Saturday, December 5, 2009

Honey beets on a bed of blushing quinoa

After reviewing the poll I discovered that some of you would like to see cooked recipes. The purpose of this post is to show that healthy nutritious food does not have to be completely raw. It doesn't have to contain meat or be difficult either. Nutritional value is determined by the ingredients and how they are cooked. Naturally some cooked foods can be healthier than raw ones, but ultimately it is all about the balance. Eating lots of scrumptious desserts everyday is not good for you, even if they are raw organic ones. Needless to say it is still important to include plenty of fresh raw food in your diet, as roughly 80% of what you consume in a day should be uncooked. If you want to eat 100% raw and are certain you are getting all vitamins and minerals you need (especially B12 for vegans), there is no reason not to.

Onto the recipe. This is one of those "tastes better than it looks and sounds"-dishes. It is also one that was completely born out of improvisation and necessity, with only a limited selection of ingredients available. You know the scenario: you just start throwing things in the mix as you go along. Then when you have prepared yourself to eat something less successful, you are surprised to find that actually what you concocted is pretty genius.

Honey beets:
4 Large beets
Himalayan salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Organic honey
Cold pressed coconut oil

Wash beets until all dirt is gone. Boil water in a pot and add the whole beets, some salt and allow simmer for around 30min depending on size of the beets. You want them slightly tender but not mushy. Once they are ready, take them out (reserve the pink cooking water!) and cut out the root and the end you don't want to eat. Slice them into about 1/2 inch thick discs and coat the discs with salt and pepper. At this point start making the quinoa and while it is simmering take out another pot or frying pan to heat up some coconut oil, and once the pan is warm add the honey. Add the beet slices and fry for a little while, you want to caramelize just to create a thin crispy layer, but not brown or burn the beets.

Blushing quinoa with garbanzo beans and fresh parsley
1,5 C quinoa (I replaced some with millet)
Left over pink cooking water (add more if necessary)
1 C boiled or sprouted garbanzo beans
2 large onions
Coconut oil
Himalayan salt, pepper
Lots of fresh parsley

Boil the quinoa in the beet water, add salt or more fresh water if you need. Just a gentle simmer is enough to allow the quinoa to open up and "sprout" while cooking, too high heat will only compromise nutritional value. Cut up the onions and caramelize them in a frying pan with a little coconut oil. Once the quinoa is done, add boiled garbanzo (chick) beans and the caramelized onion. Take off heat and allow to cool to around 110F or 46 C before adding the chopped fresh parsley. This is because parsley is packed with heat-sensitive nutrients. If you are using garbanzo sprouts instead of cooked beans, add them at this stage as well. Check seasoning.

It really is difficult to eat a mostly raw diet in the colder parts of the world, especially in the winter. It is so environmentally unfriendly to eat tons of green house tomatoes or cucumbers, but the veggies that are locally in season are challenging to eat uncooked. Of course you can eat them in raw grated salads and puree some into soups, but I myself don't really enjoy raw root vegetables that much. Other than sweet potatoes that is, I think the three of us eat pounds of them every week. Parsnips are ok as well. This is one reason I'm thankful of the Finnish blog society, it is nice to give and receive ideas how to eat healthy but also eco-consciously during the cold season. Especially since international raw blogs and books are filled with recipes that require young coconuts and other fresh exotic fruits and vegetables. Even zucchini pasta is not quite so feasible right now (at least not too often), because the organic ones are imported and very expensive. But let's not let the cold gray weather drag us down and instead start using this opportunity to create completely new and interesting recipes :)


Okriina said...

I think it is just natural to make some seasonal changes to your diet and eating habits. During cold weather at least my body tells me to eat more warming and cooked food. At summertime I couldn't care less.

Aletheia said...

That is true. It is very natural, but not so often the case here. People just switch from finnish tomatoes to spanish ones. I used to too, unfortunately.. which is why this is really a welcome change :) I used to eat much more raw, like 90% during summer, but now my body too is telling me to eat cooked food. Which again is natural, warm food does really warm you from the inside as well. I've been eating a lot of soups for some reason lately, both raw and cooked ones.

HW said...

I actually made beetroots with a quite similar recipe a couple of weeks ago. :)

And yes, I agree with the challenges regarding eating raw seasonal food at this time of the year.

Yaelian said...

Same thing happens here, as the weather gets colder and especially since the inside temperature can be so low,just now 18 C but it can get colder so the body does have some cravings for warm food.Overall,I prefer cold food and hence never had any problems eating mostly raw, but I know I am very lucky to have a year round supply of locally grown fresh and organic veggies and fruit.

Aletheia said...

HW, I guess we have the same type of mindset :) Maybe the mommy gene? Just happen to be thinking about baby food posts and beets at the same time.

Yaelian, you certainly are lucky. Of course you also get lots of lovely exotic items cheaper and fresher, like dates and Meyer-lemons. Thankfully we have nice unique things too, such as seabuckthorn and cloudberries. Although perhaps not the most ecological thing, it is also amazing how nowadays we can travel and order things online so that we get to experience new flavors and textures. I'm kind of jealous, I'm still learning to eat cold food during winter. Of course much of it is habit, which is why distinguishing that from your body actually needing warm food is challenging. Right now I am kind of doing both, for example a nice warm soup with lots of fresh salad.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait eating that, I'll say to mother if she can make it because she's an excellent cooker, if she doesn't I'll try to find out a restaurant where they prepare that, or finally I can call to viagra online to get great satisfaction.