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Burn the Best: Beeswax Candles


I was at a health food store with a friend the other day, cruising the aisles when he asked: "Hey Sarah, why do beeswax candles cost so much more than regular candles?" Well, I had to admit that he had me stumped there. I had heard that beeswax candles were better to burn than their paraffin counterparts, but I didn't know why exactly. Oohhh so exciting – I couldn't wait to get to the bottom of this one! With a little research I found some truly shocking information that was certainly blog-worthy…

Before I explain why beeswax candles are so superior, first let me give you the low-down on the downsides of the alternatives.

Paraffin origins
Most candles we buy are made from paraffin wax. Paraffin is a petroleum by-product, left over after producing many of the other common petroleum products such as gas, oils, pavement, etc. This material is then bleached with 100% strength bleach creating toxic dioxins, before being refined into 'solid' paraffin using various carcinogenic, solidifying chemicals.
Candle companies purchase paraffin wax and then add various other texturizing chemicals, artificial dyes for colour, and synthetic fragrances.

When synthetic fragrances are burned, they produce toxic fluoro-carbons and other polluting by-products. Inhaling these fluoro-carbons damages the receptors in our nasal passages that detect scent, and over an extending period of time diminishes the overall abilities of your olfactory senses by 'wearing them out'. This is one of the reasons many people seem to require increasingly stronger-smelling candles (or synthetic air fresheners), etc., to experience any enjoyable aromas at all!

Last, but certainly not least, is the indirect cost of burning a fuel like paraffin in your home, which emits black soot that coats your walls, household furnishings and curtains, and least desirably, your lungs and skin. It is a proven fact that paraffin, with its associated synthetic scents and other additives, causes headaches, allergic reactions and difficulties with sinuses and lungs. Anyone with respiratory problems should not burn paraffin candles, nor should those that want to prevent said problems.

I hope this sheds some light (ha!) on the perils of paraffin to your health, home and environment. Now let me introduce you to beeswax and the incredible properties it has to offer.

Beloved Beeswax
Burning beeswax candles is better for you and the environment for so many reasons. First, burning beeswax produces negative ions, which benefit us and the air we breathe by attracting pollutants, in much the same way that a magnet attracts iron fillings. Negative ions attach to positively charged ions that hold onto dust, dander, molds and other air borne contaminants. Once attached, the positive ions are weighed down and this drops both the ions and the contaminants to the ground to be swept up or vacuumed away. Bottom line: burning beeswax will actually clean your air.

Beeswax candles are the best choice for the environment since the material used is 100% renewable, and in its native, raw state does not require bleaching or hydrogenation. The production of paraffin (a non-renewable resource), and even soy and palm waxes, involves chemical intervention to modify the raw material into a wax form and then into a candle. This means that beeswax is a better choice for the environment, since its processing is minimal, does not require chemicals, and the end product is completely biodegradable.

You can burn beeswax in an unventilated room without fear of pollution. In fact, many people report that burning a candle in the bedroom for 30 minutes or so before falling asleep produces a more restful sleep. Beeswax is hypo-allergenic, benefits those with environmental allergies, sensitivities, and even asthma. To keep your air as clean as possible, just remember to trim your wicks before each use, and extinguish the candle by submerging the wick in its own wax pool instead of blowing it out, as both these measures prevent smoke.

Lastly, the quality of the golden light given off by beeswax candles is unsurpassed by its paraffin counterparts. Because of the high melting point of the wax, beeswax burns stronger and brighter than paraffin, in addition to emitting the same spectrum of light as the sun — how amazing is that!

The Overall Cost

So to answer my friend's question: while the initial cost may seem higher than paraffin candles, beeswax burns for much longer – two to five times the burn time of other candles. Beeswax has a much higher melting point than paraffin – in fact, the highest melting point of any wax, so it burns far more slowly. Costing only pennies an hour to burn, beeswax is much more economical than paraffin over time.

You can purchase beeswax candles at farmers markets, health food stores and of course online. The candles in this post are from The Beeswax Co., an American company committed to tradition and quality, they ship internationally, and I highly recommend them.

Wherever you choose to purchase your candles, beware of imitations! Look for 100% pure cappings beeswax, which is the wax that comes from the seal around each cell in the honeycomb. Some companies will cut their beeswax with paraffin, palm or soy waxes and still call them "beeswax" candles, so read the labels. Also, make sure the wick is made of a natural fiber (like cotton or hemp) and that it doesn't contain a metal wire (which can sometimes contain lead), and that there aren't any artificial scents or chemical colours added. Pure beeswax should smell like honey, and have a natural, golden hue.

Burn, baby. Burn!

The post Burn the Best: Beeswax Candles appeared first on My New Roots.

переводить | Fri, 05 Mar 2021 10:01:00 +0000

White Chocolate Peppermint Torte


white chocolate peppermint torte

 

Hi friends.

It feels good to be back in this blog space. Since the beginning of this year, I've been focusing my attention on my latest project, My New Roots Grow – an online universe of wellness education – which will launch soon. Grow is the most energy-intensive and large-scale project since my cookbooks, and once again it feels like birthing something major. The blog has been on the back burner giving more space for Grow to, well, grow, but I thought I'd pop in with this stellar holiday dessert because 'tis the season for a White Chocolate Peppermint Torte!

I actually developed this recipe last winter, but wasn't sure what to do with it. I thought about keeping it exclusively on Grow (since that is where a lot of my recipe content will live from now on!), but because it is so special and delicious, I felt that it should just be out in the world. Inspired by the Spiced Chocolate Torte that I make on the retreats in Mexico (remember places?!), I wanted to make a festive holiday version with white chocolate and peppermint… enter the White Chocolate Peppermint Torte.

The crust is dark chocolate and pecan, so rich and delicious with just the right amount of salt. The interior is velvety smooth and beguilingly creamy, made with cashews, coconut oil, and white chocolate. I love the kiss of peppermint in the filling, which is definitely present but not overwhelming. I didn't want anyone to feel like they were eating dessert and brushing your teeth at the same time!

white chocolate peppermint torte

 

Some notes on the recipe…


If you're using peppermint essential oil to flavour the filling, I find it helpful to measure it out on a spoon first, just in case the bottle is in a giving mood – one too many drops of this stuff will ruin a good torte with too much minty-ness! I like to use about 6 or 7 drops total, but if it comes out too fast, I have no way of controlling the amount. If you're using peppermint extract, start at a quarter of a teaspoon and work your way up to the flavour that suits you.

