September 23, 2017

Turmeric and Ginger Harvest

I am honored to participate in the harvest and cooking of fresh, organic turmeric and ginger grown in a Vermont greenhouse.

May the fruits of the harvest inspire us to find balance during this fall equinox time. Equal day and equal night call for a pause, a moment to revel in what surrounds us, appreciate it for what it is, and reflect on what's working in our lives and what we could let go.

Let these traditional Indian recipes inspire you to support your digestive health and immunity with turmeric and ginger. I have learned how to prepare these dishes from Dr. Vasant Lad, director of the Ayurvedic Institutes in India and New Mexico.

Ginger: warming, anti-inflammatory, soothes stomach cramps, reduces flatulence, alleviates common cold and flu symptoms. Clinical studies show that ginger consumption decreases arthritis pain and protects the liver from damage.

Turmeric: anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory, turmeric contains anti-inflammatory curcumin, which helps to heal GI diseases such irritable bowel syndrome. It prevents cancer cells from growing new blood vessels to feed themselves and induces the death of existing cancer cells. It also breaks up accumulated amyloid plaque in the brain that’s related to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Rajma

Rajma means red kidney beans in Hindi. This is an adaptation of a traditional Punjabi recipe.
These rich and hearty legumes are high in iron and protein. They support gut health with their fiber content.

To pressure cook* the beans:
¾ cups rajma (red kidney beans)
1 ½ cups waters

*If you do not have a pressure cooker, just soak the beans overnight and boil in water until tender, about 45 minutes.

For rajma recipe:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric
2 cloves fresh chopped garlic
1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder or 2 fresh chopped chilies
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste

Wash dried rajma under running cold water till water runs clear.
Soak them in enough water for at least 8 hours or overnight.
If using canned beans, there is no need to soak or pressure cook them. Just rinse under the water and use beans in the recipe

Pressure cooking beans: discard the soaking water and add rajma to the pressure cooker with 3 ½ cups of fresh water. Close the lid and put the top on. Cook on high for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes.

Let the pressure go down by itself and then open the cover.
After pressure cooking the rajma, they should be soft and some of them will open up.
Discard any leftover water from pressure cooking.

To prepare the rajma, heat the oil in a pan on medium heat.
Once hot add bay leaf and saute for 30 seconds.
Then add chopped onions and sprinkle some salt.
Cook the onions till they get light brown in color.
Saute ginger, turmeric and garlic for a minute.
Add tomato.
Mix well and let it cook till all the moisture is evaporated and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan. do stir in between to make sure that it is not sticking to the pan.
Add all spice powders. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the beans, cook for 10 more minutes, and enjoy over rice.

Aloo Saag

In Hindi, aloo means potatoes and saag means spinach. This classic side dish can also be made with kale or collard greens.
You will need:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee (clarified butter)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger
2 large potatoes, cut into chunks
½ tsp each: salt, cumin, and garam masala
1 tablespoon mustard
2 cups spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes and spices.
Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes more.
Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan.

Take off the heat and serve with grilled chicken or cooked beans and rice.


Kitchari


Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains. This is one kitchari recipe that is particularly nourishing and easy to digest. I like to prepare the rice and lentils separately and mix them in my bowl.

For the rice:
Rinse 1 cup long grain brown rice.
Bring to a boil with 2 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, with lid askew, for 30 minutes.
In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each: mustard seed, cumin seed, cumin powder, coriander powder
1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

When seeds start popping, turn off heat and slowly pour mixture into cooking rice.
You can add zucchini, summer squash, peas, cauliflower, broccoli or asparagus to the rice.

For the dahl:
Rinse 2 cups yellow split lentils. Drain and bring to a boil with 5 cups water.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Skim off any white foam that develops and discard it.

In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:
1 teaspoon each: salt, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala
1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

Add vegetables such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, collards, kale and spinach to the skillet. Add 1 cup water, cover, and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Mix into the lentils, stir, and enjoy!


August 27, 2017

Gluten-Free Maple Gingerbread

The nights are getting cooler here in Vermont, and I am thinking about the kinds of warming, blood-building foods that will strengthen our immune systems in preparation for the colder months.

Molasses is an excellent source of iron, supports blood and heart health, and is packed with minerals. Try to find sorghum molasses, which is derived from a low-glycemic, gluten-free grain: sorghum. A relative of millet, sorghum is native to North Africa. It is a warming and tonic food that helps build fluids in the body and regulates digestion. When boiled, it creates a delicious and rich syrup that takes this recipe to another level.

