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South meets Southwest: Black-Eyed Peas & Lime-Seared Steak Soup November 15, 2011

Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens meet Cilantro & Lime

This soup combines elements of the traditional southern black-eyed peas and collard greens soup with southwestern flavors of cilantro and lime. I traded the traditional pork or bacon of the “Hoppin’ John” for some lean cut 100% grass-fed beef marinated in fresh lime juice. The meat here is used as an accent flavor; the black-eyed peas are the stars of this dish. Enjoy throughout the fall and winter but bookmark this dish for January 1st. The recipe makes a wonderful New Year’s Eve dish as black-eyed peas are celebrated by many as a “lucky” food to begin the new year.

Black-Eyed Peas & Lime-Seared Steak Soup
with collard greens & cilantro

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 cup frozen chopped collard greens
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 9 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 shallots chopped (optional but suggested)
  • 0.5 lb 100% grass-fed stir-fry beef strips
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh cilantro
  • juice of 2 fresh limes
  • dash of cayenne pepper

Methods

The Night Before: Rinse 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas and soak in a large pot for at least 4 hours. I normally leave the beans to soak covered overnight. Place fresh 100% grass-fed beef, sliced thin in a zip-lock bag or container with a full lime’s worth of lime juice. Store in the fridge overnight.

1. Strain soaked black-eyed peas and add to large pot with about 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about an hour stirring occasionally.

2. In a large stir-fry pan, begin searing lime-marinated beef at medium heat.  Crush and chop garlic into thin slices and add about 3 of the 9 cloves to your pan with the beef. Toss in a few rinsed fresh cilantro leaves as well. If you have the optional shallots, chop these and add to your pan. Add 1/4 cup of your vegetable broth (I love Pacific Natural Foods Organic Vegetable Broth- low sodium) to the pan and cover, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until beef is fully cooked.

3. When black-eyed peas have cooked (after simmering for about 60 minutes) strain, rinse, and return to large pan with the remainder of your 4 cups vegetable broth. Bring heat to medium high. Rinse 2 handfuls of cilantro (also known as coriander) thoroughly and add to your soup pan. Also add  1 cup frozen chopped collard greens, the remaining garlic, and the lime juice from the second lime.

4. Stir in beef and spike with a dash of cayenne pepper.

Amply provides enough to serve 4.

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Fresh Basil & Bok Choy Stir-fry February 13, 2011

This bok choy stir-fry dish is full of color and flavor complexity

Fresh basil, garlic, mango, and subtle hints of ginger give this dish a complex and inviting flavor.

Fresh Basil & Bok Choy Stir-fry

Ingredients
4-5 heads of fresh Bok Choy
3 cloves fresh garlic
Fresh basil leaves (a small handful)
2 leaves red cabbage
Stir-fry cut 100% grass-fed lean beef
1 overflowing cup of beech mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy-sauce
1 tablespoon Thai ginger marinade

Heat olive oil in pan at medium high heat and begin cooking beef. Rinse all vegetables thoroughly and add bok choy stalks cut into bite-sized pieces (save leaves to add in later) once the meat is mostly browned. Stir food frequently. Cut up cabbage leaves into small pieces and add cabbage and mushrooms to pan. Allow these ingredients to cook as you slice the bok choy leaves and fresh basil, then add these into the mixture along with the soy sauce and marinade. Once leaves have wilted, add in a few pieces of fresh (or de-thawed frozen) mango.

 

20 Minute Dinner: Bison Burger with Mixed Greens November 9, 2010

Bison Burger with Thai Ginger Marinade: Topped with Fresh Pea Shoots and Served with Mixed Green Salad. Vitamin C from the pea shoots and greens enhances iron absorption from the burger.

Bison meat tends to be leaner and higher in omega-3 fatty acids than most beef, because the animals are fed grass instead of corn. If you’ve ever read Michael Pollan’s, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, you probably remember the many problems he discussed that happen when cows are fed grain (corn) diets. After reading his book, I’ve stopped buying any beef that is not 100% grass-fed when I do my grocery shopping. If you haven’t read Pollan’s book, I highly recommend it but, in short, cows are not biologically built to eat grains and doing so often makes them sick. The meat industry has decided that grain-fed cattle is advantageous because the cows will gain weight much faster than they would on a natural grass-fed diet and feed corn is extraordinarily cheep. To compensate for the health problems the cows experience, cows are routinely given antibiotics.

The result: cheep beef with higher fat content (marketed as “marbling”), lower omega-3 fatty acid content, and an unfortunate new source of antibiotics in the human diet. Antibiotics are wonderful medicines when we need them, but taking them when we don’t, or having thousands of cattle take them, benefits no one (other than of course those who are profiting on meat sales). Overuse of antibiotics breeds new, dangerous strains of bacteria and decreases the effectiveness of existing antibiotic medicines.

Grass-fed beef and bison are harder to find in stores and are often more expensive per pound. So I buy less, eat beef less often, and enjoy it more. My meal cost really isn’t much different because I change the proportion of beef to veggies (in favor of veggies) and vegetables are both cheap and filling. Another great health and cost-saving strategy is to buy less meat and add protein and fiber-rich beans to your meal. Reducing your red meat intake to about once/week and increasing your intake of vitamin and fiber-rich plants will also cut your risk for many chronic diseases that plague the U.S. including cardiovascular disease (CVD). You can easily find grass-fed beef and bison fresh at Whole Foods, but you can also find frozen bison burgers at a number of grocery stores including Trader Joe’s.

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