Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate – Maya Angelou
It was a spectacularly lousy week.
A person in my orbit decided that my birthday was the occasion to blame me for everything wrong in their life. Despite knowing his deep depressions precede the need to pick a fight I absorbed and believed it most of the week. I should have just let it roll off of me and moved on with my life, but I didn’t. I should have known his anger was not about me but about himself, but I didn’t. I should have responded with love and kindness and been the better person for it, but I wasn’t.
And I got a year older.
Sometimes all you can do is take care of yourself one minute at a time, one mouthful at a time. Sometimes self care is the only care available and you simply have to hang on for those minutes. Sometimes just knowing that you can feed yourself and comfort yourself lovingly is enough to get you through the nights of tossing and turning and wishing you had said or done something different. Because the old me would have allowed this person to have rented a long term spot in my head I decided that the new me was going to practice what I have been preaching and cook myself whole. I was not going to obsess about the perfect blog post and I was going to allow the simplicity of my food to be enough. I was going to cook for myself as if #foodislove
LENTIL AND MUSHROOM POT PIES
1 cup Umbrian lentils
¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 ounces creminis, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
¼ cup roasted onion
1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 tsp fresh thyme
½ tsp sea salt flakes
¼ tsp white pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes diced into half inch
2 TB balsamic glaze
1 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon tamari
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour OR 1 cup garbonzo flour
6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons smart balance
1/2 cup cashew cream
4 oz Cashew cheese
Combine 3 cups cold water, lentils, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain; set lentils aside.
Pour 3 cups boiling water over porcini in medium bowl; soak 25 minutes. Remove porcini from soaking liquid, squeeze dry, and chop coarsely reserving soaking liquid
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh mushrooms and roasted onions. Sauté a few minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil, fresh onion, carrot, and thyme. Sauté a few more minutes. Add garlic and reduce heat to medium-low. Mix flour into vegetables; cook 1 minute. Add porcini soaking liquid. Mix in porcini, potatoes, tamari, glaze,salt, pepper and vegetable stock. Cover; simmer until potatoes are tender about 15 minutes. Add lentils and divide filling among four 2-cup ovenproof ramekins.
Heat oven to 400. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cashew cream and vinegar; pulse until dough forms moist clumps. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces; shape each into 2/3-inch-thick disk. Set rounds atop filling. Top with discs of vegan cashew cheese.
Bake pot pies about 30 minutes.
SWEET POTATO AND EGGPLANT CURRY
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 TB sesame oil
2 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
15 fresh curry leaves 5 shallots, minced
1 fresh turmeric knob grated 4 small cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup caramelized onion 3 serrano or Thai bird chili peppers, diced, leave seeds in for heat 2 TB minced ginger or 1 TB ginger paste 2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch dice 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium cauliflower
4 Asian eggplants cut into ¼ inch slices
1 bunch Chinese water spinach 1 quart vegetable broth 1 can coconut milk
Smoked sea salt to taste
One lime handful cilantro, chopped
In dry pan add mustard seeds till they begin to pop like popcorn, add 1 TB vegetable oil, curry leaves, cumin, shallots, chilis, ginger and cook till they begin to become fragrant and browning. Add garlic and caramelized onion let soften then set aside mixture and puree in a coffee grinder. Set aside.
Heat 2nd TB of canola and add sweet potatoes, caulifower and carrots and sautee till softening, add ½ of vegetable broth and let simmer till tender, set aside. In another pan heat sesame oil, add eggplant and continue to sautee till browning, add curry ingredients half of remaining vegetable broth and coconut milk. Add sweet potatoes, cauliflower and carrots, simmer all ingredients together and if necessary add remaining vegetable broth, three minutes before serving toss in Chinese Water Spinach. Serve over rice or rice noodles with optional sides