Happy New Year and New Site!

Hello wonderful low-sodium friends!

I am so pleased to see that many of you continue to check in at the old Sodium Girl site (here, right here, like this exact page that you are looking at). It is so nice to see you here.

But just a quick reminder: we’ve moved! And all the low-sodium awesomeness is happening at totally rad and upgraded digs at

WWW.SODIUMGIRL.COM

So please, click on the link, come on over, sign up for a subscription or RSS feed so you receive little emails when I’ve posted something new. And if you have any troubles, just email me at sodiumgirl AT gmail DOT com. Later this month, I’m taking this site down, so join us as soon as you can.

The food is fine!

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Remember…NEW SITE!

Hi friends. If you want to read about corn dogs and other low-sodium adventures, remember to head over to

SODIUMGIRL.COM

the brand new, Sodium Girl site for all the salt-free tips and tricks you can dream of. Once you’re there, also remember to resubscribe when you get there (RSS and Email options will be on the right!), so that the little internet elves tell you when I’ve posted something new.

So what are you waiting for. Seriously, low-sodium corn dogs lie ahead!

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We’ve Moved!

Hi. Good morning. Happy Friday.

This is my low-sodium, last of summer, watermelon and tomato salad.

But if you want the recipe, you’ll have to click over here:

the new SODIUM GIRL website

The new website. Which is finally up. Pop pop, glug glug. It’s celebration time!

So what are you waiting for? Go check it out and help yourself to some salad!

See you at our new home! I’ll be at the door, waiting.

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Salt-Free Radish Sushi

Before I say anything else, let me tell you that I just ate some rice doused in Dave’s Total Insanity Hot Sauce (0mg of sodium). And they seriously aren’t lying in their marketing. This is total insanity. I overdoused. And now I think I’ve permanently scarred my mouth. Or, less melodramatically, I’ve definitely started sweating profusely in public.

But moving on.

Speaking of insanity, I experienced another form of this emotion (less burning) a few weeks ago at Bar Agricole here in the good old Bay Area. And while I can hardly remember the meal they so carefully crafted for me (a juicy, roasted salt-free chicken with reamy potatoes and padron peppers), I will never forget my dining partner’s appetizer.

Radish nigiri, soaked in a lemon verbana, with a sardine on top, wrapped in prosciutto or lard or some salty, delicious thing.

It was gorgeous. It was exquisite. And I had to figure out a way to make it low-sodium.

So I took to the cutting board…or grater…and I finely shredded a handful of radishes (about five). I used my hands to squeeze out any residual juice, trying to dry them out as much as possible. And then, to keep it all together, I added about 1/2 teaspoon of honey and some lemon rind (for a bright flavor). I mixed it with my hand and let it rest.

Then, onto the sardine.

I could have used a sardine because you can actually find small, canned ones that are low in sodium. But I wasn’t feeling fishy. I wanted fresh.

So I replaced the sardine with a thin slice of avocado. Because who doesn’t love avocado?

And finally, for the lard, cured-meat belt that holds the whole thing together, I thought a thinly sliced carrot would be perfect. I used a peeler to create strips and then, to make them more flexible, I soaked for a few minutes in hot water.

Then it’s all about presentation, chopsticks, and gulping it down in one bite.

Obviously, this is not something you’d make for a dinner party of twelve (maybe you would) or a weekly dinner (except if it was a Wednesday).

But if you want an easy way of showing someone that low-sodium food can be mind-blowingly amazing, then this little radish nigiri is definitely the way to go.

Thanks, Bar Agricole for the juicy chicken and salt-free recipe inspiration.

Chow on.

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Cookbook Swap – Eat Good Food

Eat good food.

Makes sense, right?

But what  seems like a simple commandment (much easier than “eat without your hands”), turns out to be advice that, until recently, wasn’t readily followed.

Sure, people have always eaten food that tasted good. We’re wired to do that. But that’s something entirely different. Grammatically and in practice.

That’s enjoying a box of powdered doughnuts after eating a burger animal style at In N’ Out, which high school me is totally guilty of.

That’s guzzling down a slushie on a really hot day. Or going through a bag of buttered popcorn before the movie actually starts. Which is something we’ve all done before. And if I still had high-functioning kidneys, I’d probably have partaken in such an activity before 11 am today. No judgment.

