About Broccoli

Broccoli is a health power house and it is so readily available at this time of year.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BROCCOLI
Broccoli contains cancer fighting glucosinolates which are transformed to disable toxins in the body.  The younger the broccoli, the more glucosinolates. The cancer fighting sulforaphane is formed by the enzyme myrosinase which is activate when broccoli is didyouknow2chopped or chewed.    To increase the  absorption of sulforaphane, steam the broccoli briefly or even better, eat it cooked.  In addition, if you have a slow thyroid, it is much better for you to eat your broccoli cooked.  I have given you a recipe for broccoli soup this week. This recipe contains turmeric along with onion which forms and extremely powerful treatment for colon cancer. Turmeric also helps to prevent the damaging plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  The incidence of Alzheimer’s is the lowest in the world in India where they consume 80% of the world’s turmeric.  Turmeric has also been shown to improve cholesterol results.

Ginger and Turmeric Roots

Ginger and Turmeric Roots

WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN!
I was surprised that when I gave a family member several soups to try that he liked the broccoli soup the best.  Who likes broccoli soup? Especially over tomato but he said he liked that little “bite” that it had.  That would have been from the ginger and turmeric.
ying-yangPOWERFUL COMBO!
Nutrients in foods work best as a team, like a baseball, hockey or all star team.  The nutrients in fruits and vegetables are more powerful when combined with other fruits and vegetables.   When broccoli is combined with tomato it affords a more powerful protection against cancer than just eating either vegetable alone. This is only achieved by eating the actual foods together and not a supplement. The antioxidant affect of any single food does not exhibit impressive results by themselves but the actual foods containing the nutrients when combined with other foods make a big difference.
brocolli_soup_sept_final2FOOD TIP: To make this fun, tasty soup – pour them both into the bowl at the same time.

Recipes from Tomatoland

Good Morning,  It’s quiet in Toronto this week. The traffic is thinner than usual.  There are more seats on the subway.   But by golly, there are a ton of tomatoes.  Tomatoes are so bountiful at this time of the year as well as beautifully ripe and flavourful. They are at the market.  They are growing on the backyard or even balcony vines(such as mine)!  We can take advantage of this and make dishes such as soups to enjoy now and freeze to enjoy throughout the winter. This is also a great time to make oven dried tomatoes and freeze the in those tiny mason jars. The flavours are amazing on your salads, sandwiches , pastas and pizzas throughout the winter. So delicious! And the health benefits are off the charts as well.

didyouknow     If you cook tomatoes more lycopene is released by the tomatoes. Lycopene is reported to protect against heart disease, prostate  and cervical cancer.  In addition, if you ingest tomatoes with oil then the lycopene is made more bio-available.  Your body will absorb four times as much of the lycopene.  This is another reason to avoid “fat-free” salad dressings.  Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K as well as many other nutrients. One cup of tomatoes has only 27 calories.  Food chemists at the university of California found that organically grown tomatoes have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than conventional tomatoes so it is worthwhile to buy them organic or grow your own.  This is not true for all vegetables for example organic bell peppers. Tomato paste and ketchup are two of the richest sources of lycopene in our North American diets.

We can enjoy the health benefits of  cooked tomatoes by utilizing  the following tomato soup recipe.  Please see my earlier tips on freezing soup. I experimented and developed this by trial and error over a 10 year period of time.  Next week I will post a recipe for broccoli soup and I like to combine this with the tomato soup to give a yin/yang appearance with contrasting colour and flavour.  Stay tuned…..

About Sweet Potatoes

didyouknowDID YOU KNOW: Our little sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A,  vitamin C, manganese.  Sweet potatoes are also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron. They are high in antioxidants and come in many colours.

One  small sweet potatoes has three grams of dietary fiber, four grams of sugar , 8,500 micro-grams of beta-carotene, 14000 international unit of vitamin A and eighty-six calories.

HEALTHY BENEFITS
It helps to keep your liver healthy and helps to to avoid diabetes. Sweet potatoes help to stabilize blood sugar levels and help to lower insulin resistance.
We should just eat more of them and more often. I have provided you with two recipes for Sweet potatoes salad that you can enjoy in the summer with your grilled meats. You can enjoy this sweetness  all year round with your meals.
sweet-potato-heirloom
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RECIPES
flameanimationThe first sweet potatoes recipe (click here) is on the savory side and quite mild. The second recipe (click here) has some HEAT. You can add as much heat as you wish.

Enjoy these recipes, either mild or hot. Above all eat healthy sweet potatoes!
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Health-Hub-Knockout-

Clafoutis: rhymes with sugar-free (back story)

all-recipes3 Clafoutis originated in the Limousin area of France.  This is the area where Limoges porcelain is made. This dessert dates from at least the mid 1800’s.  The word comes from the French verb “clafir”, meaning “to fill”.  You are filling up the batter with cherries in this case. Clafoutis rhymes with sugar-free and that is what this version is and gluten free as well.

