Posts Tagged ‘broccoli’

Cruciferous Food Rush

A raw broccoli salad revolution has been started in Chester. My dear friend Melisa is behind it;  she takes it to work a few times a week, and now she has half her office making it too!  While reflecting on my good friend (the broccoli salad, I mean)  I re-read the original post of my raw broccoli salad.

Erm……what on earth was I on? It is SO LONG and I go on about the enzyme myrosinase for…well…quite a while.

Okay, so….Briefly 🙂

Myrosinase is amazing. Plant-life and their power to heal and strengthen us blows me away and  I am so grateful for these things (anyone who knows me, knows I mean that)

But let’s just get to the point here.

You have got make this bad boy, because it is RIDICULOUSLY good.

It is a food rush in a bowl. That’s what it is.

Melisa says she eats it in the cupboard at work, and she may even be serious.

So…

  1. Follow this link to the recipe
  2. Forgive the long-winded post
  3. Get some unroasted cashhews in soak, and
  4. Make some. You will not be sorry.

Raw Broccoli salad- Follow this link to wow your friends at the office  and treat yourself to a raw cruciferous food rush.

(And some myrosinase).

How to cook raw broccoli

Or should I say, how to “cook” raw broccoli; how to marinade it when raw, so it takes on a bright green appearance, softer, texture, and more palatable taste- alomost as if it had been blanched.Raw broccoli pulled straight from the head tastes a bit too sulphury-cruciferous for my liking; frankly, too RAW 🙂 But this genius trick transforms it, trust me. Nay, do not take my word for it, try it!

You simply marinade the florets in an ACID, SALT, and a FAT. (What do you mean, it doesn’t sound appealing?!) Choose one from each category:

FAT: Extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, toasted sesame oil, walnut oil, a mashed avocado(NB- will brown a little, even with some lemon juice), tahini etc

ACID: Lemon juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar (eg white wine, apple cider,rice, etc)

SALT: sea salt, garlic salt, tamari/soy sauce

Note: No quantities. All you need to do is glug (liquids) and sprinkle (salt) a little as if you were dressing a salad (which you are) Proportions do not matter overly, apart from your personal tastes. (Toasted sesame oil and soy sauce make a lovely combination)

SO…..

  • Dress your broccoli florets with your fat/acid/salt.
  • Mix well using a fork, or even massage in with your hands (use a plastic bag over your hands if you don’t like the idea of squelchy hands on your oil-dressed food! You don’t? )
  • Leave for 1-2 hours, or overnight- all the better.
  • Enjoy in a salad of your choice.

BEFORE

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AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold the greenness! It wow-ed my very raw-broccoli dubious husband. Here, it is featured in a delicious grain salad (with orange and cumin dressing) Recipe soon.

P.S This same principle works with kale also- the acid and salt break down the cell walls and make the leaves wilt down. The longer you leave them, the softer they become. Wilted kale salad is a favourite of mine, and Isaac eats it too. Nobody else, mind you. Baby steps 🙂

Happy Halloween! Green Noodle-worms and Spooky Trees

I sort of get off on the whole theme thing with my children. Just once in a while, you know….and of course Halloween is here, and what could possibly beg to be themified more than Halloween? Anything involving pumpkin does not go down well with my girls, (not even butternut squash or sweet potato). Amelia once declared butternut squash was “too sweet” which I thought was rich coming from her; she would purposefully  inhale the smoke if a chocolate factory was burning down! That said, butternut squash doesn’t taste anything like chocolate (not even smokey chocolate).

So anyway……..I thought I would go for green. You know, green, that conjures up images of green-faced witches,  slimey goo, and Frankenstein. Or, if you’re me, chlorophyll  🙂

Chlorophyll, I have heard, has a molecular make-up almost identical to that of haemoglobin, except at the centre, there is magnesium instead of iron. Furthermore, while I cannot go into this any more than what I remember from GCSE Biology, it harvests the suns rays and transforms it into food, which just fills me with delight and gratitude for the Creation and all lessons contained therein. All green leaves are very rich in minerals too, especially calcium and iron, and in general as humans, we don’t consume enough leaves. Moving down the food chain is a positive step forward for your health in my opinion.

