Poached Pears in Saffron Broth

Yes!  Another healthy yet yummy recipe I learned from Rebecca Katz, author of “The Cancer Fighting Kitchen”, during a class she taught last February at Draeger’s Marketplace in the SF Bay Area. Don’t let the title of her

cookbook or class fool you into thinking she cooks boring healthy “granola head” type food.   Rebecca finished her training from the highly acclaimed “Natural Gourmet Institute” in New York City, and then went on to get her M.S in Nutrition because she realized there was a definite vacuum in conduits teaching medical professionals that good health and great food, can in fact, be one in the same. She was chef staff at the Deepak Chopra Center down in San Diego, and teaches medical professionals and students all around the country.

Honestly, my only prior interaction with poached pears was watching a contestant on BRAVO’s TV show “Top Chef” be sent home for making it for a “Tailgate Party” during the Chicago season.  It was not an “appropriate tailgate dish” was the explanation.  But it’s HEALTHY and appropriate for almost all other occasions. It is fairly easy to make, delicious and a beautiful looking dish that is great when entertaining guests.   Thanks to Rebecca for introducing me to this!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pear nectar click here for store bought example
  • Zest of one lemon in long pieces
  • 4 inches of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1.4 inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup
  • Generous Pinch of Saffron ( 12 to 15 threads
  • 2 ripe but firm pears (preferably Bosc or Comice, peeled, cut in half, seeded and stemmed

Directions:

  1. To make the broth, stir the pear nectar, lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron together in a large saucepan or 3 qt saute pan over medium-high heat; Bring to a boil.
  2. Place the pear halves in the saucepan, flat side down.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper over the pears and cover with a small plate to weight the pears down as they simmer.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer until the pears are tender and a knife pierces them all the way through without resistance.
  5. Remove the pears from the saucepan.
  6. Return the liquid to the heat, bring to a lively simmer, and cook until syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  7. Taste the liquid for a quick Fat/Acid/Salt/Sweet check.  It may need a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavors.
  8. Serve the pears drizzled with the poaching liquid and topped with a dollop of nut cream or creme fraiche (just a little)

Variations:

  • For Vanilla broth – omit the lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron and instead stir 2 teaspoons of  organic agave nectar into the pear nectar.  Cut a vanilla pod in half lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the saucepan, then throw in the pod.  Proceed with the recipe as above.
  • For a star anise broth – omit the lemon zest, ginger, maple syrup, and saffron, and instead stir in 4 pods of star anise, 4 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons of organic agave nectar, and 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Proceed with the recipe as above.

Notes:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: 40 minutes
  • Can be stored in an airtight container n the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days
  • Calories per serving:  225  Total Fat 0.2, Carbs 59 gms,  Protein 1 gm,: Fiber 4 gm Sodium 15 mg


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Bright “Beet Up My Cold” Juice

Playing around with my juicer I came up with this little concoction, which is really tasty, and I’d like to believe, kicking some butt on my current cold.

Wash all the veggies and cut up to sizes that can fit in juicer.  Peel the ginger before putting through the juicer or a vitamix.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Beets
  • 2 apples
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 to 2 inch  piece of ginger (peeled)

Put through juicer (mine is an ACME brand) or vitamix if you want to keep the pulp. If I’m feeling a bit whimsy,  I like to serve my more colorful juices in fun glasses, like wine or martini glasses.  If there is  extra, just store in fridge for up to a couple of hours, or in mason jar up to 24 hours.  However I suggest to drink right away after you make it.



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Moroccan Pesto

  • This recipe was suggested to go with my African spice lamb chop recipe by Rebecca Katz, who has the recipe listed in her ” The Cancer Fighting Kitchen” cookbook and gave me permission to reprint it here.  It was a great suggestion because the African spiced lamb chops played off spectacularly with this pesto, and really elevated it to a sophisticated and elegant dish.  This “pesto” sauce is very versatile and would play up well with any number of proteins and global cuisines.  African Spiced Lamb Chop recipe here

This recipe makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed fresh cilantro or basil leaves (I used basil)
  • 6 fresh mint leaves (or more if you want a more “minty flavor”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of water (optional)

Directions:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor (or high speed blender) and process until well blended.  Do a Fat, Acid, Salt, Sweet check to see whether you need to add another squeeze or two of lemon juice, and add water to achieve the desired consistency.

Calories per serving: 35, Total Fat: 3.6 g

Will stay fresh in airtight container for up to 7 days in a fridge, or in the freezer 2 months.



