Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Turmeric, Ginger and Kale for a Superfood Soup

Okay...I confess.  I'm a food snob.  I don't put any food in my mouth that doesn't taste delicious.  I simply don't...I won't waste my time and calories on it.

Food should taste fabulous and bring us pleasure.  It only takes a little bit more effort in the kitchen to eat food that bursts forth with flavor. I want joy from my food and I'm willing to do what it takes to get there.

However, food is more than just a wonderful eating experience.  It should also keep our bodies healthy, self renewing and supplied with plenty of natural energy.  And I want one other thing from my food...brain power--none of that basketball head blurry mind feeling for me.  I want top-level thinking performance.

Yes, it's a tall order, but there are plenty of foods out there that easily fit the bill.

Lately, I've been interested in some of the inflammation fighters, specifically turmeric, ginger and kale.  I've never really focused on turmeric before.  Somehow I had the impression it was more of a coloring agent than flavoring agent.  Although I have added it to recipes when called for, I never really noticed much about it.  Boy, was I missing out!  Turmeric has a lovely warm, peppery and earthy flavor that I am starting to crave.

I've been cooking with turmeric for several weeks now and I am absolutely in love with it.  In fact, I woke up this morning obsessing so much about it, that I made a turmeric, ginger and kale soup.  Turmeric soup for breakfast?  Okay, I admit it's a little crazy, but well, why not?  It tastes much better than any old bowl of porridge.  That's what I think!

By the way, fresh turmeric root is available in fall and winter months so start checking your farmer's market now. You might also be able to find it at a local Asian market.

When you cook with turmeric, keep in mind that turmeric absorption in the stomach is aided by the inclusion of freshly ground black pepper, so be generous with the pepper grinder.

Turmeric, ginger and kale.  All three of these ingredients are inflammation fighting power-houses.  Inflammation, as you may know, is a leading cause of many diseases including many cancers, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's, all the auto-immune diseases and diabetes, plus many, many more.

I'll take my medicine in the form of yummy superfood soup, thank you very much!

Turmeric, Ginger, Kale and Garbanzo Bean Superfood Soup

Toss the following ingredients into a large soup pot:
3 T olive oil
2 small onions chopped into small pieces
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 1/2 T fresh turmeric chopped very fine or grated (or 3/4 t dried turmeric)
1 1/2 T fresh ginger chopped very fine or grated

Saute until softened.  Then add:
32 oz organic chicken stock
1 can garbanzo beans rinsed thoroughly
2 large chopped tomatoes
6 lightly packed cups of raw kale
generous fresh ground black pepper and sea salt

Optional:  Add either 1/2 cup organic cream, 1/2 cup goat yogurt or 4 T cashew butter

Let soup simmer until flavors soften and combine, about one hour.  Option:  If you eat dairy products, you can add the cream to thicken and enrich the soup.  If you are on an anti-inflammation diet, try the goat yogurt,  And if you never eat dairy, you can add cashew butter, if desired.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"I Can't Go There Yet"

This week at my farmer's market there were pumpkins.  Yes, pumpkins!

I showed up early in the morning and I actually bought an adorable little pumpkin thinking I might like to make some pumpkin risotto.

My little pumpkin!

 However, while I was paying for it, a woman walked up and said, "Oh no, pumpkins!  I can't go there yet."

I had to laugh to myself.  She was right.  It's way too early for pumpkins. I'm not ready to let go of summer yet.  I'm still loving my flip flops, my bathing suits and my late afternoon walks down at the dog beach.  It is too early for fall, right?

As I walked away from the pumpkin booth I heard another woman come up and say, "Oh no, pumpkins!"  

Later on in the day I was back at my market for my weekly volunteer job picking up the extra produce from the farmers to deliver to Project Mana, our local food bank.  When I went back to the pumpkin farmer, the pumpkins were all still there, the box nearly full.  "How did it go with the pumpkins?"  He looked at me and laughed, "You and another woman were the only ones to buy a pumpkin all day."  And what did he hear over and over all day long?  "Oh no, pumpkins! "