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1.10.2014

Turnip Green Soup

Frigid winter weather here up on our mountaintop hillside brings chills, ice, and cravings for some nice warm soup.  Of course me being me, I crave greens.  Already through my winter rotation of collards, kale, and mustards my body says "TURNIPS!" I mean it, in all capitals- seriously. 

It sure helps that the  turnip greens are packed with calcium and iron as well as many B vitamins and vitamin C.  Turnips themselves make lovely low carb options for soup, stews and puree dishes either replacing potatoes or used in conjunction with potatoes.  (Hence the common cauliflower or turnip switcharoo for mashed potatoes).

January being the new year resolution and diet bonanzzana that it is, low carb diets and primal type diets are all the rage.   I am not a fan of fad diets or even the notion of dieting.  Thus keeping with the "real food" mantra and eating what I have poking up between mounds of dirty snow and mulch, here's to turnips.  Ode to my mother as well for cooking greens for me (she loves kale now!) and calling my dad a "turnip head" (but not because he eats turnips).  

To me, bowl of green goodness.  To Jon, something rotting and wayy past its prime.


2 large turnips, washed
1 large bunch fresh turnip greens, washed and pat dry
2 jalapenos, seeded (optional)
2 slices nitrate free turkey (or pork if desired) bacon
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water or gluten free chicken broth (homemade or I also use Kitchen Basics)
pink sea salt, to taste
fresh ground white pepper
Italian seasoning and parsley to taste
1 t. (gluten free) dijon mustard (Koops brand is gluten free)
2 T. virgin coconut oil (or bacon fat if desired)


This soup is a no brainer- start with not eating all the greens as you wash them (this is a clever tip I need to give myself often).  Wash and pat dry the greens and cut off the turnips and wash them.  I do not peel my turnips but peel away if you desire.  Start melting the coconut oil (or fat back) in a pot and place in the turkey bacon to brown.  Add the salt, pepper, and spices.

Wash and seed the jalapenos and set aside.  Chop the turnips into quarters or rough chunks.

Meanwhile, puree the greens in your Vitamix (or blender) with the water or stock.  Once the bacon is brown add the peppers and turnips and saute until the peppers are soft.  If you are short on time (or lazy like me) just add the wine to the peppers, bacon, and turnips and steam until the turnips are soft.  Be sure to cover the pot so you retain as much vitamin C as possible.  Once the vegetables are tender pour over the greens puree and add the dijon mustard and any other spices you want.  Let simmer until warm.  If you eat dairy I would recommend some raw cheese such as Beyond Organics's raw cheddar or your basic Parmesan cheese. Otherwise add a dollop of full fat coconut milk or creme fraiche to top the soup.   I ate it with a bow of fresh spinach, mushroom and raw apple ginger sauerkraut salad.  Now slurp away!

Notes: Jon thinks it has too much spice with 2 peppers (he's a wuss :)) and he says otherwise it tastes remarkably like split pea soup.  So there you go- a paleo low carb fake pea soup.  Exactly what I was thinking when I pureed turnip greens (sigh).  Sneak a bowl to your kids or spouse and see if they notice and comment below.


6.13.2013

Sprouted Curry Flax Crackers

Now that Paleo diets and Crossfit workouts are all the rage and soccer moms are packing kale chips in their kids' lunchboxes, it seems timely (or a bit late) to post a quick easy cracker alternative.  Flaxseed is a darling of the natural health circles and is yet another "health food" gone fashionable with the general public.  As a no net carb low carb seed packed with Omega 3 fatty acids and lignan fibers, it is easy to see why flaxseed is a popular ingredient.  


While there is controversy always raging in the Paleolithic community about exactly which food is paleo or primal, flax is considered a paleo hunter-gatherer diet friendly food and flour substitute.  While I love flax mostly for the beautiful blooms of the plant in my wildflower hedges, eating the seeds formed into crackers is enjoyable as well.  Soaking these innocent looking brown and gold babies allows them to sprout making the lignans and nutrients more bioavailable and enzymatically alive.  Rinsing the sprouted seeds before making the crackers removes much of the antinutrients like phytic acid found in nuts, seeds, and legumes.  Flaxseed makes a delicious versatile cracker spiced to your preference and convenient for travel and as a low carb "bread" or cracker replacement.  As always, consume in balance with healthy low glycemic foods and with plenty of water for the optimal benefit!  

ingredients:
2 cups organic (gluten free) flaxseed
about 2 cups filtered water
generous 1 T. raw pink Himalayan sea salt (used only salt not typical tamari or Bragg's liquid amino and salt blend)
 spices to taste: for the curry blend I used about

  •  2 T crushed red pepper
  • gluten free curry blend- I like the Madras style spicy curry turmeric 1 tsp
  • dried oregano

method:

First measure out and sort your flaxseed.  Add the filtered water (I use reverse osmosis water if that matters) and cover.  Let sit at least overnight until the seeds have sprouted.




The sprouting process will make the seed enzymatically active and more bioavailable and thus more easily digested.  The soaked mixture will be a gelatin like sticky goo.  To remove at least some phytic acid, rinse thoroughly with filtered water.  Just do your best, there are no hard and fast rules here.  The final rinsed mix should be gooey but not runny.

Add your sea salt and spices to taste.  Stir well.  It is helpful to spray your dehydrator or pan with nonstick spray or grease lightly with coconut oil at this point.  I use my old dehydrator with craft quilting mats I cut to fit (so the flax doesn't fall through the large dehydrator holes).



Spread the flax on the sheets about 1/8th to 1/4 inch thick.  You want the final product to be hearty enough to hold up to guacamole dip or shredded chicken, say, but thin enough to dry evenly.



