January 12, 2009
I’ve been away at Kripalu for the weekend. For the first time probably ever, in all the 20 some-odd years that I’ve been going up there for R&R or a workshop, the food was fabulous! Great variety and flavors, desserts that were gluten free, macro bar, everything organic. And now, I’m home, I want someone to cook for me! I am not really in the mood to cook, but I will.
Here is the fast and easy dinner (30 minutes) I prepared for my family tonight with whatever was in the ‘fridge:
Polenta with seaweed, sauerkraut and pesto, tempeh and veggies, and steamed kale
Start with the tempeh, since it takes longest to cook.
Slice one package of tempeh into triangles- cut the triangles, then stand them on the side and carefully cut in half, to make thin triangles. Place in oiled pressure cooker, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons or so of wheat free, low sodium tamari soy sauce, add 1-inch filtered water, bring up to pressure and cook 15 minutes, bring down pressure, layer 1/2 inch slices of celery and butter cup squash (any veggies will do) and cook 5 more minutes, or until squash is cooked.
For the polenta: 3 cups boiling water, add in 1 tablespoon crushed dried wakame, pinch of sea salt, 1 cup polenta (corn meal, corn flour). Turn the flame down, add the polenta slowly to the water stirring all the while, and be very careful because it becomes thick and bubbles and can pop up. You can stir in a tablespoon of olive oil at this point or skip it. I skipped it tonight. Stir on low to medium heat until it thickens. When it pulls away from the sides it is about done. You can serve it from the pot or press it into an oiled pie plate and then slice. To serve, cut a wedge and then place a dollop of pesto on the top, and then a tangle of yummy raw, fermented sauerkraut.
I have a favorite brand of organic Argentinian polenta flour called de la Estancia. It cooks in a minute, it is not pre-cooked- it is higher is protein and lower in starch than most corn because if where it is grown and it can be milled to a very fine consistency.
The steamed kale is easy and fast, too. Wash the leaves in a bowl of water, then strip off the greens from the stem, tear or cut into smaller pieces and place into pan with about 1 inch boiling water. Cover for a few minutes and check to see if done. You are looking for the bright, vibrant green. Taste- is it too chewy? let cook a minute more. You do not want to leave the room when cooking greens. Stay present to the amazing process of transformation!
I know this blog took longer to write than it did for me to cook dinner. What was I whining about again?
October 16, 2008
When I made the choice to eat simply, locally, organically I had to begin to look at my buying habits as well as my eating habits. Happily for me it was a fairly easy job because I had just moved into a house with roommates who already kept a macrobiotic kitchen. The pantry was stocked with large glass jars (old mayo jars from the deli) filled with grains, beans, seeds, nuts and seaweeds. In the ’70’s, natural food stores did not have frozen meals, rice dream, soups in a box or good quality cookies. Pretty basic, simple and clean.
In my cooking classes the first thing I ask my students to think about is what is in their pantry and refrigerator? My rule of thumb is to read the label and if there are more than 8 ingredients and if there are words you can’t pronounce, then give or throw the package away. If the ingredients include sugar, chemicals, food coloring, additives, MSG, over 180 mgs of salt per serving or any cholesterol- pitch it. If anything is past its “sell by” date- throw it out. Making choices about what we eat is a daily practice. This is the first step to creating a healthy and natural kitchen.
September 12, 2008
Life is all about finding balance. Balance and health are not static, they depend on choice and our ability to change and adapt. Even the Apollo Space journey wasn’t a straight shot, there were recalculations and adjustments every part of the path to the moon and back.
The beauty of free choice and the use of food as medicine come together to manifest the many possible levels of using food: from eating to cure disease, to eating for maintaining health and, ultimately, using our food for a purpose.
A stimulating way to learn about cooking and food is to learn about Macrobiotics and 5 Element Theory. This opens up not only endless possibilities of ways to cook delicious and powerful food but also gives way to choices about how to live our lives in a balanced way, in harmony with the changing seasons and years.
The 5 tastes, 5 colors and various cooking methods make endless combinations of grains, beans and vegetables into delicious meals. Learning to cook strong, healing and delicious food with variety is a worthy goal and takes time.
Some places to learn more: