Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some Excuses, a Soup and Some Cold/Flu Remedies

You must have thought that I'd starved to death. No, I've been eating. And cooking, too. I've just been so insanely busy this semester, already, that I've been neglecting some of my favorite things.
Like Fiddlehead, for example.

A lot has happened in the few months since I moved. There's been some emotional drama with the (non) boyfriend (yeah, it's complicated). And in terms of the kitchen, it's been hard for me to adjust to living with other people, not being the Kitchen Queen anymore, and having to deal with, in no particular order, burners that run hotter than I'm used to, a fridge that's too moist, messy people, and sharing food in a communal kitchen.

And, oh yeah, I have a cold/flu. Stayed home from work today.

On the positive side, I've made some yummy things, like vegan spring rolls, Banjan Bharta, and an AWESOME Tomato and Jalapeño Chilaquiles.
Tomato and Jalapeño Chilaquiles

1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
some olive oil for frying
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt (or Bragg's Amino Acids if you're cleansing)
8 oz. unsalted, whole grain tortilla chips

Directions: Roast the peppers and garlic until blackened and soft on all sides, about 15 min. When cool enough to touch, peel the garlic. Put both garlic and peppers into a blender and coarsely chop. Add the can of tomatoes.

Next, heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onions and cook until browned, 8-10 min. Add the tomato mixture and cook until darkened and thickened, at least 5 min. Reduce heat and add the broth. Simmer and stir occasionally for 15 min. Add the salt/Bragg's.

Just before serving, bring to a boil and add the chips. Cook until the chips soften, 2-5 min. depending on the thickness of the chip. Serve immediately to happy people (who will soon be your slaves) with cheese, cilantro or sour cream.

The CSA is still going for at least two more weeks, and I still have produce in my garden.

I'm also in week 2 of an autumnal cleanse (I have several "cleanse-friendly" recipes that I'll need to share at some point), which gives me a reason to buy and prepare all my own food (I really missed food shopping, buying the brands that I like and picking up items on a whim or because they are in season or seem special). The purpose of the fall cleanse is to not only bring balance to the body (most cleanses -- real cleanses -- are about that) but also to boost immunity. Since I have a little bit of a bug, I'd like to share a little bit of what I've learned about some of the foods on the cleanse and how they help treat disease.

First, like other cleanses, all seasonal fruits and vegetables are highly favored. This is a great time to cleanse because there is so much abundance that folks won't need to give up their seasonal favorites (of course, we're not talking about sweet potato pie with marshmallows or Halloween candy). I can eat winter squash (pumpkin soup!), sweet potatoes (sans marshmallow and brown sugar) and as many apples as I can fit in my body. Not much beats a good, crisp apple and a dollop of cashew butter.

Other foods that are recommended come from the allium family; in other words, onions, garlic and leeks. These foods contain antioxidants, antibacterial and antifungal agents, as well as ingredients that prevent cancer (See here for more).

In a more "shamanic" sense, this is the time when the sun seems to retreat from our hemisphere; the days grow cooler and darker, making us lose a little bit of our "inner fire." To keep that fire going, foods that stimulate and heat the body are preferred. This is another reason why the allium family is on the list, but other "heaters" include ginger, horseradish (let's hear it for wasabi!), gingseng and most zingy spices that you can think of. Hot peppers are particularly recommended. The capsiacin in the peppers has been used as an anti-inflammatory. Got a sore throat? Stay away from sugary throat drops (sugar is one of the worst things to eat when you have a cold. Ditto caffeine -- reduces your immunity -- and dairy products -- produces even more mucus). Instead, put some hot sauce on it! (Read more here).

So, I spent the day at home taking it easy and eating as much of this stuff as I can get into me, and I feel a whole lot better. I think I'll be able to go to work tomorrow, and I'll be sure to bring some hot tea with ginger and lemon.

I'm off now to go make some arugula pesto (with LOTS of garlic) and some brown rice pasta (can't have wheat) with a nice salad with a zingy, ginger dressing. Tomorrow, I plan on making a cleanse-friendly, Spicy and Smoky Corn Chowder.

No comments: