Recipes

Doce de Papaya

Growing up in the oral culture of the Cape Verde Islands, recipes were never written. Recipes were translated orally, learned through observation and absorbed through the senses. Much of the very same way I cook today and before I transfer recipes stored in my cellular memory onto paper. This recipe honors the women that came before me, who lived both…

Food Alchemy

3 Simple & Seasonal Summer Sides

Coming from a farming family, I learned very early on that sometimes size matters. And that some of the best, real food, comes in small sizes. My parents were (and are adamant to this day) about size. Their emphasis has always been “pick small.” They say if they grew too big, they would become “dodu” (crazy) and flavorless. Not convinced…

Food Alchemy

No recipe. No Problem.

This is not a recipe. I repeat. This is not a recipe. Not holistically. This is a guide. Why? Because some meals are simple enough to replicate, without step-by-step instructions. Because sometimes, given a blueprint, we can use our intuition to move us along in the cooking process. And because we trust, that you trust, you can do it! Fajitas,…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Germantown Trumpet Salad

I visited Germantown Kitchen Garden Saturday morning in search for some fresh local food, and I found it… and more. Salad greens. Check. Radishes. Check. Kale. Check. Bok choy. Check. Shitake. Check. And while I have not met a mushroom I didn’t want to cook and eat and we had crossed paths many times, this time was different. It was…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Smoked Coconut-Avocado Lime Cream

Ingredients: 1 cup of coconut cream 2 ripe avocados 2 limes ¼ teaspoon smoked salt These four simple ingredients can add so much flavor and depth to any meal. It is especially delicious for bean dishes, as beans are naturally low in fat and high in fiber. The alkaline combination of coconut and avocado will add nutritious fats (omega fatty…

Healing Foods

The Anti-inflammatory Power of Smoky Sesame Seaweed Slaw

Relieve swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation with nature’s best helpers. We’ve intuitively combined key anti-inflammatory foods that resonate to an alkaline frequency, helping the body to detox naturally and boost vitality. Cooking Alchemy’s Anti-inflammatory Super Salad is made with red and green cabbage, carrots, wakame, apple cider vinegar, wasabi, ginger, garlic, lime and black sesame seeds. Black sesame…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Sweating the Small Stuff, A simple Fall Dinner

We start the cooking process by sweating the small stuff, we end with the big stuff. The stuff, great meals are built upon. Aromatics, tubers, alliums are all great choices. Carrots, poblanos for stock. Walnuts and pumpkin seeds for garnish. Sweating  foundational vegetables, like alliums, aromatics and tubers, is a great path towards a great…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

So Fresh, So Local… So GTown

A few years have past since I was a part of the Wyck House Farmer’s Market and last Friday, I returned to Wyck to meet the new farmer, Krippa and her team and of course check out the latest fresh produce the 19144 neighborhood has to offer. No more than 5 minutes away, Wyck House gives us the best of…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Cooking Composition 101: The Truth About Leftovers

Above, Leftover Red Curry Stir-Fry Whether out of necessity, convenience, or frugality, eating last night’s dinner for lunch the next day or a dinner a second time around, may be better for you than you think. Not only is it sustainable, resourceful and practical, it has the potential to be absolutely delicious! Why should holiday meals be the only exception…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Breath+Food=Health

There are plenty of ways to eat clean, cook better, lose or maintain weight, cleanse our bodies from the overburden of toxins and heal our bodies. And it may require less than we think. It may not be just about food. Through the power of breath, conscious breath, we can tap into one of the best health giving benefits money…

Food Philosophy

7 Ways to Raise your Culinary IQ

Our palates couldn’t help but to evolve with the rest of us. Our preferences and desire for the next meal continues to keep us curious and creative. If only our wants could magically create good food. Because they can’t do it alone, these 7 tools will help you raise your culinary intuitive quotient. Be real. The kitchen is one the…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

The Gift of Loving through Food

Gerlean Gwyn Durant. I never knew her full name. Ms. Jerry. Ms. J. What would an 82 year old and a 40 year old have in common anyways? We were neighbors for 10 years. She witnessed the growth of my children and when my once upon ago, toddler, took off charging down the sidewalk and I struggled to catch him”,…

Food Philosophy

Home Cooking: A Call to Action

Some days, it’s just about getting a meal on table. It’s about getting the job done simply for nourishment. On these days the desire for elaborate dishes, fancy tableware and expensive ingredients take a back seat. This is when preparing a home meal is about what’s most practical, takes less time, and still feeds you/the family on all levels. Home…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Cooking Outside the Lines

Will they compliment or contrast? How do we know what the end result will be? Will it all be a waste of effort? Nobody really knows. We just can’t be too sure. It’s unpredictable. Risky. There will always be the probability of perceived failure and success. Will we set our kitchens or the world on fire? Will our taste buds…

Cooking as a Contemplative Practice/Food Philosophy

Got Soul?

