Increasingly, I hear conversations that go something like this:
Fred: I don’t eat carbs any more — they make me feel so bloated.
Ginger: I know! I have a kale smoothie every morning; it’s so much better than all those carbs.
Fred: Oh, that sounds good. I had this great kale salad for lunch yesterday — I feel so much better when I don’t have carbs at lunch.
Just so we’re all clear on this . . . KALE IS A CARBOHYDRATE! There are three categories of macronutrients that we humans consume: protein, fats and carbohydrates. Most food has a complement of these nutrients, as well as water, fiber and splatterings of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals and such). Kale is no exception — there are small amounts of protein and some trace fatty acids in kale, plus vitamins and minerals, but it is primarily a carbohydrate. In fact, most fruits and vegetables are primarily carbohydrates. If you are eating lettuce and radishes, you are eating carbs. If you are eating blueberries and Brussels sprouts (not together, I hope), you are eating carbohydrates. Swiss chard, collards and spinach? All carbs. Have I made my point? I hope so, and I hope that you will continue to eat a range of these wonderfully healthy plant-based foods. Read more
Earlier this fall I broke my ankle and was confined to an armchair. Not being a sit-patiently-with-your-leg-in-acast kind of girl, I spent some time researching which foods would help me heal fastest. Nutrition books were stacked high, search engines whirred away. Leafy greens, check; wide variety of fruits and vegetables, check; almonds and other nuts, check; oily fish, check. Sauerkraut. Uhhh, sauerkraut, really? Honestly, I almost kicked the wall with my good foot in vexation. Now, I suspect that some of you share my ambivalence toward sauerkraut. Read more
Books For Cooks, a wonderful bookstore in London, publishes a small anthology of favorite recipes every year. The following is adapted from Jennifer Joyce’s Small Bites and excerpted in Book for Cooks Vol. 7. I usually soak farro in advance for several hours or overnight to reduce the cooking time.
1 cup whole grain farro (not pearled)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and black pepper
3 stalks, celery, finely chopped
2 ounces Pecorino cheese, grated, coursely
1/4 cup currants, soaked in hot water
Chopped mint, basil, parsley
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp runny honey
Soak the farro for several hours or overnight. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the faro, return the water to a boil, reduce and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes (depending on how long you’ve soaked the grain).
In the meantime, marinate the chopped red onion in the lemon juice — this will help to reduce the harshness of the onion. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the cherry tomatoes in a shallow roasting pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until some tomatoes are softened and some are burst. For the vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and honey in a bowl.
Toss the cooked farro with the red onion and lemon juice and then add in the roasted cherry tomatoes, chopped celery, grated Pecorino cheese, soaked currents and herbs Toss with the vinaigrette and serve.
I’m always thankful for cherry tomatoes. They are a good source of Vitamins A, C and K as well as potassium, manganese and fiber. I find if I keep a bowl on the kitchen counter, the kids gobble them up. True, they are high in sugar, but better a cherry tomato than a cherry twizzler! They are lovely roasted and tossed in a whole grain salad, as you will see with the farro salad described here. Roasted or sautéed they are lovely, but there is nothing to compare to the burst of cherry tomato sunshine just picked off the vine at your local CSA.