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Basil Quinoa with Edamame and TomatillosPoblano peppers are one of the most mild of hot peppers, measuring 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville Heat units. This is quite modest compared to, for example, it’s fiery relative the cayenne pepper, which has a heat unit of 30,000 to 50,000! The light spice of the poblano makes it a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen, and since it won’t singe taste buds, you can really taste its flavor.

The heat in poblanos and other peppers is caused by plant compounds called capsaicinoids, which are generally thought to exist as a natural deterrent against animals and fungi. Capsaicinoids have been linked to several health benefits over the years including, improved circulatory and heart function; pain management for arthritis, neuropathy and psoriasis; balanced and healthy cholesterol; increased metabolism; and even prevention against prostate cancer. Of course, poblanos mildness does means it has less capsaicinoids than the aforementioned cayenne or even a jalapeño, but it is worth noting.  And, like most veggies, all peppers are low in fat and cholesterol, high in fiber, and contain free radical-fighting antioxidants — a great addition to any diet!

We’ve posted a few recipes on the blog that feature poblanos; Summertime Chili, Creamed Sweet Corn with Poblanos, and Stuffed Poblanos with Mexican-style Quinoa. The recipe below uses two superfoods, edamame and quinoa, as well as flavorful basil and tomatillos, making it not only a nutritious, but delicious dish.

References and recommended links:

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh edamame, pods removed from branches
1 cup quinoa
1 tbs grapeseed oil
4-5 tomatillos, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tbs chopped fresh basil, chopped
2 cups No-chicken Broth

Method:
Heat enough water to cover edamame pods and bring to a boil. Add edamame and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or pot (a dutch over works great). Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, tomatillos, and jalapeño and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa, basil, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer 10-15 minutes, until quinoa is cooked through.

Shell edamame and put beans aside.

Remove quinoa from heat, stir in edamame and let sit for 5 minutes. Salt to taste.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Kohlrabi before & afterKohrabi is a member of the Brassica oleracea, or cabbage, family.  Hugely popular centuries ago, kohlrabi has made a resurgence over the past several years, increasing in availability, thanks to its easy-to-grow nature.  As with most veggies, kohlrabi is low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, is high in fiber, and is super versatile. It’s a good source of thiamin, folate, magnesium, and phosphorus, and a very good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, copper and manganese.

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.  Its mild taste (much more modest than it’s broccoli and cabbage family members) makes it a great ingredient for slaw and salad recipes.  It’s also a very popular ingredient in Indian cooking, where it becomes tender and takes on the many exotic flavors of Indian spices.  You can click here for a raw Kohlrabi and Turnip Slaw recipe from Blooming Glen, and read below for a cooked Kohlrabi Dal with Aromatic Rice recipe.

Want to know more about kohlrabi? Here are some recommended links:

Kohlrabi Dal & Aromatic Rice

Kohlrabi Dal with Aromatic Rice

Ingredients
1 cup brown basmati or brown jasmine rice

1 kohlrabi (about 2 cups), plus greens, diced or chopped
2 cups red lentils
2 tsp tumeric, divided

1 modest splash grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion (about 2 cups), chopped
1 large tomato (about 2 cups), diced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon salt

chopped cilantro, optional
shredded coconut, optional

Method
Prepare rice as directed on package.

Combine kohlrabi, lentils, and half the turmeric with 3 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the lentils (dal) is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Salt to taste and set aside.

While the kohlrabi and dal are cooking, heat oil in a deep skillet. Add garlic, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the onion and remaining turmeric and sauté until onions start to soften, about 2-3 minutes (add a little water, if needed).  Add the tomato, mix well, and cook until tender. Stir in the kohrabi-dal mixture, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, and garam masala powder, and cook until flavors mix, about 5-10 minutes. Add salt, stir well, and adjust to taste.

Divide kohlrabi dal and rice into 6 servings, top with chopped cilantro leaves and/or shredded coconut.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Orangey Sweet & Sour CabbageCabbage is probably one of the most abused vegetables in town. On St. Patrick’s Day, it’s appearance is first upstaged by the potato, and then its nutrition is slow-cooked to near depletion. In picnic season, it’s coated with fatty oils, dressings and cream sauces. Probably worst of all, it’s reputation seems to be forever tarnished, thanks to the tiresome cabbage soup fad diet.

But, the cabbage deserves so much more than this! It’s anti-inflammatory properties are stellar, thanks to the high content of an amino acid called glutamine. In addition to promoting the digestive process and intestinal health, glutamine has been shown to be useful in all sorts of treatments including burns and peptic ulcers. Because cabbage is a member of the cruciferous family, it’s also a great cancer-fighting food. Cruciferous veggies are high in indole-3-carbinol, a chemical shown to block the growth of cancer cells, as well as stimulate DNA repair in cells. Finally, a look at cabbage’s nutritional profile shows it as an excellent source of vitamins K and C, a very good source of fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6 potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and protein.

