August 27, 2014

Back to School Breakfasts

As the new moon grows, I am aware that the next new moon will mark fall equinox. These last golden moments of summer offer an opportunity to slow down, take in the long sunsets and appreciate the morning mists.

In order to stay healthy through this powerful seasonal shift, it's important to eat breakfast with good quality protein. Whether you are back to school, more involved in work, or shifting gears to prepare for winter, now is the time to nourish yourself.

Quinoa Poppyseed Pancakes


You will need:
½ cup white rice flour
½ cup quinoa flour
a pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
finely grated lemon zest2 large eggs

2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup almond or rice milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, spices, and zest.
Make a well in the center and add eggs, milk, juice, maple, and oil.
Whisk with each other, then incorporate with dry ingredients.

In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
Pour ¼ cup of batter in the pan and repeat for as many pancakes as you can make.
Cook until the surface bubbles and starts to set, then flip the pancakes and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes more or until golden.

Serve pancakes immediately with yogurt, maple syrup or tahini and honey.


Fruity, Nutty Breakfast Pocket


I love this recipe because it's both kid-friendly and ideal for adults on the go.

Take two pieces of whole wheat sourdough bread or gluten-free bread with no added preservatives.

Spread a tablespoon of organic nut butter (no sugar added) on each slice.

Chop a banana or take a handful of berries and sandwich between the nut-buttered slices.

Toast in the toaster oven for 3 minutes or fry in a skillet.

Apparently, this was Elvis Presley's favorite snack.

August 16, 2014

Tomatoes and Stone Fruit

Late summer: harvest time, abundance, peaches, plums, berries, and the first apples.
Maple trees tinge red-gold and mornings are crisp and dew-dropped. 
Cucumbers emerge from every corner of the garden as if begging to be pickled or paired with tomatoes in a chopped salad or a blended gazpacho.

Now is the time to store this abundance.
Feed your body. Feed your soul.

Stone Fruit Tart


You will need:
1 lemon
1 1/2 cups millet flour (gluten-free) or spelt flour (wheat-free)
1 teaspoons baking powdera pinch salt
1/2 cup coconut oil OR unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs OR 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal dissolved in just as much hot water
5 plums, 6 apricots, OR 4 peaches, pitted and cut in half or into wedges
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cloves, nutmeg
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Grease a 9 inch cake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, zest the lemon and squeeze out the juice. 
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
Add the oil or butter in pieces and smash into the flour mixture with a fork so that the fat is well coated with flour.
Add the maple syrup and eggs / flaxseed, mix well, and spread into the pan.

Arrange the fruit halves / wedges in concentric circles on top of the batter, lightly pressing them in. 

In a small bowl, combine the spices and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. 
Pour the mixture over the fruit and bake about 1 hour. 
Serve warm.

Gazpacho 


You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
4 cucumbers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons mint leaves
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Blend well.
Remove to a large bowl.
Refrigerate the soup until for about 1 hour. Season the gazpacho with salt and pepper and ladle it into chilled bowls. Garnish the cold soup with the tomato wedges, diced cucumber, mint leaves and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

August 11, 2014

Oats for Skin, Hair, and Nervous System Health

Whether you buy rolled oats, the steel-cut chopped version, or whole oat groats, your heart, skin, and nervous system will gain great benefit.

Eating oats lowers cholesterol levels and minimizes the risk of heart disease. Studies at Northwestern University show that oat fiber reduces both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels twice as effectively as wheat. The beneficial fiber in oats is known as beta-glucan, which works to absorb LDL cholesterol.

In addition to fiber, oats are loaded with protein, iron, manganese and zinc, plus they contain avenanthramide, a heart-protective antioxidant. And oats have been found to reduce not only the risk for heart disease, but also the risks for type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

That beta-glucan in oats provides even greater benefits: Norwegian researchers have reported that it has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. This compound activates the white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses. Thanks to Rodale for this wisdom.

Why not eat oats for lunch and dinner, too? Here are some recipes to inspire you.

Chickpea Oat Burgers with Tzatziki 



This Greek sauce will take your veggie burger to the next level of deliciousness.

For the tzatziki:
1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and grated
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley, mint, or basil
1/2 teaspoon each: cumin, salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons lime juice

Mix all ingredients together, cover, and set aside to marinate.

For the chickpea burgers:
6 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons each: coriander and cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Oil a cookie sheet with olive or sunflower oil.

In a blender or food processor, combine the flaxseed chickpeas, oats, garlic, and water. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Add the lemon juice, spices, and tahini.

Pulse until the mixture is just combined. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and shape each into a patty. If you do not have a blender / processor, mash everything together in a large bowl with a potato masher.

Place patties on cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Top with a spoonful of tzatziki and fresh tomato slices if you like.

Beet Oat Loaf



You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 medium red beets, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each: thyme, coriander, and oregano
4 eggs
1/2 cup quick oats
1 zucchini, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a loaf pan.

