My Eyes For a Loaf of Bread

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow“Nothing happens in the human body without a reason,” so said one of our first Suppers members.

We all knew him as Dr. George.  His prognosis was blindness; his solution was food.  Decades later and fully sited Dr. George provided us with one of Suppers’ earliest models for becoming one’s own case manager when the professional pronouncement doesn’t serve.

His story My Eyes for a Loaf of Bread teaches us to take heart, to have hope, and especially to swing into action because sometimes that bad diagnosis is wrong.

Hope, inspiration and lots of social support as you identify your personal inflammatory foods are just a phone call or email away.  


Dr. George’s Story: My Eyes For a Loaf of Bread

I had my first migraine at the age of nine. 

When I was a child my mother taught me about nutrition, and as a chiropractic student I learned more in my nutrition courses. But my interest in nutrition started after a personal health problem that began long ago.

I had my first migraine at the age of nine. It happened at a family get-together, and it was so bad that I said to an uncle, “If this is what grown up people get, then I never want to grow up.” The headaches increased in frequency and severity during my teenage years and well into my twenties. I consulted medical authorities during that period, but their only recommendation was medication, which resolved nothing. Although I was having no visual problems, I went to an ophthalmologist who diagnosed me as having sclerosing (hardening) retina of both eyes. He said the treatment for this condition was no treatment because the cause was unknown. He then said I would be totally blind within two years. His exact quote was, “You have two years before you have to get your cup and stick to beg.”

It’s not a miracle. 

I did not appreciate his sense of humor. And just because he didn’t know the cause didn’t mean there was no cause. From my professional training, I was aware that nothing happens in the human body without a reason. I determined that this condition had to be caused by some toxic build-up in my body. I proceeded to eliminate this toxic foods and fluids I normally ate and drank, including simple sugars, caffeine products, dairy products, fried foods, gluten foods, and all forms of bread, and almost all processed foods. One year later I had another eye exam at New York Hospital, and the ophthalmologist found no sclerosing in my retinas. Whatever sclerosing there had been was gone. That was more than 30 years ago, and to this day, I have not had another headache. There have been many biochemical research studies since then, and I now know my retina problems and my migraine headaches were caused by hypersensitivities to food. Blood tests were later taken to determine my specific food sensitivities, and I was not surprised to learn that I had already eliminated most of these foods on my own. My experience convinced me that if proper nutrition in both diet and supplementation is added to any form of heath care, it slows down the progression of many conditions and speeds up the healing process. 

I’m sharing this story because it’s not a miracle. It is the logical consequence of removing from my diet the foods and beverages that were toxic for me, and adding to my diet the nutrients in which I was deficient. This approach to therapy proved successful to my patients during my many decades as a chiropractor and later as a nutrition diplomate and board-certified clinical nutritionist. My role in the Suppers program has been to help develop literature for the program and present information on points of nutrition that require supplements. I’ve often said it would be wonderful if we could heal ourselves without taking supplemental nutrients. It is my firm belief that we are designed to heal on food as our medicine. I suppose if we all lived on a toxin-free planet with nothing but whole foods to eat, and if we all slept as many hours as it’s dark, and loved our neighbors, we wouldn’t need vitamins. But we live in an environment that assaults us regularly in ways that are, for many of us, beyond the reach of perfect food.

Nevertheless, there is no question that personal solutions start with whole food: luxurious servings of fresh vegetables and fruit; a few ounces of lean protein at each meal, including nuts and seeds; unrefined fats and oils like extra virgin olive oil; and whole grains, perhaps excluding the gluten grains that cause health problems for many of us. It’s really quite simple.


Other Things That Are Good For Your Eyes For Dr. George, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081As a Natural Chef, I’m trained to identify areas of improvement, design transitional diets based around the identifications, and create dishes and meals that are consistent with the design. While I may be able to notice deficiencies based on intake (or lack thereof) I never can suggest supplements because I’m not a doctor or registered dietician. I don’t even know if R.D.’s are supposed to “prescribe” supplements. Good thing you can still get vitamins from food. Like Dr. George says, it’s that simple. 

The process of learning about nutrition and whole foods can be as simple or as complicated — as you would like. Traveling deep into the rabbit hole of molecular biochemistry means looking into the body and figuring out what the heck is going on in there! Sometimes the depth can lead to darkness – kind of like when you’re scuba diving (not that I’ve ever scuba dived, I tried to put the thing on and go into the training pool and I got scared and they say you can throw up INSIDE OF YOUR MASK and then have to continue diving without panicking while trying to clear the…you know…anyway. Like, get me out of here immediately. Omigod. Gross.) But yeah, the sunlight only goes so deep below the surface of the water. Then it starts to get dark.

It’s kind of like that with Vitamins, Minerals, and phytonutrients. For example, there are two kinds of Vitamin A. Retinol and Beta-Carotene. Vitamin A Retinol is the true Vitamin A, it only comes from animal products, and is responsible for a whole bunch of things from cell apoptosis (yes, cell death) and also in forming, strengthening, and repairing the rods in our eyes, to name a few. There are more. Vitamin A is essential to our growth and development. It is the reason why we do not have webbed fingers and toes (because programmed cell death kills off the connective tissue cells between our fingers and toes in utero). It is essential to our DNA painting its special picture through our cells. It looks at a cell and it says, “you are going to be a heart cell,” “You are going to be a skin cell,” and “You are going to be a dead cell in 2.4 hours because your services are no longer needed.” Vitamin A is like the director in a film and Beta-Carotene is like the director’s assistant who can take over if the director is sick one day (which never actually happens in real life, directors are hardcore.)

Beta-Carotene is the other Vitamin A and is found only in plants but the reason why it counts as Vitamin A is bizarre and fascinating. In individuals with healthy livers, beta-carotene can be transformed into Vitamin A when needed by the body AND THEN BACK INTO beta-carotene once the need is fulfilled!!! Isn’t that amazing?!?!?!?! However, in small children or the elderly, where there is reduced liver functionality, that transformation is more difficult, or even impossible, to achieve. (That’s why babies fed a vegan diet devoid of animal products and therefore Vitamin A could literally die. It’s a thing.)

So when people are like, “eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes!” If you want to sound super smart (and risk sounding super pretentious) you could be like, “well, actually beta-carotene is good for the heart and immunity just like other carotenoids but beta-carotene can be used by the body to form Vitamin A Retinol which is good for your eyes. Is that what you meant?” 

