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Posts Tagged ‘spinach’

Ottolenghi’s Green Gazpacho

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on September 11, 2015 at 4:15 am
green gazpacho on grass

The greenest of green gazpachos

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.” ~Margaret Shepard

Last night I took a yoga class from one of my very favorite teachers and she prefaced her class by acknowledging that life throws you many twists and blind turns which require faith and surrender in order to find the flow in the midst of uncertainty. She promised us that all the weirdness was leading up to something. Of course, she was referring to the vinyasa flow she was about to subject us to but, at the same time, she was asking us to acknowledge this parallel to life.

It’s been three months since I’ve posted. This is not due to writing drafts and failing to publish (although I still have an embarrassing backlog). Creativity was a luxury that I could not afford recently with my energy going to more practical matters. I’m finally pulling out of that period but not without a significant (and somewhat permanent) rearrangement of my daily life and routines. Well, to be fair, this hasn’t happened quite yet but I am already preparing for it. I’ll reveal more as a I fully wrap my brain around it and accept that I cannot see the future of this blind turn.

green gazpacho ingredients

All this green goodness goes straight into your processor or blender.

A heat wave is scorching San Diego right now and since the weather is usually so darn perfect year-round, many of us don’t have air conditioning. We aren’t used to the weather affecting our lifestyles let alone even being a discussion topic. Needless to say, there is a lot of whining going on and very little cooking. Gazpacho is a nice change from constant salad consumption – you get your greens but you don’t have to chew them!

This cold soup recipe is perfect for people who don’t usually like gazpacho. No tomatoes mean no acidity and no lingering urge to eat it with tortilla chips. There is something oddly addictive about this soup from Chef Ottolenghi’s cookbook – Plenty More. You can’t find the recipe online, only the ingredients, but, since it’s a gazpacho, the instructions are pretty intuitive: put everything in a blender and push the ‘on’ button. I didn’t follow the ingredients list exactly and will indicate where I deviated below:

Serves 6 (at least!)

2 celery stalks (including leaves)

2 small green peppers, seeded

6 mini cucumbers, peeled (I used Persian so I didn’t peel)

1 green chile (I chose a large jalapeno)

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp sugar (I used brown)

1.5 cups walnuts, lightly toasted

Parsley and Basil: Original recipe indicates 2 TBSP of parsley but I love its fresh, cleansing taste so I added a large handful of parsley while completely eliminating the basil (1 cup). I like basil but I guess I like parsley more – you decide. Maybe next time I will do a handful of each herb.

4 TBSP balsamic vinegar (original recipe calls for sherry vinegar but I prefer the caramelized sweetness of balsamic and perhaps this is the source of the addiction)

1 cup olive oil

3 TBSP greek yogurt (full-fat)

1 cup water (Ottolenghi uses 2 cups and 9 ice cubes. I like the taste with only 1 cup water so I stopped diluting)

salt & pepper

green gazpacho on the beach

Seagulls love this gazpacho too!

Croutons: toss cubes of sourdough baguette with olive oil and salt and bake at 375 for about 10 mins. Ottolenghi also added 3 slices of sourdough bread to his gazpacho but I left bread for the toppings only.

Directions:

1. Cram EVERYTHING GREEN (and garlic) into your processor first (leafy stuff on bottom, chunks on top)

2. Run it until its get really liquid-y, adding the one cup of water, if needed

3. After the veggies are fully processed, add balsamic, sugar, olive oil, and yogurt

4. Last, add the toasted walnuts and pulse until the texture suits you.

I like this soup best at room temp or only slightly chilled. The flavors aren’t as nuanced straight out of the fridge and, the fats, olive oil and walnuts, are best at room temperature as well.

Recommended consumption: on the beach with an icy Rose´

Spinach & Kale Soup with Tahini-Dressed Chickpeas

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 15, 2015 at 2:35 am

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”~Lao Tzu

frozen soup

Leafy green soup with tahini and chickpeas

Hey there! Not all “processed” food is bad.

Stocking your freezer with frozen fruits and vegetables is an easy, affordable way to get more servings of these plants into your diet. Frozen fruits and veggies can be just as, if not more, nutritious than fresh fruits and veggies. This is because nutrients are lost in the process of harvesting, packaging, storing, transporting, and then displaying fresh produce. Vitamins and minerals can be sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen or, in the case of vitamin C, all three!

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and is doing it’s neutralization job by reacting with the oxidants of heat, light, and oxygen. The easy loss of vitamin C is a case for cutting and peeling your fruit immediately prior to consumption to reduce nutrient loss as well as a case for shopping at your local farmer’s market where the time that lapses between harvest and purchase is as short as possible. Additionally, think about how much time your fruits and veggies spend in your refrigerator before consumption.

