Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Have you had your sea vegetables today?

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Most folks these days are mineral deficient. Minerals, as in: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, iodine, sodium, zinc, selenium, etc….What’s the big deal you may ask? Minerals are needed not just for our bones but for our muscles to contract and relax, for all enzymes to function properly, nearly every physiological process involves a mineral.

One of the best ways to get minerals is to eat lots of vegetables and some fruits. If you want a mineral packed source – turn to the sea. Sea vegetables or seaweed are actually algae.

Sea Vegetables contain nearly all the minerals needed by humans. These mineral include: calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iodine, iron, zinc and numerous trace minerals. Sea vegetables also contain important vitamins: beta carotene, B1, B2, B6, niacin, vitamin C, pantothenic acid and folic acid. It also, contains varying amounts of protein depending on type with the some red algae having amounts comparable to legumes.

Common sea vegetables are brown algae: arame, hijiki, kombu (aka kelp), wakame, agar-agar; red algae: dulse, irish moss (carrageen) nori (aka laver).

Of note hijiki contains high amounts of calcium; kelp or kombu contains high amounts of magnesium; dulse is high in B6, iron and potassium.

Health Benefits include aiding in detoxification of the body (binding to heavy metals), source of minerals, support digestion, support the immune system, beneficial for bone, anemia, aid with hormone balance, may aid with weight loss by induce fat burning, lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, reducing blood pressure and reducing risk of metabolic syndrome.

One study showed the ability of iodine or iodine-rich seaweed to inhibit breast tumor development: Smyth PPA. The thyroid, iodine and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. 2003;5:235-238.

Sea vegetables are also a source of lignans (also found in flax seed) which are thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Here are some easy ways to incorporate sea vegetables into your diet

· Add a piece of kombu or kelp in a pot of beans, soups and stocks
· A pinch to a handful of most any sea vegetable to any long cooked dishes such as lentil & bean soups, stews, chilis, etc
· Sprinkle flaked or cut up pieces of sea vegetables on salads, over rice or other grains.
· Use flaked sea vegetable as a seasoning in place of salt
· Add a small amount into baked goods
· Add to a sandwich
· Dry into snack chips

This is a favorite soup recipe which features laver or nori:

Laver Egg Drop Soup
4 servings

3 eggs
4 cups chicken stock
4 sheets of nori, torn into small pieces
1 Tbs corn starch
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs shaoshing wine or sherry
3 scallions, sliced
¼ tsp ground white pepper
¼ tsp toasted sesame oil

Stir together 1/2 cup of chicken stock with the cornstarch, set aside.

Lighty beat eggs.

In a medium size pot, heat together remaining chicken stock with ginger,
soy sauce, pepper and wine with the nori pieces. Bring to a boil, stir in the
cornstarch slurry. Let simmer. Add the scallions.

Turn off heat. While stirring the soup in a clockwise direction, slowly
add the egg in a thin stream. Garnish with a few drops of sesame oil.
Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Sweet Potatoes… hold the marshmallows

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

According to the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commision, sales of sweet potatoes a.k.a. yams peak during the month of November. No doubt many a Thanksgiving table will feature a casserole of butter and brown sugar coated sweet potatoes hidden under a blanket of (no doubt another hot November seller) mini marshmallows.

I have to admit my family would have my hide if I didn’t make the candied yams. My family loves their traditional Thanksgiving dishes and don’t dare mess with tradition! I heard a mighty ear full during my early cheffing career while trying to ‘explore new tastes.’ Then when I decided to be more health conscious and cut back on the sugar and butter – whoa! Mom’s favorite dish was messed with! I went home with my head hung low and the dish barely touched. So I have learned not to mess with tradition when it comes to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner! …though I have managed to accidentally forget the mini marshmallows the last few years…

If I could re-write the traditional menu, I would make this sweet potato dish that our good friend R shared with us a few years ago. For a more colorful salad, use a mix of yellow, orange and purple sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Amount Measure   Ingredient — Preparation Method
——–  ————      ——————————–
Dijon Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons Bragg’s apple cider vinegar or White wine vinegar or White Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1 1/2 pounds Sweet potato or Yams — steamed and diced
2 each scallion – thinly sliced

Whisk together dijon vinaigrette ingredients.

Cook sweet potato by putting halved unpeeled sweet potato in a single layer in a steamer. Steam til tender – about 1/2 hour. Remove from heat and cool. Peel and dice into 1/2 – 3/4″ dice.dice.

Toss sweet potatoes with scallions and vinaigrette. Serve at room temp or slightly warm.

Enjoy!

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Time for a nutty whole grain snack

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Granola is a versatile food. Great for breakfast or to nibble on whether at your desk or on the road. Here is a recipe with a slight twist…or rather a head on collision with Asian ingredients. It’s got a bit of seaweed for extra minerals and a splash of tamari soy sauce to balance the sweetness of the honey. Use the best organic ingredients you can find and you are good to go. Sometimes I like to add dried cranberries or diced dried apples for variety.
Nutty Tamari Seaweed Granola

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
6 cups oats — old fashion, raw
3 tablespoons sesame seeds — whole raw
3 tablespoons flax seeds — whole
1/2 cup sunflower seeds — raw
1/2 cup pumpkin kernels — raw
6 tablespoons seaweed — flaked
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons oil
4 teaspoons tamari soy sauce

Preheat oven to 300F

Put dry stuff in a large bowl and toss to mix

Heat liqiud ingredients in small sauce pot until thin enough to pour.

Pour honey mixture on to oat mixture and stir to evenly coat.

Spread on two half sheet pans lined with parchment paper.

Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown – about 25-30 minutes. Granola will become crispy after cooling. Stir in your favorite dried fruit if desired.

Cool and store in airtight containers.

Yield:
“3 quarts”

Enjoy!

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Substitute the donut thump for the Soda bread yum

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

When Irish Soda Bread lands in County Alameda – home to Berkeley California!

What else could happen but we stuff it full of nuts and seeds. This bread is inspired by Karyn D, one of my classmates at the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant program. She happens to hail from Ireland – home to my favorite fiddle music 😉

She made her very addictive Irish Soda bread for us which she learned how to make from her Mum by the POTPOT method.

Just so you know she’s the one who added the nuts and seeds. I’m just attempting to record an approximation of a recipe – not the recipe. This is what I came up with. Not as tasty as I remember hers to be but satisfies my craving. And I couldn’t in good conscious call it Irish soda bread because of the County Alameda influences!

Irish Lassie Crunch Bread

Amount Measure – Ingredient – Preparation Method
———————   ————-    ————————-
3/4 cup oatmeal – old fashion
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons sucanat or rapadura
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, fine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter – chilled, and cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup flax seed
1/3 cup walnuts – finely chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds – for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a medium loaf pan with butter and lightly flour.

Toss together flours, almond meal, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Mix in nutsand seeds. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk. Using fork, gradually stir dry ingredients into milk until just blend. Don’t overwork or you will have a very tough loaf of bread.

Transfer dough to prepared pan and flatten slightly. Sprinkle dough with the 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds.

Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yields 1 loaf with approximately 14 slices. Per Serving: 147 Calories; 8g Fat (49.4% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber.

A nice variation would be to add some dried fruit: raisins, apricots, cranberries, cherries.

Enjoy!

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