Crock-pot Split-Pea Soup

Last Updated on Tuesday, 3 January 2012 02:00 Written by Flax Tuesday, 3 January 2012 01:54

Seasonal cooking calls for heavy winter soups and stews. The longer you cook a food, the more warming it is, and no soup needs to cook for longer than a split pea soup. My favorite way to cook split pea soup is in a crock pot. I toss in the peas  first thing in the morning, add some water and then forget about it for the rest of the day. The all day cooking makes the peas incredibly soft, and I think just the smell of the soup heats up the house.
If you happen to have more time in the morning then add the remaining ingredients first thing, otherwise add the rest of the ingredients at various times of the day when you have a few moments.  I find that the remaining ingredients work well on only 3-4 hours of cooking time.

Every crock pot cooks differently, I will tell you my method but keep in mind that your crock pot might cook faster or slower than mine. One of my favorite crock pot tricks  is to start off with boiling water. Using already boiling water cuts hours off of crock pot cooking time. When preparing split peas, I find it important to make sure that the peas cook for long enough (otherwise, pop out those pepto-bismols). Since this is a soup recipe and extra cooking time will only help, it’s preferable to have it cook for longer, so I advise starting out with boiling water.

Notice that I use an interesting combination of spices in this soup. The spices are part North African and part Germanic. Turmeric and cumin are more North African, while bay leaf and caraway seed are more German. While it is a strange combination, I find that they work well together. What is interesting for me is the similar and yet different roles these spices play.
Turmeric and bay leaf are very common spices used in foods as they both help with the digestion. They are used when cooking legumes to prevent flatulence and to promote proper digestion.
Turmeric, one of the most important spices, functions as a a liver cleanser.  Turmeric helps with the digestion of fats and oils and should be eaten every day.  Turmeric has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It is also a natural anti-viral and anti-biotic and it keeps our food as well as our bodies healthy by eliminating pathogens.
Bay leaf, while also a digestive aid, works primarily on the lungs. It is a pulmonary antiseptic and an expectorant and is a wonderful remedy for someone who has a cold or who is congested.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 kilo split peas, (soaked overnight)
  • 4 liters boiling water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 1 kohlrabi or turnip, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 cup beer (optional)
  • 1 marrow bone (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Croutons and/or hot dog slices for garnish.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, saute the onions for 2 minutes and then add to the crock pot.  Discard the soaking water and add the peas to the crock pot as well.  Add the remaining ingredients, other than the salt.  Cook on high for a minimum of eight hours. Add the salt only after the peas have slightly softened.
If you prefer to cook the soup in two stages than put half of the water and all of the peas in the crock pot.  Cook on high for around 4 hours. At a convenient point mid-day, saute the onion and add them, along with the remaining ingredients, to the crock pot. Continue to cook on high for at least 4 more hours.

Garnish with croutons and hot dog slices (big hit with the kids!)

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Cooking Instructor and a Nutritional Healer.

Learn More

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.

Learn More

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!

Learn More
Copyright © 2009 Afterburner - Free GPL Template. All Rights Reserved.
WordPress is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.