A blog about nothing.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I have often considered writing a cookbook entitled "101 Things to Do with a Steamer." But there is really only one: to cook a lot of vegetables, preferably at the same time.

Most vegetables require only 5 minutes to steam. Exceptions include potatoes (10-15 minutes) and perhaps Brussels sprouts. Even veggies that are better sautéed or boiled (like cauliflower, mushrooms, onions) go well thrown into a steamer. And if you use a really big pot, you can steam enough vegetables to feed the whole family, or if it's just you and your significant other, have dinner for the week.

One of my favorite concoctions includes Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, white onion, tomato, and several red potatoes. After steaming the potatoes for 10 minutes, throw in the other vegetables. Include kale or broccoli for the green effect, if you have it.

Then, mix in a can or two of beans of multi colors. Recently I used a mix of fava beans and white beans. Add olives and nutritional yeast for flavor, and top with avocado.

Other vegetables that marry nicely include green beans, eggplant, broccoli, asparagus, and mushroom. Just slice, dice, and throw it all together. In the days that follow, heat the leftovers in a saucepan, but be careful not to overcook. Every extra minute on the stove is one less milligram of nutrition.

And, voila!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Though often called a grain, quinoa is not a member of the true grass family like oats and wheat. Actually, the edible portion of this quaintly spelled little bugger is more closely related to spinach and beet root and best described as a seed. As such it is gluten free and high in protein.

Found in the mountains of Bolivia and elsewhere, this healthy chenopod happens to be quite the nutrient source, high as it is in minerals, amino acids, and B vitamins. Quinoa is also a worthy source of dietary fiber and B vitamins, including folate.

This winter, when you want warm yummy comfort food, make a meal around quinoa. By using just 3 additional ingredients (I've chosen dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, garbanzo beans, and broccoli, but feel free to choose any other legume/green combination) you get a nutritional powerhouse that will feed you and your loved ones for at least a couple days to come.

Grab the biggest pot you can find. On a stove top, add 5 cups water to 2 cups quinoa. Bring to a boil. Then, add 3 oz shiitake slices (make sure to rinse first), reduce heat and let simmer partially covered for 10 minutes. Then, add 3 cups of broccoli, and simmer an additional 5-7 minutes. Finally, mix in 3 cups garbanzo beans and season to taste. I like to add olives and nutritional yeast. For raw/semiraw foodists, quinoa can be soaked in water for a couple hours to soften and increase nutritional value. This is a way around cooking.

Either way, cooked or raw, this quinoa-centric dish serves six. Each serving contains around 400 calories and provides 25% or more of the daily requirement for 14 nutrients. I'd show you a picture but I've already eaten it all! Here's a pie graph, an inferior replacement but something is better than nothing. Enjoy!