Welcome to Delicious Medicinal Food
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Take 2 Improvisational Cooking & Quantity breeds Quality
Here’s the text (I know I indicated before that text wasn’t a preliminary part of this blog) but here are the notes I wrote, from which I improvised the podcast.
This is all about improvising. I had various ingredients that I’d used as the stuffing for a roasted acorn squash recipe, yet don’t have the squash. I also happen to have broccoli that needs to be eaten. The stuffing was great, so I’ve added my own combination of spices and a slight change in ingredients.
I naturally started by washing the whole grain brown rice first and bringing that to boil, then turning it on low to simmer, while I chopped and started sautéing the rest of my ingredients.
I like many of my dishes spicy, that is, various additional spices depending on the combination of foods, and often, with something hot, piquant. This time in addition to salt and fresh ground pepper I’ve added cayenne and some crushed dried red hot chili pepper. I also added left over from the summer garden some (thyme) and then I decided to add ground coriander again – using the mortar and pestle.
One tip is to not wait too long to add the spices, they should primarily be added initially, with the onion, which often is sautéed on low heat, as onion becomes sweet when cooked on a low temperature over a longer period.
In this case I had a bit of spicy Italian sausage to cook, so I did this separately on a higher heat first, then took it out of the pan and added a bit more olive oil so that the flavor of the sausage can be retained.
you can also choose to do the onions on a higher heat – caramelizing them – in which they become slightly burnt and brown, with a nutty flavor. This is also a delicious technique for broccoli for that matter. Cooking on a higher temperature, for a shorter duration. This is something I learned from a dish my mother has frequently made. I decided tonight to pull out the broccoli and sautée it at a higher temperature in a separate pan, to create that additional nutty flavor.
The last thing you want is over-cooked limp vegetables – unless you are going for that consistency in a soup, for example. And the last thing i want is bland food that has no flavor.
At the end, I’m going to toss on some grated parmesan and crushed walnuts.
by the way, the pictures I show on the site reveal the ingredients I’m using. I’m using cheaper ingredients, because I have uh hum, no income presently. If I had a steady flow of income, I’d be using the finest quality pepper corns and sea salt from special regions of the world as well as fresh or dried spices of the finest quality. I will be adding grated parmesan cheese and broken walnut pieces as a topping at the end. However, I would always recommend (if the budget allows) to purchase a chunk of good quality parmesan or similar cheese and grate it yourself, rather than buying and packaged/pre-fab\pre-grated cheese. The fresher the better!
All of this makes a difference. However, if you don’t have the budget, you can still eat fabulously tasty food that is also great for you.
And this is coming from the mouth of someone who has chosen to live with a much leaner income, while developing my art. I’ve therefore inadvertently learned to live meagerly. My fortune, is that I learned growing up about how to eat healthy foods…and later on my own, situationally, it turned out that the foods that have been affordable ALSO happen to be really good for you: less meat, oatmeal, yams & sweet potatoes, vegetables…not to mention, eating less of a quantity! I’ve been able to stay slim due to what I’ve called my ‘poverty diet’. This is because I haven’t had the luxury to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I simply haven’t been able to afford randomly ‘eating out’ at my whim. Back in the days that I lived in San Francisco with steady work and income, I ate out frequently, in a town known for great restaurants. Yet living later in New Mexico and especially abroad in Berlin, it was slim pickins’ and I mirrored this by becoming pretty skinny. I’ve also chosen bicycling as my transportation, so that I’ve balanced maintaining regular physical exercise with eating good quality food, nutritious food, and really not a whole lot of it. I’ve been in a habit (against the mainstream of eating small amounts with more frequency) of going for long stretches of time without eating anything at all. Such as 12 hour stretches between breaking the fast and my dinner ~ (but that’s just me 🙂 I get quite immersed in projects I’m doing and simply don’t feel like taking the time break to eat, when I can do that as a reward, after I’ve finished the other stuff I’m involved in.
My lesson at the end of this cooking blog is this. It’s great advice I read several weeks ago regarding striving for quantity over quality. A potter divided her class in half, and asked the half of the students to study and plan their technique to master the most perfect pot. She asked the other half of the class to get the clay out and just start making pots. In the end, those students who aimed through study and deliberation to make the single perfect pot, were surpassed by those students whose goal was to make as many pots as they could. They wound up learning through doing, and came up with ultimately the best pieces of pottery.
I personally can have a tendency towards wanting perfection, and therefore sometimes becoming frozen in even getting started on some tasks…so, my advice is to dive in, you will only learn. And the mistakes you make and questions you have will ultimately bring you more knowledge and enlighten others who may have the same questions.
I find this site helpful for investigating http://www.epicurious.com/archive/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/visualguidefreshherbs#10 and identifying herbs and spices, if you aren’t sure what you have!
To Your Health!