The Festival of Light

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 03:13 Written by Flax Tuesday, 13 December 2011 02:01

The Festival of Light is just around the corner.  Jews and their sense of humor, how can anyone consider fried potatoes and fried dough to be light?  Festival of Oil is more like it.  To make matters even worse, Hanukkah is smack in the middle of the winter, a time when we are most susceptible to gaining weight, and to retaining it.  Tradition is tradition, there really is no getting around the jelly donuts and potato pancakes, but there are healthier ways to keep tradition.

Baking is always better than frying.  While baked latkes certainly don’t taste nearly as good as fried latkes, they are definitely healthier.  Another option is to add vegetables to the latkes to increase their nutritional value.  I like to grate some zucchini, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and add them to the standard potato latke.  Another trick that I have is to add a little bit of wakame (seaweed) to the potato latkes.  I just tell everyone that it is parsley and no one knows the difference.  The advantage of having wakame in your potato latkes is that the alginate in the wakame inhibits the fat absorption by over 75%.  Pretty amazing!  So now you can eat your latkes and banish the fat.

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 tsp wakame
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • oil for frying

Soak the wakame in cold water for five minutes.

Grate the vegetables and squeeze out the excess water.  Squeeze the excess water from the wakame and add the wakame to the vegetables.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Heat the oil in a frying pan.  Add the mixture one tablespoon at a time into the oil.  When the bottom is golden brown, flip the latke and brown the other side.

Remove from the pan, drain the oil, and serve

Tip: Adding a piece of carrot to the oil prevents the oil from developing a burnt flavor.

Note:  The recipe above is not meant to promote eating, heavy, greasy, fried foods. My intention here is to help remedy an already bad situation.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and a runs a Clinic for Holistic Healing.  To learn more, visit her website: www.JustAddFlax.com

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Stuffed Zucchini

Last Updated on Thursday, 3 February 2011 04:57 Written by Flax Thursday, 3 February 2011 09:57

Israelis like their stuffed vegetables (memulaim)  so much that they developed a zucchini designed specifically for stuffing. They are round in form which makes it much easier to scoop out the seeds.  If you can’t find round zucchinis then use the regular zucchini, slice them in half length-wise and make zucchini “boats”.

This dish is quick and easy.  It is a beautiful appetizer or can be part of the main meal.  I give a vegan recipe below but you can easily replace the mushrooms with 200 gr. ground meat.

The filling in this recipe is meant to fall apart when eaten, but the flax-seed will give it a little bit of hold.  Additionally, you are also getting all the wonderful benefits of flax-seed.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 6 round zucchini 
  • 1 package shitaki mushrooms, diced
  • 6 shallots, diced
  • 5 sage leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-seed
  • Atlantic grey sea salt
  • pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 c.  Slice off the tops of the zucchini and place them on the side.  Scoop out the zucchini seeds and a little of the flesh to make room for the stuffing.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.  Saute the mushrooms and shallots until they are soft.  Add the sage, flax-seed, salt, and pepper and mix well.

Stuff the zucchini with the mushroom mixture and cover with the zucchini top.  Put 2 tbsp water at the bottom of a flat oven proof pan.  Place the zucchini inside carefully, making sure that they remain upright.  Bake for apx. 30 minutes or until the zucchini’s start browning.

Serve on a bed of tri-colored quinoa.

Note:  You can save the seeds and use them in a soup or a sauce.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

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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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