In Praise of the Healthy Kitchen
Cooking is a sacred art to me. It’s an act of love. It’s a gratitude and awareness practice, that requires thoughtfulness and care in order to be done well. I’m not looking for convenience in my kitchen as much as I’m looking for ways to celebrate the earth’s bounty and the gift of health. That requires a little bit of slowing down so that I can enjoy the experience and process of creating a good meal.
Eating food is the single biggest chemical reaction that happens in your body in the course of the day. If you want to demonstrate cause and effect to your self, nothing is more profound than the correlation between what you eat and how you feel. Eat carbs smothered in cheese with nary a vegetable in sight and chances are you are going to feel sluggish and achy. Eat fresh food, prepared sanely (i.e. no deep fat frying or over cooking innocent vegetables), and you’re probably going to feel more alert and healthy.
The other day I was shopping at Central Market in Austin, and there was a table of fresh, local, organic tomatoes that made me realize that I don’t eat many raw veggies in the winter months. I always feel more energized and focused when I’m eating a wide variety of veggies, especially raw ones. So, I was inspired to buy ingredients for gazpacho. Gazpacho is a cold soup, usually eaten in the summer months.
Even though it’s February, I decided that the gazpacho would be a super-healthy breakfast for the coming week. If you serve it with a half of an avocado and a hard-boiled egg, it’s the ultimate way to start a healthy day. And here’s the magic of this soup with Spanish origins: It’s a low-calorie, nutrition dense food, filled with fiber, minerals and anti-oxidants. No wonder I feel so great when I eat it.
Here’s how to make it:
Wash the following veggies and cut them into chunks:
2 sweet tomatoes 2 carrots (don’t peel em)
1-2 green scallion 3-4 stalks of celery
a cup or so of jicama 7-8 mini-peppers in assorted colors
a handful of fresh parsley 1 unpeeled cucumber
In batches, pulverize everything in a food processor and transfer the pulverized veggies to a bowl. I use a Tupperware bowl with a lid because I’ll store it this way in the fridge.
When you have pulverized all the veggies, squeeze in ½ lime. The lime adds some flavor, but will also keep the gazpacho fresh tasting.
The final step is to pour a quart bottle of Knudsen’s Very Veggie over the pulverized vegetable mix and stir. I like the low sodium Very Veggie because vegetables naturally contain sodium, and you get a cleaner and more distinct flavor if you don’t over-salt.
Chunk up a half of an avocado and put it in a bowl. Ladle the soup over the avocado. I have friends that like to add a dash of Tabasco.
For breakfast, I love to eat a bowl of this along with a hard-boiled egg on the side. It’s the complete meal – veggies, protein and a good fat.
The soup is best served chilled, but when I make a fresh batch, I just eat it at room temperature and it’s great.
Refrigerate the leftover gazpacho in a covered container.
When you cook for yourself, it’s an act of self-love. When you cook for others it’s a celebration of life.