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How to cook taro root using a pressure cooker

This simple recipe explains how to cook taro with a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can boil it, but it takes much longer 1-2 hours. You must be careful to fully cook all parts of the taro plant because it contains calcium oxalate. This will make your mouth feel numb, itchy, scratchy and very uncomfortable, with possibly worse side effects if you eat too much or are very sensitive.

Taro, or known in Hawaii as Kalo, is an amazing plant. The roots, stems and leaves are all edible and have unique distinct character.  It is also extremely nutritionally dense. Compared to a potato, the taro root has more fiber and is a good source of calcium, potassium, and Vitamins C, E and Bs as well as trace minerals.

Taro is most known in Hawaii for Poi, a slightly fermented paste of cooked and mashed taro. However, taro is used to make many more things. You can dehydrate it and make flour, you can eat the steam stems as a vegetable, and the cooked greens are versatile in curries, wrapped around meat, in soups etc. This staple crop for tropical climates cannot be over estimated.

Recipe for how to cook taro with a pressure cooker

 

Equipment: Pressure cooker and steam basket to go with it.

Steps:

  1. Wash and scrub taro. I like to peel mine before I cook it because I feel like the scruffy skin would clog my pressure cooker. However, many others like to scrub it real good and clean the skin off after it is cooked.
  2. Cut into fist size pieces
  3. Place steam basket in pressure cooker
  4. Fill water up to right below the steam basket
  5. Place taro into basket and secure the lid
  6. Bring to pressure (you will notice the steam start coming out)
  7. Reduce to medium heat and cook 30-45 minutes depending on how much you have in there and how big the pieces are.
  8. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 or more minutes
  9. Release the pressure and wait until all steam has been released.
  10. Open the pressure cooker, the taro should be soft, showing a few cracks, and also be easy to slice with a knife.

There are so many ways to prepare taro. We just started harvesting them on our farm and have done little experimenting. One easy way to prepare cooked taro is just to slice it and fry it in a shallow pan with 2 tablespoons or so of oil. Just add a little salt and pepper to each side and fry each side until crispy (about 3 minutes on each side). Another recipe that we’ve made several times is our taro millet vegetable burger recipe.

 

I also found these recipes while doing a few searches.

http://www.quericavida.com/recipes/taro-root-fritters/d9c2d0c4-9bb5-4d14-959c-1f1a1a8203e4

http://raygrogan2-ivil.tripod.com/tarogrowcookeat/id9.html

http://www.kumuainafarm.com/taro-kalo-burgers/

If you like eating tropical starches that are easy to grow and gluten free- you may also like breadfruit. Here is a link to my breadfruit pancakes.

Ulu
Ulu (breadfruit) pancakes
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guava passionfruit green smoothie

This truly tropical guava passionfruit green smoothie recipe is thguava passionfruit green smoothiee perfect combination of sweet, sour, creamy and packed with healthy fat, fiber and vitamins. White guava and passionfruit (lilikoi) star in this smoothie – get more than half of your daily servings of fruits and veggies in this delicious smoothie.

guava passionfruit green smoothie recipe

Yield: About 6 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of lettuce
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 passionfruits (pulp only)
  • 1 large white guava (peel the first 1/4 inch and include the rest of the pulp) – you can use pink guava but it will probably effect the color of your green smoothie).
  • 2-3 medium apple bananas
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 5 ice cubes

Steps:

  1. Start with lettuce in the blender, then add celery and avocado and water
  2. Blend until incorporated.
  3. Then add passionfruit, guava, banana and ice.
  4. Blend for 50 seconds on high until the seeds from the passionfruit and guava are well broken up and smoothie is plenty smooth.

Makes about 6 cups, 1 serving is 2 cups, or 16oz.

green-guava-passion

 

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Coconut red pepper and squash soup

Smooth and savory, this recipe has the slightest sweetness from the rep pepper, carrot and squash and a tiny bit of texture from the fresh coconut. This coconut red pepper squash soup is packed with beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C, along with healthy fats from coconut and fiber from all the veggies.

This recipe features fresh coconut flesh, not the creamy coconut milk or the sweetened coconut flakes. Fresh coconut flesh. Coconuts come from the cocos nucifera palm and grow very well in tropical low-mid elevations. One tree can produce as up to 150 nuts per year. One medium size nut and its water can provide an average sized person with almost all of the daily required vitamins, minerals, and calories. Coconuts are truly a super food.

