Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wei Qi Protective Vitality Soup

From Healing Tonics: 101 Concoctions to Increase Energy, Boost Immunity, Enhance Memory, Ease Dgestion, and Support Daily Health and Wellness by Jeanine Pollak...

I have been creating tonics like crazy ever since I picked this book up, and today I decided to create a soup that's purported to help allergies among other things (auto-immune diseases, lupus, diabetes, and hepatitis). Seeing as how the weather has taken a turn from 100 degrees to a mere 55 and raining, it seems to be a perfect day for it as well....
This soup has a medicinal quality, it's kind of bitter, and very hearty. I wasn't crazy about it, but I've also made some changes to the following recipe that I think will make it better. This makes enough soup to serve 4-6 people.

5-7 sticks Astragalus (I only had powder, so I just used 1/2 tsp to make sure I didn't over do it)
1 medium Reishi mushroom (Do NOT chop this one!)
2-3 small Shitake mushrooms
1/3 - 1/2 cup slightly sprouted Adzuki or Black beans
1/2 - 1 cup of organic barley
1 cup mixed vegetables (I used carrots), chopped
2-3 pieces nori, dulse or wakame
1/3 cup fresh or 2 T dried Gobo (burdock root)
1 cup fresh nettles or wild greens (I used mustard), chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 medium onions, chopped

The mushrooms that I used were dried, so I reconstituted them in warm water. However, the Reishi mushroom never really softens up, so it's not necessary to reconstitute or chop this one. After the Shitake mushrooms are reconstituted, you will be able to chop them into smaller pieces.
In 3 quarts water, add the Astragalus, mushrooms, and beans. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the barley, and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
While the pot is simmering, chop your veggies, garlic, onions and cut your greens into smaller pieces. Saute the onions in 2 T of oil for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the vegetables, burdock, garlic, greens, and onions to the soup pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and "season" with miso. I added about 1/3 cup mellow white miso.
If using Astragalus sticks, remove them and the Reishi mushroom before eating.

There have been many studies trumpeting the anti-cancer effects of mushrooms, especially Shitake, Maitake and Reishi. Here's an article in plain English, that summarizes this page.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hemp or Marijuana?

Last night, I watched this program on KQED in celebration of Independence Day...
but this post is exactly what I have to say, and probably more...

How is a plant illegal?!? I certainly hope that basil and oregano are never outlawed, or patented- like several companies wish they could do with Neem, a plant that has been used for generations in India.

That's my rant for today...

Friday, June 1, 2007

Organic Bytes Update

I subscribe to this great newsletter from the Organic Consumers Association. I was turned onto it by a friend in food and farm studies in Ithaca, NY. I highly recommend that anyone who purchases organic, is concerned about where their food comes from, or maintains a healthy lifestyle, check out the website and subscribe to the newsletter. They do great work in helping to keep consumers aware of food issues, and this is one we should all be concerned about:
ALERT: Congress Passes Provision Removing Local Rights to Regulate Food and Farms

Since 1988 the biotech industry and industrial food corporations have unsuccessfully tried to take away local and states' rights to ban or regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other controversial foods and crops. For example, OCA and other public interest groups successfully generated a mass outcry in 2006 that blocked the passage of the National Uniformity for Food Act. This highly unpopular bill would have nullified 200 food safety and food labeling laws across the U.S.

Failing to suppress grassroots control over food safety laws and labels in the last session of Congress, industry has now called on their friends in the House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry to slip a similar poison pill into an obscure section of the voluminous 2007-2012 Farm Bill. The provision would give the White House appointed Secretary of Agriculture the power to eliminate local or state food and farming laws, such as those in four California counties banning genetically engineered crops, and set an an ominous precedent undermining states' rights.
Tell Congress to repeal this provision before it becomes law:

Friday, May 25, 2007

What can you do?

I found this great site that has a plethora of information on all things green, including latest environmental updates and articles, and a whole schmattering of things you can do to help change your world for the better.
" works from a simple premise: that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us."

All-natural? Organic? Soap?

Maybe, but more likely not! I was shocked and heart-broken after watching this video that made me question my favorite Nature's Gate Shampoo and Conditioner. This is one of my favorite brands, yet they are seemingly using petroleum products in their soap?

I'm officially saddened.

Wanna check out your soap (or other body products)? Visit the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep website to measure the toxicity of your body and beauty products.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mmm..., Strawberry Soup

from a recipe by Shuna Fish Lydon, pastry chef, featured in "edible San Francisco"

Serves 6

1 (750-mL) bottle chardonnay, rose, or ice wine
2 generous cups cold water
4 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
6 pints organic strawberries

In a large, stainless steel pot, bring wine to boil over high heat.
Add water and sugar.

Lower heat to medium-high and bring to boil again.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Set aside and let coll to room temperature.

If strawberries are overly dirty, wash with a brief blast of cold water. Set aside 16 to 20 of the best looking berries for garnish.
Stem the remaining berries by hand.

Using a blender, puree the strawberries in small batches with 1/2 cup of the wine sauce and 1/4 cup filtered water.
Add more or less sauce or water according to taste.
Strain puree in a fine-meshed sieve. Stir in more wine sauce or more water, 1/2 cup at a time, until a thick, sauce-like consistency is reached.

cover and chill the soup for one hour in refrigerator before serving.
Garnish with reserved strawberries.

Strawberry soup will keep for one week refrigerated in a nonreactive, tightly covered container.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Millet-Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Many of you probably do not know, but in a former incarnation as a vegan, Todd attended the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health. So, he's got a great collection of incredibly healthy recipes. This one, in particular, is easy!!
As the name suggests, this could be substituted for mashed potatoes, but would also make a great breakfast.
For health benefits of millet, check out this link at World's Healthiest Foods!

1-1/4 cups millet
1 onion, chopped
2 T oil
1 head cauliflower
1 tsp salt
4 cups water
shoyu (to taste)

1. Wash and drain the millet.
2. Saute onion in oil until translucent.
3. Saute millet in oil with onion until it darkens and smells like popcorn (approx. 10 minute), stirring constantly.
4. Add cauliflower, salt, and water, and bring to a boil, covered.
5. Simmer until very soft and moist for about 40 minutes. All liquid should be absorbed.
6. Put millet and cauliflower through a food mill, season with shoyu.