Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. These days, I'm in a new phase of life, and this website is no longer updated.

Want to stay up to date? Check out my new website www.constellationacu.com.

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

Entries in Recipes: Sides (35)


Fresh, local, and gluten-free: two farmer's market fresh recipes

Purple kohlrabi and Cultured Kohlrabi "Pickles"

I had quite the day yesterday at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.  I kicked it all off at 8 am on the Fresh & Local Show as a guest.  I was on the Fresh & Local Show last summer and was so flattered to be asked back for another show.  The Fresh & Local Show is sponsored by the Minnesota Vegetable Grower's Association, and features weekly guests to talk about gardening, seasonal produce, and the farmers market. Susan Berkson and Bonnie Dehn, the joyful and knowledgeable hosts, are so much fun, and I loved being able to spend time with them talking about food, gardening, and cooking. As it turned out, one of the other guests, Mary Maguire Lehrman, also has chronic Lyme Disease, so we even got to do a little educating about Lyme.  

The radio program will be available to download online early this week, so check out this link and look for the dated broadcasts if you want to listen! 

After the broadcast, we all sat down and shared in a wonderful fresh fruit tart that I made.  It was covered in fresh fruit, including red currants I picked from my garden, had a rich cashew lemon cream filling, and a lovely oatmeal and coconut flour crust. I'll post the recipe eventually.  In the meantime, feast your eyes!

fresh fruit tart...you'll get the recipe eventually, i promise

Then I hopped in my car and drove to the Minneapolis Farmers Market. I threw on my apron and led my very first live cooking demo for the weekly Market Talk in a segment called "Fresh, Local, and Gluten-Free".  It was so much fun! I used fresh market produce to demonstrate two recipes: Cultured Kohlrabi Dill Pickles and Sauteed Zucchini with Garlic Scape Spinach Pesto.  I also shared hints and suggestions for creating allergy-friendly meals using fresh food from the market and pantry staples.  It was a yummy seasonal food extravaganza!  Everyone watching the demo got to sample my creations.  The crowd loved it - even the fermented pickles!  People really enjoyed the demonstration and were very engaged, and I had a good, consistent crowd through the whole hour-long demonstration.

I was thankful to have two great event organizers, Sandy Hill and Rachele Cermak, to help out that day, serving up samples and prompting me with questions and discussion points. It made my first demonstration much easier to do!   I was happy to see Sandy licking leftover pesto off her fingers after cleaning out the food processor.  Neither of them believed that it was my first time doing a live demonstration, and told me I should have a cooking show, which made me blush. They were very flattering! I think I may be doing another demonstration at the market this fall, so stay tuned! 

Sauteed zucchini with garlic scape and spinach pesto

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Oven-Roasted Garlic Scapes (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

Scapes, let me count the ways I love thee.

This recipe couldn't be more simple or more delicious.  And it will make your kitchen smell great too.

Garlic scapes are green plants that grown out of garlic bulbs.  These unruly, spirally, rather rebellious little things have a pungent, garlicky flavor, and a texture similar to a cross between a green bean and asparagus. They can be eaten raw, roasted, sauteed, fried, pureed in soups, pestos, and hummus, or whatever else you can imagine. I love scapes, and look forward to the short window of time in early summer when you can find them at the farmers market.  I saw them last weekend and promptly purchased two beautiful bunches.  Hey, scape season is brief; we must take advantage of it while we can!  These little darlings are only around for about a month or so in early summer, so eat up. I was even more excited to see scapes forming on the garlic in my garden. 

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Mexican Azuki Beans with Epazote (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

 An enthusiastic gardener and foodie, my coworker E is well-versed in a wide variety of herbs and spices and has a knack for finding wonderful flavors. Last week, she introduced me to sorrel, and brought me a lovely bunch of big sorrel leaves from her garden.  Upon tasting the lemony, tart flavor, I flipped out; it was so delicious! Then I used it in a tasty slaw.  I was so happy that I had blindly purchased a sorrel plant for my garden on recommendation from the nice lady at the co-op! I am quite excited for the sorrel to grow larger.

Later in the week E outdid herself.  She was bringing in a couple of epazote plants for another coworker, and made sure to point them out to me.  I was so intrigued; I'd seen dried and fresh epazote at some of the Mexican grocery stores in my neighborhood, but never really bothered to investigate it.  She told me to smell it.  I saw a twinkle in her eye, so I knew I was in for a surprise.  I excitedly rubbed the spiky, dark green leaves between my fingertips, then brought my fingers to my nose for a whiff.

Oh my! It smelled so unusual; pungent, peppery, and spicy. It was almost reminiscent of kerosene or turpentine (in the best way possible, I swear), with a strange, minty twist. I'd never smelled anything like it, and I was positively entranced by it.  Especially after E started talking to me about using epazote when cooking beans. 

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Fave Fresche, Finocchi e Piselli Brasate al "Latte" - Fresh Fava Beans, Fennel, and Peas Braised in "Milk" (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

Like my Italian? I don't get to use it very often.

This was amazing.  It was inspired by a recipe for Fave Fresche Brasate al Latte (Broad Beans Braised in Milk) in the River Cafe Cook Book Green, one of my favorite cookbooks. The River Cafe is a restaurant in London that serves country-style Italian food using local, seasonal ingredients of the highest quality, traditional, rustic cooking methods, and simple presentation.  It was started by two women, Rose Grey and Ruth Rogers, and their story is wonderful and inspiring.  Look it up on The River Cafe site.  They have a number of cookbooks, of which I am now the proud owner of two: The Cafe Cookbook and River Cafe Cookbook Green. I fell in love with these cookbooks while housesitting for a coworker periodically over the last couple years.  His wife is a food stylist and they are both total foodies, so naturally, they have an extensive cookbook collection.  Each time I'm there I study new cookbooks and read them like novels; last time I found a bunch of Donna Hay cookbooks that I had never seen before, and freaked out.  However, no matter how many new cookbooks I discovered each time I housesat,  I would always find myself inevitably retreating to the enticing River Cafe cookbooks.  

One day at work, I was overcome by a totally random and incredibly strong urge to order these books. I found used copies on Amazon for an amazing price - less than $10 each for hardcover books in excellent condition, imported right from England - and promptly purchased them.  Shortly after receiving my cookbooks, I found out that Rose had just passed away, finally succumbing to her brave battle with cancer.  I was heartbroken!  Upon researching this news further, I realized that the day I impulsively ordered these books online also happened to be the exact day that she died. Bizarre.

I think Rose was sending me a message.

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How to Cook Fresh Fava Beans

Fresh fava beans are such a treat, and are totally representative of springtime.  They can, however, be a little intimidating. How do you turn a gnarly looking pod into a succulent, nutty, tender, bright green little bean?  It is a time-consuming process, but worth every minute.  Plus, spending all that time peeling beans makes them taste really good when you finally get around to being able to use them.  My dad and I embarked on our first fava bean adventure last summer, and I've been excited for this year's fava season ever since.  When I saw some at the co-op the other day, I couldn't resist putting them in my basket.  So, I cooked them up and made a delicious Italian-inspired dish that I"ll be sharing very soon.  Before posting the recipe, I decided I wanted to demystify the fava bean for any of you who haven't yet prepared them fresh, so here's a little guide.

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