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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Curried Cabbage and Arame

Two Cleanse sessions back to back on Saturday and Sunday. Everyone returned from two weeks on the Transition Phase with stories to tell and color beginning to return to their winter cheeks. A lot of cooking for me, and I am always trying new recipes to introduce sea vegetables into peoples diet. I know it takes time to try new foods, but when you know how beneficial they are you are motivated to explore them in recipes.
You’ve probably seen nori at sushi restaurants, and it’s just one of a variety of sea vegetables that can enhance the flavor of your favorite foods and boost your thyroid function. Sea vegetables should be at the top of your list for feeding your thyroid. They contain iodine and have high levels of trace minerals, vitamins, healthy proteins and fats. Our soils are depleted of minerals, plus we drink coffee, soft drinks and alcohol, live under constant stress, and eat refined, acidic foods, which only make sea vegetables such as: arame, dulse, hijiki, wakame, nori and kombu a MUST in your weekly menu plan. The Japanese eat some at every meal and we would be wise to follow them. 

So, for the introduction meal to the Cleanse Phase of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, I cooked up some spicy lentils (which I have previously posted this recipe), a pressed salad and  this delicious combination of tastes using cabbage and arame blended with fennel seeds and curry. The sweetness of the cabbage balances the pungency of the spice and served alone the next day it was even better.

Curried Cabbage and Arame
2 tablespoons coconut or Grapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
1" piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons dried Arame, soaked for 10 minutes and drained
½ head green cabbage, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut cream (optional)
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro
Toasted pumpkin seeds

1. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high and sauté the onion and ginger until tender, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook another few minutes or until fennel begins to brown. Add the curry powder, stirring well to coat the onion, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook while you arrange the Arame and cabbage.
3. Remove lid and add the Arame stirring well to combine. Add the chopped cabbage and stir well.
Pour in the water and stir to remove any curry residue on the bottom of the pan. Stir in coconut cream and more water if needed, salt to taste, then cover and allow to simmer until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Serve on individual plates and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and pumpkin seeds.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Perfect Winter Salad

Winter is the time to store energy and strengthen reserves. The floating energy of Water symbolizes winter. The kidneys control the mineral/salt-water balance in the body. Salt is the essential taste for winter cooking. The minerals not excreted are concentrated in the blood. This mineralized blood is condensed into bone marrow, which serves as a reservoir when more blood is needed. In this way the kidneys nourish the bones. Foods to nourish kidneys include: buckwheat, adzuki beans, sea salt, miso, tamari soy sauce, and sea vegetables.
Excerpted from Cooking For Regeneration, by Cecile Tovah Levin

For a recent Macrobiotic cooking class I made a pressed salad. For this method you are actually cooking the vegetables with salt, pressure and time, and to do so you can use a Japanese pickle press (visit the StillPoint Schoolhouse store) or layer all the ingredients in a bowl and apply a weight, such as a large can or jar of beans, as pressure. Either way the results yield a crisp, crunchy, delicious salad.

The dressing you use can be salty and pungent as with the Wasabi Dressing or sweet and sour as the more traditional Honey Mustard Dressing demonstrates. However, one of the best things about a pressed salad is that it needs no dressing to taste great. Make enough salad for a few meals plus both dressings so you can change the taste for lunch the next day. Serve with a hearty bowl of winter stew and a warm cup of Kukicha tea.

Winter Pressed Salad
2 broccoli stalks, peeled, sliced into thin rounds
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
¼ red onion, sliced thin half moons
¼ Granny Smith apple, sliced thin
1 small head Romaine lettuce, washed and sliced thin
2-3 leaves of radicchio, washed and sliced thin
½ avocado, sliced thin
Toasted black sesame seeds
Sesame dressing or Honey mustard dressing.