On the other hand, commercially-processed frozen foods are often flash-frozen very soon after harvest in a process which retains a maximum amount of nutrients and superior levels of antioxidants compared to fresh produce. Additionally, since these fruits and veggies are intended to be frozen soon after picking, they are left to naturally ripen longer than a fruit or veggie that needs to be transported and stored and, possibly, artificially-ripened. More time to naturally ripen equals, again, higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants.

You know what I’m talking about, you have about 36 hours to consume those strawberries that you bought at the farmer’s market before they go soft and smelly on you; however, the plastic box from Costco lasts at least 4 days in your fridge but never tastes quite as sweet and fragrantly delicious as the ones from your local farmer. Well, those frozen strawberries will have a taste closer to the farmer’s market strawberries along with the superior nutrient profile. Admittedly, you will lose out when it comes to texture. Which is why frozen fruits and veggies are perfect for soups, smoothies, and baked dishes where texture isn’t quite as important.

frozen veggies

Frozen veggies: affordable, storable, and super nutritious.

With all the being said, this soup is delicious as well as nutritious and features easy, affordable, long-storing, frozen vegetables!

The other main ingredients (chickpeas, veggie broth, and tahini) are all shelf-stable, potentially allowing you to stock your freezer and pantry with all the necessary ingredients (just pick up lemons and parsley) so you’ll be ready to make this soup at a moment’s notice.

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chili flakes
16 oz frozen spinach
16 oz frozen kale
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups vegetable broth
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparing the soup: Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, garlic and chili, lower the heat and let stir for a couple of minutes or until softened. Stir occasionally. Stir in spinach, kale and nutmeg and gently cook for 1 minute. Then broth and cook for 20 more minutes. Blend it silky smooth with an immersion blender and season to taste.

3 TBSP tahini
3 3TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 organic lemon, juiced
1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
15 oz (1 can or 2 cups) chickpeas/garbanzo beans

Preparing the Chickpeas: Whisk tahini, oil and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Add parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the chickpeas and mix it all up with your hands, make sure every single chickpea is coated. These just get yummier the longer they marinate so make ahead and enjoy for days. Another option for the tahini-dressed chickpeas: toss over hot soba noodles cooked with carrot peels.

Pizza Muffins

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 22, 2013 at 10:57 pm

oven-readyMy son goes to the coolest preschool. The children basically romp barefoot in a vegetable garden building fairy houses and digging for dinosaur artifacts while collecting eggs and bundling herbs to sell at their “farmers market stand”. The school encourages parent involvement and, while I’m comfortable giving parent education talks, I freeze when I think of teaching nutrition to a bunch of 5-year-olds. I have zero experience in early childhood education and can be much too serious when it comes to healthy eating (ask my kids!). So as the year creeps to an end I’m feeling that I must do something to contribute my expertise and decide that I will make an easy, healthy recipe for pizza muffins with them.

pizza ingredientsTrader Joe’s makes homemade pizza-making a breeze, just pick your toppings and the rest is ready for you. Making pizzas as individual muffins allows the kids to top their “own” pizza and makes them very portable for lunchboxes and for taking to the beach. No one will notice the whole wheat crust and I prefer the sharp flavors of TJ’s Quattro Formaggio shredded cheese over bland, straight-up mozzarella. Leftover toppings can be used in a frittata the next day (where good cheese is once again appreciated).

I prep the veggies prior to heading to the school: chop the bell peppers, drain the olives, and de-stem the mushrooms. Once I see how much fun they are having acting like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while chopping mushrooms, I immediately regret buying pre-sliced olives.pizza toppings

At home, I usually handle the rolling, slicing, and draping of the dough into the muffin tins because if the dough gets over-handled it just curls up in a ball on the bottom of the tin. But I’m trying to be a relaxed, fun mom and I let the kids help with this part even though it might not “turn-out”. Inevitably, some of the pizza muffins fall apart in a goopey mess once removed from the tin, either from overfilling of sauce or because the crust ended up entirely on the bottom…oh well.

making pizzaThis being the free-spirited, do-what-you-feel, kind of preschool, some kids wander into and out of the activity while others are very invested in micro-managing the outcome. I think my son may have participated the whole time. Either because he wanted to hang out with me or because we have the same issues! The individual variation is impressive and, although it’s a creative mess, I’m impressed with the interpretive pizza that resulted.

