Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cruciferous Art.

As you know from my post about the history of chemotherapeutic agents and how my particular chemo regimen worked, I have done a LOT of research into how best to approach my cancer.  It might not surprise you to hear that now that I'm out of active treatment (other than endocrine therapy), I have been reading everything I can about lifestyle factors in cancer. In addition to exercise, nutrition seems to be critical. In fact, of the American Institute of Cancer Research's list of the top eight ways to lower cancer risk, six of the recommendations involve diet and the other two are about weight and exercise. Consistently, what I'm reading points to shifting toward a plant-based diet. And over and over, the message is to especially eat cruciferous vegetables. So guess what I'm doing? If I need a side dish, it's likely to be a quick sauté of cabbage and baby kale. In this one, I threw in red bell peppers and almonds.
Or the stir fry I made the other night which was a vegetable wonderland, with tofu, edemame, red cabbage, broccoli, peppers, celery, carrots, spinach, and cashews over brown rice. I made up a sauce of tamari, lemon juice, chili sauce, and sesame oil. I have to tell you, it's probably the best stir fry I've ever had.
I'm actually surprising myself with how much I'm enjoying the shift in how I'm eating. One day at work, I was having some leftover broccoli and caramelized Brussels sprouts and was struck by how delicious they were. I've always thought of Brussels sprouts as unhappy mini cabbages. And years ago, my older son told me that lettuce was invented so people wouldn't have to eat cabbage. I honestly didn't even know what cruciferous vegetables were beyond cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. So for the first time ever, I made a stew that included parsnips and turnips. I'd always passed up parsnips at the grocery store, writing them off as anemic carrots. Turns out I was wrong. And in addition to the great taste, the amazing colors just make me happy. My theory is the more colors I can use, the better.

The vegetables above all went into a crockpot stew that I made a few days ago, from a recipe that I added to extensively to fit in as many of the cancer-fighting ingredients as I could. I added in flax,  lentils and split peas to give it a little body both because it ups the nutrition and because I like thicker stews. This one is remarkably easy to throw together and just quietly cooks itself. I call my version "Super Ragout."

Super Ragout

Olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, sliced into half moons
1 large turnip peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 potato, diced
1 beet, peeled and diced
1 wedge purple cabbage, chopped
1 tomato, diced
2 T ground flax seed
15.5 oz can navy, cannellini or other white beans, rinsed
¼ C dried lentils
1.4 C dried split peas
3 C vegetable stock
1 C white wine
1 t minced fresh thyme or ½ t dried thyme
½ t  black pepper
2 C greens (beet, spinach, kale), chopped

- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
- Sauté onion and garlic until onion starts to caramelize.
- Add carrots, cover and take off heat.
- Add cooked vegetable to remaining ingredients EXCEPT GREENS in crockpot. Cook LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir in greens and cook until they wilt. (About 10 minutes).

Also, the stir fry recipe:

Tofu Stir Fry

Block of extra firm tofu
Purple cabbage, sliced thin (about 1 C)
Carrot, cut into matchsticks
Celery stalk, sliced
Broccoli, cut into florets (about 1 C)
Spinach or kale, cut up (about 1 C)
Frozen shelled edamame (about ½ C)
Red and/or yellow bell peppers, cut up (about ½ C)
Cashews (about ½ C)
2/3 C brown rice
Sesame oil
Canola oil
Tamari/soy sauce
Vegetable broth
Sauce: 1 T Tamari
             1 T Lemon juice
             2 t Chili sauce
             1 t Sesame oil
             1 T cornstarch

Wrap block of tofu in paper towel, then cloth (or kitchen towel). Set it on a cutting board and place something heavy like an iron skillet on top of it. Let it compress for about an hour, flipping it over once, to get the excess liquid out.
Slice tofu into rectangles, and marinate for 10 minutes or so in some sesame oil and tamari. Then sauté in canola oil in large skillet until lightly browned. Set aside.

In same skillet, sauté brown rice briefly in a little bit of oil.  Then put in pan with 2/3 C broth and 1 C water and cook rice.

Meanwhile, in skillet, sauté in canola oil cabbage and celery, until softened. Add remaining veggies and continue to cook. Add in tofu and cashews toward the end. (If making > one meal’s worth, add cashews to each plate instead.)

Whisk together sauce ingredients and stir into skillet.

Serve stir fried veggies over brown rice.

No comments:

Post a Comment