Yes, health and nutrition can be as simple or as complicated as you desire. I like the rabbit hole of nutrition but when Ned starts explaining to me how an engine works in order to diagnosis a problem with one of the cars, I start to get a glazed over look and become insatiably, visibly bored until he stops. It’s probably the same for him when I start talking about vegetable properties.

Like one time I got home from work at like 11:45pm and all I wanted to do was eat my Ahi salad with spicy mango dressing and go to bed. Well, that just so happened to also be the evening where he figured out why our lawnmower was randomly turning off in the middle of mowing the lawn. So I’m putting my stuff away and taking out my salad just as he starts this inevitable marathon of an explanation — I put my hand up — and I was like, “Stop. I just got home from a 12 hour shift, it’s really late, I’m starving, I’m tired, and I don’t want to learn about how an engine works.” It’s possible that if I came home and he started telling me about an article on Type B blood or GMO corn (did you guys just see what’s coming out on GMO corn?? I wonder who financed that study) I would be more interested. But Ned and I have different interests and I love him for fixing the lawnmower while I get to play in the kitchen.

Dr. George’s own personal experience with changing his diet was extremely intuitive. Further, his advice on how to live is sound — try to get nutrients in the most effective way possible. 

You guys know how I like packing flavor, nutrition, or both (ideally) into a small package? Well, I’ve done it again. Simplest way possible. A Vegetable Curry. 


Curry in a Hurry

Step One: Chop up veggies and spill a bunch of curry powder (or turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and a pile of fresh ginger and garlic) out on a cutting board. Take beautiful pictures and post them to your Instagram and blog.

DSC_0242

Step Two: Start the onions in a pan of coconut oil over medium heat. Next add the peppers, if desired, and let them cook a bit. Then add the rest of the veggies.

DSC_0249

Step Three: Using a mortar pestle (or a food processor I guess) crush curry ingredients into a paste. Throw into a small saucepan with some water over medium heat and let mixture form a thick sauce (in just a minute or two) to pour over cooked vegetables. This is called cheating.

Step Four: There is no step four.

DSC_0276


Vegetable Curry

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 yellow onions, saute sliced
1 red bell pepped, de-seeded and thinly sliced
2 medium or 1 large zucchini, half-moon sliced
1 package baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Turmeric powder or 2 teaspoons fresh turmeric
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut milk (*optional)
Green curly kale, for garnish (*optional)

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add onions. Saute 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Stir in peppers and continue sauteing until tender.
2. Stir in zucchini and mushrooms and saute 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a mortar pestle, combine ginger, garlic, turmeric, onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. Grind together into a paste, making sure garlic has been mostly crushed. Add to a small saucepan with 1/3 cup water or so and place over medium heat. Cook until bubbling and then pour over vegetables.
4. Continue cooking vegetables until desired consistency. Add coconut milk, if you are using, and reduce slightly, so that mixture is not a soup, for another 7-10 minutes. Taste and balance with sea salt and lemon juice, if necessary, and serve or store. Garnish with green curly kale, if desired.


That’s it! Now off to the market with you to make some vegetable curry as a side for tonight’s dinner. Add lean meat or fish to make it into a main! 

Attention all readers! On September 7th, McCaffrey’s in Princeton is going to be having a program on proper handling of and shopping for produce! Do you want to know more about how to pick the best pieces of produce for your kitchen? Come join us for the presentation! There will be samples of delightful, healthy prepared foods and lots of great grocery store tips for you too! 

An RSVP is a MUST to attend this workshop! You can RSVP through email at nutritionist@mccaffreys.com 

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. 

Displaying IMG_3353.JPGIMG_3353.JPG

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.

IMG_3351.JPG

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.

DSC_0231.JPG

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.

DSC_0240.JPG

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.

DSC_0242


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

You Are Not What You Eat

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David CrowWhen we added Gail’s story to Logical Miracles, I wasn’t even fermenting my  own kraut and kimchi yet. Gail’s story is my story:  unremitting mood swings paired with abdominal distress; it went on for years.

Do not give up. 

Now — at least around here — “prebiotics” and “probiotics” are everyday words and we eat them as much for our brains as anything. Science is documenting the relationship between gut health and brains. I am speaking to our readers who experience debilitating depression or anxiety: do not give up.

Would anyone look at me today and guess I was in the pit of depression for 2.5 years? Or that I spent a month in a psychiatric hospital? Today I’m medication free, and depression is in the outfield of my radar screen.

Come to Suppers and do the experiments; figure out how food relates to your problem. You are not what you eat; you are only what you absorb of what you eat. Come eat the food and let it become who you are.


Gail’s Story: You Are Not What You Eat

In my many years of searching for answers to my depression, panic attacks, and abdominal pain, no one ever suggested that my mood problems and bellyaches were the same problem. And nobody told me that what was going on in my head was “downstream” from my gut, which is just a fancy way of saying one caused the other. 

Just as Suppers says, they forgot my body.

I went to lots of conferences, seminars, programs, and support groups in addition to doctors and therapists. Some of them were holistic, and that’s where I started to realize that nutrition is not generally examined when you present with panic attacks. Just as Suppers says, they forgot my body. They were perfectly willing to give me pills to fix my moods and abdominal pain, but they didn’t pay attention to where my mental health issues came from to begin with. Years of eating sweets and treating infections with antibiotics had ruined my digestion.

One day at a seminar, a doctor said, “You are not what you eat.” Ears perked up. “You are only what you absorb of what you eat.” And he went on to talk about all the things in our environment that destroy our digestion, including sugar, processed foods, stress, heavy metal pollutants, antibiotics, failure to breast feed, lack of exercise, and too much alcohol. 

Don’t ever leave your body out of the equation.

This made sense to me because although I ate pretty well, I was stressed, had taken lots of antibiotics, and self-medicated my anxiety with alcohol. Ultimately, good food was not enough. I had to get professional help from a doctor and nutritionist who gave me probiotics, capsules of herbs to clean out my liver, and supplements to heal my gut. Eventually the bloating decreased. I put on a few pounds, which I needed to do. I took some anti-fungal medication recommended by my doctor and worked on the stress part by swimming and learning to breathe better. It took a long time, but as the abdominal pain and pressure subsided my mood got better.

What I would like to contribute to Suppers is this: “Don’t ever leave your body out of the equation.” Even some very bad mental health challenges can start with a bellyache, because the brain is downstream from the gut.  


Getting the Goods For Gail, by Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Dor and I have this guilty secret – a mild addiction that rears its shiny head oh, about every five to six weeks or so. We love bowls. 

