Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tips for Once a Month Cooking (OAMC)

Once a month cooking, or banking "Frozen Assets", is the only way to survive Early 21st century lifestyle under this Corporate Food racket.

Most people I know - who have no choice but to eat out - would give almost anything to eat home cooked meals, and not have to bear the indignity and health risks, the total lack of control over nourishing their body and mind. However, time and money are the two biggest reasons given.

However, cooking every single day becomes unworkable. Even if you stay at home, managing your home and business from a base of operations. No matter how much you like to cook, it becomes tiresome to cook - Every-Single-Meal. The quick meal options in supermarkets are no alternative - so laden with body clogging junk you're better off fasting.

In addition, prices in Supermarkets are ridiculously unreasonable, especially if you are cooking for just one or two people. I refuse to pay $12 for half a pound of the nuts I need for this season's version of meat stew. I refuse to pay $24 per pound for salmon. With few exceptions (e.g., tomato paste or carnation milk) rarely purchase canned items. The price of fresh produce is getting to be ridiculous, especially given most is grown half a mile from me.

With the Frozen Asset approach, I put the highest quality, body-type-tailored, gourmet meals (breakfast lunch and dinner) on the table or to go, for $1.25 to $1.85 per meal per person. Average for 2007, is $1.55 to $1.65. Each meal is cooked according to ayurvedic principles of balancing. They contain complex spice and herb treatments that ensure the longer they are frozen, the tastier they are.

I do "Nutraceutical Catering" which means that I will prepare meals to order, to accomplish someone achieve their health goals. Many have medical conditions made more complicated by the drugs (prescription) they are taking. Easing them back to health using the Kitchen as the Medicine Cabinet of first resort is a relatively easy thing to do, once they understand they control their bodies, not Corporate Pharma. But cooking for health is everyone's birth right so I don't make a big deal of it. I DO make a BIG deal of putting nutraceuticals on the table 24x7 for as low a price as I do.

Truth be told, I have been doing this so long, I actually get more for the buck, and it's embarrassing how inexpensive some dishes become. And I am not - repeat - not - a vegetarian. Cooking according to "ayurvedic" principles does NOT mean you have to be vegetarian - and anyone who says so, run from them. So there is animal protein - of the kinds each particular body requires - on the menus.

So how do you go about it?

In OAMC you buy all your food preparation items, in bulk once every month, six weeks or two months. You experience huge price savings right there. For one or two people, your shopping list may include 10 pounds of diced lamb, 15 pound of apples, 3 gallons of milk, 5 pounds each of three kinds of cheese etc. as ingredients for a 4-6 weeks meal supply. (You also purchase your household sundries in this sort of bulk - 36 rolls of paper towels, 5 gallons of dish-washing liquid etc. which bring great savings).

The idea is to convert - as fast as possible - all these ingredients to delicious, healthy meals that are frozen, stacked and stored in your freezer for use over a 4 -6 week period. In this way, you always have e.g., 4 course meals available to you without being tied on a daily basis to shopping, cooking, leftovers or eating out.

In OAMC you have dozens and dozens of storage containers of different sizes, stackable, and gallon freezer bags in which you place one or two meal sized portions.

In OAMC you cook with the freshest of fresh ingredients, (no canned or boxed ingredients of any sort) and then flash freeze or regular freeze meal sized portions in containers that are labeled and dated.

In OAMC you cook using the same slow home-cooking methods that turn out healthy and delicious meals, that you will never find in any star restaurant. E.g., most dishes I slow sweat onions - taking about 20-25 minutes on that alone. Unheard of in restaurants. For me, that just the beginning of a dish that takes 2 hours to cook.

In OAMC you scour restaurant supply stores, extremely large supermarkets that stock the freshest items, and - especially - large ethnic supermarkets that cater to ethnic populations (who tend to do home cooking the right way).

In OAMC you must have recipes and food lists. In the end you probably will not need a computer program much, you'll have seasonal recipes and their monthly variations kept in your head. But it helps to have the assistance of a computer based organizer.

Your OAMC recipes must go through at least one bout of freezing - in single meal portion - for you to understand how your regular spicing and the ingredients hold up. For example, potatoes don't freeze and unfreeze well. That does not matter in soups as much as in stews. In most taste balanced recipes, freezing and storing enhances the flavors.

In OAMC, if you love to cook, this will develop your skills, and "stealth change" you from amateur to professional, because this is exactly how professionals go about meal making.

OAMC means "best quality" personalized food service, at every meal. You always keep items such as, fresh milk, butter, eggs and salad makings on hand. But, you have one or more freezer s full of assets. Since you are flash freezing fresh cooked, you are doing exactly what the packaged food industry and restaurants do. Your quality of personal food preparation however, is quantum levels higher and customized to your constitution and health than theirs ever could be.

The drawbacks are cooking it all in one fell swoop, which can get out of hand. It doesn't need to, and here are the tips:

1. Start slowly. At first, lets say you normally cook for two, now triple it, cook for six, and freeze the four extra meals. I did this constantly for about 2-3 weeks and realized I had about 2 months worth of frozen assets and had to stop. This breaks you out of the "one meal" at a time mentality.

2. Enroll an OAMC accomplice, for shopping, for vegetable cutting and cheese grating, and for dish-pot washing dept. Create your own OAMC hit team on Corporate Food! Reward liberally with Frozen Assets!

3. Organization before cooking days: Create the menu for the month, shop for the menu, and take kitchen inventory on the same day, recording prices of all items. But, do not shop and start a cooking marathon the same day! Do not rush. Make sure you have your storage and labeling supplies on hand. Get your recipes out, and make sure you have all ingredients.

4. Organization on cooking days: Prepare the workstations, and tape the recipes above each one. Make sure you have several timers, lots of kitchen towels, oven mitts, and food preparation boards. Make sure you have at least two sets of stove top utensil caddies. Place kitchen towels over the food prep stations, making spills and cleanups easy to handle. Roll an extra towel and keep handy.

I have a station for bake prep, for meat prep, for vegetable cutting, for spice arrangements and for placing components that must undergo some stove top prep first, e.g., melted butter, sauteed onions, and the like. It's nothing like the food network channel and their "too-too frou frou" bowls - but you will need a lot of interim use food prep bowls.

To maintain your equilibrium, do one round of cooking, and then clear all works surfaces, wash all the prep dishes and pots and pans, re-organize the kitchen, before you launch into round two.

5. Split the categories of meals to be prepared over 2-3 days. You will be creating the same 4 to 6 weeks of assets you did in Step 1 over a period of 2 to 3 days only!

Example: I create baked products on the first day. I also prepare all my meat and vegetable stocks from scratch on this first day and I use up all leftovers in the refrigerator for this. In addition, I soak all the beans I will be needing on Day 2 and 3 overnight of this first day. I also marinate the roasts overnight. The second day, I do roasts, soups and salads (salads are never frozen, they are refrigerated and last for maximum a week only). All stove top entrees and casseroles are prepared on the third. After a while you'll get this down to one weekend.

6. Use the stove top and oven at each session, and you'll want to avoid traffic jams on either level. I do all the baking first, on day one, as that's more fun for me. I bake all the breads and pies in one day. I reserve the stove top for the fillings and other prep items such as melted butter.

For a household of 2 or three, we make four different kinds of cornbreads, two yeast breads and four deep dish fruit pies. During festive occasions, we make a chocolate or other kind of pie.

7. One the second day, have one helper who really likes to chop vegetables. It's an art. Create different workstations so you don't get in each others way. Give back to the helper - send them home with some ready made pies and breads you've already made. Wash and chop your entire supply of vegetables and fruits you will be using to create frozen assets in one session. Refrigerate (or freeze) anything that doesn't get cooked right away. Use your judgment - don't freeze the green and leafy uncooked!

8. Cook soups and roast meats on the second day, as they take similar times which are fairly long, if you are cooking elaborate process soups. Most of my hearty soups require blender at the end and this means I have to cool down gallons of soup. I prefer a natural cooling process which allow the flavors to meld and that takes time.

9. Cook the stove top dishes and bake the savory pies such as quiches and casseroles on a separate day. I do this on my third day, or session. Most of my entrees are elaborate and multi-process meals, and I take far more care creating frozen assets than were I to eat it within the day. So I save these for last. By the third day, I'm into a Zen-line cooking zone, and my best insights come to me.

10. When you separate out into one or two meal sized portions, place/pour the meals into plastic freezer bags - this takes up less room and they stack and store more flexibly.

11. Freeze recipe components. So if you have a recipe that calls for potatoes, freeze everything except the spuds until you're ready to make the meals. e.g., Buy lots of frozen fish filets in individual wrappers - which are a recipe component and take only 5-6 minutes to cook.

12. Do not be afraid to substitute if you run out of basic ingredients. Some of my best recipes were serendipitously made through this process.

13. Do not start a cooking process late in the day, especially if you have been cooking all day, and are slowing down a bit. For example, if you start prepping a last batch of dishes at 7 or 8 pm, you may be putting 2-3 dishes in the oven at 10 or 11 pm at night. They may not be done until 12 or 1am. This means you may be up til 2 and 3 in the morning - as you have to let things cool down, if you don't have the equipment to flash freeze. You don't want your already frozen assets stored in the freezer to warm up! I personally prefer a natural cooling process on most dishes.

14. Do not microwave. Not even water or coffee. If you microwave, you might as well give up and just eat at McDonalds. Study the effects of microwaves on cellular structure and realize what you are doing. If you cannot give it up, don't come back to this blog.

