I have quite a few healing tools in my toolbox. My shopping list and my kitchen are two very important ones. If you have a garden, you can add that to the healing toolbox as well.
Summer is the right time to begin to introduce more vegetables and greens into your diet. Preparing a salad or a vegetable dish as a main course can be delicious and satisfying when you make your own dressings and sauces to top them off!
Taking time to prepare your own simple foods can improve the flavor and nutrient quality of your meal.
The grocery store shelves are filled with a variety of ready to pour salad dressings and sauces. Most of them taste OK. Who wants to settle for OK when you can have GREAT with just a little extra effort?
Education is another tool I place in my toolbox. Take the time to learn what is in your food. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the label of these store bought jars or bottles?
I asked Mira Dessy to share her thoughts about the ingredients that are in the majority of dressing products on the grocery store shelves. Mira is “The Ingredient Guru” and the curator of the Lean Clean Green Box found online at www.theingredientguru.memberbox.com.
“When eating a salad it’s important to be just as mindful about what goes on the salad as what goes in it. Read the label and avoid the negative ingredients that tend to be a mainstay of commercial dressings. Canola and soybean are common choices. These two ingredients are highly genetically modified crops. They can be highly contaminated with glyphosate which has been shown to have a negative effect on the gut. Other ingredients that can affect your gut include emulsifiers such as carrageenan, polysorbate 80, or a lot of food gums such as xanthan gum or guar gum. Flavor enhancers and preservatives are all part of the mix and can cause headaches, rashes or nausea. Disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, and monosodium glutamate are among these, as is potassium sorbate or calcium disodium EDTA. These add no nutrition and are in the dressings simply to extend shelf life.”
“While reading the label is certainly one way to be aware of and avoid these types of ingredients, a more nourishing choice would be to simply make your own dressings.”
How do we make a dressing or sauce taste GREAT?
According to Chef Rebecca Katz, author of “The Longevity Kitchen”, FASS is the tool to use. FASS is another tool in my healing toolbox. Chef Katz states “FASS” is an acronym that stands for fat, acid, salt and sweet. These are four tastes that many cooks balance by instinct in each dish.
“While we do sense other flavors, these four are at the forefront. Constantly vying for attention, and if there is an imbalance, boy do we notice! If, on the other hand, you can get them to work in harmony, their synergies are practically orchestral, building on each other to create a crescendo in flavor!”
“A pinch of salt, a spritz of lemon juice or a drizzle of maple syrup can balance the flavors in the dish you are preparing. If you need a little more mouth feel, a healthy fat or oil will do the trick!”
Try making your own combinations of dressings and sauces by using the FASS tools by Rebecca Katz.
Making a simple salad dressing or sauce can be as easy as combining fresh lemon or lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and an herb of choice. Avoid all of the unnecessary negative ingredients by trying the 3 basic recipes here and then create your own!
Manchin’s Greenhouse and Gardens contributed the mixed greens, edible flowers and heirloom tomatoes for the salad pictured. They are located at 4614 MacCorkle Ave. in Kanawha City, 25304. Visit their website at www.manchinsgreenhouse.net or call them at 681-265-3858 to see all they offer daily.
FASS FOR FLAVOR AND NUTRITION
Examples Function Health Benefits
FAT Olive oil, avocado oil Distributes flavor Can optimize healthy gene
coconut oil, butter, ghee, across the palate expression (anti-oxidant,
sesame oil, avocado, nuts anti-inflammatory)
ACID Lemons, limes,oranges Brightens flavor Increases absorption of
vinegar minerals and stimulates
SALT Sea salt, coconut aminos, Brings out the flavor Balances with potassium,
tamari, fish sauce, miso of foods. Moves facilitates energy production
flavor to the front and cellular metabolism.
