RSS Feed

Category Archives: Health Benefits

Chilled Broccoli Soup

Chilled Broccoli Soup

Chilled Broccoli Soup

I don’t usually like gazpacho, but this chilled soup is pretty delish and refreshing if I do say so.

The inspiration came from a Instagram post that I never found again, so I improvised as I usually do. A little leftovers and some fresh organic produce in season, voila a new creation is born! That’s my favorite way to cook. Here’s the recipe–

INGREDIENTS:

2 bunches of broccoli (washed and cut into med-small pieces, don’t discard the stems – steamed)

2 handfuls of baby spinach

homemade vegan pesto* – about 2-3 Tbs

white beans (canned ok, 1 can)

extra virgin olive oil

turmeric (1/4 tsp)

sea salt & black pepper

vidalia onion (1/8 of medium onion – sautéed)

coconut milk (in carton for drinking, not canned – 2 c)

filtered water (1 c)

coconut milk yogurt (plain, unsweetened – garnish on top with a scoop, to taste)

*Vegan Pesto

3-4 small cloves of garlic

small handful of fresh basil leaves, (I didn’t have enough for it to be officially pesto, but it was still excellent on gf pasta, and in this recipe. You can also add in parsley if you have available.)

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (as needed)

1/4 c Daiya mozzarella “cheeze” (optional)

sea salt to taste (if you use the Daiya, you won’t need to salt much)

Blend in a food processor or blender, pulsed into a coarse meal first and then slowly add the EVOO and puree until like a spreadable paste.

DIRECTIONS FOR SOUP

Cut up the broccoli, including peeling the 2/3 of the two stalks (from florets down towards base) with a peeler and then slicing those into chunks. No need to waste these. Do discard the bottom 1/3 of the base, it’s more woody.

Slice up your vidalia onion, I like thin semi circles.

Steam the broccoli, and while it’s steaming, rinse the white beans until water runs clear. You don’t want to use straight from the can, they’ll be really gas producing, trust me. 😉

Start the sauté pan with a little EVOO (1-2 tbs), onions, pesto mixture, and add in your turmeric with a grind or two of black pepper to activate. Give a few stirs to spread it evenly and when the onions and become translucent and fragrant add in the white beans. Stir it all with a spatula. No need to cook this long, 3 mins beans until are nicely coated and warm.

By now the broccoli will be done as well, rinse under cool water for a brief moment to “shock” and stop the cooking, this keeps it nice and green. Put broccoli into your blender with the bean pesto mixture and pulse to blend a bit.

Add coconut milk, blend more.

Add handfuls of baby spinach last with water, and blend thoroughly.

S&P to taste, and top with coconut milk yogurt.

Bon appetite!

Summer Salad

Summer Salad

Summer Salad

This salad has just a little tang that gives the al dente veggies really nice flavor. I got inspired and this is what I created.

INGREDIENTS:

mesclun salad greens (or any combination of your favorite delicate lettuce greens, think spring mix)

baby zucchini (or 1/2 a medium zucchini) – chopped

baby yellow squash (or 1/2 a medium yellow squash) – chopped

vidalia onion – sliced very thinly in semi circles (1/3 cup)

sweet red bell pepper (3/4 of a medium pepper) – sliced and then cut into 1″ strips 

1 garlic clove – sliced very thinly 

oregano (dried is ok) – generous sprinkle (maybe a 1/4 tsp)

tumeric – generous sprinkle “

beefsteak tomato – rough chopped

roast chicken breast (I had left over that had been roasted with fresh rosemary, tumeric, s&p, and EVOO), you can estimate 1 small breast per person, or split 1 for 2 people if larger. – chopped into cubes

sea salt and black pepper – generous grind or 2

EVOO 

good balsamic vinegar – generous sprinkle

coconut oil – 1 tsp

chili powder – generous sprinkle

Balsamic vinegrette – 2:1 ratio EVOO to balsamic, a small dallop of dijon mustard, S&P, a pinch of oregano, and splash or 2 of apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar).

DIRECTIONS:

Start your saute pan on medium heat and add 2 TB of EVOO.  Toss in oregano and onions and garlic.

When they start to become translucent and fragrant, add in the zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper, and while stirring sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. 

Season with S&P, tumeric, chili powder.  Give a good stir to mix all the seasonings into veggies for a couple minutes. Pretend you’re doing an asian stir fry.  Then add your roasted chicken pieces and tsp of coconut oil and stir to combine a bit more.  Maybe another 3-5 minutes, until veggies are al dente – to nicely softened, and chicken is heated through. 

