Crockpot Minestrone

Last Updated on Monday, 6 February 2012 12:44 Written by Flax Monday, 6 February 2012 12:44

I really do love using my crockpot in the winter.  Not only do I come home to a warm nourishing meal, I also come home to a house that smells great.  Crockpot cooking is also a much safer way to cook large beans as you don’t have to leave the stove on for long periods of time.  (Maybe it’s my own anxiety, but I’m always afraid that I will forget that the stove is on and accidentally burn down the house.)  Smaller beans, such as the adzuki beans and the mung bean are wonderful summer beans as they require under an hour cooking time.  Larger beans such as the kidney  bean, garbanzo bean,  and of course the fava bean require much longer cooking times and are much more appropriate for the winter where it is appropriate to keep a dish simmering for even an entire day.

Crockpot cooking also happens to provide an excellent solution for “working mom’s” who are sometimes the last ones to walk through the door.  Either prepare the food in the morning before leaving, or if your morning are just too busy, prepare all of the ingredients the night before and then just plug-in the crockpot the following morning.  It’s like magic!  Your family has a  healthy nourishing meal without your even being home!

The recipe below is for minestrone.  Minestrone is a hearty Italian vegetable soup which is essentially a whole meal.  The soup has red kidney beans which are a wonderful winter food as they nourish the kidneys, the organ that should be strengthened in the winter.  Please note how the recipe includes, white, orange, and  green vegetables.  When all  three colors of  vegetables are in a dish, you can be sure that the dishl will be balanced, both with regard to nutrition, as well as with regard to flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 1 celeriac (celery root), diced
  • 1 broccoli stalk, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 4 liters water
  • 1/8 cup brown rice
  • turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • pepper

Pesto:

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

To prepare the soup, place all of the soup ingredients, other than the salt, in a crockpot.  Set the crockpot to  low and allow to cook for 8-12 hours.

Prepare the pesto by pureeing all of the ingredients together in a food processor until you have a smooth paste .  Set aside.

Add the salt and the pesto to the soup a few minutes before serving.

Serve hot.  Serves 6-8.

Note:  When beans are cooked with salt the skin doesn’t soften and they remain hard.  It is preferable to add the salt only after they are at least slightly cooked.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and teaches Healthy Cooking Classes.

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Parsley Pesto

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 11:20 Written by Flax Tuesday, 28 June 2011 11:09

Parsley Pesto is an all around nice spread/condiment to have around the house.  I specifically make it for Friday Night.  I serve it along-side the Roasted Garlic Spread to be spread on the challah.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt

Chop off the bottom of the parsley stalks.  Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree.

Refrigerate until serving.

While this pesto is best served fresh, it can last up to three days if kept refrigerated in a well sealed container.

Enjoy!

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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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