Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kick it Up a Notch - Heirloom Stew

After making a batch of Heirloom Tomato Soup I decided to use some and turn it into a hearty dinner filled with veggies and quinoa. 

While at the Union Square Farmer's Market picking up tomatoes I decided to purchase a few other items; penny zucchini and fairytale eggplant. I have often used penny zucchini in dishes as they cut into a perfect small shape, but I had never seen these fabulous looking eggplant so it was a must purchase for me, I mean look at them, how could you not pick some up?
For those of you wanting more information on Fairytale Eggplant, they are picked very young and have the most mild, creamy and absolutely delicious flavor, simply cut them in half and roast or pan sear. 

I decided to slice up the sorted zucchini into, you guessed it penny size slices and went ahead and did the same with the eggplant.
Next I pan seared until they were cooked and softer in texture. While the vegetables were cooking I had another pot on the stove with quinoa. 
I decided to cook the quinoa in sme of the tomato soup so it would take on that flavor instead of using water which may have watered down the dish a bit and I was looking for plenty of flavor. Once the quinoa and vegetables where finished i placed in a bowl for a healthy filling lunch.
For those of you looking to add more protein try a fried egg on top, and for those less adventurous how about some chicken.

What to do with an Heirloom

If you find yourself walking through a farmers market or grocery store lately then you are sure to find plenty of heirloom tomatoes.

Walking through the Union Square Farmer's Market early this morning I decided to pick up 6 tomatoes a clove of garlic and head home to make some soup.

This recipe is quick and easy and can be eaten as is for a nice gazpacho feel, it can also be added to for a filling dish, and for those with no dairy allergy feel free to add some cream for a thicker texture. 

6 Heirloom Tomatoes
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 tbsp Butter
Salt and Pepper (light seasoning)
First place the butter and oil in the pan and let heat up, once the butter is melted place the crushed garlic cloves and let simmer. Next add the sliced up tomatoes to the pot. Stir the tomatoes for a minute and then cover and let sit.
Check the pot every few minutes to stir. Once the tomatoes have softened and fallen apart lower the heat to let the pot simmer. 
Once the soup is made you can go ahead and choose to eat alone, place in a bowl and top with some fresh basil and parmigiana if you do not have a dairy allergy.

As I mentioned there is a lot that can be done to this dish, stay tuned for a follow up recipe...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Benefits of Juicing

After learning more about a raw food diet I decided to step up my "juicing game" I decided to challenge myself to a 4 day juice cleanse, and I was shocked at how I felt. Prior to the "cleanse" I thought I would be spend the 4 days tired and miserable but it was just the opposite, I was filled with energy and never had a moment of bitterness or anger towards the cleanse. I did not go into this cleanse looking to loose weight, I wanted to challenge myself to see what my body can handle. I also thought it would be good to treat some pain and swelling I was having in my jaw. For those of you unaware I had reconstructive jaw surgery and was suffering from a major flare up. 

I decided to look into the benefits of fruits and vegetables and go from there. Here is a list of some of my findings:

Apple - increases elimination
Beet - encourages a healthy cardiovascular function, possesses strong detoxifying properties
Carrot - liver cleanser
Cucumber - purifies the blood and cleans the intestines
Ginger - known as a natural healer for the entire body, reduces inflammation, aids digestion
Grapefruit - improves liver function, high in antioxidants
Lemon - liver cleanser
Pear - high in vitamin c and copper, potent anti-inflammatory 
Pineapple - reduces inflimation
Spinach - provides support to both liver and kidney function, reduces fatigue, heals the digestive tract, high in antioxidants

When juicing it is important to use Organic fruits and vegetables in order to steer clear of pesticides.

Here are a few of my favorite combinations:

Hint of Greens - Pear, Cucumber, Pineapple, Ginger
Tons of Greens - Spinach, Cucumber, Apple, Parsley, Ginger, Lemon
BApples - Beet, Apple, Pineapple
aLive - Carrot, Apple, Ginger
Gingade - Grapefruit, Ginger
When making juice don't be afraid to try out different combination's, you will be surprised how great fruit and vegetables blend together to create unique flavors. 

Autumn Is Here

Well Summer is over and Autumn is in full swing and that means many things for both our health and nutrition. According to Chinese Medicine each season corresponds to specific Meridian and Organ system and Autumn is the season when the Lungs and Large Intestine are most active and susceptible to both positive and negative influences. 

If the Lungs become imbalanced Qi (pronounced "chee") can be weakened and we become susceptible to illness and conditions such as allergies, asthma, colds, flu, dry skin and much more. The Lungs and Large Intestine are also vulnerable to problems caused by sadness and grief. Should you notice any signs of either in your life be sure to seek help whether though therapy, exercise or even a vacation to somewhere sunny and warm.

In Autumn, also known as the Harvest Season we see how nature provides us with foods that we need for our health and well being. The harvest season is a time to prepare the body for the cold weather ahead. With winter approaching your diet should shift toward richer, denser foods that will provide you with energy and warmth. It is also important to nourish your immune system through your diet. Be sure to take advantage of dark green and golden-orange vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene. Such foods include: carrots, pumpkin, squash, broccoli, kale, mustard greens and much more. 

Here is a list to help you shop for foods this season:

Apple, Banana, Clementine, Cranberry, Date, Fig, Grape, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Kumquat, Mandarin Oranges, Pear, Permission, Plum, Pomegranate, Quince

Avocado, Beet, Bell Pepper, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprout, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Corn, Garlic, Gingerroot, Leeks, Onion, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Shallot, Spinach, Squash, Sweet Potato, Turnip, Yam

Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Quinoa, Rye, Wheat

Almond, Brazil, Cashew, Pecan, Pignolia, Pistachio, Walnut

Black, Carob, Garbanzo, Kidney, Lentil, Lima, Navy, Soy

Flax, Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower

Enjoy all the season has to bring!!!!