How to Cook Kohlrabi Greens

This year about half of the plants in my garden came from the nursery dumpster.  I regularly get up early in the morning or stop by just after they closed to see what was in store for me.  I ended up with some plants that I am less familiar with, including kohlrabi.  I had bought Kohlrabi at the farmers market before, but it never came with the greens on it.  The greens are totally edible and when prepared well they are delicious!

Here’s how to cook the greens:

1. pull the greens off of the bulb

2. remove the stems by cutting or ripping the green part away from the woody stems

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3.  Cook the greens for 2-3 mins in boiling water to soften them.

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3. Remove the greens from water, drain well, place in pan for sautéing, add oil of your choice–I used Toasted Sesame Oil here.

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4.  Add spice and seasonings of your choice.  I added some pine nuts.  Salt also goes a long way!

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5. Serve warm or add to a cold salad.

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Trader Joe’s doesn’t make the grade for Organics. . .but its easy on the wallet

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With food and nutrition it’s never easy to decide what is the best way to eat, or the best place to buy your food, because it all depends on what is important to you and your different priorities as a consumer.  Last month, in reference to a question about vitamins and supplements my doctor told me “If they don’t have it at Trader Joe’s, you probably don’t need it.”  I guess that means that my doctor doesn’t think that I need to consume organics, because Trader Joe’s leaves much to be desired with respect to healthy Organic selection. All of the food in the picture above (plus four pre-made salads for my partner) was $89.  Which sounds like a lot when you look at it, but I usually spend a lot more at TJs.  The reason that I spent so little is the small selection of organics that TJs offers (I should add that I am not eating refined grains and sugars so organic chips and cookies and all that don’t make it into the cart).  With respect to meat–they only carry organic chicken and ground beef–no organic lunch meat, pork, or any other kinds of meat, so that makes the most expensive area pretty easy, but also pretty boring if I am going to last long on this Organic kick.  For fresh veggies they also leave a lot to be desired in my opinion–they don’t have a lot of the “super foods” that I have gotten used to–Kale, Brussels sprouts (which they do carry seasonally), chard, beets, brocclini, etc.  So I went with more conventional and less nutrient dense veggies that they do offer–lettuce, corn, cucumber, and pea sprouts.  (I will have to supplement this as the way that I usually eat this won’t last me a week–which is why its great that we signed up for a new CSA!–more to come on that later) Then there’s the Organic coffee–decaf and regular because I am cutting back on the caffeine. Organic dark chocolate because some indulgences are a must. Strawberries and grapefruit as “dessert” and pickles and beef jerky as an impulse buy.  Oh yeah and I picked up this small bottle of organic olive oil for 5.99.  It’s pretty pricey, but I do sauté a lot of veggies so I will need it–and it’s still cheaper than organic butter.

So I’ve gone on and on about what Trader Joe’s has for organic offerings, but it’s still not clear why I am doing this?  I have decided to “go organic” for as long as I can for many small reasons that seem to accumulate into a big feeling that this is the right way for me to go.  First, my diet soda habit was getting out of hand, and nothing I do seems to help me curb it.  Second, I had a conversation with my friend last week about food addictions, and how are bodies are beholden to the food industrial complex–like actually addicted to it.  She told me about how she goes on cleanses as a way of resisting this food system, and taking on a new embodied approach to food and whole living.  I guess you might call going organic a “cleanse” but I hope that it lasts longer than most of the cleanses that I have done (a week)!

There are a ton of benefits to eating organic–namely you cut out lot of the chemicals that we ingest everyday in America and there is some evidence that organic food has more nutrients.  Pesticides in conventional foods have been shown to reduce fertility, so going organic is good not only for reproductive potential but with all that we are learning from epigenetic research its good for your future kids even if you’re not making them right now.  There’s some evidence that pesticides and GMOs cause weight gain.  In any case what is most important is that there is a lot of evidence that the food produced by the global food industrial complex is not good for us, so it’s probably better not to eat it!

Thanksgiving 2011

I am so late posting these that I seriously thought about posting them next year.  Instead I decided to post the pictures now and wait until next year to post a full menu with recipes for each dish.  These turned out wonderfully, so much so that my mother-in-law said that this was her best Thanksgiving EVER!  (Also, for those of you who were wondering after this week I have officially gained back all of the weight from the 6 weeks @ 1200 cals experiment–it only took me 5 weeks!)

First the table and appetizers:

 

The Bird.

Picking fresh rosemary

The pumpkin pie. Made from scratch, from a real pumpkin.

