Orange With a Twist

Last Updated on Thursday, 1 March 2012 03:12 Written by Flax Thursday, 1 March 2012 02:54

This soup, based on a variety of orange vegetables is unique due to the variety of spices it encompasses.  Orange vegetables, sweet in flavor are very to the spleen and are wonderful for anyone who suffers from digestive issues.  The combination of warming and invigorating spices that are used in the recipe below are also meant to help to improve the digestive system.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1″ ginger root, grated
  • 1 butternut squash, chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato,  chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 liters water
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped coriander for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Saute the onion until it turns translucent, add the garlic, ginger, and spices and saute for two minutes more.   Add the water, bring to a boil, and then add the remaining ingredients.  Simmer on a low flame for one hour.  Puree, garnish with the chopped coriander, and serve hot.

Serves 8-10.

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Caviar d’Aubergines

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 03:13 Written by Flax Wednesday, 18 January 2012 01:28

Caviar d’Aubergines, or in simple English, Grilled Eggplant, is a rather uncomplicated and inexpensive dish.  None- the-less, it has received this rather bombastic title as a result of its delicate flavor and its elegant appearance.  When properly prepared, the white seeds glow with a luminescence that is reminiscent of caviar, and the smoky flavor brings to mind a variety of rather pricey delicacies.

The eggplant belong to a very special group of vegetables called the nightshades.  Nightshades vegetables belong to  a group of plants that flower at night.  Nightshade plants are primarily toxic, the exceptions being the potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper (other than the black pepper).  The nightshades as a group, especially the potato and the tomato,  are craved by Western society.  Perhaps the reason why the fast paced Westerner enjoys these foods so much is that they induce a feeling or relaxation and expansion (think of the term, “couch potato”, eating potatoes, perhaps even one coated in tomatoes,  makes you want to sit on the couch and relax).  Additionally, nightshade vegetables are also useful in providing a balance for a meat based diet as they help to clear the stagnancy of eating excess animal products.   While it is quite enjoyable to feel relaxed and expansive, this action can exacerbate certain health conditions.   It is recommended to avoid nightshade vegetables in instances of swelling or pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, or nerves.  Such conditions as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, neuritis, and sciatica are negatively affected by nightshades.  People who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis would also benefit from abstaining from nightshades.

To reflect upon their good nature, the nightshades as a group, and the eggplant specifically, possess many healing powers as well.  The eggplant is beneficial in clearing stagnant blood and it has a homostatic action which helps to reduce bleeding.  A pack of raw eggplant is useful in case of a scorpion bite, and grilled eggplant (see the recipe below) has the miraculous ability to heal bleeding hemorrhoids.  A word of caution however, pregnant women are advised not to over indulge in eggplant as they can cause miscarriage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 firm eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt

Use a high flame to grill the eggplant. The grilling can be done on an outdoor grill, a stove top, or in an oven.  If it is done on an open flame, the smoke will enhance the flavor of the eggplant.  As the skin of the eggplant blackens and cracks open, turn the eggplant so as to grill it on all sides.  To know when the eggplant is ready push down to feel if it is fully soft inside.

Remove from the flame, cut down the center and scoop out the insides.  Place the grilled eggplant meat into a bowl and immediately pour on the lemon juice.   Add the pressed garlic and salt.

Alternatives:  For a delicious creamy spread, add three tablespoons of tehina.

Serve as a first course, accompanied by bread.  Kept refrigerated this salad can be kept for up to a week.

Note:  To retain the white color of the eggplant, the lemon juice needs to be applied while the eggplant is still hot, freshly removed from the flame.

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Grilled Mushrooms

Last Updated on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 01:50 Written by Flax Wednesday, 6 July 2011 01:50

Marinated mushrooms definitely taste better than the non-marinated ones.  They retain their water and don’t dry out as much.  If you are having a hectic day and don’t have time to marinate them just toss them in oil and garlic and grill them.  Even without marinating them they will still taste good.

While any kind of mushroom is good grilled, I recommend using Shiitake, or Portobello mushrooms.  These mushrooms are the “meatiest” flavor-wise and are wonderful for anyone who is looking to cut down on their meat consumption.  Their large size also lends them a certain beauty and elegance.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Mix together the pressed garlic and olive oil.  Trim the bottom of the mushroom stems and then brush the mushrooms with the oil marinade.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and grill on a medium setting for 5-10 minutes on each side.

Serve with Coconut Polenta Rounds

Enjoy!

Turn the grill on to a medium setting.

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