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Curried-Cumined Zucchini Soup

Curried-Cumined Zucchini Soup

Our winter is too long and too white. There, I said it! To break all this whiteness, I made a warm green soup.

you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbs fat (butter, ghee, coconut oil, tallow);
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped;
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped;
  • 1 tsp curry powder (if you like less spicy, use 1/2 tsp curry and 1/2 tsp turmeric);
  • 3-4 zucchini, coarsely sliced (I also used one Dudhi, an Indian type of long zucchini);
  • 3-4 cups liquids (bone broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth, water). Use less liquid (3 cups) for a thicker consistency;
  • salt and pepper;
  • lemon;

* optional: garnish (cilantro, parsley, sour cream)

ingredients assembly. not in the photo: lemon, broth, parsley, salt n' pepper

ingredients assembly. not in the photo: lemon, broth, parsley, salt n’ pepper

how-to:

  1. Melt fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and allow them to heat just until they let out their wonderful aroma. They will start to splutter. Don’t allow them to burn or blacken.

    sizzling cumin opening it's fragrance

    sizzling cumin opening it’s fragrance

  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 4 minutes until they start to soften.

    zuc·chi·ni. noun, plural zuc·chi·nis

    zuc·chi·ni. noun, plural zuc·chi·nis

  3. Add liquid, zucchini, curry powder and salt (add more salt if using only water as your liquid). Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes, until veggies are tender.
  4. Allow soup to cool, and blend (I use an immersion stick) until just smooth.
  5. Before serving, reheat soup. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Ladle into bowls, squeeze some lemon, and add some garnish.
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I am so proud of myself, that I needed to brag. I just never knew that making an almond milk could be so easy.

sweet almond milk, home made

sweet almond milk, homemade

Lately I have been trying to find new kinds of “milk” besides cow’s milk, as the latter felt too heavy.

The almond milk  that’s found in the stores isn’t just almonds, but has other additives. So, in my search, I found a great site, full of  explanations about the different milks (cow, soy, nut) and a recipe for homemade almond milk. Guess what? It worked, and it’s so EZ, Not to mention- white and sweet.

I made mine with less dates- thus less sweet, and didn’t use cheesecloth or a “nut milk bag”, but a regular strainer/sieve.

without further ado, turn to choosing raw.

Cheers !

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“Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high..”  by DuBose Heyward.

So I gathered bits and pieces from here and there that I felt I needed to tell the world.

  • Starting with food. Here’s a real quick and tasty recipe of Pattypan summer squashes. I just got them at our local farmers market. They’re not only cute and add color to your dinner table, but also, ahammm, healthy (here). Most of all- they’re yummy !

Pattypan squashes fresh from the market

All there’s to do: Cut them into halves wide-wise. Also cut a thin flat slice at each end, so the half squashes could rest steadily in the baking dish (wide side facing up). Turn oven to 400 F or 200 C. Drizzle olive oil, bit of salt, crushed or chopped garlic and coarsely chopped rosemary on the yellow shining faces of the squashes.

pattypans go into the oven

That’s all folks. Cover with aluminum foil, put in oven for 30 minutes. Take off foil and let them pattypans get some oven tan till they’re golden(ish). Out of the oven and into your plate they go. With some nice green salad on the side. Ahh ha. Oh yeah- don’t over roast them, they don’t like to dry out.

  • more food: Yesterday, on our way to one of the last shows of HAIR in Broadway, a small window on 9th Ave. caught our eyes.  A pile of some fine-looking Bourekas just called us in. The owner, Gazala Halabi, was placing paper-thin rounds of dough on the taboon, which will later become Druze pitas.
tasty druz bourekas

Gazala makes pitas on the taboon

We had wonderful bourekas: one filled with sun dry tomatoes and goat cheese, and the other was with spinach and feta cheese. The kids had a Druze pita wrap (“laffa”) with salad and falafel. The plate was wiped clean off the lamb kabab that was there merely 20 minutes before.

