Tag Archives: food

Why I blog (written for the WordPress Blogging 101 course)

IMG_1913Sometimes, like today, when nobody but me seems interested in my latest blog post, I wonder why I bother to blog. But, of course, I know why I blog. I love the field of food/nutrition, and if I weren’t blogging I would be missing the joy of delving deeply into new research, creating recipes, crafting a post, taking photos — and finally pushing “publish” on WordPress.

Another reason I blog is so that I can keep track of my recipes in case I  want to make them again or share them with someone who asks for the recipe — or with my daughter when she’s finally interested in food/nutrition!

Before I started to blog, I kept my recipes in binders, and when that became too cumbersome, in folders. I find that a blog is is a more practical way to store recipes because the search feature at least gives me a chance to find my recipes. Note to self: The search only works if you use tags and categories — and remember them too!

Blogging also allows me to feel connected to readers from around the world — some of them old friends, family I know well, family I have yet to meet, and people I have never met who live just about anywhere on earth. Seeing the flags of all the countries my readers come from makes me feel that maybe my little bog is helping to make this little world of ours more connected and more human.

So I guess I really blog to feel more connected and more human.

~Leni

Tuna Guacamole!

Tuna Guacamole in endive leaves
Tuna Guacamole in endive leaves

Tuna Guacamole is great dish for an appetizer, snack, or impromptu little meal. I know it may sound a bit strange, but trust me, it’s yummy! And it takes less than five minutes  to make — especially if you start with a high-quality, freshly-made, store-bought guacamole.

INGREDIENTS

Freshly-made guacamole (homemade or store bought)
Canned tuna, flaked with a fork
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Thinly sliced green onions (green part only)
Chopped fresh cilantro
Fish sauce
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Leaves of Belgium endive or Butter  lettuce
Diced red onions
Diced red bell pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place the guacamole into a bowl and then mix in the tuna. Then add, according to your taste: lime juice, green onions, cilantro, fish sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix it all up; taste and adjust seasoning.

  • Take a leaf of endive and partially fill it with a dollop of Tuna Gaucamole. Garnish with finely diced red onions and red bell peppers. Serve!

– OR  –

  • Place a small scoop of Tuna Guacamole into leaf of Butter lettuce and top that with the red onions and red bell pepper. Wrap the lettuce around the mixture and enjoy!

FOOD SHOPPING NOTES

Tuna:  I really like the Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna. It’s pole-caught, high quality tuna, that is “highest in omega 3 and low in mercury.” And, it’s  canned without added oil or water in BPA-free cans! It’s a premium product for a premium price, but it’s a good value when you buy through Amazon Subscribe & Save (which is what I do)!

Fish SauceTra Chang Brand Fish Sauce is my current favorite. It is made from anchovies, salt, sugar – and nothing else. I bought a 25-ounce bottle for just a few dollars at one of our local Asian supermarkets. For a side-by-side comparison of popular fish sauces, see the blog post, Thai Fish Sauce Taste Test. Note: All fish sauces are sky-high in sodium, but the Tra Chang Brand is lower in sodium than most. And, you don’t need to use a lot to get a great flavor hit!

Red Bell Pepper: Because red bell pepper is on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen Plus list (in 2013), I only buy organic red bell peppers.

Enjoy and be healthy!
~ Leni

How to Create Fabulous Fresh Herb Sauces or Pestos

It’s unbelievably easy to create fresh, healthy, and delicious herb sauces (pestos)! Just  select your favorite ingredients from the six or seven food categories shown in this diagram and throw it all in your food processor or high-speed blender! Get creative! Have fun! Enjoy!

HOW TO CREATE A FABULOUS FRESH HERB SAUCE or PESTO

HERBS and GREENS (fresh)

  • Flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Tarragon fronds
  • Oregano (Dried oregis good! In fact, I prefer dried oregano; it’s less overpowering.)
  • Basil  or Thai basil
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Green onions
  • Mint
  • Fennel fronds (green feathery tops of fennel)
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Watercress

LIQUIDS

Acidic Liquids

  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Vinegar

Not Acidic Liquids

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut milk

THICKENERS

  • Nuts (My favorites include: pine, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, macadamia)
  • Avocado
  • Hard-cooked egg yolks
  • Cooked or canned (drained) artichoke hearts or bottoms
  • Feta cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Ricotta cheese

FLAVORINGS

Umami – (also known as the 5th taste) makes food taste richer, meatier, and more savory.

  • Anchovies and anchovy paste
  • Fish sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Marmite
  • Vegemite
  • Kimchi (made with Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage)
  • Miso
  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Seaweed fresh or dried (including the popular roasted seaweed snacks)
  • Mushrooms, especially shiitake
  • Green tea leaves (I haven’t tried adding green tea leaves in fresh herb sauces yet, yet but it might work!)

Other flavorings

Spicy hot (optional)

  • Cayenne pepper (ground)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Aleppo pepper
  • Black pepper (freshly ground)
  • Paprika, including: Hungarian, hot, smoked
  • Hot peppers, including: Serrano, jalapeño, Thai, etc.

FOOD SAFETY TIP –  Before you head to your kitchen, please read this Food Safety Tip!

When you combine garlic and oil, you create an environment in which botulism (a deadly food-born bacteria) can grow. According to the University of Colorado Extension Service, to prevent the possible growth of botulism when mixing oil and garlic, you should always “add an acidifying agent such as lemon juice or vinegar to the recipe at the rate of one tablespoon per cup of oil.” Also you should “discard infusions after one week, or sooner if apparent cloudiness, gas bubbles, or foul odor develop.”

FREEZE what you don’t eat!

A great way to store extra fresh herb sauce (or for that matter, leftover portions of any liquid) is to freeze it in silicone muffin pans. For details, see the post, Silicone Muffin Pans – a Kitchen Staple – but not for baking!

CREATE and SHARE!

Here are the links to the fresh herb sauces / pestos found on this blog  – so far (more to come):

I hope you have fun creating your own fresh herb sauces! And I would be very happy if you decided to share your creativity with us by posting a comment about your recipe!

Thanks!

Enjoy and be healthy,

~ Leni