Last year I had my first ever foray into latke making. Not sure how I’ve gone my whole culinary life without making them. It’s a travesty, I know. But luckily it has been remedied.
In typical HCQ fashion I needed to test the crap out of the recipe. When I make something new I need to get inside the recipe. Try a whole bunch of different swaps and really put on my scientist hat to understand how and why the recipe works. Then I can intuit my way through it and make upgrades as I see fit.
This time started on the traditional route, using my grandmother’s recipe which comes straight from the Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook, then went rogue by adding in some sweet potato. Both efforts were pretty darn good, if I do say so myself, and I fully intend to keep testing the recipe with other add-ins such as parsnip and celery root. But in this culinary adventure the real standout stars were the accoutrements.
I’m an accessories girl. If latkes are jeans and a t-shirt, I threw down some serious statement jewelry with my sauces… Here’s what happened
(the options look limitless! That beautiful latke is like a blank canvas just waiting to get sauced!)
Homemade Chunky Apple & Pear Sauce
This one is seriously heaven. It would be amazing with pork chops, in some yogurt or just on its own as an awesome autumn snack. Try it. People WILL fall in love with you if you feed them this apple (& pear) sauce. Promise.
2 apples (pink lady or honey crisp)
1 pear (anjou or bartlett)
1 cup organic apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a few sprinkles of freshly ground nutmeg (it’s gotta be fresh!)
Peel, core and dice the apples and pears as finely as you can. Put them in a pan with apple cider over medium-high heat.
Stir occasionally as the cider boils. The apples and pears will begin to break down after about 810 minutes. Help that process along by using a potato masher. Just go in there and give them a nice smash every couple of minutes.
After about 10-15 minutes (depending on how small you cut your pieces) you will see that the apples and pears are starting to break down into mush. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Give it a stir and continue to cook, mashing occasionally until you have a nice, yet smooth chunky texture.
Maple Cinnamon Cream
This one is heavenly when paired with the Apple (& Pear) Sauce. It’s also a fab dessert on its own. If you’re someone who loves that sour cream texture with your latkes but would rather keep it sweet than savory, this is your jammm.
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Put everything into a bowl and mix well. Garnish with a little extra dash of cinnamon.
Lemon Dill Yogurt
This one is kind of like raita minus the cucumber. Super light and refreshing. It’s great for cutting through the fat of the latkes. The sheep’s milk yogurt adds a little something extra, plus it tends to be easier to digest than regular cow’s milk yogurt (for anyone out there with dairy sensitivity)
I’ve found that some of the most delicious food is often the simplest. This easy and elegant fish recipe hardly has anything to it – the only thing you need is some super fresh wild caught fish. From there, it’s about observing your each filet as it cooks in order to bring it to prepare it perfectly.
If time is your issue, put your excuses away sister because this whole meal takes no more than 10-minutes of preparation and it tastes like a $30 dish from a fancy NYC restaurant.
Don’t sweat if your fish is slightly over or under cooked the first time you make it. It will be better the second time. Promise. That’s how you learn to cook. It’s all about trial and error.
Just making the effort to put a homemade meal on the table is an incredible act of self care.
And love, well, that’s always delicious.
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Time: 10 minutes
2 filets of Wild Caught Chilean Sea Bass
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a lemon or lime (optional)
Take your fish out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, even if it’s just out for a few minutes, that’s great.
Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat with 1-2 tablespoons on extra virgin olive oil. The amount that you use depends on the size of your skillet since the oil will spread out. If you’re using a smaller pan, you can use less oil. Larger pan, more oil.
Generously salt the fish on both sides, but of course you want more on the non-skin side.
When the oil is hot, but not smoking put in the fish, skin side up. Allow it to cook for about 3-6 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish.
Just be very aware. Watch as the color changes. It will go from cloudy to solid. When it is 90% cooked through, flip it over and cook the skin side for 1-2 minutes.
I love the skin, there are so many good fats in there but if it’s soggy, it doesn’t takes so good, so you want to cook it just a bit.
At the end, squeeze 1/2 a lemon or lime over both filets. Best served immediately.
We recommend pairing this with a simple salad like THIS ONE or a great veggie dish like THESE.
For a very long time my struggles with emotional eating seemed to take over my life.