 

Let’s Make a Date Muffins

I decided to whip up some of these Let’s Make a Date Muffins for pre-Thanksgiving breakfast and snacking. I decided not the follow the Epicurious recipe by omitting the streusel top because I wanted to make them a bit lighter given the amount of food we have planned for later in the day. They turned out great! Here’s some pics of the process:

these are the ingredients needed
pitted dates soaking in boiling water

What Counts as Unprocessed Food??

I recently posed this same question on my facebook page, and the response was that a lot of the things that we think of as healthy foods are technically processed.  This includes: tea, coffee, whole wheat products, pasta, wine, beer, chocolate, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and almost all of the meat that Americans eat, and farm raised fish among other things.  So to go completely unprocessed you would be very very limited and it would really be extremely difficult to be well nourished (correct me if I am wrong on that please).

We wanted to go on an “unprocessed” diet for 6 weeks, following the 6 weeks @ 1200 cals which was full of packaged and very processed foods, but I am not willing to give up things like coffee, dairy, alcohol, etc, so we had to come up with our own definition of what it means to have an unprocessed diet.  By unprocessed I mean something close to what others have called Real food, or Whole food, or Slow food.  Real food is defined by the RealFoodChallenge as ” food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth.  It is a food system–from seed to plate–that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability.”  Whole food, a bit more vague is defined as foods that are unprocessed or unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as sugar, salt, or fat. Examples of whole foods include unpolished grains; fruits and vegetables; unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish; and non-homogenized milk.”  And Slow Food tends to be defined in even more vague terms is said to be “an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.”

On the blog Civil Eats Andrew Wilder defines unprocessed food as  says, “any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients.” Since I dont want to give up everything and I am willing and actually eager to start making more things from scratch at home, I think that this definition is the best way for me to look at this unprocessed diet.

So let the unprocessed eating begin, here are some pics of our first trip to the Beverly Hills Farmers Market:

6 weeks @ 1200 cals

Week 5, Day 5/Day 33

So I have been feeling terrible the past few days, like I have muscle aches, sudden chills, and just feel like I am going to die randomly and I cant seem to figure out if there is any correlation. . .other than this diet.  Could 6 weeks of 1200 calories be catching up to me??  Could whatever micronutrients I’m missing be making me have these symptoms??  I have no idea, but I cant stop now–I’m so close to the end!!!  Also, it ends on Thurs of next week just a few days shy of next week because we leave for the cruise on Friday 🙂

I woke up at 6:30 this morning on purpose so that I could work on some things before the conference since I wasnt sure that there would be time to get anything done during the day.  I got up, got dressed went down to the lobby of my lovely hotel and got some complimentary coffee with a bit of cream @ 30 cals.  I went back up to my room and worked while I listened the shark attack news!

So when I got to the conference I had a fruit plate for breakfast and you guessed it ANOTHER coffee–black.  The fruit plate was probably about 70 cals. I was invited to have lunch with the other conference participants at this very nice restaurant up the street, unfortunately I didnt get to take pictures or get the name of the place (I was sitting next to Nancy Scheper-Hughes and too embarrassed to whip out my camera and have to explain all of this to her and the others at the table. )  So the menu had an amazing selection but I decided to go with the lamb steak, a bold move for a conference lunch, but my boldness was matched by the two sitting next to me, both NSH and my friend to my right order the lamb steak after I did.  It was wonderful, cooked med-rare to perfection, served with a creme friache, quinoa, roasted cherry tomatoes and a herb sauce.  it was perfect!  My only complaint is that they never brought me my drink, but they did get slammed with huge party of somewhat rude academics at lunch time so I guess I can understand.  So lamb steak has about 150 calories per 8 oz serving, but I know this was cooked in butter and plus it was served with creme friache and an oil based herb sauce so I am going to say that the dish was closer to 400 calories total. Wish I had taken a photo it was so beautiful.

The afternoon portion of the conference was great!  After the afternoon portion we all walked up the street to a lovely reception with champagne and appetizers.  I had a small glass of champagne for round of toasts and a mini empanada, 1/4 of a bean and cheese quesadilla, and a mini tacquito de pollo, I am guessing that the appetizers were about 200 calories total and the champagne was around 150 so thats 350 for the reception.  I was actually totally full afterwards so when we all moved on to a restaurant for dinner afterwards I didnt order but just had two beers 🙂  Beer for dinner yay! @ 370 cals. Then on my way back I couldnt resist it and I got another ice cream cone–this time with only one scoop of pumpkin ice cream, sooo good @ 150 cals. Then I went back to my nice bed, did some work and fell asleep.  Today’s total: 1370 cals.