The Greenest Wrap

One of my favorite ways to eat more greens is to use them in place of bread or crackers.  Nothing against burger buns or sandwich bread but you can skip the processed wheat and grab a bunch of crispy Romaine or collard greens instead.  I use Romaine lettuce like a taco shell- fill it up with whatever you like- sliced avocado, tomato, homemade mayo and bacon for a healthier B.L.T.   Bibb lettuce is soft, flexible and makes for a great little wrap.  Want to eat that salad with your hands?  Wrap it up in the biggest lettuce leaves from the outside of the bunch.  Look at you, doubling down on your veggies!lettuce leaf B.L.T.

Using large collard leaves makes for a sturdier wrap that can hold such awesome summer foods as cheese burgers or the ultimate sunny seed hummus wrap.  You can use the leaves raw or lightly steamed — these are best for hot foods or for bigger wraps.  The folding is easy and unlike regular wraps, these stay sealed. The only prep work you need to do is to carefully trim them rough stems.

Cut the end of the stem off and then lay the collard leaf flat and slice off the rough stem that sticks up, so that the leaf is flat and entirely flexible, like in this photo from MindBodyGreen.com’s tutorial on how to use collards like a wrap!

MindBodyGreen.com collard trimming for wraps

Don’t worry if you tear the collard leaf a bit, you’ll get the hang of the stem trimming and can fold around any small tear.

If you want to steam your collard leaves so that they are more flexible and easier to use and eat, there are a few methods that work well.  This video from Plant Powered Kitchen.com has my favorite technique for when you just want to make up a few wraps.  Get some water boiling in your kettle and open the spout so you’ve got a nice stream of steam coming up.  Hold your raw collard leaf by the stem and wave it over the spout of steam, lightly steaming the whole leaf until it’s bight green and soft enough to fold.  Then trim off the stem as described above.  Repeat until you have enough wraps.

Or, follow the quick blanch method I found on Mind Body Green.com– bring a wide shallow pan of water to a simmer.  Take your de-stemmed collard leaves and give them a 10 second dunk in the pan, one at a time, using tongs to get the collard leaves in and then out and into an ice bath.  Dry in layers using tea towels. Once you’ve got all your wraps ready, fill as desired!

The wrapping part is easy, and there are a number of ways to do it, but this photo tutorial from Honest Fare.com is easy to follow:

HonestFare.com collard wrap- wrap up in 4 photos

Add your filling to the center of one or two overlapping leaves.  Fold the sides in to contain the filling.  Then, starting at one long end, roll the leaf over the filling and keep rolling, making sure the ends stay tucked in. Slice in half and enjoy!

bareburger collard wrap                                                  Above, a collard wrapped Bareburger – it’s as good as it looks!

Arugula Pesto Dinner

Sliced tomatoes, arugula pesto, feta cheese and flax bread for dinner!

Sliced tomatoes, arugula pesto, feta cheese and flax bread for dinner!

With so much fresh produce exploding out of gardens everywhere it’s easy to create interesting, healthy, veggie based meals.  My dad recently harvested a whole bunch of arugula.  He used it as the base for ‘Salad Lyonnaise‘, in place of the traditional frisee, yum!  And I decided to turn the bunch he gave me into a spicy pesto.  Eaten with sliced garden tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and flax bread, this is a filling meal perfect for al fresco dinning.  I saved all my left over ingredients in glass containers, so it was easy to replicate the next night.

Arugula is full of vitamin A, K, folate, can help guard against cancer and is good for your brain too!  You can use the following ingredients as a guide and enjoy this pesto on flax crackers, flax pizza, as a spread on sandwiches, a dip for crudities, grilled fish…pretty much everything!

Ingredients:

  • arugula
  • garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice, optional: zest the lemon first, then add juice to taste
  • salt
  • grated romano or similar hard cheese
  • walnuts

Method:

Pesto is the perfect food for just using what you’ve got and don’t worry about measuring anything.  It’s hard to go wrong, but if you need some numbers to help you out, I go with about 50% greens and 50% nuts, cheese and olive oil with small amounts of lemon, garlic and salt. I use my food processor but I bet you could use a blender as well.

Start with the nuts and the garlic cloves, use as many as you like, and pulse together until you’ve got fine bits.