So don’t feel bad. We’re not talking about bad today. We’re talking about good.

We’re talking about tabby-orange-striped delicata squash, purple tomatillos, and ruby red peppers.

Meat that is full of the nutrients and not hormones or other gross stuff. Fresh pasta that must be sold within the day because it was made that morning and isn’t filled with preservatives. Ingredients that are so pretty, sometimes it’s hard to take a knife and skillet to them.

We’re talking about recognizing your bag checkers (who you actually stop and have a conversation with when paying the bill), and knowing the men and woman who are growing, raising, harvesting, and delivering all these goodies to a store near you.

This is good food.

And Sam Mogannam at SF’s notoriously awesome Bi-Rite Market wants to help you find it and eat it.

For all those who say good food is hard to find, good food is too time consuming to cook, good food never actually tastes good…well, gosh darnit, he has answers. And recipes. And tips. And a wonderfully written story about his own journey in food that will put a face on every page and plate you make.

But I’m preaching to the choir here. (Can I get an amen?) Because as low-sodium eaters and readers of this blog, you already know how delicious good food can taste. And you know just how impactful eating it can be.

My ingredient list may be shorter than others, but by using fresh, colorful, and naturally flavor-filled products, I can make simple, quick dinners that blow any microwaved meal out of the park. Without salt. Without packaged ingredients. Without using up too much brain power, money, or coveted time.

And that is the point of this book. Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be expensive or laborious. It can be as simple as wilting collard greens in a pan for five minutes and tossing it with some crisp purple cabbage. A side dish which would hardly cost me the loose change in my purse and which is impressive-looking enough to serve to guests. Trust me. They’ll be blown away.

And good food can be easily elevated by coaxing out the sweet tang of purple tomatillos and red peppers with a quick, oven roast. And then using the mouth-melting results as a chunky sauce for fish, chicken, steak, or even a bowl of quinoa. Depending on how you roll with your proteins.

So it’s time to celebrate good food.

And like other cookbooks, this one definitely makes use of salt. But because of its fundamental message – eat real, eat simple, eat well – it is a perfect addition to a low-sodium library. Especially for those that do not live in San Francisco and have a harder time locating good food. This manual will help you get the ingredients you need to make the meals your body will love.

So just another suggestion to help you lead a limitless low-sodium life.

You can pre-order the book through Bi-Rite here or support a local bookstore by picking one up here. And if you aren’t ready to commit, I’ll be happily reviewing some of the advice and recipes over the coming months as I eat my way through this guide.

Thanks for listening and chow on.

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Cookbook Swap – Food52

This week, I’m doing a little book swap. And I am so excited to tell you about three favorites that are coming to an Amazon near you.

Even though I am a sodium-free eater, I’ve been lucky enough to have my hands, thoughts, and taste buds involved in all of the books. And even though they all contain salt in their ingredient lists, I strongly believe that these beautiful guides are perfect inspiration for some impressive cooking, of the salty or salt-free kind.

So let’s start with the first one. Which really has motivated many recipes in this blog for the last two years. Like my Herbed Couscous, Sunny Side Up. (recipe over here)

Let me officially introduce you to Amanda and Merrill and all the home-cooks at Food52.com (if you haven’t met already).

Their website is part weekly cooking contest, part food-loving community, and part creative outlet. And finally, it’s going into print.

While I believe I am the only member who cooks without salt, the ingredient-driven competitions constantly fuel my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

They drive me to push the boundaries of potatoes or try something new in my torte (or even make a torte in the first place). And best of all, they have a lot of other helpful tools (like the FoodPickler, where you can ask cooking questions and get answers in real time) to help anyone tackle any dish they crave.

But back to the book.

Inside, you’ll find recipes from contest winners (all picked by community winners) as well as some extra honorable mentions (picked by staff). And because each meal comes from a place of pure experimentation and imaginatio, you will feel free to put your own low-sodium twist on it.

Like this Blue River Stew, which I did not create, but helped test. Giving it, of course, a few salt-free swaps.

So whether you pick up a hardcopy or head over to its web page, I happily hand over my favorite cooking muse to all of you.

