One of my favorite gatherings is the Food as Medicine conference, which brings together hundreds of nutritionally minded physicians, nurses, and other wellness professionals. I cook for the attendees, and while they often kindly tell me how much they learn from me, it definitely goes both ways. In fact, this recipe was inspired by Dr. Joel Evans, who is attracted to nutrition from both a scientific and an aesthetic viewpoint and loves to speak about the colors of food having a tangible relation to their healing qualities. There is a school of thought—and increasing scientific evidence—that the more vibrant the color, the more nutrition there is to be found in a food. As an ode to Joel, I set out to create the most colorful salad I could, using purple beets, orange carrots, and fresh mint. If I’d had a vegetable crisper instead of a box of crayons as a kid, this salad would have been the result. You can substitute lemon or lime juice for the orange juice.
When I was a kid, nothing could compare to hearing the jingling bells of the ice cream man; it meant I got a Creamsicle. Looking for that taste again and to create something kids would adore, I came up with this recipe. One note: If you have a sensitive mouth or throat issues, omit the ginger to avoid irritation.
Pomegranate juice might just be the gateway to eternal life. It has been consumed for about five thousand years and revered for nearly as long. Early Persians claimed the fruit had immortal properties, while in China it was a symbol of longevity. Contemporary science is content to say pomegranates have unusually high levels of antioxidants—more than blueberries or cranberries, and that’s saying a lot. And contemporary Rebecca is content to say it has a lovely sweet-tart taste that I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid. In this recipe, I wanted to smooth out pomegranate’s somewhat assertive flavor while pumping up the nutrition, so I turned to musky hibiscus, which has been shown to help control cholesterol and limit fatty buildup in arteries. To take it over the top, I added frozen strawberries, frozen blue- berries, and orange rounds, to make something akin to Middle Eastern sangria. I think the ancients were on to something.