15. The very last thing to do, is to open the freezer and gloat. There is absolutely nothing like having a freezer stocked full of 150 individual meals of the highest caliber, tailored made to your tastes. Remember though, that you still have to plan ahead, and pull the next days meal out of the freezer the night before.

You may begin to worry what might happen in a power outage, and might start to freak out. Never mind. If it's a real catastrophe, you will be a life saver, feeding your neighbors for days. If it is a minor outage, remember the freezer stays frozen for a long time and the more frozen stuff in there, the longer they'll keep that way. However now would be the time to investigate a generator and freezer setup in a garage.

Advantages OAMC:
1. Frees up time to pursue career, business and other interests
2. Huge money savings.
3. Rigorous health through balanced eating program.
4. Meals are portioned ahead of time creating built-in serving control
5. Meal preparation can focus on the fresh juices and salads since the meal part is taken care of.
6. Peace of mind - "what's for dinner" always has an answer
7. Pre-planning every meal makes you proactive about self-management of health
8. Focus on monthly recipes means focus on continual improvement.
9. Proactive focus on necessary seasonal nutritional changes to manage healthy eating.
10. Measurement of one's own state of health done under managed nutritional program - there is a measured track of every meal, and every ingredient of every meal, and a track of personal health states. You cannot manage what you don't measure.

Misconceptions about OAMC:
1. You don't spend one marathon session once a month cooking - that doesn't work.

Parsnip Pie, Parsnip Pudding

"Lookit, not to get parsnippity with you, but, if you're going to put something in a pie dish with cheese, onions, nutmeg, eggs and milk, why don't you just call it a pie, even a quiche and be done with it?" [I am speaking to the inventors of the venerable Midwest parsnip pudding recipe.]

"I thought we agreed to leave the pudding word to things with at least a whisper of sugar in them." They replied: "Parsnip is a unique root vegetable, in that when it is harvested correctly, all it's starch turns to sugars which results in its strong distinctive taste."

Ooops, Nevermind! So quiche, pie or pudding, it's a sweet savory dish.

But, why is Mr. Parsnip treated like the poor white trash cousin of Mr. Carrot? After all, it loves cold weather, and minds not the frost. Frost will not kill this crop, merely enhance the delicate flavor. How's that? The parsnip has many more vitamins and minerals than the carrot, and is a primo source of potassium. It may be that parsnips look suspiciously like poison hemlock and have been picked in lieu of. It may be that wild parsnips are a really bad idea, but that's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I kid you not, there is in Blogspace, someone so taken with Mr. Parsip, they have written a blog dedicated to among other things, writing poetry in its honor: This person is not alone, as a reader chimed in with:

"The parsnip is my shepherd, I shall not want.
It groweth in green pastures,
it leads me beside quiet waters, "

Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for it is in my belly;
its potassium and vitamin A,
they comfort me. "

Then the comments devolved into the usual realm of nasty spammers and poor aparsnip couldn't keep up with it. I was please to see a recipe on the site for Parnip Soup that involved my hard vegetable spice combo: cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, turmeric and of course, garlic and onions.

So with that in mind, we balance the German stodgy egg-y parsnip pudding/quiche/pie as follows:

Peasant Harvest Salad with Exotic Dressing

Cooking for the Buddhist Cat

He's the most ethical person, skin or fur that I know of. He has the obligatory cat food set up: bowl for water, bowl for holistic dried kibble, always out, always changed daily. But that's not how he eats or drinks. That's only for show, and only for backup.

This cat wants his warm tea every morning, very lukewarm water mostly with two drops of fresh lemon juice in it. And the last thing at night. That's ayurvedic practice. Warm water especially with lemon removes "ama", the stuff that cruds up your intestine and oozes across into your bloodstream and lymph system, blocks chi and is a major root cause of illnesses.

After that, he wants different kinds of fresh cooked seafood (shrimp, tuna and white fish, not so much salmon as that's too oily) and different kinds of vegetables and fruit even, mashed slightly.

He loves a bit of tomato soup from time to time, rice, and curried garbanzo beans. Occasionally he'll eat a bit of red meat. He loves multi grain brown bread with sesame seeds. He hates coconut! He eats nothing larger than 1 to 2 tablespoons worth at each mealtime. He sometimes likes a bit of evaporated milk daily, then he cycles off it. He cycles on and off, e.g., a larger volume of food for a while (7 to 10 days) then off, depending on the outside temperature. I can tell from his appetite week by week what is in store weather wise.

Similarly, he'll have a yen for tuna or chicken for a week, and then not touch it for two.

Every time he "goes", he drinks water right before. If he has just eaten, he drinks water right after he goes. I watch him, and marvel. We should be that disciplined with our bodies. You can set your clock by him, he eats to a schedule, he drinks to a schedule, and his bodily functions are remarkably predictable. He is an amazing 11 years old.

He will not eat anything without asking me specifically. He has a different and specific vocalization for different levels and natures of his hunger. He will "ask" exactly three times. If still ignored, he will use the kibble bowl, sparingly. This was easy to implement because each time he went to his kibble bowl, I went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator and started preparing him something. He learned quickly.

To this day, if I have ignored him, and he's at his kibble bowl, if I can I'll go to prepare something. He will immediately cease eating kibble, and wait for me to prepare fresh food. I call that intentional behavior, awareness of choice and the ability to check his hunger for a better solution. If one out of of ten politicians had this cat's ethics there would be no wars in the world.

He gets treats (mostly vitamins and greenies) put out for him in the evening, his daily complement split into two sets: one to eat before I go to bed bed, and one to eat when he wakes up at 4am. He eats the bedtime treats, and walks by the other treats several times, before going to bed. He will not touch them until 4am.

When I started this routine, I never had to say anything except, "keep those so you'll have something for the morning". How the hell does he understand, how the hell does he do what most humans can't pass up. Treats to him are like chocolates to us.

He doesn't like red meat, though he'll eat some once in a while. He is a seafood cat. Feeding him can be frustrating, because he knows exactly what he needs and when he needs it and will not settle for anything less. Training me to fulfill his dietary needs has been monumentally difficult.

He won't eat anything I won't put in my hands or eat myself. He hates oily fatty foods. He is game to try most anything, especially I invite him to sample what I've prepared, and he always asks for a taste.

You should see his face on most of it, he screws it up and runs aways. He's funny, it's such a ritual. He's always there at dinner time "asking nicely". "Nicely" means he sits really close to my chair, puts his feet together politely and raises his head and give me an inquiring look, that says "may I please have some".

He gets green "cat plants", which I offer him once a week. It's usually after one of these sessions, and then about once a month that he'll ask to go on the patio to cough up a hairball.

I've noticed he is insistent on a particular kind of full body massage... the one that involved 600 brushes done a certain way. I practice acupressure, and know from the way he responds to therapeutic touch that this is how he helps keep his energy and internals flowing and balanced.

Course there are no oils involved, but there is sesame oil in my hand lotion, and he'll lick it off.

A small price to pay to keep him out of the hands of so many useless vets out there.

The funny thing is his former owner had no idea of what they had on their hands, and his diet was abysmal. He loves listening to classical music, even Buddhist chants and will run away when a regular radio station is on.

The best is to watch him with birds. He isn't interested in killing them, it's a bit embarrassing to watch and the birds know it - they come ridiculously close to him. If the bird get too close, HE'LL RUN AWAY! He'll sits at his safe distance and watches endlessly; when they trill and warble, he'll mimic them. He has a repertoire of trills and warbles he puts together to wake me up in the morning. And he knows the time I have to get up. If I sleep through the alarm, he's there as backup.

What's best about him, is that he'll get me up in the middle of the might if there is sometime not right going on outside the house.

Cats sleep 16 hours a day but in exchange they have exquisitely refined senses which they share with us, if only we weren't so dense to get it. In my book, they are still in and of the Garden of Eden, and came to be with us, as consolation, to guide us back.

Buddhist cat. I learn about eating to live from him the most.

Crock Pottery with Pork

Peasant Style Miso Soup

I've always liked the basic taste of miso soup in fine Japanese restaurants. In the best of such, miso soup is served like the minimalist architecture of the lake in a Japanese Garden. It transports one into a world where food and nutrition were raised to the finest of arts. The tofu pieces are like stepping stones on the lake. The floating seaweed and spring onion circles are like lilies and other plants. The curved lone strip of a carrot brings to mind the arched bridge. The precision cut decorative radish reminds one of the egret on a stone lantern.

Stone lantern with egret and spring blossoms in lake
at the Japanese Gardens, Cowra, NSW, Australia, 22 September, 2006.

Elegance silently reminds you to show your best manners. You realize you must know when to use the spoon and when to use the chopsticks. Do you pick up the solid pieces with the chopsticks after you've finished elegantly sipping 3.0 spoons of 1/3 each fluid ounces of the liquid miso soup? How many solid pieces should I leave? I have a suspicion there is a "way of miso" like a Japanese tea ceremony that Wiki doesn't know about. Ms. Manners says it is gluttonous to eat or drink to the last drop, so one should leave some in the bowl.

So tasty. Once I lifted the bowl and defiantly drank it down: "It's how they do it in Japan", realizing too late my dinner date's bemusement was the miso dripping down the front of my new black Tahari suit and pearl-white silk blouse.

After that, I downed the last of the miso soup only with the spoon, and when no one was looking (don't you know it, waiters always are watching me) - I swear it's they that made me make that loud embarrassing slurp. That's it, like an ice skater who falls on her first jump, the rest of the meal is doomed; if there's sake in the picture, let me tell you it can get pretty gruesome. I ended up walking the head sashimi pieces (with chopsticks) down an aisle of lesser sushi pieces I assembled on the decorative rice paper gracing the table, and then married them, much to the horror of neighboring patrons, when I made them kiss. That's what you get for inviting a peasant girl to a table set for lady.

