Tag Archives: phytochemicals

No Food in the House Soup

21 Dec
by Deanne

Have you ever come home from work and looked in the fridge to discover that there is no food in the house?  When I found myself in this situation, I challenged myself to respond like the chefs on CHOPPED.  Those inventive chefs compete against each other to come up with a meal based on oddball items in a market basket.

Potatoes, celery, onions, frozen green pepper, turnips (already boiled a week ago) and vegetable stock were the collection of ingredients I found in my “market basket.”

A cooking strategy I picked up from Luke and Steve is to start chopping and sweating onions and celery.  This buys me a bit of time time while the creative juices start flowing.  Eventually I put together a pretty decent tasting soup.  It must have been good because this is the only picture I was able to capture.

Photo of empty bowl

No Food in the House Soup

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup green peppers

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2-3 turnips, boiled

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup water

1.  Heat olive oil in a heavy pot.  Add onions, celery, and green peppers and sweat until soft.

2.  Place already cooked turnips and up to  1/2 cup water in a blender,

3.  Add celery, onions, turnips and green peppers and blend until smooth and creamy.

4.  Boil potatoes in another pan.

5.  Heat vegetable broth and mixture from the blender.  Add potatoes when cooked and mash slightly. 

6.  Heat and season soup with black pepper and rosemary.  Serve immediately or save for another meal.

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Celery Root and Apple Bisque

9 Dec
by Deanne

Photo of Celery Root and Apple SoupPhoto of Plant Powered Diet BookHere is a recipe I found in The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer, RD.  This is the book that I mentioned in the  Phytos First post. When I looked in the CSA box, and saw celery root, I remembered this soup Francine made back when she taught me about celeriac for the first time.  Then I saw the apples in the box and decided to try a recipe from the new book I purchased.  According to Ms. Palmer, the phytochemicals in celery root have been linked to brain protection.

Celery Root and Apple Bisque

(makes about 7 cups)

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup, sliced, well rinsed leeks

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 small apple, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

1 and 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened plain plant-based milk  (I used almond milk)

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot.  Add leeks, potato, celery root, celery stalk, apple, thyme, and black pepper and saute for 10 minutes.

Add broth and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.  Add the milk and process until blended and serve immediately.

What Shall I Fix for Dinner? Phytos First!

14 Nov
by Deanne

Photo of Greens on the Grill

Phytos First is my new mantra.   Phytos is short for phytochemicals.  Here is an explanation from the American Cancer Society:

Phytochemicals are a wide variety of compounds made by plants, that may affect human health. They are found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. Scientists have identified thousands of phytochemicals, although only a small fraction have been studied closely. Some of the better-known phytochemicals include beta carotene and other carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), folic acid, and vitamin E.

The mantra, Phytos First, came to me after reading countless stories of people who were cured or nearly cured from medical conditions by changing the focus of their diet.  Just one of many examples is the story of Dr. Terry Wahls, an Iowa City based doctor and patient diagnosed with with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in 2000.  By 2003 she had used chemotherapy in an attempt to slow the disease and began using a tilt-recline wheelchair because of weakness of her back muscles.   The story of her recovery is shared on a TedX talk

My brain has been trained to think about proteins first, usually in the form of meats. Now, I’d like to remind myself that proteins can come from plants too and filling my meals with plants first is something I choose to do. If you adhere to a Paleo diet, you still need to think about what fruits and veggies to add to your day, which is probably a little harder than to think about if one has been on a mostly processed food regime of eating.

A few weeks ago I picked up a book called The Plant-Powered Diet by Sharon Palmer, RD. When I heard the author speak at  the Women Food and Ag Network conference, I was excited.  Knowing how hard it is to change our diet, I looked through the book and saw recipes, and lots of charts that would be helpful in learning about the plants that might show up in my CSA box or plants that we might decide to plant in our garden.

Will you join me as I learn how to move from asking myself, what shall I fix for dinner, to asking, how can I add my phytochemicals first?  Now days, I strive to stand at the fridge full of chopped greens, cut cabbage, and a bin full of apples and I can easily put together a soup or a salad.  In the past, if I was hungry while I was cooking, I would eat crackers and cheese.  Now, I will cut an apple and spread on a little nut butter to munch on while cooking.

If you are a blogger who also wants to fill our day with Phytos First please use this hashtag to promote your posts that have veggie recipes or tips for preparing plants based foods fast:  #PhytosFirst   I will re-tweet them.

Top photo creditAmanda Petersen Photography

Another Way to Be Pink: Watermelon Radish Salad

29 Oct

By Deanne

When I was shopping at the farmers market on Saturday there were a lot of people running around with pink clothing and wigs.  Being a bit clueless, I finally realized that there must have been an event to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.    

Photo of watermelon radish cut into matchsticks or ribbons

Have you heard the term pinkwashing? 

It is an ad and marketing campaign where a company or organization claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

One way to deal with pinkwashing is to learn more about the product you buy. 

In contrast to just mindlessly buying consumer packaged goods wrapped in pink ribbons, consider this Chinese proverb:

“Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors beg on their knees.”

Digging a bit deeper, one learns that radishes are full of phytochemicals like zeaxanthin, lutein and beta-carotene. The lovely pink watermelon radish is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

There seems to be a pattern unfolding on this real food journey:  nutrient-rich, plant based foods can have a large positive impact on our health.  If you agree, join me in developing a FarmerChef lifestyle by shopping and cooking mostly local and real foods. You might even consider planting a raised-bed garden.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but we can make it fun and make a difference to our health.

Francine introduced me to this pink beauty when she returned from China.  I picked one up at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market and decided to make this recipe.  A slight variation to Francine’s recipe which is also very good. The three spices:  cinnamon, turmeric, and cloves are added because of their health benefits and flavor. Photo of watermelon radish Photo of watermelon radish salad

Watermelon Radish Salad

  • 1 large watermelon radish, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 small white onion, also sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground)
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Use a peeler to remove the outside of the radish.  Slice radish and then cut slices into lovely pink ribbons. 

Slice onion and place in large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl mix the juice, oil, sea salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric and make a simple dressing to pour over the radish and onions.

Do you think it would be cool to pass out these radishes at the next #bepink event?  Imagine the conversations and education about the value of real food.