“Yoga — for health, longevity and peace” Article from The Hindu by Geetha Venkataramanan (June 21, 2018)
My husband and I were at the Farmers Market. He wanted kohlrabi; I wanted baby leeks. I thought I’d make a soup with both. That’s essentially how this recipe was created. And while the recipe is written for kohlrabi and baby leeks, there are some alternate ingredients included below. When visiting friends in Seattle and wanting to make it for a dinner party, kohlrabi and baby leeks weren’t available or in season. So, I used what was at hand locally and in my friends’ pantry. I know you aren’t supposed to experiment when cooking for others but I made a rutabaga, which I’ve never cooked but is from the same brassica family, and leek soup. Both soups were equally delicious and didn’t disappoint.
The flavor profile using kohlrabi versus rutabaga is mildly different – hints of sweet, peppery broccoli stem versus bitter turnip. And, the kohlrabi will create a slightly thicker soup. Pick your desired combination and enjoy!
- 5 Tbs unsalted butter, separated, plus more for flavor if needed
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 1 bunch baby leeks* (about 5-6) chopped; use entire leek
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 small to medium kohlrabi,** greens and stems removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
- 1 medium Yukon potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
- 5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
- Aleppo pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme, plus extra for flavor or garnish
- Salt and pepper
- Pecorino Romano cheese,*** grated, for garnish
Heat 4 Tbs of butter and the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat, melting the butter until it is slightly foaming. Add baby leeks and onion and cook until the onions become slightly translucent, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add thyme sprigs and 3 generous pinches of Aleppo pepper. Reduce heat slightly and cook until leeks or onions just start to caramelize.
Add kohlrabi, potato and 1 tsp salt. Return heat to medium and cook about 5-7 minutes.
Add stock and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until kohlrabi and potato are tender.
Remove pot from heat and discard bay leaf and thyme stems. Purée mixture with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Add stock to thin or cook longer to reach your desired consistency. Taste and add chopped thyme, Aleppo pepper, salt and/or pepper to adjust seasonings as needed. Butter can also be added if desired (which I did for the rutabaga variation.)
Return pot to heat and cook on low until ready to serve. Garnish with Pecorino Romano and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 3-4 dinner portions or 6-8 side portions.
Alternative Ingredients (interchangeable for one or all of the above):
* 2 leeks, white and light green portions only, chopped
**1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
*** Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
This has been my go-to breakfast from late fall through the winter. It’s full of vitamins and antioxidants and contains ingredients that help digestion. The ginger and cinnamon invigorate circulation and promote warming. I adjust the amount of ginger depending on my body’s needs and consume it at room temperature. I’m not claiming this will keep the sniffles away, but the big nutritional boost doesn’t hurt. For me, it’s helped break up congestion I’ve experienced, particularly during this damp time of the year.
This makes about 16 oz.
- 1 apple
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 carrot
- Handful of spinach
- Juice of ½-1 lemon plus piece of fresh rind
- 1-inch (or more) slice fresh ginger
- 1-inch piece dried orange peel
- 1 Tbs almond butter
- ½ scoop protein power
- Scoop Greens powder
- Lots of cinnamon
- Splash orange juice
Blend and enjoy!
Save Your Carrot Peels (and any anything else you’d use) for your smoothies, stocks and soups. It’s a great way to reduce waste or the size of your compost. You can store the clean scraps in the refrigerator for a couple days or even store them in in the freezer. Should I peel carrots for a recipe, I tend to use the peels the next day in my smoothie. And occasionally, I’ve been told my smoothie smells like compost…
This recipe is easy and the taste (and aroma) of the buttery sage with the vegetables is a delicious pairing. And to be honest, the dish is comprised of what remained in the fridge and pantry combined with a craving for sage. It could be made with a variety of winter vegetables.
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 red potato
- 4 turnips
- 3 large carrots
- 1 onion
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 15-20 cremini mushrooms
- 1 ½ Tbs fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus some sprigs for roasting
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 10 to 12 sage leaves, cut into a chiffonade
- 3 Tbs unsalted butter
Preheat oven at 400°F.
Clean mushrooms and trim ends. Place mushrooms into bowl and toss with a little olive oil. Set aside.
Peel and cut potatoes, turnips and carrots into approximate 1-inch cubes. Cut ends of onion and remove outer skin. Cut onion in half and cut each half into quarters (or sixths if using a large onion.) Put potatoes, turnips, carrots and onions onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add salt, pepper, minced garlic and chopped thyme and mix with your hand. Place thyme sprigs on top of vegetables. Roast for 25 minutes.
In the meantime, in small sauté pan heat melt butter with 1 Tbs olive oil on medium. When butter starts to slightly brown add sage leaves and fry until sage is just crisp. Remove sage with a slotted spoon or spatula and spread out on a plate covered with paper towels.
Once vegetable mixture has roasted for 25 minutes, spread mushrooms onto baking sheet and roast vegetables for an additional 25 minutes. For final 5 to 7 minutes, increase oven temperature to 425°F and roast until vegetables are slightly golden or brown. Remove from oven, mix vegetables and add the sage, salt and pepper (or a favorite seasoning) to taste.
