Monday, November 30, 2009

Coconut: A functional, flavorful food

Coconut is a versatile staple food in many different cultures. The milk is used in sauces, and as the base of soups and stews. The oil is used for frying and in baked products. The “meat” of the coconut is shredded into baked products and used in custards, puddings and porridges. Beyond its culinary applications, coconut has a number of controversial yet beneficial health effects which deserve attention and exploration.

Coconut is high in saturated fat which has been associated with cardiovascular disease and weight gain. However, the structure of fat in coconut, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), is different from the fat found in animal products. MCTs are not deposited into fat tissue like their long-chain counterparts. They are rapidly digested because they don’t require bile for absorption. Because they are digested so quickly, they are converted into energy thereby boosting metabolic rate and weight loss. In fact, some practitioners prescribe coconut oil to patients undergoing weight loss.

Coconut oil also contains special health promoting constituents such as lauric acid and caprylic acid. These constituents have antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties and have been used to treat Candida, yeast overgrowth, and weakened immune systems. In addition, a recent study demonstrated that these constituents increased HDL levels, the "good" cholesterol.

In addition to its health effects, coconut has a low allergen potential. Coconut-based milks, yogurt, butter and ice cream may be suitable substitutions for those with dairy sensitivities. Similarly, coconut flour can be a tasty, nutritious alternative to wheat and grain-based flours and may be worth exploring by individuals with wheat and gluten intolerances. Consult a qualified health practitioner if you need additional guidance on how to make appropriate substitutions.

Coconut curry chicken with plum wine

1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil (for frying)
4 chicken thighs (organic and pastured are best)
1 can whole coconut milk
1 cup plain rice milk
3 teaspoons curry powder or 1 tablespoon curry paste
2 tablespoons raw honey or agave nectar
1/4 cup plum wine (can substitute cooking sake or mirin)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped, for garnish
Lime to taste

Heat skillet to medium-high, then add coconut oil. Brown chicken on both sides. Add coconut milk, rice milk, curry powder and stir. Then add honey and plum wine. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet and let chicken simmer for about 20 minutes. Top off with fish sauce before serving. Garnish with cilantro and lime.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why Balance Blood Sugar?

Blood sugar refers to the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood at any given time. Glucose is the body's preferred source of fuel. The brain, nervous system and red blood cells cannot function without continuous supply of energy from blood glucose; however, we must pay close attention to the quantity and quality of glucose/carbohydrate that we consume, the food source from which it comes, and the quality of its ingredients.

The glycemic index or GI is a value assigned to a carbohydrate-containing food based on the rate at which it affects blood sugar levels. Factors that affect the GI include total fiber content, protein and fat content, and carbohydrate quality (that is, whether the carbohydrate comes from a refined source or from a whole foods source). Foods with a high GI rapidly increase blood sugar levels and include highly refined and processed foods such as breads, pastas and crackers; and sugars and sugary foods such as candies, pastries, soft drinks and corn syrup. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and carrots also have a high GI. Foods with a low GI help balance blood sugar, reduce carbohydrate cravings and are effective for weight management. Whole foods such as lean meats, fish, beans, legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grains typically have a low glycemic index.

Balancing blood sugar is important for optimal physical and emotional health regardless of whether you have diabetes, hypoglycemia or blood sugar management issues. A steady supply of glucose is essential to fuel optimal brain function, and therefore, low blood glucose can cause headache, irritability, anxiety and depression, dizziness, fatigue and poor endurance. Low blood sugar can also cause sugar cravings leading to erratic eating patterns.

Here are some general recommendations for sustaining blood sugar.

·Eat at regular intervals, about every 3-4 hours, including 3 meals and 1-3 snacks daily.
·Avoid skipping meals and eating excessively large portions of refined carbohydrate such as white flour or corn syrup.
·Eat balanced snacks or meals that include whole foods containing protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy and high quality fats, and fiber. A balance of macronutrients will slow digestion and moderate blood sugar.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Warming Foods to Combat the Cold

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), optimal health is based on the harmonious flow of Qi or energy in our bodies. Our daily diet and nutrition provide an easy means to help harmonize this flow of energy. In TCM, it is considered healthy when our diets help our bodies to maintain a healthy interaction with our environment. The simplest way to accomplish this is by eating foods that counteract and balance the extremes of the season in which we consume them. For example, during the summer, warm and dispersing foods help to move our heat towards the surface of our body where it can be released, via an opening of the pores and sweating, and thus help prevent our interiors from overheating. Conversely, during the wintertime, TCM teaches us to utilize more salty and bitter foods which tend to cool our body’s exterior while helping to conserve and move our inner core heat deeper within our bodies.

Occasionally the extremes of a particular season can overwhelm us and lead to an imbalance and illness. This can occur with overexposure to either extreme cold or heat. If we find ourselves chilled after long exposure to cold, warming foods can help our bodies to regain equilibrium. According to TCM, getting overly chilled can lead to illness, so it is important to avoid long exposure to cold conditions.

A bowl of warming soup or stew can be particularly enjoyable and beneficial after a long day outside in very cold conditions. Here are some tips to increase the thermal nature of foods. 1) Try cooking methods that use a lot of heat, such as roasting, stewing, baking, or braising. 2) Use garlic, fresh ginger, and onion in vegetable sautés, soups, or stews. 3) Add warming foods and spices to cooler foods. For example, grate ginger on a salad, sprinkle cinnamon on cold milk. 4) Drink beverages room temperature or warmer, and avoid ice-cold beverages.

While these suggestions can help most healthy people, you should always consult a qualified nutrition practitioner if you need additional guidance on how to balance your diet individually.

Rainbow Root Vegetable Soup
Root vegetables are warming and sweet. This colorful stew-like soup will nourish you on a cold winter day.

