Cooking · Creativity · Health

Papayadom!

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Aaaah, Pa Pa Ya, you either love it or hate it. Or, like me you don’t love it, you even think it smells a little like puke, but know it’s good for you, adore the texture, color and form, and live somewhere where it’s plentiful. This is why I decided to try blending it with three of my most beloved foods: avocado, coconut and cacoa.

Most of us know that papaya provide us with enzymes that naturally support digestion, thus making it a bonus food. It is relatively low on the glycemic index as well. A lot of the time we hear about the glycemic index, the rate at which a food raises glucose in our blood, and it’s good to know this stuff. However, after reading this-Havard Medical School study (with great chart) I discovered it is the glycemic load, that truly matters. “What it (the GI) doesn’t tell you is how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the food, which is partly determined by how much carbohydrate is in an individual serving. To understand a food’s complete effect on blood sugar, you need to know both how quickly the food makes glucose enter the bloodstream, and how much glucose it will deliver. A separate value called glycemic load does that. It gives a more accurate picture of a food’s real-life impact on blood sugar. The glycemic load is determined by multiplying the grams of a carbohydrate in a serving by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100. A glycemic load of 10 or below is considered low; 20 or above is considered high. Watermelon, for example, has a high glycemic index (80). But a serving of watermelon has so little carbohydrate (6 grams) that its glycemic load is only 5.”

Sweet corn comes in at 64. A blueberry muffin 30. Glass of orange juice 14. Ice cream, surprisingly, is 8, yet that is if you eat only 50gm. A pint of “Ben & Jerry’s” is 500gm, half of that would be a glycemic load of 40, so not tooooooo bad.

This difference between the GI and the GL is what makes agave syrup a fist in a velvet glove.

So, papaya. Silky, smooth papayadom comes in at 6.

Here is how I turn this fragrant, bulbous, thin skinned, heavy weight fruit into the most amazingly texture frozen mousse in town! For reals, it is hands down one of the most satisfying textural eating experiences I have ever had, and continue to enjoy almost every hot as Hades Mexico lived day.

Start by skinning, cleaning and cubing the fruit into 1″ chunks. An average sized papaya yields about five 1 to 1.25 cup servings. Put each of these into their own recycled plastic bag and freeze. I try to stay on top of it so it is always available frozen. This is key. I tried this treat unfrozen once. It was lost.

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Once the fruit is frozen, let it thaw a tad, and break it into pieces into your blender, then add one ripe avocado, about 6 oz. of coconut milk, a nice pour of vanilla, a big teaspoon of your favorite unsweetened cocoa and a dash of salt. Sometimes cayenne. Of course, you will find you taste. I do not add sweetener, but you may wish to. It is an interesting, curious flavor without, one I have grown to love and crave.

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Blend this super well. If you have a “Ninja” or the likes, you are stoked. The texture is beyond dreamy, so dense and creamy, light and thick at once. The frozen feeling, smooth and free of crystals, is transcendental. Oh, and the loft!

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Sometimes when I make it it is spot on perfect. Though sometimes the size of the avocado or a longer pour of liquid make it thinner. It is kind of fun this varying way, for when I hit it just right I am in bliss, sitting there in front of the fan, sweating silently, in reverence.

Ha Ha. Yesterday, I was on day four of a fast, which was inspired, in part, by how much I eat for pleasure and experience and how, when done compulsive it’s not healthy for me. But I broke that fast last night with 8 year old P. eating sushi, soft, melting fish flesh. Big thanks fish! And today I go to brunch with my family (coffee?!) and to a BBQ (no meat for me) with friends I have had since I was twelve. I am so normal.

Life is full of freedoms. I’m grateful for all the freedoms of choice I have, and sometimes overwhelmed by them. And, I know not everyone has the bank of freedoms I do. Because of this external inequality, I believe it’s all the more important that those of us blessed with so much choice pause and reflect upon this. Give thanks. Every damn day.

May we all pause and feel ourselves, connect to the seeds of peace within, for this just may be our greatest gift. May we consume with awareness and thanks…

Buen Provecho, my friends!

Dive deep,
e.e.

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Art by Kevin Sloan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking · Creativity · Meditation · Poetry

The Poetry of Everyday

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Finding myself all around the making of a Spaghetti Bolognese, the kitchen a total full-life mess, I am reminded of a poem I wrote. And so, while the onions carmelize real deep and sweet and the oregano, garlic, carrots, celery, tomatoes and meat, wait with wine, I will share it with you, Dear Readers.

this everyday

dishes piled high,
resting all day
in a dirty stainless pit.
coffee grinds and carrot peelings
mixing with oil, soap, water.
small mountain of life.
still,
it is time to chop.
wooden block.
to cleave straight
to the heart,
seeking balm within.
one stroke.
smooth cool skin,
bright flesh,
firm and fresh,
transformed
with heat,
and attention.
cinnamon, cardamom, clove.
slender green stalks
cut off
from tough gray roots.
one stroke.
tender, budding shoots
nestled together,
conforming to meet
within the circle
of a bamboo basket.
steaming heat.

Painting by Laurie Justus Pace

Cooking · Creativity · Parenting · Recipes

Sneaky Rice

Hello Lovelies!

