Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Salad with Fennel and a Blood Orange Vinaigrette


Even though it may be winter, you can still eat the colors of the rainbow and give yourself a hearty dose of powerful phytochemicals! Consuming the deep reds, magentas, and oranges you see in this salad means that you are flooding your body with plant chemicals that prevent DNA damage, stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, block substances we ingest from becoming carcinogens, and of course mop up free radicals. In fact, I should rename this salad to The Anti-Cancer Salad! My children even love this salad (minus the red onions). I came downstairs yesterday morning to find that they had all packed a container of it their school lunches (along with chicken-vegetable soup or turkey black bean chili)!

If you haven't worked with fennel before then you are in for a treat. This delicious vegetable adds complex flavors to this salad. I love eating it raw but it's also delicious braised or roasted! We like to added it to fresh juices, in fact, since this recipe only uses the bulb, you can save the stalks to make green juice (combine green apple, parsley, kale, lemons, and fennel stalks for a delicious elixir). If you need some visual assistance in cutting up fennel then check out the tutorial I prepared for you at the bottom of this post.

One more note on the ingredients here….this recipe calls for either chopped or segmented blood oranges. To chop them you just peel, slice, and then chop into pieces. To segment, you need to peel them and then cut into wedges around the membranes. I like to use a small serrate knife to do this. It's really very easy but if you've never done it before it can seem daunting. Food52 has a great, short video on doing this that I suggest watching for guidance if you need it. You can view it here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Masala Chicken and Vegetable Stew (Nightshade-Free)


I love curry dishes, but curry powder typically contains chili peppers (a nightshade vegetable). If you are following the Elimination Diet and craving curry, try this stew! It's warming, though not as spicy as a typical curry would be. I use garam masala powder, cumin seeds, and turmeric powder to create a flavorful dish without chili peppers. I know it's not authentic at all, but it is totally satisfying if you are on a nightshade-free diet or elimination diet!

Consuming nightshades (potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, goji berries) can trigger joint pain, migraines, skin rashes, acne, GI upset, and inflammation in SOME people. Are you sensitive to nightshades? Please share your experiences in the comment section below. If you think nightshades might be an issue for you, the best way to determine that is to do an Elimination Diet.

Garam masala is a staple spice blend at our house. I use it a lot to flavor roasted vegetables, or garbanzo bean dishes. Garam means warm, and Masala means spice blend. Garam masala typically contains cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, black pepper, and coriander.