Enjoy and read on.

Blue River Stew (Salt-Free’d)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, mixed
  • 4 beef short ribs with the bone in
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Russet potatoes, peeled, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 packet of Herb-Ox Sodium Free Beef Bouillon
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup of blonde beer or light ale with citrus hints (Blue Moon is a great choice!)
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Handful of sliced purple cabbage for each bowl

Directions:

1. Season the short ribs with pepper and smoked paprika on both sides.

2. Oil a large pot with olive oil and increase heat over medium-high flame. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, 5 minutes.

3. Add the short ribs to the pot and brown on all sides, 5 minutes each side. Stir the onions to the side so they do not burn.

4. Add the beer, water, and beef broth and bring to a boil. When the water is rolling, stir in the corn and potatoes.

5. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Add additional water if the stew looks too thick. The meal is ready to eat when the meat easily falls from the bone.

6. To serve, place a handful of cabbage at the bottom of the bowl. Ladle stew on top and then garnish with some fresh parsley. Serve the stew with the bones in or take them bones out – whatever pleases and appeases your palate!

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Low-Sodium Spinach Leek Dip

Just in time for the weekend football lineup (there are games on Sunday, right?) here’s the second of my low-sodium, super healthy tailgate treats.

And oh my goodies, is this one scrumptious.

But don’t think I’ve lost my sense of modesty. It’s still right next to my love of watching horrible reality TV with my mother (a.k.a never going anywhere).

No, no. The tastiness of this dish has nothing to do with me. I mean, I practically threw a bunch of delicious aromatics in a pan, mixed it with naturally tangy Greek yogurt, and called it a meal.

Truly, the magic comes from the ingredients themselves. Which, when treated just right, ooze and gush with silky scrumptiousness.

So do you have your salt-free chips ready? Or a spoon? Or a clean finger? Because in a little over an hour you’ll have a creamy, low-sodium spinach dip that can majorly compete with its salty counterparts.

(And it may actually come out on top)

Chow on, football fans. Chow on.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet white onions–peeled and sliced (4 mg per 1 medium onion)
  • 1 leek–bulb cut off, cleaned, and white/light green part cut in half and thinly sliced (18mg per 1 leek)
  • 4 loosely packed cups spinach (about 1 grocery store bunch), (24 mg per 1 cup)
  • 1, 6-oz container of FAGE Greek yogurt ,(60mg of sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch of chili pepper flakes to taste
  • Pinch of ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
*remember to read spice labels to make sure you are using salt-free spices
Directions:
In a medium-sized frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When ready, throw in your sliced onions. Allow them to cook and brown for 5 minutes. Then turn down the heat to low and let them caramelize for about one hour. Yes, I said hour. Trust me. Worth it. And you can do other things in your kitchen while your onions cook (like sun salutations or blanching the spinach). But be sure to stay close and check on those hot onions every ten or fifteen minutes, and stir so nothing gets stuck to the bottom.
At some point in that hour, bring a small pot of water (filled only 3/4 of the way) to a boil. Dunk your spinach leaves and stems in the pot for 2 minutes. And using a colander or large spider spoon, drain the spinach from the hot water. Run the spinach immediately under cold water until you can comfortably touch the spinach with your hands.
Are you comfortable? Great. Now you are going to squeeze the spinach and ring out all the water. Do it at least six times and then put the spinach on a cutting board. Grab a knife and don’t worry about being precise. You just want to chop all that spinach into ribbons or bits. Or ribbons and bits. Whatever you want. You are going to mix it all up with the yogurt and it will look like green vegetable confetti. Yum.
When your hour of onion cooking is up, DO NOT TURN OFF THE HEAT. Instead, throw your leeks in there and let them soften with the onions. Continue to cook for at least 15 more minutes and then take the onion-leek pan off the stove.
Once the spinach, onions, and leeks have cooled (about 15 to 20 minutes), place them in a mixing bowl with the yogurt and remaining ingredients. Stir, mix, and taste until it is to your liking–it should be bright and savory and diptastic.
Then refrigerate until game time and serve with toasted sodium-free tortillas, salt-free tortilla chips, or salt-free rice crackers.

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