Tag Archives: Macrobiotic Diet

Greenberg’s Food Combining Principles

The book Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford (North Atlantic 1993) offers advice on traditional, healthy food-pairing. Pitchford looks to ancient Chinese medicine and current nutrition research. He claims the only vegetables good to eat (combine) with fruit, for proper digestion, are lettuce and celery, and that beans are best eaten with green vegetables (such as kale).

But the movie Greenberg, starring Ben Stiller and directed/written by Noah Baumbach, offers alternative, intuition-based food combining principles. Here are the top three combinations from the movie, followed by one example that is not a food combination exactly but relevant nonetheless. See the movie for more.

1. Whiskey and Ice Cream Sandwiches
The movie’s plot revolves around Stiller’s character, Greenberg, watching his brother’s house while his brother is gone on business in Vietnam. When his brother’s assistant swings by to get her paycheck, she offers to pick up anything Greenberg needs from the store. “Make a list,” she says. Greenberg writes a list including, and limited to, whiskey and ice cream sandwiches. The most interesting thing about this food combination is that it is exactly the opposite of what anyone sincerely interested in food combining would choose if asked to plan ahead.

2. Whiskey and Raisins
Greenberg makes a habit of writing letters of complaint to companies that piss him off. His snack during one particularly eloquent letter-writing session (to Starbucks) is whiskey with raisins. The two most interesting things about this combination/scene are first, that Greenberg takes the opaque inner bag of raisins out of the box, so that the fact he is eating raisins is not explicit. Second, this combination is like a recipe for chocolate sorbetto (sorbet), made from cocoa powder sweetened with whiskey-soaked raisins.

3. Whiskey and Instant Noodles
There are a lot of eating scenes in Greenberg but Greenberg never cooks. His dinner one night is cup noodles and whiskey at the living room coffee table. Did you know that George Ohsawa, the founder of macrobiotics, is said to have enjoyed whiskey? The Japanese are also fond of noodles. And, the MSG in cup noodles is one thing that might stand up to the strength of pure whiskey when tasted together.

4. Whiskey and Inappropriate Behavior
All whiskey drinkers know about this classic combination. Actually it works best without any food at all! Greenberg gives several examples combining whiskey or another booze with inappropriate behavior; sexual and vulgar. See for yourself in the movie, as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Post-Hemming-And-Hawing: Burdock

I expired my hems and haws for burdock.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Tenth meeting of Cooking Club. The original three members; Laura, Ryan and Hilary (myself). Here’s burdock on the menu:

Quick-Pickled Cucumbers
Kinpira Burdock
Wheatberries with Lemon and Scallions
Homemade Seitan
Roasted Beets with Onions
Miso-Tahini Sauce

It was a feast! We drank Vinho Verde (the Portuguese “Green Wine”) and, after dinner, green tea.

Fright Root

You never know how to cook a vegetable until you’ve done it, so here’s some inspiration to try burdock.

“This long, thin brown root vegetable has a firm texture and gives very strong energy. Although eaten year-round, burdock is especially warming in winter. In Japan, we grew burdock in our garden at home. It was cultivated in raised hill beds…in order to make harvesting easier. In many regions, burdock also grows wild and is more strengthening than the domesticated variety. …[I]n New England we’ve foraged for wild burdock many times…” –Aveline Kushi

“…In cooking, the fleshy roots are prepared like salsify or asparagus.” –Larousse Gastronomique

That “domesticated variety” is easy to find in Asian markets. Course and hairy, like a coconut pulled to the length of your arm; it’s intimidating, but inexpensive. The clerk broke mine in half to fit it on the scale, then I closed it in the vegetable drawer for three weeks while I got the nerve to cook it.

Now that I’ve cooked it, I know how.

To Prepare Burdock

1. Use a vegetable peeler or small paring knife to remove the dark brown skin. It’s cruddy and shreds as you go. The pale inner root will darken as quickly as it is exposed to air, but that’s OK. When you cook it, it turns mushroom-brown.

2. Cut the peeled burdock into julienne or matchstick pieces, or any other small and thinnish style. Slice surely. Burdock is questionably fibrous raw, but once cooked, the root reveals its smooth and toothsome nature. Immerse the slices in a bowl of fresh water. The water, also, will darken. I rinsed my burdock in several changes before cooking it.

Kinpira

This Japanese and Macrobiotic cooking style is especially good for burdock, or burdock-and-carrots, but also can be used to cook turnips, beets, parsnips or any other root vegetables you might have around.

