Even with meal planning, sometimes you end up with odd bits of ingredients and just aren't sure what to do. This situation is an opportunity for a clean out the pantry challenge. This salad started with a craving for a nicely textured salad with a lime vinaigrette and the need to use a perfectly ripe avocado. Without greens, it's still possible to make a nice salad. The avocado become the base. Carrot ribbons and thinly sliced red onions are next. Then the crunchy nut, seed, grain mixtures is sprinkled all over. The cilantro, sumac and dressing bring it all together. Dig in.
Serves 2 as a main dish
1 ripe avocado, peeled, sliced, and pit removed
2 carrots, peeled and made into ribbons with peeler
1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion
3 tbsp cilantro sprigs
1/4 c. quinoa
1/4 c. peanuts
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds
1 tbsp. coconut oil
juice of 1 lime
1. Mix the lime juice with carrot ribbons and red onion and allow to sit and marinate to absorb the flavors and soften the onion.
2. Toast the quinoa, peanuts, and sesame seeds in a medium cast iron pan until quinoa becomes fragrant and crunchy.
3. Arrange avocado on plate and mound onions and carrots.
4. Sprinkle crunchy topping over the vegetables.
5. Finish with a light touch of Sumac and the cilantro.
It started by accident. The ultimate winter smoothie, in our book at any rate, is the magical combination of perfectly ripe bananas, soft dates, lime zest and juice, raw honey, plain kefir and ice. While these ingredients are available year-round, they really shine in the winter months.
If you're ever in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, you must stop by Shield's Date Garden. Get a date shake, tour the gardens, learn about the history of date cultivation in the Coachella Valley by watching the 1940's feature film The Romance and Sex Life of the Date, and stock up with a year supply of dates. This may be the only place in America to find such an array of dates under one roof. Our advice is to taste the Abbada and Black Beauty. They are exquisite in texture and flavor.
The beauty of this drink is that you can make a large batch and leave it in the fridge to drink throughout the week. All you have to do is give it a little stir. This recipe serves 2 as a light breakfast, but can easily be doubled or tripled. Adjust the honey, date and lime zest to your taste preference. You may also use plain yogurt instead of kefir. If you are lucky enough to have a Vitamix, use the "Smoothie" setting for an easy preparation.
1 c. plain kefir
zest of 1/2 lime (add a little lime juice if you like more acidity)
1 ripe banana
a good drizzle of raw honey (about 1 tablespoon)
a few ice cubes
4 pitted dates
1. Put the zest and juice in the blender pitcher first. Next, add in yogurt or kefir and follow with remaining ingredients.
2. Blend until nicely incorporated and drizzle a bit more honey on top and a bit of lime zest or date slice to garnish if you're feeling fancy.
While the rest of the country freezes, we are rewarded with seasonal and local strawberries in Southern Louisiana. There's just something indescribably wonderful about the freshness of a berry that most of us crave them year-round. The simplicity of eating within the local foodshed makes it easier to decide what to make. This morning, we took an inventory of our ingredients and came up with a Danish inspired plan. A few boiled candy stripe beets with homemade yogurt cheese made from local, grass fed cow milk, chopped hard boiled eggs from our backyard hens, cold-pressed hazelnut oil, Avery Island salt with lemon zest over homemade whole grain sourdough bread. A few fresh strawberries on the side and we'll call it breakfast.
There may be no better comfort food for cool weather than homemade matzo ball soup. If you're ready to take your soup game to the next level and save some money in the process, try your hand at stuffed matzos. Reserved vegetables and chicken bits from the broth pot are seasoned to make extra delicious and healthier matzos. Freeze leftover broth and matzos for a quick supper for when you're feeling short on time. Defrosting homemade frozen meals and prepped ingredients in the refrigerator 1-2 days in advance is a great way to plan ahead and save on energy bills.
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup seltzer or whey
1/4 cup Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) or grapeseed/canola/sunflower oil
1 cup matzo meal, whole wheat if you like
1/8 to 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. chopped herbs: parsley, dill, parsley, carrot tops (reserve 1tbsp. for garnish)
1 yellow onion (chopped)
Matzo Stuffing Mix:
reserved vegetables from the broth: celery, carrot, onion, garlic, fennel, etc)
1 tsp. Berbere spice blend
⅔ c. reserved chicken meat and a bit of skin from the soup bones
1 qt. homemade chicken broth
If you catch a cold, make this broth at the first symptom. After the meat is cooked, remove it and save for another use. Make sure all the skin, bones, cartilage and other bits stay in the broth pot. At this point, you can continue simmering the broth and adding additional spices, lemon juice, and seasonings. Keep a lid on the pot and carefully place your face over the pot. Deeply inhale the vapors and let the steam soothe your symptoms. This isn't just a delectable broth, it is a healing force and soothing constant while you recover. Add water when the pot gets low, put more vegetables and herbs in and strain what broth you want to drink or poach vegetables in the liquid for the duration of your cold. Allow to cool and refrigerate over night and bring back to a simmer after work. Take a thermos of broth with you and sip the broth throughout the day to alleviate symptoms and gain strength. You'll feel better soon. Read more about the healing powers of broth from the folks who taught us at The Weston A. Price Foundation.
