Monthly Archives: December 2014

Apple and Celery Root Salad

Roger recently suffered a setback along his cancer odyssey, but he has rallied once again. After two rounds of radiation and chemotherapy he developed a wound infection, which required yet another brain surgery this past Friday. He’s out of the hospital and they inserted a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) so we can administer his IV antibiotics at home for the next 8 weeks. Radiation and chemotherapy are on hold for now, but we remain optimistic that we can restart the regimen the first week of January.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve eliminated ALL sugar from Roger’s diet; however, I felt that he deserved a little treat so I provided a little pick me up in the form of apples. I’ve been giving him copious amounts of blueberries (affectionately referred to as “brainberries” by Dr. Steven Pratt) at all times of the day, but we needed a change of pace for dinner. Something with a little zip and a hint of sweetness. I decided on an apple and celery root salad. I’ve served this salad with wild salmon in the past (perfect accompaniment with salmon!), too, but the kids are home from college and they’re not huge salmon fans so I compromised and served it with seared boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts.

Here’s what you’ll need to serve 6-8 people. Cut amounts in ½ for 4 :

2 cups apple cider

2 cup semi-pearled faro

½ small celery root peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 medium sweet and tart apple (I used Granny Smith) peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. EVOO

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup fresh chopped basil

1.5 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1.5 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese

Boil the farro in the apple cider and 2 cups of water for 30 minutes or until tender.

Drain and spread the farro on a sheet pan to cool. Make your matchsticks, slice your red onion, and chop your basil.

Celery root matchsticks

Celery root matchsticks

 Apple cut into matchsticks

Apple cut into matchsticks

Toss the farro with vinegar and EVOO.


Add other ingredients to a large bow.


Add farro.


Mix all together


Season your chicken with salt and pepper and sear until brown, flip breasts over and finish in the oven until they reach an internal temperature of 165-degrees.

Serve the salad on top of your chicken and enjoy!

Eat well,


“From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.” ~ Catalan Proverb





Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Cardamon Rice

Our family’s facing the biggest challenge of our lives: stage IV glioblastoma. Everything changed for us on December 1st. My husband, who is the most determined and positive human being I know, WILL kick this cancer’s butt. As for the rest of us, we will be there to support him in every way possible. And, most importantly, to make him laugh!

In conjunction with the anti-cancer cocktails he’ll be receiving at UCI, we’ve eliminated all sugar and gluten from his diet. We’ve always been an organic, non-GMO, whole-food family, but now we’ve also adopted a Mediterranean-Paleo lifestyle. Cancer cells thrive on glucose so it’s critical to think about what you’re eating.

I’m a huge Yotam Ottolenghi fan and several of his cookbooks grace my bookshelves. His recipes focus mainly on Israeli cuisine, which happens to be one of our favorites and perfect for our dietary goals; however, I have yet to meet, er eat, a cuisine I didn’t like. I haven’t been confronted with Inuit cooking yet, tho. Fermented seal flipper anyone?

I was browsing through Yotam’s book, Jerusalem, the other evening for some much needed inspiration. I stopped once I hit the page with a picture of chicken with caramelized onion and cardamom rice (we used Basmati, which is gluten free). Bingo. That’s what I wanted for dinner. I decided to make a few small modifications to the recipe (I also cut the recipe in half).

When we were in India I purchased a plethora of interesting spices from an itty-bitty market in Jaipur. I rummaged through the packets and plucked out tikka masala from the bunch. I used this in addition to the other spices Yotam listed. You can easily find this spice at the Spice Merchants on Beach.


Here’s what you’ll need.

2 ½ tbsp. currants (optional)

4 tbsp. EVOO

2 medium onions thinly sliced (I minced mine)

2 ¼ lb skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, or 1 whole chicken quartered (I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts)

10 cardamom pods

¼ tsp. whole cloves

1 tbsp. tikka masala

2 cinnamon sticks broken in half

1 2/3 cups basmati rice

2 ¼ cups boiling water

1 ½ tbsp. flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (optional)

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

pepper to taste

Place the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl and rub them with half of the EVOO, tikka masala, cloves and salt. Add the chicken, skin side down, to a hot sauté pan and cook until the skin’s well browned. Remove the chicken and set aside.


Using the same pan, heat the remaining half of the EVOO in a large sauté pan and add the onions. Cook until a deep golden brown.

Add the cardamom pods. Heat until fragrant.


Add the rice, currants, and cinnamon sticks to the pan. Sauté this mixture for a minute or so and then add the boiling water. Cover. Place in a 375-degree oven or simmer slowly on the stovetop.


After 10 minutes, remove from the heat, stir, and add the chicken back to the pan. Cook until the chicken and rice are finished.


Sprinkle the parsley, dill, and cilantro over the top of the dish and serve. You can add a dollop of yogurt on the side of your plate if you wish.

Eat well!


“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha