Let's begin with a why-bother-to-cook story:
A ninety-nine year old, dear neighbor, still living independently, taught me a great deal about superfoods and enduring quality of life.
When I first dropped by in a neighborly fashion, to ask if she needed anything from the farmers market, she was enjoying the mid-day meal, which she'd prepared for herself.
I was struck speechless. Hers was not an iceberg lettuce as veg, nor TV-dinner kitchen. I looked at prettily served "old-fashioned" foods we imagine we've no time for, anymore.
She had prepared a small piece of salmon with tarragon and lemon, sliced beets, kale, half a small winter squash. Colors? Oh you bet: bright anti-oxidant ones: wine-red, deep green, orange.
Ever the gracious lady she asked me to join her and apologized for having only prepared small portions with nothing to offer me.
She in fact offered me plenty, and lived beyond her century mark doing it. She was at least as well informed about current events as I, and still went walking every day. She simply dazzled me with her acuity of mind, and I watched her "feeding" her longevity and zest for life each quiet meal.
SUNFLOWER SEED RECIPE
To dry-roast "sunnies", use a cast iron skillet on low-medium heat. Fill skillet about one inch deep with the seeds; stir for ~10 minutes with wooden spoon till golden and fragrant. At this point, Himalayan sea salt can be added to taste, and/or soy sauce and cayenne to taste.
These make a nutritious snack, and are yummy sprinkled on cornbread before baking.
CORNBREAD RECIPE - GLUTEN FREE
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wet Ingredients, whisk together:
1-2 organic eggs (2 if small)
1/3 c. organic cold-pressed oil: safflower, sesame or olive
slosh of organic molasses
1.5 c. yoghurt, kefir or buttermilk
1.5 c. organic cornmeal, Hopi blue or yellow
1/2 c. organic quinoa or rice flour
2 Tbs. brewer's yeast (Lewis Labs, for gluten-free)
2 t. baking powder (Hains, for gluten-free)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. xanthan gum (used in place of wheat gluten)
1/4 c. organic pumpkin seeds
Stir dry ingredients together and spoon briefly into wet ingredients; let sit a moment. Put 10 inch cast iron skillet into hot oven. Wait a minute or two, and toss in ~1 inch chunk of butter. It will melt quickly. Bring skillet out of oven. Pour in cornbread batter. It will smell hearty and good, for a crispy crust. Sprinkle toasted sunnies on top. Bake ~30 minutes.
As I'm one of those annoying improv-cooks, without precision measuring to report, take these as general guidelines (and generally dee-lish!)
KOMBUCHA SMOOTHIE RECIPE
1/4-1 c. Kombucha, less if just starting.
Goji berries, small handful
Local bee pollen, 1 tsp-1 Tbs, less if not accustomed
~1/2 c of organic fruits in season, e.g, red grapes, peach, apricots, berries
6 ice cubes
Blend till smooth. Sip. Drink water.
Sit quietly in nature if possible, and for a day, try weaning yourself from phone, TV and Internet. Microsoft and Apple now recommend employee vacations well away from e-buzz and the chronic unconscious stress of induced beta brain states.
I made a quick batch this morning. Something like this:
1 Qt. pitted organic apricots, blender-pureed with:
1 c. wild-crafted goji berries in 1 c. water
Juice of 2 organic lemons
fat 2-3" chunk organic ginger, peeled & sliced
1 Tbs. calcium solution
Pour into non-aluminum jam pot (I use a big "Le Creuset" enameled one found at a thrift store. Enamel actually best as stainless steel pots are a leaching source of nickel & cadmium.)
~2 Qts. additional apricots pitted and sliced.
You will meanwhile have sterilized jelly jars and lids. Drain jars upside down on clean dish towel. Get boiling water bath boiling.
Simmer pureed and sliced fruit mixture briefly till soft, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add slowly:
1.5-2 c. Sucanat mixed with 1Tbs. Pomona's Pectin
Stir till rolling boil. Ladle into jars via wide-mouth funnel; wipe jar rims; Add sterilized lid and screw on rings moderately. (Four hands useful here.)
Holding upright, use jar lifter to set into boiling water bath for time suggested on pectin box, adding minutes if at elevation. Set timer
Yield: ~4 & 1/2 pints. (Plus appreciative licking of ladle and last bit in pot!)
THIEVES VINEGAR RECIPE: from my wellness blog, feastandfamine.blogspot
Let’s revisit a home remedy, centuries-old, which can be of quiet service to family and community. It‘s called, "Thieves Vinegar."