Then add the arugula, enough olive oil to cover it well, and pulse again to combine.  You can also add parsley or basil, or both, as a compliment to the spicy, bitter arugula.

Add some grated cheese and lemon juice.  Blend well and taste.

Add salt to taste, more cheese or nuts, basically, at this point I start tasting and adding a little more or a lot more of whatever ingredient seems to be lacking.  And I want the consistency to be thick and smooth, so olive oil is key!  You can add lots of oil and lemon juice to make this pesto into more of a thin dressing for a fresh garden salad.  Or keep it thick and use it as a dip or spread.

Salsa Verde, Italian Style

This recipe for Italian salsa verde — not to be confused with the spicy Mexican sauce of the same name — comes from the Food section of the Miami Herald.  Salsa Verde is bright with herbs and deeply flavored with olive oil, garlic, capers, lemon, and sometimes anchovies.  It’s full of flavor and packs a ton of nutrition from pathogen fighting herbs.

There’s no long simmering or blending required. You simply whisk the ingredients together until you reach the consistency of a loose pesto.  This sauce is versatile: add it to a salad, use as a dip, top fish or meat after cooking or grilling.

Here are some tips:

• When zesting a lemon, avoid the bitter white pith beneath. The zest brightens the flavor of the sauce. A Microplane zester is an excellent tool for the job.

• Feel free to vary proportions. I tend to use less oil for a thicker consistency when I serve salsa verde alongside roasted meats and grilled vegetables, and more oil with fish or chicken.  Here’s the recipe along with a serving suggestion: wild caught salmon!

Fancy restaurant food is even better when it's easy to make at home!

Fancy restaurant food is even better when it’s easy to make at home!

Crispy Salmon with Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 salmon fillets (about 2 pounds total), skin removed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 lemon wedges, for garnish

Procedure:

Mix the herbs with the capers, garlic, lemon zest and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat in a large nonstick pan. Cook salmon in a single layer until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn, season with salt and pepper, and cook other side until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir lemon juice into herb mixture. To serve, place a salmon fillet on each plate and top with the sauce. Serve garnished with lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Wine Country Cooking” by Joanne Weir (Time-Life $27.50).

Per serving: 341 calories (68 percent from fat), 25.6 g fat (5 g saturated, 11.2 g monounsaturated), 67 mg cholesterol, 25.4 g protein, 1.4 g carbohydrates, 0.4 g fiber, 203 mg sodium.

Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-author of “Mmmmiami: Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.”

Spring Salad! Celery and Radishs With Gorgonzola

Here’s a Candida diet friendly recipe I found in the New York Times and it’s prefect for Spring!  Martha Rose Shulman is the author of The Very Best of Recipes for Healthso check her book out if you like her style:

For this salad, use the delicate hearts, or inner stalks, of celery.  Slice both the celery and radishes very thin; it goes faster than you’d think but you can use a food processor to speed up the process.

Watermelon radishes are pretty enough to eat.

Watermelon radishes are pretty enough to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds celery hearts (about 2), stalks separated, rinsed, dried and sliced very thin (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced very thin (if they are very round and fat, cut them in half lengthwise and slice half-moons)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 ounce gorgonzola, crumbled (about 1/4 cup) (you can substitute other blue cheeses like Roquefort)
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (original recipe calls for sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the celery, radishes, parsley, chives, walnuts and gorgonzola in a salad bowl. Toss with the vinegar, olive oil and walnut oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and serve.

Advance preparation: The salad will hold for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Toss again before serving. It is a good salad for a buffet as it will remain crunchy.

Nutritional information per serving: 136 calories; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 milligrams cholesterol; 4 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 117 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 2 grams protein

Original recipe HERE!

Gazpacho Salad

It’s a salad! It’s a summer soup! It’s both, yum.

Here’s the latest recipe I’ve come up with for our Fire Cider Recipe Book due out late this fall, isn’t that right MVB Printmaker?!

Chop two large garden fresh tomatoes into bite sized pieces; thinly slice a ¼ of a medium white onion, thin slice or chop one medium cucumber.

Add crumbled mild goat feta and top with chopped fresh basil, about a handful will do.

Add an ounce or more of Fire Cider and a few healthy splashes of olive oil.  Mix well, taste and add more Fire Cider and salt to taste.  The tomatoes will give off a lot of delicious juice so plan to eat this chopped salad/soup with a big spoon.

