Monday, September 5, 2016

Love of Color & Forbidden Black Rice
Jack Boots 

Much as I had resisted, fought, and bellowed against regimentation through secondary school in Germania, I ended up jack-booting my own creativity. 

Shocked the heck out of me. I'd become what I had loathed.

I came back mono-chromatic, and in art school, reached for charcoal or brown oil pastels, not exuberant splashes of color. 

My heart had grown drab. Line me up gray, with the lead toy soldiers. 

I planted flowers as though assembling them for martial inspection and got stressed at any deviation from color uniformity!

A summer school in Mexico sent me hurtling out of my internal catacombs. 

I stepped off the plane to hundred degree heat and drenching humidity, but also to bright parrots in palm trees, ravishing scent of tuberoses, and totally improbable cascades of Bougainvillea.

Just a wild abandon of hot tropical "clashing" colors. My armored heart quaked at such chaotic beauty, an on-the-spot healing.

Am remembering my gratitude to the Latin world. l look out on scarlet and gold nasturtiums awhir with hummingbirds...

...magenta and orange geraniums, crimson and salmon roses, fuchsia cosmos, purple butterfly bush and Heavenly Blue morning glories. Color healing in the raw.

All this while munching down a simple high-nutrient meal of vitamins made in one's own kitchen. From forbidden food!

In Imperial China, a purple-black rice was reserved for the Imperial family. It's an heirloom rice rich in the purplish antioxidants of blueberries and acai, without the sugar.

Can't thank Mao for the devastations of the so-called Cultural Revolution and the subsequent ravishment of Tibet---but you, I and proletariat can now enjoy "Forbidden Black Rice."

In the US, it's sourced by LotusFoods
Forbidden Black Rice - The Emperor's Exclusive Grain

It's already extraordinarily endowed with nutrients, but let's increase them! This easy-breezy sprouting technique can be used with Bhutanese red and short grain brown rices as well:

1 c. Forbidden Black Rice
1 stainless mesh colander
Slightly larger diameter pottery bowl 

24 hours before intended meal, set rice in colander in the bowl. Run water over it to rinse the rice of harvest dust. Swish it up and down in the water a couple times. Drain water from bowl. Pat bottom of colander to release excess water.

Cover rice in colander in bowl with a folded dish towel and set in a warm place. In twelve hours or so, rinse again. Here are two variations on the theme, evening meal or breakfast:

Evening meal:
1 bay leaf
5 whole cloves
5 whole black pepper corns 
Himalayan salt to taste
Handful of frozen or freeze-dried peas

Bring 1 3/4 c. liquid, spices and peas to boil in a heavy pot, using either filtered water or veggie stock or bone broth. Add sprouted rice.

Simmer covered for ~35 min.; fluff with a fork and then let sit for a few. YUM.

For Breakfast: 
1 tsp. peeled whole cardamon seed
1/2 stick cinnamon
5 whole cloves
1 Tbs coconut oil or grass-fed butter
1/2 c. chopped apple 
1/4 c. currants or raisins
1/2 c. walnuts
1 3/4 liquid: filtered water, or milk or coconut milk

Simmer rice and goodies covered for ~35 min. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt or splash of almond milk.

To conclude, the above are kitchen improv's, not recipe absolutes. Have written them down with a nod to a dear aunt/kitchen wizardess, who keeps her recipes in a three-ring binder.

More Recipes:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Eagle Scout & Good Neighbors

Hands-On Learning

At the Habitat for Humanity salvage store, sorting through terracotta tile donated by contractors, movement caught my eye. I straightened up.

"Oh hey. What are you guys up to?"

Two interesting teenagers, the carrot-headed boy in shorts and full Scout regalia, and his partner-in-mischief wearing a vest with her Girl Scout merit badges sewn on the front.

"We're building two dog shelters," the girl told me, eyes bright as new pennies. "They're for the animal shelter."

"Hm! How will you build them?"

"Out of wood," said the young fellow, who carried himself like a leader of men. "And with misters for hot days, powered by a solar collector." He grinned.

I grinned right back. These kids had no drug energy around them at all, nor were they chasing pokemons over virtual or actual cliffs.

The girl looked proud and told me, "It's going to complete his Eagle Scout qualification, and I'll get a badge."

I puttered some more piling up clay tiles for a handy-hands-at-home project, aware of the Scouts in my peripheral vision. They were working well in partnership and seemed to light the space around them.

My next stop was at the Cherokee soapmaker's nearby, a friend. I'd been in the week before to reconnoiter and returned with cash money. Each year I buy a bulk-price case of fragrant artisan soaps, to tuck away for this and that gifts. 

"Do you remember," my friend asked, "the old lady who was here when you were in before?"

I nodded, sniffing a bar redolent of sandalwood and cedar.

"Well, she's been coming in a lot, buying a small salve or one soap. She finally told me she comes, because she's lonely"

I looked up at my friend's kind eyes.

"So, I've put her to work! She's going to help me do bath balls and I'll pay her a little something for each one. And she'll have a place to come to and not be so lonely."