Monday, December 17, 2012

This is a Love Story

This is a love story….between me and lentil salad.

As most Parisian love stories go, it was accidental and happened at that moment when you’d least expect, yet are open to the endless possibilities that might come your way. It was one of those idyllic fall afternoons in the 5th when you find yourself surrounded by the hustle and bustle of locals toting their daily bread in distressed leather satchels, riding effortlessly on vintage two wheeled modes of transport.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'll Be Home For Latkes

The holiday season has fully enveloped us in a milieu of twinkling lights, evergreen, and seasonal foods. For some, this time of year causes us to veer off track with eating healthfully and maintaining routine workouts. Our nights and weekends become packed with holiday parties, family festivities and friendly visitors, but the overabundance of celebratory activities should not invite excuses to lose control of good dietary habits.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This dip/sauce/dressing, what have you, is delectable and I could literally drink it. I hope you find it as scrumptious as I do.

This recipe was inspired by a dressing from Raw Food, Real World

Green Gremlin Dressing

1 small avocado
¼ cup tangerine or fresh orange juice
2 limes, zest of 1, juice of both
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro and chives
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
Black pepper

In a blender, combine the avocado, citrus juices, herbs, and sea salt. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil until the dressing is creamy and emulsified. Finish with pepper.

You can toss it with your salad, smother it over your fish or just dip some veggies into it.  Here I served it with grilled salmon over greens with grilled zucchini and roasted red pepper. Tangy, creamy, yummy! I hope you enjoy.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What I'm Making For Thanksgiving

Roasted Butternut Squash with Farro, Spinach, and Pistachio Herbed Pesto


I have always been one who cares far more about the sides than the poultry centerpiece on Thanksgiving. Luckily, my family hosts an enormous gathering, which is bombarded with side dishes. Like most Thanksgivings, it turns into somewhat of a potluck, and everyone contributes something. Despite my passion for health, I have never been one who enjoys rich, cream and butter-laden dishes. I hate that feeling of overstuffed food guilt which can strike you post-engorgement. So, I am happy to contribute this vegetable and hearty grain side dish with just the right amount of decadence.

I got this recipe from Sprouted Kitchen. Its delicious…I hope my family finds it to be too.

For my version I used farro cooked in low sodium vegetable broth. Parsley, cilantro, basil, and chives for the pesto, and doubled the amount of spinach since it shrinks so much when adding the farro cooking liquid. The addition of lime in the pesto adds a nice complexity and makes the dish bright and vibrant.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving….and try not to stuff yourself too much.

Here are some quick pointers to help you from overdoing it on the big day…for those of you who, like me, get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice, these tips are even more important if you participate in part I and part II of glutton fest
  • Never arrive starving. Make sure you have some protein in your system prior to your feast. Protein helps curb hunger, satiates, and prevents you from going on a free-for-all once the food is served.
  • Balance your plate. As you are loading up, make sure half of your plate is full of fiber rich vegetables. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, mashed or roasted, don’t count. Ideally, starchy vegetables, grains and/or other carbohydrates should occupy 1/4 of your plate, and the other 1/4 should contain your protein. 
  • Choose white meat over dark. It has less fat and always remove the skin. 
  • Choose your indulgences. Don’t make a dessert plate or load up on all starchy sides. Select two indulgent sides and portion out two tablespoons to enjoy.
  • Drink water, sparkling or flat, throughout your meal to help pace yourself and to prevent over indulging.
  • Move! Get some exercise before your meal so you feel like you have earned your treats.

                 Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Breathe, Stretch, Shake ....

Today I passed the RD exam. After countless hours of studying, volunteering, a grueling, yet incredibly rewarding dietetic internship, over caffeination, stress-induced stomach pains, and a permanent indentation in my desk chair that resembles my backside, I can finally breathe freely. What a long and trying road it has been. I am thrilled and so thankful to finally get here. I could have never sustained my motivation without the support of my family and friends. Thank you!

