side dish

I was determined to finish Louie’s garden veggies before B and I left for our fourth of July Croghan trip. So I popped my head into the fridge and voila! Broccoli!

This is another healthy eat for those who are always on the run, and again, this was one of my non-thinking Manila recipes. The slight acerbic taste and the broccoli’s vivid green refreshes and awakens one’s senses after a stressful day of toiling.

This recipe serves one.

1 cup of broccoli
5 cloves of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of shredded low fat cheese

Pour the olive oil into a pan. Add the garlic and saute until it’s light brown. Toss in the broccoli and watch it turn a vivid green! Saute for two to three minutes, then transfer the dish to a bowl. Sprinkle the cheese on top and there you have it. A low calorie meal which you can eat guilt-free as you plop down in front of the TV.

Healthy Eats Facts:
Broccoli – associated with cancer prevention
Garlic – contributes to cardiovascular health
Olive oil – contributes to cardiovascular health and cancer prevention
Low fat cheese – prevents colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraines and PMS

The World’s Healthiest Foods

Asiago bread draws me back to B’s kitchen. Home.

A few weeks before we devoured Louie’s culinary treat, I found these in B’s kitchen–

Under the kitchen sink: apparently, vanilla extract in a bottle. I thought it was wood or some kind of science experiment.

Cupboards and a fridge full of expired food

I thought it was E.T. but B told me that it was a Chia pet, a sculpture where you can plant seeds that grow into Chia pet fur.

It took me a week of throwing, washing, scrubbing kitchen drawers and tossing off the deplorable moss-colored tablecloth, which we eventually used as a beach blanket. B and I also made food lists and explored several groceries around the area. Soon the fridge was filled with strawberries, salmon and organic yoghurt. (I wish I had photos!)

One day we cooked Cod Fish Chowder and paired it with–

Louie's Asiago bread!

The mouthwatering saltiness, the rough texture that grazed our tongues, the thick density of the flour we sank our teeth into all made for a delectable side dish, which eventually became our main dish as we kept submerging the Asiago into a pool of olive oil, balsamic and sharp cheddar cheese.

Louie was kind enough to share his recipe with us which I will pass on below. Thank you for the Asiago bread, Louie! But more than that, thank you for the love.

As for the Chia pet, by the time I left Cortland, it’s fur was one inch long in places where the seeds didn’t rot. (I wish I had photos!)


Artisan Mediterranean Loaf. I make this once a month or so, and I don’t really have an ‘exact’ recipe, but this is kinda the basic recipe and close to the one I made for you guys. But I may have used a full cup of Greek in yours, instead of 50/50 on olives.

2 cups warm water
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olive
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped oil cured Greek olives
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1 tsp sugar
1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cup cracked wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white flour

Put all the ingredients except the water into a bowl and dry mix until well blended. Add water and mix well and it will be a wet stiff dough. Put in the fridge, covered, but not sealed, overnight. The dough should double or triple in volume.

Next morning, preheat the oven to 450F for at least 20 minutes. Put the broiler pan on the bottom, and the pizza stone on center shelf.

Dump the dough on a floured counter and remember that it will be VERY sticky. Cloak the dough (don’t knead the dough) stretch it a little and fold it in on itself, like a letter. Rotate 90 degrees and stretch and fold a second time.

Cut the dough in half and form two round loaves and slit the tops. Put on floured pizza peal and let it rise for 1 hour. Get 1/2 cup water ready….and QUICKLY …open the oven door, throw water into the bottom broiler pan, slide loaves from peal onto stone, and close the oven door. (This is to give you that nice chewy artisan crust.)

Bake for about 30 minutes. (Nice brown crust, hollow sounding when thumped.)

I used to cook this often in Manila. It’s a quick low-calorie side dish which can be whipped up in twenty minutes. This dish serves 1!

1 medium size zucchini
1 medium size eggplant
1/2 white onion
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the zucchini, eggplant and onions. Coat a baking pan with olive oil. Spread the zucchini and eggplant slices on one layer. Spread the onions on the top layer. Sprinkle salt and pepper according to taste. Bake for ten minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Cool for 5 minutes. Spread the goat cheese and balsamic vinegar on top. It’s all ready to eat!

Healthy Eats Facts:
Zucchini – has anti-oxidants
Eggplant – has anti-oxidants and is considered brain food
Goat Cheese – good source of calcium, protein and amino acids

The World’s Healthiest Foods

One afternoon,  I received a phone call from B, while browsing through a magazine in the Cortland library.  “I forgot that my house keys are with you.  My dad is here, dropping off some veggies before he goes to Philadelphia.”

I was sad that I missed Louie while he was on his way up to roast a pig in Philadelphia for N’s graduation (but more on that in another entry). But I was delighted to receive–

Veggies, veggies, veggies!

Thus, the inspiration for some recipes which I will chronicle in this series.

It’s one of my dreams to own a garden where I can grow organic veggies and fruit. I know that it involves research, experimentation, hard work and well, dirt dirt dirt. But the idea of having food that’s pure and rich in nutrients satisfies my gut.

Laurie's Organic Garden -- another inspiration!

Gardens also remind me of times spent with my Dad. We used to go to White Plains in Manila to buy plants and garden tools. Our La Vista garden was his latest project and I used to help him dig. At one point in time, I helped him transplant a chili bush. I rubbed my eyes after and needed to visit a nearby clinic :-D. (I miss you, Dad! I wish we had photos!)

Which brings me to the lemon or what is more commonly known as the summer squash.

It was my first time to see a lemon squash so I wasn’t sure what it tasted like and how to prepare it. I found a recipe in Food.Com that matched the ingredients we had at home. This recipe serves two.


1/2 lb peeled and diced lemon squash (no bigger than 1 square inch)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Coat a baking dish with olive oil.

In a medium-size bowl, stir the oil with maple syrup, thyme and salt. Add the squash and toss until evenly coated.

Spread out the squash on the baking dish. Scrape maple mixture from the bottom of the bowl and spread evenly over the squash.

Roast the squash, 25 to 30 minutes, uncovered, at the center of the preheated oven until tender and bottom edges are golden. To ensure a rich, dark-golden glaze on top of the squash, do not turn the squash pieces over or stir during roasting.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Ooohlala! This is one of the best recipes I cooked all summer!

Healthy Eats Facts:
Lemon Squash — rich in antioxidants
Maple Syrup — good for the heart and immune system

The World’s Healthiest Foods