Clearly, cabbage deserves to shine in all of our diets.  To get the most nutrition, be sure to eat it raw or fast-cooked. Cabbage is delicious steamed and splashed with balsamic vinegar, fits well into just about any stirfry, and makes a perfect wrap:

Orangey Sweet & Sour CabbageOrange Sweet & Sour Cabbage Wraps

Steam 12-15 large cabbage leaves until just tender, about 4 minutes, and set aside.

Combine sauce ingredients and set aside:
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup tamari
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup agave
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne
zest from 1/2 orange

Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups seitan*, chopped small, and cook until crispy (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. *Use crumbled tempeh for a gluten-free version, or if seitan is not available.

Reduce heat to low-medium, stir in 1 1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped small, 1 1/2 cup onion, chopped small and 4 cups cabbage, thinly shredded and cook until tender, but still crisp (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally; if mixture is sticking to pan, add a little water.

Reduce heat to low, stir in 3 cups cooked brown rice and half of the sauce, mix well and allow to thicken. Add sauce until the filling reaches your desired consistency. Remove filling from heat, scoop onto cabbage leaves and wrap ’em up!

Serve these immediately, two to three as a main dish or one as a side.  Options: Substitute peppers and rice for any veggies that are in season and grains that are on-hand.  Increase cayenne if you want to turn up the heat.  Substitute pineapple juice for orange juice and eliminate the orange zest if you want a more neutral sweet-and-sour flavor.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Lemon & Leek Kale SaladKale shares similar health benefits with its friend, Swiss chard. In addition to being a cancer-fighting and heart health-promoting superhero (thanks to all those antioxidants), kale’s omega-3 and enormous vitamin K content make it a great tool to fight against the inflammation that’s linked to so many chronic health conditions.

My favorite benefit of kale though, is its detoxification abilities. Kale’s glucosinolates make isothiscyanates, which studies have shown assist our cell’s detox activities. The nutrition and compounds in kale assist in eliminating the toxic molecules in our body caused simply from the hazards of daily living; pollution, medication, processed food chemicals, etc.  We all could benefit from a little cleansing, right? 🙂

Kale is most often eaten cooked, but there are health benefits to eating our foods raw. The recipe below uses the acidity in fresh lemon juice to help “cook” the kale, leaving it a nice, soft and chewy texture.

Lemon & Leek Kale Salad

Lemon & Leek Kale Salad

Add dressing ingredients in a large bowl, stir until combined:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
Juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of honey (use agave for vegan version)
salt and pepper to taste

Add to bowl:
1 bunch of kale (~20 leaves), stems removed, cut into bite-sized chunks or strips.
1 leek, white part sliced in half lengthwise and then into thin half-moons.

Stir into the dressing to well coat. A great method is to use your hands and “massage” the leaves with the dressing. Allow to marinate in fridge until ready to eat (ideally 4-8 hours, but it’ll be tasty after even just 30 minutes).

Stir in 1/4 cup seeds and/or chopped nuts (sesame and pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds are a great choice) right before serving.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata SquashDon’t let delicata squash’s small size fool you! Each pint-sized veggie boasts loads of nutrition. Low in calories, carbs and fat, high in Vitamins A and C and containing both minerals calcium and iron, delicata is a health-promoting addition to anyone’s diet.

Appropriately named for it’s delicate weight and size, delicata is considered a winter squash, making an appearance in the cooler weather.  However, delicata is actually a member of the summer squash family, which includes gold and green zucchini, pattypan, and yellow crookneck varieties.  This is a great point to keep in mind when preparing delicata, as it cooks up more like its summer cousins; preparation and cook time is quick and the skin is also eaten.

Lucky for us, extra delicata with just a slight soft spot was for the taking on the Blooming Glen Farm sharing table this week. If you, like me, took advantage of the gift, you’ll be able to put to use the tasty recipe below. In this warm dish, delicata’s sweet potato flavor and beneficial nutrition is highlighted against the super-grain, millet.

Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata Squash

Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata Squash
Heat oven to 425-degrees. Slice two small delicata squash in half lengthwise and spoon out seeds. Slice halves lengthwise again and place in a single layer, flesh side up, on a cookie sheet. Lightly spray with grapeseed oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and edges begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.  Note: Careful not to eat all these up before you can get them into the salad 😉

In a large pot, boil 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of millet. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook until done, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup lemon juice, 3 tablespoons curry powder, 2 tablespoons tamari and 1 tablespoon ginger powder or freshly minced ginger.

A few minutes before the squash and millet are done, sauté 2 cups of thinly shredded or chopped Swiss chard and 1/4 cup chopped onion.

Dice squash and add to millet along with chard-onion mixture and 1/4 cup raisins. Combine ingredients while stirring in sauce. Serve hot.

This makes a satisfying main dish; try serving with grilled veggies, curried tofu or a bit of curried chicken.  As a side, a smaller portion goes great with a couple slices of smoky grilled tempeh and steamed broccoli.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Swimming in poblanos? Try these little poblano boats to deliciously deliver one of nature’s greatest superfoods, quinoa, to your awaiting taste buds and belly! Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) easily incorporates the seasonings and spices with which it’s cooked without losing its own taste and texture, making it a great companion to the robustly flavorful poblano.

