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Discovering the Hidden Gems of Microgreens: A Nutrient-Dense Delight

June 26, 2024

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Discovering the Hidden Gems of Microgreens: A Nutrient-Dense Delight

Dive into the Underappreciated Realm of Sunflower Greens

Sunflower greens, a hidden gem in the microgreen family, are creating a buzz among nutrition aficionados and chefs alike. These little greens offer a delightful blend of taste and health benefits in their delicate leaves. Sunflower greens are a standout in the world of microgreens, with their distinctive nutty flavor and crisp texture. They offer a palate-pleasing contrast to the sharp tang of arugula or the gentle earthiness of beet greens. Imagine a flavor that’s a blend of mild sweetness, satisfying crunch, and a fresh green aroma.

But it’s not just the taste that makes sunflower greens a must-have – they are also nutritional dynamos. Brimming with vitamins A, B, D, and E, as well as minerals like calcium and iron, essential amino acids, and antioxidants, they’re a formidable ally for your health. Incorporating them into your diet can boost heart health, support immune function, and promote radiant skin.

Versatile Culinary Chameleons

Sunflower greens are culinary chameleons, capable of transforming any ordinary meal into a gourmet experience. Sprinkle them in salads for an added crunch, blend them into smoothies for a nutrient-rich twist, or use them as a vibrant topping on soups and sandwiches. Their hearty texture even withstands light sautéing, making them a flavorful and textural delight.

Our farm takes pride in cultivating sunflower greens with the utmost care and respect for nature. We adhere to sustainable methods, ensuring each green is grown free from harmful chemicals, harvested at the zenith of its nutritional value, and brought to your table fresh. Our sunflower greens have won the hearts of many, including Chef Anna of The Green Fork, who claims, “These greens have revolutionized my culinary creations, adding an unmatched crunch and flavor.” Home cook Mark enthuses, “Adding these to my morning routine has been a game-changer for my health.”

Embracing the Wholesome Delight of Sunflower Greens

Sunflower greens are more than just a meal addition – they’re a celebration of flavor and wellness. Whether you’re a gourmet aficionado or someone mindful of health, these greens promise to bring a special touch to both your palate and health. Eager to experience these extraordinary greens? Explore our website for more information or visit our farm to witness the magic of their growth. Embrace the wholesome delight of sunflower greens – a treat for both your taste buds and health awaits.

Thornapple Community-Supported Agriculture has been producing some of the world’s healthiest foods utilizing our home-grown superfood microgreens, which are grown in our urban farm in the heart of Madison, WI since 2008.

Discovering the Flavors of Syria at Zezafoun in Toronto

We wanted to share mama’s delicious Syrian culture with the people in Toronto and beyond, says Marcelle Alexis, Co-founder of Zezafoun. Eid celebrations often bring back memories of our time in Dubai and the joy of celebrating with friends and indulging in the various Iftar buffets that most hotels and restaurants plan around this time of the year. I also fondly remember the foodie walks in Mumbai with my sister that are a delightful culinary journey into the by-lanes of the city, which are abuzz with food vendors and street stalls that are a delightful experience to the senses and a symphony of flavors, aromas, and textures that elevate the dining experience.

Whilst here in Toronto, a bunch of ladies decided to embark on a culinary journey at Zezafoun last evening. This hidden gem serves some very authentic Syrian cuisine crafted with love and warmth, making our meal a memorable culinary experience. Walking into this restaurant is like stepping into the comforts of Syrian warmth and hospitality. This place is run by Chef Yola and her daughter Marcelle. The ambience is sweet and charming, with traditional decor adorning the walls and soft music playing in the background. Each dish is curated with love and expertise, showcasing authentic recipes handed down through generations.

The piece de resistance, in my opinion, is the Freekeh with Lamb Shank – an ancient smoked tender wheat grain served with a juicy and tender lamb shank cooked to perfection. The team here is friendly and warm, eager to engage in stories of cultural heritage behind each dish and make everyone feel a part of their family. Some highlights of our meal included Kebbeh (ground beef and bulgur stuffed with caramelized onions), Falafels (chickpea patties served with a tahini sauce), Fatteh Tisiyeh (chickpeas and chicken layered over a bed of crunchy pita bread and topped with yogurt and tahini sauce, garnished with pomegranate arils), and the Freekeh with Lamb Shank.

Overall, Syrian cuisine is a rich amalgamation of various flavors influenced by locally available ingredients, diverse history, and geographical location. Some key elements of this cuisine include an emphasis on fresh seasonal ingredients, bold flavors, and hearty comforting dishes that reflect the country’s culinary heritage. Located at 4 Manor Road East in Toronto, this restaurant is a hidden gem and a culinary journey infused with the love, warmth, and tradition of Syrian culture.

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

How to make healthy choices every day. It took me a long time to settle on the title for this post. Why? Because it’s quite a statement to suggest that a humble loaf of bread will change your life, but the Life-Changing Loaf of Bread will do just that. I am willing to be so bold.

When I began eating healthier, bread was definitely on my hit list. Not because bread is inherently bad in my books – nothing is that black and white – but that I knew when I was basing three meals a day around a loaf of crusty white French bread, something had to give. I realized that if I replaced a few slices of bread a day, I could make room for things like greens, fresh fruits, legumes, and I would be getting more nutrients from the same amount of calories. Light bulb moment.