Remove from the heat and add mixture on top of your salad greens.

Add the tomato and your balsamic vinegrette, toss and serve.

Bon appetite! 

Veggie Saute

veggiesauteSauteed veggies are a common dish for me to prepare with whatever tasty vegtables are available and seasonal at the time.

Brown rice 1 cup

Italian Tuscan Kale 2 leaves

3 cherry tomatoes

2 button mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic

1/8 of an onion

sprinkle of tamari (GF)

1/4 tsp of turmeric

1/4 tsp of ginger

I always start the saute the same way, with some olive oil and thinly sliced garlic or onions.  Once they start to become fragrant and translucent I’ll add in some spices – like turmeric, oregano and cayenne.  [Note: It’s best to use turmeric with black pepper also because it amplifies the effectiveness of it’s active anti-inflammatory nature by 1000-2000%!]  Shortly, I’ll add the next batch of veggies – in this case it was button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes roughly chopped (could be also with zucchini, bell peppers). I like to let these cook for a short while, a few minutes stirring occasionally so they get soft and the flavors start to marry with each other.  You can add any type of grain you like next (quinoa is also nice), here I’ve got some cooked brown rice, which I added about a cup to the pan with a little extra olive oil (about a TB). Stir the rice to coat and allow it to absorb the flavors already in the pan.  I chopped up some ginger super finely, about a 1/2 tsp and add to the pan, with a sprinkle of tamari (gluten free) stirring as I add.  And finally, in a few more minutes, add your leaves – whatever green leafies you like best – here I’ve added 2 leaves of dino kale (Italian Tuscan kale). Here I’ve omitted the stalks, as I didn’t blanch it or steam it first and the stalks are a bit tough. I always add the leaves last – it could be spinach, arugula, or swiss chard easily as well.  Voila! Super healthy snack or meal.

Superb Spaghetti Squash Lasagne

ImageThis recipe was totally inspired by a close close friend in Florida.  He regularly would cook for me and was quite the excellent chef.  Our last meal together before I headed out west was a spaghetti squash dish, so the other day I spied these amazing yellow veggies in the store and had to take one home.

It’s a nice light summer alternative to real pasta.  For anyone watching their carbs, it’s a terrific treat when paired with tomato sauce.  This is a creative variation for all of you who, like me, like to play in the kitchen.

What you’ll need:

spaghetti squash

1/2 small vidalia onion (or yellow)

5 garlic cloves

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 a medium box of non-GMO tofu (or 1 whole tofu small box)

2/3 cup of black beans (canned ok)

olive oil

Daiya cheese

tumeric, cayenne, oregano, sea salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare:

– Pre-heat the oven to 350

– Slice the squash in half the long way and scoop out the seeds. Season the scooped out side with sea salt, pepper and drizzle liberally with olive oil.

– Place scooped side down on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes.  You can do this a day prior.  While the squash is baking, prepare your sauce.  Using homemade tomato sauce is simple to make and always a pleasure to eat.

– Slice up about a 1/2 of a vidalia (or yellow) small onion into semi rounds and smash and chop 3 gloves of garlic

– Add these to a couple Tbs of olive oil on medium heat and add in a generous sprinkle of tumeric, black pepper, cayenne, and oregano is nice too. Saute til they are fragrant and translucent.

– When I’m in a hurry I use chopped tomatoes in a can with basil. If I can take my time, I use whole peeled tomatoes in a can and squeeze them into the pot by hand.  I buy the 28 oz. size so there’s always left overs for another dish if you’re cooking for 1-2 people.

– Simmer on a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes with a lid stirring occasionally, and then turn down to very low for another 5 minutes til all the liquid is gone.

– In another pan saute another chopped 2 garlic cloves in olive oil and slice up your tofu. This is going to form your “cheeze” mixture, like a ricotta consistency.

– Add your slices of tofu and 2/3 cup of black beans (already cooked) to the pan.  Stir and mash together a bit over medium heat.  You may add more olive oil and salt and pepper to the mixture until tofu and beans and garlic are nicely combined into a chunky mixture.

– Once your spaghetti squash is done and tender, you use a fork and scrape it all out of the outer skin.  It should come out very easily.  Put it all into a roasting pan, combine tomato sauce generously with the first layer of squash.

