Category Archives: quick fix

The Incredible Edible Purple Egg

Yesterday I made purple eggs.

Yep. Dr. Seussish, delicious purple eggs.

Not because it was Easter, although I wish I had thought of doing this earlier this year. But because I was pickling cabbage (for something very, very special) and I had a tub of fuschia pickling liquid that just couldn’t be wasted. Seriously, can you imagine just pouring it down the drain? I couldn’t.

So I quickly learned how to hard boil eggs — yes, I had to look this up, no judgment — and I plopped my freshly peeled gems into the cabbage container. A few hours later, they were a sweet shade of purple. Which I then used for something very, very special. Which I’ll show you very, very soon.

But why all this talk about my purple eggs? My pretty, little, low-sodium purple eggs? That I made just for you. That look even more amazing when sliced. For something very, very special.

Well, first off, I wanted to show you how much color can literally brighten up an ordinary ingredient. It’s a great low-sodium tool to add some “spice” — as in pizazz — to foods that might otherwise seem plain or simple. Plus, it’s pretty impressive. And you definitely don’t have to tell people that your cabbage did all the work.

But really, this rockstar egg is just a small example of some secret projects I have working on. Tinkering on. Having difficulty hiding from you. (And I’m not even talking about the very,very special meal I made for you last night).

Other than this little egg, I’ve been working on something big. Real big. A real, big girl website.

That’s right. Sodium Girl is growing up and now she has a website. That has a logo, tons of pictures, a link to Sodium Girl approved restaurants and kitchen tools, and most importantly, a very comprehensive RECIPE INDEX!

You asked for it, you got. The purple egg is just a bonus.

Thanks to the genius and patient team at Shatterboxx.com, the blog has been transformed. And I seriously cannot wait to share it with you. In the next week or so.

No need to thank me. This is my way of saying thank you.

As we move, though, I’m going to need a little help. Don’t worry. No heavy lifting required and I definitely do not need to borrow your car.

But I will need your patience as I work out kinks, upload recipes, and get all the little ditties in order. And I want to hear from you — comment, high five, tell me what’s working and what isn’t. Or that I’ve put a seafood dish in the vegetarian folder.

And if you are a Sodium Girl Subscriber, you rock. You will also need to reenter your email information on the new website once it is live. I’ll remind you, so need to waste that post-it note right now. And if you aren’t a Sodium Girl Subscriber yet, you are a rockstar too and this is a great time to become one. Because if you sign up on the new website, neat things (like purple eggs and very, very special secret dishes) will automatically pop into your inbox.

I know, enough with the purple eggs. With some help from spinach watcher, they can also be green. And with beet juice, you could even turn them red.

So get excited for a lot of fun in the coming weeks. And as always, thanks for visiting me and for taking on low-sodium cooking with whimsy and gusto. It really is more exciting than dying eggs fun colors.

Chow on.

 

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under cooking, quick fix, recipe box, tips & tricks

Seven Layer Salad

Sometimes, food is good just because it looks cool. Like bagel bites and chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs. Or noodles made of zucchini. Or bananas flambe. Which is fruit on fire.

So when it comes to jazzing up the basics, a simple twist in the presentation goes a long way. And the next time you think of salads, forgetting about mixing and tossing, and try some layers.

This lovely bowl had stripes of chopped red onion, fennel, apple, raw asparagus coins, fresh dill, green onions, cherry tomatoes (heirloom of course), avocado, a twist of lime, a drizzle of vinegar and oil, and a frosting made of greek yogurt and chive sprinkles. Okay, so that is about  ten or eleven layers. But counting aside, I think you get the point. And don’t you just want to lick off the top? If you do, sprinkle on some more chives. No one will notice.

To serve, simply spoon out portions, careful to dig deep into the bottom. It will naturally mix the layers up and give everyone a bite of the flavor rainbow. It is also fun to see the carefully constructed layers quickly mix themselves. Adding a bit of entertainment to the already enjoyable meal. And the best part of all, because there is no cooking involved, this nifty dish can be made up in seconds. Giving you plenty of time to primp and prep before a party or afternoon potluck.

So there you have it. Simple layers make a sexy low-sodium salad. And you can try this same trick with desserts or pasta or even dinausor nuggets topped with bagel bits and zucchini.

If you can dream it, you can layer it.

Chow on.

 

3 Comments

Filed under brunch, lunch, quick fix, recipe box

Edamame Education: The Ultimate

Today is completely dedicated to edamame pate. Because sometimes people don’t like chicken livers.

And also because a dish like this exemplifies why (and how!) low sodium cooking can be so much more than just a restricted diet. Or worse yet, a boring diet.