2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into half moons
2 medium carrots, cut into half moons
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed
2 medium purple potatoes, cubed
6 cups vegetable stock
Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Heat stock pot to medium high, add olive oil. Sauté ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until they become translucent. Add carrot, parsnip and rutabaga and 3 pinches of salt and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add stock and bring pot to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

Prep time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4-5 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nature's Hidden Source of Vitamin D

When vitamin D comes to mind, we usually think of sunshine. Sunshine is without a doubt the best source of vitamin D. However, we don’t always have access to it, especially during the winter months, if we live at northern latitudes, or if we spend most of our time indoors. With limited sun exposure, we rely on food for vitamin D. It can be challenging to meet our daily vitamin D needs with food, particularly if we are vegan or vegetarian. Cold water fish, cod liver oil, milk and egg yolks are some foods with high levels of vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. One would need to consume 4 ounces of fish or 4 cups of milk to meet the daily recommendation of 400 IU.

Another source of vitamin D in our diet is mushrooms. Mushrooms contain a slightly different version of vitamin D called ergocalciferol. Ergocalciferol or vitamin D2 is produced when mushrooms are exposed to UVB light. Mushrooms are usually cultivated indoors, so much of this vitamin D is not produced under these conditions. Recently, mushroom producers have paired with the FDA and academic institutions to study the impact of UV light on vitamin D production in mushrooms. What they’ve discovered is that exposure to UV light during the cultivation process significantly increases the ergocalciferol content of some varieties of mushrooms. Although studies are being conducted to determine whether the biological activity of ergocalciferol is equivalent to that of cholecalciferol, the vitamin D found in animal sources.

Vitamin D plays a critical role in calcium absorption and bone health. Recent studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with osteoporosis, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and insulin-dependent diabetes. Those at risk for vitamin D deficiency include older adults, individuals living at northern latitudes, people with dark skin, and those with fat malabsorption. Given its role in promoting health and preventing disease, it's critical that we optimize our vitamin D status. Mushrooms may be one food source of vitamin D and they have other nutritional benefits. They are high in B vitamins, potassium, zinc, phosphorous and selenium. In addition, they are free of cholesterol and fat, and have one of the highest protein contents of any vegetable. The Pacific Northwest offers hundreds of varieties of wild edible mushrooms. You can purchase these at farmer’s markets or at the grocery store and prepare them using a variety of cooking techniques including roasting, stewing, frying and sautéing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

100 Mile Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an ideal time of year to experience the benefits of the 100-mile diet. The idea behind 100-mile is to eat a diet consisting of foods that have been grown within 100 miles of where you reside. Depending on where you reside, many of the foods that we eat during Thanksgiving are available locally like sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkins. We should take advantage of this abundance for a number of reasons. First, buying locally harvested food supports local farmers which in turn supports your local economy. Second, you save money when you eat locally; foods purchased at local farms or farmers’ markets are often cheaper than non-local food that’s been shipped across the country or from overseas. A third reason to buy local is for the health of the environment; shipping or flying food cross-country uses large amounts of fossil fuels which harm our environment. The health benefits of 100-mile diets are also significant. Studies have demonstrated that local, seasonal fruits and vegetables have a more diverse nutrient profile than their non-local counterparts which means you’re getting more essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for every dollar you spend. Here are 6 tips that can help bring the 100-mile diet into your feast this Thanksgiving:

1. Turkey: Purchase a free-range, naturally raised local turkey from your local butcher or grocer.
2. Stuffing: Stuff your turkey with organically grown, locally harvested whole grains such as wild rice or buckwheat instead of bread. You might also add some locally foraged wild mushrooms such as oyster, chanterelle, or portabella mushrooms.
3. Root vegetables: Buy root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips and rutabagas from local farmers instead of buying conventionally-grown white potatoes.
4. Squash: Pumpkins and numerous varieties of locally grown squash are abundant during this time of year. Purchase them at a pumpkin patch or local farmers’ market.
5. Beverages: Apples are everywhere during the fall and winter months, and local apple cider, often found at farmers’ markets and natural foods markets, is the perfect accompaniment to your thanksgiving feast. Serve chilled or hot with mulling spices. If you’re serving wine, get to know your local winemakers either in person or online.
6. Dessert: Capitalize on those sweet potatoes, pumpkins or apples that you bought locally and make your own pies instead purchasing them at the store.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cooking with Gluten-free Whole Grains

Incorporating grains into the diet can be challenging for the gluten-free. Wheat and other gluten containing grains are pervasive in the standard American diet. There are in fact many whole grains that are naturally gluten-free, including the more familiar rice and corn, and the less familiar, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, tef and amaranth. This article reviews the less familiar millet, buckwheat, quinoa and tef.

Whole grains are important because they contain all of the nutrients in the grain: fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytonutrients; whereas refined grains are nutritionally less superior. During the refining process, core edible parts of the grain are removed. For example, the germ and bran of a whole wheat kernel are removed in the process of making white flour. The whole grains listed below can be purchased in most natural food stores and in traditional supermarkets.

Millet: Small, yellow, unfortunately found in bird seed mixtures and animal feed in the US, millet is an underutilized, versatile whole grain. Its alkaline nature makes it easy to digest. High in protein, potassium and magnesium, millet can be cooked up as a breakfast porridge, served in salads, soups and stuffings. The flour is a good choice for pancakes, cookies and other baked goods.

Nutty Millet Porridge
½ cup millet, dry
2 ½ cups water
Pinch of sea salt
½ teaspoon white or black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 cup of dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, or currants)

Heat a dry pot to medium. Add millet. Stir grain with a wooden spoon. After a few minutes the grains will begin to pop and give off a nutty aroma. Add water and salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Millet will soften like a porridge. Stir in sesame and sunflower seeds. Add butter and maple syrup. Taste and adjust salt or syrup. Ladle into your favorite breakfast bowl. Top with dried fruit of your choice.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Buckwheat: A misnomer, buckwheat is not part of the wheat family; it is a seed of a weedlike plant related to rhubarb, not a grain. Buckwheat originated in North Central Asia. It can be purchased in different forms, as “groats”, roasted (kasha) or unroasted, as flour, and in noodles. Cook up buckwheat as a breakfast gruel, grain pilaf or stuffing. Use the flour in substantial breakfast pancakes and in savory crepes.

