Monday, July 29, 2013

Correct thinking about food.

Correct thinking is an art form that must be cultivated over time.

Now granted, I am referring mostly to food, but if you think about it, it applies all throughout life. The correctness of those thoughts must continue to rise, form, change and transmute into something lesser, softer, stronger, larger...something that is more correct to the discipline in which the thought has been applied, ultimately, to get the best effect from that world.

Okay, I'm getting to the point already.

Many of us don't think correctly about food. It's not because we can't or don't want to. Heck, we try all the time with these loud and oftentimes annoying messages of  all who want to lose weight and "tone up." I'm not a fan of the word "tone," only but for the sound the whale makes.
We read these magazines, look at websites and books, searching for that perfect diet or that plan that just makes it all work. No one ever says that there isn't only one way to work food, although there are a variety of examples on this theme. Point is, I think our country is only just getting to the real issue that exists, that will help us all to think correctly about our food.

We all want a life of joy, and we want this in as many ways as possible. If we think that losing weight is connected to that ultimate source of joy, we will wage this battle happily for the expectation we afford. However, expectation often breeds disappointment, since we attach ourselves so heavily to the outcomes. As humans, we desire. All of our prayers and meditations, intentions, desires, are all to lead us to the holy grail of some form of higher satisfaction, our joy. But what if we could find this joy without having a thing? Being thin does not equal an automatic check being sent in the mail. Being rich doesn't make the love interest of your dreams love you back. Having a home means having a house note, which means another responsibility. Do we need to think of what our desires mean, if they manifest into reality? Do we really know what we are asking of ourselves when we make these plans and goals? Do we know what work and possibly suffering goes into our goal?

Conversely, do we understand what the pleasure of attaining a disease-free life is without the sacrificing of a few earthly pleasures? As we expand our consciousness into a higher state of being, we need to look at what truly frees us from suffering. This is what we strive to attain when we have deep desires for certain things such as weight loss. What if we were forced to grow accustomed to eating a certain way because we got sick? What choice would we have then? As a diabetic or a heart attack survivor, etc., we would not have the choices we have now in our disease-free states.

Here's my take on what I feel is correct thinking about food, that I have had to come to over the past year: we are always either feeding our cancer cells or shrinking them. We are either eating whole and raw foods or we are eating some lesser form of food that is inherently less whole. We are either fully awake in our reality that eating in restaurants has an element of danger, or we know for sure the standards that restaurant claims. We read packages and allow ourselves to be informed consumers, and we eat to live. We look at our money and we make strong decisions on whether we want to spend the extra cash on having wild fish shipped to us, or we spend extra money on our hospital bills when something goes really wrong. We have a choice, and it goes beyond, far beyond, any weight loss plan we could summon up.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Soupy Soup, not Stew, Which I usually make.

The stew I had been so known for making, has become soup.

It's almost like a graduation. Anyone can make a stew and put too many ingredients, bulking up the stock and filling the bowl with saucy goodness, but can one make a soup delicate enough to be served alongside a meal but hearty enough to be called a meal if it came down to it?

I found a balance to those two things and I didn't even have to call mom or find a recipe to get this balance. I guessed, which is even more fun. I sat down with the following ingredients and proceeded to chop myself into a certain food-induced bliss while listening to Anne Marie Colbin and her lecture on mostly bone health, the nature of cravings and bio-individuality as it applies to the five elements theory of Chinese Medicine.

It was a meditation while I listened to the funny and choppy voice of Colbin. Okay was someone going to give me a heads up on how tough it is to chop into a celery root? Wow, delicious flavor, much smoother and mellower than celery, but so hard to get into. The same commentary is reserved for kohlrabi, whose leftovers I sauteed and served with flounder and black rice. Kohlrabi has a great flavor and crunch, but it is almost impossible to chop.

My other ingredients I threw in were yellow onions, carrots, garlic, parsley,  thyme and coconut oil. I let them sweat in the oil before throwing them into a vegetable stock I flavored with just a shake or so of red pepper and garlic powder, and a little salt at the end. It's nice to rely more on flavor these days, as the mineral richness adds much flavor. This was a very kidney balancing blend. In fact I've got extra for dinner this evening.

That mysterious Peruvian Sauce tastes amazing on many things.

....I haven't tried it on oatmeal. That might not work.

Ah, the secret for the ingredients in this Peruvian sauce seems like a long search for many. I just remember frequenting El Pollo Inka with my then hubby, in Redondo Beach or Hermosa? Maybe it was the border. I would ask about the sauce and I was once told of its contents by a nice waitress. Or wait, maybe she didn't give me the whole list. She told me it contained lettuce and jalapenos. Since I got the Nutribullet, I thought it would be absolutely awesome to make the sauce and really break open the nutrients in this sauce, so it would become even more potent for me healthwise. I love my Nutribullet, but I think this gem of a blender deserves its own post.

