Tagged R ~ Raw Recipe : Lato Seaweed Salad

lato seaweed salad

I was planning on posting this next week for Frizztext’s ‘Tagged S- Simple Seaweed Salad’ but plans changed and I decided to pass it off as Tagged R- Raw Recipe. ^^ I simply couldn’t wait to share this recipe on my blog coz it’s been such a long time since I posted one. But this one’s bound to be interesting coz it’s Rare and Refreshing

Lato (Caulerpa lentillifera) is an edible seaweed farmed in the Philippines and in Japan where it is known as umi-budō (海ぶどう) or sea grapes because of its grape-like appearance. Compared to grapes though, they’re pretty tiny and has a mild, very slightly salty taste. The best thing about this seaweed also known as ‘sea caviar’ is probably the texture; it’s robust, watery, a li’l slimy and they pop in your mouth while you eat ‘em. Fun. ^^ They are known to be a rich source of essential minerals such as iron, iodine, and calcium as well as vitamins A and C.

Lato is usually sold fresh and eaten raw. Be warned that this seaweed with its delicate structure tends to wilt quickly. Hence, careful handling is required. Unlike most seaweeds, it’s impossible to dry and preserve the Lato. Also, cleaning it with bare hands requires effort and plenty of patience on the part of the market vendors. Nevertheless, they’re quite inexpensive. The great thing about preparing the salad is that it’s pretty easy and doesn’t take much of your time. ^^

First of course is that you have to wash the Lato well. Salted water may be used.

Then mix the seaweed with chopped onions or shallots, chopped tomatoes, and the vinaigrette of your choice. (vinegar with some salt and sugar usually works best). However, be sure to add the vinaigrette just before eating the salad unless of course you wanna end up with a dish of shriveled seaweed. lol ^^

I prefer my Lato salad with just some calamansi (a local citrus fruit) and plenty of sesame seeds. (shown above). Another dish to try if you ever find yourself in my part of the world 😉



Drop that Turkey! It’s not Thanksgiving anymore…

Seriously. Stop eating. It’s been days. I don’t know if anyone can relate with me but the -ber months are the most dreadful —- for my diet, that is. There’s family (that’s good) but when there’s fam’ly, there’s also FOOD. And once I start, it’s sooo easy to just slip back into old habits. I still got less than a month before Noche Buena (Christmas Dinner) so I’ve decided to spend MOST of that “in-between-time” eating healthy. Won’t you join me? ^^ You wouldn’t wanna waste all the hard work and discipline you’ve practiced all year round just coz of one Thanksgiving dinner — go back to your healthy routine and I promise, you’ll have so much more to be thankful for. ^^

strawberries, mangoes and pineapples on a bed of fresh lettuce and mango vinaigrette — hold the grilled chicken, i urge you ^^

Not bad huh? ^^ So grab your salad bowls and for the love of God, leave the Thanksgiving leftovers alone! It’s been days..

Recipe for mango vinaigrette here

More healthy salads/ dressing posts:
Creamy Garlic dressing
Mango and pineapples
Camote tops salad

PS. Little hypocrite that I am, I’ll be gone for my annual food-tripping this coming weekend (that’s what the countdown’s for) That’s the time of the year when boyfie turns a blind eye as I roam the city face-deep in my other lover — cakes and sweets. ^^ What did I tell ya about -ber months? ^^

Chips Substitute: Japanese Cucumber w/ Sweet Vinegar Dip

Just wanna share with you the awesome snack that I just had; you oughta try it too! You know those times when you’re watching a little TV and just wanna munch on something crunchy but feeling really torn coz you don’t want all those calories? If you just want “something to much on” then grab a well-washed Japanese cucumber (not those other types of cucumbers that just don’t taste good; save those for your eyes ^^) , cut into really thin slices, and there you go! I love dipping it in Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar with raw wild natural honey (I use 1:2 vinegar:honey ratio). 🙂 This is hardly a recipe lol. But i just wanted to share it for those who haven’t tried it yet. ^^

Japanese cucumber with sweet vinegar dip

Stir Fried Greens Recipe

What no challenge? ^^ well, time to make a post that’s not for a challenge..but come to think of it, this is kinda perfect for this weeks photo challenge. Nope, “green” entry is here.