Sometimes, I feel like I have so many ideas and things to do and say, that I crowd myself out and never get anything done. Never finish anything. Always just mental diving. Though this week I did start and complete a big dream catcher. Sí, mis amigos, if I had a dollar for every novel I have picked up in the last year, begun, then quickly laid aside in between it all, I would be on a flight to Buenos Aires already!

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~ Nearly Done ~

With this blog, though I have been strongly feeling to begin it, I thought I already had too many half pots on the fire. “No way, Ladypants!” First you must finish the drawings for the coloring book, finish the designs for the CaféPress page, and make that beach mobile that lay in pieces of soft wood, thin rusty metal, worn, edgey shell, crowding the only table in the room.

Et voilá, here I am starting a blog. No new drawings. Big pile ‘o books.

One thing I do finish easily these single-mama days is the cooking, and many times, I finish the dishes in the same day. I’m a clean as I go kinda cook. One who, when alone, listens to food podcasts while cooking and reads food books while eating.

In my inner and outer kitchens, I love working with what is. I highly appreciate simplicity, economy, creativity, and whimsy. Ingenuity. Experiment. I can assure you, though I favor simplicity, there is no compromise of smooth or bold in my bowls. Things are never dull. I simply enjoy working with a given palette, what is already here, and sometimes I am surprised by all there is. In this way I create. Though of course I also do the shopping of basics, and seasonal, too.

My recipes are not precise, clear blueprints. They are solid approximations. They generally require tasting. I encourage you, don’t be afraid of raw, open your mind and flatten your buds. Allow it to come freely. I imagine my sharing recipes this way may be helpful to those who would like to get a little more comfortable with their intuitive cook. Get their taste bud trust running high and low.

Welcome! I hope you will be pleased, entertained, inspired and guided. I am happy to be here. I am Enza Esperanza.

And now, while my brightest sun, “Seven”, is swinging on a trapeze in the big bodega turned circus school, across from the “Mexichocolate” shop, with a bunch of other little jumpy, brown monkeys, and the sweat beads a tropical shine upon my face, I want to tell you about my lunch.

Looking around, I decided on making a big, thin sweet potato pancake, with red onion, garlic and broccoli, but it turned into sweet potato fried rice with ginger, chile and peanut butter. It was fabulous. Crêpe omelette strips, and cucumber, on the side.

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Note: I love sweet potatoes and use them in many ways. One kid pleasing favorite is to blend them, baked or quick steamed, with tomato sauce (thin with water, possibly add salt and pep, a splash of balsamic) for pasta, pizza, etc. Think Romano cheese. Extra vitamin A and C. Calcium. A nice soft landing. Tone and balance.

Ahhh, a little further now, into the now, I offer you today’s culinary coming together, a kid pleaser, even with it’s ginger zing, for the peanut butter, ahh, the peanut butter knows it’s earthy place.

Ginger, Peanut, Sweet Potato Fried Rice

A.K.A. Sneaky Rice  (Serves Four)

~ 2 Cups Cooked Rice, loose not packed (I love Jasmine)

Patiently Sautée (to beginning stage of caramel, golden brown):

~ 1/2 Red Onion, diced

~ Sprinkle with Sea Salt

Add:

~ 3 or 4 Garlic Cloves, minced (brown a bit)

Add:

~ 1 Medium/Large Sweet Potato or Yam, grated
~ 1/2 Crown and Stem of Broccoli, chopped small

~ Sprinkle with Sea Salt

Sautée, approximately five minutes.

Add:

~ 1/8 tsp. Cayenne and a Squeeze of Lime
or Several Shakes of Your Favorite Hot Sauce
~ A 2 inch piece of Fresh Ginger, grated
~ The Cooked Rice
~ Two Honking Tablespoons of Unsweetened, Salted Peanut Butter
~  Medium Pour of Oil, your choice
~ A Bit of Water, 2-3 Tablespoons

Mix well, nice round, lifting, under belly strokes!

Continue to sautée until all is tender, approx. two more minutes.
Remove from heat.

Plate and top with:

Omelette Strips

~ Two Eggs, mixed well
~ Pinch of Salt

Fry thin, cover to steam, or flip, to brown.

Cut into 1/4 inch strips and pile onto each heap of rice.

Garnish with green onion, cucumber, cilantro,
mint, cherry tomatoes, whatever moves your fancy.

Of course, you can use any veggies you choose, sweet red pepper, carrot, cabbage, red or green… I simply used what was on hand.

In the end, this dish was tickled by my memory of the Senegalese Peanut Soup I loved as a teenager, served with yeasty poppyseed baguette and no salt butter, at The Saxton’s River Inn under Averill Campbell in the early 80’s. To make a similar rich, wonderful soup, from a recipe by Mark Bittman at the New York Times, click here.

Try blending the soup, too. Holding aside the chicken and collards, some onion, tomato, sweet potato, then adding them back in.

Thanks, for coming by! As we go on, I will get more into the cultural and spiritual ins and outs of my flowy day to day, and paint a relaxing, colorful backdrop: my new life, with sun, and Pineapple Tomatillo Compote, in a small town on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Though not before I pay homage to what came before. Up next, APPLE Season in Vermont!

XoXo