Recently I had a craving for good Chinese Lo Mien. I found a restaurant that does not use MSG. I tried it. It seemed very oily to me. Disappointed. I decided to give them a second try after discussing the oil quantity with the restaurant. They explained how they prepared the lo me in and that much of what I thought was oil was a combination of a small amount of oil and Hoisin sauce.
I am now on a quest to adapt good Asian recipes to our dietary requirements. I am beginning with Thai and Chinese. The resulting dish must be vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free. I welcome all your authenic tried and true suggestions or recipes.
Where is our Food Morpheus? Where is Food Neo? The Local, State, and Federal system has “matrixized” us.
Food industrialization has caused us to ignore the food system that was very healthy for us: the family garden and the local vegetable market. When I was a child, eating out meant having dinner at a friend’s or relative’s home. Fast food meant heating up leftovers or making a sandwich. I didn’t know or understand just how good I had it. Other than childhood diseases I got the flu or had a cold only when the seasons changed. The rest of the year I was free of disease. Most remedies for the flu or a cold was natural. They were plant or herb based. Oh yeah, there was cod liver oil or castor oil. That cured or killed everything. Pills in the medicine cabinet were few. Those were my good old days.
I was taught in grade school the basic food groups and how much I should eat. I tried to change my home habits but thankfully my grandmother ignored me. We ate red meat and chicken but we ate more vegetables from the family gardens. By the way it was non-GMO and organic. Food was back then. There were some things that infiltrated our home, like white bread, white flour and white rice. I guess that was our beginning of “matrixation.”
The things we were taught:
- You MUST eat meat to get enough protein.
- You Must have milk and milk products to get enough calcium and more protein.
- Vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds don’t provide enough of either for healthy bodies.
We bought it because we trusted the FDA and other agencies that influenced our food supply. Those 3 axioms really only provided convenience for us and profit for the dairy and meat industry. Tell me, if dairy was so great, why wasn’t it fed to cows after they were weaned. They were fed grass and grain. The very things that weren’t enough for us.
Recently, our food pyramid changed to a food plate with the vegetable division the largest delineation. That’s good but now we have to deal with genetically modified organisms introduced into the plant crops. That’s another post, but suffice it to say, our non- organic vegetables, fruit and non-organic fed animals may be more harmful than we realize.
This matrix that we live in is suppose to maximize our health but we are sicker now than we were back in the day. There are more pills prescribed than every before. Our pills require pills to deal with their side effects. If the pills don’t work, there is always surgery.
So how is this meat-ladened lifestyle working for us?
A few months ago I tried a Dijon mustard recipe from The Homemade Vegan Pantry. I thought I had used a white wine that was too dry. The mustard had a very bitter taste. I tried it again with a less dry white wine. I allowed it to sit longer hoping it would be mellower. Today I tested it and it was just as bitter as the first. I gave up on that recipe. I decided to try a different recipe. It was taken from the Homemade Condiment cookbook: the Spicy Brown Mustard. The ingredients: powdered yellow mustard, kosher salt, tumeric, paprika, water, white wine vinegar, and brown sugar to taste. I used a few drops of agave. I didn’t have white wine vinegar so I used white cooking wine.
The result is a smooth, spicy mustard paste. It is usable now but I think I will let it mellow a bit. It has a little bitter tinge but nothing like the other recipe. I wonder what would happen if I used white wine vinegar?
Well, I am getting back in the lab. Happy cooking.
This morning I read a blog post from Sherry Brescia. Many shrug off GMO’s and the effect they have on our health. I know we cannot escape them completely but we should pay more attention to what we are eating and the possibility that we are enabling our own demise. Ms. Brescia has written an informative article that warrants re-posting. GMO–Genetically Modified Organism or Getting Massively Obese?
We seem to care more about losing weight than being healthy so maybe this will get some people’s attention.
So now what is that crazy woman talking about? Necessity brings joy. Sometimes when you have a need, the satisfying of that need brings greater joy than you expected.
Here’s the deal, Saturday, I ran out of almond milk. I had no cash. I didn’t want to use a credit card for a gallon of milk. I looked around the pantry and saw that I had some cashews. I had been meaning to try making cashew milk. This seemed like the perfect time. It is simple. Put the cashews and water in a blender and let it rip. In minutes, there was milk.