of the tongue
SWEET Grade B maple syrup, Tames harsh, sour, or Increases sense of pleasure
honey spicy flavors. Rounds
out or harmonizes flavors
FASS FIXES IN THE KITCHEN
PROBLEM FASS FIX
Too Sweet? Add lemon juice or another acid
Too Sour? Add maple syrup or another sweetener
Too Bland? Add salt
Too Salty? Add lemon juice or another acid, which will erase
taste of salt
Strawberry, Fennel and Arugula Salad
Recipe by Rebecca Katz. If you get bored with the typical greens and veggies salad, let this salad serve as a springboard for endless seasonal variations. Each season brings new foods just hitting their peak; in this case, strawberries and arugula, some of the welcome flavors of warm weather. Add fresh mint with the easy lemony balsamic vinaigrette for a complete taste delight. Yields 4 servings.
4 cups tightly packed arugula
1 cup thinly sliced fennel (see note below)
12 strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh mint
6 tablespoons Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup sliced almonds or walnuts, toasted
crumbled goat cheese (optional)
PUT arugula, fennel, strawberries and mint in a large bowl and toss gently to combine.
DRIZZLE vinaigrette over top and toss again.
SCATTER the almonds or walnuts over top. Add crumbed goat cheese, if desired.
NOTE: Using a mandolin or food processor slicing blade to slice the fennel is very helpful if you have one in your kitchen.
Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette
Recipe by Rebecca Katz. Yields 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
PUT balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
SLOWLY pour in olive oil while whisking. Continue to whisk until smooth.
TRANSFER dressing to a small container with a fitted lid and shake well.
STORE in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
NOTE: By adding the salt with the acid prior to adding the oil, the acid breaks down the salt, allowing it to do its job as a flavor carrier.
Roasted Vegetables with Almond Tahini Sauce
All of you former Mission Savvy Cafe and Juice Bar customers will remember this awesome sauce created by Chef Indra Riswanto. Use it to dip spring rolls, spoon on roasted or grilled vegetables, place on pasta or add more water and make a delicious salad dressing. Yield 1 3/4 cups sauce and 2 1/2 cups dressing.
1 cup almond butter or sunflower seed butter
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1/4 cup gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
1 teaspoon sea salst
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of cayenne
filtered water to thin - 1/4 cup for sauce, more for dressing
ADD almond butter, lemon juice, tamari, sea salt, cayenne and water to blender or food processor. Blend until combined.
WITH blender still running and lid still in place, pour olive oil in through the chute or lid opening and mix thoroughly.
POUR into a glass container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. Can also be frozen. Remove from refrigerator for easier pouring before use.
NOTE: Roast or grill a variety of vegetables. Fix a bed of spinach or other greens and place vegetables on top, finishing with a dollop of the sauce. Mix together after serving. Top with microgreens, sprouts or nutritional yeast powder.
Avocado Lover's Salad
Recipe by Rebecca Katz. While avocados do contain a fair amount of fat, it's monounsaturated - the kind the body thrives on - and they are a great source of the antioxidant glutathione and fiber. Toasting nuts and seeds releases their aromatic oils and makes them more flavorful. Toast in a small skillet over medium heat, 4 minutes for larger nuts and seeds and 1 minute for smaller ones. Watch them closely so they do not burn. Yields 6 servings.
8 cups of mixed greens of choice, torn into bite-size pieces
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large avocado, diced
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh mint
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
Greener Than Green Goddess Dressing
Edible flowers or small heirloom tomatoes (optional)
PUT lettuce, cucumber and bell pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine.
DRIZZLE with dressing and toss again.
ADD avocado, pumpkin seeds, mint and cilantro and toss once more. Top with optional flowers and tomatoes.
Greener than Green Goddess Dressing
Recipe by Rebecca Katz. Yields 1 3/4 cups. This can also be a great dipping sauce.
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup organic plain yogurt or coconut milk yogurt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 avocado halved and flesh scooped out (1/2 avocado for thinner dressing)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
PUT all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy.
DO a FASS check to make sure your fat, acid, salt and sweet are balanced. You may want to add a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.