Fig and Goat Cheese Salad

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 August 2011 09:25 Written by Flax Wednesday, 3 August 2011 02:17

“Drink Milk. It’s Good For You.”

I heard it, I believed it and I drank it, every single day. Ten years ago I stopped drinking milk, I felt absolutely amazing!  All of my minor health complaints, digestive or otherwise, basically disappeared. People constantly ask me, “but what about calcium?”  Kudo’s to the dairy industry and their PR/lobbyists who have us all believing that we need to drink milk in order to get our RDA of calcium.  I’ve got news for you, all fruits and vegetables have calcium.  Figs have double the amount of calcium than milk, while seaweed, my favorite source of nutrients, can have up to ten times more calcium than milk.  Countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest rate of osteoporosis, a disease directly related to calcium intake.  This statistic leads me to question the idea that dairy is a good source of calcium for humans.  An even more worrying statistic is that countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest rate of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.

But, as my brothers like to say: “73% of all statistics are incorrect”.  So, let’s look at dairy from a purely ecological point of view.  Cows produce an enormous amount of methane, a major contributor to global warming.  They also excrete a huge amount of biological waste.  A normal sized dairy of two hundred cows produces the same amount of waste as 10,000 people.  The aspect however that worries me the most, is the enormous water consumption involved in producing dairy in Israel.  The natural diet of a cow is grass, they are meant to live in countries with large rainfalls where grass grows in abundance.  Israel, an arid land, doesn’t naturally produce grass. Raising cows in Israel means that we have to first grow everything that the cows eat and then hand-feed it to them.  Cows eat about 40 kilo of produce a day (they produce on average 60 liters of milk a day).  Growing 40 kilo of food a day for each and every cow uses enormous amounts of water.  We use more than 2,000 liters of water in order to produce 1 liter of milk. Shocking, isn’t it.  If the government wasn’t behind the cottage-cheese protestors than they should have been.  Yes, I think dairy products should be imported.  Israel should not and can-not sustain a large dairy industry.    Personally, I say, eliminate the dairy industry and build more pools.  Every time you buy a bag of milk, think to yourself, I could have a pool instead.

So, why am I giving a cheese recipe?   It’s the nine days, people who generally eat meat on a daily basis are hungry and are looking for alternatives. Many might try eating more dairy to replace their usual  meat meal.  I recommend that if you are planning on eating a dairy meal, than go for the goat.  Goat milk is easier to digest than cow milk, it also contains less steroids and antibiotics.  Goats are indigenous to Israel as well and are suited to the environment.  Goats are environmentally friendly as they like to eat the weeds that grow here in abundance. By munching on our abundant weeds, goats also reduce the risk of forest fires.  True, goat milk does taste different to cow milk  Like cow milk, goat milk is also an acquired taste.  If you haven’t yet adjusted to the flavor of goat milk you can try doing what your Mother might have done when you didn’t like milk as a kid, try mixing it with Cocoa Pebbles until you adjust to the flavor.

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 1 bag of mixed greens (about 4 cups)
  • 6 figs, quartered
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 150 gr. mild goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard

Place the salad ingredients in a wide bowl.

Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.

Serves 4-6

Enjoy!

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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.  

Ingredients: 

  • 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. 

Enjoy!

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Enjoy!

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