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Creamy Lowfat Roasted Cauliflower Fennel Soup

I came up with this soup idea after having made roasted cauliflower and fennel  during a snowstorm in Tahoe, and thought “This would taste even better by a fire as a piping hot bowl of soup”.  It ended up being one of the first times I had ever made a soup “from the hip” that actually tasted great the first time.  Its so easy to make, yet tastes like it must be really complex.  You don’t need any fancy equipment or ingredients that are hard to find or use.  I found these ingredients all at my really basic local Raley’s in Tahoe the first time I made it.  If you want to keep it vegetarian, just use vegetable broth/stock  and don’t use the cream or milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1  2 lb (approx) Cauliflower  cut down to 1 inch size pieces
  • 2 medium sized fennel bulbs, ends cut off and quartered
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 32 ounce box of nonfat organic free range chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 peeled minced cloves of garlic
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of organic half and half or whole milk if you want a creamy flavor

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the cauliflower and fennel with olive oil and salt, and spread on foil lined oiled cookie sheet
  2. Roast aprox 2o -25 minutes, watching closely that the vegetables do not brown more than a light color.  Remove  from oven
  3. In a soup pot, saute the garlic and onion in the pan with olive oil over medium heat about 5 minutes until just soft, but not browned
  4. Toss in the cauliflower and fennel in the pot and coat with olive oil, add some more salt and heat
  5. Take the broth (and water if you need a bit extra) and pour until it just covers the veggies in the pot
  6. Bring to a low simmer for just about 10 to 12 minutes until a knife can pierce through the cauliflower easily
  7. Remove from burner, and add to blender, and puree in small batches.  Return the pureed mixture to the soup pot
  8. Reheat over medium low to medium heat, and for a more creamier soup, add the organic half and half or milk.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste

Notes:

  • Serves 4
  • Approx calories (without cream): 115 per serving, 6 g of healthy fat, 6 g of protein
  • Feel free to adjust this recipe to your own tastes by using more cauliflower, adjust the amount of cream or milk (you don’t have to use any) and try different spices  or topped with chopped parsley or fennel fronds.  Sometimes I drizzle a little white truffle oil to add a little sophistication.  Stores well up to 3 days.  This soup is naturally low in calories, and even with the addition of the organic cream or milk.

 

 

 



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Healthy Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Vindaloo

I love Indian food! Indian food is one of my favorite types of food to eat now, but I really liked it when I was going through chemotherapy. The really powerful flavor profiles in some Indian foods, and the “heat”, helped to mask some of the annoying “chemo tastes” in my mouth while eating. My boyfriend used to hate Indian food and this is one of the dishes I used to convert him into a Indian food fan. Its so healthy because it utilizes a variety of spices which are enhanced by the added bonus that they not only really boost flavor, they come with multiple health benefits as well. This is such an easy recipe, high in nutrient density, chock full of spices with multiple health benefits, simply cooks in a crock pot over 5 to 6 hours, and will “wow” even the pickiest eater. This can also be cooked slowly over low heat on the stove in a dutch oven or large pot as well. It can be made with Chicken, Pork, Lamb or Veggies. The spices and “heat” can easily be adjusted to your own personal taste as well. I personally like my food really spicy and with a lot of heat, but the recipe below is the “mild” version.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsps vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I use shallots because my boyfriend is allergic to garlic)
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of fresh ginger grated
  • 3/4 tbsps curry powder (mild)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1.4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1.4 tsp cayenne or hot pepper
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tbsps of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsps of ground cinnamon initially or 1 cinnamon stick added to the pot
  • 1 can of tomato paste with 2 equal cans filled of water
  • 1 small white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 lb of skinless organic chicken breasts or thighs quartered or cubed
  • (Optional) 1/2 of a small cauliflower cut into bite size piece

Directions:

  1. Puree the first 10 ingredients in a blender
  2. Pour puree, into the crock pot, add the tomato paste, water, cinnamon stick and stir
  3. In non stick skillet use 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute onions until soft, then brown chicken on all sides
  4. Add Chicken and Onions, (Cauliflower if using) to Crock Pot, stir and then cover
  5. Cook on low in a Crock Pot for 5 to 6 hours, or over the stove on medium low in a Dutch Oven or large pot
  6. Serve with Indian Saffron Brown Basmati Rice, with sauteed spinach, or by itself.
  7. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings per recipe: 3
  • Calories: aprox 300 calories, 100 calories from fat
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