Sunday, November 27, 2011

Princeton Immersion, Thanksgiving, soup, and stuff

I went to Dr. Fuhrman's Princeton Immersion last weekend.  It was a wonderful trip for many reasons!  It was a great road trip with my friend Suz.  We stopped in Pittsburg to see my best pal Gail, sadly, only for a few hours.  I worked with a student for a day at Princeton which was very productive.  We visited with Suz's parents in Philidelphia.  And the immersion was fantastic.  It was jam-packed with lectures. Dr. Fuhrman is so energetic and interesting, you really can listen to him for hours.  Even better was the food.  This is the main reason I go, though I did learn a lot from the lectures.  I thought I knew it all by now, but one thing I get out of the in-person lectures is what Dr. Fuhrman is passionate about, and what is less certain scientifically.  It helps reinforce what the most important things are to keep in mind.  But the food!  It was the best I've ever had at one of these events.  I think that was in large part due to Chef Martin Oswald's contributions.  He owns a nutritarian restaurant in Aspen, Colorado!  (called the Pyramid Bistro).  He gave a talk on the last day and I have been having fun putting his tips into practice!  We got the recipes from the immersion and slides from his talk.  They are worth a lot!

So today I'm back from the holidays and putting some of my new knowledge into action.  My soup today has Indian spices and I cooked up the onion as Chef Martin described:  first you heat up a stainless steel pot until hot, then put the onions and garlic in.  They sizzle up, slightly brown, and then release their juices.  You don't need oil, and they still gain a nice flavor.  Fun, it worked!  I did that with the leeks, celery, collards and kale too.  Then the pot was looking pretty burned and I thought, this will take forever to clean up.  But then I did the mushrooms the same way.  Well, they release so much liquid that it just ended up cleaning up the pot.  When they were done, the pot was clean.  ha!   a nice accidental discovery.  My soup was just my usual pile of things that I found in the co-op or my freezer.  I soaked beans, red himalayan rice, lentils, and purple barley overnight, and started cooking them in the morning.  Then cooked up the onions, garlic, celery, leeks, mushrooms, even the collards and kale, like Chef Martin described.  Added them to the pot one by one.  Oh I cooked up a festival squash in the oven, then added it to the soup after it cooled.  Oh yeah, and while cooking up the onion and other veggies, I added some graram masala and curry powder as they cooked.  Add the end I added some currants and fresh ground ginger.  It made for a nice hearty soup.  I froze most of it in single-serving containers.  yum.  I think I'll have it for breakfast every day.   I'll be doing my food prep at night this week.

My food plans for the week are soup for breakfast, and salad and roasted veggies for lunch and dinner.  The salads will be micro-salads made from lettuce, cabbage, maybe some broccoli and cauliflower, all cut up finely in the food processor; and topped with pomegranate seeds, grapefruit or orange, seed mixture, and flavored vinegar.  I love these.  The name should be changed from micro-salad to high-powered salad because it is so nutrient rich.  Tonight I'll experiment with roasted veggies.  I hope I can get this right.  I'm going to follow Chef Martin's advice to cover with foil at first so they essentially steam cook (before burning on the outside), then take of the foil to roast at the end.  I'll top with fresh herbs.  The veggies available now (that I like) are broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, leeks, and sweet potato.  I'll do a little of each.  I am just learning to do this.  It would be nice to do a big batch and eat them for several days but I'm not sure how well they will keep.  I think I'll start off by just trying to do one day at a time and hope it isn't too time consuming.  I will add some flavored vinegar and mustard as marinate.  I got some fresh sage and rosemary at the co-op and have some basil from the garden in my freezer.  I hope this works!

Well, this post is long enough so I won't go into Thanksgiving much except to say I made apple sauce for my "brother-in law."  He had two 18 lb bags of apples!  holy cow, we had all the burners going:

It was fun though.  I nibbled a lot on the apples.  In fact, it was so much fun, we decided to make some for ourselves when we got home.  My batch has no sugar in it.  I'm not sure what I will use it in as I am not a great dessert maker or baker, the usual use of apple sauce.  But, heck, it probably could go in soup.

Here's tonight's quick salad I threw together, which is yummy, as salads always are:

That's got lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, blueberries, banana, small orange, seed mixture, and d'angou pear vinegar.

whew.  time to go fold laundry, then start tomorrow's food prep.  whew!  