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins):

Trader Joe’s Pizza Sauce

Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Trader Giotto’s Quattro Formaggio (shredded blend of parmesan, asiago, fontina, and mild provolone)

Topping ideas:pizza eat

Bell peppers, yellow, orange, red, diced

Black olives, sliced (buy whole olives, let kids chop)

Cremini mushrooms, chopped (trim stems then let kids chop)

Trader Joe’s chicken breakfast sausage, cooked and sliced (another kid-friendly chopping task)

Leftover roasted or steamed veggies, chopped (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, green beans)

Raw spinach, chopped

pizza mealDirections:

Pre-heat oven to 450. Let dough sit for 20 mins on a flour-ed surface before rolling out. Cut into 12 squares and drape squares in greased, regular-sized muffin tin. Let the kids go nuts with the toppings. Bake for 10-12 mins at 450. Enjoy!

Quinoa Chowder

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 21, 2013 at 3:15 am
quinoa sweet potato soup ingredients

Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes

Last week’s SoupAsana felt extra special. I made a soup from a recipe I got from a friend-of-a-friend who liked to make this soup for her friends after long days of boarding and skiing. Apparently, she got it from a friend who modified it from a recipe by Deborah Madison. And I believe I may have modified it even further based on my tastes and those of my friends attending SoupAsana. Anyway, this soup felt like it had a lot of history, friendship, and good times behind it and, after 90 minutes of yoga and meditation, was easily devoured by all!

Homemade cactus fruit kombucha

Homemade cactus fruit kombucha

Making things even more special was the homemade kombucha from my friend and neighbor, Robin. She even hand-harvested the local cactus fruit for her beautiful, vibrant, cactus fruit kombucha. You can read about her adventures with the cactus fruit here. We combined the kombucha with prosecco since I was celebrating finally (3rd try!) being admitted into a dietetic internship program. Woot, woot! Huge relief and accomplishment…now I just have to complete the program in order to become a Registered Dietitian. It’s been a long road. I might write about it one day.

This soup is vegan until you get to the toppings, which are, of course, entirely optional.

eggs and cilantro

Backyard eggs and cilantro.

But adding feta and hard-boiled eggs, from the happiest chickens in SoCal, really makes this chowder, well, chowder-y. Even though I’ve admitted to not caring for quinoa, it’s really quite delicious in this recipe. Soup is one place where quinoa works. As a side dish or pilaf…not so much. I seem to use sweet potatoes a lot in my soups but will probably be moving away from that ingredient as the weather gets even warmer. Although the name of this soup invokes winter, it’s actual quite light and refreshing and appropriate for springtime.

scallions, jalapenos, garlic

Scallions, jalapenos, garlic.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup quinoa

8 cups veggie stock

olive oil

4-5 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup finely chopped ginger

1 large jalapeño pepper, diced/seeded

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger, jalapenos, cumin.

1 sweet potato, peeled/diced

1 bag baby spinach

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts

Top with: chopped cilantro, crumbled feta, and chopped, hard-boiled egg

Bring quinoa and 4 cups stock to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the quinoa after 10 mins and reserve the liquid.

quinoa chowder

Top with feta cubes and crushed red pepper.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeño. Cook for about 1 minute, then add ginger, cumin, salt/pepper, and sweet potatoes. Cook for a few minutes then add reserved stock as well as additional stock so you have about 7-8 cups liquid. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add quinoa, spinach, and scallions and simmer until spinach is wilted. Garnish individual bowls with cilantro, feta, and hard-boiled egg. Super delicious and I don’t even like quinoa.

Mushroom Tacos

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm
IMG_3464

Shiitake mushroom tacos with raw spinach and cashew sour ‘cream’

Continuing with the theme of incorporating more plant foods into your diet and embracing a newfound willingness to try foods you may have convinced yourself you don’t like, these shiitake mushroom tacos with a nut-based sauce are really quite good! Especially if you release all expectations of carne asada. I use Trader Joe’s 1/2 corn & 1/2 wheat tortillas b/c they are more pliable than corn (no blow-outs!) and more nutritious than plain white flour. You can also use romaine leaves to make lettuce wraps

Ingredients:

12-16oz shiitake mushrooms – thinly sliced

Optional: matchsticks of peeled zucchini and eggplant

First make spice paste in food processor:

1 jalapeño pepper

1 TBSP fresh grated ginger

1 tsp salt

1 TSP maple syrup

1 TBSP olive oil

1/2 lemon – juiced

2 tsp dried thyme

1.5 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cayenne

3/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Toppings; cashew sour ‘cream’, really good salsa, diced avocado, and diced papaya

Heat spice paste in oil over medium heat in caste iron pan. Add mushrooms and/or veggies and thoroughly mix with spice paste.  Mix thoroughly while sautéing until any liquid is gone. Place a handful of raw baby spinach on a warm tortilla (or use lettuce leaves), add mushroom filling, and dollop with cashew cream. Top with avocado, papaya, and salsa. YUM!