Sunday, July 27, 2008

Recent Recipes and Upcoming Classes

If you haven't made it out to a Life Chef cooking class or demo recently you've missed out on some great food, fantastic people, and healthy eating. Here are links to recent recipes and at the end I've listed upcoming classes so you don't have to miss out!

I had a fun time on July 26 at the National Black Arts Festival's Art of Healthy Cooking Pavilion and I want to thank everyone who stopped by to sample the Jerk BBQ Chicken and the Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw. If you're looking for the recipes, click the links to find out more.

Also for the folks who joined me on July 19 at the "Gorgeous Summer Produce" class at Saint Philip AME Church, I wanted to put up the recipe for the Stuffed Zucchini Shells which were so yummy. Also here are the links for the Simple Summer Mixed Pepper Medley, which was originated during the July 12 class at Sevananda Natural Foods Co-op.

After a beautiful drive down to Warm Springs Georgia, a held a class with the fantastic crew of the Post Polio Support Group at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. What a gorgeous place! I held a class that focused on anti-inflammatory foods and we used ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory in just about every dish! Where here's the Blueberry and Melon Salad recipe, as well as the Ginger Garlic Kale with Portabellas. I'll get that Ginger Lime Glaze that we used on the salmon up soon, as well as that super easy (and super yummy) ginger syrup for the ice cream.

August 2 "Natural Food for Connoisseurs" @ Sevananda Natural Foods Co-op in Little Five Points
August 9 @ the Saint Philip AME Church Annual Wellness Fair
August 12 "Healthy Cooking" @ Piedmont National for Kaiser Permanente
August 14 "Food as Medicine" @ Henry County's Heritage Park for Kaiser Permanente
August 21 "Healthy Desserts" @ the Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation
September 6 "Natural Foods 101" @ Sevananda Natural Foods Co-Op
September 13 "Shop & Cook/Meal Planning" @ Saint Philip AME Church

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sesame Green Beans

Sesame Green Beans
1 1/2 # fresh green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp Miso Tamari or light soy sauce
1 tsp agave nectar or honey1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Simmer green beans in unsalted water for 7-10 minutes or until bright green and just tender.
2. Drain off water and return green beans to the pan over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil, miso tamari, gave nectar and crushed red pepper and toss or stir well to combine.
3. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce begins to form a light glaze or slightly thicken.
4. Transfer to a serving dish and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Pineapple Ginger Ice Cream Smoothies

Feeling a bit sore after mowing the lawn? Here's a cool treat that could help those achy joints with the healing properties of pineapple and ginger.

Beat the heat by adding some vanilla ice cream, yogurt or non-dairy frozen dessert to make this smoothie with the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and pineapple. Click the links to read more about the health benefits ginger and pineapple according to the World's Healthiest Foods site.

Pineapple Ginger Ice Cream Smoothies
2 cups vanilla ice cream (or yogurt or non-dairy frozen dessert)
2" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
6 oz of pineapple, chopped (if using canned pineapple, use the juice as well)
1 tbsp agave nectar or honey (optional)

Place pineapple and ginger in a blender and pulse to combine. Add ice cream and agave nectar and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Stuffed Zucchini Shells

If you've planted zucchini you've probably found yourself in the situation of giving zucchini away to friends, co-workers or even strangers on the street. In the right conditions, zucchini plants can be very prolific.

Here is a simple all-in-one meal to help you use up some of this summery squash. You can easily use tofu crumbles or ground turkey, or any protein you like to make these zucchini shells a complete meal, or a hearty side dish or first course.

Don't forget the simple accompaniment of minted yogurt for an elegant finishing touch.

Stuffed Zucchini Shells
4 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
12 oz ground turkey or tofu crumbles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turbinado or light brown sugar
3 scallions (green onions) sliced, greens and whites separated
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

* Scoop out the seeds and part of the flesh of the zucchini. Chop the flesh and set aside.
* Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a pan over medium-high heat and saute the turkey with the white parts of the onions and the garlic, stirring until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off excess fat.
* Stir in the zucchini flesh, the spices, and the green onions and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes.
* Place zucchini "shells" cut side up on a baking sheet lined with foil. Fill the zucchini "shells" with equal portions of the meat mixture, and top with pine nuts.
* Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until the zucchini "shells" are tender.

To serve, top each shell with a drizzle of minted yogurt or sour cream.

Blueberry Melon Salad

Not only is this salad crisp and refreshing, but it's a beautiful example of the many colors of summer fruits. I used locally grown blueberries and yellow fleshed watermelon, but feel free to use any berries and melons that catch your eye.

Blueberry Melon Salad
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup yellow watermelon, cubed
1 cup galia melon, cubed (or cantaloupe or honeydew)
1 head green leaf lettuce, torn
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Arrange the lettuce on a platter or in a bowl and top with the fruits. Drizzle with agave nectar and white wine vinegar. Toss and allow to sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Just prior to serving, toss gently and top with sesame seeds.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Garlic Ginger Kale with Portabella Mushrooms

(photo from

This dish was made with the Georgia grown Coleman River Farm's Lacinata Kale (also known as Black Kale or Dinosaur Kale), and came together in mere minutes. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this is a fantastic side dish, or even a main course to whip together and enjoy.

