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Posts Tagged ‘ginger’

Forcing the Soup

In Mindfulness, Recipe on January 24, 2015 at 3:37 am

“Be a lamp to yourself. Be your own confidence. Hold on to the truth within yourself as to the only truth.” ~ Buddha

coconut red lentil soup

Second time is the charm.

Fueled by dark chocolate coconut haystacks, decaf chai, and the Bon Iver Pandora station, I banged out this soup one afternoon mostly because the light in my kitchen was waning; therefore, my window for decent food photography was closing. That was my first red flag. You know red flags? Those super obvious banners alerting you – but only in retrospect, of course – to the situations, turns, decisions, or people you should have ran from. Well, everyone knows you can’t rush the soup; however, that’s exactly what I was doing. And the soup ended up terrible because I forced it…to be made…well, I forced it into the trash as well.

lentils colander

Split red lentils are really tiny. Like, tiny enough to fit through a colander hole.

Second red flag: attempting to rinse lentils in a colander. Those suckers are tiny. Red flag #3: I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed and was actually considering subbing goji berries for golden raisins. When a friend rushed over with her supply of raisins (who actually has golden raisins on hand?), I falsely thought “this soup is meant to be”. Final red flag: I glanced at stove clock at 5:33pm and realized that, damn it, I’d missed the sunset. I had a pang of regret that grew exponentially after a blizzard of sunset photos stormed my social media feeds.

Why did I continue on despite feeling uneasy and unfocused? I know better. I’m in tune. I’m a yogini. I don’t force things to happen. I allow things to happen. I meditate. I set intentions not goals. OK. That last part is not true and that’s where the problem lies. I had made it a goal to make a new soup every Thursday regardless of whether or not SoupAsana commenced. So…even though I was tired and had a lot scheduled for the following day and had a lot of space in my weekend (where I could make soup!), the specificity of my goal (to Thursdays) forced me to move forward with soup-making against the signs of the universe.

lentil soup - bad

Inedible. In the trash.

Perhaps I am being dramatic. A terrible pot of soup is not such a big loss. But, really, how often have you done this with important things? Like your health, your relationships, your career. We insist on things happening in a certain way, at a particular time, and we set measurable goals to make sure that it all goes down as planned. And then eventually, after enough forcing and ignorance, there’s an injury – physically, emotionally, spiritually – and you just knew it was coming. You always knew. The signs were there. You just didn’t want to see them.

Anyway, it’s just soup. And it’s also a tidy little reminder to heed the nudges of the universe and tuggings of your heart. Your ego is the one making the goals and setting the timelines but your heart can see the future and knows that timing is everything. Follow it.

I made a second attempt at this soup the following day. I tweaked some measurements and ingredients. I was more present. It made all the difference.

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
8 cups water
2 cups carrots, cut into rounds
2 TBSP fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 TBSP curry powder
2 TBSP ghee (or butter or olive oil)
8 scallions, only white and light green parts, finely chopped
2/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14oz can coconut milk
4 tsp fine grain sea salt
handful cilantro, chopped

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse – until they no longer put off murky water – just don’t rinse them in a colander! Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft (important to test this as I charged ahead with soup-making and peas were still hard!).

chai and coconut haystacks

Dinner of chai and chocolate on the first night.

Add ghee to a pan over medium heat along with scallions, ginger, and raisins. Saute for about five minutes stirring constantly until everything is greasy and glassy, then add the tomato paste and saute for another couple minutes.

Add the curry powder (the original recipe recommends toasting curry powder. It’s stressful. Don’t do it.) to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so (this is your opportunity to make it taste good. Let it simmer. Taste it. Add salt. No texting.)

Enjoy topped with cilantro and yogurt if your curry powder had some kick!

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Bold Dressings for Bitter Greens

In Nutrition on November 23, 2014 at 4:12 am
salt farm

Wasabi Sesame, Black Truffle, Uni and many more spiked salts from Salt Farm at Little Italy’s Farmer’s Market

I spent this beautiful Saturday with a dear friend strolling through the farmer’s market in Little Italy buying holiday gifts and catching up on our complicated lives. We bought vials of gourmet salts from Salt Farm and sugar scrubs and muscle rubs from Holistic Science. When we’d had enough of the crowds and sunshine, we stopped for a lunch of caesar salad and mussels at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar.

kale salad ironside

Kale Caesar at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar in Little Italy

This place never disappoints and their yummy, fishy, kale caesar salad was so perfect it challenged me to step outside the predictable avo/sea salt/lemon dressing that I consistently massage into dinosaur kale. Sure, it’s delicious but it’s not very inspired. Plus avocados are kinda dicey right now since they aren’t in season.

It seems to me that hearty, bitter greens like kale require equally bold dressings to balance all that dense healthiness.

Both of these dressing have a nice kick to challenge that strong kale flavor.

Lemony-Caper Dressing (more work but worth it)

2 lemons – supremed

3 TBSP shallots, coarsely chopped

2 TBSP Dijon mustard

1-2 TBSP capers, drained

1 tsp superfine sugar (regular sugar works fine too)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

lemony-caper dressing

Lemony-Caper Dressing

Segment the lemons using this technique (watch the short video!).

Use a hand blender to thoroughly blend all ingredients EXCEPT THE LEMONS. Massage the pureed dressing into the kale and then, after marinating for up to hour (or less), toss lemon segments with kale.

This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

It’s strong. And salty. And lemony.

Try it with a scoop of warm brown rice or grilled fish to temper the flavors.

If the idea of supreme-ing a lemon is just too much work (Yuwei – I’m talking to you), try this one:

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

This one is bold for different reasons – mainly the ginger and cayenne.

Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the following:

kale bouquet

Dinosaur kale bouquet in grated rainbow carrot water.

1/2 cup carrots, peeled & grated

3 TBSP sesame oil

2 TBSP peeled ginger, chopped

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 – 4 garlic cloves

1 TBSP tamari

2 tsp honey

 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Both dressings will be infinitely tastier if you MASSAGE (yes, with your bare hands) the dressings into the kale. As my sister says, massaging makes the kale taste like it is loved.

In addition to tossing with a grain or protein, consider adding something sweet to balance the bitter-sour-spicy. Peaches or strawberries (in summer) or dried currants or cranberries (in winter) work beautifully. Creamy goat cheese or crunchy sunflower seeds will also round out these bold salads nicely.

Check out the little guy who got caught in the steam pot with our mussels! He was probably just as surprised as we were to see that he met this fate.

crab in mussel

Teeny tiny crab hanging onto the mussel!

Creamy Tahini Noodles

In Nutrition, Recipe on November 18, 2014 at 7:22 am

My BFF, Amy, is so cool.

She was eating kale in the late 90s way before it was en vogue.

creamy tahini noodles

Soba noodles, carrots, and cabbage in creamy tahini sauce.

Back then she gave me the recipe for this tahini-based sauce. It was a revelation to me at the time. These days using nuts and seeds in sauces is quite common; however, if you have yet to try a tahini sauce…well, you must! It’s simple and fast to make a creamy, savory dish with no food processor required.

This speedy meal combines gluten-free soba noodles and high-fiber, high-antioxidant veggies with a rich, creamy, HEALTHY sauce made from tahini (ground sesame seeds). Tahini is a powerhouse of minerals such as copper, calcium, and iron as well as the 2nd highest plant source of tryptophan, a pre-cursor for seratonin (the “feel good” hormone).

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat whose unique flavonoid compounds are critical for vascular health. Buckwheat is unrelated botanically to wheat (it’s a fruit seed) so it’s naturally gluten-free; however, read labels, some brands add wheat flour to their noodles. Of course, feel free to sub in zucchini noodles or kelp noodles (as in this kelp noodle recipe with a spicy, coconut, tahini sauce) or soba noodles, if you so desire.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 cup carrots – sliced into rounds

1 cup red cabbage – shredded

Soba noodles or kelp noodles or zucchini noodles or whatever

Tahini sauce (makes a lot!):

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup hot water

1 lemon – juiced

2 TBSP tamari

3 tsp maple syrup

2 tsp rice vinegar

Nutrition Info (SAUCE ONLY): 1/2 cup (4oz) = 244 kcals + 16g fat + 8g protein + 4g fiber

Directions: Whisk sauce ingredients together and set aside. Toss carrots into boiling water. Bring water and carrots back to a boil and toss in 2 servings of soba noodles (whatever that looks like to you). Cook for 3 mins, then add cabbage. Boil for 1-2 mins more (test for done-ness) and drain. Toss 1 cup (more or less) of sauce with hot noodle mixture and top with green onions. Savory, creamy, delicious…

shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms

Try this “meatier” comfort food variation: Sauté 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms, 1/2 cup diced red onion, and 2 TBSP fresh grated ginger in a splash of sesame oil and tamari. Toss with sauce and soba noodles and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. This version will be higher in fat and lower in fiber but ginger, onion, and shiitake increase the ‘healthy’ factor so dig in!

Cold-Busting, Flu-Fighting Garlic Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on November 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm
Immune-supporting Garlic Soup

Immune-supporting Garlic Soup

So you think you’re about to get sick.

Stop. Sit down. Breathe. And check your calendar. What previous commitments are you going to cancel?

You don’t have wait until you are full-on sick to rearrange your calendar. Being bed-ridden is not the only good excuse for not following through on a coffee date or volunteer time-slot or swimming with your kids or dinner with your loved ones.

And, by the way, you don’t need an excuse. Ever. For anything. If you’ve changed your mind about something, you are allowed to state that with no explanation necessary – but that is another discussion.

Sickie Defense Arsenal

Sickie Defense Arsenal

If you start to have even the slightest bit of sniffles, sore throat, or achey-ness, it’s time to clear your calendar and break-out the Sickie Defense Arsenal: throat sprays, herbs and minerals, neti pot, and citrus juicer and make a pot of nourishing, immune-supporting soup. Traditional chicken soup is always a winner. You can also try Quinoa Chowder or Cleansing Soup. Or, if you want to go BIG, try the recipe for Garlic Soup below.

An electric citrus juicer (and 10lb bags of oranges and grapefruits) is a winter-time necessity. Once November rolls around, the apples are starting to get old and citrus is the only local, seasonal fruit left (at least in Southern California). Indulging in fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice during the cold, dark winter months keeps you hydrated and full of antioxidant, immune-supporting vitamin C.

Vitamin C is quite fragile and quickly loses it’s effectiveness once exposed to heat, light, and oxygen – geez! It’s found in most FRESH fruits and vegetables but the longer your food has been transported, displayed, and stored, the less vitamin C it contains. Citrus, with it’s trusty, protective peel, locks in the vitamins until it’s juiced and then straight into your belly!

Head to the market for the following ingredients for GARLIC SOUP and other necessities:

grocery cart

Garlic Soup ingredients & Vitamin C-rich citrus

garlic (52 cloves, yes, 52!)

olive oil (2 TBSP) and sea salt (for roasting garlic)

ginger (1/2 cup)

onions (2 yellow)

butter, grass fed (1/2 stick)

cayenne (2 tsp or more!)

fresh thyme (lots)

coconut milk (1/2 cup)

3 1/2 cups veggie stock

If Garlic Soup sounds scary, think how scared that random virus will be and how stoked your body will be.

Sickie Defense Arsenal and Strategy:

1) Neti Pot 2x/day w Varcho Veda Neti-Wash Plus (zinc drops)

2) Throat Sprays 3-5x/day (2-3 sprays each time): Echinacea/Goldenseal/Propolis and S-Clear

3) Wellness Formula 2x/day – 3 horsepills (they suck but are so worth it)

4) TONS of fresh-squeezed orange juice (or grapefruit). Even better – try a carrot-orange-ginger juice

5) Make a HUGE pot of soup. Eat it all day long for days. Garlic Soup directions below (ingredients in list above).

To Make Garlic Soup:

Preheat oven to 350F. Get pumped for the job with positive warrior affirmations (and maybe a few warrior poses) to kick this sickness to the curb. Now put that awesome energy into your soup.

roasted garlic

Roasted garlic – olive oil, salt, 350 for 45 minutes

Place 26 garlic cloves (UNpeeled) in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes.

While garlic is roasting, take a bubble bath.

While garlic is cooling, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions (sliced), thyme, ginger (peeled and chopped) and cayenne powder. Cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.

Onions, garlic, ginger, butter, cayenne

Onions, garlic, ginger, butter, cayenne

Meanwhile, squeeze cooled garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Lick your oily, salty, garlicky fingers. They are delicious.

Add roasted garlic and 26 raw garlic cloves (peeled this time!) and cook 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth, cover, and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup with a hand blender, add coconut milk, and bring to simmer.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon on top and feel better soon!

Watermelon-Jalapeño Gazpacho

In Nutrition, Recipe on September 6, 2013 at 12:12 am

watermelon gazpacho ingredientsThis sweet & spicy soup is nicely layered and nuanced with ingredients such as honey & ginger and mint & cucumber. I like savory, tomato-based, gazpachos but they also tend to be a bit acidic and dense. Using a lightly-sweet fruit as the main ingredient is so refreshing and hydrating during a heat wave. At my son’s request we planted mini, sugar watermelons in our garden along side the cucumbers. I fantasized about indulging in watermelon/cucumber recipes and juices all summer long. But, alas, we had very little sun this summer. The watermelon vine went rogue choking out the cucumber and producing very little fruit (we are still waiting for them to ripen). It’s finally hot and sunny so the weather is perfect for a sweet & spicy cold soup. Sadly, NONE of the ingredients came from my garden, but it’s delicious regardless.

I prefer to do as little chopping as possible, especially on a hot day, so I recommend using a food processor first and then transferring to a blender when you add the last ingredient, the watermelon. Or use a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix, for everything.

watermelon gazapachoTo begin: Throw all ingredients EXCEPT WATERMELON into food processor or high speed blender and puree until everything is itty-bitty shreds. Next: Add watermelon (if not using a Vitamix, this is the time to switch from processor to blender or your soup will be all over the counter – I’ve done this many times!) and pulse a few times. I like the watermelon to be slightly chunkier than the other ingredients for a nice texture contrast.

Taste it to see if it needs an adjustment but I don’t recommend adding more ginger and jalapeño. This soup gets yummier and spicier over time! Chill for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry.

Ingredients (4-6 servings):

8 cups watermelon, or about 1/2 of a mini watermelon

1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped into big chunks

1 red bell peppers, big chunks

1 small onion, quartered

1/2 -1 small jalapeño pepper, w/ or w/out seeds depending on your ability to take the heat!

1/4 cup lemon, juiced

1 TBSP olive oil

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 piece of fresh ginger, about thumb-sized

1-2 TBSP  honey