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]

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,

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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.

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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

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.

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Jackfruit Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese? Ahmm, yes please!

This recipe idea popped in my head out of desperation for a breakfast quick-fix. I had recently purchased some jackfruit and realised that I needed to consume it before spoilage took over. While rummaging through my fridge, I also discovered a block of gorgonzola cheese that was neatly tucked among a chaos of other neglected ingredients. (I was meaning to clean my fridge for about a week now but hadn’t gotten around to it, because procrastination.)

Jackfruit

Enormous & prickly on the outside, jackfruit somewhat resembles durian. Once cut open, the yellow fleshy fruit pods or “bulbs” are revealed. [image source]

Native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, the jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands. It is commonly found here in Jamaica, but some persons don’t take to the fruit as easily because of its strong smell and flavour that may be cloying. With a starchy and fibrous texture, the flavour of the flesh of the jackfruit can be likened to a combination of pineapple, mango and banana.

gorgonzola cheese

Gorgonzola cheese – marbled by streaks of green and considered the Italian member of the Blue Cheese family – is commonly paired with sweet aromatic fruits like apples and pears, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the very strong, sweet, fruity aroma of the fibrous jackfruit flesh would be as good a compliment to the contrast of pungent, salty, creamy gorgonzola. To bring the flavours together even more, I tossed the salad in ginger extract, which added yet another depth of flavour and aromatic complexity. Also, I’ve had gorgonzola cheese that comes already crumbled, but I find if you crumble it directly from the block it tends to be richer and creamier with a more satisfying taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Jackfruit chunks
  • ¼ cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles (preferably cut from the block for a richer, creamier texture)
  • 1 tbsp ginger extract

Jackfruit

Method:

  1. Combine jackfruit and gorgonzola in a bowl.
  2. Add ginger extract and toss to combine.
  3. Refridgerate for at least 20 minutes to allow flavours to come together and for salad to chill.
  4. Remove from fridge and enjoy.
Jackfruit and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

Jackfruit and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

I really recommend you try this simple dish of robust and contrasting flavours and textures.

One love,

SC

Low-Fat Pak Choi Ricotta Frittata

Looking for a healthy but filling dish packed with essential vitamins and nutrients? Then this low-fat, protein-rich pak choi frittata with skim ricotta is a great option. And a tasty one too.

pak choy

Frittatas are comparable to quiches, but without the crust and with eggs as the main ingredient, usually mixed with a cheese of choice and all cooked or baked in a deep pan. Some common additions include dark green leafy vegetables, usually spinach (in this case I am using pak choi, but callaloo can also be used), mushrooms, bell peppers, etc. The possibilities are endless.

seasonings - pak choy frittata

I am lover of eggs, for both their taste and versatility as a key binding and leavening agent for a host of dishes.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups chopped pak choi
  • 5 eggs
  • 1½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup diced green bell peppers
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Scotch bonnet (habanero) pepper to taste, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to sauté
unbaked frittata mixture

unbaked frittata mixture

Method:

  1. In a skillet, sauté tomato, bell pepper, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet, salt and pepper for 2 minutes to begin to release their flavours.
  2. Add chopped pak choi to skillet, sautéing for an additional 2 minutes (or until pak choi just begins to wilt.)
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Whisk eggs, ricotta cheese together, adjusting salt as necessary.
  5. Combine sautéed pak choi with egg and cheese mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Spray a 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and fill with mixture.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until browned on top and set. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, cut in wedges and serve.

finished product - low fat pak choi ricotta frittata

You can enjoy your frittata with a few slices of toast, or you can skip the extra carbs and dig straight into the protein goodness. A sprinkle of parmesan cheese gives it a salty kick with an extra nuttiness.

Low Fat Pak Choy Ricotta Frittata

This is a lighter take as I opted to use ricotta cheese which is naturally low in fat but protein-dense. If you’re looking for something creamier and richer, you can substitute the ricotta for your favourite cheddar or mozzarella cheese.

One love,

SC

Ground Pork and Beef Whole Wheat Wrap

Minced meat is one of the quickest and easiest ingredients to work with when you are pressed for time. It’s also very versatile as it lends to an array of dishes: it can transformed into a scrumptious batch of meatballs, a juicy platter of burger patties, a succulent meatloaf, or a delectable filling for pot pies, wraps, etc. Truth be told, I had originally planned to try my hands at making homemade pork and beef burgers, but then I realized I forgot to pick up hamburger rolls. The next best bet was meatballs, but I didn’t have any tomato sauce. Then it popped in my head to make a sort of wrap.

I can’t recall working with minced meat in the past so I was a little sceptical of how things would turn out. In the end, the dish was a great success and the medley of flavours and textures worked well. I must say that I used a bunch of different spices and herbs. If you’re not into spicy foods for whatever reason, I advise cutting back on some of the spices, especially those that would cause some heat (cloves, black pepper, ginger, cumin).

Ground beef & pork – Ingredients

  • ¾ lb. ground beef
  • ¾ lb. ground pork
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • ½ tsp. regular salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ¾ tsp. paprika
  • ½ ground pimento
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil for sauteeing

Method

  1. Ensure ground pork and beef is fully defrosted.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat and sauté onion, garlic and sage leaves for 1 minute.
  3. Combine remaining herbs and spices with ground meat and add to hot skillet. Stir to combine and allow to cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until meat is fully brown and liquid evaporated.
  4. Add fresh lime juice and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until liquid had evaporated.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.

Serves 6.

Fillings - beef and pork wrap

Fillings – Ingredients

  • carrot, finely shredded
  • olives
  • sushi ginger
  • bell pepper, julienned
  • banana peppers, roughly chopped
  • tomatoes, quartered
  • cheese, shredded [I used mild cheddar, but you can use your choice of favourite cheese(s)]
  • cucumbers, cut into half moons

plated ground beef and pork

Method for assembling wraps

(I used whole wheat 6″ wraps)

  1. Warm the wraps in an oven for 1-2 minutes. (Ensure to not overheat as the wraps will dry out and get crispy, and will tear while rolling)
  2. Add your fillings of choice to wrap and roll, ensuring not to overfill the wrap.
  3. Insert toothpicks at either ends of the rolled wrap and cut on the diagonal in the centre.
  4. Enjoy immediately.
ground pork and beef plated in a glass

What do you guys think of this plating of the ground pork and beef?

The dish made a pretty tasty Monday night, post-gym dinner. You can have fun with whatever fresh veggies you have available.

finished dish - ground beef and pork whole wheat wrap

I love to squeeze a few drops of fresh lime juice just before I eat them, for an added brightness and to help cut the richness of the meat.

Live. Love. Eat.

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