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A Healthy You in 2017 + Tropical Smoothie Cafe Giveaway

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Detoxing Smoothie

 

Well, it’s that time again my friends. With all the festivities, cookies, champagne, hangovers, crazy weird uncles, and pie behind us (well, for a short while at least), many of us are looking to make some serious adjustments to our diet as we kickstart 2017. I, for one am pledging to drink a little less and exercise a lot more.

Also, drink more smoothies.

I just scored a shiny new Vitamix blender for Christmas so when Tropical Smoothie Cafe was nice enough to share a special recipe for their Detoxing Smoothie with me, I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’ll be upfront with you. When I looked at some of the ingredients for their Detoxing Smoothie, I was hesitant. Kale. Avocado. Ginger. Celery?

But you know what? It was delicious. The sweetness of the green apple, the brightness of the lemon, and the butteriness of the avocado really balance everything together. It’s so surprisingly good and was pleasurable to drink. And I felt like I nourished my body with some pretty awesome things, too.

2017 will be only as good as we make it. Let’s focus on how we can make impacts– with other people, with ourselves. Health and fitness have played an important role in my life over the past several years, much of which has granted me happiness, physical strength, and confidence, just to name a few. Making a conscious effort to feed my body nutritious food has made a huge improvement in my overall health.

 

So with that in mind, and working towards shaping new and positive impacts on others, I’m giving away 2 – $25 gift cards to Tropical Smoothie Cafe*.

To enter this contest, share how you will work to better your health this year in the comments below. To increase your chance of winning, tweet this post and mention me @wokinglunges. Good luck!

*Contest open to U.S. residents only. Contest dates run from January 3 – January 5, 2017 11:59 pm EST. I will announce the winner on January 6, 2017. 

 

In the meantime, check out Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s newest line-up of smoothies:

Detox Island Green– spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, banana and fresh ginger

Chia Blueberry Max– roasted banana, chia seeds, blueberries, peanut butter, almonds, dates, coconut, cinnamon, whole grain oats and whey protein

Health Nut– blueberries, mango, banana, almonds and your choice of protein

Immune Blast– banana, orange, apple, and orange juice

 

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe 2017 Promo

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe's Detoxing Smoothie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 green apple, chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup kale, ribs removed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 1/2 cups ice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients into a blender and give it a whir until smooth and bright green.

 

// More healthy treats: 

 

 

 

David - year I have decided to cut soda from my diet entirely. I also live close enough to work that I should walk when the weather allows it, and I plan to take advantage of that.

Jordan D. - I’m trying to work towards reducing my intake of processed/packaged foods by snacking less and doing more weekend meal prep in my crockpot. Another goal I have is to get better at drinking water! I downloaded a water tracking app on my phone to help me reach my goals! I’d love to win this giveaway, thanks for the chance 🙂

Jennai - I have already begun with aqua aerobics classes. I also plan to drink more water and walk a lot more!

k9maiz@hotmail.com - I have always had trouble following through on good faith efforts concerning diet and exercise. I developed horrible eating habits at a very early age as a result of medication side effects that went unchecked and emotional trauma. I stopped lifting weights regularly in my early twenties and have sporadically lifted every couple years since. I’ve had a solid knowledge base on exercise and nutrition most of my life and over the years the science innovations of both have supplemented and revised that base, but my motivation and willingness to commit to changing my lifestyle has continually faltered.

This year I have hope in making the change and social media has a lot to do with the steps I’ve taken. Inspiration and access to instructionals online are kick-starting my year, but again seeing others on Twitter and Instagram are invaluable. I’ve started using kettle-bells for weight training, I’ve shied away from barbells because of certain hand injuries and the kettle-bells offer more versatility. I’m cutting soda/diet soda out again, especially after the Diet Coke Holiday Binge of 2016. Sugar is horrible and I significantly cut back in 2016, but it creeps back into the diet too easily because it is in EVERYTHING. Read the labels, stay vigilant! I love raw veggies, so incorporating them along with using more greens is ideal. I also believe that preparing more meals in advance is necessary for my personal success.