Heat oil in a skillet and add onions. Cook on medium heat until translucent - about 5 minutes.
Add beets, celery, and spices.
Saute, covered, for 15 minutes on medium low heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.
When beets are starting to get tender, remove vegetables from the heat and scoop them into the loaf pan.
Pour the egg oat mixture over the top and bake for 35 minutes, or until egg is set.
Cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Click here for more recipes with oats - both sweet and savory.

 choosing oats, watch out for added salt, sugar, and artificial ingredients when you’re choosing between instant oatmeal brands. Try quick-cooking rolled oats; they’re ready a lot faster than you might think.

August 5, 2014

Metagenomics

Food choices matter. Gut bacteria can change in a few days
depending on whether you eat more protein, fat, or carbs.
Meta what?

Meta = beyond 
Genome = the genetic material of an organism

Metagenomics is the study of genetic material sampled directly from the environment. This study includes the internal environment of human beings, which can be classified by enterotype.

Entero = relating to the intestines 

Researchers in an international consortium including Jeroen Raes of the Flanders Institute in Belgium used human poop samples to classify people into three categories of enterotypes, or bacterial ecosystems.

Three primary enterotype categories recur in the findings of this past decade: Bacteroides, Prevotella, and Ruminococcus.

That's correct! We are all ecosystems.

Of all the DNA we carry around, only a small percentage of it is human. The other DNA belongs to the billions of microbes that live in our gut, among other places. Many are bacteria that take advantage of the protection and food we offer them while making vitamins and digestive enzymes that are essential to the smooth functioning of our body and mind.

Each of these three bacterial ecosystems does things slightly differently. The Bacteroides ecosystem consists largely of bacteria that get energy by fermenting sugars and proteins. The Prevotella ecosystem contains a lot of microbes that digest proteins in the mucus lining of the gut. Ruminococcus, the most common type, prefer both gut mucus proteins and simple sugar.

In addition to their different food preferences, these enterotype groups also have different output profiles. The Bacteroides type makes quite a few vitamins, including C and H, while Prevotella is good at making folic acid and vitamin B1.

Although scientists are not yet sure whether the place we live or the food we eat classifies our gut's microbiome, research is starting to reveal that common traits, such as body mass index, can be markers for enterotypes.

The testing is still very expensive, but I imagine that researchers will make it more widely available and affordable in years to come. If you would like to participate in the Earth Microbiome Project, you can have your have your internal bacteria analyzed, both for public research purposes and for your own knowledge.

Alternatively, by noticing what you eat and how you digest it, you are more likely to be able to identify your enterotype. Keep a food journal that includes information about the consistency, frequency and type of your stool. Try it for a week.

Please be in touch with questions: lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com

August 3, 2014

First Harvest Time

Happy Lammas!
Lammas, "Loaf Mass" - also known as Lughdnasah by Gaelic people - is the first harvest time, when agrarian people of the northern hemisphere prepare fermented foods and enjoy the gifts of wheat, corn, beans, and summer squash.

Try these recipes to include first harvest foods in your meals.

Tomato Walnut Cobbler



Savory cobblers are some of my favorite summer dishes. Try this simple one to savor the colorful abundance of the season.

For the vegetables:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large zucchini or summer squash, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

For the topping:
1 cup organic, non-GM cornmeal
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 9x13 glass baking dish and place chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper on it. Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the topping ingredients together in a large bowl.
Prepare the tomatoes by rinsing them and mixing them in a bowl with parsley and chives.

Remove zucchini from oven and add tomatoes. Toss to incorporate.
Spoon topping over vegetables and bake for 25 more minutes.
Enjoy topped with goat cheese or as a side to accompany lentil dishes.

GET CREATIVE: try other fresh herbs mixed with the tomatoes, like marjoram, thyme, oregano, or basil.

Cranberry Bean and Corn Salad



You will need:
1 pound cranberry beans
¼ cup olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 teaspoons thyme, de-stemmed
2 teaspoons rosemary, de-stemmed
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak beans in cold water overnight or for 8 hours.
Then, bring beans and 8 cups water to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until beans are tender - about 35 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallots until soft, about 5 minutes.
Remove corn from ears and add to skillet.
Add thyme and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes more.
Let cool slightly; transfer to bowl with beans.
Toss with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!


Corn Cakes with Fresh Herb Spread


For the spread:
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cashews
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Blend these together in a food processor.
Set aside.

For the corn cakes:
1/2 cup organic, non-GM cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (wheat, spelt, or millet)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
2 eggs OR 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal dissolved in just as much hot water
3/4 cup fresh sweet corn kernels - about 1 large cob
olive or sunflower oil for cooking

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, powder salt and paprika in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center, add butter, milk, eggs/flaxseed, and corn.
Whisk wet ingredients together briefly then incorpoate with dry ingredients.
Heat some olive or sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Pour small amounts of batter onto the skillet (about 1/4 cup per corn cake).
Cook until cakes are golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Serve warm with a garnish of herb spread.


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