Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Garam Dude -- how to heat things up

In Hindi, Garam Doodh means Hot Milk. Once, I travelled extensively with someone whose first tentatively inquiring words in a dhaba were: "Garam Dudh hai?" This means, "Do you nice people have hot milk?" If they said yes, as inevitably they did, he would order some, and look over at me, Wink and Mooooooo. He was from Wisconsin USA, Home of the Sacred Cow, and after enough instances of this dhaba thing, I'd call him "The Garam Dude".

There is a story of why to drink milk warm, for all you who cannot digest the thing, drink all milk products warm. But I won't go into that one yet.

First, the concept of "warming foods" and how they should be selected, and when and why and for whom and how etcetera etcetera etcetera.

You've heard of Garam Masala, so now you know the Garam means Hot, and the Masala means "A Blend of Spices". It's used to make spicy Indian foods, and sold in Western food stores, often formulated locally as, well, what I refer to as a blatant attempt at cultural genocide.

I am in the MidWest currently, and stopped in to a highly touted health food store in Columbia, MO, and grabbed a couple of starter spice bottles for YAWHCPTNWAC (Yet Another Western Health Care Provider Teaching Nutrition Without A Clue).

I was going for the 6 C's, and saw this formulation for their "Garam" Masala:

Pretty pathetic, I'd say it was Thanda Masala, or rather, Thanda Pandering Masala... everybody knows that real Garam Masala - to warm the consitution - consists of - well if you google you will come across several recipes like this:

½ cup cumin seeds
½ cup ground coriander
½ cup whole black peppercorns
5 teaspoons seeds of black cardamom pods
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons black salt
1 ½ teaspoons asafetida powder

Not the real thing either...I found that recipe source came from a Wesbite marketing Indian Culture, and the key person behind it was a Westerner... it seems everyone is copying the frauds.

Here you go, why on earth they left out the critical warming agent: GINGER, is beyond me.

4 tbsps coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shahjeera)
1 ½ tsps dry ginger
¾ tsp black cardamom (3-4 large pods approx)
¾ tsp cloves¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)
¾ tsp crushed bay leaves

PREPARATION:Heat a heavy skillet on a medium flame and gently roast all ingredients (leave cardamom in its pods till later) except the dry ginger, till they turn a few shades darker. Stir occasionally. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by turning up the heat as the spices will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside. When the spices are roasted turn of the flame and allow them to cool. Once cooled, remove the cardamom seeds from their skins and mix them back with all the other roasted spices. Grind them all together, to a fine powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Taste Blocking: Sweet with no sugar, Savory with no salt, Bitter with fruit

It's been a while. I've been learning to feed and heal Buddha Cat, who got hit with the Poisoned Pet Food making it's rounds, even in the top of the line Pet Food items. The squalid, grotesque criminality of the Pet Food Industry is a cherished Corporate Family Value protected by Big Agra and Big Pharma. I learned a lot, and the bottom line is this: if we want to succeed, we better start looking after the animals NOW.

For a while back there I was feeding my own human circle on automatic pilot. I could hardly bring myself to touch chicken, or turkey, or beef, or olive oil, or wheat flour, anything "food" for that matter without shudders of revulsion. But, it's better to know the worst truth than to have your head so firmly entrenched in the sand, you might as well be a living, mindless carcass. Which is all your value is to Corporate America anyway.

Some time last week, sparks of creativity flew and someone noticed the aromas of a meal I cooked in 30 minutes. Rachel Ray, eat your heart out sweetie, you'll never be able to taste block like this.

Sweet with no sugar, savory with no salt, bitter with fruit

Block 1 - Sweet with No Sugar

1 cup of Basmati rice (wash and soak for about 15 minutes, drain)
1 cup green peas
1 cup chopped carrots cut across into 1/4 inch dime sized pieces

1 cup Coconut flakes
Cinnamon, Whole Cardamoms , Cloves, Cumin Seeds
(1 - 1 1/12 teaspoons of flavor each)
Mix sesame oil and olive oil, and head, stir fry spices for about 1-2 minutes, or less, do not burn.
Add peas and carrots, stir fry some more and add soaked rice, coconut flakes, salt, stir it up, and then add 2-3 cups water, boil and back off to simmer for 15 minutes, then done, how hard was that?

Block 2: Savory with No Salt


Fenugreek, Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Cumin powder

Heat Olive oil, add onions, garlic, ginger, and bring to stir fry temps, then back off. Add fenugreek, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cumin powder. Let it all cook together. When onions have sweated, add cooked pieced poultry and brown. Stir and cover.

Block 3: Bitter with Fruit

Tomatoes soaked in a bit of soy sauce
Chard or other bitter green e.g., bitter melon

Make a hole in the center of the pan the poultry has been browning in, and put the tomatoes and if you are using bitter melon, add these too. Add some channa masala. Cover, and let tomatoes (and/or melon) cook. After a few minutes, if you are using chard, add chard now, and stir well. Cover and cook on low till all flavors mixed.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Perfect Roast Chicken for Imperfect Cooks

There's nothing like it: a tender, juicy, tasty roast chicken each and every time, like clockwork, no double guessing, no worries, very predictable, with all the trimmings, perfectly done, with potatoes and veggies, and I - Ordinary Cook - have such a recipe.

First, google: "perfect roast chicken". I got over 10,000 hits. There's so much perfection out there in Chicken Land! Each one incorporates a different approach. I tested at least 6 "gold star" recipes which claimed "perfection". Even the Food Network Gods, gold-plated actors with scripts - if they don't have a simple roast chicken in their repertoire, they're TOAST, in my book. And they don't. Each one gets something wrong they didn't warn you about. Even Saint Emeril the Bam-Meister. They don't get the herbs right either.

It appeared more often than not, the most successful "perfect" roast chickens are done at high temps for a short period of time like 40-50 minutes. The theory is that this seals in the juices and gets the job done with short cooking times to prevent drying it out. That isn't the entire drill though.

Trust me, 500 degrees for 45 minutes will serve up one HOT chicken (key parts at 190 degrees no less) with near RAW places inside. Why? Unless you started with a near frozen bird, there are two questions to consider, and you're not going to like either one: The first one is IS YOUR RANGE/OVEN FAITHFUL? and the second one is are you purchasing UNDER-AGE CHICKENS.

Your oven, my oven, the big question mark is your oven faithful at 500 degrees? Mine is rock solid at 400, even 450, but it sure isn't at 500. Like marital fidelity, a lot can go out the window under extreme conditions. Perhaps yours is faithful, but at 500 degrees, you have to tend things closely, expect "errors", and make allowances. Don't be too judgmental if there is a screw-up or two; if all this makes you think of trading in ovens, remember, they're mostly all alike in our "price range"... I tried this maximum of settings (500 degrees) in other ovens, and seems medium to low end residential ovens flake out at high temps. Okay, back to roasted chickens.

Any 500 degree roast recipe requires up to double the "Professional Cooking God" recipe stated times, unless you have a superb quality top of the line professional oven and sous-slaves basting to the crack of your whip.

I studied the one ethnic chicken dish that gets rave reviews the world over: tandoori chicken. I do not want lipstick-red tandoori on my dinner table (did you know the red color in tandoori chicken these days is food dye masquerading for special sauces?) - however, I did want the unbeatable succulence and whatever delicate taste I chose (thyme, lemon, garlic, rosemary) to survive the roasting.

The tandoori gets rave reviews because it is succulent each and every time. And so very tasty. Tandoori chickens are marinated in a yogurt mix without their skin, and stuck in a clay oven which can reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and faster than you can say " "high-temperature reusable surface insulation" they are done! For reference, the Space Shuttle tiles are re-usable up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit, while average home ranges/ovens max at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

"A tandoori oven is designed to provide very high, dry heat. Fuel for this fire is provided by charcoals lining the bottom of the structure. In order to produce temperatures approaching 900 degrees Fahrenheit (480 degrees Celsius), employees maintain a long vigil to keep the tandoori oven's coals burning all the time. At such high temperatures, most foods cooked in a tandoori oven develop a very crisp outer layer without sacrificing moistness on the inside."

Hot and fast. The entire bird is done, no chopping into pieces or it won't work. That sounds like roast chicken to me.

Best Roasting Rule #1:
I went with the extreme salting and peppering inside and out, as much under the skin as you can get, and squeeze a lemon over it. Also, it doesn't take a Space Shuttle Scientist to figure out adding a bit of sour milk to the lemon squeeze would do wonders for the taste.

Best Roasting Rule #2:
Short of Space Shuttle tiles and a bevy of coal workers, I was going to have to figure out how Mr. Average Oven could be utilized to simulate 500 degrees. You might marinade things perfectly, but you might still be stuck in non-professional range/oven land. Locate the oven's thermometer.

If you review ovens, say at ePinions you'll see ovens first categorized "Below $1,230" to "Above 9,190", then by brand, by type (single, double, triple) and by "Energy Type" (gas, electric dual); Kitchen Ranges are "Below $740" and "Above $5,200" etc.

For yuks I selected one of the "most affordable" ones, from GE, and went to read the thousands of reviews. Not a single review actually spoke about the product (the range/oven itself). Instead, they griped about the stores they bought their item from. I chuckled at the litany of "rude", "scamster", "unethical", and then scolded myself, "Self, you are living in the kingdom of the corrupt, don't waste your time on the obvious". If a consumer wants actual reviews, a subscription to "Consumer Reports", or some such is the only way to "truth". When I believed in being a consumer I dutifully maintained such subscriptions. I was often quite irritated as "they" would ALWAYS omit from their reviews, at least two of the most or nearly most popular item in a category. So, I wouldn't want to subscribe and then discover for "Kitchen Ranges", they might have omitted "GE", for example.

