Special Dish for the Week: Shiitake Mushroom Thai Curry with Raw Peppers

For this week’s Special Dish for the Week, I reach for an old staple of mine—but with a little raw twist in an attempt to incorporate more enzyme-rich foods into my current fall-winter-spring diet, which consists mainly of stir fries, curries, and soups, in order to assist my digestion process to more easily get the nutrients out of my delicious dishes—and I prepare:

Shiitake Mushroom Thai Curry with Raw Peppers

Shiitake Mushroom Thai Curry with Raw Peppers

Shiitake Mushroom Thai Curry with Raw Peppers

For the base, I heat up a generous amount of green curry paste in a tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil, allowing the fragrance to fill my kitchen and nostrils alike. I add coarsely chopped sweet onion. Shortly after, join the sliced shiitake mushrooms. I let them sautée together until they brown a little, occasionally adding some water to release them from sticking to my favourite non-non-stick wok!

 

Shiitake Mushroom Thai Curry with Raw Peppers Dish

Shiitake Mushroom Thai Curry with Raw Peppers Dish

While I cube some organic tofu, my Jasmine brown rice is cooking in my rice maker and my shrimp are defrosting. Eating animal source heme iron (in the shrimp) is supposed to help with the absorption of plant-based non-heme iron (in the tofu). I lower the heat, and add a generous amount of coconut milk to my wok, along with a half dozen kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil leaves. Allowing the tofu and the shrimp to gently warm up in the heating coconut milk, I finely chop one each of red and green peppers, which I only stir into the curry when the rice is cooked, so as to retain these veggies in their raw form. I chop some cilantro, and sprinkle it atop and around the curry that I serve over the rice.

I surround myself with thoughts and memories of my good friends, near and far, by enjoying my dinner with one friend’s favourite French wine: Paul Mas Grenache Noir, in my Santé, machine à manger wine glass from another friend. For dessert, I taste the ginger beer a friend sent me in my birthday gift package, selected in memory of our trip together to Southeast Asia. I find that I really enjoy the taste of this Fentimans botanically brewed ginger beverage—and I delight after dinner in the knowledge that I will be able to acquire some more of this delicacy right here in Vancouver!

Special Dish for the Week: Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad

This week’s Special Dish for the Week is once more inspired by the recipes from InspireHealth, such as this:

Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad

Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad Ingredients

Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad Ingredients

Heavily adapted from the original recipe, but grateful for the delightful idea, I begin with laying out the ingredients ahead of me. They look so colourful and varied. I feel healthier even just by feasting my eyes on the sight of all the nutritional goodness. My first adaptation is to cook up some red lentils, which naturally turn to mush. To give the salad back its texture, I add a can of organic black beans.

Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad

Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad

Then I begin to chop, all quite finely (particularly all the raw onions!): sweet onion—my favourite onion variety of late, one which I find I can even tolerate raw; a bunch of green onions—which I find not too bad when very finely chopped; sweet and colourful red and orange peppers; and a fresh bunch of cilantro. These I gently mix together with the red lentils and the black beans to retain their individual textures..

Next, I make the dressing, also an adaptation of the original recipe. I mix the dressing with my handheld smoothie blender:

  • 1 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/3 cup cold pressed virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp French dark mustard
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • black pepper
  • salt
Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad Dish

Lentil, Black Bean and Arugula Salad Dish

On a bed of spicy arugula, I serve the mixed lentil and bean salad, carefully adding a few dollops of the dressing. For some sweet contrast, I sprinkle some dried cranberries. And for some colourful fun, I sprinkle some black sesame seeds. My delicious, nutritious and ever so colourful dinner is accompanied with beeswax candlelight, a vase of dried red roses, place mat and serviette Provençal, a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, served in my lovingly delivered Santé, machine à manger wine glass—and along with all these, memories of good friends abound!

Meal ideas & recipes from http://www.inspirehealth.ca/recipes/2012/11/lentil-salad.