Whatever your goals are for the new year I wish you good luck and happy health. Damn good recipes on this blog, can’t wait for the cookbook!

Judith - i will go to the gym more often

Amie martin - This year I’m planning to focus more on strength training and diet. I’ve been slacking in these two areas and it’s high time I did something about it!!

Chris - I will stop eating my wifes ice cream after she goes to sleep in 2017

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina

 

For me, food and family are intrinsically connected. Many of my most vivid memories as a child revolve around, you guessed it, eating. Born and raised in Peru, I really had no choice at all but to fall in love with food. Cooking and sharing meals with family and friends is central to our culture, and perhaps a reason why food blogging is a natural extension of myself. I may also just be extremely biased and think Peruvian food is the best ever and want you to eat a lot of it all the time forever. I am out of control.

I mentioned sharing. This potato salad you definitely need to share. I mean, look at it, it’s huge. Hey! Here’s another fun fact about Peruvians: we don’t know how to make only a little bit of something, only a whole lot of something, plus more just in case. Modesty is not in our nomenclature.

Papa a la huancaina is a cold potato salad often served as an appetizer or first course at parties. The potatoes are first boiled, peeled, and then sliced before being scattered over fresh lettuce leaves and doused with glorious, spicy, aji amarillo cream sauce. Hard-boiled eggs are cut into quarters and black olives are sliced in half before getting strewn on top. Papa a la huancaina is a delight to eat– it’s unbelievably creamy from the tenuity of the potatoes and the richness of the egg yolks; every bite yields readily in your mouth.

 

 

Papa a la Huancaina

 

Papa a la Huancaina

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 7 hard-boiled eggs, separated
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 aji amarillo peppers (2 seeded, 1 whole)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 8 red-skinned potatoes, boiled, peeled, cut into 3/4" slices
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Black olives, halved

Instructions

  1. Set a small frypan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the yellow onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Let cool cool slightly.
  2. In a blender, add the onion and garlic mixture, queso fresco, 1 hard-boiled egg, 3/4 teaspoons salt, aji amarillo peppers, and evaporated milk. Puree until absolutely smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Taste for seasonings.
  3. To serve, arrange iceberg lettuce on bottom of platter. Scatter sliced potatoes over the lettuce and pour huancaina sauce all over. Dot with sliced hard-boiled eggs and black olives. Enjoy!

Notes

This is a little on the spicy side. If you'd prefer, you can leave out the seeds from the aji amarillo when you blend it up. Give it a taste and if you want to make it spicier, add some of the seeds in at that point and give it another whir. This way, you can adjust to your palate.

Aji amarillo peppers can be found at Latin American markets. I like to use the whole, frozen kind. You can also use whole, jarred or jarred in paste form. If you're using aji amarillo in paste form, use about 2 tablespoons for this sauce.

 

Papa a la Huancaina

 

// More Peruvian foodstuffs: 

 

 

 

Sticky Banana Pudding Cake with Maple-Bourbon Syrup and Bourbon-Soaked Cherries

Sticky banana pudding cake with maple-bourbon syrup and bourbon-soaked cherries

 

There comes a time in life where you have to accept the fact that you are an adult and need to make adult decisions. Case in point: embracing the decision to drink (and like!) bourbon. With the guidance of bourbon-aficionado friends, I gradually adopted the taste for it. It was a deliberate process– initially, adding water and ice to the bourbon to mellow it out, and then decreasing the amounts each time I imbibed until I became accustomed, and appreciated, the flavor of the bourbon itself. Tasting different varieties of bourbon and figuring out which ones I preferred was an adventure in and of itself (and continues to be!) during my introductory phase. I very quickly learned that I favored a dry, spicy bourbon as opposed to a sweeter one. I can now say in earnest that I love drinking bourbon and always have it stocked in my bar. Being an adult isn’t so bad after all.