Review of ranges/oven idea screwed, I am back to relying on my own common sense: The oven is supposed to get up to and hold 500 degrees. If it did not work once for you, then it won't work the second time. I located where the thermometer was placed (e.g., at the top left rear) and decided that will be the "truest" part, and kept turning the bird so every piece of it gets a bit of "prime time" at 500 degrees.

I did a baseline test for the first one: roasted for the "perfect Roast Chicken" recipe instruction that in 40 minutes it would be done. It wasn't - it was cooked unevenly - on top and raw underneath. With burned thigh ends.

OK. I put it back in, foiled the thigh ends, flipped it and decided it was done at 90 minutes. But by then it was so late in the day, I refrigerated it, and heated it up the next day in the oven, for half and hour. ONLY THEN WAS IT DONE!

However, it was very moist and exceedingly delicious. Something was up. It wasn't supposed to be this way, and I suspected the roaster had been chemically treated somehow, such as being injected with solutions of phosphates and flavoring compounds. If they don't "getcha" on the hormones, the Korporate Food Machine will "getcha" on the chemicals another way. More on that later, and if you think I'm being paranoid just keep reading.

I knew the very high temperature approach was the way to go. I ate the other half two days later, heating it up in the oven for 40 minutes. Again, I could not believe how moist it was. That is not supposed to happen, ever. This occurred even with a frozen chicken I had allowed to thaw thoroughly.

I tested various roaster recipes again. I changed the herbs and the timings and temps and performed proactive oven management and discovered:

Perform Pro-active Oven Management: Turn often - every 15 to 30 minutes, flip the bird once, let it roast for almost two hours at the highest setting of 500 degrees. IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM. As for basting, it isn't worth it and it's too dangerous to get near a spitting bird with your face unless you do this every day. You don't need to baste.

Oven at 900 degrees (just kidding) - 500 degrees, OR it's best shot at simulating that.

Personal Safety Check:
When playing with really hot ovens, pay attention to personal safety. Wear a pair of spectacles, sunshades or safety goggles when you open the oven, as the roaster will likely spit at you and you don't want that in your face. Wearing an apron is not an option, it's not about keeping your clothes clean, it's about protection. Make sure your hair, if you have any, is pulled back. Make sure you have several oven mitts, and sheets of aluminum foil out, and several kitchen towels available. Make sure you have standard safety equipment in the kitchen, a fire extinguisher, aloe-vera gel, and ice. Keep the cat occupied elsewhere. Make sure your kitchen floors are clean and dry to avoid slippage. Make sure your fan/range vent is on at least low. Make sure there is light ventilation in the house, and your smoke detectors are working but not neurotic. If it tends to go off toast bread on "dark", you're going to have to do get rid of it because it will go off on a 500 degree oven that is smoking a bird: the sudden, excruciatingly loud noise might make you drop the roast. On the cat. Make sure you keep a surface clear and with heat resistant tiles, e.g. half the range top, so you can place the roast pan on top for the "flippy-thingy" and testing.

For Chicken: A roaster that (1) isn't underage and (2) hasn't been frozen, or if frozen, the penalty is you have it thawed and marinated for hours. Marinate in salt and pepper with lemon juice and optionally, a bit of sour milk or yogurt only.

For Marinade: Lemon, Butter, Olive Oil or Sesame Oil, Rosemary or Thyme, one heads worth Garlic cloves, Bay Leaves.

For Trimmings: Potatoes, Carrots, Celery, Onion, Ginger (optional)

For time: Maximum, 3 hours start to finish, 1 hour easy, slow prep , 2 hours easy, slow watching the oven.


Do Trimmings:
Boil a large pot of water with onions. Peel large potatoes, and cut into quarters. Place in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, then drain water, leave spuds in pot, with lid on and shake the crap out of it. This will scuff them - giving nice chuffy and puffy roast potato skins.

Remove lid and the "mash potato'" looking stuff from pot and lid. Remove spud, and if you want coat each with some of the mashed potato-y looking stuff. Place these potatoes in a large oven roasting pan around the rack for the chicken.

Peel carrots, slice lengthwise, and cut into 2-3 -4 inch pieces. Do same with celery and ginger. Cut one large onion into large thick slices. Place these trimmings in the roasting pan and spritz with sesame oil and some soy sauce and brandy (or not).

Do Marinade:
Finely dice (I mean really tiny) about 8-9 large cloves of garlic. Place in 3-4 TB olive oil or other oil. Add chopped up rosemary about 5 fresh sprigs, and 1/2 as much thyme, a tiny bit of sage if you have some. Place all this in the olive oil, and add 1/4 cup of softened butter.

Do Chicken:
Wash and pat dry with paper towels. If you have a problem getting the chicken to stand while you prep it - get a clean empty soda can and insert into where you just pulled out the gizzards. But remember to remove it. Now you can coat with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, inside and out. Squeeze a large lemon all over inside and out, and save rinds to insert in cavity later. And, this is where you can mix the lemon with sour milk and rub in.

Using your hands, grab some marinade and coat the chicken with the oil/butter/herb mixture inside and out. Lastly, insert the bay leaves and the lemon halves.

Transfer the chicken carefully onto the rack inside the roasting pan and place in oven.

Roast for 30 minutes and check to see if you need to tent with aluminum foil, or if you should turn the pan around. (Some ovens do not heat evenly). If some part is getting real dark, tear off a piece of foil and cover it, the way they do women's hair in a salon when they are dyeing it.

At 45 minutes turn the pan around.

At the one hour mark, flip the bird over, and continue to cook for 45 to 60 minutes, total 2 hours. To flip the bird over, I remove the roasting pan carefully and quickly from the oven and place on top of the stove. I make sure both hands have oven-mitts, and in each mitted hand, I have grabbed a large square of foil, then I secure the bird with my foil-mitted hands and turn it over. With confidence. Then I return the roasting pan to the oven.

(The preceding is for people who do not have expensive kitchen accessories, and do not wish to have third degree burns while handling really hot stuff.)

Now turn the pan every 10 minutes for another 30 minutes to the 90 minute mark.

At 90 minutes mark, check to see if the roast will be done when the meat is pulling away from the bone, and the juices are running clear. HA! I had that happen and still had red and pink spots at some places inside. But is that really a sign of not being done? NOPE! If you stick a thermometer in at two places in the breast and see it gets up to 180 - 190, that mostly means it's done - or not?

When is is done?
If it looks a nice golden brown all over, and has clear juices, and it's at the correct temps, and you left it in long enough, and you cool it for 10 minutes and you cut it to the bone, and then wait a few minutes for any pink to turn, then see for yourself, only then is it done. If you do not have a meat thermometer, check this out: for thousands of years people didn't. They went by the other signs.

But what if really, you have all the signs it is done and you cut it and oh my gawd, it's still bloody and red inside? Oh the horror, the embarrassment!

This is where we have to have the sad little talk about UNDERAGE CHICKENS.

Here is some good advice on when a chicken is done because even when it is, these days you'll be cutting into the chicken and finding worrisome red spots.

"A more technical explanation of the "bloody chicken" phenomenon is
that chickens today are sold much younger than in years past. As a result, their bones are soft and porous due to lack of maturity. This allows bone marrow to seep from the bones into the surrounding meat, especially if the chicken is frozen and thawed. This can result in an undercooked appearance even when the meat is cooked to 185°F."

And even worrisome PINK spots:

"Regarding thigh meat, "it's almost always a little pink when you first cut into the joint, even when overcooked." But if the thigh has been properly cooked, "the meat will lose its rosy tint very quickly on contact with the air."

Be forewarned: The following can turn you into an instant vegetarian - I suggest you read Bloody Chicken by O. Peter Snyder, Jr., Ph.D. of Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management. He summarizes thusly:

"The retail food industry is being forced to sell grossly overcooked chicken in order to get rid of the red blood color around the bones. The result is chicken that is dried out, unappealing, and does not taste good. A counter measure is to needle the chicken, pumping in solutions of phosphates, flavoring compounds, and water, which puts pathogens in the middle of the chicken. If consumers were taught to eat safely prepared, bloody chicken, as they want to do with beef, they would be able to enjoy juicier chicken. This is an interesting problem for the USDA to solve. "

Then he illustrated that these chickens were cooked properly, and pasteurized but noted that a customer would likely call the Department of Health with a complaint if served these wings.

The spuds will have thick, crispy roasted skins, and the carrots will have shrunk to lovely pieces of carrot sugar; the onions may be black so give them to the person who loves burned onions, there's always one. I place the onions over the other veggies so it can drip onion on the veggies during the roasting, the veggies won't burn but some onions will, but burnt onions are my favorite part of any roast.

Pour a cup of hot water into the pan, scrape pour the drippings into a saucepan. Add some root (e.g., kudzu root) - a bit of soy, brandy, water, bring to a boil, and that's your gravy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ginger Chipotle Cookies

Ginger is a favorite year round ingredient, and ginger cookies are not just for Christmas. I make them year round too. I followed an Amish recipe for its appeal to men who remember their mothers using a similar recipe, but changed it radically to adjust taste values seasonally.

Ginger will be hot, so you will need the sweet, cloves and cardamom to balance. I like it with a kick, so I add a 1/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup melted unsweetened butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg, beaten
2-3 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger
2-3 Tablespoons of powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon clove powder
Extra brown sugar

Oven to 350.

In a bowl beat the butter and sugar for a long time, until creamy. Add the beaten egg and molasses, and mix well. Add the spices, and mix well. Then add the flour and mix - it should be a dough like consistency.

Scoop and roll into balls - about 30 of them - roll in brown sugar, and place on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, they will rise and almost join up, and will not be ginger snappy but have a fat, soft dome on top of a ginger snappy base. They taste better fatter.

If you want ginger snappy, make smaller balls, about 50 of them, and bake for about 7-10 minutes check carefully, they could bake faster and burn.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Apple Coconut Pie - the sequel got better

I am forever in search of the best apple coconut pie and for Spring, wanted a lighter recipe. When I came up with this one, I vowed never to go back to the previous Winter version. It looked and tasted so great I have only this last lonely picture, as it vanished almost instantly.

1 graham cracker crust, prebaked
3 eggs beaten (definitely only 3)
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar (or was it 1 1/4)
1/2 cup of melted and cooled butter (definitely a full half cup of melted butter)
8 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or was it 6
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unsweetened finely grated coconut (this is accurate)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apples cooked finely diced, mixed with 1-2 Tblspoon brandy it could have been a tad more.

Those were the measurements, as best I can remember as I was experimenting and cannot be so sure - you know, was it 1 cup, or 1 and 1/2 or a 1/3 ... hmmm, I'll just have to do this over and over until it's recorded right. The differences are not going to ruin a darn thing.

Preheat oven to 350. Note, you will kick this up to 375 approximately halfway through.

Prepare the apples and let them soak in the brandy. Beat eggs and sugar till creamy, add vanilla, lemon juice, salt, mix well. Stir in apple mix and then coconut, pour into the pie shell and bake for 30 minutes at 350, bake for 20-30 minutes at 375 more until the top is fairly firm, and doesn't wobble. You may have to tent with aluminum but I've never had to and the coconut rises to form a golden brown crust, the apple is in the middle and the butter seeps into the crust dragging the vanilla with it.

You cannot serve this warm, as it will melt. You must refrigerate it overnight, then take it out about 30 minutes before serving. You will not believe your taste buds.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Irish Soda Bread - to go with Irish Stew

In New York City the Irish deli's bake Irish Soda bread with raisins for St. Patrick's day, and I always asked "how come you don't make it year round?"

Most Irish Soda Bread today is made with sour milk masquerading as buttermilk - so you'd think a restaurant has a good milk recycling reason for Irish Soda bread - I suspected some food mafia is in place to prevent that sort of common sense.

Corporate Butter Milk:
Any Irish Soda Bread recipe will call for a cup or two (1/2 to 3/4 pt) of buttermilk. Here's the scoop on Buttermilk, never forget, there is REAL Buttermilk and CORPORATE Buttermilk, which tastes nothing like the real deal, but there you go, corp-conned again.

Wikipedia says rightly, "Buttermilk is the liquid left over after producing butter from full-cream milk during the churning process. It has a slightly sour taste." Further, "It is quite popular as a refreshment in Northern Europe and South Asia, particularly in Afghanistan, Punjab and the Pashtoon belt in Pakistan and in India. "

Wiki seems to be in agreement with me about the con job on corporate buttermilk: "Most of the modern, commercially available, "buttermilk" in supermarkets is not genuine buttermilk, but rather cultured buttermilk, that is, milk to which lactic acid bacteria have been added to simulate the traditional product. "

And so, fellow food travelers, Real Buttermilk is the popular refreshment I was so fond of, and Corporate Buttermilk is what I suspect Frog vomit, more correctly, Slappy squirrel vomit tastes like. Again, I kid you not..."Traditional buttermilk is quite different from cultured buttermilk: it is thin and slightly acid, while cultured buttermilk is thick and tart." Yecch!

Real Buttermilk:
Real Buttermilk is very healthy. In older-bud-wiser days, "pure cow's milk and buttermilk are described as ‘divine’ food or best source of nourishment for those on a spiritual quest." In fact, long term fasting is usually done in the East on Buttermilk alone. From the annals of the Himalayan Academy we see: "Buttermilk acts as a tonic; it pacifies the doshas and aids in digestion if taken after a meal. Vata people fare best with sour products to which a little salt has been added. The pitta person adds sugar or honey, and kapha types add ginger, black pepper or black chilies. Commercial buttermilk is too sour for consumption and should be avoided. "

If you purchase sour cream or real cream, and you keep it in the refrigerator for days, (OK, in my house it's weeks) and it gives off that thin liquid on the top - that's real buttermilk... drink up! Or save it for Irish Soda bread. Like the real Irish, I mean, real people every where do...

As for the Western debate about drinking cow's milk: "Children may have a glass of milk per day, adults may get their milk through the consumption of ghee, buttermilk and curds. Milk should be considered as a whole food not a beverage." Duh! How could anyone drink a glass of milk and call it a beverage, it hits your stomach like a lead balloon it's that protein and fat rich and heavy.

How to make Sour Milk that's closer to Buttermilk:
"In baking, regular milk can be substituted for buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar or 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar per cup of regular milk. Allow the soured milk to stand for ten minutes before adding to recipes." That's also why some Irish Soda bread recipes call for Cream of Tartar.

Thank you to my best reference site for conversions: http://www.wwrecipes.com/convert.htm

1 pint = 2 cups = 16 fl oz = 450 ml (Can usually be rounded to 500 ml)

How to make Irish Soda Bread, and variations:
Never been to Ireland, but have flown over as part of umpteen transatlantic flights, and every time - we're not yet at cruising altitude so still quite low - I could not believe how green it is... I could hardly believe the green. You've got to see it: it's like the bitter in bitter melon, you can't believe how bitter, bitter is until you've tasted bitter melon.. and so, you've never seen green until you fly over Ireland. That's how come I instantly knew their cows have to make some pretty special milk, and their creams and buttermilk must be to die for.

That being said, you now know why you're never going to recreate real Irish Soda bread outside of Ireland, but this is a fair approximation.

A word about leavening agents: baking powder, soda and cream of tartar
Soda bread is a quick bread, and its basic ingredients are flour, baking soda, (some call for baking powder and cream of tartar) and buttermilk.

The acid (sour taste) in the buttermilk reacts with the alkaline base of the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and that causes the leavening, the rising of all quick breads. It must be mixed with acidic ingredients to work. Baking powder contains baking soda and a powdered acid, so it can work without other acidic ingredients, so you don't need buttermilk if you use baking powder, but the baking powder won't be hurt by buttermilk. Use your judgment when mixing and matching ingredients, you'll more often be right.

Quick breads call for a pretty hot oven around 425 degrees, but some bake them with less heat. Most Soda Bread recipes call for a crap load of flour - 4 cups. But it's worth it.

Optional ingredients:
Some put in molasses (aka treacle), caraway seeds, raisins or currants, even apples, and if you're like me, you're going to try to see how you can sneak in Mr. Coconut. But straight-up, plain Irish Soda bread is great with Irish Stew - and so can be served at almost every meal, the way dinner rolls are served in Corporate restaurants.

I keep a stash of plain Irish Soda bread along with Mr. Cornbread and they all freeze quite well if you have to go that route. It goes well with Irish stew, see recipe index, the combo is amazing.

4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon BAKING SODA
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon BAKING POWDER OR 1 tspoon of CREAM OF TARTAR
(Note: you can just use one generous heaping tsp of BAKING SODA)
4 Tablespoons of melted butter
(Note: you can go with cold butter if you have the energy to crumb it into the flour)
1 cup raisins
(Note: you may want to soak them in whiskey, and add the sugar here, plus I add a bit of lemon)
1 or 2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk

(Black and Crispy clause: If you're going to sample the whiskey while making this, beware after the whiskey prep, I once thought one egg looked so lonely, used two, and mistook baking powder for baking soda. I was rewarded with a wonderfully soft, cottony texture - tasted and looked great, but not the Soda bread texture...)

Oven at 425 degrees C., grease a round pyrex pan, or a large cookie (baking) sheet.

Sift and mix the dry ingredients, and make a well. (If you are expert, you can "cut" the hard cold butter into the flour mix until it's crumby - I don't because I always overwork everything and it doesn't rise).

In a separate bowl, beat the egg, add the cool melted butter (else the eggs will cook), and the raisins etc. etc. etc. caraway seeds, mix well, and add to the other well.

Mix decisively and quickly, running your wooden spoon against the side of the bowl, turning using your wrist as your spoon travels to the center to deftly spiral inwards, release and do again. Try to get everything mixed within 30 seconds, until you begins to form ball and you can hardly mix anymore. Some people say turn out onto a floured board and knead for 30 seconds more, but it's likely to soft for this and you do not want to overwork it, one minute of kneading will ruin it. Scoop the whole dough out onto the baking surface you've chosen, take a serrated knife and make a deep X on the surface. This is to let the fairies out.

Pop it in the oven for 35-40 minutes, if the dough was a bit soft you might have to run it for an hour, but it's done when stick inserted comes out clean (it will) and sounds hollow when tapped.

If it starts to brown up too fast, put an aluminum tent foil over it somewhere in the middle. Some recipes call for 325 for an hour to 1 1/4 hours... try it both ways.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

BitterSweet Melon-choly

Ever wonder how certain foods remind you of people from your childhood, especially grandparents? In my case, bitter melon reminds me of my grandmother.

Periodically, the grandchildren were deposited into her care, and after some thorough spoiling, she graduated us to other matters: cleaning us up not only on the outside but also on the inside. This involved introducing us to specific adult foods.

One of these was the bitter melon, a dreadfully bitter vegetable - as ugly as it was bitter - and it was so bitter, we were actually excused from not eating the entire serving. Unheard of. We called it the green crocodile from hell because its skin was toady and reptilian. The first time I took a taste, I was so stunned by it's bitterness - I could hardly believe something that bad would be deliberately put on the dinner table.

