RECIPE: Ginger Peach Tofu Dinner

The origin of the Cultivating Heaven blog was my blog, Heavenly Cooking, where I collected and commented on my family’s favorite Vegetarian and Vegan meals.  I’ve been into a Veggie lifestyle throughout various spans of the past 17 years and raised my two-oldest children as Vegetarians back when few around me had heard of such a thing.  In 1995 I even managed to have one of my recipes featured in Vegetarian Times, which gave me confidence in my ability to prepare delicious Veggie cuisine.

But what I admittedly didn’t understand was that Veggie doesn’t automatically equate with healthy.  I was conscious of protein in-take and organic when we could afford to be,  there were times when I even grew a good portion of what we ate, but I didn’t start grasping “Healthy” until about two years ago.  That’s when I started experimenting the Alkaline diet and incorporating raw foods that weren’t just straight from earth and vine, but actual compositions of raw ingredients.  I deleted my old way of doing things and started this blog.  And although I recently expanded Cultivating Heaven into a vessel that holds more than just a single aspect of my life, I still intend to share stellar recipes on occasion.

Case in point.  The other night I made what my DH calls “the best tofu he’s ever ate”.  That’s saying a lot because we love tofu at my house!  In fact, DH still raves about the teriyaki tofu I served him the first night we met!  I call this stellar because it’s both healthy and crazy-delicious!!

[NOTE: INGREDIENTS ARE LISTED IN THE ORDER USED; SOME INGREDIENTS APPEAR MORE THEN ONCE ON THE LIST]

INGREDIENTS:

*     1 15 oz can or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained

*     2 tablespoons olive oil (best if cold-pressed)

*     1 teaspoon real salt or Celtic sea salt

*     1 teaspoon chipotle powder

*     juice of ½ lemon

*     8 oz. extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed

*     1 tablespoons ginger pulp

*     1 tablespoon sesame oil

*     1 tablespoon tamari or Braggs

*     2 teaspoons sirachi

*     1 tablespoon coconut oil

*     1 large sweet onion, diced

*     1 teaspoon real salt or Celtic sea salt

*     1 cup peaches, fresh or frozen

*     ½ cup water

*     2 tablespoons honey

*     1 tablespoon ginger pulp

*     2 teaspoons sirachi

*     ½ teaspoon real salt or Celtic sea salt

*     1 tablespoon organic sherry

*     juice of ½ lemon

*     1 large roasted red pepper, diced

*     3 green onion, thinly sliced

*     several tablespoons raw almonds, thinly sliced

*     prepared brown rice or a light quinoa

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. While the over preheats, rinse and dry chickpeas with a towel.  Spread them into a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil.  Evenly sprinkle on the salt and chipotle powder.  Squeeze the juice from ½ the lemon over the oiled and seasoned chickpeas.  Set aside.
  3. Next, get the tofu ready to put into the oven with the chickpeas.  Usually I press my tofu well, but not for this recipe.  This allows it to have the same baking time as the chickpeas without drying out.  Just put the whole tofu block into a small baking dish.  Put the designated quantities of ginger, sesame oil, tamari and sirachi on top of the tofu.  Using the back of a spoon, rub it all together and then down the sides.  Flip over, and then over again, so that the mixture is generally spread around.  This dish has several steps, so make it easier on yourself by taking short cuts like this.
  4. Put both the chickpeas and the tofu into the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  5. While these are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a skillet and get your onions sautéing.  Don’t forget to salt them.
  6. While the onions are working toward the right translucency, start the ginger-peach sauce.  I used peaches I’d frozen from the summer glut.  They were already peeled and halved, and I didn’t bother to break them down any further.  After they’ve cooked awhile a few good mashes with a steel or wooden masher will sauce them just fine!   Just pour the water over the peaches, toss in the honey, ginger, sirachi, and salt, give it a few stirs, and bring it up to a low-simmer.  You’ll want this to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  7. When the onions just start to stick, deglaze the skillet with the sherry.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until any liquid is more of a sauce-like consistency.  Remove from heat and set-aside.
  8. When your chickpeas and tofu are out of the oven, give the peaches a few good mashes, if they require it.  Add in the juice of ½ lemon, roasted red peppers, and the sautéed onions.  Heat through.  As this is heating, cut tofu into cubes.  It will be hot but shouldn’t require much handling.
  9. To serve: Make a nice mound of rice or quinoa in a bowl or on a plate.  Top with a portion of the tofu.  My family is seven strong, so I divide the tofu into 8 portions, leaving a portion for my DH’s lunch the next day.  Cover the tofu portion with several tablespoons of the ginger-peach-veggie mixture.  Garnish liberally with roasted chickpeas, green onion slices and a generous spoonful of almonds.  AMAZING!!
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Awesome Raw Eggplant!