Of course you do! Bring it! To the kitchen… Where there is flow. There is magic. And YOU are part of this beautiful design. Creating soul food is more about what is inside of us, and less about what we are cooking with.  Infuse the best parts of yourself into the mix. Become a soulful cook!

Food Philosophy

Who’s in charge?

There’s something more between it. This connection between the cook and cooked. Between the cook and the ingredients, the cook and the recipe, is the Flow. This space of flow is where the culinary intuitive lives. Only when thought forms fade into the backdrop of nowhere can you awaken your intuitive titan of the culinary kind. The culinary intuit, relies…

Food Philosophy

Putting the Pressure On

One of the most novel constructs in cooking has found its way back into the kitchens and lives of cooks and chefs. Today, it serves the same purpose with added benefits, in a time when we are busier than ever. With it, the only pressure to prepare a healthy meal in the nick of time is encapsulated within the pot….

Food Philosophy/Healing Foods

Kitchen Yoga

Citrus-beet salad with Roasted Fennel, Radicchio, Chives, & Pistachios Snow, ice, rain, hot tea, cocoa, all become one on snow days of no school and less travel. Being in a warm, aroma filled scent-filled kitchen can be better than being in bed. It’s the perfect space for kitchen yoga. Being in kitchen yoga mode is more than about stretching your…

Food Philosophy

Snow Days: Cooking the Day Away

A day in bed? Catching up on unfinished projects or tasks? Or a day in the kitchen? The thought of passing on an ideal, spontaneous, resourceful, put your foot in it cooking day, was much too tempting to pass on. It’s the ideal time for slow cooked food. So, I spent most of my waking hours doing it. Creating… a…

Food Philosophy

What’s your type?

Did you know that “9 out of 10 cooks in the US could be categorized as being one of 5 personality types”? The Food Psychology folks at Cornell University published the results of the personality tests, but they may have left out a 6th and 7th personality type. I have included the Mindful Cook who understands and respects the connection…

Food Alchemy

Food and Ritual

Susan Shie’s Kitchen Tarot It’s such a small word, easy to put into so many contexts. Bold enough to make some of us a little bit uncomfortable. And food and cooking are at the center of it all. It’s quietly what gives meaning and memory to celebrations of all kinds. It can reconnect us to a time when deeper purpose…

Food Philosophy

Practices for Avoiding Holiday Eating Pitfalls

Cook for Health Comb the web for lower calories versions of family classics. Try vegetable broths for flavor and spices for pizzazz. Cook with presence. Do it with gratitude. Cook for variety: Variety doesn’t mean you have to be a statistic of the “buffet effect.” It also doesn’t mean it has to all be eaten in one day. Make a…

Food Philosophy

Feeling Flavor

Because it’s hard to talk about spice without talking about flavor, here we are. What is it exactly? How does it work?  What does it all mean in the world of cooking and eating? As far as we have come, we have our limitations when it comes to understanding what taste really is. So, we’ve accepted the 4 pillars of…

Food Alchemy

Fall Treat: Apples, Almonds, Pumpkin

Just when you thought nothing was/is as good or better than caramel covered apples… Well think again. Get ready to open yourself up to almond butter covered apples with pumpkin seed crumble! Most of the work is in the crumb mixture, which really is a quick masterpiece. Whether you celebrate Halloween or not is totally…irrelevant!  It’s a great fall treat…

Food Philosophy

Giants in the Kitchen

A simple pleasure. Culture. Most of us enjoy eating out. Most of us may fall in the often, seldom, or somewhere in between. Some of us may have attempted, at least a time or two (or more), to replicate take-out or convenient meals at home. As ambitious and determined as we may be, there’s good reason why most pre-packaged convenience…

