 (32 fl oz) boxes low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup miso paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 celery stocks, chopped
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (fresh or dried)
  • 1 (14 oz) package extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 cup seaweed sheets, cut into strips
  • To garnish: sliced green onion, sesame seeds, extra seaweed, brown rice and/or rice noodles (optional)

Instructions:

  • In a medium stockpot, sauté onions and garlic in sesame oil on medium heat for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms – sauté for an additional five minutes.
  • Pour in 16 oz of vegetable broth followed by the miso paste. Stir continuously until the miso has dissolved.
  • Add the rest of the vegetable stock and tofu cubes.
  • Simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Garnish as desired.
  • Enjoy…or should I say, “Hara Hachi Bu?” – a Confucian adage said before every meal by Okinawans reminding them to stop eating when they’re 80% full.

Notes:

Did you catch my recent blog post about the Blue Zones? Many of the recipes you’ll find here are inspired by the ingredients and principals of these seemingly immortal populations.

Tips for an ultra-smooth miso broth (dashi) by Bon Appétit.  

Featured, Wellness

Simple Tips For A Sustainable Holiday Season

November 17, 2019

I love the holidays – gathering, eating, appreciating – but it’s no secret that with this time of year comes a lot of excess. Luckily, there are few simple yet impactful changes you can make for a more environmentally responsible holiday season.

Pick the perfect tree.

Although artificial Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are often the more sustainable choice. Artificial trees are made of petroleum products (PVC) and use valuable resources throughout the manufacturing and shipping process. Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource and are (usually) replanted every year. They contribute to air quality while growing and can easily be recycled into mulch after the holiday season. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, saving both transportation costs and added air pollution.

Consider LED lights.

LED lights use light-emitting diodes, rather than filament to produce light. This technology is more efficient, durable, and longer lasting than fluorescent incandescent lights. They don’t burn out like other bulbs, and they also don’t get hot to the touch, so they’re safer, too. Consider stringing your tree and house with LEDs this year, rather than the conventional counterpart.

Travel smart.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, it’s important to ensure your home isn’t wasting valuable resources while you’re away. Be sure to turn off all lights, computer equipment, and electronics. Turn off power strips and unplug devices from their outlets. Also, make sure all of your windows are shut, the thermostat is off, and window treatments are closed.

Traveling by plane? Consider offsetting the carbon emissions from your flight.

Reduce, reuse, recycle.  

It is estimated that Americans throw out 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than they do during the rest of the year. That’s equal to about 25 million tons of additional garbage. There are several ways to cut back on waste while still enjoying the festivities as usual.

Take into consideration:

  • Gift wrap – most wrapping paper is not recyclable. It’s often dyed, laminated and/or contains non-paper additives such as gold and silver colored shapes, glitter or plastics. (Also keep in mind bows, ribbons and other gift wrapping supplies.) For more sustainable options and further information, click here.
  • Cards and invitations – there are several environmentally-friendly options for printing and shipping holiday cards. Just look for recycled or seed paper. Consider sending invitations via email or through social planning websites like Evite.
  • Disposable cutlery and dishes – why not break out the cloth napkins and those gorgeous wine glasses that hardly get used? ‘Tis the season, no? If disposable products are absolutely necessary, opt for compostable options and make composting easy for attendees.
  • Food waste – combat the detriment that is food waste because, “When we throw away food, we’re also throwing away the land, water, and energy used to produce that food. ”

Gift consciously.

It can be fun to shower those you love with gifts during the holidays. What isn’t fun, however, is the clutter left behind afterward. Instead of buying someone a bunch of little gifts they don’t need this year, buy fewer, higher-quality gifts that will withstand the test of time. In the interest of bettering the environment, stay away from giving single-use items and purchase things that are meaningful, durable, and chosen with purpose.

A few ideas worth considering:

  • Shop local – according to Sustainable Connections, “Locally owned businesses make more local purchases requiring less transportation and set up shop in town or city centers which mean less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.” Additionally, ” Independent businesses invest up to 3x more back into our local economy, hire more local people, and have been a powerful pathway to the middle class. Places with more local businesses have less income inequality, stronger social ties, and more character!” What’s not to love?
  • Gift an experience – giving the gift to do something rather than to have something has the ability to make memories that material items simply cannot do. Ideas include (but are certainly not limited to): restaurant gift cards, movie or sporting event tickets, museum memberships and/or airline tickets.

Sustainability is not about stripping away traditions, but more, a restructuring of habits that intersects with the needs of our rapidly deteriorating planet. The truth is, we cannot buy our way out of the current climate crisis. While simple lifestyle modifications can create a ripple effect, lasting change starts at the hands of informed individuals & through community action that ultimately leads to systemic change.

Note: I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas (or any holiday for that matter). Here are a few important points for making the holiday season more inclusive and meaningful for all.

Warmest wishes, everyone!