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.

76443

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.

Advertisements

Black eyed pea hummus and thyme flat bread

I made this for a couple of friends that came over a couple of weekends ago – been meaning to post it. I made a hummus with black eyed peas and a flat bread with bits of fresh thyme from the garden.

photo(3)

In a food processor combine the yeast, sugar, flour, salt and thyme. Pulse to combine. Add the water in a steady stream until the dough begins to form a ball, turn it on to a board and knead with the heel of your hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.Coat a bowl with oil. Place dough in bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Put in a warm spot to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.When the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough, scrape it onto the counter and knead it lightly into a smooth ball. Cut into 20 pieces and with a rolling pin roll out to form very flat 5 to 6-inch circles.Preheat a stove top grill pan over medium high. Do not oil. Place bread on hot grill and cook without touching it until you see bubbles on the surface, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until bread has puffed up.
photo(2)
I served the flatbread in a basket with cloth to keep it fresh till guests arrived.
photo(1)
I soaked these for about six hours prior to cooking. This makes them a bit less gassy if you know what I mean.
photo
  • Two cups of cooked peas
  • 1/4 cup processed sesame seeds
  • juice from a lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
Caroline visiting and cooling off with Arlo.

Caroline visiting and cooling off with Arlo.

Red lentils and black rice with creasy greens

Around this time of the year creasy greens or Barbarea verna (mustard family) show up in large quantities in the lower fields. We had several friends over this past weekend and they all went home with a bag. They taste a little mustardy, a little sweet, a little bitter. Reminiscent of very young collards, but wilder.

It is best to pick them when they’re about to bloom, so they are not quite as bitter.

Our lower field, usually used for harvesting Hay.

Our lower field, usually used for harvesting Hay.

 

They are drooping a little in this picture because we had an unexpected frost last night. Even the narcissus are drooping.

The greens should be picked before the yellow blooms pop.

The greens should be picked before the yellow blooms pop.

Any part of the greens can be eaten, steamed or fresh. You could also cook them into a frittata. The green buds are the sweetest, so I put them into a salad.

Excellent source of vitamin A, K and B2

Excellent source of vitamin A, K and B2

They will keep in the fridge in a freezer bag with a paper towel for 4-5 days.

Black rice is a super food – no gluten, fat or cholesterol.

Black rice is a super food – no gluten, fat or cholesterol.

 

My salad accompanied this delicious dish, with black rice, and red lentils, cooked with red potatoes and portabella mushrooms. The dressing consisted of lemon juice and olive oil with some salt and dried dill.

Put one cup of black rice and one and 3/4 cup of water in a skillet. Bring to a simmer and cover for 35-40 min. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 min.I like to eat my rice with some yummy sour pain yogurt.

The red lentil dish  combines:

  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • a dash of cumin
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • Peanut oil (or vegetable oil)

potato

I browned the red potatoes and garlic in peanut oil. When tender, I added chopped mushrooms, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper, red lentils and stock. Covered the pan and let simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils were tender and soft and the stock completely absorbed.

 

Shitake Collards

We have an awesome farmers market here in Athens, partially because of the variety, but mostly because they always have lots of fresh mushrooms and greens. Here is a recipe that went so well that I was reminded how much I love cooked greens.  I might eat this till I get back to the size I was before I ever got pregnant. Not only that, it is vegetarian, unless you consider that a mushroom is both plant and animal family.

shitake collards

  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Collard greens or kale
  • Soy sauce or aminos
  • Fresh diced garlic and ginger to taste…Strong flavor
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Peanut oil, sesame oil (drizzled)

 

Shitake

Shitake: rich in iron and B vitamins

While your collards are cooking, prepare your shitakes. Fresh chopped ginger and garlic in a pan with a blend of sesame and peanut oil (light oils for high heat). Brown the ginger and garlic before tossing the shitake in, add a few drizzles of soy sauce. Don’t over cook! The combination of these flavors..divine, both sweet and savory.

collards

collards: detox support and antioxidants

After tearing the leaves from the thick center stalks, I steamed my collards in a 1/2 inch of water, a tablespoon of peanut oil (or oil of choice flavor) and dash of salt. They cooked on low for 20-25 min. I did give it a stir or two. I personally think people over cook their greens…as long as they have a soft texture and are still green they are ready.

Sesame seeds: minerals and cholesterol lowering

Sesame seeds: minerals and cholesterol lowering

 

Put some of the greens in a dish, drizzle with soy sauce. Top with shitake mixture. A dash of toasted sesame seeds. Delicious!!!!

pasta eggplant and greens with roasted peppers

pasta eggplant

I made a delicious pair of dishes both using roasted bell pepper.