A rip-roaring pandemic did rage through Europe in the Middle Ages, the “Black Death,” the highly infectious bubonic plague. Millions died; towns and villages were quarantined, as the only known method to contain the infection. No one was allowed to enter, nor were inhabitants allowed to flee. In the midst of this apparent apocalypse (Think, Ingmar Bergman's,"The Seventh Seal"), a group of thieves, the story goes, performed the outrage of slipping past quarantine in dead of night to steal from corpses. They made off with gold and jewels, and lived to steal again.
When finally captured and convicted, the judge proffered a less gruesome death sentence, if… if they would reveal their secret. The medicinal herb vinegar, with which they disinfected their hands and which they took internally, is still formulated today and sold in French pharmacies! Why, for goodness sake, after all these hundreds of years?
The medicinal herbs have been studied and found to be potently anti-microbial, against viruses of all kinds, bacteria, fungi, without the side effects and loss of effectiveness of antibiotics. (This should in no way be construed as medical advice; see your physician.)
Stock in the following --
1 Gal. glass jar
4 Qt. organic apple cider vinegar
To store finished product: brown, green or cobalt glass bottles
1 oz. clove powder
1 oz. lavender
1 oz. lemon balm (or nettles)
1 oz. oregano
1 oz. rosemary
1 oz sage
1-2 bulbs organic garlic, peeled, sliced through, any green (bitter) sprouting removed
Put herbs & garlic in gallon jar; top up with vinegar (it will take ~3 1/2 Qt. ) Cover jar opening with waxed paper and lid, or hold waxed paper in place with tight rubber band. (Vinegar fumes may otherwise corrode metal lid.) Let steep for 6-8 weeks, stirring once a week with a wooden spoon. Pour through strainer into large non-metal bowl or pot. Using non-metal ladle and funnel, pour into brown, green or cobalt bottles. (Well-washed olive oil bottles work well.) Store in a cool place, root cellar, or fridge.
There are several versions of Thieves Vinegar. The above recipe is pleasant to take and can be effective for symptoms of cold, fever and flu, or to have on hand in the event of scarier scenarios. The aromatic vinegar can be taken daily as a tonic and preventative, or more frequently after onset of illness. Take 1 tsp Thieves Vinegar and 1 tsp honey in a glass of water first thing in the morning (or, use 1 tsp maple syrup, which dissolves more readily.) Children could be given 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Thieves Vinegar in a glass or baby bottle of juice.
"Thieves" helps restore and maintain healthy digestion and elimination, and can help protect travelers from the tiresome, lingering infections now so common after plane flights.
Remember your stash of Thieves Vinegar if you wake, with things going bump in the night on the health front. Make your way to the kitchen; have some in juice or water, and tuck yourself, or a fretful child, back into bed.
WICKED GOOD SPICY HOT COCOA
1 Qt. organic milk (or Rice Dream, or Almond Milk)
1 rounded Tbs. Sucanat (organic dehydrated sugar cane juice; yum)
2 Tbs. organic unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. clove
¼ tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Heat milk. Mix other ingredients with a little water to make thick syrup. Swirl into hot milk. Serves 1-4, depending on appetite!
GARLIC ELIXIR RECIPE
1c organic cider vinegar
1c organic raw honey
8-12 large cloves garlic, peeled
Plop above three ingredients into blender and liquefy. Pour into glass jar or two; cover with lids. Let age 5 days in fridge. Take 1Tbs daily in juice or water. An additional dose or two can be taken, in case of the “epizoodic”, as they say in the South.
This garlic elixir is potent stuff, and astonishingly is reported as having cleared up hacking “Chem-Trail Cough”, dating from heavy spraying this summer. Suddenly, deep lung crud is brought up by the garlic tonic, and months-long coughing ends.
There’s pretty interesting medical data on elderberry as an anti-viral. Expensive syrups and capsules are available from Switzerland and Israel. The brand names are some variation on the botanical name of the plant, Sambucus (canadensis).
What can we do at home, more economically?!!
1Qt or liter filtered water
1 rounded Tbs organic dried elderberries
1 rounded tsp organic dried ginger root
1 rounded tsp organic dried rosehips (or juice of ½ lime or lemon if available)
Bring water, elderberries and ginger root to simmer, covered. Set timer for 30 minutes. Tea will turn a gorgeous purple-plum color. Turn off heat. Add rosehips or citrus juice. Cover. Drink in 5 minutes.
SUPERFOOD RICE *
I’ve made this dish with short grain rice, which seems to sprout best; delicious success with
Lotus Foods: Forbidden Black Rice & Bhutanese Red Rice. (*See US rice contamination
discussed below recipe.)
