Thursday, February 19, 2015

nishime - root veggies

greetings, snackers!  please bear with me 
while i figure out what the latest iteration of 
this blog is going to look like.  i've got lots of 
new recipes and techniques to share, but in 
the meantime… please see below for some 
wintery goodness!

NI  -  SHI  -  ME
toasty root veggies

i like to cook this dish when i feel like a space
cadet.  it really centers and grounds the mind.
plus, it's a great way to use up all of the odd
root and round veggies floating around your
vegetable drawer!

i used lotus root to strengthen my lungs and large
intestines during the changing seasons, available at
your local asian grocery store. the lotus root grows
underwater in soft mud while the beautiful flower
blooms on the surface.

fair warning, this is a CRAZY looking vegetable.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

killer onion soup

this soup is no joke.

i designed this recipe to use only ingredients you can find at your local grocery store, no funny business.
unless you happen to have a bottle of ume vinegar at home.
then a little funny business will be involved.

i'm sorry the picture isn't phenomenal.  it was late at night, and i was 97% starving and only 3% artistic, so this was the best i could muster.

killer onion soup

serves 3
easy to make

2 vidalia onions
3 cloves garlic
7-8 button mushrooms
toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. natural sweetener (i got some local honey from the amish that i'm digging)
dried thyme
1 quart veggie stock (either homemade or organic store-bought.  be sure you read the label and make sure you know what you're getting.  if you see sugar or things you can't pronounce, cut and run.)

mince garlic.  removing the tough skin of the onion, cut off the cap and the root, and slice vertically (from pole to pole).  lie each onion half on the flat side, and make long, vertical slices from pole to pole (not side to side), so that you get long slivers of onion about the thickness of your pinky finger.  thinly slice mushrooms, about the thickness of a quarter.

saute your garlic in 2-3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil in a large, deep pot.  after ~30 seconds, add vidalia onion slices.  add a pinch of sea salt.  sauté for 20-30 minutes, until onions are translucent and soft.

pour in veggie stock and bring to a rolling boil.  once boiling, add another pinch of salt, a dash of soy sauce, and your sweetener.  if you have it, try adding a dash of umeboshi vinegar.  toss in your dried time.  once the flavors are right (and you may have to adjust a little to suit your taste), add the mushrooms.

cook for another 5 minutes and serve :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

beautiful boiled salad

here is a quick and easy salad recipe dedicated to my lovely cousin erin, who is taking charge of her health :D

quick boiled salad:

salad (pick as many or as few as you want):

collard greens

heat a large pot of water to boil.  wash all veggies.

to prepare kale, using your hands rip the leafy part off the thick stem, starting at the thick base of the stem and pulling up to the tip.  rip the kale into large bite-sized pieces.

to prepare collards:  cut the leaf in half, splitting the stem in half.

to prepare carrots/celery:  slice the carrots/celery on a thin diagonal, making long slices the thickness of about a quarter.

to prepare onions:  slice into thin slivers, about the thickness of an oreo cookie

use frozen corn for a burst of natural sweetness :)

to prepare leeks:  slice the entire leek in half, including the root.  do not remove the root (yet).  wash in cold water, separating the leaves so you can get any dirt hiding at the bottom of the plant.

toss your veggies in the boiling water, one veggie-type at a time.  scoot it around in the water until it starts to turn a bright color (kale/collards should go bright green, about 1-2 minutes, carrots should go bright orange about 30 seconds-1 minute).  one common myth is that you need to cook the ever-loving poo out of your veggies.  all you really need is about 1-2 minutes per veggie in boiling water.  when each type of veggie is done, remove it with a strainer, and put it in a large strainer to drain.

now that your salad is cooked, you can pick a dressing!  here is one of my favorites:

garlic dijon dressing

2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
2-3 tbsp. whole-grain or dijon mustard
2-3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch salt
drop honey

heat the olive oil over medium heat in a tiny pot until hot, then add garlic and shallots.  cook approx 1-2 minutes until garlic and shallots are brown.  remove from heat.

whisk mustard, vinegar, honey, and salt, adjusting the flavors and adding more until it suits your taste :)

mix well, spoon over your salad, and enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

tomato basil soup and grilled portobello grinders

there is a great reason why there are no prep photos from this post.

so there i was, feeling like a total g with my jazz on the grill,
my soup in the blender, my onions caramelizing...

