Golden Energy: beets and nettle tea

Today I needed a healthy dose of yellow. I gathered together my favorite yellow foods, onion, turmeric, beets, lentils, potato and nettle tincture.    yellow beats

Arlo is reaching for a beet and in the arms of his grandma. He won’t eat the red ones but he loves the yellow ones. Milder perhaps? I quartered these and boiled them in an inch of water. Then I ran cold water over them and pushed their peels off easily with my fingers.

yellow1 I found a sweet onion at the market and I could smell its sweetness as I cut into it. I poured some lentils into the pan along with some sesame and peanut oil, and beet water left over from boiling the beets. The lentils will absorb this and become soft in 10/15 minutes.

potato

The veggies also include some shitake from the farmers market and a potato that I thought would be sweet, but it tasted like a pretty average potato to me. I cheated and cooked it in the microwave for 4 min.

turmeric

I used a lot of turmeric, but you can’t go wrong. It is a smokey flavor but not overly rich. It makes everything an even richer golden color. Even the onions turned into beautiful golden transparent wedges. A little dill and cilantro. A few dashes of salt.

yellow dish

Cut up some dried apricots and sprinkle them in if you have them…or golden raisins and almond slivers. I served it with plain yogurt, a nice sour side dish that also helps me digest my food.

nettle ffiled

My mom and I hiked out to the nettle bed at the opposite end of the hay field. We also found some beautiful dried purple Dock. A plant famous for it’s resilience. Arlo was a little runny in the nose from allergies, but he hung in there, literally. The nettle bed has been pushed to the side this year by long grass. You will want to clip the top four or five leaves of the plant, the new growth, so don’t wait too late in the season like I did. An ideal time for nettle is about mid July.

bag o nettle I have heard that indigenous peoples pick the nettle with a special gesture that prevents them from getting stung. I do not know this technique and have tried using rubber gloves, plastic bags and scissors. I walk away with ouchy stings every time.

nettle 2Between me starting my first period since pregnancy and my mom’s hot flashes, the nettle is perfect for balancing hormones and gives us a heavy dose of vitamin D. It is also good for weight loss I hear. I boiled the nettle leaves with lemon balm and spearmint leaves. We soaked the foliage for a few hours in a big steel pot. Then we rinsed and boiled it for about an hour on low. I pulled the leaves out before they turned brownish green.

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Wolfgang Laib

He is one of my most favorite artists. He decided to be an artist instead of a monk. Here he is sifting pollen from hazelnuts that he collected himself. His work is visual medicine. I look at this piece and I am reminded how healing yellow is. Just looking at it I feel energized. In this case, the color and the substance carry powerful meaning, of fecundity and rejuvenation.

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Black rice and purple cabbage mash up

I was musing over the mysterious disappearance of black rice from my studio on facebook the other day. It lead to a request from my friend Mickey seeking an interesting black rice dish. It took me a while, but every other week or so I look at the substantial stock of black rice in my kitchen and try to figure out a new way to cook it. Honestly, it originally put me off in the past due to the lack of flavor and rough texture. Since then, my palate has become more sophisticated, I now see black rice much the way the ancient Chinese did, as “food for the emperors”. It is not so bland, as it steams the house fills with a nutty fragrance, exotic and welcoming.

black rice

After steaming the rice, in a separate pan, I cooked carrots and purple cabbage, red onion, fresh ginger and garlic. I think that color has it’s own nutritional value.

cabbage raw

My cat Gertrude has become pretty grumpy since Arlo was born. She doesn’t seem to be the least bit interested in the baby. On the other hand, Arlo is completely in love with her. Like peppy le pew, his eyes turn into little heart shapes and he sings a low humming tune.

Arlo is in love with Gertrude. But she is repulsed. You are another species Arlo.

Arlo is in love with Gertrude. But she is repulsed. You are another species little man.

I chose to use a combination of oils, peanut and sesame. Together the flavor is fairly mild, but also very nutritional. After learning that seeds are packed with essential minerals, I add flax and sesame to salads, and stir fry.

