It seems we have gone full circle from the days when everything was made totally from scratch to prepared and processed foods, designed to get women out of the kitchen and into the workforce, to today’s rebellion against additives, preservatives, and any ingredient on a package you can’t pronounce.
Today we are heading back to where we started and back to basics. Finally we are choosing foods that are more wholesome and natural as well as beginning to understand that food is more than just fuel. It’s key to helping us live longer, healthier lives.
Dale Pinnock, author of The Medicinal Chef (Sterling Publishing), understands this concept more than many people. His knowledge of food and its healing effects has led him to publish his new cookbook with recipes that will most benefit specific conditions of the body.
Pinnock has taken on the role of a medicinal chef. “That’s where I come in: to look at the science about which foods can be useful for certain physiological changes and diseases, assess what dietary changes we can easily make, and use my culinary skills to create practical, delicious dishes that everyone can cook and enjoy in their day-to-day life.”
Each recipe includes symbols indicating which of the body systems and specific conditions it can help. For example, Pinnock suggestsThai Fish Soup might be helpful for arthritis, anxiety, and high cholesterol or bloating. “This gorgeous dish has a lovely exotic vibe about it, is easy to make, plus it’s light and bursting with nutrients,” he says.
We also like the Sesame Soy Salmon and Vegetables with Coconut Rice, which he recommends as a help to those who have asthma or high blood pressure. To start your day off right, try the Probiotic Layer Crunch, an easy breakfast of fruit, oats, pumpkin seeds, and live probiotic yogurt.
As Dale Pinnock reminds us, “We can take pleasure from our food, and at the same time, know it will help our health.”
Sesame Soy Salmon and Vegetables with Coconut Rice
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 large salmon fillets
¾ cup brown rice
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
2 tablespoons dry unsweetened coconut
Olive oil, for cooking
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large red onion, finely sliced
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
½ zucchini, cut into thin strips
Handful baby spinach
Mix together 1 tablespoon soy sauce with the sesame oil and honey and stir well to create a marinade. Pour over the salmon and let marinate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
Put the rice in a pan and cover with salted boiling water. Simmer over medium heat until half cooked, about 10 minutes (check the directions on the package). Add the coconut milk and continue to simmer until soft and tender. You may need to add a little extra water. Add the dry unsweetened coconut and stir well. Transfer to a warmed dish and set aside.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the salmon and its marinade, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, turning regularly.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large pan or wok and add the garlic, red onion, carrot, and zucchini. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft. Add the spinach and remaining soy sauce, and cook for 1 minute. Once the salmon and vegetables are cooked, serve immediately with the coconut rice.
Probiotic Layer Crunch
Makes 1 serving
Fresh berries (blueberries, chopped strawberries, blackberries, or whatever floats your boat)
Live probiotic plain yogurt
Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling (optional)
Honey, for drizzling (optional)
Find a nice-size glass – a large tumbler, for example.
Begin with a thin layer of fresh berries. Top this with a thin layer of rolled oats, then a thin layer of pumpkin seeds, then finally a layer of yogurt. Repeat this process as many times as is necessary to fill your vessel of choice. You can add a little pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey at the end to jazz things up a bit.
Thai Fish Soup
Makes 3 to 4 servings
1 stalk fresh lemongrass
Light olive oil, for cooking
½ red onion, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
½-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
2 salmon fillets, skinned (4 ounces each) and cut into 1½ -inch cubes
6½ ounces cooked shrimp
Handful baby spinach leaves
3 ounces snow peas
Juice of ½ lime
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, torn
1 red chile pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
Bash the whole lemongrass stalk with something heavy, such as a rolling pin, to release the fragrant oils. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass and cook gently for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
Add the coconut milk and ⅔ cup water and cook at a slow simmer for 15 minutes. Add the salmon and continue to simmer until it is cooked—about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp, spinach, and snow peas and simmer for 2 more minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice, add the torn cilantro and chile pepper, remove the lemongrass stalk and lime leaves—and you’re ready to serve. It’s great with a side salad, or perhaps some noodles. You could add these to the soup when you add the salmon (check the cooking time on the package).