One of the reasons why people love fast food so much is coz it’s fast –obviously. ^^ Well, here’s another one of my healthy versions of “fast food”. Another quick and easy recipe that’s perfect for days when I’m feelin’ just a little bit lazy (which is most of the time). 😉

Pak Choi is a type of cabbage and perhaps one of the most popular vegetables in the Philippines and Asia. It is quite different from other types of cabbages; the leaves are a darker green and may differ in length from 10 to 30 cm. It has a light flavor and compared to other cabbages, it is less crisp. Though it is mostly used along with other vegetables in stews and recipes with broth, many don’t seem to realize that it’s also good when eaten on its own. Pak choi contains high levels of Vitamin A and about 50 mg of Vitamin C per 4 oz. serving.

Sometimes, I eat it along with a matchbox-sized chunk of grass-fed beef and a few spoonfuls of organic brown rice. Although rice is a staple food for Filipinos, it makes you fat, you know. Gasp! That’s why I enjoy eating Stir Fried Greens on the family table while everyone else is happily munching on fried chicken and/or pork chops and heaps of fragrant white rice. >< Do I feel the temptation to reach for a chicken wing? Hell yeah, sometimes… but my cause to eat healthier often wins. Ha! Besides, it TASTES GOOD.

So I did say it’s a quick recipe and everything kinda has to happen real FAST here so make sure all the ingredients are prepared and at your side.

2 big bundles (around 350g) of washed Pak Choi
Bragg Liquid Aminos All Purpose Seasoning or soy sace
Garlic, chopped (I use 1 bulb native/organic but you may add as many/less as you want)
6 tbsp vegetable oil (I prefer extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil) – this is a lot so opt for the healthier choice
A pinch of salt ( I use sea salt)

Heat the oil in a pan/ wok. Add the garlic, stir a bit, but DON’T wait ‘til it gets brown! Immediately add the Pak Choi and stir quickly and cook up until the leaves begin to wilt. Add a pinch of salt and shake some Bragg Liquid Aminos for flavor, as desired. Remove from heat and serve while hot. Good for 1 (if it’s all you’re gonna eat) or for sharing (if eaten with rice and/or something else ^^ ) Sometimes I add less than a teaspoon of muscovado sugar while cooking when I want the “sauce” to taste sweeter. I feel silly coz everyone might already know how to cook this, it’s so simple, but whatever, just in case… ^^

*350g of pak choi – referring to estimated amount of prepared leaves w/ already trimmed stalks

PS if you’re Pinoy, you know this gulay; cousin lang sha ng pechay 😉 actually you may substitute pechay.

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing Recipe – All Organic

This cool blog posted a challenge for recipes using garlic and I got totally excited coz I love garlic. Garlic has plenty of amazing health benefits; it’s an anti-oxidant, a powerful anti-coagulant and it contains anti-cancer properties. It also lowers blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels; garlic also boosts the immune system. I read somewhere that it can also kill herpes on contact but whatever, I’m not up for the experiment. Volunteers? Anyone? Kidding. But seriously, you know that creamy garlic salad dressing that I mentioned in my first ever word press post? Well, I figured now is the perfect time to share it. I know, I know, it’s pretty simple and way too easy but whatever, it tastes great and I love it. Even people who can’t really cook (like me) can do it. But that just makes it even more fun! A lot of creamy garlic salad dressing recipes will tell you to use mayonnaise but since I learned to make my own mayo, I never went back to the commercial kind. In this recipe, we’ll actually be skipping the mayo –so it’s kinda like you made your own mayo from scratch as well.

creamy garlic dressing on a bed of fresh lettuce, topped with diced mangoes, grapes and cashew nuts

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing Recipe made as Meticulously Healthy as Possible

You’ll be needing:

– 4 eggs ( I prefer organic) – use all four egg yolks and only one of the egg whites
-olive oil ( I also use grapeseed oil)
– apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg)
– about 3 tablespoons chopped onion (you may add gradually so you can choose to put more/less depending on your preference)
– raw wild natural honey
– 3/4 teaspoon salt ( I use sea rock salt)
– less than a teaspoon of Dijon mustard (absolutely optional)
– 2 garlic cloves (you can choose to put more/less depending on how strong you want the garlicky kick to be)
*i use the organic type/native type of garlic—you know, the really small ones.. it has a stronger taste that’s why I’m ok with such a small amount

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Seriously. That easy.

