Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Whisk and the Spoon

The past two weeks have been uber busy and the reason for absence from the blogosphere as of late. Work, preparations for a weekend work event, more work, and some health-related projects that have me on cloud 9 have gotten all my attention. I haven't even attempted running/exercising, food preparation, or adequate sleep this week; it's in busy times that my body needs these things most. I've even been drinking coffee on a daily basis! Yowza. But I know that by the end of the week I'll get back on track and return to my health routines.

Despite the hectic schedule this week I did manage to carve out some quality time with me, myself, and I. On Tuesday I left work promptly at 5:00 (ok, 5:20) to check out a vegan cooking course at the Whole Foods in Princeton, NJ. You can do a search right now for classes at a Whole Foods near you! I felt so relaxed in their cozy kitchen and amongst a small group of women, all of whom were interested in picking up some new healthy cooking tips for their respective kitchens.

This particular course, titled Kitchen Pharmacy: Home Remedies, was led by Joyce Rosenblum, a Natural Kitchen chef/instructor and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She took us through a complete macrobiotic meal plan, explaining all ingredients and their nutritional benefits. The recipes were simple but full of color and texture. We learned how to make a Vitality Stew with millet, blanched vegetables with a pumpkin seed dressing, and kuzu tea. The tastebuds definitely had a grand ole time! And when the class was over there was still plenty of time to grab the ingredients in the store to replicate the recipes. Score!

The following recipe from class is being posted with permission from Natural Kitchen. The picture is from my first batch of Vitality Stew!

Vitality Stew

3 cups canned black soy or black beans (or 1 cup dried beans - see cooking directions below*)
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water to cover 30 minutes until mushrooms are soft
2 tsp grapeseed oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup corn (best to get organic; I used frozen corn)
White cooking wine or mirin rice wine
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp kuzu, diluted in 1/4 cup cold water (kuzu is in the macrobiotic aisle at Whole Foods)
2 tbsp shoyu soy sauce, or to taste (*or sea salt to taste for soy-free)
1 bunch parsley, de-stemmed and minced

*To cook dried beans: (Skip this step if using canned). If cooking dried beans from scratch, put the kombu on bottom of a heavy pot. Drain beans. Add enough water to just cover the beans. Bring to a boil without a lid, skimming off any foam that appears. Allow to boil uncovered for 10 minutes, continuing to remove foam. Cover with pressure cooker lid. Bring the pressure up and cook for one hour. Turn off heat and allw the pressure to come down. Open pot and add sea salt. Cook and cover over low heat for 10 additional minutes.

Drain and reserve shiitake soaking water. Dice mushrooms.

In a fry pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and mushrooms for five minutes. Add the carrots, celery and corn, and cook for another 5 minutes. Add splashes of wine or mirin to "deglaze" the pan and prevent the vegetables from sticking. Add the thyme and the cooked beans. Add vegetable broth and the reserved shiitake soaking water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer on medium or low heat for 20 minutes. Add diluted kuzu and shoyu or sea salt. Simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Serve hot, ladeled over a molded serving of millet and sweet vegetables, garnished with parsley.

Feel the energy!


Nirali said...

You are a supper woman! Dairy=kryptonite

Jen said...

Thanks, Nan! I'm gonna add that word to my lexicon. Much sexier way of describing intolerance to dairy.

Ed said...

After a long, difficult trail run a couple days ago, I was worried about hitting the pavement again. Would I have the energy? Answer: yes! Having eaten vitality stew the night before my run, I was left feeling extra...vital. It was the most comfortable I'd felt on a run in some time. I can't wait to make a batch of this for my carnivore relatives! They'll be shocked that something so hearty is entirely vegan. Don't forget to add the millet!