Summer Salads and more

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

1.5 cup uncooked quinoa

3 cups water or vegetable broth

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1/4 cup (about 10) pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1 cucumber, peeled and diced, seeds removed

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1 jar Pickled beets

1 can Artichoke hearts

Handful chopped spinach

1/2 cup finely chopped mint

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Prepare the quinoa- combine quinoa and water/broth, bring to a vigorous boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed and thread-like spirals will appear around the grains. Let the quinoa cool. This can even be done a day or two in advance.

In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients (from the onions to the mint) with the cooled quinoa. Toss with the olive oil and the lemon juice, adding more to your taste preference. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Watermelon Kale Smoothie

4 c Seedless Watermelon

2 c Kale

1 Grapefruit, peeled and seeded

2 c Blueberries, frozen

1 Avocado

1 Apple

1/4 c fresh Mint

Place all items in your blender and GO! The avocado adds creaminess and some protein.

Watermelon Salad

* 1 watermelon, cut into bite sized chunks or use a melon baller

* One half red onion minced

* One avocado sectioned into half inch cubes

* 2 cups frozen blueberries

* fresh mint, leaves from 3-4 sprigs, finely chopped

* 1 bunch of arugula, leaves only*

* 1 lemon, zested and juiced

* 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

* 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

* salt and pepper

Place watermelon, mint and watercress in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the lemon zest over the melon and pour on the juice.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over.  If you feel it needs to be a bit sweeter, you can add a bit of agave nectar (1 tsp. at a time).  *Any bitter green will work here.  If arugula is not available, look for watercress or dandelion root.


Moving into Summer

Curried Eggplant Stew
* 1 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch squares

* 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

* 1 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes (chopped/diced)

* 2 cups vegetable broth

* 1 medium onion chopped

* 1 tablespoon roasted garlic

* 1/2 cup fresh basil rough chopped

* 3 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil

* 1 tablespoon yellow curry

* Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: in a large bowl pour 2 cups vegetable broth over prepared eggplant and let soak for 15 minutes. In a large saucepan add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and place on medium/low heat. When oil is hot add chopped onion, coat with oil and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Place stovetop on medium/high heat adding eggplant with broth, chickpeas and tomoatoes stirring to combine. Add all of the remaining seasonings to the pan and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. This “stew” can be consumed as is or poured over the base of your choice. I typically eat over spaghetti squash or brown rice.  

Baba Ganoush
OK, this is my take on a traditional Indian dish. We are going to take the remaining stew and add Tahini and more chickpeas to a food processor. We will need a little bit more olive oil to help the mixture blend. So here is what you need
Food processor with a large mixing bowl

3 cups of our Eggplant stew mixture

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup of Tahini (sesame paste)

3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Add eggplant stew, chickpeas and tahini to your food processor and pulse several times. Once roughly combined, turn food processor to medium speed and drizzle in olive oil slowly until the mixture resembles a hummus consistency. Serve as dip with your favorite chips/veggies or use as a spread on your favorite bread.

What we do when there is NO OVEN…

Fennel Salad

* 2 Fennel Bulbs, tops removed, thinly sliced

* 2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled 7 thinly sliced

* One large carrot shredded

* One quarter head of red cabbage shredded

* 1/2 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned,  plus the juice from the other 1/2

* 1 Tbs. Honey or to taste

* 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

* kosher salt and white ground pepper to taste

Toss ingredients together and let sit for a minimum of 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.  Any citrus could be substituted for the grapefruit and the amount of juice used really depends on how “saucy” you like your salads.


1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes crushed

One package of cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 medium onion

1 large cucumber peeled and seeded

1 4oz can chopped green chilies with liquid

1 tablespoon of roasted garlic

1 cups of fresh mint

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a large stock pot and use the stick blender on it. This method just allows for better control of the texture. You can also use a standard blender if you don’t have a stick version. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours before serving. It makes a great “soup” or even a salsa.

Nature’s Food Patch February 2016


Greeny Meany Soup

One bunch of kale, veined and chopped
One bunch of spinach, rough chopped

One bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1/2in sections

Two red bell peppers chopped into 1-2in sections

2 cups of chopped carrots

2 cups of chopped celery

One medium onion Diced

32 ounces of vegetable stock

32 ounces of purified water

1 Tbsp of garlic

1 1/2 Tbsp of Italian seasoning

3 Tbsp of quality olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Put olive oil in a large stockpot and set the temperature to low medium. When the olive oil becomes hot, add your onions toss in oil and simmer until translucent. At this point increase heat to medium and add carrots and celery, toss to combine. Let simmer for 5 to 7 minutes and then add asparagus and red pepper, tossing to combine. After five minutes add seasonings and liquid, cover and turn the heat to high. After 5 to 7 minutes remove the lid add kale and spinach, replace the lid and remove from heat. You should let this sit for 5-7 minutes before uncovering and serving. Serves 8 to 10 people.

