Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!



Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. - Rachel Carson

 Wishing everyone a very happy 45th Earth Day! ~ Dominique

Image source here

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Cleaning or How Toxic is Your Home?


How toxic is your home?

Spotless, fresh-smelling home has been a dream of every housewife since the introduction of television set into ordinary households. The trend intensified in the 1950s and 1960s and continues to this day. Clever marketing strategies were perfected over decades to sell ever growing number of products promising to make your laundry whiter, your floor cleaner, and your sink shiner than ever. The commercial ads are omnipresent and the promise very tempting. 

Unfortunately both, the desire for cleanliness and the promise of thereof, carry unexpected dangers to health. On the one hand, sterilized environment prevents our immune systems from developing natural resistance to common germs. On the other, many products contain chemicals that may be harmful or even toxic to our health. 

The fear of germs and frequent use of germicides created a paradox with very sad consequences, especially for young children. In 1989 a so called "hygiene hypothesis" was first presented by D.P. Strachan who postulated that reduced early childhood exposure to germs resulted in increased occurrence of hay fever and allergies. Microbial diversity is necessary for the immune system to develop immune tolerance. Immune system learns to identify pathogens and to fight them off. Lack of exposure to microbes is believed to lead to a faulty immune system that expresses itself in increased susceptibility to disease.  

The use of harmful or even toxic chemicals to keep our homes clean not only increases occurrence of asthma and allergies, but it may lead to the so called environmental illness where the immune system is unable to deal with every day toxins and simply collapses. Even the smallest amount of chemicals can trigger immune system reactions. Autoimmune diseases are often the consequence of malfunctioning, oversensitive immune system. 

 The natural way

With a growing environmental consciousness consumers also opt for products that do not harm or unnecessarily pollute our already fragile environment. This trend created a paradigm change for manufacturers as well. This change comes with a price. The "cleaner" cleaning products are often more expensive and not every household can afford to buy them. This is really a pity because, on the long run, a small investment could mean a much healthier home and much smaller medical bills in the future. 

To prevent allergies and other diseases, including cancer, many households, especially those with young children and pets, are turning to natural products. More and more people resolve to traditional home-made recipes that utilize common household goods such as alcohol, vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, salt and lemon juice. We do not have to be poisoned simply because we want to stay clean. Our grandmothers managed their households with a few time-proven recipes and made sure that our parents grew up healthy. Such recipes were passed from one generation to another and the time is ripe for their renaissance.

By Dominique Allmon

Dominique Allmon©2015

      

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Variations in Green Or the Famous Frankfurt Green Sauce Recipe


The Frankfurt Green Sauce

The Green Sauce is one of the delicacies the Hesse city of Frankfurt is famous for. A story goes that the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe loved this sauce so much that he had to have it made by his mother Aja and delivered by a coach to Weimar.

In 1810 Goethe published his "Theory of Colors" in which green was considered to be a "useful" color. Goethe believed that green was a color that could pacify the mind. It was the best color to use for walls in rooms one spent the most time since green color invited one to stay.

The "usefulness" of green color might have extended to Goethe's dietary predilections, but we might never find out whether this was true.

The term "green sauce" pertains to a variety of sauces made mostly with green herbs. It is believed that the condiment originated somewhere in the Levant and was most probably introduced to Europe by the Romans some 2,000 years ago.  

The Italian version of the green sauce was introduced to Germany in 1730s by the Italian merchant family of Bolongaro. Some culinary historians believe that the sauce recipe arrived from France with the Huguenots who settled down in the Electorate of Hesse-Kassel in the 18th century. 

The Frankfurt version of the sauce was first published in 1856 in a recipe book written by Miss Wilhelmine Rührig. She used eggs, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and six herbs: tarragon, chives, chervil, parsley, borage and salad burnet.


There are many modern versions of the Frankfurt green sauce. Traditionally the sauce was made of fresh herbs that may vary depending on season, hard-boiled eggs, crème fraîche or sour cream, oil, vinegar or lemon juice, salt, pepper and sometimes mustard or mayonnaise. Some people add gherkins, shallots and garlic, and use soft ricotta cheese to make the sauce more nutritious.

I made my own version of this delicious condiment. You are welcome to try it. I used fresh chives, chervil, sorrel, borage, parsley, garden cress, and salad burnet, but you may also add lovage, lemon balm and tarragon.

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 cups roughly chopped fresh herbs
  • 4 hard-boiled organic eggs
  • 1 cup probiotic yogurt
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:  
  • In a food processor pulse the herbs until you receive an almost creamy consistence. Transfer pureed herbs into a mixing bowl.
  • Cut hard-boiled eggs into halves and remove egg yolks. Pass egg yolks through a sieve and add them to the mixing bowl. 
  • Add yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. 
  • Chop egg whites and gently incorporate them into the sauce. 
  • Add salt and pepper. Mix again. Ready!
Serve with roasted meet, beef brisket or boiled young potatoes and enjoy in good company! 

This sauce also tastes well on vegetarian burgers, on sliced avocado and as a salad dressing with tossed leafy greens. 

By Dominique Allmon

The famous Frankfurt Green Sauce

Dominique Allmon©2015 


      
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