We love bowls so, so, so very much. Can’t get enough of them. No double digit number of bowls is high enough. We only go for stainless steel of course – even as bowl addicts we have standards – and we, like many shoppers, enjoy a good bargain.

It’s basically the best place ever. 

There is this wonderously mystical place that is only open to businesses. In order to get a membership you have to own or manage a registered Corporation (typically one that would justify the need for multiple bowls, for example). Or you have to know someone who does. The place is called Restaurant Depot. It’s basically the best place ever. 

Like I said, every five to six weeks or so Dorothy and I will get an itch. A bowl itch. So we will plan and schedule an entire trip to get our bowls (and knives, and silverware, and utensils, and crystal glasses, and olive oil…) and to justify the trip we’ll be like, 

“Let’s make lamb for Ned and Roger!” 

One trip to the store will inevitably include a good long gander at the list of ingredients on most packages. 

Right, cause Restaurant Depot has more than just bowls and utensils. The store also has massive, massive amounts of food. Most of the edible items available in Restaurant Depot are not even close to something I would call “food”. One trip to the store will inevitably include a good long gander at the list of ingredients on most packages. Well seasoned goers will have figured out after their first trip that the best idea would be to shop as they would in a normal grocery store: stick to the outsides. That’s where the healthier options tend to end up.

The refrigerated section of Restaurant Depot is big. Really big. If you were to take all of the residences I have lived in since birth (6 houses, 3 two-bedroom apartments, 1 studio, and two dorm rooms) and mush them all up into one building and then multiply the square footage by three it probably still wouldn’t be as big as the refrigerated section of Restaurant Depot.

Other things that are big? The bags of spinach (they only sell them by the three-pounds) and boxes of Shittake Mushrooms (you can only buy them by the whole huge box) and the cases and cases and cases and cases of lemons, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli rabe, etc. etc. etc. Dor and I are never not totally amazed by the sales and the sizes – basically in the words of the modern American growing woman, we can’t even. 

I mean we’ll take it but not without thinking. Not without feeling. 

That part of it hurts our hearts a little bit though. Since we understand that access to good food is such a huge aspect of food insecurity and health in general, when we see “foods” and also real foods so readily available in huge quantities…well, we feel badly about purchasing them for such a low cost. Two and a half pounds of spinach for less than what it costs to buy just one pound at any store in Central New Jersey? I mean, we’ll take it but not without thinking. Not without feeling. It’s just that we both have realized a few things: one, eating meat is necessary for our personal health; two, we can share our bounty and we do everyday; three, we really enjoy cooking and sharing dinner together. Lots

Like I said, though, the trips are really about making dinner for us plus Ned plus Roger. And for us on a post-Restaurant-Depot-trip, that usually means New Zealand Rack of Lamb, already Frenched (when they clean the bones on the end so you can grab ’em). Mostly because it’s sold for around $7.99/lb. Which is ridiculous.

Our menu on any given Tuesday (every five to six weeks or so) is:

New Zealand Rack of Lamb, coriander, cumin, scallion, dijon
Shiitake Mushrooms, scallion, coconut oil
Sauteed Greens, scallion, coconut oil, sea salt
Probiotics – ALWAYS probiotics

The result of this is that I’ve gotten pretty good at making lamb. This week I will share with you the basics and a recipe for a really nice summer meal complete with summer squash and fresh summer onions! If you want to take a trip to RD with me for the lamb, you probably have to fight Dor first.


All of the Lamb Things

Step One: Use a heavy bottomed cast iron pan or oven-safe grill pan and place over medium to medium-high heat. Melt a small scoop of coconut oil to coat the bottom. Slice some summer Tropea Onions (the sweetest onions in all the land) and add to pan with a sprinkle of salt for a quick saute.

Step Two: Drain lamb package and pull out racks. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and seasonings of your choice.

DSC_0238

Secret Tip: Only sprinkle spices on the fat side first instead of trying to season both sides. Once the seasoned side of meat is down on a pan sautéing it’s easy to season the other side! 

Step Three: Sauté lamb fat side down on hot pan and season other side. Be sure to sear for 3-4 minutes per side until you get this nice browned meat. Remember that is where Umami flavor comes from!!!

After the sear stick the whole thing right in the oven, fat side up!

DSC_0253

DSC_0255

Step Four: Say it with me. Patty. Pan. Mashed. Potato. Patty Pan Summer Squash is my favorite favorite favorite summer squash. It’s the ones that look like little yellow and green alien spaceships and their flavor is naturally buttery with a slight hint of nuttiness.

Patty Pan pictured here cuddling with friends.

DSC_0230

Step Five: Chop up the squash and toss into a deep dish sauté pan that comes with a tight fitting lid. Steam over medium heat in coconut oil with minced garlic plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook until tender and very slightly browned on one side.

Step Six: Employ a good ol’ fashioned potato masher to mash up the tender squash. Yes, that’s right. No need for a fancy emulsion blender, VitaMix, food processor, or anything electric. Just a metal potato masher and you’re good to go.

DSC_0267

DSC_0270

Step Seven: The slicing. Slicing a rack of lamb is actually not that easy. I’ve done it like fifteen times now and I finally figured out how to make it work for me. The trick is you have to cut it with the fat side DOWN and looking at the individual slots between the bones. Make your cuts there first and then turn the bones upwards and finish the cut.

Look at this picture. Do you see the meat between the two bones closest to the fat part of the rack? The meat is just a little bit raisedInsert your knife there and slide it down between bones to make an initial cut. 

DSC_0273

Repeat this step between all of the bones until it looks like this:

DSC_0274

Then turn the rack upwards and hold the bones while completing the cut. 

DSC_0275

That’s all! I top my mashers with a dollop of sour cream and some cooked onion but you can keep it vegan if you like. 


DSC_0280

Spiced Roasted Rack of Lamb and Patty Pan Mashed

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 Tropea onion or red onion, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2lbs racks of Frenched lamb chops
freshly ground coriander and cumin seed
2 large Patty Pan Summer Squash, large dice
2 large cloves garlic, roughly minced
1 dollop sour cream (*optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a cast iron pan or a heavy bottomed oven-safe pan over medium to medium-high heat, melt coconut oil. Add sliced onions and a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Season fatty side of lamb racks with sea salt, black pepper, freshly ground cumin and coriander, and place fat side down on hot pan with onions. (*It’s a good idea to move onions to sides of pans to make room for lamb to have direct contact with pan) Sear 3-4 minutes per side, adding seasoning to bone side when necessary and then place pan into preheated oven. Roast for 10 – 15 minutes for a medium rare center. Let rest 10 more minutes and then slice between bones for individual lamb chops.
3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add diced squash, sea salt, black pepper, and chopped garlic and stir to combine. Place a lid over top and steam until tender – about 7-10 minutes. Remove lid and mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Top with sour cream if desired and serve with sliced lamb chops!


I know you’ll Love your Lamb!!! For the month of July we are focusing on Brain Health 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

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.

DSC_0201

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

DSC_0205

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.

DSC_0208

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.

DSC_0191

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

DSC_0193

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!

DSC_0215


 DSC_0223

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!!


48465d_bfdbfe183b374b9aafe3d373198ea1ee
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

My Hungarian Grandma

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

I have never done a formal study on the demographics of Suppers meetings, but I’m going to say with unscientific confidence that we attract a disproportionate percentage of non-American-born women.

This makes sense to me. They seek us out because we have a food ethic that more closely resembles that of their country of origin and they bond readily with others who share more traditional values around food.

Actually – and to tell you the truth — I’m smug about it.

I savor the righteous indignation that I shouldn’t be feeling as the founder of Suppers because it’s Oh-so-judgmental to feel that way.  I enjoy the holier-than-thou feelings that rise when the New York Times “exposes” things you and I have been saying for years about processed foods.  I’m going to re-double my efforts to actively practice non-judgment for everyone but traffickers of junk food.  In the meantime, let Eva and Allie inspire you to do something really important; it’s time to start making pickles.


Eva’s Story: My Hungarian Grandma

When I was a little girl in Hungary my grandmother used to preserve all sorts of vegetables from her garden. At that time fresh (which meant not processed, but not really fresh because they were imported) vegetables were not available in Hungary during the winter months and I was told to eat our pickled vegetables because they had lots of vitamin C. I did not need much persuasion; I loved the sour taste. Our favorites were pickled cucumbers, green tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage.

Sauerkraut was our number-one favorite in winter and in summer we loved pickled cucumbers best.

Starting in May we made pickled cucumbers almost every week. As soon as one jar was gone, the next was already out in the sun waiting to be “done.” It was not a big deal for us but a way of life. 

Now in America three decades later, I signed up for a fermentation course at a health food store. I did not know exactly what it was about (we never used the word “fermentation” in Hungary, we just pickled our vegetables) but it seemed interesting and healthy. The master fermenter gave a long introduction about the health benefits of fermented foods. He also talked about his childhood; he learned to ferment from his Slovakian grandmother. As Hungary and Slovakia are neighboring countries. I thought maybe I had heard about this process; it sounded very familiar. When he switched from “Why lactobacilli are healthy” to “how to ferment” I had a strange feeling of discovery – evidently I grew up “fermenting” vegetables. 

Only now do I realize the value of what Grandma taught me. My favorite sauerkraut has not only vitamin C but also vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, E, K, niacin, iron, copper, and more. It regulates fat digestion and cholesterol, strengthens heart muscles, and stimulates cell growth. It has anti-cancer properties and, last but not least, is a very effective treatment for hangovers! 

I came to the Suppers program because I wanted to learn about healthy eating. I started reading the information on the website and I must adit it intrigued me. How can people live without wheat, dairy, and sugar? What is left to eat?

The Suppers Programs has been the best health investment I have ever made.

At Suppers we talk about the spirit of creativity, which to me means the healing force that rises when we feel we are actively participating in creating the program. This is how I felt when I brought samples of my fermented vegetables to share at a meeting. There was great enthusiasm among members who wanted to learn to do this. When I teach them how, my Hungarian Grandma will be sitting next to me, smiling. “These are just pickles.” Just?


Pickled Veggies for Eva, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Uh, I don’t know about you guys but when I initially discovered home fermentation and looked at the directions, I was intimidated. Dor and Eva might be pros but Allie O’Brien (and a bunch of folks I talk to, too) did not begin her education on home fermentation with confidence.

Sure, probiotic rich foods are good. Sauerkraut that comes out of plastic bags is yucky. Fermented foods have, like, all of the B Vitamins and give you all the right tools. But it’s a murky, mysterious world in those jars. And I’m like…

“What is that, is that mold?!?!?!”
“We’re supposed to sanitize EVERYTHING when it comes to wine and beer but we don’t even WASH vegetables when fermenting? Uh…”
“What is schtooping? We’re supposed to ‘schtoop’ the cabbage? I thought that was a bad word in Yiddish?”
“I’m scared.”

So I started with pickles, myself, it just seemed easier really. I did want to get better at making kraut and in actuality Dor has totally demystified that process for me by offering visual cues: cabbage should be streaming with water, that’s not enough salt, put some kale in there, that’s too much salt (this one has little recourse unless you have more cabbage or more vegetables). So I’m learning.

But it’s just…her kraut is about 900 times better tasting than mine. Not only that but also I constantly discover millions of different types of krauts that come churning out of her kitchen with astonishing regularity and I get to taste them! My favorite is when she does the kraut with the kumquats in it – omg. So good. I call it “orange juice sauerkraut” and I can actually enjoy the flavor again finally because straight OJ hurts my tummy and I’m allergic to it, no matter what Ned and Farmer David say. I’m allergic to orange juice.

You guys. Dor is the queen of sauerkraut. Seriously.

So I figure I should probably stick to pickles. Last summer I had an overabundance of cucumbers (I know, huge problems over here) and decided to have my GSCK kids try out some pickles. Since I had never made them before I looked through some of my cookbooks: Nourishing Traditions, Alice Water’s cookbook, and Cook’s Illustrated, and in the end I did what a lot of people do: I went on the internet.

Ted Allen (not Tim Allen, that’s the Home Improvement guy – TED Allen is the foodie dude from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). He had a recipe for Refrigerator Pickles and it looked pretty easy. 

Well folks, it just reaffirmed things: fermenting vegetables is straightforward but not easy unless you are trained by hand. His amounts were WAY OFF – so off that I have spent almost a year making this recipe again and again and again, trying to justify the amounts suggested in his recipe and then fix them accordingly and today I almost got it. So let’s do it. In the world of fermentation, this is probably as simple as it gets. 

Pickled Pickles Pickled Pickles Pickled Pickles! Yay!

Step One: Prepare all your vegetables. We’re using Kirby Cucumbers, carrot, broccoli, garlic, cilantro, and scallion. You can use jalapeño, summer beans, dill, fennel, etc. You can use anything, ok? Anything.

DSC_0153.jpg

Step Two: Boil 2 cups of water. Ted Allen first said to boil FOUR CUPS of water but that couldn’t have been more wrong. I was like, “Ted Allen, have you ever actually made this before?” Cause that’s how wrong it was. Boil, then simmer 2 cups of water and toss in the garlic, let it cook for 5 minutes or so.

