Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick dinner anyone?

How 'bout a delicious, nutritious dinner in less than 15 minutes? Here we go...

You'll need:

1 bunch of organic broccoli
1 cup of quinoa (red or white)
2 tbsp of almond oil (olive oil will do)
1/4 cup of parm cheese (feel free to skip that for a vegan version)
1/4 to 1/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
salt, pepper to taste

Cook quinoa according to directions (usually 2 cups of water per 1 cup of quinoa). While the quinoa is cooking, toast the almonds, then cut the bottom half of the stems from broccoli and chop up the rest. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté or stir-fry broccoli, until cooked, but still crisp. Add salt and pepper, stir in cooked quinoa, almonds, cheese if using and serve.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Classic Russian Sour Cabbage (Sauerkraut) Recipe

What does yogurt, cottage cheese, Kim Chee, and Sauerkraut have in common? They all are pro-biotic. For all of you out there who have depleted the levels of "good" bacteria in your body due to the use of antibiotics or poor life styles, these foods are great to restore the balance.

It's easy- although time consuming - to make Sour Cabbage at home.

You'll need:

A gallon size jar, a large dish for mixing
About 6.5-7 Lbs of cabbage (late harvest type if possible)
50-60 grams of salt - non-iodized! Gray salt is the best
You can add carrots (can be up to 1/4 of the cabbage weight),
Bay leaves, caraway seeds- optional
For a spicy kind: garlic, pepper, etc - optional

Slice the cabbage thin, leaving the center part out, grate the carrots if using, mix all the ingredients together in a large open dish or basin. Keep mixing and squeezing by hand until juices run.

When done, place in the glass jar (you can use an enameled bucket - not plastic), pack it tight. Make sure you do not fill the jar all the way to the top - the juices will need room. Cover with clean whole cabbage leaves, then cover with cheese cloth, then put a press on top (another jar filled with water will do). Place the jar onto a plate (again, since the juices may run over the top) and keep at room temperature for about 3-4 days. On the next day (or when the foam forms on the top), you'll need to puncture the cabbage all the way to the bottom in several spots with a knife or a rolling pin or a long wooden spoon handle. This is a very important step. You'll need to do it 3 times a day. Then you can move the jar to a cooler place for about 2 weeks.
Or you can keep it in the warm place and once it's done, cover with a lid and put into a fridge.

The Sauerkraut is ready when the foam is gone and the juice are gone and the top layer is slightly wilted.

The process of Sour Cabbage making requires a presence of a "good" bacteria. Sometimes a wrong bacteria gets in and the cabbage comes out slimy smelling funny. You can still use the final product, however, it will have to be rinsed first and then cooked (in soups, stir-fries, etc)

Here is a quicker version of Sauerkraut:

For 1 gallon jar of Sauerkraut:
1 head of cabbage,
3 large carrots,
2 tbSp salt
1 tbSp sugar - optional, but that's what speeds up the process
700ml of warm water

Slice and grate cabbage and carrots, mix it up. Dissolve salt and sugar in water. Pack cabbage into a jar and power the liquid over. Keep at a room temperature for 3 days, puncturing all the way through daily. After 3 days transfer to the fridge. It's done.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Perfect Spring Soup...

Back in the days when vitamin supplements were not available and fruits and vegetables weren't dragged over the Equator, people really looked forward to spring and first vitamin packed greens: spinach, French sorrel, nettle... French sorrel is a very unique plant with quite a bit of pleasant tartness, similar to lemon. If you find it in a garden store, plant it in full sun and it will keep coming back year after year. In addition to having a pleasant taste, it promotes digestion. Sorrel is great in sauces, pies (think Rhubarb!) and salads.

If you lucky enough to find nettle growing wild ( Appalachian Trail /Broadwalk in Warwick! ) - bring some gloves along: raw nettle can sting your skin. It's not harmful, just a bit unpleasant. Nettle is not as tart as sorrel.

Light nettle and sorrel Soups are very popular in Europe. Here is one version for you. My kids call it French Egg Drop Soup... If you don't know what French sorrel or nettle is AND don't want to find out, then use organic spinach instead.

French Sorrel Spring Soup

6-8 cups of organic vegetable broth
3 medium potatoes, cut into small pieces
Large bunch of French sorrel, chopped
2 eggs, beaten

Cook potatoes in the boiling broth until done - don’t overcook. Add sorrel and then slowly add the eggs, stirring all the time. Done!
This is almost as easy as opening a can!