Spinach dill linguini. Thin slices of eggplant broiled in the oven with olive oil and tons of garlic, some salt. I removed them from the oven and stacked fresh mozzarella cheese and roasted bell pepper on top and baked again till the cheese melted. Place those yummy nuggets on top of the pasta and drizzle some more olive oil. Pepper with oregano, basil and cracked pepper.

My salad

Butter lettuce – oh so mild and tender – cucumbers, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, raw pumpkin seeds, dash of cayenne, cracked rainbow pepper, sprinkle dried dill, whole flax seeds, lime juice, oil, salt, and a smear of goat cheese. peppery and refreshing.

I definitely relate to your pain with the winter, we had yet another snowstorm yesterday.xo

Winter in southeastern Ohio

Winter in southeastern Ohio

Detox juice and fiber fritters

That’s it, I am done. I have been eating way too much sugar. I woke up this morning with a resolution…to cut out sugar for a month, or at least till I am not craving it so badly. This momma needs a detox juice. The timing is right, the air is feeling warm and my mood as well. No need to wallow in bad TV and Belgium chocolate bars the size of my head (thank you Trader Joes). I will be posting my juices and salads from this point on, hoping that someone out there in the eathers will appreciate and feel inspired by the food that is not only gorgeous to look at, but will increase energy, and kill some bad parasites along the way.

Black plum, Walnuts, cucumber, spinach, blueberries, almond milk with cinnamon

Black plum, Walnuts, celery, organic coconut oil, cucumber, spinach, blueberries, almond milk with cinnamon

Basically, I dove into the fridge, freezer, and pantry to mix together some food that would not only compliment each other, but give me some protein. I always keep almond milk in the fridge and it has a ton of protein, including the walnuts and coconut oil. I also have issues with blood sugar levels, and nuts are great for that. They sustain you and maintain your glucose levels. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, and I keep a massive bag of them in the freezer that has survived me all winter. The cinnamon (also natural insulin) helped blend these flavors together and I can assure you with the help of this versatile spice, I did not miss any sugar.

juice blend

Here is my lovely. The cool thing is, it replaced my afternoon snacking and lunch and I did not feel hungry. There is a lot of fiber in this drink, but the texture did not bother me.

black eyedI made a juice again later in the day with some fresh collard greens, spinach, honey crisp apple, frozen raspberries, carrot, cucumber, celery, blueberry juice, walnuts, almond milk and cinnamon. Yes, quite a combination, but it was good. What made it even better was straining the juice prior to adding nuts and raspberries and putting the fiber mixture aside for later. For dinner, I mashed up some left over black eyed peas from my squash recipe, added some toasted sesame seeds and made fritters.

left over mixI saw a program the other day about food waste. One of the things that was mentioned in this program was the amount of fruits and vegetable throw away that restaurants produce from prepping. We compost our left over non-meat items, but sometimes have thrown away scraps of veggies and fruits that may not be appealing in a salad. If you have a solid blender (which I do), these parts can be pureed. Here, I have added non-glutinous rice flour, toasted sesame seeds, a shake of cayenne for metabolism and a couple of pinches of cumin.

fried mashThe mixture is separated into small ( and I mean soup spoon sized) patties, and fried in a combination of vegetable and sesame seed oils. done mash

The cooked left over fritters are garnished with a cucumber and marinated artichoke salad and yogurt blended with some fresh lemon juice.

majestic cowThis majestic white cow watched me drive past on my way into town. Lots of little black calves spotting the hills.

Black eyed peas and butternut squash with ginger

Just when spring began to peek through I caught a virus…luckily it is not a terrible one, but the sore throat and running nose motivated me to make a ginger packed dish. “What to make” I wondered scanning my cupboard, oh look, a bag o’ black eyed peas. Internet shows many dish variations for black eyed peas. Finally I decided, go hippy on this, throw in that butternut squash I bought last week, some onions and brown rice – carrots and celery. Leave out the butter and cheese and trust in the power of beans and veggies with the right combination of spices for flavor.

Ingredients:

  • One butternut squash
  • One onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh grated ginger root
  • Three stalks of celery
  • Three or four large carrots
  • One cup of brown rice
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • One teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One cup of broth (veggie or chicken)
My dear friend the butternut squash. Always keep one around - they store forever and a day.

My dear friend the butternut squash. Always keep one around – they store forever and a day.

After peeling and cutting my butternut squash I spread the pieces in dishes and drizzled them with oil and a dash or two of salt to draw out the flavor. These broiled on low with a stir here and there for about 30 min (until tender). What a gorgeous smell. For great directions for peeling and slicing a butternut squash: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_peel_and_cut_a_butternut_squash/

Soak those babies!

Soak those babies!

