Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Archive for October, 2011

Autumn Vegetables Fish Soup with Turmeric

As we continue our soup splurge (try saying that 10 times fast), Marnina and I have expanded into adding new kinds of ingredients into our soups: never before have we used fish or pumpkin.  And in our continual quest to find IBD-friendly soups, this one is high up on the list.  With the salmon, turmeric, and extra virgin olive oil, this soup is an omega-3 and anti-inflammatory powerhouse.  As I noted in a previously, omega-3’s can be found mostly in the fat of cold water fish, such as the salmon in this recipe.  Omega-3’s are thought to reduce inflammation, and play a number of key roles in improving one’s circulatory system.  Research indicates that omega-3’s may be better absorbed from food than supplements, so it is more cost-effective and healthier to just get your omega-3’s from natural food sources.  You also have to be wary of some supplements, especially those that are not labeled with a USP (a Dietary Supplement Verification Program that helps dietary supplement manufacturers ensure the production of quality products for consumers).


Thai Basil Tofu Fried Rice

Marnina and I have had our fair share of problems cooking tofu.  The first time we tried making tofu, we got the equivalent of overcooked scrambled eggs.  We have had more success with the firm and extra-firm varieties, but sometimes we have tried stir-frying these tofu varieties and it has crumbled or never fried evenly on all sides.  We have improved slightly by learning some tofu-cooking techniques, such as cutting it into 1-inch cubes and not constantly tossing it once it is in the pan. However, we have never completely ignored tofu because it is able to absorb marinades and seasonings like a sponge.  We especially enjoy using it in strong Asian-flavored stir-fries because it absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish.


Carrot Soup for the Soul…and Stomach!

When Marnina does not eat well one day or feels her stomach “chugging,” she will often resort to an extra low-residue, low-fiber diet until she feels better.  Soups often satisfy both of these requirements, especially soups that consist of pureed low-fiber veggies.  Dietary fiber, which is found in plant foods, cannot be digested, and residue is the undigested part of plants that contribute to stool. By limiting the amount of fiber and residue, Marnina is reducing the amount of food that passes through her large intestine, which reduces the number of times she needs to run to the bathroom, and reduces abdominal pain.  If Marnina wants to eat veggies while she is not feeling well, she makes a special effort to consume only very well cooked vegetables, pureed vegetables, or soups.


Happiness in a Pumpkin

Last weekend, Marnina and I wanted to go apple-picking with some friends from Brandeis University. When we arrived, we were told that the apple-picking season was over at this particular orchard due to the substantial amount of rain.  Therefore, we ended up going ‘pumpkin-picking’ instead.  At first, we were disappointed.  But then Marnina mentioned that she had a pumpkin stuffing recipe back home that sounded delicious.  I was suspicious at first, mainly because the recipe called for baking an intact pumpkin in our smaller-than-small oven.  However, as our neighbors (and our taste buds) can attest, the pumpkin smelled (and tasted) like a slice of heaven.   We wandered around the pumpkin patch for about 20 minutes, took some awesome pictures (see below), and painstakingly picked out the smallest pumpkin we could find (6 lbs!).


Carrot-Mushroom Loaf

Marnina and I are obsessed with the Moosewood Cookbook.  It is a recipe book written by Mollie Katzen when she was a member of the Moosewood collective in Ithaca, New York.  The cookbook is literally a bible for vegetarian cooks.  Even though we are not vegetarians, our animal consumption is limited to Friday night Shabbat dinners and special occasions (mostly because of the high prices of Kosher meat).  Every single recipe from this cookbook that we have tried has been superb as are the creative names and illustrations attached to each recipe.  We once made a dish from the cookbook called Zucchanoes, which are onion, pepper, and cheese stuffed zucchinis that look nothing like canoes by the time they are out of the oven, but they do float you to food heaven.


Autumn Gold Squash Soup

The cooler morning and nights are a reminder that Fall has truly arrived.  And as we transition from soft and luscious summer fruits and veggies to thicker autumn root produce, our vegetable peeler gets even more use (even though Marnina and I still use our peeler excessively during every season to remove the skin of all fruits and veggies).  Individuals with IBD can generally tolerate many autumn/winter fruit and veggie, as long as they are eaten without skin and seeds of course. They often scare people away because of their thick skins and odd shapes, but Marnina and I have never been deterred from cooking them, especially the butternut squash. We often roast butternut squash to bring out its natural sweetness, or puree them to make soups or casseroles.   It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.  It is also an excellent source of vitamin A & vitamin E.


IBD Help From a Nutrigenomic Nutritionist

As IBD foodies, Marnina and I are dedicating ourselves to expanding our knowledge of cooking and maintaining a healthy diet with IBD.  In doing so, we are reaching out to individuals who focus on IBD and nutrition to share our ideas and learn from them. Last week, I had the unique opportunity to speak with Karen Langston, a recognized International Nutrigenomic nutritionist n Arizona and on the Board of Directors for National Association of Nutrition Professionals.  Marnina was scheduled to be a part of the phone call but ended up getting stuck at work.


Taking on the Grill

Grilling has been a cooking method that we have sorely missed since moving out of our homes, especially during the D.C. Spring and Summer months.  There have been numerous times when we have said “this dish would have been perfect if we had a grill,” or “we could have grilled this with X ingredient.”  Well, thanks to Marnina’s co-worker, the proprietor of Grilling with Rich, a well-known grilling blog , we have finally caught on to the grilling madness.  We recently purchased an indoor grill faux equivalent to the outdoor grill – a George Foreman electric grill.  While the George Foreman does not offer the smoky flavor, the food still sits on grates that leave nice grill marks, and it provides some charred pieces of food that Marnina loves to nosh on.


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