Radish Leaf Pesto

Last Updated on Thursday, 3 March 2011 05:27 Written by Flax Thursday, 3 March 2011 05:12

Seasonal cooking calls for springtime detox.  The best foods for detoxifying the body are bitter herbs.  I decided to talk this week about bitter herbs and how they help to alleviate “damp” conditions in the body-specifically a yeast condition known as candidiasis.   

Somehow, the idea of bitter herbs and yeast brought to mind another spring connection–you got it, Passover or to be more specific, the Passover seder.  With that connection made, I realized that the two have even more in common than I had originally thought.

Candidiasis is one of the health conditions that I see constantly in my nutritional work and in my clinic.  Candida is  a yeast-like fungi which loves “damp” conditions.  Symptoms of candida include, chronic fatigue, mental sluggishness, vaginitis, prostatitis, anal itching, bloating, digestive problems, bad breath, weak immune system, and cravings for sweets and yeasted breads. 

One doctor, Dr. Kurt Donsbach, goes so far as to say that candidiasis is the root cause of all major diseases.  This is because a yeast condition in the body disrupts the function of the whole body.  It is a case of a parasite taking control of your body and changing your natural eating inclinations, as well as your sleep requirements, all in order to serve your new master who now controls your most basic desires.  To begin the healing process,  one must first treat the candida.  The first step in healing candida is to avoid foods that contain sugar and  yeast, and to eat bitter foods and herbs.

Bam!  The lightbulb turned on.  Combine cleaning, bitter herbs, and yeast and there it is:  Seder night.  At the Seder we discuss how we went from slavery to freedom, not only physically but emotionally as well.   At the Passover Seder we are commanded to eat bitter foods.  We are also forbidden to eat bread.  Bread is flour which is caused to rise by the addition of yeast and sugar. 

Like at Passover, by eliminating the yeast and the sugar from the diet and  through eating  bitter foods we are getting rid of the parasites which inhabit our bodies as well as our souls.  In eliminating the parasite within, we no longer labor to serve a foreign body but rather are able to connect to our true selves. 


  • 1 bunch radish leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 stalks coriander
  • 2″ chilli pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole sesame paste
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 tsp water

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor.

Serve as a condiment, or add more oil and lemon and serve as a salad dressing.

Note:  Most supermarkets remove the leaves from the radishes.  To find radish leaves you should try your local fruit and vegetable store or the shuk.

I would also like to say that even though this dish sounds way too healthy, it was loved by the whole class.


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Fig Chutney

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 02:00 Written by Flax Wednesday, 19 January 2011 02:00

figs and lemon slices

This recipe started as a chicken dish, but if you cook it without the chicken, then you have a delicious vegan chutney.  This jam-like dish works great as a condiment, served alongside an Indian curry, as an accompaniment to a couscous dish, or even just spread on a piece of bread. 

While the figs achieve a smooth jam-like texture, the richness of the flavors make it more like a chutney.  This dish contains sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and pungent ingredients which all work together to balance the sweetness of the figs.   Figs are very sweet, and like all sweet foods they are not recommended to be eaten in large amounts.  Cooking sweet foods along with other flavors, especially the bitter flavor, helps to balance the negative aspects of sweet foods and makes it easier for your body to process.   

Figs are one of the most alkalizing foods.  Figs help to balance acidic conditions that result from the overconsumption of meat and refined foods.  Figs are also detoxifying and can help to clear up skin discharges and boils.  And while this is a food blog and I want you to retain your appetite, be aware that figs function very well in the waste disposal department.  Figs, like flax-seeds, have a high mucoid content, this helps them to lubricate our intestines and remove waste from our systems.  


  • 20 dried figs, sliced thin
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin
  • 1 head garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • turmeric
  • salt and pepper
  • hot chili pepper (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a pot with a tight lid. (I use a ceramic pot to prevent the bottom from burning.)  Bring to a boil.  Lower the flame and allow to cook over a very low flame for up to an hour.  Stir occasionally during the cooking and add small amounts of water if it looks like it will burn.  Chill and refrigerate.  It can last refrigerated for up to a week. 


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Chicken with Figs

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 January 2011 05:35 Written by Flax Tuesday, 18 January 2011 05:05

Lemon slices with figs

While I do try to keep my site vegan and health oriented, every so often I do post a special holiday recipe that has nothing to do with health but is instead holiday oriented.  While this dish is for carnivores, for those who are interested in eating only vegan, it makes a fantastic fig chutney.

 This dish was fist made for me by an old friend of mine, Adeena Sussman.  One evening, many years ago,  Adeena dropped by to visit.  She then proceeded to cook dinner for myself and my newly married husband. Her recipe has become a family favorite, one that I especially like to make it for Tu b’shvat as it has figs, one of the seven species.  

While Adeena’s recipe calls for baking the dish in a fruity white wine, I prefer to cook mine slowly on the stove top, this allows the figs to turn into a jam that just melts in your mouth.  Both ways are good, Adeena’s is perhaps more American in flavor while my dish is perhaps more Moroccan in style.


  • 1 chicken, quartered and skin removed
  • olive oil
  • 20 dried figs, sliced into 4
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 head garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • turmeric
  • chili pepper
  • salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a tight lid.  Brown the chicken on both sides.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Cover with the lid, bring to a boil and allow to cook over a low flame for one hour, being careful that the bottom doesn’t burn.  If it looks like the bottom will burn than you can add a little more water to the pot. 

Remove the lid, if there is any extra water, boil it out.

Serve hot on a bed of rice.


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