Measurements Schmeasurements. It’s your salad. Your dressing. You decide how thick or runny or garlicky or onion-y or sweet it should be.

Here’s the trick though:

1) More egg whites mean a thinner dressing. I like mine super thick so I only use one of the egg whites but if you want something a little more runny, you may use two of the egg whites.
2) Grapeseed oil has a more subtle taste than olive oil. That’s why I prefer combining them instead of using pure olive oil. In fact, you may just use grapeseed oil if you like.
3) You do not put the oil all at once in the blender. You pour the oil gradually, while the eggs and other ingredients are being processed and stop when you think that your dressing has reached the desired consistency. So you see, I can’t possibly dictate which measurements you should follow. In fact, follow your heart taste buds.
4) Be sure to taste your work, don’t settle until you’re satisfied with the amount of garlic or the sweetness. Add as much or as little honey as desired; so you can add it last.
5) Finally, put it on your tossed salad. I like it on a bed of fresh organic lettuce topped with diced mangoes, grapes, and sprinkled with cashew nuts.
4 eggs make 250 ml of really thick dressing and 2 tbsp of thick dressing is more than enough for a lunch bowl of salad good for one. A little goes a long way. 🙂 Keep refrigerated.

P.S. I tried to make the ingredients as healthy as possible but you don’t have to follow it to the letter. You may make use of available ingredients; for example, non-organic eggs or ordinary honey should do just as fine. But I definitely advocate organic. 🙂

if you got any questions, i’ll be more than willing to answer if i can. i understand the recipe isn’t as clean-cut. but i appreciate the beauty of cooking “freestyle” :p

I promise to post a separate recipe for my home-made mayonnaise (and how to lacto ferment it)one of these days

more healthy salad dressing recipes here

A Vegetarian Cafe

in my city, there are more restaurants and food stalls than there are clothing stores. Sucks for me but prolly good news to people who love to eat and apparently, that’s majority of the people here. My favorite restaurant, however, isn’t located inside the mall or at Centro (where more businesses, establishments and the city market are located) or Magsaysay (where the hottest night spots are). In fact, going there means driving towards the opposite direction. The place is not as well-known, totally underrated, and nestled inside a subdivision. Loyal patrons like us, however, would drive all the way there for a quick bite or a takeout and at times, purchase some of their products like bread, lettuce, herbs, fruits and vegetables.

This place is a vegetarian restaurant that offers healthy, freshly prepared meals that contains no meat, poultry, eggs, milk, fish or shellfish, artificial ingredients or sweeteners and preservatives. It’s the real deal. The place isn’t only for vegetarians but also for those who want to eat healthier, those on a reducing diet, and those who are simply looking for some good food. Their menu ranges from Chinese to Filipino to Italian to Mexican and so on… If you’re anything like my grandma, you’re probably making a face right now. ^^ But you’ll be shocked to find out that the food here actually tastes great! Even my crazy carnivore of a friend loved it when I took her there for some ice cream and pizza. Yup, you read it right; ice cream, pizza, nachos, burritos, enchiladas, pasta, noodles, burgers, muffins, smoothies – they have it. So you can chill coz you can expect not to come across any weird-sounding or intimidating names on the menu. 😉 they have a variety of salads, of course, i have recipes here and here . 🙂 They also have Filipino viands that use tofu instead of meat, paired with organic brown rice. Though they also taste ok, I refrain from ordering stuff like these coz I really don’t get why people fool themselves with meat substitutes ^^ I mean, if I want it, I’ll get the real thing—preferably grass fed beef. Besides, it’s only gonna make me crave for the real thing. Ok, back to earth. The interiors of the café is quite simple, sort of homey and definitely very cozy; they play soft background music when there are guests and the staff are very friendly. It’s a wholesome place for families and friends to dine together; one time we even saw a couple having a romantic candle-lit dinner. Awwww… then I turned to boyfie asked him why he hadn’t thought of it sooner. ^^ If you ever find yourself in my city, be sure to drop by this place; you just might love it too.

*I just remembered to add that they also hosts cooking classes for those who are dedicated in maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Also, don’t bother going there on Fridays and Saturdays coz they are likely to be closed. We sometimes forget this and drive all the way there only to laugh about how stupid we are :p

Recipes for Hotness: Camote Tops Salad

Warning: Recipe is pretty short and so damn easy. It’s my story that’s pretty long ^^

Camote Tops = Wild Sweet Potato Leaves
The Sweet Potato is like some distant cousin of the potato as we know it. ^^ Sweet Potatoes, not to be confused with yams, are starchy and sweet and are few of the crops of its kind that are actually edible.. yep, most of ‘em are poisonous. One time, boyfie planned on purchasing this wild yam locally known as “nami “/”namo”. It’s a vine with a light-brown, knotty, alkaloid-containing rootstock and is toxic to the body; still, it is used as an ingredient in some native dishes. Boyfie said the Bikol Agtas (a term that refers to Bikol’s tens of thousands of natives with dark-colored skin, kinky hair and short built who reside mostly in the mountains and have been able to successfully preserve their indigenous culture) have a way of removing the poison from the root crop, mainly by soaking it in running water for days. I remembered my experience of trading goods with some of the natives when I was a kid; they went down from the mountains to the city and my mom let me bring out some clothes which the women exchanged with bananas and root crops, mostly Camote. I remembered there was a little girl too, like me; I bet my clothes fitted her perfectly. I just hope she didn’t get teased for rockin’ too much sequins; I’m cray cray over sequins even when I was a little gir.l  Anyway, boyfie’s family’s housekeeper, Del, relayed a story in which she sampled some Namo and almost died from it. According to her she was throwing up while crawling for her life on the floor; ok so I kinda burst out laughing coz seriously!! WHAT WAS SHE THINKING??! And what in tha hell was boyfie thinking, going up the mountains, looking for this root crop?! I had to throw a fit just so he would swear he won’t eat one. Gotta tell ya that man has balls but for the meantime, they’re mine for safekeeping… ^^ Ok back to the Camote Tops! In the Philippines, Camote Tops practically springs up just about everywhere that they’re so cheap, like P6.00 for a nice little bundle. When boiled, the Camote makes a pretty yummy and filling snack especially when you roll it on some Muscovado Sugar; both the root as well as the leaves are used in many popular Filipino dishes but let’s just focus on the leaves. Behold, the delicious, nutritious Camote Tops Salad:

camote tops salad

Camote Tops Salad Recipe
You’ll need:

Well-washed Camote tops

Well-washed Tomatoes

Sliced Onions

Calamansi/ Lemon

A pinch of salt

*as for the amount of ingredients, simply adjust according to preference

Now, blanch the Camote Tops. Just pour hot water over the leaves quicky; don’t overcook them. Drain. Put on a plate. Add a pinch of salt, top with sliced tomatoes and onions, squeeze some calamansi on it, mix, and Bon Appetit! Seriously. It’s that easy ^^

xO- kz

Recipes for Hotness: Fern Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

Pako = a type of edible wild fern that thrives on the sides of rivers and streams. This baby has edible ferns, turnips, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and tofu. The best part is this awesome mango vinaigrette dressing! This pic was taken @ our fave vegetarian restaurant. I loved the dressing so much that we learned how to make our own. It’s easy, cost-effective and addictive –in a good way. ^^ At home, I like mixing and matching this mango vinaigrette with different types of fruits. I personally prefer using it on organic lettuce with slices of apples, mangoes and pineapples. Mangoes are like my favorite fruit ever!

fern salad

mango vinaigrette recipe:
1 part apple cider vinegar—I use Bragg’s

3 parts olive oil

a pinch of salt

less than a pinch of fine black pepper

2 ripe mangoes

raw wild natural honey to sweeten — just adjust the sweetness according to your preference

mix all of this stuff in a blender. that’s it. seriously. 🙂

p.s. keep the dressing refrigerated. ^^ idk about the shelf life cos i consume jars and jars of this thing but it’ll be fine for an entire week.when it separates, i just mix it again w/ the blender. also, you may use grapeseed oil as a substitute if you don’t like the taste of olive oil. i prefer grapeseed oil coz it has a more subtle taste hence, it doesn’t tend to overpower my precious mangoes ^^

xO- kz