by Amy Noordzij, Chef, Personal Chef to individuals in cancer treatment
As a Chef I strive to support clients’ unique needs through highly personalized meals comprised of whole, real foods that are local, seasonal and organic whenever possible.
We have heard the term “eating the rainbow”; starting with color is the first step to make when developing a healthy way of eating. Plants are good medicine for chronic disease prevention and healing for treatment. Phytonutrients stimulate enzymes that help the body get rid of toxins, build immunity, improve cardiovascular health and stimulate the death of cancer cells. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of phytonutrients along with whole grains, legumes, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds.
Incorporating more colorful nutrition into the diet starts with our eyes and then moves through all of our sensory experiences. Especially in cancer treatment when the appetite can be compromised starting with color and presentation sets the digestive system into motion.
With the bounty of summer harvest at the markets there is no shortage of easy meals to stock your refrigerator. The less time in a hot kitchen the better! The two recipes below for Green Harissa and Roasted Tomato Salsa can be doubled or tripled and added as a dollop to many meals for the week. The abundance of seasonal herbs at this time of year can play an important role in making food more appetizing and awaken the taste buds, while healthful Antioxidants can be found in the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and amino acids of whole foods such as cherry tomatoes.
Having a jar of green harissa, a flavorful herb sauce, is a great way to use seasonal herbs and have something on hand to liven up a sandwich, grain dish, fried egg, dollop on fresh tomatoes, or grilled protein and vegetables. As you can see your imagination is limitless. The cilantro and basil in this recipe can relieve nausea and both have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. If your taste buds are off basil can have a corrective effect.
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
2 scallions, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, halved, seeds removed*
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
1 tsp. honey
1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
*reduce garlic or eliminate jalapeño if there is a sensitivity and maybe just add a pinch of red pepper flakes for flavor.
* because we are using the outer layer of skin on the lime try and find an organic lime.
If chopping by hand, start with the garlic and scallions on a large cutting board and do a rough chop. Then, add the jalapeño and rough chop that onto the pile of onion and garlic. Next, add the bunches of herb, one large handful at a time until the herbs are roughly chopped. At this point the onions, garlic and jalapeño have had a good chopping and are small enough to not be too pungent in a spoonful. Scrape all of these ingredients into a bowl and add the lime zest and juice, honey, spices and mix together then slowly add in the extra virgin olive oil. When the olive oil is covering all the herbs with a thin layer it is enough. Can also add a bit of water to get the desired consistency.
Alternatively you could assemble this recipe in a food processor and slowly drizzle the olive oil in at the end but start with the same order of ingredients.
Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa:
It is hard to not just eat this roasted cherry tomato salsa by the spoonful, but again like the herb sauce, it can be added as a topping to just about anything! I love it on top of grilled fish, a platter of fresh tomatoes with slices of mozzarella and basil or mixed into a pasta dish. Starting with a colorful variety of eye-catching cherry tomatoes, this recipe illustrates why digestion starts with our eyes first! When you cook tomatoes it also increases the amount of lycopene, a phytonutrient that fights free radical damage. Cooking the tomatoes can also help alleviate the acidity if you are sensitive to raw tomatoes.
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 generous cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4-1/2 red onion, small diced
1/4 teas sea salt
pinch of black pepper or red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or basil *
2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice *
Preheat Oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, garlic, onion, sea salt and pepper and olive oil and toss. Spread evenly out on the prepared baking sheet.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and onions are lightly browned, shaking the pan halfway through. A little caramelization is extra yummy!
Remove from the oven and let cool. Add the fresh herbs and lime or lemon juice. Add more sea salt to taste.
* pair cilantro with lime juice or basil/parsley with lemon
* use all of one variety of cherry tomatoes or mix it up for color and flavor.
* remember this can be easily doubled!
Photo of both recipes used together on top of a summer salad with fresh peaches!
About Amy Noordzij, Chef, Personal Chef to individuals in cancer treatment:
Amy trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in NYC, a whole foods-plant based culinary school and is a personal chef to individuals in cancer treatment. Amy offers nutritional counseling and seasonal cooking classes at the Healing Garden, giving clients healthy recipes, cooking techniques, and tips on how to incorporate immune boosting foods into everyday meals that they can recreate in their own kitchen. Amy’s specialty is cooking delicious, nutritious food when your digestion, palate and interest in food has been compromised by cancer treatment.