Roasted Garlic Butter Bean Dip

roasted garlic

This easy and delicious dip makes a great alternative to hummus, and is equally as versatile. Spread it on your favourite crackers, toast, or use it as dip for veggies and chips.

Ingredients

  • 2 x 14oz can butter beans
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 4-5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 small handful of parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Drain butter beans reserving the can liquid.
  2. Rinse & drain them well.
  3. In a food processor, whizz butter beans, olive oil, lemon juice, roasted garlic, paprika, and parsley with 2 tbsp of reserved butter beans liquid until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste
  4. Transfer to a dipping bowl, drizzle with a few extra drops of olive oil and garnish with chopped parsley.

This recipe came about after a necessary pantry clean-out to get rid of out whatever was approaching its expiry date. I had a few cloves of roasted garlic from a previous dish and decided to whip up something. The end result was  a creamy, garlicky dip with a welcoming hint of lemony zing.

Notes:

  • Roasted garlic is one of my favourite ingredients. Roasting mellows the sharp bite of raw garlic, intensifies the natural sweetness and nuttiness. I usually roast a few heads of garlic whenever I am baking so I can conserve on energy.
  • To roast, slice a thin layer off the top of each head of garlic just enough to expose the cloves. Place the heads on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. I usually sprinkle a bit of salt to help tenderize during the roasting process. Seal the foil and roast until cloves are lightly brown and tender, about 40 minutes.

One love,

SC.

[photo: bitchingkitchen.com]

Advertisements

Stephen’s Kale & Garbanzo Salad with Portabellini Mushrooms & Grape Tomatoes

Kale and Garbanzo salad (raw)

Looking for a delicious and super nutritious dish that’s easy to prepare and won’t leave you feeling hungry? My kale and garbanzo salad with portabellini mushrooms and grape tomatoes will surely please the palate and satisfy the stomach.

Kale and Garbanzo SaladIngredients

  • 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 3 large portabellini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 8-10 grape tomatoes
  • 4-5 cups kale (chopped fresh)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, dices
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • Olive oil to saute
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a large skillet, sauté onion & garlic in olive oil over medium heat for five minutes or until onions soften.
  2. Add kale, mushrooms, and garbanzo beans along with paprika, salt and pepper, and sauté for an additional five minutes.
  3. Add grape tomatoes, white wine and lemon juice and deglaze the pan, allowing ingredients to simmer and liquid to be fully absorbed.
  4. Scatter chopped basil leaves, lemon zest, and adjust salt & pepper if necessary.
  5. Enjoy warm.

Kale and Garbanzo Salad (plated)

The creamy protein and fibre rich garbanzo beans work well with hearty, meat-like chunks of portabellini mushrooms to provide a satisfying bite. Add a few leaves of the world’s most nutrient-dense food on earth (read more about this here) with a few grape tomatoes for colour and taste and you’ve got a killer combo. The finishing touch of lemon juice and zest brightens the dish, increasing the intensity of flavours, and add a necessary tang to round out all the goodness colliding in this one salad. Your body and taste buds will thank you for it.

One love,

SC

Sagicor SIGMA Corporate Run + Nutrition Advice and Recipe Ideas

Sagicor SIGMA Corporate Run

5K races has been a big hit in Jamaica over the past few years. Every year new charity races are formed, with many opportunities for Jamaicans to give back to a particular cause. But probably more importantly are the health and fitness trends that have emerged with this new obsession. Persons are much more concerned about their wellness, evidenced by increased sightings of joggers, yoga practitioners, and a move towards cleaner, lighter cuisines.

Sagicor SIGMA Corporate Run – The Caribbean’s largest

Sagicor Sigma LogoOne race in particular has continued to attract thousands of excited participants and raise millions over the past 15 years. Since the first staging of the event in February 1999, Sagicor’s SIGMA Corporate Run has raised a total of JMD 124.5M (approx. USD 120K) towards enhancing healthcare services for Jamaicans islandwide. The Run is a 5.5 Kilometer (3.4 mile) event that is open to runners and walkers of all fitness levels and abilities. It is different from all other road races as the focus is on company teams. With over 22,200 registered participants this year, SIGMA continues to be the Caribbean largest 5K race.  This year race will kick off promptly at 7:30 a.m. on February 16 along Kingston’s hip-strip Knutsford Boulevard, and is under the patronage of Lady Patricia Allen, World and Olympic Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and season five winner of The Voice, Tessanne Chin.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out Sagicor’s website for more race details. [Race photos courtesy of Sagicor]

Let’s Talk Nutrition

When it comes to runners’ nutrition, it can get pretty technical, especially for longer runs such as marathons and half marathons, but for shorter runs such as 5K and 10K races, it’s pretty simple. Good nutrition should be an integral part to any runner’s diet, but different foods are healthiest and most important at different times of the day. The key thing here is knowing what to eat, and when to eat it. Here are a few tips.

