December 4th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Take a vegetable (in this case, some fungi), add your favorite herbs, and finish the dish with some wine. Does a better culinary prescription exist?
Choose either baby bella or cremini mushrooms for this recipe. Bellas offer a rich flavor and meaty texture. Creminis, with their brown skin and creamy tan flesh, provide a more pronounced flavor than their button-mushroom cousins.
Braising releases the mushrooms’ natural juices and brings out their earthy flavor. The red wine, garlic, thyme and poultry seasoning combine to impart a classic taste.
But it’s the herbes de Provence that provide the decidedly unique flavor in today’s recipe—a French/Italian spice blend that includes herbs like bay leaf, basil, fennel, chervil, sage, summer savory, rosemary, thyme, tarragon and lavender. You’ll find herbes de Provence in the spice aisle.
All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Braised Mushrooms with Herbs
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
1 pound baby bella or cremini mushrooms, cut in half and wiped clean with a damp cloth
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1/2 cup low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)
- In wide skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, and sauté until just golden (careful not to burn).
- Add mushrooms, fresh herbs, herbes de Provence and poultry seasoning. Increase heat to medium-high, and stir all ingredients so that mushrooms are well coated.
- Cook mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add red wine and cook for 2 minutes (if using); then add beef broth.
- Cover pan for about 10 minutes, and cook until mushroom juices have been released; then remove lid.
- Cook until liquid is almost completely reduced. Add pepper and salt to taste.
Per serving: 110 calories, 7 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 6 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 65 mg sodium
Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research
Read More:Braised Mushrooms with Herbs
November 5th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
If you enjoy food from a variety of cuisines, you’re no stranger to cilantro.
From Thai (Thai Roasted Squash Soup) and Indian (Indian Chickpea Dip, Madras Curry Dip for Fish/Seafood) cuisine to Mexican (Golden Guacamole, Harvest Stuffed Squash, Granny Smith Guacamole) and Middle Eastern (Middle Eastern Meatballs) dishes, this fragrant herb is a seasoning staple.
Also called Chinese or Mexican parsley, cilantro is the leafy part of the coriander plant. In folk and holistic medicine, it has been used to settle the stomach, relieve anxiety, lower cholesterol levels, help control diabetes, reduce inflammation and treat infections.
Modern medical research has confirmed the herb’s healing powers. In the August issue of Environmental Nutrition, registered dietitian Sharon Palmer cites cilantro’s antioxidant properties, which “may be due to their rich phytonutrients profile that scientists are beginning to identify.”
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, also discovered that dodecenal—an antibacterial compound found in cilantro—can help kill Salmonella in foods. This finding led them to explore its use as a natural food additive. The researchers found cilantro to be a “potent antibiotic” and encouraged consumers to eat more fresh salsa. That said, they remind us that it’s no substitute for proper food handling.
Tune in tomorrow for our weekend recipe for Chiles Rellenos, which features a healthy dose of cilantro.
Holiday Gift Books
Read More:The Amazing Health Benefits of Cilantro
September 20th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
The American palate has become more adventurous, so spicy curries are no longer outside the culinary mainstream.
Many home cooks and restaurant diners may be surprised to learn that curry powder—a blend of spices like turmeric, ginger and hot peppers—may help prevent cancer:
- Turmeric may delay the growth of colon and prostate cancer.
- Ginger contains gingerol, a phytochemical that has killed ovarian cancer cells in some studies.
- Capsaicin, a compound in hot peppers, may shrink pancreatic tumors.
Today’s recipe pairs the health benefits of cauliflower and curry. Prep time is 20 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup frozen green peas
1 head of cauliflower, chopped and steamed
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Heat canola oil in large skillet. Add onion and sauté for one minute.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir until vegetables are coated with the spices.
- Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Editor’s note: Be sure to check out Friday’s recipe for Cauliflower with Mustard and Minced Dill.
A Flurry of Curry
Recipe courtesy of the CDC
Read More:Curried Cauliflower
July 29th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Americans consume far too much sodium, which contributes to high blood pressure and fluid retention.
You can replace much of the salt you add to foods with organic herbs and spices. They’re flavorful, economical and add variety.
“Simple dishes become deliciously elegant when paired with the right herbs and spices,” says Kendall McFarland, product development manager and food specialist at Frontier Natural Products Co-op in Norway, IA.
With eight basic herb/spice staples, you can add zing to any meal:
- Garlic: Compatible with virtually any savory food. Available in fresh and dried forms. Use it in tomato-based dishes, dressings and spice blends. Sprinkle it on buttered bread before broiling.
- Onion: Seasons a host of international cuisines. Many available varieties. Can serve as a primary ingredient, vegetable accompaniment or seasoning. Use in casseroles, soups, sauces, vegetable dishes, relishes, breads and stuffings.
- Paprika: A sweet relative of the chili pepper. Adds warm, natural color and mildly spicy flavor to soups, grains and hors d’oeuvres. A shake or two livens up cheeses and garlic bread. Try it in spreads, salads, egg dishes, marinades and smoked foods.
- Parsley: Brightens up soups, dressings, salads, casseroles and stuffings—any dish that benefits from fresh green color and a clean vegetable taste. Especially good with fish, egg and grain dishes.
- Cinnamon: A key baking ingredient that wins the spice world’s popularity contest. Adds depth of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. A surprisingly delicious addition to vegetables like carrots, spinach and onions.
- Basil: Has a warm, sweet, mild, minty/peppery flavor that’s delicious with vegetables—especially tomatoes. Add to soups, stews, sauces and dressings. Pairs well with many other seasonings.
- Oregano: Has a strong personality, but partners well with other seasonings—especially basil. Use in any tomato sauce, as well as baked chicken and fish. A must atop pizza.
- Rosemary: Adds texture and taste to meats, marinades, dressings and casseroles. A perfect addition to potato salad, egg salad and stir fries. Can also enhance soups.
Photo courtesy of ARA
Read More:8 Must-Have Organic Herbs and Spices
April 3rd, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
In the 1800s the second president of the United States John Adams, planted the very first garden at the White House, so that he and his family could enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Then in the 1940s Eleanor Roosevelt brought it back, calling them “Victory Gardens” to support the war effort during World War II, but soon after the garden was scrapped again.
But current First Lady Michelle Obama recently broke ground for the new the “first garden” that will grow a bunch of different fruits, vegetables and herbs to be harvested and used in the White House kitchen. Expect no beets. President Obama thinks they’re icky.
Now, for a brief history on the most power garden in the world, check out this uplifting video The Garden of Eatin’: A Short History of America’s Garden.
Read More:The White House Garden a Short History
February 13th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham (left)
Looking to spice up your love life this Valentine’s Day?
Chris Kilham is the “medicine hunter” behind two natural herbal products for romance seekers committed to an organic lifestyle.
An ethnobotanist and explorer-in-residence at the University of Massachusetts, Kilham recently returned from a global search for botanical aphrodisiacs that put him face to face with native shamans and herbalists in Peru, Siberia, Malaysia and the Himalayas. Two supplements—Hot Plants for Him and Hot Plants for Her—are the result of his intercontinental trek, while Hot Plants: Nature’s Proven Sex Boosters for Men and Women chronicles his adventures.
“Our modern culture is infected with DINS—that is, dual income, no sex,” Kilham says. “Forty-five percent of married couples report having intimacy only one to three times per month. Thirty million American men suffer from performance issues, while record numbers of women complain of low libido due to the stress and fatigue of daily living. Ancient cultures treated intimacy problems using indigenous plant medicines. These treasured botanicals have worked for centuries. Today, substantial scientific research validates their value.”