1 c. Forbidden Black Rice or Bhutanese Red Rice, sprouted, see below
1 ¾-2 c. filtered water or strong green or white peony organic tea
1 Tbs. organic goji berries
1 Tbs. organic nuts (pecan, walnut, sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
1 t. turmeric
1 Tbs. organic, unrefined coconut oil.
½ t. Himalayan sea salt
The sprouting thing is low-tech and easy. Pour uncooked rice into a stainless mess colander with handle; set in a bowl. Cover rice with water; swish up and down just briefly to rinse off harvest dust. Pour off water. Leave colander in bowl covered with a dish towel before going to bed. In AM repeat rinse with water; drain; cover: will be ready to cook for supper.
Sprouting turns stored starch into vitamins and enzymes, tremendously increasing the nutrient content. Abracadabra: you create vitamins in your own kitchen.
To cook the rice, bring water or the strong tea to a boil (big increase in antioxidants with the tea; it’s also satisfyingly yummy.) Dump in rice and other goodies; bring back to boil; cover; simmer ~40 min. Set timer. Use enameled pot if you have it; never aluminum or non-stick-coated.
Use of Superfood Rice as a creative ingredient:
1) Any extra cooked rice, 1:1 with milk, water, almond milk, etc. can be warmed and tossed in blender for a delicious breakfast with staying power. ½-1 t. cinnamon added is good.
2) Fried Rice:
Sauté 4 cloves sliced organic garlic in organic coconut oil or olive oil, till golden
Stir fry ~2c. organic finely sliced greens
Toss in ~2 c. cooked rice; stir around.
Pour on mixture of
1 c. organic tomato sauce,
Dash of organic cayenne,
1 t. organic toasted sesame oil
1 t. ground organic ginger, or a bit more if freshly grated root
3) Fried rice can be added to a spinach salad, or an omelet
*A lot of the rice produced in the US is grown in places where arsenic-laden pesticide was used on cotton. Ag-Biz poisons have turned eating into a crap shoot.
Federal standard for arsenic in drinking water is 10 parts per billion. There are currently no standards for food. Lundberg Rice, a big Calif. Organic/eco grower’s self-test on their rice shows 95 parts per billion. Consumer Reports’ found levels in rice ranging from about 24 to 214 parts per billion.
In the local Food Co-op where I volunteer once a week, people are shunning US brown rice. We’ve brought in Thai red, high nutrient heirloom rice. I’ve stopped eating US rice cakes.
New recipes added on:
March 25, 2014
(Scroll to bottom)
HONEYED SPICED WINE
This is a simple, unheated version of mulled wine or cider. In times past, with little fresh food in winter, the spice routes were fought over. People had learned by experience that the (anti-microbial) spices protected health, and kept cooked food safe longer, pre-refrigeration. Back in Dickensian times a tankard of spiced wine, ale or cider would be flash-heated by plunging in a red hot poker from the fire!
To a wine glass, add:
Honey, raw, enough to coat the end of a fork
½-1 tsp. cinnamon
¼-½ tsp. cloves
Mix honey and spice; add a little room temperature filtered water to bring to liquid state. Add:
½ glassful organic red wine
Juice of ½ organic lemon or orange
Top up glass with organic pomegranate or other high-antioxidant juice. For a festive occasion, just mix the above x the number of diners in a glass pitcher and pour into wine glasses.
HEARTY SOUTHWEST STEW
(For vegetarian version, omit grass-fed beef & increase beans to 2 cups; double water.)
1)Set 1 c. organic Anasazi or other beans to soak in filtered water. Drain off water 3x in the next 18-24 hrs. Two benefits here: It starts the sprouting process which increases nutrient content, and reduces likelihood of bean-eating flatulence. 2)Marinate grass-fed beef shank w/ marrow bone: 2 slices or 1 thick one. Coat both sides with fresh-ground black pepper and a couple pressed garlic cloves. Set in glass dish. Pour over ¾ c. organic red wine. Cover dish & set in fridge overnight.
To cook stew, use a stainless pressure cooker for faster prep, or for slow simmer: an enameled cast iron pot, a clay one, or a crock pot.
Brown grass-fed beef in organic oil: olive, sunflower or safflower & add:
1 organic onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Stir till onions smell savory & are translucent. Toss in:
2 organic bay leaves
Chipotle dried pepper, organic to taste, say, 1/3-1/2 a pepper
3 whole spice organic cloves
6 organic juniper berries
2 turnips or 1 small rutabaga, organic, peeled and chopped
1-2 carrots, organic, peeled and chopped
Porcini mushrooms, dried organic, small handful
Shitake mushrooms, 2, dried organic, broken in small pieces
Kombu, a dried sea veggie, one strip
Wakame, a dried sea veggie, small handful
2 dried organic tomato halves
Anasazi beans, soaked and drained
3 pints (~1.5 liter) filtered water
Organic red wine marinade from beef
Splash of organic balsamic vinegar
(Wait to add Himalayan salt till done; it otherwise toughens meat and beans.)
