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salad

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Home is one of the first concepts we learn. Is the meaning of the belonging itself, as important as Mum and Dad, it is the kind of word that feels warm and steady, written in capital letters in our hearts. It is not a building, is the people we love, a smell, a particular noise…
Since I’m a mother I have a new concept of Home, the stylish place where to display all my books and design stuff has became a happy, messy, colorful playground. My current art installations are straw giraffes and wooden trains spontaneously arranged by my son. A huge pop-up version of Le Petit Prince  stands unashamed in between Louise Bourgeois and Marina Abramović exhibition catalogs. And, we now rest on our rug, on piles of blankets forgotten from the last night story telling, while our sofa is a climbing site and enormous straw bags overflowing Montessori toys fill any available corner.
Under my shiny glass table all kind of crumbs materialize.

Now whenever I cook I try to bring all these detail of a full life, this sense of happiness, ease and love in all my plates. So then, when I now say detox I mean a delicious satisfying plate overflowing colors and with a bright full taste. And you don’t even have to mention guilt.

Being a mother (and a mother-to-be-again… this is fast, I know) taught me that nourishment has to be the foundation of all healthy choices. Talking about food or anything else that matters in our lives.  Be more sweet and kind towards ourselves is the basement for our well-being. Knowing that this plate will fill up our soul and heart and there will be plenty for our body too, is essential. I will never stress this enough, and that’s why today I’m posting a love-yourself-detox dish.
The time for skinny courses leading to nasty cravings out of unsatisfactory parsimoniousness is over. Welcome the era of mindful nourishment!

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This salad is breezy and dynamic however very simple. In fact not always complicated/ex[pensive ingredients mean nourishment.
Celery, cucumber and lettuce are refreshing light goodies rich of silicon, (no, not the one sealing you shower panels, come on!). Silicon is rich in high fiber food as it is the major component of fibers and accelerate calcium absorption. Generally speaking all greens are a little sunshine in your plate, great source of chlorophyll they help the calcium absorption as vit. D does.

Also, food rich in silicon and chlorophyll like lettuce and celery well balance sweet food. My suggestion is to always include them after eating too much of it, including good quality sweets.
The daikon and the radishes are well known to help dissolve fats and mucus in the body, and  they add color and freshness to any plate.

The seeds ensure you get a satisfying crunchy texture. Seed are not as greasy as nuts and are more digestible. The triplet I have enclosed here provides you a nice booster of Omega, and a great support of Folic acid and DHA in pregnancy.  The fennel seeds harmonize digestion and helps with bloating.

The Romano green beans, briefly cooked, add a feeling of fulness to the plate and complete the protein balance of the salad. In Liguria and Tuscany is pretty common to have some cooked veggie in your raw salad, especially green beans and potatoes.

The only challenge here is to slice your veggie as fine as possible. To do so you need a good vegetable knife. While you are cutting fold your fingers and press the knuckles against the blade. This will ensure you don’t cut your fingertips and you control better your movement, making possible to slice finer. If you still are clueless on how to finely cut your salad use a good mandolin and take it easy.

This salad require time to marinate, it is actually a pressed salad. This type of marinating will start to break down the fibers making the salad more digestible, and a little fermentation start, producing alive enzymes (probiotics) and a source of B12. Such a divine result out of your veg!!

For this salad you need: good knife or mandolin, 2 glass boules one large one small. A weight such as a bottle of water. A little saucepan with heavy bottom to cook rice&green beans.

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Ingredients

for the salad:
1 bunch of fresh lettuce of your choice
1 bunch of fresh radishes, if you like you can use the steamed leaves as well
3/4 celery sticks, use the soft core
1 cucumber
5 cm of daikon
few romano green beans to be blanced

1/2 cup of long grain brown rice: a mixture of white, black and red will work fab for taste and colour. Rinsed, possibly soaked for 6 hours
1 stamp-size piece of kombu (a seaweed, to be cooked with the rice to make it more digestible)
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds

1/4 of cup of sunflower seeds rinsed
1/4 of cup of pumpkin seeds rinsed
1+1/2 spoon of linseed

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For the salad seasoning:
1 lemon ( a must be organic, you will also use the zest as well as the juice)
2 Tbsp of umeboshi vinegar or 1 tsp of unrefined sea salt
olive oil to taste

for the rice seasoning:
1 Tbsp of wholegrains Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp of raw hempini (sort of tahini made from hemp seeds, very satisfying. You can buy it or make it just grinding the seeds a bit longer)
1 tsp of rice syrup or apple concentrate
fresh grated ginger to taste
enough water to thin the sauce
4/5 sorrel leaves minced or the zest of half lemon grated with a Microplane or a fine grater.

You can add:
dill or wild fennel
chives or raw red onions finely sliced
fresh turmeric

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Metod:

For the rice
1. Wash and rinse the rice.
2. In a saucepan bring it to boil in the double of water, with the kombu and the fennel seeds.
3. Low down the flame and put a lid leaving a little sliver of air. Cook on a low flame ’till all the water is absorbed and the rice looks dry. Should take 30 minutes circa. (meantime you will take care of the salad)
4. Set aside to cool down.

For the salad:
1. Meanwhile the rice is cooking, in a small saucepan bring to boil a glass of water+pinch of sea salt for the Romano green beans. When hard boiling add the beans and leave to boil covered for 5  min or until tender, but still bright green. Then rinse and leave to cool.
2. Slice the daikon, radishes, cucumber and the celery as fine as possible, and tear the lettuce in small pieces if needed.
3. In the large glass bowl place first the celery the daikon and the radishes.
4. Season with the ume vinegar (or 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 lemon) and mix with your finger gently squeezing, then add the cucumber and mix. Put on top the smaller bowl and a weight over them. Leave to marinate for 15/20 minute.
5. Cut in big chunks the Romano green beans discarding the hard ends.

The dressings:

For rice:
1. Mix the hempini with the mustard, the rice syrup and the ginger. Add enough water to thin the sauce as you wish.
2. Serve on the side to be poured on top of the dish

For the seeds:
1. Wash and rinse the sunflower and pumpkin seeds separately.
2. Toast them separately until the are slightly golden and a nutty smell comes out.
3. Mix the seeds while still hot pouring on them the rest of the lemon juice, leave to cool down.
4. Grind the raw linseed and add to the other seeds when cooled down.
Note: the pumpkin seeds tend to quickly burn, while the sunflower need to stay a bit longer on the stove.

To assemble:
1. In a serving bowl mix the rice with the seeds and the seasoning.
2. Toss the Romano green beans and the lettuce with a mixture of olive oil, sea salt and a bit of lemon.
3. Gently mix the lettuce, beans and marinated salad together and assemble on top of the rice.
4. Serve immediately.

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I usually buy only local, seasonal  ingredients and, just in case you are wondering, I personally use 99% organic ingredients. Here the 2 main reasons: first they don’t carry nasty chemicals and they are grown on well-nourished soils which naturally enhance the taste and the vitamin content. Second I don’t want to leave a heritage of long term pesticide and garbage for my kids and any other child. Organic is good karma!

Love
S.