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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Dr. Andrew Weil and Chef Arik Markus Share True Food Recipes

We dined as a guest of True Food Kitchen

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I’m not gonna lie, I love bacon, butter, steak, cream sauces as much as the next person and I don’t think I have it in me to give up meat and rich foods entirely. However I do appreciate when I find dishes that are not only delicious, but also healthy, especially when they are creative and incorporate ingredients that provide strong health benefits.

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Last week I was invited to attend a cooking demo with Dr. Andrew Weil, co-owner of True Food Kitchen and Executive Chef Arik Markus. Dr. Weil, a trained Medical Doctor, is a leading authority on integrated medicine and a renowned author, blogger, and speaker on health, aging, and healing. He is a proponent of sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce inflammation that can lead to many diseases such as cancer, Alzheimers, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke as we age.

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Dr. Weil and Chef Markus created and prepared a scrumptious three-course meal based off of his anti-inflammatory food pyramid principals using healthy ingredients and super foods without sacrificing flavor, while giving us insight into some of the health benefits of many of the ingredients.

To start we had our choice of two beverages. I chose The Natural with ginger, agave and citrus. This is my go to drink when I’m at True Food Kitchen. I love the spicy heat of the ginger.

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Our meal began with a flavorful, rich Curried Cauliflower Soup.

For as decadent as the soup was, surprisingly there was no cream. Raw cashews were soaked in water and blended to create a milk which was added to the soup giving it a creamy texture.

The gorgeous golden color of the soup comes from the turmeric added, which can be in either fresh or powdered form. Fresh turmeric looks much like ginger and is bright orange on the inside. When preparing it, peel it and use a micro-plane as you would ginger. Dr. Weil describes turmeric as one of the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients when combined with black pepper and recommends adding one level tablespoon to soups, stews, and beans. He notes that India has one of the lowest Alzheimers rates and a diet heavy in turmeric found in curries may be a contributing factor.

Dr. Weil also shared that he prefers using olive oil in his dishes because of its anti-inflammatory properties and when the flavor of olive oil is too strong, he will opt in favor of grapeseed oil (expeller pressed) as was used in this soup.

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The soup was followed by a main course of Toasted Buckwheat Salad with Autumn Vegetables served alongside of grilled salmon.

I never realized that buckwheat is not a grain at all, but a gluten free seed. Its grainy texture makes it a nice substitute for rice while being low on the glycemic index.

The buckwheat was prepared with reconstituted dried shitake which Dr. Weil likes for its anti-viral properties and the rich flavor it adds to dishes, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts which have cancer fighting properties.

We also learned when selecting salmon Sockeye is a good choice. It’s always wild caught and because its diet consists of organisms lower on the food chain it has less exposure to toxins.

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And though stuffed I somehow managed to make room for dessert… Sea Buckthorn Bars.

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I was not familiar with sea buckthorn. Also known as olivello, sea buckthorn is bright orange berry and very sour. Its juice is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants and aids in decreasing stress and increasing resistance in the body. We were able to sample a small shot and while it is sour the way vitamin C is sour, if you mix it with some lemon or lime juice it adds a nice tartness to your desserts or drinks.

The bars are not only gluten free, but vegan and taste just like lemon bars. The crust is so good, I plan on stealing it to use in other desserts.

The dinner was satisfying and delicious and best of all is something anyone can easily make at home.

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As a matter of fact, the Curried Cauliflower Soup was so delicious I made it several nights ago myself and it was fairly quick and easy.

We’ve reprinted the recipes provided by Dr. Weil and Chef Arik Markus at True Foods Kitchen below:

Curried Cauliflower Soup:

Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and separated into florets

3 Tbsp grapseed oil + 1 Tbsp more for cooking apples

1 medium onion, sliced

2 Tbsp curry powder

2 Tbsp fresh grated turmeric root (or 1 tsp powdered)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water (approx.)