Now that isn’t to say that my love affair with bread ended there. Oh no. When I moved to Denmark four years ago, I fell head-over-heels for bread all over again – except this time it wasn’t light and fluffy, it was kind of like the weather: dark, deep, and intense. The Danes are excellent bread makers, especially when it comes to sourdoughs and rye. Bread here is hearty, filling, and a single slice is almost like a meal in itself.

It wasn’t until I went for lunch at a friend’s place a couple weeks ago that my life changed. When I walked into her apartment, I could smell it – something malty and definitely baked, toasty, nutty. When I rounded the corner to her kitchen, there it was: a very beautiful loaf of bread, pretty as a picture, studded with sunflower seeds, chia, and almonds, golden around the corners and begging me to slice into it. She served it with a number of spreads – pesto, lentil hummus, some veggie pate. It magically seemed to complement everything I slathered across its speckled flesh. Moist, dense, chewy, with hints of sea salt here and there nestled between the oats around the corner from a golden flax seed. So beautiful and more than tasty, this was a revelation.

“Please tell me this is good for me,” I begged her. She smiled, “You’re probably asking yourself how the heck this bread holds itself together without any flour. Nice observation – and the answer is psyllium seed husks.”

The Power of Psyllium

Psyllium seed husks are one of nature’s most absorbent fibers, able to suck up over ten times their weight in water. Psyllium comes from the plant Plantago ovata and is related to the common garden dweller Plantain (not to be confused with the fruit). For this reason, you’ll often find psyllium in over-the-counter laxatives, stool-bulking agents, and colon cleansing kits – basically anything having to do with poo.

Psyllium seed husks contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber dissolves in water and soothes the digestive tract with its mucilaginous properties, while the insoluble fiber acts like a broom to sweep the colon free of toxins. Taken during a detox juice cleanse or fast, psyllium can greatly improve the body’s ability to eliminate impurities. But the good news is you can take it anytime – many people find that a daily dose of a teaspoon or two in a glass of water really helps them get their bowels moving or slow them down if necessary.

The Magic of Psyllium in Bread

The idea here is to use psyllium to bind all these lovely ingredients together without resorting to flour. There have been some low-carb bread recipes floating around the net as of late that take advantage of psyllium, and I think it’s a great idea. Eat delicious bread, have good poops – I’m in.

Psyllium is available at health food stores and most pharmacies. It comes in two forms: the raw husks themselves and powdered, which are just the husks that have been pulverized. It is easier to take the powdered form as it dissolves easier in water, but that is not important in the case of this bread – either type works just fine.

First of all, when I make bread, there are bowls, spoons, measuring cups, and flour everywhere. There is always a mess to clean up, and my biggest pet peeve is trying to get the very last bit of dough unstuck from the mixing bowl. Serenity now. The only thing this bread leaves you with is a used spoon and a measuring cup. Everything that you mix, you do so right in the loaf pan. Genius.

Secondly, bread almost always requires some kneading, then some waiting, and then perhaps more kneading. Maybe more waiting. I’m confused already. This bread, on the other hand, is kind of brainless. Dump all the ingredients into the loaf pan, stir, and let it sit for a couple hours. Or overnight, all day, or however long or short you find convenient. Whatever, you rule the bread, not the other way around.

Third, bread recipes are specific. Use this kind of flour and that kind of yeast. What if I told you that if you don’t have hazelnut, you could use almonds? If you don’t like oats, you could use rolled spelt? Out of maple syrup? Use honey. See where I’m going with this? The only thing I will emphasize is to replace the ingredients in the same proportion and with a similar ingredient for the best results. The rest is your call.

Fourth, breads require a rising agent, whether that is a sourdough starter (which takes days to make) or commercial yeast (which should really be avoided if possible). This bread doesn’t. Great.

Fifth reason – your typical loaf of packaged grocery-store bread is not really that healthy. It uses flour that has often been stripped of much of its fiber, bran, essential fats, and nutrients. It is high in refined carbohydrates and most times low in protein and healthy fats. Most breads require gluten-containing flours for texture and leavening, which many are trying to eat less of. And sometimes bread has kooky ingredients like corn syrup and food coloring. Seriously, read those labels.

The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread features whole grains, nuts, and seeds. High in protein, incredibly high in fiber, and it is gluten-free and vegan. Everything gets soaked for optimal nutrition and digestion. I will go so far as to say that this bread is good for you.

I realize that few pleasures in life will ever be able to compete with tearing open a fresh baguette or slicing into a thick-crusted country levain, and I am not suggesting that those pleasures be forgotten. On the contrary, let’s let those things be what they are and enjoy them from time to time. And for now and hopefully the better part of your bread-munching days, I offer my latest and greatest pleasure to you – the Life-Changing Loaf of Bread, with no downside: a bread with personality, a triumphant flag raised high, exclaiming that deliciousness and health are not exclusive.

Thornapple Community-Supported Agriculture is just one of the many cooking classes, both live and recorded, featured on my wellness platform My New Roots Grow. Check it out to learn more about my classes.

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Thornapple CSA: A community-driven initiative championing sustainable agriculture. We connect members with fresh, organic produce, celebrating the bond between land and community.

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