Cold Busting Chicken Broth
1 whole chicken or chicken parts (wings, legs, thighs, bones, etc.)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, lemon juice
Aromatics: At least onion, carrot and celery should be used
1 onion (yellow is best)
1 stalk celery
1 clove of garlic
fresh sliced ginger to taste
Spicy fresh chili peppers to taste, but start with one.
whole black pepper
Health Boosters: One or more can be added to create the flavor profile and/or health benefits you desire
herbs (parsley cilantro, thyme, rosemary bay leaf, oregano, etc.)
spices (cumin, coriander, annatto, turmeric)
1. Submerge chicken in cold water and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat to release scum, foam and undesirables
2. Pour bones into a colander placed directly over the drain in the sink and rinse the chicken.
3. Cover bones in pot with cold water, return to stove, add in whole carrot, celery and onion, lemon juice or vinegar & spice aromatics.
4. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a low slow simmer-cooking for 3 hours or more-after 3 hours the broth may be consumed
4. Remove chicken meat, whole carrot, celery and onion. Cool and save for other use
5 Strain into large bowl or pot over cheesecloth lined colander.
8. Divide broth into 1qt. jars, allow to cool to room temp before moving to refrigerator and finally freezer. The more jelly-like the cool broth is the better.
With a new crispness in the air, it seems fall has finally arrived. And fall means apples. In the South, we have many varieties of heirloom apples that deserve to be eaten fresh, baked, stewed, roasted, dried and really just made into all sorts of wonderful things to eat and drink.
Bircher muesli is satisfying and healthy. It’s also a great time saving recipe. Make it the night before and leave it in the refrigerator. There’s nothing like waking up to hot coffee or tea and a ready-to-eat breakfast that makes you feel like a million bucks. This is a recipe invented by a physician after all.
2 tbsp rolled oats
6 tbsp juice (satsuma, pear, or apple are best)
1 coarsely grated apple -granny smith is nice, but any apple will do
spoonful of plain yogurt
splash of milk
chopped nuts ( pecans, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.)
diced bananas or dried fruit (apricot, cherries or blueberries are good)
s slight drizzle of raw honey, cane syrup or molasses
1. Place oats in jar and cover with juice. Allow to soak overnight or at least 15 minutes.
2. In a bowl, add the oat and fruit mixture, top with a dollop of yogurt, add the optional toppings of nuts and fruit, the honey or other sweetener and the splash of milk.
3. Enjoy. This is super tasty wellness food.
This soup is so good, you might just let some bread go stale if you need an excuse to make it. You can add root vegetables to it if you want a more substantial soup. A small portion of this soup is a wonderfully extravagant addition to a holiday meal featuring steamed seafood or grilled meat. Of course, it goes without saying that there will be vegetables with the meal. For dessert, simple fruit that is peeled at the table and a few roasted nuts is all that's required for cold winter night. Pass the citrus. And where are those pecans?
2 cups stale, high quality bread.
* levain, ciabatta, baguettes, country loaf or miche.
4 cups stock (vegetable, beef, chicken veal- your choice)
3 medium yellow onions thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic + 1 for toast toppers
2 tbsp. concentrated tomato paste
salt, pepper, smoked paprika
1. Chop onions and garlic and place in soup pot
2. Add the butter and slowly caramelize the onions and garlic over very low heat until a nice golden color. Put the lid on the pot to steam as the caramelization happens to cook faster and retain the liquid.
3. Pour the stock or water over the onions add the bread with the milk it soaked in and cook gently. Let it simmer, covered and stirred occasionally, for 30 minutes.
4. After 30 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Blend the soup until velvety smooth; a Vitamix will yield the best results.. Add a little water to thin if necessary
5. Fry the reserved bread in a little olive oil and rub a raw garlic clove on the bread and season with a little salt.
6. Serve with salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of smoked paprika. Enjoy!
The world’s favorite fruit, the banana, is an herbaceous perennial that may boast as many as 1,000 varieties, of which a fraction is consumed. Commercial production favors monoculture, from Gros Michel to Cavendish. Like many of the foods consumed today, only a small part of the plant’s edible and non-edible offerings are utilized.