If you eat a vegan diet, you can use maple syrup instead of honey in the filling, but the colour is going to be more brown / beige than creamy. Also, make sure to find dairy-free white chocolate, since the vast majority of commercially-made white chocolate contains milk solids. And then, if you do find vegan white chocolate, read the ingredient list to make sure that is doesn't contain any hydrogenated oils or weird emulsifiers (or just pick your battles!).

 

white chocolate peppermint torte

The torte decorating is entirely up to you, although pomegranate seeds create a striking display of holiday cheer! Other options include fresh mint leaves, cacao nibs, or shaved dark chocolate. You could even include them all, if you're feeling extra festive.

Store the torte in the freezer until you're ready to enjoy it, then bring it out about 15-20 minutes before serving so that it's not rock hard. It's easier to slice and eat when it's warmed up a tad. Use a smooth, very sharp chef's knife, and run it under hot water before cutting into the torte to make it glide.

If you're not in the mood to make a crust, you can turn this dessert into freezer fudge by preparing only the filling. Pour the filling into an 8-inch / 20 cm square pan lined with plastic wrap; top with ½ cup / 65g toasted pecans, cacao nibs, or chocolate shards, and freeze until solid (about 2 hours). Slice into squares and enjoy straight from the freezer!

white chocolate peppermint torte

 

Print White Chocolate Peppermint Torte Author Sarah Britton Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 1 cup / 100g pecans
  • ¼ cup / 60ml coconut oil preferably flavour-neutral
  • 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups / 150g rolled oats divided, gluten-free if necessary
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • For the filling:
  • 1 ½ cups / 200g cashews soaked for at least 4 hours
  • ¾ cup / 175 ml creamed honey sub with maple syrup, but be warned the colour of the filling will be brown
  • ½ cup / 125 ml coconut oil
  • 75 g / 2.6 oz. white chocolate melted (dairy-free / vegan if desired)
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
  • a few drops peppermint essential oil or extract to taste
  • pomegranate, mint, cacao nibs, shaved dark chocolate, for garnish, optional
Instructions
  • Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) spring form pan or pie dish with coconut oil.
  • In a food processor, blend ½ cup (50g) of the rolled oats on high until you have a rough flour, place a small bowl and set aside. Without cleaning the machine, process the pecans into a fine crumb with the texture of sand. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, oat flour and cacao powder, and process again until the dough comes together. Finally, add the remaining 1 cup of rolled oats and pulse until the oats are chopped, but still have some texture to them. The dough should stick together slightly when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn't, try adding a bit more maple syrup or processing a bit longer.
  • Crumble roughly half of the dough evenly over the base of the pan. Starting from the middle, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom, moving outward and upward along the side of the pie dish. The harder you press the crumbs into the dish, the better the crust will hold together. Taking a small section at a time, use the remaining crust to go up the sides, all around the form until complete. Poke a few fork holes into the bottom of the crust to let the steam escape.
  • Bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until fragrant and slightly darker around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • Make the filling: Drain and rinse the cashews. In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashews, honey, oil, melted chocolate, vanilla, salt, and peppermint, then blend on high until the filling is completely smooth. It can take a few minutes of blending to get it smooth, depending on your blender. If the blender needs more liquid to get it going, add a tablespoon (15 mL) of plant-based milk (or a bit more) to help it along.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly. Place the torte on an even surface in the freezer, uncovered. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then cover the dish with foil and freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours, until the torte sets.
  • Remove the torte from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes before slicing. It is meant to be served cold. Garnish with mint leaves, pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs, melted or shaved chocolate, if desired.

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you're celebrating this month, you are safe, healthy, and grateful. This year has thrown us all for the biggest loop of our lives, and finding the small joys and tiny triumphs (like getting out for some fresh air, putting dinner on the table) is enough to make me feel proud, anyway. The holidays will undoubtedly look different this year, but I know that I am just thankful to have a roof over my head and a torte to share with the ones I love. I hope the same for you, dear friend.

In light and love, best wishes for the season ahead.

Sarah B

The post White Chocolate Peppermint Torte appeared first on My New Roots.

переводить | Mon, 07 Dec 2020 16:37:31 +0000

High-Vibe Condiment Classics


Summer is fast-approaching (at last!) and I don't know about you, but to me this means grilling, eating outside, and enjoying all of the classic, warm-weather treats. But wait! Did you know that there are all kinds of funky ingredients hiding in the most innocuous places, like your ketchup, mustard and relish?! We shouldn't have to forgo these truly classic condiments just because we're walking on the whole foods path. No way! So I decided to do a high-vibe makeover all of the condiments that you'd find at a barbecue, picnic, or baseball game: ketchup, mustard, honey mustard, Dijon, relish, mayo and secret sauce, without any refined ingredients, colours, or preservatives. They are entirely vegan (except for the honey mustard), and taste absolutely incredible.

Making your own condiments from scratch is empowering, and you too will see that by whisking up your very own mustard, or blending your very own ketchup that you are incredibly capable in the kitchen! It's a serious delight to realize that you're not only qualified to make things you thought you needed to buy, but that you're also doing yourself a giant favour in cutting questionable ingredients out of your life.

When I was a kid, I loved hotdogs with mustard and relish (not ketchup, that was for burgers). The vinegary tang of the yellow mustard with the sweetness of pickle relish perfectly offset the salty squishiness of a microwaved wiener. This was a typical Saturday lunch, with doughnuts for dessert, all washed down with a giant glass of milk. I wanted to recreate that nostalgia, minus pretty much everything else. The flavours bring me back to simple times and simple food.

But simple food is not always so simple. Have you read the ingredients on a squeeze bottle of relish lately? It's a complicated collection of chemicals that I certainly wouldn't want in my body. High-fructose corn syrup, "natural flavour", and food colouring are just a few of the ingredients that plague most tasty toppings. Food additives are everywhere, especially in shelf-stable products. If you're not going to refrigerate something or preserve it properly, it has to have things in it to prevent it from spoiling. It also has to look appealing and taste good, even after months (or years!) on a grocery store shelf. That is why it is so important to read labels and be discerning about what you choose to buy. This is not to say that these additives are inherently harmful, but they are far from natural, and I'm a believer in eating as close to the earth as possible! Luckily my condiments are not only based on whole foods, but they taste amazing and are actually good for you.

Here is a small list of the food additives to watch out for and avoid, if possible. Remember to check the packages of your other summer favourites, like chips, salad dressings, sparkling beverages, soda and "juice", ice cream, popsicles, and frozen yogurt.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Sometimes labeled HFCS, this highly-refined artificial sweetener has become the number one source of calories in North America. It is found in almost all processed foods, since it is cheap to make, shelf-stable, super sweet, and highly addictive. Excessive consumption has been linked to obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Watch out for it in condiments, salad dressing, bread, candy, soda, yogurt, breakfast cereals, even canned vegetables and fruit.

