Meet the New York chef who wants to change our diets one bug at a time

A pathologist who is also a chef has shared her high-tech weight-loss recipes which include ‘feed the kitchen bug’ – not even your dog Meet the New York chef who wants to change our…

Meet the New York chef who wants to change our diets one bug at a time

A pathologist who is also a chef has shared her high-tech weight-loss recipes which include ‘feed the kitchen bug’ – not even your dog

Meet the New York chef who wants to change our diets one bug at a time

A pathologist who also cooks dinner shows that it’s possible to eat really good healthy food

Nearly two decades ago I was applying for a life-long job in biochemistry. The interviewer told me that being a doctor was like being “the most boring nerd in the world”.

I’ve always had this lingering feeling that if I took the reins of a kitchen instead of a bench, I could turn my interest in food into something more exciting. Luckily, an oddball career path turned out to be quite lucrative.

As a pathologist in the National Institutes of Health, I study diseases such as cancer and diabetes. During my day job, I enjoy trying new things at home. I can go back and forth between studying food, and cooking it.

The days of eating solely out of a fruit bowl might be far behind us – if there were any left at all. Using high-tech kitchen gadgets, my recipes promote both good health and active living. A recipe for mozzarella and pesto pizza is adapted from Linda DeBellis’s “Chemical Thoreau” (which I also ate). For an omelette recipe, I love taking little bites instead of sitting down at the table: it feels as if you’re out on a hike.

From Swedish-style almond biscuits to a nut-rich breakfast of scrambled eggs and beans, these recipes could be the start of turning eating into an active experience. For dinner, I made a cauliflower “fly” and an arugula-and-sugar cauliflower crêpe.

Cauliflower ‘fly’

Cauliflower, I like to eat steamed, raw, and sometimes roasted. This “fly” is a fun and interesting variation on cauliflower purée.

Serves 4–6 as a side

250g medium-sized cauliflower (so long as the stalks have trimmed)

50g salted butter

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

250g wholemeal pitta bread

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3. Chop the cauliflower into long florets about 1cm in length and arrange them evenly on a baking tray. Butter the base of a 6cm or 8cm diameter ovenproof pan or individual griddle pan.

Shred the butter using a fork or pizza wheel until you have a thin, smooth paste.

Stir in the parsley, dill and the butter, then drizzle the mixture over the florets. Sprinkle the cauliflower with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Transfer the cauliflower “fly” to a serving plate, drizzle the remaining butter over it, then trickle some water around it. Toss the pitta in the water and bake for 10 minutes, until crisp.

As always, I highly recommend the Fresh Greens: Paleo inspired salad (ZocDoc and MyFitnessPal) which contains pulses, seeds, protein, calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Also try my Aroma Oil & Orange and Pepper flavor enhancers (Charlotte Tilbury) for a hit of mint and pepper flavour.

Nutrition: 114 calories (6g fat), 6g fibre, 15g protein, 14g carbohydrate, 0.4g sugar, 6mg sodium, 98% DV

Micro-wheat tortillas, inspired by Iranian ‘napala’

While in Iran, one of my Iranian friends served a tortilla made entirely of “napala” – a type of mini wheat grain. It was a hearty, filling meal, and it still looks the same as the tortilla I’ve made below.

Serves 4–6

100g mini-wheat groats (lentils are often called micro-wheat or gloriosa)

Juice of 2–3 lemons

2–3 shallots, peeled and chopped

1 tsp sumac

40g basil leaves, chopped

1 egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Hedgehog, to serve

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the lentils. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until slightly charred on both sides.

Drain the lentils into a colander set over a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallots, sumac, basil, egg

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