(Actually, I was making a point to my dinner companion about commitment - since he failed to understand the spoken word, I thought to make a sushi puppet show.)

All that aside, the sophisticated miso taste is put to more practical nutritional use in many Japanese and other kitchens, including mine. I know there are more robust versions of miso soup. Miso soup was and is (with white rice) the breakfast of choice for thousands of years of a very advanced nation.

Miso soup is comprised of three things: MISO PASTE, MISO STOCK and SOLIDS. Miso is a FERMENTED FOOD, so listen up you over 49 crowd: the secret to long healthy living is fermented foods. Tastewheel differentiates between "fresh" tastes and "fermented" tastes. The fresh sour taste of a lemon is different from the fermented sour taste of vinegar. Both are healthy and each is appropriate for different times and contexts of living and health.
  • Miso pastes come in red, white and black, darker being more hearty and salty. I like the fermented barley black miso paste for my hearty peasant miso soup that can "carry" small red potatoes and mushrooms. For "everyday" use I used red, it is lighter. Here is a primer:
Miso paste is a grain fermented with soybeans

"Depending on what grains and ingredients are fermented along with the soybeans, the miso paste will develop a different taste and the texture will vary a bit. Some miso pastes are grainier than others, some are saltier or more mild. Any of the flavors below could be any of the four colors, depending on their age.
Genmai - soybeans and brown rice
Hatcho - soybeans and sea salt
Kome - soybeans and white rice
Mugi - soybeans and barley
Natto - soybeans and ginger"
  • Miso solids are separated into those that float and those that sink. Potatoes sink, spring onions float especially when they are cut across.
  • Miso stock is usually made of dried fish and dried seaweed and dried mushrooms.
I love the barley based dark "Mugi" miso.

Soup being soup, I thought for dinner time we should add peas, carrots and small red potatoes. Think hearty peasant style. Optional other ingredients are mushrooms, but if I add mushrooms, I omit potatoes. Rather, I'll add several kinds of mushrooms since taste-wise and nutritionally, they should stand all by themselves. (Your peasantry may differ.)

I prepare the hearty peasant version by starting off with a tad of sesame oil, bring to heat on medium, and stir frying the spring onions. If I cannot find kombu and bulky seaweeds, if I just have the nori seaweed strips they use for wrapping sushi, alas, and oh horror, I use a pair of scissors to cut this into soups sized strips and stir fry for 30 seconds along with the onion. I add the tofu here, right before I add the stock (usually water) and the miso paste.

For the salad, we should have an exotic fusion salad with JUST:
  • Herb greens, Tomatoes, Avocados, Radishes, Garbanzo beans, Broccoli, Snow peas, diced baby carrots, (Corn, optional) Sesame seeds with a coconut milk or yogurt based soy salad dressing.
Here is the fusion dressing for the salad:

In a decorative bowl:
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp lime juice, ½ tsp dark brown sugar, mix.
  • Add: ¾ tsp brown sesame oil, ½ tsp cumin, black pepper, hints of garlic powder and mix.
  • Add: 2-3 Tblspn fresh live culture plan yogurt, mix, and add water to desired consistency not more than 1-2 Tblspn.

And lastly, one should avoid utilizing a table with romantic themed rice paper as a decorative covering. Instead find a well-designed minimalist cafe style table, with little room for food acting stages, thereby reducing the chance food pieces will star in puppet shows, to convey messages at dinner time.

Ginger Sauce with Apples

Brown Rice Pasta with Eggs, Cheese and Sausages

Chard with Sausages

Solano Pumpkin Pie with Mole

I got the idea for this pie long after Thanksgiving was over and long after I did the mole inspired enchilada pie called Chicken Vallejo as a birthday present for a friend. A trip to my local Mexican food store and way too much time on my hands gave me the idea.

Solano Pumpkin Pie with Mole

1 1/2 cups of canned pumpkin, well drained.
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs, beat the crap out of them
1/2 cup piloncillo (Mexican cone sugar)
1/2 cup molasses with 1 Tb bitter cacao powder mixed in it
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup grated fresh ginger, drained with 1/4 tsp ground ginger to kick it up
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg and allspice mix
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 Tb lime juice
1/4 cup rum, brandy, orange liqueur, whiskey, or orange juice

Now I don't know why this works, but the above won't work unless you put ONE TEASPOON of mole paste in it.

All right. Now oven to 425 and bake for 15 minute.
Turn down to 375 and start checking at that point for doneness when a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the pie comes out clean. It will rise and be cracked on top.

Oatmeal Crepes

Cardamom Ale Bread

Anchos stuffed with whipped coconut cream

All right, I do have my moments and this is one of them.

6C Pie - a nod to each taste

Garlic Soup

Fried Tilapia and other Fishy Tales

Tilapia. A fish known as Nile Perch, Hawaiian Sunfish, and St. Peter's fish, from the waters of the Mediterranean. "Tilapia is very hardy and can thrive in salt, brackish or fresh water... Tilapia eat primarily vegetation and algae eaters and are often stocked in canals and artificial lakes for algae and vegetation control."

The University of Florida says that four ounces (an average portion) yields 110 calories, 21 g Protein, 2.5 g total fat, 1 g total carbohydrate. And with that, a whopping 90 mg of Omega fatty acids.

Tilapia has a mild, bland flavor (some say it's slightly sweet) with firm flesh. It great for quick meals as it cooks quickly, 3 to 6 minutes, and it freezes well. The say you can freeze tilapia for up to 4 months. It's inexpensive, plentiful, has yummy omega stats, and there is a global food farm and distribution industry around them. Large corporations. Therefore we expect nasty fishy food fights. And we have them!

Enter "The Fish List", launched by the Blue Ocean Institute and announced with much fanfare to the media, nationwide. (Hmmm! that's serious money, has to be foundational in origin; yep, it is. Foundations are how corporations do backdoor deals to pacify "do-gooder$" while continuing to pepetrate sleaze - it is Hegelian, as in Yale Club Skull and Bones, it sews chaos among people, hence ensuring the duality required to maintain violence exists on this planet until we do ourselves in once and for all).

Here's what they say:

'Many consumers know that seafood is part of a healthy diet. It’s also clear that our ocean is in trouble from problems posed by certain fishing and aquaculture practices; increasingly, consumers are also learning about the safety of certain seafood items, such as mercury in tuna and PCBs in farmed salmon. “The Fish List” helps by providing information about broadly available seafood choices that are better for the environment and your health, as agreed upon by leaders of the seafood conservation community. Join Seafood Choices Alliance and partners for a press conference to launch “The Fish List,”'

And, tootsweet, they were shut down. Why, because they slammed ALL fish from Asia practically. That's elitist crap. People have to eat. No one is gainst sanity is fish farming, but for goddsakes can't people find a better way to go about righting wrongs than taking food out of starving people's mouths. Listen, these Blue Ocean people should go on a hunger strike for their principles, for environmental change, that how to put your money where your mouth is.

Here it is:

The Fish List

Blue Ocean Institute, Environmental Defense, and Monterey Bay Aquarium have complete information about these seafood choices. Please follow the links to learn about your favorite seafood choice.


Catfish (farmed)
Caviar (farmed)
Clams (farmed)
Crab: Dungeness, Snow (Canada), Stone
Halibut: Pacific
Mussels (farmed)
Oysters (farmed)
Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska)
Salmon (wild from Alaska)
Scallops: Bay
Striped bass/Atlantic rockfish
Sturgeon (farmed)
Tilapia (US farmed)


Caviar (wild)
Chilean Sea Bass/Toothfish
Cod: Atlantic
Halibut: Atlantic
Orange Roughy
Rock cod/Pacific rockfish
Salmon (farmed or Atlantic)
Shrimp (imported, farmed and wild)
Sturgeon (wild)
Tuna: Bluefin

Blue Ocean Institute
Environmental Defense
Monterey Bay Aquarium

US farmed tilapia is extremely expensive. Imported farmed tilapia is not. These Blue Ocean snots are the same Marin woo-woo types whose kids wreck their Jags every weekend, who say you don't deserve a spot on this planet if you buy Tilapia from China, and who gang up on you and literally lynch you for keeping warm in a fur coat, or for eating beef. Sorry about the mercury, the lead, the arsenic, the this, the that and the other, but you can stop this by telling your Dirty Diddling Daddies to stop their corporations' dumping toxic waste into the ocean - can you hear me now? Charity for the world begins in your home, Jag girlznboyz, so keep your idle fascist hands out of working class kitchens trying to put food on their kids' tables.

90 grams of omega fatty acids per serving. Wow. My local health food store sells omega fatty acids for

Egg beer batter is common, some have gone as far as to pour vanilla cream over it, many bake it with sweet potatoes. Lots of sweet sour hot spicy standard fish approaches work. But I like to roll this fish like a big sushi - and fry in a lightly sesame oiled pan. Fried sushi?

Chocolate Chili Pumpkin Pie

Oatmeal Pie Crust

Chili Cheese Corn Quiche

Oatmeal Breakfast Quiche

I love the idea of quiches because they fit into my frozen asset plan.

