Repost: Temple food
I felt like this post was probably needed (at least I needed it) again. I have enjoyed all the food this holiday, but boy am I ready for a good week or so of temple foods.
Despite the fact that she is not in the least bit vegan-friendly, I have a great love for Nigella Lawson. I watched her show when you could only see it on the Style network just because I loved how apparent her enjoyment of food was. From the selection of ingredients, to the prep (and tastings) and the final presentation, enjoyment and taste is paramount.
Also, she is OMFG! sexy.
Ok, where was I?
One of the fantastic things about Nigella Lawson is how food positive she is. Food is there to be enjoyed and full fat everything is the order of the day.
So it’s no surprise that I thought of her today when I was wondering how to talk about that sort of “oh no, no more pie/nog/champagne/cookies/cakes/candy/cupcakes/gravy/sweet potatoes/mashed potatoes ever AGAIN” feeling and how to deal with it without reverting to the framing of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food. After all, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself and, even if you feel a bit like a well-fed tick after the holidays, it certainly doesn’t mean you need to punish yourself. But, if you’re like me, right about now your body is ready for something different.
That’s when I remembered “Temple Food.” Nigella’s word for the kind of thing you want after a night (or several weeks) of rich food and drink. We’re not talking calories or fat or paying some sort of penance for daring to feast with our loved ones, but clean fresh flavors and ingredients that restore and nourish your body and wake up your taste buds.
One of the foods she puts in this category is hot and sour soup. It absolutely epitomizes everything that I’m craving after mounds of family-style comfort food. Tangy, spicy, a little bit sour and full of fresh ingredients, it’s also perfect when I’m suffering from my annual post-xmas head cold (which would be now.) Her version uses broth made from chickens, but veggie broth or no-chickn broth (if you can get it) work just as well.
My version of Nigella’s hot and sour soup:
1 quart no-chikn stock
2 tablespoon tom yam paste
Handful chopped bok choy (or spinach)
1 stick lemon grass, tender inner part only, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
3 small fresh red or green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/2 package extra firm silken tofu, cut into slices
5 green onions, cut into short lengths and then into strips
pinch of dulse flakes (optional)
1.Heat the stock and tom yam paste in a decent sized saucepan with the lemon grass, lime-juice, chillies, dulse and sugar.
2.Bring to a boil, add the mushrooms and tofu and simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the green onions and bok choy and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
And for those necessary (and delicious) fatty acids, my other favorite temple food is stuffed avocado. Generally I make a nutmeat from walnuts, pine nuts, basil, sundried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Then I scoop a big heap of it into half an avocado and dig in.
The concept of temple foods is so appealing to me that I think I’ll expand it to a lot of areas. I need temple-like surroundings after the chaos of the holidays so I’m taking lots of quiet time for myself. Being sick and it being cold as fuck outside, I don’t feel like stressing my body with running so I’m taking soothing scented baths and doing gentle yoga. After all the stress, joy, cooking, shopping, fighting, and laughing of the holiday season, my whole being needs some simplicity and a whole lotta ommmmmmmm.
If you have any great temple foods or practices that help you this time of year, share them in the comments.