Grandma tried everything to get us to regard this as a sainted food and not a flat-out inedible poison. She called it "korela". The older kids ate it without fuss, in fact, they were shepherded in, their grown-up eating preferences put on display, and they actually ate it as though they liked it. The adults made a big deal of how smart they were, and how we were so young, likely going to remain that way if we continued to look upon this sainted food as poison. Somehow, we knew this, the most odious and relentlessly bitter-tasting of vegetables, had to be pretty special - you couldn't find a substance more opposite to the idea of sugar than this. So we made faces, but we ate it and grandma really did try to make it taste good. But she never said it wasn't bitter, she said straight up it was very bitter, and very good for you, that it cleaned your blood and made you strong. And she was right. A year or so later, I was among the older and wiser kids, setting a superior example to a new generation of recently assaulted tastebuds. My grandma, Doctor Grandma to you!

To this day, when I see bitter melon in the rare store, I am reminded of my fantastic good health. My subtle knowledge of what foods to select to stay that way I attribute mainly to her...I do pay homage to my entire ancestral line which contributed to this uncanny taste-balance , food-health-diagnostic thing I have. So, I buy lots of bitter melon, and pass on the bitterness. How sweet this memory is, and how I miss her. Now all grown up and then some, I find myself craving it usually around spring cleaning... which is now...

Bitter melon is among the few items that will cure diabetes (and if you don't believe that, it's OK with me, please don't eat it, and if you don't like me making that claim, feel free to climb the nearest legal rope and hang yourself) ... and they're finding out it cures a lot of liver ailments, ...is good for a lot of immuno-supressive diseases. Whatever. I've do crave this thing now, and when I do, I remember those innocent times with bittersweet melancholy, for they can be no more.

I have developed this recipe which gets rave reviews, and calls for seconds and thirds by those who have never tasted bitter melon before.

Bitter melon with yellow lentils (chana dal)

1 cup yellow split peas (lentils)
4 cups water

2-3 Tablespons soysauce (optional)
1 large onion, finely chopped (I prefer white onion)
1/2 head garlic finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh and finely chopped ginger
1 Tablespoon cumin seed or powder if you don't have the seed
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, if you don't use soy)
4 Tablespoon mix of olive and sesame oil
1 Tablespoon of chana masala which has: amchoor (dried mango powder yum!), ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, anardana (pomegranate seed!), black and green cardamom, black salt, white salt, cloves, turmeric, garlic, nutmeg, mustard seed, bay leaves, asafetida (hing), coriander, cumin, fenugreek (methi) leaves. This is sweeter than the other masalas.

If you don't have it, that's fine too, just use 1 teaspoon of curry powder, or a tiny bit of as many of these ingredients that you do have. Don't worry about the spice balancing. If you can only manage to have one or two spices, make sure these are cumin and turmeric.


(Warning: The pressure-cooker approach is about as nutritious as flash frying onions in plastic.)

Clean the lentils thoroughly in cold water, and bring to a boil in 4 cups of fresh water. Skim off the beany scum. Add salt, soy sauce (optional), turmeric, masala to the lentils and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small pan, heat oil, and add cumin, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, onion, garlic, and ginger for several minutes; when the spices begin to release their oils, add it all to the lentil mix.

Simmer and stir frequently as the lentils tend to burn. If they do burn, do not stir or scrape, just remove contents to a fresh pot, and continue. Simmer for another hour or so, until the lentils become soft and it turns into a creamy texture.

You will want to serve this over the bitter melon, next to a bed of rice and perhaps other tidbits. Note, it can be refrigerated and heated up the next day for a richer taste. I prefer to split the prep over two days, and re-simmer for 30-45 minutes the next day when I do the bitter melon. In my experience, lentil soup does not keep for more than a three or so days in the refrigerator, and you will know this as it can develop a "sour" smell, and does this quite rapidly, so take care, don't leave it out.

Bitter melon:
1 large bitter melon ripe or not
Fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp
Black mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
Soy sauce
A tspn of the chana-type masala which has: amchoor, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, anardana, black and green cardamom,black salt, white salt, cloves, turmeric, garlic, nutmeg, ral, bay leaves, asafetida, coriander, cumin, methi leaves. This is sweeter than the other masalas. If you don't have it that's fine too.
1 medium onion chopped finely
5 cloves garlic chopped finely

Cut melon lengthwise and fish out the seeds. Cut into thin strips and then across so each strip is about 2 inches long. Place in a bowl with some soy sauce (for the salt), some tumeric and a bit of chana masala. Marinate for about 10 minutes.

In a saucepan place some olive oil, and the onion and garlic. Brown them slowly, and add the spices, then the bitter melon. You can skip the onions and garlic if you'd prefer the bitter melon straight up but use the spices. Cover and cook very slowly for about 30 minutes, stirring as it will brown and stick from time to time. In the end, they'll be quite soft with a lot of brown in the pan, it's all good. You may have to add a teaspoon of so of water along the way.

When the lentils are ready, spoon several tablespoons of the bitter melon mix in a soup bowl, pour two ladles of the lentil soup over it, and serve right away.

The lentils give an almost sweet contrast to the bitterness of the melon, and this dish gets rave reviews for taste and health values.

For a more elaborate dinner, I serve this with a fish and another vegetable dish, followed by a slice of the Springtime version of apple coconut pie... washed down with sparkling wine. These sorts of dishes mark the end of winter for me.

Friday, March 16, 2007

AMA ZING Spring Bling

When Spring rolls around, dont'cha just feel you're trying to throw something off and spring to life? A certain joy fills you and I'm not talking about Corporate Spring Fever, (which TV-transformed itself from an innocent line in a Hollywood song to a patriotic medical syndrome - meaning, an excuse to sell you Corporate Adolph-Pharma's spring allergy drugs).

For those of you who find yourselves ... pick one or more...

  • sneezing and wheezing
  • moaning and groaning
  • meeping and weeping
  • mind floating and body bloating
  • blaming and flaming
  • hogged, fogged and blogged
... it's time to re-balance and cleanse your body and mind and spirit using the Medicine Cabinet of First Resort (MCFR)- your kitchen.

What exactly are you balancing? The Constitution! The Constitution of the United States of Who You Really Are!

What exactly are you cleaning out, getting rid of? AMA! Not just any "ama", THE Ama!

Well, yes, as initials, your brand-name recognition programming identifies the A.M.A. as the Anti-Christ Medical Association. Here it means AMA, pronounced "ama". How appropriate the lead agency for dispensing death-oriented medicine to America in this Age of Adolph, should be named after a bodily-produced substance that is the root cause of all sickness in humans. Holy Crap. Nay! Unholy Crap. Excrementissimus Vilus Iniquitus Lotharious ... EVIL ... like the entire Bush Crime Family, which embedded itself, like AMA, deep within the Global Body Politik, much less the last 6 US Administrations.

[Drum roll maestro, that WAS a good one! You'll NOT likely forget the name of this WOEFUL SUBSTANCE now, will you?]

While we exhort all good people to get rid of the Bush Adminstration from within the body politik, we also exhort all good people to gird themselves with good health in our battle of good vs. evil.

If you want to know what AMA personified looks like, view the corpusculent visage of Karl Rove, you can see pus-drizzled ama coursing in the bulging veins behind his eyeballs... watch Condoleeza Rice closely, if you can stomach it, and see the bile-flecked ama working her mouth and lips, as she spittles forth words in the form of dancing corpses...

We don't want to end up like that do we? Here's how AMA builds up:

EFFICIENT DIGESTION: Eat food, convert to nutrients or waste, all wastes flushed out. No AMA.

INEFFICIENT DIGESTION: Eat food, converts to nutrients or waste, some wastes flushed out, rest stuck in body in digestive system, bio-leaks into surrounding tissue, becomes more toxic, clogs up all tubing, including nerve channels, blocks flow of bio-electricity, known as chi, life force, body feels hogged (like Rove) flogged (like Condi, she was MKUltra programmed in one of the gifted child programs, watch her hand movements!) and blogged (like America?). Lots of AMA.

AMA is the ground in which bacteria, viruses, degenerative diseases, endocrine collapse, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stroke, kidney and liver failure, substance addictions, including obesity take hold. And when the physical instrument is off, what the heck do you think happens to the mind and spirit? Duh! Like you didn't know this all is the black business of the AMA ...

Fasting and cleansing are the oldest therapeutic interventions known to man (i.e, Homo Sapiens, not Homo Adolpho Pharmo) . So, do not expect the AMA Medical establishment to back this up. This is not their clap-trap, this is the people's medicine, not corporate medicine. This is not AMA medical advice! This is how to get rid of AMA for GOOD!

AMA builds up when your digestive functions are not efficient. If you eat something not suited to your particular and precious constitution, which makes you spectacularly and only you, AMA will build up. If you eat something old that cannot be digested, AMA will build up. If you eat something when your digestive system is off, AMA will build up. When you eat processed or artificial foods, AMA will build up.

That's sort of obvious. What's not so obvious is this: drinking ICE COLD BEVERAGES when eating food shuts down the digestive "fires". This is what a famous Chinese Jewish doctor said about drinking ICE COLD beverages DURING meals:


The rest is just common sense:
Okay so we're filled with the treacherous AMA, what's a body to do? Cleanse it out. We already talked about it, the Tridoshic Trump Cards are the way to go, as well as a few other cleansing tricks. It's not rocket science or a bloody mystery, folks. How about simply slowing down the eating. Slowly.
  • Eat fresh and light like spring... and tridoshic
  • Drink warm water throughout the day.... take a tip from Buddha Cat...
    Kitty likes his tea. In the morning and last thing at night, he insists on a bowl of warm water, that has been thoroughly boiled and allowed to cool to the correct temperature for his pretty little nose. He also wants a drop or two of fresh lemon juice in it. Believe it or not. This is a kitty, who if you forget to do this, will "call you" over, and as you bend down, will reach up with a soft paw and swat you as reminder. No scratches mind you. Then when you bring him his tea, he'll lick you on a specific meridien which will make you feel loopy-happy.
  • Quick, warm oil body self-massage right before morning shower - Coconut is good, sesame is preferred.
  • Cook with detox spices such as Cumin, Chili, Coriander, Clove, Fennel, Ginger, Turmeric which also happen to keep the digestive fires burning efficiently.