Wasabi Dressing: 2 Tablespoons wasabi or to taste * 2 Tablespoons Mirin * 2 Tablespoons tamari soy sauce * 2 Tablespoons Brown Rice Vinegar * 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Sesame Oil * a pinch of Sea Salt * toasted sesame seeds to decorate

Honey Mustard Dressing: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil * 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard * 1 teaspoon agave or rice syrup * 2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar * few drops of Ume Plum vinegar

1. Place all vegetables, except avocado, in a stainless steel or glass-mixing bowl. Add the salt and mix well.
2. Place a plate over the vegetables and press down or use a Japanese pickle press. Weight the plate with a 2-pound can, jug of water or other heavy object.
3. Press vegetables for 1 hour. Remove plate, and squeeze out excess liquid. If the salad is too salty, rinse with cool water and dry thoroughly. Toss with dressing and serve.
Serves 6

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Thinking of strong protein meals that support your weight loss and cleansing programs I put on the soundtrack to Mama Mia, turned it up high, my dancing shoes tied on tight and managed a few fancy moves while I prepped and prepared these two recipes. Maybe it was the dancing or just the fact that the recipes are good, because the lentils turned out to be some of the best I have ever made, possibly ever tasted; and the Lima Bean soup was a wonder to behold.

For the meal I paired the lentil soup with a fresh green salad of red leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, red clover sprouts, and blanched broccoli, topped with minced parsley, green onion and a tart dressing of fresh lemon juice, olive oil and minced garlic. A great liver cleansing salad.

The Lima Bean soup is very simple to make once you have soaked the beans overnight. You literally place half a peeled onion into the pot with beans and water/stock (no need to chop it) and a whole head of garlic, first layer of skin removed and washed well. The garlic cooks in its skin and when the beans are tender you remove the garlic to cool before slicing off the end and squeezing out the treasures within.

Serve the lentils over a bed of red and white quinoa, with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. It was a meal that put a smile on my face with enough protein to satisfy my daily allotment.

I post the two recipes here for your enjoyment. As always pass the word around to your friends and family so they can experience some delicious, healthy food as well. Probably the best gift you will ever give them, this promise of good health and happiness.

Spicy Winter Lentils
Yield: 6-8 servings
2 cups French lentils, rinsed
4 cups water
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, ceded and chopped
3 clove garlic, minced
2” piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red chili or cayenne pepper, minced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seed
salt to taste
Fresh cilantro minced

1. Combine lentils, water, carrots and celery in a soup pot and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and spoon into a crock pot set to HIGH.
3. Meanwhile, roast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a small skillet.
4. Remove from heat when they release their aroma. Place in a mort and pestle and grind to a powder.
5. In a medium skillet heat the coconut oil and sauté the onion, pepper, ginger, chili pepper and garlic until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
6. Add the ground seeds, stir well, and cook another 3 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and stir onion mixture into the lentils. Pour ¼ cup of water into the skillet and dissolve any remaining herbs and oil. Pour this water into the lentils.
8. Cover the lentils, reduce the heat to LOW, and cook for 4 hours. 15 minutes before serving adjust seasonings and salt to taste.
9. Serve topped with minced cilantro and a dollop of fresh yogurt if desired.

Lima Bean Soup
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups dried lima beans
1 cup vegetable stock
4 cups water
1/2 onion
1 whole head garlic (one layer of skin removed)
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1 teaspoon toasted pumpkin seeds per bowl
Sprinkle of cayenne (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Soak the beans overnight in a medium size soup pot or Dutch oven. Drain the water and add the stock and fresh water to the beans.
2. Add the whole ½ onion and the head of garlic to the beans.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour. (You can also bring to a boil, then pour into a crock pot set on LOW. Cover and cook about 4-5 hours)
4. When beans are tender remove the head of garlic and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle squeeze the garlic out of the casings and back into the soup. Discard the skin and casings.
5. Using a hand blender, purée the soup until tender. Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve topped with the minced parsley, pumpkin seeds and green onion.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Breakfast Like a King

With the winter upon us and the cold as chill as an arctic wind your morning meal should be warming, balancing and enough to fill the belly comfortably. It has been said that one should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner as a pauper; meaning to have your more substantial meals earlier in the day and a light, vegetarian dinner before retiring for the night.

