This rice salad can be served warm or cool to your liking. Feel free to play with the seasonings, vegetables…salad is playful by nature! 😀
I mixed together: cooked brown rice, little squares of nori sheets (you can cut stripes with scissors and then make small squares), shortly blanched vegetables (young summer cabbage, celery root, parsley root, red radish and kohlrabi), black pepper freshly crushed, mustard, hemp seeds, wild garlic, lemon and pumpkin seed oil.
This creamy sauce would perhaps even more suit a pasta dish, but I decided to make an ultracreamy dish and pair it with pressure-cooked short-grain rice, along with some blanched veggies (in my case broccoli and green beans).
The sauce needs to be first blended in a blender and then cooked on the stove. Place a small chunk of tofu (you really don´t need very much, maybe quarter of a 200 g block), one clove of garlic, a dash of ground black pepper, 1 tbsp of ume plum vinegar and 3 tsp of brown rice flour into a blender and blend shortly with about half a cup of water. Add a big bunch of fresh dill and blend more until you get a bright green sauce.
In a smaller pot sautee some onion on oil with a pinch of salt, then add the blended sauce, bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes. The sauce should thicken thanks to the rice flour, but feel free to add more. It depends a lot on how much water you used… You might have noticed I am bad with estimating measurements 😀
Pour hot sauce over cooked rice and blanched veggies.
This time I tried a recipe out of my most favourite macro book – Jessica Porter´s Hip Chick´s Guide to Macrobiotics. This boiled salad uses a slightly different method than the other boiled salad I posted about – you don´t really blanche the veggies, you just dip them into boiling water and immediately turn off the gas, leaving them in the water until they get a bit more bright, about one or two minutes. They stay very crunchy and taste almost like raw (well, except for the leafy greens perhaps, which get wilted very fast). This is a positive feature of this salad, and at the same time it can be a disadvantage if you have more troubled digestion, as I do – I think I prefer a “real” boiled salad, where the veggies actually boil for a couple of minutes. But I´m sure this will be great once the weather is hot and once my digestion improves so that I can process more raw food 😀
I “boiled” red radishes, curly cabbage, pointed cabbage, spring onion, parsnips, parsley root, green and yellow kohlrabi, green beans, and also (very briefly) some rucola, dandelion greens and corn salad greens. I topped the salad with a dressing coming from the same book. It doesn´t look too pretty, but it tastes very nice! Just roast half a cup of pumpkin seeds (which you washed and drained beforehand) until they start popping and turning more brown, then either process them in a blender, or (as I did) grind them in a suribachi until they are mostly crushed (depends what consistency you are aiming for). Then add half a tablespoon of umepaste and a bit of water, to your liking, mine came out quite chunky.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I miss a good old raw salad while eating macrobiotic…I could have it once in a while, provided the weather is warm, but not on this specific tailored diet I am now doing. Plus it´s not yet THAT warm. Plus raw veggies make my stomach moan for hours. But there´s a way! And it´s called quick-boiled salad…
You cut up all your veggies (that is, all veggies that you would like to include in a salad) into pieces that suit this purpose 😀 You bring to boil a large pot of water and then you quickly blanche (boil) each of these vegetables, each kind separately! Start with the most sweet or neutral tasting veggies and end with the most pungent or bitter ones, otherwise the sweet ones will taste a bit bitter. Pile all blanched veggies into a big salad bowl. Blanche the veggies really shortly, some need just a few seconds of a dip (softer leafy greens), some need maybe 3 minutes, but not more, it´s a salad 😀 At the end of the operation, strain any excess water from the bowl. You can make a dressing too(I mixed shoyu, lemon juice, water and a teeny bit of rice malt).
I blanched: young carrots, spring onion, leek, thin parsnip slices, thin parsley root rounds, dandelion greens, pointed cabbage, chinese cabbage, broccoli (+leaves), red radish (+leaves), celery stalk. I also added non-blanched radicchio leaves and rucola (but I mixed them into the hot mixture so that they were not completely raw), corn kernels from a jar, fresh shelled garden peas, sliced olives and toasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!
