November 2011 Archives

Sunchoke Butternut Mash

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Sunchoke & Butternut Mash


Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes are members of the asteracae family and have flowers similar to yellow sunflowers. The roots are high in inulin, a prebiotic which also helps lower blood sugar. A good potato substitute for diabetics.

Serves 6


Preheat oven to 375º F.

Halve squash; place cut side down on a baking sheet along with whole sunchokes.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork.
Scoop seeds from squash cavity; scoop out pulp into a large bowl (if desired, leave squash shells intact to use as serving containers).
Chop sunchokes (no need to remove peel); add to squash pulp. Add butter, yoghurt, mace, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mash mixture on medium speed of electric mixer until blended; or process in food processor or blender in batches.


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Golden Harvest Rice

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Golden Harvest Rice

This warming fall recipe makes use of the seasonal vegetables of harvest time. Soothing for vata and easily digestible, it can be balanced for pitta with the addition of cilantro and for kapha with cayenne or black pepper. Omitting the cashews, it is a great recipe for small children!

Serves 6.


1 cup basmati rice

2 cups water

1 pinch saffron

1 small or half a medium sized pumpkin or winter squash

1 yellow or orange bell pepper

1 cup sweet corn

½ cup cashews

8 cloves

3 cardamoms, split open

3 black cardamoms, split open

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

1 stick cinnamon

1 pinch hing

1" piece of ginger, finely chopped

3 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil

1 tsp salt

Wash the basmati rice; soak for an hour and drain. Allow to air-dry. Boil the water; add the saffron and leave to steep. Peel and cut the squash or pumpkin into 1" cubes and stir-fry or sauté in 1 Tbsp of the ghee or oil until fork-tender (about 30 min). Meanwhile, chop the pepper. Heat half the remaining ghee or oil in a heavy flat bottomed pan and gently fry the cashews until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining ghee, if needed. When the ghee is hot but not smoking, lower the heat and add the spices and ginger, frying until the ginger browns and the mustard seeds pop. Add the hing and within a few seconds the pepper and corn. Stir-fry for a few minutes, and then add the rice and cook for a minute or two until the grains are translucent. Add the saffron water, cashews and squash. Bring to the boil, cover and cook at low heat for 25 minutes. Stir with a fork and serve with wedges of lime.


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Here is an Ayurvedic menu using traditional Thanksgiving ingredients.
Buttery sweet potato puree with tomato bits, from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi, and Cranberry Apple Chutney, my own recipe, accompanied by rice and dal.

Buttery Sweet Potato Puree with tomato Bits


For this dish you can use either yams or sweet potatoes, depending on the degree of sweetness or moisture, you prefer. It is little more than a seasoned mashed root vegetable dish, and is nice with a Vedic or Western dinner menu. To keep calories to a minimum, rely on the orange juice to make a buttery consistency. The sweet, firm flesh of Italian plum tomatoes is ideal for this bharta, though you can use any type; even green tomatoes are delicious.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): a few minutes
Cooking time: about 10 minutes
Serves: 6

6 medium-sized yams or sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds/1 kg) freshly ash-or oven-baked
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
½ teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) paprika or 1/8 tsp cayenne
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground nutmeg or mace
4 table spoons (60 ml) orange juice
½ teaspoon (2 ml) orange zest
3 table spoons (45 ml) ghee or butter
1 ½ table spoons (22 ml) brown sugar or jaggery
2 medium-sized Italian plum tomatoes (about ¾ pound/340 g), seeded and coarsely chopped
2 table spoons (30 ml) sliced almonds, toasted

1.    Cut and scoop out the yam or sweet potato pulp and mash with a potato masher or force through a food mill or potato ricer. Add the salt, turmeric, paprika or cayenne, nutmeg or mace, orange juice and orange zest, and whisk with a fork until well blended.
2.    Heat the ghee or butter in a 12-inch (30 cm) frying pan over moderate heat. Add the sweetener and cook until it caramelizes and turns reddish-brown. Drop in the tomatoes and cook, gently tossing, justly until they soften and glisten.
3.    Add the yams or sweet potatoes and, using the back of a wooden spoon, mash and blend the ingredients. When warmed throughout, serve on a warmed platter, garnished with toasted almonds.


