That Beet Slaw

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David CrowThe way I feel about superb chefs is similar to how I feel about scientists: I’m filled with admiration because they know things I don’t know. That makes them mysterious and wonderful, as long as they are benign.

I am a superb chef at heart, but not in fact. I’m a scientist at heart, but not in brain.

What my chef friend Marcia gave me was permission to stop adding ingredients, to stop being seduced by the lure of the complicated, and to allow the explosion of the true flavor of vegetables to blossom on my tongue. Honestly, it all started with a lowly beet. Raw…


Marcia’s Story: That Beet Slaw

20160911_145719You know how, when you learn something new, the whole world seems to be about that one thing? Well, for me, the world is all about that beet slaw. 

I am a private cooking instructor. People come to my house and pay top dollar to cook a sumptuous dinner together, then sit down for a dinner party. They pay for new recipes and the chance to cook together, something pretty rare in our world today. Often, the menus include whole foods – fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains perhaps, animal protein and fats, olive and nut oils. Unfortunately, I’ve also been bathing in heavy cream and wading through butter and sugar, teaching folks how to prepare what I call “entertainment food.” It’s elegant fare, and I’m proud of what I’ve created. But a dinner party for them has become a lifestyle for me, and it’s impossible for me to make a steady diet of these things and feel well. 

It’s easy to fall in love with the Suppers ideas. 

So I decided to try Suppers. At my first meeting, a mother with two young children said, “It was worth coming to this program for that one beet slaw recipe. My kids eat huge servings of raw beets whenever I make that slaw.”

I was skeptical. It is easy to fall in love with a food when you love the ideas around it. And it is easy to fall in love with the Suppers ideas. Fill your plate with the good stuff and ease out the bad, cook and eat with purpose in a communal setting, listen to your body…But that won’t cut it with my students, or with my family for that matter. 

How can I get more of this, and how soon?

At the next Suppers meeting, we made Sonja’s beet slaw again, this time with a mixture of sunny disks of golden beets and fine shreds of the blood red (owing to me experimenting with the blades on the food processor). A simple white balsamic vinaigrette and that was it. People just inhaled it. 

At home I shredded up the deeply colored beets with over-wintered parsnips and raw sweet potatoes! I added the first of this year’s lovage and sorrel, then sprinkled toasted pumpkin seeds on top. I made a simple vinaigrette from olive oil and my special wine vinegar.

My husband couldn’t stop eating it. That’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that my college-age son went nuts for it too. I’d given him some leftover salad in a jar one day in the car as we was heading for his dorm. A few days later, he returned with some of his college friends in tow, and these were his exact words: “How can I get more of this, and how soon?”

I packed him off to the grocery store to buy the beets.

I realized that what the Suppers philosophy has going for it is the fundamental culinary principle of taste. If your body is starving for certain nutrients, it goes into orbit when you feed it those foods. The Suppers Programs operates on the principle that we as a culture have deprived ourselves of the pleasure, nutrients, and community that give a meal its soul. Suppers is about reincorporating that good stuff into our lives in an intentional and joyful way. And the entertainment food? Eventually, it just won’t fit on the plate.


Meals with Marcia, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081I should start by saying…I only eat beets because I know they’re good for me. Vegetables are great and everything, I’d go so far as to say they’re 90% fabulous but then there’s that 10% and beets have always made that list for me. Meaning they’re not my favorite or even my preference.

But sometimes, when prepared in delicious, fabulous ways, beets glide effortlessly into that 90%. Beets become sensational. This is one of those times.

The next delightful fact is that when it comes to delicious preparations of vegetables, the two women I trust the absolute mostest, you know, besides myself, are Dorothy Mullen and Marcia Willsie. These ladies know how things are done when it comes to flavor. And now you will too!


Flavor Savers

OK so if you’re going to be making this salad…or any salad really…there are some things you should know.

  • Pretty much no matter what happens, use seasonal produce whenever you can. Everything tastes better AND offers more nutrition when it is eaten in it’s season.
    • Beets have two vibrant seasons: Spring and Fall. Technically beets can grow as long as the sun is shining and the ground isn’t frozen solid. However just because something is growing does not mean it’s the optimal season. Just look at California: they grow tomatoes in the Springtime and yet they are nothing compared to a Jersey tomato picked in August.
      Pathetic in comparison. Really just sad. 
  • Remember lessons from flavor balance class:
    • Salt balances Acid
    • Bitter balances Sweet
    • Fat carries flavor over the tongue and adds richness
    • (Don’t worry about Umami for raw preparations, we’ll talk of that another time)
  • Salads are about texture as much as they are about flavor. If you are making a spinach salad, make sure to add something that goes CRUNCH! If you are making a beet slaw, make sure to add something that doesn’t require so much chewing. Like chiffonade collard greens lightly massaged, or Feta cheese. Or both.

Sidenote – did you guys know that there’s like a BUNCH of different varieties of beets? I only learned this when I started working on farms but red beets are not the only players in this ball game. Far from it! There are golden beets, of course, but there are also White Beets – the sweetest beet – and Chioggia Beets – these are pink and white inside they look sooooooooo pretty in slices!!!! Farmer David makes fun of me because I can’t say “Chioggia” without really trying and making it sound very dramatic but neither can any of our customers so who cares. In an unrelated story, I’m smarter than him.

The point is, don’t feel limited by your product. Feel inspired by it, feel invigorated by your growing knowledge of different products and how to use them. And always feel humbled by where we get to live and how much we get to see and use. Also, allow yourself to feel like you don’t know the best thing to do and let that lead you to look for answers instead of quit the process. If you’re using seasonal produce in the first place, you can’t make that many wrong turns. If you’re just learning about what’s in season when, well darlin – get your tush down to the farmer’s market and talk to a farmer.

There’s actually a book that I would recommend to anyone – particularly someone who isn’t as experienced at finding foods to pair with other foods – called The Flavor Bible. It’s FABULOUS, you guys. Whenever I’m stumped in the kitchen I know that I can turn to that book and find something to go with the ingredient causing confusion. Here’s a passionate excerpt:

“We taste with our hearts as much as with our tongues. What else could explain adult preferences for one’s mother’s dishes over those prepared by a great chef? This also helps to explain the lasting appeal of traditional dishes and cuisines of countries around the globe, which stem from our love for their cultures, their people, and the deeply rooted culinary traditions that have sustained them over centuries.” – Page, Dorneburg. 

I mean doesn’t that just make your heart SING?! What Marcia was talking about – the best part of making That Beet Slaw – in having her son come home asking for more. That moment of literal joy experienced by her son Tucker when he tasted Mom’s beet slaw and by Marcia in knowing that she made her son crave something healthy she made. That is what we all are looking for. It’s indescribable when you aren’t in the throes of the experience but it has to do with finding the perfect combination of flavor, texture, love, and timing, when it comes to making food for the people we love, that they love. 

Make sure that you put love into the food you are making. Your family can taste it with their hearts.


Step One: Look at how brilliantly beautiful beets are as you slice them up to pieces small enough to fit into your food processor hole thing.

For organic beets, I don’t peel mine. Especially not if I’m shredding the beets up. I just scrub em real good with my fingers or a veggie brush and slice off the tops and that’s pretty much it. You can peel them if you want to and I would definitely peel conventional beets before shredding. 

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Step Two: Using the shredding blade of your food processor, shred the beets up. If you don’t have a food processor, call me, you can borrow mine. Normally I would be like “eh, you can do it with a box grater” but no. Not for this.

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Step Three: Make your dressing! Marcia uses super interesting and elegant vinegars but the only thing that matters for this recipe is that you don’t use balsamic vinegar. That’s basically the only rule. You can use white balsamic, just not brown. It’ll make the salad look yucky. And things that look yucky are tasted suspiciously.  

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Step Four: Top with other stuff that you have prepared and serve! That’s really it. You’re done. No, step away from the cutting board. It’s just that easy.

I used some finely chiffonade collard greens and some chunks of feta that I crumbled with my hands. You can use anything you want! 

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Sonja’s Beet Slaw, Marcia Style

2 bunches (about 6 small) organic golden and red beets, scrubbed real good and sliced (I know it’s supposed to be “scrubbed well” I’m just being literary. OK Mom?)
3 Tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white balsamic, or white Pinot, or anything white except Distilled White Vinegar. That’s for cleaning and pickles.)
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and white pepper
lemon juice if necessary

Topping Suggestions
Dairy: Crumbled Feta or Goat Cheese
Greenery: Chiffonade kale, collards, spinach, or basil
Nuts: Crumbled walnuts, sliced almonds, toasted cashew nuts
Crunchy Vegetables: Shredded cabbage, carrot, scallion, red onion
Animal Protein: Grilled chicken, Blackened salmon, Grilled shrimp, Seared Ahi Tuna

  1. In a food processor set with a shredding blade, shred all beets. Place into a bowl and, using a set of tongs, toss with vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Beets should be gleaming and their color brighten with the oil. Taste for balance. Add salt and more acid if necessary. I sometimes add a squeeze of lemon juice if the acid is too sweet and not sharp enough. Lemon juice usually does the trick. Lime would work here as well. 
  2. Top with ingredients of choice and serve.

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

If you would like to join our mailing list, please head over to our website to sign up and fill out a questionnaire – that will let us know what interests you in health and/or cooking! To become a subscriber of The Purple Apron, email Allie and she’ll put you on the list!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

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Emotions Based On Speculation

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

Did you ever imagine yourself into a froth just to find out that whatever it was you were anxiously anticipating never came to be?  Or maybe rehearse an imaginary conversation with someone  you love, reinforcing your righteous indignation?  Or how about, did you ever build a case in your mind about someone finding fault with you that bore absolutely no resemblance to reality?

When people share at meetings about all the things that send them into unwanted eating, it often comes up that the triggers come from their own emotions, thoughts, and speculations. This week’s blog is about stress-triggered eating. See if you can identify.

If your body is asking for comfort, let the comfort food be something that meets your true needs for building blocks (fat and proteins) and fuel (wholesome carbohydrates).


Valerie’s Story: Emotions Based on Speculation

My husband knows that there are a few things that make me crazy. I can’t stand clutter, and I have no tolerance for lateness. So when he leaves a trail of clothing and equipment between the back door and the bedroom, it feels like he’s purposely trying to provoke me.  It feels unloving. Or when he makes me late for a dinner date, I get so angry I ruin my whole evening over 25 minutes’ tardiness. The consequence of me getting this irritated is likely to be a candy binge; and he knows it. No matter what the trigger, when I feel hijacked by stress, my automatic choice is to stuff candy in my mouth for the rest of the day. 

I wanted to take his head off. 

I once arrived on the dot at the restaurant where I was supposed to meet him for lunch.  My romantic fantasies that he would be on time were dashed. It came as no real surprise that he wasn’t there. I called and left him a message. I erased the inbox on my cell phone, sent off a couple gratuitous text messages, and cleaned out my already clean pocket book.  My agitation grew as I visualized him playing at his computer, oblivious to the vibrations of his cell phone sitting in the charger two rooms over. Stress contracted the muscles in my neck and shoulders, tightening them as I pictured him totally absorbed by some project he obviously cared about more than me. I shuddered as I realized he didn’t love me any more. At that point I dove into my favorite divorce fantasy, clenching my jaw until it hurt. I got a hard knot in my stomach. And just before I got to the part where I took his head off, the derelict walked in, 14 minutes late and arms wide to greet me.

I learned that the effects [of stress] are the same whether [it] is real or imagined.

He hadn’t been dithering at the computer; he was in a sales meeting. His cell phone wasn’t sitting in the charger; it was turned off for the meeting and he forgot to put it back on. He wasn’t fixed on ruining our marriage; he’s just a man with a broader definition than I have about what it means to be on time. In less than a quarter hour, I had worked every cell in my body into a lather of emotions based on speculation. When he arrived, my brain caught up but my body was still tense and knotted — not a great way to start a meal.