Don't use to much, it will make your texture gummy,

Don’t use too much, it will make your texture gummy.

As you can see the local wild flowers in bloom include black eyed susan and queen anne’s lace.

Ingredients:

  • one cup of black rice cooked in vegetable or chicken broth
  • Four large carrots
  • 1/4 of a small red cabbage
  • half of a red onion
  • one garlic clove
  • chopped ginger
  • peanut and sesame oil
  • fresh lime juice
  • drizzled soy sauce
  • equal parts cayenne, cinnamon, and cumin

 

purple cabbage

I stirred the black rice into the mixture and added some soy sauce (instead of salt), cayenne pepper, cinnamon and cumin (equal parts).

processed cabbagePour about half of the mixture into a food processor to add some complexity to the texture.

cabbage dish

Served with freshly squeezed lime, plain yogurt and marinated artichokes.

Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

The temperature dropped this week, almost freakishly. It got me thinking about Fall and many things associated. We all know that Fall is a time for squash and spices, but is also the time that many of us go back to school, or teach in my case. Not that I dislike working, it brings a full filling structure to life. But this summer has been one to always cherish with my sweet little Arlo. Watching him grow up every step of the way has been a gift I would never have traded for anything.

Arlo has begun to crawl across the floor, wave and play the drum all in the same week. It makes cooking a bit challenging (I probably say this in nearly every post) but I have begun to place him in the pack n play for short periods. He is tolerant for short durations, but today, with his horizontal stripes on he looked like a cartoon prison baby.

Arlo in the Pack n Play

Arlo in the Pack n Play

 

Anti-diabetic, antioxidant Acorn or Winter squash is considered to be one of the worlds most healthiest foods. I heard this once from a woman who ate squash while fighting cancer. It’s just one of those vegetables I think we over look sometimes, in restaurants and at home. There is really no good reason for that, squash is tasty, versatile, filling and affordable.

 

Acorn squash bake while the links simmer

Acorn squash bake while the links simmer

 

I cut the squash in half and set it face up in the oven on 350. There is butter inside the squash and about a half inch of water in the pan. I cooked some hot turkey sausages with a white onion, garlic, and fresh ginger root upstairs on the stove.

Flavors that cooperate: walnuts, ginger, orange zest and juice, raisins, onions, garlic.

Flavors that cooperate: walnuts, ginger, orange zest and juice, raisins, onions, garlic.

 

Biggest mistake that cooks make is throwing things in and tasting at the end. Always taste your food as you go people.

processor blends ingredients so they are a finer ground meat

processor blends ingredients so they are a finer ground meat

I am always a bit skeptical of meat photographs. I mean, who really wants to look at it, especially ground meat. Regardless, I promise you this is a delicious mixture. I put the sausages in the food processor with these other ingredients. I am never exact, you might have figured this out about me by now. I am however, particular about flavor.

  • 2 dash cinnamon
  • dash of clove
  • pinches of dill
  • dash of turmeric
  • handful of walnuts
  • golden raisins
  • hand full of bread crumbs
  • fresh ginger
  • A squeeze of orange
  • orange peel zest
  • Anise seeds
A little water in the pan keeps them moist.

A little water in the pan keeps them moist.

I cooked the squash for about 45 minutes. I removed them from the oven temporarily only to scrape the first half inch layer of cooked squash out, which I mixed with the meat. Next, which is plainly obvious here, I stuffed them heartily. I cooked them for another 30 minutes. Stick a knife in your squash, it should move through like butter, but not fall apart.

with salad

A salad of pickled beets, marinated artichokes, tomatoes, and greens with orange and lime juice freshly squeezed with a little olive oil and salt. The spice mixture in the turkey meat made for a lighter (than beef or pork) yet satisfying meal. The walnuts and spices with hints of orange in the turkey made for a rich but not too overwhelming flavor. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for being patient Arlo.