With temperatures over 100 degrees and code orange air alerts (“unhealthy for sensitive groups”) here in Washington, DC, who feels like cooking? Or for that matter, eating?
My solution last evening: a rainbow salad. Everything organic, nearly everything purchased at our local farm market the evening before. Nothing much to it: two kinds of lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, pine nuts roasted with just a little ground coriander (my son Arran who is a chef teaches me these haute cuisine tricks), sliced carrots, and a little finely sliced peppermint, tossed with a tad of high quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Ta-da! As quick as it sounds and as delicious as it looks.
Summer’s harvest is rolling in! See the riches we plundered at the Farm Market on Saturday, including the first corn of the season (white), and little orange ‘Sundrop’ tomatoes, organic strawberries, black raspberries, and small plums (well, everything we purchased is organic), and mountains of greens (kale, chard, dandelion, arugula, baby spinach, Boston lettuce), herbs (peppermint, parsley)… This rainbow cornucopia inspired our first summer feast: steamed corn (several of us thought it so rich and succulent it didn’t require butter or any other spread), green beans with a spritz of lemon and a pinch of fleur de sel, quinoa salad (details below), soft boiled fresh farm eggs and sliced plums with black raspberries.
A simple recipe for the quinoa salad: Start with 2 cups of quinoa, well and repeatedly washed to remove the bitter saponins and cook on stove top or in rice cooker with 4 cups water. Meanwhile, prepare the following: toast 1/2 cup pine nuts in a heavy pan over a flame– shaking to keep from browning too much, and adding a pinch of coriander. Chop a handful each of washed mint leaves and washed parsley. Saute a few cloves of garlic, minced, in olive oil. When the quinoa has finished cooking, squeeze in juice from half a lemon and drizzle in some olive oil. Stir in all the other ingredients, along with 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. I made this up as I went along, and it’s really nice– very subtle. It was particularly delicious slightly warm, but Alex enjoyed a taste cold at the office on Monday.
It’s such fun to experiment this time of year, with a glorious palette of possibilities!
ps– I’ll have a wonderful slide show and some other goodies from Food As Medicine shortly.
Here’s a lovely gluten-free vegan potato leek soup from Gluten-Free Goddess. We liked it better chilled the day after we made it and served it warm– but it may have been the result of that magic that happens when a soup sits overnight, and all the flavors marry and deepen. Rich without the cream, and the crisp, fresh chive garnish makes a pleasing contrast. Elegant thermos fodder for school and work lunches.
Ooooh, I love the internet! Once home with my fresh collard greens from the farm market, I felt inclined to try something new. A google search turned up an appealing and speedy recipe for Brazilian collard greens– not the oxymoron you might think, for greens that are famous for slow, slow cookin’.
The whole process is revealed in this brief video, featuring then-executive food editor of Gourmet magazine Kemp Minife. The most time consuming thing is slicing the rolled up leaves into fine ribbons. Chop some fresh garlic, then the cooking takes literally 3 minutes. You wind up with yum yum yum delicious, brilliant green, garlicky, toothsome greens that even a teenager will like. Seriously! Taste-tested in my own kitchen, and not a smidgen of leftovers. This is a keeper.
Nothing could be easier, more elegant, or more delicious than roasted asparagus in the springtime. So when I hosted a pot-luck dinner party celebrating a dear friend’s birthday recently, I chose that for my contribution.
Don’t you agree that it’s preferable to have fun at a party rather than suffer from kitchen exhaustion?
This beautiful dish was the perfect solution. To serve 8, I assembled 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 orange bell pepper, 1/2 head of fennel, 4 portobello mushrooms and some red onion. After snapping off the tough ends of the asparagus, I cut the stalks diagonally into inch-and-a-half long pieces, cut the pepper into 1″ squares, and sliced the fennel, asparagus and onion as you see, then tossed everything in a large bowl with some good quality olive oil, coarse sea salt and fresh-ground pepper. I threw them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and topped with some fresh sprigs of thyme (remove when done– they blacken a bit). I popped the tray into the oven set on ‘low’ broil, and stirred around after 10 minutes, cooking probably a total of 15 minutes altogether. The roasted veggies turned out perfectly, looked gorgeous on a colorful platter, and were just right slightly warmer than room temp. Oh! Yum! Such a hit.
