Spring has sprung as nature’s magic unfolds before our eyes. Winter’s barren land is now a carpet of flowers and greens. Shopping at the farmer’s market puts the freshest veggies of the season on your plate but how else can you connect to nature’s rhythm? Sprouting edible seeds! Seeds carry almost everything needed to form into a plant. With a little water, the seed is awakened and life springs into action. Eating sprouted seeds is a way to capture the essence of spring and a plethora of nutrients.
Variety isn’t just the spice of life; it’s the one thing that will keep you from falling into a food rut. Salad lovers often tell me they get bored with the same old thing. The danger, of course, is this disenchantment can lead them away from the greens their bodies really need. Enter this salad and the idea of eating seasonally. It’s not just a catch phrase. Each season brings new foods just hitting their peak; in this case strawberries and arugula were just taking their first walks of the spring down the runway. In addition to their incredibly sweet taste, strawberries fight inflammation and tumor growth. Here you’ve got a fresh salad that feels like Pop Rocks going off in your mouth: Strawberries, mint, a lemony balsamic vinaigrette, a topping of sliced almonds. You want variety? This is the salad equivalent of Secret Santa: Lots of surprises, and every one of them a gift.
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The other evening, I made myself a cup of delicious raw tomato soup in about 30 seconds. To replicate this soup, it will be necessary to have on hand:
One huge, truly ripe, exquisitely delicious, organic tomato (I used a sunshine yellow heirloom.)
A splash of very good, extra virgin olive oil
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger root
I’m often asked how to make a good pot of brown rice– neither hard nor mushy, but just chewy enough. Classic brown rice.
If you are ready for some fresh spring asparagus that is crisp, lemony and divine—and can be on the table in a snap—our Food As Medicine Executive Chef Rebecca Katz’s recipe is just the thing. Ummmm good.
I love PCRM (Physicians Committe for Responsible Medicine), especially because they generously offer so much cooking education free to the public through the Cancer Project, their diabetes education network, their 21-day vegan kickstart programs, etc… and the recipes are often terrific.
Case in point: this lentil soup recipe from the Cancer Project, perfect for a cold winter’s night with the wind howling, as it has often been here on the East Coast this winter.
A reminder for those of you who know about it, and an epiphany for those of you who don’t: Magic Mineral Broth!
Food As Medicine Executive Chef & faculty member Rebecca Katz, MA, first published the recipe for this potent potion in her cookbook One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends– and has since generously offered it on her website rebeccakatz.com. She calls it her “Rosetta stone of soup”.
This time of year, with colds and flu swirling about, I feel naked without it. And that’s a simple problem to fix– a trip to the farm market or grocery store for a sack full of everything on the list, a few minutes to wash and chop, and several hours of cozy reading time while the broth simmers and the kitchen fills with a healthy, rich aroma– and you’re good to go. One recipe makes quite a lot of broth– see photo of results in the slide show– most of which I freeze for those moments when you need a mineral-rich broth to pick you right up. My kind of health insurance
Thank you, Rebecca!
A seasonal delight you won’t want to miss: cranberry beans, with their burgundy and white shells. I spotted them at my farmer’s market on Saturday, and rhapsodized over their appearance all day before cooking them that evening. Flat out gorgeous!
I was inspired to create a combination of fresh green beans and cranberry beans by David Tanis in this delightful episode of Alice Water’s In the Green Kitchen video series, each of which features a simple standout dish. David spends half the year in Berkeley as head chef at Chez Panisse and the other half in Paris. Oooh, nice! I love watching him in this video, serenely topping and tailing green beans, the very essence of relaxed mindfulness.
Alas, the cranberry beans turn grayish in cooking, but I still found the final dish a pretty picture. And my friends, the taste! One of those deeply satisfying kinds.
Method: cook the cranberry beans in the shell in boiling, lightly salted water for 20 minutes. During the last 4 minutes, throw in the green beens, which have been topped and tailed and cut into reasonably bite-sized lengths. Drain everything. Shell the cranberry beans and toss them all on a platter (the better to admire), sprinkle with a little high quality olive oil and some sea salt– I used some fleur de sel. Just a little. Sheer delight with corn and sweet potatoes fresh from the farm market!
Learn more about cranberry beans on this nice site called The Heart of New England, which has lots of nice food ideas.
My colleague Klara Royal is SO busy preparing for our Mind-Body Medicine professional training program coming up October 2 – 6 here in the Washington, DC area that I wanted to make lunch for her as a special treat. What to cook? Easy– our old favorite, greens & beans.
We first learned this from Food As Medicine faculty member John Bagnulo, PhD, MPH, organic farmer and teacher extraordinaire. It’s as simple as can be, and there’s something about the combination of kale and beans that radiates energy. Cheap, easy, nutritious and delicious. A winner!
Ingredients: one bunch kale, 1 can cannellini beans, one extra-large or several small cloves garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, Bragg’s or tamari to taste.
Method: Wash and tear kale into bite-sized pieces. If you’ve never cooked kale before, you will be SHOCKED at how much it cooks down! Rinse beans. Peel and chop garlic.
Warm a small heavy pot and pour in about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Give that a minute to warm, then briefly sauté chopped garlic. Add beans, stir, and cover. Meanwhile, warm a large pan (I use a chef’s pan, a sort of flat- bottomed wok, at home, but anything will do), add a little olive oil, and throw in the kale. Add about one cup water, stir and cover. Check on the beans. Stir a little and smash a few, so there are some whole and some smashed (makes for a nice texture at the end). Stir the kale a few more times– I leave the beans to brown/crisp a little on the bottom for some crunch–and in about 5 – 7 minutes you are all done. The greens should be bright, emerald green and still chewy, but not tough.
Serve the kale in a flat bowl or plate, top with the cooked beans and a spritz of Bragg’s or Tamari to taste. Experience suggests that if you are making this at work, your colleagues will start drifting into the kitchen and making “mmmmm” noises right about when the garlic really starts to sizzle. No problem– teach them how to make it, too. Also works with family members.
Serves 2. Or one, if like Klara’s husband you LOVE kale.
Bingo! When both your 22-year old AND 15-year old sons scarf down a dish, you know you’ve got something.
Last night I made the Hoppin’ John salad recipe from the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s (PCRM’s) 21-day Vegan Kickstart program, and I’m here to tell you it’s a winner. Easy, filling, nourishing food– just the kind of thing I look for in a family week-night recipe.
It’s a rice salad with black-eyed peas (why don’t I use these more?), chopped scallions, celery, parsley and chopped tomatoes, with a garlicky, lemony dressing.
The 21-day kickstart started Monday, but it’s not too late to join. Each week, you’ll receive menus and recipes– and that’s why I joined, for the infusion of new, tried and true recipes. One does get tired of ones own cooking from time to time.