Happy Meatless Monday, and my prayers are going out to everyone suffering in the path of Hurricane Sandy. I can truly empathize, as I’ve been there many times during my years here in hurricane alley, in the USVI. As you put your lives back in order, I hope today’s easy recipe – Pumpkin Curry Chick’n – might just hit the spot. Gardein products likely aren’t in your hurricane provision kits, but canned Roland Tofu might make a decent pantry substitution. And there’s nothing wrong with serving it over simple Minute Rice!
So this week, I was grateful to be feeling much better, after having endured a mild case of Dengue Fever the previous week. I experienced the average symptoms: Muscle cramps in the lower back, high fever, breaking of fever, a day of feeling better, two days of low grade fever, exhaustion and painful lymph nodes of the chest, followed by an itchy rash all over the body. Let’s just say I didn’t get alot of cooking done, and was happy with ramen noodles and handfuls of Spinach and Arugula (yep … craving iron, potassium, and vitamin C). The good news, you little blood suckers, is that I am now immune to this version of Dengue (of which there are four total strains of this mosquito born virus).
I drug myself out of the house for yoga practice on Saturday, and paced myself through two hours of slow flow vinyasa. My achy muscles finally relaxed, and while I was tired afterwards, I felt physically and spiritually better. There’s something to be said for Om-ing. On my yoga teacher’s suggestion, after class, I tracked down a bottle of what is known as Chlorophyll Juice at my local Fruit Bowl. You’ve gotta love that you can still buy things here without FDA approval, and somehow know you’ll be just fine without big brother’s oversight. The ingredients on the bottle simply read: Guinea Grass (a local grass that grows as a weed on every hillside), vervain, lemon grass, basil, sage, eye bright, honey (sorry, I know it’s not technically vegan), and water. I gulped down the delicious tonic, and I immediately felt better. Truly !!!
I was seriously curious how this miracle drink could work such immediate wonders …
According to EnergiseForLife.com (which is a fabulous resource on Alkaline Dieting and Health Benefits):
Liquid chlorophyll is miraculous. It has SO MANY health benefits it makes it a true wonder-food. I know this sounds a bit like the old ancient Japanese legend that eating brains makes you smarter – BUT – eating/drinking liquid chlorophyll does increase the quality AND quantity of your red blood cells. The most marvelous and amazing benefit it gives comes from the fact that its molecular structure is absolutely identical to hemoglobin except for the center atom. In hemoglobin this is iron, whereas in chlorophyll it is magnesium. This means that when ingested, liquid chlorophyll actually helps to do the job of hemoglobin (hemoglobin is so vital to the health of our blood – in fact, blood is approximately 75% hemoglobin). It helps to rebuild and replenish our red blood cells, boosting our energy and increasing our wellbeing almost instantly. Chlorophyll has the power to regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular level and is known to help cleanse the body, fight infection, help heal wounds, and promote the health of the circulatory, digestive, immune, and detoxification systems. Chlorophyll consumption increases the number of red blood cells and, therefore, increase oxygen utilization by the body. Liquid chlorophyll also reduces the binding of carcinogens to DNA in the liver and other organs. It also breaks down calcium oxalate stones for elimination, which are created by the body for the purpose of neutralizing and disposing of excess acid.
Then add in these two super herbs: Vervain and Eye Bright.
Vervain is a herb that will strengthen the nervous system whilst relaxing any tension and stress. It can be used to ease depression and melancholia, especially when this follows illness such as influenza. Vervain may be used to help in seizure and hysteria. As a diaphoretic it can be used in the early stages of fevers. As a hepatic remedy it will be found of help in inflammation of the gall-bladder and jaundice. It may be used as a mouthwash against caries and gum disease.
The herb, Eye Bright, is used by herbalists for eyestrain, and to relieve inflammation caused by colds, coughs, sinus infections, and sore throat. Traditionally, herbalists have also used it for hay fever and nasal decongestion. In Elizabethan times, “eyebright ale” was a popular remedy for eye problems of all sorts.