It still made too much brine so if you are feeling adventurous, boil 1 cup water and see if that is too harsh with the vinegar. That’s ultimately what you have to balance with the water.

DSC_0154

Step Three: Take out two 1-quart jars (I’m using plastic containers because all of my jars are occupied, I know, plastic = bad, glass = good) and measure spices into the jars. Add any sprig you are using – today I’m using cilantro because I want to see if it works or if it is too delicate and gets slimy.

Once you’ve done that, pack veggies TIGHTLY into jars – Ted Allen was also wrong about the amounts of veg suggested. He must have magical Mary Poppins jars where you can add like triple the amount of things that would normally fit. Or he didn’t recipe test. Just add until you can’t add anymore and save whatever is leftover for another cooking project.

DSC_0161

Yes that’s coffee ok I didn’t get to the blog until this morning I’m sorry!

Step Four: Finish the brine with vinegar and salt, then separate out the garlic into jars and pour the brine. Cool, refrigerate, enjoy within a few hours! Pickles always taste better the next day and they last up to 3 months! If they make it past a week, that is.

DSC_0162


Refrigerator Pickles

2 cups water
10 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
6 teaspoons salt
2 cups white vinegar
4 sprigs fresh dill, anise, thyme, or cilantro (success pending)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 kirby cucumbers, halved lengthwise
1 large carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large scallion, thickly sliced into coins
8 broccoli florets
*additional items include 1 cup summer beans, 2 jalapeño peppers, summer squash, kale, cauliflower, bell peppers, red onion – you name it

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add garlic. Allow garlic to cook for 5 minutes. Add vinegar and salt, raise heat to a boil, dissolving salt. Remove from heat.
  2. In two 1-quart jars, separate sprigs of herbs. Divide seeds and peppercorns between jars. Then remove garlic cloves from the brine using tongs or a spoon and separate evenly between jars.
  3. Pack jars full of vegetables very tightly.
  4. Pour brine over vegetables to cover completely. Let cool on the counter, then cover and refrigerate. Pickles will taste good after a few hours but will be much better after a few days and will keep up to 3 months.

To all of you who came out for the Suppers Founder’s Day Fundraiser and supported The Suppers Programs – thank you!!!! Give us some love by checking out our Instagram @suppersprograms and here’s the link to our Facebook page and our website too!

 

Feeding My Children in America

A Welcome By Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

Among our many friends from different cultures, Suppers welcomes quite a few Indian women.  One of them, a physician, told me,

“We have bad genes for diabetes.”  

“Maybe,” I thought to myself. “But it wasn’t until you came here and started eating our food that things got so out of control.” 

I feel like apologizing to everyone who comes here and suffers our hopelessly addicting, processed food supply: my Japanese friend who gave her child coke in his bottle and rotted out his baby teeth, a European whose child ate smoked tongue or whatever she gave him until his first day in an American Elementary School, and now my Indian friends who can’t get their children to eat real food.
Anu figured it out.  She reclaimed her position in the family as the one who sets the rules for and the tone of the dinner scene.  Yes, it took work. But consider the alternative and the consequences.

Anu’s Story: Feeding My Children in America

I am an Indian mother raising two children in America. I have a very picky 5-year old boy and an 8-year old daughter who will eat anything as long as it is not too spicy. What?  I’m Indian! Their Western eating habits have evolved from being annoying to worrisome, especially as my son is barely grazing the lower edge of the growth charts and is bound to fall off any day now. And to make matters worse, my angst grows when I hear my father’s voice in my head and I can sense his disapproval. 

After feeling desperate and hopeless for many years, I decided I had to take control of the situation by putting my focus on it. I have recently started experimenting with a style of feeding children which is more the way French mothers do it. The children are offered one snack after school and nothing else before or after dinner. My kids are starting to understand that dinner is it! We have stopped eating in the car. It has to be at the table, with placemats, and cutlery. The kids are learning to not expect food on-demand but at certain times during the day and only in a setting that honors the importance of eating well.

Dinner has been a struggle, and frustrating experiences in the past have led to complete meltdowns and me manipulating their eating with guilt-inducing tactics. I now try to make the experience pleasurable. We bring our best place mats and dishes out every night. 

We have a four-course meal two or three nights per week. Even when we eat out or order in, I try to ensure that we lean towards healthier options, Japanese food instead of pizza or a pub meal. We include a homemade soup, usually something very simple like dal — Indian lentils —  or some boiled veggies like cauliflower, carrots, kale, zucchini etc. that have been blended with some stock, butter or maybe crème fraiche. Then we have a salad, entrée and dessert. Dessert is usually fruit along with some chocolate, ice cream or rice pudding.

And I use no more language that makes dessert the goal, “If you eat X, then you get dessert.”  Instead I say “Let’s first eat X, then Y, then dessert.”

If they don’t at least taste the first course, they cannot proceed to the next course and have to wait it out until the next meal. Yup…that was not fun the first time we tried it, but I am glad I stuck with it because I have not had to explain it since.

Dinner has turned into a fun game, except the winner is not the fastest one but the person who eats all their courses…slowly.

Finally, we are talking more about what we are tasting, how it feels on our tongues, etc. The only rule is they can’t just say, “I don’t like it.” They have to describe what they are tasting as they develop their palates.

We have been at it for only a few months, but I can tell the difference this approach is making in how my kids show up for meals. We are still years from perfection, but I am grateful for every sip or lick or bite that they take of the rainbow colors that fill their plate, and for their willingness to stick with me on the greatest teaching challenge of my life.  And while I call this approach French, I am also realizing that this is exactly how I was raised in India…to value food and associate it with pleasure not guilt, to look forward to engaging with the family during meal times, and to appreciate the ceremony around each meal.  What a gift my parents gave me, and I hope my children will thank me some day for passing it on to them.


Applying Anu’s Tactics, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081Channa Masala is, like, my jam. I totally love anything that is like “blank” masala. I figure that the “blank” or X is some sort of protein and the “masala” part is spices + protein + total fiery hotness and then you have a masala.

Yo. Indian Cooking – especially South Indian Cooking – is spicy. I feel the pain of Anu’s children, I really do. I also am of the persuasion that omitting hot peppers from cooking is generally the way to go when it comes to accommodating every eater at your dinner table. But I digress.

