Enjoying the holidays with family, friends and neighbors is certainly a fun-filled experience especially with heart warming, fresh, wholesome, and healthy foods. Macrobiotic cooking means knowing how to create balance between available foods and the outside weather conditions. It also means creating attractive dishes that are simple, delicious and energizing.
As fall changes into the coldness of winter with the snows and chilly days, warming soups, stews and hearty meals are what's in store. The season brings everyone inside for comfort and warmth. It just seems so natural that our foods in winter would be warmer, stronger, and more satisfying. With the use of longer cooking methods, and an emphasis on stored root vegetables and newly harvested grains in our cooking, we can feel very healthy from the food we eat.
Food is the most important foundation of life affecting everything we do. Food is first cooked, then chewed, then digested and eventually changes into our cells and thoughts. When a cook knows we truly are what we eat, then a new level of awareness comes into the food preparation. It can become an act of love for humanity. A great cook knows the personal joy of providing for others' health and prosperity with a delicious hearty soup, nourishing main dish, an appetizing side dish and a couple of "to LIVE for" desserts.
Here's a fresh, wholesome, healthy dinner I served just the other night at our Thursday and Friday evening community dinners in Newton, MA. These are really simple. At least I think so. If I could do them, you can!
CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP:
1 medium butter nut squash
1 medium size onion
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
1 quart filtered water
1 tablespoon Chickpea miso
This soup is very creamy. You will hear ooohs and aahhs from your guests. In a hot pressure cooker, pour some sesame oil and add a cup of chopped onions, a 1/2 cup of oatmeal flakes and a cut-up butternut squash. SautŽ until the onions are translucent. Add a teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt and a quart of water. Bring to pressure. Then let the food cool for a while. Open the pressure cooker and blend with a large tablespoon of South River Chickpea Miso. Simmer and garnish with thinly sliced scallions. Serve HOT!
KASHA AND ONIONS:
1 medium onion
1 lb. Kasha
1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
This hearty Russian dish will warm everyone. It is also very filling. In a large 5- qt. pan, sautŽ for five minutes one medium onion and 1 lb. of Kasha with a teaspoon of sea salt. Add a quart of water. Let it simmer for 35 minutes or longer. Serve.
TEMPEH WITH ARAME CRANBERRIES AND CARROTS:
1 oz. Arame seaweed
1 clove garlic
1 pkg. tempeh
3 carrots cut julienne style
1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu
1 lb. Cranberries
Soak 1 oz. of arame in water. Mince a clove of garlic while a fry pan is warming on the stove. Cut tempeh into 1 in. cubes. Add olive oil to pan. SautŽ tempeh and garlic for a few minutes until golden brown. Add sliced carrots, cranberries and soaked arame. Cook for 10 minutes. Add Shoyu. Simmer one more minute. Serve.
1 head of Napa Cabbage
1 tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt
Rinse Napa Cabbage. Shake off excess water. Slice into bite size pieces. Place in a 2 quart pickling pot and add sea salt. Sweat cabbage. (Knead it like kneading bread.) Add clean weights to the cabbage and let sit for at least 5 hours. Rinse to desired taste. Serve.
APRICOT MOUSSE: (Topped with a Vanilla Custard)
2 quarts Apple Juice
1/2 cup agar- agar flakes
1 cup dried apricots
1 tablespoon tahini
1/2 cup oatmeal
In a large pan, add apple juice, apricots, tahini, oatmeal and agar-agar flakes. Bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Allow to cool a bit. BLEND. Place in decorative bowl. Allow to set. Pour on Vanilla Custard. (See below.) Refrigerate and serve in four (4) hours.
1 pint amazake
1 pint rice milk
2 tablespoon rice syrup
2 tablespoon kuzu mixed with cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
Pour amazake and rice milk into a sauce pan. Add rice syrup. Mix kuzu and cold water and add to pan. Bring to boil. Add vanilla. Let it cool for a while. Pour mixture over Apricot Mousse. Refrigerate.
There are probably a few items or ingredients that are unfamiliar to some. If there are questions on the recipes, please feel free to call me at 617-964-2951. Happy Holidays to all and to all a good meal.
David Snieckus is a graduate of the world-renowned Kushi Institute and has been practicing Macrobiotics since 1977. His passion is to share his knowledge and experience and invoke self-awareness in others so that they may experience optimum health and happiness. For more information on Macrobiotic consultations, cooking classes, catering services, (including for retreats) and community dinners, contact David Snieckus at (617) 964-2951 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Side note: Enjoy a Holiday at Sea! A voyage to health and well-being with specially prepared organic and natural foods, yoga, meditation and more will set sail at sea to Western Caribbean ports of call including Key West, Mexico, Jamaica and Grand Cayman from February 29 to March 7, 2004. For more information, go to www.atasteofhealth.org.