1 gala apple or green apple, peeled and diced into ¼” cubes

¾ cup raw cashews

chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

salt to taste

Instructions

For the soup:

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder, turmeric, and salt and cook for 1 minute more. Add the cauliflower and stir to mix well, then add stock and enough water to just cover the cauliflower. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes remove from heat.

Working in batches, purée the cauliflower mixture in a blender until smooth. Add the cashew milk (see below). Adjust consistency to your liking with more stock or water if soup is too thick.

Before serving, heat to simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with caramelized apples and chopped cilantro.

Prepare rich cashew milk:

In a heatproof bowl, cover cashews with boiling water and allow to soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Transfer cashews and ¾ cup reserved soaking liquid to a blender and blend on high for two minutes. Can be made ahead and stored, refrigerated, for up to three days.

Caramelize the apples:

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat then add 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil. When oil starts to shimmer but before it starts to smoke, add the diced apples and a pinch of salt. Sauté until apples are lightly seared but still crisp about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and reserve.

Toasted Buckwheat Salad With Autumn Vegetables

Ingredients

2 ounces dried shitake mushrooms

½ cup extra virgin olive oil + ½ cup more for dressing

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and diced in 1/8” cubes

1 cup toasted buckwheat groats (kasha)

½ tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup butternut squash, diced into 1” cubes

1 cup Brussels sprouts, trimmed, and cut into quarters

¼ cup walnuts, toasted

2 ounces manchego cheese, shaved thinly with a vegetable peeler

3 Tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions:

Prepare the mushrooms:

Rinse the mushrooms in cold water, place them in a bowl with 1 cup of warm water, and soak until the mushroom caps are soft. (Alternatively, you can place the mushrooms in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute). Drain and reserve the soaking water, taking care to leave any sandy sediment behind, Discard the tought stems and slice the caps ¼” think. Set aside.

Roast the vegetables:

Preheat an oven to 400° F. In a mixing bowl, toss the squash and sprouts with 3 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until caramelized and just cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature and reserve.

Prepare the kasha:

Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the kasha and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the sliced mushrooms, salt, 1 cup of the reserved mushroom liquid and 1 cup of water or broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed about 15 minutes. Fluff the mixture with a fork. Add roasted vegetables and walnuts vinegar and oil and stir to mix well. Taste and adjust with salt or pepper, if necessary. Garnish with shaved manchego and parsley and serve along side of grilled salmon.

 

Sea Buckthorn Bars:

Ingredients

For the Crust:

½ cup shortening

½ cup evaporated cane sugar

½ tsp vanilla bean paste

1 ½ oz soy milk

1 cup of Cup 4 Cup non-gluten flour

1 tsp grapeseed oil

For the Filling:

9 oz coconut water

5 ½ oz sea buckthorn juice

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup corn starch

¼ cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp lime juice

2/3 cup coconut cream (thick layer found on the top of coconut milk)

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon zested (use organic citrus when zesting)

Instructions

For the Crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 9×13 pan line with foil and coat with grapeseed oil. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except the Cup 4 Cup, using a fork. Mix until combined. Add the Cup 4 Cup until it comes together. Press into the pan and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

For the Filling:

While crust is baking, combine the coconut water, sea buckthorn juice, sugar, corn starch, lemon juice and lime juice in a heavy bottom sauce pot. Whisk together over a medium flame and bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil remove from the heat. Fold in the remaining three ingredients: coconut cream, olive oil, lemon zest. Gently pour into the pre-baked crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm.

Note:

Top with whipped cream made with coconut cream which is found at the top of canned coconut milk. Be sure to chill the can well first so the cream is good and cold. To get the liquid layer out, turn the can over so the liquid is on top and drains off easily and store for a separate use. The coconut cream can be whipped to a fluffy consistency and vanilla added for flavor.

Dana Wilde grew up playing “sous chef” for her father as he churned out one amazing meal after the next for family and friends. She inherited her father’s life long passion for cooking and has spent the past two decades studying, reading, practicing, experimenting, and creating in the kitchen. Together, she and her sister, Shan are Simply Wilde, a small boutique catering business focusing on in-home entertaining.

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