Thursday 7 June 2012

Waldorf Salad GF SCD - An Anti-Prostate Cancer Dish

I've always loved Waldorf Salad but my usual take on it is nothing like the one prepared today at The Waldorf Astoria. This video shows the chef preparing the salad using candied walnuts - I've never used candied walnuts! My Waldorf Salad has always been very basic - chopped apple, chopped celery, walnuts, a few raisins and yogurt or mayonnaise.

The original salad was created by the first maître d'hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, and appeared in his recipe book, The Cook Book by "Oscar of The Waldorf" in 1986. It didn't contain nuts but the recipe became extremely popular and nuts started to appear in the recipe early in the 20th century.

Four years ago my lovely brother-in-law, a Geordie and extremely talented musician with a love for Americana music, sadly died of prostate cancer and I'm quite passionate ensuring that our diet will help my boys to avoid this disease.

The ingredients of Waldorf Salad make it the ideal anti-prostate cancer food :

  • Walnuts - sufferers of prostate cancer have elevated levels of endothelin, a protein that can increase inflammation of blood vessels. Research from the University of California has shown that eating walnuts can reduce these levels.
  • Apples - are rich in Quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant which can prevent or reduce the growth of prostate cell cancer cells by blocking androgen activity.
  • Celery - is high in the flavonoid, luteolin, which has been shown to repress prostate cancer cell proliferation.

We are anxious to include as many of these anti-prostate cancer foods in our diet as possible since it appears that the risk is higher for men with a family history of prostate cancer. Hopefully, our plant based diet of the last few decades will have greatly reduced this risk for my husband.

I am using a cashew based mayonnaise. There are conflicting reports about whether cashews should or should not be part of an anti-cancer diet. Cashews are high in alpha-linolenic acid and some studies have suggested that high levels of alpha-linolenic acid may contribute to prostate cancer. Other studies found no such relationship since cashews are an excellent source of Vitamin K and selenium. Vitamin K has been shown to reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer in men and recent studies have shown that prostate inflammation and cancer occur in males who have low levels of selenium in the blood. I think moderation is probably the key.  I found one chat page where someone discovered that by eating 100 grams of cashews a day he could reduce the inflammation of his prostate gland.
"A large 2006 study found no association between total α-linolenic acid intake and overall risk of prostate cancer.[17] Multiple studies[18][19] have shown a relationship between alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is abundant in linseed oil, and an increased risk of prostate cancer. This risk was found to be irrespective of source of origin (e.g. meat, vegetable oil).[20] A recent (2009) metastudy, however, found evidence of publication bias in earlier studies, and concluded that if ALA contributes to increased prostate cancer risk, the increase in risk is quite small" Wikipedia

Waldorf Salad GF SCD

3 - 4 Organic Red Sweet Apples (I used Royal Gala)
3 - 4 sticks of organic celery (include some if the celery heart and its leaves)
6 tblspns raisins
Dressing (see below)
Candied walnuts (see below)

Dressing :

½ cup (120ml) organic raw cashews soaked for 2 hours in spring/filtered water
3½ tblsps organic walnut oil
1 large floret of cauliflower
60 ml filtered or spring water
3 tblsps lemon juice  
1 tsp mustard (to taste - I used 1 tsp)
1 tsp honey (maple syrup for vegan not SCD)
1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar 
pinch salt

Soak the cashews in spring or filtered water for at least two hours.

Drain and tip into the blender with the cauliflower.

Blend until smooth.

Slowly add the walnut oil to the blended cashews and cauliflower. Then, if you are following the SCD, make some mustard using dried mustard powder.

Add some spring or filtered water to the powder and mix until you get the correct consistency.

Squeeze the lemons.

Add the honey (or other liquid sweetener), lemon juice, mustard, cider vinegar and salt to the blender and blend together. Pour into a glass container and chill in the fridge for a few hours, this is best made at least one day before if possible because the flavours come together very nicely when it's been chilled a day or so. If you think it's a little too thin, add a little more cauliflower. Though the dressing thickens over a few days in the fridge.

Candied Walnuts :

180g walnut pieces (about 2 cups)
4 tsps honey (or vegan option, maple syrup - not SCD legal)
1 tsp fennel seeds (optional, advanced SCD)
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper

Heat the oven to 170° C. We didn't use all the spice mix in the recipe, leaving out about half a teaspoon. This has a bit of a kick to it so if you prefer it less spicy, use less cayenne pepper or less of the mix. These candied walnuts glisten and contrast quite dramatically with the pale dressed salad.

Crush the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar. Sometimes it's easier to do this if you fry them in a little oil for a minute or two. Add the other spices and mix.

Pour the honey (or other liquid sweetener) slowly over the walnuts and mix.

Sprinkle the spices over and stir gently.

Lay out some baking parchment on a tray and place the walnut pieces separately on the paper.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes but be careful not to burn them.

Set on one side to cool. Prepare the other ingredients. Slice the celery and include some of the tender leaves from the heart.

Chop the apple into bite sized chunks.

Tip the sliced celery and apple pieces into a bowl, sprinkle on the raisins and stir.

Add about 8 tablespoons of the dressing (more or less to your taste) and mix in.

Sprinkle with some of the candied walnuts.

This recipe serves 4 to 6 people.