Yesterday I saw a facebook post from a friend out for a cool treat– an awesome looking seriously chocolate mousse-like cake with an icy adult beverage topped with whipped cream. Oh my, taste bud envy! Mindful of the impact of a super cold and sugary ice cream treat on the gut, I reflected on what would be a healthier option to satisfy my sweet tooth as this heat wave wears on and on… and remembered this recipe. Ginger, coconut and lemon tropical cool sweetness! I’ll make this again, and keep looking for new treat options… Here’s that recipe as originally posted:
Dinner and dessert at my friend Sharon’s house led to my discovery of the Living Candida Free cookbook by Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN…. and thus to this, my first attempt making my own modified version of her Carrot Balls recipe. Yum! My guests and I devoured these fast, and I think even my hardcore chocolate loving, non-vegan, non-gluten free, unabashedly desert centered sister would like these. A lot.
3/4t fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1 c raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t cardamon
2 t ground flaxseeds
2 T coconut for balls, plus additional 6-8 T coconut for rolling balls in.
1 T plus 1t lemon zest
3 t lemon juice
1 1/2 t blackstrap molasses
1 t water, as necessary or skip the water and increase the lemon juice
6-7 T fresh finely grated carrot
Using a food processor, finely chop fresh ginger root, then add sunflower seeds, spices, ground flaxseeds, and coconut. Process until medium fine. Then add finely grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and molasses until it just comes together as dough– it will be rather heavy. Add carrot and pulse to mix evenly. Don’t be frightened by its dense texture! Form into small balls, then roll each ball in a small bowl of the additional coconut to coat well. Refrigerate in an airtight Tupperware type container until firm and chilled. Makes 18-20 balls, with 2-4 balls being a perfect dessert serving.
My guests and I all thought these were a great dessert. I think they’d be wonderful too for a light breakfast snack if I need a little energy before going to an early morning yoga class.
Hot and Hotter: our ten day forecast shows high’s in the 90’s or 100’s, two of those days expected to be record breaking at 107F. That’s too hot for me! With an overnight low of 70F, the house and I don’t have a chance to cool off much. Early morning is clearly the time for me to get my food prep done, also walk my dogs, and water the garden.
Early yesterday morning I harvested from the garden too, before the excessive heat took its toll: lettuce and broccoli, yellow crooked neck squash, snap peas, basil and mint. One blessing of the heat is that my tomatoes and hot peppers will ripen so I can start to enjoy those too! For today and tomorrow, I’ll make some light cool and cooling meals from the garden– complemented with cooling hot peppers, mint and lemon. Ahhh…
1/2 cup quinoa
1-2 medium yellow crooked neck squash, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1-2 cups sugar snap peas
1-2 stalks celery, chopped thinly
2-3 shallots, diced
1/2 medium Serrano pepper, diced
1 t fresh ginger root, diced
4-6 medium mint fresh leaves, diced
walnuts or feta cheese
Rinse quinoa well, cover with a generous cup of fresh water and dash of salt, bring to boil then simmer covered over low heat about 18 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Saute chopped shallots in 1-2 T butter or olive oil for 2-3 minutes until just starts to lightly brown, then transfer to casserole dish with airtight lid. Using same pan, saute chopped yellow squash for 3-4 minutes, then add the diced ginger root and Serrano pepper with a couple tablespoons white wine (I used an open bottle of Pinot Grigio), cover and simmer until the squash softens a bit, but is not mushy, about 2 minutes. Remove squash to casserole dish. Turn the heat up a little and saute the chopped yellow pepper for about 2 minutes, just until it brightens. Add to casserole dish, mix all together well, and dress with juice and pulp of lemon. Refrigerate. I served this chilled over a bed of lettuce, topped with walnuts and sheep feta, with a cool glass of Pinot Grigio for dinner, then with fresh mint infused water for lunch the next day.
Coarsely chop beets in half, then each half into thirds, so pieces are approximately equal in size (so will cook quickly while also still being easy to pare after cooking). Place into saucepan, barely cover with water, bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Do not overcook- check frequently with fork for doneness. Drain and rinse in cold water. Using sharp paring knife, remove and discard tough skin, then chop into bite sized pieces. Transfer to deep serving dish with lid.
Using 2 T olive oil in a large skillet with lid, saute diced shallots for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, then add minced garlic, mined ginger and chopped yellow pepper; continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 2 minutes, until the yellow pepper is bright and only lightly cooked. Transfer to serving dish with beets. Remove tough middle stems from kale, then slice into thin ribbons. Using the same large skillet, saute for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add a splash of water, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 2-3 minutes, until the kale is bright and lightly cooked, not mushy. Transfer to serving dish, mix all together well. Dress with juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon. Will store well in an airtight container for a couple days.
I served this with tofu baked in a spicy peanut sauce on a cold wintery day– bright and complementary flavors, and wonderfully warming.
When I came down with the sniffles and felt a bit puny, I wanted a healthy warming soup… and came up with this from what I had in my cupboards and fridge. Yams and carrots are high in vitamin A and C, perfect for fighting off a head cold. The ginger and Merken (a smoked chile pepper spice from Chile) or seranno add some heat. The peanut butter is an inspiration from African cooking and adds a rich smoothness to the soup as well as a little protein. I served this in a deep round bowl over a little fresh arugula (fresh spinach would have been good in lieu) and topped with peanuts. Yum! And so quick and easy. I think this may be my new favorite winter soup recipe.
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger root, minced
1 t lemon thyme
1/2 t merken or 1 serrano pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 garnet or jewel yams, without skin, chopped
2-3 T natural peanut butter, no added oil or salt
1/8 t salt
Saute the onion in 2 T olive oil for 2-3 minute over medium heat in a large soup pot, then add garlic and other spices; continue stirring until onion is almost translucent. Add celery, carrot and yam and continue to saute over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes. Dissolve 1/2 cube organic vegetable bouillon in 1 cup boiling water, then add it to the pot. Stir in peanut butter, mix all well, then add another 5-6 cups of fresh water. Cover and cook until yam and carrots are soft, checking and stirring frequently. It wont take long, 5 minutes or so if the yam and carrots are chopped reasonably thin and small. Set aside to cool, then puree in blender.
A close friend has a spring head cold– and I’m thinking of making soup, so of course I started thinking of making something healing that I could share with her. The last recipe she shared with me was for yummy cashew cream (more on that later); this made me think to revisit my carrot ginger soup recipe. I tried adding soaked cashews to provide protein and rich mouth feel. In this version, I added 3/4 cup of soaked then drained cashews pureed into smoothness before being stirred into the soup, omitted the celery (because the pureed cashews provide the soup with texture), and added a chopped yellow pepper for additional vitamin C and brightness of flavor. Yum!
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
7-8 medium carrots, chopped
1 small jewel yam, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium clove garlic
1 t finely chopped fresh ginger root
2 t marjoram
2 t basil
1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes
2-3 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 cube Celifibr brand vegetable bullion dissolved in 1 cup hot water
5 additional cups water
1/2 t sea salt and black pepper to taste
Using large soup pot with lid, saute chopped onions in 2-3 T olive oil. Add chopped carrots, yam, celery, pressed garlic, finely chopped ginger, and spices. Stir well to coat veggies in spices. Add tomatoes. Add dissolved vegetable bullion and additional water. Stir well. Partially cover and bring up to simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 30-60 minutes (depending on size of chopped carrots and yams), checking carrots and yam for softness. Soup is done cooking when carrots and yam are fully soft. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool before carefully pureeing in small batches in blender (fill blender less than half full to avoid it exploding with too hot soup). Return pureed soup to soup pot: add up to a cup of additional water as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Heat then serve topped with roasted pumpkin seeds. High in Vitamin A and zinc, great choice for those with a winter head cold/sinus infection. Makes 8-10 full bowl servings. Freezes well.
Put in everyday Western terms, if the windy change in season and too much stress wear you down and suddenly you’re miserable with a hot clear runny nose, then this mung bean recipe will be comforting. It’s warming with lots of flavor and fortifying with plenty of protein, yet is moist and light. Simply put, this meal tastes so good and is beautiful. For those interested, this recipe is inspired by Ayurvedic principles for health and healing for people with a Vata disposition. If you want to learn about cooking with Ayurvedic principles, you might enjoy Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners by Amadea Morningstar.
1 cup mung beans, well rinsed
1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 pkg firm tofu, cubbed
3-4 medium scallions, chopped
2T fresh ginger root, finely chopped
1t each turmeric and cumin
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large bunch bok choy, chopped
small can of thai coconut milk
1/2-1 lime, well squeezed juice & pulp
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Rinse the mung beans (pre-soaking is not needed), then cover with 2 cups fresh water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20-25 min until soft. Drain off any remaining water and set aside. While mung beans are cooking, rinse the quinoa well, then cover with 1 1/4 cup fresh water, add a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, cover and simmer at reduced heat for 20 min and all water is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with fork and cool uncovered. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 T olive oil then saute chopped tofu until lightly browned, about 5 min. Add chopped ginger and spices, then thai coconut milk, cooked mung beans and quinoa, chopped celery and bok choy. Simmer until bok choy is bright green and soft, about 3-4 min. Add squeezed lime, and salt and pepper to taste.
If like me you are tempted to reach for a triple shot latte after a night spent blowing your nose and coughing, try a couple of these Limequats instead! Limequats provide a big hit of Vitamin C and sharp citrus flavor that will knock out your sweet tooth (useful as sugar as well as milk products are mucous producing). It’s a lime crossed with a kumquat, small with a punch! Be prepared to pucker up a bit, then pop the whole thing into your mouth, skin too. Awesome goodness.
Next up: brew some fresh ginger root tea. Slice an inch or so off a ginger root, pare away the skin, then slice thinly. Put ginger into 2 quarts of fresh cold water, bring to a boil then simmer covered for 20 minutes. Ginger tea is good hot or room temp, will keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will chase away your chills, settle an upset stomach, thin out your mucous and quiet down your cough.
How to use the rest of that ginger root? Make carrot ginger soup. With carrots and yam (snot be gone!), this soup is rich in beta carotene, vit B6 and C. It’s tasty and comforting.
Ah, then there’s the raw onion (sulfer) and grapefruit (vit C) magic of mustard greens (vit K, A and C) salad and quinoa! Add some black beans to increase the protein.