Here is one of 3 dishes I created for my Healthy Cooking Demo at Intel.
I came up with this concoction for Intel’s guest chef demo. My goal is to show the beauty and ease of cooking out of a box… a CSA box, that is.
This week’s delivery -for a “Regular Box” from Farm Fresh to You– includes several fruits, so I put a couple of’m together for an “outta the box” experience. This ‘soup’ or ‘smoothie’ is thin enough to drink from a glass, and thick enough to eat with a spoon…
- 1 small Muskmelon (a cantaloupe, peeled and seeded)
- 1 lb Red Bell Pepper (2 peppers, seeded)
- 1 medium-sized Cucumber (peeled and seeded)
and then I added a couple of my own ingredients…
- 2 tbls Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 cup Roasted Almond Butter
- 1 tsp Cinnamon (or more, to taste)
- Pinch, or two, of Sea salt
- 8 cups water (or more, to desire consistency)
I used a high-speed blender (a Blendtec) and blended all the ingredients until well mixed. (Btw – most any blenders will do the job.)
Muskmelon, one of the top 5 selling fruits in the US, has a strong flavor, so I paired it with other strong flavors… the bell pepper, vinegar and almond butter.
Why the almond butter? 3 reasons come to mind at this moment…. to bring in a dimension that fruit just doesn’t have…
- fat: the soup needed an oiliness to give a sense of calm and to help deliver the flavors across the tongue
- to balance the high carb with protein (and fat), to balance out the ratio of these macronutrients
- to give a depth of flavor, an earthy toasted, some low notes to offset the high pitch coming from these fruits
Why the balsamic vinegar? …..three words: sweet, sour, aged…
- to bring in a ‘aged’ taste, which goes along with #3 above… for the depth; and for the energetic values, too – i.e. some yang to balance the yin of the fruit
- muskmelon and bell peppers have a big hit of sweetness, with a hint of sour to them, so I wanted to push the flavors in that direction – to amplify the sweet/sour-ness…. and balsamic vinegar does the trick very nicely.
As far as volume is concerned… this recipe makes 8-10 cups (depends on the size of the fruits). To make half this amount, go ahead and cut everything equally in half, ‘cept for the salt.
In regards to price…. the box is $31.50, which I consider a great deal, espcically being it’s delivered right to your door. After a bit of calculating, in my head, I come up with $5-$8… that’s under a buck a serving. In comparison, retail: an organic apple, cucumber, bell pepper, orange…. can be over $1 each(!)
How much water? … My blender holds 8 cups of liquid (plus a bit more), so I added water to the 8-cup line and the consistency was just right…. similar to the normal cream-of-soup thickness.
THE NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS
The ratio of nutrients to calories in these fruits is well balanced…… laaaahottts of vitamins and minerals for the amount of calories, making this a “Nutrient-Dense” dish.
The muskmelon: packs a big dose of potassium (is an essential mineral – meaning that we must get it from an outside source, it’s one of the main electrolytes, which are basic requirements needed for nerve function and normal cell function. “K” is also needed to balance sodium and calcium. Muskmelon is also high in B Vitamins: folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamine.
Bell peppers: have high amounts of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, Vitamin K, and some B vitamins… all are protective agents lowering risk of cancer, degeneration, fibrosis, high cholesterol and so much more.
Cucumbers: same as the bell pepper, see above, with more fiber and anti-swelling properties due to caffeic acid and high Vit C content.
Online and a few books including Michael Murray’s The encyclopedia of Healing Foods, I highly recommend it.