Archive for the ‘Ethnic’ Category

Paleo-plācenīši (caveman croquettes)

July 10, 2011

Though I don’t really follow a diet, my general attitude is stay away from processed, and highly refined carbohydrates. I stick mostly with fresh vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, lots of dairy, and good meat and seafood. Coincidentally, the layout of my dining habits happens to correspond to a lifestyle people have been talking a lot about lately – the paleo diet.

Apparently, eating like a paleolithic caveman has numerous health benefits. The theory is that metabolic evolution does not take place apace with intellectual and technological development, and the energy content of our modern diets has long since outstripped our bodies’ processing power. This has led to the so-called obesity epidemic, and countless other modern health problems. Paleovores assert by eating only foods for which our metabolisms have been evolutionarily calibrated, we will experience a newfound sense of vigour, and do wonders for our health. On a basic level, the idea makes sense.

Read more, and the recipe after the jump…>

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Salade de Chou-rave Indochinoise

July 5, 2011

It is still too hot in San Jose to turn on the stove for any reason, and this light, crispy kohlrabi salad with just a touch of heat is a quick, simple dish well suited for this season. I brought it to a small fourth of July bbq last night, and it was a huge hit, with people coming back for fourths and fifths. The sweet, cool flavors of honey and rice vinegar highlight the refreshing crunch of kohlrabi complemented by the fragrant southeast asian flavors of Thai basil and hot pepper.

As I mentioned before, older, larger kohlrabis tend to get pithy and bland in taste. The smaller, and fresher the kohlrabi used for this salad, the crispier, and more pronounced the flavors will be. The kohlrabi in this dish is cut into match sticks, then salted to remove some moisture. This makes the kohlrabi even crispier, and reduces the strong cabbage smell that cut kohlrabi can give off if allowed to sit.

Thai basil can be found in almost any asian market, and differs from sweet basil in appearance on account of its thicker purple stems and flowers. The flavor profile of Thai basil also features anise notes much more prominently than sweet basil, but, in a pinch, the regular Italian stuff will still make a decent substitute.

The shredded carrot and daikon mix, a standby of Vietnamese cuisine, gives the dish some more substance as well as a nice flash of color. If you are lucky enough to have a Vietnamese market close by they will likely have a pre-prepared shredded carrot and daikon on sale for pennies a pound. This stuff is a universal Vietnamese side, topping, and base for salads and pickles – a sort of Vietnamese answer to sauerkraut. If you see it pre-made on sale, it is worth buying, not only because it is delicious, but also inexpensive, versatile, and keeps for sometime. Some markets sell it both fresh and pickled. The pickled stuff is called đồ chua, and could be used in this dish, but the flavors will be altered. So, if possible, stick the fresh variety. Absent Vietnamese markets, a box grater will make for easy shredding of about 2 carrots, and one half a daikon radish.

Recipe after the jump…>