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. 

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Enjoy!

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Stuffed Artichokes

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 09:43 Written by Flax Tuesday, 22 February 2011 05:21

Photo Credit, Gail Saks

This recipe is probably a little more time-consuming than most of my recipes, it is definitely worth it though.  For those of you who would like to make it but time is an issue, I recommend baking the artichokes, with the chokes still in and serving the pesto sauce on the side.  While it is not as good as the recipe below,  it works, and it takes much less time.

In the recipe below I stuff the artichokes with a pesto made with basil, garlic and pine-nuts.  In last weeks blog I discussed the health benefits of artichokes so in this blog I will talk about basil. 

The word basil comes from the Greek word for king – ‘basileum’, either because basil oil was used to anoint the king or because the smell of basil is fit for a king’s house.  Basil is used therapeutically to treat digestive disorders and respiratory infections.  Basil’s ability to help a with stomach aches is due to the antispasmodic qualities.  It is also a decongestant which explains it’s ability to help open the breathing passages.  My favorite use for basil is for its cephalic qualities.  Like rosemary, basil has a clarifying effect on the brain.  I associate this with the mucus decongestant qualities which open up the breathing passages and increases oxygen flow to the brain.

No matter the reason why you chose to use basil, always remember to feel like royalty when you eat it. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 artichokes
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp pine-nuts
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Cut off the top third of the artichoke and level the base.  Blanch the artichokes in boiling water for 2-5 minutes.  Remove from the water, pull out the choke and scoop out the thorns with a spoon.  Arrange the artichokes in a dutch oven and pour the water into the bottom to prevent the pot from burning.

Roast the pine nuts for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Place with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Use a spoon to fill the artichokes with the pesto.  Cover the dutch oven and bake for 1 hour.

Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

Photo Credit:  Gail Saks

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Winter Vegetable Soup

Last Updated on Monday, 31 January 2011 10:26 Written by Flax Monday, 31 January 2011 09:58

Seasonal eating is something that comes to us naturally.  In the spring and summer we want lightly cooked or raw foods while in the winter, we search for something heavier and warming.   Foods that cook for a long time absorb the heat of the cooking time and thus are more warming than lightly cooked foods.

The most common question that I get is “doesn’t long cooking kill all the nutrients?”  The answer to that question is twofold.  First of all, when food is raw or lightly cooked, it does have more nutrients.  On the other hand, it is harder to digest raw or lightly cooked foods.  This means that we aren’t getting any more nutrients from raw foods than from well cooked foods which have less nutritious value but whose nutrients are more easily digested. 

Second of all, I teach seasonal cooking.  This means that we are trying to be in balance with nature and in harmony with the seasons.  When it is cold out we should eat foods that warm us up.  Eating the foods that are in tune with the seasons helps to keep us healthy.  Warm foods warm us, cold foods cool us off.  Eating raw vegetables on a cold winter day is like going outside without a coat and wondering why it is that you are cold.  Foods that cook for long periods are the most warming of foods as they absorb the heat of the cooking fire.  This fuels our internal fire and allows us to produce our own body heat which is what really warms us and helps us to best deal with cold weather. 

While I am providing you with an idea for a soup, please feel free to change the recipe based on whatever vegetables are in the market.  Keep in mind however the well-balanced diet.  That means, a variety of orange, white, and green vegetables.  When you use all three colors, you know that you are getting all of the five flavors as well as the nutrients that your body needs.  A nice bonus is that people will think that your food tastes great-this is because you are truly satisfying their nutritional needs and their own bodies are saying thank you. 

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cm ginger, grated
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
  • 2 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 4  carrots
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 bunch coriander
  • 1/2 bunch dill (optional)
  • 3 liters water
  • 1/4 cup amaranth or lentils
  • Atlantic grey sea salt
  • pepper 

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onions, garlic, ginger and leek and saute for 5 minutes on a low flame.  Add the carrot and zucchini and saute for 5 more minutes.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1-3 hours. 

Puree and serve hot.

Enjoy!

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