Looking through my posts, I realized I am missing a very important category, SWEETS! And even though I preach about whole foods and nutrition, I believe one should treat themselves. What I love to do is read through cookbooks, find interesting & delicious sounding recipes, and tweak them to be healthier. This doesn't always work, but more often than not, it does! With this recipe, I explored honey cake, traditionally eaten for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Typically, it's made using only all-purpose flour and at least double the sugar. Below, you'll find my version made with rye flour and half the amount of sugar. There's no need to have so much sugar in this recipe since there's enough natural sweetness coming from the honey.
I enjoy eating this for breakfast with a soft-ripened cheese and fresh fruit to balance out the meal, but it makes for a great dessert. If an after dinner sweet is more your style, try serving it with a rose & cherry preserve or have it with orange marmalade and yoghurt dollop. And if you need something creamier and rich, have with vanilla ice cream.
makes 2 loaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
2 tsp. rounded baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
2/3 cup honey
6 tbsp safflower oil
1 1/4 cup coffee, brewed [i prefer french press] & cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preparation: preheat oven to 350F
1. mix all-purpose and rye flour with baking soda & cardamom in a small bowl
2. in another mixing bowl of a stand mixer [or one suitable for a hand mixer] whisk together sugar, salt, eggs, honey, oil, coffee, and vanilla.
3. gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until thoroughly combined
4. divide evenly and pour into two prepared, buttered 9" x 5" loaf pans
5. bake for 50-60 minutes until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the center of the layer comes out clean
(side, serves 6-8)
4 cups black beans, cooked
2 burdock roots, cleaned, peeled, diced 1/4" coins
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a 4 qt pot, bring water to boil with the burdock root and a pinch of salt. Once to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook 15 minutes, until tender. Drain off liquid and set aside.
2. Return the quart pot to the burner, add oil and saute onion until translucent. Add burdock root, beans and adjust seasonings.
1 cup lotus cut into thin wedges
1/2 carrot, shredded
1 small daikon, shaved ~1 cup loosely packed
1/2 cup cilantro, cleaned
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari (optional)
1/2 each lime, freshly squeezed
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a mixing bowl, combine lotus root, carrot, daikon, & cilantro.
2. Drizzle sesame, soy sauce, lime, and olive oil over the mix and toss until well-combined. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.
-I like to put this on fish tacos and burgers for an extra crunch.
Last night I had a brilliant idea to write about mushrooms, which included a story on one of my go-to meals while living in St. Paul as a student at Le Cordon Bleu. At the time, I was eating a lovely salad with a side of cooked lentils when my mind switched gears and pondered the idea of writing a piece on pulses, lentils specifically. But the next morning, when I woke up to write, I opened my e-mail to find a message from a friend asking about fiddlehead nutrition. The week before I had done research on fiddleheads, so they were on my mind, but I was also frustrated over how little, reliable information was available. Rather than waver between mushrooms or lentils, I decided ...why not fiddleheads!?!
Fiddleheads in the northern region of the U.S. are of the Ostrich Fern variety, but there are many others available throughout the world, including parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. This year, the first of the ferns I ate were purchased at my local farmers market, but I soon realized how copious they were nearby and throughout northern MN. Originally, my intentions while foraging, were to hunt for morel mushrooms, but I still haven't found a single shroom. Instead, I have been finding these lovely ferns grow wild from Duluth to Jenkins to Waukenabo, MN. They are super easy to find this time of year, and foraging is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, so get outside today and look!
Nutritionally speaking, the research on fiddleheads is sparse. Some websites postulate, "high in Omega-3 and 6," while others say, "high in iron and fibre," or that they have lots of antioxidants. After a bit of digging, I did find a couple reputable sources to confirm the nutritional profile. Importantly, one must pay attention to the preparation when assessing the nutritional makeup, since cooking denatures proteins, which alters nutrient composition. For example, when fiddleheads are frozen, the amount of protein, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and potassium decreases when compared to it's raw form. See below for nutritional profile from the USDA, SelfNutritionData website on raw fiddleheads.
When frozen, boiled, then drained..... (this information from the Canadian Nutrient File)
the nutritional profile slightly changes.
One resource reported that many ferns contain an enzyme, which breaks downs thiamine (another important vitamin). It can eventually lead to beriberi if consumed in extreme excess. As is the case with most foods, LESS is more. Eat in moderation.
When cooking Ostrich Ferns, be sure to boil for at least 10 minutes so you do not get sick. Naturally, they are toxic, so be sure to boil before you saute.
2. bring a pot of water to a boil, add the cleaned ferns and boil for 10 minutes
3. drain off the water
4. heat a pan with olive oil; add garlic, fiddleheads and a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes
Serving Suggestions: I like to add these to lentils, sausage, eggs or on toasted bread with cheese. They are packed with flavor and are ohhhh so delicious. I simply cannot get enough - at least until the end of the month when the season ends - Look below to see how I've enjoyed them.
How it works: Due to peanut oils high amount of monounsaturated (good) fat, and low amount of saturated (bad) fat, it is believed to prevent heart disease. However, studies show it also clogs arteries, and, would instead, increase the risk.
Allergies: Peanut oil can cause serious allergic reactions to those who are allergic to peanuts, soybeans and other members of the Fabaceae plant family. Be sure consult with your allergist/physician before consuming if you suspect an allergy or are allergic to other plants within the same family. In the US, refined peanut oil is exempt from allergen labeling laws. See new guidelines on peanut allergy prevention following the recipe to learn more.