Frozen assets, or Once a Month Cooking or "OAMC" as we call it, it's becoming the only way to survive the high risk and cost of eating out and to fight back against the ridiculous corporate supermarket markups: OAMC'ers buy in bulk. I have gotten the cost per meal down to anywhere between $1.25 and $1.65 per meal per person, and trust me each meal is made with fresh ingredients, home-cooked according to a five-star health balanced recipe. From a hygiene point of view (e.g., norovirus creeping into restaurants) this can't be beat.

I don't always have freshly baked bread, or apple coconut compote for breakfast, so pulling a few slices of this quiche out of the freezer the night before and popping it into the toaster oven is a good solution for a healthy quick breakfast.

Oatmeal Breakfast Quiche

Unbaked 9 inch pie crust

3-4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 can coconut cream
1/2 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup old fashioned uncooked oatmeal


Broccoli Cauliflower au Gratin

I can never get enough of these two. This is a dish that jazzes up these veggies, which I often serve over a tortilla base, prepared as in the Migas recipe for a light supper.

1 medium broccoli
1 medium cauliflower
2 cups White Sauce (a la Mornay)
2 Tb bread crumbs, preferably corn bread or tortilla crumbs
2 Tb Jack cheese
2 Tb Butter

Oven to 375 deg. F

While bring 2 quarts of water with the salt to a boil in a large pot, prepare broccoli and cauliflower flowerets and add to the boiling water. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Drain, place in mixed fashion in a buttered casserole dish.

Cover with the white sauce, then sprinkly the top with breadcrumbs, the cheese and butter. Bake for 15-20 minutes until top is lightly browned.

While baking prepare the tortilla corn base:

White Sauce (a la Mornay)

It is said you are not a real cook if you don't know how to make the four basic classical sauces. OK, I guess I'm not a cook, to me the four sauces are milk, tomatoes, brandy and water.

White Sauce

4 Tbl coconut oil, or butter
4 Tbl all-purpose flour
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter/oil in a heavy steel saucepan. It must be a non-reactive vessel. Stir in the flour over moderate heat. When the mixture begins to bubble stir and cook for another minute.

Add all the evaporated milk, and stir with a wire whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and comes to a boil. Reduce heat and add the cheese. Simmer for two minutes, stirring constantly and add the coconut cream and the seasonings.

Yams with Apples

Yams - the most overlooked tuber. And what is the difference between a YAM and a SWEET POTATO? You can thank the U.S Dept of Agriculture for the infernal confusion since they insist the word YAM be followed by SWEET POTATO.

The sweet potato is found in tropical America and is a storage root, a part of the Morning Glory family. There are two mains kinds, pale yellow with a thin skin and bright orange with the thick skin.

The yam is a tuber (a bulb) of a tropical vine found in Central & South America, as well as the West Indies, Africa and Asia. Yams are generally speaking always imported. Never refrigerate your yams!

In the supermarket, note the difference by the shapes and the skins. Sweet potatoes are short and blocky, with relatively smooth skins, and yams are long with toes, with rough and scaly skins.

That being said, let's now focus on YAMS, and within this family of tubers are some of the most astounding health properties to be found. ams have many beneficial health properties; they contain B6, they protecting against certain forms of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and hypertension. The Chinese Yam is used in a soup (see ___) and if it this metric is important to you, it lowers cholesterol. I have something to say about the whole cholesterol business later on.

I make this dish with a number of different YAMS depending on the health effect I am after.

Yams With Apples

4 large yams
4 large green apples (sour)
1 cup jaggery (unrefined Indian brown sugar cones crushed into small pieces)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 Tb butter, or coconut oil

Oven to 350 deg. F


Cook yams in jackets in boiled salted water until tender, depending on the type of yam from 15 to 20 to 25 minutes no longer. Peel them and cut into 1/1 inch thick slices.

Peel and core the apples and cut also into 1/4 inch thick slices.
In a buttered casserole place alternating layers of yam and apples.
Sprinkle each layer with brown sugar, cloves and dot with butter.
Cover the casserole and bake for 40 minutes.

Health Properties of YAMS

Although I pay little heed to cholesterol and more so to my pulses and other real signals of health status, since this society has been brain-washed on the cholesterol issues, note that the medical profession (whatever that is) has no idea really, except the insurance companies make sure they warn people of the dangers of high cholesterol. The pharmaceutical companies run spiffy ads on TV selling their cholesterol lowering drugs t you the consumer directly, asking you go to your local pill-pusher (the one with the MD), and get a prescription for it. Notice that most of the ad-time is filled with yet other dire warnings you might just drop dead while taking their pills.

Cholesterol BTW is about ratios. Bad LDL over Good HDL gives a numeric ratio somewhere theoretically between 1 and whatever. This ratio is a probability you may get a heart attack based on population statistics. Cholesterol science (whatever that is) is confused, and the confusion is bolstered with statistics - in my opinion this is where the saying "lies, damn lies and statistics" apply.

All that being said, certain kinds of yams will drop your bad cholesterol in a jiffy all other things being equal, and you're not taking your blood tests after an alcohol or a sugar-pie-eating binge whilst sitting on your couch for the last 6 months.

Wassail Bowl or New Years Nog

The Encyclopedia Britannica tells us the word wassail "derives from Old Norse ves heill, meaning 'be well, and in good health.' The name has come to be generally applied to any bowl from which a toast is drunk, as well as to the actual drink itself."

I make this for New Year's toasts. This recipe is for 25 people, however two to four people hard at work on last-minute drafting and vetting of their top five New Years resolutions should easily be able to polish this off, toasting each resolution for good luck. If you have a top 10 list, then by all means, double the recipe and make it for 50.

Wassail Bowl
12 Small crispy APPLES
2 quarts of ALE
1 bottle (4/5ths quart) DRY SHERRY
(Optional: a little brandy or rum never spoiled this either)
6 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
2 C dark brown sugar

3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice balls
3 cardamom seeds (whole green pods)
3 inch-long sticks cinnamon, broken
(Need a cheesecloth bag to put these 4 spices in)

1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Optional - the original recipe didn't call for this:
1 Orange, thinly sliced
1 Lemon, thinly sliced

Oven at 350 deg. F

Bake apples at 350 deg. F for 20 minutes

Put first 4 spices in a small thick cheesecloth bag and put in a large kettle with 2 cups of ale, ginger and nutmeg.

Heat SLOWLY for 10 minutes, and remove the spice bag. Stir in the remaining ale, all of the sherry, and the sugar. If you want to add the optional orange and lemon, do it now.

Heat SLOWLY for 20 minutes. DO NOT BOIL!

Beat egg whites until firm peaks appear.
Beat the egg yolks then fold in the egg whites.

KEEP BEATING and slowly add SOME hot ale to the egg mixture, don't cook them, and continue to beat until smooth.

Pour into a large punch bowl, and float the baked apples on top.
Serve WARM.

.... and a happy new year!

Irish Lamb Stew

Now this lamb stew, unlike the Babootie, has nary a fruit, and has different taste and health values. It was traditionally made with mutton or lamb. I am not sure the original thing contained stout or ale, but if you can get some definitely add it in, as it is very healthy. Otherwise use a tad of malt vinegar.


2 pound lamb or mutton cut into 2 inch squares
2 large potatoes cut into 1/8's
1 parsnip or turnip diced, or both!
3 carrots cut into large one inch pieces
3 stalks celery chopped
2 leeks chopped
2 cans water
(else, reduce the water a bit and add 1 can of stout or a tad of malt vinegar to taste)
1 can meat broth
1 onion, chopped
10 small white onions
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
2 Tb savory
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tb chopped parsley

Some people keep stout on hand to control the thickness of the stew and I like that idea.

Ancho Chili Sauce with Yogurt

Babootie: Never-Ending Lamb Stew

This is a dish from South Africa I got from someone in New York. She says, traditionally, they start a pot of this when the cold season comes around, and they keep it on the stove ALL WINTER, adding things to it as it gets used up. She says they never refrigerate it, it's always simmering slowly on the stove. I can't bring myself to do that, but after eating hers sometime around the holidays, I have to say I've rarely tasted more delicious lamb stew. Then again there's the safety issue of having something "on" the stove when you go out or go to sleep. I figured there must be an optimum temperature to keep it from getting too gamey, then again, those old-world "bush Brits" had stomachs of cast iron, loved to go native, and stayed amazingly healthy.

What I like about this from a taste balance is the warming sweet meat and the sour fruit and the astringent cooling vinegar. The sweet taste is robust - not a dessert or cloying sweet, and is carried decisively on a killer savory base of sour, astringent earthy tastes.

I've seen the babootie recipes going round the web and recipe books, and most of them call for ground lamb. Well, my authentically served version, by a woman whose family was 5 generations South African called for cubed lamb (with bones) for a stew.

2 1/2 lbs cubed lamb for a stew - marinated as per the instructions below
2 1/2 onions chopped
6 cloves garlic crushed
14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes - or 1 lb fresh is better
1 16 oz can tomato puree (instead of tomato juice)
2 1/2 Tb molasses
1 cone Indian or Mexican unrefined sugar (dark brown with molasses) (optional)
2 1/2 T curry powder or more
2 Tb vinegar (rice wine)
2-3 firm bananas sliced - if they are more ripened, use two to control the sweetness.
2-3 apples cored and diced - smaller apples, use 3.
1 can of whole apricots or apricots halved - do not use the canned juice!
(using apricot jam is a ghastly last resort)
1-2 good handfuls unsweetened finely shredded coconut (instead of slivered almonds)
3/4 cup soaked raisins
3 Tb brandy (add towards the end)

Marinade the lamb in a mix of soy, black pepper, chili powder, cumin, ginger powder, turmeric and balsamic vinegar. For a deeper marinade, add cardamon, saffron, cloves, paprika, caraway and fennel. Aww heck, go on, chuck in a few Tb of strong brewed coffee.