I used a pressure cooker in this batch of stew, and wanted to add organic potatoes, but pressure cooking turns them to mush. So, get stew going in the pressure cooker to right pressure and timing. Scrub clean and chop 3 large organic potatoes with thin skins on (Yukon golds, red Pontiacs, etc.) Cover with filtered water in a pot with tight-fitting lid. Add a dash of organic olive oil to help extract the rosemary essence, ground black pepper, and Himalayan salt. Simmer till tender, 10-15 minutes.
When pressure cooker or other cooker is done, remove beef shanks; chop meat and marrow; sprinkle with salt and I Tbs. chili powder. Let sit while you add to stew:
2 c. organic greens, chopped (kale, spinach, mixed braising greens, etc.)
½-1 c. organic tomato sauce
Bring to boil; add Himalayan salt to taste, and maybe another splash of balsamic vinegar.
Epasote herb, 1 tsp. organic if available (good with beans, a desert herb.)
Add chopped meat and marrow. Let simmer 10 minutes.
Add cooked potatoes and water.
Yield: ~1 gallon or 8 hearty servings. Pack any leftovers hot into canning jars, which will seal as they cool. You can then enjoy a savory stew days later. (Printable Recipe: Click Here)
GINGERBREAD MUFFINS, GLUTEN-FREE:
Use organic ingredients:
1/2 c Sucanat or honey
1/3 c cold-pressed sunflower or sesame oil
1+ c kefir or yoghurt or buttermilk or almond milk
Sprinkle of Himalayan or "Real Salt"
In separate bowl:
2 c G-F flour
1 tsp xanthan gum (if not in flour mix)
1 tsp cinnamon
2+ tsp ginger if gingerbread
1/2 tsp cloves
1-2 Tbs Lewis Labs (G-F) Brewer's Yeast
2 tsp Hain Featherweight (G-F) baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (if you've used kefir/yoghurt/buttermilk)
Mix dry into wet; add:
1/2 c raisins or chopped apricots or Tibetan GojiBerries
1/2 c walnuts or pecans or sunflower seeds (if no diverticulitis)
if gingerbread: 1/3 c chopped crystallized ginger
CHI-RiCH RED RICE PALAU
1 c. Bhutanese red rice
1 onion finely-chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1Tbs. coconut oil
3 whole cloves (spice)
½ tsp. cumin seed
½ tsp. black mustard seed (optional)
1 tsp. coriander seed crushed
black pepper, a few fresh grinds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
¼ c. fresh peas
1 tsp. Himalayan salt, or to taste
2 dried chanterelle mushrooms, broken
1 Tbs. dried porcini mushrooms, broken
1 Tbs. dried nettles
1.5 c. filtered water
1-2 Tbs. tomato sauce (optional)
Start the night before rinsing the rice in a stainless strainer, and swishing it a bit in a mixing bowl just a bit larger. Dirty water is great for plants. Do a second time. Let water drain. Set strainer with rice in the bowl; cover with a folded kitchen towel. By mid-day meal, the rice will have fluffed up and increased remarkably in nutrients. Magic!
Toward mealtime, sauté onion in coconut oil over low heat till fragrant and golden; add garlic. Let mellow into richness for a bit. Add whole spices; stir now and then over next five minutes or so. Stir in turmeric and fresh peas for a bit.
Add water (note: this rice takes less water than brown rice), tomato sauce, mushrooms, nettles, salt. Bring to boil. Add rice. When the liquid returns to boil, lower heat to simmer, and cover with tight-fitting lid. Do not peek: the B-vitamins in rice are water-soluble and escape in steam. Cook about 40 minutes. Check on it. If done, let sit ten minutes or so and serve.
For anyone not well, or recovering from an illness, this Palau can be puréed with water in a blender for easy digestibility. Adding steamed greens would be a plus, for a nourishing creamed soup. (You might choose to omit the mustard seed and/or tomato for those convalescing, etc.)
BAKED WINTER SQUASH, aka PUMPKIN IN NZ
Cut in half from blossom end to stem. Use a spoon to scoop out the seed cavity. If heirloom, separate seeds from pulp, dry and save for next year's garden. Or, bless the wild birds with a treat.
1) To each half, add a spoon of maple syrup and sprinkle nutmeg.
2) To each half, add a small pat of butter, a spoon of Sucanat, sprinkle cardamon and cinnamon.
3) Sprinkle each half with powdered cumin and stuff with cooked quinoa or Bhutanese red rice (cooked with a spoon of coconut oil, turmeric, garlic powder to taste.)
Bake covered in a solar oven for a couple hours or indoors in the oven for about 1 hour at 350 degrees F. (Printable Recipe: Click Here)