I  don't often follow recipes so I hadn't even tried looking up the sauce prior to making it. I just remembered what the waitress said, and was intent on trying it. Funny that it has taken me this long to get to it. I mean, we are talking years. Seriously?

This is what I decided my sauce should have: 1 full head of  iceberg lettuce, 3 large jalapenos, I Mexican green onion (the one with the big bulb, or maybe just add extra green onions), 4 cloves of garlic, and lettuce. That's it! I cut the ingredients and blended down most of the lettuce before putting the onion, garlic and jalapenos in. Salt was very last. I allowed my tongue to guide that process.

Once the sauce was made, I took such great delight in eyeing this beauty of a sauce! It looks so bright, fresh and green. It is amazing in taste and goes well with a variety of dishes calling for a flavorful, spicy element. It also adds that boost of water, fiber and minerals, selenium in particular, comes to mind.

Here's my flageolet bean and cabbage dish with my version of the sauce.

But I should reveal to you what I think most people are talking about when they refer to that Peruvian sauce. But I could be wrong. I also could have been mislead on its ingredients! Either way, my sauce was amazing, and I can build on it or even try this recipe I'm about to post, because it sounded delicious as the one I made.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Burned Rice, Sprouting Fails, and other Kitchen Calamities.

I finally managed to successfully burn the rice. Joshua, my head mentor teacher and owner of the largest nutrition school in the world, would surely smile at this statement and nod his head in approval, as he waited for me to breathlessly exclaim my findings. I'm also sure that at least a hundred others wrote the same exact creepy words on their blog...all you can do is smile about it.

I also managed to over salt the fish, undercook the kohlrabi, and made creamy parsnips that were delicious in flavor but had woody cores whose warnings I had ignored. I wished I hadn't for the mere fact that it really disturbs the smoothness of whipped parsnips with inedible bits that do more to annoy, despite the delicious and naturally sweet flavor. With parsnips, it was the first vegetable where I noticed it quelling a sweet craving. No other vegetable has inspired me to even think something so ridiculous...

The salt block is an incredible natural event and a phenomenal invention from someone who found that one could cook on it as well. God bless them. But here's the thing. If you don't really know what you're doing, you could come out with one salty mess-terpiece. I mean, let's really look at this. Unless its a super dense piece of meat, don't venture to leave anything moist on the block for longer than a minute or two, otherwise you will have some very highly salted food. No matter how much I claim to love salt, there is such a thing as too much. 

Well, I found it. Now I use the Touch It Once technique on my salt block: smooth the food over it, or lay the food down MOMENTARILY. Then abruptly pick it up and transfer to a nonsalty plate. Now, if the food is dry or you place a film between the food and the block, this could be something to look at, whether that film is oil, plastic wrap or a banana leaf, just a few ideas. Of course the wrap would make tacky the natural salt patina, but it's your dinner! Choose wisely. Meanwhile, the pink salt provides a well rounded flavor profile that completely compliments the natural flavor in the food. I find it to be miraculous and have not enjoyed my food until I discovered it. Also, finishing with salt is different than the salt plate. Try it and see what I mean. Just like any food, leaving it in its whole state closest to how it's found in nature, applies here. 

Whew! Meanwhile, turning to my kohlrabi, he and I needed to have a discussion about the nature of him still being in my fridge. A very sturdy but watery root vegetable, it cooked up nicely and has a lot more crunch than most root vegetables so it takes a long while to cook. No mystery here. It needed another five to ten minutes. Instead I seasoned it very simply and began to consume with reckless abandon. A small shake of black and red pepper, mustard and salt, did the trick. Not a huge fail after all, but it's fun to practice talking about what DIDN'T work. Honestly it's just the talking about it at all, that makes it so special. The kohlrabi must feel loved. Every living thing should.

Okay, I'm just gonna say something short about the sprouts because I did an inhuman amount of veggie prep cooking for someone who was cooking for no one: no dinner parties, partners or children, just exploring the kitchen and my ability to transform and repurpose food. Oh and of course I've got dinner ready tonight without any prep at all, and this pleases me to no end.

Okay, the sprouts. First there were gnats, then fear of over fermenting, then it was too cold in the fridge (because I wanted the gnats to leave), so big sprout fail. But there's still hope. I'm going to try again with a new batch of different beans and hope for the best while salvaging these at least. I know there must be some additional benefit for the fermenting. I still ALMOST win...