When we talked about stress at Suppers, I learned that the effects on my body are the same whether the stress is real or imagined. My own fabrications could tense my jaw, bring my shoulders up to my ears, and sour my stomach. The lesson for me has been that having emotions based on speculation is like eating bad food. It gets into my body, setting off alarms and seriously jeopardizing my intentions to stick with the food plan I’ve laid out for myself.

My problem is that my imagination carries me away whenever it’s idle too long. I start making assumptions and produce real emotions based on wrong information. I decided a good matching solution would be always to have a paperback book with me so I can be pleasurably reading instead of furiously waiting. Carrying a slightly larger pocket book is a small price to pay for avoiding binges or divorcing a perfectly nice man who just runs a little late.


Stew to Stave off Stress, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Fall is the season of one-pot-slops, as I like to call them. The days grow ever shorter as summer is gently bopped on the behind by Mother Nature, lovingly gesturing the warmest month out of the room. Frigid mornings and cooler nights begin to grace us with their chilly presence. Cravings present themselves in different ways – now instead of strawberries, we want apples. Instead of raw slaws, we want hot hashes. Stews replace salads, casseroles replace cobblers. I’m gonna stop before I run out of alliterations. You get the point.

Macrobiotically speaking, we should eat with the seasons in more ways than just produce. If you’re following the seasons, under this philosophy, you must also pay attention to temperatures. The body’s abilities to stretch, expand, sweat, and arch in the summer, combined with the simple fact that we can be outside more, means that we can better use leafy plants like lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, leafy broccoli rabe, and even foods that are high in sugar, like fruit. As the season turns colder we begin to grow more compacted. We huddle for warmth. We tuck our heads down towards our bellies, hold our arms against our chest, hide bare feet underneath our bums or blankets. The colder months call for cooked foods – foods that do not require so much energy to break down. Foods that will give us nutrients while understanding that the body requires more energy to avoid freezing to death. Longterm energy sources like proteins, and especially fats, become part of the list of foods that we crave. Protein for energy and warm stability, fat for insulation.

Of course…we don’t live outdoors anymore. However even though we have mostly moved up in the world, temperature control wise, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to honor the seasons, and ourselves, by eating with them both in mind.

This is why I love making soup in the fall. Not only are there fantastic ingredients available, namely winter squash, but also ingredients get just a little sweeter, a little more comforting, a little warmer. Plus, crock pots. And, dutch ovens. Two of my favorite kitchen buddies. So this week I give you one of my most requested recipes (you know, from like my fans and stuff): Butternut Squash Stew. It’s sure to help you de-stress because nothing helps you work out some real bubbly anger than slamming a knife into a huge squash and breaking it apart.


What’s in a Stew?

Any other soup would not taste as sweet. Just kidding, I’m just referencing Romeo and Juliet sort of. Ned’s taking an English class right now. Guess who’s editing his papers? Anyway – one time I was doing a cooking demonstration for a healthy holiday cooking class and one of the recipes was Butternut Squash Soup. At the time I only made the pureed version of this dish because I was obsessed with my emulsion blender (I had not realized the magic of a good VitaMix yet) and any Butternut soup I’d been served previously was always pureed. Seemed to be the thing the cool kids were doing.

So I go through my whole spiel about the preparation and what a mirepoix is and how to pre-roast and pull squash and stuff and when I go to blend it — my emulsion blender breaks!!! All we can smell in this tiny crowded room in Newark are fragrant vegetables and the beginnings of like an electric fire. Most people would probably choose this time to freak out, you know, being in front of a crowd and stuff and having something go so terribly wrong, but not me. I was just like – “so when something like this happens in the kitchen, you regroup.” I grabbed the (thankfully clean) extra potato masher I had on hand from my Half-and-Half Mashed (rutabaga & cauliflower, for example) and I mashed that soup until it was a chunky stew. When we all sampled it we talked about how it was better this way, and I agreed.

So now it’s just how I make it.

Step One: Cut and scoop that squash. One thing about dealing with winter squash is – it’s intimidating – if you don’t know what you are doing you could become frustrated, disenchanted, or hurt. So here are some tips:

ALWAYS TAKE THE TOP OFF

Knife skills are all about geometric shapes. A butternut squash is anything but geometric. Taking the top off of the squash gives you a flat surface to lean on once you have gotten that far. By the way, we’re not there yet.

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START IN THE MIDDLE

Lay her down on your board and insert your knife just above the curvy slope of the squash – slice down towards the bottom (fatter) part of the squash, until your knife has met the cutting board. It may take two tries – remember to pull out your knife very very carefully if at all.

IT’S A TWO PART PROCESS

Once you have cut through the bottom of the squash, stand her up on that flat part created when you took the top off and let your knife travel from the very bottom to the uncut, thinner, portion. Then, carefully press and slice down with the knife until the cut is complete.

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Step Two: Roast that squash. Roasting temperature is 400 degrees, technically.

Roasting the squash is easy, there are two options. One is to roast it flesh side up. The benefits of this include being able to salt and spice the flesh of the squash early on in the cooking process. Downsides include a longer cooking time and a drier outcome. Flesh side up is best for spaghetti squash, which pulls easier into individual strands when roasted in this drier method. 

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The other is, obviously, to roast it flesh side down. The benefits include shorter cooking time and it renders a more tender final product. This is ideal for something like the tender butternut, pumpkin, or acorn squash, which are really quite soft. Maintaining that soft, starchy, gluey texture is much easier when roasting flesh side down. The downside is that spices added are sometimes wasted on the baking sheet.

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I cheated – spiced the squash and then still tipped it over onto its flesh side cause I ain’t got all day to wait for my stew pics. Pop it in the oven and move on.

Step Three: Prepare your other ingredients. That’s simple – there are only four other main ingredients here: onion, garlic, carrot, celery. Simple as can be.

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Step Four: Saute veggies in order: 1) Onion 2) Garlic 3) Carrot & Celery. The order isn’t super important but alliums always get sauteed first because they need more time for their flavor to develop than, say, a delicious carrot. Cook with a lid on the pot to develop some moisture and save on stock.

Step Five: Scoop flesh from squash and add to pot with veggies. Add bouillon, stock, or water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Mash, balance, and serve. Donzeroni.


Butternut Squash Stew

1 Butternut Squash, sliced lengthwise and de-seeded
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (*optional) omg one time I was making this for Ned and added some freshly grated nutmeg and he was like, “Nutmeg is so hard to find!” and I was like “that’s cause there’s a nutmeg shortage” and he was like “THERE IS? I KNEW IT!” and I was like, “no, honey” and laughed at him for being a silly goose.
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons
3 large stalks celery, thinly sliced
2-3 cups stock or 1 spoonful Bouillon paste plus 2 cups water
1 can coconut milk (*optional)
lemon juice, if necessary

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or if you’re me and ran out, aluminum foil works). Sprinkle cinnamon, sea salt, and nutmeg, if desired, over squash flesh and then place flesh side down on lined baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes to an hour or until tender and remove from the oven to cool. Cool 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle and then scoop out flesh.
2. Meanwhile, in a Dutch Oven or a large stockpot, melt coconut oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic, and a pinch of sea salt and stir to coat. Saute 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, and then lower heat to medium. Continue cooking another few minutes, covered.
3. Lift lid and stir in carrots, celery, and another pinch of salt. Replace lid and allow to cook another 10 minutes, checking often, until vegetables are very bright and fragrant. Turn heat to lowest setting and replace lid. Keep warm until squash has finished cooking.
4. Once squash has finished, stir in scooped flesh and add stock or Bouillon paste and water, and coconut milk if desired. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes and turn off heat. Using a potato masher, gently mash vegetables until you have reached desired consistency. Taste and balance for flavor with sea salt and lemon juice, if necessary, and serve hot or cool properly and store.

Makes 8-10 servings


Squash that! 

The Purple Apron is now being distributed on Mailchimp. Please feel free to forward this to friends you think would benefit from hearing about our Suppers members, hearing from our Founder, and hearing from our chef friend!

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved your goals by focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

This Is Not About Willpower

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowI try really hard to keep my focus on real food and my values around locally sourced food and responsible practices. But I’ve climbed on board with a few fads – healthy fads – and felt like an idiot for going overboard on single ingredients. Do I have to worry about thallium in my kale? My doctor friend told me to stop eating flax seeds, and a girlfriend ended up in the emergency room when she ate too much chia seed without taking water.

It’s my body, right? So I’m doing it again. I’ve been reading so much about the brain benefits of coconut fat, I decided to try to get down a couple tablespoons per day. It’s not easy. It works best if I freeze it first and crack it up and use it like sprinkles. So me being me, I invented “brain chips”.

Having recently been contacted by a company that said I had to stop using the words “flavor bombs” for our flavor bombs because they had trademarked the phrase, I first went to the Internet to see if somebody already owned the words brain chips. I’m getting paranoid about words. So far it applies only to electronics not to food. So I took all my favorite ingredients that are supposed to be good for your brain, chopped them up, mixed them with coconut fat, and stuck them in the freezer. There’s a savory version for salads and a sweet version for dessert. You will definitely want to freeze them on sheets on parchment paper, it makes it a lot easier to crush it into chips and clean up afterwards.


Ingrid’s Story: This Is Not About Willpower

If the bariatric surgery office hadn’t made me wait for several months, I would have had part of my body removed. I was that desperate. I know people who think the surgery is heaven sent, and I am happy for them. Personally I think having a part of your body removed because you can’t stop eating is nutty, but I was about to do it myself because I was entirely enslaved to food and saw no other way out. Desperation is not a strong enough word to describe my situation. I’m so grateful a nutritionist steered me down another route.

This is not about willpower. Whatever my compulsion is, it operates on a plane beyond the reach of human willpower. Many a time I would wake up to find a mess of wrappers or dirty dishes in the kitchen, with only the vaguest recollection of going down in the middle of the night in a virtual trance, prowling around in the fridge. There were more conscious behaviors too, like when I’d order fast food and make noises about buying for the whole family, when it fact it was all for me. I would go home and eat until I was numb and hate myself afterward. I even passed up social invitations I might have enjoyed, fearing my friends would see me at my worst if I couldn’t control my eating at the buffet table. 

I related these embarrassing experiences at a meeting with people I’d never met before. I was surprised to hear myself revealing humiliating secretes to total strangers. But as I spoke, I realized I had no telltale anxiety, no fidgeting, I was at ease. There is something about the culture of Suppers that makes it possible to walk into a meeting and start speaking my truth. “I never met you before but I feel safe already.” That sentence actually came out of my mouth — me, Ingrid, the closet everything. So many things clicked for me. After years of spending fortunes on diet programs that made me feel ashamed, this free alternative was making me feel peaceful and confident. I was doing my own experiments, not squishing myself into somebody else’s protocol. My eating decisions would be about what I need, not what they are selling. I got it: what I needed was real food, not pre-packaged, nutritionally calculated, scientific food-like matter. Food. 

In the first few meetings, it was plain that the missing link for me was accepting that the foods I binged on were the ones I was addicted to. I would have to do experiments to determine which ones I could enjoy in moderation and which ones I’d have to avoid totally, at least for a while, because they triggered binge eating. And the antidote was not lectures, weigh-ins, or talking about my relationship with food. The antidote was cooking together, eating together, talking together, with the emphasis on “together.” For me this is as much about the people as it is about the food. When I arrive at a meeting, without fail, the second I walk in the door I feel the warmth of family Thanksgiving. 

I’ve been assured that as my body does its housekeeping, my mood and emotions will become brighter and brighter. In a few short weeks I feel the difference already. I leaned over to the woman next to me and said, “So am I feeling more emotionally at ease because the food is healing me or because I found a community of nonjudgemental friends?” “Who cares?” she said. “As long as it works.”

Yeah, who cares. There’s something very complete and satisfying about preparing a meal with a bunch of people and sitting down to eat it. Who cares if I’m responding to protein, carbohydrates, and fat or support, acceptance, and love. When somebody takes the time to buy my food, teach me how to prepare it, and light a candle for my evening meal, I start feeling fed long before the first spoonful of soup goes down. 