The night before:

You want dinner the night before to be somewhat carb-heavy (so as to carb-load your muscles) with a fair amount of protein to keep you from feeling ravenous in the morning. Ensure to make it regular white pasta or rice rather than brown. Even though whole wheat products should star in your usual fare, studies have shown that too much fiber causes intestinal distress while running. Many runners have complained about the need to go during a run. There surely aren’t any pit stops along the way for Sigma. Oh yea, please sleep. The 7-8 hour kind.

Reggae bow-tie pasta salad with tuna and sardine

Reggae bow-tie pasta salad with tuna and sardine

Check out this delicious bow tie pasta dish with protein, calcium and omega 3 rich sardines and tuna. Also, here’s a foolproof way to cook the perfect pasta every time.

The morning of:

For such a short distance, the body doesn’t really need much added energy. In fact, just a cup or two of black coffee will give you an extra boost needed to shave a few seconds (minutes) off your PR. However, because coffee’s energizing effect comes from it being a stimulant, you may need to supplement this with true energy calories. The best bet is a carb-rich fruit such as a banana or an apple, or a simple peanut butter sandwich (white bread, as whole wheat takes longer to digest) or a bagel. Skimp on the cream cheese though; excess fat has the unwanted effects of retarding digestion and can lead to intestinal distress during a run.

apple-mango-banana smoothie

apple-mango-banana smoothie

Smoothies are also a good choice as they deliver a rush of vitamins and nutrients without weighing you down. Blend a frozen banana with low fat milk and some of your favourite nuts. Whatever you do, do not stuff yourself in fear of becoming hungry during the race. Sad to say, I learnt this the hard way and almost threw up half way through one of my races. I’ll give you time to stop laughing and compose yourself. Good. Hydration is also key: you want to down at least 8 ounces (one glass) of water an hour before the start of the race.

This delicious Apple-Mango-Banana smoothie loaded with good carbohydrates and natural sugars will definitely fuel your run. Or this delectable bruschetta with gorgonzola cheese and coffee-flavoured honey.

Bruschetta with Gorgonzola Cheese and HoneyKist Blue Mountain Flavoured Coffee

Bruschetta with Gorgonzola Cheese and HoneyKist Blue Mountain Flavoured Coffee

During the race:

The only thing you should worry about during a 5K is finishing the race, and possibly mild hydration. Most runners can complete a 5K without the need to rehydrate. I surely can’t because I sweat like a farmer’s horse. There’s a proper way to hydrate. If you’re feeling thirsty during a run then you’re already dehydrated. Avoid this by making use of the water stops. There should be about 2 stops for a 5K race. You really don’t need any more than that. Sip, don’t gulp. Plain water should do the trick, but you may benefit from the added kick of electrolytes and glucose found in sport drinks. Also, room temperature is best. If you need to eat during a 5K then you should probably consider another activity. I suggest a diet.

After the race:

So, you’re on top of the world because you (hopefully) clocked your best PR. In the meantime while you wait for your buddies to cross the finish line, you want to head straight to the free food, mostly so that you can be first in line. JK. But seriously, your body is now craving all the energy, nutrients and water you’ve expended. Your best bet here are three key things: liquid, preferably a sports drink to rehydrate and to replenish lost electrolytes; carbs to restore glucose levels; and protein to rebuild muscles.

Low Fat Pak Choy Ricotta Frittata

Low Fat Pak Choy Ricotta Frittata

A good all in one is a glass of chocolate milk. Or make this quick but nutrient rich recovery shake that is sure to replenish your energy levels and kick-start your recovery process. Or, try this tasty and protein-packed low-fat frittata with ricotta cheese that will fill you up with muscle-replenishing protein.

Post-Workout Recovery Shake

Post-Workout Recovery Shake

Provided that you’ve been eating right (for the most part), you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Remember, it’s 3.1 miles, not an eternal 26.2 grueling, knee-shattering, shin-splitting, asphalt-pounding mile marathon.

All the best,

SC

Stephen’s Triple C Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

There are quite a few things happening here, and I am not too sure how to process it all. First, I am still on a high from the delicious success of this off the cuff recipe. But probably more unsettling is that I am confused, happy, and a tad uncomfortable with how much I ended up liking celery after years of shunning the vegetable.

This recipe idea came about for two main reasons: I bought a pack of celery stalks with the hopes of beginning the journey to acquire the taste for it; and secondly I had just roasted a whole chicken and wanted to repurpose it and create a fun recipe. The end result? A chicken, chickpea and celery salad, with a refreshingly zesty lemon vinaigrette.

celery (1)What you’ll need

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 14oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken breast chunks (or your fave part)
  • Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • Zest of one lemon (about ½ tsp)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

(See my note on zesting a lemon in a previous post).

Method

  1. Add butter to a skillet over medium heat and sautee chicken chunks until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Season chickpeas with salt, pepper and cumin.
  3. In the meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
  4. Combine sauteed chicken breast, celery and seasoned chickpeas in a mixing bowl. Pour vinaigrette and fold to combine.
  5. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least one hour.
  6. Serve chilled.

Recipe notes

  • I deboned a chicken breast from the Chinese five spice whole roasted chicken I made earlier that day. Any roasted chicken will do, and you can even use poached chicken breast or your favourite part.
  • I reheated the chicken breast by sautéing the chunks in a tsp of butter. This allows the chicken to be rehydrated and makes the dish a little heartier.
  • Because they tend to be bland, it’s best to season the chickpeas before combining with the rest of the ingredients. You can use regular S&P or some seasoning salt to give it an extra kick. I added cumin for another depth of flavour.
  • Allow the dish to sit at least an hour in the fridge after adding the lemon vinaigrette. The ingredients will have time to soak up that lemony goodness and the flavours will come together better.

chickpeasI must admit, for someone who was warming up their tastebuds to the aggressive and sharp bite of celery this was a pretty daring move diving head on into a dish with raw celery as a main component. Cooked celery isn’t as strong.

The beauty of the palate is that it’s constantly changing and adapting to new tastes. But sometimes we grow so comfortable in the usual fare that we refuse our palates the right to grow and explore a much bigger, more exciting world of taste. Don’t be that guy.

One love,

SC

FREE Smoothies + Grand Opening of Toss & Roll Salad Bar New Location

A few months ago I published a post on my experience at Toss and Roll, one of Kingston’s hottest and most recently opened salad bars. Since then I’ve received a number of great reviews from friends and colleagues who have eaten there, but the main concern was the location; it didn’t offer much seating capacity, and the limited al fresco set-up meant it only allowed for casual lunch meet ups. But that’s all about to change.

As was expected, things kicked off and the demand for more space, longer opening hours, and a more central location became pertinent. Just under nine months in, Toss and Roll will be relocating to 75 Hope Road (beside the recently opened Opa! Greek Restaurant) and will extend their hours to 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The redesigned menu will feature a variety of new dishes including a breakfast fare, assorted teas and smoothies, along with long-standing crowd favourites. 

Toss and Roll New Location2 Toss and Roll New Location3

Of course, fitness junkies and owners Keisha and Jermaine Bailey have managed to keep the menu quite clean and lean with fresh fruits and veggies, whole wheat offerings, and lean meats.

Come and check out their grand opening tomorrow Saturday, January 25 and enjoy discounts and free smoothies.

Toss and Roll Grand Opening

Eat right, live better.

SC

Stephen’s Homemade Five-Spice Sorrel Jam and Drink

For most people in the Caribbean, Christmas isn’t the same without a glass of sorrel, chilled to perfection, especially when made with a shot or two of “festivity” (read: rum). But these exotic, crimson red sepals can also be enjoyed in other forms. Here’s a simple but divine recipe for my all-natural, no-preservative-added sorrel drink and jam with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pimento. (This recipe puts nothing to waste since the jam is made from the leftover pulp after the juice has been extracted to make the drink).

sorrel

Sorrel drink – what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs fresh sorrel (washed)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6-8 slices of fresh ginger
  • 12-15 pimento seeds (allspice)
  • 5-6 cardamom seeds
  • 5 cups brown sugar
  • 10-12 cups water (about 3 quarts)

sorrel jam and sorrel drink

Method:

  1. Pour water into pot and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, pimento and cardamom and allow to come to a boil.
  2. Add sorrel to boiling water and continue boiling the mixture for about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let steep for at least 8 hours. Overnight is best.
  4. Using a strainer, separate the liquid from the pulp. Discard the cinnamon sticks and set pulp aside.
  5. In a large jug, stir in sugar to sweeten. Adjust sweetness if necessary.
  6. Store in bottles and refrigerate. (The mixture is best when left to refrigerate overnight so the flavours can further develop).