Okay enough failing. Here are two successful reports: my Peruvian hot sauce, and my cabbage. These both did so well, that in my final stretch when writing on deadline at the wee hour of the morning, I decided to cook them at 6a. Yes, I had managed to stay up all night.o got a nap and celebrated my food win. I now have some nutritious hot sauce for my cabbage and rice! Speaking of rice, I'd better check on my rice sprouts...

Monday, July 8, 2013

My first real foray into sprouting grains.

So the time had come for me to do the deed, the sprouting deed. I was so resistant to the entire process. I came up with quite a few excuses about how I wasn't eating grains, and how I didn't have the time, which was true. So many crazy events had happened in my school year that I didn't have a chance to focus on anything other than what I was trying to accomplish with the kids...

Once things had become a more normal state, it was time to begin making a sprouting name for myself. Again, remember that I had given up grains as an experiment. Ultimately I felt that there were a few things that needed to be purged from my system before heading into the next territory of whatever bio-individual experimentation I chose to divulge my nature in. Besides, at the time, the closest thing to fasting I could do, was to purge myself of the foods that seemed to be giving me digestive stress and some silent inflammation: dairy, wheat and soy. Fish and vegetables became the name of the game, and it was a refreshing new chapter in my food life. I was ready to make more striated muscularity.

And so my plan was working, but I did get hungry. Next thing I knew, I was clearing out my pantry and found some old wheatberries I hadn't eaten. Thinking that sprouting would offer me less carbohydrate (as it is the fuel used for sprouting and converting the berry into a deeper level of nutrients) and more protein was a guarantee. Add to that greater digestion power, and I had a meal forming that was worth eating.

I soaked the grains in an airtight mason jar and rinsed the berries twice daily. Before long I had tails growing from them. It was wonderful as I went ahead and cooked them up. They became my breakfast cereal for a few days with butter and agave nectar. Once I saw this non-threatening meal as a success, I went onto the big leagues with the brown rice. I wasn't trying to get too many sprouting projects done at once, though I had the idea all along of getting more sprouts into universal design.

The tongues of fire beans were next. An heirloom bean meant high quality food, so I went for it. The beans underwent a slightly different process, as I had to drain the remaining water after soaking time was through. I then rinsed the beans and allowed them to drain while being turned on its side or head, with a mesh top meeting the top of the jar. This encouraged me to take the time to make sure the beans were done properly. After a couple of days the beans were sprouting, and I didn't wait for them to get very long tails as I wanted to taste their higher food value loving goodness! I cooked them in a small bit of coconut oil and spices from a red cabbage dish I made in that same pan, a teaspoon of Prussian blue salt and a shake of both garlic and red pepper. I was very surprised and pleased by the tastes of all my sprouts!

The difference between the ordinary bean and grain and the sprouted bean or grain, is  mainly the taste and nutrient value, not necessarily in that order. I'm really excited to be able to create healthier foods around that help to improve my nutrient profile and offer me a better experience of my health, as I learn more about them.

I am so pleased to be able to produce healthy life.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Salt Block Blog...

I had a passionate love once for iodized table salt that extended far past the limits of any love I thought I was able to attain. Once I realized how unhealthy our attraction was, I found another lover: Himalayan pink salt. Now I'm finding that for higher mineral content I need to dump the pink salt and get with the grey salt. While I will be grabbing up some French grey salts, I won't forget my pink lover, for pink still has a higher mineral profile and still maintains those benefits. Some would say that pink salt is a bit hyped, but anything that beautiful has to have some wonderful energy behind it.

Before i go on, you can check this site out to see the lovely salt blocks that I fell in love with some time ago, and I'll show you my own, with its own special patina to it, since I've had it for some time.

Knowing that the discovery of the salt mines dates back to the 4th century, and that salt was used to trade among countries (hence The term salary), I thought I would post this lovely historical tidbit. Awesome site.

I also just found out that it's the root word of salad, because they used to salt their lettuce, and sausage. I think you can figure that one out.

So there you have it. This is verification of my love for the block. Salt blocks can definitely be used in a multitude of ways, but I think I am enjoying the idea of serving on the plate more than anything. And I
can see myself making salads in my salt bowl that is arriving very soon, although I'd like to own a salt bowl as an elegant salt cellar too. The energy of having these salts around in your kitchen is unbeatable. I actually heated and cooked eggs on the block. But mostly I use it to salt my vegetables and fish. For dinner, I had
over salted some fish by leaving it too long on the block and ended up using the fish for flavoring my rice bowl.