One of the best parts of my job, is brainstorming with Chef Nancy over a cup of coffee, or better yet a glass of wine. When our creative juices start flowing and our ideas bounce off of one another at a furious pace, I scribble down notes at Nancy’s request to “Write that down!”. We come up with some of our best ideas for recipes, classes and marketing strategies and often joke that we could “save the world” during one of these sessions. Last week we enjoyed a long overdue tete a tete at Starbucks while planning the menu for an Ayurvedic class at Cancer Wellness. While we may not have solved all the world’s problems that day, we did come up with some great recipes, based on the ancient Ayurvedic tradition.Although Ayurvedic healing has been around for thousands of years, it was indeed a new concept to me. According to Wikipedia, Ayurvedic is an ancient Indian theory that asserts that each human possesses a unique combination of doshas (ones unique mind and body type), that define a persons temperament and characteristics. The three main doshas are as follows:
1) Vata: Space and Air, “that which move things”
2) Pitta: Fire and Water, “that which cooks”
3) Kapha: Earth and Water, “that which sticks”
Eat-Taste-Heal, by authors Yarema, Rhoda and Brannigan is a fantastic resource for aiding one in identifying his or her dosha. Upon studying the definitions of the various doshas in this book, I have concluded that I am without a doubt a pitta. Thus, the recipe for Cauliflower “Steak” topped with Pitta Pesto is the perfect Ayurvedic style food for my dosha. The pesto contains cooling herbs that will help to keep me balanced and the cauliflower, as well contains properties that are beneficial to my particular dosha.
The concepts of Ayurvedic healing are indeed much more complex than the brief overview I have provided here. However, the bit of research I have done on the topic has been quite fascinating, and certainly reinforces the ideas of healthy and mindful eating that Chef Nancy and I preach to our clients on a daily basis. To all of my fellow Pittas out there, enjoy some cooling Pitta Pesto, and remember to make every plate something to be passionate about!
Cauliflower “Steaks” with Pitta Pesto:
Cauliflower Steak Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Remove outer leaves an tough stems from cauliflower, while leaving the vegetable intact. Cut the head vertically from top through the stem into 1 1/2″ thick “steaks”. An average sized head should yield 4-5 pieces.
Rub both sides of the cauliflower pieces evenly with the olive oil and spices. Place on a sheet pan coated with non-stick spray and bake at 425 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until the vegetable is tender and nicely browned on the top.
Pitta Pesto Ingredients:
2 cups arugula
1 cup dill
1 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of toasted walnuts
Zest and juice of two lemons
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional Garnish: colorful assortment of sliced grape tomatoes, 2 cups
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pulse once more, then serve on top of warm cauliflower steak. Garnish with an assortment of sliced grape tomatoes if desired.