-Information from Natural Medicine Database
Peanut versatility as Food:
The possibilities are endless, truly. Peanut oil is often used in cooking because of it's high smoke point and high resistance to rancidity. Many different cultures incorporate peanuts into their cuisine from soups and sauces to desserts and snacks: Latin America, Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Africa, East Africa and North America. I encourage you to explore dishes like boiled peanuts from China or maafe (meat stew) from Malian in West Africa.
Peanut Sauce Recipe
Makes 1 quart sauce
2" by 2" knob ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups peanut butter
2 1/2 cups water
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 whole serrano, minced with seeds
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp smoked hot paprika
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
Preparation: Put all ingredients into a 2-quart sauce pan and heat. Mix until thoroughly combined and allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes on the stove-top.
Uses: as a sauce for Spring rolls, stir-fry's, raw veggies, and more! This recipe is extremely versatile, so get creative with it!
New Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Sponsored Expert Panel published it's new results in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (amongst other journals). Three new guidelines are outlined below and is based on clinical features reflecting the risk of having or developing peanut allergy and provide recommendations accordingly.
"Guideline #1 recommends that the highest risk infants — those with severe eczema and/or egg allergy (see definitions below) — be introduced to peanut as early as 4-6 months of age, following successful feeding of other solid food(s) to ensure the infant is developmentally ready.Allergy testing is strongly advised prior to peanut introduction for this group. The preferred test is the SPT, but the guideline also allows for blood testing for peanut-specific IgE (sIgE), which is more widely available (see figure, right-click to enlarge). Allergy tests for multiple foods are not recommended because of their poor positive predictive value.
The guideline also recommends home or physician-supervised feeding or exclusion of peanut based on the test results. If a blood test is used to screen and is positive to peanut (sIgE ≥ 0.35 kUA/L), referral to a specialist with training and experience to perform and interpret the peanut SPT and to safely perform medically supervised feeding tests is advised. The guideline discusses the manner of peanut introduction according to the test results, whether at home or under physician supervision.
Additionally, the amount to feed weekly is discussed. Based on what was done in the LEAP study, 6-7 grams of peanut protein is given over three or more feedings per week. The LEAP study had infants eat this amount to age 5 years. In studies following up on the LEAP trial, this approach resulted in durable protection, was safe, did not affect duration or frequency of breastfeeding, and did not influence growth or nutrition.
Guideline #2 suggests that infants with mild to moderate eczema, a group also at increased risk of peanut allergy, should be introduced to peanut “around 6 months of age, in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices, to reduce the risk of peanut allergy.” These infants may have peanut introduced at home following successful ingestion of other solid food(s) without an in-office evaluation, although an evaluation can be considered.
Guideline #3 addresses infants without eczema or food allergy who are not at increased risk, suggesting that peanut be introduced “freely” into the diet together with other solid foods and in accordance with family preferences and cultural practices.
Purposeful early feeding of peanut is a reversal from the 2000 AAP recommendations that suggested high-risk infants avoid peanut to age 3 years. The avoidance advice was rescinded in the 2008 AAP clinical report Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas (Pediatrics. 2008;121:183-191; http://bit.ly/2hDuw1f), which concluded: “Although solid foods should not be introduced before 4 to 6 months of age, there is no current convincing evidence that delaying their introduction beyond this period has a significant protective effect ...”
The new guidelines go further by promoting early ingestion for the highest risk infants. Evaluation and peanut introduction for this highest risk group at 4-6 months is conveniently timed with routine pediatric health care office visits, allowing for identification of infants at risk and discussion of the approach. Additionally, it is less likely for younger infants to have positive allergy tests to peanut. However, the guideline emphasizes that if the 4- to 6-month time period is missed for any reason, peanut should be introduced to infants older than 6 months as they also are anticipated to benefit (the LEAP study included infants 4 up to 11 months of age).
The addendum guidelines represent an update to the 2010 comprehensive food allergy guidelines published by a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-sponsored expert panel (http://bit.ly/2gTLoSF). They reflect the work of a coordinating committee and expert panel representing 26 professional organizations, including the Academy, advocacy groups and federal agencies, which evaluated a literature review prepared by the NIAID.
Definitions in the addendum guidelines
Severe eczema is defined as persistent or frequently recurring eczema with typical morphology and distribution, assessed as severe by a health care provider and requiring frequent need for prescription-strength topical corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors or other anti-inflammatory agents despite appropriate use of emollients.
Egg allergy is defined as a history of an allergic reaction to egg and a skin prick test wheal diameter of ≥3 millimeters with egg white extract or a positive oral egg food challenge.
Dr. Sicherer represented the Academy on the guideline coordinating committee and was a member of the expert panel. He is past chair of the AAP Section on Allergy and Immunology Executive Committee."
Copyright © 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics
While living in Chicago, I was part of a cookbook club at Read it and Eat on the first Tuesday of each month. Together, our group voted on a cookbook for the month, then we signed up for a recipe to prepare for the group from the book. Truly, it was something I looked forward to every month. I met amazing people, shared stories, tried new recipes, & talked about we tasted/enjoyed/would have done differently with the recipe.
The recipe which follows is a spin off from Sprouted Kitchen's Quinoa Collard Wraps. Since collard greens were not available, I chose Napa cabbage instead. After talking with people, I've realized many people are uneasy about substituting ingredients. Either because they don't know what ingredients would be make good replacers or simply because they do not feel comfortable. Often people will prepare something else and not consider what they could use instead. As you cook more often and branch out in your diet, you'll find similarities amongst many foods. What's the worst that could happen? You can learn from your mistakes and try something else next time. Remember to have fun with your food and think outside the box.