1. Heat a wide, heavy pan over high heat and add a little oil. I used toasted sesame oil for the burdock kinpira. Add the sliced root vegetables and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes to color.

2. Add water to half cover the vegetables, and a splash of soy sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the roots are soft and have absorbed all of the water.

Traditional kinpira also includes sake, mirin or dashi as part of the cooking liquid. This water version is plenty delightful, but if you have those ingredients you can try adding some.

Cucumber Haiku and 50-Pound Maitake

Tuesday, 15 November 2009

The ninth meeting of the Macrobiotic Cooking Club.
Barry, Laura, Emily, Thomas, Tessie, Ryan and Hilary showed up.

The Menu:

Oat-Wheat (sourdough) Bread
Red Rice
Leaf Salad with Mustard Dressing
Slippery Mushrooms
Quick Pickled Cucumbers

We drank French-pressed fresh ground coffee while cooking, and followed the meal with dessert improvisation; honey bread.

Forbidden Shmuits

Macrobiotic teachers (such as Aveline Kushi, from whose book we cook) frequently discourage students from using natural ingredients such as coffee, yams and honey; but students take their advice with salt.

Yesterday’s curious clicking around the Internet lead me to an open-minded and informed explanation by Steve Gagne on the Macrobiotic Guide website. Gagne answers questions about macrobiotic eating and explains foods often avoided. He presents macrobiotics as a traditional rather than restrictive diet, and invites us to imagine a macrobiotic way of eating developed by Mexicans.

Questions often come up in cooking club about nightshades, and which foods are or are not ‘allowed.’ Definitely, it is good to know about ingredient’s qualities and effects. However, I’d rather choose foods based on their positive qualities than avoid them based on the negative. When food shopping, I try to look first to whole ingredients and local produce. In winter, that’s tough. Certain occasions call for corn chips. Well, are they organic, at least? And, what am I going to combine them with? Remember the big picture.

Overall, it is more important to understand what you are eating, and why you are eating it, than to blindly limit yourself to someone else’s idea of healthy. Who am I to forbid good old potatoes? Learning to balance your diet according to macrobiotic principles of yin/yang (beyond me, at this point) or through intuition, practice, restraint and common sense will clearly help you more than saying ‘no’ to nightshades.

More Whole Grains in Bread

Bread is a lovely canvass of doughy homemade convenience snacking. It can almost effortlessly be made sweet, savory, hearty or light as cotton to suit the baker’s whim.

To incorporate more whole grains into your loaves, all you need to do is soak or cook them first. Add leftover grains; brown rice lightens whole wheat dough. Or, soak cracked grains over night at room temperature and mix them into dough next day (I reserve the grain-soak water to use in the bread dough, too).

For the Oat-Wheat Bread, I soaked steel-cut oats overnight. In the morning, I mixed a basic whole wheat, rye sourdough, adding the softened oats.

Sekihan or Red Rice

“Popular for festive occasions, particularly weddings and birthdays. This dish consists of barely cooked azuki beans steamed with glutinous rice, then sprinkled lightly with toasted black sesame seeds. It keeps very well…is usually served at room temperature…[and] is often packed into small, individual lunch boxes.” -Shizuo Tsuji Japanese Cooking; A Simple Art

“Traditionally in the Far East, red is the color of happiness, and [azuki] beans have always been considered lucky. We would prepare Red Rice for birthdays, graduations, and other joyful occasions…and it is especially delicious made with sweet rice… Medicinally, azuki beans are strengthening for the kidneys.” -Aveline Kushi Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking; for Health, Harmony, and Peace

To make Red Rice, Kushi recommends a pressure cooker. Tsuji says to soak the rice in the red, bean-cook water for 24 hours, or overnight. Either option would surely produce some stunning Sekihan but I had only a regular pot and one day.

I cooked the beans (2 cups) for a few hours with some leftover kombu seaweed, and rinsed the rice (a combination of 1 cup sweet, or glutinous, rice and 2 cups short grain brown rice). When the beans were nearly done, I strained the red cooking liquid and measured it, adding plain water to make 5 1/2 cups or so. I then combined this liquid with the beans and rice in a large pot, brought the mixture to boiling with a few big pinches of salt, lowered the heat and simmered as for plain rice. One hour.
We ate it warm with toasted black sesame seeds and packed the rest for lunch on Wednesday.

