Tuesday, March 17, 2009


It's always astonishes me when I come across an unbalanced home cooked meal. The most likely guilty party is my boyfriend whose emphasis on proteins and carbs are meant for those with extremely hearty appetites and those who care little for nutritional content. Vitamins, people!

Tara Parker-Pope covers this issue today in the New York Times

It might not come as a surprise that I'm the innovative type of home cook. Someone who definitely has a bent towards healthy foods, but is curious and enjoys food of all cuisines.

I've mentioned it before on my blog, but the Thais really do have it right. A traditional home cooked meal in my family prepared by the loving hands of mom usually includes rice, a clear soup with vegetables and maybe an odd fish ball or two, a stir fry with the minimum amount of oil comprised of small slices of meat and vegetables AND another vegetable side dish.

You might notice that that means that there is very little dairy, cream, cheese or meat in an Asian meal, and you would be right.

While I hold this meal structure as my standard, it's often hard for me to always muster up the energy for a complete vegetable side dish. I think, though, it's a habit one needs to form. In a quick fix, having some frozen green beans, spinach, or peas, is a good way to round out a meal (with some salt and a little butter). Thais in Thailand often buy a few of their dishes at the market, but I think they're often prepared more healthily than a lot of pre-prepared foods in the American and European marketplace.

What are your favorite vegetable side dishes? My latest discovery from Croatia is sauteed Swiss chard with tons of garlic over potatoes.

Swiss Chard over Potatoes

4 medium steamed or boiled and peeled potatoes in large dice
1 bunch chopped Swiss Chard
4 cloves of garlic minced
olive oil or butter

Chop the Swiss chard into small squares. Over medium-high heat, melt butter or add olive oil, sautee garlic for one minute, add chopped Swiss chard until wilted, and strew over the large diced potatoes. Salt to taste.

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