We’ll be there again.  Gazala’s Place

bourekas

Druze cuisine @ Gazala Place

  • Staying in the city: restaurants will now need to display the cleanliness rating of their facility according to new letter-grading rules. Now, when deciding upon your next dinner in the City, look on the restaurant’s window. Does it have an “A”, “B” or “C”? Under the new plan, a restaurant receiving an A grade will post it at the end of the inspection. If the grade is lower than an A, the restaurant will not have to post a grade until it has a chance to improve its sanitary conditions. The Health Department will return within a month to conduct a second inspection. The ultimate goal is to improve sanitary conditions and reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
  • Going west: San Francisco is requiring stores to post cellphone radiation levels.  Those rates are the levels at which radio frequencies penetrate body tissue. whether or not there is a connection between cellphones (and their radiation) to cancer, it sure brings the question to the table again, to deserve a serious awareness.

Any thoughts to share?

Fun and healthy summer to us all   🙂

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Where do I even start?

Well, it’s my inner instinct and logic to prefer food that does not contain chemicals (man made), toxins, pesticides, hormones, or any other synthetic additives, nor food that has been meddled with (genetically). I don’t need any books, studies, magazines or movies for that strong inner feelings. Yet, better know and be educated, informed, than not…

organic

organic

Lately I have read Robyn O’Brien’s book “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It“, who has started AllergyKids.com.

According to the book, most of Europe and Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and even Russia demand the clear labeling of food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.  Several African countries even refuse to accept genetically modified (“GM“) grain as food aid. According to Reuters, Egypt just announced that it won’t be importing or exporting any GM foods.

Today I have also watched the film “The Future of Food” that has reinforced and better illustrated my gut feeling. I am already waiting to watch the much talked about film “Food, Inc.“.

It seems that while the world around us has long begun to understand the meaning of contaminated food and its consequences, here in the US, people are either too sleepy, or ignorant, or affixed and have their mind set, that the FDA or big agri-businesses or the government are taking real good care of the people and the food they are allowing us to eat.

That’s right, nobody is forcing us to buy GM food,      or do they?  When we try to buy any box of any food, and read the list of ingredients, do we know which was GM’d ? Do I know if the corn flour, the soy or any other grain was modified?

No, I don’t. In fact, I just learned about genetically engineered sugar beets in Kellogg’s products:

Organic Consumers Association and allies sent a letter to Kellogg’s on June 12, requesting that Kellogg’s not use sugar from genetically engineered sugar beets in its products or face a consumer boycott.

Kellogg’s has responded, claiming that US consumers do not care if their food contains Genetically Engineered (GE) food or not.”

So do I have any free choice in choosing the unmodified foods? not if I can’t identify them.

proccessed food

processed food

D’you hear the name Monsanto before? I bet that once you start to read a little more about any of those topics above, “Monsanto” will introduce itself right out of those articles you’ll be reading, because it is one of (if not the largest) multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation that has produced herbicides, genetically engineered seeds, and develops and markets Bovine growth hormones, just to name a few.

And guess what? Monsanto is fighting hard and lobbying with all its might (and mighty it is) to keep us consumers in the dark. It is fighting against labeling any of the GM foods as such. The Europeans, concerned about the food they eat, chose mandatory labeling of GM foods and ingredients. Here, Monsanto and big $$$ are still winning, and GM foods aren’t labeled. Read more about GM foods.

The more I dived deep into the food industry info, I became aware of the knotted political ties that thrive behind the scene of the food industry, the ones between government, pharma- business and agriculture business. I also became aware of the potential role of the chemical toxins added to the foods in the development of autism, allergies, asthma, and ADHD.

What is one to do in the meantime?

  • read, learn, watch the movies, get educated, and pass on the word.
  • try to avoid processed foods, or at least read the labels and make a rational decision based on what you know when choosing that product;
  • try to consume organic food products, or at least the basic ones, such as milk, and eggs.
  • try to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and support your local farmers.
  • take an extra step and write to your local newspaper editor;
  • take an even bigger step and write to your legislators (type your zip code to find your officials);

It’ll probably be long before the labeling of GM food will become a must, or maybe even banned, it’ll take some time before government will subsidize organic farms. But we shall overcome someday.

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baked ziti

Do you know those kids that almost always make a face at the food served at home, but once they go to their friend’s house, they come back home with stories about how the food was great and how much they ate there.. ?

baked ziti

our very own baked ziti

Well, my daughter is such a kid. So home she came, begging her mom to prepare the delicious baked ziti she has ever tasted at her friend’s house.  Luckily for me, her friend’s mom, is my good friend Michal. Michal, bless her soul, came to the rescue and provided the basic recipe for her famous baked ziti.