If you cannot find sorghum, unsulphured cane sugar molasses will do just fine.

This recipe is rich in medicinal spices to balance blood sugar (cinnamon), support digestion and endocrine health (nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon), and ward off the cold and flu (ginger and cloves).

Maple Gingerbread


You will need:
1 cup sorghum or millet flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon each: cloves and nutmeg
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a baking dish with coconut oil. I use either an 8x8 dish or a loaf pan.
Mix all ingredients together in the order listed.
Spread evenly into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
Check for done-ness by inserting a knife blade into the center of the bread.
Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes if necessary.
Cool 10 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy!

July 19, 2017

Summer Salads and Dressings

Summer is a time of heightened activity, longer days. It's also an opportunity to slow down, nourish ourselves, soak up the sun, and prepare for winter. The more we relax and reduce stress in the summer, the healthier we will remain during the colder months.

Try these recipes to strengthen digestion and promote relaxation.

Lemon Garlic Dressing


You will need:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped dill.


Red Wine Vinaigrette


You will need:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley.


Balsamic Vinaigrette


You will need:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon maple syrup

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped basil.


Kohlrabi Potato Salad


Kohlrabi is extremely high in protein for a vegetable! It's a digestive aid as well. Enjoy it.

You will need:
1 pound potatoes or any kind
½ pound kohlrabi
¼ cup fresh spinach, chopped
⅓ cup roughly chopped dill
3 tablespoons mustard
one batch of lemon garlic salad dressing (see recipe above)

Steam or boil potatoes and kohlrabi in until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain and place in a serving bowl. Toss with spinach, dill, mustard and salad dressing. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup sunflower seeds.


Corn Salad


Please choose non-GMO corn whenever possible.

You will need:
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh peas
3 ears corn, husks and silks discarded, kernels sliced from cobs and reserved
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, chopped

Whisk vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.

Bring a 2 quart saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook until bright green and tender, 1–2 minutes.

Drain and add to bowl along with remaining ingredients; toss to combine.

Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese.

July 1, 2017

Vegan Chia Burgers

Summer is drenching Vermont in rain to the point of flooding. Farmers are doing everything possible to secure crops and we are watching puddles turn into pools in our garden. We hope that this damp weather will pass so that plants may flourish once again.

Meanwhile, we are trying to dry the dampness with warming, nourishing foods that still feature summer ingredients.

These chia burgers fit the bill.

Chia, a member of the sage family, has delicious, peppery, edible seeds that are high in protein and fiber.They are a great replacement for eggs and taste delicious in sweet and savory dishes alike.

Corn is a wonderful food for summer. From digestive support to blood sugar balance, it is a healing food as long as it’s not genetically modified. Ask your farmer where they get their seeds and check for the non-GMO label on corn products in the store.

Corn fiber supports the growth of friendly bacteria in our large intestine. It is rich in B-complex vitamins and has about 5 grams of protein per cup. Fiber and protein make corn a great food blood sugar control.


Vegan Chia Burgers


You will need:
1/2 cup cornmeal (non GMO)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together.

Oil a cookie sheet with olive or sunflower oil.

Shape dough into patties and flatten each one onto the cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, cool and enjoy.

They pair well with pesto and grilled chicken or cod.

June 20, 2017

Coconut Almond Cake With Blueberry Lemon Glaze

Summer is here! Berries are one of my favorite aspects of summer cooking and eating. They are so high in healing plant compounds, low on the glycemic index, and naturally sweet. I take every opportunity to savor them during their short season.

This recipe features blueberries, which are high in phytonutrients that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. They lower triglycerides and protect cells and blood vessels in the heart. Blueberries improve memory, support the nervous system, and balance blood sugar. Try to eat 1 cup of blueberries daily to reap their health benefits.

Coconut Almond Cake


This cake is gluten-free, grain-free, and high in protein. 

You will need:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk of any kind
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt coconut oil in a 9x9 cake pan in the oven.
Mix all the ingredients together in the order listed.
Pour the melted coconut oil into the bowl and mix well.
Pour batter into cake pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Blueberry Lemon Glaze


This is truly the icing on the cake!

You will need:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
a pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Cool slightly before pouring it over the cake.
Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

It's even more delicious the next day after the glaze soaks into the cake.

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