Serves 2

A note about tomatoes: for me, cooked tomatoes are way too sweet to eat.  I have been eating small servings of fresh tomatoes this season with raw onion and Fire Cider, both of which help keep Candida in balance.

Cabbage Carrot Salad with Sassy Peanut Dressing

Just picked red cabbage, carrots, lettuce and parsley make for a healthy, quick lunch.

Dana made this for us for lunch yesterday, I helped by printing out brochures for the Pittsfield Coop Market Initiative! This is a quick and easy meal- it can be made in advance and keeps well in the fridge.  I think I will be making this for my next pot luck!

For the veggies:

Shred 1/2 a head of purple cabbage, grate a carrot or two plus about 1/3 of  a medium white onion, thinly sliced

Make the dressing by whisking together approximately:

1/2 cup peanut butter

a shy Tablespoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon tamari plus salt to taste

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or 1 teaspoon each: mirin and brown rice vinegar

4 drops of liquid stevia

pinch of five spice powder

1 teaspoon of powdered or juiced ginger

srirracha and/or ground hot pepper to taste

juice of one lime

Add water to desired consistency at the end, taste and adjust flavors.

Add the dressing to the shredded veggies and toss to coat evenly.

Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with chopped parsley and salted, toasted sunflower seeds.

To make this into a more filling meal add cooked chicken, tempeh or tofu!

Dressing Up

This past weekend Dana and I followed our friends Mike and Becca to Falmouth on Cape Cod for the Harborside Music Festival; we sold Fire Cider and enjoyed the music, they silk screened tee shirts to go, you don’t see that everyday!

Mike silk screening tee shirts for his nephews, the ones they were wearing!

As part of our four days on the road, we drove to Springfield where we went to another Big E meeting; we are going to be exhibiting at the Massachusetts building for sure, we just have to figure out the dates.  From Springfield we went to Boston and got a chance to get out on the water, it helps when your sister is a sailing instructor!

Captain Elise with Dana, showing off her skills and the coolest Coast Guard approved P.F.D.’s

From Boston we drove to Cape Cod for the Festival and then back home to Pittsfield.  Dana and I were fairly well prepared as far as food goes but had to rely on some local grocery stores from time to time.  It is definitely more challenging getting enough green veggies to eat while on the road.  One of my favorite things to do is buy a box of spinach, slice up an avocado and add dressing- my kind of fast food.  We forgot to bring salad dressing so decided to buy some Annie’s Goddess dressing.  This used to be my favorite but I haven’t bought any in a long time.  You know me, I hardly ever buy something I can make myself so I was kinda looking forward to this but it was…disappointing.  Homemade is the way to go.  Not only because it tastes better but it’s fresher, has no ‘natural flavors’ or other mysterious ingredients in it and is way more cost effective.  So, here are some salad dressing ideas you can make in just a few minutes and have on hand for days.

Fresh Herb Dressing

I have been making variations of this all summer since we have lots and lots of parsley, basil and cilantro in our garden. Herbs are so easy to grow, they just need a sunny windowsill and some water.  Grow your own and skip the high priced packaged bundles in the store.

Chop up a handful or more of your choice of herb, feel free to mix them up too!

Use a ratio of 3 to 1 Olive oil to vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar if you are on a strict Candida elimination diet, otherwise red wine vinegar is a good choice.

Add salt to taste, a mashed clove of garlic (this will help preserve the dressing if you want to save some for later in the week) and pepper, black or red hot, to taste.

Mix well, use a wand blender if you want a smoother, emulsified dressing.  Taste and add more of the above ingredients until the dressing is flavored to your liking.

Basil Balsamic

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, parsley, a pinch of dried or fresh oregano and garlic.  Salt to taste. Hot pepper optional.

Creamy Tahini Dressing

Start with a couple of heaping spoonfuls of Tahini (sesame seed butter) and mix with some sesame oil or olive oil.

Add apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.

Add your choice of one of the following combinations:

1. chopped cilantro, lime juice, chipolte pepper

2. minced ginger, chopped parsley, mashed garlic clove

Fire Cider Dressing

Mix 3 to 1 Olive oil to Fire Cider, salt to taste, a couple teaspoons of spicy Dijon mustard and mix well to emulsify.  Add a mashed clove of garlic for extra health booting properties!

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