Kripalu Kitchen

Enjoy Kripalu Recipes and culinary adventures.

Posted on July 27th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen, Nutrition

Fresh Herbs for Savory Summer Fare

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:

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Posted on July 20th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Pushing the Right Buttons

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.

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Posted on July 6th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Kripalu Recipe: Iced Teas

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).

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Posted on June 22nd, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: From Farmer’s Market to BBQ Bliss

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?

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Posted on June 8th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Kitchen-Sink Cooking

“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.

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Posted on May 25th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: Ahimsa in Action

This past weekend, on a visit to my soon-to-be mother-in-law’s house, I was remembering my first few years as a newly converted natural foodie. I was about 19 and heavily into macrobiotics. In those days (the mid-1980s), macrobiotics focused on a very simple diet primarily of brown rice, cooked vegetables, beans, and seaweed. Dairy in all its forms was completely out, as was any sugar–except that we were still using brown rice syrup and barley malt as our “binge foods.” Meat was off the menu too, except for the very rare occasion of having some fish.

Imagine my poor mother that first year I came home for Thanksgiving after leaving the nest now in what I lovingly remember as my “macro-neurotic” state.

There I was: refusing the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy while asking to have the stuffing made with whole-grain bread and saying things like, “Mom, don’t kill me by putting butter or turkey stock in the stuffing! I won’t eat it!”

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Posted on May 11th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday: When Smiling Panda Bears Lie

Lately, I’ve been playing around with a gluten-free diet. I often find that wheat feels heavy in my body, so a gluten fast this time of year often helps me lighten up. Because I don’t have a severe reaction to eating gluten, when I go gluten-free I don’t feel overly concerned about consuming any “incidental” amounts of gluten—mainly I just stop eating bread, pastries, and pasta for a few weeks. That said, during my gluten-free windows, I become more aware of how pervasive gluten is in the American diet and I’m always happy when I see companies making an effort to identify it or make versions of their products sans gluten.

Unfortunately, I also become aware of how the marketing potential of what has become, to some, a fad diet can turn this dietary choice into a sneaky way to pawn off cheap food to the unsuspecting!

Case in point: I bought some pre-made maki rolls from a local all natural grocer. In the Berkshires, we’re lucky to have several great locally owned stores that sell whole foods and organic produce. I went to Guidos, which is a wonderful combination of a main store (with all the basics) accompanied by several privately owned sub markets, much like the old indoor year round farmers markets I remember from my childhood in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

So back to my purchase, and, more specifically, the little packets of soy sauce that came with it. As I often take my makis home, I rarely use the soy sauce provided. If they’re all-natural I might save them for a picnic or travel. If they aren‘t, I simply discard them and wish the store would commit to using the all-natural kind.

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Posted on April 27th, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday – My Top Five

Has anyone ever asked you the classic foodie question? You know, the one that goes something like, “If you were stranded somewhere and could only eat five different foods forever, which would you choose?”

Of course, the location of said strandedness makes a big difference in the answer: juicy watermelons sound perfect for a lifetime on a desert island, but not so great in the snowy Arctic! Climate aside, it’s a great question to ponder, and one that we chefs seem to get quite a bit.

Depending on my mood, a few of my top five foods can change. Past winners have been winter squash, lacinato kale, brown rice, cannellini beans, and arugula. Or I’ll cheat with a broad answer like, “any fresh vegetable or fruit” or the generic “beans, grains, and veggies.” Sometimes I’ll answer with some of my favorite dishes, such as butternut squash soup, risotto, and lasagna. Or sautéed greens with cannellini beans tossed with pesto; kichari; a nice dahl over rice with cilantro mint chutney; tabouli; sourdough bread; arugula salad with dates and raw cheese with balsamic … the list easily gets longer than five!

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