Five Delicious Foods For Winter Health

Winter is finally upon us in the Berkshires. Now is the time to take some preventative measures to insure a healthy winter. There are many ways to incorporate health building foods into a home cooked meal. Here are my top five, must eat foods for winter health and the best part is that combined, they make a delightful, one bowl meal.

muchroom miso broth with greens and ginger

  1. Bone broth + harmony

If you add one thing to your winter routine, start drinking a hot cup of bone broth. Why? Because it’s a collagen building, infection fighting, inflammation reducing wunder food. Just heat up and get cozy with your favorite mug and you are ready to go. We make our own, but you can also pick up bone broth at your local butcher shop. If you’d like to make your own, I recommend “How To Make Bone Broth” on WellnessMama.com, it’s full of resources. For the amount of broth we get, it’s definitely worth the effort!

  1. Mushrooms: we all love a fungi!

What goes great with bone broth and keeping your immune system strong and fortified against the winter chill?  Mushrooms! Maitake and shiitake are two flavorful varieties that are readily available fresh or dried. Maitake, aka “Hen-of-the-Woods”, is my personal favorite. Add them dried to your broth for extra flavor and an immune boost. A plateful of fresh maitake mushrooms sauteed in butter with a little salt and black pepper is sublime. Add a perfectly fried over easy egg and it’s dinner.

  1. Get fermented: foods that are good for your gut

Fermented foods introduce good bacteria and balance existing bacteria in your digestive system. Miso is a fermented superfood and it’s nutty umami depth adds the right amount of salty flavor to simple bone broth. Mix it in after the broth has been heated and plated. I’m a fan of Chickpea Miso by South River Miso. Other great for your gut and immune health fermented foods include yogurt, unsweetened Fire Cider and lacto-fermented veggies — Hosta Hill sauerkraut and kimchi are staples at our house.  

  1. Stay warm

Ginger offers anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. A warming spice, you can add it to soups, cookies, hot teas and broth. Grated fresh ginger in hot water with lemon is a soothing way to fight germs and mend a sore throat.

  1. Get your greens

It’s cold and dark outside so be sure to keep your mind and body bright with daily doses of green veggies. They are full of the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and balanced, so make slow cooked collards or give saag paneer a try. Plate up a quick salad to go with your bowl of broth for a balanced meal of both raw, cooling food and warming, cooked food.

Best of all, you can combine these five super ingredients into one dish in about 15 minutes, with only 5 minutes of active time, for one satisfying meal. For someone who frequently skips lunch, I’ll consider this recipe my new year’s resolution.

Mushroom Miso Broth – 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • a small handful (about ⅓ cup) of dried maitake and/or shiitake mushrooms , chopped small, stems removed.  Keep in mind they will expand 2-3 times during cooking.
  • about 1 teaspoon or so of dried powdered ginger
  • two cups or more bone broth, unsalted or lightly salted is best since the miso will add all the salt you will need!.
  • shredded napa cabbage or kale, about a ½ cup or less should do.
  • Miso to taste – use traditional soy miso or experiment with other flavors.

In a pot combine the dried mushrooms, powdered ginger and bone broth. Add a lid and bring to a boil.

Turn down the heat and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are fully hydrated.

Turn off the heat and add a small handful or less shredded napa cabbage or kale.

When the greens are bright green, serve in two bowls.

Add your favorite miso to each bowl, I like about a tablespoon, or more.  Serve with a side of kimchi and enjoy in good health!

 

Advertisements

Mushroom Stir-Fry: Mark Bittman Style

Once again I have been carving out time to work on my book of recipes based on this blog.  Yesterday I was adding to a section on mushrooms and reminding myself of how incredibly beneficial they are to those of us working hard to regain our healthy balance.  Here is a great article on how mold, fungus and other beneficial organisms are very good for us, and no, they definitely don’t make Candida worse!

I found the following recipe for a mushroom based meal in the Sunday Times Magazine, it’s by Mark Bittman, taken from his cookbook, “How To Cook Everything” which is as handy as the title suggests.  This recipe is all about mushrooms: dried and fresh they make for a filling and healthy vegetarian meal.  You can add any protein you like: cubes of fried tofu or baked chicken or make the recipe as is, it’s simple and should take less than half an hour to make.

Dried Shiitake mushrooms will keep in your pantry long term and add tons of flavor and nutrition to so many dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces dried mushrooms, preferably shiitakes
  • 2 cups broccoli florets and stems, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms like button, cremini, shiitake, sliced (a variety is nice)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, optional as a thickener, it does NOT add a significant amount of carbohydrates.
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
  • 3/4 cup mushroom-soaking liquid
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions

Procedure:

1. Soak the dried mushrooms in 3 cups very hot water until soft, anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. (Dried shiitake are much tougher than other varieties and should be soaked in boiled water.) When they are tender, remove the dried mushrooms from the liquid with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid; slice or chop if the pieces are large.
2. Meanwhile, set a pot of water to boil for the broccoli. Cook the broccoli for 2 minutes in the boiling water, then drain.
3. Put a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat; add the oil and swirl it around, then add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 15 seconds; add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and dried mushrooms when they’re ready, and allow them to cook down 2 or 3 minutes before adding the carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender but not at all mushy, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the broccoli during the last five minutes of cooking.
4. If you like, dissolve the cornstarch in the tamari to thicken it; stir into the pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Add the crushed red pepper if you’re using it, and pour in the soaking liquid. Stir the mixture, and scrape the bottom of the pan, then turn off the heat; the liquid should be mostly absorbed. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.
YIELD
4 to 6 servings

The original recipe can be found here.

Asparagus and Mushroom Herb Salad

Hadley Grass, looking good.

I have learned to love asparagus.  As a kid, it was my least favorite vegetable.  I’m pretty sure I made my little sister eat most of my share, sorry Elise!  Then one day I had baby asparagus, the thinnest, most tender little stalks lightly steamed and tossed with butter, lemon and salt, perfection!  Larger asparagus is great for the grill and you can even take a peeler to the ends to get rid of the toughest fibers.  This recipe from New York Times writer Martha Rose Shulman is an awesome summer salad.  Asparagus is an excellent, low-calorie source of vitamin K, folatevitamin C, vitamin A and such nutrients as tryptophan, manganese and fiber.

If you live in Massachusetts then you know that we also refer to asparagus as Hadley Grass as the area is famous for its abundant and superior asparagus.  This is a link to a Saveur article on what was once the asparagus capital of the world!  It’s worth the read and the trip to Hampshire County.

Asparagus, herbs, mushrooms and cheese, LOVE! I totally boosted this photo from The New York Times

Asparagus and Mushroom Salad

1 pound asparagus (Both thick and thin stems will work)

1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon and chives

1 cup baby arugula

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 small garlic clove, minced or mashed

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 ounce slivered Parmesan

1. Steam the asparagus for three to five minutes, depending on how thick the stalks are. It should be tender but still have some bite. Rinse with cold water, and drain for a minute on a kitchen towel. Cut into 1-inch lengths. Place in a salad bowl, and toss with the mushrooms, herbs and arugula.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic and olive oil. Toss with the asparagus mixture and the slivered Parmesan, and serve.

Yield: Serves four to six.

Advance preparation: You can assemble this several hours ahead through Step 1 and refrigerate. Toss with the dressing shortly before serving.

Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 222 calories; 4 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams monounsaturated fat; 6 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams TOTAL carbohydrates; 115 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 7 grams protein

Nutritional information per serving (six servings): 148 calories; 2 grams saturated fat; 1 grams polyunsaturated fat; 9 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 5 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams TOTAL carbohydrates; 77 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 5 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”

Mushroom Kale Salad

This recipe from The Washington Post Food editor Joe Yonan was inspired by Animal restaurant in Los Angeles, where a baby kale salad with chili-lime vinaigrette, pecorino and pumpernickel crumbs is a standout on an otherwise carnivorous menu.

Mushroom Kale Salad

2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups baby kale or adult kale, minus their stems
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon ( 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon mild miso (I like chickpea miso but soy is fine as well)
  • 3 teaspoons water
  • 2 large eggs, local, free range, of course!
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces cremini, oyster, hen of the woods or other meaty mushrooms, chopped (not stemmed)
  • 1 ounce pecorino cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 Tablespoonspoons chili-flavored oil or olive oil and chili flakes
  • Coarse, flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Wash and dry the kale. If its stems are thick, remove the leaves from the stems and reserve the stems for another use. Cut the leaves into thin slices and transfer to a medium bowl; add the lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons chili oil, sprinkle of salt and toss to coat.

Whisk together the miso and water in a small bowl, then whisk in the eggs until well combined.

Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they collapse and exude their juices, about 4 minutes.

Pour the miso-egg mixture over the mushrooms; cook for about 1 minute, or until set on the bottom; lift the edges of the set egg on one side and tilt the pan so the uncooked egg runs underneath, then fold over a time or two to form an omelet. Cook for a minute or two on each side, until just cooked through. Transfer the omelet to a plate to cool.

Once the omelet has cooled, transfer it to a cutting board and chop it into small pieces.  Add the omelet pieces and pecorino to the kale in the bowl and drizzle more olive oil if necessary; season with salt and pepper (lots!) to taste, then toss to combine.