Because of Martin’s race schedule, I get to travel a lot, meeting incredible people. I find myself having more and more conversations about healthy stuff now, which is great because I’m always learning — and gathering amazing information and recipes to share with YOU! (Thanks, cancer…?! I think!)
Sometimes, I meet people that I just click with and know they will either change my life or become a special part of it. Whatever the duration, we were meant to cross paths and, in this case, bring an absolutely delicious recipe to you.
More: Recipes for when your tastebuds revolt
I’d been devouring Jen Jentz’s concoctions several times a week for months before we met on the patio of her restaurant, The Pickled Peach, recently. Jen believes in what I am trying to accomplish in raising awareness about women’s health and has agreed to periodically contribute her amazing recipes to our website.
Sweet Potato Lemongrass Ginger Soup
- 5 lbs sweet potatoes
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 3 white/yellow onions
- 3 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 oz chopped lemongrass (find this in your fresh herb section or sometimes in frozen)
- 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest/peel
- Salt to taste
- Roast whole sweet potatoes in 400-degree oven for 45-60 min until very tender
- Let potatoes cool and then remove skins
- Saute onion, ginger and lemongrass until fragrant and onion has some color to it
- Add 2 quarts vegetable stock and heat to simmer
- Add sweet potatoes to soup
- Blend lemon juice, lemon zest and salt with soup in batches until smooth
So, why Jen and I instantly connected has only a little to do with geography and a lot to do with passion for good, healthy, delicious food.
We talked about growing up in Michigan, traveling completely different paths and finding ourselves admittedly obsessed with good, healthy food. We marveled at what the world might be like if everyone got it.
Got what? Vegetarianism? Veganism? Eating only raw foods?
None of it and all of it.
Jen and her husband opened The Pickled Peach in Davidson, N.C., more than two years ago and are, quite frankly, killing it. The food is incredible, local and healthy, and I always walk away knowing I’ve strengthened my energy with honest ingredients — after maneuvering for a table on the perpetually packed patio!
I wish every town had a chef with Jen’s philosophy about food, and she shared how she came to form her own ideas about nutrition.
She had just finished undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame and was spending the summer pulling radishes from the earth at her parents’ farm. Her parents were eager for her to put that hard-earned environmental science degree to good use; Jen was eager to feel good about what she was contributing to the world.
She realized what she really wanted was quite simple: She wanted to give people good food.
“I just knew what I wanted to do,” she remembers. “And so it became all about making that happen.” Her plan took her from busing tables at an upscale restaurant to earning a degree in hospitality business. When she discovered the hidden patio behind the pedestrian-swarming Main Street in Davidson, she pushed past the naysayers who said the location didn’t have enough visibility. She knew reputation was everything, and that she had good food to offer. She believed in her dream and never gave up.
More: Creative ideas for supporting a friend with a cancer diagnosis — Round 2!
Jen – and by extension, her team at The Pickled Peach – isn’t about forcing nutritious food on anyone. Her approach is a gentle, unassuming introduction. The Pickled Peach doesn’t have Diet Coke, no, but maybe try this variety of homemade teas? Her chilled avocado soup is both raw and vegan, but please, try it without those labels. Fall in love with the swirling tastes of lemon and cayenne amid the rich, creamy texture of fresh avocado. Then tell me you don’t like vegan food.
I always emphasize no one approach will work for everyone when it comes to cancer treatment, just like no one diet will be the right fit for everyone. Jen gets this, and in the hour we spent volleying ideas and thoughts and beliefs over the minimalist flower arrangement on her table, I knew she was going to help me change lives through SherryStrong, too.
I am beyond excited to share our first recipe from The Pickled Peach today!
It’s healthy, it’s easy and it’s scrumptious. Not just delicious. It’s life-changing. Because these true flavors and clean ingredients are the backbone to eating better, living better and staying healthy. Being “healthy” doesn’t have to be about Birkenstocks and chickens in your backyard. Being healthy can be as simple as deciding to eat somewhere dedicated to delivering nutrition married to flavor.
Stay tuned, because Jen is on a mission like mine, and we have more to share with you!
Thanks for recipes — especially the soup — It is getting so cold and soup is just what I needed — something new and different – Can’t wait to try it — Thanks for posting — I know you are busy but I do appreciate the recipes so much.