One ideal green pasta sauce would be home-made pesto, but I was using what I had in the house; thanks to the blessed Tesco reduced shelf, I had about 8 avocados, ready to use, and all of them LOVE avocado pasta. However I felt like, it being a Halloween theme, the green needed a little more ……vibrance.

So I threw in a bottle of food colouring.

Just kidding. That really would be scarey.

I threw in some spinach.

Young spinach is so very nutritious, while being very mild in flavour. Perfect for kids smoothies (and grown-ups), salads, and obviously, green halloweeney avocado-based sauces.

Our green sauce is simply a food processed mixture of some soft avocados, a handful of babyleaf spinach, a pinch or two of sea salt, and some Nutritional yeast powder, because they all enjoy that.  It’s nothing complex in terms of flavour….but avocado is creamy and relatively neutral tasting.If so inclined, you could create some amazing sauces with slightly punchier flavours, and smother your wholegrain pasta with creamy, nutritious, unheated, unprocessed healthy fat.

So when I was in Tesco, I saw a cauliflower variety pack labelled “Ideal for Halloween” and couldn’t resist adding some spooky “trees” to our green noodle-worms. I was pretty sure they would be so excited to see purple trees, and spikey-spooky Romanesco cauliflower trees. (I know I am) I stress, excited to see them. They don’t really like eating it much though,so I also did some broccoli trees which they love don’t mind eating. I think I’ll be eating quite a bit of steamed cauiflower later.

(later)

Here it is. We used wholewheat noodles, and also made some purple and orange Halloweeny coleslaw (which I forgot to photograph, with Cashew mayonnaise, a recipe suggestion is here)

 I am absolutely amazed! Amelia who- quote- HATES- cauliflower, tucked into this and proffered various surprised “Hmmmmmm. Not bad. Prefer the green ones, but the purple and the spikey one’s aren’t bad.” (praise inDEED. Especially as they were a little aldente….) Ellie, (who has flirted with raw cauliflower, though it ended unhappily) crooned little songs “spooky purple trees, yummy spooky trees…..can I eat the raw ones in the kitchen?”  Then, I wasn’t sure if I had overdone the babyleaf spinach when Amelia asked “is this pesto?” Me: “No’ it’s avocado sauce.” (pause as she tries it, eyeing it’s extra-green hue suspiciously) “Mmmmmm. I love it!” (Note to self: Always add babyleaf spinach to avocado sauce!)

Thank you God for both purple and wierd-but-beautiful spikey edible plants!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Chlorophyll levels are reduced when the veggie is cooked, but it is only reduced in very significant amounts after quite prolonged cooking times, like boiling broccoli for 20 minutes. Eat plenty of greens raw, and opt for things like steaming for a few minutes when cooking.

P.P.S Their “dessert” is being provided by the local neighbourhood, and trust me, it won’t be appearing on this blog!  🙂  Happy Hallowe’en. Eat some plants y’all.

Raw Broccoli salad II (The Cumin One)

I think I might create a splendid array of different raw broccoli salads. Here is number two. It was gorgeous to look at  (And equally tasty, which is why we ate it so quickly and forgot to take a photo.) The bright green of the marinated broccoli, red pepper, purplish red onion, the white sesame seeds….I just love the colours of nature! If you have not read how amazing broccoli is, do so here, in the Raw Broccoli Salad number 1 post.

For the salad, we used: 

  • 1 head broccoli, broken into very small florets
  • A chunk of red onion, diced (quantity, to taste)
  • half a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • A handful of flaked almonds (optional)

For the Dressing-Marinade:

  • 1/8 cup extra virgin Olive oil
  • 1 1/2  T toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 t ground sea salt
  • 1/2 T honey
  • 1/2 t  soy sauce/tamari
  • 1 medium garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 t cumin

Pour the marinade over the salad, and mix well. Leave the salad, covered in the fridge for a good few hours, at least. The cumin is the magic ingredient; that, and the sesame oil. Do not omit! 