...when i looked over at my blender and saw my soup leaking into 
a beautiful orange puddle on the floor that homer the dog was 
quietly ingesting.

i was debating whether or not to use real tomatoes in this recipe.  they're
a nightshade and completely absent from traditional macrobiotic cooking.
for good reason.  nightshades can do wicked damage to your joints, your
blood (i bruise like... well... a tomato when i eat them), and a lot of people
thought they were poisonous for a few hundred years.

that being said, they were growing on a vine in my front yard and i just
couldn't help myself.

if i were making this totally macro, i would substitute tomatoes for carrots
and onions, slow-cooked and run through the food processor.

portobello mushroom grinders
4 portobello mushroom caps
olive oil
organic steak marinade, or tamari with spices
italian dressing
sweet vidalia onion
bun of choice

preheat barbecue grill to 400 f.  marinade mushroom caps in liquids
(i did 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. steak marinade and 1/2 c. italian dressing)
at least 30 minutes.  brush grill with olive oil and grill for 15 minutes.

slice vidalias into disks and caramelize with a pinch of salt at least 20
minutes.  i did this in a large cast-iron skillet and left it greasy for the soup.

once the mushrooms are done, roast your bun of choice 3-5 minutes on
hot grill, stack, and enjoy!

tomato basil soup
6-7 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 c. veggie stock
2 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 head cauliflower
olive oil
2 cups fresh basil plus more for garnish
ume vinegar

preheat oven to 375.  drizzle cauliflower florets with olive oil. roast
for 15-20 minutes until soft.

brown diced shallots and garlic in skillet and set aside.
run cauli florets with some veggie stock through your food processor
until pureed and smooth.

at this point, take everything out of your cuisinart.  unless you really like
mopping the floor.  transfer it to a high-powered blender.

blend all ingredients until smooth in consistency.  transfer to a large pot,
season with salt and ume vinegar to taste, and heat.

dip your grinder and enjoy!

Friday, April 5, 2013

mellow mushrooms

this week, i had to go on a macrobiotic fast to take care of the side effects of the
antibiotics i took.  they were gnarly.

the only thing that got me through it was 'the best of jefferson airplane' and my
subscription to martha stewart weddings.  there were a lot of late nights listening
to "white rabbit" examining floral centerpieces.

i went to the grocery store and picked up some exquisite shrooms.

this is a shiitake mushroom.  to pick a good shiitake, it's crucial
that the mushroom hasn't flared yet.  the edges of the  mushroom
should be curled under, like a teacup flipped upside down.

don't cook with the stems of mushrooms.  they're tough and the
sense i get is that they're very constricting and yang.  they're much
tastier when slow-boiled as an ingredient in soup stock.  i have a
giant stack of frozen shiitake stems in my fridge at home.

mushrooms really do make you mellow.  slivered shiitake
mushrooms finely, boil for fifteen minutes and add a pinch
of sea salt to relieve tension and calm a frayed disposition.

this is a portobello mushroom cap.  i usually don't cook with them
because i think they're too flaky and messy, but it added a nice
chewiness to my spaghetti.

those of you with dishes that predate 1980 must have at least one
iconic, all-american chicken bowl.  i've seen these in almost every
apartment i've been in that wasn't an ikea show model.

there's literally an entire subsection on ebay devoted to them.

i thought that using this bowl would inject my food with that
peaceful, easy feelin'.

ok, so it occurs to me that this picture looks like primordial
mitochondria, so i apologize for how unappetizing it is.

psychedelic psquash pspaghetti
mellow mushroom sauce

two spaghetti squashes
5 cloves garlic
2 shallots
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cups diced assorted mushrooms
1/2 cup almond slivers
toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp kuzu dissolved in 5 tsbp cold water
tamari to taste

::squash noodles::
preheat oven to 375.  slice squashes in half, and gut seeds and sprouts with a spoon,
leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch fruit on every side, depending on the initial size of your
squash (see above photograph).  mince garlic and shallots, and fill inside cavity of
each squash half.  pour 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and coat squash and fillings thoroughly.

bake at 375 approximately 1 hour.

stir-fry onion in toasted sesame oil over medium heat until translucent, about 3-5
minutes.  add mushrooms, stir-fry an additional 3-5 minutes until soft, then add
3-4 cups water, almond slivers, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes.
add tamari and stir.  take your dissolved kuzu mix and SLOWLY fold into
the pot, mixing quickly.  if you pour it all in at once, you'll end up with a
solidified block of creamy jello that tastes like nothing.  it's gross.  make sure
your kuzu is fully incorporated.

once your spaghetti squash is out of the oven, allow it to cool until it's safe to
touch.  grasping the squash, rake the tines of your fork down the sides, peeling
the "noodles" from the squash, and deposit them into a large bowl.  if the squash
is cool, this is really fun.  if the squash is still hot, like mine was last night because
i'm a glutton who might as well just eat out of a trough, it's incredibly painful.

let that be a lesson to wait for it to cool.

spoon a large dollop of your mushroom sauce over your garlicky "noodles,"
pour yourself a big bowl of greens (i used dark kale, below), and enjoy!

mmmm.  groovy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

the grim peeper: an easter post

i have long feared that my sins 
would return to haunt me,
and the cost would be 
more than i could bear.
mel gibson's "the patriot"

I transitioned to a macrobiotic lifestyle in January of 2009.
Most days, my past is behind me.  Truthfully, since I've become
so healthy and strong in recent years, I haven't thought too much
about the things I left behind.