You can also use a cookie pan and your oven.  If using an oven, dry around 100 to 125 degrees for about 6 hours.  I dry my chips in the dehydrator overnight until they break apart easily and are crispy.

sidenotes:
In the past few years flaxseed has gotten some bad press about its phytoestrogens and link with prostate cancer.  Is flax some insidious estrogenic food for men (or women for that matter who suffer from estrogen dominance and many hormone imbalance issues, especially after menopause)?  The Mayo clinic gives a short Q&A about this, but suffice to say that eating flax crackers in a balanced diet is not going to pump your body full of evil cancer-promoting cooties.  Taking high doses of flax oil for its ALA vegetarian omega 3 benefits, as once recommended, is probably not the best approach however since the oil is much more concentrated in phytoestrogens and lignans than the edible quantity of seeds.  I don't think Grok had access to high doses of isolated flax oil... somehow I doubt that Grok would drool at the sight of beautiful flax wildflower blooms as he might with a buffalo.   Besides, omega 3 fatty acids are best consumed as part of a whole food and from animal sources (read: eat fatty wild fish).   Lastly, there is evidence that the lignans in flax actually bind to estrogen in the digestive track.  For an interesting discussion on phytic acid and other antinutrient concerns in nuts and seeds, check out Mark's Daily apple.  I emphasize the importance of balance here as to not become overwhelmed by the micronutrient aspect of your food (didn't your mother tell you not to play with your food?!?).   Flax is healthy and fine in moderation- you wouldn't stop eating broccoli because of its phytoestrogen nuances would you?  Crunch on a darn flax cracker rather than a gluten carb rancid omega 6 oil GMO loaded chip, that's all I'm saying.  That and more importantly address your stress and lifestyle (exercise, sleep, diet, social support structure, higher power, etc) in a holistic manner, not just your food.  

On the lighter side, flax reduces inflammation, supports cardiovascular health, helps lower cholesterol, and reduces metabolic syndrome.  (Again, whether low cholesterol is actually beneficial to health is debatable and research shows that higher cholesterol in post menopausal women increases longevity).  

Flax ranks higher than blueberries and spinach in antioxidants and new investigation shows the delicate ALA omega 3 fats are not damaged by baking with flaxseed (and certainly not damaged by low temperature dehydration like here).  

The fiber in flax stabilizes blood sugar levels making flaxseed based crackers, muffins and breads better choices for those  with metabolic syndrome or on a low carb diet.  (Ground flax, hemp powder, and coconut flours make a wonderful hearty low carb high fiber gluten free and vegan "flour" blend.  I make variations of these baked goods and my digestion loves me for it!).   Flaxseed is high in manganese, magnesium, vitamin B1, and tryptophan to name a few nutrients.  Soaking and sprouting the seeds makes the crackers' enzymes and nutrients more bioavailable while the low temperature drying of the cracker makes it a raw food.  Of course the most touted glory of flaxseed is that it is practically all fiber so any food made of flax will be "no net carbs" which is what makes flax based muffins and bread popular in the low carb community


The longwinded micronutrient aspects of flaxseed aside, these babies are high fiber no net carbs spicy goodness and make great crackers for my hen's free range eggs from the backyard which I softboil and serve over steamed veggies and greens.  Get creative with your own spice blend- I have made these in various ways but always love a crunchy spicy treat!

Cindalou's Kitchen Blues: Healthy Celiac / Coeliac Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes

12.31.2012

Turnip chips

New Years brings new resolutions. Since I'm not one for resolutions, here I stand truckin' on in my same old Grok-ette style, but if you'd like to join me for some Paleo low carb munchie chips then crunch on!  Many thanks to BJ for gifting me with these fresh delicious turnips this past weekend.

I'd never pulled fresh turnips before.  Even on that chilly Sunday morning after viewing her hens and coop setup (yes, all us chicken mommies check out everyone else's coops), we sunk into the sandy mud to pull some gorgeous purple head turnips.  Since I pulled too many (darn efficient harvest hand) some turnip chips sounded good (again, thanks BJ!).  Easy, crunchy and seasoned to your pleasure...  For those embarking upon a low carb diet this new year, keep turnips in the forefront of your mind.  Though most root vegetables are high carb, turnips, celeraic root and cauliflower are great potato substitutes.


 About 1 lb fresh turnips
if desired: sea salt and seasonings of choice: for savory try parsley garlic powder and tamari or cayenne sea salt and curry.  Just plain old extra virgin olive oil, pink salt, and pepper work just fine too though!  

For raw turnips chips: wash and chop off ends.  My hens loved the fresh greens but you can eat them, make turnip green "chips" or discard them- whichever.  Slice very thin and place in dehydrator.  Rotate trays and check about every 4 hours.  I let mine dry overnight since it is chilly in our house.  They are finished when they are crisp.  Store in an airtight container.


Typical vegetable chip method for the dehydrator:
Wash and destem turnips.  Slice very thin and place in boiling water.  Blanch turnip slices; that is, boil for about 2 minutes until purple color is vibrant.  Drain and steep slices in ice water.  Drain again once cool and pat dry.  Salt and season as desired.  Place in dehydrator and dry in 4 hour intervals, checking slices to desired crispness.  Store in an airtight container.

Turnips are relatively low carb with raw turnips being a great source of certain B vitamins like B6 and folate, calcium, and minerals like copper and potassium.  Every bit of natural whole food vitamin source of potassium in particular will help to balance the SAD (standard american diet) bad sodium (processed salt) intake.  Cooked turnips will have more fiber but lose vitamin C and B vitamins if you drain the water.  Luckily blanching retains most of the vitamins so here this is not much of a worry.  Now grab your turnip chips and munch on into the new year!

crunchy turnip glory!

Cindalou's Kitchen Blues: Healthy Celiac / Coeliac Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes