A few weeks ago, I read an article entitled Cancer Fighting Foods:What to eat before, during and after Chemotherapy. Written by Rebecca Katz, it provided some fantastic, specific, science based information for patients undergoing chemo. I snooped around for other things by the author, and lo and behold Ms. Katz just so happens to be the go-to gal on the forefront of cancer nutrition.
As per her website, Ms. Katz is a nationally-recognized expert on the role of food in supporting health during cancer treatment. She has a Masters of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education, and received her culinary training from New York's Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. As a consultant, speaker, teacher and chef, she works closely with patients, physicians, nurses, and wellness professionals to include the powerful tool of nutrition in their medical arsenal.
Rebecca has published two books that read like friendly, thoughtful, educational guides to a getting the best out of a rotten situation through the healing and restorative powers of food. They include a wealth of creative, healthful recipes with spectacular images to boot. Her first book, One Bite at a Time was written in 2008, and followed up with Cancer Fighting Kitchen. Her latest book includes a wealth of nutritional resources, including strategies to thrive during treatment and the Culinary Pharmacy, which we should all spend some time exploring.
So what gives with all the cancer talk? The topic is something that is close to my heart. My father died of Osteosarcoma more than a decade back, and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma claimed my uncle's life less than a year ago. Currently, my mother is battling Multiple Myeloma, a rare and particularly nasty cancer of the blood cells. Cancer is an uninvited nightly guest at my dinner table, and I am determined to carve my future path without its legacy carrying on to me. I staunchly believe in the power of preventative practices, especially those that lie within food.
This recipe is from Rebecca's first book, and it came together unbelievably fast. In a matter of mere moments, and looked, smelled and tasted phenomenal. This can easily be a go to dessert that will fool your guests into thinking you slaved away all day at this beauty, and no one will ever be the wiser. Did I mention there is no processed sugar, no dairy or no gluten in this? And its STILL exceptional.
Flourless Almond Torte
1 1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 large organic eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 cups bing cherries, halved and pitted
Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut a parchment paper circle to fit the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan*
Grind almonds until flour-like in a food processor, about 2 minutes. The oil from the nuts may cause the mixture to stick to the sides. Run a spatula around the edge to loosen the mixture. Continue to process about 1 minute.
Pre-measure the maple syrup, eggs, extracts and salt in a measuring cup, stir well to break up the eggs. While the food processor is running, pour through the feeding tube and process until smooth.
Pour into the pan (or pans) and bake 25 minutes. Torte is ready when the top is lightly golden brown and center is firm. If the top browns too quickly, tent with foil and continue baking.
Place two cups of bing cherries in a small saucepan over medium heat. As saucepan warms, compress cherries with a potato masher or a fork to release the maximum juices. Simmer cherry juice until its reduces and thickens slightly. Strain cherry reduction juice and pour over tarte shell (or shells). Top with remaining whole cherries and raspberries. Garnish with whipped cream if desired and serve.
* I used small tartlette pans and this recipe made six small tarts.
Thank you for bearing through my personal soapbox in this post. I strongly encourage those of you who've had the misfortune of cancer touch your life as a patient, family member, or caregiver to explore the resources within this post. Cancer has the power to strip those waging war on it of nearly every bit of control within their lives. Having the resources to make comforting, delicious, nutritionally sound meals may be a small gift to give, but the impact of providing health, hope and kindness is immeasurable.