Food Philosophy

7 Habits of Highly Successful Home Cooks

Successful home cooks are good at the craft, not by chance. A successful home cook can rely on LUCK, “when opportunity meets preparedness”, as Deepak Chopra has defined it. With a few good habits, a dash of time, and a pinch of willingness, you are well on your way to finding the LUCK in your home kitchen. Developing these new…

Food Philosophy

The Cook & The Flame

“The cook dances with the element fire. The cook stirs the cauldron. The cook transforms the parts and turns them into our whole. Blessings on the cook. Praise the cook. May your food be well-cooked”-Susan Weed There is great debate between raw and cooked foods. Which is best? Which is worse? Why choose when we can have the best of…

Food Alchemy

The Many Faces of Food

I would like to believe that I have never been one to follow eating trends or the like. But, it just isn’t the whole truth. I have dibbled, dabbled, scribbled and scrabbled. Food and cooking has always been my drug of choice. It has always heightened whatever state I have been in. Pulled me up  and tugged me down. And…

Healing Foods

Journey with Jicama

Ginger Jicima Salad with Mango, Avocado & Nappa I was led to her the way I am led to many others; the nourishing edibles, the ones only designed for adornment and admiration, the ones that speak to the soul about where they’ve been, want to go, why they’ve showed up, and how to harness their power. This is how I…

Cooking as a Contemplative Practice/Foodcycling

Unleashing the inner cook

I would have loved to write more about healing foods and share beautiful captures of delicious food, but, there is sense of priority to talk about the actual art of cooking. The month is almost over, but not without a lot of sprouting and synchronicities, especially when it comes to Cooking. Along with Michael Pollan’s new book, Cooked, Mark Bittman…

Foodcycling

Foodcycling: Spiritually Sustainable

Being sustainable is not only about supporting local and composting. We can be more holistically sustainable, if we back up a little and dig a lot deeper to expose the root and how our food choices impacts all around us. We CAN create less waste, particularly food waste, which is the second largest municipal waste in the world by engaging…

Food Philosophy

Foodcycling & Healing with Adzuki Beans

Beans, beans, beans! Easily overlooked and abandoned.  For convenience sake, we have been tempted and have oftentimes replaced beans with pseudo or processed foods. They may not have as much appeal compared fresh, colorful greens or peppers. As ancient as grains, beans have been a staple in many cultures and for good reason. Dried beans are not only a cost-effective…

Healing Foods

Healing with Wasabi

Wasabi Brussel Sprout Slaw If you have an affinity towards spicy foods, then wasabi should be one to consider and even add to staple of spices. Wasabi is also known as Japanese Horseradish and not only has a tastefully poignant presence, it leaves us with a sweet hangover and has healing abilities unsurpassable to other rhizomes. Since wasabi belongs to…

Healing Foods

Healing with Onions

  Vidalia, Spanish, Pearl. Red, Green, Yellow, White. Raw, baked, caramelized, fermented, even fried. They release sulfur compounds that jerk our ducts and bring on tears.  A bittersweet relationship and such a small price to pay.  Any way you slice their lovely spirals, they are irresistibly appealing and of course, healing. With a few exceptions, such as with Ayurveda diet,…

Healing Foods

Healing with Shitake

Mysterious almost, in the way they appear overnight. In the way they nourish themselves from we might consider dead matter. In the way they extract nutrients from trees. Fungus. Fleshy, between the realm of animal and plant, offer strength and courage. Superstitiously unavoidable or denied, they are ancient and once associated with immortality by those fortunate enough to consume them….

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Honoring the Solstice by Feeding the Pineal

For some welcoming the Solstice was just another day, for others a time of celebration and for many, this year is of particular significance. This Winter Solstice, followed by 12/12/12, the final synchronous day in our lifetime, is a time of renewal, re-birth and co-creating the reality of our choosing. There are many modalities that we can incorporate into our…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

A response to the Tragedy in Connecticut

I am a mother of four children, 3 school-age and the thought of losing my children was too unbearable to imagine, even for a brief moment. We are right now, at this present time on earth, faced with an epidemic no prescribed drug, healing food or recipe alone can remedy. No words, no flesh alone can do it. It’s a…

Healing Foods

Healing with Pomegranates, Cranberries & Persimmons

With hurricane Sandy’s behind us, the Winter Solstice not too far behind, and predictions of a very cold winter, it’s a wise time to turn to healing foods to help boost the immune system and lessen the likelihood of colds, flu, and other viral ailments common during the coming months. Fruits like pomegranates, cranberries and persimmons offer ideal antioxidants amongst…

Healing Foods

Behold the Dragon-Fruit!

