The Longevity Kitchen: Part 1

Saturday / Jan 26 / 2013


Ready to start
Fig Ready to start

Spying the first Cadbury eggs of the season makes keeping my New Year’s Resolution to choose food that nourishes rather than hurts my body difficult but fortunately for us all chefs and publishers are producing vegetarian-skewed, healthful cookbooks. One of my favorite newcomers is The Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson. Over the past month I’ve tried several of her recipes, including:

BENTO BOX SOUP: This was my favorite soup from the book. The green tea bags, kombu and miso gave the broth depth and intensity. And skip the oil if you’d like — you won’t miss the difference. Delicious!

4 ounces soba noodles
4 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil or hot pepper sesame oil
1 (6-inch) stripe of kombu
3 green tea bags
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 cup stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 ounces firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup white miso
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced diagonally
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach

Fill a soup pot halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and the soba noodles and decrease the heat to medium. Cook, stirring gently on occasion, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse well under cold water to remove the starch. Immediately transfer to a bowl, drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon of the sesame oil and toss gently to coat.

Put the broth in the same pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low, add the kombu and tea bags, and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove the kombu and tea bags with a slotted spoon. Add the carrot, mushrooms, tofu, tamari, cover, and simmer for five minutes.

Put 1/4 cup of the hot broth in a small bowl, add the miso, and stir with a fork until the miso is dissolved. Stir the mixture back into the broth, then stir in the scallions, lemon juice, and remaining sesame oil. Distribute the soba noodles and spinach among six bowls and ladle in the soup.

Avocado lover's salad
Fig Avocado lover’s salad

AVOCADO LOVER’S SALAD: I was initially skeptical of this salad–perhaps because I associate romaine and Green Goddess Dressing with 1980s suburban picnics–but it was a huge success. The addictive leftover dressing topped salads and vegetables for the next few days.

1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
Greener Than Green Goddess Dressing (see below)
1 large avocado, diced
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (*I used pine nuts and pistachios)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Put the lettuce, cucumber, and bell pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again. Add the avocado, seeds, mint, and cilantro and toss once more.


Greener than Goddess dressing
Fig Greener than Goddess dressing

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup organic plain yogurt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 avocado, halved and flesh scooped out (*I used 1/2 avocado)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

QUINOA WITH EDAMAME, GINGER, AND LIME: I love quinoa and the herbs kick it up several notches. I could eat this morning, noon and night!

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought, or water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups red or white quinoa, rinsed well in cold water and drained
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch of cayenne
1 cup fresh or frozen edamame, mixed with a spritz of lime juice and a pinch of salt
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, basil, or parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated lime zest

Put the broth and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed.

Remove from the heat. Add the ginger, cayenne, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and fluff with a fork until well combined. Transfer the quinoa t oa bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Add the edamame, red bell pepper, scallions, mint, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, lemon zest, and lime zest and stir until well combined.


Wunderbar ingredients
Fig Wunderbar ingredients

WENDY’S WUNDERBARS: More dessert than snack, these last two months in the freezer and are perfect for serving after dinner with fruit or yogurt. Friends are shocked that there is no added sugar or butter!

2 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao content), finely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup almonds, toasted
8 ounces Medjool dates, halved and pitted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup dried cherries (*I used unsweetened frozen cherries)

Very lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan. Cut two pieces of waxed paper to the same width as the pan and long enough to go up the sides and overlap across the top of the pan. Place one piece in the pan, then place the second piece on top in the other direction.

Put all of the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring often, just until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat. (*Or just microwave the chocolate like I did!)

Put the pistachios and almonds in food processor and pulse three or four times to coarsely chop. Add the dates, melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Pulse until the ingredients begin to hold together, almost like dough. Add the cherries and pulse a few more times, until the cherries are coarsely chopped and evenly distributed.

Transfer to the prepared pan and press in an even layer using your hands. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Cover with a piece of parchment or waxed paper and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Remove from the pan by lifting the edges of the waxed paper, and place on a cutting board, still stop the waxed paper. Using an oiled knife to prevent sticking, cut into 16 squares. Put the bars in a container, with waxed paper between the layers if stacked, or wrap the bars individually in foil. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Warm to room temperature before eating.


Making wunderbars
Fig Making wunderbars