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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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Turmeric & Ginger Tea

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When you give up or cut back on coffee, it can feel as though that rich and peaceful time in the morning becomes as watered down as you peppermint tea. There are some interesting and appropriate substitutes out there: green tea is a great option for crushing cancer and dandelion root tea can fill the dark and mysterious void while supporting the liver. The following recipe is another option, and is what I like to think of as a ‘breakfast cocktail’ as it requires a bit of bartending and I would pay someone to make it for me every single morning. PS -It works wonders if you feel a cold coming on.

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Fresh ginger is known to help with nausea, and have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Fresh turmeric is one of the best-known cancer fighting foods and a substance derived from it, called curcumin, is found in natural supplement form for people fighting cancer (or other inflammation-based diseases/disorders).

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Rapini, a Love Story

For reasons that go far beyond the fact that I am currently on a serious kick, let us celebrate rapini. It is also known as broccoli rabe, and is a plant well deserving of two names, as it offers both an abundance of natural beauty and an impressive nutritional profile. You can’t eat tulips, just saying…

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I think of rapini as an adult vegetable, mostly because I didn’t grow up with it, and only truly discovered it when I spent some time working in Toronto where the Italian influence is hot and heavy. I could not get enough of it and always had a big juicy bunch in my fridge, along with some good olive oil, garlic and anchovy paste in a tube for when I got home from work. (In the interest of full disclosure, I may have also folded it into some KD once or twice. I’m not proud if it, I was working with kids).

One of the things I love about this beautiful plant, is what it offers up in terms of variety. From just one vegetable, you get thin, tender stalks, hearty leaves, flavour-absorbing florets, and if you’re lucky, even some flowers. It has a bitter edge (like all good things) and some sweetness too, and needs very little encouragement to shine bright like a diamond.

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Wintery Spring Salad

Spring is a funny time of year for food. We start to crave fresher flavours – salads, smoothies and more raw food, even if Mother Nature is telling us not to put away our winter clothes just yet. This salad speaks well to this awkward time of year. It is fresh yet hearty and full of raw, lush winter vegetables, allowing us to curb those spring time cravings and still eat locally.

This combination of vegetables could be thinly sliced or grated to create more of a traditional coleslaw, but I like the chunkier dice and slice, which really makes for a juicier salad (I’m looking at you cabbage!). My Mom was actually the first person I saw do it this way, no kale massage, no small slices or dices, no apologies, just bold, beautiful vegetables, embracing their voluptuous fibers. You can taste the confidence. Not pictured – a sweet bartlett pear to bring out the sweetness in the vegetables, just dice it up and toss it in with the rest.

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These vegetables vary in colour and pigment, which means that we are getting a large variety of antioxidants from this salad. On top of that, we have the kale and cabbage, both being from the powerful cruciferous family, offering up their mighty I3c (Indole-3-carbinol), crushing cancer like it’s their job.

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It needs to be properly dressed to come together. This dressing is tart and rich, and it compliments this salad very well. It’s creaminess comes from avocado and soaked cashews (instead of mayo/yoghurt), and it is where the fat comes from too, no need for refined oils (we are all about whole fats whenever possible). Add as much garlic as you are comfortable with, if too much raw garlic makes you feel hung-over (anyone?), just add one small clove and some extra green onions. (more…)