Equipped with the shopping list I visited the local store, bought the ingredients, just to find out at home, that I had to forget 2 main ingredients: ricotta cheese and sour cream.

SO I had to make baked ziti from whatever was in the fridge, and guess what, our bundle of joy actually loved it !! Of course I didn’t tell her that I altered the recipe.

what does it take? for a big crowd resulting a big baking dish:

  • 1.5 bags of ziti- any kind will do. Cook ziti according to instructions on the bag- al dante;
  • once ziti has cooled a bit, combine it in a big bowl with 1/3 cup of sour cream (that’s all I had left), 2/3 cup goat-milk yogurt, some chopped kashkaval cheese (which is from sheep’s milk), 3/4 cup organic tomato vodka sauce, 2 organic eggs, salt to taste (though I used 1.5 spoons of nutritional yeast instead), ground pepper, and finally, I couldn’t resist some fresh oregano leaves from my garden; mix together and transfer to a large baking dish.
  • Bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes, add (part-skim) shredded mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • turn off the oven and let baked ziti stay in there for good 5-7 minutes.

If I had any other ingredients, I would have used them. For a more basic way of preparing the baked ziti, use 1 cup of ricotta cheese or 1 cup of sour cream, without the kashkaval or goat-milk yogurt…

Bon Appetit!

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Hummus is known to be healthy and yummy. Originated in the mid-east, it’s a paste basically made from chickpeas, tahini and spices. It’s low in cholesterol,  a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and manganese, and has lots of dietary fibers (check out the nutritional facts).

As my family consumes a lot of hummus to be “wiped” off the plate with pita bread, occasionally we also make it from scratch, as it is the healthier way of getting it.

You can get many recipes of hummus just about anywhere, BUT, the other day, when I shopped for some healthy foods at an organic food chain, I encountered a unique hummus spread, that I immediately bought. We LOVED it !! And so dear all, there’s a real “aha” moment, and the twist: edamame.

hummus edamame

hummus edamame

Edamame’s nutritional fact? in a nutshell, it’s  low in sodium. Good source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, and manganese.

Put them together and what do you get? a health bomb and a great tasting one, too.

The basic steps for a hummus are:

Soak the chickpeas in cold water for a whole night  (optional: add a spoon of baking soda);

Rinse the chickpeas well, put them in a deep pot with cold water that cover them (up to 1 inch above them). Boil, lower heat (to lowest)  and leave for approx. two hours. Meanwhile, prepare the edamame (frozen) according to bag instructions. Allow hummus and edamame to cool.

boiled hummus

cooked hummus

Combine 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, two garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of good quality tahini, 1/3 cup of squeezed lemon juice, 1 tsp. cumin, salt,  1 spoon olive oil in a food processor bowl. Process until creamy.

Now add 1 cup of cooked edamame and process some more, leaving some chunks of edamame to be seen and felt in your mouth.

add edamame to hummus

add edamame to hummus

You can play around with the ingredients, add more liquids (olive oil or water), more edamame, however you like it…

For us, the hummus doesn’t stay around too long.

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food choices in school

fresh salad

fresh salad

More than 30 million American children eat lunch at school every day.

Sometime soon, Congress will review the Child Nutrition Act, and will have to decide, among other things, to reauthorize the principle of providing all children in school with healthy food choices. That means low-fat dairy choices, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, and most important, that schools should become soda and junk-food free !

President Obama addressed the issue today as he spoke at the American Medical Association’s annual meeting in Chicago today:

“The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care…      It also means cutting down on all the junk food that is fueling an epidemic of obesity, putting far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions. That’s a lesson Michelle and I have tried to instill in our daughters with the White House vegetable garden that Michelle planted. And that’s a lesson that we should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.”

What can we do about it?

* we can contact our legislators ;

*  we can sign a petition ;

* we can watch the movie Food, Inc.

* we can start at home. prepare and eat simple, healthy food.  have everyone sit together at meal time.

carrot juice - health food

To health !

yes, we can.

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