Open Up Your Heart And Let the Sun Shine In

Spring is in the air, but not quite here. The pavement heaves and sighs impatiently, waiting for April showers to wash away the grey and grit. Bare branches stir with restless anticipation for little buds to form and delicate leaves to unfurl. Longer days radiate on my skin, dreams are more vivid, starlings flutter and chat in the garden, sun streams over my bed, and I taste a hint of honey on the breeze.

The food box is still stocked with stodgy winter vegetables and it will be quite some time before succulent strawberry juices and bitter dandelions tickle my tongue.  This stew captures all the cozy goodness of being tucked away for winter while reminding us of the  sweetness of the summer to come.

North African Inspired Winter Vegetable Stew
Yields 6L. Requires a 7L crock-pot. Cut recipe in half for a regular sized crock pot.

4 tbsp coconut oil
4 large onions chopped
2 cups of dry chickpeas
1½ cups leeks finely chopped
2- 796ml cans of organic tomatoes
1- 170g. package of creamed coconut
1 L. chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup organic unsulphered dry apricots
1 cup organic unsulphured raisins

The following vegetables washed and chopped into bite sized pieces:
2 cups potatoes
2 cups carrots
4 cups squash
5 cups sweet potatoes (white and red)

Spices:
3 tbsp cumin seeds toasted and ground
1 tbsp coriander seeds toasted and ground
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground dry chipotle peppers
1 tbsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp ginger powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cinnamon

  1. Soak the chickpeas for 6-12 hours. Rinse well and then boil. When cooked (soft yet firm) strain all cooking water away and rinse well in a colander. This method helps with digestion and eliminating gas.
  2. Put the onions, coconut oil and spices in a crock-pot on high heat.
  3. Wash and chop all the vegetables, and dry fruit. Add them to the pot with the broth. Cover and cook on high heat for about 4-5 hours.
  4. When the vegetables are cooked add the tomatoes and chickpeas.
  5. Chop up the creamed coconut in a glass measuring cup. Add boiling water until you reach 1.5 cups. Let sit until the coconut begins to soften. Stir and squish with a fork until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add to the pot and stir well.
  6. Add more tomatoes, broth or water for desired consistency.
  7. Eat right away and store some in mason jars for lazy days.
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Turned Up Turnips

So I’ve graduated from hiding out to high-fiving myself.  That’s right, it’s just me and a turnip here and I’m feeling pretty damn fine.

Due to working a regular market shift on Saturdays, my ability to procure the finest seasonal produce has been a bit compromised. Thankfully I still get Ted’s CSA box every week, otherwise this little locavore would be hooped.  Whenever I find myself in a situation that seems limiting I often like to play a game where I make it into a challenge and take it to another level (like the time I decided to stop using a fridge). So here I am, hungry with not much besides those damn turnips I keep avoiding in favor of other more promising vegetables. Well I did decide that I was only going to create recipes with what I had in my fridge (ie mostly what came from Ted’s food box), so this is what I came up with today in approximately 15 minutes. Once you taste it you’ll be high fiving yourself too! Here’s a tune to accompany such a wonderful activity.

Tangy Turnip Salad
2 servings, makes a delightful light lunch

Requires a mandolin and a food processor or mortar and pestle
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 big handful of washed and dried cilantro (not local but in my fridge)
The juice of half a lime (also not local..)
½ tsp sea salt
1/3 c sunflower or other light oil
½ turnip peeled
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds (lightly toasted)

  • Slice the turnip into long thick match sticks with a mandolin and set aside. A mandolin is a kitchen gadget for making thin slices, match sticks and, french fries; super fun for making salads look awesome and for those of us not very adept at wielding a knife. If you don’t have one of these kicking around try a spiralizer (equally as obscure if not more) a turning apple peeler and corer, or just get busy with a really good sharp knife.
  • Blitz all the garlic in a food processor and remove 2/3.
  • In a large pan sauté 1/3 of the garlic and half of the turnip match sticks on med. heat. Cover with a lid and let the turnips soften and brown slightly. Turnips are already sweet and edible raw so they don’t need much cooking. They should be aldante with a slight crunch.
  • In the meantime lightly toast the sesame seeds
  • Pulse the ginger in the food processor with the remaining 1/3 of the garlic until finely minced. Then add the cilantro, lime juice, sea salt, and pulse until everything is evenly chopped.
  • When the turnips and garlic are finished cooking remove from the pan and toss with half of the cilantro mixture.
  • Cook the second batch of turnips and garlic and dress them also.
  • Serve immediately

Roasted Romanesco & Cress

3 cloves of garlic finely minced
¼ c. olive oil
1 dash of sea salt
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 large head of romanesco broken into bite size pieces
2 handfuls of torn up cress (stalks removed)

1. Heat the oven to 400°
2. Mix the oil and garlic in a small bowl and then toss with the romanesco. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and sea salt and toss again.
3. Spread the romanesco evenly on a large pan without stacking.
4. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, and then turn the oven to broil. Turn with a spatula ever 5 minutes until it’s evenly browned and slightly crispy.
5. Toss with cress and serve as a side dish to poultry or fish, or with other roasted veg such as fingerling potatoes, squash or beets.

