Monday, January 5, 2015

My New Year Resolution and Roasted Cauliflower Salad


Disclaimer: This post is more about my rumbling than food.     

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2015 is what you expect it to be and much more. I love beginning of New Year. It metaphorically gives us a time window to ask ourselves arguably one of the most fundamental questions, “What do I want out of this life, and what are the short-term milestones to arrive at the final destination?” I might have just sounded quite dramatic, but I truly enjoy the New Year atmosphere filled with revived hopes and dreams. This year I only have one overall goal to feel healthier.

I am not talking about just losing weight or having that Hollywood-approved six-pack abs, but about feeling full-of-life, and focused. I am talking about balanced meals, regular exercise, and relearning to love occasional indulgences just like a kid would enjoy his/her favorite ice-cream without any sense of guilt. I am challenging myself to break free from the spider web of numbers (whether they are school grades, body fat percent, and social media popularity), and redirecting my energy to the overall well being of my family, friends, community and myself. That means genuinely trying, in any capacity as I can, to give back to those around me. Since we are all connected in at least in a way, I believe that if we want to feel healthier, and happier, we have to help our community feel the same way.

However, there is a perquisite to this yearlong goal, as a celebrity drag queen RuPaul has once eloquently stated, “If you cannot love yourself, how the hell you are gonna love somebody else?” Let’s just all admit that we all are insecure about some aspects of our body (Why this is the case is another topic). 2014 has taught me that trying to hide or fix those “blemishes” is both futile and disastrous for aim to feel healthier. Despite many wrong turns, I was finally able to see that our inherent values to the society we live in are more than our physical appeal. But, knowledge does not always translate into action without sufficient proactive effort. Thus, I will strive so that by the end of 2015, I will grew to accept and appreciate my “imperfections”, or as I like to call them “natural variations”, that I am endowed with. The first step to any improvement is admitting that we have problems. So here it goes. I am not a big fan of my round face, and the fact that some forty-year olds seem to have thicker hair than I do. I have an autoimmune disease called psoriasis and am constantly bothered by my flaky scalp. I am also still hanged up on the fact that I was never born with the ability to teleport. Nightcrawler..how jealous I am of you. Well, this is all for now. But, I do have my very first healthy recipe, cauliflower salad, and a great community project that I have wanted to implement. They are briefly described as below. If you live in the Orange County, CA and would like to get involved feel free to contact at sthein@uci.edu. Again, I hope you guys Happy New Year.




Cauliflower salad

1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
3 cups of chopped cilantro
Juice of two limes and their zest
1 cup of finely minced shallots (or adjust according to your preference)
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 cup of dry shrimp powder
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of roasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste


Directions
Cut the cauliflowers into mini florets.
In a bowl, thoroughly coat the cauliflower florets with olive oil, garlic powder and a dash of salt and pepper.
Lay the florets flat in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degree for about 25-30 minutes.
In the mean time, prep the shallots, cilantro and garlic.
When the florets are done but still hot, place them in the serving bowl and put the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Let the flavors develop for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Garnish with roasted black sesame seeds for color.


Community Project

Name: Lime and Cilantro

Whether you consider yourself as a food fanatic or not, there is no denying that there is nostalgic values attached to certain food you grew up with. It is almost divine-like experience when we are able to re-walk certain memory lanes merely through our taste buds. I am both physically and mentally blessed enough to be able to cook for myself. But, many elderly people, especially those in programmed retired homes, were not able to enjoy food they used to enjoy.  I want to help them re-live part of their life and culture by cooking each individual his/her favorite childhood dish. I am convinced that it will be a both rewarding and educational experience. Some brainstorming is already in progress, but if you live nearby and would like to contribute to the project, I would be more than delighted to hear from you. You can reach me at sthein@uci.edu.

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