superfood

Avocado Spread: Winter Greens

On a recent cold weekend in Detroit, two of the restaurants that I visited were serving avocado in all of its creamy glory. Avocado’s rich green color is a welcome sight, much like the first shoots that peek through the snow and mulch as soon as the weather turns to spring. The velvety texture of avocado is just as warming to the soul as is a drizzle of melted cheese on soup during a wintry spell. Red Dunn Kitchen plated the avocado on toasted wheat bread under piles of arugula, crowned with a poached egg. Selden Standard served creamy whipped avocado framed with beets and micro greens.

During winter, the silky consistency of an avocado boldly stands up to hearty winter flavors — which inspired my pairing of an avocado spread with roasted vegetables. In summer, chunks of avocado are a fantastic complement to the sweet tomatoes used in salsa or they can be added as a welcome layer in picnic sandwiches. Avocado contains many nutrients, and wears its superfood status rightfully all year round.

Avocado Spread

Avocado – 1, ripe

Lemon juice – ½ tbsp

Salt – ¼ tsp

Serrano chili – ½, cut finely (optional)

  • Peel the ripe avocado just before preparing the spread.
  • Remove the seed (but keep aside) and dice the flesh into big chunks.
  • Add the chunks of avocado into a food processor and process until you have a creamy spread.
  • Store the spread in a bowl. Season with salt and lemon. Add the chili for a spicy kick. Bury the seed in the spread, if keeping the mixture refrigerated. The seed prevents some of the discoloration that occurs once the avocado has been cut.

Serve immediately. Spread a thick layer on toasted bread or serve as colorful sauce-like condiment around hearty root vegetables.

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Trending Now: Dulse

Rey, the main character, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens trades metal pieces for a ration of freeze-dried food. As she mixes the food in water, the particles gel together to form a grey bread-like unappetizing mass. Similarly, strands of dried red seaweed, dulse (rhymes with pulse), look bland when first peeled from the packet. However, the taste is surprisingly delicious.

I was inspired to try dulse when I saw a Whole Foods advertisement for the centuries-old flavors of dulse alongside other superfoods. Found commonly on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, interest in dulse has been renewed for the food’s umami flavor and its antioxidant properties. Dulse, which belongs in the same family as seaweed and kelp, is also rich in minerals such as iodine and proteins. When fried in a little oil, dulse swaps some of its oceanic flavors for a chewy, meaty taste – more specifically, a taste that strongly reminds me of bacon.

Fresh dulse, whether from wild or farmed sources, is air-dried to preserve its nutritional properties. The dried edible seaweed keeps for a long time. Enjoy this superfood.

How To Use Dulse:

  • The simplest way is eat as a snack straight from the packet, but I’ve listed some alternatives below:
  • Sauté until crispy in a little vegetable oil, and serve as a side to fried or poached eggs.
  • Crush the dried leaves and sprinkle on a salad for an added umami flavor.
  • Mix into vegetable and fruit smoothies for additional mineral and vitamins.
  • Add to soups as a garnish.IMG_4822

Trending Now: Turmeric

Turmeric is an ancient spice, used in both Indian and Chinese medicines, as well as in everyday cooking. When peeled, the fresh gnarled ginger-like rhizome (underground stem) reveals a bright orange flesh. When the fresh turmeric is dried and crushed, the spice powder adds a distinctive warm hue to a dish. The curcumin compound in turmeric is responsible for color, and is one of the ingredients sought after for its powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. Turmeric is used in Indian and Asian cooking for exactly these reasons: to heal as well as to protect against possible spoilages, especially for meat. Turmeric is having its moment again, and trending now as a super food in the form of Golden Milk (or Golden Tea) and as supplements.

Golden Milk is a coconut milk-based drink, spiced with turmeric, cinnamon, and pepper. The tea is one of the many ways to add turmeric into a diet, and is especially powerful when combined with ingredients that boost the immune system. In Indian cooking, turmeric is always cooked in oil or ghee, along with other spices. When cooked in some fat, turmeric’s peppery aromatics are released while the raw bitter flavor mellows. Cinnamon, pepper, and ginger are also known as spices that fight against cold and sore throat, and this turmeric drink makes for a wonderful antidote to the cold weather.

Golden Milk (Golden Tea)

Vegetable oil – ½ tsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ -½ tsp

Ginger – 1-inch piece cut into slivers

Peppercorns – 4-5

Cinnamon – 1 stick

Coconut milk (unsweetened and light) – 1 cup

  • Heat oil in a small wok or pan.
  • Add ginger and sauté for a minute, or until aromatic flavors are released.
  • Add the turmeric, peppercorns, and cinnamon. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Warm (do not boil) the coconut milk separately.
  • Add the spice mixture to the milk and let them steep for about 10 minutes. Remove whole spices, if desired, before drinking.

 

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Suggested Daily Uses For Turmeric:

Salads: Add turmeric to make a salad dressing. Warm olive oil, and stir-fry a ¼ tsp of turmeric along with shallots or onions. Add red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix together.

Fresh Vegetables and Lentils: Add turmeric to the vegetable oil used to sauté onions and pepper and mix the spiced oil with vegetables and cooked lentils.

Eggs: Add mustard (color in mustard comes from turmeric) or turmeric to the hot oil before eggs are scrambled.

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Note: Keeping up with current trends, please check out my recipes on Pinterest and Yummly.