Brain Chips For Ingrid, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Food is satisfying and meals are nourishing. The difference is so key. We eat food when we are hungry, thirsty, or bored. We share meals with others or enjoy meals with ourselves when we are respecting the food and respecting ourselves. 

But let’s get real. We work. Even if we don’t have jobs, we Americans live fast paced, jam packed lifestyles with hardworking mentalities. Therefore we often complain about not having enough time to ourselves to relax OR to cook. Or to “cook”. Or to eat or “eat”. Those of us who have realized that the answer is a combination of cooking real food and sharing it with others are closer to vibrant health than anyone else. Of course, who doesn’t love a shortcut?

Brain Chips, Dor’s latest invention, are a perfect example of a homemade booster. I love boosters, personally. I love anything that is a small package full to bursting with nutrition. Mostly because I work.

I’ve also recently discovered that I love frozen nuts. Maybe it’s the heat. Dor always keeps her nuts and seeds in paper bags in her freezer and I know this because when I’m organizing things in her freezer to make room for or find something, I find the bag of nuts easily because of all the yummy fat seeping through the paper, telling me to have a snack. It’s literally the only way I enjoy cashew nuts by themselves – otherwise I think cashews are yucky. When they’re frozen they take on this beautiful sweet flavor and creamy texture. So Brain Chips combine whatever science is behind freezing nuts to bring out flavor (not sure if that’s a thing) and my number one favorite cooking fat: Coconut Oil. 

Prized for its nourishing medium chain fatty acids, Coconut Oil is a bit of a rockstar these days when it comes to brain health studies. It also contains Lauric Acid, a fatty acid that is almost impossible to find naturally (although it is contained in breast milk). Its stability as a saturated fat makes it a good sauté oil but its smoke point isn’t crazy high (350). Still, it’s more difficult to oxidize Coconut Oil due to its natural hydrogen. Not to mention, its recent surge in popularity has made it more affordable and available. Coconut Oil is a perfect alternative ingredient to butter in baked goods like cookies, which require saturated fats to not melt all over the place in the oven. Finally, Coconut Oil is THE only oil that would work in Brain Chips because its flavor is unmatched. I don’t know anyone besides Homer Simpson (who I don’t actually know but I feel like I know him) who can take down even a bite of butter by itself and enjoy any bit of the experience. However, I can enjoy a bit of Coconut Oil on a spoon by itself without much suggestion. 

That’s why Brain Chips are now a thing. Here’s how to make them. Do you have five minutes? Great.


Step One: Finely chop a bunch of walnuts (or almonds or any nut really but walnuts are shaped like brains and they’re good for your brain so use walnuts if you want to be relevant.)

Get all of the other ingredients you are using (lemon zest, grated ginger, spices, and 1/2 cup coconut oil today. And sea salt.)

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Step Two: In a parchment lined pie plate, arrange walnuts evenly and toss with all ingredients besides oil.

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Step Three: Melt coconut oil and pour over walnut mixture. There should be a good layer of oil but it should not cover the mixture. It’s more like a bark. Except there’s no white chocolate. Also, can we please stop calling white chocolate “chocolate”? There’s nothing chocolatey about it.

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Step Four: Freeze for about 30 minutes at least. Then remove, break it up with a knife or smash it out of the pie plate and then smash up and down a few times on a clean cutting board. You’re done.

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Sweet or Savory Brain Chips

For sweet:
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
pinch sea salt

*optional ingredients — choose up to 3 of the following:
1 Tablespoon cacao nibs
2 Tablespoons dried currants
2 Tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
3 drops Stevia (drop into coconut oil to dissolve)
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger powder, etc.
1 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla

For savory:
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
pinch sea salt

*optional ingredient — choose up to 3 of the following:
1 teaspoon curry powder, chili powder, blackened seasoning, etc.
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 Tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Tablespoon pepitas or sunflower seeds

1. In a parchment lined glass 9-inch pie pan, arrange walnuts in an even layer. Add sweet or savory ingredients and stir together until evenly incorporated.
2. Pour coconut oil over mixture and, if necessary, use a spoon to coat walnuts and even out mixture.
3. Freeze at least 30 minutes and then remove. Chop with a knife or smash against a cutting board to break into pieces and store in a freezer. Enjoy sprinkled over chili, sorbet, grain salad, slaw, or your favorite dish!


Enjoy being extra brainy! For the month of August we are focusing on Social Support in The Purple Apron. 

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved a clearer mind focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

 

My Ancient Wiring

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowSuppers attendees – more and more – are identifying with the need to work a program to eat according to their intentions instead of their their impulses. When the irrepressible urge to eat descends, it feels like ancient brain wiring and habits transcend all reason. It happens.

Our long-time friend Rose has been dealing with unwanted impulses to eat for decades; and it is a biologically well-matched eating plan and consistent social support that make the difference between a brief fling with junk food and a total collapse.


Rose’s Story: My Ancient Wiring

A Family Reunion is not ‘normal circumstances’

I was so sure of the fortress I had built I was getting cocky about my meat and greens way of eating. If you read my last story,  you’ll recall that I stopped “believing in” emotional eating because I discovered most of my problem was living in an unstable body that responds to all starches with cravings for more. My new way of eating has been working for two years, and in normal circumstances I have no problem avoiding all the foods that used to be my favorites. But a family reunion is not normal circumstances.

We gathered from all over the continental United States. With my new-found desire to stop directing and controlling everything, I hadn’t insisted on choreographing all the activities ahead of time. So when on a holiday weekend we had no reservations for dinner, we ended up eating several times where there was space for us, the sushi place. It’s like herding cats figuring out who’s going in which car where, and there’s always a lot of boring time waiting around. I’m not good at being bored. I just haven’t perfected the art of being bored in a group of cranky people who don’t want to eat sushi again. In fact, feeling bored is the enemy of intention for me. 

Do you know the moment when you’re just sitting there minding your own business and all of a sudden you realize you’re going to binge? I think my ancient wiring took over. It was the dastardly combined forces of boredom, family reunion, and feeling captive in a restaurant full of sushi that tore me down. I had been a binge eater most of my life and even two years of freedom from binges didn’t save me this time.

How do I know? Because I’ve done this before. 

To make a long story short, I pursued the binge, put on a bunch of weight, came home, took it off. Blah, blah, blah. I have two pounds to go and I know it will be gone inside of two weeks. How do I know? Because I’ve done this before. I’m trying to keep my focus on how wonderful it was for the whole family to not have me masterminding everything; there is always some woman in my family who is willing to take over. But honestly, if she doesn’t do a better job, I may just have to make reservations.


Other Things That Are Ancient for Rose, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081I’m a big fan of the line, “feeling bored is the enemy of intention” but I don’t think mine would read the same way. Mine would read, “feeling stressed is the enemy of intention”.

Even those of us who are particularly skilled at handling stressful situations can and will break eventually. For me personally, problems arise in the form of figurative multiple tornadoes or they don’t come up at all. It’s either a beautiful day with 0% humidity and 100% laughter OR: the roof is threatening to fly off of the house, Kitty runs outside, Soup boils over, driver’s license is missing, outside it’s like actually ONE MILLION percent humidity, and pretty much everything work related is late. Speaking of which, totes missed you guys. I’m glad to be back. 🙂

Before we really get into it I just want to say this. What’s the deal with being a weatherperson? I want that job. Basically you are paid to be consistently wrong and it’s cool because what can you really do about the weather? Nothing. But I have a problem with the definitive nature of weatherpersons who are like, “IT’S TOTALLY GONNA RAIN ALL WEEKEND!” so you freak out and get all of the mowing done and then it doesn’t rain at ALL. Or my weather app is saying there is a 30% chance of rain and I look outside and it’s pouring. If I was a weatherlady I would get up there, turn on the camera, look into it and be like, “Actually I don’t know what’s going to happen. Sorry. I’m 99.9% sure that it’s not going to snow today but, you know, my department has been wrong before.” Yeah. I would love to do that.

For Rose, the unpredictable nature of HER perfect storm (see what I did there) was a combination of a high-stress environment and refined carb-filled sushi rolls. Was it the vinegary and refined sushi rice shoved into seaweed? Was it her ancient wiring itself that took over in order to escape her current unpleasant situation and achieve a (temporary) neurotransmitter response giving all the good feels? Or was it Rose’s family that fell apart – a family who may have expected her to dictate order, as she had done in the past, and didn’t realize that planning the eating venues for a family reunion actually takes some work. So, Sushi happened. And then it happened again. Rose isn’t worried about Rose so I’m not worried about Rose but I wonder this: what about Sashimi instead of Sushi? Could that be a Suppers form of Nutritional Harm Reduction to help out?

The thing about Sushi and Sashimi is – they’re different. 

According to the Wikipedia article I read, Sashimi is also ancient. The consumption of raw, fresh fish was a very common practice in China around the year 500 BCE and probably well before that. Later on the delicacy arrived in Japan and that’s where we got the name. Sashimi means “pierced meat” or “pierced body”, coined in a time when the word kiru, which means “cut”, was saved only for Samurai (the OG Japanese non-Emperor celebrities).

The thing about Sushi and Sashimi is – they’re different. Sushi refers to a dish that is made with Jasmine rice tossed with vinegar and doesn’t have to contain raw fish but often does. In fact my favorite Sushi rolls are just avocado with tons of pickled ginger and wasabi. Sometimes I eat some of Dor’s salmon avocado rolls. Sometimes. However Sashimi is traditionally a dish with simply raw fish elegantly draped over a vegetable garnish – usually shredded Daikon radish and/or Shiso, the lemony minty leafy Japanese herb. It’s quite good but difficult to find. (Check your farmers markets hint hint wink wink). Probably the thing that sets them both apart from other dishes is the knife skills. Skills like with a Z like Skillz. There are many different knife cuts to employ when preparing Sashimi but the most common one is the Hirazukuri cut (rectangular) and it’s just shy of 1/2 inch thick pieces.

One time I was in LA visiting my brother and he loves Sushi. You know people who can just eat like…like an absurd amount of Sushi? Well he is one of those people. Sushi places know this and for whatever reason like to run the All-You-Can-Eat specials for people who are really gonna fall off the wagon. Or people like my brother who just can eat like a truckload of food and go for a run and it’s gone. I hate him. (Not really). Anyways here’s the real point. While we were there Sean definitely ate like 20 rolls of Sushi but ALSO I, who had time to look up from my plate, was shamelessly staring at the Japanese chef behind the Sushi counter. His knife skills were unbelievable. He took a cucumber and, in one deliberate, even, perfectly timed move, he turned that cucumber into a sheet about eighteen inches long. Just one long rectangle of perfectly sliced, perfectly even cucumber. He threw the perfect cylinder of seed and cucumber boogers away. Unreal. Also my brother slept for like 3 hours after that meal. Also sometimes Johnny Depp goes to that place.

Also, Sashimi. 


Step One: Acquire the freshest, Sashimi Grade fish you possibly can. There are a LOT more fish out there besides Tuna and Salmon. Talk to your fish person about getting the best cut with a flavor that works for you. The fish manager at McCaffrey’s, Saidur Rehman, really knows his stuff if you can catch him. Tell him Suppers sent you. 

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I used salmon because I like the combo of the fish with avocado but there are SO many other choices. Here are some suggestions besides the obvious Tuna/Bluefin/Salmon options:

  • Mackerel – this fish has a strong aroma of the ocean and therefore can stand up to stronger flavors like garlic, ginger, or miso paste.
  • Halibut – a lean fish, this guy is delicate with a pillowy texture and very present flavor. Halibut makes for excellent Sashimi (and even better Ceviche).
  • Hamachi – yellowtail has a lot of great fat and with it comes the ability (come on Flavor Students, remember!) carry other flavors along for the ride. Therefore Hamachi can be perfect on a plate with delicate and subtle flavors or bold stand-up flavors.
  • Kampachi – a nice substitute for Tuna because of its firmness, Kampachi also is low in mercury and, of course, has those Omega 3s we’re all wild for. Omega 3 fatty acids are to foodies like the Beatles were to teenage girls in the 60’s.
  • Eel – I don’t really want to talk about Eel but people like it and it has the Beatles in it too.

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For the more adventurous aspiring Sushi chefs, try…

  • Uni – sea urchin. They look horrifying and they can sting. But they’re pretty good.
  • Squid – the texture seems to be the problem most people have with this choice but consider it anyway and also consider having it as a hot side to whatever you are serving. Grilled calamari really just needs some lemon and salt and it’s out of this world. A ten out of ten.
  • Jellyfish – I know, but it’s even a thing in California. According to some Sushi chefs, Jellyfish is misunderstood both in terms of taste and texture. I would just say…you know, know your sourcing. Did you know that Jellyfish are basically immortal??? Unless they are physically killed by something they just go on living literally forever. Someone told me that one time.

Step Two: Choose your accompaniments. Like any great Sashimi plate this should include pickled ginger, wasabi, and a soy sauce of some kind (like Tamari) but again you should not feel as though you cannot be creative OR seasonal.

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I’m being totally boring today and choosing some cucumbers and sliced avocado. Daikon radishes should be coming out soon enough and Shiso is in season right now! In case you want to be super traditional. There’s also carrots, green cabbage, collards. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely all about the fish. So, when choosing vegetables, do it for the colors on the plate.

Step Three: Slice fish into desired strips. I’m no Japanese Sushi chef like that guy in LA. That image will be with me forever, by the way. However, the type of fish will sometimes inspire the type of cut. Generally, however, you’re going to want to go against the grain to keep the meat together. Fish protein is separated by thin membranes of fat and tissue. Slicing with the grain compromises the integrity of the meat.

You should be using a very, very sharp knife. Always.

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Step Four: The sauce. Make your own dipping sauce by using flavorful alliums and roots. Try fresh ginger, of course, and also turmeric (for the health bennies), minced garlic, fresh scallions or purple scallions (yes, a thing), and use sesame oil and seeds to carry it all over.

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Salmon Sashimi with Avocado & Cucumber

1 5oz piece fresh, Sashimi Grade salmon, sliced into 3/8 inch thick rectangles
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
1 Tablespoon pickled ginger or more if desired
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/2 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons Tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
freshly grated ginger to taste

1. Arrange salmon, avocado, cucumber, and pickled ginger on a nice plate or board. Set aside.
2. In a small ramekin, combine wasabi powder, water, and rice vinegar. Mix into a paste using one chopstick. If you would like a larger amount of wasabi simply add powder and then drops of water and vinegar until a paste forms. Press into a shape or ball and place on arranged plate or board.
3. In a small bowl, combine Tamari, sesame oil, and minced garlic and stir. Grate ginger over bowl and stir in. (I cannot stress to you enough how much you should keep your fresh ginger in a freezer. It grates like snow falls). Taste and balance with an acid like lemon juice or rice wine vinegar, if necessary, and then pour into another small ramekin. Place on arranged plate or board and serve chilled.


Now go off and find some great fish! For the month of August we are focusing on Social Support in The Purple Apron. 

Suppers is a brain-based recovery program for preventing and reversing health problems with food. If you want to submit a story about how you achieved a clearer mind focusing on a diet of whole foods, please send in a story to Dor!

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

The C Word

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowHow much energy do you have to expend to refrain from having more than a portion?  I recall  two comments from friends I knew long before Suppers. One said that dieting was a full time job. The other said that she would consider it a year well spent if she did nothing but lose 40 pounds.

Some people who feel addicted to specific foods feel out of control when they have any. It takes a huge amount of energy and control to keep the genie in the bottle if you actually have an addictive relationship with an ingredient.   

In Alice’s story, control was a big issue and it bled into all parts of her life. She couldn’t relax about anything until she fixed her way of eating.


Alice’s Story: The C Word

After years of attending one of the 12-step programs, I have come to think of control as the C Word. To compensate for having no control in one area of my life, I tried to control just about everything else. I was frazzled, pushy, cranky, and difficult to please. I was also a big manipulator, and the things I manipulated most were my own moods and energy level. My tools were coffee, cocoa, candy, bread, cookies, and wine. The automatic choices I made were all about seeking comfort for an outrageously uncomfortable body. Every day started with a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate served to me in my bed by my husband. The jolt got me going. From there I raced through the day, trying to set up play dates and TV time for my kids for the moments when I wanted to sequester myself with a treat or protect them from  my foul mood. I had no tolerance for noise or even too much light. The slightest stimulation would set me off.

This went on for years. 

“Come here!” “Don’t do that.” “Close the door!” “Pull down the shade!” “Turn that off.” “Stop whining!” I was always barking orders. And if they didn’t cooperate I became mean. This went on for years. It never occurred to me until I heard about appropriate control that a healthy person could control their children in loving and effective ways. Maybe I could too, once relieved of the grip of food on my mood.

I stayed off everything for a week…And then the testing started. 

There was only one way to do it: change. I had to observe how I felt on each of my favorite mood manipulators and decide if it went on my “never” list or my “sometimes” list. The way I knew which list to put it on was how hard I had to control myself if I had a little bit. I warned everybody I knew that Cold Turkey Day was coming. I stayed off everything for a week and managed not to kill myself or anybody else. And then the testing started. If a sip or a bite led to ten, it had to go. If I enjoyed it but I had no big reaction it was OK. The big players turned out to be anything with corn, caffeine, white flour, and chocolate. These things made me nutty for more. Over time, the healthier I got, the sicker I felt when I cheated and ate them. It was nice that I could have some ice cream and wine, and I was able to cut them in half without feeling sorry for myself.

I’m still cautious about the C Word. 

The big difference these eliminations made in my life was that I wasn’t trying to control everybody else into maintaining a quiet, bland, stimulation-deprived environment for me. I didn’t have to; I was sleeping better and my personal biology no longer required it.

I’m still cautious about the C Word. I never want to go back to the rigid, frazzled person I was. Now when I yell at the kids to turn down the blasted music, it’s because they’re teenagers and it really is too loud.


Calming The Control Freak Inside for Alice, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081I don’t wanna make any generalizations here but somehow I feel like the Suppers Concept of Automatic Choices very commonly circles around sugar. Dessert. Things that are sweet. Great, now I want chocolate and it’s not even 8am. The rationale there is that carbohydrates are so particularly desired by the body that when introduced to refined carbohydrates, the brain turns into a kid in a candy store. Literally.

Have you ever tried making an artichoke omelet? 

Last week we talked about the six tastes, why they are important, how to balance them, and how to better appreciate them. This week let’s keep that in mind as we learn how to make a health-supportive dessert that explodes on the palate just like your favorite naughty sweets.

You guys, cooking is about relationships. Every different food has a different disposition, requires different things. Sometimes foods don’t get along with other foods. Have you ever tried making an artichoke omelet? WELL DON’T. DON’T EVER EVER DO THAT. It ends up looking…horrifyingly gray. Something about iron. Have you ever tried marinating meat in pineapple? WELL DON’T. DON’T EVER EVER EVER DO THAT. It ends up with a mushy, mealy texture. Something about enzymes.

…go ahead and thank the Europeans for exploding dessert in extravagance

Cooking is about relationships between foods and our bodies, too. Each person has a different body and we all have our own biochemical needs. Additionally, foods have their own nutritive compounds and they offer to us different combinations of nutrients. There may be some biological inconsistencies there (your trigger foods or inflammatory foods) but there are more similarities. So let’s talk dessert.

Health-supportive desserts rely heavily on nourishing ingredients – like fruit, for example. Ingredient choice is really all you have going for you. “Dessert” before dessert was invented consisted of fruit, nuts, and honey. When cheese was discovered (yes, discovered) she got to join the party too. We can go ahead and thank the Europeans for exploding dessert into extravagance but for our purposes let’s just focus on how we can amp up the nutrition. Europe has enough to deal with these days.

These ingredients pack the most nutrition into the smallest package.

Trudy Schafer was one of my chef professors from Bauman, who got her Masters in Nutrition after becoming a chef. I was always in awe of her ridiculously ginormous brain. She always said super knowledgeable things like they were just commonplace like she was saying “well you know cause paint is wet” but REALLY she was saying things like “well we’ll just add some lime to complete the protein.” And I was like….”uhhhh right!” I should have asked her more questions and acted dumber, maybe I would have learned more. Anyway the point is, Trudy used to say that if a person is just getting started transitioning their diet and they only want to make one change, have them add fresh herbs and spices. These ingredients pack the most nutrition into the smallest package. Trudy also specialized in cooking for people with cancer – you know, that other C word – who can’t consume that much volume. So. Again. Herbs.

Let’s consider these moving parts we’re dealing with:

  • Dessert
  • Health
  • Herbs
  • Other Nutritionally PACKED Ingredients 

Shall we?


Dessert Pesto

What? What did she say? Pesto?? Sweet pesto?? GROSS! No, you’re wrong – it’s AMAZING. Top an almond flour shortbread or a slice of a plain peach with the tiniest dollop of this stuff and your kitchen god/goddess value shoots up like a rocket ship. Before I toe the line of building this up too much, let’s just make it.

Step One: Prep your herbs. If you just want to use basil for this, that’s fine. However, in my experience making this particular dish, it’s good to add some other sweet heavy hitters like:

  • Thyme
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Lemon Balm
  • Thai Basil
  • Mint (Use Sparingly)
  • Pineapple Sage

There are more. To keep it very simple let’s just use basil today. After all, the basil season in New Jersey is fleeting and must be appreciated.

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Step Two: Gather your other ingredients. Replace each one like this:

Pine Nuts — Choose From: Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Cashews, Almonds
Garlic — Eliminate entirely. Nobody wants garlic in their dessert pesto
Lemon — Keep the lemon and don’t forget the zest
Olive Oil — Coconut oil, don’t forget to melt it
Sea Salt — Just a dash
Add some honey to sweeten things up to taste and you’re ready to spin. 

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Secret Tip: Don’t put the nuts in first, put the herbs in first. The nuts are heavy and when the processor turns on, they’ll make their way down there. It’s more difficult for the light herbs to get down to the blade without your help. 

Oh, right. That’s all! You’re done.


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Dessert Pesto

4-5 cups herbs (*Asterisk means use sparingly): Basil, Thai Basil, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, *Mint, Pineapple Sage, Lavender, *Rose Geranium
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1-2 cups nuts: Cashews, Walnuts, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Pecans
3-5 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus some to taste
2 Tablespoons honey (*optional)

1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend. Chunky dessert pesto is good for topping sorbet and fruit dishes, smooth dessert pesto is good for piping and fillings or toppings for almond lemon shortbread and other gluten free cookies.
2. Balance flavor with sea salt, lemon juice, and honey if necessary. Stores up to 5 days in refrigerator. Freezes like a champ.


Happy Pesto making!!! This closes out June, our Parenting month at The Purple Apron! 

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future months offering Parenting stories so share yours today! 

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

Blueberries That Taste Like Candy

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowAre blueberries pivotal?  It’s been a while since I read Violet’s story.  But since Allie selected it for the blog, I re-read “Blueberries that Taste Like Candy” and marveled that another child had had a transformational experience with blueberries.

There seems to be a pattern here:
Child doesn’t like healthy food.
Mother at her wit’s end with child.
Mother and child pitted against each other. Blueberries save the day.

Blueberry season is upon us. What better way to confidently, lovingly, unswervingly draw a line in the sand. The future of your family’s palate and the financial backbone of the nation may turn when all other food disappears and the only thing left is a box of “delishush” blueberries.

Violet’s Story: Blueberries That Taste Like Candy

It took more than a year to transition.

At my first Suppers meeting, we participated in a workshop that explained how addictive the standard American diet is. In the U.S. we have easy access to affordable, highly processed foods. The facilitator explained how eating processed foods provides a diet high in sugar, salt, and fat, which destabilizes blood sugar and causes cravings for unhealthy foods and excessive weight gain. We also learned that making dietary changes and eating more whole foods will not only improve health, but can also improve how you feel physically and emotionally. My family has many of the problems that Suppers is designed to help. We have problems with alcohol on both sides, depression, anxiety, and struggles with weight. I had no idea that these things are all connected and that the common thread is what we eat.

The facilitator said we might be surprised how taste buds change after a period of time without lots of sugar in our diet.

As curious and as hopeful as I was going into this meeting, I was equally overwhelmed and lost when it was over. We had talked about nutritional harm reduction, which is a conscious and steady effort to slowly reduce and eliminate unhealthy foods. But I shuddered to think about what my kids might do if I tried to take away their favorite snacks. There’d be war on Main Street!

The facilitator said we might be surprised how taste buds change after a period of time without lots of sugar in our diet. A dad in our group told the story of how he had a long illness and had not eaten much for weeks. When he felt better he ate some blueberries. He said they actually tasted like candy! His story gave me hope that if I started taking gentle steps with my children, their taste buds would change incrementally and eventually help them enjoy eating what is good for them.

“These are delishush.”

It took more than a year to transition. My family resisted my efforts: the kids complained, my husband lost his temper, and everyone needled me to bring back the treats. Even though I felt like giving up, I continued to make changes; I threw away a box of cookies, made fruit and raw veggies available for snacking, substituted baked sweet potato “fries” for white potatoes fried in oil, and refused to give in when the kids whined for candy bars in the grocery store. Then one day I handed my son a box of blueberries for his snack and he tossed a big handful in his mouth and said, “These are delishush.” Normally, I would have said, “Don’t talk with your mouth full, please.” Instead I smiled.

When I was frantic about my family’s health, Suppers offered me a different but achievable task. Group support was critical. I also needed to experience that “hatching chick” moment; the moment before which nothing can change and after which nothing can stay the same. That happened for me the day I could imagine blueberries that taste like candy.


Bitter Greens Before Blueberries For Violet’s Kids, By Allie

Before you can understand the blueberry you must first understand the brain and the bud. The tastebud.

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Taste This

There are six tastes, currently. Six flavors. A flavor is not so much how it tastes in this case but a biological reaction to a food. The receptors on our tongue – tastebuds – are responsible for identifying the potential nutrients in a food and telling our brains and other relevant organs what to do in their presence.

SWEET foods contain carbohydrates, or energy, and this is the first flavor the tongue experiences (think breastmilk) and therefore becomes accustomed to – for the obvious reason that there is no life without energy. In a similar sense, digestion of carbohydrates begins in the mouth and lets the pancreas know that it needs to be ready for Insulin production and distribution.

SALTY foods offer the essential nutrient, Sodium. This nutrient may sound scary because doctors tell you to watch it but that doesn’t mean you don’t need any at all. Sodium regulates and moves water around in the body, addresses blood volume, balances Potassium, and helps with nerve functioning. In modern times, however, sodium is found in nearly every processed food (because salt brings out the natural flavor in foods) and even in over-the-counter medications. Always try to get the purest salts you can find.

SOUR is the bright, acidic flavor found in vinegar, citrus fruit, and tart juices. These foods can zap the tastebuds, sometimes in a shocking way (think babies tasting lemon wedges) and, long ago, could have alerted the tongue to a poisonous food. Since then we have been able to study and differentiate what is a good “shock” and what is a bad “shock” and have found that vinegars, fermented foods, and citrus fruits are some of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet. 

UMAMI is the tongue’s detection of protein so it is found in seared meats and foods with depth like mushrooms. Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles, every hormone and enzyme in the body is also a protein, and when we run out of carbohydrates to process, protein is there. Umami is a mild flavor – even at high concentrates – and wasn’t discovered until the early 20th century by a Japanese chemist who noticed that Dashi, a broth, had a little more going on than salty, sour, or sweet.

BITTER is a nuanced flavor as well. Humans have about 30 genes coded just to detect bitter flavors as an evolutionary response to toxins. Omnivores and herbivores have to get really good at telling which plants are poisonous and which are not, so our tongue has evolved to separate and notice bitter flavors the way we notice sour flavors. The more experience the tongue has with bitter flavors the more the tongue can detect other flavors.

FAT is the most recently discovered flavor. It may be difficult to comprehend that fat is a “taste” but know this: the moment the tastebuds detect fat on the tongue, the gallbladder wakes up and starts dealing with bile production and distribution. Fat is also responsible, in a culinary sense, for carrying other tastes over the tongue with its silky richness.

Flavor Friends

In terms of flavor balancing, Bitter and Sweet balance each other out. So, for example, if you have a kale salad and would like to cut the bitterness slightly, you can make a dressing sweetened with a dash of honey or some orange juice. Flavor balancing is all about the palate – both what flavors compliment each other in an external sense (like Bitter/Sweet) but also how the person’s palate responds to flavor.

Same thing with Sour and Salty flavors. Did you just oversalt that dish? Don’t fret, just add some lemon juice or another acid and tame the salt. If you overdid it on the lemon juice, sprinkle some salt to bring other flavors (besides lemon) forward.

You can retune your OWN palate…

Have you ever heard someone say “Well, your tastebuds change every seven years,” or something like that. They’re not wrong but it’s not a whole picture. In fact, our tastebuds can “change” much faster than that and cell production isn’t part of that – THE ONE WITH THE POWER IS YOU!

Yes, you heard me correctly. You can retune your OWN palate to be more sensitive to the flavors of real foods. The processed food industry has a monopoly on salt/sweet/fat – these flavors are the most basic ones, the most desirable ones, the most biologically recognizable ones. They’re the easy ones.

Bitter, sour, umami – these are more difficult to detect, more covert, more “unpalatable” and that’s what makes them so important. Tongues oversaturated with the monopolized easy flavors need a good cleansing to be able to truly appreciate the difficult flavors.

The best way to appreciate a blueberry is to learn to appreciate greens. 

So how do you fix your tired, sad, monopolized tongue? How do you take back control of your tastebuds? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: concentrate on bitter and sour flavors. If Bitter balances Sweet it doesn’t mean the two are at odds with each other – it means the two understand each other. The best way to appreciate a blueberry is to learn to appreciate greens. It’s no wonder blueberries taste like candy after concentrating on the difficult flavors for awhile! It’s both more like the actual blueberry flavor and it’s a sweet relief for your more nuanced tongue too.

We’re going to ease into this process by making a delicious Suppers Friendly Spinach Pie. I went a little nuts in the kitchen yesterday because it was my anniversary and I was trying to make a one-dish-dinner that tasted as delicious as possible.

Spoiler alert, it passed the “Delishush” test with flying colors. Here’s how I did it.


Step One: In a traditional Spanakopita, the greens are cooked first by themselves and then squeezed. I would start there because it takes awhile for them to cool down enough to be able to handle. I used collards from Dor’s garden to compliment my lovely baby spinach and to turn up the bitter note.

Chiffonade the collards by de-stemming them, rolling them up (AGAINST the spine, NOT with the spine – see above) and slicing into 1-inch strips.

Then saute over low heat for 5-7 minutes. Even though they’re collards they do not need the everything cooked out of them.

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Once done and cooled, squeeze out all the moisture and set aside.

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Step Two: Flavor, flavor, flavor. What’s the foundation of flavor? Say it with me: ONION. Your choice. I did a large sweet Vidalia onion and three garlic scapes.

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Hey, do you know what a garlic scape is? They’re in season RIGHT NOW and they’re basically a delicacy – once they’re gone, they’re not back until next year.
Each garlic plant sends out just one scape per season. The scape is the reproductive part of the garlic plant. Farmers snap them off so that the garlic plant will continue to focus on the bulb and will NOT focus on making garlic babies. Reproduction can be very distracting.

They taste like garlic but are a little sweeter. Awesome grilled. Great in pestos.

Step Three: What’s a spinach pie without a crust?! To keep things Suppers Friendly, we are doing a crust which is essentially Dor’s Almond Crackers but we’re adding some eggs to keep everything together.

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Does it form a ball? Can it hold its shape? Then you’re good.

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First slice the ball in half and then roll out JUST ONE half. Don’t laugh at my rolling pin, my wooden rolling pin is at work and, besides, it’s a good tip.

Press the other half of the dough into the bottom of a greased 9 X 13 glass baking dish.

Step Four: The filling. Saute onions, garlic scapes, add chicken thighs, shiitake mushrooms (I know, this is where I was going nuts) a can of coconut milk, and then stir in cooked and drained greens! Add some salt, the zest and juice of a lemon, a dash of apple cider vinegar, some freshly chopped herbs of your choice, and about a quarter cup of chopped fresh parsley. What’s great about this is you do everything out of the same pan except bake it.

Step Five: Pour filling over 9 X 13 pan with crust pressed into the bottom and even out. Then top with rolled out crust and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until top crust is golden and firmed up!

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Suppers Spinach Pie

For the filling:
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 pound spinach leaves
1 pound collard greens, de-stemmed, chiffonade
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
3 large garlic scapes, minced (or 3 large cloves garlic)
3 pieces chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk, whisked with a fork until incorporated
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

For the crust:
4 cups almond flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon dried herbs
dash ground black pepper
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water (pour in half and keep other half reserved)

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large cast iron pan over medium heat, add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil and spinach leaves. Cook 5 minutes, just until wilted, and place in a colander. Return pan to heat and add chiffonade collard greens. Cook 5 – 7 minutes, until wilted, and place in colander with spinach. Allow to cool 10 – 15 minutes until cool enough to handle and then squeeze out all moisture.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add all crust ingredients except remaining 1/2 of the water and mix with hands. Be sure to thoroughly mix crust before adding any more water and only add if crust is crumbly and will not form a ball.
3. Divide crust in half and press one half into a greased 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Place the other between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out to very thin with a rolling pin. Place baking dish with crust in it inside the oven and par bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, in cast iron pan, add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute 3 – 5 minutes. Add minced garlic scapes and cook 1 more minute until very fragrant. Add chicken thighs and pan sear 2 – 3 minutes per side.
5. Remove chicken thighs and chop into large chunks and then return to pan. Add a dash of apple cider vinegar and scrape up any brown goodness on the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in shiitake mushrooms and coconut milk. Lower heat to low and allow to gently cook about 5 minutes.
6. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, fresh herbs, and parsley until everything is well incorporated. Pour over par baked crust and top with rolled out crust. Cut any edges or press down into pan to create a nice pocket and place dish in oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the crust on the top is golden and firm. Allow to cook 5 minutes before serving – it will be very hot!


Happy Spinach Pie-ing!!! June is parenting month at The Purple Apron!

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future time slots for Parenting stories so share yours today! 

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

My Body is the Temple of My Soul

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowSuppers isn’t billed as a spiritual experience. Nevertheless, members experience spiritual sustenance in two main ways (you can probably think of more).

One is that it does take a body to have a spiritual experience. Having a physical body is a necessary but insufficient condition because it’s the vessel or terrain needed for any other experience to take place.

We  experience every feeling, every thought, every attitude and every spiritual moment on our human terrain.

So, just as the condition of the playing field affects the quality and outcome of the game, so too the condition of our physical bodies affects the quality and outcome of the lives we lead in them.  

Second, many of us derive spiritual sustenance from the communities that form around our shared intentions to be well. Our opening meditations, the food, our shared desire and commitments to take better care of the “temples of our souls”, and the support we provide each other are inspiring. For me, it’s about the “helper’s high”, the elevating feelings I get when I see revitalized people who thought their problems were intractable. Good food and social support are a powerful combination. If you haven’t been to a Suppers lately, what’s stopping you! Come get high on health with me!

Beth’s Story: My Body is the Temple of My Soul

When I started Suppers, I wasn’t expecting to have a spiritual experience. I went because my way of eating had gotten me into a lot of trouble. I had dug my way in with a fork and spoon and I needed to dig myself out with the same tools. I had church and a 12-step program to take care of my spiritual needs, so I imagined that the spiritual side of Suppers for me would be about penance. I looked at what wasn’t on the menu and knew I would feel sorry for my sins.

I didn’t know what to do with the line, “Caring for the body is the primary spiritual act because the body is the temple of the soul.” I’m not sure I agree with the “primary” part, but I got it that no matter what we’re doing, we’re doing it from a physical body. I have firsthand information on how illness affects my emotions and relationships and turns my prayers into pleas for help. 

It has been challenging for me in my spiritual practice to get quiet enough to hear God’s plan for me. Every day I ask for guidance, but there’s been so much noise in my head I couldn’t hear the answer.

It was a long process acquiring a personal appreciation of how deeply my physical body related to my spiritual experience. As I weaned myself off refined sugars and started eating more fresh food, my anxiety started to go down. I had been praying for years for help with anxiety and depression. I had no idea that part of the problem was my diet. I also learned that managing stress isn’t just about getting into a quiet meditative state; I also needed to move. A walk along the canal is just perfect for me. It locates me closer to God. Now that I’ve let go of most sweets, the spiritual difference is crystal clear. I spend more time saying prayers of gratitude than pleading for help. 


Black Bean Burgers For Beth, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Ever look at a package of vegetarian burgers? Most of them are pretty….well let’s just say that there’s a lot LOT of words under the word “Ingredients” that’s for sure – and you probably can’t pronounce all of them. At Suppers, that’s not a good place to start. 

The thing is, making vegetarian burgers can take a bit of work if you want them to be good. This is an instance where the time it requires to make them yourself is worth it – not to mention, they’re a make-ahead. Make a big batch and they freeze like champions! You know, like Olympic bobsled champions.

There is no need whatsoever to add manufacturing ingredients, like silica and tertiary butylhydroquinone, in case you happen to have them in your spice cabinet. Not kidding, butylhydroquinone is totally a word and it’s also an “ingredient” to look out for in processed foods. And hey, to be honest, there’s also no reason to add flour or breadcrumbs, either – that’s a trick that the majority of vegan or vegetarian chefs use to bulk up the volume, create binding, add texture, and reduce cost. But it’s not necessary – I’ll show you how.

It’s all about ingredient choices – and by ingredients I mean REAL ones. Not seventeen lettered ones. 

This week, no steps – everything just goes into a big bowl anyways. Let’s talk about the individual ingredients, how and why they are used and chosen, respectively, and then the recipe is at the bottom! 

INGREDIENTS, FLAVOR, AND CHARACTERISTICS: A GLOSSARY

BLACK BEANS
Black beans have their own binding capabilities – that’s why they’re a main ingredient in black bean burgers in the first place. In fact, that’s why someone was like, “black beans are sticky, I bet we could make burgers out of these” one day. However, black beans are pretty plain. Not much flavor. And to get them to their mushiest state takes a lot of elbow grease. You can use a potato masher as well but not a food processor – that would be TOO mushy, not enough good beany texture. 102980.jpg

I’ve used both canned and cooked black beans and…don’t hate me…I prefer to use canned. Cooked black beans seem to have a higher water content and make for a more liquid experience. Eden Organic Black Beans are my favorite brand but the more affordable 365 brand from Whole Foods is good too and, honestly, probably any canned bean would work.

SWEET POTATOsweet_potato_for_gnocchi
This is the secret weapon of a good black bean burger.
Roasted sweet potato flesh adds what wet flour would add – a fiber similar to the protein gluten – with none of the inflammation and four times the flavor. Go easy on the sweet potato, since they vary in size I usually go for a large one and then end up using about 3/4 of it. Roast in the oven, cool, peel, and add to your growing bowl of ingredients.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS
The last binding ingredient is, as we have previously discussed, the foundation of all flavor: the onion. Caramelized onions, which are a make – ahead that we learned about in Salmon For Breakfast  – add so much flavor to things that it’s totally bonkers. In terms of this recipe, these sweet sweet onions provide everything that we’re looking for in a small package. For one batch of burgers you probably don’t need more than 2 large yellow onions, sliced and caramelized.

Truth be told, for black bean burgers, you can stop around or before 60 minutes. But here’s the breakdown so you can see up to 2 hours.

MUSHROOMS
The other day I was making thportobellopix1.jpgese burgers in front of my sister, who generally won’t touch a thing I make but she DOES like my black bean burgers. She didn’t know there were mushrooms in it every time though. Ha! These are a bit of a secret ingredient – mushrooms add so much depth of flavor and they also add a nice texture and good water content. The trick is to chop up the mushrooms into nice even, small chunks, and then add them to the caramelized onions towards the end of the process and cooking them until the liquid is mostly evaporated.

SHREDDED CARROT
Carrots are so pretty! The orange color adds a nice splash to an otherwise darkish dish. Raw shredded carrot also adds some nice vitamins to this mineral rich burger. Finally, the carrots here won’t add a crunchy texture once they have been cooked but they will add a nice fresh, clean flavor of vegetables – even though nearly everything added so far is pretty much a vegetable. Just go with me. I’m sure you could add other shredded veggies at this point too if you are feeling adventurous.

TOSCANO KALE, CHIFFONADE dino-kale.jpg
Again this is a color and vitamin thing. Kale leaves (plus carrots) help to “break up” the otherwise heavy burger and you don’t need very much to make it a successful dish! I like to use toscano (aka lacinato, dino – the one with the flat leaf) kale because of its flatness and shape. Curly kale might work but it’s so difficult to manipulate in terms of shape and red russian kale has a water content that would create too much steam for the kale and give the burger an off flavor. So if you’re gonna use kale, use toscano. 

If you want to watch a mildly bizarre video on How to Chiffonade things, watch this one, it has okay tips and even though it uses basil it’s the same basic method: roll and slice. Here’s the video.

GARLIC
Cause garlic, you guys. If you can’t deal with garlic, don’t worry about it – but nothing garlics like garlic. I like to prep mine by mincing it first and then sprinkling a dash of sea salt on it and leaving it to sit for a few minutes. Upon return I continue mincing to get the salt all up in there and then I turn my knife blade away from me, so that I’m looking at the flat side and start to smash the garlic with the flat side, scraping towards me at a 45 degree angle, pressing and crushing the garlic as I scrape. I feel like this is hard to follow.

You know what, just watch Jaques Pepin’s method, he’s got some cool tricks right here! If Julia Child is my queen, Jaques Pepin is my king!

THYME, OREGANO, FRESH HERBS
Obviously fresh herbs pack one heck of a punch flavor wise. I like to use ground thyme, dried thyme, fresh thyme (any thyme, anytime), and I also use fresh oregano leaves, minced. Use whatever you like! A little fresh herbs goes a long, long way.

That’s it! I usually work next to a big bowl and when I’m done with an ingredient, I add it to the bowl. Then I go in with a potato masher and afterwards I use both hands to mix and fold and squish and crush and fold and mix until they’re done.

Another thing you should know before we finish up here is that these burgers take FOREVER to bake. They don’t have breadcrumbs or anything to lighten their load and they’re pretty wet considering the fact that most things have been cooked already so don’t embark on a black bean burger project if you only have an hour before dinner and then be like “well Allie said they were easy and they would take five minutes to make”. They’re easy, I suppose. But they won’t take five minutes. Try NOT to eat them in less than five minutes and make it a spiritual experience for yourself!!


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This was a version of black bean burger made by my GSCK kids last summer! We used green bell peppers instead of carrots and a cilantro pesto sauce for topping – so delicious! Once you make these burgers my way, experiment with yours!

Black Bean Burgers

1 large sweet potato, whole, unpeeled
2 heaping Tablespoons coconut oil
2 large yellow onions, sliced into half moons
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 lb mushroom caps (portobello or cremini) small dice
1 cup shredded carrot (about 5 medium carrots)
6 leaves toscano kale, de-stemmed, chiffonade
6 cloves garlic, minced and smashed into a paste
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1. Preheat oven to 375 and place sweet potato directly on the rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch drippings. Roast potato for 45 minutes to an hour or until tender. Remove and set aside to cool and then peel off skin. Place flesh in a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, melt coconut oil over medium heat and add sliced onions and salt. Stir to coat onions with oil, place lid over pan, and lower heat to low. Cook over low, low heat for up to 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes to prevent sticking. For reference or pictures head to Step 2 of Salmon For Breakfast.
3. Once onions are mostly done, stir chopped mushrooms into pan with onions. Raise heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms have given off liquid and then that liquid has mostly evaporated. Add onion and mushroom mixture to bowl with sweet potatoes.
4. Add shredded carrot, chiffonade kale, garlic, black beans, and herbs to the potato/onion/mushroom mixture and begin to mash with hands or a potato masher. Mash, fold, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Taste and balance with sea salt.
5. Lower oven heat to 350 and measure out bean burgers (if you can, use a scale and weigh burgers out to 6 ounces). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place patties on sheet, as close together as possible without sticking.
6. Bake burgers for 35-45 minutes on one side and then flip and continue cooking another 20 minutes or until done. Burgers will be heavy so flip gently – they need to bake a long time, don’t mess with the cooking time too much.


Happy Beaning!!! June is parenting month at The Purple Apron, so – although we are making up for missing last week by sharing one of Dor’s favorites to close out Founder’s Month – Parenting stories are coming!

If you are a member of the Suppers Moms and Dads Facebook group and want to submit a story of your successes and failures at the dinner table with the kids – send in a story to Dor! We will have future time slots for Parenting stories so share yours today! 

As always, head to our website for recipes, tips, stories, meeting schedules, registration for workshops, and more! The Suppers Programs is dedicated to helping YOU make your own personal transition towards a healthier life. Join us and discover your path towards vibrant health, seated next to a caring Suppers member, enjoying a divine meal together!

Suppers social resources:

Suppers Website
Facebook Page
Instagram handle @suppersprograms

How You Feel Is Data

The Purple Apron is a Little Different This Week

The Suppers Programs is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating friendly spaces for individuals to transition themselves towards a healthier lifestyle. As a grassroots program, Suppers relies on partnerships and collaborations for success. Our new partner, the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, has brought such wonderful things to Suppers – awareness, support, collaboration, and friendship.

This week’s post we will be attempting to return the favor by highlighting the IRN, which recently launched a nationwide 10 Day Real Food Challenge that you can easily join from your computer right now (after reading the rest of our blog, obviously). If you want to see what Day 1 looks like, head straight here. (Note the Preferred Recipe Partner…they look pretty familiar to me…)

The IRN is an amazingly complete resource – from their fantastic website to their great staff and relentless advocation for a reduction in the consumption of processed food and white sugar. They know what to present, how to present it, and they stand as an incredibly strong pillar, right beside us, on top of this tidal wave of a movement. And the best part about IRN for Suppers is that they think we’re pretty amazing too. Read more from Dor.

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David CrowHow you feel is data. This fact never goes away. Recently I was interviewed by the Institute for Responsible Nutrition about this most important concept at Suppers. We thought we’d take this opportunity to share the post because your most valuable, untapped, deeply wise and accurate source of information about your health is you!

Please visit the IRN’s Interview with Dorothy by clicking HERE and read about our most treasured concept at Suppers. 

Since two of our super savvy members with insulin-dependent diabetes — Audelle and Karen — both had revelations with a muffin that literally takes five minutes to make we’re sharing the recipe.

If Audelle and Karen can learn a lot about their bodies from a five-minute muffin, maybe you can too. 

Microwaving in Minutes, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081I actually don’t have a microwave. Not because I’m like against microwaving (though I’m definitely not FOR microwaving over other high heat cooking methods necessarily) but because I just don’t have one yet. Microwaves are expensive.

Good thing there’s one downstairs on the furnished level of this historic house I just moved into. Bad thing: moving. It’s the worst.

Let’s talk about these muffins though. I have heard of the popular Pintrest “microwavable birthday cake” thing where you put some flour, eggs, sugar, etc. into a coffee mug and then microwave it and then it’s a birthday cake. They are always yucky though – like they don’t taste good. I’ve always regarded it as a good present anyways because everybody loves ironic or otherwise funny coffee mugs!

