Making sun tea

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It isn’t quite done yet, but I am excited! Orange black tea with fresh mint leaves.

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Udon noodles, chicken, and veggies with peanut sauce

This is based off the recipe “Cold udon noodles with peanut sauce and seitan” from Vegan with a Vengeance.

 

Sauce ingredients (we doubled this):

Canola oil to coat a deep saucepan

1 small onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

1 cup water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup or 1 tbsp maple syrup + 1 tbsp agave

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Hot sesame oil or chile paste to taste

 

Chicken ingredients:

2 chicken breasts 

Stock or a stock/water mixture to cover the breasts in a pot

 

Vegetables:

Whatever you have in the house is fine! We made this recipe twice. The first time, we used a huge bundle of kale and some garlic. The second time, we used mushrooms (sauteed with garlic), a carrot, a cucumber, and some sweet pepper.

 

Noodles:

We got a big package of dried udon from the local asian market, but if you’re insane and hate udon, you could use any type of noodle.

 

What to do:

Start by caramelizing the onion in the pan you’ll eventually use for sauce. Make sure you are using a deep saucepan. While that’s cooking, start the chicken. Bring a pot of stock, water, or some combination of the two to a boil. When it’s reached a boil, put in the chicken and turn the heat down to a low simmer. It’ll simmer until it’s cooked all the way through. Once it’s done, drain (and re-freeze) the stock, then shred the chicken. You can also start the noodles at this time. Just prepare them according to the directions on the package.

Add the garlic and ginger to the saucepan with the onion. On medium heat, let it cook until everything is browned. Then, add the water, soy sauce, and coriander. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add the peanut butter. Whisk to combine the peanut butter. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and remove from heat. 

The first time we made this, we sauteed a huge bundle of kale with garlic. To do this, separate the stems and the leaves and chop them. In a large pot, sautee the stems with a few cloves of minced garlic until fragrant. Add the leaves and cover to allow the leaves to wilt. 

The second time we made this, we sauteed about a half pound of chopped mushrooms with garlic, and added them to a huge bowl of raw chopped vegetables. The second way is truer to the original recipe, but we preferred the first way with the kale. The big bowl of raw vegetables and noodles struck us as more of an appetizer than a main course. It would be great as a side for a BBQ, though.

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First time with the kale. Sorry for the excess of forks on the chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Second time with the raw vegetables. The bowl of raw veggies also contains shredded chicken.

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Syrup for colds and flu

When I have a cold, I like to drink as much tea as possible. Hot liquids soothe the throat and clear the sinuses. In addition to regular tea bags, I make my own “sickness tea” by putting ginger slices and lemon chunks in a tea ball and steeping it with some honey. Unfortunately carrying ginger root and whole lemons to work and classes all day isn’t exactly practical. This inspired me to make a concentrated base “syrup” that could be diluted to make tea. I modified the original recipe, but the general idea is still the same.

Ingredients:

Two ginger roots, grated. Should yield 1 cup, give or take

Two ginger roots, grated. Should yield 1 cup, give or take

1 cup sugar

1 cup sugar

Zest and juice of two lemons & 3 cloves garlic, grated.

Zest and juice of two lemons & 3 cloves garlic, grated.

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper.

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium-high heat and add everything except the lemon juice. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the lemon juice. Don’t worry about seeds because the next step is to strain everything through a fine mesh. Use the back of a spoon to press out all the liquid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s it. Dilute with 4-6 parts water for every 1 part syrup.

In case you are curious about my choice of ingredients:

Garlic enhances general immunity and also specifically helps treat malaria, certain parasites, and  bacteria. If you eat it regularly, it decreases the number of colds you’ll get, but unfortunately it does not treat any cold virus that I know of. Since it protects against secondary infection, taking it once you’re already sick could be beneficial.

Ginger boosts general immunity, has strong anti-inflammatory effects, and helps with nausea.

Cinnamon helps with allergies, but mostly it adds a nice flavor.

Cayenne pepper is strongly anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, plus helps clear the sinuses.

Lemon also has high levels of Vitamin C. One cup of raw lemon juice has 187% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin C  does not prevent the common cold, but it reduces the duration if you are already sick. If you are an athlete in training or are exposed to intensely cold weather, Vitamin C does help with prevention.

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Meringues

They’re kinda pretty. Egg whites are cool. Passover is no fun.

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Garlic roasted with salt, pepper, and turmeric.

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How to reuse candle jars

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Old candle jars make great airtight coffee containers.

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Japanese-style pickled ginger

A few days ago, I was eating enjoying pickled ginger at a Japanese restaurant when it hit me: pickled ginger can’t be difficult to make. And it’s not. Making pickled ginger is super easy. Here’s how.

Ingredients:

1 ginger root – should yield 1 cup when sliced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1-2 tablespoons of honey or agave, to taste

1.5 teaspoons of turmeric (not strictly Japanese, but still great)

How to:

Use a vegetable peeler to peel the thick brown skin off the ginger root. Discard the skin. Using a vegetable peeler, a knife, or a cuisinart, shred the root into thin strips. The thinner you can make them, the better. One root should yield about a cup of shredded ginger, give or take a bit.

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Bring a small pot of water to a boil, toss the ginger in for two minutes, and then wash with cold water for one minute. Strain and put into a jar. Add the vinegar, honey, and turmeric. It will taste good right away, but if you leave it in the fridge for a few days it will taste even better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some relevant health information*:

Ginger and turmeric are as anti-inflammatory as NSAIDs. Next time you have a headache, reach for these roots. Both show potential anti-cancer properties and are safe in massive quantities. Both soothe an upset stomach. Ginger is particularly good for nausea, while turmeric is best for gas or stomach spasms.

Turmeric is a vasodilator (dilates blood vessels), lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure. It also protects against heart disease. Turmeric even regulates immune response and decreases allergic reactions.

*Source: Al-Achi, Antoine. An Introduction to Botanical Medicine. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. 2008.

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