Channa Masala is the bessssssssst. It’s the best. Know why? Cause canned chick peas. Cause canned tomatoes. Cause availability. Cause everyone should freeze their ginger whole. That’s why. I don’t have a singular story about South Indian Cooking – how my bestest friend in the world traveled across India for a month and came home to teach me how she ate systematically with her right hand and a piece of delicious Naan in her left, (or the other way around) or how my other best friend lived on an Ashram for a year and became extraordinarily spiritual and never DIDN’T become meditative and incredibly calm or how I basically love Chicken Tikka Masala. I know that’s like the most basic thing to love from Indian cuisine but did you know how Tikka Masala was invented? Let me tell you.

Once Upon a Time, Queen Victoria was totally in charge of India even though she, like, never lived there for a second and only came to visit when she felt like it. The soldiers lived there, though, and the folks who lived there weren’t feelin it. At all. So one day the soldiers were going to be dining with all of the residents (AND the Queen was coming too) and THEY were like – let’s take control of this situation, basically. And so they were like, essentially, “let’s poison these folks.” So they cooked. They took rancid chicken and cooked that rancid chicken in tomatoes and spices that were heavy enough to cover the flavor of the rancidness so that the soldiers would eat it and NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. So they didn’t know the difference. But guess what else. They also didn’t get sick. The volatile, acidic, amazingly powerful spices plus the heat and probably the time (and not the thyme) made it so that the soldiers literally did not experience sickness from the otherwise yucky dinner. And guess what else? They LOVED it. They loved the dish! Its popularity did not escape notice by the Queen and she made it a big deal. Chicken Tikka Masala it was named and India had to wait, like, way longer to gain independence from Great Britain. But they got it and that’s why we now have Channa Masala. I think. That part I made up but the rest is true.

So let’s make that now, together.


Step One: Chop all of your things and prep stations. Heat a pan with olive or coconut oil or Ghee (if you really want to be relevant and stuff.)

 

Step Two: Saute onions, peppers, ginger, and spices all together for as long as possible. Onions are the foundation of all flavor, basically, in case you were wondering. Also, do you freeze your ginger? CAUSE YOU SHOULD. Keep your ginger root in the freezer and take it out when you need and it grates like a dream. Like a Brad Pitt dream. Like a dream about someone you always dreamed of. Yeah. It grates like that. Like snow. Jon Snow. (Also a dream). Try it. Peel ginger? Who does that?

DSC_0072

Step Three: Add chick peas, tomatoes, some broth, herbs, and everything else in the recipe. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until thickened to your desire!

DSC_0074


Chana Masala

3 Tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
1 large yellow onion, chopped roughly
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground garam masala
5 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
3 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 Red Habanero peppers, minced (*optional)
1 Tablespoon ground Turmeric
2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes, smashed and chopped
1 cup vegetable stock, plus some if necessary
1/2 cup fresh herbs  (parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano, etc.)

  1. In a stockpot, over medium heat, melt coconut oil or ghee. Add onion, salt, and garam masala and saute, stirring frequently, for 7-15 minutes, or until onion is translucent and very tender.
  2. Stir in garlic and saute while stirring constantly until fragrant, or about 2 minutes, and immediately grate in ginger and add minced hot peppers, Turmeric, chickpeas, tomatoes, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency.
  3. Top with fresh herbs and serve hot!

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).

IMG_3234

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.

IMG_3239

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.

IMG_3244

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. 

IMG_3249

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

IMG_3255

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.

IMG_3256

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.


IMG_3268.jpg

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!

 

No Help at the Hospital

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David Crow

Just about everyone we see at Suppers has — to a greater or lesser degree – “eaten their way” into the problems that motivate them to come to our program.  

The exceptions are our friends with Type I Diabetes. I had a special place in my heart for diabetics long before my son was diagnosed four years ago, in large part because of my relationship with Karen, who has been facilitating Suppers meetings almost as long as I have.

The learning curve for dealing with this disease is practically perpendicular because the consequences are so bad if you don’t take care of business. What surprised me most was how uninformed health care professionals are about what it’s like to live inside a body with diabetes and how the folks who do so need to be accommodated. We aren’t just cooking with our diabetic friends. With the help of our Board member Dr. Adi Benito and facilitator Fiona Capstick, we’re now training facilitators to use glucose monitors and to expand the availability of Suppers for people who feel lost in this diagnosis.

For our friend Lydia, there wasn’t any help where she worked, and she was working at  a hospital.


Lydia’s Story: No Help at the Hospital

I am a registered nurse and have enjoyed working in medicine for over 20 years. At the age of 50, I developed Type I Diabetes, and entered a world I was completely unprepared for in spite of all my experience in health care.

The people at work all know I have diabetes but they are clueless as to what that means in practical or personal terms.

I haven’t hidden the diagnosis, but I do conceal many of the details of what I have to put up with. There is no help at the hospital for people who have to maintain high standards of professionalism while living with a chronic disease.

Here’s an example of my predicament. I have been in the habit of letting my numbers run a little high because if I go at all low in the O.R., it’s a big problem. My brain gets fuzzy. There are lots of times when a nurse can’t drop what she’s doing to fiddle with pumps or take a sugar pill.

So the short-term needs of my profession conflict with my long-term need to keep the numbers as low as possible without going so low that I lose my ability to concentrate.

For the uninitiated, it may be hard to understand why it’s so tricky managing blood-sugar levels. There are so many different variables confounding the decision of how much insulin to take.

  • Eating carbs raises the dose, so now I have a PhD in the carb content of every mouthful of food.
  • Exercise – even walking – lowers the dose.
  • The volume of the food on my plate raises the need for insulin even if the carb content is low. I didn’t know about that before. It explains some past experiences I had after eating large but low-carb meals and ending up with high blood sugar since I did not take enough insulin to deal with the issue of volume.
  • Stimulants, like the caffeine in coffee, spike my sugars too, even if I have no carbs.
  • And too much stress messes everything up and makes it hard to know what to do, especially since my first reaction to stress is to look for chocolate. In general, stress also raises my need for insulin. 

I wouldn’t wish Type I Diabetes on anyone (although there are a few people at the hospital who I wish could have it for just one day). Even when I follow the directions, my blood sugar numbers are all over the place. So hearing others with Type I Diabetes talk at the Suppers table about how they resolve their issues prompts me to try new approaches. For one thing, we are all becoming skeptical of the party line that says go ahead and eat 45 carbs at a meal and cover it with insulin. The one person at our meeting who got her A1C (a three-month measure of blood sugar regulation) below the cut-off for diabetes doesn’t eat that many carbs in a whole day! The new pumps and monitors make it easier to track the consequences of my behavior. It’s fascinating to eat a low-carb meal at the Suppers table and watch the graph line on the continuous blood glucose monitor stay flat as we enjoy our blended asparagus, fresh garden salad, and grilled salmon. 