This dish is vibrant and warming. I’ve paired with a protein for meals but it could be used as a main dish accompanied with other veggies or grains since the squash is hearty. I use a chimichurri spice blend that has 3 different dried Mexican chiles. Chili powder would make a great substitute as noted below.
The recipe will fill two large baking sheets. If you only have one baking sheet, wrap up one half of the butternut squash and put it in the refrigerator for another day. You can also half spice, chili and sauce amount.
- 1 butternut squash (2 lbs)
- 1 poblano pepper, deseeded and ribs removed, chopped
- 2 tsp chimichurri spice (or 2 tsp chili powder plus ½ tsp dried oregano)
- 1 tsp paprika (omit if using chili powder)
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- Lime wedges (optional)
Preheat oven at 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice each half, from top to bottom, into 1/3-inch thick slices. Lay the slices on baking sheets. Combine the oil and spices in a small bowl and brush the oil mixture onto the squash slices. Sprinkle the poblano then a little salt over the slices and roast in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until squash is tender. Set aside to cool.
In meantime, whisk together the sauce ingredient. Once the butternut squash slices have cooled, plate them and drizzle with the sauce. Add fresh lime juice to desired taste.
Seeing a variety of winter squash at the markets is a clear indication that Autumn is here. The array of shapes and sizes bring back comforting, childhood memories of changing leaves that would blanket the neighborhoods and rolling hills. However, while the vibrant red, orange and yellow Autumn leaves don’t last long, the presence of the winter squash last through winter. They have absorbed the sun’s energy through the summer season and continue to provide warmth and comfort through colder winter season. In the practice of Ayurveda, the stored energy is considered to be a warm ojas, which is essential energy that is responsible for vitality, strength, health and wellness.
Winter squash are sweet in flavor and range from a moderate to medium-heavy flavor essence. Similar to Ayurveda, Chinese medicine considers squash to be a warm sweet vegetable (although technically they are fruit.) They are high in complex carbohydrates, which makes their sweetness safe for diabetics.
Winter squash are hearty yet also help drain excess fluids due to being a mild diuretic. They also have a good amount of fiber, which promotes regularity and maintenance of a healthy digestive tract by supporting healthy gut bacteria. Winter squash is loaded with vitamin A (deep orange color = high in carotenes) which is important for healthy eyesight. The carotenes combined with the sweetness make them a good blood and liver tonic. Winter squash also contains a good amount of potassium (decreases blood pressure) and vitamin C (boosts immune function) as well as other key nutrients that promote healthy bones, skin and hair and reduce inflammation.
They can be used in sweet or savory dishes, but I prefer the latter. My personal favorites are kabocha and butternut.
To me, this is comfort food. The warm, sweet flavor of the polenta combined with bitter rapini and salty, tangy feta and makes my mouth water. Balkan polenta is made with coarse cornmeal, which gives it a more defined texture. And while I love Greek feta, I like a softer and stronger Bulgarian feta for this and other baked dishes. I also only buy feta swimming in brine. The brine keeps the cheese moist and gives it has a longer shelf life. When first made the polenta will have a softer consistency like porridge. As it sits it will firm and cut nicely into squares. It’s also great as leftovers. One next-day idea shown in the photo below: cut it into squares; brush the squares with olive oil; and bake at 350 deg F until golden.
• 1 ½ cups coarse yellow cornmeal
• 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
• ½ cup olive oil
• 1 ¾ cups feta, freshly crumbled
• 1 cup yogurt
• ½ lb rapini, washed and coarsely chopped
• Salt and Pepper to taste
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 4 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 tsp Allepo or Urfa Biber pepper (alternatively one pinch of crushed pepper flakes)
• ½ cup white wine or scant ½ cup vegetable or chicken stock
• 1 Tsp fresh thyme, chopped
• Juice of lemon to taste (optional)
• Salt (optional)
Mix the cornmeal with 1 ½ cups cold water in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In meantime, bring stock to boil. Add rapini and cornmeal, stirring frequently for 10 to 12 minutes. Add olive oil and cook for additional 5 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Remove mixture from heat and fold in the feta and yogurt. Salt and pepper to taste.
For the topping, heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds or until fragrant, and then add the pepper. Add the wine or stock and when sauce starts to bubble, simmer on low for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, taste and add salt and lemon juice to taste. Drizzle the sauce over the polenta. (If sensitive to salt or lemon, I suggest adding after sauce is added to polenta.)
In order to be in balance and to stay grounded with what is around us, we need to seek or find grounding and balance within ourselves…the best we can. Start your morning with some sun salutations and balancing postures to invigorate you and prepare you for your day. Finish the practice with a forward fold and a cozy Savansana.
Dried Orange Peel: Before you peel or cut your organic oranges, remove the thin strips with a peeler. Place the strips separately on a towel/paper towel in an open dish. Leave them out to dry for 3-4 days. Once they are completely dry, put them airtight jar. Dried orange peels have a deep flavor which are a great ingredient for savory or sweet recipes. You can zest or grind the peels or add them whole into sauces or stews.
For my autumn-winter smoothies, which during the cooler temperatures I consume close to room temperature, I toss in half an orange strip, a generous amount of cinnamon and at least a 1/2-inch slice of ginger. Orange peel helps improve digestion and sluggishness in the gut, and ginger and cinnamon are both warming spices that make the smoothie more digestible during the season.