So the time has finally come for me to seek employment…but maybe I’ll try to tackle culinary school first? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dine Out Downtown Now... Make This Later

Sesame Soy Wild Striped Bass Over Brown Fried Rice

In the wake of Sandy, it finally paid to live uptown on the not so hip Upper West Side. We were fortunately spared from any harm, but it is truly devastating to see what happened to this much beloved city and the surrounding areas. It is also truly awe-inspiring to see the resilience, devotion, and compassion that New Yorkers have shown for one another.

As a former waitress, I felt a deep empathy for the downtown restaurant industry and the thousands of dollars in losses that the front and back of house lost. So to do my part, I recently ate downtown and will continue to support those restaurants and businesses affected by this terrible disaster.

I was reminded recently that TCR was seriously lacking and was in dire need of a new post (thanks KME), so to relate back to my focus of nutrition and healthful cooking, I’ll reflect on my recent delicious downtown dining experience.

I am a self-proclaimed fried rice freak and, on my recent visit to the restaurant RedFarm, I was reminded of my affinity for this not so healthy dish. It is highly unlikely that you will find healthful fried rice while dining out. Most are laden with oil, sky-high amounts of sodium, some possible traces of MSG, white rice, and fatty cuts of meat. Sorry to be a Debbie downer but, on the upside, it is tremendously easy to make a healthful kicked up version of this typically greasy treat.

Green Ginger Fried Rice
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers
Serves 4

2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
Chili Paste (taste preference)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 carrot, diced
½ white onion, diced
4 eggs, beaten
1 bunch kale, veins removed, leaves chopped
4 cups spinach, chopped
1 bunch scallion, chopped
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
Splash of sesame oil

Ideally you want to prepare this dish in a wok but, alas, I have yet to add one to my cooking arsenal so I used my Le Creuset. Any large skillet could work. Also, it is imperative that everything is prepped before you start cooking, including the beaten egg. The cooking time is relatively fast, so you want everything within reach.

In a warm “cooking vessel” over medium high heat, add 1 ½ tbsp of oil, add the chili paste according to taste preference and ½ the garlic and ½ the ginger. Allow to cook together, encouraging the chili to “toast” slightly. Pour the eggs into the oil and cook, scraping the cooked portions into the center and allowing the liquid egg to spread out evenly. Ideally you want a thin layer of cooked egg. Cut the egg into small pieces and transfer to a bowl.

Wipe the pan; add the rest of the oil, some more chili paste, and carrots. Allow to soften slightly. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and sauté for a few minutes. For this dish, I like the onion with a slight bite, but it’s totally up to you. Add the kale and spinach and, once they both begin to wilt, add the peas and corn. Stir-fry for a minute and add the rice and most of the scallions. Once all the ingredients are hot, stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil and egg. Garnish with additional scallions. I felt ambitious and marinated wild striped bass in garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and cilantro. I gave it a quick sear and put it over the rice, but the rice can certainly be a dish on its own.
This kicked up fried rice puts the emphasis on the vegetables as apposed to the rice, but still provides that garlicky, slightly salty, eggy dish. Brown rice provides complex carbohydrates and digests slower than their white counterpart, which inhibits those hunger pains that usually strike soon after a Chinese food bender. The brown rice also has dietary fiber and iron.  Added veggies and egg make this dish nutritionally diverse and provides protein and a multitude of essential vitamins and minerals ranging from A, D, E, K, C and calcium.  So next time you contemplate calling for take-out, consider this simple, and nutritious alternative. Your body will thank you. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

So I Broke My Elbow....

So I broke my elbow…. put your microscopic violin away. Whenever I get sick or injured, which luckily does not happen often, I always look for nutritive solutions which can assist in my recovery. To make light of an annoying aliment, I utilized the opportunity to take an expansive view of my diet and see if I am lacking in certain nutrients that could aid in recovery. With broken bones and damaged ligaments, I immediately thought about calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin D and protein as well as anti-inflammatory agents to further assist with healing.

