Planetary Coconut Cole Slaw

IMG_7928In my herbal studies, I am learning to combine the ancient teachings of three schools of herb lore: Chinese, East Indian Ayurvedic and Western (United States) into a massive body of knowledge that will inform a material medica for me to choose from when assessing, diagnosing and prescribing remedies for individuals to maintain health and counteract illness and disease. This large, new culmination becomes a planetary medicine cabinet.

I have started to apply this same principle to healing, fortifying medicinal foods as well.

Although people who read this blog may think of me as a pork, egg and cream whoring foodie, the bottom line to my diet is that I take care during the week to fill myself up with valuable nutrients and life-affirming foods. The “unorthodox” part of my eating regimen is that I live by a pretty strict code of ingestion Monday through Friday so that I can spend a night or two every week enjoying sweets, fats and meats at leisure. This maintenance not only brings both pleasure and balance to my palate; it creates moderation of the sinful stuff and an overabundance of the vitamin stuff in ways that all equal out to a healthy body, sound mind and strong heart. Whether I am in the “good” parts of the week, or the “bad’ parts of the week, I try to stay true (and for the most part do) to my personal rule that I will not eat anything from a box, a bag, or a jar that contains preservatives and chemicals or is already pre-cooked. There is no microwave in my home.

So when searching for breakfast and lunch dishes, I love to put on my herbalist’s hat and create combinations of foods that come from a planetary perspective of all the best nutritive ingredients in whatever is fresh at the moment.

Recently, I perfected a cole slaw that brings in the coconut creaminess of Thailand, the cilantro brightness of Mexico, the breath of fresh coriander air that is India alongside the crunchy, cabbage goodness that birthed this traditional American dish. It turned out sweet, silky and highly addictive with every bite delivering an earthy undertone from a decidedly Chinese choice in sesame oil and the addition of toasted pecans to the sauce.

Planetary Coconut Cole Slaw

1/8 cup sesame oil
½ cup toasted pecans
½ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon coriander pods
1/2 to 1 oz. dried coconut strips

1- ½ cup chopped cabbage
1- ½ cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a blender, blend the oil, pecans, coconut milk, honey and lemon juice to make the dressing. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and then toss with the blended dressing. Serve immediately. Makes 2-4 servings.




Absent Mother Sacral Stew

IMG_7602 Good things take time. This is a concept that is often lost in this Internet age where large doses of information get put out into the ethers daily and people are expressing themselves in ten second tweets and status updates rather than considering poetry or taking time to craft meaty sentences and mind their words.  I have been working on a novel for two years now and have found myself feeling guilty that it is not yet done when I think of the mass amounts of do-it-yourself-ers out there publishing at breakneck speeds. But then when I actually read the amount of stuff that’s being put out there in the guise of literature these days, I am proud to be one of those old fashioned writers who is taking my time to concoct a well written tale. My only problem is that I have been stuck for five months because I am at a point in my tale that is serious and psychologically deep and hits a chord close to home for me so I have been experiencing major resistance in putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). I decided to join National Novel Writing Month this November to pump up my juices and also, to gain the benefits of having a writing buddy.

I am so glad I did. I find that in my otherwise hermit existence, whenever I open myself up to connection with another human being who is interested in the same things I am and who is living their life in a way similar to mine, I actually benefit from mysterious riches that could not have been foretold otherwise. For NaNoWriMo, I put out a call for a writing buddy who would write every day with me and with whom I could share daily emails rich with inspirational quotes, mutual cheerleading and general support as we committed to writing our 1,500 words a day for thirty days. Cyndy answered, a woman I had met at a mutual friend’s art gallery in the desert five years ago, but had only known through her Facebook posts (enough to admire her fantastic abstract artwork) since.

In that mystical and synchronistic way of the universe, these past seven days have not only produced glorious amounts of words for both of our books but in our morning emails to each other we’ve encountered an emerging friendship built on unknown commonalities like our deep respect for herbs and roots and traditional Chinese food and medicine wisdoms, our paths as independent female artists and an unlocking of stories that have been buried deep within that have been dying to be told. Neither of us has gone a day without weeping open various pockets that have been closed shut for years; cleansing old wounds; and uncovering that our own resistance in writing the stories we wanted to write had led us here to this point where we are both ready now to open and share.

Yesterday, after my sixth cry on this journey while listening to Beethoven in my darkened office, and in homage to the love of sacred food Cyndy and I share, and because both of our hearts were particularly hurting, I decided to concoct a sacral chakra stew for the both of us. It became Absent Mother Stew, an earthy, grounding dish for those with hurting hearts who need the energy of mother to comfort them and ease their pain. For those without nurturing mothers, or those who never had a real mother, or those who are just missing their mothers who are not around, this stew is for you!

Recipe © Kimberly Nichols (aka Unorthodox Foodie)
Serves one

1 dry jujube date (found at Chinese markets)
1/2 c. dried mung beans that have been soaked overnight (by the time they have soaked overnight they will have bulked up to about 1 to 1-1/2 cup)
2 small carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 one inch piece of turmeric root, peeled and sliced into coins
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon of butternut seeds (Sunflower or pumpkin seeds may be substituted.)

Bring the mung beans and jujube date to boil in three cups of water and then simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours. Then add the carrots, turmeric, walnuts and simmer another 15-20 minutes. Then put in a bowl and salt to your liking and sprinkle the seeds on top.