Chew Your Smoothie

Drink your food and chew your drink. What does this mean? An important part of digestion happens in your mouth where initial enzymes are released to break down carbohydrates. So, it is vitally important that with each bite and sip, we take time to chew and savour what is in our mouth before swallowing. If you are a devotee of this practice, then ideally, you should be chewing each bite 40 times. That bite of food becomes liquid at the end. You may think you don’t have time (well, who does?), but this is really the proper way to make your food count. On most occasions, I’m the last to finish my plate when dining out with friends. In this age of fast food and dining, I’m considered a super slow eater but I don’t mind as quality takes time!

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie by Kake2Kale.com Continue reading

Iced Teas to Please!

I have many guilty pleasures, but none more so than sitting on the deck with Kale, whiling away the time with a stack of magazines soaking up the warmth of the sun on our faces.  Since we live in Raincouver, sunshine is always welcome, as is a delicious iced tea to wet our whistles and to stay hydrated.  In fact I decided to make two different teas with you today: Pineapple Mojito Iced Iea and Hibiscus Ginger Iced Tea.

Ice Tea by Kake2Kale.com

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The Art of Superfoods

One of my favourite contemporary artist is Gathie Falk, her art pieces always make me happy.  I particularly like a painting she did of apples on a canvas, the apples are on a black background and they look like they’re suspended in outer space.  The apples are sliced and whole.  This painting allows me see this banal fruit with new eyes, as does many works of art that feature food!

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From the Culinary Trail: On Tofino Time

Summer in British Columbia is a wondrous time. “Let’s do a staycation and rediscover our favourite spots”, I said to my spouse, after reconsidering several overseas destinations. Unanimously, we settled on Tofino to kick off our summer of local travel.

The lure of Tofino is centered on the Pacific Rim National Park and its spectacularly long, untamed beaches with wild surf. But, we did not go there. Others are drawn to Clayoquot Sound and the Tofino Inlet for whale watching, canoeing and kayaking excursions. But, we did not do these. Nor did we hike in the rainforest, go bear viewing or take surf lessons. “What are you planning to do on your stay”, says a perky young girl at the reception desk when we checked in at our lodge. I tell her that we had no big check list but want to enjoy the slow pace, serene views and local food with a few beach strolls thrown in. She laughs, “That’s the secret to Tofino, I think.”

On Tofino Time Kake2Kale.com

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Long Live Quinoa

Living in a youth obsessed culture makes it difficult not to be influenced by all the subliminal and some not so subliminal messages that bombard our surroundings.  I have been told many times that I don’t look my age and my ego always swells a little when I hear this.  I think next time someone says I look younger I will say, “Oh, I wish I looked older.”  Then there will be awkward silence………..yes just like this.  On second thought, my strict proper Asian upbringing won’t permit me to be ungracious, so I will just have to say, “Good genes”.

I would like to change how I view people who may be considered old.  Even just typing the word “old” is not comfortable for me right now.  We have come up with ways to avoid using that word, “more experienced”, “golden years”,”senior years, “women of a certain age” (or does this mean women in their middle years).  Working in a retail health food store gives me lots of opportunity to have fantastic conversations with all sorts of people and I especially delight in my exchanges with the older customers.  Hearing about their life experiences, sharing their knowledge, is so very enriching to me.  “Old people know stuff!”

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers from Kake2kale.com

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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

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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.


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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

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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

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

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