I developed so much anxiety over each and every thing I ate, meals lost any sort of excitement or comfort. Anything labeled hearty, or filling, evoked a certain amount of fear.
I was so petrified of gaining weight, that I kept my meals light as can be. The problem was I never fully enjoyed them, and because of this I would find myself with my hand in the cookie jar, later that night, or polishing off a carton of ice cream, feeling full of guilt and disappointment.
When I started to tackle my emotional eating head on by doing things such as adding more fun in my life, dealing with my actual emotions, and rebuilding my body image; food became fun again.
Suddenly I looked forward to cooking with vibrant flavors, experimenting with new ingredients, and even putting together the hearty, filling meals I had once placed off limits.
This chili is perfect for a colder night, when you’re craving some comfort. It is full of flavor and loaded with vegetables, so on top of being delicious, it is also packed with vitamins and nutrients. Plus it will leave you full enough that you won’t feel the need to polish off that carton of ice cream after dinner.
It’s spicy with a hint of sweet from the pumpkin, but feel free to play around with the spices and pumpkin to adjust it to your liking. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Turkey Chili
Time: 30 minutes
▪ 1 lb lean ground turkey
▪ 1 red bell pepper, diced
▪ 3 celery stalks, diced
▪ 1/2 cup carrots, diced
▪ 1 small zucchini, diced
▪ 3/4 cup pumpkin
▪ 28 oz diced tomatoes
▪ 28 oz crushed tomatoes
▪ 1 cup vegetable broth
▪ 1 can white beans
▪ 2 tbs. coconut oil
▪ 1 tbs. paprika
▪ 1 tbs. chili powder
▪ 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
▪ Sea salt & pepper, to taste
Heat a saucepan with coconut oil. When it starts to sizzle add in the turkey and cook until it starts to brown.Add in 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth along with the carrots, celery, and bell pepper and continue to sauté until translucent.Add in the diced zucchini and sauté 1-2 minutes longer.Pour in the diced and crushed tomatoes, as well as the pumpkin and let simmer 1-2 minutes.Sprinkle in the spices and add the remaining vegetable broth if needed.
Lastly pour in the rinsed and drained beans. Simmer on low 10 minutes.
Our friend Nathan Agin has been living out of a backpack for the last three years, has never been healthier, and is now launching the show Travel. Eat. Thrive. We’re pretty impressed too and knew we had to share his story with the HCC community.
What’s it all about? Here’s the 40-second version…
HCC: You’ve been a nomad for 1000 days and counting… What sparked your decision to go on the road?
NA: It was May 2010. I had just come back to Los Angeles after a three-month acting gig in Seattle at the Intiman Theatre. Despite being in the best year of my career (stand-up, Super Bowl commercial, regional theatre), I discovered that, after 10 years, I wasn’t passionate about acting any more.
So it became a question: “what DO I want to do?” And then: “if I’m not tied to LA (because of acting), where would I like to go?” At first I just thought of moving to San Francisco (love that city!), but then I wondered if I could recreate my Seattle experience in other places, stopping in for three months at a time and getting comfortable.
As anyone who travels can attest, the bug bit hard and once I actually hit the road, I found myself wanting to visit more and more places. Nearly three years later, I still have a deep love for traveling, meeting new people, and encountering new ideas.
HCC: We love to ask people “what do you eat?!?” so tell us, what does a typical food day look like for you?
NA: As soon as I wake up, I go for a 1-2 large glasses of water with lemon (and honey/cayenne pepper if available) to rehydrate my body and to jumpstart my digestive organs.
After an hour of creative work, 20-30 minutes of exercise, and 30 minutes of meditation, I’ll fix myself a green smoothie: typically water, banana, spinach, celery or cucumber, ginger, and perhaps some frozen berries. Watch my “Green Smoothie in 3 Easy Steps” video here.
Lunch is a GIANT salad, with many or all of the following: spinach, kale, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, onion, bell peppers, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and avocado. For dressing: lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.
Dinner is typically lots of vegetables and herbs (such as zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, garlic, cauliflower, cilantro—either steamed or sautéed), and perhaps wild-caught salmon or free-range chicken. I also love sweet potatoes every now and then.
