May 30, 2013

Foods to Relieve Allergies

Citrus Fruit

Researchers have found that 500 mg of vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms. To gain this support from whole food sources, try eating oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. A large orange contains nearly 100 mg of C, while half of a large grapefruit contains about 60 mg.

Kale, Collard Greens, and Broccoli

 
These members of the crucifer family are rich in carotenoids, pigments believed to aid in fighting allergy symptoms. To improve carotenoid absorption, saute' these vegetables in olive oil.

Nettle

This amazing plant contains histamine, the chemical produced during an allergic reaction. Hence, it helps develop tolerance. Look for nettles in your local woods or ask a farmer whether they have a patch in their garden. Try making nettle pesto.

Aliums

Quercetin, which is abundant in onions, garlic, and shallots, helps fight allergies by acting like an anti-histamine.

Parsley

This diuretic, liver-cleansing herb inhibits the secretion of histamines, thereby relieving congestion. It's delicious in artichoke spread, too!


May 24, 2013

Home-made Crackers and Creamy Green Spread

As summer surrounds us with luscious greenery, enjoy more plant foods and whole grains. Try these recipes and embrace the season.

As a snack or appetizer, make nut and grain crackers.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a spice grinder, grind:
            1 cup sweet nuts (almonds or pecans)
            1 cup savory nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
            1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)

Mix together in a bowl with1 cup leftover oatmeal, quinoa, rice, or millet. Make sure you have cooked the grains down into a porridge-like consistency before mixing them in with the nuts and seeds.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and any spices you like.

Try one of these combinations: either cumin, coriander, turmeric or thyme, coriander, oregano.

If mixture is a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil.

Mix well before adding any additional oil – the nuts already contain oil.

Grease a cookie sheet with oil and spread mixture in a thin layer.
Bake at 200 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

Allow to cool completely before breaking into cracker pieces and storing in plastic bags.

Home-made crackers are terrific topped with creamy green sauce:

Choose 2 large yellow onions.

Chop off top and bottom, peel skin and slice each one in half width-wise.

Place two halves flat on cutting board and slice each one into thin crescents.

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.

When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover.

Add ½ cup water. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

Meanwhile, cover the bottom of a medium stock pot with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

Rinse and chop 1 large bunch kale, collards and/or chard.

Add greens to the pot, cover, and reduce heat to low. Braise greens for 5-10 minutes.

Add greens to onions. Stir well to incorporate and purée with immersion blender or food processor.

May 21, 2013

Savory Summer Breads

Asparagus upside down corn bread

You will need:
8-10 stalks asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup milk (almond or cow)
2 eggs OR 4 Tablespoons flaxseed meal

1/2 cup flour (spelt or millet)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a cast iron or oven-proof skillet, warm a bit of olive oil.
Add rinsed asparagus with its tough, woody stems broken off.
Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add a little water, cover, and saute 5 more minutes, or until tender.

As asparagus cooks, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, eggs/flax and milk in a mixing bowl. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

Mix well to incorporate.
Pour over asparagus and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before running a knife around the edges.
Then, place a plate on top of the skillet, flip and enjoy!

***

Apricot chickpea biscuits


You will need:
1/2 cup dried apricots, soaked in boiling water

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup olive oil
 1 cup flour (rice or spelt)
1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cardamom, coriander, baking powder and baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil a bit of water.
Coarsely chop dried apricots. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water.

As apricots soak, mix all the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Drain apricot water and add apricots to the mixing bowl.
Stir to incorporate.
Place dough in heaping spoonfuls on an oiled baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy as breakfast or with soup!

***


Parsnip almond flatbread

You will need:
3 medium parsnips, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each: salt and nutmeg
olive oil for roasting

1 cup flour (spelt or millet)
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup milk (almond or cow)
pinch salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Chop parsnips and place in a glass baking dish (8x8 or so).
Coat with olive oil, nutmeg and salt.
Roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile. whisk all other ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Once parsnips are roasted, reduce oven heat to 350.
Toss parsnips with a spatula, pour batter over them, and bake for 25 minutes.
Enjoy with scrambled eggs and spinach as a lovely brunch or a light dinner.

May 15, 2013

Asparagus, Avocado, and Spring

Arugula Avocado Asparagus Topping
 
For cooked millet, cornbread, or sourdough toast
You will need:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb of asparagus
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, coriander, and caraway seeds

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 avocado, pitted and smashed
As much arugula as you like


Cook your grains or slice your bread.

A few minutes before eating, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and a pinch of salt. Cover, turn the heat down to medium low, and cook for about 4 minutes. 

Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and caraway. Cook another 2 minutes or so.

Remove from heat and mix in a bowl with avocado, arugula, and toasted seeds.

Serve over grains or bread as a delectable spring lunch!

***

Barley Asparagus Dinner

You will need:

1 cup cooked barley
1/4 pound medium asparagus, trimmed and cut
1/2 a medium head of broccoli cut into small trees
small handful of cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup almonds, toasted
1 heaping spoonful almond butter
1 medium avocado, sliced into small pieces

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil with 1 cup barley.

Salt generously reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour.

About 10 minutes before barley is ready, add broccoli, asparagus, and cilantro.

Cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and mix in lemon, olive oil, almond butter, almonds and avocado.

Enjoy as a delicious spring dinner.
 

May 8, 2013

Foods To Tame Spring Fever


Try these recipes to bring circulation to the lymphatic system, cleanse your liver, and embrace the sour flavor and the wood element of spring!