Who says that eggplant is no good raw?!

First, pick yourself a nice firm eggplant that is, well, shaped like an egg.  That is, more bulbous than elongated and slender.  Typically the more slender and long the eggplant, the more bitter it will taste.

Now, wash it, dry it, and slice it in the manner you want to enjoy it.  Don’t peel it, as the peel will soften in the marinade and retains a large portion of the nutrients.  I prefer to cut it into bite-sized “cubes”.  However, slices are great for making sandwiches!

Next, whip up half a batch of Moroccan-Inspired Marinade.  Seal it up with your eggplant, give it a good shake to coat and refrigerate for at least an hour… longer for a stronger flavor.  Enjoy!

Moroccan-Inspired Marinade

I have been making this marinade for years.  Originally I used it to marinade cubes of extra-firm tofu before broiling them to make appetizer “bites”, but lately I’ve been using it to marinade veggies and sometimes tempeh, often to serve over couscous…

INGREDIENTS:

* 8 tablespoons olive oil (best if cold-pressed)

* 4 tablespoons Braggs

* 3 tablespoons raw honey

* 1 tablespoon lemon juice

* ½ tablespoon fresh ginger pulp

* 4 cloves garlic, minced

* ½ teaspoon real salt

* 1/8  fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1.      Whisk all ingredients together.

2.      Seal with whatever is being marinated and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

3.      Suggestion:  This recipe is easily doubled.  Use half as a marinade and the other half as a sauce or dip!

Black Bean Salsa

This is excellent with pita chips or used as a condiment.

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 14 oz can organic black beans, rinsed

* 3 green onions, thinly sliced

* 1 fistful of cilantro, minced

* 3 tablespoons unsweetened, natural shredded coconut

* Juice of one lime

* ½ teaspoon real salt

DIRECTIONS:

1.      Combine ingredients and enjoy!

2.      Suggestion: try adding a diced mango!

A little introduction…

Eat 2 Live

Eat 2 Live

I believe in listening to synchronicity. That’s why after reading twice in the same week of the role of the fermentation process in cancer, I took note.

The first reference came from the weekly e-mail archive of an alchemy group I sometimes lurk when the topic catches my eye. The second came via my trial issue of Ode Magazine, and can be found here.

In the group’s posts I read of how oxygen-deprived cells convert to the fermentation process to better provide for their needs (what we call cancer) and yet, ironically, it is fermented foods (like Miso) that show some of the greatest promise in keeping the body from becoming dis-eased in this way. As fermented foods are known to help create and support an alkaline environment in which the cancer process is inhibited, the Ode article seemed to companion the discussion by essentially suggesting nutrition as the ultimate frontier in cancer research.

Not that I’ve ever really worried about cancer but once I read that cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment where the blood is richly oxygenated, I wondered why I would want my body’s environment to be any other way. So I started researching. If it wasn’t clear before I quickly saw how “living to eat” can be a deadly practice. Cancer or not, an acidic diet in an increasingly acidic world can slice our genetic life expectancy by as much as half!

I immediately began implementing changes to my family’s approach to food. I wanted my children to understand that the purpose of eating is – foremost – to live.

As I feel that moderation can never be implemented through an extreme I’ve taken a gradual approach at changing our relationship to food. For example, I started with the simplest of things – replacing our table salt with Real Salt, carefully harvested, dried in the Sun, and left completely intact aside from being picked over by hand to remove the stones. Next I started using only freshly ground peppercorns and committed to using only fresh herbs whenever possible. Then I rid our cupboards of the small amount of refined white sugar we use and replaced it with better, more natural ideas like raw honey and brown rice syrup. And on like this we’ve been going, replacing the unhealthy elements of our “living” with healthier ones, ever aiming for the goal of consuming an 80/20 diet… that is, a diet that is at least 80% alkaline. no more than 20% acid…


For several years I maintained a blog named “Heavenly Cooking”. The blog received good feedback and was a place where I could share my original vegetarian recipes and interest in Astrology’s relationship to the cell salts. However, once I started to understand that a large part of an alkaline lifestyle is also based on raw and unprocessed foodstuffs I could no longer bring myself to post to a blog with “Cooking” in the title and so many recipes of my former self.

Thus, the new blog to embody my new “eat 2 live” ideal. Nothing extreme. Nothing that can be labeled one way or another. Just me, pursuing my passion for sustaining my family in an increasingly wholesome way…