Coconuts have a lot of good fat, some carbohydrate, proteins and fiber. One 100g piece of mature coconut meat has: 354 Calories, 9 grams of fiber, 33.5 grams of total fat, 3.3 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates.  For example,  coconuts contain copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc, potassium. Furthermore, coconuts are also rich in B-vitamins: folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. Additionally,  coconut contains Lauric acid, which increases good-HDL cholesterol and protect the arteries by preventing blood vessel blockages.

On our farm we already have 6 coconut palms fruiting and we are getting ready to plant 35 more dwarf coconut trees. Stayed tuned for many many future fresh coconut recipes.

Coconut red pepper squash soup recipe

Servings: 6, 8 ounce cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 small winter squash (about 2 cups cooked flesh)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 large red pepper or several small ones
  • 1/2 onion
  • flesh of 1 young coconut (about 1/4 in thick) or 1/2 coconut
  • 6 cups of water
  • salt and pepper

Steps:

  1. Cook squash and remove about 2 cups of flesh
  2. Then, add squash and roughly chopped veggies (save coconut for last)
  3. Boil the soup until all veggies are tender, 20-30 minutes
  4. Let cool, add salt and pepper
  5. Once the soup is a bit cooler, add coconut and use immersion blender or regular blender.

1 serving is 8 oz, or 1 cup.

red-pepper-coconut-squash-soup

 

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Cucumber Cabbage Juice

This cucumber cabbage juice recipe has just enough cabbage to help cleanse and enough cucumber and apple to brighten the flavor. I know it sounds kinda ehhhhh… but cabbage juice has many many health benefits and the cucumber and the apple in this juice mask any cabbage flavor.  It’s best to make and drink this juice fresh as cabbage juice tends to put off a funky taste and smell if it sits around too long. Instead this juice is refreshing and feels good.

Cabbage juice has a lot of Vitamin C, E, K, folate and potassium. It also has high sulhpur and chlorine content and a lot of iodine. This combination helps to clean the stomach and the intestinal tract (only when it is raw and without salt). It is advisable to start with smaller amounts of cabbage juice and watch how you body reacts because it is such a powerful cleanser. Gas may form in intestines because the cleansing properties of the juice are acting on and dissolving waste/toxic matter. Cabbage juice has been know to relief ulcers and constipation and clear up skin. Research suggest s that the active ingredient in cabbage juice that clear up ulcers is Vitamin U. It is also thought to help: bladder, colitis, kidney disorders, thyroid, blood pressure, bronchitis, asthma, hair loss.

Just give this cucumber cabbage juice a try with small small doses of cabbage. Try increasing the amount of apples to help you adjust to the taste of the cabbages. If you like this recipe, try my other juice recipes: cucumber parsley juicewatermelon lime juice with mintcarrot apple beet ginger juice, and everything green juice.

Recipe for cucumber cabbage juice

Equipment: good juicer

Yield: 1 pint, 16 0z

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber peeled if not organic or if it is waxed
  • 1/4 lemon, peeled but with pith
  • 1 small apple (organic)
  • 1/3-1/2 small green cabbage

cucumber cabbage juice recipe ingredients

Steps:

  1. wash everything thoroughly and peel those that need peeling
  2. alternate cucumber and cabbage through the juicer
  3. add apple
  4. finish with lemon
  5. enjoy!!!

cucumber cabbage juice

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Cucumber Parsley Juice

My cucumber juice recipe with parsley, apple and lemon is so refreshing on a hot summer day. It’s perfect for incorporating into your weekly routine, and additionally great for detoxing. I know it doesn’t sound very tropical but both cucumbers and parsley grow year round here in Hawai‘i. Right now I’m on a brief juice/spring water/tea fast. I also have abundant amounts of cucumber and parsley so I decided to this juice combination a try. Below I have listed more information about the beneficial health effects of this cucumber parsley juice recipe.

Benefits of cucumber juice

The cucumber juice will re-hydrate you and is a wonderful natural diuretic. Hair and nail growth is also promoted because cucumber has a lot of silicon and sulphur and other trace elements. Cucumber juice also has a lot of potassium which helps maintain healthy skin and flexibility in the muscles. Additionally, it can promote weight loss, help with acne, arthritis, eczema, fever, kidney disorders, etc. Also, cucumber  is a good source of folate, Vitamin C and K.

Benefits of parsley juice

Parsley is an herb and the juice is highly concentrated. It should not be taken in doses more than 1-2 ounces. It contains a lot of chlorophyll, (esp Vitamins A and C), calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur. Moreover, the juice of parsley is very cleansing, and it has been known to help adrenal and thyroid function, blood vessel health, the kidneys, bladder, the liver, and the eyes. Parsely helps with the female endocrine system and can help relieve cramps. It also  helps with weight loss (like many juices).

