Lemony Lentil Soup

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 09:27 Written by Flax Wednesday, 24 November 2010 09:17

fennel seeds with dried lemon

While winter is seriously delayed in our neck of the woods, it will, G-d willing, soon arrive. In anticipation of that day, I prepared a lentil soup. While everyone know that you eat soup to warm up on a cold winter day, what we sometimes forget is the role spices play in keeping us healthy. While we might think of spices as a way to flavor dishes, they have much greater benefits than just taste.
Spices are part of nature’s medicine chest. What’s wonderful about using spices as medicine is, they taste good, are easy to use, can be found in abundance, and are relatively inexpensive. Additionally, spices and herbs are natural preservatives. This means that they kill and prevent harmful bacteria from forming in our food as well as in our bodies. Turmeric, perhaps the most important spice of all, has anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities. It is also an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also lowers cholesterol, dissolves gallstones and increases ligament flexibility. It is also known to prevent both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. So I say, “eat your turmeric every day, to keep the doctor far away.
Spices, in addition to their anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, can improve the digestive process. Some spices improve the digestion through warming the system and helping to eliminate toxins. These include, among many others, cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg. Some spices are cooling and are useful for someone who suffers from too much heat. One of these is mint, commonly used in the summer. Another food, also used as a condiment, is lemon. Not only is lemon cooling, it is also a disinfectant and helps to dissolve fats and oils.
Seeds, used as spices, also have the same effect, promoting digestion and absorption of nutrients while helping to eliminate toxins. Some examples of these include, dill, caraway and fennel.

In this recipe I use a variety of spices, influenced by Persian cooking. The soup calls for a dried lemon, a common ingredient in Persian food. The sourness of the lemon is balanced by the sweetness of the vegetables as well as the sweet spices in the allspice. The fennel seeds I threw in just for the fun of it.


olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1/4 green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 cup green lentils
3 liters water
1/2 bunch coriander or parsley
1 dried Persian lemon
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp allspice (contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper)
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Saute the onion for 2 minutes and then sweat the remaining vegetables for 5 minutes. Add the spices and the water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes or more.

Serve hot.


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Quick Cabbage Kimchee

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 02:40 Written by Flax Sunday, 27 June 2010 04:30

Kimchee are Korean pickles used as a condiment to flavor dishes. Common vegetables used in kimchees are cucumbers, radishes and cabbage. While most kimchees are left to pickle for up to a week, I used this quick recipe so that I could teach it in my cooking classes. Here the cabbage soaks in the salt for 1-2 hours and becomes lightly pickled. To make a stronger pickle, leave it in a sealed pickling jar for 4-5 days and then refrigerate.

Health wise there are many benefits to eating pickled cabbage. The pickling process adds Lactobacillus acidophilus which aids digestion by restoring healthy intestinal flora. The cabbage has the added benefit of cleansing and rejuvenating the intestinal tract. Cabbage also contains vitamin U which is helpful in healing ulcers. It is high in vitamin C and sulphur and is also beneficial in healing all wounds, reducing swellings and purifying the blood. While this recipe contains does contain salt it might still be ok for people who are on a low salt diet. This is due to the use of Atlantic Grey Sea Salt. For people who can’t tolerate any salt it is possible to make salt free kimchee. This allows you to still benefit from the kimchee while not eating any salt.


1 large green cabbage, diced
2  tbsp Atlantic grey sea salt
1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon Minced fresh ginger root
6 drops stevia (I think the Sunrider brand is the healthiest)
4 scallions, sliced on an angle
2 tbsp whole sesame seeds

Mix contents is a large glass or ceramic bowl and allow to sit uncovered for 2 hours. Stir approximately every 1/2 hour so the top of the mixture gets pickled as well.

Serve as an accompaniment to Korean dishes.


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Spring Rolls

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 08:03 Written by Flax Friday, 4 June 2010 08:53

18 small sized rice paper wraps
1 package thin rice noodles
10 lettuce or chinese cabbage leaves thinly sliced
Alfalfa sprouts
10 mint leaves thinly sliced
10 basil leaves thinly sliced

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