I sprouted a whole bunch of Mung beans which looked marvelous, they were such eager little sprouts - the ones I verbally encouraged embedded their little roots practically before my eyes into the paper towels in their joy to grow; damn things sprouted an entire inch over one night!

With equal and misplaced enthusiasm, the next day I rewarded them their yearning to live and express themselves, by scarfing them down, devoured every last one (Insert picture).

[I hope the vegetarian nazi's reading this understand that every living thing has some sentience and it was just as life-taking doing the sprouts in, as it was doing the fish in. I predict that only when vegetarian nazi's get this will all war will stop on this planet.]

Within 4 hours I was rewarded with terrible abdominal cramps which told me there was a lot of AMA in my body, and my digestive fires were low, and I should really cool down this gung-ho lets clean-up and re-balance, Ein, Zwei, Drei, Heil, Heil, (goose-stepping music now) Cleansing Macht Frei! I know, that damn Austrian blood in me gets going when the AMA is in town.

I devised a great mung sprout recipe which my stomach loves and is very tridoshic. Excuse me while I call it simply amazing. That's right, a-m-a----z-i-n-g.



1 cup freshly spouted mung beans (sprouting instructions below)
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup brown rice if you can get it
1 lemon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

Heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the spices toss in the mung beans and stiry fry til the edge is off the beans, add everything else, and remove from heat.


In Japan, these are eaten like rice cakes. They are so tasty I can't seem to get any left over in the fridge past one day.

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups mung bean sprouts
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 tablespoon sesame oil
Ground cayenne pepper

In a bowl, mix the ginger, soy, salt, wheat flour and water. Stir in the mung beans, and make it into a pourable batter of pancake like consistency, just a bit thicker.

Heat the oils in a large skillet over medium heat then reduce to low and pour in just enough batter to make a medium plate sized pancake, make sure it's thin and not too thick. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side.

The best way to flip this pancake is to get another skillet same size, place over the pancake skillet and turn over, then transfer the flipped pancake to the cooking skillet. Do this over a cutting board so you can retrieve your mistakes with dignity.

You can drizzle some tamari or soy sauce over this, it is delish.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Coconut Head

With the approach of Spring, my system has changed, and no longer do the wonderful Winter lush rich, exotic, deep-red suffused, velvety, creamy, spicy dishes excite my senses. Rather, my body says quite loudly, what are you thinking, and of course, I was thinking Winter!

One Sunday morning I woke up and suddenly couldn't get enough of huge salads and fruits. Gallons of soup, dozens of peaches and apricots, with Mr. Coconut of course, but he has been relegated to second fiddle in this new Spring Orchestra. And fish, I am in love with Mr. Fish again.

Don't ask me how all that works, it just did, about two to three weeks before the weather definitely made a change. And right in the middle of the change, I went through two weeks where i didn't want to eat a single thing. I was always full. At the end of that I had shucked off the Winter vibe (not weight, I am always at the same perfect ideal weight I always am) and was, well, quite springy myself. It was an energy thing.

But there was one aspect of my health that I was concerned about: my hair. It looked dull, lifeless, and had the texture of old winter hay. Weeks of salads and green and leafy means new life in my blood supply, but what else is a person to do. In addition, it was falling out! Ouch!

So I went down to my local ethnic store and purchased some ANOOP HAIR OIL. It was old and out of date but I was extremely pleased to even find it. It is coconut based, and well, it works. It is also COCONUT OIL based, something my grandma was careful to let me know was the only thing to put on my head.


Did it ever work. ONE single application of Mr. Coconut Plus, as I call this hair oil, (it is definitely not your Corporate Fragrance but smells like something strong and raw deep earthy herbal that just rolled up its sleeves and went to work) - and my hair had its sheen back, had its spring back, and began to behave.

After I washed my hair I sat down to breakfast, ate some coconut flakes with carnation milk, like it was cereal. Then I came up with the Spring regime xyz_recipes.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Like Chocolate for Cornbread

One of my favorite movies is Like Water for Chocolate. If you take food seriously, as in eating to live (not the other way around), see this movie. In it, the main character Tita pours her soul into her cooking, which causes the people who taste it to experience what she feels.

When we were little, my cousins and I knew this to be true, and would not eat the food our aunties cooked if they were in a bad mood. We were suspicious and superstitious little shits, and we still believe we were right.

To this day, cooking is my way of coming to terms with my life, and setting me back on my path. Through food as my physical and spiritual medicine, those around me taste what it's like to be me. Obeying my first commandment "do no harm", what they most always feel is joy and abandon, or else they starve as I will not cook if I am not balanced and centered. Sometimes though the black and crispy parts of my soul do show through. The taste is bitter sweet. When I put together the Tastewheel this is the stealth program determining what matches when and why.

I think everyone's cooking is like Tita's, meaning, whatever mood you are in comes through in some way. If your sense of taste is acute, you know what I mean. What I think is destroying us, physically and mentally, causing so many food based physical and mental diseases - the soulless cooking of mass produced food.

Anyway, I use mole in cooking when I feel like flying. Here it is, Oh Solee Molee Cornbread.

Solee Molee Cornbread
(A word of caution, all these entries and recipes are copyrighted, so if you want to use any part of them, you have to give credit, and if you use it and change e.g., 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp, you still have to give credit).

Mole paste has some form of nuts and seeds in it. You will find cheap US knockoffs doing a Reese's peanut butter cup imitation by dumping peanut butter and candy store chocolate in the paste recipe. Run far away!

Basic mole paste has these ingredients, more or less, depends on if you want to add tomatillos, onions, garlic, tortillas and chocolate now or later when making the mole sauce from the paste. Since this is for a bread, not for a sauce and the rest of the poblano drill, I use a paste which already has:

  • Chilies: Anchos, Pasilla, Mulato
  • Nuts/Seeds: Almonds, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds (pepitos)
  • Dried Fruits: Raisins
  • Spices: Canela (Mexican soft bark cinammon), Cloves, Peppercorns, Oregano, Mexican Chocolate
  • A few Tblspn of Oil
That's just to point you in the right direction. Authentic regional variations pastes can only be appreciated by starting off with the basics. Variations add Anise Seed, tomato, onion, garlic to this and one US variation adds a bit of raw peanuts in small quantities. That's just because they couldn't get the Sunflower seeds which is a required ingredient in some regional variations.
  • A word about the chocolate: If you really want authentic try doing the roasted carenero andsur del lago/maracaibo cacao beans.
  • A word about the spices: Some variations add cumin, nutmeg or thyme. I always add cumin.
  • A word about the chilies: chilhuacle chiles if you can find, else substitute the more easy to find anchos.
Unless I've prepared this paste ahead of time, I'm going to be using store-bought mole paste that's been sitting around for a while, either in my refrigerator or a Mexican market. Here's the important part. Take a bit of the mole paste and TASTE it, raw. Dense, dark, earthy, sweet, thick, grainy, hot.... and this was meant to go with poultry to balance it. However, there's going to be no chicken in this recipe, how do we balance it, what strange item oft overlooked in the food closet makes this work into cornbread to fly for?

Cornbread Recipe
(Oh wait, I've entered this into a contest so you'll have to wait til after the contest - sorry those are the rules!)

Solano Cornbread

Traditional Mexican "fiesta" style cornbread has no flour. It's very savory, goes well with chicken dishes, especially coconut chicken. The other cornbread (with flour) goes better with red meat dishes.

We get a lot of good Mexican style salsa casera (picante) in these parts, and I replace the usual jalapeno peppers with this. Some recipes call for onions, but I dice a few spring onions really fine, add to the salsa, and kick it all up with the local chipotle pepper mix. This is the place I threw caution to the winds, and had fun with mole paste and bitter chocolate powder. I call that one Oh Solee Molee Cornbread and I just might put the recipe up one day.

1 C cornmeal
14.5 oz. can whole kernel corn
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs well beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup regular milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter melted and cooled
2 heads spring onions finely diced
2 Tbl salsa casera picante
1 tsp chipotle pepper mix
1 cup shredded cheddar or jalapeno cheese

Mix the salsa with onions and pepper
Mix the wet ingredients and add salsa mix to it
Mix the dry ingredients, make a well
Add the wet to the dry mixing thoroughly
Pour into a greased 8x8 pan
Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake at 350 for 45 mins.

This recipe creates a very rich crumbly cornbread. Sometimes, I add a half to one cup of flour, another egg, and a 1/2 tsp of baking powder or so to give it a more textured body.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cold and Flu Nutraceuticals

We're gonna get nutraceutical. I got this from a website I call Grandma Crystal's website, who posted some healing recipes. This one was posted by Di Anna as opposed to me Mono Anna, and was under a section for Bath Salts, Lip Balm & Other Healing Recipes.

I like it's simplicity, but it is a bit harsh and only half the solution. I have a thing to say about cold-flu remedies. You're feeling crappy enough so why can't there be something more appealing that works. I have one, it's after Dianna's. Dianna says this one is an old Norwegian recipe and I guarantee you it would work up to a point. It is missing a few things, but it is a nice short term solution.