I Heart Beets

Shake the dust from your booty.
Heart beats, sugar.
Shake the soil from your food.
Heart sugar beets.
Shake, Dance and Eat!
Sugar, heart beats.

 

Booty Shaken Beat Salad
With orange and star anise vinaigrette

Salad:
1 or 2 bunches of beets (the more the merrier since you’re heating the oven anyway)
1 red onion thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste (wild pepper* is particularly fragrant)
½ c.  pumpkin seeds
1 bunch of cut and steamed kale, spinach or field greens

  1.  Wash and cut the beets into small bite size pieces.
  2. Toss with olive oil, onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in the oven at 350° for about 1 hour or until caramelized (soft, sweet and gooey)
  4. When the beets are done turn the oven off and gently warm the pumpkin seeds being careful not to toast. The warmth will bring out the flavor without denaturing the delicate oils.
  5. Make the dressing while the beets are cooking.
  6. Prep the kale and steam just before serving.

Dressing:
2/3 c. orange juice (about 2 fresh oranges squeezed)
½ tsp organic orange rind
2 star anise
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1/3 c. fresh cranberries
1/4 c.. olive oil

  1. Sauté and reduce the orange juice, orange rind, vinegar, honey, star anise and cranberries for about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. When it is warm to touch, pour in the oil in a stream while whisking.
  4. Toss with the caramelized beets, spoon over steamed kale, spinach or field greens and top with warm pumpkin seeds.

* Wild pepper can be purchased at the historic farmers market from spice mongers, Epices De Cru

Goin Up In Flames

Goin’ Up In Flames

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moiUyFQQE-0

Inflammation is a sign that our immune system is initiating a healing process and is trying to protect us from harmful irritants. The most common signs of inflammation are swelling, pain, redness, immobility and heat. (Sounds like puberty to me, uggg!). Though this process is uncomfortable, it is ultimately helpful (hmm…. I’m sure we could skip puberty though couldn’t we?). However, continuous inflammation can be very damaging to cells and tissues and can lead to conditions  such as food allergies and chemical sensitivities, skin disorders (puffy eyes, acne,…back-ne, psoriasis), arthritis and even cancer.

There are many ways to decrease inflammation through nutrition. The first step is to avoid all processed foods and common irritants such as dairy, wheat, sugar, caffeine, and soul sucking relationships. You’ll notice that 99% of my recipes are free of flours, sugar and dairy. My goal is to demonstrate that these ingredients are simply unnecessary and you can still enjoy delicious gourmet food. Secondly you can add anti-inflammatory foods such as raw ginger, garlic, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, green leafy vegetables, sprouts and best of all hugs, kisses and back rubs.

Of course the story is bigger then this. If you want to learn more we can dig into this and many other wonders of your body in a 1:1 wellness counseling session.

In the meantime take advantage of the free weekly recipes, created with your health in mind.

Fire Fighting Veggie Fry Up

 Cook enough brown rice, quinoa or millet for 2.

How To Cook Rice, Millet and Quinoa

  1. Find a small pot that retains heat well (nice heavy bottom)
  2. For each serving, put 1/2 cup of rice, millet or quinoa and 1 cup of water in the pot
  3. Bring the water to a boil (high heat)
  4. Then, turn heat to the lowest temperature
  5. Cook covered for about 20-50 min. (quinoa cooks fastest) or until the water has evaporated and the grains are fluffy.

Prep equal portions (approx. 1.5C) of each vegetable or whatever is locally in season.

  • Broccoli florets
  • Julienne carrots
  • Sweet potatoes cut like French fries
  • Yellow beans cut in half
    1. Heat a large frying pan with a lid to medium-high temperature.
    2. Put the carrots in and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and let steam for a couple of minutes.
    3. Add the beans and sweet potatoes and another two tablespoons of water. Cover and let steam till sweet potatoes are al dente.
    4. Add broccoli and another tablespoon of water. Steam till bright green.
    5. Remove from heat and coat with turmeric tahini dressing.
    6. Serve over brown rice, quinoa or millet.

Turmeric Tahini Dressing

3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp organic extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp wheat free tamari
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
3 tsp fresh apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp finely chopped mint
3 tbsp chopped basil
3 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
1 tbsp hot water

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.