Ashitaba over Chicken and Rice September 03 2013

While some people are at the beach BBQ this weekend, I stayed home with my dog, Lotus. We made steamed chicken instead of grilling -- it's a lot healthier and juicier than grilling. It is also one of the regular meals I share with Lotus. Steaming is so easy and quick to make. It also helps to keep more nutrients in your food through steaming rather than frying. And you don't need to add any oil when steaming! I usually don't add any salt to it until it's served on my bowl. Or don't add any salt to yours at all sometimes! I used to eat more salty food, just like many of us do, but slowly I have adopted a healthier lifestyle by reducing salt/sodium in my food. Your meals may taste a little bland at first, but if you give it some time, your taste buds will slowly adjust to plainer foods and start to appreciate the natural flavors in every ingredient. Now I taste, I only sprinkle some salt in my food. Note, I said "Sprinkle." There's really just a few specks of salt within every inch on my plate if you want to be precise. I often get a heart attack when watching cooking shows because the way they sprinkle salt is like pouring rain! What I'm saying is just to gradually reduce your salt intake to let your body and taste buds adjust. If you suddenly cut out salt without allowing for your palette to adjust, you would hate the taste of your food. I also filmed a video on Ashitaba this weekend so I had some left over leaves. I chopped them and sprinkled over my meal like you would with cilantro. The leaves really just taste like celery leaves to me. It's a nice herb to compliment my red rice, chicken and carrots.

2 chicken breasts
3-5 carrots
1-2 Ashitaba leaves

To Make:
Peel the carrots. You can add zucchini or any squashes you have around in this too. Throw everything in a blender or food processor to quickly break things up. Blend it just enough when they look about size of minced garlic. Placed them on the bottom of bowl or container. Remember to use a container that tolerates heat. *Please read my tips on choosing containers below.* Wash chicken breasts and place over carrots. Take the largest pot you have and pour water about 3 inches deep inside. If you have sometime to prop a bowl up, put that in the pot as well. This will help lessen the vibration when water is boiling. Now place your container with food inside, close the lid and turn the heat to high. It will take about 30 mins or a little longer to cook. Make sure to only serve your chicken when it's thoroughly cooked. Use a knife to cut the meat in deepest part of the meat to check. The meat should be solid white all the way through. Any translucence in the meat means it's still raw! Chop up the Ashitaba leaves and sprinkle over your well done food. Enjoy! :)

Our body absorbs nutrients much faster and easier through finely cut food. That's why sometimes I puree some of the ingredients. You can puree your whole meal if you wanted to, but I like to preserve some texture in my food so I won't feel like I'm eating baby food. Hah Stay away from plastic containers when heating your food. It's very toxic if any plastic melts into food. Make sure to read labels carefully when picking out kitchenware to use. There are plastic containers that take heat, but for steaming, I like to stay away from this material because it gets really hot with heat trapped in the pan. You will also be steaming for 30 or more minutes. That's a long time... I prefer to use glass for most of my food, but do make sure glass you choose can take heat. I use pyrex containers to steam and store my foods. But it is glass after all so I still try to be more careful -- only put glass in steaming pot while it's still cool. Let everything inside slowly heat up. I don't want to risk any chance of glass breaking due to drastic temperature change.