I told my young, adult kids I would compile a book of easy-to-make, healthy recipes for them which would include vegan and vegetarian options. Well, that project hasn’t quite manifested, so I’m posting recipes one at a time on this site for them and all you lovely readers who follow this blog and who might find the dishes appealing.
Firstly, to create a truly healthy meal the mood has to be set, not only for the cook but also for the health of the food. I am a firm believer of feeling inspired when cooking. In some cultures if the cook is in a bad mood no food is prepared. They honor the possibility that cook’s bad mood could affect the family’s health. In our fast-paced modern culture it seems respecting the food and its sources has fallen to the wayside. Speed has become a priority over quality in the food industry which certainly plays a role in the demise of our population’s health. In this blog I’m hoping to inspire the restoration of calm and gratitude in process of creating nourishment.
Before pulling out the ingredients, take a deep breath, make a little drink for yourself – whatever your preference (mine is usually green tea). Next, put on some nice music. The owner of one of our fave restaurants said, before they open and while they’re cleaning and preparing the food, they play prayer music from their culture through the stereo system. The speakers bathe the entire restaurant in music. He feels it keeps the customers satisfied and the food healthy. While cooking tonight’s dish I listened to “Tibetan Incantations”, a musical compilation of the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”. It’s a form of blessing, and I like to imagine the music riding the airwaves, making the molecules of myself, the food, the atmosphere very peaceful and happy. Perhaps your preference is light jazz, classical or something all together different. The choice of music should ideally assist the cook and those enjoying the meal to slow down, breathe deep and digest well. In my heart and mind, while washing, cutting and prepping the food, I thank the planet, the resources, the elements – earth, fire, water, air – the animals, plants, and all the folks who made the food possible from the farm to the table. Just feeling a sense of love and appreciation will cover all those bases. 🙂
For the table a cozy placemat and a little candle help ignite the digestive fires of whomever is enjoying the meal, (even if it’s just me). At the end of the meal I save a little and offer it as blessing to the spirits of our land. A little spoonful is placed in a tiny, ceramic bowl near an “offering tree”. Just a tender way of showing Nature we’re in a state of abundance and sharing, and connecting with the Earth. If you’re in an apartment and can’t get to a tree that’s ok. It’s the thought that counts, and you can offer gratitude in your own special way.
The following recipe is one of our favorites. It was kindly shared with us by a sweet family who owned a local restaurant before they moved away. This has been modified to our tastes, but you can certainly find many variations of Aloo Gobi online to suit your palate.
Easy Aloo Gobi (vegan)
1/2 c. vegetable oil (I like sunflower oil)
1 hefty pinch of cumin seeds
4 medium potatoes, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 whole cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (opt)
1 cup water
diced tomato (topping)
In large cup add salt, turmeric, pepper flakes, water, stir and set aside.
Combine oil, cumin, and potato into a large pan – sauté about 5 mins.
Add the chopped cauliflower, add cup of ingredients (previously set aside) all at once, and stir the potatoes, cauliflower, water and seasonings well. Cover and reduce heat to low-medium, allow to cook 10-15 mins, or until potato and cauliflower are soft when poked with a fork. Add diced tomato as topping.
Rice on the side
2 c. basmati rice
2.5 c. water
1 tsp sea salt (opt)
drizzle of sunflower oil (opt)
Bring the water and rice to a fast boil then immediately place on med-low heat with a tight lid and cook 15-20 mins, or follow instructions on the rice bag. When it’s done, fluff with a fork. Bon appetite!
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia Woolf