This is the absolute best way (IMHO) to cook asparagus ..... wash & cut of the tough ends. Next, get a pot (dutch oven is perfect) and add a few tablespoons of olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of water to the pot. I let it get fairly hot and then add the asparagus. Cover. Let is simmer until the asparagus is tender - I test it several times along the way. By then most of the water will have evaporated, leaving a nice olive oil based sauce. I add sea salt, some pepper and lemon and it is fantastic.
I find with asparagus it needs to be finished or it is too bland. This recipe originally came from a book on cooking vegetables the French way by Patricia Wells and was re-interpreted by Lucy Waverman. I've cooked it so many times I don't have the actual recipe any longer. The French really do have a knack for making vegetables special and lovely.
I've given up a few things over the years - meat (20 some odd years ago) and smoking (almost 12 years ago) and now it seems coffee. Well almost given up - I still drink the odd cup of coffee when I go out for dinner or drop into a nice cafe. These cups of coffee are usually special - comsumed in good company and usually very good quality. I always make sure to have cream in these cups to make them really rich and wonderful.
The funny thing with giving up coffee is it was not really intentional. I started out doing a naturpathic detox three months ago. Of course - no caffeine for the duration which was three weeks. At first, I found this really difficult. My substitute - which was only supposed to be for the first few days - was green tea. I had one cup of green tea per day - in the morning. The green tea I chose was blended with honey and ginger - really wonderful. So the three weeks passed ... on the first day I was allowed coffee again I didn't have one until the afternoon. I went to the Tim Horton's in the lobby of my office. I savoured and enjoyed that coffee. The next morning and every morning since then, I've continued to have my green tea. I walk past the Tim Horton's several times a day and don't bother.
All in all, I am happy that I have broken my dependence on coffee. It is nice not to feel compelled to have any particular type of substance. I felt that way when I quit smoking as well. I like enjoying a coffee when I really feel like it and not because of a habit or craving.
Did you know that the banjo originated in Africa? That was news to me today when I listened to Jayme Stone being interviewed on CBC radio. The history of music is so fascinating - lucky for us that some people care deeply about the roots of music and devote their time to exploring and bringing this to us.
I wish I could be more disciplined about posting .... I posted the Quinoa Chile Recipe below because I *had* to make sure I didn't lose it. That one is a keeper.
So much news ..... I'm following (or trying to) very healthy eating lately. I did a detox cleanse a couple of months ago and saw a naturopathic doctor a few times. She got me started on testing for ph and trying to follow an acid/alkaline balancing diet. The more I learn about this, the more sense it makes. I find among my friends - a few have made dietary changes and without realizing it as such, they are following this type of diet - and with great results. I looked up the recipe for quinoa chili for one of my friends who is looking for recipes to support this type of regime. It is quite daunting at first as the list of 'no no' foods includes things contained in large quantities in a typical diet - grains, sugar and dairy. It does take a lot of organization to eat this way.
I've been obsessing about music lately ... have rediscovered The Beatles and Bob Dylan and play both of them constantly. This has been a bit expensive as well. I've always been familiar with the music of both of course - I grew up with both. Somewhere along the line, I went off The Beatles big time - actually I think it was the direction that Paul McCartney took - I found it so off putting that I stopped listening to The Beatles altogether. But now somehow, it all founds very fresh to me. Bob Dylan ... well I didn't really 'discover him' until recently. I marvel at thier brilliance now. Perhaps I had not really been ready for them until now. Which speaks volumes about their genius - really they were no more than kids when they wrote their early songs. How on earth did they write those lyrics that are so brilliant and perceptive?
I was downtown today and while driving home, happened to catch a show on CBC radio about healing drum music. They played the song 'Weighty Ghost' which was beautiful. The song is by a band from Halifax called Wintersleep. I found their My Space page and listened to a few of their songs. After which I bought a couple of the songs on iTunes.
I'm interested in healing music. I saw David Hickey in concert a couple of months ago - David plays Tibetan crystal bowls. It was quite amazing. The frequencies of the bowls align to the chakras - when he played the note that corresponds to the throat chakra, everyone starting coughing - he was clearing out that chakra. It helped that I attended the concert with several yoginis (one of whom is a nurse) to explain all of this to me - a novice. I love the idea of all of this and I do think there is a lot to it. A lot more than my analytical mind can take in and process.
1 tbsp pureed chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce
28-oz(796-ml) can diced tomatoes with juices
2 cups vegetable stock
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
14 oz (398 ml) can pinto beans
1 cup corn kernels
In large, deep saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper & garlic. Cook stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add chili powder & chipotles. Cook stirring, 1 minute.
Add tomatoes with juices & stock. Bring to boil. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Add quinoa, beans and corn. cook stirring until mixture returns to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is tender about 25 minutes.