Brown the meat in a heavy skillet, with some olive oil
Add garlic, sautee
Add onions, sautee
Add curry powder, sautee
Add molasses, mix well
Add all the fruit, mix well
Add tomatoes, mix well
Add vinegar, mix well
Let cook together for a few minutes
Add coconut and raisins
Adjust liquids with tomato puree diluted with water
Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer on low for 60 minutes

Important: At this half way mark do a taste test. Dependin gon the quality of the fruit the stew may be a bit sweeter, a bit more sour etc. Here is where you adjust the taste by adding either the cone sugar to sweeten it, or a mix of rice wine vinegar and soy to reverse the sweet, or tomato puree to deepen it.

Stir frequently for first 20 minutes, then as needed after that.

Add tomato puree mixed with water if stew gets too thick, but you shouldn't have to.
Towards end, add the brandy and stir.

Goes well with brown basmati rice cooked the traditional way with lemon juice. When you use some babootie up, add some more ingredients and keep simmering on the stove. Do this for 3 months.

We had this for New Years Eve, and it was very festive, an appropriate end to the holidays - rich and fruity, without the holiday spices of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. I wanted to freeze some for the New Year but everyone inhaled the first serving, and had seconds and thirds by the time anyone could say ba boo tee.

Even the cat liked it, but I attribute that to a raving case of munchies brought on by most excellent catnip branches brought him for a new years present. The rest of us had sherry, red wine or apple cider, for auld lang syne.

Veggie Sphagetti Sauce

Ancho Apple Chili Pie

Chicken Avocado with Sweet Potatoes

Oh the National Chicken Contest again! I love those people. Really, I know it's all corporate sponsored and if you've been reading this food blog, you know what I think of the lot of them, but there are some shining exceptions. The National Chicken Contest is one of them. I mean, they promote chicken, how can they go wrong (yes I know, hormones, additives etc. but a girl has to feed her family and I am showing you how to balance those additives out).

I want to thank them for their wonderful winning recipes, from which I have extracted this dish, and hope they don't mind I have modified it to balance the tastes.

Salmon Loaf with Peas and Curry

This is healthy, inexpensive, and quick to make. All you need is some salmon, and any can of salmon will do nicely. Yes, yes, we all want fresh, but we can't always have what we want. large can is better, small is fine too.

Loaf ingredients:
1 16 oz can of salmon. If you have fresh cook it til it approximates what's in the can
2 cups bread crumbs, more if you have 8 oz of salmon only
Note: you can substitute cooked garbanzo beans for breadcrumbs
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1-2 eggs depending on size, use your judgment.
1/2 cup coconut milk or regular milk
1/3 cup chopped shallots, or spring onions or onions, very finely chopped

Lime juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 to 1 Tb tarragon

Oven to 400 deg F.

Loaf method:
Drain, de-skin and de-bone the salmon.
Combine the loaf ingredients, mix and mash. Place in a loaf pan 8 by 8 by 2 in the oven at 400 deg. F for 25 - 30 mins.

Sauce Ingredients:
2 cups frozen peas
2 Tb chopped tomatoes or pimento or red pepper other red veggie
2 tsp cornstarch or other vegetable thickenr
1/2 t tarragon
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup coconut milk, or milk, or water with a bit of butter in it

Sauce Method:
While loaf is baking, take 2 cups frozen green peas, 1 cup coconut milk, or regular milk, 1 tsp. curry powder, 1/2 tsp tarragon and 2 tsp corn starch or other vegetable based thickener.

Put the peas in a bit of water and bring to a boil; add about 2 Tbl more water and the rest of the ingredients, stir well, let it thicken then remove from heat.

Layer over the salmon load and serve.

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

This is a winter soup, and I got the original recipe 25 years ago from a cookbook written by someone who used to cook for the White House even 25 years prior. Anne Marie something? I no longer have her wonderful recipe book, and I did heavily modify her recipe for this soup. But her idea of sour fruit and sweet squash was right up my balance-the-taste alley.

1 1/2 pounds of butternut squash
3 tart green apples dice (I used the granny smiths)
1 medium red onion
1/2 tsp rosemary
1.2 tsp marjoram
3 cans chicken broth (I use vegetable broth, or water, for me, I keep away from meat broths when doing this pair of food combining).
2 cans water
2 slices bread (I use rye, else add 1/4 tsp caraway seeds)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup coconut cream or 1/4 cup cup milk (she calls for 1/cup heavy cream)

Halve, peel, and de-seed the squash.
Core and coarsely chop apples (I don't peel them).
Coarsely chop onion.

Combine all ingredients up to but NOT including the pepper and cream in a heavy saucepan. Boil then simmer for 45 minutes. puree the soup in a blender, filling no more than 1/4 each time. return to saucepan, bring to a boil, remove from heat, add cream and parsley.

Note: Why do people add cream to soups? It is to achieve a particular consistency and richer taste. But it isn't based on taste values for health. It has nothing to do with cream being full of fat, which is good for you, it has to do with the correct balance for the person eating it.

Over the years I've substituted a number of substances to achieve differing final taste combinations - sesame oil, coconut oil, milk, melted butter etc.

Hamburger Quiche

Apple Coconut Pie

I've made literally over a thousand of these in my life, and never make the same one twice. It's one of those things that you go into the kitchen and automatically start making, like a cup of tea. If you have comfort food, this is my comfort process, something I do to make me happy. It's definitely one of "my things". When they are done, they are cooled and get popped into the freezer. My freezer is a happy place!

Oven at 350 deg. F.

1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
3 eggs beaten
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 apples peeled cored and cubed or 3 cups of canned sliced apples, cubed.
1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
1/3 to 1/2 can coconut cream, the creamier the better
2 tb kudzu root or other vegetarian based thickener dissolved in 1 Tb cold water
6-8 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1-2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup of finely shredded coconut (1/3 for the topping)
1/4-1/3 cups raisins soaked in brandy
1/2 tsp salt
Spices: cinnamon and cardamom powder

Combine beaten eggs, sugar , lemon or lime, vanilla, salt and butter, mix well.
Add coconut flakes and cream, and raisins, spices, stir gently.
Add apples, kudzu thickener, mix and pour into pie shell
Top with coconut.

Bake for 30 - 45 minutes

Tomato Rice

Heat heavy skillet over moderate heat, add 2 cups of rice and toast slightly. Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of pureed tomatoes to a boil in a separate pot then pour this mix over the rice. Add 1/2 cup diced cilantro, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 medium onions diced and 2 T oil of the season (coconut, sesame, or olive).

Cover, turn heat to low and cook without lifting cover for 40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Graham Cracker Quiche

I love the sweet savory of this idea. I once ran out of regular pie crusts, and all I had left were those store-bought graham cracker crusts.

Quiche base:
Use a lighter cheeses for this crust, use heavier cheeses for a regular crusted pie shell
5-6 eggs (if really large, use 4)
1 cup grated swiss cheese
1 cup grated jalapeno cheese
1/2 cup light cheddar cheese

Quiche filling ingredients:
1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, diced and sauted
1 tightly-packed cup diced, shrimp, stir-fried in lime, cumin and coconut oil
1 cup finely diced shallots in sesame oil, sauted slowly to translucency
1 cup finely diced mushrooms, lightly cooked to remove moisture
1 cup finely chopped chard sauteed with coriander to remove moisture

Note: Cool the sauteed ingredients before adding them or the eggs will cook. I often mix these together so their flavors combine prior to adding them. Taste and adjust.

1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup regular milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 t to 1 t cayenne
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Beat eggs, mix in milks, add spices.
Make sure sauteed ingredients are cooled before adding them or the eggs will cook.
Add the fillings.
Stir gently.
Pour into two 9" pies or one deep dish 10 incher.

First or last 15 mins at 425 degF
375 for 30 minutes.

Cool for a good half hour.
Pies freeze extremely well.

The graham cracker pie shells I had on hand contained a bit of high fructose corn syrup. It had crept in during one of our monthly shopping marathons.

Here's my philosophy - don't be a Food Nazi!. If graham cracker crust with some of those bad ingredients is the only thing around, then for godsakes USE IT, and figure out a way to stock better. There are priorities in life, and eating on a regular schedule suited to your constitution is, by far, the MOST important. Having frozen food assets around with kick-ass healthy ingredients is the way I personally ensure my family can keep to a schedule.

Another priority is treating food items as a sacred trust between you and the planet that sustains you. Don't waste food, it's IS a sin. That is a far, far bigger philosophy than good "food rules" in the hands of "fascist food-twits" in such vogue these days.

If you have a grip on using taste to maintain body balance, you'll know if and when to periodically adjust your diet to cleanse bad stuff that may accumulate.

All that being said, my Buddhist, Ayurvedic Cat refuses to touch anything past 30 minutes of "opened" or "cooked" much less refrigerated, and he is the one exception we allow. After all, he IS the Buddha, never failing by his example to remind us the stretch goal for optimal health.

Breaking the Rules on Cornbread

My favorite topic. I took a short visit to another food planet, governed by a sad species that hits one restaurant after another in search of a life. I am always amazed at how much ignorance floats to the top in that unhealthy food society ... they gang up to force their ridiculous food opinions on the rest of their population. They wax forth on taste values, when they have no clue as to the art and science of taste, vis a vis optimal health. They are as dangerous butter-wise, as guns are in the hands of an ignorant ruling elite.