Poblanos & Quinoa

Technically a seed, though often grouped with whole grains, quinoa is tightly packed with essential micronutrients magnesium and mangnese and delivers a healthy dose of fiber. Quinoa also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a source of complete protein — in fact, it’s considered to have the most complete amino acid profile of all grains.  Start reaping quinoa’s benefits today with the stuffed pepper recipe below.  Two or three pepper halves work as a main course, or serve just one as an appetizer or side.

Stuffed Peppers: Poblanos & Mexican-style Quinoa

BPoblanos & Quinoaoil 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup your favorite quinoa (a mix of red and yellow is pictured), cover pot and lower to a simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 12 minutes.

Slice 3-4 poblano peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Steam pepper halves in a steamer basket until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Set aside on a plate.

In small a frying pan, sauté until just soft (about 5 minutes):
1/4 onion
1/4 cup sweet frying peppers
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Stir in 1/2 cup cooked black beans and 1/4 cup chopped tomato and heat through.  Keep mixture warm until quinoa is done cooking.

Combine quinoa and vegetable-bean mixture, stirring well. Stuff pepper halves with mix, and enjoy hot or at room temperature. Serve with salsa, guacamole or avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro and/or lime wedges.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Tomatillos, a staple of Mexican cuisine, have been becoming more and more popular. Known for their unique husk, fresh colors and tart, citrusy flavor, tomatillos are high in the fiber that’s essential for weight, cholesterol and blood sugar management as well as digestive health; vitamin C, which aids everything from our immune system to cancer preventions; and vitamin K, a bone- and blood-supporting vitamin normally found in dark, leafy greens. Their versatile and simple preparation options make getting this nutrition into our diets pretty easy!

Use tomatillos raw for classic Latin American salsas and sauces such as salsa verde and guacamole, chopped and sautéed in stir-fry, or cooked up for soups. The soup below pairs tomatillos with several other players in the Blooming Glen CSA share: flavorful and robust garlic and onion, jalapeño peppers that compliment the citrus flavor of the tomatillo, sweet peppers and corn that temper the tartness of the tomatillos, and potatoes that lighten the spice of the jalapeños.

Tomatillo Jalapeño Soup with Sweet Corn

Sauté 1 large onion, 7 cloves of chopped garlic, 4-6 thinly sliced jalapeños (use seeds for more spice), 1 cup chopped sweet pepper, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1 tablespoon chile powder in grapeseed oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot until onion is soft and translucent.

Add 2 cups of chopped tomatillos (to prepare your tomatillos, peel off the husk and then wash the fruit to remove any sticky residue), 1 large diced potato, 4 cups of broth and 1 cup of water to the pot, heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in a 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, kernels from 3 small ears of sweet corn and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Serve with fresh bread (Bakers on Broad has excellent options, including gluten-free) and toppings such as cilantro, green onion, chives, plain yogurt, sour cream, broken baked tortilla chips and corn kernels.

Post and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Power Breakfast: Swiss Chard, Fresh Tomato and Egg If vegetables are lacking in the standard American diet, leafy greens are the scarcest of all. Given the incredible and unique nourishment these veggies offer, learning to cook and eat greens is essential for creating lasting health. Thankfully, adding these nutritional powerhouses to our diet is easy, especially if you’re a member of a CSA — greens grow from the beginning to the end of the season, with kale and collards bracketing the more tender Swiss chard.

Swiss chard is a unique leafy green in that it contains at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, which have been shown to aid our circulatory and respiratory systems by protecting us from atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), high blood pressure and air pollution damage. Polyphenols also contribute to cancer prevention and longevity.  Considering all of their health benefits, making sure we include them in our diet first thing in the morning will start us all off on a day fit for a superhero!

The addition of a local, free range, organic egg will add a “complete protein” that contains an adequate proportion of all nine essential amino acids necessary for our diet, healthy fats like omega-3s, and choline, which helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. In order to reap these benefits, you must be sure your eggs are from chickens raised in a natural environment. The ones sold at various local farms and markets are a great choice, like those from Deep Springs Farm in Harleysville, Purely Farm in Pipersville, or Happy Farm in Kintnersville.

Finally, the fresh tomatoes in this recipe are shown to prevent cancer, heart disease as well as high cholesterol — not to mention the fact that they taste great!

Superhero Breakfast: Swiss chard, Fresh tomato and Egg
Note: this dish can be made ovo vegetarian (dairy-free) using options below.

Sauté 1/4 cup chopped onion with a pinch of salt in 1/4 cup of water only (water sauté) over medium heat until onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat small skillet with butter or grapeseed oil.  Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of Swiss chard cut into thin strips to the onions and mix well, adding more water if necessary.  Cover and cook until tender and bright green, about 2-3 minutes.  Break one nature perfect egg and fry on the oiled skillet.

Add several splashes of vinegar to chard/onion mixture and stir well. Turn off heat and stir in 1 very small chopped tomato. Flip egg, cook for one minute and turn off heat.

Using a slotted spoon (to leave any remaining liquid in the pan), place the greens-onion-tomato mixture into shallow bowl and sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast flakes, romano cheese or parmesan cheese. Top with egg and serve immediately.

Recipe and photo by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder and -owner of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!