On the table I placed a gold cotton napkin in the center of each plate, with a fresh flower from my garden laid diagonally across the napkins at the last minute– an even mix of dandelions and Korean spice viburnum sprigs (fragrant!). Everyone smiled as they sat down.
ps– I can’t believe there was just enough left over for lunch the next day! (see photo)
aka Mr. Smoothie.
Derek wears a number of hats: Certified Holistic Health Counselor (CHHC); Case Manager & Intake Specialist for the Jericho Reentry Program, a post-prison project of the Episcopal Community Services of Maryland; Co-Coordinator of the Baltimore Nutrition Group; and a faculty member for Food As Medicine. For Food As Medicine, he gives one of our “Keeping it Real” lectures, a window into working very simply with people to change their health and lives through food. As a CHHC, he practices what he teaches, coaching a diverse group of clients in his melting pot Baltimore neighborhood towards wellness and vitality.
One of his transformative tools of choice is the green smoothie, an elixir of wellness, power-packed with minerals and antioxidants, radiating life energy. He tells great stories about clients of the Jericho Reentry Project reacting to the mysterious jars of green stuff on his desk. Oh, and did I mention he’s a trained actor and an amazing storyteller?
We visited recently and the Master led us through the simple steps to a divinely delish smoothie. The best way I can describe the taste is… like velvet sunshine.
A nourishing and happy new year to you!
My family celebrated with a New Year’s Eve supper of beans, rice, salad and this perfectly simple and delicious, gluten-free apple crisp– a cozy sonata of chopped apples tossed with vanilla and lemon and topped with crispy (gluten-free) oats or quinoa chips, maple syrup, coconut oil and cinnamon. Makes the whole house smell wonderful while it’s baking!
Ready for the oven
Ready to eat
You’ll find the recipe on CeliacChicks.com: a guide to a hip & healthy gluten-free lifestyle A terrific site. Enjoy!
And may this be our best and healthiest year yet!
What can be better than cooking with friends? Recently Rosenny and I took over the main kitchen at the Center and headed out on a culinary adventure, cooking lunch for the whole office. She brought the beans, rice, and spices, and I brought fresh veggies from the farm market. We got things going, and pretty soon colleagues were drifting in, curious. This is the smell of the Dominican Republic, friends, said Rosenny. When the whole thing gets together, it’s going to be something out of this world.
This was mindful cooking. We drank in the colors, smells and traditions, spicing everything with smiles and laughter. The magic ingredient that makes these beans like no other is sofrito, a pungent blend of Cubanelle pepper, garlic, onion, cilantro, fresh thyme and spices. Click here for the complete recipe as we made it. The results? A low cost, nutrition-packed menu that easily served us all, of Texmati brown rice, black beans Dominican style, and a gorgeous fresh salad that smelled like sunlight, with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing.
The slides show the step-by-step, and the happy faces of our friends. Mmmmmmmm….! Even the dishwashers were cheerful.
ps– what are some of your favorite big flavor, low cost, feed-a-crowd, nutritious meals?
Our Food As Medicine Executive Chef and core faculty member Rebecca Katz, MS, has just come out with her second book dedicated to helping cancer survivors and their families with tasty, healthy, science-based recipes and food information. Called The Cancer Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery, it’s full of practical and delicious information. And who knew a book about cancer could be cozy and funny? That’s Rebecca. Reading her books is like sitting and talking with an old friend, in this case one of our nation’s most astute experts on supporting health during cancer treatment, what she calls ‘culinary Rx’.
She’s also the Queen of Yum. If you’ve been to our Food As Medicine trainings, you know, because Rebecca designs all the lunches. That’s the experiential part of the training: healthy food CAN be gorgeous and delicious. My colleague Alex ran down the street to our local bookstore and bought a copy of CFK the minute it came out, and has been cooking from it ever since, reporting back on her boyfriend’s verdicts (‘Fabulous!’ ‘So delicious!’). We’re teasing Alex that it’s like Julie & Julia — Alex & Rebecca. Rebecca doesn’t know it yet, but she’s got us all mesmerized! Visit www.rebecccakatz.com for lots of recipes and great info.