I looked in my vegan cookbook to get an idea of the ratio of cashews to water for a reasonable milk consistency. It was 2/3 cup of whole cashews to 4 cups of milk. That seemed like a lot of water for so few cashews so I increased it to a full cup of cashews. To my surprise I stumbled upon cashew cream. I did some research on the uses for cashew cream and discovered I had solved another dilemma I was facing. This cashew cream provides the creaminess and consistency I needed for both these projects.I wanted to make vegan ice cream without making a sugary syrup for a sorbet. This will be my substitute. I also needed a sour cream impostor to try in a new cornbread recipe I found. I will try adding vinegar to the cream to sour it. I’ll let you know the outcome.
Back to the milk. I used the ratio suggested by the experienced vegan and was rewarded with a good tasting cashew milk. There are no preservatives, no sweetener, no added anything. Two and two/thirds cup of cashews will make a gallon of milk. What makes this most appealing is no added cost for cream.
For you who like a little coffee in your cream, this is a healthy, tasteful preferred choice to the coffee creamers you buy in the store. I don’t usually add cream to my coffee but I tried a little. It was very good and flavorful.
So the necessity for almond milk provided the joy of cashew milk and cream. It was a good day.
Many of you know I make my own vegan butter. Last week I was standing in the grocery store getting oil to make more. I use coconut oil but I wanted to try another mild oil. I have used grapeseed, almond, olive and sunflower seed oil. Almond and olive oil had been the best so far. I looked at all those choices and read the descriptions. About two oils in I read this oil has a “butter-y, mild nutty flavor. Butter-y was the keyword. So I decided to try it. It was Macadamia nut oil. I thought it would taste strongly like macadamia. It did not. My butter tasted wonderful. I used it this morning to fry some potatoes. It has a high smoke point and it put grapeseed to shame. It got hot really fast and required me to pay attention. I am sold. This is my new go to oil for stir-frying, frying and grilling.
I got excited about my new find and then that other person in me rose up and said, “But is it healthy?” I went to my computer and discovered it is very healthy and has uses beyond cooking. It is used for skin care, makeup, sunblock, hair care, and eating. Coconut oil has just found a an “alternative to olive oil” partner because I use it for my hair, skin and cooking.
I read some reports on the benefits of macadamia nut oil and they get quite technical. Suffice it to say, it is an intense moisturizer and has powerful antioxidant properties.
A few weeks ago a friend who is in the psychology field told me she had gone to a workshop where they were told peanut oil was bad for brain health. In doing my research I have found study after study that says it does benefit the brain and entire nervous system.
What have you students of foods and oils found?
Does peanut oil hinder or aid good brain health?
I know I haven’t been posting much lately but I have been busy. I am adding new plants to my garden. I finally had to breakdown and clean the above ground bed my husband built before he got sick. While I was away at the hospitals, a neighbor’s cat decided it would make a great litter box. I started that process but I haven’t finished.
Awaiting completion of that job is the organic potting mix and spinach. When the spinach is moved I can plant the Thai Chili pepper that I bought. I will then have three hot peppers, jalapeno, fish and Thai Chili. The yellow and green bell peppers have fruit and more blossoms. I bought an heirloom tomato plant to add to the already fruitful Ace tomato plant.
Grocery bill going ⇓.
Do you know how much non-GMO, organic, heirloom tomatoes cost? I am determined to eat as much non-GMO vegetables and fruit as possible. My budget requires me to grow as much as I can. Garlic and Tumeric are next on my list.
Tomato plant flourishing and “Fish” Pepper plant in the background growing
It is growing fast. The tomato plant is taking over the pot and is blossoming. I might have tomatoes this spring. Awesome. Because of this, I need to transplant the peppers and the onions. So much for plants providing pest protection for each other. If my tomato cost is reduced by a large bounty I won’t complain about a few minutes of transplant work.
My next project is to plant tumeric and ginger root. They are so expensive. I will also be adding some different peppers and lettuce when I get another container. I am liking my homemade hot sauce and ketchup.