The Best Dressing Ever For Leafs

Laura brought fresh baby lettuce and ingredients for our favorite mustard dressing.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Stone Ground Mustard
Lemon
Salt
Pepper

Use about 4 parts oil, 1 part each mustard and lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes we add fresh tarragon or another herb. Thomas sliced some scallions which we sprinkled on the mustard-tossed lettuces.

Slippery Grifola Frondosa

Grifola Frondosa is the technical name for maitake mushrooms. According to Wikipedia, they grow at the base of oak trees, and can exceed 50 pounds in Japan. According to Emily, they cooked up slippery because they didn’t absorb oil like other mushrooms do.

Once Emily came to visit me in New York and we cooked maitake, or Hen of the Woods, mushrooms with noodles, tahini, and red chard, which turned the whole dish pink.

Her Slippery Mushrooms turned out more beautiful; shining tan, sweet and savory with sliced baby onions in oil.

Quick Pickling Cucumbers

I have been waiting a week to tell you about quick-pickling cucumbers:

Salt sliced cucumbers
Let sit half an hour, or so
Rinse the extra salt

The cucumbers come out sweet and crispy; you’d never think it was as simple as it is.

…and Nightshades

Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Barry, Kim, Laura, Emily, Miles, Ryan and Hilary cooked it off.

What Little We Know About Nightshades
I am still trying to develop a stance on the use of nightshade vegetables. As far as I can tell, the nightshade vegetables (eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and all kinds of peppers) are the least poisonous parts of a large family of toxic plants. You will almost certainly not get sick from eating a potato or two, but I do believe in the potential of nightshade vegetables to have a mild and cumulative effect on health. Plants in the nightshade (Solanaceae) family contain the alkaloid nicotine as well as the glycoalkaloid solanine. Solanine is reported to, among other things, contribute to arthritis and reduce calcium absorption or leech calcium from the body. Nicotine (the drug in cigarettes–tobacco is also in the nightshade family) is clearly not desirable to someone following a strict macrobiotic diet. However, there are just as many reasons why you should include the nightshades in your diet. Potatoes, for example, have been a staple food for thousands of years, and Colorado grown potatoes are abundantly available most of the year. Therefore, while you may not feel it necessary to avoid nightshade vegetables altogether, it is important to be aware of them when planning a macrobiotic meal or menu.

Pickled Peppers with Olives and Capers
Despite their classification as nightshade vegetables, we enjoyed the strong taste of these crunchy pickled peppers stuffed with soft, salty olives and capers. Perhaps they fueled the cockrings conversation!

1 cup pickled sweet banana peppers
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup red Alfonso olives
2 Tablespoons capers

Make a slice, lengthwise, down one side only of each pickled pepper. Leave the stems on. Shake out any pickling juice that may be caught in the pepper, and stuff each pepper with the pitted Kalamata olives. One to three olives per pepper.
Add capers to some or all of the olive-stuffed peppers. Arrange the peppers with the Alfonso olives and any remaining Kalamata olives on a serving tray and get after them while the dinner simmers.

Basic Millet
Birds like it raw, but millet is one grain that I typically toast in the pan before adding water to steam it. The cooked millet comes out very fluffy, quite dry and not as sweet as rice. Millet and winter squash are a classic combination. If you become interested in cooking with millet, you will want to experiment with many variations on Aveline Kushi’s Millet and Squash Loaf, in which diced winter squash is cooked with the Basic Millet and the mixture is then transferred to a covered baking dish and baked in the oven into a firm, slice-able but crumbly loaf which you can toast like bread. I suspect Souen’s ‘Cornbread’ is actually more technically something of a millet loaf with whole kernels of corn added to give the illusion that more corn’s involved.

2 cups millet
3 cups water
pinch, or two, of salt

Rinse the millet well using your favorite method for rinsing small irritating grains. I like to rinse mine in the cooking pot to minimize dirty dishes.
Place the rinsed and drained millet in the cooking pot over medium heat and stir continuously until it dries out and toasts to a golden color. Be careful it doesn’t burn around the edges of the pan where you aren’t stirring thoroughly enough. Turn down the heat if it does start to burn.
Add the water (any temperature) and salt to the toasted millet and bring to the boil over high heat. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat as far as it will go without turning off and cook undisturbed for half an hour. Off the heat and allow the millet to sit, still covered, for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Red Lentil Dahl
Well worth the time we waited for the Yellow Split Pea Dahl that it replaced. Red lentils cook so quickly. Maybe they will be done in less than half an hour.