Rest assured over the coming months, I’ll be purchasing a wheat grass juicer, and learning how to make my own Chlorophyll. I’ll be posting updates here, so you too can learn to make this miracle tonic (in the states, people generally use wheat grass). And of course we’ll be using Agave in lieu of the honey.
We got our first villa guests of the season checked into Three Palms last Monday, and I was grateful to have a week to finally catch up. Hurricane Sandy pummeled Puerto Rico with rain, but it was like there was an invisible line drawn between PR and the VI, and we barely got a drop of rain. We could use it, as we’ve been in a state of drought for much of the year. Spencer got his boat Happy Hour out of the Mangroves, and ran his first charter since our return from our RV trip. After checkin, I spent the week, finally deciding on a template for this blog and soaking up more WordPress lingo.
In Spencer’s off time, he got a batch of seeds germinating. Fall here is very similar to spring in the states, as our sun isn’t quite so intense. Winter is a perfect growing season. For my birthday, he bought this wonderful composter on discount at Home Depot. Simply add veggie scraps, leftovers (vegan only), and some leaves from the yard, and out came this beautiful soil. Soon, I won’t have to buy my arugula (at $14 per pound)
After finally feeling better, I cooked up a couple of delicious filling meals, to help get my energy back from a week of little-to-no nutrition. This week’s menu included a Creamy Pesto and Zucchini Pasta, a Greek Stuffed Eggplant, and a Tempeh Stroganoff Stuffed Potato. I also had an Arugula-Honeydew salad from Food Network Magazine that was one of the tastiest salads I’ve had in a long time (and yes, I did modify it somewhat). I’ll be sure to share some of those recipes in future editions.
But my favorite meal last week came from twisting-up a Taste of Home recipe from last October’s Simple magazine: A Pumpkin-Curry Chicken over Cashew Rice. The original recipe can be found here. As the recipe’s chef describes: “This is truly a dish that combines international flavors with homespun comfort. The sweet curry aroma alone will warm hearts on gray-sky days.”
If you are a bit shy of curry, don’t be. The powdered yellow versions are not hot. According to McCormics.com: Turmeric is a deeply-hued spice found in yellow curry powder that provides much more than color and flavor. It’s a concentrated source of antioxidants. Curcumin, the bright yellow compound in turmeric, has been the focus of several studies. Emerging evidence suggests curcumin may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells, reduce inflammation and safeguard our brain. In preliminary studies, curcumin helped thwart the development of destructive brain plaques. As a result, researchers believe yellow curry may offer the potential to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Look for Madras Curry Powder – a blend of turmeric, onion powder and mustard powder – in most major grocery stores.
I hope you enjoy this easy meal, with it’s delicious fall flavors, and that it’ll warm up your gray-sky days any time of the year …
Pumpkin-Curry Chick’n over Herbed Cashew Basmati Rice
This is truly a dish that combines international flavors with homespun comfort. The sweet curry aroma alone will warm hearts on gray-sky days.
1 10.5 oz pack Gardein Chick’n Strips, (reserve sauce for another use)
1 teaspoon madras curry powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons madras curry powder
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons pumpkin or apple butter
½ cup raisins
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
Herbed Cashew Basmati Rice:
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 teaspoon earth balance
1 teaspoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
⅓ cup chopped cashews, toasted
¼ cup minced herbs (1 Tablespoon each basil, cilantro and parsley)
1. Cook the rice: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add rice and boil for 14 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander. In the same pot, add the remaining rice ingredients, and stir in the rice. Cover partially to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil, and heat over medium high heat. Add in gardein chick’n strips, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon curry powder. Saute chick’n in oil for 5-6 minutes until browned and crispy. Remove chick’n from skillet.
3. To skillet, add the garlic and 2 teaspoons curry powder; saute, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.
4. Stir in the vegetable broth, pumpkin, pumpkin/apple butter, raisins, and five-spice powder. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, until heated through, 3 minutes.
5. Right at serving, stir the chick’n into the pumpkin sauce. Serve chick’n heaped over rice.
Be sure to purchase canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling (which is spiced). If you do not have access to Gardein products, Morningstar Farms also makes a decent Chick’n Strip.
Source: Inspired by Taste of Home (2 servings)