Kiss Me Quesadilla

I probably had my first taste of Mexican food when I was a child and our family took a road trip to Mexico.  Although we were barely past the Mexican border on that visit, it was still exotic.  It was like going back in time to a land out of the dark ages, or so it seemed to me as a 9 year old.  Dirt roads were the norm, mangy dogs roaming around aimlessly rooting for food.  Old, rusty cars were sprinkled about like confetti.  My Dad revelled in it!  He tends to gravitate towards places that are more gritty and edgy.   We must have stopped for lunch, although I have no recollection of what we would have eaten but it was probably some sort of taco.  Any memory of what we ate was overshadowed by the colourful landscape and locals that we saw.

Kiss Me Quesadilla by Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

Taking Tofu Up a Notch

Tofu is the Meryl Streep of the food world.  I love Meryl Streep so this is not an insult at all.  Meryl’s brilliance is her ability to lose herself in any role.  I remember watching her as Julia Child in the movie Julie & Julia and there were moments when my mind would shift back and forth – “It’s Meryl on the screen as Julia Child, no it’s really Julia Child, no it’s Meryl…”  Tofu is just like Meryl in the way it can completely take on the flavours that are added to it.  I have grilled tofu and served it with a satay sauce, put it in a broccoli cheese dip, added it to lasagna, and all to great success.


Continue reading

Choco Chip Cookies to Chase Away the Blues

I haven’t had such a disheartening day in a long time.  Lately I’ve been asked to audition more and acting is something that I’ve done in the past, but have taken a break from it to focus on other pursuits.  I had prepared for this audition well and by the time it was my turn to go in I had been stewing in the waiting room with the other actors for well over an hour.  It didn’t go the way I had hoped and I left feeling like a failure.   Once I got home I put on some Harry Connick Jr. music, a mood lifter for sure, and then headed to the kitchen to make these baked treats.

These chocolate chip cookies are the perfect indulgence to soothe my soul without having to say “I shouldn’t have” afterwards.  For our followers, you might recall that I recently confessed to breaking a five day liquid fast by eating half a bag of Chip Ahoy cookies, not my proudest moment.  Since then, I have made thousands of cookies and have a few “go to” recipes.  Lately, the avocado is having its moment in the spotlight.  So much so that global demand for this once exotic fruit, (yes, it is a fruit) has skyrocketed.  No longer is it just for California rolls and quacamole, but it is topping quinoa salads, sandwiches, as well as being grilled, made into fries, used for chocolate mousse and now baked into cookies!

chocolate chip cookie Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

Artichoke Attraction

Artichokes were not introduced into my life until I was well into adulthood.  When my friend found out that I had not eaten it before, she immediately invited me over to her place and prepared an artichoke for me.  She basically boiled it and served it alongside mayonnaise.  She claimed that “Eating artichoke was an excuse to eat mayonnaise!” “Mmmm”, I replied, happily dipping another leaf into the creamy emulsion.  The taste was unusual but it grew on me as I continued to dip and scrape the flesh off the leaf with my teeth.  What I really loved about the whole experience was eating it with my hands and licking my fingers.  It is the equivalent of eating a whole crab, but for vegetarians.

So on this note, my one piece of advice for what not to eat on a first date is a whole crab, as the business of breaking the legs and digging into the shell for every last bit of flesh is very primal.  And really, when you use the word primal to describe anything, it’s just another way to say “unattractive”.  I get into a zone where nothing else exists but me and the crab and to hell with black bean sauce dribbling down my chin.

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

But back to what is attractive, it’s the artichoke.  Not only is it a beautiful vegetable, it definitely qualifies as a superfood as it is loaded with antioxidants such as quercetin (a natural anti-histamine), as well as the antioxidants cynarin and silymarin, these may be helpful in regenerating liver cells.  Cynarin also stimulates the production of bile, which aids in the digestion of fats.

I came across a stuffed artichoke recipe many years ago, which I made with great success; it is slightly more elegant than just serving it alongside a sauce. The recipe below is a version of what I made. Please refer to the photos of the cross section of artichoke before and after I scooped out the inner pointy leaves and the fuzzy choke.

I’d like to point out that the serving “dishes” that we used are actually trivets that Kale made from wine corks collected on her travels – ingenious!

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

Other superfoods in this recipe:

Garlic – The major player in the allium family ( includes: leeks, onions, shallots, chives, green onion) contains sulphuric compounds that may help with lowering blood pressure and destroying cancer cells.  Allicin, one of these compounds in garlic is not only anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, but research has shown that allicin can help your body to neutralize dangerous free radicals.

Tomato – Technically a fruit. High in vitamin C and potassium as well as lycopene, fights free-radicals, supports prostate health, and protects skin from sun damage.   It also contains zea-xanthin, which is good for eye health.

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

Stuffed Artichokes makes 4 appetizer servings or 2 main course servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 4 slices sundried sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • ½ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ breadcrumbs or panko crumbs (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • ¼ c. olive oil (or more as needed)
  • ¼ c. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. salt

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale 5

Directions:

  • Cut the tops off the artichokes, about an inch from the top.
  • Then trim the sharp tip of each leaf.
  • Fill a pot big enough to fit the two artichokes, with water.
  • Bring water to a boil and then put the artichokes in right side up.  Add ¼ c. of lemon juice and 2 tsp. of salt.   Bring water back to a boil for about 20-25 minutes or until a skewer pokes easily through the stem.
  • While artichokes are cooking, put sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, olive oil and ¼ c. parmesan cheese into a blender and puree.  If the mixture is too dry add more olive oil.
  • Mix the rest of the parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs.
  • Preheat oven to 375˚F
  • Once the artichokes are cooked, cut them in half lengthwise, then scrape out the fuzzy choke out of the core.  Cut the stem off, peel the outer layer, finely chop the inner flesh and add to the pureed sun-dried tomato mixture.
  • Fill the center with the sundried tomato mixture and then sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the whole surface of the artichoke.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes  and then turn to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes or until crumbs turn golden brown.  Keep an eye on it, it turns colour quite quickly.
  • Now devour!