Sautéed cruciferous veggies with Citrus vinaigrette 

3 cups of shredded Brussels sprouts
3 cups of red cabbage chopped

One medium onion chopped

One ripe grapefruit for zest and juice

One 15 ounce can of dark red kidney beans

3/4cup of quality olive oil

1/2 bunch of fresh mint minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauce pan and place on low medium heat. Add onions to hot oil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until translucent. Turn the heat to medium high and add Brussels and cabbage to pan, stirring to coat. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes and pull off heat.
In a separate bowl juice the grapefruit then add remaining oil and fresh mint to a mixing bowl, whisk thoroughly until combined. Add Salt and pepper to taste. You can ladle the mixture over a serving or you can toss the vegetables in the sauce

Food Class @ The Nature’s Food Patch (NFP), JAN 2016


8 Bean Salad

Fullei Fresh Crunchy Mix 6oz

(Ingredients: Adzuki Beans, Mung Beans, Green Lentils, Red Lentils, and Green Peas)

1 pkg of Mung Bean sprouts

1 pkg of drenched organic green beans

1 can of organic black beans drained and rinsed thoroughly

1/2 onion of your choice

1 Red Bell Pepper

1/4 cup of minced cilantro

3 Tbs Olive oil

1 Tbsp of sesame oil, I prefer toasted

1 Tbsp of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tbsp of Tamari sauce 

1 Tbsp of Honey

1 Tbsp of Chili Powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking preparation;

In a medium sauce pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a cold pan and heat at a low temperature. When the oil reaches temperature add onions, stirring them to cover with fat. After 5 to 7 minutes when onions become translucent increase heat to medium high and add red peppers, crunchy mix and green beans to the pan stirring to coat.  Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add all other ingredients and stir to combine.  Serves 4 to 6 persons.  Can be eaten as a side dish, but we served it with quinoa at the class.

Coconut curried Japanese Yam and kale soup

One bunch of Dinosaur/ Lacinato kale washed, stemmed and chopped

Three medium or one large Japanese Yam/purple sweet potato. Cut into 1 inch cubes

One medium yellow onion

One can of coconut milk

4 cups of vegetable broth

1 1/2 tablespoons of yellow curry

1 tablespoon of Tamari sauce

1 ounce of lime juice

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

Cooking instructions;

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the cold pan and put on low heat. Once the oil is heated and the chop onion and stir to coat with the fat, Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until onions are translucent.  Increase the heat to medium high adding potatoes and stir to coat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn heat up to high and add coconut milk, vegetable broth and all seasonings. Cover and Let mixture boil for 5 to 7 minutes, at that time turn the heat to low and add kale to the top, making sure not to stir it into the liquid. You just want me to steam above the mixture so that it retains its color and it’s texture. Serves 8 to 10 peoples

Spring meals

Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse– for detoxification of the blood, tonic for liver/gallbladder


Organic Apple/Grapefruit Juice 2 parts

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 1 part

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 part

Measure ingredients and use a blender/food processor to combine in an emulsification (the breakdown of large fat globules into smaller, uniformly distributed particles.) Store in airtight container in refrigerator. This mixture can be taken daily, do not exceed 3 oz per day.
50 ways to love your Liver– benefits the liver and boosts the immune system,
Grapefruit Juice 1 Cup

Kale 1 Cup

Water Crest 1 Cup

Clover Sprouts 1 Cup

Alfalfa Sprouts 1 Cup

Celery Stalks 1 Cup

Pear Nectar* 1 Cup

Blender Method: Chop all ingredients small enough for your blender to handle. Blend all ingredients together. Blend well. Pour through a fine mesh strainer or a cheesecloth to separate the pulp.

Juicer Method: Follow instructions for you particular model…
*You can use whole grapefruit instead of juice if using the juicer.

Run all ingredients through juicer and drink.

Mung Bean Stew  
1 bag of Mung Beans (16 oz.)

