Tag Archives | iodine

Tomato & Fennel Soup

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When I think of comfort food, I think of tomatoes. I am a quarter Lebanese by blood and about 2/3 Lebanese when it comes to food obsessions. Although we are third generation Canadian, my sisters and I grew up embracing all things tomato, parsley, mint and lemon. For a special treat, my Mom would make stuffed grapevine leaves (we would help roll) baked in a tomato sauce, served with a classic tabouli salad. If it was just the four of us and our Mom for the night, she would often make the very most epic ratatouille with chick peas, finished with a healthy squeeze of lemon and some parsley for dinner. When we were sick, naturally, we got tomato soup.

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Perhaps this is why I gravitate towards tomatoes when planning menus for clients who are unwell. It doesn’t hurt that tomatoes are also one of the richest sources of the antioxidant, lycopene, which is well known for its cancer fighting and preventing abilities. The lycopene is actually more abundant in cooked tomatoes than in raw, so a slow-simmered tomato soup is especially healing.

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The Salt Conundrum (Seaweed Salt)

Of all of the foods that are considered ‘bad for your health’, the one I find the most challenging to avoid is not chocolate. It isn’t refined sugar or bacon either. It doesn’t even have a flavour all its own, but selflessly gives a small boost to all other flavours. It is salt, the high heel shoes of the culinary world. Much like heels, salt needs to be used in moderation. If you use it too often, your taste buds adapt, and you will require more salt to avoid your food tasting bland (or feeling short in a pair of flats….).

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By avoiding processed foods and cooking from scratch, you are able to avoid added sodium (and so much more). Clearly we are big proponents of cooking from scratch, here at TCCK, but we also want the food you make to taste delicious, so that you WANT to eat it. How else are you going to get all of those cancer-crushing, bio-available nutrients into your body?

So maybe small amounts of high quality, mineral-rich, additive-free sea salt would be ok. Derived from the cleaner oceans of the world, where the air is warm enough to evaporate the water off naturally, so that no de-mineralizing boiling needs to take place.

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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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