charles phan and a chocolate fix

i spent the entire week last week eating like an herbivore (with the exception of the weekend). i find the weekends to be the hardest. especially if you are out with friends and visiting new places. when i am eating well i feel great, light, my skin feels softer, i’m in a better mood (seriously, my mood changes – ask darren). but it’s tough completely committing. i’m not perfect. and if you put a slab of burrata in front of me and take me to a restaurant that offers me lobster ravioli in a creamy tomato sauce, i’m most likely going to kick the diet. baby steps, right?

a friend of mine found this recipe and brought it to me in an attempt to ease my restrictions. it is a promotion for charles phan’s new and unreleased cookbook, vietnamese home cooking. the recipe includes fish sauce, which i used a few substitutes for, but it was absolutely incredible. as is all of phan’s creations. complex in asian vietnamese flavors and spices, it is an easy way to turn seasonal vegetables into homemade take out.

broccoli with beech mushrooms and roasted chile paste adapted from vietnamese home cooking

3 cups broccoli florets

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1-2 tablespoons roasted chile paste

1/2 cup beech mushrooms

2 tablespoons rice wine

2 tablespoons chicken stock or water

1 tablespoon fish sauce

quinoa for 4

**for vegan i substituted toasted sesame oil for the canola oil, water for chicken stock, and soy sauce for the fish sauce**

1. begin cooking quinoa.

2. bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. add the broccoli and cook until ‘crisp-tender’ or about 4 minutes. rinse with cold water and set aside.

3. heat a frying pan or wok over high heat until very hot. add the oil, garlic, chile paste, and mushrooms; toss well to coat and let cook about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

4. add the broccoli and toss well. add the rice wine, chicken stock/water, and fish sauce/soy and cook. stir until the liquid has reduced by half, about 6 minutes.

5. serve immediately with quinoa.

another hurdle that i crossed last week was part of the wonderful wonders of being a woman. i wanted chocolate. buttery, sweet, creamy ice cream or cake or cookies. anything. one day i made kettle corn which just didn’t satisfy the craving. my mom recommended eating potatoes – sweet potatoes or little red potatoes with flaky sea salt – she said that helps her. then it hit me. i opened up my can of hershey’s cocoa, ingredients: cocoa. no milk. i remember when i was a kid my mom used to mix a little bit of cinnamon with some sugar and sprinkle it over buttered toast for me.

i toasted a piece of whole wheat bread, slathered some almond butter over it, and DRENCHED it in two parts sugar one part cocoa. tada. see? trying new things can bring out the creativity in you. delicious treat even if you aren’t trying to eat like a brachiosaurus.

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