In reality, low sodium is the ultimate test of your creativity in the kitchen. And once you’ve whole heartedly accepted the salt-free challenge, your mind starts coming up with some crazy ideas.

Like edmame pate. Which is just silly crazy. And it tastes equally bonkers.

For my dear reader who asked for a salt-free and equally satisfying edamame dish, I wanted to make something that went beyond eating beans in their round form. That used more innovation than just dousing them in garlic and sesame oil – which is pretty great in its simplicity. And something that really stretched the imagination. That blew people away in taste and concept.

And the answer was found in some browned shitake mushrooms. Some sake. Edamame (of course). And a blender.

But enough jibber jabber. Let’s just make silky smooth soy beans.

And tell those chicken livers that they get the day off.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts sliced (makes about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1-inch nub of ginger, peeled and or roughly chopped
  • 6 shitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Pinch of white pepper and red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups edamame, blanched and cooled

Directions:

Heat the sesame oil over medium-high flame in a medium sized frying pan. Then add the leeks, garlic, and ginger until the leeks become soft, about 3 minutes. Then push the ingredients to the side, making a well in the center of your frying pan, and add the mushrooms. Let them sizzle and brown undisturbed for about 3 to 5 minutes (adjust heat if necessary) and then shuffle them around a bit with a spatula or wooden spoon to (hopefully!) get the other sides browned as well, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Add your sake and vinegar to the pan and allow the mushrooms (and etc.) to continue to cook until the liquid has completely boiled off.

Place everything in a blender or food processor along with the edamame, white pepper, and pepper flakes. Then pulse until a delicious pate paste forms.

Scoop edamame pate into small ramekins or a small serving bowl, cover the ramekins or small serving bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you serve.

I ate my pate on salt-free rice crackers and I also frazzled up some extra shitake mushrooms and a jalapeno pepper for some garnish jazz.

Chow on.

5 Comments

Filed under brunch, dinner, quick fix, recipe box

Crispy Rice and Green Tea Pops

A few things happened this past month. I rediscovered root beer (hello, Hansens) which led me to rediscover ice cream (thank you, So Delicious). Which ultimately brought me to today’s post. And these crispy rice and green tea pops.

You see, when foods – that you thought were permanently off your safe-eating list – make a grand re-entrance, the possibilities suddenly feel endless. And when one salty-barrier is broken down, I generally experience a flooding of new ideas.

Edamame pate. “Shrimp” and grits. Dolmas. There have been so many new projects filling my brain that it was hard to focus. Until the idea of a homemade, low-sodium “mochi”-ish treat hit me.

The traditional dessert’s doughy coating and luscious dairy makes a delicate purse of delicious. And while a lot of store-bought versions can be low in sodium, I just thought this idea would be a great excuse to play with my food and come up with something new. A version of my own. Less doughy covering. More crisp.

And the next thing you know, I’m crumbling a salt-free rice cracker into a bowl, scooping out a spoonful of coconut-based green tea ice cream, rolling it in the rice crumbs, and forming a little pop with my hands.

Yes, you will get your fingers dirty. Yes, it’s ok to lick them clean. And yes, it is totally worth it.

And there you have it friends. A new way to ice cream. Fun and whimsical and a total surprise to the palate.

You can make these right before serving them. And your guests of any age will love the sweet taste and crunchy texture of the rice with the more savory (and still sweet) green tea. It is playful (you did what with your hands?) and impressive (you did what with rice cakes?). And it could be a fun project to take on with some little culinary munchkins.

Or you know, just by yourself at 11 am on a Friday.

Pop on.

1 Comment

Filed under quick fix, recipe box, sweets, Uncategorized

Magic Mini Cornbread Madeleines

Rule number one: you eat with your eyes. In a sensory-overload kind of way. Not in actual chewing and digesting.

Which brings us to rule number two: do not try to stick a forkful of food near those pretty little lids of yours. It will only lead to disaster.

But back to the first lesson…presentation is perhaps one of the most important tools for a low-sodium cook, other than an immersion blender. It can be just as flavor-enhancing as a good shake of cayenne and salt. And if you play around with the look, feel, or structure of a traditional recipe, the concept becomes as intriguing as the taste.

For ejemplo, cornbread.

All by itself, in its original form, cornbread is a great option for low-sodium cooks. It is a quick, no-knead means of adding a bit of carbs to a meal. And it requires very few ingredients. But to avoid salt, you need to forgo buttermilk and add some special ingredients, like whole corn kernals, honey, low-sodium yogurt, creme fraiche, herbs, or spice to perk up the dense texture. Which is all very doable and delicious.

But since we are already diverging from the original recipe, let’s really have some fun. And instead of cooking our now salt-free’d cornbread in a regular old baking pan (boring) or a skillet (so last year), let’s cook it in a madeleine mold. Better yet, let’s bake it in a mini madeleine mold.

And then, when you serve these little goodies in a little basket alongside your honey baked pork chops or whiskey pulled pork, you and your guests will be so overwhelmed by the cute-factor that no one will even notice the lack of salt.

If you don’t have a madeleine mold (thank you sis-in-law for letting me use yours), try mini muffins or even mini doughnut pans. And if you have any other genius ideas, do share in the comments below. I love genius ideas as much as mini madeleines.

So remember that the look of a meal can be a powerful addition to its overall satisfaction level. And as for rule number three, please, please, please play with your food. Not in the messy kind of way, but in the creative sense. Because cooking in general, with and without salt, is about having fun. Eating it is just the proverbial cherry on top.

Chow on.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (whole grain, medium grind)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 pinch (or two) cayenne or chili powder
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium greek yogurt, mascarpone, or creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but cooled to room temp (so as not to curdle the egg)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • madeleine pan, greased
Directions
Preheat oven to 375 dg F and place madeleine pan in the oven while temp rises.
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, fresh herbs, and spice together. In a separate bowl, whisk the orange juice, yogurt (or mascarpone or creme fraiche), melted butter, honey, and egg together. Then add the wet ingredients to your cornbread mixture and mix until combined. Batter will be runny.
When the oven is ready, take the madeleine pan out of the oven and grease it up. Pour the batter into the molds and fill until just below the top, because they will rise and puff up a bit as they bake. Bake until the edges of the madeleines turn a golden brown and you are able to insert a toothpick in and pull it out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the cornbread madeleines from the oven and allow them to cool. Serve with anything from soup to Southwestern fare and enjoy.

4 Comments

Filed under brunch, dinner, lunch, quick fix, recipe box

How to Float

It’s finally summer. Really. I swear.

The sun has been shining for at least a few days in a row and I even got burned (burned I tell you!) just by sitting outside for more than an hour. And I didn’t mind one bit. Cause summer is finally here.

Which brings up thoughts of pools and floaties and root beer floats. Which suddenly reminded me of an old friend: Hanson’s Natural Soda.

Now I can’t believe it has taken me this long to write about Hanson’s, which has been making sodium-free pop since long before low-sodium food was hip.

I grew up drinking Hanson’s. Gallons of it.

My grandparents had an extra fridge in their garage which, it seems looking back, was kept plugged in with the sole purpose of chilling a million Hanson’s sodas. There was a rainbow of flavor choices, from cream soda, kiwi strawberry, mandarin lime, and root beer. And because they were “natural,” I thought drinking these was akin to eating my broccoli.

Now if you haven’t turned a can of root beer around lately, let me warn you that it is usually high in sodium. Higher than other big favorites like Coca-Cola and 7-up. So I usually skip the stuff.

But Hanson’s has nada. Which means it is perfect for us low-sodium sippers and even better for a big scoop of sodium-free ice cream.

And with 4th of July around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to get to know your new best friend, Hanson. Pick up some cans  and some carton’s of Coconut Bliss ice cream, and get fizzing. Or jazz it up the traditional combo with some mandarin lime and sodium-free sorbet. With this line of soda, you can make any fountain dream come true.

Float on.

4 Comments

Filed under quick fix, recipe box, sweets

Salt and Stove-Free Pasta

Hi! What did you do this weekend?

I set my oven on fire.

Yeah. I really did. I meant to make chips. I made a huge mess instead. And I’m pretty sure I’m inhaling tons of chemicals as I’m writing this. If anyone has advice on cleaning this thing out, please let me know.

But let’s talk about something with less charcoal flavor and more taste.

While my range is taking a brief vacation, I started to think about no-cook meals. Ways that I could eat food full of vitamins and flavor without using any kind of flame.

And that’s how I came to this stove-free and salt-free pasta dish. Which is not only a great idea for those times when your oven is covered in fire-extinguisher dust, but also when you have limited time to throw something together for dinner, lunch, or any other snack attack.

This particular “pasta” is made from thinly sliced asparagus, which I cut with a peeler. I then chopped up some fresh summer fruit – nectarines and tomatoes – gave it a squeeze of lime, sprinkled it with chive, freshly ground pepper, and a quick dressing made from the final bits of my salt-free Mendocino Sweet & Hot Mustard and some olive oil.

Drizzle and dig in.

So the next time you find yourself in a hazmat suit, just know that your cooking appliances may be limited, but your food doesn’t have to be.

Chow on. And safety first.

1 Comment

Filed under dinner, lunch, quick fix, recipe box