If you are looking for similar juice recipes, try my other juice recipes: cucumber cabbage juice, carrot apple beet ginger juiceeverything green juice, and watermelon lime mint juice

cucumber parsley juice recipe

Recipe for cucumber parsley juice

Yield: one 16 oz pint

Ingredients:

  • cucumber (peeled if waxed or non-oranic)
  • small apple
  • medium bunch of fresh parsley
  • ⅛ to ¼ large lemon (skin and seeds removed)

Steps:

  1. wash everything thoroughly
  2. juice cucumber and parsley by alternating putting them in the blender
  3. add lemon to the juicer and then apple
  4. enjoy!

cucumber parsley juice recipe ingredients

References:

Blauer, Stephen. (1989). The Juicing Book. Garden City Park, New York: Avery Publishing Group Inc.

LaLanne, Elaine, & Benyo, Richard. (1992). Total Juicing. New York, New York: Penguin Group.

Walker, Norman W. (1978). Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices: What’s missing in your body? Prescott, AZ: Norwalk Press.

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Chocolate Banana Blueberry Smoothie

Yum. This healthy chocolate banana blueberry smoothie recipe is kinda like dessert in a glass, but it has amazing SUPERFOODS in it so you can’t really feel like you’re making a bad choice here. All of the ingredients here would be best organic : ) Play around making some substitutions if you don’t have all the ingredients.

Recipe for healthy chocolate banana blueberry smoothie

Yield: About 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium frozen or fresh bananas
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (frozen is better because you can add less ice)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons coconut butter
  • ¼ cup or less flax seed
  • ¼ cup or less raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 6-10 ice cubes

Blend on high in good blender, the finer the better (especially for the flax). Don’t let the smoothie warm up in the blender, blend in increments and add a few ice cubes at a time. Share and enjoy!

 

healthy chocolate banana blueberry smoothie

 

If you like this smoothie recipe check out my other smoothies:

guava passionfruit green smoothie recipe

blueberry banana smoothie with chia seeds

fresh papaya and lime smoothie

chocolate banana flax smoothie

green smoothie love

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Rollinia: information on culinary uses, health benefits and more

Information on rollinia

Latin Name and family:

Rollinia Deliciousa, Rollinia mucosa. In the custard-apple or annona family (annonaceae). Other names: biriba, amazon custard apple, wild sugar apple.

Characteristics:

Rollinia “looks like a little alien fruit”. The flesh is a soft, gooey white pulp. It has a white core and several dark brown, elliptic or seeds. The inside is creamy and soft, with few fibers. Fruits vary greatly in size and can weigh up to 8 or so pounds.

rollinia weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces
rollinia weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces

Taste and culinary Use:

The taste is a lemony custard- flavor, like lemon meringue. It is eaten fresh but is also made into raw desserts, ice cream, smoothies, etc. In Brazil it is fermented to make wine. Once rollinia is cut the flesh oxidizes quickly, it will also temporarily stain white dishes. For a firmer texture eat rollinia while still a little bit green and before the soft nubs blacken. When it is completely yellow and the nubs blacken, the texture is softer and gooey, but it is still delicious. Importantly, research shows that the seeds have insecticidal properties and are poisonous to humans. Do not eat the seeds from rollinia or any other fruit in the Anonaceous (Annona) family. Be extremely careful when separating the flesh from the seeds for pureeing or putting in smoothies etc.

Harvest and storage:

Generally, rollinia is considered to have a short shelf life. The fruit ripens from green to yellow and can be picked early when they start to turn yellow. Clip the fruit leaving some stem. They still they may take approximately 4-7 days to ripen. Eat before the soft nubs blacken. Cooling the fruit after harvest can extend the shelf life but the skin will turn black. Fruits are vulnerable to bruising even under their own weight. Store at room temperature on top of cushioning such as bundled newspaper or bubble wrap. Additionally, you may store rollinia in the refrigerator to extend the shelf life a few more days.

Health benefits:

The rollinia fruit is a refrigerant and analeptic (stimulates the central nervous system). Also, due to its vitamin C content (73% RDI per 100g of Vitamin C) it is considered an antiscorbutic (effective against scurvy). The powdered seeds may be remedy for enterocolitis (inflammation of both the small intestine and the colon), but as mentioned above the seeds are also toxic to humans.  Still, research is being done on Rollicosin, a new Annonaceous acetogenin, to develop a potential antitumor agent. Additionally, in traditional medicine it is used as an anti-pyretic, a restorative and general tonic.

100 grams of rollinia has 80 calories, 2.8 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2.1 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of fiber. It also contains Vitamin B1 and B2, Vitamin C, phosphorous, iron, niacin, and thiamine.

 

Growth patterns:

The first record of rollinia in Hawaii is from the 1930s. It is thought to have originated along the Amazon in Brazil, although it was also discovered in early Mexico, Peru, and Argentina. Now it grows in many tropical locations, and in Hawaii it thrives at 300 feet to 3,000 feet elevations. These trees grow fast, as much as 10 feet a year (up to about 40 feet) and fruits in as little as 2-3 years. Additionally, it is almost always propagated by seeds because they grow true to type, although grafting can ensure consistently high yielding varieties. Also, rollinia prefers heavy soil, full sun and an acid pH. Scale and mealy bugs may be problems, as well as fruit fly.

 

Resources:

  1. Love, Ken & and Paull, Robert E. Rollinia. Fruits and Nuts, June 2011. F_N-21. http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/F_N-21.pdf
  2. Morton, J. 1987. Biriba. p. 88–90. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
  3. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/biriba.html
  4. Chih-Chuang Liaw , Fang-Rong Chang , Ming-Jung Wu , and Yang-Chang Wu * Graduate Institute of Natural 5. Products, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan, Republic of ChinaJ. Nat. Prod., 2003, 66 (2), pp 279–281
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Harjeet_Khanna2/publication/265051238_Biofortification_of_Bananas/links/53fd28670cf2dca80003233a.pdf#page=210
  6. Morton, J.F., 1987. Fruits of warm climates, Miami, Florida, USA.
  7. http://vanveenorganics.com/product/brazilian-custard-apple-rollinia-sp/
  8. http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/content/biriba.htm
  9. http://www.fruitsinfo.com/Rollinia-Exotic-fruits.php
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Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

We are blessed right now to have eggplants coming out of our ears!!! (or just choke on our plants). So…I invoked this recipe from my repertoire. This recipe is a slight twist on the many variations of Indian dish Baingan Bharta.

All Baingan Bharta recipes have many ingredients in common: eggplant, onions,  tomatoes, ginger, pepper and garlic. Many add garam masala, coriander, turmeric, etc.  I learned to make this during my very first vegan phase in my early early 20’s. To make it heartier (more protein) I started adding chickpeas, and to counterbalance the heat in it, I favored adding a few plump raisins at the end. So in reality it is a bit far from any Baingan Bharta you would order at an authentic Indian restaurant, but in my opinion mo betta!

 

Recipe for Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

 

Servings: 4+ (~1 cup each)

eggplant

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium size eggplants

katies tropical kitchen

  • 1-2 medium-large tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • 1 large onions (chopped fine)
  • 1 Hawaiian chili pepper (chopped fine)
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 inch (½ in diameter or so)piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 inch(¼ inch diameter or so) piece of turmeric grated
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 and ½ cup (or to liking) cooked chickpeas

ingredients for baingan bharta

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lay eggplant on baking sheet, pierce eggplant to help let out steam.
  2. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn over. Bake another 15 minutes or so until a knife enters easily skin starts to separate from the flesh of the eggplant
  3. Once cooled peel eggplant and roughly chop and mush
  4. Heat oil in large sauté pan (med-high heat) and add onions until they start to become soft, stirring very often
  5. Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric and stir constantly for less than 1 minute
  6. Add tomatoes, cumin, and garam masala and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for a time until tomatoes incorporate themselves into onions mixture.
  7. Add eggplant and mush a bit with your spatula or mixing spoon, allow to heat up and cook another 5 minutes or so on medium heat.
  8. For the last 5 minutes add chickpeas and raisins.
  9. Enjoy warm with rice, alone, over greens, or with naan, etc.

2016-05-13 17.36.49.jpg2016-05-13 17.40.00.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Immune boosting coffee with chaga mushroom and coconut butter

This chaga coffee recipe results in a creamy, slightly sweet morning treat. It is absolutely the best, creamiest, super-beverage coffee that I have ever come across. The use of the medicinal mushroom chaga is comparable to use of reishi mushrooms by the coffee company Organo Gold.

It is an amazing way to sneak the superfood powers of mushrooms into your daily life. No need to drink mushroom tea! The flavor of coffee completely masks the earthy mushroom flavor. The coconut butter makes the coffee velvety and creamy and the maple sweetens it just enough. This is a great way to start you’re day off with healthy fats, immune boosting properties and minerals from the maple syrup. Read more about chaga at the end of this article. Lately, we’ve been drinking our coffee black, without the coconut butter and maple syrup, this is fine and there is no weird taste from the chaga.