Eat superfoods, live a super life! {Kake}

Stuffed Artichoke Kake2Kale.com

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

“There’s a party goin’ on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you…”

Celebration” by Kool & The Gang is the perfect song to celebrate our one year anniversary of Kake2Kale!  Well, it is the perfect song for any celebration.  It came out in 1980, the year that our family moved out to the West Coast and the rest, as they say, is history.  This song was part of the soundtrack of my life as I acclimatized to a new city, school and friends.

Kale Lime Cake by Kake2Kale

Continue reading

Kake2Kale – Behind The Blog

Kake2Kale bares all…an intimate portrait…exposed…up front and personal.  Don’t worry, Kale and I are keeping our clothes on.  But we are coming up to our one year anniversary of Kake2Kale and Kale had the clever idea of blogging about the process of how we came up with our weekly posts.  After 56 blog posts, 28 blogs with recipes, thousands of miles travelled around the world by Kale, we are pulling back the curtain so you can see the fun and all that goes on behind the photos, recipes and the stories.  Our blog is a collaborative effort with Kale’s talents in photography and social media , plus the travel segments, and mine are with food and creative writing.

Kake2Kale Behind The Blog

Continue reading

Pseudo French Toast

What is your earliest breakfast memory?  Mine goes back to my childhood in Hong Kong when I stayed for the weekend at my grandmother’s home and shared her breakfast.  She was born in Japan, hence, she served me pickled daikon, soft-boiled egg, toast, fruit and then a cup of tea with a generous amount of condensed milk.  I always looked forward to those weekends.  That hot cup of, beyond sweet, creamy flavourful tea still fortifies my soul when I think of it.  And I still use her technique to make the perfect soft-boiled egg.  I suppose I looked forward to those weekends because it was just the two of us.  She really made me feel special.

French Toast Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

The Best Ice Cream Sandwich in the World?

Cookies are something I have a weakness for.  Many moons ago, when I was entered into the Miss Chinatown beauty contest, I was about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be, so I went on a 5-day-liquids-only fast.  On day 4 of this fast, a friend left a pear in my sight and I felt like Eve beholding the forbidden fruit.  I held the pear in my hands as if it was a new-born baby.  I brought it up to my nose and inhaled its intoxicating, heady “pearfume”.  I was playing with fire!  Before I knew it, I brought this devil fruit to my lips and almost sunk my teeth into its flesh….then I came to my senses.  Close call!  When I made it to the end of the five days, can you guess how I broke this fast?  Not with a delicious juicy pear, no, it was with a Chip Ahoy cookie, and then another, and then another, until I had polished off several.   It was not the proudest moment of my life.  And neither was the actual pageant, but I will save that for another post.

Cream Sandwiches - Adventures with superfoods from Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

Feel The Beet!

Confess it, don’t you love getting free samples?  Well, I most certainly do, especially when they are the latest and greatest in the health food industry.  Last weekend, the Canadian Health Food Association Trade Show took place in Vancouver.  I sampled all sorts of delights from chaga mushroom tea, brown rice kale chips to a salted caramel, cashew milk frozen dessert.  Besides trying great food, there were talks given by doctors and health experts.

One of the speakers was Kathy Smart who is a registered nutritionist, holistic chef, named Canada’s health activist, and she was even a guest on Dr. Oz.  Kathy had clients who wanted to slim down, so she tested a theory on them which she claims worked time and time again.  Her theory is that a plant-based protein works better for apple-shaped women and meat based protein is best for pear-shaped women. Whether you’re wanting to trim down or not, here is a tip about how much protein to eat.  Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half, then this is the number in grams that you should be eating a day.  So let’s say you weigh 140 lbs., then you should be eating 70 grams of protein per day.

Kathy Smart also talked about her list of top healthy foods.  Can you guess which vegetable she thinks should be crowned vegetable of 2015?  BEETS!  This superfood is a powerhouse of nutrients with some not readily found in other vegetables/fruits.  As an example, beets have a high concentration of betalains (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying).  They also contain vitamin C, magnesium, iron, folate, manganese, nitrate and potassium.  This purple vegetable offers a huge range health benefits including: warding off cancer, supporting the digestive tract, boosting the immune system and energy, lowering blood pressure, helping arthritic pain, preventing cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.  In China when women are menstruating they eat a lot of beets to replenish their iron levels. Don’t throw out the beet greens (tops of the beets), as they have a good dose of lutein, an antioxidant that supports eye health. I cook them like I would spinach or swiss chard.  So, if you didn’t believe in the benefits of beets before, then it’s time to embrace and feel the beet!

Roasted Beets and Kale Salad Kake2Kale.com

Continue reading

A 4-Carrot Soup

I once knew a couple who were very much in love.  They dated for 5 years and didn’t have much money, so he proposed to her with a 1-carrot diamond ring!  No, that is not a typo, he found the biggest carrot and carved it into a ring.  To her, that ring was more meaningful than a real diamond ring and she proudly wore it until it wasn’t fresh anymore. As demonstrated, you can do more with carrots than just eat them.

soup 2 Kake2Kale

Continue reading