As the summer’s end begins its relentless march, the only mantra running through my head seems to be, Slow down, slow down, slow down. I yearn to savor more of the warm days, the outdoor fun, the farm-fresh veggies. I want the world to pause, to slow down, to give me more time to take […]
Enjoy Kripalu Recipes and culinary adventures.
Summer is perfect for opening our senses to all that’s fresh and local. Choosing produce grown close to home yields great taste, supports your community’s farmers and economy, and cultivates a more direct connection to the earth. Nothing is more local than the herbs and greens you grow yourself. Greens are chock full of phytonutrients, plant compounds that provide a range of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as support the body’s natural detoxification process. Even if you’re not a gardener, you can still get a huge nutritional bang for your effort-filled buck by planting a few parsley, cilantro, or basil seeds in a window box.
Scientists are learning more about the power of phytonutrients every day. A single piece of fruit or serving of vegetable may contain hundreds or even thousands of different kinds, and the complex phytonutrient profiles of simple-seeming plants reminds us of the complexity of nature and of life itself. The role these nutrients play in health—if and how they synergize with other nutrients, and the interplay between them and our environments and lifestyle choices—are all active areas of research.
It’s clear that scientists are discovering what yogis have known all along: Fresh, local herbs and produce carry the essence of health. Let’s enjoy the taste of what summer offers us now.
You know you’re in love when it downpours on the day of your engagement party with 25 friends coming to you house, and it still feels like the sun is shining in all the right places.
Life has been busy (can anyone relate?) these past few months, and Jim and I have not been good at pulling together a dinner party on any regular basis.
Side note: Time is an interesting thing, isn’t it? Don’t laugh, but one of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to “master time.” Yes, somehow I have this glimmer of hope that it’s possible to enjoy life and all those opportunities that come our way with a grace and ease that make it seem as though there’s always enough time.
Despite the many days when I feel anything but graceful, this past weekend got me in one of those busy yet timelessness modes. On the night before the party, my two chef buddies, Jeremy and Sim, came over to help start the food prep. I had designed a fun menu featuring kabobs, spanakopita, lots of fun salads (see one of my favorites below), homemade grape leaves, roasted beets with chèvre—the list went on.
Parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, mint, basil, oregano, lavender… the list of herbs we love and their many uses is endless. In the Kripalu Kitchen, we use fresh herbs year-round, but when summer’s warm weather comes, their appeal is even stronger. Fresh herbs add an uplifting layer of flavor and an enlivening aroma. Once you get in the habit of buying fresh herbs (or better yet, growing them yourself) you will find that they are hard to cook without.
Here are some tips on how to use and preserve your fresh herbs this summer:
Ah, travel… I truly love every aspect of it —even waiting in airports has its moments. Of course, as you may suspect, one of my favorite travel activities is discovering wonderful new foodie experiences.
This past week I went to Washington State for a training with Dr. Joe Dispenza (if you haven’t checked him out, I highly recommend it). After the training, I decided to give myself a day to explore Seattle before hopping a red-eye home.
For those of you who’ve been to Seattle, you can probably guess where I ended up… Pike Place Market! Now, Pike Place is not your typical farmer’s market: exploring it is a full-out adventure, filled with food, music, arts, crafts, and great people-watching. This is how food is meant to be displayed, bought, and enjoyed!
There were abundant arrays of fruits and vegetables, lively pasta vendors, succulent meats, fish like you’ve never seen before (I’ll get back to this one),and scrumptious pastries—including warm, freshly made donuts.
I love tea. I almost always start my day with a pot of classic white or green tea. Alongside my water bottle, tea and herbal infusions are my steady companions throughout the day.
During summer, my favorite way to enjoy my afternoon tea is when it’s infused with the bold flavors and wonderful aroma of fresh (or even dried) herbs. A few years ago (or has it been a decade already?) I was both happy and stunned to discover that major bottlers were beginning to produce iced teas. I was thrilled that folks would now have a choice for a convenient beverage other than the high-fructose-ladened sodas that had been filling coolers for years. I was also duly impressed as I watched new varieties of iced teas, sweetened with honey or organic sugar, appear on shelves.
What stunned me was just how many there were and how high their price tag. Being a longtime maker of iced tea, I’m aware that, water aside, tea is the most economical beverage we can consume: A few tea or herb leaves can make several delicious cups. If you are someone who regularly purchases bottled teas for anywhere from $1.50–$2.25 per bottle, you will be thrilled with how much you can save by brewing and storing your own, at only about .10–30 per cup (depending on whether you use bulk tea, a tea bag, or herbs from your garden and which, if any, sweetener you choose).
Contrary to my last post, where I was extolling the virtues of planning meals to save money, I have to admit that I also love that last-minute rush of creating something spontaneously.
We got really lucky this year as West Stockbridge, the small Berkshire town where I live, decided to host a weekly farmer’s market. This means that every Thursday, I get to walk down the street and see what can be made for dinner from only farmer’s market offerings. This past week, since the market and the summer season are new, there still weren’t that many vendors, and the pickings were light. Since my refrigerator was bare from my new commitment to eating everything I have before buying more food, this week’s Thursday dinner would be interesting.
Shopping at farmer’s markets are fun, and my partner Jim and I enjoyed talking to the farmers and producers. We came home with some beautiful ribs (something we rarely make but the local farmer who was selling it was so sweet that we couldn’t resist). We also discovered a local woman who was making fresh tempeh, so we bought some of that so there would be a vegetarian choice on the table as well. Some fresh broccolini, bread, and strawberries later and we were whistling our way home. Now what to do with this stuff?
“That’s it—I’ve had enough! I, of all people, should not be doing it this way!”
Ever have one of those enough-is-enough moments? As I was once again staring at my refrigerator with its combination of very fresh, slightly worn, and “what-are-you-still-doing-in here?” produce, leftovers, and half-eater jars of miscellaneous mayhem, I hit the turning point.
“OK, family,” I announced. “I will not be buying one more ounce of food until we have eaten every single morsel of what we already have.”
My rant was spurred by my newly instituted budget austerities, and the obvious yet uncalculated cost of what I was about to throw in the garbage. I heard a staggering statistic once that something like 15 to 30 percent of our food budget goes in the trash: sporadically used condiments and half-eaten canned goods; good-intentioned yet left-to-rot produce; the two pounds of this or that “wonder food” that were purchased after reading about its healthful properties in O magazine.