Grilled Pepper Salad

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 July 2011 10:41 Written by Flax Wednesday, 13 July 2011 02:32

This Moroccan appetizer is one of our favorite dishes.  It is a versatile dish and can be  served alone or combined with other dishes.   In the photo, I use it to decorate and flavor  Acorn Squash Flowers.    When I prepare it for Shabbat, I always make extra so that we can eat it all week long.  It can last refrigerated for up to a week.

The tricky part of this dish is to get the peppers perfectly cooked.  The idea is to char them, so that the skin is black but without burning the peppers completely.  The better cooked they are, the easier it will be to peel them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo red peppers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Atlantic grey sea salt

Grill the peppers until the skin is black on all sides.  Remove from the grill and place immediately in a sealed container or inside a closed paper bag.  Wait until the peppers cool off and then remove the top and the seeds and slide off the skin.  When the peppers are well charred the skin will slide off easily.

Cut the peppers into thin slices and mix together with the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate in a closed container until serving.

Note:  Do not wash the grilled peppers as they will absorb the water, if neccessary, use a paper towel to wipe off the seeds.

Serves 6-8

Enjoy!

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Nutrition Workshop #3 The Spleen

Last Updated on Wednesday, 1 June 2011 02:30 Written by Flax Wednesday, 1 June 2011 02:30

Spleen/Pancreas (לבלב)

The spleen/pancreas in Chinese Medical theory is the organ that is most responsible for the digestion and distribution of food and nutrients. Someone with a healthy spleen will have a healthy digestive system.  These people are hard-working, practical and responsible.  Those with a weak spleen are characterized by chronic fatigue, both physical and mental stagnation, weak digestion, hard lumps in the abdomen, and loose stools.

One of the common features found in people with weak spleens is excess dampness. Excess dampness is a Chinese Medical term that refers to a condition with excess mucus and/or excess weight.   Overconsumption of meat and dairy cause the thickest and stickiest mucus buildup.  The commonly eaten foods, wheat and sugar are also major contributors to mucus buildup.  Other likely contributors to excess mucus buildup are; processed and refined foods, toxins found in “food” and water, meals which include too many food combinations, late night eating, and overeating.

Foods that help to heal the spleen are:

  •  all orange vegetables (especially the sweet potato)
  •  whole grains (especially rye, amaranth, and quinoa)
  •  bitter vegetables and herbs (including romaine, celery, alfalfa, turnip, and chamomile) 
  • Cooked vegetables are healthier for the spleen but raw vegetables can be eaten during the hotter summer months.

Healing the spleen means improving the digestive system and as a side-effect, losing excess weight.  A healthy spleen means that you won’t need to fight unhealthy cravings for sugary foods and snacks.  This is because you won’t be craving them.  Sounds simple, well it actually is.  One of the methods I use during the summer months to help this process is the Celery Smoothie.  Eat a celery smoothie every day for 2 weeks and see  the results for yourself.

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Celery Smoothie

Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2011 10:51 Written by Flax Wednesday, 1 June 2011 08:48

In order to achieve optimal weight, a diet should be based around vegetables.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t eat nearly enough vegetables.  A great way to rectify this imbalance is to begin with a celery smoothie.   There are two steps in correcting a diet.   Increasing consumption of healthy foods while also decreasing consumption of un-healthy foods.  The celery  smoothie is ideal for this two pronged task.   Celery is the ideal diet food.  It helps to dry up dampness (phlegm/fat) caused by excess sugar consumption and it also helps us to curb our sugar cravings.  This  makes it easier to begin on our path towards healthier eating.

When I make a smoothie, I add a variety of other vegetables using a few different principles.  The  first thing that I am looking for is watery vegetables that will give it a more liquid texture.  Examples of these are cucumbers and sprouts.   The next thing I am looking for is a bit of sweetness, here I use a carrot.  After that I will add a bitter vegetable (like a radish) to help the celery clean out the dampness and toxins in the system.  On occasion, I will add a member of the onion family, I prefer scallions for their more gentle flavor.

The fact that it’s pureed helps for two reasons.  The smoothie is condensed and so a large amount of vegetables looks a lot smaller.  The second reason is because unfortunately, many of us have forgotten how to chew our food. (Each bite of food should be chewed between thirty to fifty times).   Starting a diet with a smoothie will help us to digest better, until we once again, relearn how to chew whole grains and firm vegetables.

I recommend making a batch of this in the morning, serve it on a bed of quinoa or brown rice and don’t eat anything else until it’s finished.  There should usually be enough for more than one meal.   Chances are, after finishing it all up,  you won’t be hungry for anything else.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head celery, leaves attached
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 package mung bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 radish
  • 1 scallion
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Atlantic grey sea salt

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor and serve on a bed of quinoa or brown rice.

Enjoy!

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