– Add the second layer of squash on top, and then add your tofu and black bean mixture, top with more tomato sauce and last sprinkle liberally with Daiya mozzarella shreds /cheeze (it’s gluten free, vegan, soy and casein free and delicious and melts well)…  then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, plus an extra 5 minutes on broil to be sure the cheeze is very melted. (You may use any other type of cheese, however, this is a very excellent complement.)

Bon appetit!

Serves 4 – 6

My Take On Borsht

Image

My take on borscht ~ With ages old Russian heritage on my side, my improvisation was pretty tasty if I do say so  myself.  It can be vegan or not, up to you.

Ingredients:

  • Onion – ½ medium yellow onion
  • Garlic – 2-3 cloves chopped
  • Celery – 2-3 stalks chopped
  • Olive oil – 2 tbs
  • Chicken broth (I do part broth and part h2O, or all water if vegan) 5 cups
  • Basil (dried ok) – ¼ tsp
  • Oregano (dried ok) ¼ tsp
  • Sea salt and pepper (a few grinds of each)
  • Beets (peel and chop into med. chunks) (about 3 small beets)
  • Carrots (peel and slice into med. chunks) (2 carrots)
  • Sweet potato (peel and chop into med. chunks) (1 potato)
  • Kale bunch of leaves, washed and sliced thinly
  • Cilantro bunch of leaves, separate from stems and chop
  • Parsley, bunch of leaves, separate from stems and chop
  • Lemon – optional (squeeze juice from half a lemon into soup before serving)

Directions:

Cook down the onion, garlic, and celery in some olive oil, when translucent stir in basil and oregano and heat for a moment before adding liquid.

Add water or chicken broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil.

Add chopped beets, carrots and sweet potato, and turn down heat to med-low.

Simmer for 30 mins. (check after 30 and if all root veggies are fork tender – add the kale and cilantro.)

Simmer for another 3-5 mins. Can serve with a squeeze of lemon and add parsley and a little more salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appétit! Or the Russian equivalent, Приятного аппетита! (Prijatnovo appetita!)

Kickin’ Kale Salad

You’ve heard kale is “super food” good for you…right? If you haven’t heard this rumor at a dinner party or on Food TV by now, I’ll tell you straight up, it’s true!  I had never even experienced it in a salad until recent years when the raw foodies started popularizing it.  Mostly I’d eaten it as my mom’s delicious kale and potato soup, which is one fabulous option for another post.  However, in recent years, I’ve discovered that kale has many uses and it is eaten in countries across the globe, even as long ago as Greek and Roman times.  There’s two types, Tuscan kale (or dinosaur kale) which has more long bluish-green leaves, and the borecole variety has more frilly curly green leaves.

Kale’s anti-cancer benefits are totally documented, as is lots of  research on kale’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  This dark leafy green has got vitamins and minerals that are super high, thus the super food status, (especially A, K, and C), and then calories and cholesterol that are super low.  Basically kale is good for our immune systems, cancer prevention, hearts, eyes, osteoporosis prevention, and more!  Here are a few ways you can eat it:

  • Fresh young crispy kale can be used raw in salads, especially if properly chopped into thin ribbons, then massaged and marinated with sea salt and lemon.
  • Mature leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sautéed.
  • Tuscan kale leaves are popular winter staples in all over Mediterranean, used in soups, stews, salads, pizza, and pasta.
  • The leaves also used in the variety of traditional kale recipes with potatoes, green beans, poultry, and meat.
  • It can be baked with olive oil and sea salt for a yummy kale chip snack.
  • In Japan, fresh kale juice is quite popular.  If you combine it with carrot, beet, apple, lemon and ginger you don’t even know it’s there.  Or, if you’re into juicing it makes for a great ‘green drink’ ingredient.
Kickin’ Kale Salad:
I recently served this at a dinner party, not only was it devoured very quickly, everyone asked for the recipe.  So here it is by yours truly, I hope you enjoy as much as we did, 🙂
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • sea salt (enough to sprinkle liberally for marinating)
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar (dark)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful sesame seeds (toasting optional, also pumpkin seeds work nicely), about 2 rounded tablespoons
Directions
In large serving bowl, slice your kale into super thin ribbons, add half- three quarters of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little sea salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. It will start to break down the cellulose, and shrink a bit.  Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the agave nectar and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the chopped cucumber, mango and sesame seeds.

Toss, serve and enjoy!