Garlic and Onion are the feature attractions, while and Honey and Nutmeg are backup singers in this old Bumping and Dumping act. They bump up the immune system and dump antiseptics into the bod. But what about rebalancing the bod? Getting colds and flus is about your immune system taking a hike on you. This means your own bod is out of balance. We have to add a good Thumping to straighten that out, and that's presented later.

Bump and Dump Cold/Flu remedy
In Juicer blend:
1 med.size onion
4 fresh garlic sections
(use juice only)

Add to juice:
2 tbsp. melted honey
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Chug a lug. Were I a bug, I'd chug my lug and leave you too.

Here's a more evolved though somewhat involved idea, and it does involve whiskey, and I caution you that means in your flue-ey state, it comes with a Black and Crispy Clause which goes like this. "Caution, do not confuse an open fire with a place to toss-about negligently with alcohol; the resultant explosion will likely leave your place of abode, not to mention you, your drawer strings and hair in a black and crispy condition, which will lead to invitations for you to move to Red Cross shelters, cold hospital rooms, and be followed with headaches of legal hassles and recriminations, not to mention date-canceling, and your reputation in flames on neighborhood bathroom walls, take my word for it, it isn't worth it."

The Thumper: Po-Ja Inspired Flu remedy

Po-ja also called "Po-be ja" and is a Tibetan word for well, Tibetan tea, as the land of Tibet is know as Po, which is pronounced as a cross between a B and a P, trust me you gotta hear it to believe it. The Ja is like the Indian Cha for Chai.

Tibetan tea is churned with butter. Not Yak butter. A word about that later.

These people - the Tibs - and others like them - have made a living for millenia above the tree line. "Can you hear me now, veggie-box people"? Above the tree line. That would be above where the green and leafy grow. I suppose one answer could be "let them eat dirt." But, forgive them, that's not what they did.

They lived around their revered Yak. yes, they planted barley and mustard seeds and flowers and anything that would grow in the short growing season up in the high cold Tibetan plateau. Yes they did, and they came to know the medicinal properties of anything that eked a life up there: plant, animal or mineral. Yes, stones are considered living in their tradition. Thank you Pema Wangyal I finally got it. Life hung in the balance in this harsh cold barren region, people developed a great respect for the sanctity of live. They also knew a basic tenet on this planet, that for anything to live, something must die, be it bug, plant or animal.

Back to the Yak

Yak Milk, and Yak Butter. NO such thing. The Yak is male and hence does not give milk. It is the Dro, the female which gives milk. There is precedence in the West: Bulls give Shit and Cows give Milk, right? In Asia, it's Dro Milk.

In a pot on the stove top:

3 black tea bags some water to brew it
1 tsp ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 cup fresh Ginger grated
1/2 stick Butter (cow or dro, clarified as ghee or whatever greases your fancy)
1/2 cup Whiskey (be good now, it's an ingredient, not the main course)
1/2 cup jaggery or honey
1/2 cup lime juice

A word about whiskey and alcohol in general: this has nothing to do with morality, it's to do with understanding the natural laws of the universe. Everything has a place and time.

"Alcohol is a powerful substance that has dangers that should not be taken lightly. Ayurveda, contains clearly defined views on the use alcohol. Alcohol as a solvent for extracting the active ingredients of certain herbs. Tinctures are used in western herbalism in the same way. Ayurveda also prepares special herbal wines for a weak digestion and as relaxants for stress. Certain alcoholic beverages (like wine) can have health benefits, like improving digestion or circulation, but only taken in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause or contribute to physical or psychological diseases. Excess alcohol can damage the liver, make the blood toxic, and overheat the brain. Alcohol can impair our mental judgment as well as our sensory coordination. "

I put the whiskey in there because you want the effect on circulation with the black pepper to speed up the elimination of the excess doshas. You will pee and sweat it out. Oh right this is a food blog and there I go again talking about the other end. Just not done is it? Well keep it between us.

You know what to do next. Make the tea with the ginger, hot and strong, add butter and stir, (churn if you can) add honey/jaggery and stir, add lime and stir, and the spices, stir the crap out of it, turn off the flame add the whiskey and as soon as it is cool enough to swallow, down it all in one fell swoop.

Wrap yourself up in dry blankets and don't move until they are wet. If that didn't start your perspiration engine on your terms, go back, and do it again, increasing the hot things...

So what happened to the onions and garlic?

You probably know this: you get sick because your body is out of balance. You get out of balance because you're not eating the right things for your constitution and living context. You are not eating the right things because you stopped listening to your body, or your sense of taste needs adjusting. When you eat the wrong things for your constitution, your liver and kidneys are the first to know about it.

Right, so when you have a cold/flu you have an excess of wind/heat. You want to reduce the Wind and Heat. How to rebalance underlying unbalanced constitution? Not with Onions and Garlic as the primary tonic. "Considering that the object is to give thedigestive and nervous system as much of a rest as possible, it isadvised to eat as lightly as your particular constitutionwill endure. " Citation. Onions and garlic are not light. The lovely tridoshic rice porridge is.


Sito Paladi In India, the vegetarian Hindus use a revered Ayurvedic preparationcalled Sito Paladi Churna for colds. This preparation depends on theuse of certain herbs mixed with raw brown sugar to supplementnutritional energy. Most of the herbs in sito paladi are readilyavailable and consists of the following: raw brown sugar, bamboomanna, pippli long pepper, cardamom and cinnamon. It is a primary anti-kapha or anti-mucus remedy especially good for internal coldness with accompanying clear or whitish mucus.

Bamboo manna (phylostachys nigra) is the inner sap of bamboo. It iscalled zhu li in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is similarlyused to clear inflammation and phlegm from the lungs. Pippli (piperlongum) called bi ba in TCM, along with the other ingredients insito paladi are hot and counterbalance the cooling energy of bamboomanna. Although, not as preferred, one can substitute black pepper forpippli in this formula. These herbs tend to stimulate circulation andraise the body's resistance to external cold pathogens.

A simplification of this combination is readily made by combiningpowdered black pepper, cardamom, echinacea root (either purpurea orangustifolia) and, if available, adding kudzu starch powder.

Onions is "hot", eliminates phlegm, is a stimulator, causes the formation of urine, increases appetite and the supreme destroyer of wind humor. It is beneficial in eliminating all the three excessive humors i.e. phlegm, wind and bile. However, onions in order to eliminate phlegm must be crushed and boiled not merely juiced. Although raw onion juice is marvelous for the nervous system, and gives great strength making it a tactical approach, it's not specific to the imbalance inviting colds and flus.

Tilapia Migas - Indian Austrian Mexican Style

Once every two weeks, I make a point to use up all the vegetables left over in the refrigerator. I usually start guilt tripping about the 10 day mark, and develop a fine fear of looking to see how far the left-over vegetables have gone.

Work always gets in the way of an overly ambitious cooking schedule. I invite vegetable cutting boy to come by. He pulls everything out, half filled bags of chard, mustard leaves, bok choy, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, green peppers, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, carrots, onions, spring onions, shallots, garlic, small red potatoes - he says it's not bad at all, there's nothing to throw away but you have to cook these now.

So he weans, preens, lops, chops, slices and dices; soon a rainbow of vegetables look up expectantly. The first thing I do is open a can of Mexican salsa verdes in vinegar toss a good bit over each of the vegetables, over the fish marinade. But, not the potatoes: the potatoes will be cooked "dry" in Indian spices and onions.

Then I select the spices - a range of masala ingredients - and a container of nutritional yeast. That's the Austrian part you see.

Nutritional yeast is not quite brewer's yeast, but it supplies B-12. The corporate yeast monopoli-nistas like to enroll vegans that only their version has their holy grail B-12.

While we're on this subject, what did vegetarians do before the advent of "Korporatische"? Vitamin B-12 must be supplemented by those on strictly vegetarian diets, as well as other amino acids, which raises all kinds of interesting Darwin-esque questions about people inside their veggie-only box...

"Nutritional yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a food yeast, grown on a molasses solution, and comes in powder or flake form. It has a pleasant-tasting, cheesy flavor and can be used directly on vegetables, baked potatoes, popcorn and other foods as a condiment. It is different from brewer's yeast or torula yeast. It can often be used by those sensitive to other yeasts. Yeasts are not animals! Yeasts are part of the group fungii. They were originally considered to be plants even though they do not produce chlorophyll, now they have their own kingdom. "

"Natural nutritional yeast has been recognized as an excellent source of essential nutritional elements. One heaping tablespoon provides more protein, with all the essential amino acids, than most common foods. nutritional yeast provides all the B-vitamins, including choline and inositol, RNA and DNA, and all the important mineral and trace elements natural to yeast. Nutritional yeast tastes good because it is a primary yeast grown specifically as a food supplement."

I had a feeling that the yeast business got serious in Germany, France and Austria - them thar places that were the Western birthplaces of BEER und VIN. Und indeed, we find zat is zo! The Lesaffre Yeast Corporation is "leading the world in yeast research and technology" and at their fine site we read about their GREAT STEP FORWARD.

"In 1871 the Austrian Baron Max von Springer, owner of an excellent distillery at Maisons-Alfort, introduced from Vienna the idea of extracting yeast from the grain fermentation wort and selling it to bakers. Up until that time, the bakers had used their own sourdough, sometimes accompanied by residual brewery yeast. The following year, Lesaffre and Bonduele developed the process of manufacturing fresh yeast at Marcq-en-Baroeul, with the operation being housed in a former mill. The Societe Industrielle Lesaffre grew from this site. This company gradually emerged as the driving force and the platform for the industrial and commercial expansion of the yeast branch of the Group."