The difficulty is that most people are in such a hurry to get to work in the morning that a cup of coffee and a bagel is all there is time to grab and eat. This just causes a rise in blood sugar with the eventual crash within a few hours, right about the time you had to finish up that important report or stand before your peers and present your findings. Then CRASH, down comes your blood sugar and your energy seeps out to lie like a puddle on the floor at your feet.

You should have had a breakfast that will sustain you throughout the morning until lunch time rolls around. And to that end I present a number of recipes for your breakfasting pleasure. For the soft grains a 1.5 quart crockpot is necessary, but relatively inexpensive to purchase at your local supermarket.

Maple Quinoa Pudding
Serves 2
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa * 1 cup coconut milk * 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or to taste * 1 tablespoon vanilla extract * 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped and soaked * ¼ cup roasted peanuts
1. Heat 2 cups of water in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling, and stir in quinoa.
2. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook until quinoa turns translucent, for about 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract together in a bowl.
4. Stir the coconut milk into the quinoa and blend well.
5. Spoon quinoa into a bowl and top with apricots and some of the apricot juice, then the peanuts. Serve warm.    
Tempeh Bacon 
Makes 24 slices
8-oz pkg. tempeh, sliced into 24 very thin slices * 1 teaspoon Ume Plum vinegar * 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce * 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar * 1 teaspoon dark agave syrup * ¼ cup water * 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin * 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1. Lay tempeh slices in 2 13- x 9-inch baking dishes. Bring soy sauce, vinegar, agave syrup, cumin, and ½ cup water to a boil in small saucepan.
2. Boil 1 minute, then remove from heat. Pour over tempeh slices. Let cool, then cover and chill 2 hours, or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Carefully transfer tempeh slices to prepared baking sheet, and discard marinade.
4. Brush slices with grapeseed oil, and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Flip tempeh slices; brush with oil, and bake 5 to 7 minutes more, or until crisp and dark brown.    
Eggs McMochi
Serves 2
4 slices cinnamon raison or plain mochi * 2 cups cooked kale * 2 eggs over easy or to your liking.
1. Heat up the waffle maker. Slice the mochi and lay it in the waffle iron. Cook until done.
2. Meanwhile, cook your eggs as you like them.
3. Lightly butter the mochi, then layer the kale and eggs on top. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve warm.
Grain Congee Variations
I. 1/2 cup short grain brown rice * 1/2 cup barley * 1/4 cup hijiki, soaked * ½ teaspoon sea salt * 5 cups water.
II. 1 cup whole oat groats * 1/3 cup raisins * 5 cups water
Place ingredients in a small crock-pot and cook overnight or throughout the day on low heat. You can also soak ingredients covered overnight in a heavy saucepan. In the morning bring to a low boil, reduce heat and stirring often, simmer until water is absorbed.
Serve with:
1.            A variety of cooked greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens, or Swiss chard.
2.            Cooked beans, fried tempeh or tofu.
3.            Roasted pumpkin seeds and/or sesame seeds.
4.            Sea vegetables.
5.            Sautéed onions, ginger and garlic.
6.            Baked sweet squash.    
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds * tamari soy sauce.
1. Heat a small, heavy skillet over medium high heat and add the pumpkin seeds.
2. Shake or stir often and cook until evenly browned.
3. Spoon into a bowl and add a few drops of tamari soy sauce. Stir well to evaporate the liquid and coat the seeds. Set aside to cool.    
Sesame Tahini Sauce
2 cloves raw or roasted garlic * ½ cup Tahini * 3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce * 2 teaspoons maple or agave syrup * 1 tablespoon brown rice or apple cider vinegar * ½ cup green or kukicha tea * 1 teaspoon chili oil (optional) * 3 green onions, sliced.
1.            In a small food processor combine the garlic, Tahini, tamari, maple syrup, vinegar and tea.
2.            Puree until smooth, adding more tea as needed for consistency.