I’m a huge fan of instant Netflix. In fact, Betsy and I don’t even have cable anymore.
Currently my queue on instant Netflix breaks down into:
1) Dorky science shows like Mythbusters.
2) Awesome TV series like Breaking Bad and Law and Order: SVU
3) Documentaries or movies that people have recommended to me about food.
Last week, I finally watched a show that a friend recommended to me approximately 6 months ago called Forks Over Knives. I think the movie can be summarized in the title of it, which I didn’t fully understand until halfway through the thing. I thought the title was forks over knives because you use a knife to eat things like meat and forks to eat things like veggies.
The real meaning of it though is that if you wisely choose what you eat with your fork you can almost certainly avoid going under the knife. It argues that as a society, we have put the knife over the fork and now we think that it’s much easier and less drastic to have a few surgeries instead of changing eating habits.
So, as a shout out to what I thought was a really interesting and very well done movie, I decided to cook something that I think the Forks Over Knives crowd would approve of… mainly because it’s from their website!
1) Wash and roughly chop greens and dice peppers and garlic clove. Cook soba noodles according to package. Drain soba and toss with sesame oil to make sure the noodles don't stick.
2) Add water, garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce to a large skillet or wok. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook until garlic is fragrant, just a minute or two.
3) Stir in marmalade.
4) Add greens and red pepper to the pan and cover.
5) Cook for 2-3 minutes until veggies are soft. Stir everything together so the sauce evenly coats the veggies.
6) Serve greens with soba and top with chili garlic sauce.
Adapted from Forks Over Knives website.
Forks over Knives
Based on my post from the weekend, it’s pretty obvious that this movie didn’t turn me into a vegan. But it did reinforce a lot of what I already think. Namely, that through healthier eating, we would drastically reduce some of the health issues we face as a country.
This doesn’t just mean obesity, but even more radical diseases like heart disease and even some cancers. To make huge progress in this effort, the film argues that we have to basically completely eliminate from our diet three things: meat, dairy or other animal products, and processed foods and oils.
The problem that I have with the movie is that it makes the whole situation seem like a switch. It’s either on or off. You’re either eating healthily or you’re on a path to cancer.
I like to think of more as a sliding scale. Sure, if you eat nothing but deep-fried cheesesteak every day, you’re in for a rough haul, but having a slice or two of bacon on the weekends I don’t think is going to set my body into a tailspin.
Of course, Americans tend to have a problem with the word moderation so I can see how arguing for a cold turkey approach might be more effective.
Anyway, so I liked the movie. It has some fascinating statistics and compiles work from two very respected doctors who have been researching this stuff for over 40 years.
But enough about reviews… let’s eat!
Spicy Orange Greens
I wanted to cook something from the Forks Over Knives website after I watched the movie. One thing that I found ironic was that the recipe they posted probably leads to a lot of people breaking one of the main Forks over Knives rules!
The recipe calls for a tablespoon of orange marmalade and about 90% of marmalades in the store contain mostly high fructose corn syrup which the movie is very against. Oh well, nobody’s perfect. Of course, you can find marmalade without HFCS (I did), but I doubt most people would do this for the recipe. They would just grab a jar.
Anyway, this recipe was actually very delicious and takes less than 30 minutes to toss together which is cool.
You’ll need these things to make the sauce!
One cool tactic that they mentioned in the movie, and that this recipe used, was that instead of stir-frying in oil, try to use water. So basically you make a very flavorful steaming liquid and cook your food in that.
I was skeptical that this would work but it turned out to be great and definitely healthier than cooking the greens in oil which is what I would’ve done if left to my own devices.
Speaking of greens… you can use almost anything for this recipe. You want something hardy like rabe, kale, or chard though. I went the rabe route.
To prep the veggies, just wash and roughly chop the ingredients. Pretty simple!
Soba Noodles (I bend the rules)
You could serve the greens over rice or something, but the recipe also suggested noodles and that sounded better to me.
So I went with soba noodles which are some of the healthier noodles out there!
I really love soba noodles because they are extremely flavorful. They have a really nutty flavor. I also like them because they are very good warm or cold so they make for quick leftovers.
There’s one problem with the noodles that led me to slightly bend the Forks Over Knives rules.
Soba noodles stick together like they are made of Elmers. After you boil them and drain them, if you walk away for a few minutes, they will congeal into one big mass of noodles: like a noodle cake.
There’s one cure for this and it’s not approved by the Forks Over Knives doctors, but whatever.
The cure is oil… specifically sesame oil. For me, I’d rather use a tablespoon of this stuff and have really flavorful (and separated) noodles, but I do not think that the doctors in the movie would approve.
Finishing the Dish
Once the noodles are cooked, this dish takes about five minutes to finish up. It’s really quick and easy.
Basically, just add the water, garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and marmalade to a large skillet or wok.
Bring this to a simmer over high heat and then toss in your veggies.
Cover this up and cook the veggies for just a few minutes. So basically you are steaming the veggies but with spices and some sweet orange flavors.
When the veggies are done, just toss them a bit so they all get evenly coated with the sauce.
I wanted to kick up the heat a bit more on mine so I added some chili garlic sauce as well.
It’s hard to deny that it would be good if more people ate meals like this pretty regularly.
I was also impressed by how actually delicious and creative this dish was. The oil-to-water change was a great one and probably one that I’ll use regularly.
So, check out the movie if you’re interested. But, more importantly, make this dish. Some might say that by eating it you’re warding off cancer, but I’ll just say that I’m recommending it because it’s really tasty!