mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: onions

“macro” bowl for dinner. . .

macro bowl of brown rice, avocado, yellow squash and salmon poke

macro bowl of brown rice, avocado, yellow squash and salmon poke

Now that the holidays are over with all that rich food (I’m guilty!) I’m feeling like simplifying our food intake and making them appetizing at the same time. I studied macrobiotic cooking a long time ago when I had a viral condition for which Western medicine wasn’t helpful (they said you can’t treat viruses.) However, in Chinese traditional medicine, there’s a concept that parasites (viruses and bacteria) grow and thrive in “damp” conditions in the body. And so, if your diet is prepared to “dry out” the damp, then, there’s no place for them to hide. At least, that’s what I like about Eastern approaches to health and the body. That’s not to say that when I fractured my ankle a few years ago, that the orthopedic care I received in the Emergency Room was of the highest degree possible – the two orthopedic residents were so professional!)

Anyhow, I digress. The real reason for this post is that I’ve come across a way to prepare meals that might simplify the preparation time, but also offer us a nice way to eat healthy prepared meals without feeling deprived in any way. In fact, I think the presentation of macrobiotic foods (grains, vegetables and a little fish) in one-bowl will be fun. It also serves to customize the amount of food prepared so that there’s less chance for leftovers left in the fridge.

So tonight’s menu includes making salmon poke (pronounced “po-keh”) a Hawaiian version of sliced raw fish with soy sauce, a little wasabi and sesame seeds. The one-bowl presentation will include warm brown rice, cooked yellow squash with onions, sliced avocado and the salmon poke. The fish needs to be “sashimi-grade” for which I rely on my fishmonger’s advice. She cut a center piece and skinned it for me.

One unexpected benefit of the freshly cooked warm brown rice is that it gently heats the raw salmon without cooking it, making it even more tender and tasty.

‘stone soup’ for lunch! . . .

stone-soup

It’s gotten a little chilly out so instead of making a salad for lunch, I decided to put together a soup from whatever I happened to have on hand in the fridge and pantry. I call this “stone soup” like the folk tale about French soldiers who stirred up a big kettle of water and put some clean “magical” stones in it. Soon, curious villagers began to contribute to the “broth”: vegetables from the root cellar, grains from the barn, sides of beef until there was a hearty soup to be shared by everyone.

This soup is somewhat like that: I found a small piece of onion and zucchini in the vegetable bin which I chopped up along with half a carrot. There were a couple of still fresh broccoli florets in a pack that was ready to be thrown out. Into the pot they went along with a can of DelMonte diced tomatoes and a Knorr beef broth packet. Added water and it looked pretty thin. Poured in a handful of raditiore pasta, the crinkled, pretty pasta that quickly expanded as it cooked.

And what do you know? I soon had a soup that looked and tasted like a true minestrone soup for lunch! Nice to have a warm bowl on a chilly Fall day.

 

shepherd’s pie . . .

shepherd's pie

Instead of making hamburgers tonight, I decided to make a shepherd’s pie. There are some shortcuts along the way and I thought maybe I’d write them down in this post. First of all, I’ve been learning from watching a lot of cooking shows to keep flavors separate until you want to blend them. So, instead of frying the ground beef with onions, I cut up a whole onion and browned it in some oil and butter after two garlic cloves had been toasted and removed. Then, I cut up three huge button mushrooms into chunks and added them to the browning onions. I scooped them into a separate bowl while I browned the beef in the skillet, breaking it up so that it browned evenly. (Dropped the spatula on the floor, flinging onions around twice!) Then, added the chunky onions and mushrooms, gently folding them into the beef. Sprinkled with Maldon salt and cracked pepper. Finally, I made some mashed potatoes, enriched with milk and butter, smoothed over the top of the meat, onion and mushroom mixture, dotted with butter and sprinkled lightly with parmesan cheese.

Washed and dried my favorite fluted baking dish that I bought years ago in Gloucester. It’s just the right size to hold a casserole dish for two. Plus, it’s so elegant on the serving board when we have dinner. There’s a huge bag of fresh spinach that C. brought from the organic farm last weekend that I’ve been meaning to cook before this. I thought I’d heat up a few garlic cloves and cook a mound of it in the skillet, letting it disappear to almost nothing as fresh spinach is wont to do. Then, drain the liquid out of it, cut it up in the skillet with a sharp knife and add some light cream, a little salt and pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to dress it up a little.creamed spinach

I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been dropping things and finding the logistics of cooking from a wheelchair more challenging these days. Maybe it’s because it is getting near the tail end of the dozen weeks that I’ve had my cast on and I’m impatient to have it off next week. My short fuse might also be due to the many dishes that I’ve been cooking of late–a cumulative culinary journey that has occupied me during these long days sitting on the couch for most days since February when I broke my ankle.

The weather is turning warmer, the light so much brighter and it will be nice to be able to navigate the stairs so that I can go outside more often. G. has been doing heavy lifting for grocery shopping, getting things out of the pantry, raising and lowering the shades, doing the laundry and helping me all day long, with good humor and so much patience. We will enjoy our supper tonight together and, as usual, give thanks for the simple things in life.

shepherd's pie from the oven