These black eyed peas are a southern favorite, and are my favorite flavored bean. I knew I couldn’t go wrong whatever recipe direction I chose. Boil the beans in plenty of water (the water should come at least couple inches above) for two minutes.  Then, let them sit off the heat for an hour. Rinse them with cool water and then cook them in water and a some broth for about an hour and a half (or until tender).

I sliced the outer bark off and shred it super fine. I remove the threads and use the pulp that comes out the other side of the grater,

I slice the outer bark off and shred it super fine. I remove the threads and use the pulp that comes out the other side of the grater,

Carrots and celery cooked in fresh ginger and garlic. Add a bit of broth for flavor, they will absorb the fluid and then brown a little bit.

Carrots and celery cooked in fresh ginger and garlic. Add a bit of broth for flavor, they will absorb the fluid and then brown a little bit.

I steamed these carrots and celery in some broth and then lifted the lid and browned them with fresh ground ginger. At this point I added a couple dashes of cinnamon and cayenne pepper, a dash of salt and pepper. Oh, and a little cumin.

I toasted the brown rice and spiced with the squash.

I toasted the brown rice and spiced with the squash.

Let me explain why I broiled and then pan fried the quash with the fully cooked brown rice: flavor and more flavor. By browning the two ingredients and adding my spices, even more of the flavor is drawn out. The ingredients mesh together even better.

All ingredients except the peas get combined - brown rice, carrots, celery, onions ginger, garlic and my spices, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

All ingredients except the peas get combined – brown rice, carrots, celery, onions ginger, garlic and my spices, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

I am adding and stirring in ingredients in increments, I have not added the peas yet. I do that last, after the mixture if spiced and seasoned to my liking. Plenty of garlic and ginger, accents of cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. Perfect to compliment the subtle sweetness of the carrot and squash.

Here is the full combination ready to eat - including black eyed peas. After giving it a good mix with my wooden spatula, I served it up with some plain yogurt.

Here is the full combination ready to eat – including black eyed peas. After giving it a good mix with my wooden spatula, I served it up with some plain yogurt.

After draining the excess water from the peas and salting them a bit I add them to the rest of the mixture in parts. Stir well so the spices can integrate with all of the ingredients. I will be eating this for a few days, which is perfect because I want to work on some other projects and make eating simple. This kind of food makes me feel really healthy and satisfied.

I often pass this guy on my way home.

I often pass this guy on my way home.

The rolling hills viewed from the ridge.

The rolling hills viewed from the ridge.

Salmon Cakes with Yogurt Mustard Dill Sauce

salmon cake platter

I’m gonna go on a limb here and guess that canned salmon is probably not most peoples first choice of ingredients, but when it comes to cooking aboard making meals from shelf stable canned foods is unavoidable at times and when done well, is an admirable quality of a good galley-slave. This is one of my time-tested goto canned meal recipes.

  • Can of Salmon
  • Onion
  • Red pepper
  • Garlic
  • 8-9 Saltine crackers or bread crumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • Tbsp of Chef Paul’s Magic Salmon Seasoning or seasoning of your choice
    (“sugar, salt, spices, granulated onion & garlic, mustard seed, paprika”)
  • 1 tsp dill

Open and drain well the liquid from can of salmon and place in a mixing bowl. As you gently flake apart the meat into large chunks, remove any bones and fatty skin you find.

salmon cake mixture

Finely mince 1/4 of a large onion, 1/4 of a large pepper, 2 cloves of garlic and add to salmon. Crack an egg into the mixture. Crumble a few crackers at a time in your hand over the bowl till they break into fine bread like crumbs and add your seasoning.

salmon-cake-patties

Roll up your sleeves and gently mix together with you hands being careful not to over mix the salmon chunks. You’ll want the mixture moist enough to hold together into patties without crumbling apart. Add more breadcrumbs or egg if necessary. Shape into palm size patties and refrigerate till ready to cook. I found from making crab cakes that cakes tend to hold together better when allowed to refrigerate before cooking.

fried salmon cakes

Add enough olive oil to your frying pan to partially submerge the cakes, I used a small frying pan so it took a bit less oil to coat the pan and a smaller pan heats quicker. You’ll want the pan and oil nice and hot when you drop the patties in, be careful of oil splatter. Watch for the bottoms to brown before flipping, a good 5 minutes or more per side. When fully browned on both sides, place on a plate with some paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Add more oil to pan as needed to finish browning all your patties.

yogurt, mustard, lime and dill sauce

I made a cool dill yogurt dipping sauce that really complimented the flavors and crispy texture of the salmon cakes nicely.

