Monday, March 12, 2012

Okra and Eggplant Stew

You don't see okra dishes every day. I realized that I only have okra when I go to Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants, and I even had it once in Jamaica. Being such a healthy vegetable, I decided to make an effort and prepare it myself with ingredients and spices to my liking.

I am not sure if this is because okra is not so popular, or because everyone rushed to buy it that day, but there was very little left at the store. So, I also bought one eggplant to put in the stew in addition to the okra.

Amongst its many nutrition benefits, okra is a great choice of food if you are watching your weight or cholesterol. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, protein and many vitamins and minerals.

  • 1lb okra
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 large onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tsp ground black pepper
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1-2 cup of water
  • salt to taste
  • 4-6 Tbsp olive oil
  • cilantro or parsley to garnish

Heat the oil in a large cooking pot. Chop onions and garlic and saute them in oil.
When the onions become translucent, add canned tomatoes and bring to boil. Add bay leaves and spices.
Cut up eggplant into about 1in cubes. Trim the crowns on the okra and then chop each one up into 2-3 pieces.
Combine them with tomatoes and onions in the cooking pot.
Mix well and add brother and water. Add more water if necessary for the desired consistency.
Cover and cook for about an hour.
Serve over rice or bread.

This dish makes great leftovers for lunch the next day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Asparagus Pesto with Blue Cheese

Asparagus has a ton of health benefits. Here is one way to take advantage of them.

1 lb fresh asparagus
1/4 cup almonds
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup blue cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cut asparagus ends off and discard. Then cut asparagus in half and cook it in water for 5-10 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.
While the asparagus is cooking, roast almonds in a pan.
Combine coked asparagus, roasted almonds, grated Parmesan cheese and garlic in the food processor and blend together.
Add olive oil and blue cheese.
Serve over hot pasta.

It looks like asparagus is also used in beauty products:

There is even asparagus tea:

Twisted Pizza Sticks

These pizza sticks are the best thing since sliced bread!

Pizza sticks make great party food, especially for kids parties. You can make these in large quantities and serve them to your guests as snacks or appetizers. Or just instead of bread- add a twist to the regular sliced bread.


Pizza dough:
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp flax seeds (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast

pan or oil

1 Tbsp butter
1tsp coarse salt
Parmesan cheese
garlic powder
dried oregano

Start with my favorite pizza dough recipe. Split the dough in 6 parts and roll them out into sticks like on the picture below. Preheat the over to 450F at this point.
Wrap them around skewers for grilling kebabs. Oil the pan and place pizza stick skewers on it.
Melt butter in a separate dish.
Use a brush to spread it over the pizza sticks.
They should look shiny like this.
Sprinkle salt, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese and oregano on top.
Bake at 450F for about 15 minutes.
Serve with marinara dip on the side (maybe not such a great idea if you are making those for kids party).