I just got back from a fantastic week in Israel and forgot how much I missed the Middle Eastern flavors that imbues the cooking there. Everything from dried dates to deep rust colored saffron to halvah the size of cakes is a feast for all one’s senses. Don’t even get me started on the hummus, which I ate at every meal. Theirs is different than what we get in the States or tastes better for some reason. Maybe it’s the backdrop of people rushing through the “Shuk,” the marketplace, as I dunk my warm pita in the creamy melange of mashed chickpeas, olive oil and garlic. Or the sounds of prayer emanating across the sky, mixed with the cacophony of different ancient languages. Either way, pair that magic hummus and pita with an Israeli salad of the freshest tomato, cucumber, red pepper and cubes of dense milky feta and life could not get any better.
I love cookbooks that’s for sure. There’s almost nothing I’d rather read than them. I can taste the recipes while I’m reading through the ingredients and get a sense for my enjoyment level (and whomever will be eating it) once a dish is executed.
Lately, I’ve been cooking a lot of Terry Walters recipes. Her dishes are exactly what the titles of her books say, Clean Start and Clean Food. I also just came across the above book, Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, which apparently has been around for awhile. I highly recommend it!
Why I love this cookbook? Let me count the ways.
– It outlines it great detail (but not an overload) the benefits of a whole food diet.
– There’s a comprehensive guide to stocking your pantry and fridge with wholesome foods
– The dishes are varied, well researched and contain very nutritious ingredients.
– There are a lot of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free recipes, which enables the reader to experiment with confidence.
When it comes to farmers, Lyle from Gee Creek gets my vote. He works at a lot of the markets around town (Hillsdale on Sundays, PSU on Saturdays, People’s Coop in SE on Wednesdays) and always has some of the freshest foods (both raw and prepared product). You can’t miss the stand. It’s got some great seasonal produce, fresh beans and grains, and delicious foods like mediterranean dips (others besides a yummy hummus!), soups, peanut butter. He also sells a mean fire cider which will keep your immunity humming all winter season.
More than the food, I really just like Lyle (and all the people that work for him). He is the real deal and has a lot of great ideas. On his website, it states their mission: “Gee Creek Farm is a community of home-based people dedicated to being good stewards of the earth and providers of responsibly and ethically produced and grown food. We aim to live in a cooperative, sustainable way, and offer many programs and learning opportunities for those interested in doing the same!”
If you ever get a minute, Lyle will tell you all about what his plans are and will educate you on how you can get involved with Gee Creek — from joining his CSA, to teaching people how to grow food at his farm school, or just enjoying a social event at his property. In the meantime, drop by to his booth some time and check out for yourself what he has. I guarantee he’ll become on your favorite farmers too!
We held a class a few weeks ago where we made fire cider, which is one of the most powerful, natural immunity boosters money can buy – especially as the cold season kicks into high gear.
So as to limit the amount of scrolling, click here for the recipe.
Why fire cider?? Let us count the ways….
- Fresh horseradish is known to be effective against the flu and common cold, tonsillitis, respiratory disorders, urinary tract infections, and pathogenic fungus.
- Ginger is used to treat arthritis, muscle pain, upset stomach (motion and morning sickness and general nausea), gas, upper respiratory tract infections, and cough.
- Onions are used to boost cardiovascular health, bone and connective tissue benefits, and as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Garlic is used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, atherosclerosis, asthma, building the immune system, help level blood sugar, and is used topically to treat fungal infections.
- Habanero peppers boost your metabolism, and offer headache, sinus, and arthritis relief as well as releasing endorphins.
- Oranges are great for heart health, as part of a best-case-scenario-anti-cancer-diet, fighting cholesterol, to help in weight loss, and to break up or prevent kidney stones.
- Lemons are known to aid in digestion, alleviate Meniere’s Disease (a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree), kidney stones, and ringing of the ears, cure scurvy (chronic lack of Vitamin C), treat colds and flu, improve the function of blood vessels, and reduce inflammation and retention of water.
- Turmeric is pretty much the be-all and end-all of health foods. It’s known to delay liver damage, reduce carcinogenic compounds in other foods, make cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiation, inhibit the growth of malignant melanoma and breast cancer, alleviate arthritis symptoms and skin conditions.
- Raw apple cider vinegar (not plain old cider vinegar) is known to be a good source of acetic and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), mineral salts, amino acids, and other key components of good nutrition
- Raw honey (locally produced) is a fantastic, all-natural fighter of seasonal allergies. Because bees collect pollen from flowers in your area and then convert it to honey to feed their hives, eating raw, local honey is like a tasty allergy shot. It’s also full of vitamins and minerals, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and makes a great, non-narcotic cough suppressant and throat soother.
The beauty of this, beyond its all-star cast of healthy ingredients, is that it just plain tastes wonderful. We drink a tablespoon (or more!) every morning to maintain health. When you feel ill, take a slightly larger dose to help boost your immune system.
If it seems overwhelming to make this immunity elixir, I promise it’s not so bad. It does take time but it lasts forever! Just make a large batch so you don’t have it to make it very often!
I don’t know about you but when it comes to the holidays and gift giving it can be confusing enough to figure out what to get our loved ones, let alone all the other wonderful people in our lives that make it so much richer — from office mates, to teachers, to neighbors to all the other people in our own personal village! I tend to find store cards to be kind of impersonal (that includes Starbucks and iTunes — both of which I indulge in) and store-bought nic naks just add to all the clutter I’m constantly trying to keep under control. That’s why I started making tasty homemade gifts years ago that always seem to be high appreciated for their edible nature and the personal time that went into making them. I like to keep the tasty gifts healthy so the receivers feel good before, during and after eating them and possibly want to make them again for themselves and others.
To prepare for this upcoming holiday season, we held our second hands-on class, Making Healthy Holiday Gifts, at the Mississippi Herb Shoppe and it was a hoot! We had 13 people join us and we spent two hours crafting our artisanal salts (chili lime, lemon rosemary and garlic sea salts), gluten free pumpkin pancake mix and preserved lemons. We then decorated the jars to show what each could look like as a gift. They were all so beautiful!
You can find all the recipes here.
Check back soon to find out what other classes we’ll be holding in the New Year and we hope to see you at one (or all) of them!
Last night we had a fun experience at a new supper club in town. Our friends Geoffrey and Jill invited us to join them at this once held monthly dinner they heard about. None us really knew what to expect but at $35 for a home cooked four-course dinner and only an additional $10 for wine pairing, we were all in.
The day before the dinner, we got an email to show up at this house in SE and wear our best party socks because it’s a shoe-free house. I think we all thought we were going to a pop-up dinner at a restaurant but it was at someone’s home.
When we got to the house, we were happy to join the festive atmosphere where everyone was sipping on a “Flannel Shirt,” apparently a speciality from Clyde Common. After a bit schmoozing, we sat down with some other people at a table and feasted on a rustic apple salad (recipe from Ava Gene’s), a winter squash soup (drizzled with rose petal harissa!) adapted from Toro Bravo’s menu, a pork shoulder confit (sorry, mom) from Le Pigeon and ended with a crazy dessert comprised of a bacon cornbread madeleine (sorry again, mom), maple ice cream, fresh shaved parmesan and a date caramel. WOW! Vegetarian options are available.This was definitely not the usual out-and-about evening and if you’re someone that likes to try new things, I would recommend it. Come hungry and ready to chat with strangers.
Boke Bowl is one of my favorite lunch spots. I often go there alone or with friends and always enjoy a solid meal there. I try to order other things on the menu (and have from time to time) but I always go back to the Brussel Sprout salad that is over the top delicious. And so nutritious!
The cruciferous family is amply represented here with roasted brussels and cauliflower taking center stage. Citrus slices play a supporting role. Throw a little fish sauce vinaigrette on top (you can make it vegan by omitting the fish sauce by using tamari or ponzu sauce) and it pulls the whole dish together. I probably ate a pound of it last night when I made it at home.