Garlic Ginger Kale with Portabella Mushrooms
2" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1# kale leaves, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 large Portabella caps, cubed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp miso tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Rinse and drain kale, leaving the leaves wet.
Add onions to the pan and cook until wilted, add all of the remaining ingredients, stirring well to distribute. The moisture on the kale leaves will cause a "steam-saute" effect. Cover if desired and cook for 10 minutes or until leaves are tender.

Simple Summer Mixed Pepper Medley

Substitute any of your favorite peppers to increase or decrease the spiciness of this condiment/side dish. It's loaded with flavor and antioxidants, and the short cook time makes this a fabulous condiment for fish, chicken, tofu or whole grains.

Simple Summer Mixed Pepper Medley
2 banana peppers, seeded and large diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and large diced
1/2 fennel bulb, small dice
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat and saute red onions until slightly caramelized. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook for 5-8 minutes or until just crisp-tender -- cook longer to stew down. Use as a condiment to top proteins, or incorporate into side dishes featuring whole grains or pastas.

"Food as Medicine" Recap

In the last Food as Medicine class held July 12 at Sevananda Natural Food Co-Op, we looked into Antioxidants and their role in an "anti-inflammatory diet." We shared an eye-opening revelation about the simplicity of healthful eating, and how many of the foods we eat daily contribute to our well being by acting as a buffer between ourselves and the toxins that invade our lives via biological, environmental and artificial stimuli.

Woah that's a mouthful, but it was all quite simply explained in class, then highlighted by these easy yet delicious dishes: Garlic-Ginger Kale with Portabella Mushrooms, Blueberry Melon Salad and a Simple Summer Mixed Pepper Medley.

The Blueberry Melon Salad not only highlighted the seasonal Georgia-grown blueberries, but also illuminated beautiful native Yellow-fleshed Watermelon and succulent Galia Melons with a touch of mint on a bed of tender organic green leaf lettuce, with a simple dressing of agave nectar and white wine vinegar.

The Garlic Ginger Kale with Portabella Mushrooms featured local Coleman River Farm's young and tender Lacinata Kale, also known as Black Kale or Kavolo Nero. Kale is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. This dish also packs loads of ginger and garlic shoot the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties through the roof! Mushrooms carry mysterious properties that centuries of preparation have proven to bolster the body, mind and soul. This dish simply and quickly combines fantastic health promoting antioxidants and delicious Georgia grown tender kale leaves with the mystical, magical life-enhancing mushrooms to produce one tasty dish in a matter of minutes.

The Simple Summer Mixed Pepper Medley is one of those amazing dishes that can be altered in innumerable ways. I hope you're growing peppers of some sort at home in your yard or in a pot on the deck. Peppers love Georgia's climate and if you are growing them, then you'll find yourself up to your neck in peppers in very short order. This is a great dish, which with the addition herbs and spices, or complimentary ingredients such as tomatoes, white wine or even a pat of butter, can be transformed into a quick sauce for fish, tofu, brown rice or really anything. Feel free to add crushed red peppers, garlic, a splash of balsamic vinegar or whatever you fancy to modify this recipe to your tastes.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Even more blueberries!

Check out the Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette that dressed a wonderful Crunchy Blueberry Salad at the last Natural Foods 101 Class! This link will take you to where Localvores do their darnedest to support locally produced foodstuffs, like our Georgia grown blueberries.

The next class, Food as Medicine, will be held at Sevananda on July 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. The class is free for Sevananda employees, and the first THREE members to sign up. It's $10 for everyone else.

If you can't make that class, I'll be focusing on Gorgeous Summer Produce, locally grown, to produce healthful and delicious dishes at the next Life Chef class held at Saint Philip AME Church on July 19 from 10 a.m. to noon. This class is $15 per person, or $5 for seniors.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Blueberry Popsicles and More

July is peak blueberry season here in Georgia. Get yours while they last! Pick them up from local growers at weekly farmers' markets, or from stores like Sevananda Natural Foods Co-Op. Or pack up the kids and go pick your own from farms around the state. Keep reading for helpful links and more nutritional information about blueberries!

This blueberry popsicle recipe from Wondertime is quick and easy and a great use of the gorgeous blueberries that are in peak season now. Freeze the popsicles for 3-4 hours.

For more info on the intense nutritional benefits of blueberries, check out this article from The Worlds Healthiest Foods website.

To find a farm where you can pick your own berries visit Where to Pick Your Own.

Georgia is the 7th leading blueberry grower in the nation and for more great info on our local harvests of Rabbiteye blueberries visit the UGA College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences.

If you want to grow your own blueberries take this advise from the UGA CAES article:
"Under good management, blueberry bushes will produce some fruit the second or third year after transplanting. By the sixth year they will yield as much as 2 gallons each. The yield will continue to increase for several years as the plants get larger."