Celery Soup

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 02:42 Written by Flax Wednesday, 29 December 2010 01:54

Celery is an amazing food. It is one of the only vegetables that we use the root, the stalks and the leaves as well. While in the West, it is not as common to cook with the leaves, due to their strong bitter taste, it is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes. The bitter flavor is the one of the most ignored flavors in foods. The bitter flavor cleanses the blood and allows the removal of toxins. Eating bitter foods helps us to deal with the bitter part of life. Eating only sweet foods resembles a desire for life to be like a Disney movie, always a happy ending. (Is that what life is really like?) While the celery stalks and root are bitter as well, the sweet helps to cover a little of the bitter taste and helps it be palatable to people who are not used to eating bitter foods. Emotionally, we understand that the bitter and the sweet go together and that is where we can find happiness.
Celery is an amazing food for another reason as well. Eating celery helps cut cravings for sweet. All bitter foods do that, but celery helps to dry damp conditions from having eaten too much sweet in the past. That is what makes celery the perfect diet food. Celery combined with lemon is useful for diabetes, high blood pressure or headaches caused by a heat condition (red face and irritability). Celery is also high in silicon which helps to renew joints, bones, arteries and all connective tissues, this makes it useful in the treatment of arthritis, gout, rheumatism and nerve inflammation.
To kick off a diet in the spring or summer I would recommend a green smoothie made with celery, radishes, sprouts and carrots. For the cold winter months however I recommend starting with celery soup which will allow you to benefit from the healing properties of the celery but in a warmer fashion.

Ingredients:

olive oil
1 celeriac (celery root), diced
1 large celery, stalks and leaves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 liters water
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet potato, chopped small
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 cup green lentils
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch coriander
turmeric
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, saute the onion and the celery stalks for 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining vegetables and spices and simmer for 1/2 hour or longer. Add the chopped celery leaves, coriander and parsley. Cover and simmer for five more minutes.

Serve warm accompanied with garlic bread and black-eyed pea pate.

Enjoy!

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Crock pot Recipe-Split Pea Soup

Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 11:53 Written by Flax Monday, 13 December 2010 11:34

Yay! Winter is here! We are finally cold!

Seasonal cooking calls for 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. I like to do this soup in a crock pot. I throw the peas in first thing in the morning and then forget about them for the rest of the day. They spend all day cooking and I think just the smell of cooking food heats up the house.
There are two ways of making this soup. Either throw everything in right in the beginning, or else add the vegetables 3-4 hours before eating. It depends on your schedule. Both ways work, but, if I’m around throughout the day, I prefer to do the vegetables later in the day-it really doesn’t make a difference though.

Every crock pot is different, I will tell you my method but keep in mind that your crock pot might cook faster or slower than mine. A trick that I use with my crock pot is that I start off with boiling water. This cuts hours off of my crock pots cooking time. When preparing split peas, I find it important to make sure that the peas cook for long enough. Since this is a soup recipe and extra cooking time won’t hurt it, it’s preferable to have it cook for longer rather than to under-cook the peas which can cause indigestion.

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 and Asian while bay leaf and caraway seed are more German in flavor. 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 however is a liver cleansing spice that helps with the digestion of fats and oils. Turmeric should be eaten every day, it prevents Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and helps to have healthy skin. It is also a natural anti-viral and anti-biotic and this means that it keeps food as well as our bodies healthy by fighting the pathogens.
Bay leaf while also a digestive aid works more on the lungs. It is a pulmonary antiseptic and an expectorant and is wonderful someone who has a cold or who is congested.
Both caraway and cumin are warming spices, while caraway is more sour and thus works more on the liver, cumin is more pungent in flavor and thus works more on the lungs. All in all, an interesting combination.

Ingredients:

olive oil
1/2 kilo split peas, (better if 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
salt and pepper

Croutons and hot dog slices for garnish. (Your hot dog slices-your decision if you want meat, chicken or tofu dogs)

To make this dish all at once, put everything except for the olive oil, onion and salt in the crock pot. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, saute the onions for 2 minutes and then add to the crock pot as well. Cook on high for a minimum of eight hours. Add the salt before you serve the soup.
If you are doing the soup in two steps than put 1/2 the water and the peas in a crock pot and cook them on high for around 4 hours. At a convenient point mid-day, saute the onion and add it along with the remaining ingredients. Continue to cook on high for at least 4 more hours.

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

Enjoy!

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Chestnut Soup

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 02:42 Written by Flax Monday, 30 August 2010 01:34

In honor of Tu Be’shvat, I made fruit and nut dishes with my class. Since chestnuts are a nut that are found fresh in the winter, it makes it appropriate to serve them now.

While this dish is vegan, I wouldn’t exactly call it one of my healthier recipes. It is however perfect for people who are in a transitional stage, where they are trying to cut down on animal products but are still craving the heavier foods.

Ingredients:

Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 package button mushrooms, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 parsnip, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 liters water
3 bags peeled and roasted chesnuts (200 gr.)
2 cups soy milk or oat milk
turmeric
salt
pepper
4 chives, chopped, for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and leeks and saute over a low flame until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from the flame. Puree, garnish and serve.

Serves 8

Enjoy!

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