Natural Flavours This is a sneaky term meant to throw you off. When you see these words on an ingredient list, they refer to a naturally-derived flavouring agent that has to be extracted from plant or animal sources, designed to enhance the taste of food. Conversely, artificial flavours are synthetically created, with their original sources being manmade chemicals. Natural flavours however, are still made in laboratories by food chemists who can add any numbers of chemicals, including preservatives, solvents and other substances, which are defined as "incidental additives", to what they are creating. Food manufacturers are not required to disclose whether these additives come from natural or synthetic sources, and as long as the original flavouring comes from plant or animal material, they can be classified as natural. The point is, natural flavours don't appear to be any healthier than artificial flavours, and they can still contain ingredients that may cause reactions in sensitive individuals, especially children. To avoid them, cut back on packaged products and stick to the real-deal whole foods!

Food Dyes / Colours To make food look bright, fresh, and especially appealing to children, food manufacturers add dyes to obvious things like candy, sports drinks and baked goods, but also not-so-obvious things like condiments (!), pickles, cereals, salad dressing, yogurt, and chocolate milk. Some of these dyes are approved for use in certain countries, while others have banned them, making it challenging for consumers to navigate. The safety of food dyes is controversial, especially in regards to children. Studies have linked them to hyperactivity in sensitive kids, and they may cause allergic reactions in some people. Because most food dyes are found in unhealthy processed foods, it's easy to avoid them if you're sticking to a more natural diet.

Hydrogenated / Partially Hydrogenated Oils You know when the World Health Organization plans on eliminating these fats from the global food supply, they must be pretty problematic. Created by forcing hydrogen gas into vegetable fats under extremely high pressure to turn liquid into solid, hydrogenation creates trans fats, which increases the amount of LDL cholesterol, lowers HDL cholesterol, therefore significantly increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. What's more is that these fats are pro-inflammatory. Although their use has been banned in several countries, trans fats still lurk in many processed foods. As long as there is less than .5% per serving, it isn't required in to be listed in the ingredients or nutritional information. The best way to avoid them is by cutting out processed foods, especially margarine, coffee creamer, chips and crackers, frozen pizza, fast foods, baked goods, and microwave popcorn.

Health Claims – these are put on the front of the box to lure you in, and can include buzz words like "natural", "whole grain", "low-fat", "no added sugar", "organic", "light", "low calorie", "gluten-free", and "enriched". Terms like these should be a red flag for you, so read the entire label, including the ingredient list, the serving size, the amount and types of sweetener and fat used. Think critically and be selective – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The bottom line?! Stick to whole, or minimally-processed foods and ingredients as often as possible. It's better for you, and your family to make your own from scratch whenever possible. Not to mention, it's fun to brag to everyone that you're a condiment master, a yogurt wizard, or a salad dressing whisperer.

I had so much FUN with these recipes! It was a blast to brainstorm which condiments I would attempt to health-ify, experiment with, and eventually master to make them all easy-to-make and delicious. My condiments won't last years in the fridge, but all of them passed the two-week mark with flying colours (all of them natural, of course). As long as you're using clean utensils to scoop out your servings, you shouldn't have a problem keeping these toppings around for a few weeks – ya know, if you can ration them for that long!

Yellow Mustard
This was in fact my first attempt at making yellow mustard and it proved to be ridiculously easy! I think I'd built it up in my head to be some complicated project, but wow was I mistaken. Just a few simple ingredients, and a little stovetop whisking will get you the brightest, tangiest, most beautiful ballpark mustard of your dreams! I must warn you, from one condiment-master to another, that the bubbling mixture gets darn hot and tends to splatter when it's cooking. To avoid scalding yourself, use the pot lid as s shield (insert laughing emoji here).

Yellow Mustard
Makes 1¼ cups / 300ml

Ingredients:
1 cup / 250ml cold water
3/4 cup dry mustard powder
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground paprika
1/2 cup / 125ml apple cider vinegar

Directions:
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together water, dry mustard, salt, turmeric, garlic, and paprika until smooth. Cook the mixture over medium-low to low heat, stirring often, until it bubbles down to a thick paste, 30 to 45 minutes.

2. Whisk the apple cider vinegar into the mustard mixture and continue to cook until it's thickened to the desired consistency – this can take between 5 and 15 minutes depending on how thick you like it.

3. Let the mustard cool to room temperature. Transfer the mustard to an airtight glass jar or container, and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Honey Mustard
Depending on how sweet you like your honey mustard, it's just the above yellow mustard recipe with as much honey stirred in as you like! I added two tablespoons and it was perfect for me, but if you want even more, got for it. I recommend avoiding very runny honey, since this will loosen the mustard. Instead, opt for something on the thicker side to maintain the consistency. If you're vegan, brown rice or date syrup would be the best choices, since they are more viscous than maple syrup, for example. I love this on sandwiches with lots of fresh veggies and sprouts!

Honey Mustard
Makes 1¼ cups / 300ml

Ingredients:
1¼ cups / 300ml yellow mustard (recipe above)
2 Tbsp. raw honey

Directions:
1. Combine the mustard and the honey. Taste and add more honey if desired. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Grainy Dijon Mustard
This style of Dijon is a whole-seed one, which is my favourite because of the great texture and colour variations. It's spicy and complex, and will only get better with time. Keep in mind that this recipe is in two stages, the first one requiring you to soak your mustard seeds the night before you plan on blending.

Grainy Dijon Mustard
Makes 1 cup / 250ml

Ingredients:
1/4 cup / 40g yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup / 40g black mustard seeds
1/2 Tbsp. ground mustard
1/3 cup / 75ml white wine vinegar
1/3 cup / 75ml apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. sea salt

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight (for 12-24 hours) to allow the mustard seeds to soften and absorb the flavours.

2. Place mixture in blender and mix on high for a minute or two, until the seeds have broken and the mustard thickens.

3. Transfer contents to a clean jar and enjoy! Dijon will keep for about one month in the refrigerator.

Sweet Pickle Relish
This was the most anticipated condiment to try and make myself, since it's one of my favourites, but also one of the worst offenders for additives. I successfully recreated that gorgeous tang, and succulent texture of commercial relish that I loved so much as a kid. The taste of this one is off the charts! My recipe uses coconut sugar instead of refined sugar and syrups, so the colour is a little darker and browner than the conventional types, but I don't think you'll notice – and you certainly won't miss the food colouring!