Human clinical studies have shown improvement in sex drive, sexual function and overall satisfaction utilizing traditional hot plants, including Maca from Peru, Rhodiola Rosea from Siberia, Tongkat Ali from Malaysia, Panax Ginseng from Korea and Yohimbe from West Africa. Important note: Just be sure to read Hot Plants package labels before buying or using the products to review contraindications (i.e., high blood pressure, heart/kidney/liver/thyroid disorders, prostate conditions, etc.) that warrant discussion with your healthcare provider.
Hot Plants is available at natural food stores, including Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats and GNC. Next month, Kilham’s new “Medicine Hunter” television series will broadcast to 20 million U.S. homes on The Healthy Living Channel. A year ago, he appeared on ABC’s 20/20 to dispel the myth that herbal aphrodisiacs are “a bunch of hooey.”
Read More:Hot Plants for Valentine’s Day
December 16th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Lisa Corwin is president of The Comfort Company in Miami, where she serves as a food consultant. She began her 25-year career as a chef, “drawing inspiration from the immigrants and ethnic neighborhoods that peddled and prepared real food and medicinal herbs,” she tells Organic Authority. “First and foremost, I love fresh, organic, high-quality food. Watching the world fall ill around me from the processing and adulteration of the modern food industry, it became very clear to me to heed the call to preservation and make healing foods a delicious way of life.”
Lisa, who prepares meals, caters parties and “walks clients down the food aisle so they can say ‘I do’ to a healthier lifestyle,” responded to my call for Brussels sprouts recipes just before Thanksgiving. She wanted to share her thoughts with Organic Authority readers this holiday season, so I’m turning the rest of today’s blog entry over to her.
“I was deprived of Brussels sprouts as a child because they were verboten at our dinner table,” Lisa writes. “I had a father who suffered from ‘Brussels sprouts sickness’ while serving overseas in England during World War II. But I became secretly enchanted with these mini-cabbages as a vegetable-loving young adult and would soon sing their praises as a healing-foods chef seeking wisdom from nature’s medicine chest.
“Every Thanksgiving and on other auspicious occasions throughout the year, I honor my late father with shining little examples of Brussels sprouts perfection. I know the lowly sinking sprouts that sat simmering and stinking on a hot steam table in an Army mess hall would be enough to have the most stalwart soldier bending at the knees.
“Not only delicious and fragrant when cooked properly, these mighty little heads are loaded with calcium, potassium and vitamin C, and they’re packed with fiber. I encourage my clients to eat them, as well as all their cousins in the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, etc.) because they also contain indoles, which protect against certain types of cancer—particularly cancer of the reproductive organs. One can visualize these mini-‘super sprouts’ attacking and obliterating destructive cancer cells and leaving the body perfect, whole and complete!
“I like to cut large sprouts into bite-size halves. Whether blanched or steamed, here are a few deliciously simple ideas:
- Toss sprouts with walnut oil and a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with chopped toasted walnuts.
- For an Asian flair, prepare a dipping sauce made with shoyu (naturally brewed soy sauce), a little chopped garlic or grated ginger, a dash of rice wine vinegar and a pinch of organic sugar. Garnish with snipped chives or green onion tops.
- Blanched Brussels sprouts are great when sautéed in organic olive oil and garlic and then baked with a breadcrumb and grated-cheese topping. Ideas for this tasty vegetable are as endless as the fresh or dried herbs that you have on hand, combined with a little butter or oil.
“There is a Zen-like quality to vegetables like Brussels sprouts, which require arduous manual labor to clean and trim. One can have a lovely meditation while prepping them or can share the experience with a kitchen companion. If you are lucky enough to find them still on the stalk, it is well worth rearranging your refrigerator to accommodate them until used.
“Thank you for reminding me that the season for Brussels sprouts is upon us, and as I give thanks with friends and family, I will raise a glass of crisp chardonnay to my father and his ironic inspiration.”
Please check out our top chefs’ recipes for Brussels sprouts:
Read More:A Daughter’s Culinary Tribute to Her Father