Special Dish for the Week: Chili Bean Salad on Alfalfa Sprouts

I make this extra Special Dish for the Week for the weekend, inspired by the quick and easy recipe from the back of a frozen lima bean package—and it turns out delicious (naturally improved by my own additions):

Chili Bean Salad on Alfalfa Sprouts

Chili Bean Salad on Alfalfa Sprouts

Chili Bean Salad on Alfalfa Sprouts

This dish begins with some lima beans steamed together with some sweet peaches and cream whole kernel corn. These are joined by 1/2 a can of organic chickpeas. Next, I add some chopped tomatoessweet onion, and cilantro. Then, I spice up this mélange with a small green serrano pepper, which turns out to be much hotter than the jalapeño pepper—woah! Am I glad I only used one of these to start!

For the dressing, I mix with my handheld smoothie blender:
1/2 avocado
juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp cold pressed virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin

Chili Bean Salad on Alfalfa Sprouts Dish

Chili Bean Salad on Alfalfa Sprouts Dish

On a bed of nutritious alfalfa sprouts, I serve the lima and chickpea salad, drizzled with the dressing. And for some colourful fun, I sprinkle some black sesame seeds and decorate my plate with a few leaves of spicy arugula.

I enjoy this healthful and cheerful salad with some red wine served in my lovingly delivered Santé, machine à manger wine glass, and a cup of pau d’arco tea, which I recently dig out again. My meals now shall also be regularly accompanied by a pretty flower—or few!

Meal ideas & recipes from the back of Green Giant frozen lima beans package.

Special Dish for the Week: Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans

For the last few weeks, I have been inspired for my Special Dish for the Week by the recipes from InspireHealth, such as this:

Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans

Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans

Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans

Naturally, it is an adaptation of the actual recipe, I do not find the Japonica black rice, and besides, the overnight soaking is sometimes a bit much even for me to organise. So, I go with one of my favourite staples: brown jasmine rice. But I add some saffron for added colour and nutrients such as: Manganese, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, and Vitamin B6; as well as dried thyme for added flavour and nutrients such as: Vitamin E, Magnesium, Zinc and Copper, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, and Manganese. I have often heard that herbs contain a lot of nutrients, but I don’t often look up exactly which herbs contain what nutrients. Very interesting to do this once in a while, particularly to potentially help explain why I sometimes crave certain herbs—apparently it might not be just for their flavours! It could be that when I feel deficient in some nutrients, I may reach for more or less herbs.

Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans Dish

Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans Dish

With the rice well under control, I sautée some finely sliced onions and finely sliced red cabbage in a tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil. When translucent and softened, I add the slightly dethawed edamame, along with the cannend organic black beans. I further flavour this part of the dish with grated garlic and ginger, as well as chopped cilantro roots. I keep sautéeing these at low heat for a little longer, but I am careful not to burn or overcook them.

In another bowl, I prepare the raw veggies: grated carrots, finely sliced red pepper, some raw organic pumpkin seeds, chopped cilantro leaves, and some torn basil leaves. I wait till I make the dressing to stir these ingredients.

The dressing is also an adaptation of the original recipe—and it is oh, so yummy! I mix the dressing with my handheld smoothie blender:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Bragg soy sauce
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup unrefined, untoasted sesame oil
  • a little less than 1/4 cup unrefined, toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

Again, heeding the lesson I learned about keeping my kitchen walls, outside of the fridge, and container of utensils on my counter dressing-free, I use a large glass jar, hold it firmly with one hand, while it sits low in the kitchen sink, and blend the heck out the dressing ingredients. The end result is a deliciously creamy, sweet and spicy dressing. Yum! The dressing I add to the raw component of the salad, and only then do I mix those ingredients, together with the dressing.

Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans Dish Lunches

Rice Salad with Edamame and Black Beans Dish Lunches

For my Sunday dinner, I serve each of the salad components separately on my plate, garnished with basil and cilantro leaves, and the yellow and fragrant rice I sprinkle with some black sesame seeds. For my lunches for the week, I mingle the rice, warmed beans, and raw veggies with dressing together, and store in glass containers for easy packing in the mornings. My dinner is accompanied with a small glass of organic Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, served in my lovingly delivered Santé, machine à manger wine glass.

Meal ideas & recipes from http://www.inspirehealth.ca/recipes/2014/01/asian-japonica-rice-salad-with-edamame