Yogurt Dill Sauce

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp of stone ground horseradish mustard
  • 1-2 tsp of dill
  • Juice of a lime wedge

Salmon burgers

To offset the heaviness of the frying, it was lighted up with a fresh green salad of baby spinach, mini heirloom tomatoes, chopped basil and fresh mozzarella cubes.

Aubergine (eggplant) Salad

Lemon, cucumber, pickled cherry pepper, butter lettuce, avocado, Bulgarian feta, olives, red wine vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Lemon, cucumber, pickled cherry pepper, butter lettuce, avocado, Bulgarian feta, olives, red wine vinegar, olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice for dressing.

I have made this dish for many friends who confessed that they never really enjoyed eggplant fully until now. So, if you are skeptical, try it, and you might just be surprised.

Duane and I were traveling in Berlin for a performance a couple of years ago and fell in love with a Turkish restaurant in Wedding. We ate there several times before returning home primarily because of the aubergine that had been sliced thin, pan fried in olive oil and lots of garlic, then chilled. Along with some savory yogurt and lamb, it was divine. But when I got home I realized that the already beloved eggplant would become even more beloved as a chilled salad topping. Since then, I have probably eaten it a hundred times. It takes a little effort to make, but if you make a large batch you can keep it in the fridge and throw it on pastas, sandwiches, and salads alike.

Here is what you do:

eggplant1

Pour ample, but not a lake, of good olive oil in a large skillet. Put the heat on medium. Slice the eggplant as thin as possible long-way (from end to end). Chop fresh garlic fine. This recipe uses lots of Olive oil and garlic – I use one clove and about a cup of oil for one large eggplant. Cook the eggplant till brown in each side. Shake of salt, squeeze of lime (optional, but makes it very yummy). Don’t worry about the oil, it keeps you regular and has DHA.

eggplant 3

Lay them in a pile as you go. When you are done, put some plastic wrap over it and store it in the fridge to chill. I had them on couscous yesterday with a dollop of plain yogurt and hummus.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Garnished with goat cheese, chopped Italian Parsley, and my crunch roasted cinnamon chick peas.

Garnished with goat cheese, chopped Italian Parsley, and my crunchy roasted cinnamon chick peas.

Hey Katt, I am finally getting to posting this soup. Things have been busier than usual, but I might mention that my uncle Joe died yesterday at 71 years of age. He was who I referred to as the most compassionate of my father’s side of the family. He was also the last person to spent significant time with Renee before she passed a couple of years ago. This post is dedicated to him, even though he may not have even liked a soup like this. Regardless, it was a soup made with time, dedication and love.

I looked at several sweet potato soups and found this combination of ingredients to be the most appealing:

  • 2 cups (or a can) of coconut milk
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 large, or 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 or 5 small red potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh ginger root – shred to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

photo-6

First thing I thought about while making this dish was how cooking is like a sacred act. Each ingredient is precious, harvested, collected and distributed by human energy for my consumption. Not only the visual beauty, but the texture, color and fragrance of these ingredients make them sacred. Handling, preparing and eating this soup is a treat to the senses and a celebration of life. In the long winter that this has been, so much reflection has happened on a daily basis, consideration of the great losses in my life, as well as the great blessings.

the potatoes cooked in separate pans - red potato with onion, garlic, ginger. Sweet potato cooked in butter with curry, turmeric, cracked pepper, and coriander. I also swirled some honey on top.

the potatoes cooked in separate pans – red potato with onion, garlic, ginger. Sweet potato cooked in butter with curry, turmeric, cracked pepper, and coriander. I also swirled some honey on top.

Cook everything but the coconut milk and chick peas and cinnamon in sauce pans. Let cool so they can be pureed later in a food processor with veg broth and coconut milk.

Red onion and red potato look so lovely together, Could color add a different sort of nutrition?

Red onion and red potato look so lovely together, Could color add a different sort of nutrition?

Make sure you wash your veggies well. And when it comes to cutting, I take pleasure in the selection of knife and process as the moist fragrance bursts into the air with each chop or slice. I like to smell my finger tips, particularly after slicing garlic and ginger.

photo-2

I added fresh lime to the coconut milk: find some gorillas singing ‘put the lime in the coconut’…

photo-11

Did you ever notice how ethereal garlic skins are? So translucent and soft. Kind of like my sweet Arlo. How patient he was while I made this concoction.

photo-14

This is an amazing touch. Rinse a can of chick peas and spread them out on a pan with some butter and cinnamon. Roast them by putting the over on broil and giving them an occasional stir till they are crunchy. They will serve as a perfect garnish for the soup.

photo-1

The mixture was not quite smooth enough the first time. Then I pureed it again and it tasted even better. Strange how much texture can really improve the experience of a soup.

I know you made a sweet potato soup (prompted coincidentally by a dream) so please share if you like!