Monday, June 30, 2014

Apricot-Coconut Chocolate Bites

Dried Apricots, Coconut Flakes, Pecans and Theo Chocolate
Dried Apricots, Coconut Flakes, Pecans and Theo Chocolate 
Last week, one of my co-workers offered me a piece of chocolate truffle-like thing. It was amazing. Best of all, it was completely healthy. It had been made with a blend of dried fruits, nuts and chocolate. Lately, I am finding that I enjoy really different foods than I ever imagined I would. I am eating more vegan-oriented recipes. This chocolate bite was definitely vegan because the chocolate was mixed with coconut oil to make it softer and yummier.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ramadan: The Healthy Suhoor Options

It is that most blessed time of the year again for Muslim around the world, Ramadan. Ramadan is a very special time because it is almost like a reset. It is considered as the holiest time of the Muslim Lunar calendar. As a kid, I started fasting slowly. The half day fast gave way to the whole day fast gradually. This was in Lagos though where fasting usually goes from 5.10am-ish to 7pm. Now that I am living in Boston though, fasting is going to be a 19-hour daily extravaganza.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Oven Secret

An open sandwich with caramelized onion, charred jalapeno, roast beef and provolone toasted in an oven and topped with kale and peaches salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Is an oven a necessity or a luxury? The new oven was inaugurated with a Spicy Open Faced Roast Beef Sandwich

I have a secret...Well, it is not really a secret. At least I did not think it was a secret until I said it out loud and everyone's reaction was a shocked look. So, a couple of nights ago, I came home and my room-mate had bought a new oven for the kitchen. I was super-excited when I realized it was for general use.

See, I have lived in this house for almost a year and we did not have an oven because the one that came with the stove was not working. I complained once and when nothing got done, I simply just moved on with life. In the grand scheme of life, not having an oven did not seem like a big suffering.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Inspired: 10 Strawberry Recipes

salmon on a strawberry tomato salad
Salmon on Strawberry Tomato Salad
Next week is the 4th of July. Although Ramadan and fasting would have started, it does not mean I won't still be excited about food. If anything, I think only eating two meals a day would make it more of a special experience. I am really looking forward to all the berries and cherries going on sale for this big summer event.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Savory Oatmeal with Ground Beef and Vegetables Stir-Fry

savory cheesy oatmeal served with ground beef stirfry
Savory Cheesy Oatmeal served with Ground Beef Stir-fry

One of my friends at work started talking about this recipe he discovered for oatmeal. It is a savory recipe that calls for adding cheese the oatmeal as it cooks. As he spoke about the recipe, I realized that I really wanted to try it out something similar. I am a big fan of oatmeal. The first time I heard about savory oatmeal was years back when Cameron Diaz caused a splash by mentioning her secret way of eating oatmeal. Now that it was back of my radar, my taste bud just won't let go of the idea. I knew that along with the oatmeal, I wanted some crunch to balance the creamy texture. I immediately knew I wanted a stir-fry.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Know Your Food: Is this American or Foreign or Both?

I read a lot of the NYTimes...let me just put that out there now. This evening as is normal for me, I have been catching up on the weekend long-form articles online. I found myself pulled in by this article "Why Are We Importing Our Own Fish?" This article tells the convoluted story of the American Seafood industry's practice of importing seafood that is native to North Atlantic water.

One of the things that I am learning, now that I work in a grocery store, is how convoluted the idea of food is in America. Growing up in Nigeria, I felt like I was better connected to the food. Of course, perception is different from reality and I am sure Nigeria has issues in its food chain. The more I learn about food, the more I realize that I have allowed myself to become disconnected from food. The whole idea of being able to identify the source of food and how food is created is something that I am slowly losing. It has become so easy to go the grocery store and buy food year round. The idea of eating seasonally and the excitement of the first appearance of seasonal food is something that I miss. I feel lik I can taste the difference in the food as well.

This issue of food is something that I will be talking about regularly as I come to terms with it. I hope you choose to read the article. It can't hurt to understand just a little more about your food.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Spiced Potatoes with Sautéed Kale and Peas

Spiced Potatoes with Kale and Peas packed into square pyrex dishes
Packed Lunch of Spiced Potatoes and Sautéed Kale with English Peas 

I am a creature of habit. Every Friday, after I am off the clock, I go around the grocery store where I work and complete my food shop for the next week. Over the week, mostly on Sundays, I make and pack my meals. So I will make 5 packed lunches for work. I will make 2 servings smoothies for breakfast and set up dinner if I have the energy. This past weekend, I had the idea of making a sweet potato/yam dish for lunch. Sweet potato is something that I have an affinity for. My sister and I believe that it runs in the blood because our father's ancestral home, Oyan in Nigeria, is known for sweet potatoes.

During my service year in Nigeria, one of the meals that I really loved making was sweet potatoes with vegetables. I would buy a vegetable known as ugu and make it into a soup with smoked fish, tomatoes, peppers and onions to be served with boiled sweet potatoes. I particularly like this meal because the green leaves of ugu would be slightly crunchy after cooking so it would balance the soft and mushy texture of the sweet potatoes. When I was shopping on Friday, I noticed that the sweet potatoes/yam did not look like it was in season so I decided to switch it up for red potatoes.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Vegan India

Bay leaves, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon pods and mustard seeds on a white plate
Bay leaves, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon pods and mustard seeds 
A few year back, my mum and I took a trip to India. Specifically, we went to Mumbai and we stayed there for a week. We were lucky to have a couple of people taking us around the city who are native to the place. One of the questions that they asked us when we first arrived was if we wanted to eat vegan or eat meat. On the first night, my mum and I chose meat. We then realised that our hosts could not eat meat so we were left with these giant servings of food. The lamb curry we got served that night was amazing but everyday after that, we chose vegan.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Inspired: Garlicky Pasta with Shrimp

Garlicky Pasta With Shrimp Topped with Crunchy Panko Breadcrumbs in a white rectangular bowl
Garlicky Pasta With Shrimp Topped with Crunchy Panko Breadcrumbs
Today was going to be a great day. I pretty much had it planned out. Wake up early in the morning, take a shower and go to the movies. I planned on seeing 'Chef' by Jon Favreau. I had kept up with reviews for the movie during the release week. I even read a profile on Mr. Favreau in the NYTimes a few weeks back. The movie was definitely on my radar and I really did not want to miss an opportunity to see it in theatre.

Cue MBTA's craziness this morning. There was construction on the redline so it took me much longer to get into town than I had estimated. I was running 15 minutes late. I got into the movie theatre just as the Coca-cola ad that ends the preview session was finishing up. I was so relieved. And the movie started...and I was in awe. I loved the movie so much. It is very much a homage to the creative life, in my opinion. I loved the way food is treated with awe-inspiring amazing shots of foods being cooked and plated. It all looked so real.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Know Your Food: Slavery and Shrimp

Earlier this week the Guardian released one of their massive investigative articles and this one focused on Thailand. In particular, the story exposes the use of slavery in the Thailand seafood industry. The use of slavery in Thailand is global issue, not just because of the humanity involved, but because one of the country big exports is shrimps or prawns. Many global food retailers including Walmart source shrimps from Thailand. This implicates them in this case of modern slavery because they are an essential part of the supply chain.

The big retailers, both in the United States and other countries have the power to demand better in the supply chain. They can use their economic clout to demand that the supply chain be cleaned. They can set up realistic safe-guards to ensure that they are not supporting slavery by buying tainted seafood.

I know the article is long but I do hope you take some time to read this article