Dandelion Delight – Wise Wizard Tonic for Spring

I put this soup together for lunch today as dandelions are abundant right now and free for the picking, making an excellent addition to the spring diet. Good for the liver, releasing stagnant chi which can build up over the winter. This soup is a soft miso broth, a nice dose of veggies and generous handful of dandelion greens. The addition of green curry paste pops the flavor with a touch of lemongrass. A light spring lunch for two.

Notes on the benefits of dandelion greens:

They are higher in beta carotene than carrots and iron. They provide more vitamin K and calcium than spinach and broccoli. A great source for vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, E, P (bioflavonoids) and D, biotin, mositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.

1/4 c. onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. or less olive oil

1/2 medium zucchini, diced into 1/2″  pieces

1 c. organic dandelions greens, rinsed well, trimmed and roughly chopped

2-3 mushrooms, diced into little cubes

2 c. vegetable stock, or more if a thinner broth is desired

2 tsp. miso paste of your choice (I used red)

1 tsp. green curry paste

1/3 c. cooked garbanzo beans or 1/4 diced tofu

Splash or two of tamari

Heat oil in pan. Add onion and garlic. Saute until golden and aromatic. Add zucchini, dandelion greens and mushrooms. Saute until veggies start to soften. Add vegetable stock, miso and curry paste. Simmer until pastes are dissolved and soup begins to meld. Add garbanzo beans or tofu and reduce heat to a gentle simmer until all ingredients are heated through. Add tamari. Adjust seasoning and liquid if desired.  Serves 2

Kitcheree

Kitcheree is a delicious dish from India made with mung beans, rice, mixed vegetables and aromatic spices. A hodgepodge of flavors and textures, rich with garlic, onions and ginger and a great way to use left-overs and last bits of veggies in the fridge. In Ayurveda, Kitcheree is used in cleansing fasts  as it is easily digested and balances the system or doshas as well a being delightfully nourishing.

I love kitcheree, it is my favorite comfort food.  A lovely bowl of hot spicy kitcheree topped with a bit of  feta cheese and a dash of tamari sets things right. I make a big pot about once a month to share with family and friends served with  fresh naan.  My version below is lightened up a bit and has a greater ratio of vegetables to starches, with half the rice,  twice the veggies and less fat. The flavor and texture is not compromised and is always pleasing. Yum!


Kitcheree

1 c. mung beans, sorted and washed

½ c. basmati rice, washed until water comes clean

6 c. vegetable stock

4 c. water

1 Tbsp. sea salt

Place above ingredients into 5 qt. or large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until liquid is reduced, beans begin to split and rice starts to bloom. At this point add to the pot:

5 c. water

10 – 12 c. assorted veggies, washed, sliced and diced as needed (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, small potato, carrot, eggplant, mushrooms, celery, zucchini, leafy greens, etc. Whatever you have on hand.)

2 bay leaves

Bring pot back to a boil, reduce and simmer until veggies are cooked soft and all the ingredients are beginning to look indistinguishable. Turn heat down low and watch carefully, stirring often as it will scorch easily.

In a skillet, place:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. ghee

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ – 1/3 c. fresh ginger, peeled and very finely diced

1 c. onion, diced

Saute until onions begins to become transparent. Add:

1 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/8 tsp. red chili pepper flakes (you can add more if greater heat is desired)

1 heaping tsp. turmeric powder

1 heaping tsp. garam masala

Gently brown spices in the hot oil toasting as you stir around the skillet. Add the contents of the skillet to the stock pot of mung beans and veggies. Add:

1 tsp. dried basil

Seeds from 5 crushed green cardamom pods

Add more water if mixture is too thick and adjust salt, pepper and seasonings per taste. Serve with warm naan and a sprinkle of feta cheese and tamari.

Soooo…..

I have been taking a break from blogging. It happens now and then and the breaks are good. Gets the juices flowing in a different area and eventually brings the flow back again to these pages. It has been a summer filled so far with travels, children, grandchildren, healing work, gardening, fresh berries, sunshine, water, the delicious and decadent scent of lilies, old friends, fairies, nature spirits, music, laughter and Harry Potter.

I will be heading off to Khalsa Ladies Camp soon and will hopefully post before I leave.

In the meantime… a few pics of the garden and a recipe for a summer drink which is too damn good to not pass on! Enjoy!!

Basil Limeade

1 bottle Santa Cruz Limeade
a small handful (1/4 c. or less) fresh basil leaves
1/2 fresh lime

~Pour 1 c. of limeade into a blender. Add the washed basil leaves. Blend, blend, blend. Pour the mix into a pitcher or container along with the remaining limeade. Add the juice and pulp from the fresh squeezed lime. Chill and serve over ice.