For today´s lunch I cooked millet with hokkaido pumpkin chunks (this time normal millet, though I prefer sweet millet for this dish) and stir-fried some veggies on a bit of rice bran oil fennel, leek, carrot, daikon, parsnip and green beans), which I seasoned with tamari, mirin and lemon juice (ratios 2:2:1). You can never go wrong with this combination of seasonings, I use it very often 😀
But the reason I am actually posting this post is the “blanched salad” – a typically macrobiotic salad which is not raw, but you combine greens that you previously separately blanched in a pot with rapidly boiling water for a short time. Sliced chinese cabbage needs just about half a minute, chopped kale maybe 3 minutes (whole kale leaves would need 4-5 minutes though) and sliced white winter cabbage about 5 minutes. The only raw addition was rucola (arugula) leaves, which seriously are too fragile to be blanched and at least give a slight pungent taste. The greatest part was the dressing: I mixed 1 tbsp white (shiro) miso, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 tbsp ume plum vinegar, 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp mustard and water to thin. I now vow to make blanched salads more often!
For lunch I could re-cycle the black bean dish from yesterday (see previous post), it was very nice mixed into water-sauteed vegetables (paksoi, leek, pointed cabbage and two types of green beans – flat and pointed ones), seasoned with a tablespoon of tamari. As a side I had sweet millet cooked together with chunks of hokkaido pumpkin (my favourite sidedish just after brown rice!) and fresh rucola (arugula) and olives to compliment the meal.
For dinner I decided to bake a fish in tin foil (since we have a wonderful big oven now :-D). I seasoned the slices of codfish (I buy only MSC certified fish) with a bit of salt and an organic herb mix which is sold specifically for seasoning fish. On top I sprinkled a generous amount of thin sliced onion and fennel, wrapped all inside the foil and baked for 30 minutes covered and then 15 more minutes uncovered so the fish and veggies could get a bit of a “tan”. I served the fish with blanched greens (paksoi, pointed cabbage and mixed in raw rucola) and quinoa mixed with fresh parsley leaves (they add a nice colour contrast). It was really yummy!
I even made a decadent dessert…very quick and easy rice crispie dessert! In a saucepan over a low flame I liquified 2 parts of tahini with 1 part of maple syrup and 1 part of rice malt, stirred in a handful of cashew nuts and a cup of brown rice crispies (puffed rice). I spooned the sticky creation onto a wooden cutting board covered with baking paper and evened it out a bit, something like this…
It´s best to let this dessert cool in a fridge before attempting to cut neat squares with a sharp knife. But to be honest the dessert didn´t become as solid as I would have wished, making it hard to cut slices which don´t fall apart. There is lots of room for improvement but the taste was great! 😀
The adzuki/pumpkin/kombu dish is another healing and strengthening dish, the adzuki beans are especially helpful (as all beans) for kidneys, thus for overall strength and vitality, the hokkaido pumpkin for the middle organs (stomach, spleen, pancreas) and our sugar metabolism, the kombu adds much needed minerals and helps alkalize the blood. You simply cook the beans with a stamp-sized piece of kombu in a pressure cooker, I used the smaller variety from Hokkaido, so they didn´t need to soak, but otherwise soak your adzuki for a few hours or even overnight, together with the kombu. The Hokkaido adzuki need 30 minutes under pressure, the normal ones need 45 minutes, bean to water ratio is about 1:2. After the beans are done, open the cooker, add pumpkin (twice the amount of beans) cut into bigger chunks and cook for additional 20 minutes (without pressure) until the pumpkin is soft. Season with tamari/shoyu sauce (towards the end). I garnished my beans with fresh parsley.
As a side I had brown rice with gomasio, blanched greens (green beans, broccoli, celery stalks and chinese cabbage) and a miso soup (made with wakame, celery root, onion, pumpkin, corn kernels, leftover cooked and chopped up kombu, dried daikon and spring onion for garnish).