Stephen's homemade sorrel jam

Sorrel Jam – What you’ll need:

  • pulp from 2 lbs sorrel (No need for additional spices as the pulp would have retained the pimento seeds, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and the flavour from the cinnamon sticks. However, I’d suggest removing most of the ginger as it tends to make the end product a little fibrous.)
  • juice of one lime
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 oz Appleton rum (or your favourite rum) – optional

sorrel jam

Method:

  1. In a blender, purée sorrel pulp until a smooth consistency is achieved. (You may need to add water accordingly)
  2. Add puréed mixture to a large pot over high heat and stir in water, sugar, rum, and lime juice.
  3. Allow mixture to come to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
  4. Adjust sweetness as desired.
  5. After mixture is reduced to jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Pour in sterilized glass jars and store in refrigerator.

sorrel jam and sorrel drink

You can enjoy your jam with crackers, on bread, with peanut butter, or one of my faves; with cream cheese spread on warm bagel. You’ll never buy another jar of jam again.

Happy holidays,
SC

Maintaining Healthy Habits During the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, you may (should?) be worrying about maintaining the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard to develop during the year. Never-ending Christmas dinner parties and free booze make it rather challenging to stay focused on low-carb diets and high-cardio regimes. For me, and possibly everyone else, Christmas is the time families are united over a dinner spread fit for a (ravenous) king. Moreover, who wants to be that guy who refuses the fruitcake and wine? Psshhh.

The holidays will throw every bit of temptation in your face, and sure as hell it’ll be delicious, but you can still stay winning. Here are a few tips how:

1. Be True To Yourself

If you’re planning to lose pounds during the holidays, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, try to maintain your current weight and fitness level. You’re not off the hook so easily; you have to make time for some amount of exercise. It may not be your ideal 40-60 minutes uphill sprint, but a quick 20 minutes maintenance run should do the trick in burning that extra glass of Merlot you managed to gulp down while saying your goodbyes. (C’mon, I know I’m not the only one who does this. Right?)

2. Pre-game Before Heading Out

No, I don’t mean to gulp down booze, (actually, you may want to skip this), but actually to snack on something light and healthy (some veggies, a pack of nuts, fruit) before storming out to that Christmas dinner. This will avoid being too hungry to think when you’ve arrived and not caring about what makes its way to your mouth, and ultimately to your thighs (or in my case, everywhere but).

3. Portion Control 

Portion control should be part of your regular yearlong regime, and it’s no different during the holidays. In fact, it’s even more important now that calories abound, masked by delicious and free. Eat until you’re satisfied, not until you can’t feel your ribs. Take a stroll around the buffet before you start loading your plate with every item. Choose wisely. I usually skip carbs and head straight for meats and veggies. But be careful, those too can pack a caloric punch. If you overeat at one meal, go light on the next. Portion control should also be extended to beverages, both alcoholic and not. A glass of your favourite drink can pack more calories than a dinner plate.

4. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is probably the simplest (not necessarily easiest) strategy here. And there are a few reasons why this is important. Firstly, the body often-times confuses hunger with thirst as the symptoms (i.e. feeling weak, dizzy and cranky) are pretty much the same. Also, for people like myself whose inhibitions for booze consumption is rather minuscule during this period, staying hydrated is really vital. As a rule of thumb, to avoid dehydration for every cocktail you consume, drink a glass of water.

5. Get some Zzz’s

With all the festivities and frolic, it’s very easy to lose track of the hours and a good night’s rest. The good thing is that being the holidays, you are able to sleep in late. Nonetheless, don’t make this a habit. Your body needs a good, undisturbed 7-8 hours of sleep in order to rebuild cells and maintain a healthy immune system. Lack of proper sleep is a main cause for a host of ailments, including weight gain.

Christmas is a time for fun, family, and certainly food. But it doesn’t have to mean regret and frustration come January. Neither should it mean denying yourself your favourite holiday foods. Just be smart about it.

Happy holidays,

SC