1 Quart of H2O or Stock

1 Med Onion

2 lg. Carrots, diced

2 Celery stalks, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 Bay Leaf

*Heat oil in a stock pot over Med-High heat.
*Add Onions, Carrots and Celery. Season with salt and Pepper.

*Cook 10 minutes until softened but not browned.

*Add Mushrooms and Garlic. Cook for another few minutes.

*Add Mung Beans, Broth and Bay Leaves.

*Bring to a boil.

*Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.


6 Ripe Avocados

the juice of 3 Limes

1/2 of a large red onion, diced

1 tbsp. granulated garlic

1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves only

1/2 cup of freshly diced /red bell peppers (optional)

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. salt (sea salt preferred)

1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Preparation: Leave avocados to the side, place the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or process chop by hand. once blended, cut avocados in half and remove seed. (Retaining the seeds and placing them in your finished product will keep it from turning dark from oxidation.) scoop out pulp with spoon or spatula and mash with rest of ingredients with a fork or potato masher. serve immediately or keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

Fennel Salad
In a large bowl mix:

1 fennel bulb (leafy top and stalks removed), thinly sliced

1 cup Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced

1 cup of julienned carrots 

pinch of salt

pinch of white ground pepper

2 Tbsp Agave Nectar

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

toss with enough citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) juice to coat

Toss all ingredients with your hands, serve or keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

Seasonal Eating

Seasonal eating
Spring is the season of new birth and new growth. According to TCM, spring belongs to the wood element and dominates liver functioning. If we don’t adapt to the changing climate in spring, we may susceptible to seasonal health problems, such as flu, pneumonia, or a relapse of chronic diseases. It is advisable to reduce the intake of sour flavors and increase sweet and pungent flavors as this facilitates the liver to regulate the qi (vital energy) throughout the body. Examples of recommended foods for the spring include onions, leeks, leaf mustard, Chinese yam, wheat, dates, cilantro, mushrooms, spinach and bamboo shoots. Fresh green and leafy vegetables should also be included in meals; sprouts from seeds are also valuable. In addition, uncooked, frozen and fried foods should only be taken in moderation since these are harmful to the spleen and stomach if consumed in large amounts. As cold winter keeps us indoors and tends to make us eat too much, people may develop a heat balance in the spring, which leads to dry throats, bad breath, constipation, thick tongue coating and yellowish urine. Foods like bananas, pears, water chestnuts, sugar cane, celery and cucumber help to clear the excessive heat.


Plants grow fast in summer. People act energetically, and the body’s qi and blood become relatively more vigorous than in other seasons. TCM claims that the physiological changes make the heart over-function, and there is too much yang qi flows outward to the exterior part of the body. According to the five elements theory, an over-functioning heart restricts the lung functioning, it is advisable to eat more food with pungent flavors and reduce bitter flavors; this enhances the lung and maintains the normal sweating mechanism in summer. Sweat is the fluid of the heart; excessive sweating scatters heart-qi and weakens the mind causing symptoms like being easily annoyed, low spirit, restless and sleeping difficulties. Foods with sour and salty flavors help to ease these symptoms. Summer is hot and rainy in some regions, which disturb the fluid and electrolyte balance of the body and lead to lethargy, weakness, fever, thirst, lack of appetite and possibly loose bowels. Some foods are recommended for keeping the body cool and balanced, such as bitter gourd, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, mung beans, cucumber, wax gourd, lotus root, lotus seed, Job’s tears, bean sprouts, duck and fish. In general, the daily diet should contain more vegetables and fruit at this time so as to stimulate the appetite and provide adequate fluids. Warm and cooked foods ensure the digestive system work more effectively; too many greasy, raw and frozen foods can damage the digestive system and lead to a poor appetite, diarrhea or stomach upset. It is a Chinese tradition in summer to make soups for clearing summer heat, eliminating dampness and promoting digestion.


Things begin to fall and mature in autumn. TCM believes that autumn correlates with the lung system, which dominates the skin, respiration, body fluids metabolism, blood circulation, immunity and melancholy emotion. Since the vigorous summer has over, TCM holds that everything needs to turn inwards so as to prepare for the harsh winter. Foods are important to ensure that the body adjusts to the changing seasons. The dry weather usually causes an itchy throat, a dry nose, chapped lips, rough skin, hair loss and dry stools. We need to eat to promote the production of body fluids and their lubricating effects throughout the body. Beneficial foods for this are lily bulb, white fungus, nuts or seeds, pear, lotus root, pumpkin, honey, soy milk and dairy products. It is advisable to eat more food with sour flavors and reduce pungent flavors as such things like onion, ginger and peppers induce perspiration, while sour foods like pineapple, apple, grapefruit and lemon have astringent properties and thus prevent the loss of body fluids. The body needs extra fluids to counteract the dry environment, and it is a Chinese tradition to eat porridge for breakfast and soup for dinner that is made with the above ingredients.