I don’t know too many who don’t love the hydrating, harmonizing and sweet benefits of fruit. As we recently welcomed the equinox and bid farewell to local summer foods, there is one fruit that I had the pleasure of meeting late summer at the Asian market.  It’s appearance alone was intriguing enough to want to touch it and merge with…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

What is Yuba?

According to the History of Yuba article published by the Soyinfo Center, yuba or otherwise known as “tofu skin” is made from a process “when soymilk is gently heated in shallow, open pans at 80-90*C, forming a cream-yellow, bland-flavored, concentrated protein-lipid surface film (called yuba) is gradually formed. The films are successively removed from the soymilk surface using a long…

Healing Foods/Local & Sustainable/Uncategorized/Workshops & Demonstrations

LOCAL & FREESTYLE: CULMINATING CULINARY CREATION WITH KIDS @ GLEC

Can anyone say ZUCCHINI?!?! For this weeks’ Culinary Nutrition Workshop at GLEC and final celebration, a chocolate, whole grain, zucchini bread was most fitting, given the abundance of zucchini this season. Our mini-lesson was centered around the antioxidant power of cocoa , the fiber and digestive benefits of whole grains and the many creative ways to prepare ZUCCHINI. The best…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

LOCAL & FREESTYLE: Culinary Creations with Kids Update

In my last blog, Local & Freestyle: GLEC Summer Culinary Nutrition Program, I shared the mission behind the program, our connection to Greensgrow Farms, who help make it LOCAL our culinary adventure that makes it FREESTYLE.  I am delighted to share with you this week’s creations. This week we were gifted with red peppers, eggplant, zucchini, heirloom tomatoes and onions…

Local & Sustainable/Uncategorized/Workshops & Demonstrations

LOCAL & FREESTYLE: CULINARY NUTRITION PROGRAM @GLEC

This Summer, Earth’s Elements, in a collaborative effort with the Germantown Life Enrichment Center  (GLEC) developed and launched a pilot nutrition program component to the GLEC’s  first Summer Camp since its transformation from Germantown YMCA. With space and campers but, limited resources we have been able to create a successfully unique program. The initial goal of the program was/is simply…

Local & Sustainable/Meal Delivery Service

New Partnership, New Low-fat Menu Options

 August 2012:  Earth’s Elements has partnered with another local food start-up company, Real Food Works in Conshohocken, a meal subscription delivery services offering nutritionally balanced meals, particularly for those on a quest for low or no fat meals. When the opportunity came knocking, I couldn’t refuse.  With nothing to lose and much to be gained, our common ground is…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Healing with Queen Hibiscus…

I don’t know too many who don’t enjoy a cool glass of lemonade, especially during the summer months. To beat the heat and accompany the shifting energies of the full moon,  a perfect drink was in order to compliment a protein rich appetizer. It’s an antiseptic, astringent, emollient and purgative antioxidant wonder that it is as hydrating as it is…

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

Ancient Feel Good Food… Healing with Plantains!

A few weeks ago, I lead a workshop at the mka institute in Germantown that focused on healing plant-based foods, particularly ancient foods that many of us have lost connection to. I also talked extensively about re-examining and refining our connection to nature by way of honoring it and ourselves. To some degree, we have come to shun foods that…

Catering/Healing Foods

Healing Sesame Sacred Seed Salad

For the Miquon Spring Fair, a request for a grain salad was made to compliment kebobs and other tasty foods and Earth’s Elements delivered. During the final preparation phase, I was convinced by my in-house taste testers, my kids, to make an additional batch for dinner and I couldn’t resist. Although quinoa is actually a high protein seed, it is…

Catering/Healing Foods

What do lentils and zucchini have in common?