Their name be Chowhound. My ID there was none other than xyz_recipes and after a certain amount of crap, I told the woman in charge to remove all my posts. I wrote a nice little goodbye letter, where I opined if they took a walk in the Oregon wilderness, no one would really care.

Here's the recipe that the gang took offense to, criticizing it as not authentic. All those who criticized with a trademark-like nastiness - if you checked closely - were part of the Chowhound Team. Interestingly their email ID's left webtrails that showed, from other non-food websites to which they contributed, they were facing health and serious emotional issues. Enough said.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A word about Mr. Coconut

Many of these recipes include the magical coconut. The coconut has winter warming properties, and a subtle but definitively sweet taste. But more than that, it has a way of clearing the intestines from the "summer heat", a necessary transition to winter. So that's why you've seen a lot of Mr. Coconut now.

Wasn't the coconut considered a horrifically bad oil or fat? Is it because Corporate Food Processing got hold of the basic coconut oil and hydrogenated the crap out of it? Why did they do this? I have no idea, that's like asking "Why is there fluoride in our toothpaste?". Fact is that coconut oil (the real deal not the stuff that is mixed with e.g., palm oil and pawned off as pure coconut oil - that'll kill you) used daily will help you lose weight while helping you achieve satiation. You can Google all about the Coconut and decide for yourselves. In case you miss it, I've included some good links below. As with everything, the amount of coconut you eat depends on your constitution and it's current state of balance. When it turns to summer my intake of coconut milk and oils decrease, for that's what my constitution generally wants.

I hope the treacherous American corporate pharma-health food industry - which appears to be well-organized and legally protected to commit crimes against humanity - does not get wind of the fact that coconut is really, really healthy for you, or they may just get a law passed they have to add - oh I don't know - pick a poison any poison - say, fluorides, to it, since their dirty little hydrogenation trick is no longer an option.

Coconut Rice - sweet or savory versions

In making this dish we prepare a base that can go two ways depending on what you are after. Either way it is very nutritious, warming winter side dish. Savory goes with meat, and sweet goes with vegetables and fish.

10,000 BC Bread

I just finished with three soup tonic recipes, and it reminded me "Bread, Beer and Soup" the cross-cultural staffs of life began some 10,000 years ago. It had taken about 10,000 years to go from rice - cultivation of which began in dim pre-history - to bread, beer and soup. I personally wonder if 10,000 years hence we'll have any rice left.

So, bread is a global concept, and in my opinion, very little has changed since 10,000 years ago, with the exception of the use of yeast in breadmaking about 5,000 years ago.

I got to comparing bread recipes across cultures, and across time. The oldest breads would be unleavened of course, and we are told that Indian Naan was the oldest bread, together with Pita. Well, Naan, it is generally accepted, is a leavened bread, so they meant Roti's aka Chapati's.

As these are unleavened flat breads, the Roti is much like the Mexican Tortilla and the Middle Eastern Pita and the Italian Pizza. Only the Mexican Tortilla is still made by some rare souls today with some hint of authenticity to the original preparation of the corn; only in some places of the Himalayas have they preserved the authenticity of the preparation of the wheat. I have read that archeologists found "Italians as far back as Neolithic man were grinding grain between stones, adding water to make a mush and leaving it to sit overnight to dry. It is thought that they then cooked it over coals or stones, and the focaccia was born."

Here's a very basic recipe for wheat flat bread, minus the grinding of grain between stones accompanied by the the gnashing of teeth. Now I suggest the use of sea water as an allowable substitute for salt and water, but I'd be foolhardy to put that stuff in my mouth in this modern era. It's become a toxic version of Ice-Nine. So use regular water and leave out the salt.

1 cup wheat flour
2 tbsp animal fat
1 cup water
Extra wheat flour on hand

In a mixing bowl, take 1 cup flour and add 1 tbsp animal fat. Rub the flour between your palms so that the fat becomes incorporated the dough. Add water, a little at a time and knead the flour to make a dough, which will be stiff.

Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it for 30 minutes. Take a small portion of the dough and roll it into a smooth ball between your palms. Flatten the ball of dough by pressing it in a separate bowl of whole wheat flour. Dust the flat dough liberally on both sides with the flour.

Place the dough on a flat surface and with something that looks like a neolithic rolling pin roll out a 6 inch flat circle. Use circular movements of the rolling pin to get a perfect circle which is evenly thick all over. The bread dough should be as thin as a slice of processed cheese single. If the dough gets stuck to the rolling pin while rolling, dust it with more flour.

Now take the remaining 1 Tb of animal fat and brush it onto the flat circle, then made a radius cut, and start rolling up the dough in a circle. You will end with a cone, place it on the base and poke the peak down into the base. Leave for an hour.

Now take each roll and flatten again and roll out again.

Roasting the Bread

Heat a flat iron griddle, reduce the heat to medium and flip the rolled out the bread circle on the griddle. Cook it on one side for about 10-15 seconds and flip it over before you start to see big brown spots (i.e. a tad deliberately undercooked).

Cook on the other side for another 15-20 seconds or until you see brown spots to indicate the bread is cooked on this side. Keep turning the bread on the griddle so that it does not stick. Finally, flip the bread again on the first side and finish cooking for another 5-10 seconds. Serve I am sure they also brushed the bread with a little hot animal fat if cave-daddy had been bringing home the bacon on a regular basis.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Foodaceutics for Dummies

Chicken Soup with a secret ingredient

Unrefined sugar is a secret ingredient in most of my winter dishes. I hesitate to reveal one of my greatest cooking secrets, but there you have it. Like the pearl of wisdom once offered me, it will be discarded by the undeserving, and rightly so.

An old but popular Asian recipe for "chicken soup" - or general food tonic - consists of chicken (well, you don't want to really know what bird they used instead of chicken), 1 Tb ginger, 1 Tb ginseng, 1/2 Cup astragalus root, 1 cup thinly sliced Chinese yams and my spin on it was to add 2 cones of jaggery. These are the usual category of suspects in most any food tonic recipe I've come across in my travels. Except for the unrefined sugar with molasses.

Use 6-8 cups of water. I use a breast and a leg of chicken minus the skin and fat. Bring to a boil, skim the scum off the top. Boil down for a couple of hours until you have about two cups of soup plus the meat.

Meat is important to human health. If you are a vegetarian, you will already know what to substitute to mimic the health properties of meat. I don't but I'm not a vegetarian - except at times I judiciously cycle off animal proteins. Once I tried to stay off animal proteins for about three months, yes, I knew what I was doing. I started getting puffy and pasty looking, eventually got so ill that my world-class naturopath who was advising me through this, and two authentic Asian doctors ordered me to start eating meat again. I have since been so bullied by so many militant vegans with cherry-picked misinformation on this topic I often wonder if Hitler was a vegetarian. Hmmm, not so my dear naturopath, but then he was a practicing vegetarian, not a practicing facist.

Interestingly, the Chinese yam was introduced to North America in the 1800's, astragalus root grows aplenty here, so does ginseng and ginger.

This is about it for my soup recipes for now, it's just that after the holidays we naturally gravitate to cleaning up the body works. I'm all for balance, and part of balance is indulging a bit, really understanding how lucky we are to live in a place where even the choices are in abundance. Which makes the show I watched, gasping in horror, as they destroyed good food for entertainment value, an invitation to the laws of karma to mark this land for endless hunger.

Winter Roast Beef Soup

Cooking Greens for a Lucky New Year

Cooking Greens - the official US government position on these is - they can be "any type of cabbage where the green leaves do not form a compact head, such as collards, mustard, kale, swiss chard, and broccoli rabe are all varieties of cooking greens".

The US Government notwithstanding, Science (whatever that is) still struggles to determine if chard, for example, is to be classified as an herb, a shrub or a weed.

Those of us who know where it belongs will be cooking greens for New Years as that is said to bring good luck (even the US Government acknowledges this practice). Perhaps if scientists had eaten more greens as kids they may be less confused now?


Getting a Fructose-High with Corn Syrup

Tomato Wars: The Nightshade Conspiracy

The Kitchen as the Medicine Cabinet of First Resort

Take your PULSES!

How to Cook GRAINS

Draft and incomplete. XRG

GRAINS are seeds of GRASSES, which I have positioned as the first level of the Nine Levels of Food. I lifted and sifted a lot of nifty information from the web so thank you to (list).

Barley, Bulgur, Corn Grits, Millet, Oats, Rice, Rye flakes and Wheat are all grains we are familiar in modern-day West, and Rice, Einkorn, Emmer and Spelt are grains our Neolithic ancestors are reputed to have planted in early agricultural fields.

I omit Triticale as a grain option. This is an artifical cereal crop genus. I was privy to what I considered then, and know now, was a criminally insane and inhumane plan concerning engineered grains in general and Triticale in particular at a major oil company around 1982, especially with regard to the African continent. I do not advocate violence, and what I was privy to was tantamount to pre-planned mass genocide using food as the weapon, and that's violence. I made my opinions known, including the genocide part, and was regaled for my "edification" and corporate political "re-training" about the over-population of the planet part, and long term strategic planning theories of the Club of Rome part, and that all eventually led to the being "laid off" part. Wasn't the first, wasn't the last time I faced an opportunity to chose to live with grace.

Grains all come with a fairly inedible outer husk, called chaff. When this is removed you have an edible but hard-as-nails berry covered with the protective coat known as bran, with all that good fiber. This layer is removed in processing to make the end product look white and pretty, pearly and polished. Inside the bran is the starchy part of a grain, called the endosperm and the germ. The germ is the part of the grain highest in nutrients. When grains are refined, the husk, bran, and germ are removed leaving only the endosperm. Oh damn!

