Soul Food - Loving Your Beans & Legumes

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. 
-Rumi 

Soul Food 
Think for a moment of a food from your past, one that makes you feel great after you eat it for no specific reason. Maybe it is macaroni and cheese, slow-simmered tomato sauce, ice cream cones or potato pancakes. Eating comfort foods (every now and then) can be incredibly healing, even though your rational brain might not consider it highly nutritious. 
Food has the power to impact us on a level deeper than just our physical well-being. What we eat can reconnect us to precious memories, like childhood playtimes, first dates, holidays, our grandmother’s cooking or our country of ancestry. Our bodies remember foods from the past on an emotional and cellular level. Eating this food connects us to our roots and has youthening and nurturing effects that go far beyond the food’s biochemical make-up. 
Acknowledging what different foods mean to us is an important part of cultivating a good relationship with food. This month when we celebrate lovers and relationships, it’s important to notice that we each have a relationship with food—and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it. 
What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved – with gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you eat your soul food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings you. 

Food Focus: Beans 
Beans, or legumes, including peas and lentils, are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Beans are found in most traditional cultures as a staple food, offering grounding and strengthening properties that enhance endurance. They offer a highly usable, highly absorbable source of calcium for the body. A very inexpensive source of high nutrition, beans can be rich, delicious and satisfying, 
Lack of sexual energy is often due to overtaxed adrenal glands and kidneys. Beans are known for strengthening these organs (ever noticed the shape of a bean?) and can help restore vital energy as well as sexual energy. 
Beans have a reputation for causing digestive distress, but this is usually because they have been undercooked or improperly prepared. To help reduce gas-forming properties, soak beans overnight prior to cooking, increase cooking time, add spices like bay leaf, oregano or cumin, or add kombu (a sea vegetable) when cooking. ©Integrative Nutrition
Walnut Lentil Pâté                                 Makes 3 cups
This is a recipe from chef Peter Berley at Angelica Kitchen.  It might look like you know what but it is truly a crowd pleaser.  I love to serve this as an appetizer before any meal.  The rich nutty flavor from the toasted walnuts blend so perfectly with the earthiness of the lentils. There are a few unexpected ingredients like, mirin and umeboshi paste that bring the harmony. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups shelled walnuts
  • 2/3 cup French green lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet cooking rice wine)
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 tsp umeboshi paste (a salty sweet and slightly bitter Japanese condiment made from plums and shiso)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp light miso (I used barley miso)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts over baking sheet in single layer. Toast until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Transfer nuts to colander and cool. Rub nuts together with hands and shake colander to remove skins. Set walnuts aside.
  2. Place lentils in medium pot. Add bay leaf and water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain lentils and discard bay leaf.
  3. Heat oil and mirin in medium skillet. Add onions and garlic, sauté until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool slightly.
  4. Place walnuts, lentils, onion mixture and remaining ingredients in work bowl of food processor. Puree until smooth. Scrape pâté into serving bowl. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until well chilled. (Pâté can be refrigerated overnight.)

1 comment:

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