Asayo Yi’s Healthy Versatile Ratatouille
By Erin Naymark
Asayo Yi found Pilates through ballet and immediately fell in love with the work and philosophy. Together with a better understanding of her own body and overall strengthening, she realized she was able to use her body more effectively than she ever had in all the years of dancing as a child and teenager. Asayo became a certified Pilates Instructor in 2008 with Marie-Jose Blom at Long Beach Dance Conditioning. She enjoys sharing her love of movement with clients of all ages and fitness levels, including those with physical limitations and injuries.
Asayo, what motivates you to cook?
It’s mainly to keep my family healthy and introduce healthy eating habits to my child. My daughter is 5 years old and I always want to make sure she is trying different types of food. Most of all, I am working to recreate what my mom did for me as a kid. My mom always cooked no matter how busy she was. This left a big impression on me and I realize how important eating at home with my family is to me.
How do Pilates and cooking complement one another?
When I cook at home I feel better about my body knowing what I’ve put into it. This motivates me to want to do more good things for my body. Eating well makes me want to be a better Pilates practitioner.
With warmer weather coming closer, can you share with us what is usually on your menu during the spring season?
I love caprese salads with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and soft mozzarella cheese. I try to incorporate more fresh greens and cold Japanese soba (because my daughter loves it).
1 Large Sweet Onion
1 Orange Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
4 Roma Tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3-4 sprigs fresh Thyme or 2 tsp. Dried Thyme
2 tsp. dried Oregano
2 tsp. dried Basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Grilled Chicken Breast
Red Chili Peppers
Cut all the vegetables into 1 inch chunks (if you cut them too small they will crumble apart during the cooking process).
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or cook the bacon here with no oil until slightly crispy. Adjust the amount of bacon fat you want to keep).
Start sautéing the vegetables in the order above. 3-4 minutes (don’t overcook).
When all the vegetables are in the pot, add the spices, thyme, oregano and basil.
Close the lid, and let it simmer on low for about 60-90 min. Try not to open the lid too much in between!
When all the vegetables look soft and cooked through, add some salt, and pepper to taste. Fresh basil, chili peppers can be added at this point if you choose.
To make it a more hearty meal, you can add some grilled chicken, cut up some chicken and cook it with the vegetables, add some cooked pasta to it, some garlic bread on the side, let some quinoa soak up the yummy juices… you can do whatever you want with it! My 5 year old loves this and it is such a great and easy way to get her to eat a lot of vegetables.