              For example: il_340x270.549977271_g9s4

Anyways when I heard about the recent success that Karen and Audelle had with “nut and seed muffins” during The Suppers Breakfast Challenge  I was again skeptical. But then I made them and they. Are. SO COOL! They taste unbelievably surprisingly delicious – I never ever would have expected them to taste so good but they really do! Of all the recipes I have suggested to you over these beautiful 21 or so weeks, I really hope you make this one the most.

It’ll take you five minutes of your day. Let’s just get right to it yes?


Step One: Combine dry ingredients in a beautiful, funny, or ironic coffee mug using a fork. Separately, combine wet ingredients in a dish with same fork.

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Step Two: Mix wet into dry until ingredients are well incorporated. Really make sure there is nothing on the bottom or you’ll have dry almond and flaxmeal in your muffin instead of softness and bubbles.

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Step Three: Pop in the microwave and wait 1-2 minutes. Muffin will blow up (not explode) magically and then relax after it is done. Yes, it sort of doesn’t look great so I dumped mine on a plate and then topped it off.

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Step Four: Top with some cool berries or a scoop of yogurt if you’re like me, enjoy!

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Magic Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Fiber-Rich Flax & Almond Muffin in a Mug

2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 Tablespoons almond meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
stevia to taste (for sweetness)
1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 Tablespoons water

1. Combine dry ingredients in a mug. Mix in coconut oil, vanilla, egg, and water and microwave for 1-2 minutes.

To vary, add one of the following:

A Tablespoon of almond butter
A few berries, chopped
A Tablespoon of chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews) or seeds (hemp, sesame, pumpkin)
1 Tablespoon cacao plus 1 Tablespoon instant coffee for a Mocha Muffin
Your choice!

Due to very high fiber content, be sure to drink 8oz water/tea/liquid with muffin. 

As always, head to the Suppers website, our Facebook page, and our Instagram @suppersprograms for all of your recipe needs, beautiful photo needs, and experimenting curiosity! How You Feel is Data – don’t let another day go by without listening to your body. It’s the only one that will talk to you. 

Lentils Saved Me

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David CrowSometimes I think Suppers is such a no-brainer I can’t believe it wasn’t invented before. This whole concept of “how you feel is data!” is so patently obvious to me, I can’t imagine what it must feel like for those of you who live inside a body whose language you don’t understand. The language my body speaks verges on screaming.

I guess I’ve made it a personal mission in my life to help people translate how they feel into useful language. In this week’s post we share a story by a woman we called Rose – a pseudonym – you’ll see why when you read it.

She was highly educated, trained as a psychotherapist, and completely unaware that her feelings were at least partly driven by food.


 

Rose’s Story: Lentils Saved Me

I have been a psychotherapist for over 30 years. I was trained in the psychodynamics tradition, and I am a great lover of Freud. For most of my adult life I have had an eating disorder, and for most of my adult life I have been in therapy. I have spent more time talking about my relationship with my mother than I spent having a relationship with my mother. But it wasn’t until I was nearly 60 that I became willing to try another approach to my uncontrolled eating. My husband is a psychologist and more willing to experiment with diets and try new things. When he suggested I give Suppers a try, I was so frustrated with these extra 40 pounds that I agreed.

Lentils saved me.

It was at Suppers that I was introduced to the idea that to stave off hunger and prevent binges, I’d have to eat more.

I’d have to make the time in the afternoon to have a small meal between clients so that I wouldn’t be screaming for huge plates of pasta and heavy bowls of popcorn at the end of the day. The facilitator of my meeting sent me home with all the leftover lentils. I couldn’t believe what happened to my body. Not only did it reduce by more than half the vigilance required to stay away from empty carbs, I found I was feeling more loving towards my husband. All because of a daily cup of lentils to prevent a quick drop in blood sugar. 


 

Revising Rose’s Lentils, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Every. Single. Year. On New Year’s Day, my mom made us eat what she called “Lucky Beans” and what I called “gross disgustingly horrifying lentils”. Suffice it to say that I don’t like lentils one bit. I keep trying them in different ways, though, cause I feel like it’s like that tastebuds thing — they change semi-regularly so you have to keep trying the same foods. Even if that means you have to swallow oysters sometimes. 

Oysters: the ocean’s boogers.  

Additionally, you have to keep trying the same food prepared different ways. Oh, honey, you don’t like kale? Have you ever tried it sautéed? Stewed? Massaged? With feta? With raisins? OK, well, come back later. When I was a kid it was acceptable for me to call Lucky Beans what I called them. As a real live adult-child, I have to focus on branching out. Besides, I’m pretty lucky so I guess I have my mom to thank for that.

No, but seriously, can I detract for a moment? I’m like SUPER lucky. Everything ALWAYS works out just beautifully (sometimes it takes awhile). At the same time in the immediate sense things generally work out incredibly well for me too! Like gambling.

One time I was in Vegas and, baby, I was hot. Originally I loooooooaaaaaaathed the idea of Las Vegas because my only experience with casinos was in Atlantic City, which is a place where I still feel cold and alone and sad. I was 21 and in A.C. for a conference with my amazing beautiful mom and we headed out after work. It was late – midnight at best – and we were sitting at a slot machine, losing, and the lady kept bringing us drinks for free (RED FLAG) and I looked around at some point to see the sad folks around me consuming more and more alcohol and losing more and more money to this grand and all-powerful casino that didn’t have any windows AT ALL and…well, I began to cry. I cried right in that casino. My mom looked over at some point and she was like, “Are you crying?!! Are you crying because we’re losing?!!” and I balled, dramatically, “No! I’m crying because EVERYBODY’S LOSING!!!!” Then we left.

Years later I went to Vegas. And, baby, I was hot. (I know, I said that already). The first night I went out with my big brother to a divey Irish casino – probably the only one in the city – and we weren’t there five minutes before my brother just blatantly won $1,000 outright. (We O’Brien kids are all pretty darn lucky). It didn’t stop there. I got four of a kind at three separate poker facilities. Just before leaving our hotel/casino to head back to LA, I just wanted to lose the $3 paper ticket things the machines spit out and in five seconds I turned $3 into $140. Four jacks and a nine.

I am going to go ahead and thank lentils (and my mom) for all of the luck bestowed upon me because one day I really want to like them. I really do you guys!

And…well…I think that day has come. 

The Lentil Steps

Step One: Go through your lentils before cooking them, cause there’s rocks in them. No, but really. Rocks, tiny stones that look like lentils in bulk form – they’re there. It’s easier to find them in red lentils, which I am trying for the first time. (New food party).

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IMG_3238Step Two: Rinse lentils, put them in a big pot covered with at least an inch of water or stock.

If you’re like me and you’re in the process of moving and you don’t feel like making stock, use this stuff. Better Than Bouillon. It’s amazing.

Just put a big heaping spoonful of this stuff into any sort of water mixture and stir or whisk into mixture. It will definitely increase the sodium content and it will also increase the FLAVOR content, like, tenfold. 

 

 

 

Step Three: Slice up 4 cups of veggies [use at least 2 cups of some kind of onion plus any other veggie you want. I did a basic mirepoix (2 parts onion, 1 part celery, 1 part carrot) to start] and I chopped them into pretty large stew-friendly pieces.

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Step Four: Now, you guys. While I am using Rose’s recipe (which I will share below) for lentils, I flew away a little bit because in Rose’s recipe she throws the veggies in with the lentils after the lentils have simmered for a bit. It’s definitely the easier way to go but it doesn’t add much flavor, or the opportunity to layer anything.

If you want to become good at layering flavor one way to start that process is by searing whenever possible. When foods are seared or sautéed you are offered chances to add salt, spices, umami (from the actual brown sear) and, most importantly, you are left with what one of my chef professors called Kitchen Treasures on the pan. Yeah, the brown stuff.

So in this step we take a pan, melt some coconut oil, add all the veggies, some salt, pepper, and dried thyme.

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Don’t worry munchkin. We’ll get to the sausages.

Step Five: Make some room in the pan and then sear those sausages until medium rare, then chop them up into bite sized pieces, stir into the veggies, and add the whole thing to the pot of lentils.

Here’s another random tip. Keep a pile of spices out when searing veg or meats. It’s easier and CLEANER than continually grabbing the salt shaker, the salt bag, the spice jars, etc.

Think about what you want to use and make a pile. 

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Add everything to that pot! Deglaze with a dash of apple cider vinegar and a wooden spoon if things are sticking! 

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Step Six: Add canned tomato product (crushed, whole peeled, chopped, whatever, + paste) and let that pot simmer for as long as you like! In my case it was until Ned finished edging the entire walkway up to the house for like four hours and after the sun had gone down and I was like “what. Are you doing.” That boy loves landscaping.

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That’s it! Let it simmer and reduce! Or you can do it Rose’s way.


 

Rose’s Lentil Stew

1 lb lentils
1 cup tomato sauce or several fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 cups chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions, zucchini, and/or parsnips
1 Tablespoon broth base (organic, no MSG)
Optional: 2 Tablespoons curry paste
Optional: 1 cup salsa
salt to taste

1. Rinse lentils and remove stones and bad beans.
2. In a large pot, cook lentils in water plus one inch to cover.
3. While simmering, add tomato sauce or chopped fresh tomatoes, and chopped vegetables. Add broth base and water or broth as needed so lentils do not dry out. Simmer until lentils are tender. (Pink lentils take 20 minutes or so, green lentils may take up to an hour. You can reduce cooking time by soaking overnight first.)
4. If you like more zing, add curry paste and/or salsa during the simmering. Salt may not be needed if you are using broth. Taste before adding.
Makes 8 serving.


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Allie’s Pink Lentil & Sausage Stew

1 cup lentils
1 heaping Tablespoon Better Than Bouillon (Beef Base) or stock
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
celtic sea salt and black pepper
dried thyme
1 lb. pork sausages
1 15.5oz can chopped tomatoes
2 heaping Tablespoons tomato paste

1. Rinse lentils and scour for rocks, stones, and bad lentils. Place in a large pot and cover with about 1 inch water or stock. If not using stock, bring water to a simmer and stir in Better That Bouillon.
2. In a large cast iron pan or skillet, over medium high heat, melt coconut oil and add vegetables to sear. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme over veggies and stir frequently for at least 5 minutes, or until veggies have become a little tender and a little brown. Make a space in the middle of the pan by pushing veggies to the side of pan.
3. Add sausages to space and sear 3-4 minutes per side. Lower heat and remove sausages to chop into bite sized pieces. Return to pan of vegetables and stir, then add sausage mixture to lentils pan.
4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to lentil mixture and maintain a medium low heat. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes and as long as you like. Balance with salt and acid and serve hot.

As always, visit our website at The Suppers Programs for all of your recipe needs, curiosities, and to join a meeting today. Don’t forget to follow us on our Instagram or like our Facebook!

 

Salmon For Breakfast

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowOne of our first facilitators was a near vegetarian whose body periodically required some fish for her mental, physical and emotional stability. When good fats and protein are what your body needs, nothing else will do. Although Casey’s imaginary world revolved around the croissants she could pick up in town, her ability to hear her body’s message broke through. She marched herself a few storefronts down to get the much-needed but less-desired salmon for breakfast.
The first principle of Suppers is to actively practice non-judgment.  And it starts with oneself.  
Each of us starts with highly individual, non-negotiable needs that have to be met. If you’re a determined carnivore who sniffs at a green smoothie for breakfast or a dedicated but depressed vegetarian or a patient who follows orders even when you don’t feel well, you can learn something from Casey: You have an innate wisdom that is trying to speak to you, if you would just sit for a few minutes and allow the message to come in.

Casey’s Story – Salmon For Breakfast

A few weeks ago I was on my way to the facilitators’ training for Suppers and I left the house without having a substantial breakfast. I had grabbed a handful of sunflower seeds, which satisfied my appetite almost until the end of my driveway.