Equipment: French Press, cheese grater

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  1. high quality whole bean organic coffee
  2. organic coconut butter (not oil)
  3. pure organic maple syrup
  4. wild harvested whole chaga

Steps:

  1. Use a cheese grater to add up to 1 tablespoon of powdered chaga
  2. Boil water first (212 F) and then reduce to simmer and add chaga and leave until water is brown. Traditional knowledge describes that chaga is best decocted in temperatures between 150F and 180F, although many people give it a boil for up to 30 minutes (including us because a slow extraction is more time consuming and because we like hot coffee, we believe that many benefits are retained).
  3. Add to 4 tablespoons ground coffee in french press, steep for 5 minutes, and press the top down to strain.
  4. In coffee cups add 1 heaping tablespoon coconut butter and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
  5. Pour less than ¼ cup hot coffee in cups and cream the coconut butter until smooth.
  6. Add rest of coffee and enjoy!!!

chaga mushroom

Chaga

(Inonotus Obliquus) is a mushroom that grows exclusively on birch trees. It feeds off of a non-toxic parasite in infected trees in cold areas like the northern parts of US, Canada,  Europe, Russia, and Korea. It has been used traditionally though out history as food and as medicine.

We use chaga primarily to boost our immune system, but it has several other health benefits due to it’s antioxidant properties (named in parentheses). It’s antioxidant properties are partially due to melanin,  a natural black pigment which has many polyphenols. Chaga also protects against oxidation and free radicals (super oxide dismutase enzymes).

Chaga has the highest ORAC score of any superfood. Beyond helping with the immune system  (Beta-D-Glucans), it helps to maintain healthy blood vessels, can help with ulcers and gastritis, can normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels (betulinic acid), can help fight cancer (phytosterols), can aid in pain. It also reduces blood sugar in people who suffer abnormal blood sugar peaks.  It is known for reductions in fatigue and inflammation, as well as increased mental sharpness. Traditionally, Siberians used it in their stews, soups, and teas. They extracted it with hot water. It is also important not to boil the chaga past 180 degrees, which would destroy the proteins, sterols, and enzymes.

Chaga is available whole, in chunks and in powder. Like many ingredients, the more whole the product when you receive it, the fresher, and more health benefits it will impart. I buy my chaga on Etsy. Here is a link one seller that I’ve bought from.

Contraindications:

  • high in oxalates, which in large doses can prevent the absorption of nutrients and may be toxic in high doses

Chaga resources

  1. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/chaga-mushroom-the-immune-boosting-superfood/#3
  2. http://www.faim.org/sites/default/files/documents/PPNF-Journal-Chaga.pdf
  3. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/chaga-mushroom
  4. https://oriveda.wordpress.com/chaga-the-facts/
  5. http://www.organogold.com

 

 

 

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Simple Chocolate-Banana Flax Smoothie

This chocolate flax smoothie recipe is wonderful when you are craving something sweet. Good for an afternoon snack or even dessert, this recipe is so simple and flexible. You can add more super foods if you want like chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, gogi berries, maca powder etc.

This recipe highlights flax seed. Flax seed not only has high fiber content, but it also has high omega-3 fatty acid content. It contains lignans, which have antioxidant properties, and their mucilage content (it’s gummy when ground and mixed with liquid) helps them remain in the stomach longer to absorb nutrients. Flax may also help regulate the female menstrual cycle and hormones (1). Flax is best consumed when it is ground fresh. Whole flax seeds are hard to chew and may pass through the digestive system completely. Raw cocoa powder also has many antioxidants and natural caffeine, so you can feel good about this smoothie, for breakfast, lunch or a quick snack.

 

Yield: about 12 oz

Equipment: Blender

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 tablespoons whole flax seed (to make the smoothie less thick, reduce this amount)
  • 2 tablespoons raw unsweetened chocolate powder
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup water, almond milk, coconut milk or other substitute ( I use coconut butter and water)
  • Optional sweetener like honey, maple syrup or stevia to taste

Steps:

  • Blend everything together on high in intervals of 30 seconds until smooth.
  • Add sweetener if desired.
  • Chill if not cool enough.

 

(1) Phipps, W. R., Martini, M. C., Lampe, J. W., Slavin, J. L., & Kurzer, M. S. (1993). Effect of flax seed ingestion on the menstrual cycle. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 77(5), 1215-1219. doi: 10.1210/jcem.77.5.8077314

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