I am very excited to announce the long-awaited book by my nutrition guru, Dr. Michael Greger. Folks, this is a revolutionary breakthrough in medical research that will blow your minds! Pick up a copy by visiting NutritionFacts.org. This is the book that will change your life forever. Would make a great holiday gift as well!
Although I highly recommend visiting Italy whenever possible, one need not go to Tuscany to enjoy the healthful benefits inherent in eating Tuscan kale. It is in season now, at least here in Portland it is, and I can’t get enough! Kale is packed with cholesterol-lowering benefits, especially when it is steamed. You see, the fiber-related components in kale do a much better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. However, I’m going to talk about baking it today.
Kale chips can be expensive. The most reasonably-priced ones that I’ve found come from Trader Joe’s. However, these chips are very delicate and break into crumbles a little too easily. They are flavorful, with some kind of cheesy, spicy powder all over them, which makes them messy to eat, in addition to being crumbly…but they do taste good.
As with most foods, I prefer to make my own. They taste so much better when they are warm, straight out of the oven. I have experimented with different methods of cooking them and have finally arrived at the one that I think is most successful. The secret ingredient? Truffle oil! Truffle oil is popular with chefs because it not only tastes great, it is also much less expensive than actual truffles, while possessing some of the same flavors and deep, earthy aroma. The emergence and growth of truffle oil has led to an increase in the availability of foods that are flavored with truffles, in an era when the price of truffles has pushed them out of reach for most folks. Real truffle oil (which contains actual truffle, and more truffle than oil instead of the other way around) can go for $90 an ounce. The stuff that I buy is ridiculously expensive, but….
I have just discovered a very inexpensive truffle oil at Trader Joe’s that works almost as well as this fancy brand that I keep on hand. In fact, I’m planning to switch. Why pay more when you don’t have to? The Trader Joe’s stuff is delicious! The flavor is milder and less cloying, but that is good, because the fancy stuff costs so much…and it goes off if I don’t use it up fairly quickly.
Making these chips is ridiculously simple. All one needs do is tear the kale into 3-4″ pieces and toss them gently with less than 1 TBS. of truffle oil. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt…The Meadow, one of my favorite gourmet food shops here in Portland has some delicious truffle sea salt that you can order online. Simply click the link and visit their great website.
Lay the oiled, lightly salted kale pieces out on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until they are dry and crispy.
Enjoy your delicious kale chips crisp and warm, straight out of the oven. That’s when they taste best.
Ridiculously simple to make, and such a healthful snack!
There lacks sufficient bandwidth for me to list the numerous benefits of juicing in their entirety. Suffice it to say, there are many. Juicing allows us to get the essential minerals and vitamins that we need, from veggies and fruits, in a fast, digestible form. When done properly, juice can provide an entire meal in a single glass. It is the ultimate fast food.
My personal adventure with serious juicing began with my purchase of the Breville 800JEXL Juicer, Juice Fountain Elite. This sleek, futuristic looking powerhouse of juicing goodness first attracted the attention of this artist’s eye by virtue of its fancy-schmancy stainless steel, sculptural-quality design. After I read the well-written manufacturer’s specs, I decided that it must be mine. About 5 days later, it was, and I found myself at the beginning of the path to an even juicier life than usual.
Juicing…at least juicing the way that I juice, can be quite expensive. However, expense is relative. I can spend my money on locally grown organic produce, or I can spend it on medical bills. I choose the former. It tastes better than antibiotics.
I buy my produce at New Seasons Market, where my son-in-law, Nate, works. New Seasons is Portland’s non-pretentious answer to Whole Foods. There happens to be one within walking distance of where I live, so New Seasons it is. They always have a wide array of beautifully arranged organic produce, and when I shop for juicing fare, I tend to select both fruits and veggies alike, to make a rainbow of color in my shopping cart.
The secret of delicious juice is to always, regardless of the other ingredients, add one whole lemon, one 2” piece of peeled, fresh ginger and an apple. That is the base to all of my juices. It makes juiced broccoli taste sweet and peppy. It makes juiced collard greens more palatable, and, in fact, makes all juice taste delightful. The ginger is a good source of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. The lemon, of course, also supplies Vitamin C, as well as Folate and Potassium. Granted, it has more sugar than I normally like to eat, but its other nutritional values justify that. Sometimes, I use half the lemon and toss in a handful of raw cranberries. Cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) and Vitamin K, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese. The apple also packs in the Vitamin C, as well as fiber, but again…a lot of sugar.
I make a cranberry drink in my blender, also, because I enjoy it rather chunky rather than liquid-y. It is sour, but is a great energy drink, consisting of cranberries, water and a scoop of green powder (alfalfa, barley grass and other greens). This drink is an acquired taste. I don’t think the majority of you would probably like it, but I do.
When I juice, I do not get sick. When I stop juicing, I do. While I understand that correlation does not necessarily imply causation, my body feels that this is the cause, so I’ll (foolishly, perhaps) believe that it keeps me healthy. I am currently recovering from a 3-month illness, and I did not juice during that time. I started juicing again last week and have almost fully recovered. Go figure. (or, as Lisa Vanderpump says, “Go figga!”)
The best thing about juicing is that the fresh juice tastes good. I can get picky eater, 3 yr. old Ingrid, to eat lots of leafy greens by giving them to her in juice form. She loves my juice. She hates the noise the juicer makes, but she does love the juice. I freeze it, sometimes, and make green juice popsicles for her. She loves those as well.
Once or twice a year, I go on the ‘Reboot Your Life’ juice diet where I consume nothing but juice for at least 5 days. The longest I have ever done it was 30 days, and I lost 1 pound per day, so had to stop so I wouldn’t dry up and blow away….but I have to say, I felt great, was in a great mood. My hair and skin looked healthier than ever. The rapid weight loss, however, wasn’t wise, so I stopped. Otherwise, I would have stayed on it indefinitely, I think. It was wholly satisfying.
All of my juices contain leafy greens….a LOT of leafy greens…..whatever is in season at the moment….kale, chard, spinach, collards, mustard greens….and I try to put in cruciferous veggies each time I juice as well…..cabbage, brussels sprouts, et al. As a general rule, I try to ‘eat a rainbow’ when I juice, and I find this wholly satisfying. My juices tend to be about 1/3 fruits and 2/3 green veggies. I do use carrots, though…but when I do, I cut back on the amount of fruit that I use because carrots are high in sugar. I make enough juice to last from 2-3 days each time, and must say, it does completely trash my kitchen, but after I drink the juice that I make, I have enough energy to make my kitchen sparkle again in no time!