Lovely Quiche For Lydia, By Allie

But first, let me tell you about Insulin 

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081The Insulin/Blood Sugar thing is one of those biological mathematical equations that – despite logic and a doctor’s best “I-think-I-definitely-understand-your-body” face – doesn’t always add up. I used to think it was pretty straightforward, after all it seems like it would be amazingly straightforward:

X carbohydrates + Y units of insulin = Z (Normal Blood Sugar)

Carbohydrates are molecules that break down into glucose molecules. Each glucose molecule contains 32 units of ATP, adenosine triphosphate, or cellular energy. (By the way I TOTALLY spelled “adenosine triphosphate” correctly BEFORE looking it up on Wikipedia for spellcheck. No one saw me do it so I’m telling you guys so you can be proud of me.)

Insulin is a hormone, a protein, produced in normal circumstances by the pancreas. It is excreted when glucose is found in the bloodstream, either through eating food or through the release of glucose storage centers (the liver, our muscles, and in extreme cases, fat) when the body is under some form of stress (like exercise, being chased by a clown, taking a test, or starvation.)

Insulin’s singular and incredibly important job is to shuffle individual molecules of glucose into our cells so that our cells can eat. (Cells gotta eat too, guys.) Insulin is specifically equipped to do this job because it contains (is shaped in) the form of the very “key” which fits into the cell’s “lock” (like a neurotransmitter).

In the case of Type I Diabetes, the pancreas stops producing Insulin and the body absolutely must get Insulin from outside sources or else all cells will starve.
In the case of Type II Diabetes, many cells have developed a resistance to Insulin and are no longer allowing their doors to open – in fact, that “lock” has often become warped on the outside of many cells and Insulin’s “key” doesn’t fit. In this case the cells are also starving so even if a typical Type II patient is overweight – their cells are in fact malnourished. 


 

It seems as though that’s a pretty straightforward explanation of a seemingly complicated biological reaction. Well, let me re-complicate that for you: the math doesn’t work exactly like that for everyone. There are a few reasons:
Food doesn’t just contain carbohydrates. Fat, fiber, protein – these things slow down the breaking apart of foods on a molecular level and therefore slow down the release of glucose.
We have different metabolisms! Some of our metabolisms are naturally zooming fast (and those metabolisms belong to people who I am more jealous of than happy for) and some are slower (like mine, which reminds me, I need to work out more).
Our lives are different, too. For Lydia, who is often in a high-stress environment, her cellular needs and blood sugar levels are guided more by her Adrenal System (hormones) than they are by the foods she eats and the exercise she completes.

Like Lydia said, she had to really, really learn her body, ever-changing through the days and nights in terms of what it needed. She had to learn her trends, learn her tricks, and most importantly learn something that everyone learns through attending Suppers – that she is not alone in her plight at Suppers even if she feels alone in her medical community. 

Join Suppers, learn your experiments, perform those experiments, and emotionally prepare yourself to be constantly amazed by your body. It’s the only one like it in the whole world, even if you are an identical twin.


So, but, like, what’s most likely to hold me over for awhile?

Well, probably protein rich food but in what form? Only you can know that. Eggs, meat, vegetarian protein – I don’t know what will work for you! But eggs are a good one to try out. So why don’t we try something easy to prepare and, obviously, delightfully scrumptious? Like quiche. 

I LOVE QUICHE. It’s fabulous, it’s classy, and Julia Child likes it and I love Julia Child. Look at her pegboard. Look. At her pegboard. 

Julia-Childs-Pegboard

Omigod. I love her so much. Photo credit goes to these folks. I want Ned to make me a pegboard for our new kitchen and first he was like “pegboards look stupid in kitchens” and I was like “uh, no they don’t, have you ever even heard of Julia Child?” and then showed him that exact photo and he was like “fine.” Me = winning (again). Let’s do this.

Step One: Forget everything you know about making a Julia Child quiche crust. We don’t want gluten or butter making a debut in this experiment dish when we’re trying to test rice and eggs.

Cook brown rice in a rice cooker until it’s done. On the side, prepare a mixture of:
1 small minced onion
1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 T. ground flax + 2 T water + stirring)
2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese (or skip the cheese if you want)
sea salt, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Mix them all together with the rice and press into a deep dish pie pan. Bake in the oven for awhile so the quiche filling doesn’t fall through the crust.

Step Two: Prepare vegetables of your choice to go into your quiche. Today we are using roasted red pepper, garlic, and spinach. Another great combination is kale, portobello, onion. Get creative – what veggies do you like?

The trick is to try to get as much moisture out of the vegetables as possible before mixing them with eggs. 

Step Three: Whip eggs together and, honey, I mean WHIP those eggs. If you’re making a good amount of quiche, use a blender to mix eggs. Dor has a great, great tip for adding some good fat, silky texture, and wonderful flavor to dishes like these – mix eggs and canned coconut milk in a blender on low speed until very well mixed. 

Today we will be using eggs by themselves. (I used 7)


When done, fold in veggies and pour over prepared crust. If it doesn’t look like this and the egg mixture sort of gets sucked up by the rice, you didn’t bake the crust long enough and will definitely remember for next time.

538a2486-d7f8-41ba-b4df-d736d8df3d07

Step Four: Bake, remove, cool, slice, enjoy!


e867d0f6-f65c-428c-ab21-efc68fb7f990

Brown Rice Crusted Vegetable Quiche

For the crust:
1 cup brown rice
1 small onion or 1 small bunch scallions
1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 Tablespoon ground flax + 2 Tablespoons water)
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese (*optional)
sea salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil

For the filling:
1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups spinach
2 Tablespoons roasted red pepper, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
sea salt and black pepper
6-8 eggs

1. Grease a deep dish pie plate and preheat oven to 375.
2. Prepare rice in a rice cooker and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, stir together egg or flax egg, parmesan cheese, sea salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. While rice is still warm, stir egg mixture into rice being careful not to cook the egg. Press into a greased pie dish and place in oven. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 or until firm.
3. In a skillet over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add spinach, red pepper, and minced garlic. Cook until spinach has wilted and remove.
4. Blend eggs together in a blender or using a whisk in a large bowl. Fold in spinach mixture and pour filling over crust. Don’t worry if filling comes up over quiche crust (or if you want the crust to be over the egg, make sure to press crust up higher on pan)
5. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until egg mixture does not jiggle when pan is gently shaken.

As always head to the Suppers Recipe Index to find the recipes that YOU want to experiment with! Today it’s all about you – and, when it comes to food, that’s every day!

Latkes

A Welcome From Dor

Dor photo by David CrowI can argue for a role for food in just about any scenario: health, illness, mental illness, failed or successful marriages, armies that march on their stomachs, and the rise and fall of civilizations. But even I know it’s not just about the food. Our relationship with food and ability to digest it and turn it into who we are require time and honor. You don’t have to be experienced at meditation to call more mindfulness into the way you eat. You can select eating according to your intentions instead of your impulses. Even just two minutes dedicated to mindful eating can shift how you relate to food.

Dee and Stella’s Story: Latkes

As a frequent guest speaker at Suppers meetings, I get asked lots of questions, including many I don’t know the answer to. One of my favorites is how to start meditating. That came up at a lunch meeting in a busy office building. The members scrambled in, experienced a bunch of details for 50 minutes, and raced out to beat the clock. “Could you please teach us how to hurry up and relax?”

There were a few things wrong with the question, but I understood what they meant. We frequently do brief meditations at meetings, so I offered a classic mindfulness exercise.

(Try it at your own meeting. Provide a small bowl of raisins or sunflower seeds, and read this with a pause after each sentence.)


Mindfulness Exercise

Please take a breath and let it go.

And just notice the feel of your body in your chair.
Just notice how your body moves as you breathe in. And out.

Now pass around the bowl of raisins.
Take a couple and place them in the palm of your hand.
Look at the raisins and notice how they feel in your palm.

And how they look.
Are they all the same?
Note the differences in color, texture, and form from one raisin to the next.

Now feel the raisins with the tips of your fingers.
Roll them between your fingers.
How do they feel?
Do they feel the same to your fingertips as to your palms?
If not, how are they different?

Bring your hand to your nose.
Smell the raisins.
How do they smell?
Do they remind you of anything?
Anywhere?

Now close your eyes, and bring your hand to your mouth.
Gently place the raisins on your tongue and just notice how they feel.
Let your tongue move them around and notice how they feel between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Next notice how your mouth feels.
Does the presence of raisins make you salivate?
Let yourself now chew the raisins, over and over, with no intention to swallow them.
How does the taste change as you continue to chew?

Say to yourself the word “raisins” and let them slip down your throat.


When they fluttered their eyes open, one of the members, Stella, said she had never heard of eating mindfully before and that she’d like to try it after the holiday. Her downfall? Potato latkes. A recently diagnosed type 2 diabetic, she knew she had to learn to resist her favorite treats. “My father always said, the best form of exercise is pushing yourself away from the table. My mother didn’t agree. She was all for piling latkes on our plates. Dad could eat six and stop. Me, I’d have that many down before the sour cream even made it around to me.”

So Stella made herself a Suppers Experiment. She would make a batch of latkes, set the table for herself, and do the raisin meditation with a crispy, salty, warm potato latke.

“There is no way I’m giving up latkes,” said Stella. “But I will commune with six, instead of inhaling a dozen.”


 

Taking The “Potato” Out of the Potato Latke for Stella, By Allie

48465d_e59e795f6cb742439f1316e9dd4a1081There’s this weird thing that only exists in America and, unlike a lot lot lot of weird things that only exist in America — this one may not be so desperately unhealthy.

It’s the Big Salad. (Do you guys watch Seinfeld? Remember when Elaine introduced the Big Salad? It’s a thing.) The non-elusive Big Salad can be found in many sit down restaurants and is often around the size of a pro-wrestler’s head. Assuming one can help out with cheese/fried chicken/dressing related situations, The Big Salad is pretty much a way of stuffing oneself with a gigantic pile of vegetables.

Aaaaaaaaand……..I’m having a problem with having a problem with that.

So when I was reading Stella’s story about being a Potato Latke monster not only did I empathize with that (cause potato + fried + sour cream = duh) but I also have spent many a Seder enjoying latkes made without potatoes. And they’re equally delicious. I’ll show you how.

Step One: Shred root vegetables of choice. Today we are using beets, green zucchini, and parsnip. Tip: for jobs requiring a lot of vegetables, use the shredding blade of your food processor and be done in seconds. 

IMG_3068

You’re not reduced to summer squash alone, although it is certainly not something I would leave out. Use any number of softish/crunchy vegetables (and use them in combinations) like:
Parsnips     Carrots     Beets     Rutabaga     Sweet Potato     Peppers     Your Choice!

Step Two: Place shredded zucchini in a colander and toss with a good pinch of salt. Place colander over a plate and let sit for at least one hour. Draining excess moisture from vegetables (especially zucchini/carrot) will help in the frying process and make those latkes nice and crispy!

IMG_3063

Step Three: Mince onions, scallions, leeks, garlic, or any member of the allium family. In a large bowl, combine shredded, drained vegetables with minced onion, a pinch of sea salt, and lightly beaten eggs. Mixture should be coated entirely in eggs but not swimming in eggs (at all).

Step Four: This is the only time I will ever suggest this: it’s traditional (and makes a big flavor difference) to fry latkes in Olive Oil. I know. Olive oil has a sadly low smoke point (that point in which fat molecules are chemically altered from too much heat) and I would normally suggest something like coconut or vegetable oil for the fry. But not in this case. A proper fry oil temperature is no lower than 350.

IMG_3067

Step Five: Make patties that fit the palm of your hand and begin to fry latkes. Fry around 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Top with sea salt while still wet from oil and set aside until they are all done. Serve immediately!

 


IMG_3069

Vegetable Latkes

1 green zucchini, shredded
1 large beet, shredded
1 large parsnip, shredded
pinch sea salt
1 red onion, minced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
olive oil, for frying
toppings of your choice!

1. Place shredded vegetables in a colander placed over a plate and toss with a good pinch of sea salt. Let shredded vegetables sit at least 1 hour to drain as much moisture as possible. If you don’t have the hour, let them sit 20 minutes and then squeeze with hands over colander to drain. 
2. In a large bowl, combine drained vegetables, minced onion, and eggs and mix until all vegetables are well coated with egg.
3. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of a large skillet and place over medium low heat.
3. Make palm sized patties from vegetable egg mixture and gently drop into hot oil. Fry 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. *Sometimes I fry on both sides and then lower heat to low, allowing hearty root veggies like beets to cook through. Place fried patties on a paper towel and sprinkle with some sea salt to finish. Serve immediately with applesauce, sour cream, or a topping of your choice.