Spring always generated such a frenzy at the hospital, where I led Hospitality Food Services. Connecting with our local farmers and vendors, trying to find the seasons’ best produce, securing the quantities for our Seasonal Salad Program to feed thousands a day…it was hectic, but invigorating.
We all think of Spring as a time for “cleaning”. But I like to think of it as a time for “cleansing”. A refreshing re-start to welcome the new season.
This 8-week salad program was always anticipated by our customers. We showcased a potpourri of tender vegetables and sweet fruit full of vibrant colors and curated new recipes and dressings to accompany these.
Small recipe cards were prepared for our customers to take away and add to their collection. It was one way to inspire our people to taste spring, eat healthier and focus on wellness. And, every effort was made to educate our clientele on the produce and simplicity of the recipes.
It is difficult to refuse produce that beckons us with diversity, vivid colors, and fruity scents of citrus and ambrosial notes. Even the delicate strawberries make the easiest and healthiest desserts. Here is one of my favorites:
Green Baby Zucchini & Yellow Squash Salad
The young tender baby spring zucchini squash are harvested when their seeds are still immature, and the skins are tender. These are most desirable, nutritious, and edible in their raw stage.
Because they are pliable, I enjoy shaving these lengthwise and rolling each one into a curl for aesthetic plating. To keep the curls intact, it is best to keep them refrigerated till service.
Adding sweet little red and yellow cherry tomatoes lend to the visual appeal. Generally, I tend to keep the greens to a minimum with arugula which can be slightly peppery; or baby spinach leaves which are sweet. You might note, in the picture above there is a specs of thyme buds as embellishment.
Little dollops of ricotta pack in a healthy dose of protein. If you like your salads to have some crunch, sprinkle on some toasted pine nuts.
Myer Lemon Vinaigrette
Ingredients: juice of 1 Myer or regular lemon,1 large clove of mashed roasted garlic, 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard, 1 tablespoon Honey, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, pinch of kosher salt, a couple of turns of cracked black pepper. Blend everything together in a processor, or by hand, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to create an emulsion as you keep whisking.
If you have extra Myer lemons do indulge in a lemongrass and basil infused lemonade!
Let me know what you think! Bon Appétit.
Spring Cleansing for the Skin
Part of the “cleansing” ritual of Spring is to shed the winter layers we have been hibernating in. This Spring I am collaborating with Seema Bhatia, Founder of Pranayum Ltd., to present her skin-centric Spring-Cleansing ideas.
Whilst cleansing, moisturizing, and using sunscreen should be a part of our daily regimen, our diet can affect our skin in more ways than one. Beautiful skin begins from within. When we consume foods that are known to contain antioxidants, vitamins and other super ingredients that are good for us, that’s when you see magic happen.
Here is a delicious smoothie brimming with the best ingredients, a new way to a radiant new you.
Vedic Berry Smoothie by Seema Bhatia
Raspberries – The April Superfood, high in antioxidants, vitamins, and natural coloring that are perfect for healthy skin. Excellent source of Vitamin C which stimulates collagen production and aids in skin regeneration.
Bananas – Experts suggest that bananas are beneficial for our hair and skin. One of the most important tropical fruits, rich in antioxidants. Additionally, it makes the smoothies, smoother!
Ashwagandha – Otherwise known as Indian ginseng, this medicinal herb offers several health benefits. Improved blood sugars, reduces inflammation, stress, and anxiety. Enhances memory, and boosts muscle strength.
Rose Petal Powder – Antioxidant properties work towards strengthening skin cells regenerating epidermal tissue for a more smooth and supple skin.
Flax Seeds – Loaded with fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. A teaspoon blitzed into a smoothie can in turn combat fatigue.
Coconut Milk – Vitamins C and E in this vegan alternative, help with skin elasticity.
1 cup fresh raspberries,1 ripe banana chopped,1/2 teaspoon rose petal powder, 1/3 teaspoon Ashwagandha,1 teaspoon flax seed, enough organic coconut milk to blend into desired consistency.
Simply blend all the above ingredients till smooth.
Rose Petals and Cashew Nuts
Balinese Boreh by Seema Bhatia, Pranayum Ltd.
Beauty on Bali, a Spring Exfoliant:
Seema has curated the perfect potion, a scrub to stimulate healthy skin cell growth and counter excess oils and breakouts.
Her research in Bali, spending time with some of the women on the island, lead her to discover the traditional Balinese method of blending together plant-based ingredients for an all-natural healing treatment.
The tendency to soften the skin as you exfoliate, promoting blood circulation and warming the skin simultaneously with a few key ingredients was a welcome surprise for Seema. The Ayurvedic ginger and spice laced potion is also known to soothe tired aching muscles and joints, reduce fever and headaches.
Boreh may appear intimidating to some folks, however, Seema contributes that they are super easy to use. Simply mixed with water or milk to form a pasty consistency for application and allowing to stand for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off. The sensation of tingly warmth and relaxation, combined with the soft and glowing skin are instant rewards.
Seema was happily curious and wanted to learn more. Seema’s time, resourcefulness and production of this potion was well invested and has provided much approval and joy amongst her community!
To learn more about Seema, please visit Seema’s website.
On behalf of Seema and myself, we hope you make this Spring a time of wellness and cleansing!