September 1, 2013

Apple Season

It's apple season. In Vermont, the wild apples are lining the roadsides, ready for gleaners to scoop them up and make sauce or cider. These fragrant fruits have excellent medicinal value and help us transition into fall and winter.

Apples contain polyphenols and fiber to help prevent blood sugar spikes. They provide pre-biotic compounds that support intestinal flora and ease gas and bloating. Apples also contain antioxidants that help to digest fat in the cell membranes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular difficulties.

These lovely fruits, in the malus genus, are part of the Rosaceae family, to which roses also belong. Thus, it is no wonder that apples enliven our hearts and uplift our spirits.

Enjoy these apple recipes and ease into fall.

Apple Onion Tart

This tart is gorgeous and delicious. Sweet, savory, and fragrant, it is perfect for any meal.

For the crust:
1 cup almond meal
1 cup millet, freshly ground in a coffee bean grinder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each: rosemary and thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Grease a pie plate with olive oil and set aside.
Grind millet in a coffee bean grinder to produce a grainy flour-like consistency.
In a mixing bowl, combine almond meal, millet flour, salt, and spices.
Make a well in the center, add olive oil, lemon juice and almond milk, whisk together, then incorporate with dry ingredients.
Press into pie plate. Make sure that the crust gets up the sides of the plate and that the thickness is relatively even all around.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove to prepare the filling.

For the filling:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 tart baking apple (McIntosh, Gravenstein or Jonathan)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to very low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, for about 15 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, and nutmeg.
Stir in the onions.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apple.
Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust and arrange the apple slices decoratively on top.
Press on the apples to slightly submerge them.
Bake until the top is lightly browned and the center is set, about 30 minutes. Let the tart stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Onions: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.

Gingered Apples and Leafy Greens with Oven-Roasted Beets

For the apples and greens:
wash 1 bunch kale or collards. Chop length-wise.
Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil.
Grate ½ inch fresh (or frozen) ginger root into skillet. Chop 2 cloves garlic and add to skillet.
Turn heat to high and sauté onions and ginger for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add greens.  Grate 1 granny smith apple (rinsed, with skin on) and add to skillet.

Add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour 2 Tablespoons water over vegetables and cover with lid.
Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt before serving.

For the beets:
Choose 4 medium red beets for a 9x13 glass baking dish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop beets in half, first length-wise then width-wise. Then, chop each section into cubes. Throw cubes into baking dish after they are chopped.

When the bottom of the dish is covered with one layer of diced beets, sprinkle over the top:
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon garam masala
Pour ¼ cup olive oil over the top and toss with a spatula until beets are coated well.

Slide dish into oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven and toss with spatula.

Bake for 15 more minutes, cool and enjoy alone or as a soup garnish.

Dark, leafy greens: collards and kale are rich in folic acid, calcium, and fiber.

Garlic: high in Vitamin C and pungent sulfurous compounds, which reduce inflammation in the body; nature’s strongest anti-biotic; contains polysulfides, which trigger blood vessel dilation to reduce blood pressure; anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, controls overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the small intestine thus helping to reduce heartburn and eventual ulcers.   

Kasha Biscuits
You will need:
¾ cup cooked kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 tart baking apple, cubed 

¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup ground flax seeds

¼ cup ground sunflower seeds
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, salt

Place ½ cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 1 ½ cups water in a stock pot. 
Add cubed apple.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.

Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grind flax seeds then sunflower seeds in a spice/espresso bean grinder until they reach a flour-like consistency.

Place in a mixing bowl and add the coconut oil, cut into pearl-sized chunks.
Add spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix well. Incorporate the cooled kasha and then the lemon juice.

Drop mix in heaping spoonfuls on a greased glad baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges have turned dark brown.

Kasha (toasted buckwheat groats): rich in the flavonoid rutin, buckwheat woks to lower lipid content in the bllodstream, thus helping maintain smooth blood flow. Buckwheat also contains almost 86 milligrams of magnesium in a one-cup serving. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure.

Coconut oil: saturated fat, solid at room temperature, is a plant-based alternative to saturated animal fats. It stimulates brain function and promotes intestinal motility; its anti-bacterial benefits make it an important fat to choose during times of illness or infection and is specifically indicated for combating intestinal parasites.


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