 

 

Sticky banana pudding cake with maple-bourbon syrup and bourbon-soaked cherries

 

Now that I’ve thoroughly divulged my regard for bourbon, it should come as no shock that I make a cake with it. This banana pudding cake is sticky. It’s luscious and sinful. The banana cake itself is delicious and custard-like but melts in your mouth. The real showstopper here is the maple-bourbon syrup that awaits you at the bottom. Warm and gooey, this pooled and drizzled over the cake is complete rapture. Serve it with ice cream (butter pecan, here) and powdered sugar and you’ll be one very happy adult.

 

 

Sticky banana pudding cake with maple-bourbon syrup and bourbon-soaked cherries

 

Sticky Banana Pudding Cake with Maple-Bourbon Syrup and Bourbon-Soaked Cherries

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons kerrygold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup good maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 8 bourbon-soaked cherries, stemmed and halved
  • butter pecan or vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • powdered sugar, for serving

Instructions

  1. preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. in a 2 1/2 quart baking dish, melt the butter in the microwave. add the sugar and mashed banana; whisk to combine. whisk in the egg and milk.
  3. in a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt; add flour mixture to the baking dish in batches, whisking to combine batter.
  4. in a glass measuring cup, heat the maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup hot water in the microwave until hot, about 1 minute. pour in the bourbon. drizzle this syrupy mixture over the batter. do not stir, most of it will sink to the bottom. scatter the bourbon-soaked cherries over the top.
  5. set the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until the top is golden; the middle will still jiggle like it’s not cooked but will set as it cools. wait at least 10 minutes before serving with ice cream and powdered sugar on top.

Notes

adapted from food & wine’s, maple-bourbon banana pudding cake

 

// Other ooey gooey syrupy sweet things:

 

 

 

 

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina

 

If the short ribs I posted earlier this week elicit romance, opulence, and proper decorum, then ají de gallina resides on the opposite spectrum for when I eat this, I want nothing more than to cozy up in my favorite, most slouchiest pajama bottoms and go at this with a ravenous, no-holds-bar hunger that I’m certain is terribly unattractive, disheveled and wide-eyed as I appear. I have my reasons for looking so savage, I can assure you.

*growls, hunkering down over my plate*

Oh, how can I explain this to you. Ají de gallina to Peruvians is like macaroni and cheese to Americans. It is the ultimate in home-cooked, ooey, gooey, cheesy, slop-it-on-my-plate-and-just-let-me-eat-it-now comfort food. You don’t mull over this. You inhale it.

Ají de gallina is a creamy, spicy, chicken stew. Or, as the child of one of my clients’ so aptly calls it: chicken goop. She is not wrong. The chicken, once shredded, is left to simmer in the peppery ají amarillo sauce until thickened. Ladled over white rice, it is a mound of gooey chickenstuff. But, as with many things, this is so much more than it appears.

The suppleness from the rotisserie chicken with the etherealness of the creamy, piquant sauce intertwine so harmoniously together the mouthfeel is something I find tremendously pleasing. The blanket of rice offers a nice toothsome quality to each bite, and the egg delivers an extra dose of heavenly awesomeness.

As I write this, I am overjoyed at the promise of eating this for dinner. And I can say with total confidence that I will wake up tomorrow morning, brighter-eyed and more bushier-tailed than normal because I’ll know what awaits me for breakfast. No, I don’t play by the rules.