Calcium, Phosphorus, and Vitamin D are essential for making bones strong and healthy. Common sources of calcium and phosphorous include milk, yogurt and cheese, additionally, calcium can also be found in salmon and sardines (especially if the bones are consumed), almonds, and dark leafy greens (kale, turnip greens, spinach and collards). Calcium is also fortified in orange juice, many cereals, tofu, and plant-based milks.

Phosphorus is a major component in bone mineralization and can be found in whole grains, certain vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, pumpkin, and corn to name a few), legumes, and chocolate. 

Calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D work together to allow for the most advantageous absorption. Vitamin D can be obtained from the sun’s rays, supplements, and food. Food sources of Vitamin D are limited but can be found in egg yolks, fatty fish, oysters, fortified milk and bread. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men and woman should consume 1000 mg of Calcium a day and 600-800 IU of Vitamin D daily; these amounts increase after age 50. 

Vitamin C is an important anti-inflammatory agent that boosts the immune system as well and encourages bone growth, muscle and cartilage development. Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables.

To try and eat the most “healing” foods which provide my body with the essentials necessary to foster a speedy recovery, I dabbled in some roasted organic chicken, plenty of Siggi’s yogurt, eggs, upped my intake of orange carrot juice, and made sure that I had an array of whole grains and satisfying dark, leafy greens.

If you are dealing with an aliment or just want some recipe ideas to increase your vitamin C, D, phosphorus and calcium intake, here is what I made recently (with some major help from my buddy). I hope you get inspired!

Roasted butternut squash topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, and shaved parm

Butternut squash is not only one of my favorite squashes it is loaded with beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C and calcium! This was a delicious Fall-appropriate dish that was bursting with color and flavor. Cubed butternut squash was tossed with canola oil and roasted for 30-40 minutes. Once tender and slightly caramelized, I topped the squash with shaved parm, toasted pepitas, pomegranate seeds, and finished with aged balsamic.

Wheat berries with organic rosemary roasted shiitakes, and dino kale (lacinato kale)

Wheat berries are phosphorus rich, the mushrooms contain potassium and the kale is dense in calcium, vitamins A, K and C. This was a really earthy dish. I cooked the wheat berries in low-sodium vegetable stock for added flavor and braised the kale in stock as well. The mushrooms were roasted with rosemary and olive oil for 30 minutes and then mixed together with the kale and wheat berries.

The cool lime dip was a nice contrast for the spiced carrots which are beta-carotene rich and a nice alternative to a starchy side.

Moroccan spiced organic purple carrot fries with lime coriander dip

1-bunch carrots
1-tablespoon canola oil (eyeball depending on the amount of carrots you have)
2-tsp Moroccan spice blend (chili powder, turmeric, garlic powder, salt, cumin, black pepper, chili flakes, oregano, onion powder, and coriander)

Lime Coriander Dip
¼ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt, vegenasie, or mindful mayo
Juice of ½ a lime
1 tsp coriander

Preheat oven to 375° F
Cut carrot into sticks
In a bowl coat carrots with canola oil and spice blend
Transfer to a roasting pan and spread out evenly
Roast for 20-30 minutes until tender and slightly crisp

Mix all the dip ingredients together

Happy Healing


Monday, September 24, 2012

Radish on the Loose

I have long awaited traveling to San Francisco for a multitude of reasons. Although, not the most exotic locale, the city has so much personality and appeal, along with a staggering amount of edible offerings.  We biked, we ate, we museum hopped, we ate, we took in the bay’s beauty and ate and ate and ate….

My bay area friends told me, I would be mesmerized by the produce and quality of food, and every inch of me was tickled by these realities.

After a lovely few days in San Fran, we headed north to “wine country” for some more good eats and liquid ferments. As my friends and family can attest, I enjoy wine in many shades and varietals, and what better way to spend the day than soaking up resveratrol?

The piece de resistance came with our visit to Santa Cruz to stay with my dear friend and her furry family.  As I drooled over the organic orchard and garden that my friends had inherited and maintained, I contemplated how the city girl that I am could manage in low-key Northern Cal. 