Well, there you go. Out of the grain wort sprang yeasty Austrians... and a century plus later:

"In February, 2001, Lesaffre Yeast Corporation further expanded its presence in the US yeast industry with the purchase of Red Star Yeast from Sensient Technologies Corporation. The Red Star family featured a consumer yeast brand as well as commercial products for the wholesale, bakery, foodservice and nutritional yeast industry. This merger continued to increase SAF’s leadership position in the U.S. yeast industry and gave the resulting company a strong national network of plants delivering quality yeast products to bakery, food, agriculture and nutriceutical markets.

Well that explains a comment at a veggie site: "...one might conclude that Red Star T-6635+ nutritional yeast, and probably no other variety, is a reliable dietary source of B12 at this time."

Oh puh-leeeeeze. Corporate jingle jangle. Merdekopf-ische. That's French-Austrian for "shit for brains". More on "neutriceutical" monopolies later, but I have to dig up Linda Ronstadt's "Lets get physical" for that one.

Back to the fish and veggies. A multiplicity of veggies works well with blander tasting fish, so I always make sure I have Tilapia (and real Tortillas) on hand and I set out four pans for a fish and veggie dinner that always garners a vow never to cook anything else again.

  • Fish
  • Potatoes
  • Green and Leafy only
  • Celery/Mushroom/Peppers - everyone else
These should be thinly sliced. In a saucepan with olive and sesame oil, add the onions, and cook until soft, then add "masala" components: cumin, tumeric, coriander, fenugreek, salt, red pepper, ginger powder, garlic powder and bring it to the point the spices begin to turn in the pot, stirring. Now add the sliced raw potatoes, and cover. Let the potatoes get really brown on one side, then turn, and cover again. Keep doing this until the spuds are done. Keep the heat to medium low, more low.

Remove, set aside and cover.

Green and leafy vegetables
In a wok style pot, place some olive oil then add the chard and other green and leafy cut small. It will look fairly mountainous and will cook down to only a few handfuls. Sprinkle soy and your leafy green spices over the mountain - tumeric, cumin, chili pepper together with a good dose of nutritional yeast. Note, I did not cook these spices in the oil. This is considered a crime in some Indian cooking circles, and I laugh defiantly at them.

Cut the tilapia into stew sized pieces, put lemon juice over, and marinate in a bit of rice wine vinegar and soy. In a pan heat some sesame seed oil with a bit of olive and very slowly fry a finely diced mix of the onions: spring and shallots etc. When half way to translucent, add cumin, coriander, ginger powder, red pepper powder and garlic powder. When cooked to where the onions are ready, add tilapia with marinade. Sprinkle some dried tarragon over this.

Cook about 5-6 minutes stirring gently once or twice. Remove from pan, put aside.

Celery Mushrooms Peppers etc.
Olive oil now, heat and add celery, mushrooms, peppers and anything else that doesn't fall into the other categories. Add soy, sprinkle the "hard vegetable" curry spice mix over, and stir. Now add a heavy sprinkle of nutritional (brewer's) yeast, two turns of the pot.

On low heat, cover and let cook til done. Use your judgment, you're in control.

Tortillas (optional)
In one of the pans I place a bit of oil, and place whole tortillas and cook til crisp, placing on a paper towel to absorb the oil. I do this for as many people as are sitting for dinner, or else for a simpler meal, I serve the fish over spuds, and the veggies around that.

Otherwise, I place the tortilla in a place, the fish in the middle, and the spuds and veggies in a circle around the fish. The tortilla is eaten when it has soaked up the amazing juices, and are easy to cut. You will have happy tummies set aglow with the exotic spices and the fish is delish.

Disclaimer: No vegans were harmed in the preparation or consumation of this dish.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Sourcream Coconut Cornbread

Oops I did it again. Another insult to the South. I put flour in a cornbread recipe. Not only that, I used baking powder and baking soda. Good god, I can see the Dixie Mafia foodies on corporate food blogs burning a cross for me as I write this. I confess, I did think "cream-style corn" in a can they like so much, but thank god it was fleeting.

Instead, I turned to fresh corn and creamed it myself. Creaming corn according to XYZ taste wheel methods goes like this:

Coconut Creamed Corn
8 oz petite sweet corn niblets, fresh or frozen
1 cup evap milk
1 - 2 Tb Molasses
Coriander, Cumin, Chili Powder, Coffee
[1/2 tsp of the spices and 1/5 cup strong black coffee]
2 Tb Coconut Cream
1/3 cup Coconut flakes unsweetened

If you want, add 1/3 cup raisins drowned in cognac. This will change the straight-up savory earthy flavor which counterpoints well with an apple-carrot-celery winter soup or an Irish stew. Or else, add 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, or a few cones of piloncillo/jaggery melted in hot water.

Put it all in a pot, stir well, and put on real low heat for a while. Do NOT slime it up with corn syrup and corn starch please.

Here's the recipe for what is actually known as 6-C cornbread in my kitchen - Coriander, Cumin, Chili Powder, Coffee, Corn, Coconut.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking POWDER
1 tsp baking SODA
(Note there is no added sugar in this recipe because the corn has that)

Wet Ingredients:
1 Cup Sour Cream
3 eggs
1 stick butter, melted.
1 can's (14-16oz) worth coconut cream style corn as above

The usual cornbread drill: Mix dry well, make a well, mix wet well, add to the well, mix the mix well. Pour in an 8 by 8 buttered pan.

Bake at 380 for 35 minutes, and 400 for 5 minutes. Or 385 for 40 minutes. Depends on whether you have added the raisins or not. Without the coconut its 375 for 40. A stick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

The coconut flakes add a subtle crunch and satisfying texture. It looks like cake, but tastes like rich savory bread, pure corn bread. It has deep, earthy tones; it is moist with a good solid crumb around the corn niblets.

The molasses provides a springboard for the other spices. You can also serve this with those very spicy chili recipes you do for chili contests. It has not a whit of sweet, and you don't want to sugar it up, instead you might just want to do the raisin version.

Tridoshic Trump Cards

There are only a few magical food substances that balance all three constitutional types. The constitutions are called "doshas" so these things are called tridoshic. This means no matter who or what you are, these things will center your body back to the natural state for your exquisitely particular and specific body type, and of course, regardless of what you've done to it all your life so far, which makes it so exquisitely and preciously yours.

Kind of magic huh? Sort of what god would have had in mind, strafing the desert wandering Israelites with manna from heaven? As a kid going to Catholic school, I thought surely some religious food magic was in the communion wafer we got at mass. In fact, we all were led to believe the manna from heaven were likely communion wafers. First time I got up there the priest mumbled "Body of Christ" and I almost choked. "Too late, they got me! another church trick!" I stumbled back wondering if I had been double-crossed into cannibalism; I swear I almost puked. I mean in catechism they said it was to "represent the body of Christ" - but that's not what HE said, he said it like it was the real deal. He fervently meant it. Back in the pew I considered whether I should spit or swallow. As it stayed in my mouth dissolving I had to makeup my mind whether I ditched God by spitting him out or not in full view of the nuns. Could have been then the rumors started about kids disappearing to make the wafers. I had nothing to do with that. I swear.

Definitely not tridoshic, and not body nor mind balancing for me.

Well, just as a taste test, which of the following food substances do you think has the magical tridoshic triple-witchy-whammy?

  1. Adzuki Beans
  2. Asparagus
  3. Beets
  4. Black Pepper
  5. Cardamom
  6. Carrot
  7. Coriander
  8. Fennel
  9. Green Beans
  10. Gooseberry
  11. Mung Beans
  12. Rice
  13. Saffron
  14. Zucchini
Interestingly, all of them.

The most famous balancing act in the kitchen is the rice dish called Kitcheree. It's quite the healing dish. My mom used to put coconut in it, and since ghee in small quantities is tridoshic also, I'm going to illegally add coconut oil, almond butter and ghee in small quantities to my list. Just because.

There is another secret ingredient. It IS the real manna the Israelites appeared to be strafed with, from heaven no less, and when you have it and add it to the above, and change the method a bit, the results are miraculous. So miraculous I would be excommunicated from this planet much less the Roman Catholic church. So I can't write it down here, but it you pay attention to this blog (and hence, don't have a life, you'll figure it out in a bit).

You can create recipes that end up with a tridoshic hit, with a recipe that uses a lot of the trisdoshic ingredients. Here's a few of them, starting with Kitcheree.

Trisdoshic Manna

You will need a large sturdy pot.

1 cup Brown Rice - washed
1 cup Mung Beans - washed
10 cups Holy Water
1 TBspn lemon juice

Toss both rice and beans into the pot, bring to boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. You must stir frequently because the beans will tend to stick to the bottom of the pot.

In the mean time, mix:
1 onion, diced
1/2 head garlic fined diced
1 large or 2 small carrots diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 Tblspn ghee, and if you don't have that, try olive, sesame or coconut, or even butter heated and strained, which is what ghee is.
2Tblspoon soy sauce, or more to taste

To the above add, more or less:
1 tsp black pepper
1 tblspn turmeric
1.2 tsp cayenne
1-2 tspn or more coriander - this will give it an earthy taste and some don't like
1 tsp fennel
If you have saffron, gosh yes! add it!

Now add the spiced veggies to the rice-mung bean mix and simmer for another 30 minutes. You must stir frequently. This makes a large quantity equivalent to at least 10,000 communion wafers. Put into double meal sized containers and freeze - voila! readily available tridoshic trump cards that the Vatican will have you hung for, under Blackfriars Bridge no less, on your next London vacation.

No more "rice-rocket" pots

Aren't you tired of all those rice recipes, really instructions on laminating your pot-bottoms with black carbohydrate polymers that look like space shuttle heat tiles after re-entry?