Cranberry Apple Chutney



2 punnets organic cranberries ( 4 cups)
4 cups chopped apples
1 orange
1/4 tsp raisins
2 tbsp chopped pecans
2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
6 cloves, ground
1 star anise, ground (optional but good)
2 pinches mace
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Water as needed

Put washed cranberries and washed chopped apples in heavy bottomed pan. Grate 1tsp of the orange peel and add. Now squeeze the orange and add the juice. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and adding water as needed. Once it is simmering, add sugar and raisins.
In a small frying pan, melt the ghee, add cumin seeds and chilies and fry until they darken a shade. Now chopped ginger and cinnamon and fry until the ginger is browned. Add the fried spices to the chutney, then the spice powders (clove, star anise, mace, cardamom.) When the chutney is almost cooked, add the chopped nuts



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Photo by Sadananda

On Saturday, we went to see our favourite aspen grove, along the Peak to Peak Highway. Brillant blue skies, bright sunshine and golden aspen leaves made this a quintessential Colorado day. And, warm though the weather was, the shimmering leaves, flying through the air like yellow butterflies, reminded me that it's time to start thinking about fall self care.

Fall is the time of gales and sudden snows; a season of wind, movement and change. The leaves on the deciduous trees dry up and blow away and the weather becomes colder, with clear frosty air and hardening of the soil. All these qualities of nature evoke the airy humor, the vata dosha, as this combination of the elements of Space and Air is known in Ayurveda. Just like the autumn, vata is mobile, changeable, dry, cold, clear, hard and rough.

Known as the vata season, fall is a time when aches and pains, restlessness, dry skin, chapped lips, chills and insomnia tend to flare up. Fall is also the season which sets the tone for our winter health. If we take care of ourselves in fall, we can look forward to a healthy winter, whereas self neglect or poor lifestyle habits in fall can lead to winter problems such as depression, arthritis, colds and flu.

Self-care has two facets, the 'Do's 'and the 'Don'ts'. Although the 'Don'ts' may seem restrictive or negative, they actually constitute the easy way out in self-care. The 'Do's' take time, they require us, literally to do something. The 'Don'ts' are great ways to protect our health while spending less time and money than we were devoting to our unwholesome habits. In fall we are well advised to cut back on foods and lifestyle choices that are mobile, changeable, dry, cold, and so on. For example, most of us are less attracted to cold sodas in fall than in summer. Fall is a great time to reduce our travel, especially by air and to stay put and nurture ourselves. Cut back on cell phone chatter and computer games and curl up with a good book instead.

Smoking dries out and irritates our respiratory system as well as setting us up for winter bronchitis. To create a healthier winter, cut back or, ideally, quit smoking. Coffee is another vata provoking substance, so fall is a great time to get off coffee and on to a nurturing, warming drink such as Tulsi-ginger tea, available from most natural foods markets.

Just at the qualities that are the same as vata will exacerbate the problematic aspect of fall, qualities opposite to those of vata will help you enjoy the fall season at its best. The 'Do's' of fall invoke properties such as warm, moist, oily, heavy, smooth and stable. Instead of ice cold drinks, enjoy warm teas like ginger tea, a great remedy for vata complaints like gas, bloating and aches and pains. Start your day with a bowl of hot oatmeal with cardamom and cinnamon, rather than Cornflakes and cold milk. In place of rice cakes, popcorn, salad and other dry, cold foods, look to the fall harvest for the ideal foods for the season--winter squash soup, baked yam, root vegetables like carrots and beets. Apples are dry, cold and windy, just like vata, yet when stewed with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and some raw sugar they make an ideal fall dish, helping to overcome vata constipation. Sesame seeds are excellent for vata, so sesame candies with raw sugar are a good treat for this time of year.


External oiling is also helpful at this season. The ideal oil for vata is sesame oil. Massage yourself with sesame oil before a hot shower and allow the hot water to drive the oil to deeper layers of your skin. However, if you are the type of person who dislikes heat and easily develops rashes and skin reactions, your body type may be pitta, the fiery humor. In that case sunflower oil is a wiser choice for your self-massage than sesame oil. If aches and pains trouble you, use castor oil for self-massage and follow this with a bath with one third cup dry ginger powder and one third cup baking soda in the tub. The anti-inflammatory properties of both castor oil and ginger will bring you relief.

Fall is a critical time for self-care, as the way you nurture yourself in fall will determine how you fare in flu season and throughout the winter. The older you are, the more important a good fall self-care plan is. Traditionally, fall is an ideal time to do pancha karma, an Ayurvedic cleanse involving, oiling, sweating and herbal colon therapy. This year, resolve to get in tune with the seasons and give your body a good fall!


Photo by Sadananda


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This page is an archive of entries from November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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