Well, why not? Pipe down all you health-nut troublemakers, after all what would a country filled with healthy citizens DO for goodness sake, think for itself perhaps? Nope, we cannot have that mass-thinking stuff going on! What do you want - a nation of conspiracy theorists?

Quinoa and Amaranth are not exactly grains, but like the tomato, are actually classified as fruits. In include them in my grain category because common usage and food values classify them as grains.

  • Millet is highest in nutritive values of all grains, including rice, and the easiest to digest, hence a food for breakfast, a food for late at night, a food for those recovering from illnesses.
  • Amaranth has least carbs of all but a good mix of nutritive elements and protein.
  • Quinoa contains highest protein of all grains and cooks quickly.


1 cup grain, millet or quinoa or amaranth
2 cups water except for amaranth, which requires 2 1/2 to 3 cups water check with the labels.
Note: Water proportions decrease for 3+ cups.

Time for Amaranth: 25 minutes for 1 cup
Time for Millet: 25 minutes for 1 cup
Time for Quinoa: 15-20 minutes for 1 cup

Use heavy pot with tight fitting lid
Rinse grains before cooking to remove saponins
Boil water then add grain and bring to a boil again
Reduce heat, simmer for allotted times
Test for tenderness 5-10 minutes prior to done time
Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Do not disturb during cooking
Fluff with a fork - do not stir

Optional Directions for Millet:

Toast millet before cooking:

Millet in the morning, Millet in the Evening

Millet is one of those overlooked "primo" food sources. Millet was of greater prevalence in prehistory than rice, even in China. Dr. John Harvey Kellog, King of Cornflakes (along with his brother), who ran a sanitarium practicing holistic methods, and hence knew a thing or two about health AND cereal grains, said millet was so nutritious 'man can live on millet alone'. Sadly, not a whit of millet is found in Cornflakes, or else they'd be called MilletFlakes.

While on the subject, we're not too sure whether the high fructose corn syrup Cornflakes once sported has fallen semantic prey to the "clean-up-your-labels" corporate programs afoot, and is now aka'ing as "glucose-fructose corn syrup". Perhaps, they have really removed it. What a loser I'd be if this be the case, but collective experience has taught me never to trust what an inorganic legal entity has to say on matters regarding my organic body. My organic body, to me, is something that carries my life, but is regarded by said legal entities merely as a "commodity" which, when attached to a credit score, becomes a preferred "consumer". Caveat emptor, all is fair game in a guns and butter economy.

Millet in the Morning

1 cup hulled millet
1 ½ cup water
1 ½ cup milk
Rinse millet and drain.
Put water and milk and millet in skillet and bring to boil
Lower heat, simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Serve with applesauce.

Millet in the Evening

Millet for Supper time

Coconut Millet

Anasazi Bean Chili

These are my favorite beans, and, focusing on more than idiotic, regional semantics (FOMTIRS) I use them to make a Chili, albeit, a Chili with Beans. Perhaps Bean Enchilada would be a more acceptable label, but since I am not serving it with tortillas I'd probably viewed as tossing a war-mongering insult to yet another regional group in need of a life (YARGINOAL).

I got this recipe, originally named new Mexico Style beans, from the back of an Anasazi bean container and modified it.

2 cups anasazi beans prepared as follows:
Wash, sort, soak beans preferably overnight but a minimum of 4 hours, so you can still do this for dinner if you remember to soak the beans around noon time. Drain, rinse Place 3-4 cups water in heavy pot. Add the soaked beans . Cook for 1 hour or more for desired tenderness if using – plain e.g. in salads up to 3 hours if you didn’t soak for a long time. Remove from heat and drain, reserving 1 cup of liquid in a jar for use in follow-on bean recipes.

4 cups water or a mix of water plus the reserved bean liquid from above.
½ cup olive oil
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
¼ cup fresh ginger chopped
4 vine ripened sweet tomatoes chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. marjoram
2 fresh bay leaves
1 ½ teaspoon chili powder

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger in oil for 5 minutes Add tomatoes, cilantro continue sautéing . Add everything but the beans and cook sauce stirring for 15 minutes . Add prepared beans and cook for 45 minutes, simmering.. Note: you can add tofu along with the tomatoes, it’ll be nice and crumbly at the end.

Potassium Broth

The purpose of this broth is to create a potassium-rich, alkaline, mineral laden, clear broth with specific cleansing properties. Nothing should be added or varied from this recipe, or it will defeat the purpose of the synergy of the ingredients.

After the holidays I drink this broth for a week, keeping my other meals on the vegetarian side of things, if my taste senses are in the mood to do that. I am always astounded at the results, and often fast drinking just the broth for one or more days.

The one day "fasts" my particular constitution responds to, is the one I found in Paavo Airola's fast guides. There are many others, excellent and powerful, but this is one my constitution likes.

My longest fast was 14 days, and I did not starve my body. I fed it during this time, and kept it well-hydrated, judiciously assessing each step of the way, and taking nutrients that aided cleansing. At the peak, I lived on this:

2 large potatoes chopped or sliced to half inch pieces
1 cup carrots sliced
1 cup celery chopped leaves and all
1 cup beets
1 cup garlic
1 cup onions

Place all ingredients in a pot and add water ¾ to the top . Do not use aluminum pots. Cover and cook slowly for about 1 hour . Strain, do not include any of the solids, toss them, this will be a clear broth . Cool, keep in the refrigerator and re-heat prior to serving .

Note: There is no coconut here. Just because something is "good" doesn't mean it should be included - keep focused on the end result.

Source: P. Aairola

Fasting is the oldest therapeutic intervention known to man, but few have the patience to learn and conduct a sensible fast that doesn't injure their systems. There are myriads of fasting approaches, just as there are myriads of meditation approaches. It all depends on what your end-goal is. Removing animal proteins alone for a period of time is a healthful fast, again, depending on your constitution and end goals. Removing acid-forming foods (which includes animal proteins, and many popular vegetables and fruits) can be a more powerful fast. Removing all solid foods and feeding your body alkaline nutrients for a judicious period of time, is levels again more powerful, and not quite for everyone. Or is it?

Cleansing is a bit different than detoxification. Detoxification (which saved my life) utilizes other powerful "agents" to put your body through a very complex process to remove toxins. This is conducted with supervision only, and removes harmful materials and effects of lethal environmental conditions to which a person was exposed. It is a far more rigorous intervention than mere fasting, and should not be conducted without expert professional supervision. Unfortunately you're not likely going to get easy access to the experts, but they do exist.

If you have reached mid-adulthood without knowing which kind is for you, and/or if you have weight or eating issues, this may not be for you. A healthful fast is a personal decision successfully conducted by those have done deep research into this, who have developed behavioral self-control skills, and do not have a history of relying on prescription drugs for any aspect of health.

You're likely not going to get any assistance from the profession of drug-oriented health care practitioners, and if you cannot pursue a fast without going there, it might just wiser to refrain from the idea altogether.

Monday, December 25, 2006

X-MAS Roast (Top Loin)

This post was actually written by XYZ_RecipeBoy, thank you to my first Contributor!

This is a moderately priced cut of meat. This roast is easy to prepare, comes out juicy, tasty and tender. Basically it's tarred and feathered all over (chili pepper, black pepper and salt). It is tied with two strings which also helps stow the garlic. I make small incisions and use cloves from a whole garlic head, and place large slivers under the string . I also inserted peppercorns and studded the top with one row of (spice) cloves.

For Xmas, when the weather is typically cold, cloves are not only a tradition but also a logical health choice. Apart from the aromatic flavor and warming properties, it is a digestive aid for holiday sized appetites. It helps curb the desire for (too much) alcohol, and Chinese medicine says the clove is an aphrodisiac. That's why I am in charge of spicing the red meats.

The roast was placed on a rack, fat side up. The oven was preheated to 275 deg. F and the roast cooked for 30 minutes and then lowered to 230 deg. F. I inserted a meat thermometer after the first 1.5 hours of cooking and watched it rise to 155 deg. F. At this point I raised the oven to 275 deg. F to finish and took the roast out when it reached 160 deg. F (Medium). The temperature rose to 165 while setting 10 minutes for the remainder of the meal to be completed - onions studded with cloves, carrots, potatoes and ginger cooked in coconut cream and lime.

This was a 3.4 pound roast and took approximately 3 hours overall to cook. These pictures are of the left-overs. It was mostly devoured before the pretty pictures could be taken.

Focus: Meat, peppers, garlic, clove

Taste Values:
Level 1 - Sweet, pungent (5), astringent
Level 2 -
Level 3 -

Health Values:
Level 1 - Digestive
Level 2 - Respiratory
Level 3 -

Coconut Cream Pie, not Cow Pie

I looked all over for a good Coconut Cream pie. Coconut got a bad rap in the West right around the time Corporate Canola was pushing its way into our bloodstream and fat cells.

However, my search always turned up "coconut cream" pies laced with Mr. Cow: milk, cream, whipped cream, frozen whipped cream, half and half, not to mention the death duet, white sugar and white flour, and a teensy- weensy bit of coconut flakes, toasted (and, therefore ruined from a health point of view). Sheesh, I wanted "coconut" cream pie not "cow" cream pie.

Someone asked a friend of mine (one of our success stories) how on earth he lost all that weight - at his age - after being overweight all his adult life. They heard the word "coconut" as a seasonal and balanced part of his answer. "No, No, NO!", she retorted. "We can't have that, you poor thing, coconut is so baaaa-d for you", so proclaimed the pasty-skinned, always unhealthy looking lady to the now slim, trim healthy man, whose blood-test results rocks for the first time in his life.

Why, even "modern medicine", whatever that is, now extols the virtues of Mr. Coconut as having remarkable, nay, magical properties. Well of course, only when the coconut is blessed by corporate medicine can it be allowed to have wundebar properties, we can't have a bunch of dirty "ig-nant" natives adding to humanity's wisdom store now, can we!

So here it is, a real Coconut Cream pie with real Coconut Cream topping - one that won't puddle when brought to room temperatures - topping that is to LIVE for! A nod to the sacred cow here and there, but just a nod...

2 cups coconut cream
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups coconut flakes
(why, this must be a coconut pie).
1/3 cup coconut flour OK if you can't find that, use corn starch.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, right, it won't look like a white cow pie either
1 Tbl coconut oil (which will be solid if you're keeping it right) or a nod to Mr. Cow, butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Lime juice

For topping
1 cup coconut cream
1 Tb vegetarian gelatin substitute - corn starch, or arrowroot works best. This could also be agar-agar (powder or flakes from a sea vegetable), guar gum (from the seed of the East Indian guar plant). Note, guar has about 8 times the thickening power of corn starch so be careful! There's also xanthan gum (a corn extract), kudzu (a remarkable powder from tuber of the kudzu root). If you are cooking to win food fashion shows, hie thee hence. Chose the powder to meet the requirements of your health balancing act.
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 cup coconut flakes toasted and cooled

Do you need help with the process? Hang on...

[Update: Good grief! It's been over a year and I haven't got around to "cleaning up" and "polishing" this XYZ work in progress. Be patient, I shall return soon to my "kitchen factory" and post all the unfinished posts. Including the taste balancing parts, the whole reason for this in hte first place.]

Six C Chicken with Three C Rice

This is a baked chicken dish which uses two complementary spice-triads in the chicken, and one in the brown rice side. I bake and freeze chicken as part of the frozen asset approach to common sense living - plebian pragmatic runs over elitist dogmatic every single day.

The secret is in the marinade process. Take 3-4 large chicken breasts, and rub with 1-2 limes. Squeeze rest of lime juice over. Toss some rice wine vinegar over that, plus some soy sauce, add garlic salt and a tiny bit of ginger powder, with a tad of brown sugar. Prick the chicken breasts all over with a knife. Add cumin, coriander (2 to 1 to the cumin), chili powder (1 triad). Add a cup of coconut cream, clove and cardamom powder. Mix and let sit for a while.

Yes, yes, Mother India, I know it's all suspiciously familiar, but it isn't chicken vindaloo. I've left out the fenugreek, tomatoes and potatoes. I de-nightshaded it for a particular balance effect I'm after.

Cook two cups of brown rice. In a separate bowl, mix coconut flakes, chili powder, cumin with lime juice and raisins soaked in coconut juice.

About this time put the chicken in the oven at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes. Sprinkly a few judicious drops of sesame or coconut fat over the contents. Cook slowly until chicken is at 160 degrees, basting along the way. If you have parts with bones, take it up to 170, and 180 for whole chickens. When cut the chicken meat should no longer translucent.

When the rice is ready, place 1/2 T of coconut fat (oil) in a frying pan, with two diced shallots heat and saute 'til onions are translucent. Take off heat, add rice and coconut mix. This will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

The alternative plan to the rice is to bake carrots, apples and celery stalks in the baking pan with the chicken.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mexican Crumbs

At the very top of my food ladder is a dish called "Migas", a tortilla omelette? a stove top quiche? Nope, no comparison does it justice. It's a food idea all its own. Until you eat it, you will have no idea what you are missing. The word Migas is loosely translated from the Spanish as "crumbs" because it uses leftovers from tortilla meals the night before. I've tossed left over chili into this and it works. There are many regional recipes for this common-sense food idea, which start food wars in the way of chili and cornbread.

The important ingredient is authentic tortillas, (and I guarandamtee you won't find these in your corporate Supermarket. There you may find tortillas labeled "authentic"- your clue to run, don't walk, to a Mexican grocery store. Come on now, you can find one near you. They will be authentic when the only ingredients are: "corn, lime". Unless you have no choice, avoid packages with "cellulose gum, proprionic acid, benzoic acid, phosphoric acid, dextrose, guar gum and amylase". These will gum up the taste works.

Now the "corn, lime" packages will come in sets of 40 or 200, and you will find them on your shelves months afterwards. They feel a little stiff, but cook up even better and give up a kick-ass corn taste you'll never get from corporate tortillas.

I cut about 4 tortillas into strips "lengthwise" about 4 strips; sometimes I halve them. I select the oils depending on what I'm after. Mostly sesame, olive, coconut, or corn oil, or some mix. For breakfast stomachs I like to use the lighter sweeter oils, so I end up staying away from olive or corn.

As usual with stove top cooking, you want to vary the heat. Medium low, medium and low at various stages to slow or speed up cooking. Start at medium, fry the tortilla strips in oil until lightly golden but not crispy, about 2-3 minutes.

In a separate pan saute about 1 cup of finely diced mushrooms in a bit of oil and black pepper.

To the tortilla pan, add one medium diced red onion, or for a lighter onion, a bunch of shallots mixed with a bit of red, with two diced jalapenos, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in two diced plum tomatoes (medium sized and if not plums, remove the watery pulp) soaked in a bit of soy sauce and cumin and some oregano if you'd like, and cook for a few more minutes. Mix gently.

This forms a really nice corn tortilla migas base I use for other dinner dishes, like adding stir fried vegetables, shredded chicken, hamburger, stir fried steak strips etc. But back to breakfast/brunch.

Add 3-4 eggs beaten, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are almost set, add the sauteed mushrooms, then place about 1- 1/2 cups of jack cheese on top, cover and let sit on low until cheese is melted. Note, you can add diced avocado in lime in place of the 'shrooms.

I serve this with fresh avocado and/or sour cream and/or salsa, and it never fails to please. The lime treated corn cuts the egg taste. Left overs keep well either in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The secret of cooking with Kashmiri Saffron

I once posted this question in several food blogs, which should have had someone who knew the answer. There seems to be very shallow knowledge on this subject, most of which was googles of regurgitated gibberish. Most people ignored the "Kashmiri" part, deciding I had asked instead about Spanish saffron, ganging up on me there was no difference. I shall inform the Spaniards they must stop quizzing me about my importation of various Indian spices when I clear their customs. I shall cite as experts the American food networks.

From the Spice House: "The reason saffron is the highest-priced of spices is because of the intensive hand labor required to cultivate and harvest it. It is the stigma of a small purple crocus flower; it takes about an acre of land and 75,000 flowers to yield one pound of saffron. Each flower blooms for only about one week of the year, during which the stigmas must be hand-picked and dried."

Kashmiri saffron is seen as the king of the saffron species in terms of potency. But potency for what? And how shall we use it in foods it to preserve the potency, if we want to unlock its potent properties.

Most people (worldwide) use it as a food dye, as in "Ya want yellow or orange food, dump in the saffron, doesn't that look pretty!" I think they may be missing a point.

Further double-checked investigation reveals that: "Saffron is characterised by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these are caused by the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, that gives food a rich golden-yellow hue. These traits make saffron a much-sought ingredient in many foods worldwide. Saffron also has medicinal applications."

This cunning little stigma is packed with potential: "Saffron contains more than 150 volatile and aroma-yielding compounds. It also has many nonvolatile active components, many of which are carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, lycopene, and various α- and β-carotenes."

On to this tantalizing tidbit: "The reddish-coloured zeaxanthin is, incidentally, one of the carotenoids naturally present within the retina of the human eye."

In ancient Greece and Persia and Asia and Sumeria and Phoenecia there are references to its medicinal uses. It has aphrodisiac properties. It cured battle wounds. It cured depression. Old Chinese medical texts document: " 252 phytochemical based medical treatments for various disorders.."

All those ancient ignorant people and their myths. Thank goodness the US food industry came along and decided it was just a food dye. This, despite: "Medicinally, saffron has a long history as part of traditional healing; modern medicine has also discovered saffron as having anticarcinogenic (cancer-suppressing), anti-mutagenic (mutation-preventing), immunomodulating, and antioxidant-like properties."

Oh boy, a one-stop medicinal shop, that must be stopped at once! It's the Tesla of Spices!

About Kasmiri saffron: "known as 'Mongra' or 'Lacha' saffron (Crocus sativus 'Cashmirianus'), it is among the most difficult for consumers to obtain. Repeated droughts, blights, and crop failures in Kashmir, combined with an Indian export ban, contribute to its high prices. Kashmiri saffron is recognisable by its extremely dark maroon-purple hue, among the world's darkest, which suggests the saffron's strong flavour, aroma, and colourative effect. "

Call me a suspicious troublemaker, but I think a phytochemical strand that is exponentially stronger in its 200 plus myriad chemicals has something called bio-synergy going for it - which places it in a unique class of bio-active substances.

Truth is modern man (whatever that is) hasn't begun to tap the secrets of Kashmiri saffron in the same way modern man (whatever that is) hasn't begun to tap the secrets of Tesla's inventions. Although we have wonder drugs like penicillin I haven't seen any gravy recipes calling for it. See the point?

The way to use Kashmiri saffron begins with soaking it in warm milk. It has magical properties. Drink the milk. The secret of cooking with it, is "Don't".

eXTReMe Tracker