Easy Dinner: Pyramid Style

Let’s face it. When it comes to dinner, we want it all: 

  • Easy
  • Delicious
  • Healthy

I’m no different, even though I’m a cookbook author with 10 books (soon-to-be 11!!) to my credit. Making dinner every night can be challenging.

Fortunately, Farmers’ Markets are now offering all kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits. Cooking is a pleasure. So we invited Dr. Lilian Cheung, a nutritionist from the Harvard School of Public Health, to a Farmer’s Market and were inspired. Using the HSPH Food Pyramid and the newly designed USDA Plate (http://www.usdaplate.com), we brainstormed and came up with all kinds of quick, healthy Asian dishes.

Go to the Recipe section for



Quick Bites: Cinnamon

Fragrant and delicious, cinnamon is a fantastic spice to use in quick and easy desserts.

It’s great in a rub for roasted, pan-seared or barbecued meats, sea foods, and vegetables.

And according to research, approved by the American Diabetic Association, cinnamon can help the body metabolize sugar so it increases insulin production and helps lower cholesterol.

Throw a teaspoon into your daily latte.



Secrets to Master Stir-Fry

A good fire, a fresh vegetable, some garlic and you have most of the makings for a great vegetable stir-fry. This is one of my basic recipes that I use with all fresh vegetables including broccolini, but you could substitute any vegetable from baby cabbage hearts, green beans, snow peas, zucchini to spinach. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly. I cook a bunch and serve it with grilled seafood, chicken, or meat and some rice for an easy dinner. Make a bunch and reheat it, eat it at room temperature, or add it to soups and stews.



Bon Appetit

Would you expect cafeteria food to be even more delicious and healthier than your Mom’s?

Bon Appetit Management, an on-site restaurant company that prepares food for 400 locations, including the University of San Francisco, MIT, the Getty Museum, and Yahoo!, makes food from scratch using local ingredients. Their commitment to sustainability, health, and reducing the carbon footprint is remarkable. We need more companies like Bon Appetit who are doing a stellar job and trying to make a difference. Watch the video and drool.

I first met Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appetit’s co-founder, at “Cooking for Solutions”, an extraordinary annual event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Bon Appetit is a primary sponsor). Award-winning baker, chef, and cookbook author Jim Dodge, who is Bon Appetit’s Director of Special Events, is one of the main organizers. The gathering, which is now in its ninth year, brings together celebrity chefs, renowned wineries (Benziger, Chappellet, and Sanford wineries), press, and the general public. The two-day event of non-stop information panels, cooking demonstrations, and signature gala celebration is devoted to raising awareness and discovering how to protect the health of the soil, water, and ocean wildlife. And it’s FUN!!!



Steamed Pears with Dates, Honey, and Cinnamon

Asian pears, also called Chinese pears or pear apples, are firm, crunchy, and surprisingly juicy. When my body felt dry and my throat was scratchy, Dr. Zhu, my Chinese doctor, prescribed some “Steamed Pears with Honey and Jujubes” (dried red dates). Once steamed, the pears become tender and the resulting broth is soothing and not overly sweet. (It’s a great winter dessert!) You can also use Bosc pears and if jujubes are unavailable, you can substitute candied ginger or prepare simply with honey and cinnamon stick. When I am feeling indulgent, I add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. BTW, they are also delicious at room temperature or cold. And you can reheat them in the microwave.



Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.