Peasant Kasha, Potatoes and Mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups boiling water
1 small red potatoes, ¼“ dice
3-4 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat)
Freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a 2-quart pot. Add onions, garlic and salt; sauté until the onion is soft. Put water on to boil in a separate pot or tea kettle. Add potatoes and mushrooms to onions; cook 2-3 minutes more, covered, until nice and juicy. Add kasha to mixture and stir, coating kasha. Pour in boiling water. Turn heat to low. Cover pot and simmer 15 minutes on low until all water is absorbed. Remove lid and allow kasha to rest for a few minutes. Fluff up and serve garnished with pepper. Add more salt if needed.

Preparation time: 25-30 minutes
Makes 6 servings
Reprinted with permission from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008) Video version from

Quinoa: Pronounced keen-wah, it was first cultivated in South America, 8,000 years ago. The Incas recognized its value in increasing stamina in their warriors. Quinoa is one of the most nutritious whole grains. It contains all of the amino acids, as well as B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin E. It has a nutty and sometimes bitter flavor due to the fact that it’s coated with saponin, a naturally occurring bitter substance, which should be washed off before cooking. Quinoa is a versatile grain. Serve as a morning porridge, a side dish mixed with beans, nuts and seeds, mix with greens, roasted vegetables, or serve with fish or chicken. The flour is wonderful in cookies.

Quinoa Biryani
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 tablespoons high quality unrefined olive oil
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw almonds, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon coriander
Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Combine water and quinoa in covered pot. After water comes to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool. Do not stir or agitate quinoa during cooking. Tilt pot to 45 degree angle to see if water has been absorbed.

Heat saucepan to medium-high, then add olive oil. Sauté ginger until it sizzles. Add onion and stir until it’s translucent. Add garlic and stir. Combine quinoa, raisins, almonds, turmeric, cinnamon, coriander and honey (in that order) with garlic and onion. Stir until ingredients are well-coated.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes 3-4 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Tef: Native to Ethiopian cultures, these miniscule brown grains are nutritionally superior to other grains, high in minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. If you’ve dined in Ethiopian restaurants, you’ve had Tef. Ingera, the flat bread served with food, is made from Tef flour and fermented with a sourdough starter.

Cream of Tef with Dates and Honey
1/4 cup tef flour
2 cups water
Pinch sea salt
1/2 cup medjool dates, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
Milk of choice

Toast Tef in dry saucepan over medium heat until it emits a fragrant aroma, about 2-3 minutes. Add water and salt and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in dates and honey. Serve hot with milk of choice.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings

Recipe adapted by Genevieve Sherrow with inspiration from Rebecca Wood’s The Splendid Grain.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

25 Naturally Gluten-free Snacks

Finding healthy, grab-and-go snacks can be challenging for the gluten-free. Gluten is pervasive in most packaged snack foods. Whole foods that are naturally gluten-free like cheeses, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and grains make wonderful snacks when combined. Listed below are 25 original combinations of GF whole foods to meet your snack needs. These snacks must be constructed by hand. They do not exist in these forms in any supermarket.

1. Corn tortillas with hummus and sprouts
2. Smoked salmon on rice crackers
3. Blue corn chips and salsa fresca
4. Bananas and cashew butter
5. Bosc pears and gruyere
6. Make your own trail mix: raw cashews, raisins, almonds, hazelnuts, dark chocolate chips
7. Plain yogurt with maple syrup, cinnamon, and apple slices
8. Celery sticks and goats chevre
9. Hard-boiled egg with sea salt and crushed black pepper
10. Honey crisp apple slices and peanut butter
11. Dark chocolate squares and fresh strawberries
12. Black bean dip with yellow corn chips
13. Next day rice with crushed nuts, seeds and tamari
14. Fresh blueberries and heavy cream
15. Avocado and cherry tomatoes
16. Canned tuna fish, carrot sticks and sweet pickles
17. Red grapes and swiss cheese
18. Baked sweet potato with ricotta and sautéed chard or spinach
19. Cottage cheese with peaches
20. Warm corn tortillas with smoked salmon, tahini and greens
21. Edamame (soy beans)
22. Tofu chive spread on Mary’s Gone flax crackers
23. Sliced deli meat and avocado on a brown rice tortilla
24. Van’s whole grain GF waffle with honey and hazelnut butter
25. Air popped popcorn mixed with crushed dried nori, garlic salt and pepper

Monday, August 24, 2009

Introducing: The Aduki Bean

Aduki beans, otherwise known as azuki or adzuki beans, are small red beans cultivated throughout East Asia. They are loaded with protein, soluble fiber and have significant amounts of iron, potassium, folate and magnesium. They are easy to digest in comparison to other legumes. Their low "glycemic index" makes them an optimal choice for individuals affected by diabetes and blood sugar management issues.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, aduki beans are known for their "strengthening" qualities and yang energy. They are packed with iron so can help resolve iron deficiency anemia. Their iron content also makes them a good choice for women's health. For instance, in Japan aduki bean soups are often consumed after menstruation to replenish red blood cells.

In East Asian cuisine, aduki beans are used as core ingredients of sweet dessert-like soups or porridges. They may also be boiled and pureed with sugar to form a red bean paste, then used as a stuffing for rice dumplings or pastries. In addition, they are superb in savory dishes with rice and other grains, veggies, and in soups and stews.

Aduki Bean Rice Tacos

Aduki beans are wonderful in savory dishes with grains and veggies. Try incorporating them into your cooking with this Asian and Mexican inspired dish.