 

 

Aji de Gallina

 

Aji de Gallina

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie or roasted chicken, skinned and shredded; juices reserved
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons good butter, like kerrygold
  • 1 large yellow onion (use regular, not sweet), chopped
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 ají amarillo peppers; 2 seeded, 1 whole with seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 5 slices white sandwich bread, crust removed and torn into little pieces
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (made with reserved juices + a good chicken stock base, like better than bouillon)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • steamed white rice, to serve
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, quartered, to serve

Instructions

  1. set a medium frypan on the stove and turn up the heat to medium-high. to this, add the canola oil, butter, onion, garlic, ají amarillo, salt, and pepper. cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and everything smells unbelievably fragrant; about 7 minutes. let cool for a few minutes.
  2. toss the walnuts into a blender. add in the onion and ají amarillo mixture, the torn bread pieces, and then pour the chicken stock over the bread to absorb. blend this until totally smooth.
  3. pour this lovely, intoxicating sauce to a large saucepot and add the evaporated milk. turn on the heat to medium-low and let this come to a slight simmer. mix in the parmesan cheese. tumble in the shredded chicken and let everything thicken slightly; just a few minutes.
  4. serve this over white rice and top with sliced, hard-boiled eggs. enjoy, amigos. this is the ultimate in peruvian comfort food.

Notes

ají amarillo peppers can be found in latin american grocery stores– i favor using the bagged, frozen kind, but if you can’t find those, try using the ones found whole and jarred; just rinse them before using. if you use aji amarillo paste, add two tablespoons to this sauce. these peppers aren’t super spicy so i like to use at least the seeds of one whole ají, but if you’d rather not use seeds at all that is an option, too. i also can’t stress enough the importance of using the juice from the rotisserie chicken– there is so much flavor there it would be blasphemy not to.

 

 

// More Peruvian comfort food type things

 

 

 

 

 

 

Braised Short Ribs with Chile and Coconut + Creamy Polenta

Braised Short Ribs with Chile and Coconut + Creamy Polenta

 

If you asked me what the perfect, most-romantic, make-my-heart-go-aflutter meal looks like, it would be this. Sumptuous short ribs, braised for hours in a coconut and chile infused sauce and perched atop a blanket of soft polenta is exactly what my mouth craves on cold, winter evenings. Paired with a bold, full-bodied glass of red wine it is absolute perfection.

This is seduction on a plate. I’ve oftentimes made this just for myself to enjoy for several days but it’s even better shared with someone you love. Turn on some sexy music, dim the lights, and celebrate life. Savor every morsel.

 

Chile and Coconut-Braised Short Ribs + Creamy Polenta

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

    for the short ribs:
  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, beef short ribs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder (i love to use new mexico chile powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, deveined and deseeded, if desired, and minced (i like to keep about half the seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 – 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • zest and juice of 2 limes
  • fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
    for the polenta:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup medium-grain polenta (i love bob’s red mill)
  • 2 tablespoons good butter, like kerrygold
  • 8 ounces neufchatel cheese, room temperature

Instructions

    for the short ribs:
  1. preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. season the beef with the salt, chili powder, and black pepper. in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. add the beef and cook until browned on both sides, about 4-6 minutes; you may need to do this in two batches. add the garlic, jalapenos, ginger, shallot, and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until everything is intoxicatingly fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. pour in the coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and 1/2 cup water; stir. bring liquid to a simmer, then cover and transfer the pot to the oven. cook the meat for an hour and then turn the meat over. continue to cook for another 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender and begins to just fall off the bone. serve over creamy polenta and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. devour with large glass of full-bodied red wine.
    for the polenta:
  1. in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the water and salt. let this come to a boil and slowly add the polenta, stirring. drop in the butter. stir and lower the heat to a simmer. let this cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. turn off the heat and tumble in the neufchatel cheese; stir into the polenta. taste for seasonings. serve hot!

Notes

short ribs adapted from melissa clark’s recipe in her cookbook: cook this now

polenta adapted from elise bauer at simply recipes

in her original recipe, melissa clark uses boneless beef short ribs. i’ve made this using both the boneless and bone-in variety. while they both yield delicious results, i always lean towards bone-in because i love the presentation as well as the boosted flavor and viscosity the bones provide for the sauce. if you opt to use boneless, you need only use 2 pounds of beef short ribs rather than the 3 1/2 pounds i have listed.

// Other cozy-up, wintery things

 

 

 

 

sig3