Friday, November 13, 2009
More Than Tubers
November is at the cross roads between the colorful bounty of summer and the underground tuber-laden foods of winter. My last jaunt to the farmers market contained: fresh chesnuts, green star cauliflower, onions, garlic, farm fresh eggs, grass fed beef (bone marrow & ground), stone ground coarse cornmeal, maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms, blue jacket potatoes, and monster size red beets. It's a wonderful thing how nature mimics what you need when you need it just by the nature of the food it gives us.
Fresh chestnuts arrive in time to provide plenty of vitamin C just as all the fruits of summer are disappearing. Chestnuts treat the kidneys, stomach, and spleen. Winter is kidney time in Chinese medicine, with it's cool dark climate it mimics the exact properties that are the kidneys : black, cool, and salty. Chestnuts warm the body up when it's cold. They strengthen all that is weak: digestion, sexual function, fatigue, and cold extremities. Chestnuts are also the one nut that is almost as high in starch as the potato (don't run away carb-loathers!). This also makes them very low in fat. If you get lower back pain in the winter then a chestnut may just be your favorite nut right about now.
Ahh...farm fresh eggs. I can not say enough about these. Forget the gummy elastic ghost of an egg that you find in a supermarket, these don't even cost much more than that! They also contain good cholesterol i.e. of the omega 3 variety (think: salmon craze). However, farm fresh (free range, hormone-free, etc.) eggs are higher in omega 3 than their mass produced counterparts. Egg whites are good for your lungs and egg yolks are good for your kidneys. Eggs are also thought to "calm a fetus" in TCM, so if you're pregnant and the baby is kicking up a storm, boil up an egg and devour. They are also wonderful post partum, building up your energy and blood.
You can very simply see the difference in a farm fresh egg, the yolk is a deep beautiful orange instead of the pale yellow flabbiness in other eggs. And the taste is a whole other beast, let me put it this way: do not waste your time on store bought eggs if you don't have to.
Blue jacket potatoes, sounds like a potato going to a party every time I hear it. And this potato should throw a party anyway because it absolutely gives more than it's white counterpart. There are so many colorful and wonderful potatoes out there that aren't of the white Idado variety that a whole post should be dedicated just to the potato. Suffice it to say, these blue potatoes are a must try, and they will boost your blood and circulation along with amp up the vitamin and mineral presence. Even Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance endorses the colored potatoes amazingly enough, if only they would cover Acupuncture treatments more regularly!
Green star cauliflower. I'm not certain that is how they refer to it, but that is what it looks like to me every time I buy one. I buy it for it's beauty but it also provides itself as an antidote to heat in the lungs and stomach which can often manifest as the infamous GERD, or acid reflux. Given that Thanksgiving is creeping up, perhaps a little pureed cauliflower would be in order along with a dash of anise liquor to help ease the path for all that heavy food.
And what about the maitake mushrooms, corn meal, beef bone marrow, and all the other goodies I brought home? Well, bone marrow is used to treat joint issues (arthritis, pain in the joints, etc.) as well as the kidneys. Maitake mushrooms deserve a post of their own much like the potatoes, but they are excellent for the liver and in fighting cancer. Corn meal will cure that colic or stomach ache you've been feeling (provided you don't eat a donut afterwards).
I made a beautiful meal with my bounty (and no pictures are provided because it was simply...that. good.) :
Baguette served with roasted bone marrow & parsley, red onion, & lemon salad
Seared grass fed New York strip steaks
Creamy polenta with buttery maitake mushrooms
Romaine lettuce with poached eggs, thick sliced crisp bacon bits, & shallot vinagrette