If you’re looking for a low-fat, low-calorie and high fiber iron and protein meal, then lentils and zucchini have come to the rescue! Lentils are great for preventing and reducing risk of heart disease and provide high levels of folate for protection. The high water content in Zucchini or summer squash is also great for weight loss and the effects…

Healing Foods

Mung Beans… For Balancing the Solar Plexus and Healing the Body

One of the most digestible, high protein, non-starchy, low-fat, and nutritious beans you can eat are mung beans. Not to mention that they are also gluten-free. Mung beans are helpful in detoxifying the body, treating throat pain, relieving constipation, and promoting the circulation of body fluids. Mung beans are also a great source of a high-energy carbohydrate that fuels our…

Cooking as a Contemplative Practice/Healing Foods

The Lost Ritual of Eating

Eating, along with cooking, is a sacred ritual worthy of the highest priority on our list of to do’s.  The energy surrounding the food and infused into the food, takes precedence to the actual food itself. Moving past the notion that food is only a means to satisfy an immediate physical need, we can admit that we, at some point,…

Uncategorized

Food is Love

Although Valentine’s Day is really not my holiday of choice, I can respect it and know many who do engage and enjoy it. Here are a few thoughts on spreading the love, from a food perspective… As we all know, one of the best ways to show our love is through food! So today for that special someone in your…

Catering

Cape Verde Island’s National Dish…Catchupa

Catchupa or Munchup, is the National Dish of Cape Verde Islands. There’s no better time of the year for catchupa.  It’s creamy, warm and comforting. It’s a complete meal in one, more than deserving of it’s rightful place in my pantry of staples. This one pot wonder is a perfect example of alchemy at work, with its reliance on lots of water,…

Catering/Healing Foods

How Knowing Our Roots Keeps Us Grounded…

Aside of  being a part of the same family, our roots share genetic qualities that make them similar, yet distinctive, hard, yet soft, dark, yet light. I have to say I love the way mother nature reflects balance in her bounty. One of the most important attributes of most cruciferous vegetables, whether tubers, rhizomes, bulbs, or corms, are their grounding…

Catering

New Years Eve Spread: Seven Vegetables

I have not met too many people who don’t like Ethiopian Food, in fact, most who I know, love it! I fell in love with Ethiopian food when I lived in Washington, DC, among a vibrant Ethiopian Community.  When I was with my first child, it was my craving and that’s when a dear friend and Ethiopian native, Saba, introduced…

Catering

Savory Solstice Treat

With winter in, kids out (of school) and always… hungry, I am definitely preparing more than 3 meals a day. My oldest son has been begging me to rekindle a food associated childhood memory  that he has been haunted by for the last 8 years, a spinach pastry he last ate from Ellwood Thompson’s, a local and independent market in…

Cooking as a Contemplative Practice

Cooking with Intention

A few years back I participated in a Professional Development activity that had nothing at all to do with culinary arts (or so I thought then), but much to do with Contemplative Practices and its place in learning. According to the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, “contemplative practices quiet the mind in order to cultivate a personal capacity for…

Farmer's Market

Farmer’s Market Musings

To Market…To Market… Farmer’s Markets have proven to be a great place to test our products, connect with people, and get our hands on some of the best local and organic produce around, which ultimately inspires new menu ideas. As a food entrepreneur with four children, it has become the ideal place, so much so that when we are not…

Healing Foods/Specialty Goods & Products

Gourmet Spice Rubs…

Herbal Nutri-Spice What it is…A special blend of high quality herbs, spices and seeds and yeast that provide an additional protein boost to any meal. *Hemp seeds, which I also talked about in previous blog, is known as the king of protein, supplies the body with a balance of omega 3 and 6, essential fatty acids that must be obtained by…

Catering

Simple Summer Fare

Sesame Watercress Spicy Grilled Tofu & Vegetables (Red peppers, zucchini, squash) Watermelon- lime Watercress, an ancient green and one of my favorites of all time… perhaps I was intuitively drawn to it’s high water and vitamin C or A content or maybe my body was calling for its antioxidants, iron, iodine, folic acid, and fiber…In any case, beyond its nutritional function, watercress…

Catering/Healing Foods

Vegan Gado-Gado

Going Back to Bali… Earth’s Elements Vegan Version of Gado-Gado Salad When I ate this salad for the first time, I was at an in between junction, in limbo, learning and trying to decide which way to go in the hustle and bustle of a busy Manhattan restaurant and making healthier food choices, even when eating out. It’s been so…

Catering/Healing Foods

Comeback Cabbage & The Sacred Seed

Comeback Cabbage & The Sacred Seed The side dish that can accompany any meal… Cabbage leaves… laid in submission and filled with fluffy quinoa and garden vegetables then rolled into perfection and baked in Earth’s Elements own Elderberry Vinagrette with herbs & spices. Cabbage, while not your most exotic vegetable, has been harboring a secret and our new age, new…