But some days, I get the feeling that they haven't forgotten me...

I had fallen behind on the week, and didn't begin the preparation
of my Easter meal until late Saturday night.  I returned home alone,
set up my equipment in the kitchen, and began to wash my vegetables.

In the darkness of the night kitchen, a thousand tiny voices sang
in my ears.

I sliced my rutabaga.

I blinked.

I blinked again.

My vegetables boiled.  Uneasy thoughts bubbled just below the
surface of my mind, like frozen mushrooms simmering in stock.

'I'm a fool,' I mused aloud.  'There is no fear in the long dark
kitchen of the night.  Only celery and bonito shavings.'

I opened the oven.

Like the unexpected occupation of a public restroom...
...I hurriedly shut it with a mix of apologetic shame and flustered

By the light of the television, I enjoyed my meal.  My soup was
both strengthening and balanced.  A delicate dance of sublime scallions
and subtle celery.

I don't miss the traditional American holiday diet.  Cadbury eggs
hold no sway over me.  Reese's cups hardly tempt me.  These
nutritional crimes are so deeply embedded in my past that to partake
them now would be nigh unthinkable.

But sometimes I think that they miss me.  I think that I was the one
that got away, that by some fluke, some universal oversight I was
released from their thrall too soon.

And they want me back.

the grim peeper:  a photographic journey 
provided to you this easter by becky.

easter root veggie stew
for healing and strengthening

1 rutabaga
1 large white onion
2 carrots
4 stalks celery
4 springs fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic

:: prep ::

mince garlic
rough-chop parsley
large roll-cut rutabaga, onion, carrot, and celery (about 1" by 1" chunks)

in a deep pot, saute garlic in olive oil until slightly brown.  
add onions, salt, white pepper and saute until beautiful and 
translucent.  once beautiful, add carrots, celery, and rutabaga 
chunks, submerge in water with a bay leaf, and bring to boil.  
simmer 20-30 minutes until carrots are bright and soft.

in a separate (deep) pot, boil either pre-purchased veggie stock 
or 6 cups water plus frozen stock ingredients.

once veggies are simmered, add stock and parsley, and 
season with splash of mirin, splash of ume vinegar, drop 
of brown rice syrup, and splash of tamari.  taste, and add 
salt or tamari as needed.

Monday, April 1, 2013

peace, love, and macrobiotics

sometimes, the worst weeks are my best weeks.

this week, my doctors laid down the law and told me i had to
get penicillin injections for my ongoing battles with infection.  i know
 it's due to the unbalanced schedule i lead, but as long as my life is
out of balance, i guess my skin is too.

i fought them pretty hard, as i haven't taken antibiotics since 2009.
sure enough, i experienced horrible side effects.  ironically, also skin
related.  i didn't get much sleep this weekend, and i was really worried
that due to the severity of the reaction i had, that i'd have to go on meds.

i usually only talk about food (or shoes) on here, but i know a lot of you
are struggling with your health, and i always want to be real with you,
because the macrobiotic community is... a community.  we support each
other, and i think that communal support is really key in healing.

well, i decided to get back to the basics to treat my symptoms.  i took
out my cutting board, and really spent time with the food.  i carefully
washed, dried, and sliced all my veggies, and i was amazed at the calm
that came over me.  a ton of emotions and thoughts that i hadn't realized
were there floated to the surface.  i calmly balanced my meal, using root
veggies, greens, seaweeds, and grains.  i took several remedies, including
aduki bean tea tonight.

my body has begun healing on its own, and i feel like my mind and my
spirit are healing with it.  i realized through this that i can trust my body.
i also realized that i really don't need coffee as much as i think i do :)
finally, i am not only trusting in god, but overwhelmed by his universal
providence.  he loved me enough to let my illness be my teacher to guide
me to the foods i knew i should be eating.  

i feel so blessed cooking these recipes, and as i cook, i can feel the energy
and love of all the amazing friends and teachers whose recipes i prepare.
i know that their wish for me was to grow strong enough to heal myself.
the movements they taught me, techniques, recipes, guidance, and patience
are with me when i cook.  i really almost lost hope this week.  i felt so
helpless and demoralized, and then i felt the love of all of my friends and
teachers who shared macrobiotics with me and knew i would be okay.

when you cook macrobiotic food, think about all the people who passed down
those recipes.  they shared them from love, and someone passed it along to
someone else who passed it along to you because the food you're cooking
enriched their life, and because they care about you.

and that is why i love macrobiotics.