Snacks might be fresh fruit (apples, grapefruit), nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans), and nut butters (almond, cashew, or sunflower).
NA: Being healthy and eating healthy is a very personal decision. Of course we all know that eating real food and exercising *is* healthy, but in terms of what specifically to eat (and proportions) and what exercise to do, NOBODY can tell me or you the “best” or “right” way—it’s absolutely about experimenting and listening to your body! Do what you enjoy, what feels right, and what delivers the results you want.
To me, being healthy means having an abundance of energy, being able to do physically what I want, having a positive mindset, and feeling focused, clear, and engaged with life!
HCC: What is the show Travel. Eat. Thrive. about? And how does it help people with cooking at home?
NA: The show is designed to share restaurants around the world serving nutritious and delicious food, and then—how you can make those same meals at home! We connect with someone locally—someone who wants to eat healthier—taking that person out to different restaurants, and then to have him or her decide what meal to recreate in the kitchen at home.
I’ve found that many people I’ve stayed with have often been fascinated with how to make a green smoothie or why a plate of vegetables tastes so good. As someone who was horrible in the kitchen, it’s been fun for me to discover how EASY making tasty and good-for-you food can be—and then sharing these recipes with others.
The vision is to bring this out to a wider audience all while still creating a personal connection. There are lots of ideas of how to engage and include the audience (something I think many current food and travel shows are missing)—from viewers directly contributing content to creating worldwide communities around food.
HCC: What is your best advice to people for how to stay healthy when they are traveling?
NA: Usually when you’re on the road, it’s not about dramatically improving your health or training for a triathlon; you just want to focus on what will help you maintain, sustain, energize, and inspire.
I like to say that you need to remember to pack two things: Commitment and Flexibility. Commitment is your pledge to yourself in terms of what you do everyday to hit the four words above; these are more general terms, like exercise, meditation, nutrition, gratitude, etc. Flexibility refers to *how* you can practice your commitment—you might only be able to squeeze in 10 minutes of yoga (instead of your usual 90) or maybe you can find a couple pieces of fruit for breakfast instead of a green smoothie.
The fact is you are doing something—which is WAY better than nothing, and you’re keeping up your routine, rather than letting it all slide, feeling guilty, and depressed (which can add to the stress you might already be experiencing from being in a different place).
Do whatever you can to keep yourself grounded and connected to your regular way of life—these habits will absolutely help you feel more present and energized during your travels.
Quick Fire Time…
Favorite meal to eat? Salad – so many variations, and I feel great afterward.
Favorite meal to prepare?Broccoli, Avocado, Mango salad. Creamy, sweet, and delicious, and I love sharing this one!
Favorite restaurant? I have favorites in many cities—I always love hitting up Café Gratitude (in LA and the Bay Area)
Favorite city? Again, lots of faves. Hawaii ruined me on cities (why so much concrete?!), but I quite enjoy the PacNW trio: Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver (BC)
Favorite daily practice? Meditation. Hands down. Game-changer and life-saver. Haven’t missed a day in over 3 years, and don’t plan on missing one—ever.
Favorite farmer’s market? Sounding like a broken record: again, SO many to choose from; Santa Fe has a really great market surrounded by lots of arts and culture—can’t wait to re-visit that one!
If this kind of info is up your alley, we invite you to check out Nathan’s new show Travel. Eat. Thrive.—where he takes you to restaurants around the world serving nutritious and delicious food, and then shows you how you can make those same meals at home!
Our sister-friend Nitika Chopra was born for TV and this year her dream came true when she became the host of a new talk show, Naturally Beautifulon Veria Living TV. Naturally Beautiful is all about showing you how you can naturally achieve the beauty that is right for you!
We were honored to be guests, not just once, but TWICE (we’ll be sure to share those clips as soon as they air)! We had a blast and can’t wait to dish on the recipes we made.
On this episode of HCC TV we talked to Nitika about what she eats to stay so vibrant and, ahem, Naturally Beautiful. She also shares her top three kitchen staples that double as natural beauty treatments.
And be sure to watch until the end to see how all three of us get our lustrous hair
To celebrate the launch of Naturally Beautiful we are having a big bash in NYC on September 24th!
It’s going to be super fun. Come hang out with us, eat some gluten free snacks and mingle with like-minded wellness women.