All Posts By Alia Akkam

Room Service Makeover: The Healthy Hotel Revolution

by in Dining Out, Food News, Trends, December 8, 2014


Oh, what to do when, at 11:30 p.m., in both a famished and weary state, you return to your hotel and discover that ordering a black bean burger via room service will take 45 minutes? One glance at the won’t-save-you-either minibar reveals nothing more redeemable than a $10 container of Pringles. A vending machine, of course, would instantly sate those late-night cravings. But do you really want your impromptu dinner to be comprised of a decidedly bad-for-you bag of chocolate chip cookies?

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A Healthy APPetite: 7 New Apps for Healthy Eating

by in Food News, November 12, 2014

Mobile Phone
Instant smartphone gratification leads to updating Facebook statuses, sliding through potential Tinder dates and curating Pandora playlists. Entertainment options aside, your iPhone or Android can also be a solid resource for eating better. In fact, a Gallup study says 19% of adult participants regularly use at least one mobile application that supports healthy living, while about 50% of those who use smartphones have at least one such app. The study says calorie-counting tools, health recipes and food/exercise diaries are the most commonly used apps. You can get in on it too. Learn how many calories are in a slice of multigrain bread via Fooducate, skip the cross-country Big Mac for a nearby brown rice bowl discovered on Food Tripping and find out where to gorge on sustainable sushi from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. Embracing a healthy — and delicious — lifestyle has never been easier, especially with the help of these seven new empowering apps.

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Chatting with Amy Chaplin: At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen

by in Cookbooks, October 23, 2014

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen
Ever since her childhood in rural Australia, Amy Chaplin’s diet has revolved around whole foods. After 20 years of cooking around the globe, the New York-based private chef, teacher, recipe developer and writer — her work appears on this very blog every week — is sharing this nurturing lifestyle in her first book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well (Roost Books). Through more than 150 recipes — and a slew of striking minimalist photos—for soulful vegetarian and vegan dishes like cherry coconut granola with extra virgin olive oil, millet cauliflower mash and roasted acorn and Delicata squash salad strewn with wheat berries and bitter greens, the former chef of the celebrated East Village vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, illuminates the simplicity and creativity of eating healthy. Read more

How to Cook Fish (Really!): A Chat with Oceana’s Ben Pollinger

by in Cookbooks, October 13, 2014

School of Fish
Alaskan Coho salmon burgers and roasted monkfish steaks are mainstays of power lunches at Oceana, the upscale, marble-bedecked New York seafood shrine adjacent to iconic Rockefeller Center. Since 2006, executive chef Ben Pollinger has lured in diners with his refined cooking. He’s held on to a coveted Michelin star, successfully transitioned Oceana into new, mammoth-sized digs, and now the ambitious New Jersey native has just released the informative School of Fish (Gallery Books) with Stephanie Lyness. Through more than 100 recipes, ranging from a baked dorade filet emblazoned with potato scales and paired with Swiss chard, to roasted lobster with basil-garlic butter accompanied by olive oil crushed potatoes, Pollinger squashes the myth for kitchen newbies and skilled home cooks alike that preparing seafood always makes for mystifying, grueling work. Read more

8 Tasty Ways to Get Your Whole Grains On

by in Healthy Recipes, October 12, 2014

Great Whole Grains
Sure, we love digging into brown rice bowls and plumping up our vegetable soups with barley, but there’s an array of other (sometimes obscure) good-for-us whole grains — from spelt to farro — we should be eating on the regular. Don’t overlook these nutritious alternatives hiding in grocery store bulk bins.

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A Cookbook Devoted to Chia Seeds? Yes, Indeed.

by in Cookbooks, September 29, 2014

brown rice with egg and chia
Sure, it immediately calls to mind those sprouting terracotta planters first popularized in catchy 80s commercials, but chia certainly shouldn’t be relegated to kitschy “pet” status. A staple of Aztec and Mayan diets, the ancient chia seed — it comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in North, Central and South America — is a nutritional dynamo, packed with Omega-3s, calcium, iron, fiber and antioxidants.

Luckily, cooking with it is also a breeze, as Janie Hoffman, founder and CEO of the organic food and beverage company, Mamma Chia, reveals in her new book, The Chia Cookbook: Inventive, Delicious Recipes Featuring Nature’s Superfood (Random House). “The power in this little, bitty chia seed is amazing,” says the San Diego-based entrepreneur and author, who likes weaving it into creations as diverse as Serrano-pineapple-papaya smoothies and grilled chicken meatballs paired with linguine al limone. “It can be easily used in absolutely anything.” Read more

5 Alternative Burgers Worth Flipping For

by in Healthy Recipes, August 31, 2014

vegan burger
Even if you hold the beef and spring for an alternative protein, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor. Just in time for Labor Day grilling, these five unconventional patties are ready to step up to the bun.

Vegan Lentil Burgers (above)
Don’t let the lentil-spinach mixture fool you. There’s nothing hippie-crunchy-tasting about these delicious meat-free patties. Give them a whirl on the grill — or a quick pan-fry session — then tuck them into whole-grain buns with a wallop of spicy mustard. Read more

The 10 Best Comeback Foods (and the Chefs Who Love Them)

by in Chefs and Restaurants, Trends, August 28, 2014

brussels sprout
They used to be the stuff that fueled childhood nightmares: forkfuls of overcooked broccoli or endless orbs of bitter Brussels sprouts that had to be endured in order to tackle, finally, the chocolate ice cream. But today’s renditions of green vegetables don’t require nose-holding or the camouflage of cheese in order to win over legions of fans. From the once-maligned spinach that only Popeye fancied to the leafy kale that went on to wildly successful oversaturation, here’s a passel of formerly shunned vegetables (and a few equally undesirable fruits) that chefs have helped give miraculous makeovers. Read more

Adding the Yum Factor to Gluten-Free Cooking

by in Cookbooks, August 21, 2014

quinoa

Six years ago, Erin Scott was the happy, food-loving owner of a lifestyle boutique in Oakland, Calif., when she discovered she had celiac disease. The diagnosis transformed her life — not just her eating habits but her career. Instead of wallowing in the downsides of a newfound gluten-free existence, she launched the (now-popular) blog Yummy Supper, spending her days tinkering in the kitchen and taking vibrant photos of the concoctions she made for her family, which includes two gluten-intolerant children.

That passion for creative cooking, and her determination to make “flavorful, seasonal, food that just tastes good,” has spawned the just-arrived Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore, with dishes like quinoa tabbouleh (recipe below) and zucchini ribbon “pasta” — not to mention sweets such as pluot parfaits with sunflower seeds.

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How to Make Deliciously Crunchy Faux-Fried Chicken

by in Healthy Recipes, August 3, 2014

oven-fried chicken
As much as we’d all love to dive into a bucket of glistening fried chicken on the regular, we know that eating the bird in other forms is generally a healthier bet. But not all hope is lost: With the right recipe, baking can elicit the same desirable crunch as the deep fryer. Here are four.

Oven Fried Chicken (above)
Marinate a mess of chicken legs and thighs in an uplifting blend of lemon zest, milk, sugar, cayenne, rosemary and garlic cloves. When the pieces are nice and chilled from a two-hour refrigerator session, shroud them in a mix of baked whole-wheat breadcrumbs and yellow cornmeal. Then, for a savory finish, get some Parmesan and chopped rosemary up in there.

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