Sweet Pickle Relish
Makes 2 cups / 500ml

Ingredients:
2 cups / 340g finely diced cucumber
1/2 cup / 85g finely diced yellow onion
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 cup / 125ml apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup / 40g coconut sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. dried dill
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 tsp. arrowroot, dissolved in 2 tsp. water

Directions:
1. Toss the cucumber and onion with 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a sieve set over a bowl, and let drain for about 3 hours. Next, press the ingredients against side of sieve to release as much liquid as possible, then discard liquid from bowl.

2. Bring the vinegar, coconut sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer until reduced to about a 1/2 cup / 125ml (just eyeball it), about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, mustard, dill, and turmeric, stir until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

3. Add the drained cucumber and onion mixture, plus diced red bell pepper, and simmer, stirring for about 2 minutes. Make the arrowroot slurry, then whisk it into the relish. Simmer, stirring, 2-3 minutes until noticeably thickened. Turn off the heat and transfer relish to a glass jar or storage container and leave uncovered until it cools to room temperature, then put in the fridge. The relish will keep for up to a month in the fridge.

Tomato Ketchup
This ketchup was an old blog post that I revisited and revised. I used to make this recipe in the oven, but my new method eliminates the need to crank up the heat when it's probably the last thing you want to do. Instead, the whole thing is made on the stove, then blitzed up in the blender. It's deeply spiced and complex, so much more interesting than store-bought ketchup. The first time I made the new version, I used a good portion of it for a soup base, then added more to a dip – both were delicious, so if you have leftovers, put it to use in an unexpected place. It's tasty with everything!

Tomato Ketchup
Makes 2 cups / 500ml

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (expeller-pressed, flavour neutral)
3 star whole anise (make sure they are whole to remove easily!)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. ground coriander
pinch of chili flakes
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2.2 lbs. / 1 kg tomatoes
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup

Directions:
1. Melt the coconut oil in a medium stockpot, then add the star anise, bay leaves, coriander, and chili flakes. Cook until fragrant about 2 minutes, then add the onions, salt and pepper, and cook until slightly browned, about 10 mins. Next add the add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add balsamic vinegar, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom of the pot. Add tomatoes and their juices, then bring to a simmer.

2. Cook on low heat for about 60 mins or until reduced and starting to caramelize on the bottom of the pot.

3. Turn off heat and remove bay and anise, add maple syrup. Let cool slightly and transfer to a blender, blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning to suit your taste.

4. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight glass container and store in the fridge. Keeps for about one month.

Aquafaba Mayonnaise
This was the most exciting discovery to make: vegan mayo using aquafaba! Aqua faba translates to "bean water" and it's the cooking liquid from chickpeas. Although any can of chickpeas will have this, I make my own, since there are no additives or chemicals that have leached from the can itself. If you cook your own chickpeas from dried, you have aquafaba. Although I wouldn't normally consume large amounts of aquafaba, in this case it's used in such a small amount that I think it's fine. Plus, did I mention it makes vegan mayo?! The results are so unbelievably shocking and delightful that I'm a convert, even though I eat eggs!

I highly suggest using the most neutral-tasting olive oil you can find for this recipe. Since it makes up the majority of the flavour of the mayonnaise, a strong-tasting olive oil will overpower the delicate nature of this condiment. I used the one from Pineapple Collaborative, which works perfectly. I also tried avocado oil, grapeseed, and sunflower, but didn't like the results as much as mild olive oil. It's up to you! You can really use whatever you have on hand, just keep in mind that it will really dictate the taste of the final result.

Aquafaba Mayonnaise
Makes about 1 cup / 250ml

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. aquafaba
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. fine salt
1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup / 175ml mild olive oil (or other light-tasting oil)

Directions:
1. Place the aquafaba in the bottom of a wide-mouth jar. Add the mustard, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, and the olive oil. Allow a minute for the oil to separate into a distinct layer.

2. Insert an immersion blender all the way to the bottom of the jar. (Note: this will not work with an upright blender) Start the blending process on medium speed and do not lift the blender until the mixture has thickened and turned white at the bottom of the jar. Only then, slowly move the blender up, waiting for the oil to incorporate as you go, until you get the texture of mayonnaise. Use immediately; refrigerate leftovers in a tightly sealed jar for up to 1 month. The mayonnaise will thicken slightly once cooled in the fridge.

Smoky Secret Sauce
This is the creamy, tangy, and perfectly seasoned sauce that most famously adorns the Big Mac burger from McDonalds. What's best about my version is that it has zero secrets…nothing weird to hide here! I had the most fun with this recipe, since it required a number of the condiments that I'd already made as ingredients. I did deviate a tad from the original and added smoked paprika, since I love the added dimension of smoke flavour to anything that's going on grilled food, but I've also found this to be a stellar salad dressing, especially for chop-style salads that have chunky, less delicate ingredients. I hope you find some fun things to slather it on this summer. It's lip-smakingly tasty!

Smoky Secret Sauce
Makes 1 cup / 250ml

Ingredients:
3/4 cup / 175ml aquafaba mayonnaise (recipe above)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard (recipe above)
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (recipe above)
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (not traditional, but delicious!)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Directions:
1. Fold all ingredients together in a small bowl or jar. Enjoy immediately, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

As a bonus, I've included this stellar recipe for carrot hot dogs – since you'll need a high-vibe wiener to put your condiments on! Hahaaa! I realize that carrot hot dogs are pretty 2018, but I'd never tried them before and it was a very amusing undertaking. I looked at a number of recipes online and my version is a mash-up of the ones that sounded the most delicious. My method is also much easier and faster than other versions I've seen, since it's just a braise on the stove and a quick grill (no marinating, steaming, roasting, etc).

The important thing to keep in mind for this recipe, is that the amount of time you braise the carrots for,I'm will be dictated by the girth of the carrots. Mine were more sausage-sized (approx 1.5" or 3.5-3.75 cm) than a typical hot dog wiener, and a 20-minute simmer was the perfect amount. If your carrots are smaller, I'd go down to 15 minutes. Insert a sharp knife to check on the doneness after 10 minutes or so, and take them out when they are tender, but way before they get mushy. Remember that you're also going to be grilling them for 10 minutes so they will cook even more, and you don't want them too soft. The final result should be tender all the way through, but shouldn't fall apart in your mouth.

Carrot Hot Dogs
Serves 8

Ingredients:
8 large hot dog-sized carrots
8 hot dog buns
1/4 cup / 60ml tamari
1/4 cup / 60ml apple cider vinegar
1 cup / 250ml vegetable broth or 1 tsp. vegetable bullion powder + 1 cup water
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. coconut oil (preferably expeller-pressed, flavour neutral)
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepperWash and peel carrots. Round the edges of the carrot to look more like wieners, if desired.

Direcitons:
1. Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a large stockpot with a lid. Add the peeled carrots and bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook with the lid on for about 20 minutes (less if your carrots are on the thin side, see headnote). Remove from heat and turn on the grill.

2. Grill the carrots over medium-high, turning every couple of minutes, basting them with the remaining braising liquid if desired. Cook until slightly charred and fragrant, 10 minutes total. Grill or toast the buns. Place a carrot on each bun and enjoy with all of the condiments!

I wish you all an incredible summer ahead! I recognize that this season is going to look very different from years past, but as long as we're all healthy and the sun is shining, we've got it pretty good. Stay safe out there, and keep fuelling your body with the whole foods it needs to thrive and feel alive!

All love and happy condiment-making,
Sarah B

The post High-Vibe Condiment Classics appeared first on My New Roots.

переводить | Sat, 23 May 2020 14:52:24 +0000

The Spring Supper Salad


Greetings, friends! For fun I am resurrecting one of the blog posts I wrote back in 2010 – a warm butter bean salad bowl, garlic-roasted carrots and wild rice. Why I am re-publishing a decade-old recipe? Well, for one I thought that there are a bunch of new followers around here who have never even seen this delight (hello, by the way)! Second, most of you who have been here since the beginning may have forgotten about it. Third, it's the ideal pantry staple recipe. And lastly, because it's very, very delicious. Creamy butter beans, golden garlic-y carrots coins, chewy wild rice, crisp and bright pickled onions, silky kale, and refreshing dill, all coming together with a lick-your-lips mustardy dressing that is divine on just about everything – this salad and beyond.

I've also re-named it the Spring Supper Salad because it's the perfect seasonal transition meal (yea baby, it's definitely a meal) incorporating both winter and spring produce and flavours, as we make our way into the light of the upswing! Hooray!

This recipe brings back so many memories for me. It was around this time that I had been working in restaurants in Copenhagen for about 3 years. I loved my job, and could hardly believe that someone actually paid me to spend all day in a hot, cramped kitchen, cooking a dozen new dishes every day without a menu or recipes – definitely still in the honeymoon phase. I felt confident in the food I was making, applying my deep understanding of nutrition to recipe development, and I used every day to push myself creatively, keenly aware of how fast I was learning and growing. I was certainly in the vortex, and it was a very exciting time of my life.

I started my shift around 8 am, and the majority of my dishes needed to be ready at 12 noon when we opened the doors for lunch. This is a relatively short window of time to pump out 200 servings of anything, but after some years, I developed short cuts that would deliver a lot of flavour in a hurry. One of these short cuts, was garlic oil – the first thing I would make after tying my apron strings, that would act as a marinade, a roasting medium, and a base for soups, stews, dressings and sauces for the entire day. In fact, I don't think that there were many dishes coming off of my station that didn't have garlic in them back then (such an easy way to make things taste good!). This oil sat on my bench and it got tossed into all the things, and all the people kept coming back for more.

One thing I loved using the garlic oil on, was winter veggies. I could toss them in said liquid gold, crank up the oven, and in half an hour, I'd have a blistered, glistening pile of roasted rainbow roots to serve, only needing a squeeze of lemon juice and a smattering of fresh herbs to make it presentable. Who wouldn't want to dive into that?! Plus, it was cheap. Like most restaurants, we were always looking at the bottom line and how we could make even the most humble foods taste exquisite. Garlic oil was the ticket.

At the restaurant, my signature move was combining veggies, grains, and beans in exciting ways (which was very novel at the time!) so this dish emerged from a commercial oven's worth of garlic-roasted carrots needing a home. With some tender and creamy butter beans coming off the stove, and some day-old, steamed wild rice calling out to me from the fridge, this combination came together very organically, taking the varied textures, colours, and flavours into consideration.

The secret to this dish is the consistency of the garlic in the oil. Different from mincing garlic and adding it to oil, here you must must must grate it or blend it up together so it becomes almost paste-like. This way, the garlic goes everywhere the oil does, and evenly caramelizes into the most divine, delectable gold, that's mellow and sweet and roast-y. You will not hate it.

Stop! Fiber time.

Fiber is probably the least sexy and alluring of all the nutrients we hear about. It's all about Protein! Fat! And if you hear about carbohydrates, it's probably something ignorant and unfair (I really hate jerks picking on macronutrients, back off!). Fiber seems pretty boring and something only your grandmother cares about, so why do you need to?

One reason that plant-rich diets are so health-sustaining, is not only due to their high fiber content, but their potential for fiber diversity. In the past, fiber has been broken down into two main categories: soluble and insoluble. What's new and exciting in this field of research, is that we can see that fiber can be broken down into several more categories (viscous, non-viscous, non-starch polysaccharides, resistant starches etc.) each one bringing forth the potential for diversified food sources for our gut bacteria. In short, the greater the diversity of plants we eat, the greater the diversity of our microbiome.

Why does this matter? Because our gut is the foundation for our overall health. If we've got a wide range of troops on the front lines of our immune system, the better our chances are for not just surviving, but thriving. The fiber we eat also feeds our good bacteria, and specific types of fiber feed specific types of bacteria. Enjoy eating the widest variety of plants you can, to ensure that you're supporting the widest variety of good guys in your digestive system. They will repay you in spades I'm tellin' ya!

The foods with the highest amounts of fiber are beans and lentils, vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts and seeds (remember that there is no fiber in animal-based foods). Different proportions of soluble, insoluble fiber, as well as viscous / non-viscous fiber, and fermentable fiber can be found in all of these food groups, it is highly recommended that you eat from each of them. And instead of focusing on grams (the minimum daily recommended intake is a measly 25g, not that we're talking about that…), we need to focus on diversity. Enjoy as many plant-based foods as you can, and experience the terrain of your body slowly begin to change. Everything comes back to the gut, and not just what you are eating, but what your gut-bacteria are eating too.

With this dish, you'll be feeding those good guys with fiber from six different plants! Talk about a solid mix. Beans, whole grains, 3 different veggies, plus herbs, add up to serious fiber diversity. Good, good, good fiberations! 😉

The fun thing about revisiting this recipe, was seeing if there was anything I would change this time around. I have learned so much and grown incredibly as a cook in the past ten years, so I was surprised that I didn't have many tweaks to make. The only two things I felt this salad needed was a dark leafy green and a pickle – classic Sarah B moves at this point! Since we still don't have any spring greens happening yet, I decided kale was the winner, and obviously it needed to be massaged! I turned the red onions in the original recipe into a quick pickle, as this is another indispensable kitchen technique that I've learned since posting the first time around.

