Friday, June 18, 2010
Spanakorizo and Baked Falafel with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
At the gym earlier this week. I decided to take a census. I was on the elliptical. Reading about fungal infections (don't I lead a wild and wacky existence). When all of a sudden, it just popped into my head as something I ought to do.
So I walked around the room, from cardio machine to cardio machine and asked each person (in-between intensity intervals of course. I'm not quite ready to deal with MIs yet. Or cardiac arrest. But I can listen for heart sounds. I won't know if they're irregular. But I can hear them!).
"Are you a man, woman or both?"
This is New York City. Assume. Nothing.
And after the first few blank stares. When the tension in the room got thick enough to cut. With a knife.
I went back to my elliptical. And counted.
This is New York City. Assume. Everything.
And what I found was. That for every one man in the room. There were NINE women.
Now. I could interpret this data in two ways.
The first being that all the guys who live around here are so fit that they don't need to work out. Wrong. Everyone needs to work out.
More women than men are proactive about their health.
(Now I don't mean to offend any guys out there. And I'm actually pretty sure that most of the men who are reading this are proactive about their health. Because if you care what you are eating, then you probably care about your body. And so you probably try to get in the recommended 50 minutes of aerobic activity five days a week. Hint. Hint.)
But let's be honest. You're in the minority. Both in the food blogging world, and, apparently, in the world as defined by the New York Sports Club on 76th and 1st.
Now. I don't like to get didactic on here. But we're currently smack dab in the middle of Men's Health Week. And seeing as how I like men (for the most part). A lot. In fact, I kinda sorta hope to be married to one someday. And I kinda sorta hope he'll go to the gym. And won't die of atherosclerotic plaque before age 100. And will be able to have really great sex with me from the day we get married until the day we die.
So I readily agreed when Steve Jasper, a regular blogger at Gymsource, asked if he could put in a few words on Eats Well With Others about the importance of diet and exercise in men's health. (Scroll down for the recipe or read on if you so desire!).
"Every year, Men's Health Week falls on the seven days prior to Father's Day. The significance of this event would mean nothing without first realizing that one's health is not only a measure of the lifestyle you lead, but how you stay in shape as well. A fraction of men are regular gym-goers who work out tirelessly with exercise equipment in order to keep their bodies healthy and active. Men realize that working out serves a more important function than just biulding muscles. Working out can help you improve your body image, self confidence, and even add years to your life.
Men's Health Week (June 14-20th) is a week of awareness involving health issues and diseases for men that easily can be averted with early action, treatment, and healthy prevention. It's no coincidence that Men's Health Week leads right up to Father's Day because Father's Day is where we celebrate a man we love and wish nothing but health and happiness to. yet, how can more men be proactive in staying healthy and avoiding illness and health issues? Well, a good place to start is to be educated about how to use the gym, and exactly how important it is to do so. A bette rknowledge of how to properly exercise is integral to fighting obesity and improving your health.
However, there are plenty of great foods men can eat that will help them be healthier and avoid obesity. Incorporating foods like blueberries (which are loaded with antioxidants) and sardines (not for everyone, but they are nutritious) can change a man's attitude and drive. Additionally, other great foods men can snack on are nuts, which are full of vitamin E. Rice is also a good source for your vitamins, potassium and zinc. Even smaller foods are great to add to your diet in order to make things run smoothly. For example, sesame seeds are great for a man's sex drive because they are rich in amino acids. Amino acids, as you may know, are the building blocks for your body's proteins. Eating the right food can even affect your mood, which has been seen with edamame or soy beans, for example. When you are fulfilling your dietary needs, you are less likely to succumb to binges on junk foods. Getting on the right diet and eating foods that help maintain a healthy body is one of the most important steps a man can take towards staying healthy and avoiding obesity. Of course, the other half of the equation is keeping a good workout routine.
Steve Jasper is not a medical expert. If yo have any serious medical concerns, please consult a qualified medical professional before undertaking a new fitness regiment. Steve is a contributing blogger from Gymsource who writes on all topics related to fitness equipment and much more.
Also, still don't know what to get the father in your life for Father's Day? Check out Matt's site, which is entirely devoted to neckties! I think it is just the cutest thing. There's even a whole post on CAKES in the shape of neck ties. Crazy!
So. In honor of all of this Men's Health business. I thought I would cook something that I thought exemplified a well-balanced, healthy meal. Spanakorizo is a traditional Greek rice dish that contains spinach, a nutritional superstar in and of itself, as well as parsley and dill, which have been shown to have TONS of vitamin C and iron. It tastes JUST like spanikopita but without quite so much guilt. I served this with falafel, a traditionally deep fried chickpea "burger" that I turned healthy by baking. Chickpeas and other legumes are an excellent source of lean protein. And not only are they tasty, but they are a LOT cheaper than meat. The difference is exorbitant.
Serves 4, adapted from Closet Cooking
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 lb spinach (or 1 bunch)
1 cup rice
2 1/2 cups broth
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup dill, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup feta
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes or until lightly brown. Add in the garlic for 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
2. In the same pan, add the rice, broth, parsley, and dill. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Serve in bowls, topped with feta.
Falafel with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4, adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped onion
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained (or 1 cup dry chickpeas, cooked. I used black garbanzo beans that I received from MarxFoods!)
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 large egg
Whisk yogurt, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup onion, 1 garlic clove, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in medium bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Blend garbanzo beans, 3 tablespoons flour, cumin, remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, 4 garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in processor until almost smooth. Add egg and remaining 3/4 cup onion and blend, using on/off turns, until onion is finely chopped. Transfer mixture to bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Shape mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Turn patties in remaining 1/2 cup flour to coat on both sides.
Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve topped with cilantro yogurt sauce.
The spanakorizo is my submission to Regional Recipes: Greece! (HINT HINT. Email me your submissions by June 30th!) And with all of that parsley and dill, the falafel is going to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted by Rachel of The Crispy Cook!
Happy Father's Day and have a great weekend!