New Orleans, Louisiana was historically the entryway for bananas to be shipped to the United States from Latin America. It was also home to the first banana giant, United Fruit’s, headquarters. The mark of the banana trade is visible throughout the city’s landscape, from banana stands to lonely single plants, to the former home of “Sam the Banana Man” or Schmuel Zmurri, which Tulane University presidents now reside in. Given the climate is sub-tropical, there is tremendous potential to grow preserve heirloom banana varieties. Even a few of these could produce a substantial supply of bananas for sale in the regional market.
Unfortunately, most of the local banana plants are suited only for cooking, decorative or bitter. The diversity of bananas is astounding, and there are delicious varieties suitable for cultivation in the urban South. Under threat of widespread banana decline to Panama disease, we have an opportunity to revive heirloom banana varieties in the sub-tropical urban South and create meaningful green jobs in economically depressed areas. Furthermore, we can build banana circles (permaculture guilds) that produce yucca or manioc, taro, sweet potato, lemongrass and citronella to fully utilize the resources. This model of a micro food forest builds soil fertility, stores ground water and requires no chemicals. Oh, and in the center of the banana circle, food scraps are composted. The banana circle will eat your “trash”!
The banana is an exceptionally nutritious and delicious food that is a versatile as it is ubiquitous. Fibers from the leaves can be used as food wrappers, woven into baskets, trays, thread, rope, furniture, etc. The flower or blossom can be treated as an artichoke, pickled, steamed, sautéed and eaten raw. The fruit’s culinary uses are well documented, but do try your hand at featuring them in preserves or crumbles. It is time to approach the banana, and all its glorious parts, as we do the carrot or beet. Let us fully use its offerings and take the opportunity to make a dent in food waste by feeding bananas the scraps of our tables.
For today, let's start with a simple banana-oatmeal energy shake:
Banana-Oat Energy Shake
Time: 5 minutes
1 ripe banana
1/2 c. whole rolled oats
splash vanilla extract
sprinkle of ground cinnamon
honey or other sweetener to taste
milk or other non-dairy beverage
Put liquid in the blender first. Add other ingredients and blend until smooth. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top and add a swirl of honey if you like. Enjoy!
Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking techniques available to us. It also happens to be one of the easiest and fastest. During the busy holiday months, it is especially useful. WIth all the great seafood we have in Southern Louisiana, it seems strange that the techniques isn’t used more? Why is that? The easy answer may be most home cooks don’t have the proper tools.
To steam foods that have a tendency to stick, a simple metal steamer will do, but bamboo is better. Another tip is to use a cabbage or kale leaf to create a barrier between the surface and the food. Then there’s an additional vegetable to add to the meal. This is a great strategy for steaming asian dumplings. You can also use banana leaves, which we have in abundance!
For light fish like rainbow trout, which we’ve picture here, steaming the filets over freshly harvested pine needles will impart a wonderful flavor. Adding lemon, crushed juniper berries and a little olive oil really puts shine on a simple and healthful fish dish.
3 fillets of rainbow trout with skin on
pine needles-fresh, washed and dried
olive oil for drizzling
6 juniper berries
Bring water to a medium boil and check steamer fits properly.
Place pine needles in basket, add fish, then slice lemons, crush juniper and add the seasonings. Place on pot and steam with lid on for about 5 minutes. Check frequently.
Most of the modern foods and beverages we eat today have deep roots in historic recipes and traditional culinary practices. Today's bright crimson beverages laden with artificial colors, sweeteners and flavorings can be traced back to sorrel or Jamaica drinks. These beverages were made with the flower buds of what is commonly known as Hibiscus or Roselle. First produced in West Africa, the traditional drink-made from an infusion of the petals-contains beneficial dose of Vitamin C. It's culinary and medicinal uses are many. The flavor combines wonderfully with warm, thermogenic spices like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Add ginger, chili and turmeric to boost the healing properties. This recipe is more a set of guidelines. Experiment to your taste and listen to your body as you prepare this healing beverage just in time for cold and flu season. Drink up!
2 c. sorrel/jamaica/hibiscus flowers
1/2 c. -1 c. sugar, honey or other sweetener
1 tsp. of flavorings: Choose one or more to your taste.
ginger (fresh grated is best, but dried works too)
vanilla bean or extract
orange or rose blossom water
orange or lemon juice
1. Rinse the flowers in cold water and leave in strainer or colander
2. Add 2 liters of water and bring to a boil.
3. Add the flowers and remove from heat. Allow to steep for 10-20 minutes.
4. Stir in the sugar and add flavorings.
5. Strain or skim flowers and flavorings.
6. Allow to cool and serve.
Using ingredients fully yields the best results. I learned to cook this way out of economic necessity and found it to be the most rewarding and nourishing way to approach food. It happenst to be the best for the planet too. These recipes are a tribute to my Italian grandfather who inspired the zero-waste philosophy by teaching me how to turn leftover polenta into lasagna.