This salad-meal has everything you need and crave from a single bowl: it's super flavourful and filling, with all of the textures in the mix to satisfy your noshing desires. The elements can all be made separately, even on separate days, if it seems like too many things to cook at once for a single dish. If you go the rollover route, boil the beans and rice a day or so before (and make extra while you're at it, because meal prep is for winners), and pickle the onions up to a week ahead. The kale can be prepped / massaged a day or so in advance, but the carrots should be roasted right before serving.

If you don't have butter beans, any white bean would work (navy, cannellini, Great Northern, or baby lima beans are some varieties) and if you want to switch up the grain, any kind of rice would work – even millet or quinoa would be delicious! Instead of carrots, use any root veg you have kicking around your crisper: beets, sweet potato, turnip, or winter squash would taste great in the garlic oil. And if dill isn't the herb of your dreams, try substituting it with flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil, or tarragon.

Butter Bean, Wild Rice, and Garlic-Roasted Carrot Salad
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1/2 cup wild rice
1 cup dried butter beans
4-5 medium carrots
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh dill
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a handful of quick-pickled red onion (recipe follows)
1 batch massaged kale (recipe follows)

Dressing:
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt

Directions:
1. Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse well and cover with fresh water. Add a teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until beans are soft – about 45 minutes.
2. While the beans are cooking, rinse the wild rice well, drain, and put in a pot. Cover rice with 1.5 cups fresh water, add a couple pinches of sea salt, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Cook until rice is chewy-tender – about 45 minutes. You will know the rice is done when the grains open up to reveal their purple-gray inner portion.
3. Preheat the oven to 400F. While the rice is cooking, wash the carrots and slice them on the diagonal into 'coins', place on a baking sheet. Grate the garlic with a microplane and combine it with the oil. Pour over carrots and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven and roast, turning them a few times over the course of 15-20 minutes. The carrots should be cooked but not mushy – al dente!
4. Make the dressing by combining all ingredients together, shake well.
5. Now all the elements come together: Drain and rinse beans in cool water to stop the cooking process. Pour dressing over warm beans and toss. Let sit for 5 minutes or so. Drain the rice if any water remains, cool slightly. Mix with beans. Toss in the carrots, scraping the pan to add garlic oil to the remainder of the ingredients. Throw in the massaged kale, as many pickled onions as you fancy, and an explosion of dill. Cracked black pepper too, if it's calling to you.
6. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Quick-Pickled Red Onion
Ingredients:
¾ cup / 175ml raw apple cider vinegar
½ cup / 125ml water
2 tsp. fine sea salt
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:
1. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and maple syrup in a large jar. Stir to dissolve the salt and syrup. Add the onions to the jar and put them in the fridge. Enjoy after at least 30 minutes, keeps for up to two weeks.

Massaged Kale
Ingredients:
3 cups / 90g shredded curly or dino kale
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches of fine sea salt, plus more as needed

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded kale, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Using your hands, rub and squeeze the kale together as if you are giving it a massage, until the kale leaves are dark green and tender, about 2 minutes. Enjoy immediately in the salad, or store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

I really hope you enjoy this delicious and satisfying meal soon. These days are asking so much of us, and I continue to come back to the kitchen for grounding, clarity, and connection. There are no answers, just presence. And in that presence I find myself over a cutting board, being grateful for just what is front of me, slicing a carrot, then another, saying thank you for simple things.

Love to you all. Stay well and safe out there.
xo, Sarah B

The post The Spring Supper Salad appeared first on My New Roots.

переводить | Thu, 23 Apr 2020 13:28:30 +0000

Granola Candy Bars


These Granola Candy Bars bring me back to when I was a kid. I always wanted to go to other peoples' houses for playdates not because I didn't like my own home… but because of the snacks.

Although my childhood diet included a fair amount of donuts and microwaved hot dogs, my mother had very distinct ideas of what was okay to eat on the regular, and what was not. Honey Nut Cheerios, okay. Lucky Charms, not okay. Granola bars, sure. Granola bars covered in chocolate, nope. My friend's pantries were stocked with these things, also known as Kudos, which are somehow legally sanctioned to be labelled granola bars and marketed as a healthy snack, but definitely wouldn't pass my mom's test by a long shot.

So, I had to get creative to have access to said saccharine granola bar slathered with oozy, sweetened peanut butter, covered in a thick coating of milk chocolate. My teeth hurt just thinking about them now, but holy heck were they transcendent to my seven-year-old self. I would put up with all kinds of games I didn't want to play, cartoons I didn't want to watch, even annoying little sisters, just to have access to the cupboard of Kudos bars after school.

The Best Recipes Come From Cravings

My version of this recipe came from a craving, as they often do. Maybe I was longing for a little nostalgia, or a connection to a simpler time when my only goal for the day was ingesting as much sugar as possible without my parents knowing. Good times, haha! Anyway, I have successfully re-created Kudos bars, with massively improved ingredients and adult upgrades. My version is naturally sweetened (duh), uses dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, and I swapped out the peanut butter for hazelnut butter, because it is just way more delicious! I added figs to the granola bars, since they pair so well hazelnuts. And last but not least, I included a healthy amount of salt for balance. Under-salted desserts make me want to light my hair on fire.

Altogether, these Granola Candy Bars are serious craving-crushers. Crunchy, crispy, creamy, oozy, sweet and salty, totally rich and mouth-wateringly delicious. I'm almost through my second batch and already planning my next one. I feel like a stockpile of these in the fridge would get me through just about anything, even 

the fifth, mind-numbing round of Candyland with my son, who bless his heart, just wants to eat sugar as badly as I did. Candyland is as close as he gets.

Chocolate and Energy

For those of you following along on Instagram you know that each month in 2020 has a theme, and March is Energy. I thought it would be appropriate to talk about chocolate and how it affects us on an energetic level. A lot of people think that chocolate contains caffeine, and it does have a little bit, but caffeine is not in fact the most stimulating compound that cacao contains. It's something else called theobromine

Theobromine is an alkaloid that gives chocolate its distinctive bitterness. The darker the chocolate, the more bitter, and the more theobromine it contains. Theobromine and caffeine are almost identical at a molecular level, which makes them behave in similar, energizing ways. The difference is that theobromine has one less methyl group (one carbon with three hydrogen attached), which makes it a less powerful stimulant, since it does not cross the blood-brain barrier as easily as caffeine does. Translation: theobromine offers a more relaxed, longer-lasting energy than caffeine, instead of the classic spike-and-crash. Both compounds act on our central nervous system, but only caffeine can make us feel anxious and jittery. Bonus: theobromine is also non-addictive (although I cannot help you if you get addicted to these Granola Candy Bars 😉

Dark Chocolate Details


A 1½ ounce / 43g serving of dark chocolate (70% cacao solids) will give you about 115mg of theobromine and 20mg of caffeine. By comparison, an 8 ounce / 250ml cup of coffee contains about 95mg of caffeine and no theobromine. The maximum recommended daily intake for caffeine is around 400mg, while theobromine (thankfully) is higher at around 1000mg a day. 

We need to keep in mind however, that most chocolate contains sugar or other sweeteners and additives that are very stimulating. It is no wonder then, that for sensitive individuals, the theobromine in cacao combined with sugar and a little caffeine can give us a serious blast of energy and make chocolate feel like more than a cup of coffee! Be mindful of your chocolate intake during the later hours of the day, especially if you struggle to fall or stay asleep at night. 




Let's get to the recipe! I use honey to sweeten these Granola Candy Bars, and to help bind all the ingredients together, but a good, vegan alternative could be date paste. Just make sure it has a high viscosity (like, real sticky). This recipe is gluten-free, just make sure you buy gluten-free oats if you are sensitive. Hazelnuts may be hard to find and depending on where you are, can be expensive. If you're looking for an alternative, almonds or cashews would be the best! The almonds may need more time in the oven, up to 25 minutes, but keep a good eye on them, as they can burn quickly.

Hazelnut Butter

Of course you don't have to make your own hazelnut butter for this recipe, but I highly highly recommend that you do. It's really easy and a step that will fit into making the granola bars anyway. Just add 2 extra cups / 270g of hazelnuts to the baking sheets and roast as you would with the other ingredients. Blend hazelnuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides every so often, and eventually, you'll have hazelnut butter. It can take up to ten minutes, so be patient. Add a splash of olive oil to get it going, if absolutely necessary. This will make about 1 cup / 250ml, which is exactly what you need for the recipe. You're welcome!

Print Fig and Hazelnut Granola Candy Bars Author Sarah Britton Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups / 150g rolled oats
  • 1 cup / 135g raw hazelnuts plus two more cups if making your own hazelnut butter, see headnote
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil I recommend flavour-neutral
  • 1/3 cup / 80ml thick honey creamed or white
  • 1/3 cup / 80ml tahini
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup / 60g chopped un-sulfured dried figs
  • 1 cup / 20g puffed brown rice cereal
  • ¼ tsp. flaky sea salt plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup / 250ml hazelnut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 200 g dark chocolate 80% or higher, have more on-hand for drizzle and just in case!
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C. Place the oats and hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, trying to keep them as separate as possible, and bake stirring once or twice, until the oats are golden and smell toasty, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, and roughly chop the hazelnuts.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Add the honey, tahini, and vanilla; whisk thoroughly until fully combined.
  • Roughly chop the dried figs and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooled oats and chopped hazelnuts with the figs, puffed cereal, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir quickly to mix.
  • Line an 8×8" brownie pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Spoon the mixture in and using slightly damp hands, press it firmly into the pan, especially around the edges and corners.
  • Combine the hazelnut butter with the ½ teaspoon fine salt and maple syrup – it should transform from runny, into a more solid paste. Spread over the top of the granola bars. Set in the freezer to firm up for at least 4 hours.
  • When the bars are ready to coat in chocolate, remove them from the freezer and cut the base into 12 even pieces.
  • Set a double boiler up on the stove, over a low simmer. Chop the chocolate into chunks. Melt in a double-boiler over medium heat. Dip each piece in melted chocolate, then place on a piece of parchment to cool and set. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the top, then sprinkle with a little more flaky salt. Once cool, enjoy! Store bars in the fridge for up to one month, or the freezer for 6 months.
NotesMakes 12

I know that this recipe will land with the child inside you, who is just trying to convince her parents that the chocolate-covered granola bars are healthy. Because at least now, well, they actually are.

All love and happy treat-making,
Sarah B

Show me your treats on Instagram: #mnrgranolacandybars

* * * * * *

Okay, one more thing before I go, just because I'm pretty stoked about it…I have a show! It's called The Substitute Baker, and it's going to be on Food Network Canada's digital platform. The series premiers March 25th on Facebook Watch, so you can see it no matter where in the world you are! I'll be dropping more details about it on Instagram and Facebook, so please stay tuned there. Thank you to everyone who has sent a supportive comment or email – it means so much to me, and this opportunity was possible because of YOU. So thank you!

The post Granola Candy Bars appeared first on My New Roots.

переводить | Thu, 12 Mar 2020 13:29:06 +0000

Bell Pepper Bisque with Giant Croutons


Hey friends! I'm coming in hot, to drop this stellar soup recipe on you, while the weather is still fine and early fall produce is at its peak. The bell peppers in my region are bountiful and beautiful, and because I am the biggest sucker for roasted pepper anything, I came up with this dish to celebrate a seasonal favourite.

But first, can we take a moment and please talk about how I just invented giant croutons? I think it might be my personal opportunity to break the internet. How is this not a thing yet?! Sure, I guess you could look at the cheese toast on French onion soup and say that is a giant crouton, but in my opinion, it's merely an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich. Pfff. Not even close to this. My crouton is a cube of sourdough (important shape-distinction), kissed with garlicky oil and seared to toasty, golden perfection. The outsides are caramelized and crisp, while the center is fluffy, creamy and studded with nooks and crannies for the soup to slide in to. Guh. Too good to be true! Honestly guys, I'm pretty proud of this.

But I also need you to know that this soup is darn good too, even without the crouton. The recipe is loosely based on the North African Sun-dried Tomato Soup in my second cookbook, except I left out many of the warming spices, which felt prematurely winter-y. It's still t-shirt weather here, so the ginger and cinnamon had to go. Plus, I doubled the pepper count, added a teeny splash of balsamic (to round out the flavor), and made it bisque-y without the cream. Guess what I used?! Lentils!! Mic drop. But instead of bulking it up and putting the soup on legume-overload, I was conservative in my approach and just used half a cup. This made the soup rich and creamy without the cream, but in a very hush, hush way, so that you literally have no idea that they're there. But their presence can be felt, because this soup is the real meal deal, not just a bowl of blended up veggies that will leave you hungry again in 20 minutes. With the bonus lentils, you're getting way more protein and fiber that you'd normally expect from a pepper soup, and they will fill you up, and keep you energized for hours. This suddenly feels very infomercial-y. Did I mention there is a giant crouton?

Moving on! Let's talk about peppers because they are in the nightshade family and that is a hot topic, if I ever heard one.

Nightshade vegetables are a part of the Solanaceae family, and include tomatoes, peppers (and chilies), eggplant / aubergine, and all potatoes except for sweet potatoes and yams. Originally cultivated in South America, nightshade vegetables were brought to Europe and Asia by Spanish explorers. Their name supposedly comes from the fact that they grow at night (as opposed to mushrooms, which grow in the shade).

You may have heard rumors that Nightshade vegetables are toxic, that they can cause inflammation or that they're linked to autoimmune disorders. While it is true that edible nightshades contain high levels of glycoalkaloids, specifically solanine, which at very high levels is toxic, it only seems to trigger reactions in individuals who are sensitive to it. Those with pre-existing inflammatory conditions may experience worsening of their symptoms when they consume these foods, but an elimination diet would be the only way to determine if nightshades are in fact, causing the issues. For people who do not suffer from chronic inflammatory ailments, enjoying ratatouille, a pizza, or a baked potato is likely just fine, and certainly not going to cause you to get these conditions.

As far as autoimmunity is concerned, alkaloids from edible nightshades have been shown to irritate the gut, since solanine is effectively natural insecticide produced by this plant family. Gut irritation can contribute to intestinal permeability, which can set off an autoimmune reaction when proteins that should remain in the digestive tract leak into the bloodstream. The level of irritation depends on the amount consumed, and how sensitive the individual is. The highest amounts of solanine are found in green potatoes, and sprouted potatoes, but we should avoid eating those anyway.

Let's review: if you have an autoimmune disorder, leaky gut, or you exhibit symptoms of discomfort (digestive or otherwise) after consuming nightshades, try eliminating them from your diet for at least 6 weeks and see if you notice a difference. Then, re-introduce them one at a time and be aware of how you feel within a 24-hour period after eating them.

If you don't have these issues, don't worry about it! There is absolutely no reason to limit your intake of these highly nutritious vegetables if they seem to do your body good. Bell peppers contain an astounding amount of vitamin C, high levels of A, and B6, with very good levels of folate, fiber, and vitamin E. They also provide flavonoids, and carotenoids. Remember to buy bell peppers that have fully ripened – anything other than the greens ones, which are typically unripe red, orange, yellow, or purple peppers. Their nutrient profile will be at its peak, and the natural sugars will be fully developed, easing their digestion.

Let's get to the recipe!

If you're really pressed for time, skip roasting the peppers in the oven, and just dice them up, and add them to the pot along with the garlic in step 3. The overall flavour will be less rich, but still incredibly delicious. When I'm in a crunch, I'll pull this move and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. If you want to change things up, try orange or yellow peppers instead of the red ones.

As far as sun-dried tomatoes go, I like organic, dried ones, instead of the oil-packed ones, but either would work here. With the canned tomatoes, go for whole, since they tend to be of higher quality than the diced ones.

Let's talk bread. If you have access to a bakery where they make the real thing (sourdough), please use that. If you don't, find an unsliced loaf at your supermarket; bonus points if it's made with wholegrain flour, organic, yeast-free, or all of the above. The bread should be cut into cubes with the serving bowl size in mind (you'll want to see some of the soup around it), but if you have a huge bowl, go crazy and make that crouton as gargantuan as you want! And don't throw the offcuts away – I put them in the toaster and slathered them with hummus for my son. He was stoked about the oddly-shaped chunks.

Bell Pepper Bisque with Giant Croutons
Makes 8 cups / 2 litres / Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee, divided
2 medium yellow onions, diced
½ tsp. fine sea salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
½ – 1 tsp. hot smoked paprika (depending on how spicy you like it)
4 large red bell peppers (stems, seeds, and ribs removed)
5 – 7 cups / 1 ¼ – 1 ¾ liters vegetable broth
1 14.5-oz. / 400ml can whole tomatoes
½ cup / 45g sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ cup / 100g dried red lentils, soaked for 1 – 8 hours, if possible
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Directions:
1. If you have time, soak the lentils in water overnight, or for up to 8 hours. Drain and rinse very well. If you're starting from dried, that is okay too, just give them a very good wash and drain before using.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C. Prepare the peppers by cutting each of them in half, scooping out the seeds, and rubbing with a little coconut oil. Place peppers cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the skins are totally wrinkled and charred in places.

3. In a large stockpot, melt the remaining coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and begin to slightly caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add a little broth to the pot if the mixture becomes dry.

4. Add the whole tomatoes and their juices along with the sun-dried tomatoes, lentils, and the rest of the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and break up the whole tomatoes with your spoon. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Stir once or twice during cooking to prevent sticking.

5. The peppers should be done by now, so take them out of the oven, transfer all of them to a bowl with a lid or plate over the opening, making sure there are no gaps (this technique steams the peppers so that the skins will just slip right off, without using plastic wrap). Once cool enough to handle, remove the skins from the peppers, and place the peeled peppers in a blender.

6. Remove the soup from the heat and take off the lid to let cool just for a minute. Transfer to the blender, and blend on high until completely smooth. Add balsamic vinegar, and broth or water to thin, until your desired consistency is reached. Season to taste. Transfer back to the pot and keep warm.

7. Make the croutons (recipe below).

8. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with fresh herbs, edible flowers, a drizzle of good olive oil, and of course place one giant crouton in the middle of each bowl. Enjoy!


Giant Croutons
Make as many as you want!

Ingredients:
1 loaf of good bread (wholegrain sourdough is preferred)
2 Tbsp. expeller-pressed coconut oil (the unscented kind – very important!) or ghee, divided
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
flaky salt, to taste

Directions:
1. Cut the bread into 2 ½" (6cm) slices – mine weighed 1.25 oz / 35g per piece. Cut off the edges and make a cube (save the off-cuts for snacks).

2. Spread a little coconut oil on each side.

3. Heat remaining coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes, just until the garlic is starting to turn golden.

4. Lower the heat to medium-low, and add the bread cube. Rub each side in the oil to coat with some of the garlic and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let cook on each of the six sides for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately.

I hope that wherever you are on this earth, you're enjoying the seasons shifting and embracing the changes that come with that. When I started writing this post, it was a very hot day, and now, just 48 hours later, I can feel a significant shift in temperature and weather. Here we go, fall! I'm happy you're here.

Big thanks to my friends at Foragers Farms for letting me crash the greenhouse at the crack of dawn to get these pics.

Love to all, happy fall!
Sarah B

The post Bell Pepper Bisque with Giant Croutons appeared first on My New Roots.

переводить | Fri, 04 Oct 2019 14:24:15 +0000
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