1 can Eden brand aduki beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup brown basmati rice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons umeboshi plum vinegar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup sprouted almonds or raw cashews, crushed
4 soft corn tortillas

Bring rice and 2 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan, and add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, or until water is absorbed and grains are dry. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

Heat ginger and sesame oil in medium skillet over medium heat until ginger begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes. Add beans, vinegar, chili flakes, nuts and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes, or until liquid evaporates.

Stir rice into bean mixture. Taste, and add more salt if desired. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and cilantro. Serve on warm corn tortillas.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Makes: 3-4 servings
Recipe adapted by Genevieve Sherrow from the
Vegetarian Times

Aduki Bean Stew

2-3 medium shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 rib celery, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, cut into ¼” pieces
1 cup dry azuki beans
4 cups water
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a large sauce pan, add shallots and sauté until soft. Add celery and sauté a few minutes longer. Add aduki beans and water, increase heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Next, add sweet potato and simmer for 15-20 minutes longer or until beans are soft (if you add the sweet potato sooner it may disintegrate). Taste and adjust salt if needed. Serve alone or over your grain of choice.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Anti-inflammatory Properties of Turmeric

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is a vibrant yellow spice that has been a core component of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Turmeric contains bioactive constituents, "curcuminoids" which have a wide range of beneficial properties. Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated that curcumin, the most active curcuminoid, may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant activities.

Scientific research has also demonstrated that turmeric may be beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with Alzheimer's, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's, cardiovascular and liver diseases.

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used as a folk remedy to treat eye infections, wounds, bites, burns and skin diseases. Apparently, Johnson and Johnson, Inc. makes turmeric Band-Aids for the Indian market.

Turmeric can be found in curry powders, although in minimal amounts, so it's best to purchase turmeric as its own spice. Turmeric is a fat-soluble spice which means that it is best absorbed when consumed with fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It's no surprise that coconut milk, a food often paired with curry, is high in MCTs. Turmeric's nutritional profile includes moderate amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6.

Turmeric enhances any egg dish, cooked or cold. If you're egg-free, sprinkle turmeric on scrambled tofu to mimic the appearance and flavor of eggs. Turmeric meshes well with cauliflower, leafy greens and broccoli. It also injects unique flavor to garbanzo beans or lentils and white meats such as chicken, turkey and pork.

Enjoy this golden recipe.

Golden Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 tablespoons high quality unrefined olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup whole raw cashews, crushed
3 teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
Crushed black pepper to taste

Combine water and quinoa in covered pot. After water comes to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool.

Heat saucepan to medium-high, then add olive oil. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and stir. Combine quinoa, raisins, cashews, turmeric and honey (in that order) with garlic and onion. Stir until ingredients are well-coated.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Healing Powers of Ginger

Ginger is a root that is used in many culinary as well as medicinal applications. Versatile ginger has played a significant role in Chinese, Japanese and Indian medicine since the 1500s. It has been prescribed for a variety of ailments including stomach aches, colds and flu, nausea, diarrhea, arthritis and respiratory disorders.

Ginger is especially well known for its effectiveness in alleviating gastrointestinal distress. Extracts of ginger are found in a multitude of commercial digestive, laxative and antacid remedies. Ginger relaxes the intestinal tract and promotes elimination of intestinal gas. It has also been shown to be effective in alleviating nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, chemotherapy, surgery, or motion. Ginger may also be helpful in reducing symptoms associated with arthritis, joint and muscle pain because of its anti-inflammatory constituents called "gingerols." Nutritionally, ginger contains moderate amounts of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6.

Ginger’s warming nature makes it good candidate for wintertime consumption, but it can be consumed during any season. Working with ginger in the kitchen is fairly simple. Fresh ginger root can be found in your local grocery store. Before use, remove the skin with the edge of a spoon or a pairing knife. Mince or grate and add to a salad dressing, vegetable sauté, fish or poultry marinade. Steep in boiling water and drink as a tea with honey and lemon or chill and enjoy a ginger cooler.

Enjoy this spicy, sweet salad dressing. Serve with your favorite fresh salad greens.

Ginger Tahini Dressing
2-3 tablespoons raw sesame tahini
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar (optional)
2 tablespoons mirin or cooking sake
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 teaspoons fresh ginger root, minced
1/2-1 clove of garlic, crushed
Crushed black pepper and sea salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients until mixture achieves a thickness.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-5
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Ginger Honey Carrots
Simple. Nutritious. Delicious. A recipe need not be complicated to pack in the flavor and all those good-for-you ingredients. Prepare this tasty side dish in about 15 minutes.

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into half moons
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
Pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Coat carrots with honey, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat sauté pan to medium high, then add the remaining olive oil. Sauté minced ginger in pan until it turns light brown and starts to crackle. Add carrots and sauté until soft, approximately 10 minutes.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bountiful Berries

Berries are ubiquitous in Seattle during the summertime. Blackberry bushes explode out onto the Burke Gilman trail. Large plastic buckets accompany the masses as they head into Magnuson Park. Red, blue and purple hues are ever-present at the farmers’ markets.

Beyond the fact that berries taste so good, there are several other reasons why we should capitalize on this abundance. Berries have the highest antioxidant capacity among all fruits and vegetables. This is due to bioactive compounds called anthocyanins, which are also responsible for the color in berries.

The health benefits of antioxidants are substantial. Antioxidants neutralize “free radicals” in the body. Free radicals are destructive molecules that can damage cells and other structures in the body. Damaged cells make us more susceptible to inflammation and chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Cooking berries may also increase their antioxidant potential so there’s no need to hesitate on the baked berry cobbler. In addition to antioxidant capacity, berries are also collectively high in several other nutrients, such as vitamin C, folate, potassium and beta carotene, that are critical for proper immune function, heart health and vision.

Berries are sweet and portable and can be added to your average breakfast cereals and desserts. They also make a delicious, low calorie snack. If you're more ambitious and want to enjoy the benefits of these nutrient powerhouses in the fall and winter, you might transform them into jam.

Listed below are a few recipes for simple summertime berry-rich beverages.