I know. Buy a rice cooker and be done with it. And I might just do that, but I cannot bring a rice cooker with me on real camping trips. And, I cannot bring a rice cooker with me in any real Emergency in which FEMA intervenes, because you know (you may not, but I do) their appearance on scene transforms dire, urgent, serious but human-manageable emergencies into a "get the hell out of town now cluster-fuck!". In other words, in an emergency, rice is a great food to bring along, because it is easy to pack, also medicinal, but not so the rice cooker.

If you know how to use Rice the way they do in Ayurvedic Asia, then you know that rice is a food and a medicine. This is good to know especially in situations where the water supply is questionable, or the state of health and hygiene of the dishwasher, cook, waiter, manager at your local 5 star restaurant is questionable. Did anyone say "norovirus"?

So here's the scoop on really, really and truly, how to cook rice, and it isn't in any Western cook book, or on those corporate food racketeering blogs. Also a baseline XYZ note on "bio-medicine" and bio-medicinal uses of rice.

Healthy Way to Cook Brown Rice - SOAKING

Note: Rice is always BROWN as in BRAN BROWN.
SOAK the rice in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.

(Dear me, what an obvious concept, especially if you've ever cooked beans, or anything hard and dried; who took the soaking out of rice cooking - and what happens when you don't soak? Therein lies the answer as to why corporate recipe-heads took the soaking out).

The point of this soaking is so the rice grains can absorb some water. Long, pointy grains need more soaking. Now drain off this soak water, and let the rice breathe for about 10-15 minutes. This is an easy-going way to do things, because right about now you're preparing the other stuff for your rice dish.

The rice just isn't going to get mushy or burnt this way, which is more often the result with the ubiquitous corporate recipes: "bring to a boil, stir once, and leave undisturbed for 30,40 or 50 minutes". Here are pictures of how this method ends up, even with my spiffy All Clad top of the line cookware. (have to post pictures)

NOW combine the soaked, drained, aired rice with fresh water, salt and lemon juice. Why the lemon juice? It prevents oxidation yes, but also prevents sticking, so no butter or oil please. Fats change the pure taste and health values of the rice. Lemon juice synergizes health benefits of the rice. Rice is healthy for your intestines; the lemon juice aids digestion. Rice specifically soothes inflammation left by e.g., undigested food festering in your alimentary canal. I know it's not "done" to talk about what happens to your food once it leaves one set of expensive China on the table on it's way to the other expensive China on the floor. But hey, it's me. It's what I do.

Lemon juice just might do something for acid reflux. This makes sense because the detox program that save my life - part of the process used vinegar mixed with apple cider to cure our stomach problems, including acid reflux. I haven't done the research with lemons, but here's what I'm going on. An extreme version of acid reflux, which is a sort of "stomach acid regurgitation" is called "rumination". It's sad because severely developmentally disabled children can suffer from this, where bits of food are constantly regurgitated.

...Long-standing rumination in a profoundly retarded girl was treated using lemon juice as a consequence of the rumination. Rumination was nearly eliminated and weight was increased as a function of the use of lemon juice while the child was in a daycare center. "...

The lemon, malum medicum or the "medicinal fruit", was originally cultivated "in the hot, semi-arid Deccan Plateau in Central India". In the book, Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss writes, "The medicinal value of the lemon is as follows: It is an antiseptic, or is an agent that prevents sepsis [the presence of pathogenic bacteria] or putrefaction [decomposition of tissue]. It is also anti-scorbutic, a term meaning a remedy which will prevent disease and assist in cleansing the system of impurities.” Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently thus controlling constipation and diarrhea.

Seems that rice and lemons were always meant to "go together", ask every healthy inch of your alimentary canal. So, what do you eat with meat to enhance complete digestion? Veggies or rice? Food combining requires a little more thought than "separate carbs and meat", though there is a time and place for that.

Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Test for done-ness because you're close, depending on the type of rice. Lower the heat and simmer for 5, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the grain of rice. See chart.

Note: there are three stages. 1. Soak and drain 2. Boil 3. Simmer.

Three different stages, three different heat settings, plus lemon juice. Does this make it more difficult, no, it makes it easier. What if you left it soaking for an hour, not a big deal! What if you left it airing for an hour? Not a big deal. And when you boil and simmer, it will likely be for a mere 10 - 30 minutes at most even with the hardest grains of rice. No more rice-rocket pots.

Healthy Way to Cook Brown Rice - TOASTING
Rice: Fluid about 3 :1 depending on the type of grain

Heat a heavy skillet over a moderate flame.
Add 2 cups rice and toast lightly.

In a separate pot, bring 2 cups water and 1 cup tomato puree to a boil. Or 2 cups water, 1 cup coconut milk, or 1 cup water, 2 cups broth, even 2 cups of water and 1 cup of pure lemon juice - with something to take the edge off, I don't know, coconut and honey? Am I making myself clear? The corporate food nazis will scream "chemistry", "you need a PhD in chemistry and a license from us before we let you near your stove". I say, bugger off, this is personal body alchemy.

Pour all liquid over the rice.

Mix in the amounts your heart desires from this list: minced fresh garlic, medium chopped onions, minced cilantro.

Cover, turn heat to very low and cook for about 25 or 30 up to 50 minutes depending on the type of rice grain.

The term Bio-Medicinal and the Bio-Medicinal properties of Rice
I've invented the word "bio-medicinal" to distinguish from the "corporate-medicinal" world as legislated by the Corporate FDA. Oh, did you say FDA was a Government Agency? Well, never mind, you'll get over it, but here's the real scoop: there's no difference.

Now, with the word "bio-medicinal", I'm not in their world, and they're not in mine. Their corporate FDA world treats my body and your body as their legal entities, and have succeeded in legislating over our social security bodies as though it were their property. Through insurance companies of course.

Here's the point at which I'm supposed to put a disclaimer. You know, you see all these "holistic medicine" Internet sites, and articles and books, with the required disclaimer "This is not REALLY good medical advice; for that, you have to check with your legally FDA sanctified physician for proper corporate medicine, the only intervention the government allows you to take for your corporate body with a corporately recognized malady".

Right, what I have isn't corporate medical advice. Duh, hardly anything that makes common sense is, now is it? We shall publish the disclaimer with pride and in words we the people understand: "Not the sort of propaganda you'll get from those numb-nuts".

Rice as Medicine
An ancient food, rice cultivated 10,000 years ago too. The oft-overlooked humble rice bowl. “Archaeological findings of the Indus civilisation reveals that wild rice was eaten in advanced Mesolithic or pre-Neolithic (c 8080 plus/minus 115 B.C.) period Prolific use of rice husk and chaff as pottery temper ... 5440 plus/minus240 B.C ..."

Rice Water cures intestinal maladies
A decoction of rice, which we call Rice Water is used to re-balance your intestinal activity. A long time ago and so very far away I was in the foothills of the Himalayas on my 11th sequential giardia attack. Stubborn as always, I was going to teach my intestines a thing or two about adjusting to the local diet, as I was going to be there for a year, and did not have the time or inclination, to be a full time American Princess foreigner for that year.

Taking pity on my state and total ignorance at how to manage the wondrous biosphere known as "my own gut", my hosts whipped me up a decoction of rice water. Where those blue, liver-destroying pills had failed, the rice water worked in 10 minutes. Grate some apples (yes, with the deadly skin washed in the same deadly water too) and put in the rice water. I was eating, better yet successfully drinking lots of water again, within the hour.

(Blue, liver-destroying pills: Flagyl, prescribed ahead of time by my corporate doctor among other prescriptive items I had spent a few thousand dollars on, just in case).

What else is Rice good for? Everything!
Source: http://www.ipgri.cgiar.org/pgrnewsletter/article.asp?id_article=11&id_issue=122

"In Ayurveda the medicinal values of rice have been described: rice is considered to be acrid, oleaginous, tonic, aphrodisiac, fattening, diuretic and useful in biliousness (Caius 1986)...Rice water is recommended as an excellent demulcent, refrigerant drink in febrile and inflammation diseases and also in dysuria. " [Febrile means fever].

Rice has cooling properties and is used to soothe all kinds of tissue inflammation. Do you hear me, "all kinds" from the deep internal to the external.

Rice and their sprouted greens are used as an eye tonic. Dried, powdered rice is used on many kinds of skin flare-ups. Again, rice sprouts are used to cure a wide variety of digestive ailments of course, because indigestion and weak alimentary canals are usually due to crud, left-over, undigested, rotting and festering bio-substances, unwisely combined; eventually our intestines become sewers, gassy, bilious, fatty, eventually spilling and toxifying our systems, leading to degenerative diseases.

What specific type of rice do you get if you need to be serious about this? Njavara. Or red rices.


“These researchers too mention about the medicinal properties of not only the Njavara variety but also Cbhmennelu and Rakhtashali saying that “it is believed that the Njavara variety, which matures in sixty days, has the medicinal property of redressing tridosha (the Ayurvedic term for imbalance in body humors) the root cause of body ailments. This rice has the unique capability to enrich body elements, to exclude toxic metabolites, to strengthen, regenerate and energise body, to regulate blood pressure and to prevent skin diseases and premature ageing…

That be said, you've got to these people who have put out this web site, and work so very hard to bring this to the rest of the world. http://njavara.org/

Saffron also has tridoshic properties, which makes saffron rice pretty special if you know what you're doing. Speaking of tridoshic trump cards in another entry, I should mention here, that...

1/4 teaspoon dry ginger plus 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

...is a tridoshic mix. Hence the raison d'etre of X+Y+Z recipes. When you make your saffron rice, add those spices in those combinations and that's the rice rocket that will help you balance your system. A balanced body experiences those much sought after mind miracles. Happy space travels.

Taste Values:

Health Values:

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