|Recipe Contest Winner is Announced
(updated Jan 26, 2011)
Last year some Herban Health volunteers held a workshop for women living in a shelter to discuss the topic of food and nutrition. We as an organization started thinking about ways to improve nutrition for our clients, which include homeless individuals who don't have regular access to kitchens or refrigerators, working families with limited time and financial resources, and those living with medical conditions such as diabetes that require special attention to food.
It only takes a quick walk into any bookstore to be reminded of the thousands of cookbooks available these days. So our challenge was not in finding or creating just any volume of recipes, but in locating those that would be practical, implementable, and enjoyable for our clients.
To this end, we decided to look for recipes that are HEFTy - Healthy, Economic, Fast, and Tasty - and initiated the Recipe Contest. Although this wouldn't ensure that all recipes would work for all of our clients, it was a way of helping us think about the type of dishes we were looking for, convey this to contestants, and further our dialogue around this important issue of nutrition for those with limited resources.
After collecting recipes all autumn, the top 3 recipes were selected by our judges. We then made dishes using these recipes, brought them to our Saturday clinic and had clients taste and then vote on their favorite dish! The dish they liked best was the Red Lentil Soup. Patricia found this recipe at 101 Cookbooks and detailed the health profile of the recipe from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
"...the soup has a slightly more warming nature, making it a suitable meal for fall and winter. Onions, red pepper and almonds have warming qualities. Legumes are a protein rich food and from a TCM point of view, lentils have a neutral nature and benefit the Heart and Kidney, making suitable for most anyone. Making this soup with chicken broth will make the soup have a warmer nature and add protein. Almonds benefit the energy of the Lung, which can be vulnerable this time of year."
From a western perspective, the lentils and rice make a complete protein, and by adding some greens as a side dish we have a well balanced meal. The average cost for this recipe in the bay area is approximately $5.50, plus the cost of the optional feta and/or olives, and the preparation time is 15 minutes with an additional 30 minutes of unattended cooking time. The beauty of this recipe is that it can be adjusted to fit different cultural palates by altering spices and condiments.