Orange With a Twist

Last Updated on Thursday, 1 March 2012 03:12 Written by Flax Thursday, 1 March 2012 02:54

This soup, based on a variety of orange vegetables is unique due to the variety of spices it encompasses.  Orange vegetables, sweet in flavor are very to the spleen and are wonderful for anyone who suffers from digestive issues.  The combination of warming and invigorating spices that are used in the recipe below are also meant to help to improve the digestive system.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1″ ginger root, grated
  • 1 butternut squash, chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato,  chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 liters water
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped coriander for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Saute the onion until it turns translucent, add the garlic, ginger, and spices and saute for two minutes more.   Add the water, bring to a boil, and then add the remaining ingredients.  Simmer on a low flame for one hour.  Puree, garnish with the chopped coriander, and serve hot.

Serves 8-10.

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Caviar d’Aubergines

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 03:13 Written by Flax Wednesday, 18 January 2012 01:28

Caviar d’Aubergines, or in simple English, Grilled Eggplant, is a rather uncomplicated and inexpensive dish.  None- the-less, it has received this rather bombastic title as a result of its delicate flavor and its elegant appearance.  When properly prepared, the white seeds glow with a luminescence that is reminiscent of caviar, and the smoky flavor brings to mind a variety of rather pricey delicacies.

The eggplant belong to a very special group of vegetables called the nightshades.  Nightshades vegetables belong to  a group of plants that flower at night.  Nightshade plants are primarily toxic, the exceptions being the potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper (other than the black pepper).  The nightshades as a group, especially the potato and the tomato,  are craved by Western society.  Perhaps the reason why the fast paced Westerner enjoys these foods so much is that they induce a feeling or relaxation and expansion (think of the term, “couch potato”, eating potatoes, perhaps even one coated in tomatoes,  makes you want to sit on the couch and relax).  Additionally, nightshade vegetables are also useful in providing a balance for a meat based diet as they help to clear the stagnancy of eating excess animal products.   While it is quite enjoyable to feel relaxed and expansive, this action can exacerbate certain health conditions.   It is recommended to avoid nightshade vegetables in instances of swelling or pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, or nerves.  Such conditions as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, neuritis, and sciatica are negatively affected by nightshades.  People who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis would also benefit from abstaining from nightshades.

To reflect upon their good nature, the nightshades as a group, and the eggplant specifically, possess many healing powers as well.  The eggplant is beneficial in clearing stagnant blood and it has a homostatic action which helps to reduce bleeding.  A pack of raw eggplant is useful in case of a scorpion bite, and grilled eggplant (see the recipe below) has the miraculous ability to heal bleeding hemorrhoids.  A word of caution however, pregnant women are advised not to over indulge in eggplant as they can cause miscarriage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 firm eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt

Use a high flame to grill the eggplant. The grilling can be done on an outdoor grill, a stove top, or in an oven.  If it is done on an open flame, the smoke will enhance the flavor of the eggplant.  As the skin of the eggplant blackens and cracks open, turn the eggplant so as to grill it on all sides.  To know when the eggplant is ready push down to feel if it is fully soft inside.

Remove from the flame, cut down the center and scoop out the insides.  Place the grilled eggplant meat into a bowl and immediately pour on the lemon juice.   Add the pressed garlic and salt.

Alternatives:  For a delicious creamy spread, add three tablespoons of tehina.

Serve as a first course, accompanied by bread.  Kept refrigerated this salad can be kept for up to a week.

Note:  To retain the white color of the eggplant, the lemon juice needs to be applied while the eggplant is still hot, freshly removed from the flame.

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Cream Of Jerusalem

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 January 2012 05:27 Written by Flax Wednesday, 11 January 2012 01:31

Yesterday, in Mahane Yehuda, I was excited to see the most beautiful jerusalem artichokes.  The jerusalem artichoke is a member of the thistle family and is a cousin to the artichoke. The jerusalem artichoke also has the distinction of being one of the few tubers, a type of root vegetable whose members include the potato, taro root, and radish.  Other than the fact that this delicious vegetable is  available in Jerusalem, this North American native has really has nothing to do with our holy city. The title “Jerusalem” stems from a mispronunciation of the word gersimol, which means ‘sun’ in Italian. The  Italians, who originally titled them  “sun artichokes”,  did so because, they are the root of the sunflower and taste like the artichoke.

My only problem with the Jerusalem Artichoke is deciding which way to cook them.  They are so wonderfully delicious in so very many ways.  They make a delicious stew, complimenting lamb and fava beans perfectly.  Try tossing them in olive oil and salt and roasting them as  a healthier alternative to potato chips, or follow the recipe below for a wonderfully warming winter soup.

Health-wise,   the Jerusalem Artichoke, sweet in flavor and white in color is beneficial to both the lungs and the spleen. They nourish the lungs, relieve asthma, and they contain inulin which helps reduce insulin needs (excellent for diabetics).

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 1 kilo Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 cups soy/oat milk
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 chives, finely chopped, for garnishing

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and saute the shallots until they become translucent. Add   the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Lower the flame and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours. Use a hand immerser to puree the soup,  garnish with the chives and serve hot.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and teaches Healthy Cooking Classes.

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