Lentil Soup with Tangy Yogurt Sauce


For the soup:
1 cup cooked green lentils

1 yellow onion, diced

4 Tbsp. olive oil

2 teaspoons each: cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt

1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

12 firmly packed cups of chard, spinach, and/or beet greens

For the sauce:
1 cup whole plain yogurt
½ teaspoon each: salt and nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Rinse the lentils, cover them with water in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté for 15 minutes. Add the spices and sauté another 5 minutes. Add the greens, stir, and add 8 cups water or stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Rinse and drain the lentils, return them to the stock pot, cover again with water and bring them to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and cook, uncovered, until tender – about 20 minutes.

Add lentils to the soup, taste for salt, and turn off the heat. You can purée the soup with an immersion blender or in an upright blender if you like.

In a serving bowl, mix the yogurt sauce.
Serve soup with a dollop of yogurt sauce and enjoy!

***
Nut and Grain Crackers

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a spice grinder, grind:
            1 cup sweet nuts (almonds or pecans)
            1 cup savory nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
            1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)

Mix together in a bowl with 1 cup leftover rice. Make sure you have cooked the grains down into a porridge-like consistency before mixing them in with the nuts and seeds.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and any spices you like.
Try one of these combinations: cumin, coriander, turmeric OR thyme, coriander, oregano.

If mixture is a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil. Mix well before adding any additional oil – the nuts already contain oil.

Grease a cookie sheet with oil and spread mixture in a thin layer.
Bake at 200 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Allow to cool completely before breaking into cracker pieces and storing in plastic bags.

***
Spinach Artichoke Dip

Place ¼ cup water in a small pot. Add ¼ pound spinach and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drain any remaining water.
Open one glass jar artichoke hearts and drain water out.
Place artichoke hearts in blender and add:
            ¼ cup olive oil
            2 heaping spoonfuls almond butter
            ½ Tablespoon lemon juice concentrate
            ½ teaspoon salt
            ½ Tablespoon dry thyme leaf
            Braised spinach
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy with grains or breads.
Keeps in fridge for 1 week.

***
Pesto of Wild Leek Leaves and Greenhouse Greens

Rinse 2 cups fresh, tender greenhouse greens (claytonia, buckwheat greens, arugula, dandelion, or a combination thereof).
Rinse ½ cup wild leek leaves.

Place both in a blender with:
            ¼ cup olive oil
            ½ teaspoon lemon juice concentrate
            ½ teaspoon salt
           
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy with grains or breads.
Keeps in fridge for 1 week.

May 1, 2013

Celebrate Workers and Local Food!

Happy International Workers Day! 

Migrant March May 2011
Demonstration in Dhaka


Today, it's more important than ever to recognize the challenges facing farmers and workers across the food system.

 


Farmers and farm workers, cooks, servers, cashiers, slaughterhouse workers, food factory workers, baristas, fast food employees, and many other groups are fighting for bettering working conditions, including fair wages and better prices for their crops, healthcare, gender equality, better safety conditions, and other basic human rights.Recognizing the challenges farmers and workers face--as well as the innovations they're developing--is critical for true food system sustainability.

You can start by eating more local food and asking your local farms to support their workers with fair wages.



Eating more local and seasonal foods can be easy, inexpensive and delicious!  

Here are 10 ways to eat more local food.  Thanks to Food Tank for this information.

Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. CSA members pay for a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly subscription, and get in return a box of vegetables and other locally-produced foods such as cheese, eggs, and breads or other food items. The CSA benefits farmers because they receive payment early in the season, and benefits consumers by giving them a box of fresh, local produce. You can search for local CSAs through Local Harvest’s website.

Plant your own garden. It doesn’t get more local than your own back yard! Michele Owens’ book Grow the Good Life offers advice to beginner and experienced gardeners alike.

Learn what is in season. Buying seasonal local produce ensures that you are supporting your area’s farmers, as well as providing your family with the freshest food possible. Organizations like Pennsylvania’s Buy Fresh Buy Local help consumers see what is seasonal in their state.

Shop the local farmers markets. One of the oldest forms of direct marketing for famers, local farmers markets are gatherings where local growers can sell their fresh produce and value-added products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up a search engine for consumers to find information about their nearest markets.

Visit "Pick-Your-Own" farms. Pick-Your-Own Farms are farms that allow customers to come in and pick their own produce, sometimes for a small fee. Similarly, gleaning programs have been established where consumers volunteer their services to pick produce that would have otherwise been wasted and donate it to local food banks for distribution.

Research your restaurants. Farm-to-table cooking has become one of the hottest restaurant trends in recent years and, often, chefs will include the origin of their product on their menus. Organizations like Clean Plates have started compiling locavore restaurants into databases to make it easier and more enjoyable for consumers to eat healthily and sustainably in their local restaurants.

Check your food labels of origin. Country of Origin Labeling Regulations require retailers to label the places of origin of their seafood, meats, produce, and nuts.

Join a local food co-op. Food cooperatives are customer-and-worker-owned businesses where the customer pays a nominal annual fee and is, in turn, provided with high-quality, local food products.

Freeze, can and preserve. During the bountiful summers, abundant fruits and vegetables can be frozen, canned and preserved for fresh, local produce later in the year.

Buy Fair Trade. Search for Fair Trade certified products if local is not an option. Fair Trade USA uses a market-based approach to empower farmers to get a fair price for their work and harvest and contribute to their local economies.

For details, visit www.foodtank.org

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