Roasted-Peaches-w-Coconut,-Cardamom-&-Mint Feeling irritable and over-heated? Over the weekend we spent some time in the DEFINE foods kitchen for a discussion on eating to balance our energies, an Ayurvedic approach to complete health and wellbeing. Ayurveda is an ancient system of natural health that originated in India and is one of the oldest documented sciences. A healthy digestive system is at the core of ayurvedic medicine because what we eat feeds the blood, and the blood feeds every other body system.  During the summer, heat and sun can cause an increase or imbalance of pitta dosha, or our fire element. Pitta’s hot, intense and sharp qualities can make us feel aggravated and inflamed, which can lead to ailments such as heartburn, digestive problems, hot flashes, ulcers and rashes. In order to find balance and subside these symptoms we need calm, cooling, grounding and soothing quality foods. A recipe from my Cooling Foods Workshop, this is a fruit desert that can also double as breakfast served with granola or topped on your favorite cereal grains or overnight oats.  The sweet, ripe peaches get a cooling kick from a coconut-mint syrup and a silky cardamom cream. The aromatic mint is a cooling herb most plentiful at this time of year and is wonderful for soothing the digestive tract and eliminating toxins from the body. Cardamom is used in Ayurveda medicine as a treatment for mouth ulcers, digestive problems and even depression.  Simply an indulgence, this dish can be made a few days in advance so make extra and keep in your fridge on hand to satisfy when pitta strikes. Stay cool and enjoy the rest of your summer! Next workshop in the kitchen, Back to the Table: Weeknight Dinners for the Family, is Friday, September 20th 2013, from 10- 12:00. Sign up today!   Roasted Peaches w Coconut, Cardamom & Mint Yield: 6 Ingredients 2 cups coconut palm sugar 1 vanilla bean, split 3 strips of lemon zest 1 large mint sprig, plus more for garnish 4 cups water 6 ripe peaches, halved and pitted 1 can coconut milk, refrigerated overnight 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup ¼ tsp cardamom flaky sea salt Optional toppings: toasted and chopped pistachios, coconut flakes, fresh mint leaves  Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large saucepan combine the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, mint and water. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.
  3. Brush the peaches with the syrup and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast the peaches until tender when pierced with a knife, about 20- 25 minutes. Cool slightly. Using a pairing knife, peel and quarter the peaches and place in a baking dish or storage container. Pour the remaining syrup over the peaches and allow to marinate for an hour or longer.
  4. To make the cardamom cream, scrape the solidified coconut cream from the top half of the chilled coconut milk and place into a chilled stand mixer bowl. Do not include any of the coconut water from the bottom half of the can. Whisk on high speed for a few minutes, adding in the maple syrup and cardamom, until the mixture begins to stiffen. Chill covered in the refrigerator.
  5. To serve, place a few peach segments in the bottom of your serving dish and spoon some of the cardamom cream on top. Garnish with toasted pistachios, coconut flakes, fresh mint and/or flaky sea salt.
  *The peaches and the cream can be done up to 3 days in advance. Store covered separately in the refrigerator. Best to serve the peaches at room temperature. Erin Stewart O'CookiesIn-House Natural Foods Chef, Erin O’Leary Stewart
Erin earned her culinary degree from New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts and focuses on using natural,seasonal ingredients aimed towards healing in order to live a balanced and grounded lifestyle. She created and operated her own natural cookie and granola company called O’Cookies Wholesome Bites and continues to study the effects that food and movement have on both mind and body. Check out our blog for recipes as well as culinary and nutritional insight from Erin’s DEFINE foods program.