2 cups red lentils
olive or canola oil, as needed
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1, 1 1/2″ piece fresh ginger root, grated
6 cups water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup, approximately, shoyu soy sauce
5 scallions, sliced, for garnish

Rinse the lentils and set them aside. Heat a little bit of oil in the dahl pot and saute the onion, adding the celery and ginger after a few minutes and cooking until all of the vegetables are tender. Add the lentils and water to the pot and bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, covered until the lentils are cooked to a soft, smooth puree. Beating them with the wooden spoon helps to smooth the dahl near the end.
Once the lentils are soft, season to taste with the shoyu. Start with maybe 2-3 Tablespoons and increase as needed. Top each bowl of dahl with a few slices of scallion.

Carrots and Kombu
It sounds attractive. Once you soak the seaweed it gets slimy and slippery and is not so easy to make look good. Cutting the carrots into thinner pieces makes it easier to tie the seaweed around them but sacrifices the simplicity of plain round carrots. Two things might satisfy the high hopes I had for this dish: wrapping the carrots in wakame (a thinner seaweed than kombu), and, tying them with the dried gourd strips as Aveline Kushi recommended in the original recipe for Carrot Kombu Rolls.

photo by Barry

1, 2 oz. package dried Kombu seaweed
5 medium-large carrots
water, as needed

This whole recipe is easier said than done. Soak the kombu in water until it is pliable and easy to slice. Cut the carrots into manageable lengths. Wrap kombu around the carrots and secure it with more kombu, cut into thin strips for tying. There very well may be carrots left over after all of the kombu is used. Put the plain carrots, the wrapped carrots and the seaweed soaking water into a cooking pot with enough additional water to cover all of the carrots. Simmer, covered until the carrots and kombu are tender. Save the cooking water; you can make it into miso soup.

Pear Crisp
Another winning dessert from Aveline Kushi’s cookbook. Did she mistakenly title the breakfast foods chapter as desserts? The topping tastes like granola. We were not quite sure what kind of rolled grain was in Mother’s cupboard but it turned out good!

2 Tablespoons arrowroot flour
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup spring water
6 ripe pears, washed, sliced and cored
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup rolled grain flakes (what you have) or just rolled oats
2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup

It is important to only use 5 pears in the recipe so that everyone can have a taste of the sixth pear raw.
Grease a baking dish with canola oil and heat the oven up to 375 degrees.
Toast the walnuts and the grain flakes, separately, in a small skillet on the stove top. Stir them often or continuously so that they do not burn. Set them aside to cool a bit while you prepare the pears.
Combine the arrowroot, salt and water in a bowl and toss the 5 sliced or chopped pears in that. Spread the coated pears into an even layer in the prepared baking dish.
Chop the walnuts and combine them with the grains and the rice syrup to make a crumbly mixture. Distribute the crumb dough evenly over the pears in the baking dish. Cover the dish and bake 20 minutes. Bake 5-10 minutes more once you remove the cover in order to brown and crisp the top.

We accompanied this meal with fresh Spiced Apple Cider that Emily and Miles brought, red and white wine and beer.

Who Wants Cook’s Temperament?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A possibly chaotic cooking club meeting. Carrie and Tyler showed up. Kim and Barry with the squash. Emily, Miles, Laura, Ryan and Hilary.

One idea of Macrobiotics is cooking (and eating) in harmony with your surroundings. Sometimes the kitchen appears more chaotic than it is. Our food turned out pretty good, if a little chaotic. The mood at the dinner table was equally so. What does one expect with such a high ratio of Beards? We made the following:

Brown Rice with Farro
Farro is an ancient type of wheat (more accurately called Emmer). There was a little bit of organic farro left from my grain splurge at Kalustyan’s in New York City clear last February so I mixed it with the rice. When mixing different types of grains with rice, use about 2-3 parts rice for 1 part other grain. Short grain brown rice is good with all sorts of other whole grains, including barley, wheat berries, rye and wild rice. I use the same ratio of water as for plain rice, but sometimes cook the grains a little longer (especially with wild rice). It helps to soak the rinsed grains in the cooking water for a few hours before cooking them.

1/2 cup farro
1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
pinch salt

Combine the farro and rice in the cooking pot and rinse several times with cold water. My farro was pretty dusty so it took a while. I don’t know how yours is. Drain the grains and add the cooking water. If you have time, leave them to soak for a few hours before cooking.
Place the grain pot over high heat and bring to boiling. Add the salt, cover the pot and reduce heat to lowest possible. Simmer, covered for about an hour without lifting the lid. Off the heat and allow the grain to rest ten minutes, covered before serving.

