All posts filed under: Food

Nopales (Cactus) Tacos

Nopales, also known as prickly pears, have a tart flavor and are similar in texture to green beans. Some think nopales are an acquired taste because they are gooey inside like okras.  For this recipe, I stir-fried them Asian-style and assembled them into delicious vegetarian tacos. The pricklies on the cactus need to be removed before cooking, although every time I have bought them, they were already cleaned and prepped.  You can buy nopales at your local Mexican grocery store.  While you are there, don’t forget to pick up a bag of whole cumin seeds.  Fresh Shiitake mushrooms are easy to find these days.  back in the day, they were only available in Asian grocery stores, but recently, both Trader Joe’s and Safeway started carrying them.  Ground white pepper is widely available in any spice aisle.  White peppercorns actually come from the same plant as black peppercorns, but are processed differently.  I find them to be more flavorful than black peppercorn when used in Chinese cooking. Nopales (Cactus) Tacos Stir-Fry: – 4 nopales, medium size …

mackerel tartine

5-Min Snack: Mackerel Tartine

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the taste and quality of the different types of canned and smoked fish at Trader Joe’s.  Here’s how to make a super quick tartine* with their Boneless Skinless Mackerel in Sunflower oil.  Put it together as a snack, or serve it with a side of salad or soup for a fast lunch!  All ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s**. *Tartine is a fancy French word for an open-faced sandwich. **This is not a Trader Joe’s sponsored post (I wish!).   Mackerel Tartine   – 1 piece whole wheat tandoori naan – 2 oz boneless skinless mackerel, drained – 2 tbsp plain goat cheese – 1 ½ tbsp fresh chives, chopped – freshly ground black or rainbow pepper Toast the naan in a toaster oven or toaster.  Spread goat cheese on warm bread.  Top with mackerel, chives, and black or rainbow pepper.  Enjoy! Please like & share:

Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are surprisingly addicting for a pure experiment.  All three ingredients are leftover from working on the Lavender Chocolate Squares.  I combined them together in a pure moment of “wonder what would happen”, and the results are unexpectedly yummy. They are more firm and chewy than traditional chocolate chip cookies, and the applesauce adds a nice layer of flavor.  I recommend eating them while they are still warm.  Otherwise, store in an airtight container. I was able to find pre-packaged graham cracker crumbs at one Safeway, but not another.  If you can’t find it, feel free to crumble whole graham crackers by hand or blender.  I used the milling blade on my Nutribullet. Applesauce Chocolate Chip Cookies servings: 12, calories per serving: 97 – 2 cup graham cracker crumbs – 4 oz applesauce (no sugar added) – 3 oz bittersweet (or milk) chocolate chip Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs and applesauce together until dough forms.  Add chocolate chips. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Shape into twelve 2” cookies. …

mixed soba noodle

Soba Noodle with Gochujang Dressing

Soba (buckwheat) noodle is a great pasta alternative.  It is gluten free, high in Manganese, and contains less calories than white pasta.  Trader Joe’s used to carry this soba noodle salad that came with a gochujang dressing, and it was one of my favorite lunch time salads.  I haven’t seen it on the shelves for a while now, and remembering it inspired me to create my own soba noodle with Gochujang recipe. This recipe is perfect for a fast weekday dinner.  You can substitute most of the vegetables with whatever is in your fridge.  No cucumber? Throw in some bell pepper! No scallion? chop up some red onion!  You can also use chicken instead of tofu. Gochujang is a Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.  It is spicy and sweet, and used a lot in Korean food.  Gochujang is experiencing a surge in popularity in the United States these days.  You can use it in a stir fry, or in a marinade for meat.  Some people call it the …

LianZi’s 133 Calorie Lavender Chocolate Squares

I was inspired to create this recipe because I love the combination of lavender and dark chocolate.  Lavender adds a uniquely spicy flavor — at times it tastes minty and peppery, and at times slightly like ginger.  I had purchased ½ lb of culinary grade dried lavender buds online without realizing just how much lavender I would receive.  Turns out, half of a pound is a lot of lavender, since most recipes calls for only one to two tablespoons. I got into baking last year, and love the process of it.  The trouble is that, well, I never grasped how much butter and sugar (and calories!) really goes into baked goods until I started doing it myself.  Because of this, I have decided to develop my own recipe that’s light in calories but still indulgent in taste. Instead of using heavy cream like in traditional chocolate ganache, I opted for a mix of coconut milk and coconut water.  The creaminess of the coconut milk blends seamlessly with the bittersweet chocolate, and the coconut water sweetens …