The drive is about 25 minutes, so you can imagine that by the time I reached town I was focused not on the meeting but on food – eating – now! I made a beeline for the bakery. I could smell the fresh-baked bread before I got out of the car. I actually sat there for a few moments while thoughts of warm buttery croissants took over my brain. I thought about how many I would order. One for now, one for the car ride home, and maybe just one in case.

But something happened at that moment, as I played out the whole scene in my head. I wondered if this was such a good idea.

I allowed myself to mentally go into the shop, purchase the croissants, come back to the car and eat one of them. I took a moment to think about how I have felt in the past after doing this exact thing. I remember feeling like having another immediately and spending the rest of the day in a coffee-and-junk-food-consuming downward spiral. Not to mention the brain fog and fatigue. What could I do?

I thought of the Suppers Breakfast Challenge and discussions we have had at meetings about avoiding the trap of automatic choices and the importance for most people of consuming a high-quality protein in the morning. I am one of those people.

I have become familiar with my personal biochemistry over the years through proactive nutrition education, and I now know that omega 3 fats work well for me. So I did something I have never done before: I ate salmon for breakfast. That’s right. I marched myself down the street and bought a piece of pre-cooked salmon from the deli and marched right back to my car and sat there and ate it up. Within ten minutes (no joke, ten minutes), I started to feel focused, energized, happy, satiated, and altogether good about my decision. 

I had no trouble driving away without a bag of croissants. Perhaps I showed up at my meeting smelling like fish, but it was worth it. I told this story at the meeting because I was covering the concept of automatic choices, “the choices you make when you aren’t consciously participating.”

For me the most important words in the description were “consciously working on change,” “support,” and “time.” Consciously working on change is an ongoing process. It’s what I was doing in the car that day. Support has been the key.

I have studied Nutrition and for years have known what I needed to do to change my life, but without support I was not able to act on that information. Suppers has supported my change process without any pressure about which changes to make or how fast to make them. As for time, I told the group that three years ago I would not have paused for a second before buying those croissants. That day in my car, I may have taken 15 minutes to make a good decision. I was able to slowly work through it and come out on top (that day). My hope for myself and us all is that a couple of years from now, I (we) will be making healthier choices without a second’s pause. 


 

Stuff You Put On Stuff For Casey, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081A Chef is a cook with a mind full of tricks. Some chefs are super, super good with their trickery but the magic is based mostly in logic, mildly in chemistry, and includes the freedom of creativity. I say these things not to expose folks in the industry (you guys, I’m in the industry, I’m an industry person you guys) but to empower YOU.

Here’s a very common trick, for instance: If you want stuff to taste good, put good tasting stuff on your stuff!
In other words, it’s all about the toppings. I don’t want to trigger anybody here but think about a wedding where they have one of those mashed potato bars. It’s like a martini glass with some mashed taters in there and then bowls of good tasting stuff to put on the tater stuff. I think the thought process there is: potatoes are good but they’re WAY better loaded up with all sorts of horridly delicious ingredients.

Let’s apply that to you, Casey, me, and this moment. First of all I have, like, zero issues with eating salmon for breakfast. My breakfast is most often the leftover dinner from the night before. So if I’m making healthy breakfast choices then I am probably eating pretty “weird” things for breakfast, most often in front of my sister – who stares, horrified by my process – but that’s what works for me. Humongous salads, salmon, cold chicken, hard boiled eggs, sauerkraut, pestos – that’s what I am looking for in the morning. Plus coffee.

My advocacy for leftovers-for-beginnings is that any protein that was prepared in my home kitchen was also already sauced or topped off so it’s ready to eat but not chemically processed

The point here is to focus on making health-supportive toppings to place on
you-supportive ingredients – that is, to say, ingredients that keep you grounded, centered, and present. 

SO. If you are a person who is heading down your path towards vibrant health and your vehicle of choice is salmon, let’s chat.

Good Tasting Stuff Choices For Salmon

Sweet, Sweet Fruit

  • Cooking fruits down in acidic juice (like lemon or orange) with ginger root, turmeric root, and/or a dash of honey adds a sweet tang to your steamy fish.
    Salmon-friendly cooked fruits: plums, apricots, apples, tomatoes, dates, citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and grapefruit, tamarind (use the paste)
  • Chopping fresh fruits for a raw preparation is also a lovely direction, especially as we move towards warmer months. Toss with some lime juice and spices, you’re golden.
    Salmon-friendly raw prepped fruits: mango, all melons, pineapple, stonefruits

Get Yo Veggie On

It might help you to know that the season of salmon is spring and early autumn – however it is available year round in our magical land of abundance – so pair your salmon with seasonal veggies from the farmers market. The possibilities range a lot more here.

Spring: 

  • Arugula, Spring Greens, Stored Cabbage, Celeriac, Mint, Peas, Sugar Peas, Spinach, Asparagus, Garlic Chives, Radishes, Morel Mushrooms, Ramps (these are foraged locally in New Jersey but so far no forager I know has ever taken me with them foraging hint hint wink wink hint hint hint. Also Fiddleheads.
  • The farmers markets usually open around April the earliest. Find your way there to find out what’s actually in season for your zone.

Summer:

  • Bell Peppers, Tomatoes (I know, tomato is a fruit), Cucumbers (raw or pickled, also a fruit FYI), BASIL and other herbs, Sunchokes, Summer Greens, Shiso, Mushrooms, Scallions, Asian Eggplants, Corn, Golden Beets
  • Go to your farmers market and start experimenting. There are hundreds of summer pairings – including especially fruit, which is best eaten in its ephemeral season.

Autumn: 

  • Eggplant, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Peppers, Carrots, Celery, Onion, Leeks, Thyme, Potatoes, Flat-leaf Parsley, Spaghetti Squash
  • Go to your farmers market, honey.

Winter: 

  • Chestnuts, Marjoram, Winter Savory, Potatoes, Celeriac, Cabbage, All Types of Beets, Kale, Flat-leaf Parsley, Winter Squash, Swiss Chard
  • Don’t forget about your Farmers Market (yup, the markets continue on through at least December if not into January)

Go Nuts!

Since so many herbs pair so particularly well with the full, rounded, oily fish flavor of Salmon, we need to start thinking about herb based, nut based sauces like, ahem, PESTO.

Pesto
You are not limited to basil. Try spinach, arugula, kale, parsley, cilantro, or anything that looks green and is a leaf and then pick a nut and add GLOS (Garlic, Lemon, Oil, Salt).
Some combos include:
* Basil + Walnuts + Garlic + Lemon Zest/Juice + Olive oil + Sea salt
Basil + Thyme + Oregano + Almonds + Garlic + Lemon Zest/Juice + Olive oil + Sea salt
Spinach + Oregano + Rosemary + Almonds + Garlic + Lemon Zest/Juice + Olive oil + Sea salt
* Cilantro + Pistachio + Garlic + Lemon Zest/Juice + Olive oil + Sea salt
Flat-Leaf Parsley + Pine Nuts + Almonds + Garlic + Lemon Zest/Juice + Olive oil + Sea salt

* means it’s one of my favorite go-to’s

Cashew Cream
You can find the recipe in two places: on the Suppers website or here on an older Blogpost
Don’t lean on cashew cream too much, it’s so rich that it might be too heavy in the mouth and on the palate – try to break it up with another bright sauce.
Some combos include:
Cooked Apricot + Onion + Cayenne + Lemon + Honey + Dollop Cashew Cream
Raw Asparagus + Lemon + Scallion + Garlic + Tamari + Dollop Cashew Cream
Raw Cucumber + Dill + Shredded Carrot + Scallion + Dollop Cashew Cream

Are you getting the direction I’m going in terms of flavor? Here’s the main point: BRIGHT TASTING STUFF balances RICH TASTING / FEELING STUFF.

Bomb The Stuff With Flavor

Using a bunch of strong stuff in a small portion, thereby bombing your dish with flavor, is the secret weapon for Chefs and for Suppers alike. It’s like an atomic food bomb. These dishes are made of strong tasting stuff, like herbs or roots, citrus, and alliums, and they have an atomic-like effect on otherwise mild or plain foods. They’re great for soups, stews, casseroles and, of course, toppings.

A pesto is one example of an atomic food bomb. Another atomic food bomb I would like to address with you is Caramelized Onions. The process of caramelization extracts natural sugars from foods, and then gently, deliberately, burning those sugars. So, in the case of an ingredient like an onion, it is possible to make onion jam which tastes as sweet as a ball of date paste. Also, a ball of date paste almost qualifies as one but I think technically you’re supposed to have more than just one ingredient.

In closing, Caramelized Onions are like THE BEST THING to have on hand in your kitchen. They are a make ahead! Make one large batch and then keep in a tupperware in your freezer!!!! Now I think that we’ve finally exhausted this “stuff that tastes good on salmon” subject, let’s actually cook something already. Amirite?!

Now We Cook

Step One: Choose your topping(s). I choose, based on things I see in my refrigerator:
Caramelized Onions + Asparagus + Lemon + Garlic + Cashew Cream + Micro Greens

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Step Two: If you already have caramelized onions, skip to Step 5. If not, keep reading.
How To Caramelize Onions

Start with a large bowl of onions and three hours of being at home. Just at home, not necessarily in the kitchen.

Slice about 10-12 cups of onions into thin half-moons. The half moon slice on this is important as it slices against the grain and allows for more breakdown. If you slice the onion with the grain it doesn’t fall apart as well. Just FYI.

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Step Three: Over low heat, melt a bunch of coconut oil in a pan with a tight fitting lid. Add all of the onions at once and a healthy dash of salt (at least 1 full teaspoon) and turn the onions gently with a pair of tongs to coat with oil.

Place lid firmly on pan, set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes, and walk away. Seriously. Go read a chapter of your book or work on your blog 😉 or watch an episode of Mozart In The Jungle or,  I don’t know, have a dance party or something. Go relax.

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Step Four: Upon your return you will be amazed by how much liquid has been created. Give the onions a good stir with a wooden spoon to prevent anything sticking to the bottom of your pan. Then replace the lid and reset your timer. That’s literally all you do, on repeat, for about 2 1/2 hours or until the onions are brown enough for you. Here’s your list:

1. Return when timer beeps
2. Remove lid
3. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking
4. Replace lid
5. Set a timer for 20 minutes
6. Go away

Step Five: Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place prepped salmon filet on parchment and set aside.

Chop everything else you are using and toss together with lemon juice. Make a layered crust on salmon starting with a nice spread of caramelized onions, then chopped asparagus “salad”. Roast salmon at 400 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes, check for doneness and maybe add a few minutes depending on the size of your filet.

Step Six: Plate roasted salmon and top with a nice dollop of cashew cream and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Add micro greens to look fancy if you want. Enjoy.


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Onion Crusted Salmon With Asparagus

1 lb. salmon filet, de-boned and skinned
1 cup caramelized onions, pre-prepared
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced and smashed into a paste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, basil, or other herbs, minced (*optional)
1/2 cup cashew cream, pre-prepared
1/4 cup micro greens (*optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place prepared salmon filet on parchment lined sheet and slather caramelized onions over filet, making sure to spread evenly to each part of salmon. Use more caramelized onions if you like.

2. Prepare asparagus by tossing together chopped asparagus, smashed garlic, lemon zest, juice, sea salt, and black pepper. Spoon salad on top of onion crusted salmon filet. Roast at 400 for 12-15 minutes. Check for doneness in the middle and add time if necessary.

3. Remove and sprinkle with fresh herbs and a wedge of lemon if desired. Slice into large servings and add dollops of cashew cream and a small pinch of micro greens to each. Enjoy immediately or store for future meals!

FYI: If you are cooking for one, use:

6oz Salmon
2 Tablespoons caramleized onions
4 stalks asparagus, chopped into small pieces
1 large clove garlic, minced and smashed into a paste
1/4 lemon, zested and juiced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh herbs, minced (*optional)
2 Tablespoons cashew cream, pre-prepared
2 Tablespoons micro greens (*optional)

As always, always, look to Suppers for all of your salmon related recipe needs! And remember, we are here to support you. Join us at our Suppers table and find the support that you need to address food driven health challenges and achieve vibrant health!