Wendy said...

I want to hear all about the immersion. Please don't leave any tips out . . . and certainly let us know the things that Dr. F said are less scientifically known . . . please!!! Thank you :)

Lani said...

Interesting, I went to the Fuhrman immersion as well, but was very disappointed in the food except for a few the eggplant rolletini, and a few others. I thought they were devoid of enough spices to make them more palatable. My take was different than yours. Being devil's advocate, I found that some of his comments were too dogmatic and some of the research that he cited (which I looked up) were in no name journals and had small sample sizes that you could not make broad sweeping statements from. I worried about advice he was giving to the audience that I felt was irresponsible as he didn't know the patient's total history. I felt that he should have declined commenting and told them to go back and ask their doctor's specific questions that he could have offerred!

kneecap said...

Hi Lani,

I'm really glad to hear another point of view so thanks much for posting. I didn't think the food as as good as it could be--much of it was a bit undercooked in my view. But it's hard to cook for 300 people. Also the main attraction for me is getting a wide selection of nutritarian food without having to make it myself! I just consider that such a treat. Do you eat this way all the time? If you are not used to eating this way, it does indeed taste bland, especially because of lack of salt. The eggplant was good because it had vegan cheese which is salty and frankly not healthy. So while I considered that a treat, I wouldn't prepare it normally. It is true that food with salt and oil and sugar is more stimulating to the taste buds. But when you get used to not having them, the flavors of the vegetables stand out much more. And Chef Martin does include more spices than Dr. Fuhrman so that was a treat for me too--so it's humorous to hear you say it lacked spices. That is true, though, compared to a lot of restaurants. Thanks for the comments about the research. It's good to hear different points of view on this.

Much of it is in the SuperImmunity book. I think I saw you post about that--were you a reviewer? So you got it all there. One thing in particular were his comments to a question some friends and I asked at the end about the bright light helping with sleep and depression. He was adamant about how effective that is compared to drugs. I just came away feeling a lot more certain about that. Then other things, like, how much unhealthy food you can tolerate, how much animal products you can eat without suffering ill health--he says the science isn't clear and his best guess is <10% of calories. And he emphasizes the meat should not be the mass-produced stuff with all the antibiotics in it. I'll look over my notes and see what else was there.

kneecap said...

One more thing to Lani,

I didn't think the desserts were that great but I just took that as further evidence that there's no such thing as a healthy dessert that tastes good. :) except fruit. I think fruit tastes luscious. But the "healthy" pumpkin pie, and the black bean brownies--I'd rather eat fruit. I did like the healthy chocolate cake though. Dr. Fuhrman purposely had them made not too sweet, hence, not as appealing as the traditional stuff. sure you can add a bunch more dates and sweeten them up, but then they aren't really healthy anymore. oh well. I think I'd rather just do without and let myself have a piece of real pumpkin pie once a year if I want it. :)

Wendy said...

Very interesting string of comments here ladies, expecially in light of what I just posted about:
Nutritarian food is probably not going to taste good to anyone who has recently been eating anything close to the SAD. It takes a few weeks (maybe months) to begin to enjoy real food again, but it it totally doable and oh-so-worth it!

Patricia said...

Thanks for posting the cooking tips, Barb. I like the idea of adding more onion, garlic, and spices to my roasted or steamed green veggies. I could tolerate a lot more of them if I could enhance the taste a little.
A long while ago, I posted that I was ordering some flavored vinegars from Cuisine Perel...well, they finally came after more than a month on backorder. I've only tried Pomegranate Balsamic so far, but it is wonderful mashed with avocado on kale. It is also great whipped up with some raw cashew butter - had that over a big pile of mixed greens for lunch. I really need simplicity if I'm going to keep my preferred diet and the rest of my life going, so a great vinegar that needs nothing but a good fat (like avocado or cashew butter) to make it a delicious dressing. So yay! I'll try to follow up after I've tried some of the others.

kneecap said...

Patricia, great to hear from you! Please send updates.

Wendy, oh my gosh, your post was great. I'm writing a new post just to refer to it. Wow, that really makes processed foods a turnoff. I hope I can remember that when I feel like straying. :)