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Winter Solstice

Thursday evening, to celebrate Winter Solstice, my youngest daughter and I drove out to a lovely farming community in Central Oregon. Our friends Jai Hari Kaur and Jai Hari Singh have a beautiful home and yoga center there. The view of the Cascade mountains, any time of year is stunning, with the Three Sisters, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson seemingly in the backyard of this desert life.

The yoga center was laid out with a white Christmas light labyrinth. As we entered we walked the labyrinth, and then took our place on the floor to tune in and begin our meditation; the sound of voices chanting, soft smell of incense, candlelight reflecting off of crystals and amethyst geodes. The sun is down, the new moon is dark in her long night, as we womb in the mother, in the feminine energy of winter solstice.

After the meditation we walked over to the house to prepare Potent Potatoes. We all lent a hand slicing, dicing, stirring and stuffing. The aromas of ginger, garlic, onions and cardamom filled the air; the golden, rich color of turmeric stimulating the senses. The table was laid; a large bowl of young mixed greens and glistening colored peppers, platters laden with Potent Potatoes and mugs of hot holiday spiced tea. Plates of sweets appeared on the table with baked pears and more tea. The food passed around and the conversation flowed and smiles and stories enriched the meal far beyond its abundant sustenance.

A delightful Solstice. New and familiar faces. Exchanges of “what is new with you?” and “what is your name again?” Smiles and laughter. Thank you to the Jai Hari’s for not only their generosity and hospitality, but for being an enduring and constant Khalsa presence in Central Oregon for over 30 years. They are a light which has held way here through yoga classes, healing practices, workshops, Solstices, New Year Celebrations, sadhanas and the Guru, which sits within the sacred space of their home.

Happy Solstice to one and all.

Potent Potatoes

4 russet baking potatoes
1/2 c. oil
3 onions, chopped
1/4 c. ginger, minced
1 bulb garlic, minced
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. crushed red chiles or cayene
8 whole cloves
seeds of 3 cardamon pods
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/2 pint cottage cheese
4 slices cheese, cut in half
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 c. pineapple, chopped and drained

* Bake potates about 1 hr., until nice and soft on the inside and crispy outside. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet and add onions and ginger. Saute until onions are well done, then add garlic and spices. If spices are sticking to pan, add more oil. Cook until browned. Add soy sauce. Cut baked potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides and combine with the onion mixture. Add cottage cheese. Refill potato sells forming mounded tops. Cover with slices of cheese and broil until melted and golden. Garnish with bell peppers and pineapple. Serves: 4-8

**Recipe from the book: Foods for Health and Healing by Yogi Bhajan

Gardening and the Joys of Eggplant

Aahhh…..eggplant, the glorious fruit of the vegetable garden. I love stepping out my back door to find what the garden brings; lovely greens, fresh with morning drops of dew glistening, berries red and ripe coloring my fingertips, tomatoes turning slowly red and peeking through the green curtain of leaves and stems. There is basil to crush between my fingers and inhale its sharp peppery scent. Peppers; sweet, spicy and all together hot, get my thoughts dancing upon culinary flavors….but for me there is nothing like the thrill of eggplants. The beautifully voluptuous and decidedly sensual aubergine in all of its exotic glory. From their planting I wait in joy and anticipation for the appearance of the first blossoms, purple against green, settling in with promise.

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…and then slowly the blossom develops a petite purple drop. They are like fairy fruits, delicate and delightful, growing into entirely pleasant bells of shade and shape.

This morning I picked my first eggplants. I think saute, stir-fry, curry, parmesan, oven roasted; settling on Baba Ganoush. Every year I consider all the others and every year the first fruits of the eggplant always appear in the offering of Baba Ganoush. Yes, summer is now complete for me. Flowers, berries and melons, water, walks, strolling through my garden, butterflies and bugs, kids at play and the first offerings of eggplants; the comely aubergine.

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Baba Ganoush
2 medium or 1 large eggplant, sliced in rounds or cut in half, depending on size

1/4 c. tahini

1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

1 large garlic clove, crushed

1/4 c. chopped onion

1T. olive oil

1 – 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

*Prepare eggplant and place on baking sheet. Place under heated broiler. Broil until eggplant starts to turn brown and softens. In a small skillet, add a bit of olive oil and saute the garlic and onion. When softened and a bit caramelized, take off of heat and set aside. Separate the flesh of the eggplant from the skin and place flesh into blender or food processor. Add tahini, lemon juice, sauted garlic and onions. olive oil, parsley and salt and pepper. Blend or pulse. Scrape sides down and repeat until desired consistency. Season to taste and eat. Pretty yummy stuff )