I love to cook in the late fall of November and December. It is the transition time of going into the cave of well-being, and settling in to winter’s longer nights and introspection.
Society has evolved to continue at a frantic pace all year, to include the holiday time, which was not the original intent. Traditions have also evolved to include material things and a tremendous amount of sugar and fats, perhaps as a way to store things. But for most of us, storing more is not what we need, especially by way of fat and sugars in our bodies. In fact for most of us, we must let go or old habits and pay attention to what we put in our mouths to make space for the new possibilities that will arise in the New Year.
One of the ways I have changed my lifestyle to include the possibilities and gifts of winter is to let myself slow down and take the time to cook.
It is not something I always loved to do, mostly because I didn’t understand the richness of cultivating the different tastes of the tongue. Now I pay attention to what is happening to the world around me, and to bring in the larger cycles as I cook. When we use the foods that are available and in season, we connect with the larger cycles. Sharing these recipe experiences with you and others connects us all and affirms our lives in a meaningful way.
Now I love to cook this time of year: on the road or under brick and mortar. It has become one of my art forms and ways I can nurture, create and give thanks all in one. I go outside, walk around and love the earth spinning, and then go cook.
This recipe I adapted a bit, but the source is from the online Martha Stewart recipe: Arugula Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms…it is so very good. On the road, I use my iron skillet, under brick and mortar at my house, my Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven.
It was definitely a main course, vegan, and incredibly yum. Martha Stewart’s recipe calls for goat cheese, 1/4 cup of oil, and corn chips. I didn’t use corn chips or cheese. Because I have heart disease, I made a few adaptations and “veganized” it.
Here is her recipe with my adaptations. You can go to her site , and here is also the short form with my adaptations.
1 lb sweet potatoes
1 1b white mushrooms
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
Coconut oil in a spray bottle
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup Corn relish/salsa – Trader Joes or make your own version (see below)
12 oz of Arugula
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray the iron skillet, dutch oven, or cookie sheet with coconut oil. Lightly spray the sweet potatoes and mushrooms with coconut oil spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes with the cover off. If in the skillet with a lid for the first 25 minutes, then off for remainder to dry the veggies out a big.
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds. Spray pan with coconut oil, sautee pumpkin seeds until they start to change slightly in color. Add in 1 tsp of spices and sautee for 2-3 minutes more. Make sure the spices and seeds do not burn.
Corn relish requires 1 cup roasted corn, 1/4 cup freshly chopped (diced small) onion, apple cider vinegar, sugar to taste, a tbsp of coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp of mustard powder, and a tsp of chili powder. You can roast the frozen or canned corn by sauteeing in a pan for 10 minutes until they start to dry and turn brown. Put in a jar with apple cider vinegar enough to cover with sugar, partially ground up coriander seeds. Otherwise, I save myself on time and just buy Corn and Chili Salsa at Trader Joe’s.
When the the mushrooms and sweet potatoes are done. Combine the arugula and the pumpkin seeds soon after. Let it sit for 5 minutes…and eat soon after!
For more interesting ways of adapting and living, check out my new book: “The Unconventional Life: How to Escape the Rat Race and Live your Dream”.