In winter, living things slow down to save energy while some animals hibernate. It is also the season where humans conserve energy and build strength as a prelude to spring. TCM believes our diet should be adapted to focus on enriching yin and subduing yang, which mean we should consume appropriate fats and high protein foods. Mutton, beef, goose, duck, eggs, rabbit meat, Chinese yam, sesame, glutinous rice, dates, longan, black fungus, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, leek and nuts are common ingredients in the Chinese dishes this time. Winter corresponds to the kidney system according to the five elements theory; hyperactive kidney inhibits the heart which leads to palpitations, cardiac pain, limb coldness and fatigue. It is advisable to eat more food with bitter flavors while reducing salty flavors so as to promote a healthy heart and reduce the workload of the kidney. Foods with bitter flavors include apricot, asparagus, celery, coffee, tea, grapefruit, hops, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish leaves, kale, vinegar and wine. Some people may eat too many hotpots or high calory foods causing excessive heat to accumulate in the lungs and stomach. They may experience problems such as bronchitis, sore throats, peptic ulcers and skin problems, thus it is necessary to balance with certain amount of cool dishes and water in winter. Winter is also a good time to boost the natural constitution of the body and improve symptoms associated with chronic conditions. Since a person’s appetite tends to increase over winter when they have a lower metabolic rate, absorbed nutrients from foods can be stored more easily. Energizing herbs such as ginseng, wolfberry, angelica, rhemannia root, astragalus and medicinal mushrooms can be used for this purpose. It is a trend for Chinese restaurants to prepare various medicinal courses using these ingredients.

The principle of harmony between food and the weather is based on practical experience. It may seem to contradict principles stated elsewhere but the fact remains: foods eaten during the four seasons have different impacts on the human body. Foods become part of the body after being consumed but the four seasons (that is environmental factors) always impacts externally on the body. Chinese dietary philosophy suggests that you embrace your native foods in addition to eating locally-grown foods and those in season. What is unhealthy about the modern diet is that particular foods are now available all year long and may be chemically treated instead of being grown naturally and being only available at a certain time. Natural, home-grown and chemical-free products are the most nutritious foods.

We’re Back!

summer salads

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced fine
1.5 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 firm-ripe avocado (about 10 oz.)
1 can (15 oz.) black-eyed peas
1 can blackbeans (* 1.5 cups each)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 red onion
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1 pint grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix vinegar, jalapeño, oil, and garlic. Peel, pit, and cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.
Drain and rinse beans and bring corn to room temperature (if needed, toss it in a skillet on med-high for just a minute or two). Add remaining ingredients (beans through tomatoes) to avocado; mix gently to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve it with chips or inside tacos or in lettuce wraps or….you get the point. It’s good any way you do it!

**ASIAN “noodle” SALAD**
2 zukes- noodle style
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons tamari sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 tablespoon agave or honey
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, thinly sliced or julienned
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced or julienned
5 green onions, bottom 4 inches, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced napa cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced or julienned
1/2 cup julienned bok choy
1 cup bean sprouts, optional
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish
1 clove minced garlic
1 knuckle of ginger grated/ micro planed

In a medium bowl combine, sesame oil, vinegar, tamari sauce, srirachca, agave/honey and extra-virgin olive oil. Mix thoroughly and then combine prepared vegetables and noodles.

Garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts.

1.5 cup uncooked quinoa
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup (about 10) pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and diced, seeds removed
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 jar Pickled beets
1 can Artichoke hearts
Handful chopped spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Prepare the quinoa- combine quinoa and water/broth, bring to a vigorous boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed and thread-like spirals will appear around the grains. Let the quinoa cool. This can even be done a day or two in advance.
In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients (from the onions to the mint) with the cooled quinoa. Toss with the olive oil and the lemon juice, adding more to your taste preference. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Again, all of these recipes are very versatile. You can add some lightly steamed veggies to the quinoa- or add quinoa to the Asian salad instead of the noodles. The more time you spend experimenting with your food, the better you will know what it is that you like. And the faster you will get at cooking.