. . . . . . . .a NO Sugar, NO Gluten and NO Guilt Dessert.

cherry_clafoutisThe classic clafoutis is basically a crust less pie with cherries. When classified as a flan by the rest of France, Limousin objected and the term was removed.  The classic version had cherries with stones and they claimed the flavour was enhanced imparting an almond flavour. They believed if the cherries were pitted, the dish would be too watery.  Talk about a choking hazard!  We have also stopped eating wild chicken while spitting out the buckshot. Today cherry clafoutis is made with pitted cherries. Cherry pits have amygdalin, found in almond extract. To substitute the almond flavour from the cherry pits,  I added ground almond in the batter.

QUICK TO MAKE:  This is a simple batter of eggs, flour, milk and sugar poured over the cherries and baked in an oven causing the mixture to puff up and brown.  Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 40 minutes.  I have made this so often because my friends enjoy this dessert. One reason is that it is a very light dessert after dinner.  When I substituted plums for cherries, it was a real coup. My friends asked me to come early to their dinner party  -the following week, to make the “plum” clafoutis dessert again.  It was that good! ( Baked plums are slightly sweeter than raw plums ). I prefer baked plums. This is the best dessert I can think of that is truly healthy.  Later,  I added cranberries to the mix. The ground almonds is the key flavour that makes this dessert a winner – see  recipe.
VARIATIONS: The cherries were later substituted with other ingredients  such as plums, apples, apricots pears, peaches raspberries , bananas, prunes, figs, and savory items like cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and prosciutto, bacon and cheese, cheese and potato, ham, etc. If another item instead of cherries are used, then you can no longer term the dish a clafoutis. It is correctly termed Flognardes (flan-like batter).

IMG_0708SINGLE SERVINGS: This recipe is very easy to make and you can cut the recipe in half to make just 2 or 3 servings. Or,  you may use ramekins, or any small baking dishes for single serving baking.  Otherwise,  Clafoutis is classically made in a flan type pan. You may scoop or slice the dessert onto your plate.  I prefer to use  a ring mold. It is very easy to remove the ring  and have a fool-proof presentation at the table for this light, tasty dessert.

THE EYE DOES HALF THE EATING.  Presentation is not everything but it is pretty powerful.  Have you ever had the experience where someone told you that something tasted good but it really didn’t?  It only looked good.  We’ve all been there.  If it looks good – it is certain that you are anticipating a good meal. The first bite is the tell all. When you taste this one you will see what I mean.  It’s fool proof.  EASY TO MAKE!

HAT2RING MOLD TIPS:   You absolutely need  to put parchment on the bottom of the ring mold so the batter won’t run out.  Place the ring mold on a metal sheet covered in aluminum foil for easy clean up of any possible run off. You coat the mold with butter and sweetener for ease of removal, presentation and decoration.

HEALTHY BENEFITS: The almonds, eggs and milk make this a healthy dessert that won’t give you that heavy feeling in your gut after a meal.  It doesn’t cause all the enzymes in your digestive tract to do battle and make you feel like you have a big nap.  This dessert supports our mission at Simply Splendid Food  for  healthy and tasty meals!

Food that people love and super healthy at the same time

Baked Tomato Sauce (back story)

all-recipes3 I felt a little trepidation making my baked tomato sauce and serving it to a friend who grew up in Italy.  I actually made the sauce as an accompaniment to taste test some zucchini pasta which I cut in different sizes.

Zucchini Pasta - Two Different Shredders

Zucchini Pasta – Two Different Shredders

KAMUT pasta:
I also served Kamut pasta* as a comparison to the zucchini pasta.  The zucchini pasta had no votes and it was agreed that it would be a palatable side dish  but the baked tomato sauce got rave reviews.  I was told that in Italy they do not make tomato sauce in the oven.  My friend told me that Italians will cook their sauce  on the stove top but don’t bake anything in the oven unless absolutely necessary so they will not heat up the house.  They tend to grill their meat as well. Again no oven to keep the heat down.  I pulled out my edition of  “The Silver Spoon” which is a major Italian cookbook , a kitchen reference work originally published in 1950. silver-spoonIt was only translated to English 10 years ago.  This would be similar to our “Joy of Cooking”.  Indeed there was no reference to a baked tomato sauce in this Italian cooking bible.  When you bake the tomato sauce the tomatoes take on a concentrated sweet flavour  almost like sun-dried tomatoes or tomato paste.  It is really delicious.

This recipe has anchovies which I hate.  You do not tasted the anchovies in this sauce.  It disappears and just adds that mysterious taste that is referred to as umami.  Now you know what umami tastes like if you didn’t before.  This is it.  Another guest was an anchovy hater as well but loved the sauce and didn’t notice the anchovies.

HAT2FOOD TIP: When I researched baked tomato sauces, some recipes strained the tomatoes for a smooth texture. Since all my guests raved about the chunky tomatoes, I always serve my sauce in the yummy, chunky version. You can use this sauce for spicy minestrone soup, Italian meatloaf, poached fish, chili, rice and ratatouille.

*Kamut is an ancient form of wheat. While its probably lower in gluten than modern wheat, it still has gluten in it.