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1/13/12 9:19 A

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Hi, what an interesting background you have. Since I posted last I tried a recipe with sardines in pasta sauce and it was just so so. Then I did some research and found out that Portuguese sardines are the best if you get them tinned so I'm going to try that.

Japanese food is one type that I know little about but I have a friend that is Japanese and she said we will do dinner some time. I'll make some Indian food and she'll do some Japanese and I'll learn. She did say that compared to other Asian food, Japanese food uses less spice.

If you like lentils, I encourage you to visit an Indian market to see all the variety. I was never crazy about brown lentils although I'm more open to them now, but at the Indian market I found yellow lentils, red lentils, white lentils, black lentils and then other legumes you can cook similarly like moong bean. One thing about cooking any dried legume is to always change the water for cooking from the water you soak in as the soaking water is what has the gasey elements.

I have two ways I like to cook lentils and beans. One is to just boil them (after soaking and rinsed) with just lots of water until slightly tender. Then you drain the lentils and in a separate pot or pan you do the seasonings like: garlic, onions, ginger, spices, tomato -- what ever you want. After the onions are sauteed glassy in a little olive oil you add the drained lentils/beans back in and just a little bit of water. That will give you seasoned lentils that can be a side dish on a plate or add meat (at the same time as the onions) for a main course.

The other way is more like a soup or stew. Indians call lentils "dal" and they typically cook the lentils with grated ginger, a couple of garlic cloves, half and onion and some spices. Then when the lentils are soft, they puree them 75% -- immersion blender is great for this -- which creates a thick base. Fresh herbs upon serving a great. This is usually served on it's own in a bowl or over rice with a dollop of yogurt.

I love Mexican too, that was the first kind of ethnic food I learned to cook and we have that pretty regularly too. I even have a tortilla press that I use once in a while.

So what are your key spices you can't do without?

Follow my story and recipes on my blog: (love + flavor)

 current weight: 148.5 
ACORALSEA's Photo ACORALSEA Posts: 4,223
1/13/12 2:43 A

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Hi, there, Liza!

I love lentils! Something I learned years ago about cooking dried lentils is to not add salt during the cooking process because they won't cook well. So, I use broth and herbs for flavor. But, I often used organic canned lentils or lentil soup in my dishes. I learned to love lentils while living in the Middle East while in university.

My DH and I love sardines, but it's hard to find fresh sardines. The oil-packed ones are alright, though.

I love Indian food, although, sometimes, it doesn't love me, LOL! There's a fellow at work whose wife makes the most incredible rice I've ever had. Whenever we have an office potluck, we ask him if his wife would make it, yum! It's very simple, just so flavorful. Another one of my co-workers makes a sort of cardamon cookie - to die for! She keeps forgetting to bring in the recipe, but it's made of ground chickpeas and cardamon. Then, there's fried spinach - my absolute favorite.

My mom is Filipina and makes some awesome "soul food," as we call it. When I ran the food channel at iVillage, we published a book of Heirloom Recipes and my mom is in it. :)

My favorite foods include Japanese, probably because we lived there a few years when I was a kid, plus we are part Asian. I don't like sushi much, though; mainly sashimi and salads, including seaweed and sunomono (marinated cucumber), and lots of other foods you'd find served in traditional bento boxes.

My husband is Slovenian and their foods are influenced by Italy, Austria and the Balkans. Absolutely wonderful! We went to Slovenia last summer and never had a bad meal.

I live in Central Texas where TexMex is king. But, we can also get different styles of Mexican cooking that are wonderful.

It's so much more interesting to add ethnic foods to your regimen, and it's not difficult to eat healthfully, while enjoying them.

Welcome to our team and please do share your favorite recipes and food finds!

Alysia :)

"Life is like a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." Auntie Mame

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 current weight: 138.5 
1/3/12 11:40 A

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Hi, I've been a Spark member since 2007 but I have gotten off track the last couple of years and gained some of my weight back.

I love to cook and eat healthy. I write about cooking (as well as my multicultural family) on my blog and I'm particularly interested in Indian food.

Even though I eat healthy, I am trying to improve even more while staying away from artificial fat or sugar substitutes and processed foods in general.

Currently I'm interesting in adding lentils to my diet on a regular basis as well as recipes that use sardines because they are such a power packed food.

I hope to learn from all the other cooks out there and those of different ethnic backgrounds, I'd love to learn about recipes from your culture.

Follow my story and recipes on my blog: (love + flavor)

 current weight: 148.5 
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