Route 1
Local goodies (also know as difficult, but delectable foods to eat on a picnic)
Swan Oyster Depot
For now, as I nurse my broken wing, I look forward to bringing you the next post about foods that promote wound healing. I also hope to whip up a few delectable and healthful recipes that showcase my one-elbowed cooking skills. Check back soon to see if this delicious and nutritious feat is possible!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tonno e Pomodori aka Tuna and Tomatoes

I am well overdue for a post, but I am finally mentally ready to re-devote myself to The Crunchy Radish. For the past 6 months I have been immersed in the clinical rotations of my dietetic internship. Now that I have finally completed that phase, I am moving forward and will soon take the RD exam and, fingers crossed, find a job. In the meantime, I hope to continue to be able to offer some nutritive tips and recipe ideas. Post internship, I am even more versed on nutrition and overall wellness, and ideally can serve as a unique and intelligible source of nutrition information and cooking basics. So, thank you to those who continue to follow my updates despite my recent lapse.

To kick off my return, I am writing about an elemental summer pasta dish. We all know that a perfectly juicy, sweet, and succulent tomato can emulate the essence of summer and, when simply sprinkled with a little sea salt and paired with the simplest of ingredients, can cause an eruption of happiness in your oral cavity.  Since joining a CSA, those tomatoes of my fantasies have yet to reach my kitchen due to the drought which has impacted our farm. Luckily, I was able to find some beauties at our local farmers market which provided a superb foundation for this summer pasta.

For the fresh tomato sauce with tuna; some garlic and an onion were sautéed in olive oil, skinned, chopped, fresh tomatoes were added. (To remove tomato skin, X the base of the tomatoes and plop them into boiling water for 30 seconds. Blanch them in an ice bath, and the skin should peel right off.) From this point, you can cook your tomatoes as much or as little as you please. I added the almost-cooked whole-wheat rigatoni into the sauce, chunks of tonno (originally in olive oil, drained) and chopped black olives. Once everything is incorporated, top with torn basil, chili flakes, and serve.

Whether I am simply making a sandwich or something more complex, the tuna I always opt for is Italian tonno in olive oil. I always drain the oil to limit the fat and liquid content. The depth of flavor and quality of the tonno is always far superior than your run of the mill chunk white in water, but this type of tuna does contain added fat due to the oil. Although tuna serves as a great source of protein, omega-3, and vitamin D, it is important to not consume too much due to levels of mercury. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the FDA, it is safe to consume a total of 12oz of canned light tuna per week, but albacore, big eye, and chunk white tuna should be limited to only 6oz total per week due to their higher levels of mercury. (A typical can of tuna is 5oz)

Kale Caesar alongside my Rigatoni 
Should you be concerned about mercury? Mercury is mainly a concern for pregnant women since it can build up in the blood and affect the development of an unborn child. In addition, excessive mercury intake for an adult may lead to neurological impairment. It is advisable to avoid consuming tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel- all of which possess the highest levels of this organic element. But don't let this detract you from eating fish. For a healthy individual, mercury is not too much of a concern and the benefits of consuming fish typically outweigh the risks.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bow Chicka Wow Wow

Because of my ongoing hospital internship, which is basically the equivalent of a being a resident, my blogging has subsequently suffered. Despite my lack of posts, I have been cooking! Follow me on instagram @thecrunchyradish to see what I make day to day. Additionally, Tuesday is the start of the CSA we've joined. I am thrilled to see what organic local surprises pop up weekly! I know my culinary skills and creativity will be put to the test, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

Here are some pictures of what I've been whipping up over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

An amazing vegetable lasagna that looks more complicated than it was
Whole Wheat Lasagna with Arrabiata Sauce, Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini, Kale, Mushrooms, Lemony Ricotta, and Local Mozzarella

Some Mushroom Tacos
Enoki and Maitake Tacos on Sprouted Grain Tortilla with Cotija Cheese and Gauc

Saffron Bulgur with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers and Feta

 Caribbean Red Beans and Rice
Stewed Red Beans with Kale and Sprouted Coconut Turmeric Brown Rice

I've been obsessed with slow roasting tomatoes....they are perfect on or with anything 

Curry Tomato Soup over Faro topped with Lite Coconut Milk

Sprouted Marinated Tofu Lettuce Wraps

In case you were wondering about Henry....


He Just Turned One! Happy Birthday Mr. P

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Eggplant Napoleon- The Little Tower that Could

Slow roasting tomatoes requires minimal effort yet yields great reward. By roasting sliced tomatoes at 250 degrees for around 2 hours with olive oil, salt, and pepper, the flavor concentrates 10 fold and you are left with slivers of robust, sweetly dense lobes that can contribute their delectableness to just about anything. In my case I used them in my Eggplant Napoleon. Originally, I had planned on making a rolantini, but time was not on my side so I came up with another way to utilize my ingredients in a more time-friendly fashion.

Eggplant Napoleon
Depending on the size of your eggplant, makes around 4 towers

1 eggplant sliced into ½ inch rounds
10 slow roasted tomatoes
1 ball of fresh part skim mozzarella-thinly sliced
basil leaves-torn
chili flakes
olive oil

Slow roasted tomatoes
5 vine ripe roma tomatoes
olive oil
pinch of salt
sprinkling of pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Cut tomatoes in half and rub with a little olive oil and dust with salt and pepper. Roast for 2-4 hours or until they resemble sundried tomatoes. Sometimes I add a little oregano or fennel to them while they roast.  The tomatoes do not need to be used all at once and can keep refrigerated for a week.

Prepare a grill pan
Brush the eggplant rounds with olive oil and season with salt
Grill eggplant-about 4 minutes a side until grill marks appear and the flesh and skin are soft

To assemble-
Place one eggplant round as the base, 2-3 oven roasted tomatoes (depending on size), top with a slice of cheese, sprinkle some chili flakes over the cheese, follow with 2-3 more oven roasted tomatoes, basil, a grilled eggplant round, and top with a few leafs of basil.

That’s it! Supper simple and extremely flavorful, with a huge help from the tomatoes.

I have always been fond of eggplant. At times this member of the nightshade family can seem somewhat intimidating, and I am always surprised when the white crunchy flesh breaks down to a smooth moist consistency at a relatively quick pace. The purple hued orbs are bursting with phytonutrients. Eggplant contain phenolics, which are believed to have antioxidant benefits and may reduce cancer risk and improve memory. These nightshades also contain fiber, which helps satiate and lower cholesterol, and Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and aids in the absorption of iron.

Eggplant is often seen in Western eyes as a long-time component of Italian cooking. Yet, eggplant is multifaceted, and I look forward to broadening my horizon and utilizing them in less conventional diversified dishes. For now I hope you enjoy my homage to a feisty petite emperor!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


BBQ Shrimp at Liuzza's by the Track

I got to spend last week's holiday weekend in New Orleans. Although I missed the annual festive family time, I enjoyed indulging in burgeoning po boys, flavorful gumbos, and plump beignets. Through the course of the weekend we took in the still devastated, but improving lower ninth ward, found solace in the majestic Garden District and City Park, and reveled in the uplifting jazz bands that line Frenchman Street. Despite returning home one belt loop looser, the weekend getaway proved to be a memorable and relaxing escape.

Claes Oldenburg at NOMA
French Quarter/Jackson Square
Liuzza's by the Track
Frenchman Street Band
Beignets and Chicory Coffee at Cafe Du Monde

Garden District
Oyster Po Boy from Tracey's 

I deeply apologize for my lapse in posts. The exhaustion from my internship has set in and my frequency of posts have suffered. Although the on-sight experience has been extremely rewarding, the early in times, assignments, and constant pressure imposed mainly on myself have its effects. I promise that more is on the way and by blogging about my kitchen experiments and giving nutritive tips, I get a type of cathartic release which ideally helps you too! Check back soon for eggplant rolantini 2.0, sprouted tofu curry, and zucchini muffins!