3/4 cup milk (rice, soy, nut or cow)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries, blackberries or strawberries, chilled or frozen
2 medium bananas
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until thick. Serve in your favorite glass.

Serves: 1-2
Prep time: 5 minutes

Strawberry Banana Lime
5 fresh strawberries, frozen
1 medium banana
juice of half a lime
3/4 cup rice milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until thick. Serve in your favorite glass and top dash of cinnamon.

Serves: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes

Friday, July 3, 2009

Superior Seaweed

A misperception exists that seaweeds are inedible and difficult to incorporate into the daily diet. In fact, they are one of the most versatile foods, providing abundant flavor and a natural source of salt to many different foods.

Beyond providing seasoning to foods, seaweeds are some of the most nutritionally complete foods on the planet. There aren’t many foods that measure up to the nutrient profile of seaweeds. While varying in exact amounts, they are collectively high in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine and selenium.

Some seaweeds, particularly nori, are also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B12. Nori is one of the few plant-based foods that contains B12, a critical vitamin for cognitive function. Seaweeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to reduce risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Seaweeds have been used to treat many health conditions; most notably, thyroid disorders, heavy metal toxicity, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and chronic fatigue. Despite their nutritional and medicinal benefits, seaweed is overwhelmingly absent from the standard American diet.

One of the simplest ways to incorporate seaweed into your diet is with dried nori. Dried nori can be found pressed into sheets and is often used for rolling sushi; however, it can be crushed and sprinkled on the most basic foods: eggs, pasta, fish and soups. You can find dried nori and other dried seaweeds at most natural food stores such as Seattle-based PCC and Madison Market, as well as Asian groceries like Uwajimaya and Central Market.

Below is a simple recipe that incorporates dried nori. Try it at home and surprise your family with one of the most nutritionally complete foods on the planet.

Scallion, Walnut and Nori Scramble
Try crushed nori in your egg scrambles. Nori provides an abundance of vitamins and minerals, a source of salt and rich flavor. This dish is perfect for breakfast, brunch or even a quick dinner.

2 teaspoons pastured butter
3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
4 pastured eggs, beaten
2 dried nori sheets
2 tablespoons walnuts, crushed
Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Heat skillet to medium-high, add butter. Sauté green onion and garlic for 1 minute. Add eggs and stir for 1 minute. Crush dried nori as you would a piece of paper. Sprinkle and fold into egg mixture. Add walnuts and remove from heat.
Prep time: 8 minutes
Serves: 2
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Note: If you do not prefer the taste of seaweed, try incorporating small pieces of dried nori into dishes that are heavily spiced with curry, chili pepper, garlic, onion or cayenne.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kelp Pickles

Summer, 2008. I was in Seattle, pursuing graduate studies in nutrition at Bastyr University. One of my instructors, a Nutritionist and Natural Foods Chef, was organizing a “seaweed harvesting excursion” in the San Juan Islands. I had seen signs posted for the trip throughout campus. The prospect of going on this trip intrigued me. My only formal interaction with seaweed up until this point was on the New Jersey shore as a kid. Throwing it at my sisters, draping it on the top of my head, under my armpits. I had never “harvested” seaweed. In fact, I wasn’t sure what harvesting seaweed meant. I talked to some schoolmates who had gone on the trip the previous year. Their experiences were more than favorable, so I signed up.

Sixteen of us converged on Lopez Island in Spencer Spit State Park, one of 2 campgrounds on the island, on a Friday evening in late July.

On Saturday, we were slated to kayak to an ancient kelp bed and harvest bull-whip kelp. Bullwhip kelp is olive green in color. It is made up of a round, hollow bulb, from which ribbon-like fronds emerge. The bulb is filled with carbon monoxide for flotation which enables the fronds to float close to the surface and receive adequate sunlight. Attached to the bulb is a hollow “stipe,” or stalk, about 100 feet long. There is a root-like structure or “holdfast” on the lower end of the stipe which attaches to a rock on the bottom of the sea floor.

We showed up at the kayak shop and got outfitted with paddles, dry skirts, and life jackets, got seated and comfortable in our 2-person kayaks and off we went out into the bay towards the ancient kelp bed. Kelp beds or “forests” often accumulate in areas of fast currents usually in channels between islands. Apparently, this particular kelp bed has existed for hundreds of years.
When we arrived in the kelp bed, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of calm and equilibrium. As I reflect back on this experience, I believe it’s one of the most peaceful spaces I’ve been in my life.

After our moment of silence with the kelp bed, we all began harvesting. The focus of our harvesting was sustainability. Harvesting kelp sustainably involves leaving part of the stipe and holdfast in tact so that the kelp can regenerate. Industrialized seaweed harvesting is usually unsustainable because machines detach the holdfasts from the rocky sea floor making it impossible for the kelp to regenerate.

For those who have never harvested kelp, the process is pretty simple. All you need is a large plastic trash bag and a pocket knife. The process went something like this. First, I lifted the fronds out of the water and placed them in the plastic bag. They were heavy and slippery. Next, I lifted about 4-5 feet of the stipe out of the water and detached this portion with my pocket knife. A popping sound emerged as the gas was released from the hollow tube. Hearing that sound was emotionally gratifying, I felt like a kid again.

After harvesting our kelp, we returned to camp and what ensued was a massive seaweed processing orgy. Kelp fronds were slung over a clothing line creating a seaweed curtain at the entrance to the campsite. Large plastic cutting boards covered the wooden picnic tables. Kelp stipes were being prepped for pickling and various shapes and sizes emerged: o-rings, spears, diagonal slices, and cubes. Pickling brine was bubbling on the camp stove, aromas of onion, garlic, cardamom and coriander infused the campsite. We all waited urgently while the brine stewed. Finally, the chopped stipe and hot aromatic brine were married in some 40 odd mason jars.

I had never heard of, seen or ingested a kelp pickle prior to this trip. Within 1-week of being back in Seattle, I cracked open the kelp pickle jars. It was heaven. Crunchy, sweet, nutritional heaven. They were a meal unto themselves. I felt solidly nourished every time I ate one. They paired well with almost everything I ate: sandwiches, burgers, salads, cheeses, and eggs. I shared my pickles with friends, family, co-workers and classmates. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The kelp pickle did not offend a soul; rather, it inspired interest, enthusiasm, and determination to eat more seaweed.

Below is the pickling recipe that we used on Lopez. It is a recipe by seaweed enthusiast Jennifer Hahn and has been modified slightly.

Horn Tootin' Kelp Pickles

Prepping the kelp:
Cut bull whip kelp stipe ("stipe" is the correct name for the sea algae's stalk) into 1-foot sections.

Cut stipe into 1/8-inch-wide o-rings or 3-inch spears
Place spears or o-rings of kelp in pint or quart wide-mouth glass jars.

Preparing the brine:
3 cups white vinegar
2 fresh garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons pickling spice
4 teaspoons turmeric
3 cups sugar
1 red onion, cut into crescents

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot, bring to boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. Pour into glass jars over kelp spears or o-rings.

**Note: The seaweed trip will run this summer July 24-26, 2009. Contact Jennifer Adler at for more information.

Salal Berries

Native to the Northwest, I was first introduced to these berries on my seaweed harvesting excursion on Lopez Island last summer. Salal berries are similar to blueberries but the fruit is seedier and more acidic. They are bluish black in color and oblong. They are most ripe in the months of August through September. This recipe was written by seaweed enthusiast Jennifer Hahn author of Spirited Waters: Soloing South Through the Inside Passage.

Wild Salal-Cranberry Relish
3 cups wild salal berries (tiny berry stems needn't be removed)
3 cups cranberries (raw, whole)
3/4 cup sugar
Rind of 1 organic orange (coarsely grated)

Toss all ingredients in cook pot. Cook on low heat until the berries are tender.
Pinch of cinnamon or teaspoon of ginger is a nice complement. Serve with grilled salmon or chicken.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seaweed Intensive with Jennifer Adler

For centuries cultures around the world have relied on seaweed for nourishment and as a medicinal food. Right here in the Pacific Northwest we can still access these amazing plants. This program will take place on beautiful Lopez Island where we will hike and kayak to learn the ecology and uses of sea vegetables. In addition to harvesting and drying and pickling enough seaweed to last your family for the entire year we will incorporate sea vegetables into all of our meals. You will leave with a vast array of information about seaweed identification as well as the health and nutritive benefits of these ancient plants.

No hiking, camping or kayaking experience necessary.
Where: Lopez Island, Washington.
Accommodations: Spencer Spit State Park. We will camp in a beautifully wooded group campsite. There is an Adirondack shelter with bunk beds available as well. Food: Whole foods breakfasts and dinners are provided.
Dates: July 24-26, 2009
Cost: $375 if registered by July 1st. $425 after July 1st. Register early because this class is limited to 12 participants.
Contact: Jennifer Adler, 206-595-0376 or

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Seasonal Menus

Seasonality is equally as important as nutrient density, macro and micronutrient profile.

Asparagus Frittata with Walla walla onions and gruyere
Asparagus sauteed with Walla walla onions and fresh garlic then mixed with eggs beaten and gruyere cheese then oven baked.
Rosemary red potatoes
Red potatoes, rosemary, fresh garlic and olive oil roasted. Served with sour cream.
Arugula salad with walnuts, cranberries and goat cheese
Fresh arugula tossed with walnuts, dried cranberries and goat cheese tossed with an orange juice, cider vinegar and olive oil dressing

Pan-fried Halibut with sweet corn salsa
Halibut marinated in a blend of lemon juice-shoyu-garlic-white pepper then pan-fried. Topped with a mixture of fresh white corn, tomatoes, mango, cilantro, fresh chili pepper, lime and fresh garlic.
Simmered quinoa tossed with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper
Romaine Radicchio Salad with shaved Asiago
Romaine lettuce and radicchio tossed with a ume plum vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, olive oil dressing topped with shaved Asiago cheese
Berry salad with fresh whipped cream
Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries tossed and topped with whipped heavy cream

Apricot-glazed chicken breast
Chicken breast coated with potato flour, browned in a pan with olive oil. Coated with an apricot jam-mirin-tamari sauce and simmered.
Cider glazed Roasted Root Vegetables
Parsnip, rutabaga and carrot coated with a blend of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sucanat then oven roasted.
Kale and Rhubarb Sauté
De-stemmed kale and rhubarb sautéed in olive oil, fresh garlic and mirin, topped with raw cashews.
Maple Vanilla yogurt with pan-fried apples
Whole milk plain yogurt with maple syrup and whole vanilla bean extract with apples lightly pan-fried in canola oil.

Sweet Potato Lentil soup with foraged mushrooms
Lentils, sweet potatoes, chanterelle mushrooms, garlic and stock simmered. Served with dollop of plain yogurt.
Basmati Brown Rice
Simmered brown rice

Braised collards and beet greens
Beet greens, collards sautéed in olive oil and onions then braised in a blend of cooking sake and tamari.
Carmelized pears with ginger ice cream
Bosc pears broiled in a glaze of mirin, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter, served with a side of ginger ice cream.

Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow.

What to Eat When You're Sick

This week I've been ill and haven't cooked much of anything. When I was ill as a kid, my mother used to cook up this soup with leeks, celery and root vegetables. Today, my first day up and out of bed, I attempted to emulate her recipe.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Warming root vegetables, soothing leeks, and minerally dense sea vegetables will reverse any signs of cold or flu. Enjoy this soup on a cold, rainy Seattle afternoon.

2 tablespoons high quality unrefined, extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 medium leek, chopped
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cubed
2 medium carrots, cut in discs
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1 cup of fresh or dried nori, sea lettuce, or bladderwrack, chopped coarsely
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Heat stock pot to medium high, add olive oil. Saute ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Add leeks and saute until glistening. Add carrot, parsnip and rutabaga and saute for 3 minutes. Add vegetable or chicken stock bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4-5
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Parsnips and Kale

Parsnip Sauté
1 large parsnip, peeled, cut into half moons
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon mirin (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon unrefined extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Walla Walla onion, chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

Coat parsnip with agave, rice vinegar, mirin, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes. Heat sauté pan to medium high, then add olive oil. Saute onion until it becomes translucent. Add parsnip and sauté until golden brown and soft. Garnish with green onion.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes 2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Sake braised kale

2 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil
1 head of fresh kale (about 6 cups raw)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
¼ cup cooking sake or mirin (Japanese rice wine)
Sea salt to taste

Wash kale thoroughly and de-stem leaves. Heat sauté pan to medium high, then add olive oil. Sauté kale until it reduces in size by one-half. Add ginger and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Add cooking sake and reduce heat to low.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes 2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Garbanzo beans

Garbanzos or chick peas are a staple food in the Mediterranean diet. These beans are nutrient powerhouses, minerally dense, high in protein, folate and essential fatty acids. This recipe transcends the standard olive oil, lemon, and tahini hummus. Yogurt facilitates a creamy texture and lime infuses acidity and balance.

Hummus with lime and yogurt
1 can no salt garbanzo beans
2-3 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon whole milk plain yogurt
1/2-1 tablespoon raw sesame tahini
splash of balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or fresh garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients except for the water in a food processor. After integration, add 1 tablespoon of water, mix again. If consistency of hummus is too thick add another tablespoon of water. Serve morning, noon or night with your favorite corn chips or dipping veggies.
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Preserved Lemon Hummus
1 cup dried garbanzo beans (canned will do)
¼ cup lemon juice
4 cloves roasted garlic
1 ½ cloves garlic
3/8 cup sesame tahini
¼ cup & 1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon Tamari
¼ teaspoon of cayenne
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ cup water
1/8 preserved lemon

Soak and cook garbanzo beans. Put remaining ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste.

Prep Time: 8 hours to soak beans, 10 minutes active time.
Cook Time: 1 ½ - 2 hours to cook beans

Serves: 4 to 6
Adapted from Spoonriver Restaurant, Minneapolis

Saturday, April 25, 2009


The medicinal and culinary applications of ginger are boundless.

Ginger Tahini Dressing

2-3 tablespoons raw sesame tahini
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin or cooking sake
1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
2-3 teaspoons fresh ginger (grated or minced)
1/2-1 clove of garlic, crushed
Crushed black pepper and sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk together in a mixing bowl. Serve on your favorite fresh salad greens.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-5 persons
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Ginger Honey Carrots
2 large carrots, cut diagonally
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
Pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

Coat carrots with honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Saute minced ginger in pan until light brown. Add carrots and steam sauté until soft, approximately 20 minutes.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1-2
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.


Another food that I was exposed to during my excursion to the Hawaiian Islands was coconuts. Coconuts are ubiquitous in Hawaii. One day on a walk to nearby beach, my friend and I came upon some coconuts that had dropped to the ground. The structure of coconuts is fascinating. The "meat" itself is found in an inner shell, the one with the brown, furry exterior. This brown shell is encased in a tough, light brown, outer shell. You literally need a machete to get through the 2 shells and access the coconut. Today I had thought about writing about coconuts because I prepared chicken in a coconut curry sauce last night, but when I started to think more about the coconut, it occurred to me that there are many more issues to think about beyond the culinary applications of the coconut such as its health effects.

The health effects of coconuts are controversial. This is largely due to its saturated fat content. Saturated fat has been largely associated with cardiovascular disease and weight gain; however, coconuts contain some constituents that have health-promoting effects such as lauric acid and stearic acid.
A recent study demonstrated that these constituents in coconut oil increased HDL levels, the "good" cholesterol. Coconut also contains specials fats, medium chain triglycerides, that easier to digest because they don't require bile for absorption. Coconut has a low-allergen potential and coconut-based milks and butter are great substitutions for those with dairy allergies.

I love coconut because it is such as versatile food. The oil is wonderful in cookies. The milk can be used for many purposes: the base of a smoothie, for sauces, in soups and stews. The meat can be shredded into baked products, and sprinkled on top of grains, custards and puddings.

Coconut curry chicken with plum wine
1 tablespoon extra virgin unrefined olive oil or canola oil
4-5 organic, pastured chicken thighs
1 can whole coconut milk
1 cup plain rice milk
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon raw honey or agave nectar
¼ cup plum wine (can substitute cooking sake or mirin)
½ tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
Lime to taste

Heat sauté pan to medium-high, then add olive oil. Brown chicken thighs on both sides. Add coconut milk, rice milk, curry powder and stir. Then add honey and plum wine. Cover pot, turn heat to low and let chicken simmer for 20 minutes. Top off with fish sauce before serving. Garnish with cilantro and lime.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-5 empty stomachs
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Optimal Diet

One of my friends recently asked me to share what I thought were characteristics of the optimal diet. Of course as a nutrition student, all I do is think about food as it relates to health, however, I've never actually written these things down.

1) Eat foods in their most whole form
Whenever possible, don't eat anything out of a box

2) Eat foods that come from the earth
Support your local farmers and your local economy

3) Lastly, eat food, not food products

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I recently returned from a vacation in Hawaii. This was my first excursion to the Hawaiian Islands. My friend from school invited me to spend time at her mother's house on the island of Molokai. Molokai is one of the smaller, more underdeveloped Hawaiian islands. It is a lot less touristic than places like Maui, Oahu and the Big Island. During my stay on Molokai, I consumed an abundance of exotic fruits, mostly papayas. Before visiting Molokai, I had never tasted papayas as sweet and as rich as the ones I ate while I was there. I ate at least 1-2 per day, usually at breakfast topped with a few squeezes of lime juice.
Papayas are superstars in terms of their nutrient density. They are loaded with potassium, almost twice the amount you would assimilate from a banana. They are high in folate, beta-carotene and vitamin C, and provide a natural source of digestive enzymes, papain. I was lucky enough to bring back a box of 7 to the Northwest. I've been devouring them over the past few weeks. Today, it was #5 of 7 and I did something a bit more creative:

Papaya, coconut and lime smoothie
1 cup fresh papaya
1 large banana
¾ cup coconut water
½ cup plain rice milk
½ tablespoon lime juice
Optional: Sub pineapple juice for rice milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until thick. For thicker smoothie reduce liquid ingredients. For thinner consistency, increase amounts of liquid ingredients. Serve in your favorite glass with a straw.
Preparation time: 3 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Introducing: The Rutabaga

Rutabagas are sweet, starchy root vegetables. They are the sibling of the turnip although they have yellow flesh. When you visit the grocery, it's hard to discern between them, they're almost twin siblings. Their sweetness is their most appealing attribute. They're not quite as sweet as a yam but are definitely sweeter than your average white potato. I started to incorporate rutabaga into my diet during my Chinese Medicine nutrition class at Bastyr. I knew they existed but had never cooked with them. According to Chinese Medicine, rutabagas have a warming nature and are good for promoting digestive Qi (pronounced chi) or energy. They are perfect in the winter time like most root vegetables, roasted, sauteed, stewed and in soups. Kids love them too.

Rutabaga and kale saute
Rutabaga pairs deliciously with kale. Try this quick and easy saute for a nutrient dense side dish that you can serve with chicken, fish, rice and other grains.

1 tablespoon unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
3 green onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 large rutabaga, chopped
1.5 cup kale, chopped
2.5 tablespoons cooking sake or mirin (Japanese rice wine)
Optional: 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari

Peel the skin off rutabaga with a carrot peeler and chop into thin rectangular pieces (1/8 inch thick) to accelerate cooking time. Bring saucepan to medium heat, then add olive oil. Saute 3/4 of green onions (save some for garnish) until soft and glistening. Add rutabaga and saute until brown and soft. Combine kale with rutabaga and add cooking sake. After vegetables absorb sake, reduce heat to low and remove from heat. Serve warm, with a splash of tamari and garnished with green onions.

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Monday, April 13, 2009

For the love of Seaweed

Tonight I unearthed my stash of dried Nori which I gathered by hand on the shores of Lopez Island last summer. Last July, I ventured out to Lopez with some of my schoolmates on a trip that was coordinated by Jennifer Adler, a Nutritionist and Natural Foods Chef in Seattle. While on Lopez, we kayaked out to an ancient kelp bed and hand harvested bull-whip kelp. We also gathered Nori, Bladderwrack, Turkish Towel, sea lettuces and other rare varieties on the shores of some local beaches. The mineral content of seaweed is comparable to that of blood. It is one of the most minerally dense foods on the planet, which is why people from Asian cultures consume it daily. If you don’t have access to the shores of Lopez Island, I would recommend picking up some dried nori sheets at an Asian grocery like Uwajimaya, or at a natural food store. Instead of using them to roll sushi, they can be crushed and torn and thrown into rice and other grains, stir-fries, scrambled eggs, soups and stews. Like all sea vegetables, Nori is naturally salty and imparts a lovely rich flavor to most foods. Enjoy the following recipe:

Quinoa Saute with Leeks, Nori and Raw Cashews

1 cup quinoa, dry
2 cups water
1 tablespoon unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium leek
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon ginger, chopped
¾ cup celery and leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
½ cup dried nori or 2 dried nori sheets, crushed or torn
¼ cup raw cashews, crushed
Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste
Optional: ½ cup beans (soy, aduki, black)

Combine water and quinoa in covered pot. After water comes to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and cool.
Heat saucepan to medium-high heat, then add olive oil. Saute garlic, ginger and leek until leek is soft and glistening. Remove from heat. Combine quinoa with leek sauté. Add celery, sesame oil and tamari and mix until quinoa is coated. Sprinkle crushed Nori over mixture. Top with cashews and mix again.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Makes 2-3 servings

Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe. Inspiration from my dear friend Sonja Max.

Breakfast Rice
1 cup basmati brown rice
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin unrefined olive oil
1 medium leek
3-4 shittake mushrooms, sliced thinly
3 Nori sheets, crushed or torn
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon black or white sesame seeds
1/2 cup raw cashews
Optional: add 1 cup of coarsely chopped kale

Combine rice and water in pot, cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all of the water has absorbed. Do not stir or agitate rice during cooking. Tilt pot gently to a 45-degree angle to see whether water has been absorbed. Let rice cool for 10 minutes.

Heat sauté pan to medium-high, add olive oil. Sauté leek until soft and glistening then add mushrooms. Add rice to vegetable saute and stir. Add nori and stir. Coat mixture with sesame oil and soy sauce. Top with sesame seeds and cashews. Serve warm with a cup of ginger tea.
Prep time: Approximately 35 minutes
Serves: 3 adults, kids or other hungry humans
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe. Inspiration from Sharon Gray, L.Ac. and Katherine Oldfield, ND of West Seattle Natural Medicine.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What are Nourishing Foods?

Food is much more than fuel for the body; it is nourishment. Nourishing foods are usually "whole foods". Whole foods are foods as they are found in nature. They have abundant flavors and ingredients that nature intended. They are free of artificial flavors and colors, chemicals and preservatives which are used to prolong the shelf life of processed foods. Because whole foods have been minimally processed, they are more nutrient-dense and contain essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

A nourishing diet is one that is balanced and contains a variety of whole grains, legumes, colorful vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices. And for some, it might also include lean meats, wild seafood, eggs and dairy products. It may also contain "recreational foods" such as treats and alcohol in moderation.