Chef and blogger Rebecca Katz helps cancer patients discover nutritious and delicious meals.
Rebecca Katz is on a mission.
“To be able to help people connect the dots between the black-and-white food world and make it technicolor is a really wonderful thing,” she says. Whether she’s writing cookbooks geared toward cancer patients, like “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen” and “One Bite at a Time,” or updating her über-popular blog, Recipe Box, Katz works tirelessly to “move the needle in the right direction,” making healthy food accessible to as many people as possible.
“In my dream, everybody in every community, no matter what, [has] access to healthy food,” says Katz. “There would be a cook on every corner to help people make that food. We’ve lost two generations of cooks, and people just don’t have that skill set anymore.”
For Katz, healthy food is more than just a philosophy. Her credentials have helped amass a devoted fan base who trust her food philosophy. “Every bite has to be flavorful and nutrient-dense, because you’re only going to eat it if it’s good,” Katz explains. “It’s the biggest thing in the world: If it tastes like hippie gruel, no one’s going to eat it. I wouldn’t.”
Thankfully, Katz offered us three of her best—and most savory—recipes to kickstart your culinary journey. Start with her “Magical Miracle Broth,” which Katz describes as her “Rosetta Stone of soup,” and dive into her other concoctions to kickstart your foray into fun, flavorful food as fuel.
- Master of Science in Health and Nutrition from Hawthorn University
- Culinary training from the Natural Gourmet Institute
- Chef Emeritus for the “Food as Medicine” professional training program at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine
Magical Mineral Broth
Rebecca says: “This is my Rosetta Stone of soup, a broth that can be transformed to meet a myriad of nutritional needs, serving as everything from a delicious sipping tea to a powerful base for more hearty soups and stews. So no matter what a person’s appetite, it can provide a tremendous nutritional boost. This rejuvenating liquid, chock-full of magnesium, potassium, and sodium, allows the body to refresh and restore itself. I think of it as a tonic, designed to keep you in tip-top shape.”
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 to 4 hours
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for five to seven days or in the freezer for four months
- 6 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
- 2 unpeeled yellow onions, cut into chunks
- 1 leek, white and green parts, cut into thirds
- 1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
- 4 unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
- 2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered
- 1 unpeeled garnet yam, quartered
- 5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
- ½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 (8-inch) strip of kombu*
- 12 black peppercorns
- 4 whole allspice or juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 quarts cold, filtered water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Rinse all of the vegetables well, including the kombu. In a 12-quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onions, leek, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, peppercorns, allspice berries, and bay leaves. Fill the pot with water to 2 inches below the rim, cover, and bring to a boil.
Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours. As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath), then add salt to taste.
Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
*Kombu is a mineral-rich seaweed that adds an umami or savory flavor to stocks and broths. Kombu is found in the Asian food section of the grocery store near the nori (seaweed sheets) that are used for sushi. Store dried kombu in a cool, dark area in your pantry.
Reprinted with permission from “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery.” Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.
Sweet Potato Coconut Soup
Rebecca says: “I crave sweet potatoes, which aren’t potatoes at all but rather an edible root from the morning glory family. Enzymes in the root convert starch into sweetness as it grows, yet the root still retains plenty of nutrition, including vitamin B6 and potassium.”
Photo courtesy of Scott Peterson. Reprinted with permission from “One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Patients and Their Friends.” Copyright © 2008 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.
- 8 cups Magic Mineral Broth (see recipe above)
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans coconut milk
- 3 (1-inch) pieces fresh ginger
- 2 shallot bulbs, halved and bruised
- 3 kaffir lime leaves (or 1 teaspoon lime zest)
- 1 stalk lemongrass, cut in chunks and bruised
- 4 sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Squeeze of lime juice
- Chopped fresh mint, for garnish
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Shaved coconut, toasted, for garnish
In a 6-quart pot, bring the broth, coconut milk, ginger, shallots, lime leaves, lemongrass, and ¼ teaspoon salt to a slow boil over medium heat. Let the ingredients infuse their flavor into the broth for about 20 minutes. Decrease heat to low and continue to let the broth develop for another 30 to 40 minutes; it will be worth the wait.
Remove the shallots, lime leaves, and lemongrass with a slotted spoon. Turn the heat back up to medium and cook the sweet potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.
In a blender, puree small batches of the broth and potatoes until smooth. Remember not to fill your blender more than two-thirds, and put a towel over the top!
Repeat until all the soup is blended.
Reheat, ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with the mint, cilantro, and some toasted shaved coconut.
Vampire Slayer Soup
Rebecca says: “Garlic has a long list of health benefits: antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-vampiric (I admit it’s been hard to find research studies on that last one), and much, much more. Garlic lovers will gravitate toward this soup, but I want to convince those of you who say, ‘Garlic? Eww!’ to try it. Those overwhelmed by garlic’s natural pungency will delight in how roasting transforms the garlic into a caramelized, sweet-smelling delight. In this recipe, roasted garlic is simmered in the broth, adding to the gentle mellowing. Further fortified with Yukon Gold potatoes, thyme, pepper, onion, and a spritz of lemon, this nutritious soup will warm you to the teeth, so to speak.”
- 4 heads garlic, plus 2 teaspoons minced
- 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup peeled and finely diced Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or ¼ teaspoon dried
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3¼ cups broth (we recommend Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth; see recipe above)
Cut the tops off the heads of garlic and discard. Drizzle each head with 1 teaspoonddd olive oil, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Wrap the garlic in parchment paper in one bundle, and then wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes; the aroma will tell you when it’s ready. The flesh should be soft and golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic, potatoes, thyme, pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and sauté for 5 minutes. Pour in ¾ cup of the broth to deglaze the skillet, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. Simmer until potatoes are tender and liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the flesh into a bowl and mash with the back of a spoon to form a paste.
Pour the remaining 2½ cups of broth into the blender. Add the roasted garlic and the onion mixture and blend until smooth. Transfer to a soup pot over low heat and stir in ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook just until heated through.
Taste; you may want to add a spritz of lemon juice and salt.