Roasted Acorn Squash in Rings
Squash addiction suspicions confirmed by Mother’s choice of vegetable.

2-3 medium acorn squashes
olive oil
sea salt

Heat the oven at 400 degrees while you prepare the squash. Slice the squash into rings and scrape out the pulp and seeds. Rub them down with olive oil and oil a baking pan too. Arrange the squash rings in a single layer on the baking pan and sprinkle on some salt. If the salt if course, crunch it up with a mortar and pestle. Roast the squash until soft, flipping them half-way so that they are evenly browned on both sides.

Mushrooms with Onion
When we found out about Mother’s squash, Emily decided to bring mushrooms. Fucking fiends. Apparently cremini mushrooms are the same variety as white button mushrooms and portobello mushrooms; they are between those two in maturity.

3 cups, approximately, fresh cremini mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion
olive oil
salt

Slice the mushrooms and onion. Heat a small skillet on medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil followed directly by the onion. Cook the onion for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms. Add some salt and cook the mushrooms on low heat until they begin to release moisture so that they will not burn. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are soft and browned. Serve with squash, obviously.

Oatmeal Cookies
Should be served for breakfast. Based on Aveline Kushi’s recipe.

1 1/2 cups instant oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons walnut oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all of the ingredients to form a sticky dough. Allow the dough to rest for a half hour or more before baking. It will thicken to a good cookie dough texture. Heat the oven at 350 degrees. Oil the cookie tray and spoon out 12-15 cookies in even rows. Bake about 15 minutes. They will just begin to brown but you probably don’t want them too crispy. If they are smaller you may want to check at 10 minutes. Allow them to cool a bit before eating.

The above dishes served with Carrot Greens Condiment that Emily made and Seitan ‘Dumplings’ with Gravy Experiment by Ryan and Hilary, red wine and bancha to drink and for the appetizer Laura brought black radishes with Japanese peppered sea salt.

carrot

Next week: Yellow Split Pea Dahl with Carrots, Celery, Onion and Ginger, and What else?

Buttercup Squash Pie

chopping up buttercup

This is what squash looks like through mate vision

If you are going to replace your Thanksgiving turkey with Stuffed Hubbard Squash, then what about the pie? Happily you do not have to choose between the two.
The concept of Balance is central to the macrobiotic diet and philosophy, but macrobiotic cooks and eaters are excessively obsessed with the bright orange, Round vegetable called a Buttercup (or Kabocha). Whatever. A squash addiction thinly veiled behind the macrobiotic principles of seasonality and local eating is simply more dignified than squash gluttony.

Garden Buttercup

Use a cleaver or large, sharp chef's knife to halve the squash

Don’t Fuck It Up!
Winter squash may be compared to ripe summer tomatoes. The cook with much more than a good sharp knife will almost certainly disguise or degrade the vegetables’ inherent perfection. Still, you can’t serve steamed squash for dessert, and so I performed once so far

The Squash Pie Experiment:

squash pie

Don't be fooled by the appearance; you will definitely wish there was more filling if you make these miniature pies.

Aveline Kushi’s Basic Crust or preferably Crackers
It is a respectable crust made with whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour recommended but all I had was whole wheat flour). The crust is not sweet. I baked the scraps sprinkled with salt and they made fine crackers for lunch.

3 cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup + additional cold water

Combine the flour and salt, and mix in the oil until it is the texture of sand. Add the cold water, using as much as is necessary to form dough. Mix minimally once the water is added to keep the gluten from forming. If you use the pastry flour this is less of a worry. Either way, it is difficult or impossible to make a flaky crust with oil.
I chilled the dough for a half hour or so before rolling it out, and used an empty jar instead of a rolling pin. Sprinkle the cutting board or counter with flour, press out half of the dough at once and roll it about 1/8″ thin. Place it in your pie plate and finish the edges decoratively. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork to keep it from puffing up. Bake ten minutes, empty, in a pre-heated 350 degree oven before filling it up. Crusts are most definitely not my strong point or my specialty. I don’t recommend making miniature pies in the muffin tin with this because there is way too much crust-to-filling. The filling is the good part here. You might enjoy making the entire batch (or a half batch) of this crust into crackers and eating the filling cold with a spoon.

Buttercup Squash Pie Filling
(Speechless)

1 buttercup squash, 2-3 pounds or part of a bigger squash
1 cup water
pinch salt
1/2 cup barley malt syrup
1 Tablespoon kuzu dissolved in a little cold water
1 cup raw walnuts, chopped

peeling

Because I know you wondered what this woman's hand looks like


Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut it into chunks.
squashpot

It doesn't matter how course you chop the squash. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will cook.

The amount of squash does not have to be exact; you might just wind up with extra filling if you use too much. Make sure you have enough. Place the squash chunks in a pot with the water and pinch of salt. Bring to boiling then lower heat and simmer until tender enough to puree; maybe half an hour.
Use a spoon followed by a whisk to smash up the squash and whip it to a smooth puree. Add the barley malt and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Add the dissolved kuzu and simmer another few minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth. Let it cool slightly before filling the crust.

Top the pie with walnuts and bake until the crust is browned around the edges and the walnuts are toasted. Be careful they don’t burn.

squash pie 3As with pumpkin pie, this is better cold, so make it ahead. Alternatively, chill the filling and eat it like pudding. Damn.
You could probably use maple syrup if your teeth are particularly sweet that day, although the barley syrup does just right for the flavor of the squash.

first meeting of the macrobiotics cooking club

Meetings will be every Tuesday, 6-9 pm. Cooking macrobiotic recipes from Aveline Kushi’s Complete Guide to Macrobiotic Cooking for Health, Harmony and Peace and our heads.

Tuesday, 20 October, 2009
Attended by Laura, Ryan and Hilary, we made:

Inaugural Brown Rice
Without a pressure cooker, soaking the rice for a couple of hours before cooking will make a noticeable difference. Wash the rice and soak it directly in the cooking pot with the measured cooking water.

1 ½ cups organic short grain brown rice
2 cups cold water
1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce

-rinse the rice in cold water several times and drain; place in small heavy pot (2 quart capacity?) and cover with the measured 2 cups cold water
-place the rice pot uncovered over high heat and bring to boiling; add tamari, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to lowest heat possible. I stack two burners to bring the pot farther from the flame; another option is a flame diffuser or just stick with the basic lowest heat possible
-cook rice 50 minutes to 1 hour without opening the lid (the timing depends on how low you can get the heat—lower heat means the rice can cook longer without scorching on the bottom and the texture is better). After 50 minutes open the lid and fluff rice, recover for 10 minutes off the heat before serving.

Roasted Buttercup Squash

½ a large buttercup squash
canola oil

An unspecific recipe: the oven was about 375 degrees, half a squash cut into 6 wedges and rubbed with a tiny amount of oil. Roasted skin-down on a baking tray until soft. I added some water to the tray near the end of roasting when the squash seemed to be drying out, but the ends of each wedge were still sort of sharp.
Use little enough oil that it is not noticeable when eating; no salt is necessary. They took half an hour or more to soften.

Charred Collard Greens
Ryan’s humble dish which satisfied our greens appetite.

1 bunch collard greens
olive oil, about 1 Tablespoon
sea salt, ¼ teaspoon or more to taste
water

-wash the greens and cut off the stems
-heat olive oil in small skillet and, when hot, add the greens all at once; cover and cook until bottom layer of greens are charred and top layers are wilting and bright green
-stir the greens, add salt and about ¼ cup water and continue stirring over high heat until all of the greens are soft and the water has evaporated (add more water if needed)

Braised Roots with Ginger
Laura chopped the roots and hid the salt.

3 carrots
2 golden beets
2” piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
½ cup apple cider
water
pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce, more to taste
1 ½ teaspoons kuzu

-course chop the beets, chop the carrots into slightly larger pieces than the beets; place into large pot with grated ginger and pour the cider over, adding water to nearly cover the vegetables
-add sea salt to the pot and bring to boiling; cover, reduce heat to lowest possible and simmer until vegetables are just tender (check every 5 minutes after 20); remove lid and add tamari
-grind the kuzu and add cold water to dissolve; pour into the root pot and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens

Basic Miso Soup
From Aveline Kushi’s book; made with 3 year barley miso and addition of tofu

2 small onions, sliced
1 strip wakame, rinsed to soften and chopped
1 quart water
1/3 cup small cubes firm tofu
3-4 Tablespoons barley miso
2 scallions, sliced

-place onions and wakame with water in the soup pot; bring to boil, lower heat and simmer 20-30 minutes to soften onion. Add tofu at the end of cooking.
-add soup liquid to the miso in a small bowl to soften the miso; add softened miso to the soup, warm for a couple of minutes without boiling and off the heat. Garnish each bowl with the scallions. Makes 5-6 small bowls’ soup.

Above dishes served with homemade sauerkraut, roasted tea, lotus blossom green tea.