A few reasons to try this dish besides it being completely delicious. Brussel sprouts and cauliflower lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory, are good for your heart, are high in anti oxidants, have been linked to significant reduction in cancer and are amazing for digestion. How you can beat that!?
Here’s the recipe. Enjoy.
3/4 pound brussel sprouts (about 15), some outer leaves removed before slicing into wedges
2 cups diced cauliflower
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for roasting veggies)
1 large blood orange (or regular orange), segmented (cut into pieces)
kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup of fish sauce, 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, 3 limes, 2 garlic cloves, a thai or serrano chili, raw honey to taste (optional).
Pop the veggies into a hot oven (425 degrees) for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and slightly charred. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Peel and slice one large blood orange (over a small bowl to catch drippings). Cut pieces in half and set aside. Squeeze remaining membrane over bowl to release additional juice. Do the same with all the peelings from the orange to gather as much juice as you can. Ideally you’ll want about two tablespoons.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together (sub the tamari for the fish sauce if making it vegan). Season with just a touch of kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
Combine roasted veggies, blanched leaves, and blood orange slices. Dress with vinaigrette and serve.
Yesterday, after I was out doing errands, I came home and the house smelled like a bakery. Seriously. Before I left, I had asked my daughter, Izzy, who loves to bake to whip up a pumpkin bread recipe (to follow in another post), to which is she graciously obliged. She also took it a few steps further and baked some Snickerdoodles. They looked gorgeous and smelled even better.
One might think that these delectable cookies would not be on a nutritionist’s roster of foods to have in the house. We’re all about broccoli and kale, right? Not so much. Before I became a nutritionist I was much more anxious about these kinds of sweet foods hanging around the house. Sugar was consider ‘bad.’ Then I learned that there really are no ‘good” and ‘bad’ foods. Foods just are. It is WE that assign values to them of being good or bad. Yes, some foods are better for you than others but a piece of kale does not taste like a Snickerdoodle…and some times having a home-baked cookie that you’re daughter lovingly made from scratch is just what the doctor ordered.
Below is the recipe from Food.com:
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.
- Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
- Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.
- Chill dough, and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Scoop 1 inch globs of dough into the sugar/ cinnamon mixture.
- Coat by gently rolling balls of dough in the sugar mixture.
- Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 10 minutes.
- Remove from pan immediately.
Every two weeks I get a present. It’s a beautiful ‘Organics to You’ box dropped on my doorstep…and for $32 bucks I think it’s a total deal. What I love about it is that I never know what’s going to be in it and it gives me the chance to experiment with certain produce I’d probably never pick up at the grocery. Sea beans? No way! Long Beans? Probably not. Not that I’m against using these ingredients…they’re just not something I’m naturally drawn to.
So this week in my box, I got a lot of seasonal goodies! Specifically I got potatoes, onion, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, asian pears, a dark leafy green I’ve never seen (and am still trying to identify), 3 humongous leeks, a bunch of ruby red apples, and about 5 persimmons. I have never really eaten persimmons (nor cooked with them) but that’s what I love about getting the box! It pushes me of my comfort zone and makes me experiment with different ingredients.
Because it gets boring eating the same things all the time – right?
I’ll keep you posted on what I come up with. Of course, if you have any ideas I’m all ears.
I feel like my job as a nutritionist is not only to discuss the merits of eating well so we can feel our best but also to celebrate the joviality that certain foods elicit unlike any others. To enjoy our relationship with food and feel ok about eating certain things that may not be the healthiest for us, we need to trust ourselves and know that sometimes an honest to goodness taste can give us a greater sense of control than all out deprivation.
So today I introduce pappabubble. What an amazing store this is! I stumbled upon it with my family in Soho when I was in New York this past weekend for the New York marathon. They make the candy right in the shop and it really is a delight for the eyes. When we were there they were making the red candies you see above and it looked like thousands of pieces of brilliant stained glass were on the table. The women there were so nice and explained the process as they were making the candy. So neat!
Needless to say, my kids loved it. The whole experience was totally unique and though we had a few samples, it was mostly the visual experience (‘eye candy’ so to speak) that drew us in and kept us there!