We ate it over the top of green pasta (wholewheat pasta + mashed avocado, pinch of salt) and it tasted amazing! So if you want to eat your salad solo, and you have a spare avocado, and you want to add that into the salad, I am sure you would not be sorry. (Three types of fat on your salad, anyone? Anyone?)

Photo to follow, when we make it again. Which we definitely will.

Raw broccoli Salad I (The Creamy One)

Raw broccoli? Thanks to a dear friend who introduced me to it at a potluck get-together lunch. I had never eaten it raw before, and I could not quite believe it could taste as good as it did.(I think her version even had raw cauliflower florets too)

The zingy-cum-creamy dressing in the original version was a mayonnaise base, with a white vinegar and sugar. A few tweaks later, and here is my firm favourite. The delicious dressing is free from harmful fats, and the broccoli?? The raw broccoli has more calcium ounce for ounce than milk, plenty of other minerals (iron, zinc, potassiuum, manganese) more vitamin C than the average citrus fruit, and potent anti-carcinogens called Isothiocyanates (who would wish to boil an anti-carcinogen to death?)

Also, by shredding the broccoli into small pieces, you break down the cells and activate an enzyme called myrosinase. The myrosinase converts some of the sulfur-containing chemicals found in broccoli (called glucosinolates) into other sulfur containing chemicals (called isothiocyanates) which research has shown to contain cancer preventive properties not found in the glucosinolates . Studies have actually pinpointed specific mechanisms, like changes in cellular genetic processes, which are involved in increasing cancer protection.

Myrosinase activity is further enhanced by the addition of Vitamin C, so if you wanted, you could substitute the vinegar in the dressing for lemon juice.Myrosinase is inactivated by heat, even a light steaming, so look for ways to enjoy this superb veggie raw. I will post more recipes at a later date. You also ensure getting all the other enzymes, antioxidants and beta-carotene if you leave it uncooked.

 That said, some research suggests that lightly steamed broccoli may make the Vitamin C more bioavailable, and that the fiber-related components in broccoli do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw broccoli still has cholesterol-lowering ability- just not as much.

I don’t know much about this, but I would say that if you are eating a plant based diet and getting most or all of your fats from raw nuts, seeds, olives and extra virgin olive oil, avocados, coconuts etc you may find your cholesterol happily low. So all in all…you decide. I love to eat it raw, and occasionally eat it lightly steamed. If you opt for steaming, do so for 60 seconds, it should be a vibrant green.

So. For this salad you need:

  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • half a red onion if large, a whole one if small…to taste. Diced.
  • generous handful of raisins or two
  • generous handful of sunflower seeds or two

(Other optional additions: raw shelled peas, chopped sugarsnap peas, young wheatsprouts, diced celery)

A word about the broccoli. You can do this by hand/with a knife, creating small florets, or you can almost “shred” it in a food processor/chopper. I prefer the latter, and it maybe more appealing to people who think they don’t like raw broccoli. Until they try this salad hopefully!

The dressing is done in a blender and consists of:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for a few hours or overnight)
  • 2T honey
  • 2 – 3T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1 cup water

 You may want to start with 2 Tablespoons of the vinegar if you are not keen on too much acidity, but I think it is what makes the dressing. 

Just taste test as you go.

This dressing will thicken on standing in the fridge for an hour or two, so bear that in mind. (Another version of this dressing calls for 1/2 a cup of water. this makes a far thicker version, more akin to mayo in consistency, but you will have to be more patient, because the blender will struggle a little more with less water)

If you have opted for small florets, then try to make it a little before the time you need it; a good few hours at least. The acid and salt in the dressing will wilt the broccoli down somewhat, making it slightly less crunchy; I don’t mean it will be soggy, I just mean it will take on the texture of briefly cooked broccoli; again, this is if you are not sold on eating it raw yet, this may work for you.

 I have a great friend who texts me periodically “I need some of your broccoli salad!” Delicious.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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