Monthly Archives: January 2012

Veggie Inspiration: Sea Asparagus and Endive, approved by Dr. Oz

Sea asparagus and endive are two veggies that I consumed this week, and coincidentally, both have a Dr. Oz connection. I first tasted sea asparagus at the Tate Modern restaurant last May in a light curry sauce that accompanied cod. The crunchy texture and salty taste was delicious and intriguing, definitely a taste highlight of 2011. I started buying it for $14.99 a pound from Fiesta Farm last summer and steamed it lightly to accompany various barbecue dishes as a veggie (it is technically a succulent herb). After a few months of no sea asparagus, I found little jars of pesto and salsa verde made from sea asparagus at a farmer’s market on Oahu. I bought the little jars and brought them all the way home! The sea asparagus is grown close to the North Shore of Oahu in salty water. I was told by the farmer that Dr Oz had declared it to be an anti-aging food, how interesting, I just fell for the taste and texture! Sea asparagus is grown in Canada as well, in British Columbia. Try it next summer, it is tasty!

On another veggie note, I came across some organic endive at the local Loblaws and figured it would be a good veggie for the avocado, white bean and cilantro spread chef Melissa Saunders made this week. It sure was a great combination. Then, I was told by a client that endive had been featured on Dr. Oz as a food that helps to fight ovarian cancer. Eating 7-9 servings of veggies and fruit a day is helpful in cancer prevention. Having a variety of veggies and fruit is key as they all have different nutritional properties. Endive contains kaempferol, a powerful antioxidant which has been found to slow growth of cancer. Endive is also very low calorie. Try having it with dip or in salads.


Recipe: Red Lentil Soup

Here is an easy soup to make that is tasty, simple and nutritious. Lentil soup is a great way to start adding more legumes to your diet. They are a little easier to digest than beans, so it is a good way to get your body used to having more legumes with a minimal risk of gas. It is seasoned with tumeric (also gives the soup the yellow colour) and cumin, both of which have numerous health benefits, so use liberally to your taste. The soup is perfect with half a sandwich or a substantial salad as lunch or as a starter for dinner. Studies have shown that having soup aids in weight loss, because soup is satisfying to eat, but can be low in calories. Try this soup!

Red Lentil Soup
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
I tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
In a strainer, rinse lentils until water runs clear or foaming stops.
In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium high and saute onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and tomato until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add lentils, then broth, water, spices and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, and simmer until lentils are soft about 25 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
Blend with an immersion blender if desired.

Hot Yoga

I attended a hot yoga class for the first time in over 5 years and was pleasantly surprised with the experience. The substitute instructor was excellent in his ability to teach the movements and educate the class on the sanskrit terms and mind body background of the yoga he was having us practice.

I have avoided hot yoga and stuck with other forms for the past few years, because I felt almost faint from exertion and most likely dehydration the last time I did hot yoga. I was more diligent about water intake today, but I still feel a bit dehydrated after the class. However, I really enjoyed the class and learned some interesting new body movements.
It really is best to drink at least 2-3 cups of water before and directly after a hot yoga class. If you are not well hydrated, it is quite possible that you will feel unwell after the class. I find that keeping hydrated is a challenging aspect of participating in hot yoga for many people, including me!

Scaramouche Lobsterlicious

I had the privilege of being taken to Scaramouche last night for Lobsterlicious. It was a fabulous dinner. Started with the seared scallops with blood orange and avocado. Proceeded to grilled lobster with hurricane coconut broth and finished with rum panna cotta with mango sorbet.

Scaramouche had been a topic of discussion with a friend who went to chef school over the weekend. He does not like the restaurant although he does go for business dinners. I gathered that he feels the restaurant is dated.
I must say that I disagree with that opinion. I feel that Keith Froggett is exceptionally talented in the way he brings out the best of flavour and texture in the simplicity of his dishes. Even at a quick chef’s station at What’s on the Table, a fundraiser for the Stop, community food centre, he delivered a delicious, perfectly dressed raw tuna taster. I have used and recommended his most requested hummus recipe many times and am always amazed at how simple and exceptional it tastes each time. And of course, I have an exceptional meal and service experience each time I to go to the restaurant.
Perhaps the dining room has a bit more of an old school feel to it, but that is a good thing, because you can actually hear your dinner companion!

Taro’s Fish, Toronto

I enjoyed a wonderful sushi lunch with a friend today at Taro’s Fish (800 Sheppard Avenue East 416 730-8555) on Craig Harding’s recommendation from his Chef’s Picks in the Globe and Mail. It really is the perfect spot to go when making a trip to Ikea.

Taro’s Fish is more of a fish and sushi retail and wholesale store, but you can perch on their lunch bar for a quick bite. We ordered the spicy tuna roll and spider roll. Both were absolutely delicious. The tuna was very fresh and tender with just the right spicing. The spider roll was crisp and tender all at once. The selection of Japanese and other asian beverages was very interesting. They stock the Japanese version of Gatorade, called Pocari Sweat. We had an Urban Zen green tea, mango and aloe vera drink that was so tasty! I usually skip beverages with sugar, but this one was worthwhile and very enticing with it’s flavour and unique texture.

The store looks to be an outstanding place to purchase fresh fish to cook at home, to order a sushi platter for a party or just take out some sushi for lunch or dinner. I would highly recommend it and would love to go back! I agree wholeheartedly with Craig Harding that it is one of the best sushi lunches in town.