This recipe today is not so much a letter or a recipe to my son this time, but more a reflection on how cooking food can help me get out of my own way. It will go into the cookbook, but not as a story from yesteryear, more as a reminder that our kitchens can be there for us when we need them beyond food.
A RECIPE FOR MY REPAIR
When I am feeling loss- those dark times when despair takes over my psyche and I don’t recognize myself as the same person I appear to be on the outside, I muster the emotional strength to put one foot in front of the other and head to my kitchen.
What drives me to action is the knowing that what will result from cooking something, anything, will be a sense of order and calmness.
Cooking as a distraction from the dark thoughts adds a lightness to my being. Light is what I need. Light becomes a salvation for me.
Cooking is one of the beams that feeds the darkness.
Usually I can figure out the cause of these thoughts as I review the usual suspects, Full Moon? Nope. Alcohol consumption? Dry January, nope. Sugar? Negative. Skipping workouts? No. Is this the problem?, I joke with myself. Maybe I need to sit on the couch, open a bottle of red and eat cake. Perhaps my mind needs some comfort food and I am grieving the loss of the comfort of cocktails and sugar.
I know this is not true; my community lost a dear friend this past week who fought cancer like the General he was for over six years.
Loss is powerful.; The sadness of this particular loss has opened up wounds of my past piled high and deep like the boxes of stuff in my basement waiting for organization.
Unlike the boxes in my basement though, grief can’t be organized. It can build up and lie in wait; it is sneaky like this, lying dormant after the traditional grieving time and creeping back in just when you think you can move on.
When a day goes by and you realize you didn’t feel sad for a change.
I look in my refrigerator and my cabinets to see what I have on hand, confident that what I discover will immediately take me away from the swirling thoughts
The kitchen is my therapist. I work in silence with my cutting board and the the vegetables I meant to use at the beginning of the week, using my brain for creating meals to feed me and my partner for the week.
Cooking equals creative expression for me and I am really good at marrying ingredients that I have on hand to make for some delicious food.
The end result though is not the meal, it is the process during the creation, knowing I am feeding myself so that my mind can take a rest from itself. A recipe of my repair is what results.
Creativity is my superpower and there are many times when I don’t carve out the space to utilize it but instead slog through the minutia of day to day business owning life that can occasionally weigh me down.
Add to this, these weird aging things that I have been noticing lately, hip pain, foot pain, my breast cancer doctor asking me if I have an oncologist just in case ovarian cancer is something I may have to deal with for reasons I don’t feel like thinking about never mind writing about.
The recipes of my repair can be anything that I have managed to create in the kitchen that has taken worry and fretting as ingredients off my personal plate.
Today I share a light meal that came out of my morning escape in my kitchen. If you are feeling shitty and like to cook like I do, head to your own fridge and cabinets and see where it takes you. Hopefully it does for you what it did for me today.
This was inspired by Stacy Hamblett who enjoys cooking and creating as much as I do and suggested creating a sushi type bowl instead of buying the more expensive vegetable rolls I was buying for a quick lunch.
Rather than make it a bowl with separate sections, I took an easier detour and just mixed it all together, dressing and all so I could just have it ready for some fork fulls on a busy day.
If you have come off a sugar or alcohol binge (or want to and need a course correction on your insides, this recipe is an excellent clean up and clean out of both your fridge and your body).
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
I had these ingredients on hand because I had planned to make this at the beginning of the week. This is a recipe that is more about vibe, it makes a lot, enough for a week's worth. Feel free to make less or play around with it. For this recipe, it was more about the meditation of prep.
- 2 cups of cooked brown rice
- 1 peeled and diced cucumber ( I use those cute baby cukes and didn’t peel them. I had a 6 pack of them on hand)
- 1 bunch of scallions chopped (the white parts and part of the green parts)
- 1 small package of shredded carrots (I think it comes in a 16 oz size or less)
- 1 package of bean sprouts
- 1 package of shelled edamame (My grocer carries this in the vegetable section in a small 16 oz container, I have seen these in the freezer section too, throw them in frozen and they will thaw on their own)
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped well ( if you like it, if not, parsley or basil or both or all three:)
- 1 container of mango mix (again this may be something that my grocer only carries, I love it, it is like a mango salsa without the tomatoes so it is bright orange. If you can’t find this, then use frozen mango and throw in and they will thaw on their own)
Some other items you could add or sub out:
- 1 can diced water chestnuts, drained
- 1 red or orange pepper diced
- 1/2 small bag of frozen peas (throw them in frozen and they will thaw on their own).
- If you don’t have the shredded Carrot, you could use the shredded carrot and pea mixture sometimes found in the frozen food section.
- Chopped cashews
- Chopped avocado (put this in as you eat it or it will get mushy and brown)
- 1/2 C of Coconut Aminos ( I prefer this over soy sauce or Tamara, it tastes way less salty)
- 1 generous T. of horseradish (I would love to put in wasabi, but I seldom have this on hand)
- Fresh lime juice from 1 lime
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 cup of rice vinegar
- 2 T sesame oil
Whisk dressing ingredients together; set aside.