Archive | May, 2014

Asparagus & Herb Salad

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I love salad. Real salad, not the boxed mixed greens kind of salad, but the kind of salad you need a fork AND a knife to eat. That’s what I’m talking about. The kind of salad that actually gets better in your fridge overnight. The kind of salad that gives you more vegetables in one sitting than you had the entire day before. It can take a little bit more effort to make, but it will feed you for days with its flavonoid-filled enthusiasm.

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I grew up on various versions of this particular one. It magically popped up around asparagus season (my awesome Mom being the magician), and versions of it were either on our dinner table or in our refrigerator throughout the summer. It never lasted long (I have three sisters), so I recommend you make extra if there is stiff competition for leftovers in your house.

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Seed Crackers

It seems like there are so many healthy options out there for dips, spreads and stuff that tastes good on chips or crackers, but not as many healthy chips, cracker or ‘vessels’ in general. If you buy crackers that contain nuts and seeds, who knows how long they have been sitting on the shelf for and how rancid their fats might be, but if you buy gluten-free or whole-grain crackers, they can be full of refined carbs that cancer cells gobble up. My usual answer to this is to have plenty of fresh, chopped up veggies -carrots, cucumber, broccoli etc, in your fridge, ready to dip into your guacamole/green hummus/sprouted lentil dip, whenever you are feeling hungry. I appreciate that this is not always realistic, as it requires planning ahead, and feeling well and energetic enough to prep veggies on a regular basis (having a personal chef helps, too).

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Enter the seed cracker. These crackers were created out of a need for something plain-tasting that contained lots of fiber and healthy fats, lasted longer than a couple of days and could handle being dipped. They are the perfect snack to have around to keep your hand out of the cracker box and to help keep you on top of your nutrition game. If it seems ridiculous to you that I just recommended that you make your own crackers if you don’t feel well enough to chop up some veggies, send this recipe to a friend or family member who keeps offering their help. Trust me, they want to help you, they just don’t know what to do. Making you some crackers will make them feel SO GOOD! Everybody wins. And if you feel well enough to make them yourself, make some extra ones for someone who doesn’t. It’s called cracker love, pass it on.

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A coffee grinder ($20) reserved just for flax-grinding is a great way to ensure that you are getting the freshest flax fats possible. Store the flax seeds whole in your freezer and grind as much as you need, right out of the freezer when you need it. Notice how rough the grind is for this recipe -just let it go for about 5-10 seconds.

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Fermented Cabbage & Golden Beet Sauerkraut

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While working in a small upscale French restaurant 10-15 years ago, someone accidentally ordered 4 litres of pre-peeled garlic. It promptly started to go off from a lack of use, and stink up the walk-in, and I remember worrying about the smell attacking the rest of our mise en place and fruit, cheese etc. A fellow cook who I worked with had spent a few years working in South Korea, and she was the only one embracing the fermented garlic cooler-stench wafting around our small kitchen. She had eaten her fill of (intentionally) fermented foods while there, and loved it enough for some rotten garlic in our walk-in to be causing her nostalgia. I found this hilarious yet oddly intriguing at the time, and have never forgotten it. Little did I know….

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Fermented is now the new green, which is great for people like myself, (enthusiastic, but needs to see it happening to fully understand it, as opposed to reading about it in great black and white detail a trillion times while absorbing nothing) because there are now plenty of colourful pictures and videos out there happily spinning our right-brained minds into action.

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Soup-Greening (Pea & Spinach Soup)

More of a concept than a recipe, this post is paying homage to the green smoothie and all of its chlorophyll-ific powers, by lending the same concept to a different dish. Meet the green smoothie’s lower glycemic, gently cooked cousin: green soup. Greens soup. Green smoothie soup…I’m still working on it.

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You can start with any soup, much like a green smoothie can have any fruity base. If you want the vibrant green, use lighter coloured, low acid vegetables as the base (onion, leek, sun chokes, artichoke). Know that if you use a tomato soup base (much like using a berry base in a smoothie) you will wind up with something delicious, that could possibly resemble swamp water. Although I do think that the ‘you eat with your eyes’ concept applies less to the person cooking the food (if you know what went into it, and that it is going to taste delicious, it will, even if it’s not pretty, right?) if you are cooking for someone else who may be feeling under the weather and doesn’t feel much like eating, it will be harder to coax them in with swamp water-looking delicious food, than with delicious-looking delicious food. Trust me.

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Any greens will work, although spinach will get the smoothest, especially if you don’t have a high-powered blender. It is also quite bland, which can work in your favor. The up-side of making a green soup rather than a green smoothie, is if there are green bits that won’t blend in smoothly in your sad-ish blender, they will still steam and mellow into the soup. Anyone ever try to blend kale into their smoothie while on vacation using a blender from the 80’s? It feels like you are eating lawn trimmings. Like a cow. Again, you won’t have that problem here, give kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, and collards a try. Just keep in mind, they will impart their flavour into the soup.

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