Culinary Adventures by Linda Shiue, MD
This weekend I reached out to Linda Shiue, physician, chef and founder of Thrive Kitchen at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco. I was interested in her wisdom concerning navigating the kitchen, some suggestions for meal prep/planning during Covid-19 and some easy snack ideas. She shared some additional insights with me. Read on...
1. What kitchen hack do you love and why?
I'm not really a "hack" kind of person, except that I am very creative with reinventing leftovers. This is helpful in two ways-- having pre-seasoned ingredients for new recipes, and also in reducing food waste. That's my best hack. Leftover roasted root vegetables, salmon or chicken can add flavor and substance to a salad, or be used to fill tacos, for example. The key to reusing leftovers is to know how to season using spices and sauces to change the flavor profile and keep them tasting fresh.
2. What kitchen appliance/ gadget can you not live without and why?
While it took me years to decide it was worth it to spring for my Vitamix, I use it more than any other appliance. While it truthfully is used mostly as a professional grade smoothie machine, it can do things no other appliance can, such as making velvety smooth purees or cashew cream. You can also grind your own nut butter and even mill your own flour out of whole grains, but I haven't attempted those yet.
3. Please share 1-2 easy, somewhat healthy snacks that people can grab and go.
My go-to snacks are always fresh fruits or vegetables and nuts, or maybe hummus.
Perhaps not too exciting, but there is endless variety if you follow the seasons, and it's the kind of snack that is a pick me up that isn't followed by a blood sugar slump.
4. Do you have any suggestions on how best to meal plan/prep during this time of 'sheltering in place'?
Yes! It is a great idea to keep your pantry stocked with foods that can transform into a variety of meals. To stay healthy at all times, in particular now with Covid-19, I recommend whole grains, a variety of vegetables, and lean protein. Click here to grab a template for creating grain bowls and a variety of sauces/dressings.
5. If you had to eat/drink one food for immune boosting, what would it be and why?
The best nutrients for boosting immunity are vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin C is pretty easy-- found in oranges, tomatoes, bell peppers, to name a few. Zinc is a little harder to get, but the best common sources are seeds and nuts. So you can see how my go-to snacks are also immunity-boosting.
6. Can you dispel one misconception that you have heard recently concerning cooking/food/food prep/appliances?
I think a lot of people think that just because something is vegan/plant-based, it's healthy. But the truth is that ultra-processed plant-based foods are still junk food-- French fries or cupcakes, for example. While I think everyone should be eating mostly plants, whether someone is fully plant-based is less important than if they are eating whole, minimally processed foods.
Linda Shiue, MD
Linda Shiue is a physician, chef and founder of Thrive Kitchen at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, a teaching kitchen for patients. She believes that the best medicine is prevention. Her cooking classes showcase seasonal produce, lavishly flavored with spices and fresh herbs. Her food writing has been published widely and she has been interviewed frequently on television and in print.
Dr. Shiue has served as faculty at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Stanford University and serves on the board of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. She is a graduate of Brown University, San Francisco Cooking School, UCSF and the kitchen of Michelin-starred restaurant, Mourad, in San Francisco. She also has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University.
Her first cookbook, Spicebox Kitchen, will be published in 2021 by Da Capo Press.
Follow her culinary adventures at spiceboxtravels.com